Laborer

A laborer or labourer is a person who works in the construction trades, by tradition, manual labor. Laborers are employed in the construction industry, such as road paving, building, bridges, tunnels, railway tracks. Laborers work with blasting tools, hand tools, power tools, air tools, and small heavy equipment, and act as assistants to other trades as well, [1] such as operators or cement masons. The 1st century BC engineer Vitruvius writes about laborer practices at that time; a good crew of laborers is just as valuable as any other aspect of construction. Other than the addition of pneumatics, laborer practices have changed little. With the advent of advanced technology and its introduction into the construction field, the laborers have been quick to include much of this technology as being laborers work.

Laborer
Laborer
Laborer at work
Occupation
Occupation type
Blue-collar worker
Activity sectors
Construction
Description
Fields of
employment
Construction site
Related jobs
Heavy equipment operator, ironworker, cement mason, carpenter, teamster, hod carrier, construction engineering

Tools and equipment

The following tools are considered a minimum for a laborer to keep with them: hammer, pliers w/ side-cutters, utility knife, tape measure, locking pliers, crescent wrench, screwdriver, margin trowel, carpenter's pencil or soapstone, tool belt and one pouch (bag). In addition: a five gallon bucket with additional tools, toolbelt suspenders, water jug and lunchbox are recommended. Most safety equipment that is consumed or work specific, for example hard hat, safety glasses, hearing protection, gloves, fall protection, high-visibility clothing, concrete boots, respirator/dust mask and toe guards[2] are provided by the employer as part of construction site safety. Personal safety equipment, for example full leather boots (some long time laborers believe steel toes are dangerous on the construction site; it is better to have crushed toes than toes cut off by the crushed steel), high strength pants - Carhartt or jeans (some modify thighs with a sacrificial second layer of jean fabric cut from an old pair) - socks, lip balm, and climate specific outerwear (unless laborers are instructed to work in a climate different from what they typically reside in, for example high elevation), are provided by the individual.

Types of work

Some of the work done by laborers includes:[3]

Pay

As a manual labor occupation, to attract free workers the wages paid to laborers is higher than those paid in general to unskilled workers (see Dirty, dangerous and demeaning). In the United States, a union laborer earns equal or greater than most work available to anyone with a bachelor's degree. This is one of a few fields where someone without a high school diploma can still earn a living wage. Union, heavy construction and highway construction laborers earn on average (2008 US) $25.47/h compared to 13.72/h for non-union laborers.[4] In addition to paid earnings, union laborers enjoy the benefits of medical insurance, vacation pay, pension plans, representation and vocational schools; totaling $45/hr (2012 US) and some with special skills earn 'over-rate' wages. It is not uncommon for young civil engineers, construction managers and construction engineers typical salary of (2007 US$) 40,000 to 60,000 to fall short of their union laborers average wages of 50,000 to 80,000. However, unlike engineers, laborers are not usually employed full-time year round and face significant hazards. The additional pay laborers receive is often balanced out by the lesser unemployment checks they receive while out of work and the disability checks they receive while injured—often debilitated for life. That is if unemployment and injury insurance is provided, which is often not the case. Engineers are also not immune to being out of work. In heavy civil work some are employed on a project basis and mental injuries due to stress are a different but debilitating hazard. Because of the wide range of skills and ability to simply provide muscle, laborers often earn side-work as independent contractors and under-the-table work. In construction the pay for laborers is low enough that planning problems can be solved by "throwing laborers at it." This can become a toxic and dangerous brew of unplanned work that slides forward on the blood and sweat of hard working laborers—injury rates often soar. The value of work put in place by laborers and the value of avoided rework and increased efficiencies produced by the engineers' planning is a balance of resource utilization on any large project. Union laborers earn more than unfree labor and can be an avenue for those who are uneducated and with no resources to become educated and with resources.

