Timesizing® Associates

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


10/30/99 sat - Titanic economics - steaming toward the ice floes at full speed "ahead" 70 yrs later - 1 downsizing reported:  unspecified jobs lost as Just For Feet reacts to that 1929-familiar phrase "excess inventory" by closing 85 stores & making sales even harder
+ 1 more bankruptcy mentioned, as Dick Clark & Ed McMahon's sweepstake scam, "American Family Enterprises" (can you believe this?), seeks Ch.11 protection from lawsuits vs. deceptive advertising
+ 8 takeovers reported, totalling $481m + $undisclosed
+ 4 clunkers:  • Congress entails the most basic human right, the right to a decent & comfortable death
• undoing Daylight Saving tomorrow instead of doubling it darkens our evenings & wastes energy
• illegal workers' "rights" (to anything but quick & gentle repatriation) puts cart before horse 
• GOP candidates catch flat-tax brain virus 
vs. 5 glimmers of hope:  • truth better than fiction in example of one French congregation who sheltered Jews in WW2
• hi tech bosses give Washington a talking-to
• less money, less inside candidate gains momentum on right (& left?)
• even nonunion employees get raise at DaimlerChrysler
• Tyco getting its come-uppance?

10/29 fri - 70 years to the day of the Crash, Black Tuesday 1929, when the media woke up to the Depression -
5 downsizings reported (total 5672 jobs gone):  • 6% workforce cut (2300 jobs) as Norsk Hydro reacts autistically to a 4-year drop in profit, instead of a 6% workweek cut (to 37.6 hrs) & all stay working
• 20% staff cut (1750 jobs) as StorageTek storage products misses targets due to delayed purchases "because of year 2000 issues" (huh?), vs. 20% hours cut (four 8-hr days!) & everyone keeps jobs
• 1000 positions trimmed so PWC acctg can do more takeovers, technology, services &...training???
• 622 jobcuts as Arch Coal boards up 2 W.Va. mines so not to destroy more of environment
• unspecified cuts as EMC gets indigestion from its gobbleup of Data General
+ 1 bankruptcy mentioned, as Nikko Electric auto parts becomes 1st Japanese firm this century to be put into bankruptcy by its employees...& the ‘vultures’ circle
+ 6 takeovers reported, totalling $500m + $undisclosed
vs. 5 glimmers of hope:  • Greenspan calls a spade a spade, "recent growth unsustainable"  • small employers get their squawk about runaway health insurance costs  • 2 UPsizings: Bell Atlantic to add 2000 jobs & Sears to open 15 outlets  • 1 UNtakeover: Justice challenges Compuware's grab of Viasoft

10/28 thu - 3 more downsizings reported (total 11,910 jobs gone):  • 11,650 jobs vanish as NatWest hurts itself in "cure worse than disease" fight vs. potentially hurtful, hostile takeover by Bank of Scotland • 180 employees ejected in Pa. & Niagara Falls as Carbide-Graphite Group self-amputates
• 80 jobcuts as Arkansas-based Staffmark shutters 12 offices
+ 8 takeovers reported, totalling $3b + $undisclosed
vs. 4 glimmers of hope:  • big new Boston convention center to showcase energy technology & sustainable design  • Coke inches towards true market-determined, supply&demand pricing 
• 1 UPsizing: Hoechst to add 35 good jobs in Cambridge, Mass. 
• 1 UNtakeover: NatWest is trying to block a takeover, even though their method is bad

10/27 wed - 3 downsizings reported (total 3097 jobs):  • 2450 jobs to vanish as Bank of Montreal strives to improve profits by cutting the cream of its market (its own staff) instead of its workweek • 11.7% workforce cut (607 jobs) cut as El Paso Energy completes "reorg" after its 3/16 Sonat takeover, instead of 11.7% workweek cut for all (to 35.3 hours) & everyone keeps warm & working • 4.9% staff cut (40 jobs) as FCB New York ad agency "improves efficiency" by following the lemmings & nicking domestic spending, instead of a creative 4.9% hours & pay cut (38 hrs/wk) & all keep jobs
+ 1 closedown:  Mactell Corp. tosses in towel on making 'Apple-compattle' eqpmt
+ 9 takeovers reported, totalling $1.5b + $$undisclosed
vs. glimmers of hope:  • Dow finally enters Internet age - but also Internet bubble
• 1 UNtakeover: big South African bank spurns $4.4B takeover by smaller rival

