Bloomberg Exposes “Ghost” Worker Loophole for Major Companies

A Bloomberg News investigation recently exposed a loophole that allows big-name companies, like Target and Walmart, to utilize cheap, undocumented labor through contractors. One such contractor that has been partnered with Target since 2003, Diversified Maintenance Systems LLC, has faced allegations of labor violations in the past, including putting undocumented immigrants to work by utilizing pay cards under assumed names in order to hide the illegal status of the employee. The article profiles Martha Lopez, an illegal immigrant working at a Target in Brentwood, Tenn. who experienced a loss of an entire month’s worth of wages due to the pay card practice. When she confronted her employer regarding the missing pay, she was told no one would listen to her because she did not exist on their system due to her working under an assumed name, like a ghost. Since these contracted employees do not work directly for the large companies, the company is able to benefit from this source of illegal, cheap labor without fear of penalty. Bloomberg inquired with Target regarding Lopez’s case and the labor practices of Diversified; within a couple days Target decided to cancel its contract with the company in the state of Tennessee.

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