What sources, what are you talking about Pontius?Pontius Pilatus wrote:So I believe that your sources come from said not so good companies and thus offer a limited view of the planting world.
Duncan wrote:As a foreman, if alp would have bailed on me after 1 contract at the end of May feeling he/she were a "free agent" then I would be pissed.
Duncan wrote:Sorry, but I do feel sorry for your future/current employers if you are not honest when they hire you or thought that after every contract your were a free agent when after several years you should god damn know better.
Duncan wrote:Unfortunately the internet has made more than a few villains out of companies like Celtic but has also created shortages on some good southern companies thanks to people like alp who, well meaning as they may have been, don't have a true depiction of the entire company, but like to dream that they do.
Duncan wrote:You sound very much like a pissed off former employee who jumped ship and wasn't happy about the results and now think your former employer is the "evil empire" though try to mirage it under a sympathetic tone. But if anyone would have asked you after 1 or 2 years you would have said "And they have 27 virgins dancing nude at supper every night."
I think it's pretty interesting to see how somebody can assume all this by reading a post witch he disagrees with. First thing Seriously, be fair, having a different opinion than yours doesn't make somebody dishonest or lazy. By the way I too know and have a lot of respect for most of Celtic's foremen. I've also worked on most of their contracts, both north, south and costal. I have a good idea of who you are and we've probably worked together in the past. I just don't think this is the place to get personal.Duncan wrote:Guess alp didn't like having to work more than 6 hours because that's exactly where that comment comes from.
You have the balls to call me dishonest ?!? Last contract I was working on was Tolko, one of the best show Celtic runs and it was down to 40% experienced planters (and I'm being generous) Fact is no experienced planter will have a problem getting a job with a company like Celtic. Worst case senario they will be refered to another foreman in the company but I don't think Duncan can honestly say he ever told a vet looking for work with Celtic to eff off.Duncan wrote: As a foreman, if alp would have bailed on me after 1 contract at the end of May feeling he/she were a "free agent" then I would be pissed. Because I probably told 5 people with experience to eff off to keep he/she a spot and then they left after one contract he/she left me with one or two (if you took a partner on the crew) with open spots and no way to probably fill those spots. Maybe some contractors expect a commitment from contract by contract but if you worked at Celtic either your foreman was not open and up front with you or you were not HONEST with your foreman. Not the company's fault.
Duncan wrote:Also, if you work at Celtic as alp did for (4 years?) you really should know that a commitment means not one contract but from day A to day B. At Celtic it means May and June and in July you can probably do what you want because they don't have enough July trees to feed everyone but you should really TELL your foreman when you are hired
Duncan wrote:Also, I worked on commission basis, unlike many southern foreman I know, so not only did you leave an open spot but you cost me $$$ further pissing me off.
This is exacly the attitude I was trying to point out. First thing is yes Celtic's foreman work on commission, witch means when a planter leaves they get extra time by not having to check-deliver trees to this planter. Some foreman bitch about it and do nothing, other strap their bags on and plant a few trees here and there to make up for it. Seriously, I'll never understand that attitude. The fact is many vets would be happy to come work for Celtic but they can't commit for the whole season because that's the way life goes sometimes. These are low maintenance planters, very lucrative for a foreman on commission and, bonus, rookies can learn a lot from them, even thought they can't stick around for the whole season. These guys are working for other companies more than happy to take them for what they can give and this is what costs you $$$ my friend.
Duncan wrote:That said if you want to talk about experience such as alp's vs mine then maybe some people can compare. I have seen my planter make 2-5 cents more at Celtic working out the same hotel as the best of the best in the industry.
Well, in my opinion, you can't compare prices for 2 different contracts, too many factors involved i.e. driving time, access, quality specs, type of stocks etc. What I care about is how much I make per day an that average went up after I quit Celtic (yes Duncan, quit, not got fired) And by the way I don't care about ''best of the best'' reputations. I decide were I'll work by getting in contact with the company owner and telling him I can deliver constant good quality and production and keep a positive attitude, that I know what I'm doing and I'm serious about it. Then I ask him what his best contract is and don't just take his word for it, I validate with other vets who have been on this contract for a while. There is good and bad stuff everywhere, you gotta know how to sell yourself and what questions to ask.Screefhead wrote:Facts are: Celtic was paying anywhere from 5 10 cents a tree less than my company when I planted in the Port Alberni area. They left an 1 hour before us and got home at least an hour later than we did.... and still made less $$$.
Duncan wrote:I know several planters some who have planted on my crews over the years who have worked for small "elite" southern companies and overall they are better especially if you like planting quality high priced trees, but also most do not have July trees and these same planters come asking me for work on June 25th every year and I say no every year since I left McDonald's Planting Corp who always had work.
Summer season, THE big argument. I've never been on any of Scooter's contracts but, from my experience with Celtic, summer work is generally thougher and less lucrative than spring. Celtic is usualy shut down for a week and does summer works for 3 weeks. What I found out is that by working 8-10 weeks on a good contract, I end up making more money than I was, working 12 weeks with Celtic and I can either get a city job or enjoy the rest of my summer a month earlier.Scooter wrote:In the past couple of years however, we've stopped hiring additional planters at that time. Why give the work away to people who start out at other companies, when instead you can prolong your own season and reward the people who worked in your own company from the start?
