Timesizing® Associates - Homepage
Timesizing News, September 11-20, 2004
[Commentary] ©2004 Phil Hyde, Timesizing.com, Box 622, Porter Sq, Cambridge MA 02140 USA 617-623-8080
9/18-20/2004 primitive timesizing & worktime consciousness in the news = glimmers of strategic hope - all are 9/17-19 from GoogleNews & are searched-screened-collected by Alan Applebaum (AA) of Brookline MA with backup from *Ken Ellis (KE) of New Bedford MA (except Australian & Far East stories which are 9/18-20), and with excerpting and [commenting] by Phil Hyde (PH) unless otherwise initialed -
9/17/2004 primitive timesizing & worktime consciousness in the news = glimmers of strategic hope - all are 9/16 from GoogleNews & are searched-screened-collected by Alan Applebaum (AA) of Brookline MA with backup from *Ken Ellis (KE) of New Bedford MA (except Australian & Far East stories which are 9/17), and with excerpting and [commenting] by Phil Hyde (PH) unless otherwise initialed -
NURSES TOP UP SKILLS
Hexham Courant, United Kingdom
By LUCY RICHARDSON
[Here's a case where cutting hours is creating more jobs, at least for nurses -]
HEXHAM, England - Sisters [ie: 'nursing sisters'] are doing it for themselves at Hexham General Hospital now that specialist nurse practitioners have taken over from junior doctors.
Since European laws were introduced recently to curb their long hours, the
presence of fresh-faced junior doctors has been replaced by experienced
nurses who are relishing the new challenge.
Dawn Dixon and Linda Scott topped-up their skills by studying alongside
third year medical students at Newcastle University on an intensive 10-week
Instead of junior doctors, the nurse practitioners now work in tandem with
consultants who have welcomed the promotion.
Consultant colo-rectal surgeon Mike Bradburn said: "A consultant has always
relied on his senior ward sister as the common sense approach on what is
going on. She has seen it before and the consultant would take her word
before any junior doctors."
There are already nine nurse practitioners working at Hexham hospital in
specialisms including orthopaedics, general surgery and gynaecology, with
more posts still to fill.
Dawn Dixon, who was ward manager for 11 years before becoming nurse
practitioner in April 2003, said her new job was stimulating and more
"We look after patients using our nursing skills and also from a medical
point of view," she explained. "We get patients ready for theatre to make
sure that they are medically fit and post-operatively we make sure that the
patients are well and we review them.
"We relay all the information to the consultant and a management plan is
devised to meet the patients' needs."
Linda Scott said: "The medical students had a lot of the theory, but we have
lots of experience of sick patients, so we helped each other a lot."
Nurse specialist Yvonne Smith manages and runs a nurse-led chemotherapy
service at Hexham hospital for Tynedale patients with solid tumours.
Yvonne, who came from Newcastle General hospital to set up the unit in 2001,
said: "In the summer of last year it was decided that it was no longer
viable to have a visiting oncologist but we knew that patients did not want
to travel to Newcastle for treatment."
Although blood tumours are not being treated at Hexham hospital at the
moment, there are plans to expand the service.
Facing $1.1 million shortfall, Santa Clara to close Mondays
Library Journal, United States
[And here's a case where cutting hours is saving jobs -]
Many libraries in Santa Clara County, CA, will be closed on Mondays
effective October 11 owing to a $1.1 million budget shortfall this fiscal
year. The Santa Clara County Library (SCCL), which provides service to
residents of unincorporated areas as well as nine cities, must take this
action to save $1 million in operating costs. Several of the facilities
already are closed Sundays.
The SCCL Joint Powers Authority (JPA) voted
unanimously to cut hours in anticipation of the expiration of the $5.3
million benefit assessment tax in June 2005. This revenue provides 21%
of SCCL's operating budget.
The benefit assessment tax, which was approved in 1994 at $33 per single
family home, wasn't renewed this past March. The more than 60% voter
approval was short of the two-thirds needed for taxation measures. The JPA
soon will decide whether to ask voters again, in 2005, to extend the tax.
Said JPA chair Richard Lowenthal, "What is really daunting is that if the
voters don't pass the library ballot measure next year, we'll be short
another $5.3 million and the effect on the libraries could be truly
disastrous." The cutback in hours comes at the same time SCCL is
experiencing an increase in use. More than three million visitors now visit
annually, checking out ten million items. Besides the nine libraries, the
bookmobile, which visits child care centers, senior centers, and migrant
labor camps, also will suspend service on Mondays, as well as the toll-free
phone number and community room.
Meanwhile: Workers of the world, unite and don't work!
International Herald Tribune, France
LONDON - A few years ago I co-authored a book called "Workaholism: Getting a
Life in the Killing Fields of Work." It sank like a stone. Maybe the title
was too clunky.
[Ohoh. Sour grapes alert?]
More likely, my timing was off. Both Europe and the United States were
living through a mild spasm of anti-work rhetoric in the 1990s, but it was
nothing like what is happening today in France and Britain. This new wave
goes far beyond downshifting and life balance.
Two best sellers reflect this tune-out culture:
Both authors advise that the route to sanity is to do as little as possible in
your job while saving yourself for your real life outside the workplace.
I have managed people in Britain and France and can attest to the reality of
the trend. The British warned me when I arrived in London that "one must not
be seen to be striving." In France, dodging work and responsibility in my
company was an art.
A key difference with the U.S. work ethic is that work life and private life
are separate. Contrary to U.S. practice, friendships tend to be unrelated to
professional life. Company picnics or Friday afternoon mixers are anathema.
As one American working in Paris told me, "When I leave the office, my
colleagues say 'a demain.' And they really mean it."
In the French publishing firm where I worked, employees simply did not buy
the argument that their work might be inherently worthwhile and essential to
the success of the firm, the source of their sustenance. They resented the
fact that shareholders took home unearned income from their daily work.
This disconnect creates a standoff between leaders and the led.
The French demand precise job descriptions so that management cannot take
advantage of their energies. In most large companies, initiative and extra
hours are out of the question. One man who worked for me tried to explain
the French attitude: "We want you to tell us exactly what you want us to do,
and we'll do it if we feel like it."
- Corine Maier's "Bonjour Paresse" in France and
- Tom Hodgkinson's "How to Be Idle" in Britain.
Ms. Maier is a chipper professional economist with a disarming subversive
streak. Her book, she writes, will help you "use your company instead of
letting yourself be used by it." She quotes recent polls that indicate only
3% of the French are willing to give themselves to their work whereas
17% are "actively disengaged," meaning their attitudes are so
unconstructive as to "approach sabotage." In this environment, there is no
point seeking professional satisfaction.
Not surprisingly, she is scheduled for a disciplinary hearing at her job
later this month. She can hardly wait.
In Britain, I have found similar cynicism but in milder form. Margaret
Thatcher's self-help culture has eroded since her departure from public
life, allowing the old slacker malaise to creep back into daily life.
Too much lager is downed at lunch and too many coffee breaks - especially
the mini-lunch called "elevenses" - interrupt job concentration. More to the
point, Thatcherism never quite lived up to its economic promises.
The most alarming manifestation in Britain is the "chav scum" movement,
composed mostly of marginalized young men who see no future for themselves.
[Didn't we see a movement something like this somewhere else too? Was it in China? In the U.S. a few months ago, an article identified a similar group designated as Kramer-lifestyle - after Kramer on the TV show "Seinfeld."]
The British press is just discovering these disturbing creatures, sometimes
also known as Kevs, steeks, spides, ratboys, skangers, stigs or scallies.
A typical male chavster lives with his parents and may be identified in a
shopping mall by his clothes - a branded baseball cap, white sneakers,
Burberry's socks, cheap gold-plated jewelery and a T-shirt with a slogan
such as "Friendly when drunk."
The chavs communicate with each other by text messages on their cellphones
in a twisted form of English limited by the 160 functions of the keypad.
They write in this abbreviated lower-case form even when they are not
sending messages. They cannot or will not pronounce "th," so it becomes "f."
With a small leap of logic, then, "3dom" equals "freedom" and "1sty" equals
On a recent visit to the United States. I watched for signs of erosion of the
bootstrap culture Americans have always been proud of. I browsed the shelves
at the Harvard Coop bookstore, finding nothing at all on downshifting.
[That's funny. Bookfinder.com lists four books with that title (Saltzman '92, Ghazi & Jones '97, Bull '98, Drake '01) and Juliet Schor's Overspent American with "downshifting" in the subtitle.]
Finally I asked the manager where he was hiding these books. "Can't help you," he
said. "We're mostly about upshifting here."
