Pattye Benson

Community Matters

Need Jobs Now!

What’s the saying, ‘a picture is worth a thousand words’?

As I drove along Swedesford Road to Wegmans a few days ago, I actually did a u-turn in the middle of the road … not quite believing what I saw. In the median strip on Swedesford Road in the shadow of the Great Valley Corporate Center and its mega-commercial buildings, were these two gentlemen holding ‘need help’ signs. I stopped the car to chat with them – both were out-of-work, one for 2-1/2 years, the other for 18 months. One was a union carpenter but explained that his local union had no work for him and he was managing by living off odd jobs. The other man, a veteran, explained that he had lost his family and his house since losing his job.

They said they generally came to this location in the morning during the work week, hoping that someone would offer them a job (even a few hours of work) or donate food or money. As if on cue, a well-dressed young may stopped his car and came over to us – giving each man a bag of food from a local carry-out. Aside from a polite thank you, no other words were exchanged, leaving me with the impression that this was not the first time this young man stopped to offer the men lunch.

I asked why did they choose this particular location and they said they thought it was important to serve as a reminder to the local corporate center workers, that they themselves were but ‘one paycheck away from a similar situation’. I asked them who they blamed — their response, “the government” … adding that “nobody cares”.

This photo serves as a reminder that unemployment and the job crisis is no longer ‘somewhere else’ — it’s right here in our backyard — Pennsylvania … Chester County … Tredyffrin Township! In the coming months between now and November, I want to hear some real ideas about how to get people back to work in this country. And that includes jobs for people in Chester County.




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  1. These guys need to get a job at a Wegman’s or a McDonald’s. I’m sick and tired of people trying to get their old paychecks back. You have to start from the bottom and work their way back up the ladder. I did it. Why can’t they. I know a man that was making 125K and was laid off and got a job making 25K a year. He is now back to making a decent paychek. Employers don’t want the unemployed.

  2. I am working part-time at the new Wegman’s and so far training (at the Malvern store) and preparing the new store has been a lot of fun. They treat their employees really well, and its a cool atmosphere. They don’t pay great at first $8-10 an hour but there is a lot of room to advance.

    They should definitely apply

  3. Indeed very sad. I wonder about the man who lost his “family”.. Where are the extended families, who in the old days looked after each other instead of the state doing it, and not doing a very good job at it either? We have lost more than the economy here. And the big economic picture doesn’t seem to be getting better, with the producers being stigmatized and pilloried by the government (feds) and an administration that doesn’t seem to see that private enterprise is failing under their aegis. If I see these guys I will be sure to give them food, but better that someone give them a job so they can buy their own. What went wrong…

  4. If they want jobs, the signs should say that. I need work done around my house — and would be happy to hire a union carpenter. Have you driven downtown lately? The amount of construction is amazing.
    Good question between now and November, but the more we turn to Government for solutions, the less we will ever have control of our own future. It’s the government’s failure to accomplish much of anything for the past decade (except wage wars) that has been part of the problem. And yes — Helpful Informant — we need to think about earning a wage, not getting back the paycheck. It’s the same with selling houses. The extremely robust market was the fake — not the declined market now. Houses that cost $50,000 in 1960 are not worth $850,000 today just because….reality check.

  5. Instead of standing in the street begging for donations, perhaps they could be looking for a job. I’m a Democrat, and even I’m disgusted looking at that picture. How did we become a nation of whiners, anyway?

  6. how did we become a nation of whiners? That is a good and complex quesstion. Seems to me if these gents had a family support system, they could be sustained to some degree to buy time to look for a job. But arent’ jobs hard to come by? How many people can Wegmans employ? One is union carpenter.. but he does odd jobs? Get aggressive with sending out flyers…hit mailboxes with them.. the other guy doesn’t say what his skill is. I think sometimes when you feel you are desperate, you lose the ability to think straight. Depression sets in and normal functioning is out the window.

    Spiral down. Where are there extended families to lend support?

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