Staffing companies help move economy forward

PeopleReady, a TrueBlue company, sets the record straight

AMID A NATIONAL workforce shortage impacting nearly every industry, connecting people with employment opportunities is vital to keeping the economic recovery of the past year moving forward in the Bay State and across the country. Staffing companies, crucial to helping workers and businesses navigate the economic downturn, are critical partners to both groups in addressing today’s labor market challenges.

A recent opinion piece in CommonWealth was riddled with misinformation, half-truths, and false data with the goal of misleading readers, the general public, and state and federal lawmakers at a time when we should all be working together to get people back to work.

TrueBlue’s commitment is simple and is embodied by our mission to be a force for good in connecting people and work in the communities we serve. We stand by this commitment in everything we do.

We take exception with this poorly researched and misleading opinion piece and wish to set the record straight to ensure facts prevail over conjecture.

Contrary to what was reported, all TrueBlue employees are W-2 workers, and we provide each of them with wage protection and workers’ compensation. TrueBlue continues to address crucial issues that have long been ignored in the labor market by prioritizing worker safety and ensuring wages are fair and protected.

TrueBlue’s PeopleReady associates (workers) are direct employees of our company, which ensures that they are correctly classified, an especially important matter in the unskilled and blue-collar trades.

In addition to the regular wages our associates earned in Massachusetts, PeopleReady paid over $1 million in overtime wages to workers in the state in the last 12 months alone. Amid record unemployment numbers, the average pay rate for PeopleReady associates has been $17.74, helping to ensure that anyone looking for a job could make a decent wage during difficult times.

The op-ed’s author also called into question TrueBlue’s safety protocols. The safety and well-being of TrueBlue’s associates is of primary importance. In fact, we employ 25 safety specialists whose sole responsibility is to ensure a safe work environment for every worker on every job site. We also provide safety training to each worker we employ along with necessary safety equipment, and often lend tools and other equipment to workers when they are faced with economic challenges.

The author’s claim that we have a “cash-only” model of payment is false. TrueBlue does not offer a cash option, we do provide a variety of other payment options including traditional paycheck, direct deposit, and paycard, and we do what we can to best support our workers’ payment preferences.

Reporting that we have more than $14 million in employment and safety violation penalties is also false. This data—compiled from more than 20 years of doing business across all 50 states, jurisdictions, and job assignments—included cases where plaintiffs claimed they were owed a certain amount of money but did not reflect the results of those cases. It’s misleading to suggest that this is any indication of safety violations or wage theft.

We do agree with the author that companies who misclassify jobs, pay in cash to avoid taxes or overtime, do not provide workers’ compensation, or exploit the workforce in any other way should be held accountable. We are first in line to help correct the bad actors in the staffing industry.

Meet the Author

David Irwin

Director of communications, TrueBlue / PeopleReady
At TrueBlue, we have played an essential role in eliminating the underground labor market by providing safe, fair and meaningful work along with the security and dignity that comes with having a job.

At a critical time for workers and companies in Massachusetts and across the nation, we firmly believe that our collective focus must be on ways to get more Americans back to work and to do so in a responsible way. It is time to work together to address the most significant labor market challenges we have experienced as a nation in recent times. Divisiveness and misinformation will get us nowhere and detract from the issues that we can solve together.

David M. Irwin is director of communications at TrueBlue | PeopleReady.