Michael Johnson is the author of "French Resistance: The individual vs. the
Company in French Corporate Life."
Patients, Nurses Will Suffer as Thunder Bay Hospital Changes Nurses'
CNW Telbec (Communiqués de presse), Canada
THUNDER BAY, Ont. - Registered Nurses at the Thunder Bay
Regional Health Sciences Centre, Local 73 of the Ontario Nurses'
Association, are extremely concerned that a decision by management to adjust
its method of scheduling part-time nurses will deeply affect patient care
and nurses' morale.
The hospital recently announced to staff that it would eliminate the
current 26 job-sharing nursing positions and discontinue the master
rotations for a further 343 part-time nurses at the facility.
Instead, the job-share nurses may be offered full-time positions, and
possibly part-time, and the part-time nurses, who always knew their shifts
under the master rotations, will have to adjust to an ever-changing
"The hospital says it is adding 35 full-time nursing positions, raising
the proportion of full-time nurses to 70% due to a ministry
directive, but this is misleading," said Donna Wheal, RN, Local 73
Bargaining Unit President. "Many people have told me they believe new nurses
will be hired, but the hospital is simply taking the 26 job shares,
converting them to 13 full-time nurses and the remainder of the 35 positions
will come from nurses already working within the hospital. The hospital will
move closer to achieving the 70% target with this plan, but they
have not met it."
Many of the job-share nurses feel full-time positions are being forced
on them, and the new scheduling for part-time nurses means they won't be
able to schedule things such as education courses, child care and vacations
"Our biggest concern is for our patients," said Wheal. "The scheduling
changes may negatively impact the continuity of patient care, which is so
vital to a patient's recovery and wellbeing."
"This announcement is totally unsatisfactory for the community of
Thunder Bay," added ONA President Linda Haslam-Stroud, RN. "We are
supportive of the creation of full-time positions, but not at the expense of
the quality of work life for more than 300 part-time nurses, who are
dedicated to providing quality care in their community.
"In touring this facility on September 15 and talking with management,
it is clear they are going ahead with this decision without concern for the
devastating effect it will have on the nurses' lives. These nurses are
already dealing with the challenges of moving to a new facility, not to
mention the every day stress of increasingly heavy workloads. Their already
low morale has suffered yet another blow."
For further information: ONTARIO NURSES' ASSOCIATION: Donna Wheal, Local
73 Bargaining Unit President, Cell (807) 627-7033; Ruth Featherstone, ONA
Communications, (416) 964-8833, ext. 2267; Peter Birt, ONA Communications,
(416) 964-8833, ext. 2237
Canadian teams endorse NHL lockout
CBC News, Canada
CBC SPORTS ONLINE
Canada's NHL teams came out Thursday and voiced their
support for the league's decision to lock out its players.
each staged separate news conferences, but all had a similar message for the media and hockey fans.
The teams endorsed commissioner Gary Bettman's view that the NHL's
economics are flawed and, that for the good of the game, a lockout is
Canadian workers lose jobs, work weeks slashed
- The Ottawa Senators,
- Montreal Canadiens,
- Toronto Maple Leafs,
- Edmonton Oilers,
- Calgary Flames and
- Vancouver Canucks
The lockout has also impacted those who work for Canada's NHL franchises.
Some employees are out of a job, while others will have abbreviated work
weeks for the foreseeable future.
The Canadiens laid off 1,000 part-time employees who work during games.
Team president Boivin has also agreed to a pay cut, while another 150
full-time employees will begin a four-day work week.
Senators employees are also shifting to four-day weeks, while 120 Flames
staffers will take a 40% pay cut and work three days a week.
Vancouver's office staff is also switching to a four-day week. All team
employees including management and coaches have also taken a 20%
pay reduction, according to Nonis.
The profitable Toronto Maple Leafs announced no layoffs, but Ferguson said
some workers at Maple Leaf Sports and Entertainment may have their salaries
The Oilers, like the Leafs, didn't let go any employees. However, LaForge
said the club's workforce was reduced to 67 from 90 after some left the
organization to find more certain employment.
Remaining Edmonton staffers were originally put on notice that they'd be
moving to an abbreviated work week, but that was delayed until November with the arrival of the team's American Hockey League affiliate to the city.
The Toronto Roadrunners moved to Alberta in the off-season and will now
play at Edmonton's Rexall Place.
Not all school activities can be shifted to weekdays: Education Minister Tharman
Channel News Asia, Singapore
By Debra Soon
SINGAPORE : Tharman Shanmugaratnam says it is not
possible to shift all school activities on Saturdays to weekdays to
implement the 5-day work week.
Speaking at conference for uniformed groups officers, Mr Tharman said
Uniformed Groups will need to carry out activities on Saturdays because
schools rely on volunteers to carry out training.
However, he said the challenge of implementing the 5-day week will provide
an opportunity for schools to re-examine what they do and why.
Mr Tharman says schools should stay true to the mission of providing broad
and holistic learning opportunities for students, and think of fresh and
Overworked or bone lazy?
Macon Telegraph, GA
[This attempt to transfer part of the "bone tired" metaphor doesn't work. Bones ache from tiredness, not from laziness. More accurate would be "fat lazy" or "butt lazy".]
A new government study raises that question [but probably not in those incoherent terms]. But let's first see how it came to be asked.
Back in the 1980s, Americans who worried about our economic health fretted
that innovative Japanese methods of management and production had made ours
Even worse, Japanese workers were far outworking and outsaving ours.
[Ah, the outworking part of this statement was disproven by Juliet Schor in The Overworked American (1991).]
Our economic lunch, in other words, was being eaten. Unless our CEOs learned
from the Japanese geniuses and our workers adopted their employees'
workaholic ways, by the 21st century we'd be left with the crumbs and Japan
would rule the economic world.
[Or, we could sucker the Japanese into exchanging their traditional strategy for full employment and fully activated domestic consumer markets (lifetime employment) for our biggest kamekazi management strategy, downsizing. We did, they bought it, and the results were...]
But a decade later the Japanese and other overheated economies had crashed,
and ours was soaring.
[Because we were so much less cautious than they in the late 1980s & early 90s about converting from the military industrial complex to the prison industrial complex and the obesity industrial complex.]
And we started worrying that American workers, thanks to "rightsizing" and
the increased workloads our CEOs' "reforms" [our quotes] had wrought, were now working too long and hard. (They still weren't saving much.)
Concern seemed justified when the International Labour Organization [ILO]
published a study of work in 240 countries called "Key Indicators of the
Labour Market 1999."
The 600-page study revealed, among other things, that in 1997 American
workers were averaging about two weeks (77 hours) longer on the job every year than Japanese.
Compared to 1980, Americans were working 4.5% longer while the
Japanese workers' hours on the job had declined by 11%.
Working hours had also decreased in the major European industrial powers.
Americans were working more overtime and taking far less vacation than their
counterparts in Germany or France, where the standard legal work week is 35
[Just in France, actually. In Germany, it's just common but not legally required in the unionized sectors in the west.]
And more recent studies have indicated the trend continues.
The pendulum swings, and swings again. In the year 1900, for instance,
six-day work weeks of 60 hours were the norm; but in 1938 the Fair Labor
Standards Act made the five-day, 40-hour work week the legal standard.
[No, the FLSA of 1938 made 44 hours the legal standard in 1938 (Oct.24), 42 in 1939, and 40 only in 1940.]
In succeeding years, paid vacations and holidays increased.
But the ILO study [in 1999] showed American work time was creeping up again. Was the pendulum swinging back too far?
Commentators feared that so much work and dwindling leisure would not only
make Jack a dull boy, but make us overemployed, stressed-out, tired out and
prematurely dead boys and girls.
And now we find that the quality of our lives away from the office is under
fresh assault from technology - wireless computing, ubiquitous cell phones
leading to work invading the home, the auto and the vacation. That the trend
to flexible work schedules and especially the 24-hour operation of
businesses is rapidly erasing the line between work and nonwork, work time
and our time, the workplace and any place.
Well, a report [date?] from the U.S. Bureau of Standards [BLS] might help us get a clearer view - and see where the real problem with the quality of our lives is. It
isn't so much in the shrinkage of our non-work time as it is in the lousy
use we make of it.
[No, it is the shrinkage of our free time, because his whole argument is based on averages, and with all the forced part-time these days, due to the complete insufficiency of 40-hour jobs under incessant automation, arguments from averages are meaningless.]
I have space to cite only a few of the report's many surprises [for the naive] and
[bogus] correctives. (It is based on the bureau's first-ever Time Use Survey, made
last year, which involved asking 21,000 interviewees over 15 to detail their
activities over the past 24 hours.)
