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Companies Profit by Abusing Temp Workers

August 14, 1994

* The hiring of temporary workers is a recognized new and growing trend ("Companies Reaping Savings with Temporary Workers," July 26). Inequities abound. For example, consider my wife's case history:

Her permanent employment as an accountant evaporated with the aerospace and defense industries. Presently she can only obtain temporary work. Because of her education (two certificates, master's degree) and her experience (20 years as an accounting supervisor), assignments are frequent. However, hourly wages are only about two-thirds of former years, and unpaid intervals occur between assignments. Furthermore, fringe benefits such as medical coverage are totally absent.

In a recent assignment, the permanent accountant of the company had made a mess of the financial records. Information and money was lost or misplaced, and statements didn't balance. Furthermore, neither the accountant nor her clerks knew how to fully operate the computer. My wife straightened out three months of this backlog and made the software operative in four weeks.

My wife was hired after three other temps had been let go, apparently because they couldn't correct a nearly impossible situation. A carrot held out to attract my wife was the offer of a possible well-paying permanent job. No offer was ever made, and the job ended after all the financial records were fixed.

This story may serve as an example of some of the abuse being suffered by capable workers. White-collar employees are now in the same boat with temporary farm workers. With employee expenses down, you can be sure that corporation profits are up. Stockholders and executives are becoming wealthier. Huge numbers of employees such as my wife are not.

DON P. MULLALLY

Granada Hills

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