The Extremes Some People Will Go To, In Order To Earn A Buck…

or a rupee.

In a story headlined “New York Manhole Covers, Forged Barefoot in India” by Heather Timmons and J. Adam Huggins in the New York Times, life in a foundry casting manhole covers for Con Edison and the New York City Department of Environmental Protection is depicted. Only this foundry is in Haora, India, where safety rules on the “factory floor” seem to be non-existent, and the workers are pouring molten metal in to molds as reported:

At Shakti, street grates, manhole covers and other castings were scattered across the dusty yard. Inside, men wearing sandals and shorts carried coke and iron ore piled high in baskets on their heads up stairs to the furnace feeding room.

On the ground floor, other men, often shoeless and stripped to the waist, waited with giant ladles, ready to catch the molten metal that came pouring out of the furnace. A few women were working, but most of the heavy lifting appeared to be left to the men.

The temperature outside the factory yard was more than 100 degrees on a September visit. Several feet from where the metal was being poured, the area felt like an oven, and the workers were slick with sweat…

The men making New York City’s manhole covers seemed proud of their work and pleased to be photographed doing it. The production manager at the Shakti Industries factory, A. Ahmed, was enthusiastic about the photographer’s visit, and gave a full tour of the facilities, stopping to measure the temperature of the molten metal — some 1,400 degrees Centigrade, or more than 2,500 degrees Fahrenheit.

Seems to us at BFD that anyone in this country who might turn up their noses at a minimum wage job, whether it is flipping burgers, washing dishes, or tossing material around with a shovel might want to consider just how good they could have it, with that minimum wage, non-skilled, “starter” job.

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