Full-time workers average just over 8 hours a day,
But women put in an hour longer on household activities when they get home. (That's all?)
- men (8.3 hours) about half an hour longer
- than women (7.7 hours).
About 20% of workers do all or some of their paid work at home. The
more education one has, the more likely one is to be blessed (or cursed) by
working at home - 33% of college graduates do, but only 13% of
those with high school educations only.
Contrary to some reports, people get enough sleep: 8.6 hours a day on average.
[If this BLS report is recent, it sounds like another slanted load of Bush-administration self-justification.]
But the study confirms in stark statistics that they lead dangerously sedentary lives.
Watching TV takes up by far the most leisure time, about half of the five
hours available. By comparison, exercise occupies an average of 18 minutes
(I'm not making this up. Can you say obesity epidemic?)
Not only is a disproportionate amount of time spent sitting, but the mind
isn't being exercised much: the average reading time daily may be an hour
for retirees, but it's 8 minutes for teens. (I hope that doesn't include
Evidently we're on track to be fat, dumb - and unhappy.
Ed Corson can be e-mailed at email@example.com.
GPs get sick and suffer in silence
The Age, Australia
By Peter Ellingsen
[Another case of 'physician, heal thyself,' especially of workaholism -]
AUSTRALIA - Medical training needs to be overhauled to stem the high level of suicide
and emotional ill health among doctors, particularly female GPs [general practitioners], a breakthrough report says. Commissioned by the Royal Australian College of
General Practitioners, the report unveils the hidden stresses that can lead
doctors to endanger their own health, their families' and, at times, their
The Conspiracy of Silence: Emotional Health among Medical Practitioners,
which is due to be launched by former premier Jeff Kennett at the end of the
month, says patient care, particularly in mental health, may be compromised
by emotional illness in doctors.
It calls for more psychological and emotional health training, and urges
the establishment of peer support groups where GPs can vent concerns and get
advice. This recommendation has the backing of the GPs' college and the
Medical Practitioners Board of Victoria, and will likely be adopted.
Board president Dr Joanna Flynn says that while medical schools generally
did a good job, there was a "deficit" in later training.
The report is a review of most of the studies into doctors' health. It
found that doctors are not good at confronting emotional problems, nor are
they well trained to deal with them in patients, many of whom complain of
As a result, female doctors are six times more likely to commit suicide
than other women, and all doctors have a heightened risk of suicide and
emotional ill health, as do spouses. As well, their children have a
significantly higher rate of psychiatric breakdown.
The report found that doctors are more likely to abuse drugs and alcohol,
and avoid exercise.
If they are in general practice, they have a high (53%) level of
work dissatisfaction and leave the job at an alarming rate, often due to
Citing a recent local study, the report says that one-eighth of metropolitan
GPs have a severe psychiatric disturbance, while more than 30%
report high levels of mental disturbance.
"It seems likely that selection of academic high achievers is highly likely
to increase the workaholic tendencies evidenced in doctors later in life,"
the report says.
It adds: "More specifically, a body of research dating from the 1960s has
suggested students take up medicine because of a desire for social approval
The report cites a review that found between 15 and 25% of medical
students met the criteria for a psychiatric diagnosis. This could be because
the high marks needed for medicine are associated with obsessive-compulsive
traits, the incidence of a family history of psychiatric illness or other
While overwork is a factor, the report says the single biggest cause of
stress among GPs is dealing with medical specialists, who are nearly always
much better paid. "Stress may be increased through academic pressures to
perform, as well as personal abuse from consultants and workplace sexism,"
The report concludes that medical training fails to emphasise emotional
skills and self care. "Medical training may be criticised for its focus on
the rational and biological issues of health, while it neglects the
intuitive and emotional aspects," it says.
The report backs "feminising" medical training, saying that more attention
to emotional health and psychological training can help doctors retain their
emotional health, and that of their families and patients.
This involves a cultural shift. "The culture of self-denial and altruism may
seem appropriate in medical practice, yet taken to an extreme may seriously
impede a doctor's ability to stay healthy and deliver quality health care to
others," it says. It points out that in one extreme case, a doctor was in
such denial that he tried to remove his own haemorrhoids.
Craig Hassed, a senior lecturer at Monash University medical department,
says medical courses have increased their focus on psychological training.
"They learn a lot more than they used to," he says.
"Some would say students don't learn enough. We're getting close to it. But
it's a difficult balance."
Dr Hassed says depression is seen as a biological problem best managed by
medication, when the evidence is that non-drug solutions are more effective.
"In the long run the non-drug (psychotherapy) strategies are the most
effective," he says.
The report found that, while up to 25% of young people who see a GP
have "significant psychiatric morbidity", studies suggest that more than
half those complaining of depression get inadequate treatment.
The strategy of the Government's depression initiative, "Beyond Blue", is
to have depressed people consult their GP.
The college report, however, comments that: "In Australia few GPs feel
equipped to deal with mental health problems."
Jobless Filipinos up by 1,000
Sun Star, Philippines
[More on what mainstream economists would regard as the totally coincidental 'corelation' of joblessness and overtime -]
Another 1,000 Filipinos are added to the looming number of jobless people in
the country as another garment factory in Cavite closed shop recently.
According to Kilusang Mayo Uno (KMU) chairman Elmer Labog, Fashion House
Garments, manufacturer of the branded clothing GAP, Old Navy and Allison,
illegally closed down last September 15 which resulted to the displacement
of more than 1,000 contractual workers.
Labog said the Korean owner of Fashion House garments, Sung Kyu Kang failed
to pay the salaries, overtime pay and back wages of his employees since
August 16 and had not informed the workers of his plan to shut down the
Besides the illegal closure, Labog said the owner also forced his workers to
work for long hours and were even given Bonamine tablets to keep them awake
and endure the drowsiness caused by long hours of work.
Labog also cited the report of the National Coalition for the Protection of
Workers Rights (NCPWR) in Southern Tagalog that last August 21, Fashion
House Garments which was located at the Golden Mile Business Park in
Carmona, Cavite required their employees to work non-stop for 21 hours to
finish the firm's target production quota for export.
Similar case was reported in Anvil based in Taytay, Rizal where workers were
given medicine and candies by the management to remain awake.
Workers were also forced to take Bonamine tablets to prevent drowsiness.
"Workers in sweatshops are severely exploited. They are forced to work hard
under strenuous conditions but still, they receive very measly wages way
below the minimum wage standards," Labog said.
["Whether you work by the piece or the day,
Increasing the hours decreases the pay."
= old union rhyme.]
He blamed the government's decision to open the country to trade
liberalization, which kills the local garment industry and allows the
proliferation of sweatshops and the infringement of minimum wage levels and
other labor standards to entice foreign investments.
Curb carts hit the streets - Ann Arbor begins automating refuse pickup
BY TOM GANTERT
Beginning next week, garbage day in Ann Arbor will be a little different
for the city's 46,910 households.
That's when the first of the new 64-gallon curb carts will be delivered;
within two years all city residents will have received one free of charge.
Once residents receive their city-issued carts, they are required to use
them. Trash in other refuse cans or bags or any items simply dragged out to
the curb will no longer be accepted.
The carts will allow city crews to use $200,000 automated trucks with
mechanical arms, instead of sanitation workers, to pick up the trash.
The city says the new program will reduce the strain on crew members, who
lift an average of 8.5 tons a day, not including the garbage bins. That can
get as high as 12 tons a day during student turnover.
"It will defeat this whole investment if people don't get their waste
inside the cart," said Bryan Weinert, the solid waste program manager.
The city is phasing in the new collection system by neighborhood. About 25
% of the city's residents will get their carts as early as Wednesday.
By spring of 2006, all residents will have them. Residents have been
notified by mail of the changes.
About 90% of Ann Arbor's single-family curbside residents set out
two or fewer bags or cans of trash per week, officials said, and one
64-gallon cart, equipped with a handle and wheels, will easily meet those
For those who need more, the city will provide a 96-gallon cart for $30 a
year. Residents can get a second 96-gallon cart for $60 a year.
Resident Craig Sinclair, who is scheduled to get his cart in October, said
his two-person household can get by with one 64-gallon cart.
He also understands that garbage won't be picked up if it's left outside
"That makes sense," he said. "Otherwise you are defeating the purpose of
this whole thing."
But he's concerned that if the program doesn't work as well as expected,
taxpayers will have to pick up the tab.
"Whether this will cost us any more money, I don't know," Sinclair said.
The city spent $1.1 million from its Solid Waste Enterprise fund to pay for
the estimated 30,000 carts.
