Landscaping Company Owner Questions Americans’ Work Ethic
CHICAGO (CBS) – A local landscaper who refuses to hire undocumented workers said she has been having a hard time finding Americans willing to do the job on a day-to-day basis, so she’s resorted to sticking magnetic “Help Wanted” signs on her trucks.
“We’re about 50 people short for our season,” said Christy Webber, owner of Christy Webber Landscapes and other landscaping and construction businesses.
WBBM Newsradio’s Bernie Tafoya reports Webber said she knows she’s not alone having a hard time finding Americans willing to work in landscaping, starting at $9 an hour, and be dependable. She said she can get people to apply for and accept jobs with her company, but then they don’t show up on a daily basis.
“We hire ex-cons, and we … try to hire from all different programs that claim to be ‘back-to-work’ programs, but we just can’t seem to get them to last even one week,” she said.
She’s become so frustrated with finding workers who will stay on the job, she’s started sticking magnetic “Help Wanted” stickers on her company’s trucks. She’s also issued a challenge on her Facebook page: “Come on America show us you can get up, show up, work hard and do it on a consistent bases [sic].”
Webber refuses to hire undocumented immigrants, and said “I’ll bet you if I sent an email out today to all my supervisors to ask their foremen, I could have 50 people hired by noon today, but all 50 would be undocumented.”
However, she said she runs into attitudes with Americans she hires. She questioned Americans’ work ethic for entry-level jobs.
“They know everything, and they’re above this work, and ‘This is Mexican work,’ quote-unquote, you know, ‘This is not our kind of work,’” she said. “You’ve got to start somewhere, especially the ex-cons, you know?”
She said she has a unionized landscape construction side of her business in which people can earn $28 to $38 an hour, but people have to be willing to work their way up from the non-unionized lower-paying side of the business.
Webber said people she hires are happy, at first, to have been given a job, but then some “baby mama drama” or something else causes them to start missing work or not getting up on time. She said she has a “three strikes and you’re out” policy for her workers.
She said it seems many people apply for jobs with her company just so they can continue getting unemployment checks.