You are here

Safety Activists Will Pay Hallowe'en Visit to Major Chicago Staffing Agency

Wednesday, October 28, 2015
Press Contacts: 

Roger Kerson, 734.645.0535, roger@rkcommunications.net

Chicago, 10/31:Trick or Treaters to
Stand Up for Temp Workers

CHICAGO – A delegation of workplace safety activists will pay a surprise “Trick or Treat” visit to a major Chicago temporary staffing agency on Hallowe’en – Saturday, October 31st.

The delegation, led by the National Council for Occupational Safety and Health (National COSH) and the Chicago Workers Collaborative, will call on temp agency management to address chemical exposure, machine hazards and other safety concerns at a Chicago manufacturing site.

Who: Safety activists, led by the National Council for Occupational Safety and Health (National COSH) and the Chicago Workers’ Collaborative

What: Surprise Visit to Major Chicago Temp Staffing Agency, to demand safe workplaces

When: Saturday, October 31st, 11:45 am

Where: South Side Chicago location, To Be Announced Sat AM 10/31. Call media contact for details.

Workplace safety and health is an increasing concern for millions of Americans who are employed as temporary workers by companies like Uber, Amazon and hundreds of temp agencies which supply office, warehouse, manufacturing and other staff to companies which seek to avoid statutory worker protections and workplace liability.

“Chicago's temporary staffing industry is at the epicenter of a national crisis of worker deaths, wounds, and exposure to toxic substances,” said Leone José Bicchieri, Executive Director of the Chicago Workers’ Collaborative. “National experts on occupational health and safety are calling on the temp industry here in Illinois to take specific actions to enhance worker safety.”

“Temp workers are human beings, not disposable cups to be thrown into hazardous workplaces without any training or protections,” said Bicchieri.

“Every worker has a right to a safe workplace, whether you’re on the job for a day, a month or a year” said Jessica Martinez, Acting Executive Director of National COSH. “Temporary employees, who frequently rotate to new and unfamiliar assignments, can face very dangerous hazards if they don’t have safety training and proper equipment.”

On Saturday, the delegation from National COSH and the Chicago Workers Collaborative will deliver a letter to the temporary agency, demanding that temp workers receive appropriate training, information on hazardous chemicals, proper personal protective equipment, and have the right to raise safety issues without fear of retaliation or discrimination.

A 2013 investigation by ProPublica found that temporary workers have a significantly higher risk of injury and illness than permanent staffers. At 6 pm on October 31, National COSH will host a screening of “A Day’s Work,” a new documentary about the plight of temporary workers. It features the tragic story of Day Davis, a 21-year-old temp who was crushed to death at a Bacardi bottling plant on his very first day on the job.

“In today’s economy, temp agencies are frequently the only option for workers who want to support themselves and their families,” said Martinez. “Risking life and limb should not be part of the bargain.”

* * *

National COSH links the efforts of local worker health and safety coalitions in communities across the United States, advocating for elimination of preventable hazards in the workplace “Preventable Deaths 2015,” a National COSH report, describes workplace fatalities in the United States and how they can be prevented. For more information, please visit coshnetwork.org. Follow us at National Council for Occupational Safety and Health on Facebook, and @NationalCOSH on Twitter.