Monday, February 27, 2012

6 QUESTIONS FOR AN ALASKAN CANNERY WORKER


Brian is a sophomore at a big university. Doing biz undergrad. Unfortunately, big school means ridiculous tuition bills. And working at the Bean Coffee Hut during the year doesn’t even begin cover costs. So this past summer Bri packed a duffle and headed up north – way north to Bristol Bay. He worked in a Salmon cannery. Here are his six questions.
How long were you up there for?
The cannery’s main season is from mid June to around late August. So yeah, I pretty much spent the entire summer up there.


So what did you do?
I was on the slime line. I had the glorious task of pulling guts and egg sacs from the salmon coming down the conveyor belt.


How much did you make per hour?
$7.22 was my regular rate. One and a half times that for any overtime I put in, which was usual for me.


So where did you live?
The company owns bunkhouses. Each one holds about 50 people. The cost is about 5 bucks a day to stay.


What were the bunkhouses like?
Decent. They got the basics. Beds, showers, bathrooms, mini-kitchen and a laundry machine. As far as fun stuff, there was a rec. room with a TV and DVD player. Played a lot of cards. Though most of the time we slept.


What’d you do about food?
They served 3 meals a day. Lunch is free. Breakfast and dinner each cost about 4 bucks. Though thanks to the constant fishy smell I didn't have my usual big appetite.

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19 comments:

  1. It doesn't sound too bad actually.

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  2. It could be worse. At least a job, no matter how small, is still a job.

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  3. Interesting answers man, like everyone else is saying it definitely doesn't sound like that bad a job one bit.

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  4. That does sound reasonably good.

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  5. It's doable and something to say you did...once!

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  6. I suppose the advantage of being isolated and in a bunkhouse means you can save all your wages above your daily living expenses.

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  7. I'd work in a factory if all of my expenses were thirteen bucks a day for a whole season. The fish smell would give me very odd dreams, for sure.

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  8. I've known quite a few people who do the salmon runs, canneries, and alaskan factories and yeah the money can get pretty good considering the hours you can snag and the fact that you're not spending tons on gas to get to work - you're already there.

    Still seems like something of a racket to me though.

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  9. I imagine that's a job you wouldn't want to do for more than a couple months!

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  10. Someone's got to do it!! They should send prisoners up to do that job!

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  11. Hard to do that kind of job...

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  12. I was actually going to this a few summers ago. I thought it would be fun. My idea of fun depresses people.

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  13. Sounds like it would cost you everything you made just to travel there and back...what was the final take after expenses??

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  14. Did they serve salmon for every meal?

    Love,
    Janie Junebug, who is now on twitter and wants to be followed

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  15. Not for me! Especially the part where you have to give the company 2 hours worth of pay back, to live and eat there...

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  16. Great information!

    I bet that gutting salmon gets old rather quickly.

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  17. When was this? Isn't Alaskan minimum wage $7.75/hr? Though I guess this is more for the experience than money.

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