Tuesday, June 1, 2010

More Census Worker Horror Stories

By John Crudele

A guy I'll call Mike has worked for Census 2010 several times in California over the past two years. The last time, he was trained at a facility that was an hour's drive from his home. He was paid for his commuting time at $17 an hour -- which is what he also got while working and training.

Mike says that he, like everyone else, was also given 50 cents a mile for gasoline.

The last time Mike worked for Census, the job lasted two weeks. He and the rest of his class had been promised eight weeks.

Mike says that after each stint with Census he, like everyone else, was given an official "termination" notice. And every time he was rehired Mike had to fill out a new employment application (more paperwork to be processed by paid workers).

A couple weeks ago I found out that Census was repeatedly hiring and firing workers without any apparent reason. I questioned if this was being done to artificially boost the nation's employment figures since the Labor Dept. considers it a new job created whenever someone is hired to work as little as one hour in a month.

Was Census churning jobs to make the economy look healthier than it really is?

Here are some other workers' stories.

* I was hired four times by the Census Bureau: spring 2009 for address canvassing; fall 2009 for general quarters verification; late winter 2010 as a quality assurance clerk; and, spring 2010 [as an] enumerator non-response follow-up. I've just been laid off. In each case I spent more time training and going to meetings than actually working. Please don't use my name, I still may be called back.

* I was hired four times, counting last year and this. There's lots of waste and poor management. I've wondered about the handheld computer (used by door-to-door workers.) I've no idea how many of these were purchased. They were only used last year in one effort and my understanding is there were a lot of problems.

* I'm in south Orange County in Southern California and I'm going door-to-door to people the Census says have not turned in their form. At least 60 percent of the people I speak to swear they've turned it in. We are supposed to visit a residence three times. (If we can't contact anyone) we are supposed to try up to three proxies (neighbors or other people) to get information on a particular resident. So basically your neighbor can report how many people live in your home.

* Everything you reported is absolutely true. I was fired three times and rehired. I earned more going to training classes than (working). Several classmates didn't get any work after completing training.

* I was hired by the Census on March 16 and my last day was April 19 at the bilingual question answering center in Rome, Ga. We had two days of training, of which one was just to get hired officially as a federal employee. I had a total of two people come by my location and ask a question -- costing taxpayers $250 per question.

* I am a Census worker. I, too, can confirm that they are checking and checking. I checked homes that have already been checked by the "enumerators." The next phase is to go and re-check the checks that we already did twice..

Read the rest here.

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