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Old 02-25-2013, 11:55 AM
 
2 posts, read 21,331 times
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I fit the physical requirements clean back ground and i can pass a drug screen...
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Old 06-11-2013, 10:38 PM
 
Location: Interior alaska
6,381 posts, read 11,031,396 times
Reputation: 3432
Quote:
Originally Posted by freezengirl View Post
Maybe someone else will remember from last year-there was a wonderful post with a lengthy essay/letter from a young man that worked one of the seasonal cannery jobs. It would be great if we could repost the link.

This is it...

Quote:
Originally Posted by wwwhitcomb View Post
I just wrote this essay : I hope it helps
William Whitcomb
Eng 3313-Dr. Sornberger

Alaskan Greenhorn Butterfly

The small plane bobbed and bumped through the gusty turbulents. The thirteen passengers listened to the pilot’s muffled story of a gold filled plane lying somewhere below. The flight to Dillingham, Alaska from Kenai, Alaska is about forty minutes. There is no extra charge for the amazing views of the two volcanoes perched forebodingly on the shores of the Cook Inlet, far below. Mt. Iliamna and Mt. Redoubt both rise far above the hundreds of surrounding peaks. Their white snow covered rock faces help enforce the pilot’s claim, “Nobody will ever find that gold!” I thought to myself, “If finding gold was easy, everyone would be doing it.” My dad would have said something like that and recently his words of wisdom had come in handy. I had arrived five weeks earlier, with a one hundred and thirty five pound back pack, fifty dollars and boat load of starry eyed naivety. The back pack was fifty five pounds lighter. I was twenty pounds lighter. My wallet was empty for weeks until just hours before departure. My journey to Alaska was both physically and psychologically demanding. My naivety was my saving grace. I had not considered how the nature of the work would affect me. How the relentless rain would be an enemy. How the machismo hardness of the people turned everything into a competition. How Joe DiMaggio became a legend and why Hemmingway’s old man could not let go of the fish. The pain should have been considered. Without naivety I would never had taken the journey.
Everyone on board was anxious and excited. I was absolutely busting at the seams because the real work had finally come. I needed about $5,000 to fund my cross-country trip. The salmon were running. To everyone on board that meant red gold! Naively, nobody on seemed to doubt their ability to handle the sixteen to twenty hour work days ahead of them. The plant runs around the clock for almost five weeks producing, fresh, frozen, and packaged salmon. The salmon roe is handled separately almost secretively in another building. Every job is very repetitive and requires standing all day. Some jobs are worse than others. Some people will get a bed in a bunk house. Others will continue as before living in tents. I heard a rumor that the bunk houses were full. I’ve found rumors in Alaska are usually true. Like no other place I’d ever been the people do not fluff or distort any information they share. For this reason I have no hopes of getting a bed. The one good thing people say about the facility is that “the food is good.” They serve an all-you-can-eat buffet every six hours that can rival an Old Country Buffet. I later learned they don’t do this for the employees so much as for the fisherman. The fisherman can bring their catch to any number of local fisheries, but they seem to like Dragnets food the best. The only other amenity available was free weekly laundry. The only transportation offered by the company was a ride to and from the airport. The cost of the flight is dependent on completing the work contract. Early departure is paid personally. I would soon find out signing a work contract is like signing up for slavery. Instead of a whip it’s the expensive plane flight they hold over your head. In addition; if you break your contract then the meals cost ten dollars each and the weekly laundry service is twenty dollars. The rules were easy to follow; show up on time and do as you are told or be fired. No excuses. In my naivety I had not considered before signing my contract that being sick or hurt were grounds for termination.
