My experience as a temp worker

I live in Paterson, New Jersey. I’ve worked nightshift at GIII apparel distribution warehouse in Dayton, New Jersey for the past year, through a temp agency, Unity Works Management. I work full-time. Sometimes even 50 hours a week or more. However, I’m not considered a regular employee. They’ve never offered me health insurance; I have no paid time off, not even paid sick days.

As a temp worker, they can fire me at any time. I never leave the probationary period. Working like that is very unfair. I work full-time for a hugely profitable corporation that sells brands like DKNY, Tommy Hilfiger and Calvin Klein, but I have no benefits, none. They treat me as if I were expendable. Temp workers like me are poorly paid. At GIII, I used to be paid $10 an hour, then the temp agency reduced my wage to $9 an hour.

It’s even worse for women. They pay them minimum wage, just $8.60 an hour. I accept as much overtime as I can because I need the money. On regular weekdays, I get home after my shift between 1 and 2 a.m. If there is any overtime on Saturday, I do the day shift. To do that overtime, I get home from my Friday shift after midnight, around 1 a.m., I sleep for a few hours, and I wake up early Saturday morning to be ready for the temp agency’s van at 6 a.m. I don’t sleep enough, but at $9 an hour, it’s what I have to do to make ends meet.

Warehouse temp workers deserve something better. We should have a fair wage and access to health insurance and other benefits.

José Muñoz, a worker at G-III Apparel in Dayton, New Jersey

(Note: this worker asked that his real name not be used, for privacy reasons. José Muñoz is a pseudonym.)

December 2018