Springfield, IL – The Illinois AFL-CIO and Chicago Workers Collaborative stood with legislators, advocates and workers on Latino Unity Day to urge the passage of the Temp Worker Fairness and Safety Act (SB281).
“Passing the Temp Worker Fairness and Safety Act is a crucial step to address the uptick we are seeing in workplace deaths among Black and Brown workers,” said Senator Robert Peters, the bill’s Senate sponsor. “We cannot continue to ignore the plight of these workers and their families. We must take action to ensure that they are protected from exploitation and unsafe working conditions.”
SAFETY STANDARDS, EQUAL PAY
The Temp Worker Fairness and Safety Act would support workers by improving safety standards, and mandating equal pay for equal work after a 60-day grace period. It creates a whistleblower right of action to allow worker advocates to bring enforcement actions against abusive employers.
“Latino and Black workers are the backbone of our economy, but they are also the most vulnerable when it comes to workplace abuse and exploitation,” said Representative Edgar Gonzalez, the bill’s lead house sponsor. “Passing the Temp Worker Fairness and Safety Act is crucial to ensure that these workers are treated with dignity and have access to safe working conditions to allow them to return home to their families at the end of their shift.”
Research has shown that 84 percent of temp workers in Illinois have experienced wage theft and the regulators tasked with oversight lack the resources to monitor such a large industry. Moreover, the recent AFL-CIO “Death on the Job” report shows Latino workers to be at the greatest risk of dying on the job. Key findings in the report point to a troubling rise in worker deaths, particularly among Black and Latino workers, and illustrate the urgency for critical job safety oversight and enforcement.
“Illinois is the beating heart of the American Labor Movement in the 21st century. Union or not, we are committed to fighting until all workers in our state are paid a living wage and kept safe at work,” remarked Tim Drea, president of the Illinois AFL-CIO. “Temp Workers are unfairly taken advantage of in Illinois and it’s up to all of us to stand in solidarity with them and their advocates as they fight for the same fundamental job protections that all workers deserve.”
“The Temp Worker Fairness & Safety Act is critical to guaranteeing the rights of the 650,000 Temp Workers Across the state of Illinois,” said Jose Frausto, executive director of the Chicago Workers Collaborative. “After extensive negotiations, we have reached an agreement of neutrality with the Staffing Services Association of Illinois as well as the Illinois Chamber of Commerce and we expect that will clear the path for passage for this bill.”
The Illinois workforce includes 650,000 temp workers, 85 percent of whom are people of color. Data shows that temp workers are seriously injured at three times the rate of direct hire employees. Furthermore, these workers face high rates of wage theft and are paid, on average, $4 per hour less than their direct-hire colleagues doing the same or comparable work.
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May 22, 2023 at 05:26PM