A lot has been and will be said about these four little words pronounced by Dave. I was on that camp, part of the crew working my ass off trying to make things work so I think I have a good perspective. Most of the crowd in that bettle probing camp were fairly new, some of them even had no bush experience whatsoever. There was a total lack of leadership and people didn't refuse to work, they just didn't know what to do. Dave showed up, yelled at everybody and took off right after, thinking he found and fixed the only problem. That was a slap in the face for me and guys trying to actually work things out. And it might have been one incident but, having worked with Dave on other occasions, I can say it is pretty representative of how disconected this guy is, witch is a shame because he is surrounded by a lot of people good but his attitude has a bad effect on the company.Duncan wrote:"I own your ass" is not Dave's finest moment and as EE points out it was because he wanted people getting $200-300 a day for 6 hours of really easy probing labor to help out at a hastily constructed winter bush camp from falling apart keeping the 10 ft of snow off everyone's roof and make things safe and looking good for WCB when they showed up. Guess alp didn't like having to work more than 6 hours because that's exactly where that comment comes from.
Good point EE. Not that it wasn't a horrible comment but it really did need to be put into perspective.
Wow, I wasn't expecting to generate hate from anybody by sharing my opinion. In the end, I think we're all in the same boat, trying to make money and have a good time in the bush. I'll be happy to have a drink with Duncan if I run into him on goat night. No hard feelings man, we're just arguing for fun here!Duncan wrote:In the end is Celtic good or bad? No comment because I have both good and bad things to say depending on my mood and level of intoxication but also don't believe bullshit no matter how disguised it is with good things and "respectful" opinions because hopefully as I've shown they are all subjective to experience and opinion.
I haven't work for Celtic for almost 2 years now and all the planters I kept contact with are now either retired or working somewhere else. I totally agree with Duncan that there is good and bad stuff with these guys, like I pointed out in my first review. I had a fun time and made a lot of money with these guys. To be honest I don't really have the time to go in number war becaue I don't really care about how much the top 3 planters were making, all I know is I'm making more money in a way more laid back atmosphere than I was with Celtic
I understand that you are trying to add perspective to people's posts and opinions in regards to companies, in this instance, Celtic, but to what end really?
Obviously people exaggerate/downplay and stuff when they talk about their experiences; I mean it's always like that. And there can be legitimate concern in adding perspective to somebody's banter, but your posts just seem to be stressing the limitations of the human experience more than anything. You're getting all Socratic on us, in that you are asking so many questions criticizing statements (sometimes wrongly...) with what seems like the objective to demonstrate that these things won't hold up to an absolute knowledge test and should thus be refuted.
Socrates' fault (ok, Plato's) was his belief in some form of absolute knowing, a belief that non subjective knowledge was possible, that their existed a form of knowing beyond perspectives and that ideas actually existed by them selves (somewheres). With such a requirement in regards to knowing, you can always win as long as you keep asking the right questions. But by acting in such a fashion, Socrates was quite dishonest.
Behind all your assessments or perspectives is this idea that most of the time when somebody complains about a company it's because that somebody sucked. I'd say this is your real leitmotiv, and it's ok in itself, but you have high requirements in regards to others' opinions, all the while you are quite subjective yourself what with this leitmotiv being your reason for requesting such objectivity from others, so I just don't really understand what your point is, other than the stated ''to add perspective''...
Nobody knows absolutely, so Celtic is not a shitty company, eh? Or screw your opinion because you aren’t omniscient. Hell, screw all opinions! Honestly, that is what I feel you’re trying to get at, that this goes beyond you simply adding your perspective and opinion.
And as for you leitmotiv, I’d say it probably happens as often that a planter coming from the East will praise some company like Celtic, Summit et al. just because he or she doesn’t know any better, so I don't get what the big deal is anyways.
So what, are we to shut up until we know 100 % of the block? Man why the hell are you even talking then???....is like saying "I have the sh$ttiest piece." It might be true, and you now that 5-20% of the block very well, but you didn't see everything so why make it seem that way?
You're creating a fantasy world in which everything can be good and can be bad, so that it doesn't matter that you stuck with Celtic so long and it doesn't matter that people who leave Celtic often say that that was a very good choice and in the end are very happy to have done so.
You make up things like in alp's case where you hypothesize that he was unhappy after leaving Celtic because he ended up on a shittier show so he wants to attack an Evil empire. Are you serious man? I mean, it's cute, but come on, is this typical, in your eyes, of the people who have a beef against Celtic? Because if that's how you see things, man you're naive or twisted or both.
This type of distorted take on planting, this type of ''well there are so many factors that come into planting that you just can't say that one company is better (than Celtic), so don't make any choices and stick with us,'' is a recurring theme that I have seen within Celtic, and your posts are an extension of this.
Here's your argument:Duncan wrote:Because I probably told 5 people with experience to eff off to keep he/she a spot and then they left after one contract he/she left me with one or two (if you took a partner on the crew) with open spots and no way to probably fill those spots.
