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(The Morning Call)   Amazon.com's temporary staffing firm fights to keep warehouse workers from collecting unemployment benefits   (mcall.com) divider line 98
    More: Interesting, staffing firm, unemployment compensation, Lehigh Valley, Rosemarie Fritchman, long-term stability, wage earners, workers, fights  
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7376 clicks; posted to Main » on 18 Dec 2012 at 10:37 AM (1 year ago)   |  Favorite    |   share:  Share on Twitter share via Email Share on Facebook   more»



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2012-12-18 10:34:48 AM
Where is snark?
 
2012-12-18 10:41:02 AM
If feel the need to put "Integrity" in your company name, you probably don't have any.
 
2012-12-18 10:41:50 AM
Any employers who fights to stop a worker's unemployment claim in THIS economy deserves to be hanged.
 
2012-12-18 10:42:55 AM
Well good!!


Wait....



What?
 
2012-12-18 10:43:49 AM
What does companies fight againt worker's unemployment claims ? Does that come out of their pocket, in your country ?
 
2012-12-18 10:44:15 AM
most temp agencies treat their workers like pond scum on a full time basis. fair weather friends of a legal pimp nature. nasty affair for the most part. i can picture a young Mitt Romney type being successful owning such a business. scumbags.
 
2012-12-18 10:44:26 AM
I'm willing to bet real money that there were many other workers who were working on the same day in the same area and experienced the same 'brutal heat' without any ill effects. I'm not suggesting that she is being dishonest about her problems but the question remains if she cannot do the job which she was hired to do why would them firing her be a bad thing?
 
2012-12-18 10:44:35 AM
The pressure to keep costs down means many who take temporary jobs at an Amazon warehouse hoping it will result in long-term stability and independence instead find themselves jobless and fighting for a public benefit that represents their last financial resort.

So people hired for seasonal positions are shocked to learn they aren't permanent, fully-burdened employees? And then sue over it? Awesome.
 
2012-12-18 10:45:15 AM

doczoidberg: Any employers who fights to stop a worker's unemployment claim in THIS economy deserves to be hanged.


By the balls, toenails, or lips... no, not those.... look down
 
2012-12-18 10:45:39 AM

padraig: What does companies fight againt worker's unemployment claims ? Does that come out of their pocket, in your country ?


I was wondering that too. In canada, we all pay into the Employment Insurance system via the government. Sometimes still have to fight for benefits, but not directly with the company.
 
2012-12-18 10:46:10 AM
While I know Amazon has a documented history of these kind of problems, I find it strange that temporary employment contracts are eligible for unemployment benefits(or even pay in to unemployment insurance). I guess the fact that it does should be a disincentive towards hiring temporary labor, which is a positive effect(if it results in permanent hirings, at least).
 
2012-12-18 10:47:13 AM

you have pee hands: If feel the need to put "Integrity" in your company name, you probably don't have any.


Right. And if anyone mentions they deliver a high quality product they probably don't. And if a grocery store has to say they have a wide selection of products, they probably don't. Basically if any company says anything positive about themselves they must be lying.
 
2012-12-18 10:49:16 AM

doczoidberg: Any employers who fights to stop a worker's unemployment claim in THIS economy deserves to be hanged.


Yeah, because certainly every single employee out there is exemplary. There couldn't possibly be any fraud in this economy. No way that there could possibly be any workers out there who deserved to be fired for gross misconduct.
 
2012-12-18 10:49:39 AM
Even though its not really them, Amazon.com should rethink who they subcontract to.
 
2012-12-18 10:51:35 AM

padraig: What does companies fight againt worker's unemployment claims ? Does that come out of their pocket, in your country ?


It does in that the rate you pay goes up for every successful claim. Some times WAY up. Also - I know some people like to say it "comes out of their paycheck". Um, no, at least in Virginia it is 100% employer paid.
 
2012-12-18 10:51:52 AM

bhcompy: While I know Amazon has a documented history of these kind of problems, I find it strange that temporary employment contracts are eligible for unemployment benefits(or even pay in to unemployment insurance). I guess the fact that it does should be a disincentive towards hiring temporary labor, which is a positive effect(if it results in permanent hirings, at least).


