Cleveland’s Day Labor Industry: Testimony from the Cleveland City Council Hearing, September 4, 2001

September 4, 2001

Businesses have sharply increased their use of outsourcing and flexible staff over
the last twenty years. A study by the current Commissioner of the Bureau of Labor
Statistics found that approximately 90% of firms now utilize some type of contingent
work (Abraham, 1990). The increased use of flexible staff, such as day laborers and
workers from temporary agencies, reflects a move to “just-in-time” production, which
essentially means that employers are able to bring in extra staff quickly during periods of
high production demand, and send that staff out just as quickly during periods of low
demand. Employers are also able to pass along the increasing costs of providing benefits
by turning to a temporary workforce. Responsibility for mandatory benefits such as
Social Security, Medicare and unemployment insurance falls to the temporary agencies,
and temporary workers are rarely offered pensions or health insurance.

Full Testimony

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