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  • Immigrants in Plumbing

    In the last year I have saw an influx of immigrants into the plumbing industry. I stay away from political issues on this forum, but this is beyond politics, it is reality.

    My question is this: We need to provide high paying jobs to our young people, why are they not entering this trade?
    the dog

  • #2
    dog, when i started full time, this skilled trade was 90% caucasion. today i see it at the supply house traffic as 90% others.

    i would think that the commercial side of it would still be higher

    this of course is in the l.a./ southern calif. area.

    i go to the supply house today, and it's like going to a do it yourself center. very few know the proper name and product that they need. then again it is a large mix of "service plumbers/ techs" there.

    rick.
    phoebe it is

    Comment


    • #3
      The Dog asked: "...why are they not entering this trade?"

      My opinion is because our society does not give tradeswork the respect it deserves. By tradeswork I am referring not just to the building trades, but all skilled crafts. The more "professional" occupations are touted as more glamorous, prosperous, and respectable. Anyone who has put in their time learning a trade AND worked in that trade for some time should know different.

      Here's one way I look at it;

      In a hundred years, no one will remember that you flipped burgers, sold used cars, pumped gas, installed the same part on a car as it came down the line, or sat hunting and pecking at the keyboard all day. They will think back about the men and women who built the tall buildings, bridges, tunnels, homes, and highways that stand and will stand for hundreds of years to come.

      How many white collar workers can drive down the street with their children or grandchildren and point at a building or structure and say "I helped build that" or "Your grandfather helped build that" ??? NONE. This is not to say that sitting behind a desk or other types of white collar work are not necessary or important in their own right. Heck, I even find myself behind a desk 75% of the time the past 4 years as opposed to being in the field. And based on those four years and the 25 of field work that preceded them, I can tell you that I enjoyed and felt like I accomplished more at the end of the day when I was in the field full time than I do plugging away at the desk, even though what I do now helps the field hands accomplish their work more efficiently and economically, and with less frustration on their part because the work is properly planned, scheduled, and coordinated.

      We really do need to promote the trades as a rewarding and honorable career. One at which you can earn a respectable living with decent pay and benefits. If you are not getting those things and working in the building trades then you are working for the wrong company, cause they're getting rich at your expense.
      ---------------
      Light is faster than sound. That's why some people seem really bright until you hear them speak.
      ---------------
      “If I had my life to live over again, I'd be a plumber.” - Albert Einstein
      ---------
      "Its a table saw.... Do you know where your fingers are?"
      ---------
      sigpic http://www.helmetstohardhats.com/

      Comment


      • #4
        Why shouldn't immigrants do our jobs?? They make all the products, so why not have them install it to??

        Comment


        • #5
          Originally posted by PLUMBER RICK
          dog, when i started full time, this skilled trade was 90% caucasion. today i see it at the supply house traffic as 90% others.

          i would think that the commercial side of it would still be higher

          this of course is in the l.a./ southern calif. area.

          i go to the supply house today, and it's like going to a do it yourself center. very few know the proper name and product that they need. then again it is a large mix of "service plumbers/ techs" there.

          rick.
          As far as the amount of "Caucasions" in the plumbing trade, that was not my point. A re-read of my post would indicate so. My post was about "immigrants", regardless of their color, nationality, creed, religion. or etc.

          My point was that plumbing is an important health concern for everyone. It is therefore an important job. If we cannot recruit American citizens for these positions, we have failed as an industry and a country. We need to provide an atmosphere that provides for recruiting young people into this trade.

          Some of the best plumbers I have ever worked with were not "caucasion" (what ever difinitive meaning that has). They were just good plumbers.
          the dog

          Comment


          • #6
            Originally posted by swoosh81
            Why shouldn't immigrants do our jobs?? They make all the products, so why not have them install it to??
            Funny but true, But at the same time have have seen 4 "non Caucasians" 3 held shovels while the 4th digs. And these same people think of us as fat and lazy.
            When the reality is that some of the trades unless you get into the union and always have work (that is if you are near the top of the "LIST"), don't get paid much.
            ex. The only reason we are going to move into a house soon and get out of this apartment is that my wife makes $31 an hour doing a few "Graveyard Shifts" a week. I only get $12 and before my wife could start working again it was a real struggle.
            one other thing that gets me annoyed is how others look down at you because you work in construction. Yet who builds the roads and the houses and schools and ........basicly these people that make money over the Internet at home have no grasp on reality.

            I don't think the village people did us (as in anyone in a trade) any good.

            We are really just shooting ourselves in the foot each time we degrade the occupations that have built this society. How many years until we have to get a translator when we go to hardware stores. How long until we have to learn a second language so we can compete with other companies?
            "Diplomacy is saying nice dodging until you can find a rock." Will Rogers
            "If a Monkey can do your job, are you in the right profession?

            Comment


            • #7
              You all ask why no-one is going into the trades? My opinion is that it starts back in the school system, as far back as junior high school. I say this because a lot of schools are forced with the decision of do we have wood / metal shops or do we have a computer lab? The same thing happens in high schools, they shut down the shops in order to have computer labs. Then if there is a school with both and you have a kid who can only take one or the other, the schools push them into the computer labs. I saw this happen all the time when I was in school (back in 1984). Also try to find a college whether it be junior or upper level that has a building trades class, those are getting harder to find also. So, now we end up with a lot of people who can work on computers but can't hammer a nail into a board. Where-as a lot of the countries where the immigrants come from, have more people who can work with their hands on hands on trades better than computer skills.

