November 2, 2011
By Harry Kelber
AFL-CIO Richard Trumka has described new ways that employers exempt themselves from dealing with unions and the rights of their employees. The corporate anti-union model that is increasing in use is to shift the responsibilities of dealing with unions to contractors, leaving the company free from any obligations to their workers.
It becomes more complex and confusing for union organizers when companies hire numbers of sub-contractors— to produce their products or services.
Trumka notes that many companies are now using temp agencies, as a standard work force, freeing them from accountability to their workers. Other companies are getting rid of their obligations to employees by having them misclassified as independent contractors, as in the case of the taxi industry.
To avoid paying health care, pensions, paid overtime and other benefits, companies are also relying on part-timers. And of course, in many industries, tens of thousands of good American jobs are outsourced every year without much protest.