Journalism in the Public Interest

Business & Finance, Consumer Affairs

Discussion: Are Temp Workers Earning Fair Wages?

istock photo by NoDerog

Transportation networks for temporary workers are a staple of immigrant communities across the country. Vans and trucks ferry low-wage laborers to and from jobs at factories, warehouses and various work sites.  

But in Chicago, immigrant labor brokers known as raiteros have helped create a system where temp agencies and their corporate clients benefit from cheap, just-in-time labor. Raiteros don’t just drive workers to their jobs. They also recruit the workers, decide who works and doesn't and distribute paychecks, making them unofficial agents of the temp firms.  

But the temp agencies don’t pay the raiteros. Instead, it’s the low-wage workers who pay them, ostensibly for transportation. Those fees, together with unpaid waiting times, depress workers' pay well below the minimum wage.

Is this happening in your community? Is this illegal? What should be done? Read the investigation, then tweet us your questions and commentary with #TakenForARide. We'll curate the best contributions here.

And if you have worked with a temp agency or have a tip, we'd love to hear from you. Tell us your story

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