Business takes temps

Oak Harbor now has a place where you can find a job or an employee, almost instantly.

“Labor Ready” held its grand opening Tuesday, with a ribbon cutting hosted by the Chamber of Commerce. Mixed in with chamber-types were a few prospective workers, already hanging around in hopes of finding a job that day.

Bernie Hanratty, branch manager, said the motto of the temporary labor agency is simply, “We put people to work,” adding with a laugh, “we do anything, as long as it is legal.”

Prospective employees are encouraged to drop by the office and record their skills on an application. “We’ve got a handful of applications already,” Hanratty said, including one man with five years of carpentry experience and another with 15 years in lawn maintenance.

Day laborers are often in demand, but so too are receptionists, bookkeepers, people with computer skills, and many other areas of work.

Labor Ready is a large corporation based in Tacoma, with some 700 branches throughout the U.S., Canada and Great Britain. Offices nearest to Oak Harbor are in Bellingham and Everett.

For the working person, going through Labor Ready makes finding temporary work easy, and getting paid is no problem. “We pay every day,” Hanratty said. “They work today and they get paid today.”

People with skills in demand can pick days they are available for work, and Hanratty will schedule them accordingly.

For employers in need of temporary labor, they get a pre-screened pool of job applicants and, as Hanratty emphasizes, “no paperwork -- it’s like running a business without employees.”

Hanratty keeps the office open each morning from 6 to 9 to help people begin their work. The rest of the day he looks for employers. “I go out and get contracts,” he said. He finds out types of temporary help employers need and they agree on an hourly rate of pay. Then Hanratty matches his applicants to the job.

Hanratty said Oak Harbor appears to be a good location for this type of business. “There are no other temp agency in the area,” he said. He also services the San Juan Islands from Oak Harbor.

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