Tuesday, June 6, 2017
MEXICAN CONSTRUCTION WORKERS
My cynical side wonders if the reason California is so eager to harbor illegal immigrants with their sanctuary city business is so they can have their gardeners and maids. Frankly, I still don’t understand why the “illegal” part is overlooked so blithely.
Had an interesting conversation today, however, with a long-time client. Kirk is in the specialty construction business, and he said we have to figure out a way to get Mexicans into our country to work. That doesn’t mean they have to be citizens, as a lot of them are not seeking citizenship. They want to work and make some money, and the fact is that white and black Americans do not want to work in the construction industry.
He said that about 25% of their work force is Mexican, and they are the “nicest, hard-working, skilled, pleasant, loyal” people he knows. They are just good folks, and he said they are “good with their hands,” which might be because they have grown up working, not sitting in front of a TV or a game console.
Another client, Dennis, operated a demolition contracting business in Phoenix. I asked if he ever had black or white employees in the field force. “Yeah, once in a while, but they just stand around and watch the Mexicans do the work.” He stopped hiring white laborers. You still have to hire black workers, but they don’t last long.
When my mother’s youngest brother came back to California after WWII, he married (converted to Catholicism, see below) and eventually went to work for the fledgling firm United Parcel Service driving one of their ubiquitous brown trucks. At that time, UPS preferred to hire young, white, Catholic men from the Midwest. Young=strong. White=the times. Catholic=guilt, reinforced by their Midwestern work ethic. They were sued to stop hiring that way, of course, but employers want to have the work done.
Our young people are told to go to college when some of them might be better off to take up a trade. They have not been prepared to work with their hands, to do manual labor. It is hard and beneath them. The Mexican workers Kirk and Dennis referred to have not been brainwashed that way. They are much like those young, strong, white, Catholic Midwestern farm boys back in the day.
As you all know, I trust the observations and word of people I know and trust so much more than the media, so I’m going to say that my opinion right now is that we need to figure out, as a nation, how to utilize the energy, strength, skill and loyalty of Mexican workers who want to perform in the construction industry in the US. They are not taking jobs away from deserving white guys—in fact, a lot of the white guys are in unions that are disappearing since they just can’t get the job done.
Side note: The Governor of Missouri signed the right-to-work law in February 2017. That’s the end of unions in that state.