Today, Saturday November 10, 2018, I am yet again watching a couple move out of the low rent older apartment building in downtown Dickinson, North Dakota where I live. No, this is not an across town move, because they have a pickup truck and a U-haul trailer, and they are very carefully trying to fit absolutely everything they own into this truck and trailer, because they are leaving Dickinson.
In the past thirty days, I have written two previous blog posts about two other couples who were moving out of the older apartment building where I live in Dickinson. Both the first couple, and the second couple, the husband was truck driver. Both of these two couples moved to Dickinson about six months ago.
On the radio in Dickinson, North Dakota for the past several months, there have been advertisements from local trucking companies about how they need truck drivers, they offer competitive wages, paid family health insurance, and a $3,000 to $6,000 sign-on bonus.
Why is it that truck drivers come to Dickinson for work, then they leave about six months later? No, they didn’t make so much money that they are leaving. I talked to them, I saw how they were living, I saw that they had very little, I sometimes saw and heard these couples arguments that continued through the parking lot and into the building, the kind of arguments that people have when money is scarce.
Also on the radio in Dickinson during the past sixty days, I have heard representatives from North Dakota Job Service talk about the great need for workers in Williston, Watford City, and Dickinson, about several hundred job vacancies in Williston. Yet when I log onto the North Dakota Job Services website, and search for job openings in Williston, Watford City, and Dickinson, I see that there are less than forty current job openings in Williston, and less than thirty current job openings in Watford City and Dickinson. One third of these job openings are for Registered Nurses, Travel Nurses, and Medical Doctors, more job openings in the medical professions than there are in the oil field.
What is going on? I know exactly what is going on, and what is happening. Business owners, property owners, property managers, and oil companies want to “keep things going”. The business owners want customers, the property owners want their property to continue to be worth money, the property managers want tenants, and the oil companies want to have a large pool of skilled trades people so that they can keep wages low, have the threat of easily replacing workers, and being able to replace skilled trades people like they were shop rags when they get worn out.
In my previous blog post, I found a short way to put it, if you are not from this area, you are treated like a migrant worker. No matter if you have a college degree, management experience, or a great deal of work experience, if you are not from this area you are treated like a migrant worker.
What does this mean, being treated like a “migrant worker”? It means that you will be followed more, stopped more, and treated with more scrutiny by the local city Police. You are a good candidate for a DUI, a good source of revenue for the city when you pay your court fines, and how the local attorneys stay in business with the $3,000 retainer fee you will pay.
If you are not from this area, you will be treated like a migrant worker in many businesses, establishments, city, county, state, and federal offices in Dickinson. At work, you will be disliked, mistrusted, mistreated, and undermined by your local co-workers, local administrators, local managers, and local company owners.
The truth is, that there are some job openings in Dickinson, and the wage rates are still above average, because no one wants to live or work in Dickinson. The local people are unfriendly and hostile, the real estate prices are way too high, there is not a lot to do, there are very few places to go, and the local employers and the local co-workers treat out of state workers like shit.