Do not work for Westward Seafoods in Dutch Harbor, Alaska

April 24, 2013 by  

Rob Hurlbut leaving Dutch Harbor, Alaska and the employ of Westward Seafoods.

Rob Hurlbut Leaves Westward Seafoods Dutch Harbor, Alaska

    I’ve been doing a lot of thinking over the last 3 months. I’ll tell you right now that I didn’t want to think a lot but what I was doing and where I was didn’t leave me with much of anything else to do. I just got back from a three month stint working for Westward Seafoods Inc. in Dutch Harbor, Alaska. It was not a good experience and I am struggling with how I’m going to relate my experience with to the world. Of course I have photos but what I went through can’t be adequately shown or expressed with photography. I had mental and physical degradation happen in way that should be investigated as criminal wrongdoing because the methods, manners and culture of Westward Seafoods Inc. are immoral, rude and racist. For me, leaving Dutch Harbor and the employ of Westward Seafoods was not the end of a job; it was fleeing the scene of a crime. Westward uses their isolated location to scare and bully their employees. They use the high cost of airfare out of Dutch Harbor as leverage against employees so they will give their full cooperation to any task they are asked to do. Employees of Westward Seafoods do this as the company buys fish and crab that have been caught by pirates in a way that is not sustainable, legal or ethical. I have so many more things to say and so many more photos to show that I’m not quite sure where to begin or how to end. This post is my way of placing the world on notice, I suppose. The photo above was taken on a flight out of Alaska, heading to the lower 48. I was watching the sunrise as I pondered what to do next and what I wanted to say about my Alaska experience. So, be aware; more posts and photos are coming.


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19 Responses to “Do not work for Westward Seafoods in Dutch Harbor, Alaska”

  1. james clark on April 24th, 2013 8:40 pm

    been there done that ,i agree . westward seafoods is a nightmare that offers u just a lousy check and injuries that take long to heal and their safety department its a joke they have the morning cook as the night doctor please wtf

  2. Paul Moeller on May 1st, 2013 11:39 am

    Welcome back Rob. I'm looking forward to hearing more about this.

  3. Barbara on May 16th, 2013 4:35 pm

    Nothing but a bunch of Windy Whiners. Grow up. Go live in New York City. Should have been born a New Jersey Girl.

  4. michale rahn on June 19th, 2013 8:10 am

    pirate boats? not here at westward. if you thought they were illegals, why didn't you call the Coast Guard? all the boats i saw have been coming here for years …
    great story tho, bro

  5. Sandy on June 29th, 2013 8:46 pm

    I was there in 2004 and i really enjoyed it, everyone was nice and made a lot of friends there, if i could i would go back there,it was cold and the hours were rough, and they do tell you that if you dont do a good job and follow there rules then you will have to leave , i agree with them, its like any company

  6. FYI on August 6th, 2013 2:57 am

    Those boats you call pirates are completely legal. I should know – before working the same season as you at Westward – I worked for the company that monitors every single fishing trip they make in the Bering Sea including every offload made of crab, cod and pollock at Westward. Limits and areas are set based on research every season gather from the boats by trained Observers assigned for the boats. Each boat has to be register with the coast guard and my company before they can even fish commercially in the Bering Sea.

  7. Jeanne Spears on September 21st, 2013 7:17 pm

    HEY Rob!! I havent quite smoking yet 😉 And I am so glad to be out of there as well. My hands are still fucked up. But I guess I am just a wuss. Or I couldnt stand the discrimination and rascism there. That place was a fucking NIGHTMARE. But I am glad I went, cuz I met alot of really great people along with the fucking assholes that were as plentiful as the fish. PS< all you folks who eat the fish fromthat shithole…I SNOTTED the fuck out of them when the tp in my nose failed to catch all the pneumonia snot dripping. Haha. what a great place to work…

  8. v2k on September 23rd, 2013 9:00 pm

    To Rob Hurlbut, I agree with your opinion and i would like to hear more about your mental degradation in westward. I am investgating relate to behavior control by using electromagnetic wave in westward seafoods. I am doing by myself because i have some weird experience in there.

  9. cesar on September 26th, 2013 10:02 am

    I would love to hear more about your time at westward, I have a friend that is going to work there.

  10. Reluctant Applicant on October 16th, 2013 5:46 pm

    Damn…. here I am filling out an online application to work there and I just thought I'd try to find some images of the place…. :O

  11. Hugh Faussett on December 10th, 2013 4:55 pm

    I am not a Westward employee but I am a longtime seafood worker from Seattle. I now manage a seafood operation up in Bristol Bay and have seen many Robs in my career. Westward like all companies are not for everyone. Especially if your somewhat girly. All your conspiracy theories are certainly amusing but ignorant. Maybe selling shoes or being a sandwich technician at Subway are more up your alley Rob. I have a deep love and respect for Alaska and this industry,or wouldn't have bothered but the Robs really annoy me.

