TV personality Mike Rowe took a progressive critic to task Monday after he bemoaned the low wages offered to blue-collar Americans who refuse to work.
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A Facebook user named Chad DeLong challenged Rowe, arguing there isn’t actually a “shortage of construction trade workers.” Instead, DeLong claimed, the wages — which he classified as “sub-par poverty” level — are unacceptable.
“There is definitely no shortage of these workers, there’s just a shortage of people willing to work for sub-par poverty wages,” DeLong wrote, according to Rowe. “That’s why these Mike Rowe types want to flood the labor market.”Alex Wong/Getty Images
In a Facebook status posted Monday, Rowe questioned DeLong’s logic, writing, “You favor words like ‘always,’ ‘definitely,’ and ‘everywhere.’ That’s fine by me. I’m curious though — have you actually been ‘everywhere?’
“Or do you only frequent places populated with unemployed construction workers who refuse to work because the pay is too low?” Rowe added.
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The 56-year-old entrepreneur continued:
Obviously, I’m aware that some people refuse to work because they believe the pay is too low. People like that exist in every industry, and the construction trades are no different.
But that doesn’t mean that low wages are the reason 6.3 million jobs are currently vacant. The fact is, starting salaries in the skilled trades rival or exceed those of many more popular careers.
Rowe then flipped the script, asking DeLong — who called the “Somebody’s Gotta Do It” host’s motives into question — what his “agenda” is.
“What is it you hope to accomplish by telling people that opportunity is dead?” Rowe asked. “In other words, what is YOUR agenda?”
Read Rowe’s full post:
Rowe pushed back hard against DeLong’s assumptions:
I’ve been to every state multiple times, spoken directly to hundreds of employers, and put my money where my mouth is. And my conclusion is this — while the work is often demanding, and the conditions sometimes inhospitable, the opportunities in the skilled trades have never been better.
The former “Dirty Jobs” host then pointed out he’s accepting applications for his work ethic scholarships.
“While this particular pile of free money is probably not for you,” Rowe wrote, “I’m happy to say that others are have benefitted greatly from applying.”