Timesizing® Associates - HOMEPAGE
Downsizings, Jan. 1-15, 2003
[Commentary] ©2003 Phil Hyde, The Timesizing Wire, Box 117, Harvard Square, Cambridge MA 02238 USA (617) 623-8080
1/15/2003 3 downsizings, totaling 38,500 jobcuts, reported in WSJ & NYT -
1/14/2003 3 downsizings, totaling 808 jobcuts, reported in WSJ & NYT
- Kmart to dismiss 37,000 workers, close 326 stores, by Shirley Leung, WSJ, A2.
...in a bid to get out of Chapter 11 bankruptcy-court protection by the end of April....
[The New York Times (C4) says 35,000 but the way these suicidal maniacs are going, we'll take the larger figure. All this is necessary only because these Kmart executives, unlike executives at Nucor or Lincoln Electric or Volkswagen or Hooker Furniture et al. cannot think outside the box.]
If approved by the court..\..the closings and layoffs would mark the second round of closings since the Troy, Mich., company filed for bankruptcy-court protection last January.
[They're talking about the 22,000 "round" on 3/09/2002, although there was also a little one of 680 that we think was separate on 8/20/2002 #1. So if they had 250,000 staff before the March bloodbath according to our March story, then after it they had 250000-22000= 228,000 and after August they had 228000-680= 227,320. The current 37,000 bloodbath amounts to 37000/227320= 16% of the current level of the decreasing workforce and leaves them with 190,320 employees whom they don't deserve.]
The company...expects to shutter 266 Kmart and Big K stores as well as 60 Kmart SuperCenters in 44 states and Puerto Rico, leaving it with about 1,500 stores....
- M&T Bank Corp., Dow Jones via WSJ, B5.
...plans to lay off more than 1,100 employees at Allfirst as part of its $3.1B buyout of the bank from Allied Irish Banks PLC.
[Again the lethal takeover-downsizing connection which has pushed the whole economy into a death spiral.]
The majority of the layoffs, 720 people, will be made in Maryland.... The Buffalo NY company has started notifying Allfirst workers of the layoffs, which will begin in 60 days and continue through the year.
[Oh, won't that be great for morale and productivity.]
The bulk of the layoffs will be in the bank's staff and support areas.... The layoffs make up 20% of the bank's 5,553 employees in Md., Pa., Va., and Wa.... M&T...has 451 branches in the Northeast. Allfirst has 262 branches from Pa. to Va. After the merger, M&T will have more than 14,000 employees....
- PolyOne plans to slash 400 jobs, WSJ, B2.
CLEVELAND - ...The polymer-services concern..\..plans to cut...5.3% of its 7,600 employees worldwide. [It] will cut about 350 jobs in North America with most of the jobs being cut in the nonmanufacturing sector....
(not counting economywide item, "DeLay and the jobless," letter to editor by John Viteritti of Southold NY, NYT, A30, which states, "The comments of Tom DeLay, the [Republican] House majority leader, declaring that the Democrats want "unlimited unemployment compensation so somebody could stay out of work for the rest of their lives," reveal [that] what is really at the heart of the hostility to unemployment benefits by Mr. DeLay and many of his colleagues ("Bush signs bill to extend unemployment benefits," news article, Jan. 9) [is that] they really do believe that the unemployed are deadbeats who prefer living off the dole to working. If this attitude doesn't contribute to the "class warfare" [a catchphrase used by Communists] that the Republicans charge the Democrats with, what does?) -
1/11-13/2003 4 downsizings, totaling 5,623 jobcuts, reported in WSJ & NYT
- D&B plans to cut 550 jobs, or 7.1% of work force, Bloomberg via NYT, C8.
...by July to reduce costs..\.. The provider of business information once known as Dun & Bradstreet, which is based in Short Hills, NJ...had 7,800 employees as of Dec. 31, 2001, according to a filing with the SEC....
- Congoleum, maker of flooring, to file for bankruptcy, Bloomberg via NYT, C8.
...to erase its current and future asbestos liability. \The\ maker of sheet and tile flooring...which is based in Mercerville, NJ, laid off 150 workers, or 13% of its workforce, last year.
- RadiSys will cut 17% of work force, Bloomberg via NYT, C18.
