Today is a guest post written by Ronald J. Curell. Ron is retired, and is a carpenter, father, hardware worker, and grandfather.
Everyone wants to make more money, that way they can live the dream. The dream of “the more you make the more you spend.” This is ever so true to the blue collar wage slave….
Two carpenters –we will call them Pete and Sam, were working on a hospital project a few years back. They were making a union wage of $12/hr.
Now as it happened, several non-union carpenters were also working on the same job. They had a different part of the contract and were working for a different company.
The time of year was just a few days before Christmas and Pete made a remark about how they would most likely get a ham or turkey from the boss for the holidays. The non-union boys were working nearby and they were talking about the several hundred dollars they were about to receive from their boss as bonuses. Between them, there would be almost $3000.
One non-union carpenter talked about how he would buy a new table saw, because the one they were using was almost wore out. Another said he would buy a planer/jointer to help with the window and door trim. The other two also planned to purchase some large tool for the job with the extra money.
Pete heard them talking and told Sam about it, “Did you hear that? Almost a grand each and all we are getting is a miserable bird.” He obsessed most of the afternoon about the specifics of the overheard exchange. It did not help when Sam poked him with, “quit and go to work for them.”
“I just might do that,” Pete said.
Sam came back with, “I think you should.”
Sputtering Pete said, “Maybe I will.”
And as Pete worked along the madder and madder he got. Just about quitting time that afternoon, Pete was at the breaking point.
“I’m going to talk to them,” Pete said.
Sam again jumped in, “Oh they are hiring, I asked them and they have lots of work.”
“That settles it,” Pete said. “I’m quitting.”
Sam snickering said, “You want to borrow my phone to call the office.”
“Let me have the thing,” Pete said.
Handing the phone to him Sam added, “Just remember tomorrow you will be making $7/hr.”
Pete gritting his teeth and added, “Yeah but the holiday pay.”
Sam once again went on, “Yeah that would be nice, but think about this –if you make $7/hr, you will make $14,000/year. Add the $1,000 bonus and that is a whapping $15,000, and they want to use the monies to buy tools for the job, what tools have you bought lately?”
Pete kind of got a puppy dog look on his face while Sam added, “we make $12/hr, which adds up to $24,000/year. So what’s it going to be, ham or turkey?”