The state of our industry

Discussion in 'Wireless Estimator Site Discussions' started by Randall Cone, May 1, 2014.

  1. Randall Cone

    Randall Cone Friend of the Community

    As the guy in charge of Recruiting and Talent acquisitions, I see both sides of the coin, the extraordinary professionalism of some but the outright dangerous stupidity of others that climb towers for a living.

    It seems that there is a majority held opinion that your average tower climber is going to have a criminal record and a substance abuse issue. If you follow social media at all, you will find that opinion to be pervasive. The running joke is “If a tower hand says he has six years’ experience and no criminal record…..he’s lying about his experience”.

    Is this industry cursed? Will there always be a drug and alcohol abuse culture as so many insist?

    It is no secret that Blue Stream has an extremely strict back ground and drug policy, some say the most stringent in the industry. I have personally turned away many highly experienced and by all accounts, talented candidates because of criminal records and failed drug screens.

    Does the future of this business stand with the continuation of this kind of policy or should all such hopes be abandoned?

    I welcome your opinion.

    Randall Cone

    Manager, Talent Acquisitions and Recruiting

    BlueStream Professional Services

  2. Janfree

    Janfree Industry Observer

    Substance abuse in our industry is an interesting topic.

    I’m not sure that the tower climbing profession has a more severe substance abuse problem than any other industry.

    Well, since I’m flying out to the PCIA show this month and want my pilot to be as sober as a church mouse, let me rephrase that: “Than any other profession such as wildcatters, iron workers, fracking workers and other businesses that require their workers to oftentimes be on the road.”

    I applaud Bluestream’s policy of zero tolerance. It has to be that way to send a message.

    I don’t know if you do any work in Colorado, but how are you going to handle a positive result for marijuana in that state? It might be your company’s policy to get rid of someone for having it in their system, but would the legal system stand behind you?

    After all, it is legal there and if you could not show that it affected your worker’s ability to do his job safely are there any legal pitfalls that your company might be exposed to? In reality aren’t you firing a worker who is clearly going to say that he wasn’t affected by it and you have no right to let him go because of something he does in the confines of his home on the weekend?
  3. Randall Cone

    Randall Cone Friend of the Community

  4. Janfree

    Janfree Industry Observer

    Thank you. Good article. It will be interesting to see if Colorado's Supreme Court will review the Court of Appeals decision.
    Most companies have a zero tolerance policy, but I always wonder how many of them would be willing to do a state or nationwide unannounced drug test of every one in their company. Would they be willing to accept that possibly 10% or more of the workforce would be gone the next day?
  5. Motsu

    Motsu First Time Poster

    I worked for a company out in Oregon for almost a year. In the beginning I was promoted to a foreman later on the Gm hired a new guy who thought it was okay to roll up joints in the work truck and smoke on site. Well I wasn't going to stand for it so I brought it up to the Gm and the safety coordinator took them 3 months to fire him. Later they hired another guy on my crew who had a pill problem was late to work would get his girl to come to where we were and pick him up before the job was done, meaning walking off the job site. Took the Gm another 3 months to git rid of this guy. They push me out of the market to hire a local guy so they didn't have to pay him per diem I transferred back to my home market come to find out I was going to be a floater for people who went on break/ rotation. I tell the Gm that's not what I came back here for or was sent he for. So they send me to a third market installing microwaves and talked about me running a crew mean while I find out the guys im working with all smoke weed and other drugs as well as carry fire arms in the work truck and use the cell sites for shooting ranges. I tell the Gm and the safety coordinator in my home market and they blow it off. I soon would be let go for late time cards. Now your going to tell me you would rather have some weed smoking gun Totten people running your crews and representatives working for you over a late time card? What's the deal with that and what steps can I take because telling Gm's and safety coordinators doesn't work.
  6. Paul Russell

    Paul Russell Frequent Poster

    Please don't throw all of us in with some of the climbers you see on facebook. It's not a representation of the many thousands of people in this business who are proud of the job that they do and do it well and don't have to post how well they do it. These are the alpha males with low self esteem. It's interesting to note that this industry is the ONLY industry where you have maybe a dozen large groups....some as high as 4000 members...that feel the need to strut their stuff. Seriously. Search under iron workers, loggers or any other dangerous job and you will not find the type of nonsense on facebook that you find in our industry.
  7. Walnut

    Walnut First Time Poster

    I like the idea of this industry transitioning into a well rounded and professional career field. That being said there are some serious issues that do need to be addressed.

    I see the drugs, crime, alcohol problems in the industry for sure. More than anything though I'm wondering where the crews are that are consistently moving quick, safe, and doing high quality work? I do more than double my top hands production on a daily basis. He plays with his phone on the tower for most of the day, rarely does anything at all and then tries to claim credit for all the work when we get down. Yet, he's a top hand and makes more money because "I'm liked in this company."

    I don't have anything against the guys that have criminal backgrounds. If you smoke pot or drink after work it doesn't bother me. All that I care about is if you're on time, safe, and ready to actually work a ten hour day. Where are those guys and what companies are they working for? The organizations that start to acknowledge life experience and education over being a good old boy will quickly excel into the future if you ask me.

    Thoughts?

  8. tkeppler

    tkeppler Friend of the Community

    You are reading more into the legality of marijuana than you need to. It is already established that you can't test positive for alcohol while working, so marijuana won't be any different. Of course it is different in the sense that it is out of your system in hours and not days or weeks. But, if it is in the system, you will definitely be terminated from a company with zero tolerance policy.
  9. Meatball

    Meatball First Time Poster


    Personally I think these companies need to actually follow through with there 3 month evaluation policies, they all have them but I have only worked for 1 company out of 4 in my six years of telecomunications work. I would have stuck with the first company if the compensation was in accordance with the actually knowledge I obtained in my 4 years dedication to them. It took me a year of jumping from 1 failure to another to find a company that I find to have some potential. I think the saying that shit roles down hill could not apply any more accurately to our trade. The companies I was with were not fails on my behalf, they were legit amity failures on the behalf of manegment!

    1 thing that needs to end is the conflict of interest! I see owners bring in there friends and wives and college educated idiots to do positions that frankly they are not qualified for! This is not a trade that you can take a person from anywhere and bypass the actually experiance obtained in the field and give them a management title.

    I think a person can look very good on paper and be the polar opposite in the field and it is a crap shoot but if you have some guys that are honest and hardworking and you allow them to review any new employees including manegment you can narrow down there responses to evaluate the new employee and determine weather or not they are qualified or even worthy to continue past there probationary period. The problem is that a lot of people are not qualified and the carriers don't understand how tough it is to find good workers. I know that if a company turns work down the carriers frown on that contractor which they should not do! This puts the contractor in a bad spot and makes them desperate to just throw bodies at jobs hence we end up with safety issues and incorrectly built sites. Let's face it it's still not a industry you can just put on the average person! If anything it has become much more technical but the pay has not kept up with the technical aspects of the job so it's a role of the dice with any unestablished company looking to do well.

    There is a lot more I can say but I have a night cut to go do, without hazard pay in a 5 hr maintenance window. But I love my job!

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