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Vote delayed on staffing agencies

The Joliet City Council decided to postpone votes on two requests for special use permits staffing agencies, one for HR Metrics, one for Innovated Staffing.

Staffing agencies are typically used to help fill jobs in the warehouse sector. In recent months, the city council has received backlash over decisions to approve warehouses and other developments.

HR Metrics is seeking to fill a vacant commercial tenant space, located at 232 S. Larkin Ave.

Innovated Staffing is eyeing an existing tenant space, located at 423 Collins Street.

The city already has several staffing agencies operating in corporate limits.

Several people took to the podium at the city council meeting to voice their views on the matter.

“We need living wages on a living planet, not a perma-temp system,” said Ann Baskerville, a conservation organizer for the Sierra Club of Illinois.

Baskerville said she would like to know how much job turnover in the warehouse sector is related to job quality.

“We care about these issues,” she said. “We think we can do better. We think that we can go for more renewable energy, clean up the air, and also look at the worker side of things to make sure there’s justice for people and the planet.”

Sonia Diodato of HR Metrics said it’s important for the city council to keep in mind that not all staffing agencies operate the same.

“It’s not a fair comment to paint all agencies with the same brush,” she said. “We offer merit days; we offer paid vacation; we offer paid sick days; we offer medical benefits; we offer long-term opportunities that, in some instances, like I said, we provide a platform that wouldn’t necessarily be available to some of our associates that we employ full-time. We’re not in the business of using and abusing, in terms of our organization.”

Councilman Terry Morris asked that city staff look further into the issues noted by the public.

“I’ve looked at it from both sides,” he said.

Morris said he would like additional time to review the quality of the staffing agencies.

“I think there may be some good staffing agencies out there,” he said. “I don’t think we should paint them all with a brush.”

The Joliet City Council is anticipated to make a decision at its Nov. 5 meeting.

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