Quote Originally Posted by Mke View Post
So, you are stating your situation is if that is the standard for the industry. It's not. It's the exception. Personal opinion aside, do you actually think the majority of locating companies out their consider the utility locator as a "Skilled" position? The last 5 public contract locators I have met out in the field have a combined experience of..... Wait for it..... 3.5 years. All of them were on their own. Do you want to know what these guys did before becoming a locator?

1) Gas station attendant (Oregon doesn't allow people to pump their own gas)
2) Busboy
3) Camera Shop sales men
4) Movie theater clerk
5) Student

You state you can't pick up just anyone to fill a locating position? No offense to these guys and girl but you don't have to be a rocket surgeon in order to paint the ground.

All these companies want is someone who they don't have to pay a lot for to get a certian level of performance.

You state you can't divulge any figures for what your guys are making, can you divulge other information. How many Utilities do you guys locate? Do you guys Locate specifically for an entity interest? (meaning; do you locate more like a private locating firm who has a singular contract with a government agency, or do you locate a public utlity, more like a contract locating company?) The diference being, the contract is handled two different ways. One way opens up to more money for the locator, and the other is just like every other contract locating company out there.

I'm venturing a rough guess that the wage you won't divulge would be probably around the $24 range. That is what utility companies will pay non-skilled workers due to it being the lowest rung on the scale from the colective bargining agreement that the local union has in place. Companies typically, don't want this wage to get out because it usually pisses off union guys that non-union workers are getting similar pay for "un-skilled" work.

This was the same set-up I had when I read meters for a few months. As for locating, this is blatently an "exception" to the rule. Good on your workers finding themselves in that position. With this situation, you have to also recognize, due to the increased pay, you have actually a lower turnover rate compared to the rest of the industry. The pay will keep locators trying harder, because they know the pay elsewhere is crap.

As for your sensitivity to the term "Un-skilled"..... You realize that by all definitions, we are? I'm not insulting locators, for Pete's sake I am one. However, you need to recognize that there is no standards in the industry. How can there be when one company will allow induction and another won't? Or one company will allow access to their vaults and another won't?

If you think i'm ignorant due to this.... I've been called worse.... I am a locator after all.

True, we get busboys and other menial labor to hire on as locators and they are unskilled. But we cannot drive to the 7/11, load them up in the back of a pick up and put them to work. We have to spend classroom hours and field training with an experienced tech and this takes months. Then they go out and do easier jobs at low production for some time. It takes the first year in the job to begin to get one up to some level of skill. My observation is a locator is not really worthwhile until two years of working well. Now if they went to college for two years and got an associates degree I guess most people would call such an employee as skilled. We do not get degrees but we are skilled workers.

That pay level I cannot mention is not that much and hour, but you are not too far off. I have to leave it at that.