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What does everyone think of women getting into wrenching on heavy equipment?

Discussion in 'General Industry Questions' started by Vetech63, Mar 6, 2018.

  1. Hobbytime

    Hobbytime Senior Member

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    if they can do the job without special treatment then no issue, but when they get a job and same pay as a male and get special privileges or dont have to do some of the dirty work then no...
     
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  2. willie59

    willie59 Super Moderator

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    Just my opinion, but I don't think it's unusual that more women aren't "into wrenching", but not because they aren't mentally or physically capable, but rather it's not something they naturally gravitate to. With that said, there are most certainly exceptions. The local Bobcat dealer here has a women who works the parts counter. Bar none, she's one of the best parts people I have ever worked with. Loud mouthed, will bust your chops in a New York second, has a helluva sense of humor, a few swear words here and there when the computer isn't cooperating, will banter with you like a bar buddy, and the best part, she's damn good with the parts program, I wish there was more like her, I don't care if they're male of female, she's just damn good.
     
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  3. td25c

    td25c Senior Member

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    Like I say to the wife ......... " You galls got liberated back in the early 70's " ...

    " Why are you calling me on the cell phone in 2018 complaining about a mechanical problem on a vehicle " ?

    LOL ! :D That's part of life .:)
     
  4. 92U 3406

    92U 3406 Senior Member

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    I've only worked with 2 women in my time. Both were mechanics. One was a Journeyperson and she was top notch. Not afraid to dig in and do the job. The other was a 2nd year apprentice and I watched her struggle for 30 minutes trying to tighten a hose clamp. Each year of the apprenticeship is 1500 hours on the job work. If someone can't figure out how to tighten a hose clamp after that much time on the job, it might be time to think about a change of career IMO.
     
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  5. RayF

    RayF Senior Member

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    I have seen male apprentices that were more useless than that;)
     
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  6. thepumpguysc

    thepumpguysc Senior Member

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    amen to that, Ray..
     
  7. DMiller

    DMiller Senior Member

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    ANY one that is useless in a field needs to stay the hell out, they see the money only as a draw while NOT physically able or dependent on support or unable or unwilling to purchase tooling required should just walk away. Knew all too many working from a old tin no name tool box with tools scattered under oddball names where the sockets and wrenches were only dependable on rounding shoulders of fasteners or when offered schooling to advance a career would decline as could not afford to miss a days work or pay for the training. They were trying but could not understand they had to spend a little green to make better green.

    Had to fire a good many of these who would half twist a wire on electrical and wrap in tape considering it a 'Good Repair' when we had connectors and heat shrink they would not conceive of using as "Too Expensive". Trying to 'Save' hydraulic lines by wrapping with hose then welding or general purpose wire rather than make a hose up trying "to save the customer some cash" but actually costing them twice. Hack and patch mechanic to get it off the field floor and into a good shop or nearer to a repairable position is one thing but being IN the shop and doing hack and patch is not regarded as a good mechanic.

    Worst case to fire, boss hired a guy off word of mouth from another friend that the guy just needed a break. Needed money to buy better tools and could or would be a good man, supposedly a journeyman. Boss thought I was being cruel.

    Long term Customer had three OLD framed dump trailers all manner of hack and patch needing lights fixed to get out of DOT sights. The guy installed the lights well that needed change, had to stop him when did do the half twist crappy wire connections then walked out to inspect the first one. He could not find the wire to feed the side lights(inside a tube) so 'ran a new wire' and spliced it in but UNDER the frame. Asked if he thought was good, he said yes so I raised the bed. He had NO IDEA was a dump trailer, had not seen one do that(28 years old). With that the wire pulled away, I showed him the conduit and returned to my work to let him fix it correctly. Went back out, he never opened a conduit box weaved the New Wire around the tube and spliced it outside the conduit. Had to stop him again, took a screwdriver from my pocket and opened the first box, there was the wire, all he would say was "how'd you know that was in there?" explained the way were to be paid, .3/hr per lamp, any rewire was time and materials but NOT if the wire was still viable as we could not charge for that, he wanted to argue the wire was no good as it was not passing power, I repeated to open another box that had two broken connections within, he only argued the wire Had to be Bad as turned the connectors green. Walked him to the office, clocked him out and sent him home. Took me a little over an hour to remove the wiring he had placed, fix the bad connections and make certain ALL the lights worked. He had spent over five hours in replacing two lamps, three bulbs and running wire not needed. Boss hired him back next day where he was put on one of the other trucks, had the hydraulic line rubbed and seeping to the mast, he was the one to wrap it in rubber hose then used half a roll of tie wire to lace it on, we were a Weatherhead line making shop, had ALL the hose, dies, crimp sleeves, fittings one could ask for, could have just replaced it in the time he had in it where the boss ended up making the line in twenty minutes handed it to him to replace and he argued his repair would hold, boss fired him on the spot. He sold his tools the next week, went to driving a school bus.
     
