HireCentrix News Updates
NEW BEDFORD — Exploitation and intimidation.
Katy Lina and Epifanio Cos say they weathered plenty of both while working various jobs through New Bedford temp agencies.
Lina, a 25-year-old who has been a temporary worker in the city, said there were times when she was paid $8 for 15 hours of work.
Speaking in Spanish before a crowd of dozens in the basement of Our Lady of Guadalupe Parish at St. James Church on County Street Tuesday, Lina said there were no punch cards. She suggested her employer did shoddy bookkeeping. The paychecks, at times, did not reflect her time worked. Most times, she said, she had to pay for her materials and tools.
Lina came to New Bedford from Guatemala about 11 years ago. Her brother had moved here previously and she thought she could get a job.
Through a temp agency, she worked on farms, in fish houses and for cleaning services.
She said she worked for one particular temp agency for about five years but hasn't worked there for the last two.
Lina, along with Cos, were among those to give testimonials at a news conference held by state and local advocacy groups in support of a proposal that would protect temp workers and force temp agencies to be more accountable. Advocates for House Bill No. 1393, dubbed "Reform Employment Agency Law," say temp agencies are fostering an underground economy.
Groups represented at the conference included the Massachusetts Coalition For Occupational Safety & Health, the Massachusetts Immigrant & Refugee Advocacy Coalition, the Immigrant Worker Center Coalition and the Community Center for the Workers.
The bill would require agencies to provide key details of assignments, such as the name of the agency, the work site employer, the type of work and wages to workers.
It would also require the agency to disclose how to contact Department of Occupational Safety and the right to workers' compensation.
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