I have lived in Dickinson, North Dakota since 2011. I have been writing blog posts about living in Dickinson for the past three years. I have been seeing such a significant change in the people in Dickinson during the past several months, that I believe a transition has occurred.
There was an oil boom in North Dakota from 2007 through 2014. In 2015, there was a sharp drop in the price of oil. The number of operating oil drill rigs decreased, work in the oil field slowed down, other businesses slowed down, and many out of state workers returned home to the states where they came from.
Dickinson became less crowded, less busy, quieter, and calmer. However, the attitude, outlook, mood, and behavior of people in Dickinson did not change that much from what it had been during the oil boom years of 2007 through 2014.
In 2015 and 2016, people in Dickinson wondered and speculated whether the oil boom would come back. People’s opinions would change daily depending on what they had heard, read, or what other people had persuaded them to believe. No matter what we thought, we were all waiting to see what actually happened.
In 2017, I believe that most people in Dickinson had concluded that the oil boom was not coming back, whether they admitted this out loud or not. Reaching this conclusion, every individual considered what this meant for them, how would this affect them.
In the Fall of 2017, it was like everyone in Dickinson had changed overnight. It was like they had all changed in unison, their attitudes, outlook, mood, and behavior.
In Dickinson every winter, there is a work slow down, and a work shut down. It becomes so cold, that it is difficult to work outside. It begins to snow, and the ground freezes. Farmers don’t do any work with their fields, construction companies can’t do many types of work because it isn’t practical, personal work projects and commercial work projects can’t be done due to the weather.
In the winter, there are fewer jobs, it is harder to find a job, there are fewer ways to make money, and it is harder to make money. It is a time of financial hardship for many people in Dickinson because they are not working. This year, as winter approached, people in Dickinson had already been thinking that the oil boom was over, and it wasn’t coming back.
I think that this is why, I saw a sudden universal change in everyone in Dickinson during the past couple of months. I think that everyone in Dickinson is preparing for hard times.
I wrote about this some in my previous blog post. For the past three years, I had been writing that the people from Dickinson were unfriendly, and that they did not like the workers who came from out of state during the oil boom to work in Dickinson. The unfriendliness, hostility, lack of cooperation, hatred, and undermining of out of state workers that I had written about for the past three years, all of sudden got worse and more severe.
What I thought was happening, was the local people from Dickinson had their wages reduced, hours reduced, overtime hours reduced, they had lost their job, or they were unable to get a job, and they felt that they had more of right to make money and earn a living than the workers who had come from out of state.
With the realization of the local people in Dickinson that the oil boom was not coming back, that there would be fewer and fewer jobs in the oil field, that winter is coming where there is a work shut down and reduced work, the local people from Dickinson universally decided all at once that their “benevolence” toward people from out of state was over.
Approximately one-half of the employers and companies in the Dickinson area, are not from Dickinson. Examples are: Menards, Wal-Mart, Runnings, Marathon Oil, Continental Oil, Whiting Oil, Tesoro Oil, Conoco Philips Oil, Lufkin, Halliburton, BJ, Nabors Drilling, Scull Construction, JE Dunn Construction, Knife River Construction, MDU, BNSF, Family Fare Grocery Store, Cash Wise Grocery Store, Sanford Health, St. Alelxius Health, and Dickinson State University.
However, even though approximately one-half of the employers and companies in the Dickinson area are not from Dickinson, some of these companies do pay attention to whether they are hiring local people from Dickinson, or non-local people. One reason why they pay attention to whether they are hiring local people from Dickinson, is because their management and their workers are from Dickinson, and these people already working at the company have collectively started enforcing the “Dickinson Rule”, whether the company owners wanted this or not.
Non locally owned companies in Dickinson that appear to try to hire mostly local people from Dickinson whenever possible are: Runnings, Whiting Oil, MDU, Family Fare Grocery Store, St. Alexius Health, and Dickinson State University.
Non locally owned companies in Dickinson that appear to have slight favoritism to hiring local people from Dickinson are: Marathon Oil, Continental Oil, Conoco Philips Oil. This slight favoritism may be because these oil companies want people who work in the field to be familiar with the area, knowledgeable about the area, and accustomed to the weather.
Non locally owned companies in Dickinson who appear to have no preference in hiring people based on where they are from: Menards, Wal-Mart, Tesoro Oil, Lufkin, Halliburton, BJ, Nabors Drilling, Scull Construction, JE Dunn Construction, Knife River Construction, BNSF, Cash Wise Grocery Store, and Sanford Health.
Because of the large amount of people that work at Menards, Wal-Mart, Tesoro Oil, Halliburton, BJ, Knife River Construction, Cash Wise, and Sanford Health, these businesses could not stay open if they tried to only hire people from Dickinson. For that matter, all the other non locally owned companies in Dickinson that have some preference for hiring local people from Dickinson, Runnings, Whiting, MDU, Family Fare, St. Alexuis Health, DSU, Marathon, Continental, and Conoco Philips could not stay open if they tried to only hire people from Dickinson.
The local people from Dickinson almost unanimously do not want people who are from out of state to be living in Dickinson now, but the non locally owned companies in Dickinson need the out of state workers in order to have enough employees to stay open and function.
The locally owned companies in Dickinson, they still have some out of state workers employed with their company. Several example are MBI, Nuverra, Winn Construction, Northern Improvement, and McDonalds. These companies would not have enough workers if they did not hire some people from out of state.
I believe that I just explained rather thoroughly up above, that both the non locally owned companies and the locally owned companies in Dickinson have had to hire workers from out of state in order to keep their businesses open and functioning. I explained that some of the non locally owned companies in Dickinson, do have a preference for hiring local people from Dickinson. Because some non locally owned companies have so many local people from Dickinson working in them, these local people at these companies have begun applying or enforcing the “Dickinson Rule” in hiring, and also in the work place.
The point that I want to make, the “Transition” that I believe occurred in 2017, the almost universal and unanimous change in the people in Dickinson that seemed to occur overnight, was the passing of the “Dickinson Rule” into law in Dickinson.
The “Dickinson Rule”, is that the local people from Dickinson are to be given preference in all things over people from out of state. The local people from Dickinson should be the first to be hired, the first to be promoted, the last to be reprimanded, the last to be demoted, the last to be let go, the last to be fired. In all dealings, business, financial, social, medical, religious, and enforcement of law, local people from Dickinson have precedence over people from out of state. People from out of state are not due equal treatment. Whenever and wherever possible, the people from out of state should be encouraged to leave Dickinson.