Timesizing® Associates

dooms du jour, Sept/999
[Commentary] ©1998,1999 Phil Hyde, The Timesizing Wire, Box 117, Harvard Sq, Cambridge MA 02238 USA (617) 623-8080 - HOMEPAGE


9/30/99 thu - 3 more downsizings (total 1850 jobs gone):  • 1300 jobcuts as Oakwood Homes confronts 3 classic clues to collapse & leaches itself, instead of bleeding hours for all, not jobs for a few, & a few more, & a...  • 350 dead jobs as Alltel Corp., instead of all sacrificing together, tells a few employees to hit the road  • 200 staff reductions as Brigham&Women's Hospital in Boston shrinks further
+ 10 more takeovers reported (totalling $1.55B + $undisclosed)
vs. glimmers of hope:  • world's most flexible company, Nucor, has extra $600m for takeovers (nooooo!) or stock buybacks (YES!)  • 1 more UPsizing as Euro Disney plans a new theme park devoted to film & TV beside Disneyland Paris

9/29 wed - "O downturn, where is thy sting?  O joblessness, where is thy victory?  The sting of downturn is downsizing; and the strength of downsizing is short-sightedness.  But thanks be to worksharing, we have the victory through all sacrificing together, starting at the top."  (paraphrase of I Cor. 15: 55-57)
3 downsizings (total 1545 jobs killed)• 26% staffcut (1000 jobs) as Filene's Basement reacts "too much, too late" to Chap.11, vs. 26% hourscut (29½-hr wk) & everyone keeps working & shopping
• 300 staff reductions as Mony Group insurance goes acquisition-crazy after going public last year
• 7% jobs cut (245 people) as Harvard Pilgrim Health Care tries to stop hemorrhaging by self-amputation, vs. 7% hours cut (to 37/wk) & everyone keeps the best tourniquet, a job
+ 10 takeovers reported (totalling $5½B + $undisclosed)
+ 2 “ticklers from the 'Twenties”
vs. glimmers of hope:  • at last, we taxpayers may get a break from being dragged in as global bailout artists of the last (or has it been the first?) resort  • one upsizing as Ames Dept Stores plan 25 openings next year

9/28 tue - Kamaraden! our vunderbar CEO Rambos start Veek mit ein Bang, oder Tchop, hahaha! -
(timesizing takes the sting out of downturns 'cause it keeps everyone together) -
5 downsizings (total 8681 jobs killed)• 14% workforce cut (5000 jobs) as Mitsubishi Heavy overreacts to expected loss, vs. trimming 14% of its workweek for all (34½-hr wk) & keeping everyone working
• 9% jobcut (2351 people) as Shoney's shuts 81 cafes, vs. 9% hrs cut (36/wk) & everyone keeps eatin'
• 130 jobs "moved" & 500-600 more screwtinized as Lockheed sells off 8 businesses & "reorgs"
• 33% jobcut (500 fogbound) as London Fog creeps into a U.S. fogbank-ruptcy court
• 600 jobs chopped as Huffy gets huffy about making bikes in America
+ 1 bankruptcy:  London Fog meets its Waterloo in Dellawear
+ 12 takeovers reported (totalling $16.7B + $undisclosed)
vs. glimmers of hope:   we may finally be getting emission controls on TRUCKS!

9/26-27 - week's roundup, per NY Times (& Boston Globe):
• 10 more downsizings reported this week (over 14,419 jobs gone)
• 43 takeovers reported (valued at $99.4B) • no bankruptcies mentioned
vs. 1 upsizings (1000 new jobs) & 4 untakeovers ($?)
<<<½YTD reports:  135D (161,714 jobcuts +?) +636T ($598.65B +$?)
vs. 16 upsz (30,875 +?) + 20 untk ($18.1B+?)>>>
+ prisonwatch - US expands prisoner work plans, but still without nationwide worksharing to offset job co-option, and still with neither abolishing minimum wage nor including prisoners in it
+ Germany runs out of money & considers cuts in services & benefits, without yet shifting gears from worklife control (mandatory retirement & runaway pensions) to workweek control (squeezing & spreading market-demanded self-supporting employment&training onto everyone)
+ vs. glimmers of hope:
  • Human Genome Project cradles ultimate human goal - optional immortality 
• additional positive potential from Buchanan & 3-party system in America 
• Massachusetts allocates $26m for helping ex-welfare women keep new jobs

