Trail King CEO Bruce Yakley has a history of blaming everyone else for his workforce troubles. Blame Obama. Blame towns and the state for not working together. Blame everything but low wages.
And now, blame the workers, millennials, 99.6% of them lazy bums:
It seems his Mitchell-based company hired 280 production workers last year between his plants here in South Dakota and up in Fargo. Assemblers, painters, welders — most of them fell into that age group that was born between 1978 and 1997.
The generation he and I raised.
So get this — of the 280 new hires, only one remained on the job a year later.
“We lost 279 of them,” he said. “Mostly because of work ethic issues.”
They simply didn’t show up for work at this business that makes open deck and material handling trailers and walked away [Steve Young, “Trail King Hired 280 Workers Last Year and One Remains,” that Sioux Falls paper, 2015.05.05].
Don’t blame Yakley for not paying enough; heavens, no! He tells Young that Trail King starts zero-skill workers at $13.50 and hour, offers attendance bonuses and training, and they don’t stick around.
But Yakley will blame himself and his whole generation for indulging their kids too much:
“My generation,” Yakley laments, “screwed up the kids of this current generation” [Young, 2015.05.05].
Really? The problem still isn’t in management, in capitalist exploitation, in the boss’s thinking he’s entitled to every man’s labor for less than what the market will bear, but in the entitlement mindset ascribed to all those workers, 99.6% of whom apparently found better things to do with their time than punch Yakley’s clock for whatever pay he was offering? If Yakley is right, isn’t he calling into question the whole Midwestern work ethic that we South Dakotans like to think makes us special compared to all those Coastal elites?
Lazy millennial bums as the root of South Dakota’s workforce problem—I’m going to have trouble swallowing that one.
Update 21:17 CDT: Mr. Ehrisman suggests Yakley take another look at the working conditions in his plant.
Update 21:21: An eager reader recalls this KELO-TV report from October 2013 on the SD Wins/Manpower workforce recruitment snafu, which at that time had delivered fewer than 100 of the 1,000 jobs promised. 65 of the recruits went to Trail King. If Yakley’s retention has consistently stunk, then a majority of the workers recruited by Manpower walked right back out of the workforce within a year, leaving that state recruitment effort with an even more dismal record.