  12. The World Is Raw on December 10th, 2013 7:54 pm

    Well Hugh, I’m glad to know you are enjoying your Peter Pan career in Bristol Bay. Since you don’t work in Dutch Harbor or for Westward, you couldn’t possibly know what goes on there. I’m not presenting conspiracy theories, I’m sharing experiences I actually had up there. You’re basically saying that you have an opinion about MY opinion of a place you’ve never even been to. I know why people like you like to be managers in places like Dutch Harbor and Bristol Bay… It’s because you like to leverage the remote location to get people to do your bidding and if they don’t then you have HR fire them. You strike me as the type that would HATE IT when some one disagrees with you, on or off the job. You enjoy your Peter Pan Power Trip. Do any women work at your plant? Do you accuse them of being girly?

  13. iced bone on December 11th, 2013 7:34 am

    Lol that hugh dude must be a pussy i can see that,.probably got his job by blowing a philipinno dick ,i bet money on that Lol

  14. The World Is Raw on December 11th, 2013 1:50 pm

    You're probably right!

  15. Ash Lowe on January 13th, 2014 7:25 am

    I totally agree with you, Rob. My boyfriend just left to go do the 3 month stint in Dutch Harbor for Westward Seafoods. He was unemployed and that’s the only place that hired him, so he didn’t really have a choice. He had already completed past seasons for Westward, so he knew what he was getting into, and he knew he didn’t really want to go back.

    He did tell me that it was racist, that the higher ups were lazy, that everyone who didn’t have the unfortunate job of cleaning and gutting fish for 16 hours a day would take part in the luxury of regular breaks and down time. My boyfriend told me that the workers stand for 16 hours a day, working almost straight through, with only a lunch and no real breaks. It is illegal in the US to work more than 8 hours a day, and anything over that must be considered overtime paid at time and a half. Westward does not follow these rules, and they don’t give time and a half- the people there are essentially indentured slaves.

    My boyfriend also revealed to me that, just as you said yourself, they threaten the people into staying because Dutch Harbor is on an island, and the only way out is to fly. Naturally, people who showed up for the job in the first place don’t have the money to get a $1000 ticket to fly from Dutch Harbor, to Anchorage, to back home where they came from. So in effect, if you want to leave early, or get fired, Westward gives you 1 HOUR to get off the island and somehow make it back to Anchorage- nearly impossible for those people. That kind of harassment is deplorable.

    Rob, the trolls on here who are calling you a conspiracy theorist are so clearly using catch-all provocateur wording so as to discredit your experience. I don’t know who you are, but I know what my boyfriend told me, and the fact this his experience so vividly matches yours without the two of you ever speaking, tells me that this is your truth, and there are some Westward spies here trying to naysay. I seriously hope more people learn of the racism, the terrible working conditions, the illegal and against US law working hours, and the bullying into being an employee of those trapped in poverty, that Westward Seafoods at Dutch Harbor is so clearly about.

  16. tallyman on April 7th, 2014 9:31 pm

    I worked at Westward for 10 seasons and while it certainly isn’t for everyone, especially if you end up in surimi (always hated the work on that side), there are a couple things I need to point out. 1- All boats processed are legal, I’ve never seen a boat processed without a valid fish ticket and it wouldn’t be worth the risk for Westward (or any other company) to take boats that fish illegally. They’d would face massive fines if caught. 2- They do pay time-and-a-half after 8 regular hours a day, not only is it state law but it’s also their whole selling point as your regular shift can be as much as 12-18 hours a day.

    It is true however that if you get fired you have one hour to pack and leave the property, and yes, the safety department is a joke and the safety foreman is one of the most irritating, smug jackasses I’ve ever met.

  17. paborito1 on April 15th, 2014 8:38 pm

    aww i feel bad for your bad experienced in westward….im currently working there as a processor…ive started working there 2012-present….i wish i met you there so we can be friend or buddies….so far my experienced there is awesome..i met a lot of frends…im new here in US thats why i dont have friends in california thats why i tried working in alaska….i worked so hard and became keyperson…ive been offered to be a lead but i didnt like it i just want to be a processor lol…because of westward i can feed my family now and had a great job experienced…what i dont like there is alot of lazy processors whose just fucking around there because its unfair that good workers are working hard and others are just not doing anything and sometimes headaches to the lead and foremans….i go to alaska to work and do what ever my job is and get paid i dont care about other people thinks about me all i care is my family…

  18. MARIA on May 22nd, 2014 1:26 pm


  19. Tracie Amezcua on June 16th, 2014 1:02 am

    I worked for the company twice…its hard work but the housing is ten thousand times than any other company by far.Not a racist company just a bunch of people who want to work and then get out. Of there.its. not for everybody..being female..soo what!!!! I did it ..good company…sorry u feel that way.

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