9/25 sat (on fri events) - 2 downsizings (total 890 jobs lost)• nearly 1% workforce cut (830 jobs) as Rite Aid responds to the wrong trigger (the insane stock market) & makes a stupid 3rd-Reich-like response to battle (here, legal), instead of all sacrificing minimally with a 1% hours cut (to 39.6-hr wk) & maintaining unity & morale  • 60 jobs vanish as General Electric eliminates the wrong thing in its jet engine production in Cincinnati & expects more cuts due to slowdown in new orders & high costs (of course, they're laying off their own best boosters - their own employees - & incurring severance costs)
+ 5 acquisitions reported (totalling $481M + $undisclosed)
+ Brazil unemployment rises despite reduced interest rates (our advice - share the work & spread the employment on an ongoing dynamic basis wherever market demand goes, and sideline the cosmetics of interest-rate fiddling)
+ glimmers of hope:  • Cooperative Threat Reduction agreement of 1991 keeps quietly dismantling nuclear threat  • privacy for family planning wins 3 court battles

9/24 fri - 1 downsizing:  15% workforce cut (200 jobs) as Chiquita Banana cuts costs & its own best customers, instead of doing a 15% cut in their workweek (to 34 hrs) & keeping everyone working & earning  + 10 acquisitions reported (totalling $19.7B + $undisclosed)
+ Dow yoyos with 1928-recalling jitters
+ glimmers of hope:  • Clinton clobbers taxcut for the rich  • Perot loosens stranglehold on Reform Party  • jobless claims down (but only because Floyd grounded applicants)  • brokers admit to stock manipulation (but it's sooo easy these days)  • Milken loses libel suit against writer  • 1 "untakeover"

9/23 thu - "Don't develop market share, stupid - acquire it! Don't develop products, acquire them!" - Another 8 acquisitions reported (totalling $2½B + $undisclosed)
+ 2 downsizings (9245 additional):  • 10% workforce cut (9200 more jobcuts than before) as United Technologies amplifies its business decline, instead of taking a 10% workweek cut company-wide (to 36 hrs) & keeping everyone employed  • 45 jobs vanish as Pillsbury closes bakery in Somerville, Mass. & offers workers jobs one town over
+ 1 false prophecy:  Fed says economy keeps expanding... (So why firms keep merging & downsizing? - Better check your measures, Mr. G) 
+ 5 glimmers of hope -  • Generation X wants no part of our uncompromising work schedules
• Globe's conservative columnist goes to bat for initiatives & referendums
• Giuliani targets forced charity for other people's hobbies, especially when offensive 
• Although lobbyists may squeal, Balanced Budget Act did cap government spending 
• 1 UNtakeover: EC blocks Airtours' $1.4b deal for First Choice Holidays on anti-competitive grounds

9/22 wed - "When are they going to stop merging and start managing?!" -
3 downsizings reported (total 2774+):  • 8.3% workforce cut (another post-merger 1500 jobcuts) as Hamilton Sundstrand aerospace shutters 1½ plants, instead of doin' an 8.3% workweek cut for all (to 36.7 hrs) & everyone keeps workin'  • 74 jobs vanish as HarperCollins shows recent takeover victim William Morrow & Co. who's boss  • at least 1200 jobs to vanish as Unilever plans 75% slash in its 1600 brands - that's sayonara to 1200 brand mgrs just for starters
+ 8 takeovers reported (totalling over $70.7B)
+ 6 negazingers another leap in our record trade deficit (to $25.2B)  "slaves love their chains" dept? (voters apathetic re wealth gap?)  "how bad it's gotten" dept. (mental health workers strike for measly 8-mo's job security)  20th century 'dark age' of genocide  Ford's pardon of Nixon set dangerous precedent for Clinton on FALN  "nothing to fear but fear itself" dept. (Clinton studies bioterrorism) 
+ 6 glimmers of hope:  • Bankruptcy-toughening bill blocked  • Congress likely to curb IBM's ripoff pension switches  • Nasdaq reverses rush to go public  • Air Canada shoots down hostile takeover bid  • TLC takes preemptive measures  • Coke down, Pepsi up (we like underdogs)