...A computer equipment maker that has reported losses for the last 7 quarters...since 4Q00..\..will cut...jobs by selling a business and hiring another company to do more manufacturing. RadiSys will eliminate 108 jobs this quarter.... 58 of the jobs will be eliminated because it is shifting more production to an outside manufacturer. The remainder will come as it scales back other parts of its business, in part through the planned sale of Savvi, a telecom business..\.. RadiSys, which is based in Hillsboro, Ore., makes equipment used in telecom switches and other products by companies including Cisco Systems, HP and IBM....
(not counting economywide "With companies still gloomy, payrolls shrink by thousands [$101,000 in Dec.]," by Daniel Altman, NYT, front page, and "Slump in job market is longest in decades - Near-term prospects for workers remain grim despite hopeful forecasts," by Jon Hilsenrath, WSJ, A2, which states, "The unemployment rate held steady in Dec. at 6%, but mainly because workers are leaving the labor force, which shrank by 191,000 last month." So we still don't have a comprehensive, stable-divisor dependency rate and we're still relying on the window dressing of the official unemployment rate.) -
1/10/2003 1 downsizing, totaling 600 jobcuts, reported in WSJ & NYT
- 1/11 J.C. Penney to cut 2,000 jobs and close 3 operations, AP via NYT, B4.
...in its catalog business, where sales have fallen sharply over the last year. Penney [will] close a catalog-fulfilment center and a telemarketing center in suburban Atlanta and a telemarketing center in Lexana, Kan., by the end of Q2. ...About 800 jobs at the fulfilment center were mostly full time and most of the 700 jobs at the 2 call centers were part time. The remaining jobcuts w[ill] be spread across 4 other fulfilment centers and 10 call centers.... Penney, based in Plano, Tex., has about 250,000 employees.
[So 2000/250000= 0.8% of total workforce.]
- 1/11 Corning considers additional job cuts, Bloomberg via NYT, B3.
...Corning has had quarterly losses totaling $6.22B since June 2001 and has cut 18,800 jobs, or 44% of the work force, as orders for its optical fiber and parts have slumped amid sharply declining demand for telecommunications services....
[Let's see how many these we've caught:
1/10/2001 #5, 1000,
7/26 #1, 3650
(8/16, 900 'not counting')
8/30 #1, 2000
10/04 #2, 4000
4/16/2002 #2, 4000 (+600 uncounted)
10/31 #3, 2200
So we've counted 16,877 since June 2001, which according to our present story means we missed 18800-16877= 1,923 jobcuts.]
- 1/11 Californians hear grim budget news - Governor urges tax increases and deep cuts in spending, by John Broder, NYT, front page.
...The plan...defers payments to state pension plans and eliminates the jobs of at least 1,500 state workers....
- 1/13 Barclays Capital to cut staff, WSJ, C11.
LONDON -...The bond-focused investment-bank business of Barclays PLC...will shed a numbe of back office staff. The number of losses...is likely to be in the region of 200.... The tough environment in the investment-banking sector was given as the reason....
(not counting economywide "Ahead of the tape...- Stockjobbers," by Jesse Eisinger, WSJ, C1, which states, "The economy isn't producing jobs.... Today, the market gets a look at the Dec. employment report. Nov.'s was a shocker. [Recall that Nov.'s employment report was the first one that came after the Nov. elections and 'coincidentally' showed no evidence of tampering - see 1/09/2003 #2 'caboose.'] ...Payrolls dropped and the unemployment rate rose sharply.... 'The message is that jobs creation has come to a halt,' says John Lonski, an economist for Moody's. 'The same forces that are discouraging companies [from] step[ping] up capital spending...will probably also rein in private sector's demand for labor. It's the lingering worry over geopolitical risks.'" Don't they wish! If it was only that evanescent. It's actually structural, but since none of these guys think 'outside the box,' they'll be the last to know. Wake up, guys, there are no markets - your highly recommended downsizing policies, instead of cutting working hours and keeping employees and markets, have seen to that.) -
1/09/2003 3 downsizings, totaling 14,473 jobcuts, reported in WSJ & NYT
- Best Buy says it is closing 110 music and video stores, AP via NYT, C3.
The Best Buy Co. [has] closed 90 Sam Goody music stores and 20 Suncoast video stores because of a decline in sales of prerecorded music and a slowdown in customer traffic at malls. About 600 people will be laid off....