Dude, at least try to put the right perspective in your comments, you're as accurate as a conservative politician trying to look green. The coast is a small contract and Celtic is selective on their hiring, that's fine. As a foreman, you do your hiring for the INTERIOR. Now Duncan, tell me seriously you've told 5 vets to eff off Celtic for the INTERIOR! If you ever did that, you should keep it to yourself because other Celtic foreman might get mad at you for not having try to help them out with their hiring!Duncan wrote:Fact is no experienced planter will have a problem" is again untruthful at times. I never got a job the first two times I tried to get on the coast so
Let's see who's being personal and respectfull of other people's point:Duncan wrote:To be honest, that's what my first post was all about and I respect everyone's opinion to a point, and you may take it personal, but I'm the only one on this thread that has put their real name on this thread so I guess I should be the only one feeling the personal hate.
Duncan wrote:You sound very much like a pissed off former employee who jumped ship and wasn't happy about the results
You're trying to attack me to prove a point, that's pretty pathetic man. I think I know more than you would like to believe. If you really want me to take it to a personal level, than let's go for it. You're telling us that you started out with bugs an then switched for Celtic, witch was better. You're pretending to have a realistic portrait of the southern ''elite companies'' because you hired former planters from these companies and shared accomodation with them once. Well here's my question: Why would a planter making great money with a small company want to go back and work for a stressed out guy like you, calling other people ''pissed of'', ''dishonest'' or ''on crack''. I know I wouldn't. You've probably hired a few guys who worked on average or bad contracts for small companies (yes, that's possible, and that's what I wrote on my last post) and took a conclusion that Celtic is as good as it gets, even better because they can provide extra work in the summer.Duncan wrote:sorry but if you think you got the worst piece or know everything about the block than the more likely you're on crack.
Instead of bashing on people telling them to shut up because they know nothing and you know everything, why don't you try to make a point by bringing constructive arguments. And please don't write us five pages about how much the top 3 planters of your crew were making versus what the top 3 planters of this company and that company were making because that's just gossip nobody care's about. I don't look at the paycheck from the guy next to me because it's not my business and I have other stuff to worry about.
Your attitude, company boy. Telling somebody that has to quit untrue stuff like ''you're pissing me off because I told 5 other vets to eff off just so I could keep you a spot, so I'm losing a fortune because of you a-hole'' That's totaly Celtic's way of trying to make people feel bad just to keep them on board. Have you ever considered that if a planter is happy with the money he's making and ESPECIALLY the way he's being treated he won't want to leave for another company?Duncan wrote:Whose attitude is that?
I'll write it for the third time in 3 posts, I had a good time and made a lot of money with Celtic. I'm also trying to point out the stuff I dislike and why I think there's better places to work out there. I agree with you Duncan that you can't comment on a company after seeing only a part of it, but I don't think that's what my reviews are reflecting. I too hate it when people are making poor judgment and giving a false idea of what to expect from a company. I'm making mine after planting a lot of trees on a lot of Celtic's contract and going somewere else with a bitter taste because I felt like I wasn't treated with respect and making as much as I should. And by the way Duncan, try to talk to the former Celtic planters and foremen, you'll see that most of them share my point of view.Duncan wrote:An experience is good, but to compare everyone to a few rookie foreman and rookie crews a few years back and how they did things and what you saw as the whole picture is like saying "I have the sh$ttiest piece." It might be true, and you now that 5-20% of the block very well, but you didn't see everything so why make it seem that way?
Now I feel that that is a pretty good assessment from somebody well placed to say that. I know a bunch of people who don't work for Celtic anymore, including myself, and it's not like we are all lowsy planters who couldn't do well so we got fired or whatever extrapolation you would have it be, Duncan.I'm making mine after planting a lot of trees on a lot of Celtic's contract and going somewere else with a bitter taste because I felt like I wasn't treated with respect and making as much as I should. And by the way Duncan, try to talk to the former Celtic planters and foremen, you'll see that most of them share my point of view.
All these people have either retired from planting or moved on and realized that they don't have to put up with the Celtic way (however many shades of grey this includes, there still is a Celtic way) and can make more money too.
Most people who have left Celtic and worked elsewhere (unless this company was uptight) know what I mean when I say that it isn't really relaxed at Celtic. You'd often never know it unless you leave Celtic and work for another company afterwards (it took that for me to realize how not cool the Celtic way is), and I know I'm not alone on this.
That brings me to another point, even though I had fun and made good money when I was with Celtic, I realize now that it's hard to put a price on not having that uptightedness/unrelaxed feel from Celtic. So even though Celtic may pay a little better than other nothern companies, putting up with the Celtic way may not be worth those extra cents.
But here is my secret history from last year, not seen on Plantin'08
(only on here for a limited time and now only available to those who can copy and paste) with occasional quotes!!!!
I don't agree with everything Alp says, or rather I'm in no position to confirm or infirm some of those things. So chill out about that will ya?
Nope, don't know Alp, don't know you.Duncan wrote :
I don't know either of you as of yet, but I do like to imagine you are both friends who I have disagreed with in the past, and as former Celtic planters this is quite possible,
I don't believe that is true at all. You seem to have it encrusted in you that somebody dissing Celtic was probably one of those whining wankers who got fired and deserved it. Yeah that does happen I'm sure, but it's not always the case so calm down about it, even though I'm pretty sure that those are some of the employees that a foreman would most remember, unfortunately. You've been stating that quite often, and again, I'm not saying it doesn't happen, but the notion that we shouldn't assume has been thrown out the window for a while now. Besides, that is all we are doing ultimately, just, hopefully, as best we can.Duncan wrote :
Assumptions, I only make them to people who make them like alp and pontius have started to do or those I do not like.