10/26 tue - 2 downsizings reported (total 11,500 jobs gone):  • 11% workforce cut (10,000 jobs) as Mitsubishi Motors tries to boost competitiveness by disemploying its best customers, instead an 11% workweek cut (35.6-hr workweek) & all stay employed & capable of buying a new Mitsubishi
• 4.5% staff cut (1,500 jobs) as NCR shifts from PCs to ATMs & software for retail & data storage, instead of 4.5% hours & pay cut for all (38.2-hr wkwk) & everyone keeps working & spending
+ 1 bankruptcy:  R.I. places Harvard Pilgrim Health Care in receivership
+ 12 takeovers reported, totalling $13.4b + $$undisclosed
vs. glimmers of hope:  • 1 UPsizing: Uno plans 175 restaurants in 5 years
• 1 UNtakeover: Norway squelches takeover of its Christiania Bank by Finland's Meritanordbanken

10/24-25 - week's roundup, per NY Times (& Boston Globe):
• 8 downsizings reported this week (over 24,000 jobs gone)
• 2 bankruptcies mentioned:  Lois/USA ad agency & Goss Graphic Systems
• 47 takeovers reported (valued at $35B)
vs. 2 upsizings (700 new jobs +?) & 2 untakeovers ($?)
<<<½YTD reports:  179D (228,289 jobcuts +?) + 826T ($841.25B +$?)
vs. 26 upsz (32,575 +?) + 33 untk ($35.8B+?)>>>
+ unconsenting sex in prison
vs. glimmers of hope:
  • BGO#1: Internet economy is big Ponzi scheme 
• BGO#2: people don't want to pay vendors for doing their work for them just because it's ("swoon") sooo hi tech 
• 1 sighted man in land of blind: C&W CEO is "minding the store," not merge!merge!merging

10/23 sat (on fri events) - no downsizings reported today
but 7 takeovers reported, totalling $3.55b + $$undisclosed
+ 2! bankruptcies mentioned:  • Lois/USA ad agency  • Goss Graphic Systems press mfr
+ one huge stock-crash accelerator:  Clinton & GOP to dismantle Glass-Steagall firewalls against looming financial-industry meltdown
vs. 2 tiny glimmers of hope:  • "socialist" Canada now has the world's first private (nonprofit) air traffic control firm
• 1 takeover challenged - Northeast Utilities asks US Nuclear Regulatory Commission if foreign ownership rules broken by National (England) Grid's $4.6b takeover of New England Electric

10/22 fri - 1 downsizing reported:  • unspecified jobcuts as NTT, world's biggest phone firm, comes down with downsizing, “the American disease,” like Nissan 3 days ago - say sayonara to Powerhouse Japan  + 10 takeovers reported, totalling $3.8b
+ 4 zingers:  • Brazil goes luddite  • South Korea steals our 1st place in undercounting unemployment  • monthly uncovered short sales rise 5% on NYSE, 9% on Amex, signalling bearishness  • nearly 80m Americans (30%) own stock, supposedly 48% of households (if that's of any significance)
vs. 2 glimmers of hope:  • NY Times finally looks back beyond 1945 for some vital financial history
• One 700-job UPsizing: Banta to open 3 plants to handle a $700m Compaq diskdrive contract

10/21 thu - 2 downsizings reported (total 700 jobs cut + unspecified):  • 2% workforce cut (700 jobs) as Fleming wholesale groceries cuts costs the costly way, instead of trimming hours & pay for all by 2% (to 39-hour workweek) & keeping everyone working at 98% pay...& shopping normally
• 100% workforce cut (unspecified jobs) as Bradford Furniture co-owners, retiring with no buyers or children to take over, close all 6 Massachusetts stores (but employee buyout???)
+ 8 takeovers reported, totalling $274m + $undisclosed
+ 2 disgraces:  • workday is starting earlier, but not necessarily ending earlier
• Liddy Dole robs voters of the decision, girls of a role model, America of the possibility of a breakthrough at the dawn of a new millennium, and quits, despite global name recognition, in abject assent & surrender to the smothering of American democracy with plutocracy (moneymoneymoney)
vs. 6 glimmers of hope:  • Indonesia opts for an outsider as president, in nation's 1st democratic power transfer  • US trade deficit shrinks 1st time in 4 months but...only 3% down from record $25B & China portion ($7B) bloats to biggest ever with any country  • "new inflexibility" in overhauling (make that keelhauling) US financial laws  • IRS judge finally going after "crazy schemes" firms dream up as tax shelters that astonished many for going unchallenged so long  • 1 UPsizing: Providence, RI plans new mall  • 1 UNmerger: Beacon's "bacon" is saved from Schroders' takeover try

