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Times are tough for us craftsmen. There is so many out of work that the jobs, when they come up, are very low paying.

I heard from a cabinet shop owner why he was putting ads for help out even tho he didn't need help. It seems he felt there might be a few highly skilled people out there like myself who are willing to work for less than he's paying his current people. Thus the reason I wasn't going to be considered since I asked for $5 an hour less than I was making 4 years ago and that was still $4 more than the $9 he thought I should be willing to work for now.

I asked what would happen to his people when he found someone. He said, quite openly, he'd offer them their job with a pay cut or they can go. Why he was being so open with me is curious. Was he stupid, mean or just a fool? Leverage, that's whats going on now. He's looking for a way to leverage his people and make money doing it.

I work for myself. But bid opportunities have been falling off for the last year, four months ago they stopped. This doofus offered me $9 an hour working on the floor with their tools and offering health benefits after 90 days. Believe it or not it's the best offer so far. The next best job offer was $12 hourly, no benefits, I furnish all needed tools and I sign a workers comp. waiver. But, they said they can work me 60-70 hours a week, more if I want. Whoopee!

I don't want sympathetic,"Sorry to hear that Bob's." I'm just curious anyone else running into the same frustrating crap?

Sorry for the rant.
 

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Hi Jag!
Back in the early 70's, I liked woodworking shops because I was learning the trade, in custom shops, production jobs, and modular-home construction. I got a CETA-funded gig where my employer was being rebated for a large percent of my salary. As those jobs all got phased out, one by one, only the high-end jobs remained, but even the Union jobs wound down. As tough as it was, I changed fields two times. These days, I work in an industrial environment that is as clean as a hospital, and it's nice coming home from work without sawdust stuck to my skin and in my lungs. Plus, I'm really rolling in it salary-wise, and I can buy anything I want without trifling over the cost. Yes, there's some irony there, I could never afford any decent woodworking tools when I was employed as a woodworker! Life is so much better for me, once I separated my vocation from my avocation. Never abandon your craft, Jag! Just find a way to a better-paying gig, away from your customary trade, and create from your heart and hands when you get home.
 

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Unfortunately, this seems to be happening in all of the building trades. I know that in my area, there are sparkies working for half of what they would have been making a few years ago. My boss has refused to cut wages, but he is suffering in his competetiveness for the few bids available.

I feel that unless it is absolutely necessary to do in order to stay in business that an employer should resist cutting wages simply because you are screwing with your reputation. That is … if things turn around, you are going to lose your quality people right away because they will know how you treated them, and the word will get around that you are a bad employer. So, you will end up with the lesser skilled guys who are willing to cut corners and put out an inferior product.
 

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Jag,
I'd say that guy you were talking about was a stupid mean fool, and when things turn around, he's going to be flipping burgers (no offense to restaurant workers)- nobody is going to work for him.
 

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The trucking industry is the same. CDL use to mean commercial drivers license, for the last 15 years I've called it Certified Driver Lumper. Most driving jobs require loading and unloading your own rig. People say truck drivers make alot of money, some do! But only by working 80 to 100 hrs week with no sleep and bad food. It's a great job if you like working 16 to 18 hrs a day. I've been on disability now for almost a year after crushing 4 discs, the 2 hernia surgeries were easy but this back thing is another animal. I suppose the idea of never turning away from hard work finally caught up to me. Jag if you have the answer for what to do next you might be able to make money that way. After 21 years of trucking I feel 60 yrs old at 46. So whats next?
 

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JAGWAH-You wouldn't want to work for that clown … sounds like the kind of guy who would sell his own mother. If he'll do that to the people working for him now, it won't be long until he's pulling the same crap on you.
 

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Unless I'm misreading this, it sounds as if he was being honest with you. He might be be doing all he can to stay in business. I've always been a fan of full disclosure, sounds to me like he's telling it as it is. I'm not defending him, just looking from a different perspective.

My brother is a cabinetmaker, 28 years. He's done it all from mega dollar kitchens to restoring old wooden cars. He's been out of work 1 and 1/2 years, with nothing to look forward to in his line of work. It's bad everywhere.
 

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Discussion Starter · #8 ·
The wierd thing is I answered a call for a delivery driver last wed. In talking with the person about my many talents she gave me a number to a fixture company I'd never heard of. I said thanks and called them up. They said they prefer that I e-mail them a resume which I did. They called two hours later and asked to meet me that afternoon.

Meeting went ok except they want to hire me as an estimator instead of a Class A millman. They asked if I'd come back and interview with the owner, I said sure. The next morning the owners secratery called and asked me to come in that afternoon. I went, got the tour of their 45,000 foot plant and talked for about an hour. He asked what kind of salary I wanted and I figured this might just be my opportunity so I said a number I'd really like to earn, damn the economy. I also said I was very willing to discuss income. He smiled and said good. Last thing said was he'd give it some thought and call me soon. That was friday. Fingers crossed.

