Saturday, October 10, 2015

Who Signs the Paycheck and How Much Is It?



American Crystal Sugar Company
Hillsboro Processing Plant
Hillsboro, ND
GPS: 47.434612, -97.062921

"American Crystal Sugar and Sidney Sugars hire over 1,300 workers stationed at 45 sugar beet receiving stations. These seasonal employees are an integral part of making yearly sugar production a great success. These short–term positions offer excellent compensation and attract applicants from all over the United States and Canada. Locals and travelers alike come to make a hefty paycheck while being able to enjoy various outdoor attractions and camp sites."

American Crystal Sugar Company contracts with Express Employment Professionals (EEP)
for approximately 1,300 additional temporary workers

We first learned about the sugar beet harvest during the summer of 2014 while workamping in Pennsylvania. Subsequently, we saw Express Employment Professionals advertisements in WorKamper News. In January 2015, EEP had a booth at the RV Show in Tampa, FL. We visited with them. Along with Pat and Herb Myers, we signed up for the 2015 harvest.

If you are interested in working the sugar beet harvest, Express Employment Professionals (EEP) are the people to contact. EEP is a national temporary help agency operated by many individual franchise owners. The franchisee for the sugar beet harvest is in Grand Forks, ND. Under the leadership of Scott Lindgren, they have been providing temporary workers to ACSC for seventeen years and their contract has just been renewed.

Here are the particulars:
Express Employment Professionals
3590 S. 42nd Street
Grand Forks, ND 58201
Phone: 701-787-5655

Related websites:
http://www.sugarbeetharvest.com Click on “Application Process”
http://www.crystalsugar.com
http://www.expresspros.com

My comments:
I was impressed with the professionalism, thoroughness, and thoughtfulness of all the EEP employees. From our first contact in Tampa in January until we closed up our rig and headed home at the end of the harvest in October, they delivered on every promise and gave an accurate portrayal of the realities of the sugar beet harvest. They did not ‘sugar coat’ anything (pun intended).

Specifically:
** They maintained telephone contact with us through the spring and summer.
** They gave us very specific instructions on arriving at the campground and where and when to report for processing.
** The campground was ready and expecting us at the appointed time.
** Our employment paperwork was ready for us, although we did have additional forms to fill out and sign.
** EEP provided a Camp Host to act as a contact for any problems and to make sure of our well-being. The camp host also provided pet walking service.
** Scott Lindgren visited us at the campground to learn of any concerns and give us some background information on the sugar beet harvest.

I will take issue with one statement in the published information quoted above.
” … being able to enjoy various outdoor attractions … “

The work day (or night) is twelve hours long. 8 to 8. Once the harvest starts, there are no days off and you cannot leave the yard during your shift. The harvest stops only for excessive heat or excessive rain. The harvest goes until the fields are empty, so the end point is uncertain. In our case, it was ten days. Veterans told us that some years it goes for a month because of weather. So I would rewrite that phrase to say:
” … being able to enjoy a shower, a meal, and sleep … “

I agree with “excellent compensation”. Base rate for a new hire Helper was $12.40 per hour
** Mon — Fri: 8 hrs at straight time; 4 hrs at 1 1/2 time
** Sat — 12 hrs at 1 1/2 time
** Sun — 12 hrs at 2 time
That works out to $1,389 per week per person.

We found the work not hard, but at our age standing on concrete for twelve hours straight took its toll and we were soon popping pain pills regularly.

Posts about the Sugar Beet Harvest


FIRST DAY IN NORTH DAKOTA
Hillsboro, North Dakota, we have arrived

GETTING READY FOR WORK
Some paperwork to get us started

ON THE JOB TRAINING
A trip to the Hillsboro factory for some OJT

TEN DAYS OF WORK
Notes and pictures on our ten days of work

THE CAMPAIGN
A quick summary of the annual campaign of sugar beet processing

THE SUGAR BEET
Bigger than a coconut, smaller than a football. Here is the story on the sugar beet

THE PILER
I was very impressed with the big machine we worked on. I thought you might like to learn more.

THE SUGAR BEET PILE
How big is a pile that contains 90,000 tons? Here are some pictures and figures

DOWN AND DIRTY: GIVING BACK THE TARE DIRT
Harvesting root crops produces dirt. How to handle and dispose of it is an interesting side story

A LOOK AT THE SUGAR INDUSTRY
A $20 billion industry with 142,000 jobs in 22 states. Take a look at the Sugar Beet Industry

AMERICAN CRYSTAL SUGAR COMPANY
Get a closer look at the company providing this workamping opportunity.

EXPRESS EMPLOYMENT PROFESSIONALS
If you are a workamper interested in short term hard work for big bucks, here’s the link