Ehh, makes sense to me. You think companies are using a lot of "temp" workers now? If they didn't have to pay into unemployment too, EVERYONE would have their job reclassified as temporary.
 
2012-12-18 10:53:29 AM

trappedspirit: Right. And if anyone mentions they deliver a high quality product they probably don't. And if a grocery store has to say they have a wide selection of products, they probably don't. Basically if any company says anything positive about themselves they must be lying.


There's a difference between advertisement and obvious overcompensation. Of course temporary staffing firms are specifically designed to get around having to provide any sort of worker benefits so in this case it's especially obvious.
 
2012-12-18 10:53:45 AM

dopekitty74: padraig: What does companies fight againt worker's unemployment claims ? Does that come out of their pocket, in your country ?

I was wondering that too. In canada, we all pay into the Employment Insurance system via the government. Sometimes still have to fight for benefits, but not directly with the company.


In America, companies are generally taxed at a rate that's determined by how many unemployment claims are made by their fired employees. Companies that fire a lot of people tend to fight the claims to try and keep these taxes at a lower rate.
 
2012-12-18 10:53:54 AM

padraig: What does companies fight againt worker's unemployment claims ? Does that come out of their pocket, in your country ?


Unemployment insurance is run on a state-by-state basis in the US, but in general employers have to pay higher UI rates if they have more employees filing (successful) UI claims. Which, yes, does lead to an adversarial system, and does discourage increased hiring and labor flexibility (and encouraging overtime to existing employees) over a more comprehensive system like exists in actual first-world countries.
 
2012-12-18 10:54:43 AM

padraig: What does companies fight againt worker's unemployment claims ? Does that come out of their pocket, in your country ?


In the USA, employers pay for unemployment insurance. Like any insurance, claims increase your premium.
 
2012-12-18 10:55:13 AM

MisterBill: dopekitty74: padraig: What does companies fight againt worker's unemployment claims ? Does that come out of their pocket, in your country ?

I was wondering that too. In canada, we all pay into the Employment Insurance system via the government. Sometimes still have to fight for benefits, but not directly with the company.

In America, companies are generally taxed at a rate that's determined by how many unemployment claims are made by their fired employees. Companies that fire a lot of people tend to fight the claims to try and keep these taxes at a lower rate.


And many times the claims are bogus...if you walk off the job with no notice, no benefits for you! Or are fired for cause (stealing, etc.).
 
2012-12-18 10:55:24 AM

KrispyKritter: most temp agencies treat their workers like pond scum on a full time basis. fair weather friends of a legal pimp nature. nasty affair for the most part. i can picture a young Mitt Romney type being successful owning such a business. scumbags.


He lost, just let it go man.
 
2012-12-18 10:55:30 AM
The Morning Call has been after this warehouse for some time, the previous "brutal heat" episode was triggered when a local doctor filed a complaint after treating numerous people for heat exhaustion at the same time.

Previous Story

This staffing company is at every major event in the region recruiting for the warehouse, turnover there must be off the charts.

Also, in PA it is a matter of course that your former employer will fight your unemployment claims. Sometimes they might just put up a token effort, or offer a settlement, but they will not just let you file uncontested. I'm not sure if it is this way in all states, but employers get ranked based on the number of people they put on the unemployment dole. If an employer puts too many on unemployment, they start to suffer some negative tax implications.
 
2012-12-18 10:57:47 AM

dopekitty74: padraig: What does companies fight againt worker's unemployment claims ? Does that come out of their pocket, in your country ?

I was wondering that too. In canada, we all pay into the Employment Insurance system via the government. Sometimes still have to fight for benefits, but not directly with the company.


It varies from state to state in the US, but generally speaking, both you and your employer contribute to the system out of your paycheck (a few bucks every pay period). Then if you collect, depending on a few other things, your employer will pay an added portion on top of it while you are collecting (there are exemptions for this, it mainly comes into play with companies that have a lot of people go on unemployment).

You collect, typically, about 60% of your pay, but it is capped at a certain amount, which again, varies from state to state. For instance, in NJ, its something like 450 a week, however right across the river in NY, its 3something.
 
