Dirty Jobs' Mike Rowe offers scholarships to aspiring trade workers

Originally published at: https://boingboing.net/2019/02/19/dirty-jobs-mike-rowe-offers.html


Oh God. He wants people to sign his Worldview Pledge? What a creepy, cultlike thing to ask of your followers. It’s important to honor all work, especially trades that are treated as menial, but this isn’t the way.



Was just about to post this. Mike Rowe is a conservative, anti-workers’-rights, piece of garbage.


I liked the gist, am all for people realizing trade work can often pay just as much if not better than white collar work, but…then i read the couple last lines of the “pledge” and remembered hes kind of a dead fish politically.

I mean its back to back.

“life isn’t fair” followed by people are equal but make “choices”

Evidently individuals need to take responsibility but society doesnt. The choices individuals make as a part of a group is just success residue you shouldn’t resent.

Keep your head down. Some off kilter agnostic gospel of prosperity crap.


As a blue collar working stiff, allow me to opine- Mike Rowe is a fraud and a tool, right up there with "Joe the Plumber ('s helper.)


Let me fix the headline for you:
Failed Opera singer and Koch stooge whose working man affectation is just as authentic as Larry the Cable Guy’s offer scholarships…


I confess to not know much about Rowe outside of the show (plus i dont watch TV much nowadays). I guess he was hired to do an ad defending Walmart and their business practices and refused to meet with workers of Walmart that had grievances against their pay and working conditions.

If he really is just a glorified corporate stooge he can go pound sand. In the linked letter they say that Rowe is on record saying that retail jobs are increasingly obsolete, having worked retail… yeah of course but that’s because corporate overlords treat workers as such for the sake of profits. Not because they are not needed.

I think blue-collar menial jobs are very important and its great that some people are willing to bring attention to them and help with education. But if Rowe isn’t willing to defend them against corporate interests them he’s just setting people up to be exploited.


The important part is the kind of “good, quiet, tame” worker that he espouses. What does he say about skilled workers when they strike? There’s where the truth will show up.


Not to mention the “hard work & ethics” based pledge begins with a point about America being #1, sets the expectation that living in a tent eating beans is an acceptable living condition, and says that a good worker puts in a lot of free hours for their employer.


Like just about everything else in the world, it’s complicated.

He has been a champion of skilled trades and the idea that one doesn’t need to go the more and more prohibitively expensive college route in order to be a productive and prosperous member of society. I think that is a good thing.

Is he espousing left wing ideals about worker solidarity and unions and the like? No. Though if he is encouraging more people to enter fields that already have strong union presences, odds are those memberships will rise as a result.


Mike Rowe is a tool. That being said, my father was right. I should have been a plumber.


That whole ‘Show up early and leave late’ thing can take a running jump frankly. Turning up to do extra work you are not being paid for is just dumb. If you want me to turn up early then you pay me for the extra hours, if you do then it’s fine, otherwise I’ll see you on time at 09:00.


Who said anything about that? Most people are hourly in those fields.


Jesus Christ, why this asshole has to take what should be an area of cooperation and broad agreement among the large majority of people in this country and graft a bunch of libertarian bullshit onto it is fucking baffling.

Case in point, #6:

“I believe that my safety is my responsibility. I understand that being in “compliance” does not necessarily mean I am out of danger.”

Why on earth does someone need to sign a pledge essentially absolving an employer of responsibility for workers’ safety? Why couldn’t he have written “I believe that I have the right to a workplace as safe as an employer can reasonably make it, and that I have the right to all the health and safety protections that the law provides. I also believe that my safety is my responsibility as well, and being in “compliance” does not necessarily mean I am out of danger.”

I think reasonable people can agree that there is a wide swath of available ground he could have chosen that didn’t have to sound like Cesar Chavez or John Stossel.


What might the pledge for employers look like?


My field of work is heavily regulated (natural gas), and obviously employees have to take on a lot of responsibility for following safe procedures. But ultimately the driver for keeping a positive safety culture lays squarely on the company, because people in the moment don’t know what they’re doing right or wrong and what they could be doing better.

Saying that safety lands squarely on a blue collar worker is a bunch of bullshit.


You’re exactly right–I mean, was it one of the dead miner’s personal responsibility to ensure that Massey had proper ventilation? Is it a slaughterhouse employee’s responsibility to make sure there is proper drainage on the floor so it doesn’t become dangerously slippery? Is it the factory worker’s responsibility to ensure that the material being assembled isn’t giving off toxic fumes that increase the risk of cancer by 1000%

Nothing gets my goat like a pretense of calling for personal responsibility while relieving responsibility from those with the most power.

“Do what thou wilt shall be the whole of the Law”


He does. In the pledge. Because the pledge is the part people have an issue with.


And he’s less an advocate for “skilled laborers”, than an anti-intelectual nut.

The issue there is that he’s largely been backed by, and involved in campaigns from people deeply opposed to Union representation and labor protections. His whole push for trades coincided with the GOP “college bad, be a welder” political push. And most of his advocacy or “activism” has been in the form of paid spokesmanships for very big companies with very bad labor records. While he seems to spend his off time attacking or dismissing left wing organizations on the TV news.

You can see that in the pledge people are excerpting here. There is no mention of workers rights, compensation concerns, or labor anything. It’s a bunch of individualist, men are men bull. His entire pitch is predicated on defending the reputation of blue collar workers from supposed elitist disrespect. It’s a substitution for the sort of labor organization and progressive politics that are intended to actually address the ecconomic problems facing the working class.

Basically it’s uses mild culture war language, and the high compensation in a limited number of highly skilled trades to distract from issues like income inequality, tax breaks for the rich, and serious labor issues. And that’s less Mike Rowe’s schtick, than it is a well funded political push from some very wealthy corporations, the GOP and the Kochs that predates his involvement.