Letter: Boyle County wages aren’t high enough to attract workers

Published 3:10 pm Monday, October 21, 2019

From Patrick Nelson, Danville —

I’m a journeyman ironworker and welder with more than seven years of experience. I travel 96 miles a day round trip to Bardstown to work. This is costly and hard on my vehicle, but I cannot make the same hourly wage in Boyle County.

A recent front page story reported a lack of available workers in our area, but I think the real underlying problems are never discussed.

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It is difficult to actually apply directly to an employer. When you try, you are sent to employment agencies like Nesco Resource, where industries take advantage of the opportunity to pay low wages for the same hours and work as full time employees who get much higher wages and benefits. This comes with almost no hope of getting hired, because almost always you are stuck with the “temp” title.

How does a man or a woman with a family to raise and provide for even begin to think about scraping by at $8.50 to $12 an hour? This must change.

Most higher-paying positions are only for those who have more than entry level experience or a college education. There is little focus on the trades or TRUE skillset development on the job.

Danville Mayor Mike Perros was quoted in the story as saying he had heard of Norfolk Southern offering a $25,000 bonus to people who would just “sign on.” I’ve never seen any recruitment of this kind except from the military. This must have been for an executive position, not the kind of worker the story suggests is in short supply.

My skill is in high demand, but there isn’t any work here at a decent wage. I could weld for the railroad, but they’re not hiring, despite the suggestion that they are desperate. I would love to work in my hometown doing what I love to do, but the opportunity apparently does not exist.