Timesizing® Associates - Homepage

Timesizing News, September 21-30, 2002
[Commentary] ©2002 Phil Hyde, Timesizing.com, Box 622, Porter Sq, Cambridge MA 02140 USA 617-623-8080


9/29/2002  timesizing consciousness in the weekend news, aka glimmers of strategic hope -

  1. [Phil Hyde sent the following email letter to the Times in response to the article below it.]
    To: letters@nytimes.com
    Subject: hidden unemployment
    From: Philip Hyde III, Executive Director, The Timesizing.com Party, 10 Carver St, Somerville MA 02143,
    617-623-8080
    04:54 AM 9/30/02
    To: The New York Times
    To the editor:
    As your article ("Out of a job and no longer looking," Week in Review, Sept. 29) points out, our economists have kept deceptively low unemployment figures, thus perpetuating "work hard to get ahead" long into the age of "work smart, not hard." Rising technology levels determine that we must all have an easier life with less work and more leisure, or harder work for some and more (hidden) unemployment for others.
    Decades ago we should have designed and implemented a program to automatically shrink the workweek against rising unemployment and spread the market-demanded but technology-diminished human work (and heightened wages!) across the entire adult population. Republicans led the charge on shorter-hours legislation for the first 75 years of their history, extending Moses' Fourth Commandment that trimmed one day off the workweek. As technology rushed in, they wisely held that by making it easier for people to support themselves, we taxpayers wouldn't have to.
    Ironically, it was FDR who blocked the Senate's 30-hour workweek bill in 1933 and substituted a feel-good European-style welfare state, which, significantly, never solved the Depression until the War. Perhaps instead of warmongering now, the GOP should go back and take the other fork in that road, before we downsize any more of our own consumer base.
    Philip Hyde III
    GOP candidate vs. Rep. Joseph Kennedy 2d in 1996 and 1998 (when Joe resigned),
    Timesizing.com Party candidate vs. Sen. Edward Kennedy in 2000;
    now Exec. Dir. of Timesizing.com, the world's first dot-com political party,
    motto: 'Timesizing, Not Downsizing' (trim the workweek, not the workforce).