10/20 wed - 2 downsizings reported (total 1227):  • 11.7% workforce cut (1400 jobs) in U.S. share of yesterday's 21,000-job Nissan bloodbath, instead of trimming Nissan's US hours & pay for all by 11.7% (to 35.3-hr workweek) & keeping all current employees on the job with 88.3% of their pay - & more normal in their spending patterns (as long as executives can pass off the pain, we got no feedback system)
• 38.6% workforce cut (27 jobs) as Creative BioMolecules reacts to its own poor planning by punishing nearly 40% of its people, instead of all sacrificing together, starting at the top where the mistakes were made, by trimming the workweek, not the workforce
+ 10 takeovers reported, totalling $12.6B + $undisclosed
+ 8 negazingers:  • if jobs so plentiful, why all the desperate jobseekers?  • why all the pressure to build sports stadiums?  • the limits to welfare toughness, spelled A.I.D.S.  • litigation epidemic menaces markets  • the philanthropy non-solution  • unions still as dumb as in the '30s  • GOP still as dumb as Gingrich  • Democrats right behind them
vs. 9 glimmers of hope:  • 1st rise in Social Security bennies in 3 yrs  • financial "modernization" (i.e., suicide) bill still blocked  • FDA finally having public hearings on bioengineered food  • nitty grits on nuclear deployment pried from Pentagon  • student activism back, vs. sweatshops  • Japanese move to counter 20,000 Nissan jobcuts  • Indonesia frees E. Timor, Habibie out  • Encyclopedia Britannica going free on Web  • 1 UNmerger: Ralston spins off Energizer

10/19 tue - 3 downsizings reported (total 22,200 + unspecified):  • 21,000 jobcuts as Nissan hires a Brazilian COO (to make Japan more like Brazil?), claiming "no choice" & turning blind eye to timesizing  • 7½% workforce cut (1200 jobs) as Eastman Chemical cuts expenses (& markets) instead of doing a 7½% workweek cut & keeping everyone employed (& shopping)
• unspecified jobs lost as Dana (light-truck axles) closes 14 plants & 29 warehouses
+ 12 takeovers reported, totalling $14.4B + $undisclosed
vs. glimmers of hope:  Reebok releases study of abuses at 2 factories in Indonesia & starts improvements

10/17-18 - week's roundup, per NY Times (& Boston Globe):
• 2 bankruptcies mentioned:  Planet Hollywood & Sun Healthcare
• 9 downsizings reported this week (over 4,000 jobs gone)
• 43 takeovers reported (valued at $22B)
vs. 4 upsizings (? new jobs) & 6 untakeovers ($?)
<<<½YTD reports:  171D (204,289 jobcuts +?) + 779T ($806.25B +$?)
vs. 24 upsz (31,875 +?) + 31 untk ($35.8B+?)>>>
vs. glimmers of hope:
  • study shows more quality time with their parents tops US kids' wish lists  • many middle-aged Americans are abandoning professional success & material comforts ("the rat race") to become ministers, priests & rabbis

10/16 sat (re fri events) - 2 downsizings reported (total 145):  • 80 mfg jobs "moved" as C.M.Offray consolidates ribbon-making operations in 7 states ‘and Canada’ but hey, what's a 200-mile commute?!
• 70 jobcuts as ITC Learning, multimedia training developer, doesn't have the creativity to make cuts in a low-impact medium, their workweek, instead of clobbering their workforce & their morale
+ 7 takeovers reported, totalling $1.5B + $undisclosed
vs. glimmers of hope:  producer price rises + Dow's worst week in 10 yrs may signal stock bubble trying to solidify

10/15 fri - no downsizings reported today! but 1 bankruptcy: Sun Healthcare Group (large nursing home chain), blaming Medicare cuts + 11 "downsizing appetizers" (takeovers) reported, totalling $6.7B+? vs. glimmers of hope:  3 UPsizings (Kmart, FPL, Du Pont) + 3 UNmergers (Navigant, Hyundai Electronics, Left Field)

