Keeping An Eye On The Help

Long time reader Milo was kind enough to send me this article, which discusses a bakery in Yonkers, NY with an open door policy on new hires.  It seems that anyone walking in off the street will be considered for a job as long as a position is open.

job fair employment line

The business is getting some free publicity about this policy, mainly because standard practices to filter undesirables from those seeking a job are done away with.  No resumes, background checks, letters of recommendation, or past employment history is required.  If someone is a recovering drug addict or convicted felon, they are given a job as long as they apply when workers are needed.

criminal background check form

This hiring procedure has apparently worked well for the bakery.  Proof that society is prejudiced against those few who made a few mistakes in their past?  Vindication for the Liberal canard that all it takes to make a career criminal into a productive member of society is a job and a fair shake after they have served their time?

The author of the article I linked to above would certainly have you think so, and the people running the bakery waste no time patting themselves on the back for being oh so concerned about their fellow man.  But I notice that, while the jobs offered at the bakery are entry level positions, the workers who are hired are not treated as entry level workers.

I’ve had my share of minimum wage jobs, and management at all of them wanted me to start producing as quickly as possible.  Cookies needed to be baked, ditches needed to be dug, toilets needed to be scrubbed.

pushing a mop for that old minimum wage

Training consisted of following around a more experienced employee for two or three days.  Monkey see, monkey do.  I had to get my ass in gear and sling that mop.  After all, the vomit on the floor in the Ladies Room wasn’t going to clean itself!

This changed when I moved up to more skilled labor.  Training would take place over weeks instead of days.  The paychecks were bigger, but there was a lot more to remember as well.

This is how the bakery trains the “entry level” workers they hire for minimum wage scutwork.  “New workers go through an intensive training period and a 10-month apprenticeship.”  This is simply remarkable!  The current job I have now is fairly technical, and I didn’t have any experience in the field, yet I was fairly well trained in less than a month.  To spend that kind of time on people who are going to haul bags of flour around and mix up batter is something I never heard of before.  With such long-term scrutiny being leveled against new employees, no wonder the company doesn’t have to bother with any sort of pre-hire screening process.  If their employees are the recidivist type, it is unlikely they will be able to control their darker impulses for such a long period of time.

Anyone who has ever worked in law enforcement will tell you that those with multiple felony convictions have probably made a lifestyle choice that they aren’t going to change anytime soon.  The same people keep committing crimes again and again.  Catch them red-handed and you will probably just have to arrest them again in a few years because they will go back to their old ways very soon after being released from jail.

hands on prison bars

It has been my experience that it is possible for someone to turn their life around and follow the straight and narrow if they have been convicted of only one felony.  If they get punished but still decide to turn their hand to crime then, the occasional exception notwithstanding, it is a pretty sure bet that they are without the quality of redemption.

There is some speculation in the article that other companies may follow the trail blazed by the bakery, and hire without bothering with a screening process.  I suppose it is possible, if the company in question is rich enough to have a supervisor follow around the new guys for ten months while they scrub out toilets.

6 Responses to “Keeping An Eye On The Help”

  1. How can that be a viable business plan? If such a large number of employees are non-productive, where is the money coming from?

    • James Rummel says:

      “If such a large number of employees are non-productive, where is the money coming from?”

      Oh, I doubt they are unproductive. I’m willing to bet that an industrial bakery such as the one described requires a fair amount of manual labor. It seems to me that the work is getting done, just by groups of workers who are under constant supervision. If someone tries to pilfer or slack off, they are shown the door.

  2. Akatsukami says:

    “New workers go through an intensive training period and a 10-month apprenticeship.”

    Does this “apprenticeship” imply sub-minimum wage?

    • Sam L. says:

      I believe that sub-minimum wages are illegal.

      • James Rummel says:

        “I believe that sub-minimum wages are illegal.”

        There are a few exceptions. Salesmen can actually be paid nothing by their employer, and work for commissions.

        Employers can also pay less than minimum wage to workers in the service industry if the shortfall is made up by tips. Wait staff at a restaurant, for example, are routinely paid less than minimum.

        That doesn’t apply in this case, as the bakery is an industrial operation and the workers don’t interact with the customers. I would expect that everyone is paid at least minimum wage just as soon as they clock in on their first day.

  3. Fruitbat44 says:

    I will confess to being a touch cynical about this too. “Oh so that’s why our New Hire was so keen on doing children’s parties!” and “Our New Hire and the contents of the office safe disappear on the same day! What a coincidence!”

    But having read the article I’m little less cynical about it.

    Though this ten-month apprenticeship for an entry level job seems a bit odd. I am *speculating* that they might start off the ten months humping sacks of flour, but end the ten months fully qualified bakers. Just guessing.

    And after a brief spell on the job market I will admit Greyston’s no questions hire policy has an appeal. Filling in umpteen forms had me muttering, “Whatever happened to the days when if you showed up sober with no tattoos visible above your collar you were in?” (Cynics might also add: . . .and if you were white, male and didn’t sing hymns in Latin you were in.”)

    I also liked the comment about not having a criminal record might mean you just hadn’t been caught.

    But what made feel a bit more positive about this ‘pink-and-fluffy’ approach were two things.

    One: “People who aren’t pulling their weight get fired.” It might be pink-and-fluffy, but it’s not THAT pink-and-fluffy.

    Two: Greyston has been in business with this policy for thirty years. Gotta be doing something right.

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