The odd thing is the difference between me hired at a $9 job and me hired to a job double that may well be happen stance, fate or just dumn luck.

The wierd thing is I haven't a clue how I'll do as an estimator. While I know I have the knowledge I've never bid at this scale. seems they do fixtures for companies like Neiman Marcus, Macy's and Dillards.
 

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Discussion Starter · #9 ·
I agree Hairy, just unfortunately the realities of the day. I just caught him in a moment of rare disclosure. And no I won't be giving him a thought about work.
 

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Man, that is awful! And he expects to get a craftsman for those wages?! He sounds like an unscrupulous opportunist. Unfortunately, as long as there are people who feel their situation is so dire they think they have to take jobs like this (and there always is) guys like him will get away with it… and make a profit. While he was being so open about it, I would have asked him if he was cutting cost to the consumer by 50% as well.

I wish I could say that I thought he would get his comeuppance when the economy turns around, but the long-range results will more likely be a struggle for workers to get the wages back up. The better thing for the future would be for no one to take these jobs now. Do something outside your trade, mow lawns, sell crap on ebay. I am no longer in the job market, but this kind of thing still makes my blood boil.
 

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That's a crappy thing to do on both sides..using someone as a pawn in his game, and being told your value has diminished, and take a pay cut or leave. Unscrupulous businessmen taking advantage of tough times and desperate people.
 

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Obviously the guy doesn't value his employees so he's not someone you would want to work for in the first place. When the economy picks back up, most of his current employees will leave the first chance they get since he's such an ass to work for. So I would chalk up your experience with him as a conversation with a dick. Move on and forget you even talked to him.
 

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Sad to say that is probably the general consensus today. I can certainly tell you the unions are having a bad time….they have priced us out of the market in several jobs (my company is a union shop)....we can only bid jobs now that are union or prevailing wage. Unfortunately the economy has made a large supply of out of work skilled folks…with the supply and demand being what it is…folks are being pressured to reduce their wages and benefits. Americans have long had a great ride with higher pay and better benefits…trouble is…we are now competing against the world which has many people willing to work for substantially less. Not that I agree, but thats the way things are.
 

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Back before I got injured, I noticed this starting to happen in my area. I was a self employed handyman, and things were getting tight so I went to some of the guys I sub contracted with in the past. They too didn't want to pay what they did in the past and wanted to pay me $5.00 an hour using my own vehicle and tools. I said what gives. They told me with all the new competition and everyone willing to work cheap. They had to cut labor to stay alive in the game. We had people coming out of the woodwork going into business most of whom didn't have any experience. That was seven years ago when I got injured so I can't say what its like now.
 

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bob i hope you hear from that guy and can find some happiness in the job…i love to work and get so much satisfaction from what little i can do now…ive been out of the work game for almost 6 years now…i think…lol..its been a strange time…and im afraid out times are going to be this way for some time..wish it wasnt..i wonder if you could get something good up alaska way…seems to me there should be some good jobs up that way…i know its not home..but…change isnt always bad…and the fishing is great…....and when you do have time off…your having to much fun to notice your not working…good luck buddy…
 

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JAGWAH, They probably have set prices and labor units to use. Don't worry about being an estimator. You need experience to know what jobs to stay away from. Most jobs are found by personal networking. You lucked out:)

Trickle down exonomics isn't trickling very well is it? Greenspan finally admitted he didn't know his a$$ from a hole in the ground. Too bad what it cost US.
 

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I'm glad you started this post JAG. I also have been exploited in my work of late. Had to reduce my wage, make more for less ect. But I wont reduce my quality! I've seen jobs offered on CL like "we want 10 years experience with a truck and all tools for $15 per hr. I went from $55 to $40 just lately as a GC just to compete with poorly tooled hasty contractors and still didn't get the jobs. If the truly great craftsmen cant get what they're worth & loose jobs to the low bid JUNKERS then the whole community looses as bad work will always be a poor value. What if we just choose to call an independent strike! With all the illegals working for pennies on the dollar we would probably loose our house just the same. I have spent 10 years tooling up to be the best I can be and now find it hard to find any work that pays the bills. I've been in construction all my life & love to work but this is the worst of times I've ever seen. I hope for our country to pull together for the better and I believe it can, so don't give up hope AMERICA!
 

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I knew a good carpenter a couple years ago who told me he couldn't find any work as a carpenter. Was offered a foreman's job if he could speak Spanish. I mentioned on another post about 1500 citizens showing up at a lettuce plant in AZ looking for jobs when 30 illegals were deported. Why doesn't the news talk about the truth?

15 years ago, I was telling people employment is dying in this country. Everyone looked at me like I was nuts. Believe it now?
 
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