Thursday, December 04, 2008

The Humboldt County Job Market: Where Hope and Optimism go to die!

The Job Market at 4th and K in Eureka is the place you need to go to shop for a new job. Since I am currently unemployed I wanted to use the services provided there to see what employment opportunities were available. When I walked in I was surprised to see many cubicles and quarenteed/roped off areas. Bad Feng Shui for sure. Need something to break up the negative "chi."

There is a machine as you entered that needed a card swiped to use services. I just wanted to look at the job listings and had looked at the map on their brochure that shows where the services are located in the building......sans the barriers. There was nothing in the brochure about having to have a special "card" to swipe in and out. So I waited in line to talk to the receptionist. She seemed nice enough when it was my turn. I said I wanted to look at the job listings and asked what I needed to do. She said I needed an card and handed me a clip board with paper work to fill out. I filled out the first page and saw on the second page a highlighted area in bold that said, "If you are over 18 years of age, you do not need to fill out this page." So I took the paper work back. She looked it over and said, "You did not sign the second page!" I pointed out the highlighted area that said I wouldn't need to. She again told me to sign the second page. I again pointed out the highlighted area quote. And she smiled smugly and said, "I need you to sign the second page." I again expressed my angst about the verbiage and signed the bottom so I could complete the process. She then gave me a card to swipe through their machine and made it clear I needed to use it. I then asked her to point out the job notifications. She pointed out to a wall of job listings, then she said, "to the right of the window" naturally I looked right and she said, "Not over there! to the right of the window!" I reached out my right hand and pointed. "This is my right!" She replied, "No. Right of the window!" There are plenty of windows in the room. I finally walked away hands up, not wanting confrontation. I spent a few minutes watching other people in the room equally frustrated and just left disgusted.

I shared this story with my fellow workers last union meeting and asked of their experiences at the Job Market. Just so happens that a long time employee was the next in line behind me went through the same thing and thought it was funny that I covered the same scenario he went through! So why did this receptionist put us through this? It is bad enough that us long time workers have been thrown into this process of unemployment. Why not have some compassion for displaced workers, instead of belittling or messing with them.

Any other stories out there to share? Please feel free.

The workers of Evergreen are highly skilled specialist employees that can make pulp in the most environmentally conscience way possible. May we go back to work in order soon.


Rose said...

They should hire you to fix this mess. That's very sad that the place is run like that. It sounds inhuman.

Anonymous said...

Typical Humboldt County unemployment mess

Anonymous said...

I'm sorry you and other unemployed workers have to go through this kind of nonsense. I'm sure if you call supervisor Neeley she will help you with the problem.....if she has time to return your call (you would be her first returned call without a campaign contribution) and she is not too busy on her shopping spree with her new excessive, ill-gotten raise. I guess we all need to remember that she is just better than the rest of us.

Fred said...

The last time I went into what was the Employment Development Department (EDD) was back in the late '80s. Same place it is now with a different name, I guess. I could be wrong but I believe it's a state agency, not county, so don't know that Neely could be of help.

I don't know that the procedure I went through was quite the same but, what got me, was the restrictions on job searches back then. You pretty much had to say you did a certain kind of work and were only able to see job announcements for that same work. For instance, if you were a plumber, you could only see announces for plumbing jobs.

That sucked, and I told them so. I've been told they've since changed that policy.

But back then, my mind was open to anything and I wanted to know what was available to see if I thought it might be something I could get in to.

Luckily, I decided to go to College of the Redwoods and check out their job placement office. I forget the official name of the office back then. It was a good choice.

They'd let you go through all the job listings to see what was available. Found a job there the first time that I ended up getting.

I'd recommend trying C/R job placement, assuming the place still exists. Probably best to call them first to see if it does and what it's called. I don't believe you had to be a C/R student, or alumni, to take advantage of that service.

You might also try Sequoia Personnel Services. I believe that service is free to job applicants.

Anonymous said...

I wish I had something positive to say.

brian said...

Don't forget the "Headwaters Fund".....oh thats right ,it's just for stupid shit.

Anonymous said...

I agree that place is a joke they treat you like scum I went in in 2005 my first time I ever applied for unemployment in 33 years of full time work and the way I was treated on the phone applying for unemployment and then the job market people it made you feel pretty low.

Ernie Branscomb said...

Richard, I agree with the poster that wishes they "had something positive to say'.

I would be willing to join any group of people that would start screaming to the federal level of Government, that we don't want to bail out Wall Street, and that we need to bail out the American workers that need jobs, NOW! The money will get to the top fast enough.

