Ah the joys

Discussion in 'Heavy Equipment & Pavement' started by Scag48, Jul 31, 2008.

  1. Scag48

    Scag48 LawnSite Fanatic
    Posts: 6,067

    Well thought I'd post a little update for those who know/care what I'm up to. Sitting out of work on the union side of things right now, we're so shot for work in the state right now it's not even funny. After I finished my 2 months of training in June, everyone figured it would be about a month and all 50 of us in my class would be out to work. Wrong. I'm hearing there's about 25 of us left, why I still haven't gone out, I don't know. My best guess is that there may have been guys calling the training office and dispatchers about every other day saying they're going to lose their house if they don't go to work. I'm nervous, but not that nervous. A "squeeky wheel gets the grease" kind of thing is what I'm concluding. I've been calling about once a week, called the office on Tuesday and wasn't pleased with what I was told. When I asked if 2-4 more weeks of no job was what I was looking at from this point, I was told that no predictions could be made whatsoever. I called one of my coordinators today who essentially hustles the contractors for our jobs, she said 2-4 weeks would be a reasonable estimate, I can live with that. I was told to keep hanging on and wait for a job. This is about the only part of this gig that irritates me so far. We're under a probationary period for 1,200 working hours. Until I surpass that amount, I cannot hustle my own job, I must be dispatched by the training center coordinators. Essentially, I'm putting my well being in their hands. I'm not complaining, they've invested a lot of money in myself and everyone else who attended 2 months of free training, room and board, and the opportunity to make a run at this profession the best way possible in this state, IMO. This is a pretty good deal for someone who really wants to do this for a living, this was just an absolutely terrible year to jump in, I suppose. Last year, all 50 incoming apprentices were out to work in 2-3 weeks. Can't blame the program, only the economy. It's just a little tough in years like this to make ends meet when you're going without a regular or consistent paycheck through 2 months of training, then have to hold on for a job for an undetermined amount of time. Still not going to bash the program, I'll endorse the hell out of it even though I'm flat out of real job right now. Still think it's a great deal, still think people should do it, and I don't regret the decision whatsoever. Our training coordinators and everyone involved with the apprenticesehip are top rung people bar none, nobody works harder to make sure we do well. But, as luck would have it, I got rounded up on a slow work year. Shake it off, keep going, I'll look back on this some day and laugh until I cry.

    Spring is supposed to be busy. Hearing winter might be looking busy, not sure if that means busier than summer, or a busier winter when compared to years past. Either way, it's good news.

    Currently I'm driving truck for my dad and hand labor as needed. He has enough work until mid to late September, I can probably make ends meet until then if need be. Just a bummer is all, I'm determined to stick it out because I know this is an opportunity I cannot let pass me by. If there's no risk, what's the point, right? Just a little frustrating given the circumstances, but it is what it is. Sorry for the novel, just thought some might like to know what's going on. Just waiting for that killer dispatch running a D8 or a blade. I'm going to admit right now my chances are probably shot for that this season, hopefully next year depending on where I end up.
     
  2. Gravel Rat

    Gravel Rat LawnSite Fanatic
    Posts: 9,544

    I guess keep holding out for the work or look for another job that is non union.
     
  3. Scag48

    Scag48 LawnSite Fanatic
    Posts: 6,067

    I can't run equipment non-union, nor do I want to. Sounds like I'll have something within the next month, hopefully. If not, I'll definately be heading back to the Seattle area and do the restaurant gig again I suppose. Been hanging out at my parent's place working for my old man, living at home is zero fun. My roommate is pissed that I'm not in Seattle, she called me a week ago asking when I was going to be back.

    Worst case scenario is that I have to go back into food service, really don't want to do it. Hate the work so much, but there really isn't anywhere else where you can make $15-20/hr. Construction laborers make a lot less than that and work a lot harder, even if there is work available. Things could be a lot worse, at least I have my health and I'm still making all my monthly payments on time. I just get a little nervous when it comes to money, I've been broke before and I refuse to go down that road again.
     
