Auto's Permanent Temporaries
Publisher: Against the Current
Date Written: 01/05/2016
Year Published: 2016
Resource Type: Article
Cx Number: CX21387
In the auto industry, temporaries were once students who covered auto jobs over a clearly defined summer vacation period. Today temps can work a full week year after year, never becoming permanent workers.
Temporary work is no longer limited to covering absences at the end of the week. In fact, there is an established wage differential between the "permanent temps" ($17-22) and the new hires ($15.78-19.28).
Those of us who fought against the two-tier wages first introduced into auto a decade ago understood how destructive this employer offensive was. The important principle of industrial unions is that workers in a variety of job titles earn roughly equal wages and benefits in whatever company they are employed. This reduces the corporations' ability to manipulate the labor cost and protects workers.
Thus the corporation seeks to outsource certain portions of the work - and even certain skilled trades jobs - extend the time period in which workers can be brought in as temporaries, and broaden the distinction among kinds of workers. These are all methods that introduce competition between workers at the workplace and across the same industry.