Alp and pontius, middle management is the heartbeat of many planting companies so it will always be an important part of any company bigger than one crew/camp and there are differing styles
Blablabla... obviously man. IT'S PRETTY KEY TO ALL COMPANIES, BIG, MEDIUM OR SMALL. This last statement of yours entices me to assume things about your grasp of middle management.
Calm down about the assuming. Yes you do assume. But I'm not saying that for sure your experience will be just like mine. I'm just pretty sure a lot of people who will work or have worked for Celtic and move on to better shows are prone to come to similar conclusions as I. Like if I'd be betting, I'd definitely put money on that (amongst other things). That's what I'm voicing when I say think twice before working for Celtic. If you do work for them, your experience will be whatever it will be, regardless of what I think about it. I know that Duncan, it's obvious.I also have my own story on Celtic and I would NEVER label everyone at a company like me or try and assume their experience is the one that you will have.
Just because you worked for Celtic, planter or middle management, doesn't make you a bad person. If being against a company to you means being against everybody in that company, I dunno what to say. I don't believe the owners are bad either, but I'm still open to that subject because I don't know much about them. I've seen and spoke to them only a few times, heard a lot more from other people.
And for those readers who may think this has nothing to do with the subject of the thread, ironically, it actually does (not with the whole possible Celtic experience, Duncan). Except we don't get fired for ''whining'' and the foreman keeps coming for more.
By the way, I read your whole last post and revised it too, including your dirty little secret.
Anyways I'm out, I'm starting to get my down.
and sorry to have wasted anyone's time other than my own,
have a nice summer everyone and I hope it's not as gloomy as I try to make it sound to all the hacks out there.
And everyone plants lotsa trees.
I'm not sure, but I am well aware of who you are. I remember you from my rookie season if me guess is right.mcD wrote:just out of curiosity where you heading? if you don't mind my asking
I remember you highballin' more than I've ever seen, and I'm heading wherever someone will take me? Got room?
and I'm not so secretly trying to sabotage my planting career because I don't think I can hack it anymore, to old and bitter
Or I could just never plant again be happy about it which ever course the next few weeks take.
I'm actually very easy going
I remember trying for 30 minutes and thought we put it out, then we went and told someone about it and couldn't find where it was when we came back. Root fire, that was a contract that should have been filmed. Would have seen the real hardcore side of planting with some good planting and crazy remote worksite drama. But I never remembered seeing a smoke butt or anything that everyone assumed started it.
So much happened that year, from that accident scene on the Russell, that fire, people with guns in camp and the bear in camp at the end.
Didn't some people get shot at in one of the reserves during that contract too. Wow, I am reliving as I type this and wish that was one of the years I had my video camera out.
Good memories mostly.
You'll have to check out Ingenika 2001 when I get it converted to my computer, it's of our crew the next year and filmed by blake and some of his planters, some old faces I'm sure you would recognize with Benny jamming out at the end. I'll put it up here in the next few weeks.
Our Address: 1991 1st Avenue, Prince George, British Columbia, V2L 2Z1
Folklore, 2011: http://tinyurl.com/anl6mkd
There was an option for an early season contract starting April 22nd, planting trees in old pasture land for carbon credits outside Quesnel, working for Reckitt Benckiser. Prices were 12 cents for little dinaren (sp?) mounds, 18 cents for raw ground, 18 cents for bareroots on the mounds and 16-30 cents for fills. Problem was, the raw ground was super hard clay, and the mounds weren't all that better much of the time. A lot of people, myself included, ending up missing work due to tendo, the result of the aforementioned clay and some rather cold weather. They had about 30 people for this contract, formed into four crews, out of the ~200 planters they started their main contracts, and I think were rather optimistic in terms of production as the supposed five days of work ballooned to eight. The client hired four checkers, one for each crew, and Celtic used this contract to train all of their checkers, so there was a checker for about every three planters. This meant it wasn't unusual to do a bag up and have a checker following you and checking every single tree, which is just as nerve wracking as you would imagine it. Accommodation for this job were a couple of motels in Quesnel, about 15-20 minutes from most of the blocks, though there were a few pretty far up a bushroad north of Hixon. Motel rooms were assigned, with any couples getting their own room, but with other rooms with 4-5 people in them. This contract was probably the least lucrative job I've ever worked, and thanks to a week off between this job and the start of the season proper, I lost whatever planting shape I may have gained.
The proper spring work began May 6th. We had two four days shifts and a two day shift camped at a resort outside of Vanderhoof, blocks were usually about a 30-40 minute drive away. Blocks were 12 cent straight plants, with one day of 20 cent fills. Some other crews had 14 cent land, but it was apparently pretty shitty. There were some problems the first day, as the kitchen was new and wasn't quite ready, so we only got a light breakfast and had to buy our lunch from the Subway in Fraser Lake. Thankfully, they didn't charge camp costs. Rory, one of the Celtic owners, gave us the wrong quality specs at the prework, telling us to plant 100 stems less per hectare than actually prescribed, and not to space off burn piles. He also told us that if we got injured at work we shouldn't claim WCB, because that would result in a lower tree price the next year.
