Wednesday, September 8, 2010

Celebrating hard labor, one abandoned property at a time

by Kerry Curry

The Sarasota Herald-Tribune ran a Labor Day story that caught our eye about a fellow cutting the lawns of abandoned properties.
These aren’t ordinary lawns that a professional lawn-care firm can easily dispense with in 20 minutes.
No, Rob Ellis and his work partner, Mike Herbert, spent more than two hours cutting and clearing debris — and dodging rats, snakes and a wasp’s nest at an abandoned home recently, according to the Herald-Tribune — all for $20 pay from the city of North Port that will be split between the two men. After expenses, that’s about $4 per hour.
Ellis created his lawn care business after losing his job as a heavy equipment operator two years ago. He’s proud to have a steady job and an honest day’s work. But reading this story, you can’t help but feel for this guy and others like him: good workers seeing little reward as the economic malaise drags on.
The Sarasota metro area has been hard hit by the recession. Some 12% of its workers are unemployed, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, much higher than the national average of 9.6% unemployment.

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Celebrating hard labor, one abandoned property at a time

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