10/14 thu - 2 downsizings (total 580):  • 500 jobcuts as Wausau Insurance cuts first, merges later, instead of managing what they have, trimming hours & pay for all, & keeping everyone employed & spending  • 80 downsized as Quest Diagnostics closes a lab, tightens operations (& general markets), & demoralizes everyone, vs. cutting workweek a little for all & keeping everyone working-earning-shopping + 6 takeovers reported (totalling $8.98B +undisclosed)  + small-minded GOP kills US-pushed Test Ban Treaty, repeating biggest mistake in history (killing US-pushed League in 1919-20), further distancing self from pre-Taft history as the intelligent party, & making America the world's big dope
vs. glimmers of hope:  • sometimes religion leads to right thing in politics - Alabama rejects state lottery  • 1 anti-takeover move - Trojan Technologies pauses water purification to prep 'poison pill' for predators

10/13 wed - 3 downsizings (total 3280):  • 2380 jobcuts as Raytheon's "guilt" ridden CEO makes others suffer for his mistakes, instead of trimming hours & pay for all (himself included) & keeping everyone employed
• 14% workforce cut (600 jobs) as self-appointed expert proves no smarter than other self-amputators: Franklin Planner demoralizes employees instead of doing a 14% hours & pay cut for all (34.4-hr workweek) & keeping everyone together, earning, & shopping
 • 300 mgmt jobs bite it as Boeing's 747 slash in Seattle spreads to Northrop Grumman in L.A.
+ 8 takeovers reported (totalling $3.7B)
+ 1 bankruptcy mentioned:  Planet Hollywood files to close 9 of its 32 U.S. restaurants & maybe more among its 80 round the world
vs. glimmers of hope:  1 UPsizing & 2 cancelled takeovers

10/12 tue - 2 downsizings:  • 8% workforce cut (?? jobs) as Denali Inc (underground tanks) decides to cut costs traumatically, vs. trim hours & pay 8% (36.8-hr week) & include CEO in costcuts he covets • unspecified relocations - but "not immediately" - as Raytheon consolidates apples & oranges into one vegetable basket 
+ 12 takeovers reported (totalling $4.4B)
vs. glimmers of the real solution:
• German columnist mentions France's 35-hr workweek but timidly fears for its competitiveness
• Barry & Elliott Tatelman to sell Jordan's Furniture to Warren Buffett & reinvest proceeds in their 1200 employees
• 1 call for shorter workweek - in today's email newsletter from Michael Moore

10/10-11 - week's roundup, per NY Times (& Boston Globe):
• 11 downsizings reported this week (5 fewer than last wk) but over 23,549 jobs gone (= 8523 more)
• 49 takeovers reported (valued at $155.3B, weekly record)
• only 1 bankruptcy mentioned = #1 world mfr of mining eqpmt (Harnischfeger)
vs. 1 upsizings (? new jobs) & 3 untakeovers ($17.7B+$?)
<<<½YTD reports:  162D (200,289 jobcuts +?) + 736T ($784.25B +$?)
vs. 20 upsz (31,875 +?) + 25 untk ($35.8B+?)>>>
+ 3 zingers:  • new study shows prochoice states more generous toward children & antichoice less so • Russian economy, crippled by our impatience, slips from 'wild west' to kleptocracy • "boom" talk in America spotlites dozens of new businesses but forgets 100s of lost ones, spotlites 100s of new jobs but forgets 1000s of lost ones
+ 2 glimpses from Prisonwatch:  • Brown Univ. conference this week on using inmates for testing drugs  • Unabomber prefers death penalty over humiliation of prison
vs. glimmers of hope:
  • campaign finance reform making progress on the Hill
• Spreading Accountability moves from tobacco to handguns

10/09 sat (on fri events) - 1 downsizing:  up to 10% workforce cut (1000 jobs) as IBM decides to cut costs the traumatic way instead of simply trimming hours 10% for a 36-hr workweek, prorating pay, & including top execs in the "cost cuts" they so desire  + 5 takeovers reported (totalling $1.3B)
+ 1 bankruptcy mentioned - Harnischfeger (mega mining eqpmt) selling pulp&paper unit to dig itself out
vs. 3 glimmers of hope:  • grateful Ikea gifts employees with today's receipts, $1500 apiece!  • Canada joblessness lowest in 9 yrs  • 1 anti-takeover move - American Home packs predator 'poison pill'

