[Metroactive Features]

[ Features Index | Metro | Metroactive Central | Archives ]

Polis Report

Temporary Measures

By Traci Hukill

National Temporary Help Week starts this Monday with little ado. And though for now it's the holiday Hallmark forgot, the temp industry takes it seriously--sort of.

San Jose's Yellow Pages list 183 employment services. We called a few of them to see how they plan to celebrate the upcoming week. A three-day feast, perhaps? Gift certificates all around? Coffee mugs filled with jelly beans?

Responses ranged from a terse "We're not celebrating" to "I didn't even know it was coming up" to "How much does it cost to participate?" Several agencies, however, outlined elaborate plans to honor their "associates" (no one in the industry ever says "temps"). One such company is United Core Staff of Santa Clara.

Branch manager Christine D'Amico says her company will recognize "outstanding associates" at the local, regional and national levels, citing "flexiblity, attendance and feedback from customers" as criteria and conceding that the winners are usually "long-term" workers.

Wait a minute--doesn't that mean people who stick around for a long time working without benefits like health insurance and retirement plans while the staffing services collect a hefty percentage of their already paltry hourly pay?

It sure does, and their ranks are swelling. According to staffing industry statistics, the number of contract employees assigned each day has skyrocketed from fewer than 200,000 in 1970 to 2.31 million in 1996. That's an increase of 1,065 percent. Furthermore, the National Association of Temporary and Staffing Services predicts that temp services will be the sixth fastest-growing industry between 1994 and 2005. That's a lot of people in need of appreciation.

Incidentally, Hallmark has no plans to implement a National Temporary Help Week product line. Looks like the ugly stepsister to Secretaries Day will have to wait another day to meet its public relations prince.

[ Metro | Metroactive Central | Archives ]

From the Oct. 9-15, 1997 issue of Metro.

Copyright © Metro Publishing Inc. Maintained by Boulevards New Media.

Foreclosures - Real Estate Investing
San Jose.com Real Estate