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Just In time Workers, for Just In Time Delivery: Neoliberal logistics, and Temporary work in the logistics sector of Montreal.

Authors: Mostafa Henaway*, Concordia University
Topics: Political Geography, Economic Geography, Global Change
Keywords: Precarious work, Temporary Placement Agencies, Immigrant Workers, Logistics, Neoliberalism
Session Type: Paper
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The logistics revolution over the past twenty-five years has become a central feature of globalization, leading to the rise of global corporate retail giants such as Walmart, and Amazon (Cowen, 2010). Central to the logistics revolution is the increased role of e-commerce and just-in-time delivery and have been facilitated by the rise of flexible labour regimes and in particular the growth of temporary placement agencies as key labour market intermediaries. This growth is prompted by firms seeking mechanisms to remain globally competitive through decreasing labour costs through labour market flexibilization (Peck & Theodore,1998, Vosko, 2006).

This paper examines the role of temporary placement agencies as central actors in the growth of “just-in-time distribution” in Montreal. Montreal is a critical case study because the logistics sector is the fourth largest hub in North America. An examination of how logistics and retail firms utilize temporary agencies in their distribution centres as a permanent strategy to control the labour process, manage warehouses, and ensure a steady supply of flexible workers sheds light on a central means by which this sector is expanding. The paper is a result of a survey conducted with 40 warehouse workers in Montreal, along with interviews with organizers of the Temporary Agency Workers Association (TAWA). The paper examines how such macro processes (e.g just in time delivery models) impacts workers who are employed through temporary agencies, with a focus on their work conditions, to how their work is organized, to illustrate how precarious work is both produced and reproduced

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