At least to me and at least a few others. The odds are that of the almost 7 billion people on this planet. That there has to be few with like thoughts, or the willingness to tell me I am full of crap. Either way I hope to invoke a response that will perhaps lead to meaningful discussion.
Due to the recession, the fact that I am a union carpenter from NY,NY, I am white, divorced, and things have been tough for every one every where in this great Nation. Amongst probably another dozen things that affect or have affected my life and the situation I am in.
Regardless let me share some of my recent experiences just because they also reflect on what is happening in the American working persons struggle to survive in the United States of America. Yes things are tough all over but the last time I checked our country was the Worlds Richest most Powerful Nation. So I am sure things for working people in other Nations are far worse. I feel for them as well and wonder when will it get better.
I work where ever I can find it these day’s. Lately the day labor place down the street from where I stay has been pretty busy. The pay varies depending on the type of work you do and the type of job they have available. For the most part so I work there three or four days if they have it and look for a real job on the day’s I don’t work.
I sometimes make 18 dollars an hour for high-end finish carpentry but usually around 15 dollars an hour to finish carpentry or medium to high-end retail fixture remodeling kind of work. Things have been tough in the carpentry requests and even 8 dollars an hour is better than nothing.
Back to where I was six months ago when I first started to go to the day labor place. When I was in great need of work the holidays approaching nobody hiring. No unemployment just short a few weeks from being eligible for a new claim. I was driving down a fairly busy road lined with businesses of varying type. As I passed one rather odd one a missile on a platform as I looked at the advertisement the next one caught my eye. “Work today get paid today” the sign said then right after that the words Tradesman, Craftsman, Day Laborers Heavy laborers, event staff Providing labor to the …
I filled out my application and handed it to the young lady behind the glass. She took it and politely asked if I was a sex offender before she started typing away at the keyboard in front of her. The only real requirement was a photo ID a Social Security card or a ” green card” and that you were not a sex offender. After a few minutes she called my name and let me know there were limited occasions where carpenters were requested but I was welcome to come in at 5:30 am and be dispatched for the regular day labor jobs.
Well I certainly needed work so I got up at 4:30 and went to the office. Well office is perhaps not the best word to describe the place it’s really more of a hall type of space large and empty with the exception of about twenty-five or so folding chairs wrapping around the space against three of the four walls. The fourth has a doorway a big bullet proof glass window and next to that a small folding table. The table has a coffee pot and a television, the latter blasting the Spanish Channel I believe it was the news that was on yet couldn’t be sure with my limited knowledge of the Spanish language. The chairs filled with Hispanic workers most of them not even able to have a conversation in English. Although with my using what Spanish I knew and them using what English we could communicate fairly effectively. We chatted and passed the time over the next two or three hours names were called paperwork handed out and the room began to get emptier. At nine there were only six of us left. The days went by four, five, six finally after spending a week and a half of five thirty till nine waiting. Every day Hispanics getting dispatched and no work for me.
After two weeks of that I got lucky and caught a break. A friend of mines son worked through the same temp place but he had a regular position working with a disaster recovery company that cleaned up after fires and floods. He asked his boss to request me to work on a job with him for a few days. After that I got sent here and there well before you know it carpenter jobs started rolling in and a few good months went by.
Out of work for a week and a half I questioned the dispatcher, curious if I had done something wrong. No he replied I just try to save you for something important or at least that will pay closer to what you are worth. No problem I understand I told him it’s just that I need to work and make some money my children need to eat. I will shovel the crap out of stalls at the ranch. Sweep the parking lot what ever you have I am not above anything and genuinely need the work.
The next morning I took a basic laborer job in a town about an hour away. The job was for 8 dollars an hour however due to the distance they were offering 9 and change. I was going to keep my word and do what ever job they offered… It was better than nothing and work is good for the soul.
Part two to follow… Preview: Arrived at job site told the company was not to send any more ” White Guys” what am I doing there doesn’t my boss listen./ Did I pass the ” Mexican test” ?/ Day two is that really duct tape holding that shovel together?