The actual planting was okay, decently fast ground for the most part, but we were going for 1150 stems a hectare, and Canfor wanted quite stringent quality standards that either they or Celtic were not prepared to pay for. This camp was very nice, with lots of great camping sites and awesome resort showers.
After ten days of work, we moved to a camp north of Fort St. James, continuing to work for Canfor. The camp move was over two days, so we got a proper day off, which was nice. This camp was located right next to a massive 1.3 million tree series of blocks, so I had a few days on pieces I could just walk to from my tent. Again, this was 12 cents pretty much across the board, so your earnings fluctuated wildly. 10-15 minute walk ins to plant undulating, incredibly slashy pieces with somewhat rocky soil were priced the exact same as road access land that was probably the fastest I'd ever seen. They did retroactively raise some prices, but it amounted to a two cent raise on one day's tally less a hundred trees, which is very minimal considering my crew spent at least a shift on the ground that was supposedly getting the raise.
Being very close to the blocks, we ended up working very long days. We left camp at 6:30, starting planting around 7am, stopped planting at 6pm, and got back to camp sometime around 6:30-7, depending on how long clean up and doing tallies took. Note that I can't recall ever being listed as working more than 11 hours on my paystubs, despite 12+ hour days being standard for shifts at a time, and Celtic was more than happy to list partial work days at 5 hours, even though even they were often longer. There was also a habit of having planters work on the day off, including a crew that drove back to the Fraser Lake area from our FSJ camp on a day off to replant, and a day off fill plant adjacent to our very first pieces of the season, about a 2 hour drive from the FSJ camp. This fill job was actually very lucrative, as I made just under 300 dollars in well under four hours of work, and lowballed the crew. But it also resulted in nine days straight of planting, which is mentally and physically draining.
After the Fort Saint James work wrapped up we had a two week break between the end of that contract on June 19th and the start of summer trees. This was apparently due to a problem with the nursery, and apparently hit some other companies as well. So after this two week break we drove to Chetwynd, and worked a BCTS contract. The first part of this contract was a heli block, with a one hour drive to the heli staging area, 14 cents a tree, with really bizarre quality specs. The minimum spacing was only a little bit shorter than the ideal spacing, so you were supposed to plant in close to a perfect grid, forcing you to pass over good sites in favour of shitty ones. The land was also very overgrown and rock hard, so coming off a two week break no one made too much money. These blocks had quad roads running throughout them, and had about a 2km road leading up to the block that we didn't drive on, but from the looks of it (having walked out on it for the last couple days of work on this block) could have been made completely accessible by crew cab with about 2-3 hours of work by one or two people, which would have been a lot cheaper than the helicopter and might have worked out to better tree prices. The latter part of this contract was on blocks south of Chetwynd, surrounded by natural gas drill sites, which meant we got a safety lecture on H2S gas, with advice that a oil and gas safety worker later told me was quite bad and could, depending on the situation, would make things even worse.
I don't think Celtic figured that a two week break would result in a number of planters not returning, and that everyone who did come back would be out of planting shape, so this supposed 4 day shift ballooned to 6 days straight, and I worked a seventh day as part of a crew of about 8 planters, plus a foreman and the camp supervisor, who gave up a day off to go finish the last of the trees. For our troubles we got a 15 dollar hotel room in Chetwynd, two people to a room, a voucher for the Chinese restaurant in the motel, and a run in with H2S gas on the block the next day.
The final contract of the season was another BCTS contract outside Fort Saint James, again 12 cents a tree, and that took us to around July 25th. I don't remember much from the final contract, aside from planting some blocks logged in 1996, that were about 100 metres off the road, with no quad road and very poorly marked boundaries. I also made the mistake of expressing interest in being a crewboss in the future, which resulted in me getting pulled off the only nice bit of land I saw all summer to foreman a crew of strangers without getting any percentage or day rate.
Celtic seems to me to be a land of unnecessary overhead. They've got a shop with multiple full time staff, plus administrators, and had a couple of brand spanking new pickups that were apparently being saved as spares in case a vehicle broke down. Though of course, when one of our vehicles did break down, it was replaced with an old passenger van that plowed through spare tires and motor oil and frequently had trouble starting. Every crew had an iPad with data on it, used in place of block maps during the day, but just as often used for Skype in the evenings, thanks to having reception in every single camp. Though convenient for staying in touch with the outside world, it seemed Celtic chose these camp sites for the reception they provided, as we had drives, particularly on the summer contracts, that seemed unnecessarily long, and that all went in the same direction. This may also have been for the power hookups and running water many of these sites provided, but of course the savings this allowed Celtic did not seem to be put into the tree price.
Composition of Celtic was pretty rookie heavy, and pretty much everyone with more than 3 years experience was a foreman. There were a few people who'd been there for ages, including one guy who would proudly tell you that in twenty-odd years of planting he had never worked anywhere else, and who was convinced that Celtic was absolutely the best planting company in the world, which explains comments I saw on here referring to Celtic as having cult-like elements.
There was a strong "shut up and plant" mentality, with people who took days off due to injuries or illness being viewed as weak. Planters seemed more or less on their own when it came to braces, tape, ice packs and other tendo treatments. Culture wasn't particularly interesting in camp, people usually just hung out within their crews, and nights off spent in motels in town were quite common, which typically resulted in going out to a small town pub. There were attempts to organize theme parties, but only one actually got off the ground.