Hazards and conditions

There are dangers associated with laboring. Many laborers are severely injured or killed in accidents each year while performing work duties.[5] Many who work as laborers for even a short period of time will suffer from permanent work injuries such as: hearing loss, arthritis, osteoarthritis, back injuries, eye injury, head injury, chemical burn (lime sensitivity), lung disease, missing finger nails and skin scars. Alcoholism, drug use, and drug abuse are common although most companies require drug screening for all new hires. If a laborer is injured on the job they are immediately given a drug test. If the test results are positive then they are ineligible for any Workers' compensation benefits. There is a gray area for the use of marijuana due to medical marijuana prescriptions. Some who have been dismissed for failing a drug test while possessing a prescription have been later reinstated with pay as having been wrongfully terminated. The Laborers' International Union of North America (LIUNA) represents laborers on public and private projects. Some of the business representatives are laborers who have been so severely injured they can no longer labor. With a phone call and a good reason they will be on-site the next morning asking questions and demanding apologies for mistreatment of laborers.

This job, at times, and depending on who is in charge, qualifies for the 3D's, Dirty, Dangerous and Demeaning, or showing global connotation, as the Japanese say it kitanai, kiken, and kitsui. Many other times laboring is a very gratifying job with much fresh air (jobsite air quality) and sunshine. The sheer hardship, drudgery and physical demands of the job ensure that there is always a shortage of good laborers. But, mistakes can be made and laborers have been asked to go forward with ill-made plans.

See also

  • Hard hat, nickname for construction workers
  • Navvy, particularly applied to describe the manual labourers working on British major civil engineering projects
  • Proletariat, a Marxist category of people who earn for living only by their physical labour power
  • Category:Builders' labourers' trade unions

References

  1. ^ "Occupational Outlook Handbook, Construction Laborers and Helpers". U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. May 31, 2008.
  2. ^ "Foot and Toe Guards by Ellwood Safety Appliance Company". Ellwoodsafety.com. Retrieved 2016-12-24.
  3. ^ Laborers' Local 185, Scope of Work, on the Internet at Laborers Local 185, Welcome Home Archived 2008-03-12 at the Wayback Machine (visited May 31, 2008).
  4. ^ "Better Jobs". Laborers' International Union of North America. Retrieved May 31, 2008.
  5. ^ Schneider, Scott (2016). "Fatality Rates Falling for Construction Laborers". Laborer's Health & Safety Fund of North America. US. Retrieved 30 March 2019.
Construction worker

A construction worker is a tradesperson, laborer, or professional employed in the physical construction of the built environment and its infrastructure.

Day labor

Day labor (or day labour in Commonwealth spelling) is work done where the worker is hired and paid one day at a time, with no promise that more work will be available in the future. It is a form of contingent work.

Farmer

A farmer (also called an agriculturer) is a person engaged in agriculture, raising living organisms for food or raw materials. The term usually applies to people who do some combination of raising field crops, orchards, vineyards, poultry, or other livestock. A farmer might own the farmed land or might work as a laborer on land owned by others, but in advanced economies, a farmer is usually a farm owner, while employees of the farm are known as farm workers, or farmhands. However, in the not so distant past, a farmer was a person who promotes or improves the growth of (a plant, crop, etc.) by labor and attention, land or crops or raises animals (as livestock or fish).

Fellah

Fellah (Arabic: فلاح‎, fallāḥ; plural Fellaheen or Fellahin, Arabic: فلاحين‎, fallāḥīn) is a farmer or agricultural laborer in the Middle East and North Africa. The word derives from the Arabic word for "ploughman" or "tiller".

Due to a continuity in beliefs and lifestyle, the fellahin of Egypt have been described as the "true Egyptians".A fellah could be seen wearing a simple Egyptian cotton robe called galabieh (jellabiya). The word Galabieh originated around 1715–25 and derived from the Egyptian slang word gallabīyah.

Foreign worker

A foreign worker or guest worker is a human who works in a country other than the one of which he or she is a citizen. Some foreign workers are using a guest worker program in a country with more preferred job prospects than their home country. Guest workers are often either sent or invited to work outside their home country, or have acquired a job before they left their home country, whereas migrant workers often leave their home country without having a specific job at hand.

Tens of millions of people around the world live their lives as foreign workers. An estimated 14 million foreign workers live in the United States, which draws most of its immigrants from Mexico, including 4 or 5 million undocumented workers. It is estimated that around 5 million foreign workers live in Northwestern Europe, half a million in Japan, and around 5 million in Saudi Arabia. A comparable number of dependents are accompanying international workers.