2012-12-18 10:57:49 AM
these temp companies are the scourge of hard working people in america.
 
2012-12-18 10:59:34 AM

you have pee hands: If feel the need to put "Integrity" in your company name, you probably don't have any.


So was I wrong to file as Integritronic Intellitrust Northeastern, LLC?

"Integritronic Intellitrust Northeastern. Even we aren't entirely sure what we do here."

/ Doing business in southeast Asia as "Pacific Rim Job Consulting".
 
2012-12-18 11:00:22 AM

padraig: What does companies fight againt worker's unemployment claims ? Does that come out of their pocket, in your country ?


Employer pays, and their rates are set based on their claims. TFA says it varies from ~2-10%. So an employer who's always hiring and firing pays significantly more than one that rarely fires without cause. Thus the incentive to keep down the number of claims.
 
2012-12-18 11:01:46 AM

bhcompy: I find it strange that temporary employment contracts are eligible for unemployment benefits(or even pay in to unemployment insurance).


It depends, if it is a job with a set end date then no unemployment insurance, you took the job knowing it would end on a certain day, if it is a temp to perm or long time assignment then yes. The issue in this article is that this staffing agency is that they seem to be working people in pretty much permanent positions, then firing people with cause which means no unemployment then fighting every claim like it was a mufti-million dollar lawsuit.
 
2012-12-18 11:03:21 AM
Sort of conflicted since I've worked in the staffing business for 20 years now. The biggest problem, as I see it, is these types of mega-contracts go to the lowest bidder, period. Amazon wants "x" labor cost per hour. Many times, these contracts are awarded with no consideration of what the worker's actual wage will be. So what happens is XYZ Staffing will quote a flat labor fee of "x" per hour and then do everything possible to extract money from the employee, like paying only minimum wage for a job that pays a full-time employee $12/hour.

They'll have on-site coordinators who are paid based on maximizing production. Temp. sick that day? Fired! Late 10 minutes? Fired! Too slow? Fired. Doctors appointment? Fired! It is really a shiat job for shiat wages and no benefits. And these firms will often flat-out lie about why they terminated someone. These are the desperate positions that many are left to compete for.

Now, I don't know about this particular program or staffing company. I have stopped even bidding on bottom dollar contracts. Too much work for too little profit. Also, unlike many of our competitors, we DO offer our employees benefits such as vacation, holiday, health insurance, dental, vision, etc. While we typically have temp-to-perm programs to transition employees to our clients after 90 days, if they stay on longer than that, we give raises on our own dime.

It is just more short-sightedness and extortion by corporate America. I guess we are all ultimately to blame because of our thirst for the lowest price. But damnit, I've seen too much of this over the years. I bet half of the temps don't have proper work authorization at this warehouse.
 
2012-12-18 11:05:25 AM

KrispyKritter: most temp agencies treat their workers like pond scum on a full time basis. fair weather friends of a legal pimp nature. nasty affair for the most part. i can picture a young Mitt Romney type being successful owning such a business. scumbags.


Exactly, so I don't know why the temp agency's behavior is Amazon's fault Most temp agencies don't give a fark about you personally, they just need the bodies available for staffing calls. And you should see the hourly pay rate the temp agencies charge companies versus what you actually earn in your paycheck. You'd have a fit seeing exactly how big the difference is and what you are not pocketing.
 
2012-12-18 11:06:04 AM

Egoy3k: I'm willing to bet real money that there were many other workers who were working on the same day in the same area and experienced the same 'brutal heat' without any ill effects.


Humans are different. We're not all alike. Someone who is old enough to type on a computer should have realized this by now. People are affected by abnormal conditions differently. The reason why she experienced heat illness and her coworkers did not is the same reason why some people get a cold and others do not, or why some people can handle alcohol better than others.

I'm not suggesting that she is being dishonest about her problems but the question remains if she cannot do the job which she was hired to do why would them firing her be a bad thing?

This depends on whether the company had any policy in place for providing the employees water OR allowing them to drink water at their work station if they don't have water stations nearby and don't allow employees to leave to get water. If they didn't, then not only should she not lose her job, the company should be sued for violating OSHA standards. Also, it's illegal to fire someone because they have a medical condition (such as sensitivity to heat), although this might be a state-by-state thing rather than federal.
 
