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Sunday, December 9, 2012

Will there ever be job security again?

Is Temporary Labor the New Permanent?

Is Temporary Labor the New Permanent?
Temporary employment is on the rise, and may become a much larger feature of the recovering economy. We look at the potential consequences, which may be very different for blue-collar workers than they are for professionals or in the executive suites. Also, Kofi Annan steps down as UN Envoy to Syria, and the current Congress is called the least productive in memory because of partisan gridlock.  What's in store for next year?

The reality is that employers are no longer loyal except to their own survival and profits. Workers are now in a position to be poor while working their lives away for minimum or low wages, or for traditional wages with zero job security or benefits. Or worse, having to take the time and money to go to small claims court just to get paid.

Labor unions, which traditionally protected workers, have been systematically dismantled, attacked and made to look like villains. Management, for reasons of survival or to keep shareholders happy, are vested in villainizing and eliminating unions and any potential of temporary or part time workers unionizing.

Will we ever have a middle class again? The temporary labor market and its rapid growth may be contributing to the loss of the middle class, while contributing to company and corporate bottom lines.

The number one problem appears to be the lack of health insurance and health care.

Next is being able to have a place to live, a reliable vehicle and food in the table.

What was once a building for your children mindset is now survival mode.

The recession is not the reason for the increase in temp workers. It began in the 1980's with the decline of unions and increase in corporate profit mentality as the American Way. The recession did increase the pace and the range (many more highly skilled and older workers are now temporary workers not of their own choosing).

Banner image: Labor Ready office in Sioux Falls, South Dakota. Photo by oddsandwich/flickr

Main Topic

Is Temporary Employment the New Normal?

It used to be axiomatic that a rise in temporary employment was a sign of economic recovery and that permanent hiring would not be far behind. In recent months, temporary hiring is on the rise, but the old pattern does not seem to be holding. More temps are being hired and they're being kept longer, but fewer employers are making them permanent. So there's flexibility for the employers, but instability for the employees. Temps are now being hired for high-skilled professions -- from engineering to finance to information technology — even at the executive level. Will temporary work be a permanent feature of the new economy?  Will some workers choose nomadic careers while others struggle to fend for themselves?

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Reporter's Notebook

The New Politics of Extremism

Ohio's long-time Republican Congressman Steven LaTourette has resigned just three months before he was scheduled to stand for re-election.  In Texas, Tea-Party candidate Ted Cruz has won an upset victory to become the Republican nominee for the US Senate.  What do those two events tell us about the next session of Congress? Norman Ornstein is a congressional scholar at the American Enterprise Institute in Washington. He's co-author with Thomas Mann of the new book, It's Even Worse than It Looks: How the American Constitutional System Collided with the New Politics of Extremism.

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Making News

Kofi Annan Steps Down as UN Envoy to Syria 

After 17 months, one of the world's most seasoned diplomats has failed to achieve even a ceasefire between the al-Assad government and rebel forces in Syria. Kofi Annan has submitted his resignation as special representative for the UN and the Arab League. Colum Lynch is UN correspondent for the Washington Post and Turtle Bay blogger for Foreign Policy magazine.

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