But the city estimates once the plan is implemented, it can combine some
routes, go to a four-day work week, and reduce workers' compensation claims
[Hey, at least they're not keeping the five-day workweek and REALLY reducing staffing.]
Those changes will add up to savings of about $292,352 a year.
Residents can see when their neighborhoods will get their carts by going to
the city's Web site at www.a2gov.org then clicking on "A2 Carts Delivery
Schedule" on the home page under "Current News" and enter the information as
The city says residents can set unwanted trash cans at the curb on their
regular collection day. They should tape a note indicating it is trash. City
crews will remove the cans at no charge during the first month following the
delivery of the carts.
"The curb cart program will save taxpayers' money, help the environment and
help keep our neighborhoods clean," said Council Member Leigh Greden, D-3rd
Ward. "It's a great program."
Tom Gantert can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or (734) 994-6701.
City firefighters lose court fight over pay
[Here's a potentially good case study on overtime abuse, but it takes of lot more concentration than we have right now ]
Firefighters lost their fight with Oklahoma City over millions of dollars
in pay when a federal jury decided Friday that the city does not underpay
At stake was the potential cost to the city of $10 million a year and $40
million in back pay of firefighters' wages had the jury not sided with the
city in the trial in the Oklahoma City courtroom of U.S. District Judge
David L. Russell.
The firefighters claimed they signed on as hourly employees and are not
paid for every hour they work.
Firefighters said they work nine 24-hour shifts every 27 days for a total
of 2,916 hours a year, but are only paid for 2,080 hours a year because the city still calculates the firefighters' paychecks based on a 40-hour work week.
[Ooh - nice freeby for the city! This is the same kind of calculation that makes US productivity figures look so great.]
Doing so violates the Federal Labor Standards Act, firefighters said.
The city said the firefighters have always been paid on a salary basis with
overtime and benefits calculated at the higher hourly rate. It's what the firefighters' union and city negotiated in their contract, assistant
municipal counselor Wiley Williams said.
"If there's a problem, let's fix it, but filing a lawsuit is not the way to
fix the problem," Williams told the jury during closing arguments. "They
have to change it the right way, not by sneaking in the back door."
[Maybe they've tried "the right way."]
The courtroom tussle pitted Fire Chief Alan Benson, who sat next to city
lawyers, against more than 530 of his firefighters who had joined the lawsuit.
"I always respect their rights," Benson said after the verdict. "There will
be absolutely no ramifications from me or the department."
Benson said he expects that during the next round of negotiations with the
union, an effort will be taken to clear up the contract's language on hourly
wages and salaries.
Britons face struggle to balance work and family life
AFP vi Straits Times, Singapore
BRIGHTON, England - Britons are finding it increasingly difficult to juggle
full-time jobs with caring for their families despite government legislation
aimed at cutting hours spent in the office.
'More women work than ever before, but balancing work and family life is a
struggle,' British Prime Minister Tony Blair told trade unionists at the
annual conference of the country's biggest labour federation here last week.
'In some workplaces, there is a long-hours culture regardless of whether it
is productive,' he told the Trades Union Congress (TUC).
Since coming to power in 1997, Mr Blair's Labour government has introduced
legislation aimed at promoting a better work-family balance, including
making it easier for parents to work from home.
Employees with children under six years or with disabled children under 18
are entitled to work flexible hours and their bosses must seriously consider
But trade unionists said employers' demands, worries about job security and
the need to earn a decent wage made it impossible for the bulk of parents to
work flexible hours.
Trade union leaders also said workers were not being helped by the
government opting out of the European Working Time Directive that limits the
working week to a maximum 48 hours across the European Union.
'While ministers remain wedded to the idea of maintaining the UK's
individual opt-out, the children of long-hours parents will go on
suffering,' TUC general-secretary Brendan Barber said.
'We are working the longest hours in Europe,' said Ms Shirley Johnston, a
full-time trade union representative working in Britain's free health-care system.
Union representatives said they would like to see the government follow
France's example by introducing a maximum 35-hour working week, but
acknowledged it was unlikely to happen as long as British companies were
able to hire and fire people at will.
'It is easier to hire but also easier to fire' in Britain than on the Continent,
said a spokesman for the Amicus engineering union, on the day it was
revealed that the number of people seeking British unemployment benefits
fell to 830,200 last month - the lowest level since July 1975.
The Work Foundation, an independent consultancy, said 65% of
Britons work more than 35 hours per week and 36% more than 40 hours.
In a bid to appease unions ahead of an expected election next year, the
government recently announced that employers would no longer be able to
count public holidays as part of workers' statutory four-week holiday
[Tip from American employees = pick up our use of the word "vacation" for the statutory 4-week "holiday" and restrict the work "holiday" for the public holidays like Xmas and New Years. Makes the difference a lot easier to defend.]
The move was expected to give three million workers an extra eight days off
Recruits losing free time
Washington Times, DC
By Susanne M. Schafer
FORT JACKSON, S.C. - Soldiers in basic training here don't get Saturday
afternoons off any more - wars in Iraq and Afghanistan changed that.
Their nine-week introduction to Army life now means lessons on roadside
bombs, grenade launchers and anti-tank weapons, says the commander of the
Army's largest training installation.
"We owe it to our soldiers. They have got to be ready to survive, to
fight and to win," says Brig. Gen. Abraham Turner, who became Fort Jackson's
first black commander when he took over eight months ago.
[Oh, like we won the easier guerilla war in Vietnam? - easier because it wasn't all entwined with cities and houses.]
Gen. Turner says he is pleased with the Army's efforts to revamp how
soldiers learn to fight, given that many will be heading to units in which
they will face the threats that accompany the global war on terror.
"The soldiers are getting it. They know these may be life-dependent
skills," Gen. Turner...said. "We are doing a lot better than we have in
the past. ... We have made a giant leap forward."
Gen. Turner, who came to Fort Jackson after serving as the operations
officer for U.S. and allied land forces operating out of Qatar in the
Persian Gulf, said he is ensuring that the new soldiers get daily briefings
on what is happening worldwide, particularly in battle zones such as Iraq
"They are more aware of what is going on in theater than ever before,"
Gen. Turner said.
Making more time for "battle drills" such as manning checkpoints and
firing advanced weapons means Saturdays now involve all-day training
sessions. Afternoons that had been devoted to repeating lessons from earlier
in the day now are spent in the field. "Retraining? That's gone. We have to
do it right the first time," said Gen. Turner, a...South
About 50,000 soldiers from basic and advanced training courses graduate
annually from Fort Jackson. The trainees of today "grew up in the middle of
9/11," Gen. Turner said.
"They are a generation that has the same experiences as those of Pearl
Harbor, of our nation being under attack," he said. "They understand the
ideals of freedom and justice. These aren't just words."
Union to teachers: Subtract hours - After-school events will suffer after San Juan votes for days off without pay
Sacramento Bee, CA
By M.S. Enkoji - Bee Staff Writer
Teachers union officials told the San Juan Unified School District board
that teachers will curtail their after-school hours in retaliation [or just in compensation] for the trustees' move to impose furlough days and increase medical costs.
Faced with a $17 million budget shortfall for the current school year,
trustees ordered union members to take three to five days off without pay
and increased co-payments for doctor visits from $5 and $10 to $15.
Both moves violated fair labor practices, the union president said during a
board meeting Tuesday.
"You can balance the budget legally or illegally," Nancy Waltz, president
of the San Juan Teachers Association, told the trustees. "You chose to
balance it illegally."
Declining enrollment has forced the district - which serves mainly
Carmichael, Fair Oaks, Citrus Heights and Orangevale - to trim costs for the
2004-05 school year.
The mandatory days off are expected to save $2.4 million, school officials
Waltz presented the trustees with letters from union members at about 80
schools, informing them that they will work only 40 hours a week during the
school year, eliminating extra hours such as early-morning staff meetings
and afternoon and evening activities.
Teachers frequently organize and stage themed evening events for students
and their families, such as "Science Night" or "Family Reading Night."
Waltz said before the meeting that student activities such as sports would
not be affected.
The furlough days effectively cut salaries, as did the boost in medical
payments without proper negotiation, Waltz told trustees in a board room
filled with union members.
"We all recognize the financial crisis in San Juan," said Waltz, noting the
district's recent math mistake that will cost $1.6 million during the next
[The "crisis" is only that taxpayers want something for nothing, and wealthy taxpayers want to stop paying their wealth-linked share.]
Earlier this year, the district offered early retirement buyouts,
calculating a $2 million savings. But the anticipated savings from vacant
positions already had been counted into the budget - except for one
position. The buyout debacle added a $400,000 expense for the district
during each of the next four years.