[So an average of 5½ employees per store.]
The chains are part of the Musicland group, which was struggling even before Best Buy bought it two years ago....
[Again the lethal takeover-downsizing connection.]
(not counting economywide "Jobless, and stunned - But Bush's aid goes to the top," op ed by Bob Herbert, NYT, A27, which states,"Unemployment is rising. And as the millions of jobless Americans (including many in the middle class) exhaust their benefits \they\ now find themselves traveling the anxious paths of the long-term unemployed. [As they] run through their savings [they] are finding themselves face to face with the horror of destitution.") -
1/08/2003 5 downsizings, totaling 7,989 jobcuts, reported in WSJ & NYT -
- Alcoa posts loss of $223m, missing targets, by Clare Ansberry, WSJ, B2.
PITTSBURGH - ...The world's largest aluminum maker..\..struggling with "lingering weaknesses" in its key markets, posted an unexpectedly wide Q4 net loss...in part because of costs of trimming 8,000 more jobs and selling a number of slow-growing businesses. [It] also reported restructuring costs of $95m to cut 6% of its workforce, mainly at aerospace, automotive and industrial-gas-turbine units in Europe and South America, as well as at US smelter operations. The company, which cut 10,000 jobs last year, had 127,000 employees at the end of 2002....
[Well we only caught 377 Alcoa jobcuts last year, on 8/01/2002 #2, since our only other mention (9/26/2002 #6) was unspecific. However, we did catch 6500 on 11/20/2001 #1 that probably represent a component of the 10,000 jobs cut last year, so we need now to count the current 8,000 additional, plus, for last year, 10000-6500-377= 3,123 jobcuts, totaling 8000+3123= 11,123 jobcuts. However, we also learn from the Nov/01 article that Alcoa then had a 140,000 headcount. The 6500 cut would take that down to 133,500, but to get down to the 127,000 headcount on 12/31/2002 mentioned in the current article, they would still need to lose 133.5-127k= another 6,500 jobs, meaning from 11/2001 to 12/31/2002, they needed to lose a total of 13,000 jobs and not just 10,000. Sooo, we really now need to count the current 8,000 additional, plus, for last year, 13000-6500-377= 6,123 jobcuts, totaling 8000+6123= 14,123 jobcuts, constituting 14123/(127000-8000+14123)= 14123/133123= 10.6% of the entire relevant workforce level.]
- Liberate Technologies to cut 40% of work force, Bloomberg via NYT, C4.
...Make[r of] software for TV set-top boxes and other devices..\..which is based in San Carlos, Calif...expect[s] to lay off 180 of its 600 employees by the end of this week, according to documents filed with the SEC. The company will lay off another 60 workers in the next 3 months....
[So, 180+60= 240 jobcuts = 40% of 600.]
- StorageNetworks shares plunge on job cuts, by Ken Belson, NYT, C4.
...Shares of the unprofitable provider of computer data-storage services..\..fell as much as 22% after the company said yesterday that it would cut about 110 workers, or half its staff....
[On 10/26/2002 #1, we learnt that a cut then had left the firm with "about 215 jobs."]
1/07/2003 7 downsizings, totaling 4,750 jobcuts + unspecified, reported in WSJ & NYT -
- Washington State is likely to stay in fiscal slump, by Paula Stepankowsky, WSJ, B7A.
...From a high of 104,000 workers in Washington in June 1998, Boeing Co. has slashed employment to 62,000 in the state.
[That's 42,000 jobcuts in 4½ years, or an average of nearly 17,000 jobcuts a year for over the last 4 years. And CEOs still don't "get" timesizing (trimming hours) instead of downsizing (chopping jobs & markets).]
An additional 5,000 jobs are set to be cut this year  as Boeing is experiencing the worst times since the dawn of commercial aviation....
[We already counted 1500 of these jobs on 11/22/2002 #3, so now we just count 5000-1500= 3,500 jobcuts, or 3500/62000= 5.6%.]
Boeing Co., [date??] NYT, C4.
...Chicago, the world's largest airplane maker, [will] dismiss 115 workers at an airplane parts plant in Oak Ridge TN on Apr.10 as part of the 5,000 jobs [it] plans to eliminate this year  because of declining aircraft deliveries.