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  8. thepumpguysc

    thepumpguysc Senior Member

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    WOW..!!! I love hearing stories like that..
    I've got "heavy duty mechanic" friends that LOVE to open up injection pumps to "save" some money..
    & when they f-it up, I get the call..
    I end up telling them.. "you KNOW a "hammer mechanic" cant fix an inj. pump."..
     
  9. Vetech63

    Vetech63 Senior Member

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    My service manager 25 years ago hired a supposed heavy equipment mechanic with a ton of experience, by application of course. I was suspicious the first day when all he brought with him his first day was a hand held toolbox. The second day he walked up to me holding a tube of grease in one hand and the grease gun in the other. Looking extremely confused, he asked me holding both up....."how does this work?" Day 3 he was unemployed again.
     
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  10. check

    check Senior Member

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    Some of you guys must be oblivious of the laws that have been put in place. If you are an employer and you fire a White male, there are much less potential consequences of that decision. Any time you fire a woman or minority or decline to hire them, there is the danger of a discrimination lawsuit. If you did nothing wrong, you will most likely settle out of court because it's much cheaper than defending yourself.
    Then you also have to consider the expense of having men and women working together. I remember when women started working offshore when I was in the oilfield. They had to provide separate living quarters for them. If the women were attractive, there were all sorts of problems with the men. Married men would be assigned to a platform with a woman and the resulting affair ended his marriage. Then he married the woman he was working with. Then she was re-assigned and cheated on him.....on and on like a stupid soap opera.
    Management could not put all the women on one production platform by themselves because the platform would be dead. They didn't hire the women for their experience or ability, they hired them because they were women. Meanwhile, much more qualified and capable men worked in lesser jobs.

    Employers should be free to hire and fire as they see fit. You can't mandate value.
     
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  11. crane operator

    crane operator Senior Member

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    My wife answers our phones and does the scheduling. She gets some static from customers who call in and want to "talk to someone who really knows". She knows the questions I'm going to ask, and can get most of the info I need to do a job, or if I need to go look. Some customers just need to talk to a man.

    Now if I could get her to fix the cranes too, and I could just sit in the cab and pull levers, that would be heaven....

    Not really, I need something to do.
     
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  12. Vetech63

    Vetech63 Senior Member

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    again, the same service manager was attempting to hire another heavy equipment mechanic. We had a pretty good looking female come in, walked into his office and asked for an application. She had never worked on heavy equipment, but had some experience with tires, brakes, light mechanical on cars and trucks and her references were good. He could have hired her and EVERYONE in the shop would have been glad to help her on ANY job if she needed. He wouldn't even consider hiring her, and his reason was "Because everyone in here will constantly be helping her whether she needs it or not. She would be too much of a distraction for the entire crew."
     
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  13. thepumpguysc

    thepumpguysc Senior Member

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    Saw a show on tv about "unjustly fired"..
    Had a SMOKIN' chick on there that was fired from CAT, for that exact same reason..
    She musta been a secr. because every time she walked thru the shop, everyone would stop working & stare.
    I'm sure she got a BIG settlement..
     
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  14. check

    check Senior Member

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    When I was a young mechanic, it really hacked me off that guys employed in stupid jobs like retail got to meet all the babes. I would have liked to work around pretty women and I would have helped them myself.
    In reality, men and women working jobs together is a complicated and delicate situation, and in many cases expensive for the employer. If women can do the work that men can, why not start a company with nothing but women? A mechanic shop, a plumbing shop a welding shop all women. You know the answer....one chance in a million it would survive without government assistance.
     
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  15. DMiller

    DMiller Senior Member

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    There does come the problem of wandering eyes and hormones, both sides. Anyone we ever hired at the Independent shop HAD to work alone, could get a hand in dire conditions but we were a production rate shop where if you slowed your job to aid another your own income suffered. Had to be tool hod, work appraiser, mechanic foremost and then the janitor to clean your own mess back up. We had assigned bays but if got too many long term care jobs in would alternate the spares for sporadic short jobs and the guy doing the work was expected to clean up the mess after.

    Would work outdoors year round snow rain or shine, road or service calls were T&M for the most part where we would establish a patch or get a temp repair if had to getting it back to the yard or just tie up the destroyed parts and have dragged in. Only time did not was HE in the field and HAD to make repairs there, even engine overhauls were at times done in the field on the fly, especially ag irrigation pumps or working fleeting tows on the MS River at Alton Pool. Nothing as nasty on God's Green Earth than cleaning Detroit Diesel Centrifugal oil filters, by hand standing on grating a few inches above the bilge waterline. We made quick work of those just to get off the tows.