Hand tool

A hand tool is any tool that is powered by hand rather than a motor. Categories of hand tools include wrenches, pliers, cutters, files, striking tools, struck or hammered tools, screwdrivers, vises, clamps, snips, saws, drills and knives.

Outdoor tools such as garden forks, pruning shears, and rakes are additional forms of hand tools. Portable power tools are not hand tools.

Healthy user bias

The healthy user bias is a bias that can damage the validity of epidemiologic studies testing the efficacy of particular therapies or interventions. Specifically, it is a sampling bias: the kind of subjects that voluntarily enroll in a clinical trial and actually follow the experimental regimen are not representative of the general population. They can be expected, on average, to be healthier as they are concerned for their health and are predisposed to follow medical advice, both factors that would aid one's health. In a sense, being healthy or active about one's health is a precondition for becoming a subject of the study, an effect that can appear under other conditions such as studying particular groups of workers (i.e. someone in ill health is unlikely to have a job as manual laborer).

Indentured servitude

An indentured servant or indentured laborer is an employee (indenturee) within a system of unfree labor who is bound by a signed or forced contract (indenture) to work for a particular employer for a fixed time. The contract often lets the employer sell the labor of an indenturee to a third party. Indenturees usually enter into an indenture for a specific payment or other benefit, or to meet a legal obligation, such as debt bondage. On completion of the contract, indentured servants were given their freedom, and occasionally plots of land. In many countries, systems of indentured labor have now been outlawed, and are banned by the Universal Declaration of Human Rights as a form of slavery.

Isidore the Laborer

Isidore the Farm Labourer, also known as Isidore the Farmer (Spanish: San Isidro Labrador) (c. 1070 – May 15, 1130), was a Spanish farmworker known for his piety toward the poor and animals. He is the Catholic patron saint of farmers and of Madrid, and of La Ceiba, Honduras. His feast day is celebrated on May 15.

The Spanish word labrador means someone who works the land, not a worker in general, which in Spanish would be obrero or trabajador. His real name was Isidro de Merlo y Quintana.

Kingu

Kingu, also spelled Qingu, meaning "unskilled laborer", was a god in Babylonian mythology, and—after the murder of his father Abzu—the consort of the goddess Tiamat, his mother, who wanted to establish him as ruler and leader of all gods before she was killed by Marduk. Tiamat gave Kingu the 3 Tablets of Destiny, which he wore as a breastplate and which gave him great power. She placed him as the general of her army. However, like Tiamat, Kingu was eventually killed by Marduk. Marduk mixed Kingu's blood with earth and used the clay to mold the first human beings, while Tiamat's body created the earth and the skies. Kingu then went to live in the underworld kingdom of Ereshkigal, along with the other deities who had sided with Tiamat.

Manual labour

Manual labour (in British English, manual labor in American English) or manual work is physical work done by people, most especially in contrast to that done by machines, and to that done by working animals. It is most literally work done with the hands (the word "manual" comes from the Latin word for hand), and, by figurative extension, it is work done with any of the muscles and bones of the body. For most of human prehistory and history, manual labour and its close cousin, animal labour, have been the primary ways that physical work has been accomplished. Mechanisation and automation, which reduce the need for human and animal labour in production, have existed for centuries, but it was only starting in the 18th and 19th centuries that they began to significantly expand and to change human culture. To be implemented, they require that sufficient technology exist and that its capital costs be justified by the amount of future wages that they will obviate. Semi-automation is an alternative to worker displacement that combines human labour, automation, and computerization to leverage the advantages of both man and machine.

Although nearly any work can potentially have skill and intelligence applied to it, many jobs that mostly comprise manual labour—such as fruit and vegetable picking, manual materials handling (for example, shelf stocking), manual digging, or manual assembly of parts—often may be done successfully (if not masterfully) by unskilled or semiskilled workers. Thus there is a partial but significant correlation between manual labour and unskilled or semiskilled workers. Based on economic and social conflict of interest, people may often distort that partial correlation into an exaggeration that equates manual labour with lack of skill; with lack of any potential to apply skill (to a task) or to develop skill (in a worker); and with low social class. Throughout human existence the latter has involved a spectrum of variants, from slavery (with stigmatisation of the slaves as "subhuman"), to caste or caste-like systems, to subtler forms of inequality.