9/21 tue - 2 downsizings reported (total 1310):  • 10% workforce cut (1500 jobs) as Quaker Oats shuts plants (& cuts cereal sales), instead of 10% workweek cut for all (36-hr wk) & everyone keeps eating Cheerios  • 110 jobs vanish as Luxottica Group of Italy restructures a Bausch&Lomb unit in Rochester that it engulfed in June
+ 12 takeovers reported (totalling over $6B)
+ glimmers of hope:  • buyer for Eatons of Canada, Sears Canada, to save 1000 of the 13,000 lost jobs
• French jab back at Microsoft - reject forced purchase of Windows with every computer
• Microsoft & Ford enter foothills of cardealer phase-out

9/19-20 - weekend roundup, per NYT (+BG), week of extremes:  M,T dramatic - F,Sa dull:
• 2 bankruptcies mentioned (Vencor senior homes & Singer sewing machines)
• 10 downsizings reported this week (over 21,190 jobs gone)
• 52 takeovers reported (valued at $74B)
vs. 0 upsizings (0 new jobs) & 2 untakeovers ($?)
<<<½YTD reports:  125D (147,295 jobcuts +?) +593T ($499.25B +$?)
vs. 15 upsz (29,875 +?) + 17 untk ($18.1B+?)>>>
+ 2 zingers:  • we're the most violent 'developed' nation  • Harvard Business School warned of 2 bad habits nearly 2 decades ago but no one listened, least of all, them
vs. glimmers of hope:
  • an explicit 'glimmer' for paralytics
• a long-overdue furor over floodplain insurance subsidized by taxpayers
• even 'tunnel-vision' market analysts admit to evidence we're in "stealth bear market"

9/18 sat (on fri events) - 1 downsizing reported (total 150):  7% cut in its exploration & production workforce (150 jobs) as Shell Oil in Houston cuts costs (& its own future), instead of 7% workweek cut for all (37-hr wk) & everyone keeps working, prospecting, & drivin' around 
+ 8 takeovers reported (total $918m - ohoh, 918m on 9/18?- welcome to 'The Twilight Zone')
+ another sign of depression:  luxury markets buoyant while general markets thrash
+ glimmers of hope:  standard economists get creeping suspicion of own irrelevance

9/17 fri - 1 downsizing reported (total 4100):  3.4% workforce (4100 more jobs) to cut as Raytheon scores "11,300 down" out of 15,400 targetted, vs. 3.4% workweek cut for all & keeping everyone employed  + 7 takeovers reported (totalling only $442m - chickenfeed day)
+ glimmers of the real solution:  imaginative business owner in Mich. shares with employees riches from sale of company

9/16 thu - 2 downsizings reported (total 40 +undetermined):  • 5% workforce cut (40 jobs) as General Cinema Cos. centralizes, instead of 5% workweek cut (to 38 hrs/wk) & everyone keeps earning money to go to the movies 
• undetermined jobcuts as AT&T freezes hiring & tries trim $2b (& goose stockprice?!) 
+ 14 takeovers reported (total $15.06b )
+ glimmers of hope:  4 chunks of "goodnews, but..."

9/15 wed - 4 downsizings reported (total 11,450 = 96% hitech):  • 10% (8000 jobs) as Seagate disk drives slashes people & prices instead of hours (to 36/wk) & waste  • 3000 jobcuts at Silicon Graphics 
• 3.6% chop in workforce (450 jobs) as Crane Co. cuts workers & consumers, instead of
3.6% chop in workweek (to 38.6 hrs) & everyone stays working & shopping 
• 10% (50 jobs) as Seagate disk drives cuts jobs, not hours (to 36/wk) 
+ 9 takeovers reported (total $4.15b )
+ glimmers of hope:  2 anti-merger moves

9/14 tue - 2 downsizings reported (total 5450):  • 5,000 Japanese cuts as Toshiba slashes people instead of hours  • 3.6% less workforce (450 jobs) as Crane Co. chops workers & consumers, instead of 3.6% chop in workweek (to 38.6 hrs) & everyone stays working & shopping 
+ 2 bankruptcies: Vencor nursing homes & Singer sewing machines
+ 15 takeovers reported (total $53.4b )
+ glimmers of hope:  a Federal case delays a bank's planned merger

