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August 17, 1974 - Image 9

Resource type:
Michigan Daily, 1974-08-17

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Saturday, August 17, 1974


Page Nine

Workers scramble for 'prestige' jobs

Associated Press Writer
Elizabeth Walsh, a London
housewife, tried to place an
order for wall paneling with
the carpenter who had built her
cupboards. No luck.
"He said he was now a sales-
man," Walsh reported. "He
came around in a flashy car,
wearing a typical salesman suit
instead of his old blue jeans.
He gave me a few instructions
and I ended up doing the job
myself because I could just not
find any other carpenter."
IN CARACAS, Venezuela, Ja-
vier Rodriguez, 24, makes good
money driving a taxi and he
can also fix cars. But he
studies data processing at a
university, in hope of landing
an office job.
Rodriguez and Walsh's car-
penter have joined a global push
for white collar status.
A sampling by Associated
Press bureaus around the world
key to in
(Continued from Page 3)
and Urban Development in 1972
awarded a $14 million guarantee
for Soul City bonds. It's the first
HUD guarantee for a new com-
munity whose principal sponsor
is a black-owned company.
McKissick says some of the
delay in developing Soul City
has been intentional. "We are
going after quality. We didn't
want to build a second-class
city, or a city with second-class
McKISSICK AND his wife,
Evelyn, own homes in Durham,
N.C.-about an hour's drive
from Soul City-and in New
York City. But for the past four
years they've lived in a small
mobile home parked 300 yards
from the crossroads sign. A
larger mobile home nearby is
Mcissick's office.
"You can't put a staff in a
wilderness and you stay out,"
savs McKissick, a lawyer.
Evelyn McKissick is one of
three trustees running a sanita-
tion district established last
year by the state. It's primarily
to benefit Soul City, but also
serves Manson, a tiny cross-
roads town three miles away.
Under North Carolina law, a
sanitation district can put in
plumbing, garbage collection, a
water system, electricity, levy
taxes and issue bonds. Some of
this is now being done for Soul
City's mobile homes.
THE 5,200 acres of meadow-
land which McKissick Enter-
prises either owns or has options
to buy is in Warren County, one
of North Carolina's poorest. Its
population is 66 per cent black,
the largest percentage of blacks
of any North Carolina county.
a used seCret
7 and 9 P.M.
SUN.-5-7-9 P.M. '

shows a scramble for profes-
sional and white collar work
that in many countries has cre-
ated serious shortages of
manual workers.
PRESTIGE, more than pay,
is the reason. Blue collar wages
often are equal to or higher
than office salaries.
"Nobody wants to be a menial
worker any more. Nobody wants
to use his hands," says an of-
ficial in the Labor ministry of
Craftsmen are in short supply
even in some Communist coun-
tries, where official propa-
ganda extolls the virtues of la-
bor and government controls
training programs.
The pattern changes in the
poorest parts of the world,
where any job is a welcome
one. It also varies in the richest.
Blue collar work has a new at-
traction in scattered parts of
the United States and Europe,
where li f e s t y e s and social
er sees Sou
terracial co
McKissick says one of Soul
City's goals is to raise the
county income level. At present,
the median family income is
Gordon Carey, one of McKis-
sick's early recruits and now
vice president of McKissick En-
terprises, is a former city dwel-
ler who enjoys his new rural
"The first year I was here
we spent half of our time un-
freezing pipes, pulling cars out
of the mud, just getting the
physical systems going," Carey
CAREY, 42 and white, is a
Californian who served as pro-
gram director for CORE from
1958 to 1964. He has been at
Soul City since 1970.
"Everybody's got their own
taste, of course, but I like it
here. I like living in the coun-
try," Carey explained.
"There's excellent TV. Bowl-
ing alleys and movie theaters
aren't far, and if you like out-
door life, it's only five miles to
Kerr Lake where there's boating
and swimming . . .
"ACTUALLY, the sort of life
we have had here helps build a
good esprit de corps. The vast
majority of us feel somewhat
like pioneers, carving out a new
life and doing something that
never has been done before."
The "carving" stage of Soul
City is nearing an end. State
highway crews are cutting a new
road from Interstate 85 and soon
will pave the clay rural roads
that plagued Carey and other
Gone also is most of the fear
among whites that Warren

