Sunday, June 27, 2010

Those darned competent day laborers

In an hour, I will head out to exercise my legal right to pick up a couple of independent contractors to help me mulch. I don't know of any law against this in Utah, and I could do it under Arizona's new law, too, because the places I go have cutouts. (Arizona's law -- which I have actually read -- prohibits picking up day laborers only "if the motor vehicle blocks or impedes the normal movement of traffic.")

I hadn't considered picking up guys off the street until a conservative GOP friend suggested it, and told me where to go. Before doing so, I tried:
  • asking co-workers for teenagers wanting to earn good $ through manual labor. Perhaps we have all grown too old together, because I no longer get Yeas on that. (Unfortunately, my own former source of labor had the nerve to grow up.)
  • using a professional labor service. For one job, they sent a guy who didn't want to do lifting and a scrawny guy, both in spite of my "heavy-lifting" warning. So long, beautiful kitchen island.
  • using a landscape service. For one job, I asked for 10 workers, and got 2. Oh, 10 guys showed up, but most took long smoke breaks every hour, or stood yakking even as I dragged piles of dead tree limbs past them.
  • placing KSL ads. My first yielded a former landscaper laid off for months, currently relying on Church assistance. Score! But after showing up a few times, he just faded away. I got no response to my next ads.

Finally, I drove, somewhat nervously, to a place suggested by my friend. "They surround the car," he warned, but just be firm. A Kentuckian named Louis was the first to my car, and as he helped me move some salvaged bricks, he didn't stop for smoke breaks, or stand around, and at times he ran even with fully-loaded tongs.

My next few experiences were the same: guys who wanted to work hard, well, and efficiently, and whom I had to urge to take occasional water and lunch breaks.

Were the first stream of helpers American citizens? I think so. Were the latest? I haven't asked, and they haven't told. (Unlike many KSL.commenters, I do not assume illegality from the mere fact of a person's race or name.) If they are not, all I can say is: I pay the same high hourly wage to everyone, I have insurance if anyone gets injured, and I work right along side them. Based on my own experience, can I say these men took jobs that Americans did not want to do? No, but they took jobs that Americans did not want to do well.


Anonymous said...

Spoken like a true conservative

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