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Many thanks to the organizations and individuals who have contributed to the research available here, helping to create a more complete understand of the staffing industry's impact on temporary workers and the US economy as a whole.


Please contact us with any research questions, or if there are other reports you would like to see included below. Temp Worker Justice staff and board members may be able to assist in your research or present research findings to your organization.


Race, to the Bottom >>>

TWJ / Temp Worker Union Alliance Project:

Dave DeSario & Jannelle White

The Demographics of Blue-Collar Temporary Staffing: The worst and most dangerous jobs are disproportionately assigned to African-American and Latinx workers, as temporary staffing agencies cut corners and cut costs in a race to the bottom. Newly available data shows the problem of discrimination and occupational segregation is worse than existing BLS data have demonstrated. SEE MORE >>>

We Don't Have the Luxury to Work From Home >>>

Chicago Workers' Collaborative - Eduardo Hernandez

The Impact of COVID-19 on Illinois' Essential Temp Workforce: Surveying of temp workers, accompanied by nearly 100 interviews, reveals unequal protections in the workplace, and many employers ignoring the state's emergency COVID workplace guidelines. SEE MORE >>>


Who's the Boss: Restoring Accountability for Labor Standards in Outsourced Work >>>


Ruckelshaus, Smith, Leberstein, & Cho

While some outsourcing practices reflect more efficient ways of producing goods and services, others are the result of explicit employer strategies to evade labor laws and workers benefits. The report examines the growth of temp-style labor, and describes how it can create poor working conditions and a lack of corporate accountability. SEE MORE >>>

Temporary Workers in California are Twice as Likely as Non-Temps to Live in Poverty >>>

UC Berkeley Labor Center - Miranda Dietz

Temporary workers receive lower wages, fewer benefits and less job security for the same work. As a result, temporary workers were twice as likely to live in poverty and to receive government assistance like food stamps and Medicaid. SEE MORE >>>

The "Contest" Over Employer Status: The Case of Temporary Help Firms >>>

Law & Society Review - George Gonos

The article details the successful campaign waged by temporary help firms to establish themselves as the legal employers of the workers they send out to client companies. Their victory played a key role in restructuring employment relationships in the US. SEE MORE >>>

Producing Precarity: The Temporary Staffing Agency in the Labor Market >>>

University of California Berkeley - Emine Fidan Elcioglu

Temporary staffing agencies systematically exploit and reproduce vulnerability in the labor market. They create a core of permanent temporary workers barred from job mobility and with their wages capped. SEE MORE >>>

Permanent Struggle, Temporary Solutions: Contracting Out America >>>

National Campaign for Jobs and Income Support

The number of temporary workers and the level of abuse they experience on the job have mushroomed in recent years. Yet, this area remains largely unregulated, and existing laws remain unenforced. SEE MORE >>>

The Challenge of Temporary Work in 21st Century Labor Markets >>>

Labor Relations and Research Center - UMASS - Freeman & Gonos

A summary of the current state of temporary employment with a focus on the low wage temporary workforce in Massachusetts, with particular attention to the prevalence of fraud committed by staffing agencies, and the challenges for legal enforcement. SEE MORE >>>

Temporary Work, Permanent Abuse >>>

National Economic & Social Rights Initiative (NESRI), National Staffing Workers Alliance (NSWA)

Analysis of employment conditions for temporary workers based on extensive surveying of temp workers in four U.S. regions. Data documents a trend of deteriorating job quality and reveals shocking rates of wage theft, discrimination, unsafe workings conditions, and overall extremely poor conditions of employment. SEE MORE >>>

Temporary Help Workers in the U.S. Labor Market >>>

U.S. Department of Commerce, Economics and Statistics Admininstration

Federal data find temporary employment at an all-time high, accounting for 2.4% of all private sector employment. Includes demographic trends, regional variations, wage disparities, and major occupational groups with the highest saturation of temp workers. SEE MORE >>>

Working Too Hard for Too Little >>>

U.S. Senator Sherrod Brown

"A plan for restoring the value of work in America." Report documents poor pay and conditions for those in alternative work arrangements including temp jobs and offers recommendations to improve the value of work. Proposals include strengthen labor standards and creating a Corporate Freeloader Fee for employers whose workforces rely on federal government assistance. SEE MORE >>>

