Temporary workers in Will County working in warehouses tend to make poverty-level wages and are less likely to have basic benefits, according to a report released Monday by Warehouse Workers for Justice.
“Bad Jobs in Goods Movement,” an eight-month survey of 319 warehouse workers, painted a grim picture of the living situation of temporary workers in the region. Among the most troubling findings: one in three workers injured on the job were fired or disciplined when reporting the injury and only 4 percent of temporary workers had health insurance.
There are more than 30,000 warehouse employees in Will County, according to estimates by Warehouse Workers for Justice. Of those, 63 percent are hired as temporary workers and tend to earn less money than those who are hired directly by the company.
“The median hourly wage for a temp was $9 an hour — $3.48 an hour less than direct hires,” according to the report. The lowest wage reported for temporary workers was $6.43 per hour and the highest was $14 per hour.
“Because of their low earnings, a full 37 percent of current warehouse workers had to work a second job in order to make ends meet,” according to the survey.
Despite these being temporary jobs, more than half of workers hired by a temporary agency said they held their jobs for longer than three months. About 21 percent said they held their jobs for more than a year.
The report calls for policies that would require warehouse operators to provide stable, permanent jobs with regular hours, provide incentives for employers to hire workers directly, and link taxpayer support to the warehouse and logistics industry to the creation of permanent jobs at living wages.