9/12-13 - weekend roundup, per NYT (+BG):  another 12-downsizing week reported (over 16,250 jobs gone) + 5 bankruptcies mentioned (Sidanko, Eskimo Pie, Hechinger, Pluma, Optimum Health)+ 36 takeovers reported this week (valued at over $85B)
vs. 2 upsizings (2300 new jobs) & 2 untakeovers ($1.4b +$?)
<<<½YTD reports:  115D (126,105 jobcuts +?) +541T ($425.25B +$?)
vs. 15 upsz (29,875 +?) + 15 untk ($18.1B+?)>>>
+ Internet era zinger:  mergers making firms bigger & slower when smaller & faster is better 
+ glimmers of hope:
  • 3 Laborday weekend NYT articles spark discussion on workoholism • 10 books vs. sleep deficit • 1 "punishment fit the crime" for Aussies who mix alcohol with "workohol"

9/11 sat (on fri events) - 3 downsizings reported (totalling 1573):  • 700 jobs lost as Optimum Health drops 1700 elders  • 500 jobs go byby as biggest U.S. furniture retailer Heilig-Meyers shutters 18 stores in Chicago & Milwaukee, instead of cutting their workweek & keeping everybody workin' & shoppin' 
• 373 jobs lost in Czech-ia as Philip Morris unit shuts 1 of 4 ciggy plants 
+ 1 bankruptcy triggered 1 of these downsizings: • Optimum Health...
+ 9 takeovers reported (total $7.44b )
+ 7 oh-nooooo's
+ 4+1 glimmers of hope:  • America's gets its first interstate African-American owned bank
• absentee dads asked to write their own obits from viewpoint of neglected kids
• 1 upsizing: Toyota to build 300-employee plant in Poland  • 1+1 cases of merger resistance

9/10 fri - more dense (in both senses) wealth questing more downsized markets - 4 more downsizings reported (totalling 4,850+):  • min. 2000 jobs lost as Hechinger home improvement liquidates remaining 117 stores  • 1400 U.S. jobs lost to Mexico as GE downsizes their own best market, the U.S. consumer 
• 950 jobcuts in NC & Va as Pluma goes Ch.11  • 500 more jobcuts by Reebok worldwide 
+ 2 bankruptcies triggered 2 of these downsizings: • Hechinger • Pluma
+ 11 takeovers reported (total $4.78b )
+ 2 signposts on our March of Folly: • corruption in Russia as big a peril as Communism
• now Connecticut cops have to be stupid
+ 2 glimmers of hope:  • key date passes without Y2K woes 
• NH 1st state to elect 3 women to top political offices

