Temporary Labor

by Owen Sechrist

We recently began a project that involved stripping multiple layers of wallpaper from almost every room in a 3000 square foot house.  We decided to use workers from a temp service.  It was an eye opening experience. In conversations with the workers I learned several things about what these folks go through to get work.  One man in particular was very interesting to talk to.  He was an extremely hard worker.  He worked from the minute he showed up until lunchtime, and then again until he left for the day.  He said that he had showed up at 3 a.m. that morning to wait in line at the temp agency and there were already people in line ahead of him.  He started on our job at 7 a.m. and worked until 4 p.m.  We paid him for his lunch so he had 9 hours of paid work time.  After leaving our job-site he waits in line another hour at the temp agency to collect his pay. He invested 14 hours of his day to work for 9 hours for $67.50 minus taxes.  He mentioned that he is eligible for unemployment benefits which would actually pay him more than he can make with the temp service but he would rather work for less than sit at home bored collecting unemployment.

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