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Tar ball pick'en, good pay, jobs hard to find, getting paid even harder

By Dian Vujovich

It seems as though the personal stories about the horrible oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico and the financial ruin it has caused literally tens of thousands of folks goes on and on. Then there are the stories about cleanup like those beach jobs, for instance. You know, the ones where folks come in to rake and pickup tar balls. The pay is pretty good, from the teens to $22 an hour for intermediate level positions and well over 30 bucks for those at the high managerial end.

Another goodie is that an hour isn’t an hour, it’s 15 minutes. According to a friend who recently completed a three-day training course on tar ball picking in the Keys, that 15-minue hour is because of OSHA rulings. The thinking is with people dressed in those space-looking outfits and the temps so high, anything more than 15 minutes could be detrimental to one’s health. There’s sure some truth to that.

But wait, there’s more.

The class my friend took was presented by P2S, (Plant Performance Services), a company hired by BP to train people about the how-to’s of tar cleanup should oil hit the Keys and cleanup be needed. Each three-day session was long lasting between 11-12 hours. But hey, the pay was at the rate of the level you were hired for. So, not bad for sitting around listening.

Payment for the training was to be directly deposited into the bank accounts of those requesting that type of payment. Pay day was last Friday. Problem is— that didn’t happen. On Monday, no check in her account either. Tuesday, same thing.

After frantically trying to find out where her paycheck was, my friend heard that old familiar line, “It’s in the mail.”

I’ll let you know when it arrives.

Those interested in finding out more about oil cleanup jobs, (the jobs in the Keys were available through Workforce), the State of Florida’s Web site, Florida Gulf Recovery Jobs, lists opportunities and reports that the average pay is $20 an hour. Visit that site at: http://www.floridagulfrecoveryjobs.com . Or contact your local Workforce job center.

Getting any of these jobs requires filling out an app, taking a urine-sample drug test, sitting through paid training sessions and then waiting—for both your check and the tar balls to show up.

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