Blue collar, white collar.. my observations in the US and what about other cultures? - Page 4
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  1. #61
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    Quote Originally Posted by Mike1974 View Post
    Must be a FL thing. I had a toilet replaced, that I purchased, for just a bit over $200!

    Both of you messed up by pulling a permit.

    I helped my neighbor swap 3 toilets in his house for whatever the cost of the toilets was, plus a couple cans of Coke for me.

  2. #62
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    I guess I never paid much attention. My dad has a bachelors degree in industrial education (qualified to be a teacher), but has worked all my life as a self employed mechanic and machinist. I have a BS in mechanical engineering. I pretty much hated every minute of working in an office, and I also work as a self employed mechanic and machinist. I've met many other degreed engineers working blue collar type jobs. Engineers are a dime a dozen currently.

    I do recall a pecking order in college. There was an engineering hall and a industrial hall. The industrial hall was probably what you might call a "blue collar" occupation, though those guys were getting bachelors degrees as well. Commonly students would fail out of one of the endless math classes set up to weed out half (or more) of the folks who wanted to be engineers. They would transfer to the Industrial Technology program. The engineering students referred to it as "IT" for "I Tried". In hind sight, I probably should have transferred too.

    Another place you see the resentment is in blue collar management positions. The trend in the US is to hire young engineers or other college educated folks and set them up as managers of a mostly blue collar department or division. This immediately causes many problems. First, the new hire typically has no management skills at all. I know when I went to college, we learned zero about management of people, or really any interpersonal skills needed to work in a large company. Second, the new hire has no experience with the actual work of those being managed. This leads them to be seen as "clip board warriors" or worse. Third, the blue collar guys resent the fact that no one was promoted from within the group.

    Now, I can see why the company would do this. It's much cheaper to hire in a young college grad to be a manager than to pay the wages of an experienced tradesman. Plus you don't lose a productive worker on the floor. Of course the guys on the floor never see it that way.

    It seems short sighted to me.

    Regarding the British, I can only think of the movie Bridge on the River Kwia where the officers are willing to risk their lives to uphold the principle that officers will not do manual labor. I don't know if that has something to do with maintaining order or if itw as just the old class system shining through.

  3. #63
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    I do not think management gives these workers any extra shit.

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  4. #64
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    Quote Originally Posted by RC99 View Post
    I do not think management gives these workers any extra shit.

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    Could be lots worse, in Bangkok about 30+ years ago, observed them doing this stuff down manholes with just a garden variety face mask as PPE!

    Remember a mate who did a brief stint in the UK in the 60s, he was amazed at shop floor guys who'd wear a vest and tie at work, trying to avoid being seen as common. Here, a collar under overalls would probably have you labelled lord muck.

  5. #65
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    Quote Originally Posted by TeachMePlease View Post
    Both of you messed up by pulling a permit.

    I helped my neighbor swap 3 toilets in his house for whatever the cost of the toilets was, plus a couple cans of Coke for me.

    Ya, thought hard about that but they made a neighbor in the condo pull the tile all up because he did it without a permit...

  6. #66
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    Quote Originally Posted by Terry Keeley View Post
    Ya, thought hard about that but they made a neighbor in the condo pull the tile all up because he did it without a permit...
    He obviously violated the 11th commandment.

    Toilets, pfffft. I built an entire *house* without any permits.

    PDW

  7. #67
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    In defence of trades unions back in the day.


    When I was serving my time the first shop I worked in the relations between the work force and management were very good. I don't recall any disputes at all. The Manager was a decent guy who left the running of the shop to his foreman who was a live and let live type of guy and rarely got excited about anything. He also had the respect of the blokes for the hand skills that he'd shown before he got promoted.

    When I moved down to the maintenance I was chatting with one of the skilled men and he asked if I was in the union. When I said no he said " If I were you I'd join, this foreman is a bit of a Cnut ".

    Well he wasn't far wrong there. The bloke was a petty tyrant who nobody had any respect for. He'd take against people and use overtime, among other things, to penalise them. Guys with a family who needed the extra money would just get the basic 40 hours. Blokes like me who were single and liked to play sport at the weekend were rostered to work every weekend.

    The degree of consultation you got went like this - on the Thursday afternoon he'd walk over to the clocking in clock and take your clock card out of the rack and write in the top corner. He'd go through the whole rack.

    " SMO " meant Saturday Morning Only. " S " meant all day Saturday and " SS " meant all day Saturday and Sunday ! That was it. You were either in or out, no discussion. Normally for the fitters like me it was " SS ".