  4. Gravel Rat

    Gravel Rat LawnSite Fanatic
    Posts: 9,544

    I think things are slowing down everywhere right now because of the price of fuel and the high cost of doing things.

    What about putting your name in the mines or try get in the union that deals with mining.
     
  5. Scag48

    Scag48 LawnSite Fanatic
    Posts: 6,067

    Long term, I'm not worried about the economy or finding work. Mining in WA doesn't exist, at least big time mining doesn't. Working in a pit would be rad, there are a few that run union operators. I would like to stay in civil construction though, there will always be a need for infrastructure work. Residential is a gamble, this year is proving that. There is plenty of state work going on, just not enough to make up for a lack of residential work. Like I said, long term, I'm not worried nor do I have any thoughts of bailing on this avenue. However, getting from August 1, 2008 to April or May '09 will be an interesting ride, we'll see what happens.

    You're right though, with a housing slowdown, mortgage crash, and fuel price increases in excess of 50% in the last 6 months is definately putting a huge hurt on the season. However, it will come back, there is no other option. The world will continue to revolve, we'll all be just fine come next year.
     
  6. Construct'O

    Construct'O LawnSite Bronze Member
    from Sw Iowa
    Posts: 1,387

    Here there is work,but the weather has been terrible to get anything done.Still fighting the weather,plus last week got over 8 inches just 20 miles from me.

    River down below that got less rain then this spring,but water got out in the field worse then this spring and it didn't rain or not as much here.To wet to repair the levees so they are still not helping.

    I can remember working 200 miles from home on the road and setting all week waiting for it to dry up so we could work.To far to come home and to wet to work.That wasn't any fun ,setting around in your room watching it rain and to broke to come home and bearly enough money to make it through next week and no check to take home.

    Then start it all over again the next week,hoping for a break!!!!!!!

    So around here i'm sure the operators that have a job still can't work because of the weather and wet soil conditons(mud).Just a bad year all around for everyone.

    That why i headed for higher gound:)Good luck:usflag:
     
  7. Gravel Rat

    Gravel Rat LawnSite Fanatic
    Posts: 9,544

    I think if you want to be a union operator the suit case and hotel rooms is part of your life. The reason why I mentioned mines is most of them are union operations and mining really hasn't slowed down because the metal market is still up there.

    Residential construction well that is dying off or is dead in most areas. Commercial construction like roads,bridges etc I don't think that will pick up anytime soon.

    The geezers are not retiring they are holding on as much as they can taking the jobs that the younger gen is supposed to have.


    At the Richie Bros auction last week trucks and equipment sold for 10 grand or more less than what the value should be. A 2008 Ford F-450 service truck had low kms on it sold for 20 grand less than what it was bought originally.

    It is at the point now if you have a job don't quit it because there isn't much out there. Myself I can't quit my job even thou I don't like the job no work for a dump truck driver. A equipment operator should thank his lucky stars that he has a job.
     
  8. Scag48

    Scag48 LawnSite Fanatic
    Posts: 6,067

    Well, as luck would have it, I got called out today. This morning when I was initially called I was told I would start Friday AM. Dispatch just called me back and says they're starting Tuesday, something is hung up for this week. I'm willing to bet that this is a fairly big job and they're just getting started, it would be nice if we could plow through the winter on this one. There's another dirt contractor on site but I'll be working for a smaller utilities company doing underground. Job is 5 miles from home, couldn't be any closer to my place. Bummed I gotta wait until Tuesday, but I was headed over that way for the weekend anyway, no loss. Hopefully everything goes through and we'll fire up Tuesday and give it hell.
     
  9. Gravel Rat

    Gravel Rat LawnSite Fanatic
    Posts: 9,544

    Well you lucked out and now its time to show them what you got so when the next job comes around they will ask for you first instead of getting the next guy in line in the union hall.
     
  10. Scag48

    Scag48 LawnSite Fanatic
    Posts: 6,067

    I sure hope so. Sounds like the company I'm working for does utilities and site prep, no road building but whatever. They may get hammered on next spring if the housing market picks up, they sound like a pretty good outfit. Kick ass, take names, been my philosophy for a while now.
     

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