9/9/99 thursday - potentially a key date for Y2K computer viruses - omit the slashes (9999), drop one number (999) and turn it upsidedown (666) and you have the Number of the Beast, 666 - Who was the original Beast (in the last book of the Bible, Revelation 13:18)? - Hebrew letters each have numerical values, and 666 is the sum of the letter-values in the Hebrew form of the name of a cruel Roman emperor or "cæsar," named Nero Cæsar in Latin (full name Nero Claudius Caesar Drusus Germanicus, lived AD 37-68, emperor AD 54-68, the emperor who supposedly set Rome on fire, "fiddled while Rome burned," and blamed it on a troublesome sect of originally Greek - or Judæan? - terrorists called 'Xrestianioi' or 'Christians') and named Neron Kaisar in Greek - If you write the Greek form in the Hebrew alphabet which doesn't have most vowels, you get NRWN QSR, where the only vowel represented is "o" (represented by W) and the Greek "k" is represented by a Hebrew Q - the numerical value of these letters in Hebrew, N,R,W,N; Q,S,R, is 50,200,6,50; 100,60,200 - as you can see, these numbers add up to 666 (see p.1388, Abingdon Bible Commentary, 1929, and p.265, Karl Menninger's Number Words & Number Symbols, 1970) - proof of this identification is provided by the fact that a variant reading found in some ancient manuscripts of this verse in Revelation gives the number of the Beast as 616 instead of 666, and if instead of the Greek form, you put the Latin form of the name into Hebrew letters, you drop the final N of NRWN - which drops that second 50 in the sum, and 666-50= 616... - A possible further proof of this identification is the fact that Nero committed suicide on June 6, AD 68, and our year-count of BC-AD is already confused by omitting a date of zero in the middle and thus double-counting the year at the join, so if we allow 1 BC its full year and start the AD count a year later, Nero's suicide would be in AD 67 not 68, and if some additional confusion happened to lead to our count's varying from that of the Book of Revelation by only one more year, Nero's suicide would be in AD 66 - to be exact, on June 6, 66... - you heard it here first -
4 downsizings reported (total 7830 +undetermined):  • 10% staff cuts as Michelin in France (7500 jobs lost) & Reebok in Mass. (120 lost) cut costs via kamekazi, vs. 10% hours cut (35-36 hr wk) & everyone keeps working & spending  • 5% workforce cut (210 jobs) instead of 5% workweek cut (38-hr wk) as Metals USA of Houston follows fatuous, ultimately fatal self-flagellation fad to fluff profits  • ??? cuts as CBS, in Viacom's jaws, ponders 3rd painful bout of layoffs
+ 1 new bankruptcy mentionedEskimo Pie Corp. shareholders approve liquidation
+ 13 more takeovers (totalling only $1.22b today)
+ 6 doomzingers:  • consumer debt up  • Greenspan blows hot & cold, grasps for infotech liferaft 
• Brit puppydog economy raises rates to combat inflation's ghost  • braindead editorials in both Times & Globe suck up to CBS-Viacom unbreakup  • GOP adrift with lawgjam & no coherent strategy  • 2½m U.S. gunowners are 11-18 years old 
+ 2 glimmers of hope:  • Globe op-ed exposes US hypocrisy re family values based on comparing family leaves
• Canadian Auto Workers seek 4-day week expansion

9/08 wed - back in the compactor - look what we're doing to ourselves - 1 bankruptcy mentionedBP Amoco's $½B investment in Russia's bankrupt Sidanko at risk
+ 13 takeovers, 3 in the billions (totalling $43B), starting with Viacom of CBS for $37B
+ 2 golden parachutes:  2 guys at Viacom to get $34m apiece for quitting on Jan.1 
+ 2+1 glimmers of hope: • 2 new women top execs • 1 up-sizing (2000 new jobs)

9/07 tue - every nation's most precious & fragile resource under fatal fad of downsizing, its own consumer base - 1 downsizing predicted:  "1000's" of workers to be fired under 3-way megabank merger (DIK, Fuji & IBJ), when Japan could maintain her national consumer base by worksharing & cutting hours, not jobs
+ prisonwatchtm: guess where our mentally ill are going now that we've cut their programs
+ 2 huge UK takeovers (totalling $28.4 BILLION):  Natwest engulfs Legal & General insurance for $17.2B to keep up with Lloyd's June (but uncounted) $11.2B gobble of Scottish Widows Fund
+ 4 "mini" zingers:  • "corrupt" U.S. campaign finance  • Japan's steel overcapacity 
• Mexico's bankrupt banks  • Venezuela's shrinking economy 
+ glimmers of hope - Boston Globe editorials highlight 2 good ideas:  • action needed in do-little Congress 
debates needed in money-drowned "democracy"

9/05-06 - weekend roundup, per NYT (+BG):  12 downsizings reported (15,000+ jobs gone)
+ 2 bankruptcies (Seoulbank & Submicron)
+ 52 takeovers this week ($28B+ involved)
vs. 2 upsizings (? new jobs) & 2 untakeovers ($?)
<<<½YTD reports:  103D (109,855 jobcuts +?) +505T ($340.25B +$?)
vs. 13 upsz (27,575 +?) + 15 untk ($16.675B+?)>>>
+ 3 badnews zingers:  • income gap worsens: top 1% up 120% in last 22 yrs, bottom 60% down 8%  • Americans working longer, not smarter... longest workhours (2000/yr) in world, beating even Japan  • misnaming of skill shortage as "labor shortage" goes on despite low wages & training budgets & high mergers, downsizings, anxiety-driven overtime & moonlighting, job qualifications, disability, homelessness, prison population
+ glimmers of hope:
  GM & DaimlerChrysler offer employees LIFETIME jobs in return for flexibility

