Written by staff from New Labor, an affiliate of the IWJ Worker Center Network.
On Friday February 24, 2012, On-Target Staffing LLC, Peruvian Service Transportation, and New Labor signed an MOU for conditions and treatment during transportation, and more, of On-Target workers to their jobsite. At the crux of it, all parties involved agreed to uphold NJSA 13:45B-12.1-12.4 regarding transportation of temp agency workers. This is one of the few times that an agency, a transportation provider, and worker center have come together to create an MOU around conditions for temp workers.
Unfortunately this was not the first time we have dealt with this issue. In 2010 we took a group of 30 people to On-Target headquarters to confront the situation After meeting with the CEO, the situation improved. But little by little, the problems returned. Knowing our history to confront issues meant that On-Target and the van transportation provider would be compelled to come to the table.
In late November, a group of On-Target workers in Lakewood came to New Labor regarding irregularities with transportation to their worksite "Mister Cookieface". This included: making workers use the van transportation despite having their own means of getting to work, charging workers for transportation even if they didn't use the transportation, withholding paychecks for alleged non-payment of van transportation, overcrowded vans, intimidation into working despite being sick or physically unable. The group was invited back to the monthly "consejo" meeting where in conjunction with members a course of action would be agreed upon. During the consejo meetings, after discussion, the first requested step was a meeting with the CEO of On-Target.
At the resulting meeting in mid December, it was agreed to reconvene in January with the transportation provider to reach an agreement. Members and workers participated in a series of three meetings where they could confront the van transporation provider and agency on the irregularities, and the discussion was heated at times. Outreach to workers was hard as they feared losing their job if they spoke up.
All of the points were addressed in the MOU and agreed upon: no obligatory use of van, no charging for transportation not used, safe and satisfactory transportation of workers to the jobsite, no retention of checks for alleged non-payment of transportation services, and workers will be treated with respect and dignity. In addition, it was agreed that if there are future problems a three-way conference call will take place between the CEO of On-Target, New Labor and the transportation provider. The only way this was accomplished was through perserverance and organizing. This is power in the making.
To learn more about New Labor's temp worker campaign, visit their website at http://newlabor.org/.