[Further followup, presumably more 'parts' of the 5,000 jobs it plans to eliminate in 2003 -]
Boeing notifies 845 workers that they will be laid off, AP via 6/21/2003 NYT, B5.
About 860 workers spent their last day at Boeing yesterday and the company handed out 60-day layoff notices to another 845 employees. They included about 630 employees from the Seattle area.
[So, to deduct from our announced 5000 victims in 2003, we have so far 115+860+845= 1,820 gone so far, 5000-1820= 3,180 to go by 12/31/03.]
Most of the new layoff notices were being issued to workers in Boeing's Commercial Airplanes division.... The effective date for the new layoffs will be Aug.22.
Boeing has cut 33,890 jobs under a reduction plan that started in Dec/2001.
[Arggg, 'death by research'. Maybe "a reduction plan" only started being implemented in Dec/2001 (doubtful) but the big reduction plan was announced, like so many others, right after 9/11/01. So the beeg question is, have we counted all 33,890 by now or do we have more to count?
[Oops, that totals 37,300. We've overcounted by 37300-33890= 3,410 jobcuts, unless the 33,890 figure is prior to the 845 cuts whose "effective date" isn't till Aug.22, in which case we've only overcounted by 3410-845= 2,565.. (In either case, we'll just attribute them to our probable undercount of the 42,000 Boeing cuts in Washington State alone between Jun/98 and Jan/03, mentioned at the beginning of the 1/08/2003 article, not to mention the unincluded Boeing cuts outside Washington State during that period.)]
- Charge of $98m reflects restructuring, 3,250 job cuts, WSJ, B2.
Cigna Corp. plans a Q4...charge [that] relates to the Philadelphia health insurer's plan to reduce its workforce by...7.7%. ...The jobcuts include 700 completed during November and 2,150 to be completed in 1Q03. The rest of the cuts will come by the end of the year.... The company [is] struggling with higher medical costs and customer service problems....
- IBM in deal to farm out some PC jobs, by Steve Lohr, NYT, C4.
...As part of the outsourcing deals, 1,060 IBM employees in 3 locations - Greenock, Scotland; Guadalajara, Mexico; and Research Triangle Park, NC - will be offered jobs with Sanmina-SCI or Solectron....
[Toto, we ain't in the old Big Blue anymore. We take "will be offered jobs" as "will be pushed out" and count these as jobcuts.]
- SAP lays off 174 in U.S., Bloomberg via NYT, C4.
...The maker of business-management software...reorganized its sales staff and consolidated its global customer support group. The German company, which has its US HQ in Newtown Square PA, notified employees yesterday.... About 3/4 of the layoffs were in the US sales force....
- [In line with our policy of looking ahead to a time when we will be including other intelligent species in the global economy on a basis of equality -]
Germany: Aging chimps face deportation, by Victor Homola, NYT, A6.
The Berlin Zoo is planning to retire 5 middle-aged chimpanzees, age 14 to 24, because they are too sluggish and no longer amuse the public.
[Same B.S. ageism and forced early retirement in the workplace, even for our 2d-closest relatives! (Bonobos, ex "pygmy chimps," are the closest.) Have they given them any training? Or even any indication of their expectations? Chimps in the wild aren't particularly "sluggish" - what's lacking in their captive "workplace"? Are they being paid anything besides room and board at a subsistence level? Subsistence plus captive workplace equals slavery. What does the chimp lady, Jane Goodall, at Gombey in Africa have to say about this?]
After efforts to find a new home for them in Europe failed, a zoo near Beijing offered to take them. The planned deportation has prompted outrage, with wildlife advocates saying the zoo was heartless and only wanted to bring in cute young primates to attract visitors.
[Same B.S. ageism, even for slaves.]
The zoo rejected the charges and said it just needed more space for its gorillas and pygmy chimps.
[Hmm, racism as well as ageism, forced retirement and slavery. 5 jobcuts. 5 fewer consumers in the Berlin economy, even if just at the subsistence level.]
1/04/2003 1 downsizing, totaling 1688 jobcuts, reported in WSJ & NYT -
- AT&T to cut about 5% of work force - The layoffs are just the latest human cost of the price wars in long distance, by Seth Schiesel, NYT, C2.
