Sunday, October 02, 2011
Some of the observant souls among you may have noticed over the years that tower cranes always fly an American flag on the very end of their boom. I suppose we have always been a patriotic bunch, even before it was the "in" thing. Well, over time, and due to such high winds at those heights, the flags will become tattered and must be replaced. Ever wonder how they did it? You'll get a much better view if you click on these photos to enlarge them. That's right....one of the fellows goes out there on the end and changes the flag by hand.
Speaking of flags and country and all; I guess many of you may have heard about Alabama recently passing most of this new immigration bill. Now, I'm not going to get into the pros and cons of such a thing. That isn't the reason for this post. I just thought the effects of this bill passing have been interesting. To tell the truth, I have not read and studied all the bill enough to form a defensible position. I have read a good bit of it and must say, there is lots I agree with; there's a little I don't. We have a number of Hispanics that work for our company and I have enjoyed working with all of them. Many people I talk to adhere to that old stereotype of the chauvinist Hispanic male (and a few are, just like whites) but they have always treated me well. They are very kind to me and we joke around and have a good time. I have even been invited to some their family events. I do not have any problem with people coming here to make a better life. I do have a problem with some of them doing it illegally and taking advantage of our system. I do also think our immigration laws need a bit of revision so that it is easier for people to become legal residents. All of our Hispanic carpenters are legal and many have lived here for years. They go through our apprenticeship program just like everybody else and do well. They are good men and love this country and I have recently been sad to see a few go back to their homeland because we didn't have enough work to keep them busy. We were beginning to see a drop in the number of Hispanics on our jobs just due to the slow down of the economy anyway, as construction is usually one of the first industries to fall back. So, when it came out Thursday that this bill had passed we were expecting a change Friday and boy, was there ever. Our company is very diligent to hire only legal immigrants. Hell, you should see the background checks they do on us, people born and raised here! However, many of our subcontractors are not so careful. Come Friday, our job was very quite in places. Whole floors were vacant. It was very odd to say the least. At least 6 or the rodbusters had vanished, 6 or 7 of the form crew and I can't even guess how many electricians and mechanical guys. I overheard some of the guys saying that they had expected this and the subs were already sending new crews out. They better be or we are going to suffer some serious delays. I can't help but wonder though, will they be replaced with legal Hispanics or Americans? The fact is, our own people don't want to do this kind of work anymore, so can anybody blame the Hispanics for coming here to get a decent paying job? I don't. We are building a residence hall for a very large university. They have had record number of enrollments these past 2 years but surveys, and the economy, have shown that the actual jobs available for college graduates keep falling. Now, you long time readers know I have a college degree. I have nothing against education. But in my opinion we have just become lazy and want some cushy job sitting inside where we rake in wads of dough. Well, that ain't happening much anymore in many places. We need people to go into the trades. We need society to recognize that the trades are an honorable profession and that you can make a decent living. So, if this new bill leaves us in a bind, well, I can't say we don't deserve it. We've become way too dependent on others for so many things and now it's going to bite us in the ass.