    [now here's the trigger article, which presents a critical argument for sharing the vanishing work -]
    Help wanted - Out of a job and no longer looking - Our welfare state in closer to Europe's than we think, by David Leonhardt, NYT, 4-1.
    The American welfare state was supposed to be dead, victim of the free-market economy and its success in creating a job for anybody who wanted one.
    [That was always a huge myth.]
    While European countries maintained huge social-service programs and paid for them with high unemployment, the U.S. sharply curtailed its best-known welfare program in the mid-1980s and the [official] jobless rate just kept dropping. Even today, two years in to an economic slump, the labor market appears [our italics - ed.] healthier than it was for most of the last three decades.
    But the current downturn is beginning to expose an uncomfortable truth: the American economy looks more like Europe's than most people ever imagined during the triumphal 1990s.
    Millions of people, particularly men, have dropped out of the labor force over the last decade, apparently unable to find work that pays near what they once earned in the blue-collar jobs that have since moved to lower-wage countries. Unwilling to take new jobs that pay far less, neither employed nor looking for work, they are not counted in the jobless rate, and a surprising and growing number of them instead depend on a government check to get by.
    Once these statistical non-persons are counted, the labor market of today looks all too similar to those of supposedly bleaker past decades, according to a number of recent studies by economists. Even when the unemployment rate was near a 30-year low in 1999 and 2000, men from the ages of 18 to 54, as a group, spent 11% of the year not working, roughly the same as in the late 1970s and late 80s, according to one study.
    [And roughly the same as the coveted European vacation of 4-6 weeks per year. Truly technology determines that we either cut the workweek per person and get the technological work savings in terms of financially secure leisure, like Europe, or we'll have it forced upon us in terms of depressing unemployment, or worse (disability, welfare, homelessness, prison, suicide....)].
    Things are considerably worse today. In the last two years, the official jobless rate has risen and an additional two million people appear to have dropped out of the labor force. Today, the real level of unemployment for men probably approaches the level of the recession-mired early 80s.
    "The unemployment rate doesn't mean what it did 20 years ago," said Robert H. Topel, an economist at the University of Chicago and author of the most detailed recent study of the changes. "Employment opportunities for the less skilled are not what they used to be, so people just leave the labor force."
    [Where do they turn?]
    To pay their monthly bills, many of these missing workers have turned to disability insurance, a government program under Social Security that has become the centerpiece of the new American welfare state.
    [Our society is splitting into workers and drones. The Timesizing full-employment program would gradually reduce the workweek to a technologically appropriate range and with job design, get these people participating again, instead of riding free.]
    Since 1990, the number of people receiving disability pay has nearly doubled, to 5.4 million, and the government now spends far more on the program than it does for food stamps or unemployment insurance.
    People who once may have worked through injuries or chronic pain, particularly those without a college education, are increasingly making a choice economic planners [such as Rexford Tugwell of FDR's brain trust] did not foresee. They have decided a government benefit, in the form of the roughly $800 in average monthly disability pay, is more attractive than any job.
    They make up the biggest group that has left the labor force and help depress the unemployment rate.
    [In other words, they make the unemployment rate look unrealistically low.]
    The growth of the prison population - to about 2 million today, up from 1.1 million in 1990 and 500,000 in 1980 - has made another large group of people dependent on the government. And while prisoners themselves do not suffer many of the consequences of joblessness, like eviction or lack of health care [no, just knifings and gang rape as demoed on our prisons page - ed.], their relatives often do.
    Other labor-force dropouts are harder to count because the government [ie: taxpayers] does not support them. Some have moved in with friends or family, economists say. Still others, caring for children or retired, while their spouse works, are properly not counted as unemployed.
    [Though many in this last group, such as Phil Hyde, would get work if it was easy to find and less than 40 hrs/wk rather than running down their modest nesteggs ever closer to zero.]
    Overall, however, the rise in the number of missing workers calls into question the great achievement of the 1990s economy: the best job market since 1970. According to the official numbers, the jobless rate generally rose from the 1960s through the early 1980s, reaching a peak of 10.8% in 1982. Since then, it has generally fallen, dropping to 3.9% two years ago. Last month, after a year and a half of widespread layoffs, it remained at "just" 5.7% [our quotes - ed.].
    Certainly, the decline was no mirage.
    [Oh no? This article has not yet mentioned makework. And the Republicans' big makework channel is the Pentagon, which expanding wildly under Reagan starting around 1982 as he determined to "win" the Cold War. Then there was Panama and Grenada and Somalia and Desert Storm....]
    With the economy growing quickly [or merely inflating into a tech bubble?], businesses needed to woo people into the labor force or out of another job, and they offered the first significant raises in 30 years.
    [That 30-year gap was a significant signal of labor surplus caused by work-saving technology rising against workweek that was not falling to compensate.]
    ...Some of the biggest beneficiaries were women, who poured into the job market and whose wages crept closer to men's.
    [Actually, women poured into the workforce in the 1970s, when the entry of the postwar babyboomers into the job market stymied household income led them to pitch in, thus worsening the labor glut - at the 40-hour level of the standard workweek - even further.]
    Today, 63 million women hold a job, up almost 9 million from a decade ago, according to the Labor Dept. But even the [seemingly] strong economy of the late 90s failed to reverse the gradual overall increase in the number of men dropping out of the labor force [or] halt the long-term rise in the duration of unemployment for those people who kept looking for work and therefore appeared in the official statistics....
    A clear sign of the labor market's quiet troubles has long been evident, though its significance was obscured by the official jobless rate. While unemployment was supposedly falling over the last 20 years, pay barely increased for the typical worker. Since 1982, the median hourly wage has grown only about 6%, after adjusting for inflation, according to the Labor Dept.
    Reflecting workers' meager bargaining power, the Census Bureau said last week that income for the typical household had fallen in 2001 for the second consecutive year. The poverty rate rose.... As for the disability program, even without any legislative changes its costs will rise 15% to $69 billion this year, according to the Social Security Administration.
    ...The country faces a series of difficult decisions balancing the ideals of a free market with those of a humane economic policy....
    [No, the country faces hanging onto its old "work hard to get ahead" and "I'm busy/work hard, therefore I'm important/have character" and splitting completely into workers and drones, or facing up to the whole purpose and meaning of technology, accepting an easier life in terms of less work and more pay, and, buoyed by "work smart, not hard," letting the workweek automatically adjust downward to spread and share around the vanishing market-demanded human work onto everyone.]
    [Meanwhile, the Republicans are trying desperately to start up their usual huge makework program, the Pentagon, via wars of aggression against whomever they get ticked off by, and the Democrats? Where are the Democrats? -]
    Kennedy [finally] gets the right balance on Iraq - Questioning policy, but not the motives, op ed by Thomas Oliphant, Boston Globe, D11.
    [and more enlightening -]
    Democrats' problem, letter to editor by William S. Kessler of Seattle, 9/30/2002 NYT, A22.
    As a Sept. 26 editorial notes, Democrats are rushing to pass a war resolution that many privately disagree with, hoping to avoid having to talk about this issue in the election campaign.
    But the real problem Democrats have with voters is that on too many issues they do not act on what everyone knows are their real beliefs.
    It is obvious that many Senate Democrats think that carrying out the Bush tax cuts will produce decades of deficits, but none of them will propose eliminating those cuts.
    The effect of condescending to the public on the important questions of the day is that Democrats are seen as standing for nothing, and give no one a reason to vote for them.
    As long as Democrats continue to be paralyzed by political calculation, they will neither gain a mandate from voters nor encourage the strong leadership needed to realize their core ideals.