Waltz called on trustees to first rectify "fiscal mismanagement" before
"Our members have no choice but to rise up," she said.
[Daa daa dadada daaaaaa!]
A contract with the 2,800 teachers, librarians, counselors and health
workers in the 49,000-student district expired in June, Waltz said, and
After trustees voted for the furlough and co-payment increases, the union
filed a complaint with the California Public Employment Relations Board,
Waltz said, adding that a ruling could come in December.
The mandatory days off for union members are not class days and will not
shorten the school year for students.
The district will pay employees who work furlough days but at a flat rate
of $21 an hour, Waltz said.Trustees did not comment on the union's
About the writer - The Bee's M.S. Enkoji can be reached at (916) 321-1106 or
Pay and debt deter rural specialists
Sydney Morning Herald, Australia
By Ruth Pollard
The chronic shortage of rural anaesthetists across NSW is set to worsen,
with this year's trainees saying long hours, inadequate facilities, concern
over HECS debts and professional and social isolation are serious deterrents
to a career in the country.
A specialist in anaesthesia at Orange Base Hospital in the Central West,
Frank Moloney, said the more rural anaesthetics was allowed to decline, the
further patients would have to travel to obtain services.
"Increasingly ... patients have to travel to bigger hospitals in the cities
to receive adequate diagnosis and treatment of their condition," he said.
Dr Moloney surveyed 67 of the state's 83 trainees in anaesthesia, and found
along with career concerns, the next generation was focused on issues such
as access to part-time work and well-paying jobs.
"They say they are quite happy to work in these understaffed areas ... if
they were adequately remunerated, if there are tax benefits and financial
help to attend continuing medical education meetings in Sydney," he said.
Better networking with the tertiary hospitals was also important, to ensure
trainees who completed a rural term could have access to difficult training
courseswith limited places, such as pediatrics, obstetrics, neurosurgery and
But it was not just rural and regional hospitals feeling the pinch -
district hospitals on the outer-metropolitan fringes of Sydney, Newcastle
and Wollongong were also suffering a significant medical workforce shortage.
Dr Moloney compared the life of a trainee medical officer now to when he
went through university 30 years ago, and concluded it was no wonder
trainees gravitated towards big money in the inner city.
"I received a Commonwealth scholarship and a living away from home allowance
which paid for all of my accommodation at university, and I had some money
left over," Dr Moloney said.
"These days if you go through university ... most people are paying HECS -
tertiary education is now a huge personal financial expense."
Anaesthesia was not the only specialty suffering in the bush - most medical
specialties were experiencing critical staff shortages, resulting in
ever-increasing pressure on hospital staff, and longer delays for patients,
The Government acknowledged there were acute shortages in medical
specialties, particularly anaesthesia, a spokesman for the Health Minister,
Morris Iemma, said.
Since 2002, the Government had provided $3.6 million over three years to
increase trainee places and introduced eight extra general practice
anaesthetists in Shoalhaven, Maitland, Orange, Lismore, Broken Hill,
Armidale and Wagga.
A further 29 area of need specialists had been approved and 16 filled - at
Broken Hill, Wagga, Griffith, Nowra, Shoalhaven, Tamworth, Murwillumbah,
Bankstown, Liverpool, Macarthur and Fairfield, the spokesman said.
Dr Moloney says without extra resources, smaller surgical hospitals - in
areas such as Cowra, Lithgow, Forbes and Parkes - where local surgeons do
outreach services and GP anaesthetists are trained to provide anaesthetic
services, will die.
Use 5-day work week to build family ties: SM Goh - Civil Service begins 5-day work week
Channel News Asia, Singapore
By S Ramesh, Channel NewsAsia
SINGAPORE - Senior Minister Goh Chok Tong has urged Singaporeans to use the
long weekends as a result of the five-day work week to build on family ties.
Speaking at Kampong Ubi's family day, his first community event since
stepping down as Prime Minister, Mr Goh also urged for a strong multiracial
community to face the threat of terrorism head on.
For someone used to working six days a week, Mr Goh said the five-day work
week in the civil service has also meant an adjustment of work styles for
"The first Saturday, I did not know what to do. I actually missed going to
the office. But it would not be fair to go on Saturday, because had I
done so, my secretaries, my staff have to go to the office and that would
have defeated the purpose of a five-day week for civil servants," Mr Goh said.
"For most of us, we should make use of the Saturdays off to spend time withthe family, which is the whole purpose of a long weekend. I must confess that having spent two Saturdays at home, I am now beginning to enjoy
Saturdays off," he said.
So Mr Goh spends time with his wife and plays some games.
But building ties should not be confined to one's own family alone.
The Singapore family and a multiracial society are just as important,
especially after September 11 and the Jemaah Islamiyah plot in Singapore....
Shrinking revenues and rising costs are squeezing cities -
Hiking payroll tax, cutting credits, reducing services all being tried
Cleveland Plain Dealer, OH
V. David Sartin and Martin Stolz
An angry, standing-room-only crowd turned up at a hearing in University
Heights City Hall last week, demanding that city officials slash services
instead of killing a payroll tax credit for residents who work outside the
Speaker after speaker chal lenged the plan, which would cost a family
earning $75,000 a year from jobs outside the city an extra $375 in taxes.
Eliminating the credit boosts taxes for some of the city's 14,000 residents
"You're trying to keep the status quo," said resident Fred Englehart.
"That's not the right approach."
Angry confrontations could become the norm in Northeast Ohio city halls as
mayors and city councils raise taxes or cut services to deal with budget
crunches. The Regional Income Tax Agency, which collects payroll taxes for
more than 100 Ohio cities, says collections are down by nearly 2% for
the first six months of 2004 compared with the same period last year.
"There are very few communities in good fortune," said Prashant Shah,
Pepper Pike finance chief and former president of the 108-member Municipal
Finance Officers Association of Northeast Ohio.
Exceptions include Broadview Heights, where about 1,000 new homes brought
new taxpayers. As a result, the city will end this year with about $1.5
million in reserve.
Euclid is but one example of the less fortunate. The city has seen payroll
tax collections drop from nearly $22 million in 1999 to an estimated $19
million this year.
In Strongsville, the mayor and City Council agreed to raise about $1.4
million this year for the city's $22 million budget by reducing tax credits.
"It all goes back to losing 200,000 jobs in Ohio," said Strongsville Mayor
Many of the jobs that remain pay less. When the Chevrolet plant in Parma
scaled back overtime beginning in 2002, the city lost $1.5 million in
payroll taxes over two years.
"It's been a rough couple years," Parma Treasurer Jack Krise Jr. said.
The drop in payroll taxes isn't the only reason city budgets are tight. The
same sour economy that has hurt cities has affected the state, which has cut
aid to municipalities. Meanwhile, health-care costs have soared, and worker
salaries keep climbing.
"We're getting creamed like everybody else on health care," said Tom
Malone, Cleveland Heights finance director. The city's medical bill has
jumped 19% this year. Last month, financial advisers disappointed
with Cleveland Heights' financial condition lowered the city's bond rating,
making it more expensive to borrow money.
No solution makes residents happy.
One out of four Northeast Ohio cities has laid off workers or cut services
in the four years ending in 2003, according to research by the Levin College
of Urban Affairs at Cleveland State University. Some 128 municipal finance
executives responded to the survey.
Euclid and Maple Heights might use layoffs to close budget gaps. Other
cities are looking to voters for extra payroll or property taxes. Ten cities
in Cuyahoga County have tax increases on the November ballot.
Several cities, including Parma and Strongsville, recently did what
University Heights proposes - ending payroll tax credits given to residents
who work outside the cities where they live.
Still other cities have relied on their savings accounts to pay the bills.
Euclid and Garfield Heights are emptying their reserve funds, which are
saved for proverbial rainy days. Euclid in 1998 had reserves of $7 million,
more than a quarter of annual expenses, but expects to have none by the end
of 2005. Garfield Heights expects to have $2,800 left in its rainy-day fund
at the end of next year.
Lakewood is so strapped for cash that it is eating into its reserves and
considering cutting the work week from 40 hours to 35. And the city may ask voters to increase the payroll tax from 1.5% to 2%.
"Everybody has to absorb some of the impact," said Vic Nogalo, Lakewood
finance director. "This is a nationwide downturn."
Tight budgets also can be looked on as opportunities for cities to reinvent
themselves, according to Kevin O'Brien, director of the Center for Public
Management at CSU. He said downturns can be healthy. New York City and
Cleveland started dramatic turnarounds after financial collapses in the
"Cities should reconsider spending," he said.
