Immigrant Warehouse Workers Are Crammed In Vans Despite Virus Danger

Employees await their flight outside On Target, a temp agency in New Brunswick, on a Monday morning in June.

Karen Yi/Karen Yi

hide caption

toggle caption

Karen Yi/Karen Yi

Employees wait for their flight outside On Target, a temp firm in New Brunswick, on a Monday early morning in June.

Karen Yi/Karen Yi

” Because theres no unemployment for undocumented workers, temp firms sort of become in an extremely strange way, the only social safety web that undocumented workers have,” said Carmen Martino, co-director of Rutgers Universitys Occupational Training and Education Consortium.

These are the short-lived workers that assist fuel storage facility labor throughout the state– filling a crucial and typically unnoticeable role at the bottom of the supply chain for inexpensive goods. In New Jersey, at least a quarter of the storage facility work is performed by temp employees, information from the Bureau of Labor Statistics reveal. Nationally, data show, 16 percent of storage facility work is carried out by temp employees.

” Oh my God, theres more,” Cruz, 47, exclaimed in Spanish. “Its like theyre not in a pandemic.”

Caption: Workers wait on their flight outside On Target, a temp company in New Brunswick, on a Monday early morning in June. Credit: Karen Yi/WNYC

These are the momentary workers that assist fuel warehouse labor throughout the state– filling a often undetectable and vital role at the bottom of the supply chain for low-cost items. In New Jersey, at least a quarter of the storage facility work is performed by temperature employees, data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics reveal. Nationally, data show, 16 percent of warehouse work is carried out by temperature employees.

A number of these workers– a few of whom came to the country illegally– depend on van transport since they dont have cars and trucks or a motorists license. The cars are owned by the companies or by a 3rd party.

” Temp companies have a long track record in New Jersey of skirting the law,” stated Sara Cullinane, executive director of Make the Road New Jersey, an immigrant advocacy group.

” Who are the individuals who are risking their lives and going to work? To those companies? People who are citizens and who are getting assistance have something to eat,” Maria, who did not desire us utilizing her last name since she is undocumented, stated in Spanish.

Six temperature workers told WNYC vehicles stayed at or near capacity.” Temp firms have a long track record in New Jersey of skirting the law,” said Sara Cullinane, executive director of Make the Road New Jersey, an immigrant advocacy group.

Maria turned to a temperature firm after the restaurant she operated at shut down throughout the break out. After a week operating at a cookie factory, she began to get headaches and chills. One of her co-workers passed away from COVID-19, according to his household.

Sitting outside a pharmaceutical storage facility in central New Jersey, Reynalda Cruz counted lots of workers arriving in vans for the early morning shift.

While riding in packed vans is a recognized headache in the temp world, the practice has actually continued in spite of the pandemic. Six temperature employees informed WNYC automobiles stayed at or near capability. 4 of them stated they eventually came down with COVID-like symptoms.

He said temperature firms turned up in New Jerseys immigrant-heavy cities to capitalize on a labor force with restricted movement, producing so-called “temperature towns.”

The temp market employs 3 million workers in the U.S. and 106,000 in New Jersey. In the state, about a third work in warehouses, federal data show.

New Jersey hasnt released specific standards on how these firms need to operate and some are not registered with the state as needed by law. Guv Phil Murphys workplace did not return ask for comment.

Employees spilled out of jam-packed lorries that rolled up to the center, one after the other. Cruz, a labor organizer, counted 16 people in a van built to hold 15– in spite of recommendations that everybody stay six feet apart to stop the spread of COVID-19.

The state agency that supervises temperature firms states its dedicated to keeping workers safeguarded but says limitations on transport capacity do not use to temp vans. An agency spokesperson said theyre conscious of the jam-packed vans and are interacting with state and regional agencies supervising transport to resolve it.