Read the story properly

For years, nonunion labor brokers in the New York City construction industry have targeted workers who have recently been released from prison and are under parole supervision or other court surveillance programs, in a move that many say ensures low wages and poses a serious safety risk for employees.

Known as “body shops”, these labor brokers hire and pay workers to perform work for third party companies, profiting by taking a cut of the wages paid by the company. The labor brokers end up competing in a race to drive down labor costs through wage suppression and cutting corners on training and safety.

Former prisoners are usually required to look for work as a condition of their release, so they may be willing to take any job they can get to avoid being returned to jail on a parole violation. It’s not an idle threat: New York imprisoned individuals nearly three times the national average in 2019 for technical parole violations, consisting of 40% of all individuals admitted to prisons in the state.Body shop employers exploit those work requirements to pay parolees’ low wages under unsafe working conditions.

Terrible, just terrible.

Now read the story properly:

while union members in the New York City construction industry start at more than $28 an hour plus benefits.

“Now that I’m in the union, I don’t have to do anything negative to make a dollar,” added Coley. “It’s changed my life dramatically in a positive way and not only financially, but being able to help other individuals in their next step in life.”

This is a planted – OK, PR’d = story to make the union look good.

7 thoughts on “Read the story properly”

  1. On American blogs I often see pro-union comments that no Briton could make who remembers the glory years of our own trade unions. Or even who has watched the pandemic behaviour of the teachers’ and GPs’ unions.

  2. Body shops are a derogatory word for staffing agencies, yes. The story could easily be re-written to highlight the wonderful work done by temp agencies to rehabilitate ex-offenders.

  3. Andrew M- yeah ok derogatory makes sense now, initially the term invoked ex cons selling lily of the valley bath bombs.

  4. I notice a wee bit of bait & switch: “usually required to look for work” does not equal forced to work at any job. And then there’s the suggestion that everyone sent back to prison for technical parole violations was for not working.

  5. ‘The story could easily be re-written to highlight the wonderful work done by temp agencies to rehabilitate ex-offenders.’

    You have a point, Andrew M. How many people would be happy to employ a former criminal?

  6. “How many people would be happy to employ a former criminal?”

    Timpsons for many decades. Increasingly many farms for harvesting now that furriners can make more money in furrin and farms’ consumers refuse to pay enough for locals to be able to afford to stay alive locally.

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