              Comment


              • #8
                dog,

                In the recent years the United States is moving from a manufacturing base to a tech base. I think this is starting to affect the trades as well. Most of the young kids I see entering the trades today are for the most part still in a partying mode. They will stay at their jobs until something better comes along.

                When I started out in the trades (1972) it was the answer to my dreams. When it was time for me to close my shop I could not find a single one of my 6-kids who wanted to take it over. As a result I sold it to one of my employees.

                Mark
                "Somewhere a Village is Missing Twelve Idiots!" - Casey Anthony

                I never lost a cent on the jobs I didn't get!

                Comment


                • #9
                  when I was an apprentice my journeyman told me to get out of the trades. He said I was too smart to be a plumber... how's that for a left-handed compliment?

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    #1
                    The trades are hard work, in a hostile environment. Most young people (the ones that grew up in the US) grew up in a friendly climate controlled environment. The trades are just to tough. Many would rather work at McD's for half the $ because it's much more comfortable.

                    #2
                    The trades don't pay what they did 30 years ago. In fact, they pay about what they did 25 years ago, with no adjustment for inflation. Sparks is working for $12, which is what I paid tradesmen (actually it's a little less than I paid) when I started as a contractor back in 1979.

                    #3
                    The Mexicans who move here have initiative. They want a better life and are willing to work for it. $12 is great pay from their perspective. The climate is no big deal, they didn't grow up in a climate controlled environment. They aren't afraid of work.

                    #4
                    As a result of specialization and new materials, the trades require less knowledge than they did 25 years ago. Training a plumber, an electrician, or a carpenter, to do residential work (forget the headaches of commercial and service) is far easier today than it was 25 years ago. That means a new employee can be productive much sooner than before, and without the costly education. This provides a great opportunity for immigrants without much or any training. It also makes all that talent that so many of us have less valuable.

                    If there were a significant unmet demand for tradesmen, they would get paid much more (probably triple what they are making now) and more young people would be motivated to do the hard work in a hostile environment. As long as there is a steady supply of workers willing to work for less, it just won't happen.

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      I agree with BigThom. My generation and the generations following are lazy, irresponsible and spoiled. Working hard is no longer a value taught by parents or teachers. Parents are too lazy or busy to instill values in their children so Rap Music and TV are their examples.

                      Plumbing is hard work and you get dirty. On top of plumbing being hard work it takes years of apprenticeship (I believe) It takes a motivated individual to make a career of plumbing and I just dont think this generation is motivated.

                      Josh

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                      • #12
                        in my part of pa a hvac foremen you can make 18 to 25 hr ,this is not a prevailing wage job if it was you can make 35 to 50 hr .

                        the co i work for has 5 foreman 3 helpers 7 service men .we do some big jobs and tried to hire more help but no one wants to work or learn the trade. we have bin working 5 - 10hr days for a long time . i do not want more then 40 hr a week ,my wife makes more then me as a manger for a doctor's office. its my time to kick back now.

                        i had some helpers say they can go work deliver pizza and make more and do Less work [ where did the pride and satisfaction in doing something go ]

                        i like to look back on what i did and say I DID THAT JOB

                        with the shortage of good tradesmen that means we can get more per hr

                        in pa we have not seen a lot of immigrants in the trade ,but if they speak English and work well then i do not have a problem with that .
                        Charlie

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                        • #13
                          I'm concerned that there were posts that turned my original post into an argument about "caucasions" vs. "others". I want it on record that I have nothing against anyone who is willing and able to join the trade.

                          My post was about immigrants.

                          I have, and will always be, an equal oppertunity flammer.
                          the dog

                          Comment


                          • #14
                            I would have to say that were i work the wage is really pretty good i make 23hr with a good pension and benifits and i am only 21 years old. but i would say that the school system does put alot of pressure on young people to go to university to "make something of there lives"

                            Comment


                            • #15
                              Most everyone seems to agree that the problem has its roots in the values that parents instill in their children now (and for the past ~20 years) and our school systems. Both of these generally speaking promote computers and college over wrenches turning, hard work, and thinking on your feet to solve practical problems.

                              We can help by speaking up at PTA meetings and other situations where people may speak negatively of the building trades or not be promoting them with the attention they deserve. They (school administrators, parents, and children) need to hear first hand from those doing the work now how satisfying they (we) find it, and that we consider it a respectable and rewarding (monetarily) career. Those parents who have no connection to the trades (such as a parent or relative who was a tradesman) will never know all the aspects of having a trade that we all find important and rewarding to us and will always have a negative opinion of our various crafts which they will (intentional or not) pass on to their children.
                              ---------------
                              Light is faster than sound. That's why some people seem really bright until you hear them speak.
                              ---------------
                              “If I had my life to live over again, I'd be a plumber.” - Albert Einstein
                              ---------
                              "Its a table saw.... Do you know where your fingers are?"
                              ---------
                              sigpic http://www.helmetstohardhats.com/

                              Comment

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