Fall River temp agencies claim that pandemics are making it difficult for workers to return home

Fall River temp agencies get laid off
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Fall River temp agencies claim that pandemics are making it difficult for workers to return home. | It’s not a matter of laziness. Fall River temp agencies claim that pandemics are making it difficult for workers to return home.

Local temporary agencies claim that unemployed job-seekers have been more or less in control of the situation during the coronavirus pandemic.

Carlos Asian, who runs the Fall River Monroe Staffing office at North Main Street, said that “it’s all about pay rate.”

Asian claims that he and his staff have struggled for the past half-year to find candidates for jobs paying less than $15/$16 an hour. It has not been easy to find people willing to stay with the company for longer than a month.

According to him, many applicants who lost their jobs due to pandemic-related layoffs are now used to receiving state unemployment checks that federal emergency funds have supplemented, and they are not in a hurry to return to the workforce.

Asian, 33, stated that some of them decided to stay at home and continue collecting. They are looking for excuses or details to not return to work.

He said it was tough to fill job positions during those months when federal unemployment checks were increased by $600 per week.

After the CARES Temp Services in Monroe supplemental funding ended on July 31, it was repealed by the Lost Wages Assistance program, which President Trump approved. This allowed states to offer six weeks of weekly unemployment bonus payments of $300.

Asian stated that even though the supplemental unemployment funding has ended, he is still trying to find workers who will work for $15 an hour or less.

He said that job applicants are now more selective. They have more options, especially if they have the right skills.

Asian explained that skills could operate a forklift and perform manual labor tasks in warehouses or assembly plants.

Massachusetts residents who are eligible for unemployment compensation receive roughly 50% of their weekly average wage. The minimum wage in Massachusetts is currently $12 an hour.

Asian stated that employers are generally less strict about assessing work experience and requiring English language proficiency. Some employers no longer need or ask for a resume.

The August state unemployment rate was 11.3 percent, which is sixth in the country.

Asian stated that transportation had been a major problem for many applicants since before and after the pandemic.

He stated that about half of his job candidates don’t have a car and use public transport, such as buses, taxis, or rides from family members or friends.

He said that in some cases, a Fall River-based earnest job seeker who relies upon the public Southeastern Regional Transportation Authority bus service would decline a job if the shift starts early enough in the morning to not fit with SRTA’s schedule.

Asian believes that the most significant problem in helping local blue-collar companies by providing them temporary or seasonal workers is a persistent, attitudinal shortage of urgency on the part of many job hunters.

He said, “We have some great people, but unfortunately some don’t want work and are used the system to take advantage of it.”

Asian claims that at least 80 percent of the jobs offered by his Fall River office (which also has listings in New Bedford and Taunton) can become permanent, long-term employment.

Asian said Monroe Staffing is owned by Staffing 360 Solutions in Manhattan. It offers incentives like health and dental plans and a 401k retirement program after six months of steady employment.

He says that it is frustrating that 25% to 30% of people who accept job opportunities don’t show up on the first day of work.

According to a report from the Society for Human Resource Management, “ghosting” is a term that refers to the phenomenon and has become an increasing problem for professional employment agencies.

According to the report, ghosting can also include job candidates who fail to show up for scheduled interviews or leave without explaining.

Eileen Wheeler Sheehan is president of ABLE Associates, 187 Plymouth Ave. She says that ghosting is something she’s all too familiar with.

Sheehan, who founded her temp agency on Pleasant Street in 1989, states that all job applicants must sign a “startsheet,” which includes a clause to discourage ghosting.

She said, “If you don’t show up (for the work), don’t contact us again.”

Sheehan said, “The biggest change for us is that (job) candidates are very resistent to going back to work.”

She attributes it to the demand for fair wages that Sheehan states employers can often afford to pay entry-level workers.

She stated that the adverse effects of the coronavirus in the country have made it harder for many job-seekers to leave their homes and return to work, despite increased demand for workers from specific industries and commerce.

Sheehan stated that potential job candidates face significant obstacles such as the availability of child care services, children learning at home rather than in a classroom setting; elderly parents caring for their children; and fear of contracting COVID-19.

She stated, “It’s more than a matter of laziness at any rate.”

Sheehan, now 74, said another factor that makes it challenging to be a job recruiter for younger job candidates is their reluctance to accept an offer.

She said, “There is more resistance to settling in to a job than I have seen in my 30 year career in business.”

Sheehan stated that young people are often asking for premium dollars and that there is a mindset that “we must get paid more.”

Taunton Employment Task Force member Sheehan has been around for many years. She says it is always challenging to find candidates who love their job and stay with it for the long term.

Sheehan stated that companies, even at the top of the management and executive levels, are becoming nervous about whether employees will stay or not.