August 25, 2013

No One Wants To Work Anymore

The wife and I were at her uncle's 90th birthday yesterday and had a great time. He looks really well for 90 and, except for a few senior moments, he's pretty much all there. A nice man. Always liked him.

Now,I married into an Italian union family - all construction trades. Every blessed one of them. They're great people, kind people. I try not to talk politics with them though. Except with one of my wife's cousin's husbands. He's worse than I am. I truly believe Obama is gonna disappear this guy.

Anyway, about half way through the affair, one of my wife's cousins comes over to visit and sits next to me. This cousin could have been Luca Brazi in the Godfather. He's only about 5'9 but that's up, down, sideways and back and forth. It's also his neck. He's the biggest non six footer I've ever seen and he's gentle as a lamb, a real sweetheart of a guy who, if he wasn't disabled, could tear you apart. A good while back he got very sick from heavy metal fumes on a job - it almost killed him and it is still messing with him. Nasty, nasty stuff.

Any how, we're talking about family and our kids and yada yada the weather's perfect, how Nickie looks so great (half of them are called Nickie or Tony) and he talks about the union. They just put out two weeks of ads looking for new members to train. The job starts at $32/hour and they pay you to go to school for two days a week - again, $32 an hour is the starting pay. Star-ting Pay.

Not one applicant.

Zip. Zilch. Nada.

I'm dumbfounded. That's almost sixty grand a year for a high school diploma or GED. Good, steady work, but the work is hard. And you have to have some smarts.
No one signed up.

A generation ago guys would kill to get into this union, you had to know someone and then get a step ladder to climb over the bodies. In 1973, while I was waiting for the police exam results, someone offers me a shot at this - I'm gone like a scalded cat and living on easy street today. In Florida, not crappy NYS where I'm still a working stiff.

It's too easy to get government benefits, stay home, smoke weed and screw like rabbits 'cause your girlfriend is on welfare.

We're done. Stick a fork in America.


Gorges Smythe said...

That's about the size of it.

Woodsterman (Odie) said...

We're done alright.

Ian H said...

It's not too late, if folks would get back to basics. Remember "E pluribus Unum"? God"? Work or starve?

Knucklehead said...

Have a buddy with a commercial electrical business. This is suburban, non-union. He can't get completely inexperienced apprentices starting at $23/hr. He'll train them right through to their own license if they want to put in the book work on their own time. Very few applicants. Youngsters will call about he ad in the local rag and never be heard from again when they hear the words, "fax me your resume".

What's a resume? Why do I need that, this isn't an office job?

Roughly half of the youths he finally hires wander away 'cause the work is somewhat difficult, often dirty, hot in the summer and sometimes cold in the winter. Too tough for them. And losing their driver's license for DUI/DWI is a chronic problem. They can't work if they can't get to HQ or drive the truck to the work site.

No, most kids do not want to work. I wasn't in any way atypical of most of my friends growing up. Paper route at 10 or 12ish, part time work at 14 - in my case cleaning offices (yes, that included toilets and, in those days, ashtrays and plenty of ashes), odd jobs for the outfits whose offices I cleaned. Loading trucks for UPS at 16, promotion to sorting since I could remember lots of zipcodes and pass the test (loading those trucks was tough work in the summer!). Summer jobs at local warehouses... we all had jobs all the time - very few exceptions.