Labor pains in Aspen
December 20, 2011
I read with interest the conclusions a pair of papered pundits drew in their recently published “The Slums of Aspen.” They bear witness to what Aspen’s workforce has become. But things were not always so.
Back when I first moved to the valley more than 30 years ago, there were very few illegal immigrants working in Aspen. The landscapers, the maids, the cooks and the rest of the working class were U.S. citizens.
My first job in Aspen was doing maid work with my wife at one of Aspen’s finer hotels. We averaged more than $10 per hour and got to take home all the food and booze left in the rooms, and at season’s end we each got a $450 bonus.
Thirty years later, the same job at the same hotel pays $8 per hour, you don’t get any guest leftovers, and as a bonus you don’t have to speak English. The authors’ liberal bent must have prevented their distinguishing between legal and illegal workers.
As Johnny Boyd pointed out in his column, if possible, Aspen would have an unlimited supply of labor that is stripped of all rights. By undercutting fair market value with illegal scab labor, every legal worker loses $5 to $10 per hour. The cost of housing these illegal immigrants and educating their kids and giving them welfare and medical care is passed on far downvalley. Out of sight, out of mind, right, Kenny Moore?
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Within Aspen’s boundaries there are no slums. Aspen’s slums are tucked away in downvalley barrios and trailer enclaves. Boyd closes by saying Aspen’s values will not support the hiring of illegal immigrants into “slavery.” I beg to differ. Aspen values only money, and those 1 percenters there would sell their mothers for a price.
Aspen’s public altruism toward illegal immigrants is a self-serving, transparent sham. Don’t piss on my leg and tell me it’s raining, Aspen. And Kenny Moore, of Santa Barbara, Calif. and Woody Creek (Mr. “I Wouldn’t Change a Thing”), you have my deepest sympathy.