Finish VDOT contract work quickly, get laid off quickly.

A bridge on a major road outside of Charlottesville had to be replaced, shutting down that road for weeks. VDOT offered an incentive to finish ahead of schedule, and the full-time employees of that contractor worked their asses off to make that happen. They’ll wrap up tomorrow, way ahead of schedule. Their reward? They’re getting laid off, effective immediately. The contractor? They get a $100,000 bonus. Clearly, the most rational course of action for employees of highway contractors is to work slowly and inefficiently. That’s a lesson that some of them appear to have learned long ago. 

Published by Waldo Jaquith

Waldo Jaquith (JAKE-with) is an open government technologist who lives near Char­lottes­­ville, VA, USA. more »

9 replies on “Finish VDOT contract work quickly, get laid off quickly.”

  1. I agree that, on the surface, this sounds like the workers got the short end of it. However it is possible that in working “their asses off” they received overtime pay or some form of compensation during the course of the project. I’m just speculating here. If not, then the contractor should be ashamed to not share the majority of this bonus with the workers.

  2. also… the contractor may have hired extras people (who needed jobs) to accelerate….

    I don’t think it’s a good thing to complain about bonuses and incentives to work faster/harder and to question how a company would go about accomplishing the goal.

    I lean left on social issues and right on fiscal issues and business (but please don’t associate me with those idiots who now control the GOP).

    Anyhow… we’re deep, deep into partisan blame games now days and virtually every govt and private institution, are under attack from the opposing party.

    we’re never going to deal with our real problems as long as we’re doing this.

    and I’d be the first to say that the GOP has gone off the rails… when they dumped moderates and replaced them with folks so far right that they’d rather see the country go to ruin than compromise.

  3. If they are good contractors they may have another job lined up so there is no layoff at all. This may simply allow them to move on with a nice bonus. Also VDOT doesn’t pay by the hour but by the project so the contractor made more money then if he had worked slowly. This may be a win/win for everyone because time is money.

    I think you could be wrong on this one Waldo. VDOT dealings with the contractor is good and honorable. How the contractor deals with the workers isn’t VDOT job and a good contractor will treat his people well since he will have work after this project. If you knew that the contractor shared his VDOT bonus with his worker would that change your mind? If so then you need to know that did or did not happen before properly condemning this.

  4. Man, this is depressing. Not the layoffs, although that is heartbreaking; what’s sad is that it’s obvious some of Waldo’s readers aren’t even bothering to click through the links anymore. The article specifically states that the individuals being laid off are not contractors; they are full-time salaried employees, “many of whom worked for the construction company, Fairfield-Echols, for years before finding out days ago that their time is up.” We’re not talking about people paid by the job, nor are we talking about part-time, project-specific temps.

  5. Mea Culpa Waldo, I didn’t see there was a link till Sam chimed in. That little arrow doesn’t look like hyperlink but I didn’t read the article only because I didn’t know it was there.

  6. I’ve got an ongoing design challenge of how to provide a single post based on a link—where do I link to the story to which I’m responding? Normally, one would simply create a link in a relevant bit of text, but I’m posting these via Pinboard, a social bookmarking service, which does not permit links within the body of the description. Elegant solutions are lacking. :)

  7. The arrow made sense to me as an unobtrusive hyperlink rather quickly, but I can also see how others might not have noticed it now that I think about it.

    I also didn’t realize that the layout was at least as much technological limitation as it was an affirmative design choice. That’s kind of unfortunate; if you want to link a single post to two different external sites (like your post comparing Virginia Decoded with the original site published by LIS), you’d obviously have to do something else, right?

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