My Two Census

Formerly the non-partisan watchdog of the 2010 US Census, and currently an opinion blog that covers all things political, media, foreign policy, globalization, and culture…but sometimes returning to its census/demographics roots.

Senate Dems: Census Bureau should hire unemployed

Sen. Chuck Schumer (D- N.Y.) and three other Senate Democrats are urging the Census Bureau to target the long-term unemployed when making its 2010 hires. Here’s the full story from the Associated Press:

WASHINGTON — The Census Bureau should look to the long-term unemployed when it staffs the 2010 census, a group of Senate Democrats said Wednesday.

The census “is providing a once-in-a-decade opportunity to put a good number of Americans back to work,” said Sen. Chuck Schumer, D-N.Y.

The Census Bureau responded that “in these difficult times, we’ve made it a priority to hire reliable people who need jobs.” It said the agency has worked with the Labor Department to recruit people looking for work and has partnered regionally and locally with one-stop employment centers. The bureau said it has also worked with state and local governments to ensure that temporary census workers not lose certain benefits.

Schumer and three other senators wrote Commerce Secretary Gary Locke urging that the bureau target the long-term jobless as much as possible when it temporarily employs some 1.4 million next year for the census.

“These jobless Americans are exhausting their unemployment insurance benefits in the weeks and months ahead, and the administration should do everything in its power to use federal employment opportunities to help them,” wrote the senators, including Mark Begich of Alaska, Jeanne Shaheen of New Hampshire and Jeff Merkley of Oregon.

Census jobs, ranging from data processing to canvassing neighborhoods, are expected to pay between $10 and $20 an hour.

The senators said the Census Bureau should coordinate with the Labor Department to recruit people at unemployment centers.

2 Responses to “Senate Dems: Census Bureau should hire unemployed”

  1. Ex-IT Says:

    Considering the temporary status, pay and lack of benefits (no health benefits, no vacation, no sick time, etc.) and abusive management, I think it is safe to say that most Census hires are people who would otherwise be unemployed or at best under-employed. If the economy was better, they would be having serious staffing problems.

  2. Cynthia Says:

    During a recent field operation, everyone in our group, privately wondered how the person who was our “Crew Leader” got the job. One of the people in our group had over 20 years of supervisory experience and a personality that resonated well with all– unlike the Crew Leader, who showed a lot of partiality for people in the area he resided in, failed to arrive at all for scheduled work pick ups and even made a few inappropriate, though not illegal, sorts of comments. He was singularly inept and had most of us doing very little, in order to ensure his choice picks, got to have more work. It killed us to realize that even though he often missed scheduled meetings, he, nevertheless, padded his mileage by coming at different times, often when people in our area were NOT able to drop all and rush over to the parking lot of his choosing.
    He would then lament “Oh Gee, Well I guess I’ll just have to drive back out here later then.” He asked for volunteers to drive work to the LCO and two people offered to do that, both with larger vehicles, capable of accommodating the large boxes. When he then, needed someone, he did not contact either of them, but instead one of his favorites, got the well compensated task. I say well compensated, because I live in a very rural, depressed area, where there is very high unemployment and relatively little opportunity these days. We have lots of empty store fronts in our little neck of the woods. It is too bad that given the quality of applicants the Census hasn’t done a better job of picking Crew Leaders who are impartial and capable of creating a cohesive, cooperative, team. Instead the work is treated like an apple of discord, unfairly distributed to a few people, while the rest of us ended up with an hour of two of work, typically involving the least passable roads. And around here, there are a lot of unmaintained roads.
    I showed up to pick up assignments, and sat there as others arrived later, waiting for “my turn”– I saw one woman relate she didn’t want THAT one, it went in a pile, and another stated she wouldn’t be comfortable going THERE, it went in a pile– Yes, I got only two assignments, the two rejects. That was all the work, that was left by the time wonder boy condescended to assign me anything to do. I was also let go early, along with many others. I was one of the few people who got a perfect score on the final review, so I guess it figures I would get the least amount of work. One of the younger women working in our group related being quite uncomfortable that when she hadn’t returned a call, figuring she was not going to be available one day, the crew leader, popped up, uninvited on her doorstep, without any indication from her that this would ever be acceptable. She was not comfortable with it. After operations ended, he sent her a text message, just to see how she was doing, also unwelcome, she felt like she was being stalked in a way, but nothing overt enough to address. When she did not text anything back, he sent another. She got the message through that theirs was not a relationship, other than work on the Census, and now that the work was over… Fortunately, that seemed to have gotten the message through. He was older and… married!