To reach these Plain Dealer reporters:
Highway takes toll on troopers
Pahrump Valley Times, NV
By PHILLIP GOMEZ
It's a jungle out there - in case you haven't been on a Nevada highway
With higher powered, bigger cars and SUVs and hulking, voluminous
tractor-trailers on the road, with everyone trying to cover more ground in
less time, it's no great wonder that the Nevada Highway Patrol [NHP] is sorely
stressed to keep up the pace.
Sometimes it's all a trooper can do to stay upright in one place.
Lengthier periods of training for cadets, an increase in the number of
accidents and fatal highway crashes, and more drunk drivers on Nevada
highways have all taken their toll on troopers' ability to handle the stress
of the overwork.
Add to that the lower salaries than they could make working for the Las
Vegas Metropolitan Police Dept., and you could have a recipe for
potential disquiet in the ranks.
Sgt. Bryan Jorgensen finally made it to a Nye County Commission meeting in
Tonopah last week after a year's absence to present a routine highway
report. Normally, the NHP trooper presents updates to the commissioners on a
But due to chronic 50% staffing levels for patrol officers,
Jorgensen has found it difficult to break away and attend meetings of any
kind. He's either on the highway patrolling for lawbreakers or busy
administering the Beatty and Tonopah District from headquarters.
Jorgensen is supposed to supervise five other troopers in his district, but
he's down to just two, beside himself. Two NHP cars patrol 1,000 miles of
highway in the district - 177 miles of U.S. Highway 95 alone from the
Mineral and Esmeralda county line in the north to Lathrop Wells in the
south. Cadets ride alongside the veterans to learn the ways of the highway.
Beatty has not had a resident NHP trooper for a year, and other troopers
cover the area on overtime. It won't be until February before the staffing
situation improves, Jorgensen said, as cadets emerge from the training
pipeline to take on their highway duties.
The NHP has two academies to train troopers. One is a boarding school in
Carson City, and the other, a non-boarding school in Las Vegas. In each,
basic Peace Office Standardized Training (POST) lasts 16 weeks. Currently 29
cadets are undergoing POST training at the two academies to become highway
In addition, NHP cadets have to undergo another 10 weeks of training
specifically related to highway law enforcement.
Then, there's 15 weeks of closely supervised field training before a newly
minted trooper is put on the highway alone.
The training itself takes a toll: This summer Jorgensen lost three academy
cadets slated for assignment to his district; two quit and one was fired
Moreover, NHP "traffic" troopers now receive 40 hours of new training in
enforcement of state and federal laws pertaining to commercial trucking.
Since the terrorist attacks on Sept. 11, 2001, NHP troopers have been
certified to conduct searches of vehicles and are trained to be more
aggressive in looking for hazardous materials, weapons and other contraband.
"Our troopers are being more educated in the transportation of commercial
enterprise," said Rocky Gonzalez, public information officer with the NHP's
Central Command. "Added training has opened doors to a lot of troopers.
There's always excitement. There's always something to do," Gonzalez said.
Troopers check truck drivers' log books for "hours of service," to see howmuch sleep they're getting. Troopers are certified to report them to the
federal government for violation of commercial transportation regulations.
Commercial accidents have been on the rise nationally in recent years as
drivers are put under greater pressures to make their deliveries in shorter
periods of time - often going without sleep to do so and thereby endangering
themselves and other highway drivers.
Last year, Jorgenson said district troopers investigated 11 commercial
crashes. This year it was up to 20, an 81% increase. Injuries
resulting from crashes involving commercial vehicles went from seven last
year to 10 this year, one of which was fatal.
A proposal is before the Nevada Legislature to beef up NHP staffing for
highway monitoring of commercial vehicles, Jorgensen said. Truck crashes
have been on the rise along the periphery of Nye County, from Alamo on U.S.
Highway 93 north to Ely and west to Eureka, Austin and Fallon on U.S.
Highway 50, "the Loneliest Road in America."
Other statistics on the increase in highway mayhem cited by Jorgensen in
his report included:
"There's been a very minor decrease in (NHP) activity," said Jorgensen.
"We've been doing more with less."
Traffic counts for all vehicles on U.S. and state highways have been up
this year, Jorgensen said, despite the late rise in the cost of fuel.
At the same time, there has been "a mass exodus and high turnover" of NHP
troopers to the Las Vegas Metropolitan Police Dept. and to the
Henderson Police Dept., Jorgensen said. Competing salaries were the
cause, he added.
Entry-level NHP troopers earn $31,700 on an employer-paid retirement plan
and can "top out" at $61,700 after 10 years of service. Employee-contributed
retirement plans start salaries out at $34,955.
"That's a big problem down in Las Vegas," he said of NHP troopers stationed
there. Starting salaries for entry-level Metro Police Dept. officers
are $42,132, $43,819 after POST training.
Aside from the money, city people can have a tough time adjusting to rural
living. Even in Tonopah, Jorgensen said it wasn't easy to keep people not
used to the quiet life. "There's not a lot here," he said of the county
seat's shopping outlets and nightlife. "It's difficult to get new people
here accustomed to Tonopah's slower pace."
"The person who comes to the NHP has to like working in a rural area," says
Gonzalez, "and he has to like working by himself. When you do traffic stops,
if you're dealing with a bad situation, with multiple people involved, it's
just you. Backup isn't always there."
At the same time, he added, troopers have a lot of autonomy in their work.
"We have a lot of opportunities (law enforcement) people aren't always aware
of. We're not making house calls. We're not making dog calls."
And then there's the freedom of the highway.
But it takes time to get good, trained officers, and then it takes more
time when they leave to find suitable replacements, Jorgensen said.
The state Legislature controls the staffing, the funding of which is
disbursed through the same highway fund that underwrites the Nevada
Dept. of Transportation (NDOT).
- A 37% increase in highway accidents in the Beatty-Tonopah
District. The total number of reported accidents was 143 for fiscal year
2004 that ended June 30.
- A doubling of the number of fatal crashes in the Beatty-Tonopah District,
from four the previous year to eight this year.
- A 25% increase in 2004 in the number of drivers arrested for
driving under the influence of alcohol.
- A 6% drop in the number of citations issued by officers (including
Gender role influence vocational equality
by Natasha Turner
I have decided to write this article because there was a study made on
Maltese women in the labour force and our country had the lowest percentage.
THE SYSTEM IS STILL PERPETUATING GENDER STEREO-TYPES
Sometimes we tend to categorize certain traits as belonging to just one sex. How
often do grownups label boys as behaving in a "feminine" way when they are
emotional? What are we promoting here if not that boys should repress their
We all know that these stereotyped statements give way to
complications in later life. Men are then criticised by women for being
unemotional and vice versa.
Communication breakdown follows. Both sexes feel that they are not being
listened to and understood. The risk of relationships failing ensues.
There is no such thing as 'Women come from Venus and Men come from Mars'.
Let's put theory into practice and change the old patterns. Boys and girls
should be treated in exactly the same way birth. Segregation
in schools should be stopped because again we are sending dangerous underlying messages to both sexes.
Most text books and reading books are very stereotyped so we need
to update all our resources and correct misconceptions. We need to fight
the norms, heighten awareness on any type of discrimination and discourage
feelings of helplessness and stagnation.
All students should be offered equal opportunities to pursue whatever
career most interests them. Why discourage a female who wants to be an
engineer or a delivery-woman? And on the other hand, why is the role of a
kindergarten assistant or a midwife given always to a female? Is this not
another form of discrimination?
Let us work together and help individuals develop and flourish in any field
they're interested in irrespective of their sex. Societal pressures and
expectations are an obstacle to the wellbeing of the individual and we do
not want to see our children unhappy or frustrated because they have
followed what we thought was best for them. We have made our choices. Now
let our kids make theirs.
WOMEN IN THE LABOUR FORCE
Despite having more women in Malta [how many more?], one still finds many fewer
women in the local labour force. Statistics show that in September 2003, only 27.4% of
the total population worked:
So discrimination by gender is widespread in the work place.
- 3.9% worked part-time;
- 1.1% worked full-time with reduced hours;
- 17.4% worked full-time without reduced hours
totaling 18.5% full-time. This compared to 48.8% of males in full-time employment.
Female participation in further education kept increasing throughout the
years. In fact in 2001\2002, 56.9% of the university students were female.
Yet, as we have seen, very few women work and statistics showed that
in 2003, only 89 women (15.7%) held top positions. This shows that
the majorities of women are ambitious but are restricted in continuing
their careers in order to raise families. The main reason is that the
government is not providing support for working mothers. We should have more
daily childcare with reasonable prices so that mothers can work while feeling
assured that their children are being well cared for.
