Friday, February 26, 2016

Labour & Pop Culture: $100 barrel

This week’s installment of Labour & Pop Culture is Jody Hickey’s “$100 Barrel.” Hickey is a Cape Breton singer-songwriter who spent 15 years working in Alberta’s oil patch, until the latest bust sent him home. As I mentioned Tuesday, Cape Breton’s economy is highly dependent upon migrant workers whose jobs, despite the high pay, are extremely precarious:
"You work all your life to become a tradesman or another worker out in the field there, and it's just so fragile. Your job, your entire existence is based on the price of oil,"

"You know, you're living in a $500,000 home, you've got two $75,000 trucks and two sleds and two quads and you can't live like that very long with the price of oil down," said Hickey on the inspiration for the song.
The moody song also touches on the impact of migrant work on workers’ home lives:
“It’s time away from family — I’ve missed some of my close friends’ funerals and that’s something you need, to get closure.” 
“I had a nine-year relationship that fell apart because of the traveling. When we were working those 14 and seven shifts out West we were basically in Alberta nine months of a year — that's a huge chunk of your life.”

-- Bob Barnetson

No comments:

Post a Comment