KBR - Some Facts
March 19, 2009 by Heather
In reference to all the attacks on KBR, a few facts should be known.
First, most KBR employees are prior service who wanted to do their part to assist troops and make life easier for them. Second KBR is based out of Houston, Texas. Therefore, many of the unwanted jobs in the company are filled by locals (or as someone stated white-trash southerners).
As for wages, the lowest paid employee makes about fifteen dollars an hour. This isn’t bad, but remember, this is a war zone and there has to be some incentive to get personnel to volunteer to go to Iraq. Now to get from the fifteen dollars an hours to 80,000 dollars a year, do the math. An average US worker only works forty hours a week; however, an average KBR employee works eighty-four hours a week. So:
$15 * 84 hours = $1260.00 per week
$1260.00 * 52 weeks = $65,520 per year
Next, add the same government provided uplifts as the military (it is a % of your base pay) and you’ve reached 80,000. Now, for this 80,000 to remain tax free, the employee must stay out of the US for more than 335 days. If they return to the US for 31 days, then all of their income will become taxed. Furthermore, if they earn any more than 80,000, that amount is taxed whether or not they were in or out of the US. Also, the government does not provide health care, and the benefits payable through KBR are substandard. In many cases, employees are not even afforded vision or dental, which becomes another out of pocket expense.
Another note, KBR is the lowest paid US contractor in Iraq, but they are the largest. For this reason, every single bad thing that occurs with any contractor is usually blamed on KBR.
Lastly, when it comes to repairs, keep in mind that the US government requires KBR to purchase materials from local Iraqi vendors or other Middle Eastern vendors in an attempt to lower prices and build trade with the local economy. Most of the time, when an order is placed the vendors can’t even fulfill the order for at least a year. This is why some projects can’t be fixed right away (I don’t know if this was the case with the sewage line). Also, KBR is not authorized to have stock piles of supplies. Every piece that is on hand has been purchased directly for a specific project and KBR must be able to show what that piece goes to.
In conclusion, it is not my intent to change anyone’s opinion, it is my intent that you know more of the facts. One thing I will say is I don’t believe KBR employees are overpaid, I believe the military is underpaid. Someone told me once, if you computed the hours we work, we actually make under minimum wage. But I guess that is an entirely different argument.
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The course utilized a blog both to continue the discussion outside the classroom, and to provide training for the students in blogging, video compression, and video sharing.
Students used the blog to post reflections and ideas, to share and comment on the video assignments, and to respond to each other's posts.