- Tim Bell
The Temp Agency Seal of Approval Moves Forward in Illinois House
Illinois Takes Important Step towards Creating Good Jobs in Industry Fraught with Discrimination and Wage Theft
February 18th, Springfield - Wednesday night, the Labor and Commerce Committee of the Illinois House of Representatives voted 18 - 11 in favor of a measure that rewards temp firms for agreeing to abide by higher equity standards for workers. The proposed measure, HB5543, The Temp Agency Seal of Approval Program, sponsored by State Representative, Edgar Gonzalez Jr. (D-21), promotes favorable contracting for staffing agencies who receive a Seal of Approval by agreeing to ongoing monitoring for compliance with labor laws and a Code of Conduct to protect workers from discrimination and retaliation.
“The Temp Agency Seal of Approval Program will protect so many workers in the state of Illinois from the abuses of the temp agencies,” said José Frausto, a former temp worker and currently CWC’s Leadership and Advocacy Manager. “Although Illinois is one of the most progressive states with protections for temp workers, these protections are not fully implemented. We still see abuses like wage theft, and gender and race discrimination everywhere. There is also not enough safety training for temp workers before they are sent to work, and this causes tragic accidents and illnesses that could be prevented.”
According to Frausto, “The passage of this bill will reward temp agencies which join the Seal of Approval Program and agree to follow the law. They will be much more closely monitored by the Department of Labor which will help make sure that these agencies are following the law and give some power to the workers for them to make complaints when these abuses are happening without the fear of retaliation.” The Seal of Approval proposal comes on the heels of last week’s release of a national survey of temps called, Temp Workers Demand Good Jobs, which found widespread poverty pay, perma-temping, deceptive recruitment practices, and other job quality issues.
Next Step: Workers Engage in Shaping the Legislation. In last night’s hearing, Rep Gonzalez Jr stated that he and worker advocates will meet with the Service Staffing Association of Illinois, who opposes the bill, and Illinois Department of Labor. CWC and our partners will work to insure former and current temp worker leaders will represent themselves in the meeting and have decision-making power over the process.
Founded in 2000, the Chicago Workers' Collaborative promotes the creation of stable, living wage jobs with race, class, and gender equity for precarious workers in the Chicago region.