9/04 sat (on fri events) - 1 downsizing reported:  • 50 jobs killed as Thermal Components car radiators claymores its Duncan, SC plant (instead of cutting workhours, not workers) - Thermal's CEO (kilted in pinkslips), "I go, and it is done; the bell invites me. Hear it not, Duncan, for it is a knell
That summons thee to heaven or to hell." (Macbeth, Act II, Scene I)  
+ 3 pre-LaborDay takeovers reported totalling $176m +$undisclosed
+ job growth slows sharply in August
+ glimmers of hope:
  • Shimon Peres sounds inspiring trumpet blast for Palestinian independence
(makes us proud, as Christians, of our Jewish descent)

9/03 fri - 2 more downsizings reported (total 13,450):  • 10% workforce cut (13,000 people) at Telecom Italia to cut costs after hostile takeover by Olivetti - shoulda cut 10% workweek instead (to 36 hrs), kept everybody workin', but, in hostile takeovers, top execs hate each other as well as employees 
• 2% staffcut (450 jobs) instead of hourscut as Newport News Shipbuilding finds the wrong reaction to "fluctuating workloads in our Navy business"
+ 11 takeovers reported totalling $1.72B +$undisclosed
+ glimmers of hope:
  • 1 untakeover as Protection One & Lifeline Systems cancel merger plans
• most regressive & economy-stifling tax (sales tax) suspended as NY, Fla. & Tex. bid to boost preschool clothing sales

9/02 thu - 2 downsizings reported (total 449):  • 3% workforce cut (329 people) at Sabre Group Holdings airline reservations because of lower sales in its computer services biz - by 2100 AD such firms will have tied their workweek to their revenues & Future Sabre will be doing a 3% workweek cut (to 39 hrs ) to keep everyone workin' & shoppin' (but by then it'll be 3% off 30 or 20 hrs/wk, not 40) 
• 120 cuts as Dexter chemicals shuts Texas plant & sells a unit, instead of hitching its working hours to its revenues & surfing with all employees, skills & morale intact, & continuous cross-training
+ 2 bankruptcies mentioned• So. Korea to lose its own Seoul(bank) & then inject $billions?!  • Pa.-based Submicron Systems files for bankruptcy & then agrees to be taken over ASAP?!
+ 10 takeovers reported: • 1 (cluster) in $Bs • 5 in $100Ms • 2 in $10Ms • 2 $?  (total $6.13B +$?)
+ cartoonist Wasserman nails runaway executive pay now over 400 times factory worker's
+ glimmers of hope:
  • 1 upsizing as H&R Block opens 4 financial centers & plans 70 more this year

9/01/99 wed - death by a thousand cuts - 4 downsizings reported (total 190 +unspecified):  • 15% non-mfg staff cut (100 people) as Wolverine Tube in Ala. cuts costs - a 15% hours cut (34-hr workweek) would keep everyone workin' & shoppin'  • 10% brewing staff cut (100 people) as Genessee in Rochester bids for profitability, vs. cutting 10% hours so everyone sacrifices together, starting at the top  • 40 cuts as Heska vet products shuts Wisc. plant  • unspecified cuts as FiberMark shuts a NJ plant, 4th in 4 yrs
+ 12 takeovers reported: • 6 in $100Ms • 2 in $10Ms • 1 in $1Ms • 3 $?  (total $914M +$?)
+ Japan's joblessness at record highs, nation sinking in debt, yet yen still stronger than US$
+ glimmers of hope:
  Revelation: Wall St firms avoid mergers (while pushing other companies into them)


Click here for dooms du jour in Aug-July/99.
Click here for dooms du jour in Jun-May/99.
Click here for dooms du jour in before Apr.30/99.


For more details, see our laypersons' guide Timesizing, Not Downsizing, which is available online from *Amazon.com and at bookstores in Harvard and Porter Squares, Cambridge, Mass.

Questions, comments, feedback? Phone 617-623-8080 (Boston) or email us.


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