Economic competition often results in businesses trying to buy labour at the lowest possible cost (for example, through offshoring or by employing foreign workers) or to obviate it entirely (through mechanisation and automation).

Matthew Williams (laborer)

Matthew Williams (February 8, 1908 – December 4, 1931) was a black man lynched by a white mob in Salisbury, Maryland.

Minnesota Democratic–Farmer–Labor Party

The Minnesota Democratic–Farmer–Labor Party (DFL) is a center-left political party in the U.S. state of Minnesota. It is affiliated with the U.S. Democratic Party. Formed by a merger of the Minnesota Democratic Party and the left-wing Minnesota Farmer–Labor Party in 1944, the DFL is one of only two state Democratic party affiliates of a different name (the other being the North Dakota Democratic-Nonpartisan League Party).

Radec, California

Located roughly 15 miles east by southeast of Temecula, California, the community of Radec ('Cedar' spelled backwards) is located along Highway 79. Having bought land in the area in 1883, early settler Samuel Tripp set up a post office there. As of 1893–4, a local directory listed the area as growing honey, hay and stock, but also as having "no commercial interest of any kind." A total of 14 people, mainly farmers and beekeepers, plus a laborer and Tripp, are listed in the directory. The County of Riverside owns a small, non-operational cemetery in Radec.

Skill (labor)

Skill is a measure of the amount of worker's expertise, specialization, wages, and supervisory capacity. Skilled workers are generally more trained, higher paid, and have more responsibilities than unskilled workers.Skilled workers have long had historical import (see Division of labor) as masons, carpenters, blacksmiths, bakers, brewers, coopers, printers and other occupations that are economically productive. Skilled workers were often politically active through their craft guilds.

Stevedore

A stevedore, longshoreman, docker or dockworker is a waterfront manual laborer who is involved in loading and unloading ships, trucks, trains or airplanes.

After the shipping container revolution of the 1950s, the number of dockworkers required declined by over 90%, and the term "stevedore" has increasingly come to mean a stevedoring firm that contracts with a port, shipowner, or charterer to load and unload a vessel.

The Bond

The Bond is a propaganda film created by Charlie Chaplin at his own expense for the Liberty Loan Committee for theatrical release to help sell U.S. Liberty Bonds during World War I

Made in 1918 with Edna Purviance, Albert Austin and Sydney Chaplin, the film has a distinctive visual motif set in a simple plain black set with starkly lit simple props and arrangements. The story is a series of sketches humorously illustrating various bonds like the bond of friendship and of marriage and, most important, the Liberty Bond, to K.O. the Kaiser which Charlie does literally.

That theme is made explicit when Charlie meets Uncle Sam and a laborer representing industry. Charlie buys a liberty bond and the industrial laborer supplies a rifle for an American soldier. Charlie is sufficiently impressed by the result of his patriotic contribution that he reveals more funds he had hidden in his pants to buy another bond and an American Naval sailor is thus equipped with a rifle himself.

There was also a British version with Uncle Sam replaced by John Bull and promotes War Bonds.

The City of Ember

The City of Ember is a post-apocalyptic science fiction novel by Jeanne DuPrau that was published in 2003. The story is about Ember, a city threatened by aging infrastructure. The young protagonist, Lina Mayfleet, and her friend, Doon Harrow (the second protagonist), follow clues left behind by the original builders of the City of Ember, to safety in the outside world.

It is the first "Book of Ember" in the eponymous series, which also includes The People of Sparks, The Prophet of Yonwood (a prequel), and the final installment, The Diamond of Darkhold. In 2008, the book was adapted into a film by Walden Media and Playtone.A graphic novel adaptation by comic book artist Niklas Asker was released on September 25, 2012.

Wage labour

Wage labour (also wage labor in American English) is the socioeconomic relationship between a worker and an employer, where the worker sells their labour power under a formal or informal employment contract. These transactions usually occur in a labour market where wages or salaries are market-determined.

In exchange for the money paid as wages (usual for short-term work-contracts) or salaries (in permanent employment contracts), the work product generally becomes the undifferentiated property of the employer, except for special cases such as the vesting of intellectual property patents in the United States where patent rights are usually vested in the employee personally responsible for the invention. A wage labourer is a person whose primary means of income is from the selling of their labour in this way.

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