Human Infrastructure & the Future of the Industrial Work Place (conclusion)
Last week we concluded with the comedy of George Carlin, a modern H.L. Mencken, who’s plain language is the vernacular of the American Industrial Worker. I highlight figures like George Carlin, because not only is his view not unique among Americans, it may not be unique to industrial workers around the world.
If you will humor me for a moment, I’d like to highlight what one shall not witness on their national news hour, truly “the revolution will not be televised”. Recent events have turned our one time observations published first on LinkedIn, into a documentary.
In Italy, the people have had enough and intelligently they are peaceful, as non-peaceful protests give their government further pretense to abuse them.
In the United States, a nation of approximately 434 Million Guns, 20M carbine rifles and 150M ammunition magazines, the governments both National and State actually went through the effort to make certain ammo is only useful for approximately four years. Protests are the least of their concerns and Americans enjoy greater freedoms than any other people group in the world, save Billionaires. The 5th Circuit of Appeals stayed the vaccine mandate, but make no mistake, the US government wants the armed American public to react emotionally (which they are prone to) so they can clamp down with the boot on the face of freedom forever.
I hope our readers do not mind, but really, the fight of the Industrial Worker, is the fight of freedom loving people world wide. If you do not have autonomy with your own body, you are truly a slave.
To continue our article, I’d like to bring us back several weeks ago when I stated that we have much in play; 1. a backlog of industrial orders from the “pandemic” months 2. a current mechanical outage season 3. port facilities delaying shipment 4. some very talented and skilled workers who have not had consistent checks in over 6 months or more. 5. Generational world views that do not address the present.
Lets go to #4, and here is where the HR Professional smells blood, its the worker who from the resume / CV looks to have been out of work for 6 months. Well, I hate to tell you, but you are likely dead wrong. He or she has been guiding, hanging dry wall, butchering, framing, welding off the books, running cattle, off shore fishing, or on vacation more than likely and that rate you are about to propose, well you’ll get the first “not worth a damn” worker that is hooked on child support, coke, meth and can write a resume. You won’t be getting gentlemen like I spoke about before, who have seen more of the world than most politicians and built more than you can imagine.
Lets skip around a little, as you might have noticed, we industrial workers are a bit unpredictable to our advantage. #1 The backlog So now that I have laid out the case, where are you going to fill the labor to handle all this backlog? The truckers of course, and do you know where quite a few of them are coming from to fill those gaps. They are industrial workers, welder, fitters, riggers, operators and guess what, they will happily haul for $14,000 per week. It may sound too good to be true, but it’s actually the real deal as Sisu Energy confirmed recently. Who will be paying that premium, the very same people driving those trucks in the long run because the cost will be passed on to the consumer. What we are looking at is runaway inflation, but the industrial worker will not suffer, they are skilled in multiple trades, often thrifty (with the exception of beautiful and handsome partners and high priced alcohol) and they own the instruments of production.
So then do we have other backlogs? Do we have backlogs of compressors, pumps, drill pipe, axels, motors, turbines, and heat exchangers? What about commodities like iron ore, coal, rubber, steel, copper and glass? Do we have multiple supply chain issues? Do we have a rush to ship improved and manufactured goods? Will steps in quality and/or engineering be missed?
As an inspector who inspected airlines once told me, “I like to drive, not fly.” I’ll let you figure out that anecdote yourself.
Lets move onto #3, the ports. Now this may come as some surprise to many readers (sarcasm), but the owners of Ports are generally multinational corporations, private equity and sovereign wealth conglomerates. They can foresee trends decades ahead, so what are the chances that this thing just caught them by surprise? If you believe the narrative being promulgated by mainstream news sources, I have a beach house to sell you in Trinidad, Colorado. That is to say, it is highly unlikely that this “emergency” one views at Longbeach, CA or Chicago is not contrived, manipulated and engineered. We have been inundated with requests for expeditors, but when our contractors name their price, those requests vanish. A word to the wise, its not going to get better in the short term, labor will control what happens next and that means the Unions. I’m not in the leadership I’m not speculating, but I will make an educated guess . . . things are going to get more expensive and that includes the labor of the industrial worker.
Finally we are at #2, the current mechanical outage season. If you are an industrial worker, this is the time of the year when you make 40–60% of your yearly income and one would think that with the above circumstances, demand would be red hot. It isn’t and what does that mean? Could it mean that multinational corporations, private equity and sovereign wealth conglomerates want it that way here in the United States? Could we be awaiting another two weeks before things heat up? I’m not going to speculate, but here is what I do know, if you are in the “administrative leadership” looking for labor, it might work to your advantage to ask some thoughtful follow up questions, to really ask your managers and your company leadership whether this model being force fed to you and your staff is working. Fighting over pennies in an industry where profit margins are already tight, isn’t going to work long term. You can bring over all the H1B visa wage slaves with fake credentials and certificates you want, but you are going to pay for it in rework and the hassle of communication time and paperwork.
If you have gotten to the end here, congratulations, you are the HR, company manager and leader we need in America, thoughtful, humble and willing to hear from the trenches.
So what is the proposition? What is the solution? Is there a solution? Each of you will make a decision and I guarantee the American industrial worker is doing the same. Has the EPC market changed the labor market? Yes, it has and the labor market will continue to change. Are these “pandemic emergency” measures going to impact you this turnaround season? YES
As a PM are you going to face logistical challenges and budgetary issues that might call have you called out by your company management? YES
Make no mistake, the challenges we face in our industry are great, communicating those challenges in a way that our clients understand and can see whether its the value you bring or the figure you present is another thing all together. Good luck out there.