AT&T [will] cut about 3,500 jobs as it tries to cope with the continuing price wars.... Thousands of employees were notified in Dec.... Said Richard Klugman, a telecomms analyst for Jefferies & Co...."As for the employees, just about everyone in the industry has been doing the same thing. The Bells have been doing it about every quarter."
[Anyone who thinks we're going to get a recovery on this basis is naive.]
...Most of the jobcuts [will] be in its unit that sells communications services to business customers and...more than half [will] come from management ranks.
After selling its cable TV business to Comcast late last year, AT&T began 2003 with about 75,000 employees [WSJ says 72000]. Many of those [affected] are in [Bedminster] New Jersey, where AT&T's operational HQ are.... Most of the[m] would be eliminated by the middle of the year.
...While demand for communications services increased in recent years, even in a recession, prices in almost every communications sector fell sharply as carriers battled to recover the billions of dollars they invested in their networks in the late 1990s. ...AT&T has announced 10,000 layoffs over the last 2 years, even before yesterday's announcement..\.. The company [will] take a charge of about $240m against Q4 earnings to cover the cost of the cuts [no surprise].... It [will] take an additional $200m charge to write down the value of high-speed Internet systems that it acquired in 2001. [This] raised more eyebrows. In May 2001, AT&T spent $135m to buy many of the assets of...Northpoint Communications, which had filed for bankruptcy.... AT&T subsequently invested tens of millions of dollars to upgrade Northpoint's systems. But with yesterday's write-off announcement, AT&T essentially gave up on the Northpoint experiment....
[Again the toxic takeover-downsizing connection, or in this case, "coincidence."]
- [1 UPsizing - but wait...]
Gateway says it is hiring executives to cut costs, Bloomberg via NYT, C2.
[Ah, we're not sure that hiring inefficient, overpaid executives in the current climate is going to accomplish any goal but accelerating Gateway's slide.]
Gateway, which had losses in 7 of the last 8 quarters amid slack demand for personal computers, will hire more executives and may close stores as it tries to return to profitability.
[Well the hiring is affirmatory and the downsizing is still only maybe, so, desperate for good news, maybe we'll count it as an upsizing.]
Gateway is adding [an unspecified # of] executives to help its chief of operations, Joseph Formichelli, and CFO Roderick Sherwood III, reduce costs....
[Ri-i-ght. Quick, Maude, get on the phone and SELL Gateway! Troubled United Airlines is firing executives (see 1/04 below) and troubled Gateway is hiring them. Do you get the sense that these overpaid suits don't have a clue what they're doin'?]
Gateway has cut its workforce by more than half in the last two years, to about 11,500....
["More than half"? Whoa! Even supposing, conservatively, it's just half. That would mean they've cut 11,500 jobs in the last two years and we've just counted 10,500 of them, 2250 on 1/25/2002 #2 and the rest in occasions listed on 8/29/2001 #1. So we must now count the remaining 1,000 jobcuts, and discount the unspecified executive hires by setting them against the "more than" half that we're conservatively ignoring. Sooo, this turns out to be a downsizing after all. Now to add to the fun, check the last sentence of this squib -]
The revamping was reported earlier in The Wall Street Journal.
[So the Times is pimping for the Journal now? What are they - now owned by the same unseen hand?]
- Deltagen, a biotechnology company, cuts work force, Bloomberg via NYT, C4.
Deltagen Inc...which is based in Redwood City, Calif..\..reduced its workforce to about 200 people as it discontinues its drug-development business...to save money. Deltagen [will] sell or shut down its units in Salt Lake City and Strasbourg, France. [It] cut its workforce to 320 from 450 last year [130 jobcuts]. Since then, about 120 employees have left the company, been laid off or transferred to other business units....
[Well, we saw no announcements last year and apparently they cut the empty positions of even those who transferred, so we now count all 130+120= 250 jobcuts, which represent 250/450x100%= 55.5% of their total original workforce.]
- Gay bookstore in Village, oldest in U.S., is closing, by Marc Santora, NYT, A21.
The Oscar Wilde Bookshop in Greenwich Village, the oldest gay and lesbian bookstore in the country and one of only two left in the city [the other is Creative Visions on Hudson St], will close its doors for business by the end of the month, the end of an institution that many say was at the heart of the gay movement.
[Unspecified jobs lost.]
