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What is 30 years worth? What is it when you are 15 years old? What do you know about... life? What do you know about graduation and

prom, dorm life and college?

30 years ago was 1980. It was much different then. Many of us know about it only thru books, magazines, and television shows. It was a time of transition. From a national economy to world economy. From a labor intensive environment to a more technical one. From a loyalty view to a 'what have you done for me lately' view. People were raised back then to know that no one was replaceable. Every one had purpose and even tho not perfect, all work was dignified and all people DESERVED respect. You cannot know another mans reason without walking in his shoes. Raise your hand if you know that 30 years ago, Mt. St Helens blew its top. The day after, my son was born. I remember the time very well. I remember we had promises of getting the hostages out of Iran. We didnt know then that reagan, ollie north, and the bush family all were conspiring behind the backs of congress and making deals with Iran/Contra. Business was strong. America led the world in exporting finished products. And several of my friends went to work at jobs they are still at. It was still relatively easy to get a job and employers were happy to give a good employee, good benefits. When you are young; say 15, you have alot of energy and if directed can be employed at little expense. You can make better money working overtime and 15 hours is easy. Even tho its back breaking, knee bending work; its easier when you are 15 or even 20. I know theres a big difference, 5 years busting ass is a long time. Back in 1980 working production anywhere was monotonous and dirty. In the newspaper business it was labor intensive, filthy work.  You know all those inserts you get in your paper from Sears and Wal-Mart and Best Buy? they were all put in by hand, piece by piece. And you had to be fast and accurate. Slowly more machines did some work and some people had to fix the machines when they broke down. I know a guy who happened into that line of work. Started as an inserter, worked his way up to lead and then operator/supervisor, and then part of the maintenance team. Then the most valuable member of the whole department. You could count on him to be there everyday as long as you wanted or needed him there. Not only maintenance, he would fill in and help anywhere he could. For the first 3 or 4 years that I worked with him, I wasnt sure he could stand up. He was always on his knees or crawling around over or under some machine, trying to get it to work at least thru the shift. Ive watched him and helped him many, many times and have to admire the talents he has developed. We all have talents and its good when we can use them to the best outcome. He has the perfect hands for maintenance. fat strong fingers that will fit anywhere and twist every direction. Ive seen him twist off nuts that wrenches couldnt. He could put wire clips where the tool wouldnt quite reach. They called him in, off the clock, anytime they wanted. Although on call for almost all of the past 30 years, he was never paid extra. And still he came in, usually willing to help out anyway he could. Even if, after he got there, he wasnt needed, he would stay and help. They called him in, when he was on his weekend, on vacation, any holiday and every holiday.

What is 30 years worth on a pay scale? Is it worth a living wage? When you have an employee that is worth keeping around for 30 years, how much is he worth in an hourly wage? Is he worth 30 cents per year? That would equal 3 dollars every ten years or about 33 cents in raises every year. You would make about 9 dollars an hour after 30 years. Is that worth it to stay loyal to a job? Is 50 cents a year to much to ask? That would be 15 dollars an hour after 30 years. For an employee who would come in any time day or night, even when really sick, because no one else could get us running. Ive seen it many times. Ive seen them call him on vacation at the coast. 5-6 hours later he shows up. I know its relative. Its not brain surgery after all. but its not mowing the lawn either. If other people in the same company are making say 20 dollars an hour doing about the same amount of work, as far as labor intensive and dirty; does 'he' deserve 20 an hour? Is that alot of money? After 30 years? He was worth it to call in from the coast. Anyone else and it would have come from out of state and probably thousands of dollars. Between quitting and retirement, the maintenance staff went from 3.... to 2.... to 1. And in addition, new paperwork. Never made 20 bucks an hour. Just got 15 a few years ago. And still he showed up, everyday, almost always on time. No write up, no disciplinary actions in over 20 years. The kind of person you keep around even if just as an example of loyalty.

But not the Everett Herald. And you would think better of a company owned by the Washington Post. But with the Herald, if you get injured or old; they cant wait to kick you out the door. I had it happen when I got injured on the job, but I only had 11 years in. It wasnt 30 years. They didnt pluck me out of school and count work as school credits. They didnt cheat me out of an education. I did that myself. And I wasnt only 15. They taught him all about newspapers and their machines. They taught him how to work and be loyal and never give up. It can be fixed. But can blown out knees be fixed. Can thirty years of intensive labor on ones body be replaced? Can you replace all the years, on your knees on a cold cement floor? But not the Herald. they got rid of him before they had to pay to fix him. Its the new way of doing business. It started about 29 years ago with the reagan administration. Instead of fixing your tv or radio, refrigerator or stove, you just thow it away and get a newer version for alot less money than the original. Of course it wont last as long, or work as well, all the time. For thirty years.

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