  2. Lavatory and liberty - The secret history of the bathroom break, by Corey Robin, Boston Globe, D1.
    In his never-ending quest for control of the workplace, Henry Ford confronted many foes, but none as wily or rebellious as the human digestive tract. Hoping to tame what he called the body's "disassembly line," Ford wheeled lunch wagons into his auto plant in Highland Park, Mich., and forced workers to wolf down a 10-minute sandwich on the job. So industrialized was ingestion at the plant that workers growled about their "Ford stomach." But where Ford sought to speed up the meal's entrance into the body, his successors - from store managers in the Midwest to fashion moguls in New York - have concentrated on slowing down its exit.
    Today's workplace can sometimes seem like a battlefield of the bladder. On the one side are workers who wanna go when they gotta go; on the other are employers who want to stop them, sometimes for hours on end. Just this past month, a Jim Beam bourbon distillery in Clermont, Ky., was forced to drop its strict bathroom-break policies after the plant's union focused negative international attention - from ABC News to Australia - on Jim Beam and its parent company, Fortune Brands, Inc....
    In their 1998 book "Void Where Prohibited: Rest breaks and the right to urinate on company time," Marc Linder and Ingrid Nygaard of the University of Iowa...trace the long and ignoble history of the struggle for the right to pee on the job....
    On the job - In "Working stiffs: Occupational portraits in the age of tintypes" (Smithsonian Institution Press), Michael Carlebach gathers more than 80 shots of late 19th-century workers posing proudly with sewing machines, shovels, cleavers, ladders, axes, musical instruments, and the like.... Most evoke a four-square world in which ordinary workers were more proud of the tools of their trade than of the consumer goods that ornamented their leisure. [Photos caption]

  3. [and relative to completely unlimited workweeks, potentially all 168 hours -]
    Slavery seminar, by Agnes Blum, Boston Globe, City 13.
    Francis Bok, a former Sudanese slave, will speak at a free informational seminar about world slavery that runs from 4 to 6 pm Sunday [9/29?] in the auditorium at the Driscoll School, 64 Westbourne Terrace. The host of the seminar [unnamed?] went to Sudan in July and participated in an underground railroad effort that freed 1,116 slaves. African refreshments will be served.
    [And hopefully African digestive problems will not result.]