"I have lost a quarter of a million dollars over the last six years," said its owner, Larry Lingle. "And I just can't take it anymore." Mr. Lingle...purchased the store in 1996, a few years after the original owner, Craig Rodwell, died of stomach cancer. [Lingle] described the decision as painful, saying he had bought the shop as much because of its permanent role in the modern gay rights movement in New York as to sell books. "If I had not purchased it, it would have been put out of business," he said.
Opened in 1967, the Oscar Wilde Bookshop was originally on Mercer Street before it moved to its current home at 15 Christopher Street.... "The store functioned something like a community center when there was no community center," said Kim Brinster, the current manager....
In March of 2001, A Different Light, a gay bookstore in the Chelsea section, closed [3/19/2001].... The large book chains are frequently cited in the downfall of [such] stores.... Said Mr. Lingle, "They cherry-pick us. They get the benefit of the best sellers so they pick up the best sales."
Ms. Brinster said it was part of the changing character of Manhattan. "It's all Starbucks, the Gap and Barnes & Noble," she said. [But] owners of other gay bookshops say they are floored by the fact that Manhattan cannot seem to support a gay bookstore. "It's sad that the New York community is unwilling or unable to support a gay and lesbian bookstore"..\..Deacon Maccubbin, the owner of Lambda Rising bookstore in Washington DC said.... Ms. Brinster suggested that location was a big part of the problem. Fewer people were walking and shopping on her block on Christopher Street, a trend nearby merchants say they also see. ...A home furnishing store next door [will] also be closing at the end of the month. Mr. Lingle said he expected the bookshop's last business day to be Jan. 19..\..
Some said that the failure...was actually a sign of the gay movement's success in making gay issues mainstream, which would be in keeping with what Oscar Wilde wrote in "Lady Windermere's Fan": "In this world there are only two tragedies. One is not getting what one wants, and the other is getting it."...
Surprise twist for gay bookstore: It's not the end, by Marc Santora, NYT, A33.
The Oscar Wilde Bookshop...has been sold...to Lambda Rising Bookstores in Washington..\..and will not have to close, the new owner [Deacon Maccubbin] said yesterday....
- Gay bookstore in Village, oldest in U.S., is closing, by Marc Santora, NYT, A21.
...Greg Vernice, who works at Amalgamated, a home furnishing store next door to the bookshop [on Christopher St in Greenwich Village, NYC
] said his store would also be closing at the end of the month....
[Unspecified jobs lost.]
- Not sure of a new hire? Put her to a road test, by Paulette Thomas, WSJ, B7.
...Marvis Nichols had a long career working in engineering jobs at many corporate titans in Pittsburgh. Two years ago, she took over a business that her husband had started in 1984 called Computer Friends. The company, which provides information-technology services for small companies and nonprofit organizations, saw its business wax and wane over the years, but since Ms. Nichols took over, the recession has made finding new business especially tough. She had to lay off a few employees.
These days, Computer Friends is Ms. Nichols, two computer technicians and an office manager handling about 50 clients....
- Gotham Partners Management plans to close its two principal hedge funds, by Henny Sender, WSJ, C5.
...A hedge-fund firm with $300m under management is winding down its two principal funds with possible losses to investors.
The firm's decision comes after a NY state court on Dec. 6 blocked a merger involving Gotham Golf Corp., one of the firm's largest investments, with First Union Real Estate Equity & Mortgage Investments....
[This isn't so much a counter-intuitive nonmerger-downsizing connection as a bad investment decision with too many eggs in one basket.]
Because so many of the two funds' investments are illiquid stakes in nonpublicly traded companies and real-estate holdings, possible losses are hard to predict....
1/03/2003 several downsizing letters & 2 downsizings, totaling 870 jobcuts + unspecified, reported in WSJ & NYT -
- United Airlines to lay off 1,500 more employees, by Edward Wong, NYT, B2.
United...said yesterday that it would lay off...14%...in its management and salaried workforce, and a 1.9% decline from its total workforce of 80,000. United, a unit of UAL Corp., has been struggling to restructure its business since filing for bankruptcy protection on Dec. 9.... The airline also [will] close its remaining 32 city ticket offices by Jan. 28, resulting in the layoffs of 188 more workers.
[So 1500+188= 1,688 jobcuts, which are 1688/80000x100%= 2% of its total workforce. This takes our running balance of the total workforce down to 80000-1688= 78,312.]
