Wednesday, March 07, 2007

Work Camps

Eugene Plawiuk dug up this story about efforts by a Calgary business to create labour camps to deal with Alberta's labour shortage. I can only wonder at the consequences of such a program of labour camps over the long term. Of course the company, Lehigh Inland Cement, is insisting that this won't be like the bad old days of the 1930s when labour camps were dreadful affairs - no they insist this will be totally different.

By the sounds of this quote, it looks like it will be some kind of trailer park:
"There is a location down south of where we are that really has already a structured facility and had been permitted for trailers, I believe."
Great. Now, this company is doing this because it believes that people are turned-off of moving to Calgary because of high housing costs. What about, instead of making a work camp, actually paying such a wage that people could afford housing? This company seems to be taking the decision that it is actually cheaper to construct some kind of living quarters where workers would be housed than it is to pay them. I can only imagine what kind of living conditions one might enjoy in such a work camp.

If one's employer is also one's landlord, what kind of other conditions might one expect in the camp? This looks like a play for control over the lives of employees. If you live in a work camp, can you drink? Is there a curfew?
Picture: Julian, Bubbles, and Ricky contemplate whether Lehigh's trailer park would treat them better than Lahey's

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