9/28/2002  timesizing consciousness in news, aka glimmers of strategic hope - 9/27/2002  basic timesizing & timesizing consciousness in news, aka glimmers of strategic hope -
  1. South Korea to shorten work week to 40 hours, Reuters 09/26/02 05:43 ET via AOLNews.
    SEOUL...- South Korean workers will have more time to relax, after the government said on Thursday it plans to cut the workweek to 40 hours from 44. The change will "drastically improve workers' living quality," Labour Minister Bang Yong-seok told a news conference. The government hopes giving workers more free time from next year will see them shop more, boosting consumer demand, but the move is opposed by companies worried about getting less work out of employees.
    South Korean workers have one of the longest workweeks in the world, logging 50% more hours a year than Swedish workers, for example. Shortening the workweek could create 680,000 jobs at hotels and other businesses, the Korea Labour Institute has forecast. "It would be good for the service sector," said economist Prakash Sakpal at ING Baring. The policy - which would essentially scrap a practice of working a half-day on Saturdays - is backed by 92% of South Koreans, according to survey firm Korea Recruit.
    Consumer spending is already robust in South Korea, with household debt rising 8% in the 3rd quarter (July to Sept) compared with the previous 3 months. The rising spending has led to concerns about inflation but policymakers see sustained consumer demand as key to economic growth, particularly as the U.S. market for South Korean exports is growing slower than expected.
    Asia's two largest economies have already moved to a 40-hour week, with Bang said a bill drafted earlier this month would head to the National Assembly for adoption in October. Starting next July, a 40-hour week would be gradually introduced to different sectors over a 3 year period. Bang said small firms not scheduled to reduce their workweek at first would likely act anyway, to match their big clients. "Large firms have a lot of subcontractors," Bang said.

  2. AARP honors the Stanley Group as one of the [USA's] best companies for workers over 50, Business Wire 09/26/2002 09:00 Eastern via AOLNews.
    The...employee-owned..\..Stanley Group, headquartered in Muscatine, Iowa, has been named among 15 employers recognized nationally by AARP as the Best Companies for Workers over 50.... Companies selected were recognized for the favorable culture for workers in this age group, including offering flextime, compressed workweeks, part-time work, job sharing, and telecommuting. AARP further noted The Stanley Group for its phased retirement program, offering employees either reduced time or part-time work, and for utilizing retirees for short-term international assignments....

  3. Employees place high value on work-life programs, according to the New York Times Job Market Research; Job stress greatly influences job seekers' choice of employer, Business Wire 09/26/2002 09:23 Eastern via AOLNews.
    NEW YORK...- Corporate work-life programs hold great appeal for employees according to a just-released NYT Job Market Research study on company work-life initiatives [based on] Beta Research Corp['s] telephone interviews with 300 job seekers in the NYC metropolitan area..\.. Respondents to the survey indicated they have previously used flex-time benefits (44%) and believe it is very important in their job search to find a company that is supportive of their life outside of work (57%). [The] jobseekers...represented a range of industries....
    Job stress appears to play an influential role in employees' decisions to join or remain with a company. A large percentage of respondents consider their current or last job as being very stressful (44%) and a majority say that the level of job stress they encounter directly impacts their decision to look for a new job (75%). Further, when seeking employment, jobseekers say it is extremely important for them to find a work environment that is less stressful (52%). Few respondents say their current company is very good at helping reduce employee job stress (18%) despite employees' belief that their company (58%) or supervisor (77%) is supportive of their life outside of work.
    The 50-hour work week
    Although employees appear to value work-life programs, a general perception exists that working long hours remains important to career advancement. Jobseekers say they tend to work longer than normal business hours in order to get ahead in their careers (74%). Overall, respondents who work full-time say they work a total of 50 hours a week.
    [During an age of work-shouldering technology? No wonder we don't have enough jobs.]
    Company work-life benefits
    Employees say their companies offer specific work-life benefits including flexible hours, work from home (part-time and full-time), job sharing, employee assistance programs, childcare assistance, maternity/paternity/bereavement leave, adoption and eldercare assistance, and wellness programs, among others.... A majority of jobseekers interviewed say they would consider companies as being supportive of their employees' work-life needs if they offered any of the [above] benefits....
    [Clearly there have been some leading questions in this phone survey.]

