Google said on Tuesday it will require its contracted and temporary workforce to receive full benefits, including comprehensive health care, paid parental leave and a $15 minimum wage, according to an internal memo.
The national unemployment rate hit 3.8 percent in May and companies across the country are complaining about the difficulty of finding workers. Yet Amazon has been able to staff its warehouses with low-paid part-time workers.
The new joint-employer standard provides a much more favorable legal framework for workers to form unions at temped-out warehouses, manufacturing and food processing plants, recycling facilities, hotels, and franchised janitorial services and fast food outlets.
Michael Grabell, Olga Pierce and Jeff Larson
Since the 2008 recession, companies have increasingly turned to temporary employees to work in factories and warehouses and on construction sites. The temp industry now employs a record 2.8 million workers.The trend carries a human cost. A ProPublica analysis of millions of workers’ compensation claims shows that in five states, representing more than a fifth of the U.S. population, temps face a significantly greater risk of getting injured on the job.
Labor experts say unions are focusing on the hospitality field and less traditionally unionized workplaces - car washes, retailers, taxi and limo companies - as membership rolls have decreased. The percentage of private sector workers represented by unions has fallen from a peak of about 35 percent in the mid 1950s to about 7 percent, said Fred Feinstein, a former general counsel with the National Labor Relations Board who now works as a union.
The latest skirmish in an escalating battle between ver.di, one of the largest unions in Germany, and Amazon, which employs 8,000 permanent workers at eight distribution centers in the country, one of the online retailer’s largest markets outside the United States. Deservedly or not, Amazon’s labor relations have lately come under intense scrutiny by German media.