Contracted Out: Findings from a National Voter Survey >>>

National Employment Law Project (NELP) & Hart Research Associates

A majority of voters across nearly all demographic groups recognize the negative consequences of the increased use of staffing agency and contract labor on both workers and the overall economy. Voters say that the shift results in less job security, is bad for morale, and implies that employers consider workers disposable. SEE MORE >>>

Bad Jobs in America: Standard & Nonstandard Employment Relations and Job Quality >>>

American Sociological Association - Kalleberg, Reskin & Hudson 

Temp employees are more likely than their full-time counterparts to work with low pay and without access to health insurance and benefits. They are NOT subject to the same incentives that reward hard work or performing well with professional advancement. SEE MORE >>>

Confronting Contingent Work Abuse in High-Tech and Low-Tech Jobs >>>

Center for Studies of Labor & Democracy - Hofstra - Ruckelshaus & Goldstein. 

Subcontracted work, including temporary agency staffing, frequently produces substantial, negative consequences for the working conditions and economic status of workers regardless of their socioeconomic level or the particular nature of their job. SEE MORE >>>

Fee-Splitting Revisited: Concealing Surplus Value | Temp Employment Relationship >>> 

Politics & Society - George Gonos 

Temporary employment agencies claim to charge “no fees” to temporary employees, but there is an enormous “overhead charge” on their labor. Decades of industry lobbying have hidden the cost, but even without a “fee”, a price is paid by workers. SEE MORE >>>

Regulating the Employment Sharks: Reconceptualizing Legal Status | Temp Agency >>>

WorkingUSA: The Journal of Labor and Society, Freeman & Gonos

Current regulations and legal classifications contribute to the exploitation of employees of temporary staffing agencies. The staffing industry is unfairly privileged in the eyes of the law over short-term employees and union hiring halls. SEE MORE >>>

Taming the Employment Sharks: Regulating Profit-Driven Labor Intermediaries >>>

Western New England University School of Law, Freeman & Gonos

Current legislation addressing for-profit temp agencies is examined, and legal reforms are proposed to reconceptualize the legal status of temp workers, bring transparency to pay structures, and regulate hidden fees. SEE MORE >>>

Implications of the Expansion of Nonstandard Employment for Children's Health >>>

niversity of Wisconsin-Madision - So-jung Lim

Mother’s in nonstandard employment, such as temporary agency work, are more likely to have children who suffer from worsened health. Health insurance coverage, low wages, and non-standard work hours are considered contributing factors. SEE MORE >>>

What's Wrong With Temp Work? >>>

Campaign on Contingent Work

The staffing industry contributes to undermining the base of good jobs by promoting a shift away from permanent, secure work. This was a major reason why 90% of Massachusetts' workers saw their median wages fall DURING an economic boom. SEE MORE >>>

The Legal Landscape for Contingent Workers in the US >>>

National Employment Law Project (NELP), Farmworker Justice Fund

An explanation of the rise of temp/contract workers in the garment, agriculture, janitorial, and poultry processing industries and the rise of part-time worker in nursing, healthcare, fast food, and higher education. SEE MORE >>>

Out of Step: How Skechers Hurts its California Supply Chain Workers >>>

Los Angeles Alliance for a New Economy (LAANE)

The report reveals that the workers who Skechers depends on to move its products, including independent contractors, illegally misclassified workers, and temp agency employees, are subject to poverty wages and harsh and dangerous conditions. SEE MORE >>>

The Nature and Role of Temporary Help Work in the US Economy >>>

W.E. Upjohn Institute for Employment Research

Research and data across industries analyses the employment outcomes for temporary workers. It finds that approximately 7% of temp workers are converted into "permanent" positions with the company where they are working. SEE MORE >>>

Producing Poverty: The Public Cost of Low Wage Production Jobs in Manufacturing >>>