2012-12-18 11:06:43 AM
This scene has become commonplace since Amazon opened a Lehigh Valley warehouse in 2010. But the human resources agent is not from Amazon. She works for Integrity Staffing Solutions, a company paid by Amazon to recruit workers who unload boxes, process orders and pack shipments for the giant online retailer.

/Welcome to the new order, where a company won't hire you directly, but through a staffing agency. That way, no benefits paid, and you are disposable. No more working the company job, as a well paid union member. Those days are over. Now you get paid a shiat wage, for a farmed out company that doesn't give a crap about you, and will fight to make sure you get nothing, while they get everything.
 
2012-12-18 11:07:34 AM

Egoy3k: I'm willing to bet real money that there were many other workers who were working on the same day in the same area and experienced the same 'brutal heat' without any ill effects. I'm not suggesting that she is being dishonest about her problems but the question remains if she cannot do the job which she was hired to do why would them firing her be a bad thing?


There were stories over the last few years about how Amazon had an ambulance permanently outside of at least one of their warehouses, losing 1-5 employees from heat stroke per day, peaking at 15 on June 3, 2011. So yes, some people managed, despite being rushed too hard to even drink water, so fark the lady who fainted, right? Last summer OSHA investigated, but ultimately it sent a list of changes to make instead of fines.
 
2012-12-18 11:11:47 AM
Article too damn long to read. Waiting for pro-union comments..
 
2012-12-18 11:13:05 AM

bhcompy: While I know Amazon has a documented history of these kind of problems, I find it strange that temporary employment contracts are eligible for unemployment benefits(or even pay in to unemployment insurance). I guess the fact that it does should be a disincentive towards hiring temporary labor, which is a positive effect(if it results in permanent hirings, at least).


My dad got laid off from his job in 09, one of the last people to be laid off.

He got hired back as a "temp" in 10, more work than before, no benefits and less pay.

It's a very, very, very damn good thing that he got unemployment when he got let go from that "temporary" job - they only really needed to hire him IMHO because they realized they accidentally let people go too early before they could properly ship the whole operation to Mexico. Of course, that took over half a year...

He's got a full time job now, but yeah. I'm perfectly fine with that, especially when so many temporary jobs aren't so temporary.
 
2012-12-18 11:15:12 AM

LineNoise: dopekitty74: padraig: What does companies fight againt worker's unemployment claims ? Does that come out of their pocket, in your country ?

I was wondering that too. In canada, we all pay into the Employment Insurance system via the government. Sometimes still have to fight for benefits, but not directly with the company.

It varies from state to state in the US, but generally speaking, both you and your employer contribute to the system out of your paycheck (a few bucks every pay period). Then if you collect, depending on a few other things, your employer will pay an added portion on top of it while you are collecting (there are exemptions for this, it mainly comes into play with companies that have a lot of people go on unemployment).

You collect, typically, about 60% of your pay, but it is capped at a certain amount, which again, varies from state to state. For instance, in NJ, its something like 450 a week, however right across the river in NY, its 3something.


I don't believe that employees pay either federal or state unemployment taxes. I'm only personally familiar with a handful of states' systems, but it's my understanding that it's that way in every state.

When our company has had claims, our rates bump up. We don't pay anything to the employee who is collecting.
 
2012-12-18 11:15:31 AM
Well, if you're temporary ....
 
2012-12-18 11:15:40 AM
Generally speaking, temporary workers aren't eligible for unemployment. You can't collect 99 weeks of unemployment because you worked 4 weeks at a job you knew was only going to be there for 4 weeks.
 
2012-12-18 11:16:13 AM

Bit'O'Gristle: This scene has become commonplace since Amazon opened a Lehigh Valley warehouse in 2010. But the human resources agent is not from Amazon. She works for Integrity Staffing Solutions, a company paid by Amazon to recruit workers who unload boxes, process orders and pack shipments for the giant online retailer.

/Welcome to the new order, where a company won't hire you directly, but through a staffing agency. That way, no benefits paid, and you are disposable. No more working the company job, as a well paid union member. Those days are over. Now you get paid a shiat wage, for a farmed out company that doesn't give a crap about you, and will fight to make sure you get nothing, while they get everything.


