By Manifesto Joe
A St. Louis-based company has gotten rich, and is getting richer, one of the old-fashioned ways: They profit off other people's misfortunes.
The Talx Corp. reportedly handles over 30 percent of the nation's unemployment claims, with a list of corporate clients that, The New York Times says, "reads like a roster of Fortune 500 firms."
How does this company handle jobless claims? Well, it helps the erstwhile employer fight every one it possibly can, for a fee. It's like the hired gun in Shane, famously played by Jack Palance, who is brought to town by the cattle baron to kill off a few homesteaders, with the expectation that the rest will soon turn yellow and leave the valley.
Here's a link to the entire NYT online report.
Of course, they don't prevent everybody from getting unemployment benefits. But Talx is paid to shoot first and ask questions later. They make a basic policy of contesting anything and everything, creating disastrous delays. In a certain number of cases, the would-be claimants do indeed become discouraged by the legal roadblocks, and just quit. A certain percentage of the "homesteaders" do turn yellow, and that is just what the Talx Corp.'s clients in Corporate America are betting on.
Even when the claimants doggedly hang on and eventually get their bare subsistence in benefits, the delays can bring on catastrophes. Check out the part of the NYT article on one former Walmart employee. He eventually won, but the legal maneuvering cost him plenty. He had to give up his apartment and move in with his sister.
So, how do Talx employees sleep at night, knowing, as they surely must, that they are deliberately undermining a crucial strand of the already-meager U.S. social safety net?
The NYT reporter wouldn't ask that, of course, even if the company had authorized anyone to talk to the paper. But I've often wondered that about folks like, say, insurance adjusters as well. I assume that they are paid well enough to afford plenty of Ambien and/or single-malt Scotch.
With a big recession upon us, the tide may be turning. Talx has been raking it in this way for eight years, but the courts and a few states led by Wisconsin have taken action to curb some of the abuses.
In hard times, the American people need a populist champion to step up and lead the fight against this amoral corporate hired gun.
Shane, come back.
Manifesto Joe Is An Underground Writer Living In Texas.