values are being re-examined,
and where leisure and recrea-
tion are of increasing impor-
IN INDIA, with an official 10
per cent unemployment rate,
any job, whether blue or white
collar, is considered prestigious
and there is no shortage of
ca rp e n I e r s, electricians or
In South Vietnam, with its
high unemployment and infla-
tion, "The problem now is to
find a job that pays the best, no
matter what it is, and labor
sometimes pays better," says
Nguyen Van Phong, secretary
general of the Saigon labor
But Kenya, a country once
under British rule, reports an
acute shortage of carpenters
and plumbers despite a nation-
wide vocational training pro-
gram aimed at halting soaring
unemployment and the rush to
the cities.
ty as
County, already predominantly
black, would be overrun by
One of the few outspoken op-
ponents of Soul City is Jeanne
Hight, an office worker in Hen-
derson, 10 miles from Soul City.
She contends that federal loan
guarantees commit tax money
for special interests.
"I don't have anything per-
sonally against Mr. McKissick,
nor against his development of
Soul City, but I just don't feel
like it ought to come out of
the taxpayers' pockets," said
Soul City got a big boost when
the Chase Manhattan Bank of
New York, whose President is
David Rockefeller, decided to
provide development money.
Melvin Homes, city manager
of Henderson, admits to envy of
the Soul City project.
"They have the strongest zon-
ing ordinance that has ever been
adopted in North Carolina," he
said. "If that plan is followed,
nobody has any reason to ob-
ject to that city."

A U.N. REPORT issued in
Bangkok, Thailand, says Asians
are status-conscious and those
relegated to vocational schools
"suffer from a sense of second
class citizenship."
The drive for white collar re-
spectability has created great
vacuums of industrial and blue
collar workers in the wealthier
countries of Europe. In turn,
this has drawn mass migra-
tions of manual workers from
the Mediterranean area, creat-
ing new shortages in the South.
Turkey, for example, reports
a "brawn drain" of nearly one
million w o r k e r s to western
Europe. Twenty-seven per cent
of them are skilled, and offi-
cials say it has hurt Turkey's
own program of industrializa-
"I HAVE a terrible time find-
ing skilled plumbers, carpenters
and even people who can lay
tiles . . . the best ones have
gone to Europe and those left
charge exorbitant wages," says
Guner Gokcek, a contractor in
Ankara, the Turkish capital.
In West Germany, foreigners
outnumber Germans three or
four to one on construction jobs,
a union spokesman says.
Among young Germans, "The
trend is to pick trades that are
clean, socially prestigious, have
regular work hours and are
well - protected against unem-
ployment," another union offi-
cial says. "Construction trades
have lost favor because of
b o o m and b u s t conditions.
Youths don't want to be cooks
or household servants because
of the hours."
FRANCE, Belgium and the
Netherlands also have much of
their manual work done by for-
eigners. An estimated two mil-
lion migrants work in France.
The French labor force has
grown 21 per cent in the last
21 years, but the number of blue
collar workers only 8% per
Fiat of Italy, Europe's largest
auto manufacturer, says it has
to recruit manual and assembly
line workers from distant parts
while it is flooded with applica-
tions for office jobs from uni-
versity graduates. One of three
unemployed Italians has a col-
lege degree.
Britain built the lowest num-
ber of new houses last year

since 1929 partly as a result of
a serious shortage of brick-
PHYSICIANS say British hos-
pitals would have to shut down
for lack of nursing and sub-
ordinnate staff if the supply of
immigrants from the Common-
wealth countries of Asia, Africa
and the Caribbean were cut off.
Subway and bus transportation
would also be hard hit.
In Mexico, a National Univer-
sity study estimated that 7
million of the country's 23 mil-
lion work force are permanently
unemployed. But many a train-
ed engineer or architect chooses
to stay jobless rather than take
a position as a draftsman or
About 10,000 Argentines, many
of them professionally skilled,
went abroad last year to find
positions. At the other end of
the scale, 400,000 immigrants
from nearby countries worked
in Argentina, mostly in manual
But in Ecuador, Bolivia and
Peru, blue collar work repre-
sents a step up the prestige lad-
der for impoverished Indian
peasants. Young people who
make it through grammar
school are glad to work as elec-
tricians, mechanics, plumbers
or steamfitters.
The Soviet Union remains
largely a blue collar society de-
voted to development of heavy
industry and agriculture. But
young people still seek profes-
sional work, particularly in en-
gineering, medicine, law and
In Czechoslovakia, handymen
are in short supply. The jobs
are regarded as attractive be-
cause of the opportunity for ex-
tra money. Nobody gives tips to
bank clerks or teachers but the
arrival of a plumber, electric-
ian or bricklayer can call for
hospitality and a generous pres-
One-third of Israel's 3.2 mil-
lion population is in school. Only
54,000 attend higher schools
while 67,000 are in vocational or
agricultural institutes.
With an Israeli carpenter or
bricklayer able to earn 50 per
cent more than the prime min-
ister's official salary of $115 a
week, many an Israeli mother
discourages her son from study-
ing to be a doctor or lawyer.

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