A few weeks ago, a man walked into Command Center, a temporary labor and staffing service in downtown Dickinson, and said he needed a job after being laid off from a high-paying position on an oil rig.
The man said he’d only work for $35 an hour, needed a minimum of 50 hours guaranteed each week, and wanted his housing paid for along with a $150 a day per diem.
After realizing the man wasn’t joking, staffing specialist Rena Olheiser responded in the kindest manner she could muster.
“Well good luck with that,” she said with a smile.
The days of high wages, overtime, free meals and company housing for many oil workers in the Bakken are coming to an end. At least for now.
This is especially true around Dickinson, where there isn’t a drilling rig within 50 miles and likely won’t be until the price of oil climbs back to levels oil companies deem profitable.
“I tell them here, ‘Everyone is expendable. Everyone,’” said Kristen Vesledahl, Command Center’s branch manager.
Continue reading “Expendable industry: Oilfield service companies, workers deal with layoffs in wake of low oil prices”