Camp set up and takedown was unpaid, and there was a penalty of a half cent decrease in the price of your next 5000 trees if you didn't help out, or help out enough. It wasn't really clear was this entailed, particularly because some of Celtics seemingly endless supply of non-planting staff came in with a bobcat to dig/fill in shitters and a 5 ton truck to move all the camp equipment. We had an overclaim charged to the group the first shift, and everyone on my crew took a hit of about 70 trees. It wasn't clear who you could complain to about this practice.
Thanks to only hiring one cook for a fifty person camp, meals, particularly lunch, could be rather spare. Breakfasts were pretty standard, and dinners were good, though food often ran out, so if your crew came back to camp a bit late, you might miss out on part of dinner. Lunch was simply sandwiches, fruit and trail mix, which could include everything from seeds to hard candies still in their wrappers. I took to buying bulk packs of chocolate bars and cookies so I could have something more to eat on the block.
Overall, if you've been planting for more than a year or two, you can do a lot better than Celtic. It is certainly better than a lot of eastern planting, at least according to one of the crews in camp, all of whom came from Outland, and based on conversations I've had with planters from some of the more notorious rookie mills, a bit above that standard as well. However, I don't think it is by much, and it is certainly a much poorer company than some of its employees would have you believe.
Folklore, 2011: http://tinyurl.com/anl6mkd
We were doing burns along a quad road, which had access from both ends so one truck parked by a drill site at one end of the quad road, and the rest of us worked in from the main road. As we were about to meet in the middle someone smelled rotten eggs, and because no one else could smell it, we kept working away. Eventually more people started to smell it, so we started heading back to the trucks, along the quad road which was slightly higher than the burns. The planters who came out of the truck parked by the drill went back to it, and apparently the smell was very intense, so they got the hell out of there pretty quickly. We were told to go uphill, but I was told later that going upwind is more important than going uphill, as the gas will easily move uphill, but won't move upwind. It is also important to evacuate an area as soon as you smell it, as the gas can burn the inside of your nostrils and leave you temporarily unable to smell anything.
After a few minutes we were told to see if it would be possible to finish the burn we were planting in when we noticed the gas, as it was the only one left. Myself and another planter went along the road back to the burn, and didn't smell anything, but as soon as the other planter stepped off the road into the burn he spun around on one foot and started heading back to the trucks, saying there was suddenly an overwhelmingly strong smell of sulphur. While planting later on in the day on the same block, maybe a hundred metres from where we first noticed the gas, I began to develop a headache, which given the gas in the area was quite nerve racking.
We think the leak was from the drill site, but I would presume that there would have been some kind of alarm going off, and there was nothing, at least nothing we noticed. It was worth noting that not only did we not have any safety gear for gas, I don't even know what appropriate safety gear would be. Either way, the nearest work site that had gas company staff at it was about twenty minutes away, which would be far to late to rescue a stricken planter, and because this was a Sunday, odds were good there was no one there. Even if the odds of running into H2S gas were low, considering how potentially dangerous it is, I feel that working in an area where there is a risk of a gas leak without safety equipment on hand is irresponsible and pointlessly dangerous. Then continuing to plant on the exact same block after is simply nuts. Although planters do have a responsibility to refuse unsafe work, management should know better than to even suggest the possibility of planting in an area where a highly dangerous substance abounds, because it's very tough to be the only guy not going back to finish a job, particularly with the "harden the fuck up" mentality that abounded at Celtic.
That is about exactly the point where I'd be done for the day. I'm not risking my life for 300-400$. H2S can kill someone quickly and unexpectedly, as you're right --- it swiftly removes your sense of smell.As we were about to meet in the middle someone smelled rotten eggs, and because no one else could smell it, we kept working away.
The appropriate safety response plan to suspecting H2S gas in the area is to leave immediately and report it to people that actually know how to deal with the issue.It was worth noting that not only did we not have any safety gear for gas, I don't even know what appropriate safety gear would be.
Folklore, 2011: http://tinyurl.com/anl6mkd
Wow...evanodell wrote:Rory, one of the Celtic owners, gave us the wrong quality specs at the prework, telling us to plant 100 stems less per hectare than actually prescribed, and not to space off burn piles. He also told us that if we got injured at work we shouldn't claim WCB, because that would result in a lower tree price the next year.
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People do make honest mistakes sometimes. I can think of far worse things that have happened in the planting world than being off by 100 stems/Ha. I worked a contract this summer where a certain block was given different numbers (by the foresters) in the six different locations that we could find reference to it. How do you figure out the prescribed density for the block when the forester can't even tell you the block number?telling us to plant 100 stems less per hectare than actually prescribed, and not to space off burn piles.
I like my Bushpro shovel quite a bit. On sand I can really rock-and-roll with it. But I know I will never use it on hard ground, where it seems completely useless. Not having a true step to drive a planting tool with a boot just puts too much stress on having to do all of that with the arm and wrist. A true step to me is a step as long as a boot is wide, not just a flat space on top of the blade with no extension. I would certainly never attempt to plant a bare-root in clay with a planting tool without a true step on it.evanodell wrote: missing work due to tendo, the result of the aforementioned clay
braces, tape, ice packs and other tendo treatments
And I'm sure you made sure it didn't waste much or any planter time, and if it did, compensated them fairly for the wasted time :P ?People do make honest mistakes sometimes. I can think of far worse things that have happened in the planting world than being off by 100 stems/Ha. I worked a contract this summer where a certain block was given different numbers (by the foresters) in the six different locations that we could find reference to it. How do you figure out the prescribed density for the block when the forester can't even tell you the block number?
