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Staffing firms and long-term temporary workers at heart of labor issue

Moving to reduce labor cost, many businesses in low-wage industries are using long-term temporary employees to perform functions from cooking to cleaning to picking fruit. These workers are hired through a staffing agency, providing companies with s steady stream of cheap labor, that may often work for the same place for years.

California, where the use of these perma-temp workers is in high demand, will probably be the battle ground state for labor unions and business groups as they line up on opposite sides of the issue.

Labor groups are alarmed at the rise in the use of these types of workers. Last year about 2.25% percent of national employment or 3.4 million jobs were filled by staffing companies. That sector of the national economy has grown by 41% since 2008.

Staffing agency and business groups applaud the use of this type of labor stating that it allows for employment flexibility and organizations can better concentrate on their core business functions.

At the heart of the battle, occurring in the Sacramento legislature, is the treatment of these types of workers: are they used as modern day slave labor? The claims include that they are paid less, with no benefits, and forced to work long hours with no overtime.

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