  4. A push to better labor's lot in Bangladesh - Workers publicize conditions at a shirt factory used by Disney - Accusations of long workweeks, no sick days or vacation and physical attacks, by Steven Greenhouse, NYT, C2.
    Lisa Rahman..., along with Sk [sic] Nazma..., and Mahamuda Akter are in the United States to publicize working conditions in Bangladesh. [photo caption]
    Lisa Rahman, a...garment worker from Bangladesh...worked 14 hours a day, seven days a seek at the Shah Makhdum factory in Dhaka, where...managers sometimes hit workers and women were forced to quit if they became pregnant.
    [Whoa, a 98-hour workweek which rivals that of American medical students!]
    ...Workers received no vacation, holidays or sick days and earned about 14 cents an hour, meaning they earn about 5 cents for a shirt that sells for $17.99 in the U.S.
    Soon after a labor rights group began publicizing the factory's conditions last year, a Disney licensee that produces Winnie the Pooh shirts pulled all work out of the factory. But Ms. Rahman said Disney should send new business to the factory and make sure its conditions improve....
    [Followup - the Boston Globe finally caught up with this story -]
    Tour aims to educate on work conditions, by Diane Lewis, 10/20/2002 Boston Globe, G2.
    ...Rahman said..."I worked seven days a week, from 8 am to 10 pm, and never knew what Americans paid for the (vests [I made])."...
    [A: $17.99]

9/26/2002  basic timesizing in news, aka glimmers of strategic hope -
  1. [one more firm honored for job sharing -]
    BP America and its ARCO brand celebrate being named one of "100 best companies for working mothers" by Working Mothers Magazine, Business Wire 09/25/2002 18:18 Eastern via AOLNews.
    ...BP America provides a range of flexible and useful programs that help its employees, including working mothers, best manage their total work/life and family obligations. These include schedules which allow employees to work 80 hours over 9 days, creating flexibility to handle personal and family business, and job sharing, in which mothers in transition to or from maternity can team up to handle a given position on a part-time basis....

  2. [and one firm reamed for dissing OT -]
    Colorado-based Einstein Brothers Bagels agrees to pay $495,930 in back overtime wages to [424] employees in 27 states states, US Newswire 09/25 13:36 via AOLNews.
    ...following an investigation by the US Dept of Labor's Wage & Hour Division. Einstein Bros. Bagels, Golden, Colo., also known as the New World Restaurant Group operating under the names Einstein Noah Bagels, Noah's NY Bagels, Manhattan Bagels, Chesapeake Bagels, New World Coffee and Willoghby's [sic] Coffee & Tea, employ approximately 10,000 workers in their 450 bagel restaurants and coffee shops.
    The Wage & Hour Division's district office in Denver began an investigation of Einstein locations in the Denver-metro area in March and found that the company was misclassifying their asst managers as exempt from the overtime provision of the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA).... In addition to paying the back wages owed, the company agreed to comply with the law in the future and also performed a nationwide self-audit which determined that their non-exempt managers were working on average between 50-51 hours per week. The company began paying these managers on an hourly basis in April.
    The Wage & Hour Div. enforces the FLSA, which sets the federal minimum wage at $5.15 for most workers and generally requires the payment of time and one-half an employee's regular rate for hours worked over 40 in a workweek. Employers also must keep accurate time and payroll records.
    [This is a flawed overtime design, since it motivates employees to hoard vanishing market-demanded job hours, and with the expansion of benefits, it does not sufficiently demotivate employers from concentrating work and in the aggregate, diminishing their own markets. Also, an ergonomic design such as Phase 2 of the Timesizing full-employment program would make overtime self-resolving via a simple tie-in with training and hiring.]
    For more information about the FLSA, call the Dept. of Labor's toll-free help line at 1-866-4US-WAGE (487-9243). Info is also available on the Internet at *dol.gov [where] US Labor Dept [news] releases are [also] accessible....
    Contact [person]: Yvonne Ralsky of the US Dept of Labor, 202-693-4676.

