The basics of part one… Things are tough work is scarce and temp jobs are about all that is available. Temp jobs are just as competitive as any other job, many people both legal and not seek these jobs.
I was dispatched to a construction project in a ski resort community a very wealthy community in Park City, Utah. The project was an add on/ renovation of a 2 million dollar house. The kind where the dining room is larger than the house I grew up in. Speaking of dining room that was where I had my first encounter with the Superintendent we will call him Fred (not his name just one that fits for me but that’s another story). I asked Fred what he would like me to do to get started, letting him know that I was eager to work.
I would like to know why your boss doesn’t listen he seemed somewhat angry as he inquired. Whats the problem I responded not fully prepared for what he said next. Well I told Keith ( not his real name either) that I didn’t want any more white guys sent here. Why Fred that’s a pretty nasty thing to say whats the problem with white guys, I asked? Before he could respond I cut him off and asked if he would like me to start cleaning up the scraps of lumber laying around. Yeah get started on that and then take the ceiling down in the dining room there is a dumpster in the back yard for all the debris. That should take you till noon or so then I have a project in the basement so come find me when you are finished.
I walked away from Fred feeling many things and being somewhat angry. Angry at whom I thought Fred, the Mexicans, Kieth for sending me, the white guy’s before me that didn’t want to or wouldn’t bust their buts for 9 dollars an hour? The work that was to be done was back breaking hard labor that on most construction sites would pay at least 13 or 14 dollars an hour. Most commercial projects would be paying 15 to 18 an hour for the equivelent work. I pondered and looked inside as I went to work. Time went quickly and the task I was given was completed in two hours, debris in the dumpster floor swept.
The next task was not as easy although to Fred it was a simple task that should be done in a few hours. Six to eight inch deep concrete reinforced with rebar every ten inches both directions. A footing in an irregular patern running underneath the slab. The slab was cut in a square shape with eight foot sides. It was pre cut with a wet saw and I was given a 90 or so pound electric jack hammer. It took the rest of the day six hours of continuous jack hammering and scooping with my hands to expose the footing. I even gave an extra few minutes to make sure he wouldn’t have to rent the jack hammer an additional day.
Take that I thought as I walked up the stairs I just gave you a solid days work even at the 9 dollars an hour. I believe in fact that working on a Union job as a laborer I made 23 an hour for the equivelent and as a non union laborer many times at least 16. Either way I earned my money and let him know white men can work.I handed him the daily time sheet that I turn in to get paid. As he signed he asked if I was available for the next day. The next day I asked I thought you didn’t want white guys? What does that mean I passed the ” Mexican test” you actually want me to come back? If there is no assignment that is more in line with my talent and money expectations I will be back.
Part 3 …. The clean up and the broken shovel in the next addition