May 1, 2008

Excited Delirium Book: Chapter 9 (The Garamond Guy)

By liam

Author’s Note: The following is Chapter 9 of the my online book "Excited Delirium". Please post comments. Please tell your friends about this story. If you’ve missed a chapter, please click here for Chapter 1 (Prelude) or here for the full index .

One of Grant Garamond’s first ventures outside of the religious arena was with automobiles. They didn’t get into the raw metal bashing and manufacturing end of things. They were not a household name like Ford or Firestone.

They were a major supplier of privatized labour. In fact, labour would be a fixation of the Garamond family for decades to come.

Doing business in the early days of auto manufacturing was simple: pay people just enough to survive, but don’t pay them more than they need or something radical like offer benefits or a decent pension.

However, that all changed in the 1940s when labour surpluses became shortages, as vast numbers of tradesmen went off to fight in World War II. Once labourers realized that they had the upper hand with management, they got together and demanded something better.

Within a very short period of time, unions became a big headache for car builders.

Grant Garamond responded to this challenge by creating the perfect temporary worker. The “Garamond Guy” would come to be known as a reliable, intelligent hard working citizen that was looking to get a start in the industry. A Garamond Guy is a “company-friendly” nine-to-fiver who was keen on working for a car company. Sometimes they were people who would break strikes. Sometimes they would vote against unionization in consideration of a trifle of a bonus. A Garamond Guy was someone who would be willing to stab someone in the back for a wage paying job because he too had to put food on his table.

BestTemp was the corporate vehicle for this service, but it was ultimately owned by the OMNINet and was almost always referred to the “Garamond Guy” service.

Supplying such a massive volume of labour to US industry, which was growing by leaps and bounds, allowed Grant Garamond to get his foot in the door with a number of industries beyond auto manufacturing and, in time, they supplied the labour for thousands of companies, big and small. By the early 1950s, there was a Garamond Guy in nearly every business. BestTemp had become one of the world’s largest employers, registering more than 200,000 on the payroll by the early 1960s. This dominance has continued into the twenty-first century, where temp work in the US accounted for almost 13% of the entire labour force and one in five employees were considered temporary, compared to just one in ten in 1989. To this day, the Garamond family has a large stake in that share of contract work. Many say that they employ almost as many people as the Federal government, America’s largest employer.

To get a sense of financial scope, Garamond’s company charged a minimum 10% of base salary for employee that they placed with a company, but usually the rate was higher, especially when smaller companies hired Garamond to find employees. Exact numbers are not known because “BestTemp” is a privately-held company, but analysts have estimated that in the 1960s, the company had an annual revenue in excess of $500 million per year, which is a staggering amount for any company, let alone in the 60s.

Many speculate that this number is in the tens of billions today.

In time, Grant Garamond served a number of needs for the auto industry beyond labour – parts, oil, road work, entertainment and media. It was a complete circle: he influenced TV content, sold ads to Ford & GM, owned retail car lots, owned gas stations and oil companies, orchestrated road building activities among hundreds of rapidly growing suburban communities, and kept a tight lid on any labour supply to ensure wages were not growing anywhere as quickly as his wallet was.

When Griffith took over the business, he started to use BestTemp for other activities: the collection of information from other businesses. Temps that became regulars went through additional levels of training to test their loyalty. When results showed that some could be trusted, they were farmed out to competitors and start-ups to collect valuable data and intellectual property.

It became a perfect spy network for the OMNINet.

(Note: "Excited Delirium" is a work of fiction. Any person, place or thing depicted in this work of fiction is also a work of fiction. Any relation of these subjects or characters to real locations, people or things are an unintentional coincidence.)

Read more with Chapter 10

Did you miss a chapter? If so, click here to see all chapters or click here to go to Excited Delirium: Chapter 1 (Prelude)

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Excited Delirium by Liam Young is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 2.5 Canada License .
Based on a work at .