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State bill seeks to increase protection and fairness for agency workers

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Brisa Chavez has worked as a temporary worker in Chicago for 18 years and doesn’t feel anyone is trained for a full-time job.

Chavez is often sent to work with industrial machinery without being taught how to use it, she says. She fears this will lead to injury or death.

Chavez may find it impossible to complain to the agency that sends her out to work.

“They want us to let it go and keep working,” Chavez said through an interpreter.

Rep. Edgar Gonzalez and Sen. Robert Peters, both Chicago Democrats, said Monday they would introduce legislation to protect the rights of temporary workers.

The Agency Workers and Fair Safety Act will make it easier for workers to sue temporary agencies, form unions and go on strike, said attorney Chris Williams.

It also makes it harder for labor agencies to use non-compete clauses and other tactics to discourage workers from transitioning to permanent employment with clients.

“By passing this bill, we will set the standard for agency worker protection with worker rights and create a meaningful pathway for all workers everywhere to join unions,” Gonzalez said. I was.

This proposal is supported by the Chicago Workers’ Collaborative and the National Legal Advocacy Network. Theresa of Chicago is also supporting her Rep. Marr.

Public safety conversations in Chicago and across the state often exclude the rights of temporary workers, Peters said. Undocumented and homeless residents are at risk of exploitation, especially for temporary jobs, he said.

“What really brings security is having money in your pocket,” Peters said. “You can pay the rent, you can put food on the table…you have health care and benefits, you have power.”

Williams said current temporary working conditions in Illinois are not transparent.

“People literally don’t know where they’re going to work, how long they’re going to work, what they’re going to charge them for, how to get there, what they’re charging for that ride,” Williams said.

Some labor agencies say existing laws adequately protect workers.

“Staffing agencies provide hundreds of thousands of well-paid jobs,” said Dan Chaumont, spokesman for the Illinois Association of Recruitment Services. “I haven’t seen the bill, but there are already laws to protect workers. There are many…In Illinois, one of the strongest laws in the country already protects temporary workers.”

According to the American Staffing Association, Illinois staffing agencies employ about 850,000 temporary workers each year. The average contingent worker in Illinois makes $38,000 a year for her, $4,000 less for him than the national average, and more than half of Illinois contingent workers work in transportation and travel jobs.

Temporary jobs are also overvalued, as communities with high incarceration rates may find it difficult to find permanent jobs after returning from prison.

According to Williams, many temporary workers do the same work as their full-time colleagues, sometimes for years, without the same safety and benefits.

Chavez, an 18-year-old temp worker, said through an interpreter:

Barry Rose works at an industrial bakery in Southwest Chicago, where he was a temporary employee for the first two years. Temporary workers at the bakery spend most of their time mopping floors and full-time workers aren’t taught how to operate the machines he spends his day with, he said.

“They get angry when it’s time to clean the machine because [temporary workers] I don’t know how,” Rose said.

If the bill is passed, it could make it easier for temporary workers to build permanent careers, Rose said.

“We don’t want people to wake up and say, ‘You’re fired, there’s nothing you can do,'” Rose told the Chicago Sun-Times. “Now we have something to fight for.”


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Written by Natalia Chi

Chicago Popular; Chicago breaking news, weather and live video. Covering local politics, health, traffic and sports for Chicago, the suburbs and northwest Indiana.

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