Awareness should also be given on the type of questions asked of women when
attending interviews. Women are asked a lot of personal questions about
their love life and their interest in children and because of this, women
are forced to give false information in order to get the post applied for.
Many employers think that if they employ a female, they could come across
problems in the future, especially when she decides to have a family. Thus,
if the option arises, opportunities will be preferentially given to males. Don't
we also have men who quit their jobs for a thousand reasons? - so is it not a
risk for both sexes?!
Another area of sexual discrimination arises when comparing women's wages to those
of men. Statistics showed that
We have here a clear example of gender inequality in the vocational field.
- female professionals earn Maltese Lire 902.59 annually less than their male counterparts;
- female clerks earn ML618.62 less and
- technicians and associate professionals earn ML830.38 less.
There is no growth in stagnation - change is important
Once a person told me:
"God wanted men to rule. Read the bible. He always chose men to follow him.
He only gave power to men. The women's role was to follow the orders and
submit to her husband's needs."
[Except for: Eve, Queen of Sheba, Ruth, Esther, Mary & Martha, Mary Magdalene, numerous women in the early Christian church....]
This mentality has to change if we want to evolve. Equality is not about
feminism, as many think. It's about equal rights and equal opportunities for
everyone. As P.S.D teachers, we are working a lot on these issues and we
thank the ETC Dept. for collaborating with us and for supplying us with
useful statistics. Now we ask the rest of you to support us too.
For feedback, email me on email@example.com
Something about the author -
Natasha Turner has just published her third book called 'Free Yourself And
Live.' This is mainly focused on regaining lost self-confidence. It is
filled with shared experience, knowledge, insight and skills. Its target
is to bring awareness and personal growth.
She has also published two poetry books in Maltese which reveal deep
feelings and sarcastic thoughts about all types of relationships. The books
are called 'Bejn in-Narratur u n-Narrata" and 'NEIJ-JIEN' which are an
interesting voyage in search for the hidden Self. Turner is in the process of
publishing a resource book for all young children 'KUN INT' which will also
be dealing with developing skills and empowering the Self.
Natasha Turner is a psychology graduate teaching P.S.E, writer and
Her motto is: 'Live the moment to the full without hurting others and fill
your emptiness by sharing whatever you can give.' She loves to share experiences
with others, mostly because she believes that disclosing is an effective way to release repressed emotions...and because she doesn't want others to pass through the same painful
experiences just because they lack awareness.
Women fighting for their rights
Sofia Echo, Bulgaria
[In Bulgaria, women are even further behind than in Malta -]
I am a guest at the last meeting of four groups of women from ethnic
minorities who want to improve their situation by setting up a women's network.
The conference room of the Princess Hotel is noisy, mobile phones are
ringing and the air is filled with different kinds of odours, food, perfume
and sweat. There are about 50 women present, ranging between 20 and 50. This
morning they got up at 4am in order to make it to Sofia on time from the
Kurdjali district, but here they are.
Due to the radical economic and social transformations Bulgaria has gone
through after 1989, the region of Kurdjali has been faced with an economic
crisis and mass unemployment. This process led to isolation of minorities
such as Roma, Turks and Bulgarian Muslims. And now they all face problems
they do not know how to solve on their own. NGO-links gives them an
opportunity to voice their concerns, hardships and provides for the women to
meet and to start a network in order to share knowledge.
There is a group of very young Turkish girls. After the eighth grade, they
are expected to help with the family income by working in factories.
One girl says: "So we work a six-day workweek from early in the morning
until 7pm or 8pm. When we get home, our mothers make us do chores around the
house. This goes also for our only day off, Sunday. The boys however don't
have to do anything."
The girls are allowed very few liberties due to their traditional
upbringing. And it is not as if they are asking for the moon.
"We would like to have some more free time to see our girlfriends and have
a cup of coffee, but also to be able to study. Unfortunately, there are no
alternative courses available to us that enable us to keep our work and
study at the same time."
The women's network has given them emotional support to try to talk totheir parents. But it also has given them the knowledge that life does not
have to be the way it is for them.
An example for them could be the women from another small town.
Unemployment is a big factor there. The project tried to focus on
stimulating people to engage in business and municipal activities to broaden
A schoolteacher says: "I had an idea to open up an Internet club. With the
help of a consultant I made it happen."
Another activity was for mothers to organise themselves against drugs. But
this is not the only help the project offered. Roma have problems with
getting to information. For example, many Roma women are bringing up their
children on their own. Their husbands have left them to fend for themselves.
Officially however they are not divorced and so it is difficult for them to
get social aid from the Government. These and similar problems could easily
be solved by having access to information. Information points have been set
up all over the Roma communities in order to inform and advice women on a
suitable course of action in their situation.
These project have helped these women, some in a practical sense, others in
letting them know that they are not alone. By meeting each other and
discussing their problems these women are finding a way forward in life.
This is a moral support team of neighbours they did not know they had.
However, the problems have not vanished and there is still a lot of work to
be done. But, the first steps have been taken with help of NGO-links, who
found sponsors like the European Union to adhere to these women's problems.
What Women Want
Tech Central Station
By Val MacQueen
[And just to show how mind-bogglingly diverse and weird it is out there, here's are some women arguing against women entry into prestigious professions -]
A high-ranking British woman doctor, Professor Carol Black, president of the
Royal College of Physicians, has warned that the British medical profession
is shedding the prestige in which it was once held. She ascribes the
diminution of respect to the high percentage of women who have entered the
profession over the past 20 years.
[Well if there's one profession that could stand a dose of pride-puncturing, it's medicine.]
Indeed, she is right to be concerned. Consider teaching. Fifty years ago,
when most teachers were male, teaching was accorded the status of
"profession." Now, with the great majority of teachers in Britain and Europe
being women, teaching has seen its prestige plummet to the point where it is
regarded as just another unionized job with pay and holiday issues.
Again, since British women flooded into the legal profession, especially as
solicitors (essentially, non-trial lawyers) the law too has seen its score
The Anglican Church has allowed itself to become sidelined to the point of
irrelevance - although to be fair, this is partly due to its adopting a
loony left stance on most critical issues of the day. Nevertheless, the
decision to admit women as vicars has diminished the Church's spiritual
authority and shepherded it into an "issues oriented" profession rather than
that of a provider of spiritual comfort and moral certainties.
People perceive women as anchored to issues as opposed to concepts. I recall
seeing an interview with one woman who voiced dissatisfaction with her
Anglican vicar, who was a woman. The woman complained, "I was spiritually
troubled. I was trying to find my faith again, and the vicar kept drawing
the conversation back to the lack of adequate childcare facilities in the
Politics, too, once surely the most ruthless profession of them all, has
seen the regard in which it was previously held, albeit always with a
healthy skepticism in the Anglosphere, diminish since large numbers of
British and European women chose politics as a career. Think Swedish female
politicians, and now think how seriously you take Swedish politics.
The high regard in which the police were formerly held in Britain has taken
a tumble since they first started recruiting women 40 or so years ago. Women
were seen as better communicators than men, more able to tweezle the truth
out of child molesters, wife beaters and people sheltering criminals, as
though that were the sum total of police work. It wasn't long before
battle-hardened male officers were being chided for being too tough, too
abrupt, too insensitive. So began the disastrous road to an "understanding"
police force in Britain, which, married to a new "profession" variously
called social services and counseling, turned into a vast army of social
workers rather than apprehenders of malfeasants.
So, jobs that have always had a high female presence - real estate, sales,
journalism, advertising, literary and performer agencies - racket along as
ever with nary a change in public perceptions. (Be it noted that although
these are all jobs that require mental agility and an ability to capture a
fleeting mood, they do not require years of rigorous study and grinding
apprenticeship.) The professions whose corpus is still largely male -
architecture, nuclear physics, orchestra conducting, rocket science (indeed,
all science) maintain their status and mystique.
It is solely those formerly male preserves which have had large infusions of
women that are seeing their prestige become unmoored. As women have agitated
for special dispensations, they have chipped away at the mystique in which
their professions were previously mantled.
Dr. Black told London's Observer newspaper that female-dominated professions
such as teaching no longer see themselves as "powerful" and pointed to the
danger of feminizing medicine because they have been persuaded to make
special dispensations for women and mothers.
I think that Dr. Black hit the nail on the head when she added that "women
were unlikely to take top jobs, such as the dean of a medical school,
because of the difficulties combining them with family life." She added that
many women avoided more "demanding" areas such as cardiology. "What worries
me is who is going to be the professor of cardiology in the future? Where
are we going to find the leaders of British medicine in 20 years' time?"