9/25/2002  basic timesizing in news, aka glimmers of strategic hope - 9/24/2002  basic timesizing consciousness in news, aka glimmers of strategic hope -
  1. Employers cut hours, not workers, by Bruce Little (blittle@globeandmail.ca), Toronto Globe & Mail, Mon Sept 23, 2002 via Joe Polito via SWT elist.
    (http://www.globeandmail.com/servlet/ArticleNews/PEstory/TGAM/20020923/RAMAZ/Headlines
    /headdex/headdexColumnists_temp/1/1/13/)
    Are Canadian employers a soft-hearted bunch? Or are they just a little more shrewd than they sometimes appear?
    Historically, the number of people on payrolls follows the profit cycle - rising in the wake of higher profits and falling when profits drop. That didn't happen last year: Profits fell, but the number of jobs kept rising, albeit slowly.
    At the time, some wondered if the big bad bosses of popular folklore had gone soft - either in the heart, because they couldn't bear to lay off loyal workers, or in the head, because they didn't know what was good for their bottom lines.
    Happily, there's another explanation, and some data to support it. Companies knew exactly what was happening to their profits, but they found a more creative way to cut labour costs until the economy got through its slowdown. They kept their workers, but had them work fewer hours.
    [This is exakitally what we mean by timesizing, not downsizing.]
    If you compare the profit track with payrolls, you find that the old tight relationship broke down in 2001. But if you substitute the number of hours worked for the number of jobs, you find that their decline and recovery matched the profit path almost perfectly. Employers, it appears, were very canny this time around.
    Laying people off costs money in the form of severance payments and the effect on those who stay of workplace disruption and lower morale.
    [Not to mention the effect on the overall consumer base.]
    It also costs money to hire new people when the economy bounces back. It now looks as if companies were more optimistic than most economic forecasters that the 2001 slowdown was not, in fact, a recession and that the economy would rebound in fairly short order, which it did.
    [Maybe in Canada - and maybe just because more employers practiced this timesizing instead of downsizing.]
    So they found a neat solution that reflected their more buoyant long-term view: Keep the workers (and save the cost of firing and subsequent rehiring), but get them to work fewer hours (which cut labour costs), and accept the profit hit as one that was likely to be short-lived.
    The link between profits and payrolls is easily documented. In the recessions of the early 1980s and early 1990s, profit drops of 35 to 55% translated into job losses of 400,000 to 550,000. In each case, the revival of profits foreshadowed the revival of the job market. Milder profit dips, when the economy as a whole doesn't go into recession, have not produced job losses.
    But 2001 offered something quite different. Profits peaked in the first quarter and then fell in each of the next three quarters. By the end of the year, profits were down 24% from a year earlier. Payrolls were still up 1%, but for those who were looking ahead at the time, the lessons of history said there would be some steep job losses once we got into 2002. That's what most forecasters predicted, and it turned out to be an error of spectacular proportions.
    [But unfortunately not in the macho, disposable-employee USA to the south. But maybe we should take a look at comparable figures down here. We might be pleasantly surprised.]
    The job market turned around in January and has since generated huge job growth. [Sure enough], profits began to bounce back as early as last winter, and by the second quarter were up 23% from the end of 2001.
    But the employment swings usually follow profits by a few quarters, so even if you had expected the profit rebound, there was no reason to expect jobs to follow so quickly. If jobs didn't track profits the way they usually did, though, the number of hours worked did. That 24% drop in profits during 2001 may not have been reflected in the 1% increase in jobs, but it certainly showed up in the number of hours worked, which fell 2.1% over the same period.
    Notice that ratio of percentage changes in profits and hours worked - just over 10 to 1. It has some historical resonance in the early 1990s, when the single worst year for profits was the one that ended in the first quarter of 1991. Profits that year fell 38% and hours worked fell 3.3%, even though payrolls shrank only 2.8%.
    Almost the same ratio appears in the first half of this year. In the second quarter, profits were up 23% from the fourth quarter of 2001, and the number of hours worked was up 2.3%. Payroll growth, spectacular as it was, came to only 1.7%.
    The fact that the number of hours worked has grown faster than the number of workers means the average worker was putting in more hours each week. So employers are already reversing the course they charted in 2001. It's a clear response to the rebound in profits.
    Bay Street [Toronto's financial district] may not believe profits have bounced back this year because they are looking at a different set of books than Statistics Canada does when it assembles profit data for the entire economy. Statscan tracks privately owned companies as well as those listed on the stock exchanges, and its measure of profits is closer to the figures that companies report to the tax authorities than the ones they tell their shareholders, so there's little danger of exaggeration.
    By the second quarter, profits were still not quite back to where they were a year earlier, but the two work indicators were both up by solid margins. Labour force figures for July and August suggest that while the number of jobs increased in the third quarter, the number of hours fell, though that may just reflect extra vacation time taken during an especially hot summer.
    The odds are that profits are still on the upswing. And as usual, that's good news for the job market over the next few months.
    But the best news may be the evidence from 2001, when imaginative employers held together their work teams at the expense of a few lost hours, rather than resort to simple-minded mass layoffs.
    [This is basic timesizing at work. Many thanks to Bruce Little for researching and writing this piece and Joe Polito for putting it on the Shorter Worktime e-list.]