Even worse (or at least just as bad): A new type of "on-call" employment has been created, where you call in before your shift starts to see if you are needed. If not, you don't come in and you aren't paid. If yes, you better show up or you are fired. Now imagine this type of work on a schedule that changes week by week, and you are only told what the schedule is a few days in advance.
 
2012-12-18 11:16:48 AM

skinink: KrispyKritter: most temp agencies treat their workers like pond scum on a full time basis. fair weather friends of a legal pimp nature. nasty affair for the most part. i can picture a young Mitt Romney type being successful owning such a business. scumbags.

Exactly, so I don't know why the temp agency's behavior is Amazon's fault Most temp agencies don't give a fark about you personally, they just need the bodies available for staffing calls. And you should see the hourly pay rate the temp agencies charge companies versus what you actually earn in your paycheck. You'd have a fit seeing exactly how big the difference is and what you are not pocketing.


I kind of wonder if people would be gratified to see how much more they're really "making" than they think if companies broke down various health insurance, unemployment insurance, and other per-employee benefits right on their check... or if they'd get even angrier at seeing how much more is taken out of what their real spend is. People already get pissed enough about FICA and their share of health insurance line items, after all.
 
2012-12-18 11:17:25 AM

bhcompy: While I know Amazon has a documented history of these kind of problems, I find it strange that temporary employment contracts are eligible for unemployment benefits(or even pay in to unemployment insurance). I guess the fact that it does should be a disincentive towards hiring temporary labor, which is a positive effect(if it results in permanent hirings, at least).


In Georgia, the temp has to earn a minimum of $3,300 on a position to be eligible. It is not unheard of here to cut people off as they approach $3,000.
 
2012-12-18 11:19:31 AM

mgshamster: Bit'O'Gristle: This scene has become commonplace since Amazon opened a Lehigh Valley warehouse in 2010. But the human resources agent is not from Amazon. She works for Integrity Staffing Solutions, a company paid by Amazon to recruit workers who unload boxes, process orders and pack shipments for the giant online retailer.

/Welcome to the new order, where a company won't hire you directly, but through a staffing agency. That way, no benefits paid, and you are disposable. No more working the company job, as a well paid union member. Those days are over. Now you get paid a shiat wage, for a farmed out company that doesn't give a crap about you, and will fight to make sure you get nothing, while they get everything.

Even worse (or at least just as bad): A new type of "on-call" employment has been created, where you call in before your shift starts to see if you are needed. If not, you don't come in and you aren't paid. If yes, you better show up or you are fired. Now imagine this type of work on a schedule that changes week by week, and you are only told what the schedule is a few days in advance.


This exists in the fast food industry. Even more fun, that four hour shift you thought was happening is now 1.5 because of sales.
 
2012-12-18 11:21:21 AM

MisterBill: In America, companies are generally taxed at a rate that's determined by how many unemployment claims are made by their fired employees. Companies that fire a lot of people tend to fight the claims to try and keep these taxes at a lower rate.


In short, companies go into industries knowing there is a cost to do business, then tries to weasel out of that cost. got it.

It reminds me of all those articles about companies claiming "uncertainty" in the market as reasons they aren't hiring/expanding/etc. It used to be companies worked under the idea that doing business was a risk; there was always a chance it wouldn't work. Now, they expect to take in the reward, with a guarantee.

In a bigger picture, it ties into the whole "everyone gets a trophy" mentality that has been commonplace for the last 30 years. now those kids are running these companies. What a shock that they all feel a sense of entitlement and don't think they should ever lose, and everyone is 'too big to fail'
 
2012-12-18 11:23:47 AM

TheGreatGazoo: Generally speaking, temporary workers aren't eligible for unemployment. You can't collect 99 weeks of unemployment because you worked 4 weeks at a job you knew was only going to be there for 4 weeks.


