Thursday, December 21, 2006

Tom Brokaw's Temp Agency

Is this guy clueless or what?

The wisdom of former NBC News cue card reader Tom Brokaw, as reported in the Philadelphia Inquirer the other day:

There are very good jobs American kids don't want to take - $15- to $16-an-hour summer construction jobs I would have killed for in high school. They don't want to work that hard or do grunt work. They want computer work.

Perhaps Brokaw should start his own temp agency so he can match up the youth of America with these imaginary jobs.

Unless you're in a union, you don't get anything close to that kind of money. Believe me, over the years, I've done my share of break-your-back spring, summer, fall and winter construction work, in places ranging from upstate New York to Bumfuck, Florida, and most of the time those jobs paid minimum fucking wage.

Tom Brokaw is a dirty, reprehensible, stone cold fucking liar for claiming that undocumented or even documented construction workers make that kind of money, without belonging to a union.

The fact of the matter is that most jobs for unskilled workers in this country pay little more than pennies over the minimum wage, and dirtbags like Brokaw who know nothing about the real world are the ones that keep America's workers in the third world.


As Alfdom correctly notes in the column, Brokaw is referring to workers in the resort areas of Vail and Aspen, Colorado, as reported by The Aspen Times in December of 2005:

While the battle over immigration rages in Colorado and beyond, Glenwood Springs contractor Mark Gould looks at his largely Hispanic workforce and states a simple fact: He couldn't make it without them.

While teens fresh out of high school disdain the ditch-digging work that's the backbone of Gould's excavating business, Hispanic immigrants line up for the $14-an-hour jobs.

"The young American male doesn't want to work that hard," Gould said. "We raised our children in this electronic world. They say, 'I should be able to make a living ... with a computer, not cleaning toilets.'"


Hispanic workers at Gould Construction are not paid less than their Anglo counterparts, Gould said. He pays laborers $14 an hour but maintains that is not a living wage for a single person.

On Monday, New York's Daily News reviewed Brokaw's special:

Trino, one of several brothers living in the house, works for Gould Construction Co., one of the area firms struggling to find workers willing to dig ditches and perform other menial, physically rigorous jobs. Trino has the documents required by law that are necessary to land the job - a Social Security card, a driver's license - but they're forged.

Yet he's a willing and reliable worker, who are in short supply around the Colorado boom towns, with their privileged youth and high aspirations.

"Americans don't want this work," says one of the Gould bosses, a white American who himself worked his way up the ranks from digging ditches.

Even still, my opinion remains unchanged about Brokaw.

One fucking contractor is paying that rate, and it's big enough news that Brokaw did a report on that same contractor one year later.

Hell, even the contractor knows that that money won't go very far in today's economy, as Tas brought up in the comments.

And I'm gonna assume without even doing the research that the "privileged youth" whom belong to upper class families that live in Mexico's resort areas aren't clamoring for summer construction jobs either.


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