  2. AARP honors 15 employers as best companies for 50+ workers, PRNewswire 09/23/2002 00:01 EDT via AOLNews.
    WASHINGTON...- AARP [yester]day announced its selection of 15 "Best Companies for Workers over 50."... In regard to benefits, for example, AARP said Baptist Health South Florida, the largest not-for-profit healthcare organization in South Florida, offers flextime, job sharing, telecommuting, and compressed work schedules....
    [Job sharing is a simple, usually 40+-hrs/wk based type of timesizing where you simply subdivide an existing, often overloaded job between two people.]

  3. AIM identifies common senior management mistakes; Leading business educator lists most common C-suite inadequacies, Business Wire 09/23/2002 07:06 Eastern via AOLNews.
    BOSTON...- Robert Dunham, a former VP of Motorola Computer Systems, founder of the nationwide Action in Management [AIM] executive development program, and the performance management company Enterprise-Design.com, has identified the most common mistakes made by senior management, regardless of industry. Here's his top 5:...
    1. You're not listening!....
    2. Indulging in overcommitment - lack of allowing staff to say "no" leads to overwork, underachievement, and customer dissatissfaction
      [Note the linking here of overwork and underachievement, not to mention customer dissatisfaction.]
    3. "Giving orders" instead of "requesting commitment"....
    4. Teams in name only
    5. Fear and loathing of performance evaluation

  4. [here's some positive feedback about the increased food-service markets in France due to the 35-hour workweek -]
    Cuisine Solutions announces fiscal year 2002 results, PRNewswire-First Call 09/23/2002 18:28 EDT via AOLNews.
    ...The [20.8%] decrease in sales were due to [Note the much smaller sales decrease in shorter-workweek France than in long-workweek USA. Note further -]
    Cuisine Solutions France had the third consecutive profitable year since the acquisition by Cuisine Solutions 1999.  Since the acquisition, the French subsidiary has contributed approximately US$1.5 million in cashflow to the Company.  In spite of the lackluster economy during FY2002, the French subsidiary reported profitable results and double-digit growth in the Foodservice channel in France.  Although the overall travel industry suffered declines during the past Fiscal Year, Management credits both the 35-hour workweek rule and its impact on labor cost in France [i.e., higher wages, higher consumer spending] for the increase in demand for the Foodservice channel as well as aggressive cost control for the delivery of a positive net income in France....

  5. [and finally, some bad news from 'down under,' despite their 4-week annual vacations for everybody -]
    Almost half of Australian workers perform unpaid overtime, 09/23/2002 07:59 AEST via AOLNews.
    [Shades of Wal-Mart.]
    A survey of Australia's full-time workers has found that 47% perform regular unpaid overtime as a normal part of their working week. It is the first time the Job Futures/Saulwick Employee Sentiment survey has asked about unpaid overtime.
    [Guess their timesizing consciousness is gradually rising.]
    The survey foun d2/3 of the full-time workers who do unpaid overtime are working 5 or more hours a week for free. It is most prevalent in Sydney and Melbourne.
    [= Aussie's Type A cities?]
    Job Futures CEO Robert Tucker admits the resuilts are startling, although he stops short of arguing for legislation to limit working hours.
    [When's he going to start - when unpaid overtime reaches 10 hours a week? 20 hours a week? ...]
    "It's certainly clear from our survey that a very significant percentage of employees find their job stressful and a very significant percentage want to work shorter hours," he said. ACTU [Australia Confederation of Trade Unions?] president Sharon Burrow describes the statistic as shocking and says it will be up for discussion at a National Hours Summit the ACTU wants to convene on Nov. 20.

