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After completing what I shall (hopefully) bill as the worst boiler build in the history of modular boiler scaffolds, I am faced with a couple of questions. #1 What happened to the sense of urgency, hunger and pride in our work? #2 When did the trades decide that working hard for12 hours a day was just too much to ask? I am completely floored by the lack of aggressiveness in the workforce that showed up to this project.There just seemed to be an air of "we'll get it done when we get it done" and frankly I am downright disappointed by the work ethic shown during this boiler build.While I realize that each local Hall is different, the lack of passion and drive that was brought to this project from the ranks of the Local we are using gives Unions a bad name. Not to mention what it has done to the company's reputation and our relationship with our customer. Where was the "Union Pride" that was plastered all over their hard hats and lunch boxes? We brought the boiler in way late, not entirely due to manpower issues, but none the less way late is another complete project. It sickens me that of the 100 people that showed up to this project that only 20% had the " Can do attitude" and executed on a level of calling themselves ScaffoldBuilders. Of that 20% only 4 were below the age of 30. I am worried about the next generation of ScaffoldBuilders and what they will be able to do with what they bring to the table.

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Comment by Scott L. Sammons on December 24, 2011 at 3:57am

I am happy to report that in Alaska the skill level and competitive spirit among Union Laborers working for the pipeline Union Carpenters working in the Building trades in Anchorage the un-organized companies is strong.  The new crop of Laborer Apprentices (20 started twice annually) is very promising. 

It seems that a little cockiness and ego is to be desired in scaffold builders.  Too often we weed-out the arrogant because they annoy us.  It seems to take a little ego to push oneself.  We must educate scaffold builders to push their concepts of what scaffold can do while reinforcing the product limits and guidelines.  Further we must praise and reward those workers that show a real work ethic.  In our case in Alaska we are very fortunate to have a solid corps of skilled scaffold builders coupled with ample annual work to keep every one at the top of their game.

Comment by Justin T. Wittwer on December 19, 2010 at 2:10pm

Yes I was getting regular reports and I was actually running the 2nd shift inside the firebox. The problem lies in the fact that the reports we coming in and they were well below the actual production values that needed to be met. The major underlying problem was I was attempting a job that was bigger than my current experience level in my crew and we kept finding every potential problem that you can find on a job of this size. I was overwhelmed and I didn't know where to go to ask for help. I did get some excellent help on the dismantle and we actually exceeded the schedule. I got some help from inside the company from back east that helped the process but by the time we took the boiler out we had weeded through all the drywall carpenters and built a decent crew.

Comment by michael clifford on December 19, 2010 at 1:47pm

just curious, 100 guys, so what 5 foreman, maybe 6, werent they giving you daily reports? And as far as young kids, it does seem that fewer are getting into the trades, and the ones we get, meed to be coddled and spoken to kindly, or else their mothers might call the office.

Comment by Magdalena Koops on December 7, 2010 at 5:50pm
YES! YES! YES! & I am still green in only my 2nd year & I share the same sentiment. I was overjoyed to join my local...& im still proud, but Im disheartened by the lack of unity and strength it has down here in the dirty south. I havnt met many people who value their pride in the craft the way a true carpenter should. Everyone is looking to make an easy buck, but scaffolding aint it either show out or go home.
Comment by matthew varnadoe on November 7, 2010 at 1:56pm
With the economy the way it is these days, the BA's are insisting on sending out local hands. Although I dont disagree with them, they should be enlightened to the fact that we are loosing the plants we have due to incompetence and lack of pride. I have seen it on other jobs, they send out drywallers and form hands who dont want to be there and turn away experienced scaffoldbuilders that are begging to go to work, just because they arent from their district. Figure out how to get that into their heads and maybe the quality of builder you get will improve.



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