10/08 fri - 3 downsizings (total 4614 +??):  • 10% staff "move" (3500 jobs) to cheaper states as NYC's biggest corporate employer tries to save money, instead of simply cutting hours 10% to a 36-hr workweek, prorating pay, & including top execs in the "savings" they dream up
• 19% staffcut this yr, 11% next yr (1114 jobs) as Molsons cuts costs (& clientele) by closing Barrie brewery, vs. trimming hours to 32, then 28/week, & keeping everyone workin' & drinkin'
 • unspecified jobcuts as Raytheon whines on about Pentagon cuts, ignoring previous bribes from Mass.
+ 7 more takeovers reported (total of $946.4m)
+ consumer borrowing surges in August
vs. glimmers of hope:  • America lags Europe in quality of life & rest of Europe lags welfare-state Sweden in GDP! 
• inarticulate, quadriplegic astrophysist Stephen Hawking visits Boston, undercuts concept of "disabled" & hilites vital role for job designers in high-tech world

10/07 thu - 2 downsizings (total 890):  • 13% staffcut (700 jobs) as American Home Products gets more efficient operations (& markets = smaller), vs. 13% hrs cut (35-hr wkwk) & everyone keeps working & shopping
 • 190 jobcuts as humor turns to briars & Good Humor-Breyers shuts its ice cream plant in Richmond
+ 7 takeovers reported (total of $4.17B)
vs. glimmers of hope:  • Railfans! - Union Pacific finally decides to unsnarl traffic & win back what they lost to trucks by ordering 1000 locos from Canada @$2M apiece 
• 2 UN-takeovers - NatWest drops its $17.7B bid for Legal & General, and Conso International goes private as sr. mgmt buys out stockholders

10/06 wed - 4 downsizings (total 16,645):  • 13000 cuts as Telecom Italia seeks bigger earnings (& littler markets)
• 6.2% staffcut (3400 jobs) as Glaxo Wellcome pulls the welcome mat from under employees, instead of a 6.2% hourscut & everyone stays employed, & spending 
• 7% workforce cut (150 people) as Tennant Co. in Minneapolis scapegoats a few, instead of all sacrificing together with a 7% corporate workweek cut (37-hr wk) 
• 95 jobcuts as Earthgrains of St. Louis misses the conservative ecological strategy of timesizing, not downsizing, in shutting a plant in Tenn.
+ 13 takeovers reported (total of $4.35B + $undisclosed)
vs. glimmers of hope:  • One UPsizing, as Wal-Mart plans 165 new stores

10/05 tue - 1 downsizing (total 2820 +??):  25% of its workforce (400 full-timers) 'may be affected' as bankrupt Filene's Basement plans closings of 17 of its 49 stores & never thinks of cutting hours & pay a little for all (30-hr workweek!) instead of completely for a few, & a few more, & a few more... 
+ 17 takeovers reported (record total of $144.5B + $undisclosed)
vs. glimmers of hope:  • French serious about cutting the workweek to create more jobs

10/03-04 - week's roundup, per NY Times (& Boston Globe):
• 16 downsizings reported this week (over 15,026 jobs gone)
• 51 takeovers reported (valued at $30.3B)
• only 1 bankruptcy mentioned
vs. 3 upsizings (1000 new jobs +?) & 2 untakeovers ($?)
<<<½YTD reports:  151D (176,740 jobcuts +?) + 687T ($628.95B +$?)
vs. 19 upsz (31,875 +?) + 22 untk ($18.1B+?)>>>
vs. glimmers of hope:
  unions & environmentalists finally unite to sustain jobs & planet

10/02 sat - 4 downsizings (total 2820 +??):  • 2500 miners laid off as Placer Dome & Western Areas, failing to benefit fast enough from rising gold prices, perpetuate "barbaric 20th century practice" of downsizing  • 1200 dead jobs as York International refrigeration responds suicidally to weaker sales in Latin America & its own ill-advised takeover of Sabroe in June 
• 120 dismissals as Anicom closes warehouses & cuts costs & its own markets 
• 6% workforce cut (?? jobs) as Aztec Technology closes up in Ohio & prepares to roll still-breathing jobs down the sharp, steep steps of its corporate pyramid
+ 8 takeovers reported (total $553m + $undisclosed) + Japan's nuclear lesson
vs. glimmers of hope:  • 1 UPsizing - Motorola adds 1000 jobs at Scots factory

10/01/99 fri - 1 downsizing:  2.5% leaner workforce (130 people) as Visa International sheds responsibility to member banks & contributes to overall leaner markets, instead of instituting a 2.5% leaner workweek (39-hours/week) & maintaining jobs & markets
+ 11 takeovers reported (total $6B + $undisclosed)
+ wider income gap splits America deeper
vs. glimmers of hope:  2 demergers - Ford & AutoNation doing spinoffs


Click here for dooms du jour in Sept/99.
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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