9/23/2002  pre-timesizing consciousness in news, aka mere flickers of strategic hope - 9/21/2002  primitive timesizing in news, aka glimmers of strategic hope -
  1. Analysis - Hurry up and wait in world of EU economic reform, by Alister Bull, Reuters 09/20/02 05:51 ET via AOLNews.
    FRANKFURT...- Left or right it's steady as she goes in the glacial world of European economic reform. Germany's Sunday general election is the region's sixth this year. After a strong late showing in opinion polls, social democrat Gerhard Schroeder may hang onto power, repeating the performance of the Swedish left last week. But even if the trend to the centre-right already seen in France, Portugal and the Netherlands is repeated, there has been little evidence of more appetite for 'Anglo-Saxon' style reforms, meaning a pattern of cautious change is here to stay. "The swing to the right has been much sharper, much more strident, on the question of immigration. These elections have not been about economics," said Michael Emerson of the Centre for European Policy Studies.
    ...Where reforms look...painful, progress suddenly becomes far less purposeful.... For example, The French have a word for it
    "Pour vivre heureux, vivons caches," explained Christoph Duval-Keiffer. "It means 'To live happily, live hidden. This is the old story of changing it without telling it," he said.
    The planned changes head back to the old 39-hour week, harmonize minimum wages and propose deep cuts in the social security contribution for employers of low-skilled workers. This could add up to "a substantial change in the spirit of the 35-hour working week," which smaller companies disliked for increasing restrictions, but it will be managed in such a way [as] to make it appear that nothing has changed....

  2. French govt to hike tobacco taxes in budget - paper, Reuters 09/20/02 03:07 ET via AOLNews.
    PARIS...- The French government plans to raise taxes on tobacco in its upcoming 2003 budget, raising nearly $1B and pushing cigarette prices up by 15%, Le Figaro newspaper reported on Friday....
    The 4-month-old centre-right government also intends to reimburse the health service for the added staff and other costs of implementing the 35-hour workweek brought in by the previous government, Le Figaro said....
    [Do they also plan to restore the former big budget line for jobless benefits that they are going to need now that they're weakening work sharing, reconcentrating work and re-expanding unemployment? And what about all the business basket cases they're going to create as domestic demand re-shrinks?]


Click here for news on spontaneous timesizing cases in -
Sep.11-20/2002
Sep.1-10/2002
Aug.21-31/2002
Aug.9-20/2002
Aug.1-8/2002
July 16-31/2002
July 2-15/2002
June 16-30/2002 + July 1
June 1-15/2002
May 11-31/2002
May 1-10/2002
Apr. 16-30/2002
Apr. 1-15/2002
Mar. 21-31/2002
Mar. 11-20/2002
Mar. 1-10/2002
Feb. 21-28/2002
Feb. 1-20/2002
Jan. 21-31/2002
Jan. 11-20/2002
Jan. 1-10/2002
Dec. 16-31/2001
Dec. 1-15/2001
Nov. 26-30/2001
Nov. 21-25/2001
Nov. 10-20/2001
Nov. 1-10/2001
Oct. 16-31/2001
Oct. 1-15/2001
Sep. 16-30/2001
Sep. 1-15/2001
Aug. 16-31/2001
Aug. 1-15/2001
July 16-31/2001
July 1-15/2001
June/2001
May 16-31/2001
May 1-15/2001
Apr.16-30/2001
Apr.1-15/2001
Mar.11-31/2001
Mar.1-10/2001
Feb.16-28/2001
Feb.1-15/2001
Jan/2001
Y2000
1999
1998 and previous years


Top | Homepage