Foreign Workers Fill Need for Local Business
Posted July 16, 2000
CARY — The lament "Good help is hard to find" is especially true around the Triangle -- so much so that some local business owners are looking outside the U.S. to fill their vacancies. Many say it is a win-win situation for everyone.
Anastasia Haydova is in her fifth month of working at Bunkey's Car Wash in Cary. She is here on a temporary visa from the Czech Republic.
Speaking through a translator, Haydova explains that she did not have a job in Czechoslovakia, so she was looking for an opportunity to find a job here and make some money.
Haydova is not the only one who has come to the car wash to make some money. A father and son who work for Bunkey's are from Russia; others are from Poland.
"We love it. They're good employees," says owner Bunkey Morgan.
Morgan says with the low employment rate in the Triangle, the workers are filling a vital need.
"Around Cary, especially," he says. "Cary has grown so much over the past few years and we've got so many new service industries here -- Wal-Mart, grocery stores, restaurants -- and they all take our type of employees."
Morgan started hiring foreign workers about four years ago. Now he has about 50 of them at his four locations.
Most workers are in the United States on six-month visas, although some stay longer. One worker came from the Czech Republic in 1997 and ended up marrying Bunkey's son.
"The first, I thought I'd stay just for six months and find something new, get some adventure, something new in my life," says Renata Morgan. "Then, after six months, I get extension and stay for another six months. Then I met my husband and stayed here."
Renata Morgan still works at the car wash. Most others return home, taking back some money and sparkling memories of American prosperity in action.
The pay for the workers at Bunkey's is not too shabby. They make about $9 an hour with tips.
Bunkey Morgan says one couple saved up $15,000 while they were here in Cary -- enough to buy a home in their native country.