I wish that I was an organizer that could put this all together, but the same as every other American, I’m busy trying to do my job. And, when my job goes away, I won’t have the resources to fight for workers rights.

We have become too dependant on our political system. The same system that sold the American worker down the river, or in your case the bay. The very wealthy own our politicians, and our media sources. We don’t stand a chance of changing things unless we all become very aware of how badly we are being controlled by the wealthy. The wealth wouldn’t be so bad if they weren’t so willing to sacrifice decent people to maintain their wealth.

By the way, I don’t consider myself to be a paranoid, but a realist. The sooner that people start paying attention, the better off we will be. “We must all hang together, or surely we will hang separately”.

Stay in there buddy, you are not a loser but a victim, and you have lots of good company. Don’t let anybody treat you with less respect than you deserve! You are the unappreciated backbone of America. I think that we are about to find out how far we can get without a backbone!

Anonymous said...

What hope is there for you if a lousy receptionist causes you to walk out? Seriously. Quit bitching.

Anonymous said...

Richard, just to let you know, the job postings are generally put up on the internet. I'm not going to handhold you, but that should be enough. In the past, I have had to have a resume entered into the system to view the latest listings, did you come prepared with your resume?

You're likely going to be just as well off using Craigslist, or the paper. You should also go to a temp-agency.

But you should honestly think long and hard about leaving this county. There is nothing for someone of your age and earning requirements. There are some local union gigs but they pay <$15 / hour, come with poor health plans, and are heavily competed for by the 20 something workers. Eureka City Garbage, Costco, FedEx, USPS, Safeway.... These are the options. You could always go to school, since there is a university 10 minutes north...

Anonymous said...

The problem is that the people running the job fair are not focused on helping you; they are focused on increasing their budgets.

They aren't bad people; they just know where their bread is buttered.

Recognize that big government is a nice concept, but in practice all that we do is pay; we rarely get our money's worth from government agencies.

Anonymous said...

Sorry, but I was helped there several years ago.Like so much in life, you have to help yourself. They're not their to pamper your ass. So if they say something that is confusing, don't get upset. Work through it! Richard, you've lived in Eureka a long time, is it honesdtly that surprising they are requiring card access?

And yes, most of what EDD provides, most people can do themselves. But it's there for those people who are lost, and it also provides other services for employers and unemployment insurance.

I guess I shouldn't be surprised to see the down on their luck turn on the meager services that are provided... some is better than none.

samoasoftball said...

Actually I was curious on what was going on since I heard bad stuff from our members going there. I have a resume and have sent it out for jobs I have been interested in. I don't think I will return to the Job Market in the near future. I was just making observations.

Not a worker friendly place.

Anonymous said...

Richard, when OHS closed last Feb 29th, I too went into the Job Market. I already felt horrible and just wanted my old job back, after over 20 years there. The Job Market treated me just like you. I too was about to leave. However, I went through their process. I did have to go back because my "case" was totally messed up. Go figure. Yes, I was upset and about to go off on the woman behind one of those cubicles. We both exchanged "those eyes". She obviously was NOT in a great mood to deal with someone who knew nothing of the system. Yes, I did tear up and about said, "screw it." She than herself started reading the mess of paperwork I'd been sent and called a lady in Sac. She literally went off on her. She then gets off the phone and tells me she fixed the mess and I would be eligible for being a "displaced" worker. I guess if she wouldn't of been so crabby (not the real word I would really choose to say), I may never have gotten any unemployment. I reached out to shake her hand when I left, and she just shrugged and walked away.
Just thought I"d put my input in also.
Hang in there everyone.

Anonymous said...

On Tuesday December 9, 2008 during the 9am board of supes calendar there are three items during closed session. Evaluation of county counsel; appointment of the permanent position of county counsel AND the whether to raise the salaries of county counsel and deputy county counsels.


Could it be they have already decided and want to make it formal without allowing anyone in the public to comment on it?

Anonymous said...

I don't mean to be cold here, but I'm going to be a little blunt. Richard, you and some of your coworkers sound like you're stuck in victim mode. I know, because I've been there myself. Everyone is against you and nobody is looking out for you. That may be true to a degree. But you all made your choices. Pulp in California has been in decline for a very long time. You all knew this. You sat less than 10 feet away from the 42nd President not too long ago, a man who played a significant role in the present global economy. I didn't hear you ask him how California pulp workers were going to compete against Asian pulp workers making $3.00 an hour. You also haven't taken advantage of the Clinton era efforts to retrain the workforce to adjust to this new environment. You own this. Nobody else. Sorry, but it's that basic. I'm not saying that you made wrong choices, but you do own your choices. They were not made with no knowledge of the potential consequences. So stop being a victim. Empower yourself. And don't count on the pipe dream of suddenly being elected to the Board of Supervisors in 2010.

