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Burn the Boats

Getting it wrong on jobs and employment

By November 12. 2012 12:50PM

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This could be an interesting footnote in next month’s jobs report.

The Star-Ledger is reporting that “aggressive actions” cost some 400 New Jersey residents part-time jobs doing cleanup work necessitated by Sandy. The story doesn’t say what threatening actions the workers took, but we can safely assume it involved guns, since it happened in Newark.

Actually, it sounds more like the company doing the hiring, Command Center Inc., might be at fault here. Newark is starved for employment; the last time a major employer held an open call for jobs, thousands swarmed downtown for a chance to work at the Prudential Center. You’d think the company would have a real plan in place for dealing with a crush of desperate job seekers, but the story reports that the plan was basically to have applicants line up along Broad Street in front of the YMCA.

The company’s from Idaho, so executives probably aren’t used to seeing a thousand people all in one place; after all, the cows outnumber the people by a four-to-one margin. So why it got a contract like this is mystifying, especially when a local firm probably could have put together a better plan than lining up on a busy street in the cold and taking a number.

Instead, hundreds of potential jobs have been canceled, and storm cleanup will probably drag as slowly as a JCP&L truck, literally killing two birds with one stone. Hopefully next time, we’re smart enough to nurse them back to health, instead.

I’m even more irreverent on Twitter @joe_arney.


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