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Activists protest what they call unfair practices by temp agencies

Posted by Patrick Rosso  September 1, 2011 01:54 PM

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(Patrick Rosso/Boston.com/2011)


Activists gathering to hear testimony from elected officials and workers.

More than a hundred activists and workers converged on South Boston today to protest what they say is the unfair treatment of temporary workers by non-professional temp agencies.

They also sought to raise awareness about the Reform Employment Agency Law Act.

"These low-wage temp agencies haven’t been paying their people overtime.'' said Diana Bell, senior organizer with Community Labor United. "They have unsafe conditions on the job and overcharged workers for transportation. We are trying to bring attention to this."

The REAL Act, sponsored by state Representative Linda Dorcena Forry and Senator Jack Hart, is currently in committee in the Massachusetts House of Representatives. The act would require temp agencies to provide written notice of key details of job assignments, disclosure to workers of how to reach the Department of Occupational Safety, and the right to workers’ compensation, among other things.

"We as elected officials are here to support you and help you…so we can figure out how to make sure families are protected and how the immigrant community is protected," Dorcena Forry said.

Along with local elected officials, workers and their families at the rally spoke of the pain and hardships they have faced.

“I’m tired of the abuse and the unfair work. We need a change right now,” said Evelyn Sanchez one of the workers who came to share her story and show unity with her fellow workers.

“I’ve been suffering by myself and now I want to share my story with others and let them know what is happening,” she added.

After the rally in the Local 7 Iron Workers parking lot in South Boston, participants, union and religious leaders, and workers marched to the Diamond Staffing Inc. on Dorchester Avenue to deliver a letter asking the agency to follow the requirements of the REAL Act even before the bill is debated at the State House.

If Diamond Staffing Inc. signs the letter and agrees to the provisions, they would be the second staffing agency in Massachusetts to do so. EDA Staffing in Chelsea was the first.

A spokesman for Diamond declined to comment this afternoon.

E-mail Patrick Rosso at patrick.d.rosso@gmail.com

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