UC Berkeley Center for Labor Research and Education

The research estimates the public cost of low wages in productions jobs, particularly those with high concentrations of temp workers, by detailing state and federal expenditures on safety net programs for workers in these industries and their families. SEE MORE >>>

The Age of Contingent Employment >>>

North Carolina Justice Center

The American economy has witnessed an explosive growth in contingent jobs - particularly those through temporary staffing agencies. This is a troubling trend as many workers are stuck in these arrangements involuntarily and are earning significantly less on average. In North Carolina, temp workers earn almost $15,000/year less than the state's average wage. SEE MORE >>>


Recommended Practices: Protecting Temporary Workers >>>


The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) and the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH) recommend these practices to staffing agencies and host employers so that they may better protect temporary workers through mutual cooperation and collaboration. SEE MORE >>>

Protecting Temporary Agency Employees >>>


Safety & Health Factsheet created by the state agency. SEE MORE >>>

Improving the Safety of Temporary Workers >>>

University of Illinois at Chicago

Broad examination of the temporary labor market, temp workers, national and international research, training, and the legal landscape. Recommendations for overall industry improvements are given. SEE MORE >>>

Improving Temp Worker Safety >>>

Vivid Learning Systems / Stewards of Safety

Presentation clarifying employer responsibilities and defining the issue of temporary worker safety. SEE MORE >>>

At the Company's Mercy: Protecting Contingent Workers >>>

Center for Progressive Reform

Contingent employment relationships can exacerbate the negative consequences for injured workers and society. Issues are identified and reforms are proposed. SEE MORE >>>

From Orchards to the Internet: Confronting Contingent Work Abuse >>>

Subcontracted Worker Initiative, NELP

Subcontracted workers may be employed under widely divergent conditions, but frequently have more in common with each other than they have recognized. SEE MORE >>>

Examining the Injuries of Temporary Help Agency Workers >>>

Minnesota Department of Labor and Industry, Brian Zaidman

Temporary workers in Minnesota were more than twice as likely to suffer an injury that required them to file a workers' compensation report. Injuries were concentrated in the industries of transportation/material moving and production. Trends indicate the workforce is growing in the state and that the injury rates are getting worse compared to other populations. SEE MORE >>>

Occupational Health and Safety of Temporary and Agency Workers >>>

University of Leicester (UK), Benjamin Hopkins

A comparison of directly hired temporary workers and temporary workers provided by a third-party staffing agency finds worse experiences for the staffing agency workers, even though both populations had precarious, short-term employment. These experiences include inadequate safety training, poor quality personal protective equipment and a lack of clarity of supervisory roles. SEE MORE >>>

Temporary Jobs and the Severity of Workplace Accidents >>>

Journal of Safety Research. Picchio & van Ours

Analyzing European data, research finds that temporary workers are more likely to be injured overall. They are more likely to suffer severe injures than permanent workers, and temporary workers are less likely to report their more minor injuries. SEE MORE >>>

Invisible Workers: Health Risks for Temporary Agency Workers >>>

Montreal Department of Public Health

The risk of occupational injury is categorized "between high and extreme" for workers from temporary help services and professional employer organizations (PEO). Despite underreporting by temporary workers in Quebec, data finds that they are significantly more likely to be injured, especially true of traumatic accidents and musculoskeletal injuries. SEE MORE >>>

Temporary Workers in Washington State >>>

Journal of Industrial Medicine. Smith, Silverstein, Bonauto, Adams & Fan

Based on comprehensive data from Washington state, temporary agency workers had higher rates of injury for all injury types and lost more time at work, but had lower time loss costs and lower medical costs than standard workers. Temporary agency workers had substantially higher rates for ‘‘caught in’’ and ‘‘struck by’’ injuries in the construction and manufacturing. SEE MORE >>>

Investigations of Temporary Workers: Findings and Use in Guidance >>>


The Division of Safety Research analysis of fatal incident investigations that led to the creation of the NIOSH/OSHA Recommended Practices for Protecting Temporary Workers. SEE MORE >>>

Winning Safer Workplaces >>>

Center for Progressive Reform

"A manual for state and local policy reform," the report presents a broad range of proposals for workers and advocates to consider. SEE MORE >>>

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