It's easy to see your point zz4gta, and there in lies the problem. If a yard wants good workers, then they need to pay good wages.
What are good wages? Yard owners probably don't think about how much their workers need in order to have a 'decent life', probably they only think about what is the going rate among other yards so they can remain competitive. So if yard A is paying substandard wages and getting the work, it kind of forces yard B to follow suit. Yard B has to say to itself "we're not going to do business that way. We're going to do top notch work, pay our workers a decent wage, and if we don't get all the work because of how much we charge, then so be it! But the work we do get will be good work, and the work that we produce will be good work. We want to be known as a good yard, to have your boat worked on by good workers that like what they do."
To my way of thinking, yard owners have a responsibility to their workers to make sure they have work for them 5 days a week (which can be hard to do sometimes), and the workers have a responsibility to the yard owner to be available 5 days a week...and do good work 5 days a week. Yard owners also need to provide on going training and proper supervision to their workers, and this applies to all business owners that want good workers. Workers need to take advantage of that on going training, so they can produce a better product. Yard owners need to take an interest in their workers, trying to help better their workers lives. Workers need to show loyalty to the owners that are trying to help them, and not drag a job out unnecessarily, or steal from the owner. Once a yard and the workers get to this point, then they have a Team. Now that they have a Team, they can start talking wages. Good wages are something a man (or woman) can take to the bank, and good wages instill pride and loyalty. Good wages are not $10 or $15.00 an hour, good and decent wages for a person working with their hands is $25 to $31.00 per hour. If a yard really wants good workers, then set up medical and profit share for them too...now we can start to justify a yard charging $85.00 or more an hour...now as customers we don't mind being charged that high price...except for people like my cheap ass dad that would still go to yard A (rest in peace).
There is one problem connected to this discussion though, and it is no matter how much you try to help someone (a worker, a boss, or a client), there will always be people that think that you're trying to screw them.
Jiff, Being a relatively small rigging business, I may be talking apples and oranges but personally, I do think about what people need to have a decent life. I can tell you that if my life is any more decent than anyone who has worked for me, it's because of personal decisions, it's not because of how much I pay them.
You can't imagine how much I wish I could pay people more or offer better health insurance and all the other things that make for a decent life.
For my little company, the money is not there.
Why? It's a vicious cycle.
If you don't grow, you can't make a lot of money. If you don't make enough money you can't attract or keep qualified people.If you can't find qualified people, You can't grow.
We have schools pumping out truck drivers, plumbers, and many other noble and well paying occupations. Most of the skills used on and around boats aren't taught in schools. It's a whole different kind of industry.
I certainly am not attempting to defend boat-yards carte-blanc, and I have had some pretty unpleasant experiences as well. I'm just saying, most of the people in business that I know do not set out to screw their employees. On the contrary, because a good man is hard to find, often people get second and third chances that they may not deserve.
Nor do they try to screw their customers. That's just ludicrous.
I am so fortunate to work with someone who is qualified and gets along with my wife and me. He has been with us for years and makes as much as I do and more than my wife.
Wish I could clone him