What happens when an entire industry exploits its workers? Leave and find another job? Then have to wait months for their health insurance to kick in, lose whatever vacation time they have,,, and for what, to be exploited again? What are the welders, fitters and helpers supposed to do about it? When an entire industry exploits its workers, there is not much that can be done.
I feel that most of the welding (fabrication) shops in southeast Texas and southwest Louisiana exploit their employees. Not all of the welding shops exploit their employes, but a lot of them do.
From 1986 – 1999 I worked in various fabrication shops in southeast Texas and southwest Louisiana. In 2003 I went back into the welding field, in January 2004 I left the welding field again, and hopefully will never go back.
During this article I am going to re-frame from listing company names. I fear that if I list a company name, I might get sued because the company is butt hurt that a former employee is speaking out. A lot of the welding companies tell their employees, “if you do not like it, leave.” In the 1980s and 1990s I did not have a way to speak out, but now I do. I feel that I have been out of the field long enough that I can finally speak out.
Why did I wait so long before posting this article? Maybe because I have taken a long time to come to grips with my life in the fabrication shops.
This article is based on my personal experiences in welding shops from 1986 – 1999, and in 2003 – 2004.