Temporary Work of Temporary Benefit

Ethical Markets - R Poetry by Hazel Henderson

We’re outsourcing – yes, even Ethical Markets Media.  Specifically, we’re outsourcing our shows to as many places as will do the tough work of getting out our message.

Watch us on Ecology.com Friday Night at the Movies.  Watch us on the Documentary Channel starting January 20th.  We’re working on being on CoLours starting in February.

All this hard work, outsourced to other media outlets. 

What about physical labor?  According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, 26% of Americans have non-standard jobs, i.e., they’re part-time employees, temps, independent contractors or day laborers.  When advised of this stat, you might respond that in today’s economy a “non-standard” job is better than no job.  Agreed, well, sort of.

Yes , most of us need a basic paycheck to cover daily expenses.  The problem with such a large portion of the workforce in this segment is really a question of non-daily expenses for our non-standard workers:

Health care expenses – most do not have health insurance covered by their non-standard employers.

Retirement funds – most don’t have access to a plan other than IRAs.

Security – most can be dismissed at any time for any reason without severance.

Mental health – most have little control over when they work and can’t cover time off for vacations, i.e., no paid holidays, vacation, family leave, i.e., stressful.

In Europe, there is a long history of labor on demand, but there is also various forms of universal health care, unemployment benefits and strong standards for minimal compensation.  Not perfect, but more nurturing than the American system.

The result, many of us are in a precarious position, and our corporate and small business culture now includes on-demand hiring and firing which is unlikely to change even when unemployment decreases.

I don’t have a solution.  We employ consultants for many tasks.  My personal goal is to treat each with respect, to pay each fairly and promptly for the work they do, to inform them with as much lead-time as possible of our needs, to advocate for a better health care system, to mentor freely and to cherish the love economy which keeps our American and global system, however flawed, running.

Rosalinda Sanquiche, Executive Director, Ethical Markets Media

Jan. 15, 2010