That's true, but what if it's a temp-to-hire position, or if it is simply classified as "temporary" with no set end date; they just keep you on indefinitely as a "temp"? I know of people who have worked temp-to-hire positions, and the "temp" part lasted years before they were hired on. When my wife got her job, she was a temp-to-hire. When she first got hired on, they told her it would be six months before they decide if she would be hired or not. Nearly a year later she was finally hired on. The other employees who worked in her department told her she was lucky she got hired on so quickly; all of them had to wait at least two years before getting hired on.
 
2012-12-18 11:23:51 AM

trappedspirit: you have pee hands: If feel the need to put "Integrity" in your company name, you probably don't have any.

Right. And if anyone mentions they deliver a high quality product they probably don't. And if a grocery store has to say they have a wide selection of products, they probably don't. Basically if any company says anything positive about themselves they must be lying.


Notsureifserious.jpg
 
2012-12-18 11:24:01 AM

majestic: Now, I don't know about this particular program or staffing company. I have stopped even bidding on bottom dollar contracts. Too much work for too little profit. Also, unlike many of our competitors, we DO offer our employees benefits such as vacation, holiday, health insurance, dental, vision, etc. While we typically have temp-to-perm programs to transition employees to our clients after 90 days, if they stay on longer than that, we give raises on our own dime.


You guys sound pretty enlightened. Would you be comfortable sharing the name of your agency?
 
2012-12-18 11:26:06 AM

majestic: It is just more short-sightedness and extortion by corporate America. I guess we are all ultimately to blame because of our thirst for the lowest price. But damnit, I've seen too much of this over the years. I bet half of the temps don't have proper work authorization at this warehouse.


The thing is that Amazon supposedly is one of the few corporations that actually looks at long-term investments rather than the short-term, which is the trap that most individuals in the business community seem to fall into.

So Amazon is gearing up to the inevitable future when we will be living in a miserable Dickensian dystopia. Not pretty.

/Are there no prisons?
/Are there no workhouses?
/Humbug!
 
2012-12-18 11:29:40 AM

you have pee hands: trappedspirit: Right. And if anyone mentions they deliver a high quality product they probably don't. And if a grocery store has to say they have a wide selection of products, they probably don't. Basically if any company says anything positive about themselves they must be lying.

There's a difference between advertisement and obvious overcompensation. Of course temporary staffing firms are specifically designed to get around having to provide any sort of worker benefits so in this case it's especially obvious.


Mmmhmm. It's so especially obvious that they must be using some kind of reverse backwards psychology on us. I'd go so far as to say that Wells Fargo isn't full of wells.
 
2012-12-18 11:30:05 AM

Skirl Hutsenreiter: padraig: What does companies fight againt worker's unemployment claims ? Does that come out of their pocket, in your country ?

Employer pays, and their rates are set based on their claims. TFA says it varies from ~2-10%. So an employer who's always hiring and firing pays significantly more than one that rarely fires without cause. Thus the incentive to keep down the number of claims.


How about not firing people for stupid reasons? I'm sorry, but the woman mentioned in the article was let go because she became ill. Isn't it illegal to fire people for illness based absences?
 
2012-12-18 11:37:10 AM

doczoidberg: Any employers who fights to stop a worker's unemployment claim in THIS economy deserves to be hanged.


Sometime it is appropriate for an employer to fight an unemployment claim. Every time a claim is filed against an employer, their insurance premium goes up. It can become very expensive. So if you have a deadbeat employee, who you must fire for cause, you shouldn't have to be on the hook for his unemployment benefit. An employer cannot file an appeal for benefits being paid because of a layoff or any not-for-cause termination.

I had to fire a guy one time because he could never finish an assignment on time and pretty much just came to work whenever he wanted. I never cared if my employees worked remotely or not, but I expected results. This clown was wasn't working when he was not in the office. He became insubordinate and hostile when I counseled him about his poor work ethic. So I gave him a week's paid vacation and told him to go think very hard about whether he wanted to continue working for the company and gave him a list of detailed list of improvements he had to make if he decided to stay. If he decided to leave, he'd get a severance payment. He decided to stay, but didn't even try to meet his remediation plan. So after a month, when I called him to ask why he hadn't reported for work and he called me a "honky bastard," I canned him. He never returned his $2500 company-owned laptop and we decided not to prosecute him for theft. But when he filed for unemployment benefits, we challenged it and won.
 
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