Saturday, May 3, 2008

Good Help hard to find, or I am a harsh taskmaster

Of the last four inmate workers I have hired, only one remains. The very educated and well read and very eloquent man decided that I had shorted him for two months on his hours and that he couldn't physically do the work since he had some joint problems he needed medical help for. One decided that he could steal, felt guilty and confessed, returned what he had stolen and is now in "the HOLE" for something else. The last one of the missing three is on room restriction (stays in room except for meals and work) and decided that he didn't need to come to work yesterday. So just two inmate clerks and I manned the library and circulated an extra hundred items during the afternoon above what four of them and I had done the day before.

Until I have truly two terminations I cannot hire two new workers, so we will struggle along but will be open and circulating and answering questions. I wonder if employment is so fragile on the outside, is it a constant hiring process - when I think of work I think that the manager at the local grocery, the clerk at checkout have been there forever, but then a whole group of supporting workers seem to be in constant flux. We did go to drop off hot trash and dirty rags, picking up a bundle of clean rags and dust mop heads. The inmates that frequent the library love to call to us and say hello from where they are working as we pass by; everyone strives to be noticed, feel friendly and be seen at 'their' work. The leather hobby guy brought my belt back and the Dragon design he had made for me - very nice work. Since it was a custom job he learned many things while he created it twice to get it right. Some of the inmates take real pride in what they do well. One of the older workers long ago told me that he could get a crew to clean out my home in less than two hours - just get them off the island - they would take care of the truck and such as they did the job. Not really well rehabilitated, but proud of their work skills in criminal enterprise... he is still a great worker, just not in the library now.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

I'm a float nurse/case manager for an occupational health care clinic in southeastern Wisconsin. In addition to treating work related injuries, we do pre-employment physicals for many of the local industries/businesses in the county. There is quite a turnover in employees in the manufacturing or factory labor force in our area. Many companies have taken to hiring temporary workers from temp agencies to fill gaps. Saves on paying benefits for these workers. If the worker performs well for a few months, the worker may get hired on as a company employee. The workforce is changing in our area, between Milwaukee and Chicago, one reason is the increasing ethnic population.
Turnover is tough on the companies, but good for our business.
Cathy B
Cathy B