Wednesday, August 18, 2004

They shoot horses, don't they?

Thousands Apply
for California Port Jobs

Hundreds of thousands of applicants
are competing for 3,000 temporary jobs at the ports of Long Beach and Los Angeles, hoping for lucrative wages in an otherwise weak labor market.

The jobs, which pay $20 to $28 an hour, were created to handle a record amount of cargo coming through both ports.

A Long Beach post office spokesman said Tuesday that a conservative estimate put the number of mailed-in applications at 220,000 to 250,000. The number may have been inflated by applicants sending in more than one each, though officials have said people who do so would be rejected.

The International Longshore and Warehouse Union asked a mediator whether the hiring process could be delayed to ensure that everything runs smoothly, but the mediator ordered the union and West Coast shipping lines to proceed with their lottery and begin picking the 3,000 new dockworkers Thursday, as planned.

"This is almost like going to the horse track and betting on the long shot," said Raymond Sheets, a 47-year-old tree trimmer from San Diego who hopes to land a job at the harbor. LINK
My mother always described The Great Depression as a time when there were lots of wonderful things to buy, but most people couldn't afford to buy anything at all, including food and medicine.


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