“$9 an hour is asking too much for this position.” The woman at the temp agency told me, “You’ll have to lower it if you want to work with us.”

This is despite the fact that Illinois minimum wage is $8.25 an hour & I’m not even asking to get paid a dollar above it. This is despite the fact that I was recommended to the agency by the head of HR for the company I was applying for. She told me that the position starts at a minimum of $14 an hour, but I would have to apply through the temp agency.

The company is literally paying the temp agency $5.25 an hour to employ me at minimum wage. This is unique for a Fortune 500 temp agency. Most of the time they take $2-3 of your hourly pay for making the connections for you. This particular one is taking almost double.

That’s the thing about temp agencies, especially in this area, they can guarantee you work, but only for minimum wage. I have yet to deal with a temp agency that paid a dollar over minimum wage.

Companies pay them what you earn & they send you a check. It’s a lot like an agent, they are there to find you work & make connections, the thing is that agents only take a certain percentage & out here the temp agencies take every dime over the lowest amount that they can legally pay you.

This company no longer takes temp-to-hire positions. Temp-to-hire means, eventually, they will lose the money they gained for hooking you up with the job in the first place.

I got a raise once, at a factory, for staying there over three-months. When they gave us the introduction/training, they told us that after 3 months we get a $0.50 raise.

Of course the raise was not reflected in my paycheck. That raise went directly to the temp agency. I worked for three months at $8.25 an hour & they received an extra $0.50 an hour raise for making the initial connection. They also received the entire holiday bonus.

They don’t operate on flat fees. They don’t get paid a for the employee, they get paid a portion of what the employee earns. It costs the corporation virtually nothing. They save money on background, drug, & credit checks & pay the temp agency no upfront fee.

What the agency makes comes exclusively from labor.

This drives the rate of pay for nearly everyone down. You can be working a $20K a year job, but you only end up making $16K a year. You can be working a $30K a year job but you only make $16K a year.

I know people who have worked in factories for upwards of three-years without actually seeing any of their raises or getting hired on. If the company doesn’t officially hire you, they don’t have to pay for any benefits of workman’s comp claims, that responsibility falls on the people that hire you, the temp agency.

The thing is, at least here, you are working off-site & if you get hurt on the job, the company doesn’t have to pay because you are not an official employee & the temp agency doesn’t have to pay because you were not working on their property. If you get hurt on the job, you have to go to court, get an attorney, & they have to solve who pays for your medical expenses in the court.

Meanwhile, your attorney gets a portion of what you get paid after the settlement & you are still stuck with the initial bill, which is usually more than the settlement because of the accumulated interest because you couldn’t pay it & live on only 16K a year & a chunk of what you do get paid goes to the lawyer because, let’s face it, he did earn it for you.

Conversely, I can get a job at K-Mart that starts at $9 an hour & keep my raises & maybe get promoted. There is actually just as much job stability there as any job through a temp agency & a lot more chanced for promotion.

It’s not guaranteed work, temp agencies can generally guarantee you employment, but if you do get hired you get to keep all the money you earn after taxes. At temp agencies, you get taxed on the $8.25 an hour that they pay you, but to be fair, they get taxed on the $14 an hour you actually made.

You have a graduates degree? Great, $9 an hour is still asking too much. That extra LESS THAN A DOLLAR is cutting in too what we earn from sitting on our asses & allowing a company to hire you.

The thing is, if the company had to pay the temp agency for their services, they would just hire directly like they used to. No sense in paying someone to hire employees for you when they can cut out that middle-man & do it themselves. Save a penny.

Instead, they are saving a penny by making you pay a temp agency entirely for your work & all the other businesses around them are benefiting from it, even the ones that hire directly.

Think about it. The companies that go through temp agencies are the ones that pay their employees above minimum wage & are in need of the most help. They are the ones that are hiring the most people.

The temp agency wouldn’t exist if those companies didn’t have massive amounts of positions to fill for above minimum wage.

The effect of that is that now the principal sources of employment in the area that the temp agency operates has employees that are only getting paid minimum wage. This allows everyone else to lower their rate of pay. Why should a small company pay $10 an hour when the labor that they are competing for now only gets paid the bare minimum?

When temp agencies move in, everyone’s salary falls. That’s just how it works here in the US of A.

So now, I am thinking that Aldi & Cost Co are offering people $13 an hour to stock shelves & offer better benefits. I might as well keep applying to them & get paid more than I would have working in a factory doing harder labor. It is harder to land those cushy retail jobs, but it’s a lot easier to live on that money, the work is far safer, & you get to keep all of what you earn.


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