    When he walked away from the clocking in machine guys would flock around the machine like vultures around a dead animal to see what he'd decided for them. Wether the gas bill was going to get paid that month or the kid would get new shoes for school etc. It was pretty humiliating to be honest. I usually waited for someone else to tell me my immediate future but I was single and living at home so the foreman couldn't grind me down.

    I could write a book about the goings on but I'll just tell one story about my pal Terry, who was later on my best man when I got married.

    The foreman didn't like single men because they were too independent and didn't always toe the line, Terry was single and already had had several run ins with the foreman.

    We were waiting by the clock to clock out at dinner time when the foreman wandered over with a piece of paper in his hand. He said to my pal " You've been here 12 months now, that means you're entitled to join the company pension scheme, so can you fill this form in ? It's a waste of time really because you won't be here much longer, but fill it in anyway ! "

    With that he walked away.

    As soon as the bell went for dinner time to be over he came out of his office and walked over to my pal. He didn't say anything but just held out his hand for the form. My pal was smoking at the time and just flicked the ash off his cigarette into the foreman's open hand.

    Terry didn't hang around long after that.

    What I learnt in that shop with that foreman was that you needed to be in the union every minute of the day. I'm retired now but from what I read about the " gig economy " things haven't changed for the better.

    Regards Tyrone.
    Last edited by Tyrone Shoelaces; 08-29-2019 at 06:45 AM.

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  9. #68
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    Quote Originally Posted by BillE View Post

    Remember a mate who did a brief stint in the UK in the 60s, he was amazed at shop floor guys who'd wear a vest and tie at work, trying to avoid being seen as common.
    There was a couple of guys in the machine shop when I did my apprenticeship ('83) who wore shirt and tie under their overall/coat and a wrist watch.
    One miller and one lather - and very old school.
    I would wear no coat or if I had to, sleeves rolled right up with no watch or rings. One guy complained because my arms weren't protected but I'd seen a vid at college where someone had got dragged into a machine.

  10. #69
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    It wasn't unusual for the older guys that I worked with in my youth to wear a collar and tie. " Gentleman fitters " we used to call them but most of them had high standards and were the guys you looked to for guidance.

    One old guy I worked with always wore a knitted tie. It was normal practice for the shop labourer to come around in the morning before break time to see if you wanted an offering from the greasy spoon around the corner. Weekdays most of the guys brought a flask of soup or sandwiches etc but on Saturday morning we always treated ourselves to some " heart attack tackle ".

    My favourite was Spam with Brown Sauce on a toasted tea cake ( cue puzzled expressions in the US ) but my pal ordered Spam with a Fried Egg and Brown Sauce on a tea cake this particular morning. We were all sat down around the lunch table when my my mate bit into his tea cake, the fried egg exploded like a bomb and fired a huge lump of yoke down his beloved knitted tie. His face was a picture and we were rolling about laughing.

    I don't think he ever went down the fried egg route again.

    One shop labourer hated going out for breakfasts and lunches but that was part of the job. He also had a very short fuse.

    This particular day he asked me if I wanted anything for lunch. I said " Yes, can you get me one of those Lancashire Hot Pots from the chip shop ? " So he booked me down in his little notepad and went around the other guys for their orders.

    A bit later on he came to see me again " There's been a bit of a problem Tyrone, that Hot Pot you ordered, it's cold !"

    I said " What use is a bloody Cold Pot ! " Give me my money back, I'll go and get something myself. "

    The next day the labourer really got it in the neck. Everybody was ordering Cold Pots - " Get me one of those Cold Pots like you got Tyrone yesterday ! "

    Eventually he cracked and flung the little note pad and Biro twenty yards down the shop saying " I've had enough, you can all get your own f--king lunches from now on ! "

    Of course the foreman had a word with him and he was back on duty the next day but we never mentioned the Cold Pots to him again.

    Regards Tyrone.

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  12. #70
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    Quote Originally Posted by barbter View Post
    One guy complained because my arms weren't protected but I'd seen a vid at college where someone had got dragged into a machine.
    I knew a guy that happened to at Lang's lathes. He died 3 days later from his injuries. Word had it he wasn't sober when it happened.

  13. #71
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    Quote Originally Posted by Gordon B. Clarke View Post
    I knew a guy that happened to at Lang's lathes. He died 3 days later from his injuries. Word had it he wasn't sober when it happened.
    Happened not far from me a few years ago (in the UK). Guy wearing a tie on a lathe...

  14. #72
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    Happened to a young woman at university here a couple of years back- her long hair caught and she died from her injuries.


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