The Dillingham airport can best be described as a poorly maintained strip of road with an old garage. There are a total of twenty miles of paved road in the town of Dillingham. The only way in or out is by boat or plane. Upon entering the terminal I noticed a group of people waiting to leave. Apparently, we were not just new workers, we were replacements! The people waiting were all wrapped in bandages. Arms, hands and some legs, they looked like poorly made mummies. Unlike our group there was no smiling or excitement. These people had been broken down by the work which had only begun three days before. For the first time I began to doubt whether or not I would be able to complete my contract. From the main entrance I hear a man say “Dragnet Employees! Load up! Let’s go people! We don’t have all day. Your shift starts in three hours!” Only one of the zombies reacted, I heard him say “good luck” under his breath. We piled into the van outside and within minutes we were pulling up to the plant. There was almost complete silence during the ride. People were obviously paying attention to remember their way back to town. There is something comical about a group of people who have simultaneously realized “the ****” has indeed hit the fan. This point was driven home when the guy next to me said “You know, if you don’t last three days, you will owe them money.” I replied, “I don’t want to think like that. I’ll be on the last plane out. I need this money.” My naivety had me at a disadvantage. The five weeks of Salmon season would prove to be the most physically demanding as well as psychologically demanding time of my life.
Immediately we were informed there was no available housing and tent city was behind the mess hall. I had two hours to set-up, eat dinner, and clock in. In the previous five weeks I had become proficient at setting up my tent. I may go so far as to say skillful. In my naivety I thought unfolding a tent, putting in the poles and nailing in stakes was fairly straight forward. Like so many simple processes there is actually quite a bit that can go wrong. I put what I had learned to action and set out to find some pallets and card board boxes. The pallets get you off the cold and wet ground. The card board softens the wood planks while bridging the gaps between them. There is no need for stakes. I suggest tying the tent to the pallets with rope. When using stakes one should pile about thirty rocks on each one. Tundra does not hold stakes well. Finally put a tarp over the tent and tie it to the pallets in such a way as to keep it all very tight. It was only an hour later while eating my first meal and looking out at the bay when I noticed a tent rolling along the beach toward the water at about thirty miles per hour. “Oh ****! My Tent” a man yelled. The room erupted with laughter. I never appreciated how the saying “misery loves company” portrayed the human race. I’ll admit I did not feel bad for him that his tent had blown away. I felt good that it was not mine. Although I was not laughing, I too was enjoying the company.
Work was horrible. The line could never move fast enough for management. I made it through the day and that was an accomplishment. The mental abuse was severe. Armed only with my wise cracking New York attitude; I was able to defend myself in such a way as not to invite further attacks. I was naive to think the work would only be physically demanding. I had eight hours before I had to be back to work. When I returned to my tent I found it standing strong. It had been raining for the last eight hours but inside it was dry. I zipped myself into my cocoon like sleeping bag. I fell asleep almost instantly. In my exhaustion I forgot to set my wind up alarm clock. I was awoken by a voice “Whitcomb! Are you trying to buy your flight home? Your shift started ten minutes ago!” I grunted something and heard him walk away. As I tried to figure out where I was and what had happened to me, I could only focus on the pain. I could not move my arms or fingers. The pain was similar to an arm “falling asleep” but incredibly worse. I tried to get out of my sleeping bag, it was nearly impossible. I turned over on my belly got to my knees and wiggled half way out of it. There I sat in the middle of the tent half in and half out of my sleeping bag, I almost started to cry. From outside I heard, “Whitcomb you have ten minutes to be on that line!” Somehow I found the dexterity to unzip the tent and practically fell out. I started kicking frantically at the sleeping bag to release me. I managed to get my boots and socks on but it must have taken five minutes. My new arms did not work like they used to. When I got to the line I was sore, hungry and demoralized. The supervisor immediately said, “Whitcomb, what took you so long?” I replied, “I couldn’t find my arms!” The line erupted with laughter.
The pain went on every day. Feeling would return to the arms and fingers shortly after work begun. The morning pain was unbearable at times but it was endured. It never did stop raining. My tent eventually succumbed to the elements and I found it shredded one day in a heap on the pallets. It was actually a blessing because they moved me into a bunk house that night. In the end I touched five million salmon; some of their relentless determination must have rubbed off on me. People continued to come and go. Some people got fired some just quit. I was naïve about so many things. Without it I would never had known the feeling of being on the last plane home. It has made all the difference.
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Old 02-10-2014, 04:49 PM
 
