CITYCENTER CONFIDENTIAL: SECRET LIFE OF THE NATION'S LARGEST CONSTRUCTION PROJECT
- by Tony Illia, Las Vegas Business Press, NV
Upon arrival, new hires are corralled into a mandatory two-hour orientation held in a makeshift classroom in the employee garage basement. A safety trainer from Perini Building Co., the project's general contractor, leads the discussion.
It feels like the first day of school. There's excited talk and off-color jokes, old friends and nervous glances. People separate into groups: Ironworkers sit with one another; carpenters find seats side by side; and, Spanish-speaking laborers cluster together. The room fills up with 70 men in their 30s, 40s and 50s. They form a loose tribe that shares a collective construction culture. They're similarly outfitted in blue denim jeans and cotton T-shirts, wearing goatees and handlebar mustaches, with tattooed arms, sunburned skin and heavy leather boots. Everyone comes equipped with plastic lunch coolers and well-worn hardhats covered in stickers of employers, previous projects and certifications. Stickers serve as merit badges narrating a worker's personal history and experience level.