Folklore, 2011: http://tinyurl.com/anl6mkd
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You're correct, no planters' time was wasted in the case of the mysterious block number, which I was just referring to. Well, perhaps thirty seconds' of their attention span, as I explained that the block had two numbers for reasons which nobody could explain.
If being given slightly inaccurate specs was the only thing that was off I would have simply chalked it up as an honest mistake, but given what I experienced at Celtic I think it is more likely symptomatic of wider managerial incompetence and a general disregard for the well-being of their workforce.People do make honest mistakes sometimes. I can think of far worse things that have happened in the planting world than being off by 100 stems/Ha.
I don't think 100 stems per hectare is "slightly inaccurate" given Canfor's obsession with laser-precise density.evanodell wrote:If being given slightly inaccurate specs was the only thing that was off I would have simply chalked it up as an honest mistake, but given what I experienced at Celtic I think it is more likely symptomatic of wider managerial incompetence and a general disregard for the well-being of their workforce.People do make honest mistakes sometimes. I can think of far worse things that have happened in the planting world than being off by 100 stems/Ha.
Folklore, 2011: http://tinyurl.com/anl6mkd
Yep, the allowance on Canfor nowadays is only 30 stems/hectare. So, for example, a 1200 stem/hectare block must be between 1170 and 1230. On smaller blocks your pay plots need to be perfect. Kind of makes the whole system moot.E.E wrote:I don't think 100 stems per hectare is "slightly inaccurate" given Canfor's obsession with laser-precise density.evanodell wrote:If being given slightly inaccurate specs was the only thing that was off I would have simply chalked it up as an honest mistake, but given what I experienced at Celtic I think it is more likely symptomatic of wider managerial incompetence and a general disregard for the well-being of their workforce.People do make honest mistakes sometimes. I can think of far worse things that have happened in the planting world than being off by 100 stems/Ha.
I hopped off the Greyhound with a massive backpack and vague instructions to go to the Celtic warehouse down by the railroad, whereupon I would be picked up and driven to bush camp. So I huffed it all the way down to the warehouse, only to discover that it was closed and empty. I hung around for a little while, and eventually a girl showed up. She was back for her third season, and she assured me that all was normal and we just had to wait for our ride. Her and I crawled through a hole in the barbed wire fence surrounding the yard behind the warehouse. Inside the yard there was a ramshackle old shed; we sat in it and drank cheap beers (which she bought, because I was still 18) for a few hours, my newfound coworker regaling me with all sorts of treeplanting horror stories.
It was getting dark when a VISA truck finally showed up. Out hopped a downright crazy-looking frenchie, covered in dirt and/or grease and wearing a long black trench coat. We jumped in and were promptly blasting down logging roads in the middle of the night. Along the way our driver explained that he had been on the way in a crummy when the engine had "exploded" (this was reassuring). We got into camp around eleven at night. There was a foot of snow on the ground. My driver told me to set my tent up "wherever" and that trucks were at 5:30, before promptly disappearing.
The reasons given for the lack of trees available ranged from "the nursery really sucks" to "you guys are planting too fast". While it is understandable that the industry is somewhat unpredictable and that "fuck ups" are bound to happen now and again, when a certain problem persists, it is a sign of something beyond coincidental.
My theory is that Celtic was counting on unfinished contracts to fill in their season (which appears to be something they do on a regualr basis), but did not win any of the bids this year and thus was left with its own shortage of trees to be distributed amongst hungry planters. Notice how Celtic did not finish their season disproportionally later than most. I'd be happy to see someone come up with a better explanation for all of this.
On a brighter note, Celtic is full of awesome people and is probably a decent place to start off as a rookie.
- Company still operating
- Large company
- They do planting, surveying, probing, firefighting, and maybe more
- They are managed by Dave Wilson and Rory Wing
I planted with Celtic in 2014 and 2015 for my first and second seasons of planting. I have since then only worked briefly for two other companies, so keep in mind that my understanding of the industry as a whole is still very limited, and therefore I cannot give a very accurate “out of 10” rating. Also, since Celtic has many camps and diversified contracts, my experience is not enough to give a broad description of this company, and therefore I invite any former or current Celtic planters to leave reviews.
I did not keep track of my earnings and details for the 2014 season, and so I will only provide brief information of it. At the time I was a rookie and had a somewhat lucrative season; our crew was leaving camp before everyone else and coming back late, so that we always had 9-10 hours of planting time. All days were counted as 11 hours of work on our paychecks. Drives were short, between 10 minutes and 1 hour at the most, which happened rarely.