1 posts, read 2,856 times
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I live in san diego California ,Recruiters from Alaska often come down to San Diego as well as other nearby cities.
To the guy in Indiana I say for you to look on line to see what cities they will be going to,or better yet you can call them.
type in seafood processor Alaska,and several companies will pop up with address and phone number.I spoke to a recruiter
over the phone and she was very helpful.Another option you have is to go to seattle Washington and you will find all these
seafood processor companies in the same general area and you can set up appointments for interviews,they will interview
you,keep in mind that there is about 3 different seasons,you maybe to late for the winter season but you fine for the summer season.You can pick and choose what season you want to work.I recommend you work as many seasons as you can,in order to build hours and make more money for your self.I wish you the best of luck.If you have more questions or need help with anything you can e-mail me or call me. my e-mail is [email]mctererichard@yahoo.com[/email] 619-322-5802


Richard.
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Old 05-11-2014, 08:38 PM
 
4 posts, read 10,200 times
Reputation: 16
Question Getting ready to go

So on Tues the 13th of May I am leaving for anchorage to work at Great Pacific Seafoods as a fish processor. Anyone ever worked there. I am being told the flight $225 bucks (i think) will be deducted from my first paycheck. On my final paycheck I will be reimbursed for a round trip ticket on my final paycheck at the end of the season as long as I complete the season. May 15 to the beginning of Sept or end of Aug is the length. The guy has told me I dont need any gear they will be deducted from my check. I know things there are expensive so I bought my own rain suit here and rubber boots less than 30 bucks combined. I was told that I would work 7 days a week for 18 hours a day. This only leaves 6 hours for sleep if you just dropped in place and fell asleep right where you stood. I figure after calling home, showering, and eating you might have 4-5 hours to sleep. This isnt everyday I suspect or at least hope. I was told I can expect to have 15K saved at the end. I know that isnt a lot of money but I need a way to save this money to get my life together so I am going to do it. I was just curious if anyone knew what the final saved amount of money can be? What do the paychecks look like. I will be working in Whittier.
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Old 05-11-2014, 08:40 PM
 
4 posts, read 10,200 times
Reputation: 16
Also at the end of season could I find a north slope job I heard thsoe pay extremely well.
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Old 05-18-2014, 12:38 PM
 
4 posts, read 10,200 times
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So I am here I missed the original flight and I arrived saturday a little after 12am. I am staying at a Hostile called the Bent Prop Inn which is okay I guess. 8 man bunks but there is only one guy in here. People are kinda strange and so is this place. Everything is expensive here thank god I came with some money its 9.00 for cigs here and if you come with no money you better be going stright to the camp or yuo will be miserable. I miss my family something terrible and it constantly bothers me. Its Sunday here and ill be in whittier tomorrow. God I hope I make money cause this isnt worth it. The pain you feel in your heart from missing your loved ones is to much for me i guess I am just weak minded. I did score some reefer but it wasnt easy but it was fantastic stuff. I wish i wasnt so upset about being seperated from my lady.
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Old 05-18-2014, 09:44 PM
 
Location: Alaska
185 posts, read 138,466 times
Reputation: 303
I've never worked in Dillingham but I have worked in a processing plant elsewhere in AK. The plant that I worked in was relatively small and owned by the fisherman who was catching all of our fish. So, my experience may be different than working for a big plant. We did not get minimum wage but we did get $150/day unless we worked over 12hrs and then our wage bumped up to accommodate the 13+ hour days. All of the employees were contractors, and therefore signed a contract stating our wage in writing. The longest shift I worked was a full 24hrs. This was unusual but I also did some of the companies buying/selling so I often pulled double duty. It wasn't unusual to work 12+ hours though and the work was tough. As for the bears…I assume they are around because they are everywhere in the state. Fish guts kind of make you a prime target. Haha. Just be smart and you'll be alright though. Hope that helps!
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Old 06-18-2014, 01:51 PM
 
4 posts, read 10,200 times
Reputation: 16
Default crazy

So i finally after 4 days was sent to work for Great Pacific Seafoods in Whittier AK. Its horrible stay very far away from this place. The bunkhouse is ran down one morning I walked through **** and the bathrooms are so nasty. I have been there 5 weeks without pay. The working conditions are ok but the people are very clicky and its very much like high school. All the 2nd year people live in much nicer housing. There is no stove or anything at all provided at the bunkhouse. I was forced to quit becasue I was sick and there was no ride back to anchorage and no time to figure things out at all they just threw all my stuff out of the bunkhouse. The only food provided was stuff like hot pockets burritos and corndogs and those are deducted from the check we still havent received. Everytime payday comes they push it back and force us to eat more crap and take 50 dollar withdrawals. At the plant you will be cold and wet and may even lay in 2 inches of fish guts cleaning the machines when its all over. Never do clean up crew as it is a living hell. I came back to anchorage and i have no money or way home to missouri but after a few attempts I landed a job hopefully running a set net out of graves point near Naknek. My suggestions so far would be pay for your own flight up here. Bring an electric griddle or hot plate even though theyre arent alllowed no one will tell on you. Bring MONEY as much as you can. Do not speak up about the working conditions or the terrible food or you will be ousted. STAY AWAY FROM WHITTIER. Everyone there is just trying to get something from you and when you need something therer wont be anyone to help you.
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Old 06-18-2014, 06:15 PM
 
Location: Wasilla, AK
2,366 posts, read 3,332,434 times
Reputation: 1644
Sorry it didn't work out...
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Old 06-18-2014, 08:51 PM
 
Location: Naptowne, Alaska
15,567 posts, read 32,365,094 times
Reputation: 14492
Quote:
Originally Posted by cliffordstephens View Post
STAY AWAY FROM WHITTIER. Everyone there is just trying to get something from you and when you need something therer wont be anyone to help you.
You might do better around Kenai. There is actually a tent community in the summer months next to the one cannery on the bridge access road. I used to work 16 to 18 hour days, drop dead from exhaustion, then get up and do it all over again. But our working conditions were never that bad and they had a decent break room to eat in. I was fortunate enough to have a windowless van to sleep in so could make quick trips to the grocery store for snacks and lunch material.
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