Dan Walsh, United's VP for Sales, said in a statement that United customers were increasingly buying tickets online or through a reservations hotline....
Since 9/11/01, United has laid off more than 20,000 workers, or a fifth of its workforce. Unionized employees have long complained that United has too many managers on its payroll and that the airline could make its operations more efficient by laying off some of those workers.
[As long as unionized employees are suggesting layoffs instead of hourscuts and reassignments, they are promoting labor glut, cheapening themselves, depressing their own pay and benefits and spurring the downward spiral of the economy.]
...In a previously announced cutback, United will end service at two airports in South America and one in Germany on Tuesday, resulting in the layoffs of 183 workers [they left out 46 in Italy (Milan) - see 10/24/2002 #2]. On the same day, United will also switch to regional jets instead of large planes to serve 5 relatively small cities in the U.S., resulting in the layoffs of 150 workers. And today, United will close its reservations offices in San Francisco, Long Beach CA and Indianapolis, resulting in the layoffs of 686 employees [the 150 and 686 were noted on 10/22/2002 #2.]
- Layoffs in the midst of excess, letters to editor, NYT, A18.
- By Pat Sones of Brooklyn NY.
Re "Out the door," by Bob Herbert (op ed, Jan. 1):
We seem inured to the idea of corporate callousness. American companies have become sophisticated shell games, picking the pockets of their employees to enrich themselves, and implying that the workers were fools to play the game in the first place. (If the company folds, the top executives pack up and move to their Florida and Texas estates.)
The tens of thousands of job casualties of Enron, Tyco and the others; the deplorable Christmas season layoffs by Verizon; and the previous savings and loan scandals should be kept firmly in mind by every American when politicians utter phrases like "privatize Social Security" or "Soc Sec investment accounts."
- By Octavio Robledo of Bogota, Colombia.
Bob Herbert points out that top executives at Verizon have collected top pay while workers have been laid off. This is a form of corporate dictatorship. Communis[t dictatorship] certainly destroys an economy, but these excesses of capitalism are not democratic, as they vest power in a few individuals.
[We need to move beyond the why-should-the-rich-care political argument to the rich-unwittingly-slitting-their-own-throats economic argument - these excesses more pertinently vest spending power in a few individuals at levels of concentration so astronomical that they suction the spending power away from the producitivity their own investments reside in.]
- By Exec. VP MaryBeth Bardin of Verizon.
Bob Herbert's Jan. 1 column about a Verizon employee [x2400] who lost his job paints the difficult realities in the local telephone business, which cannot support as many traditional wire-line workers as it once did. Failure to deal with this is mismanagement and puts at risk scores of other employees and retirees.
[So you ruin thousands to save scores? And what about the widespread mismanagement of utilizing recession-inducing downsizing instead of recovery-inducing timesizing?!]
Layoffs are painful. To avoid them, we've spent $100,000,000s on early retirement and voluntary separation packages over the last several years. In November, we made an offer to the Communication Workers of America [CWA] to avoid layoffs, but its leaders would not negotiate.
[Hmm, is it possible that Verizon proposed some sort of timesizing to the CWA and the CWA didn't have the sense to accept it? Or did Verizon just propose paycuts for employees without corresponding paycuts for executives? MaryBeth's defensiveness about the latter idea is damning -]
Executive compensation must be competitive in order to retain the best managers,
[Are good managers really that special or scarce in a recession? What about compensation for the best employees?]
and reducing it will not reverse the fundamental changes in our business model....
[Maybe not, but reducing it would be an absolutely central and strategic start.]
as people move to wireless and cable alternatives.
[All the more reason for your executives to be paid less. Problem? Promote from within.]
Tying executive compensation to Verizon's "need" [our quotes - ed.] for layoffs is unjustified.
[Ridiculous. Especially when uncapped executive compensation concentrates spending power in such unspendable densities that it induces deflation and undermines its own value.]
Layoffs at Verizon, letter to editor by Martha Trowbridge of NYC, 1/04/2003 NYT, A26.
...As a major player in the communications market, Verizon should try to gain a competitive edge by valuing its workers. They are the ones on the front line providing the quality service that keeps the company in business.
Perpetuating the vast disparity in compensation between management and labor - data that should be published on financial pages and trading floors - leads to the very employee layoffs that Mr. Herber writes about, increasing our country's unemployment rate and the resulting burden on taxpayers.
