In the past few years anti-daywork(er) talk has been common in Florida. "Dayworkers are taking money out of American pockets" has been repeated in Dockwalk discussions more than "Call Me Maybe" parodies on YouTube. But is this a fair assessment or are some Americans just afraid of the competition?
I'm not going to quote hard facts that bore you (and myself), all I have, to answer this question, are my personal experiences as a former dayworker in Ft. Lauderdale. During a cumulative 9 months that I spent in FLL, I never met a dayworker who was ready to go home having made a killing off of daywork alone. Most of the dayworkers I met (myself included) preferred to spend all of their available cash in search of a job (and sometimes a good night out). It is these dayworkers that are the life-blood of businesses lining the sidewalks of 17th street and US-1. The professional yachting schools, crew agencies, scooter rentals, bars, clubs, and crew houses among others, are businesses that require volume to operate, and dayworkers provide it.
They take their hard earned money and spend it on courses that the MCA, crew agents, and professional schools tell them are necessary. They pay rent, buy food, fill up on gas, and generally return every cent earned dayworking back to the local economy. Bottom line, without dayworkers, the store fronts of 17th street will be as abandoned as those on the streets nearby.
So why are some American yachties so pronounced in opposition to foreign dayworkers? The obvious answer is because they insist on comparing Rugby with its faster paced and harder hitting successor - (American) Football. If not for that, the reason would be to kick out the competition. Without foreign dayworkers, there would likely be a shortage of dayworkers in Ft. Lauderdale (not to mention West Palm). Having pushed out the competition, the American dayworkers could then jack-up the prices. This is known as the Wal-Mart effect, when one entity has enough power to force another one out of business and then, being the only one left, increase prices.
What happened to fair competition? Is not supposed to be what America stands for?
Some of you may say that job hunters can come look for work without daywroking. But is that really a likely option? How many job seekers would have the money to take courses and pay rent while still doing the agencies? Much fewer than the current numbers of job seekers, for sure. And who would be the big loser? The boats, for having to employ less experienced and less qualified crew at a higher rate.
Disclosure: I'm from Israel, lived in the States for many years, and am writing a Phd. dissertation (in Sociology) on the yachting industry based on my experiences.