    Could not see a woman doing that without chucking her guts. Was the most nasty odors and fixed in place stains I ever dealt with.
     
  16. Welder Dave

    Welder Dave Senior Member

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    The thing that really gets me is how some of the people doing the hiring base it strictly on what someone has on their resume without really checking things out. Yeah, a resume can look really impressive but there are so many people that embellish their resume that the bigger question is why are they looking for another job in the first place? I'd much rather do a job test and show them what I can do. Worked in a couple shops that had women welders and they were just as good or better than any of the guys. Talk in the lunch room toned down a lot though.

    Also worked with a few guys who thought they were just the cat's meow. Didn't take long to see they were all talk and didn't live up to their own hype.

    I provide tech support in my job for company branches and contact centers where customers call in. It's supposed to be an internal company thing. Yesterday a girl from the contact center called but said the customer wouldn't tell her what he wanted and wanted to speak to tech support. I said ask him what he wants and I can get you the best person to help you. She said all he said is it is something to do with a hole. I said I need more info than that and she said he refused to tell her. I told her if he can't give you some idea what he's looking for I can't help him. I suppose I could have talked to him directly but there's no reason he couldn't have told the girl what he was looking for. Sometimes there is a need to talk directly with a customer but outright refusing to talk someone beforehand is just plain arrogant in my opinion.
     
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  17. old-iron-habit

    old-iron-habit Senior Member

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    Its not only the women.
    When I was still young, we needed a bigger snatch block for a couple of beam picks on a bridge job. The job supt asks me, "Hagar, what's that pulley we need called"? I replied that's it's called a snatch block. He said, "I ain't going ask that women at the counter for a snatch block". I shrugged. Later after a few beers he told us that he had went into the rental place and told the women behind the desk that he needed one of them big pulleys with a hook on it. She replied, "It's called a snatch block. What size do you need"? We laughed and teased him every time he was headed to the rental store.
     
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  18. 92U 3406

    92U 3406 Senior Member

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    I'm definitely a lot more cautious at work when I'm around women these days though vs my younger years. Hardly speak to them or even look at them unless I absolutely have to. With all the stigma around sexual harassment these days I'm not giving anyone a chance to take shots at me.
     
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  19. check

    check Senior Member

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    Lot's of people have been burned talking to middlemen (or women) and getting their message twisted or mis-translated along the way. I hate being mis-quoted. I want to do my own communication whenever possible.
    I worked as a fleet mechanic for a poor-boy outfit that had 8 Mack trucks. I was the only mechanic there and I wasn't a Mack specialist, just an all around mechanic working cheap wages. They had a habit of letting the owner's wife, who was also the office manager, fetch parts for the trucks. The Mack dealer was 45 miles away and they weren't about to let the mechanic fetch parts himself. So the woman, who has a bossy disposition tells me "There are few things I hate more than wrong parts". I tell her "I agree completely, that's why I like to get them myself". I knew what parts I needed and in many cases could get the number out of the book, but you know how parts are...always changing the numbers, selling parts packaged with other parts, numerous variables etc. etc..things change when you get to the parts counter. If I had been a Mack specialist I might have known their habits better. It was the only job I was ever fired from and I've had more than a couple dozen. a few weeks later when I hesitated to fill in for a driver and drive his truck for drivers wages, which was less than the rich $8 an hour they agreed to pay me (never said anything about driving trucks when I hired on), she fired me.
    Another thing that factors in about tradesmen and communication is that most of us aren't great communicators in the first place...if we were we wouldn't have to skin our knuckles and bathe in grease. We often aren't skilled at tip-toeing around women's delicate sensibilities.
     
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  20. wornout wrench

    wornout wrench Senior Member

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    And that my friend hit the nail right on the head.

    Several years ago, one of the companies I worked for had an "incident" at one of their other divisions.
    I don't remember exactly what it was, but some of the boys were a bit disrespectful to a couple of women that they had on their crew. Guess who's daddy was a lawyer.
    Yup, one of the girls.

    Now admittedly, what was said was pretty crude, but once again, not knowing the whole story...

    In the end there was a company, for lack of a better word, "policy" although you would never find it written anywhere.

    Basically if there was a minority working for the company, and they made any complaint, be it sexual, racial or anything. The person(s) accused would go home and the minority would continue to work until the complaint could be verified and dealt with.

    So if there was a woman working on the crew and you said good morning with the wrong kind of smile, you could go home without pay.

    You are seeing this kind of thing all the time now.

    How fair and equal is this?
     
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