On Monday, November 21st, the New Jersey Senate will have the opportunity to pass the Temp Agency Bill of Rights, S511, a bill that would afford basic rights to 100s of 1,000s of temp agency workers. The majority of these workers are Black and Brown, often undocumented, who find themselves at the most acute intersections of oppression in our society.
These are essential workers, the people we all rely on in manufacturing, construction, distribution, and more. And yet, in all but name, these workers are treated as expendable. Since 2021, 6 people have died in jobs assigned to them by temp agency workers and each month thousands report stolen wages.
As adjunct faculty at Rutgers University, the largest employer in our state, we intimately understand how tenuous work conditions go hand in hand with maximal exploitation. We work long hours, many of which are never accounted for in our paychecks; we can be fired at any time. Speaking up is risky but essential to protect our positions and push back against an administration that fundamentally disrespects us.
In some respects, we are lucky. Our working conditions, while problematic and exploitative, do not put us in danger. The same cannot be said for temp workers, who also face tremendous exploitation and disrespect.
As with adjunct exploitation, temp agency conditions are not an accident. They are the intentional exploitation of marginalized people by industry leaders who profit from the larger neo-liberal project. Exploitation and remaining “flexible” is not a sign of a modernizing economy. It is a sign of an economy failing its workers. The worse conditions grow in the temp sector, the lower the floor sinks for all part-time workers.
To stand up with temp agency workers is not only the right thing to do. It is the way we truly further the fight for better conditions on campus and for all workers.
We urge the NJ State Senate to pass the Temp Agency Bill of Rights, S511 immediately. Previous versions of this bill have passed both the NJ State Assembly and Senate, and a final vote is now scheduled. We stand with our brothers and sisters and we will continue to stand with them and hold state and industry leaders accountable.
Please use this link now to contact your NJ State Senator and demand they pass this bill before it comes up for a vote this Monday, November 21st!