Not A Native said...

Richard, One idea is there are five stages of grief. From what you've written I'd say you're now somewhere between stages 2 and 3. It necessary to go though the stages to get to healing and growth. Knowing the process might help you and the others get through them more gracefully.

Example - "I feel fine."; "This can't be happening, not to me!"

Example - "Why me? It's not fair!" "NO! NO! How can this happen!"

Example - "Just let me live to see my children graduate."; "I'll do anything, can't you stretch it out? A few more years."

Example - "I'm so sad, why bother with anything?"; "I'm going to die . . . What's the point?"

Example - "It's going to be OK."; "I can't fight it, I may as well prepare for it."

Anonymous said...

"But you should honestly think long and hard about leaving this county. There is nothing for someone of your age and earning requirements."

Actually, given Richard's training as an organizer and his union leadership experience, he could get a decent job with pretty much any union.

With his qualifications, he'd be looking at $50,000 - $100,000 a year, depending on the union and the job.

Anonymous said...


My heart goes out to you guys. Did your group finally give up on the notion of pursuing partial employee ownership (ESOP), if indeed the mill isn't going reopen in a few months?

I noted that you didn't have very much interest or support on that idea from your fellow coworkers. Were the vast majority of the employees at Evergreen nearing the age of retirement? An ESOP may have allowed you to control more of your destiny, though it may be a long term struggle due to the current world financial situation and global prices of marketable pulp.

As you are acutely aware Richard, the U.S. domestic pulp and paper industry has taken quite a hit as more of these products are being produced overseas at wages paid at a fraction of than what is paid to both workers and management here in the states. Our government has not appeared at this point, to have an issue with this practice, even as local tax revenue bases have dried up in many various U.S. communities being affected by such plant closures. Though now, hence the struggle or inability of current government to pay for even the basic of public services because of loss of tax revenues. Go figure.

Where are you at in regard to receiving the 60 day WARN wages owed? Is the AWPPW pursuing action to obtain them on your behalf and that of your fellow former coworkers or are you all on your own? Who was the complaint filed with? Hope that you are able receive them.

Babushka said...

Richard, go back to the JobMarket at least once more and make sure you are signed up for CALJOBS. They'll give you a password etc. THen you can check all the job listings of which the EDD is aware from your home computer, in every county .The Job Market or one-stop houses the EDD and some other agencies like Senior Employment (if they're still around),ETD and Rehab. I think you should forward your original post to Emelia,the manager down there. Or give her a copy. SHe needs to know this.

samoasoftball said...

Thanks for the comments. Both negative and positive.

I will say that I may have went in there with a negative attitude. From the stories I heard.

No, I didn't rob Big Louie's delivery guy.

The Pulp Market was good until about a year ago.

The majority of Evergreen workers are not interested in an ESOP. Personally I think it would be a good idea.

AWPPW representatives and lawyers are filing charges on behalf of local workers.

Myself? I could leave the area and go back to work as an union organizer. I turned down a job for nearly $80,000 a few years ago to stay closer to Humboldt County. But I really like my job and the people I work with at Evergreen. I am holding out hope. And I am going through the process of starting another small business locally. (Robin and I own a small business called Samoa Athletics. We hold sporting events.)

Anonymous said...


Have you heard anything back yet from your local, state or federal elected representatives on their opinion about the mill's future, or do they even care whether or not that it ever reopens again?

Also, is your community receptive to hiring older middle aged prospective employees (in other words: The 45/65 Club) or do they tend to hire the 20 to 30 year olds instead?

Anonymous said...

This was a pretty good thread and then along comes Anon 10:27 with a stupid post that attacks someone not part of the discussion. Richard, you should remove such posts, and then you can delete this one complaining about it as well.

Anonymous said...


Just curious,

What would you say is the average or median age of your Evergreen group? Are most close to retirement age?

samoasoftball said...

10:45am-No. Have not heard back from anyone of our local, state or federal officials. Except Mark Lovelace, but he has not taken office yet. Our community seems to have a diverse workforce age wise.

12:34pm-I think I am number 44 out of 165 workers and I am over 50 and been there nearly 30 years. So yes, we have an older workforce. New hires have been a mix of older and younger. In my department we have 1 person over 60, 6 over 50, 1in their 40's, 3 each in 30's and 20's.