70% rookie camp. My crew (7 rookies, 7 second-year and 3 third-year planters) had one contract with Canfor out of Fort St. James, which lasted 33 days, then a 5 days fill plant contract with Canfor out of Lovell Cove, after a 4 days motel show on a private woodlot in Fort St. James again, and finally a never-ending 24 days summer contract with BCTS out of Dawson Creek, for a total of 66 days. We started around May 7th and ended around August 10th. We had a 10 day break between spring and summer. We were always doing shifts of 4/1 unless we had to finish a contract, because then we would work 5 or 6 days in a row. Prices went from 0,12$ to 0,16$ for raw land, and from 0,18$ to 0,22$ for fill plant, all including vacation pay. Camp costs were 25$+tax in camp, 15$+tax in motel. Canfor contracts were always decent, I think my crew average was around 250$/day, but that must have been way higher than the rest of camp, which we were highballing (our supervisor wrote every crew’s production on a board for everyone to see). The BCTS summer contract in Dawson Creek was hard (but what did I know I was only a rookie) and was priced 0,12$-0,13$. My earnings dropped from 300$/day to 180$ on the first few days. Many people in camp started leaving for firefighting, because it seemed easier and more lucrative, therefore someone at the top decided we would get a 0,03$ price boost, which made the contract decent.
Overall the food was great even though I am vegetarian, organization was solid (very few downtime, except for the many days off between spring and summer), never felt unsafe, but there was a lot of favoritism from the supervisor. More experienced foremen would get more special contracts (like short fill plants and private woodlots) and sometimes better prices compared to other crews (it always seemed like we had better prices than other planters on camp, even though we planted more). And like I wrote, we got 10 days off between spring and summer, but we were the lucky ones. Many crews got a whole month off.
Flagging tape was provided, trucks were mostly rentals and new, camps had almost everything (dry tent, shower trailer, mess tent, kitchen trailer, but no first-aid tent). Always paid on time every two weeks.
Second season, 2015. 70% rookie camp. Again, a season of 66 days, started with 3/1 shifts to warm up, then 4/1 shifts.
First day of planting for me was April 16th. We were staying in a camp (with temperature dropping regularly below -5 celsius), planting on mounds, Celtic got the job from Reckitt Benckiser as part of a carbon reduction plan, 4 shifts, 12 days, near Prince George, 0,11$-0,14$, 8 hour days, 15 minute drives, solid contract, camp averaged maybe 250$/day.
Moved to Fort St. James on May 3rd, planting for Canfor on raw land, 10 shifts, 36 days, 0,12$-0,18$, 8-9 hour days, 20 minutes up to 1h drive, decent contract, camp averaged probably around 200$/day.
Moved to Lovell Cove on June 23rd, planting fill for Canfor, 1 shift, 3 days, 0,18$, short drives but very short days, 5 to 7 hours, camp average was also probably around 200$/day.
Then one week break, moved to Mackenzie on 1st of July, plant for Canfor again, decent contract, 4 shifts, 15 days, 0,14$-0,19$ for raw land, 8-10 hour days, 10 minutes to 1h30 hour of drive to get to the block, camp average was maybe around 225$/day. Season over by July 17th.
Overall pretty much like 1st season in terms of food, organization and safety. 25$+tax for camp costs, flagging tape provided, mainly new rental trucks. Paid on time apart once at the end of the season I had to tell them there was a missing paycheck, which I received promptly after. 11 hours/day on paychecks. Also that year I got injured while planting, and my supervisor did not want me to file a report to WorkSafeBC, said he would get me a job in camp, which he never did. So I went to the hospital by myself, where they automatically sent a report to WSBC since I declared getting injured at work, and my supervisor got angry. And even though there was a dry tent, for some reason, that year, the heater was never working.
All in all, very average company, maybe slightly over the average rookie mill. You can easily find better if you’re a vet. They sometimes have coastal contracts, which from what I've heard, the one they had in 2015 was horrible. Apparently they were getting 0,16$-0,25$ for trees with fert and excessive quality standards. Barely anyone could put in more than 1k. Mind you this is secondhand information. So, it is possible to have a very long season with Celtic, but it really depends from a year to the other. They always have firefighting after planting though.
Your experience can range widely by crew; they have some very good experienced crew bosses whom will teach you to plant really well. However they have a greater number of rookie foremen, or second year foremen who seem pretty green all around. So if you are a rookie applying you may want to ask the foreman whom is hiring you what their experience is, because it could make or break your season.
madgab also touched on an important point with injuries, some supervisors/foremen at Celtic may try to tow the company line and dissuade from reporting injuries. Know your rights, scooter made a good youtube video on planters rights, review and memorize it if you are to work with this company.
Also as for firefighting work careful what is promised, it may be obvious but Celtic has no idea if they are getting any work at all, and they will do a lot to keep you waiting around prince george paying you nothing so they can have firefighters ready if fires do come. Who gets sent out for fires is also a popularity contest at times. They do not always have firework every season, there has been seasons where next to nobody goes out people have go out, or a 100 people have gone out, but on average your best case scenario is like one 14 day shift a season if you are a rookie. I have worked fires for a couple companies and Celtics pay for fires is not great, and they make you buy your equipment when I worked there, which a lot of companies provide free of cost.
In summary I would only recommend Celtic if you are looking to start your career off in planting. The company has high turn over and that can largely be attributed to the prices being low I would argue. I have been in the industry for over a decade now and Celtic has been on the decline from what it once was. If you do choose Celtic, try to get an experienced crew boss (more than 3 seasons), know your rights above all else, and learn to plant a tree well; because there are a lot of good companies that pay a lot more with better working conditions that will hire you once you have experience.
Beware of Dave Wilson
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