Customers and shareholders need to let Verizon know of their disapproval of this costly business-as-usual practice....
- By Lisa Hamilton of Brooklyn NY.
Democrats looking to play "catch up" in the media battles...need look no further that Bob Herbert's Jan. 1 column about Verizon. The company has just laid off 3,500 workers [or 2,400 depending on your reading of the article on 12/20/2002 #1] while its managers take home millions in "compensation" [our quotes - ed.] in a time of corporate losses.
Democrats should now try to separate blue-collar and white-collar middle-class workers from the Republican Party by highlighting this inequality and proposing solutions.
In the past, many of these voters may have believed that the rising tide promised by Republican economic policies would lift their boats, too. Democrats should make it clear that this Republican administration, with its multimillionaires and tax cuts favoring their wealthy friends, does not care about the average voter, and that the only boats still afloat are the yachts.
- By Joan Blankenship of Ridgeway VA.
...Those of us who live in southwest Virginia are sorry to hear that anyone has lost a job before Christmas, but...no one escapes the risk of unemployment here, where Nafta is a curse word.
With this administration, you can expect a lot more disparity between what workers make and what corporate executives take....
1/02/2003 1 downsizing, totaling 190 jobcuts, reported in WSJ & NYT -
- Missouri: Budget woes prompt job cuts, AP via NYT, A13.
With tax revenues lagging, Missouri eliminated 870 state jobs to help make up for a projected $300m budget shortfall. The move is part of about $67m in spending cuts that will cover about one-fifth of the shortfall. Most of the jobs were vacant, but 96 employees are being laid off.
[Bad to lose the jobs and real & potential consumers. Good that at least it's government, which is generally makework, pork and patronage anyway.]
- Fundtech cuts jobs and combines units, Bloomberg via NYT, C2.
....Software [maker that] helps banks transfer money electronically [will] cut jobs as it combined units that handle development, professional services and customer services. Fundtech...has HQ is Ramat Gan, Israel, and Jersey City.... The release did not specify the number of jobs that would be cut. The move will help Fundtech run its global operations more efficiently, trimming expenses by $500,000 a quarter beginning Q1 of 2003....
1/1/2003 1 downsizing, totaling 320 jobcuts, reported in NYT (no WSJ today)
- FPL to trim nuclear-plant staff, WSJ, D2.
JUNO BEACH, Fla. - FPL Group Inc.'s Seabrook nuclear-power plant will cut nearly 200 jobs this year.... The planned cuts will bring the Seabrook, NH, plant's workforce to 600, a 25% reduction from the current roster of 790 workers. ...The company hopes to make the reduction through early retirement and attrition. Florida Power & Light, a unit of holding company FPL, bought an 88% share of the plant last year.
["Nearly" 200? 790-600 is 190 jobcuts. 190/790x100%= 24% of the total.]
(not counting corporate retrospective "Out the door - Unhappy holidays for Verizon's laid-off workers," op ed by Bob Herbert, NYT, A19, which begins, "Merry Christmas. Get lost" - see 12/20/2002 #1 below) -
- Qwest Communications International plans to cut 320 jobs over next 3 months, AP via NYT, C3.
...including 150 positions in Colorado, in the next 3 months. The phone company's mgmt said on Monday that the cuts, in Col., Wyo., Neb., Iowa and Utah, are in response to weak demand for phone service. The company...hoped to achieve the cuts through attrition and other voluntary measures, but might have to use layoffs to reach its goal. Qwest employs 53,000 people, including 14,500 in Colorado.
[So 320 jobcuts are only 320/53000= 0.6% of the total workforce, which could have been handled less traumatically and long-term suicidally with a mere 0.6% cut in the corporate work- and pay-week (3 minutes a day).]
Click here for downsizing stories in -
Earlier Y2000 months accessible via links at bottom of Dec.1-15/2000 page.
Earlier 1999 months accessible via links at bottom of Dec/1999 page.
Earlier months accessible via links at bottom of Dec/98 page.
For more details, our laypersons' guide to our great economic future Timesizing, Not Downsizing is available at bookstores in Harvard Square, Cambridge, Mass. or from *Amazon.com online.
Questions, comments, feedback? Phone 617-623-8080 (Boston) or email us.
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