Anonymous said...

I'm the the 11:19 comment...Lost Jobs...that's
what this is your
eyes...And I would not be at
all suprised if Calif Redwoods
legal action aganist Evergreen
has nothing to do with the money
they are owed but more with the
parent companies desire to shut
Everygreen down for good..Remember
who really owns Calif Redwood..

Anonymous said...

Richard some of these posts just literly make me MAD. How dare some of these people put comments on like they do. I know you took your job seriously, just as I did, and yes, I was "just a waitress", but loved it, like you enjoyed your work at Evergreen. People need to realize when one choose's their profession, no matter how old or how much education it took to get that job, that is what you wanted to "be". Please people, have a heart. Loosing a job that you want to have is just like a death or divorce. It is not easy. And NO ONE can say how long it will take to get over. Hec, I've been without my "dreamjob" since Feb. o8 and yes, I still tear up. I miss my customers/friends more than anything. Yes, even more than the paycheck every two weeks.

samoasoftball said...

7:11pm-Who are all the anti-business zealots that I have supported personally?

Why are you saying that I support EPIC, Baykeepers, Earth First and NEC when you have no evidence of such, and they would flat out deny of such?

I am an elected member of the HCDCC.

You are whacko gutless anonymous wiener. Probably can't sleep at night because of your wienerhood.

7:59pm-Yes. You can relate to loving your job and the people you work with. If the mill does not start back up, we all will have the same feelings you have had.

It is not all about the paycheck!

Anonymous said...

10:27 and then 1:25 - I saw some comment about "left wing wackos"...and then a throwaway comment about Larry Glass that had nothing to do with the debate.

In your second post you make a lot of sense. Write that way all the time and your comments will have more credibility.

Rambo said...

I ddddont think he could ever get his credivility back from me. I aint sure he ever had any.

Anonymous said...

This thread is dead. Try another. How about those Warriors.

samoasoftball said...

Wow! Don't look at my blog and look what happens. Will the juveniles just leave this blog alone?

Rambo said...

Rich, you need a way for commentators to have accountibilty. Maybe allow anons but have them register before they can or something like that. Almost every juvinile one comes from a anon.

Not A Native said...

Personally I'm against absolute censorship on blogs. If you see a comment thats offensive, before responding to it first ask yourself, "Do I think the poster is capable of understanding my response and considering it?"

If you post because you're "angry" and want to "get back" at a commenter, you're just continuing to brawl and as "guilty" as the original offensive poster of creating a hostile pointless thread. Do you really want to do that?

Part of blogging, IMHO is seeing things I don't like or find really offensive. If I can't do that without getting angry then I should take up another passtime.

And just sometimes, reading something I don't like is a way to know what people who I might never encounter or choose to meet, are thinking. And I think that is what has made blogs so popular.

The blog has a manager and Richard can decide if a post is so offensive it should be deleted. Of course if Richard gets into an angry exchange, then shame on him and his blog popularity will decline.

Rambo said...

Native, I totally agree. But I also believe that you should not be able to flame or post stupid comments to start a flame behind the shadow of anonominity. Any blog I respond to if I am going to disagree or flame some one I try to grow a set and at least use a nick that I am known by. One of the reasons I use Rambo is more people in eureka know by by that rather than my real name, but I am also not afraiod to use that either.

Anonymous said...

Richard, it seems that you are going to screen out the comments
and remove the ones you dont like
just because you got a bunch of
whiners who read your blog and only
want to hear their side of the
story...typical..this blog loses
more credibility every day!!

Anonymous said...

You talk big Richard but lets hear you say flat out that baykeepers is a job killing self promoting scam.

samoasoftball said...

10:14pm-Not tell you identify yourself. And you won't.

I have culled comments at my will. When it comes to my eating habits, poop or urine comments, I just sometimes have enough.

I have not completely censored my blog, but I have at times had to just eliminate some of the bad taste comments.

Anonymous said...

Hey, how about those 49ers!

Anonymous said...

the question was/ do you renounce baykeeper

Anonymous said...

the question was/ do you renounce baykeeper

Anonymous said...

Not only is Bay Keepeers
self promoting...but hey,
check out that nice new
boat the have down at the
new marina..that thing is
close to $50K...

Anonymous said...

Me thinkest poor Richard suffers from HCDCC brown noseiun an afflection much like bubblegumities. They will use you but they will never let you in Richard and all the while you help them kill jobs,hope and community.