Temporary Agencies Exploit Homeless

Commentary Homeless Grapevine #31 December 1998

by George

            I would like to see something done about the temporary agencies. I suggest running an news article in the Grapevine. I think that the temp agencies are really hard on people, and work them too hard for minimal pay. Most of the jobs pay around $5.00. Some pay $7.50 an hour, but they are way too low.

            I go to the temp agency and wait to be selected. Sometimes if the agency knows you and if you have had a problem, they will pass you over and give the higher paying work to someone who “just walked in” and hasn’t waited at all. If you don’t have a car, the agency will take you to the job site in their van. Usually you wait an hour and the transport time can be another half hour to an hour depending on where the work is located.

            I usually work 7.5 hours. When I get finished they make you wait another hour for the van back to the agency. Sometimes the agency charges $3.00 for the van ride, which is deducted from your pay. They may also deduct money for advances for lunch money. So, you might spend 11-12 hours in total (transportation time and work time) and only get paid $27 (after taxes, deductions, etc.).

            I think that it is demeaning and not too motivational to be working as a temp and getting paid $5.00 an hour when you might be standing next to someone (who is a permanent worker) making $15 or $16 an hour. Sometimes those workers will “stand around” and tell the temp workers what to do.

            At the beginning of the month (when welfare checks are issued) the temp agencies will be “really nice” to people because they need workers. At that time you can get better pay and better jobs. But most of the time the agencies are rough. I have specifically worked with Minute Man and Area Temps, but I have heard Ameritemps is the same way.

Copyright to the Northeast Ohio Coalition for the Homeless and the Homeless Grapevine Cleveland Ohio 2003 Issue 63 December 2003.