Well may she ask, because as long as women insist on maintaining a dual role
and manipulating their chosen professions to suit their family life, men
will be less attracted to the field and the women who are in it will not
make the sacrifices that males routinely make to establish a name for
themselves and uphold the standards of their profession. In the British and
European health systems, there are few top women consultants in any field
except pediatrics. They don't seem to have the stamina or the mental rigor
to become surgeons. Or perhaps they don't have the will. A 12-hour operation
would interfere with their home life.
And women are increasingly trivializing the rigors of the professions by
manipulating them to suit their family life by agitating for
shorter working hours so they can be at home when the children come back from school,
maternity breaks without loss of position on the rung, and extra time off
for school events, and so on. The British Parliament, under touchy-feely
Tony Blair, recently introduced shorter working hours in Parliament
specifically so female legislators could be at home for supper with their
children. No one asked why these Labour politicians went into politics
knowing how unsuitable the hours are for family life. Under Labour,
Parliament had to be massaged to suit young mothers. This is no way to run a
There was even loony lefty talk at one point - endorsed by Blair - that
Members of Parliament who were nursing mothers should be allowed to
breastfeed their babies in the debating chamber. The Conservatives saw this
notion off pretty quickly. The mind boggles.
So the sense of entitlement is another factor. The ancient professions
should be manipulated so women can have their "fair share", despite not
taking them seriously enough to make the very real sacrifices that men make
as a matter of course. Is this feminism or is it socialism?
Dr. Black is correct when she notes that many women do not enter the really
difficult realms of their profession because they are reluctant to commit
the time required. In Britain and Europe there may be one or two
neurosurgeons, or there may be none. Although they cling around the lower
rungs of the ladder, few women in the British legal profession have thrown
themselves into the cut and thrust of being barristers, which requires
long hours that devastate family life and the ability and the will to master
several briefs at the same time.
The Labour party hypes Blair's wife Cherie as a "hot shot" barrister, but
she's not. She's strictly paint by numbers. She handles publicly-funded
"human rights" cases and is a comparatively low earner. What she earns comes
not from individuals who have retained her for her abilities, but from the
public purse. In other words, she takes the easy work. The high achievers in
the legal world in Britain are still fiercely clever, fiercely ambitious,
ruthless males. With the exception of Helen Kennedy, I cannot think of a
single outstanding woman barrister in Britain.
So women don't put their profession first. They grab all the soft options
and, indeed, create new ones. And, with the endless stream of employment
legislation, who will dare say them nay?
Men are increasingly becoming disenchanted with professions that heretofore
required steely determination and sacrifice to get to the top. The gates
have been thrown open and without the competitive factor, many men don't
know how to cope, or simply lose interest. They don't like not being set
against the ruthless cut and thrust of other males and they are deserting
professions that have become feminized. What's the point of having all that
testosterone if a colleague is going to accuse you of being "too aggressive"
and go and have a little weep in the ladies restroom?
It is male aggression that built civilizations and furthered the sciences,
not women sitting around forming cooperatives and sharing childcare.
The women who rise to the top of demanding professions, rather than drifting
comfortably along the slipstream at the bottom, do so in spite of their sex,
and because they possess some of the male characteristics that infuse a
discussion with certainty and confidence.
Margaret Thatcher, although many men found her very attractive as a woman,
has a mind with qualities commonly thought of as masculine. In debate, she
gave no quarter and asked none. It is interesting that she holds a degree
not just in law, but in chemistry as well. There are other ambitious and
brilliant women in Britain who possess clarity of thought and vision, who
have made sacrifices to achieve their positions and are well rewarded. But
by and large, they are not in the professions. Or if they are lawyers, they
aren't practicing but deploy the skills they developed in law elsewhere.
In socialist Britain and socialist Europe today, there is a conscious
demasculization under way. All those wars: bad. All those hours spent away
from the family dinner table building fortunes or careers: bad. All that
deferring to rank: bad. Ruthlessness: bad. Inclusion, cooperation,
"understanding": good. Good for what? Who knows?
None of this is new. It isn't often addressed because in countries infected
with radical socialism, it is simply too incendiary.
Men want to compete. Women want to cooperate. Or so runs contemporary
received wisdom. This may not be true. It might be that, once the feminists
announced that the professions weren't "caring" enough, the type of woman
given to weaving mental macramé was drawn to demand her rights and shove her
way in. Certainly the early, and rare, female doctors and lawyers in the
early part of the last century were as focused and determined as any man.
In my opinion, this deconsecrating of the professions is a socialist, rather
than a feminist, construct. The feminists were handy fodder. There is a
disconcerting leveling down in Britain and much of Europe today. Excellence
is derided for "excluding" those who are not excellent. If further proof
were needed that this is an exercise in class warfare, as medical science,
in the fields of both knowledge and new treatment, expands at a formidable
rate, Labour is currently hacking away at the profession by reducing the
length and thoroughness of British medical education to make it "more
A reasonable question might be, will the profession continue to prosper
although males desert it?
Another reasonable question might be, why is it American women have entered
the professions at the same rate, and are not only doing well in many fields
and excelling in some, but doing so by accepting the same sacrifices that
men make and playing by the same rules?
The fact is, whether it is a deliberate leveling down policy or simply a
social evolution, once women predominate in a profession, that profession
loses its attraction for clever men. Will we see the social status of
medicine in Europe sink to the same level as that of teachers?
Well, it did in the USSR.
Man pleads guilty to beating wheelchair-bound father, 77
[There's your own death by overwork (karoshi) and then there's somebody else's death by your overwork -]
DOYLESTOWN, Pa. - A Bucks County man has pleaded guilty to beating his
77-year-old father, who uses a wheelchair.
Forty-seven-year-old Bruce White of Middletown Township was sentenced
yesterday to three to 23 months of house arrest after pleading guilty to
simple assault and neglecting a care-dependent person.
Bucks County Judge Kenneth Biehn also ordered White to attend counseling and
White, an automotive technician, told the judge that he was frustrated and
exhausted from working long hours and then coming home and caring for his
incapacitated father, who had moved in with him in November.
White was arrested in February after investigators visited the home and saw
the older man had a black eye and a cut on his forehead. Police say William
White told investigators that his son had been "hitting him and slapping him around."
Authorities moved him to a nursing home, where he died of natural causes
last month. Bruce White was not accused of causing his father's death.
[What a choice: life with abuse or death from neglect. Shorter hours is the escape
from this Hobson's choice.]
Auditor's criticism inflames tensions -
Heath firefighters dispute accusations
Newark Advocate, OH
By LACHELLE SEYMOUR
[Here's a case of UNtimesizing - lengthening hours per person, reducing the number of employed people, increasing unemployment and labor surplus, and ultimately pressuring down the pay of the people who originally were trying to get more pay = a frequent union mistake -]
HEATH, Oh. - Comments by Heath Auditor Keith Alexander about the city's fire
department have inflamed already emotional tensions over Heath's stressed
In a letter to the Chillicothe Gazette published last week, Alexander said
that the Heath fire union's greed and overtime led to disbanding the fire
department's part-time program.
Firefighters responded, contending that the city's failure to fill three
vacant positions has inflated overtime costs for full-time firefighters.
In his letter to the Gazette, Alexander said "Our firefighters are pushing
$70,000 yearly. Not bad for working two or three days a week."
Actually, only two of the Heath Dept.'s 16 firefighters made slightly
more than $70,000 last year, counting overtime, according to city records
released by Alexander. The highest-paid firefighter earned $71,077, while
the lowest-paid earned $45,987. Most - 10 firefighters - earned between
$50,000 and $60,000.
Heath Fire Lt. Jeff Baucher disputed Alexander's published claims in his
own letter, saying that the city's failure to fill three vacant firefighter
positions caused high overtime figures and that the 24-hours-on,
48-hours-off shifts firefighters work and subsequent separation from family
and friends are deserving of the pay they receive.
Chillicothe is also facing budget issues that affect its fire department.
Alexander said he was compelled to write to the newspaper because he is a
member of the Heath administration and has experienced similar budget stress
between government and fire personnel.
Cities around the state, Heath included, are under financial crunches that
are historic, Alexander said. Proposed budget cuts pit departments against
each other as all negotiate to keep their departments unchanged, he said.
Any time money is concerned, talks become emotional, he said, adding
Heath's fire department is effective and appreciated, but expensive.
The current contract, negotiated between the city and union, expires in
The Heath administration recently asked the union to reduce the minimum
manning requirement from five personnel to four per shift, and fill the
fifth position with a part-timer, Alexander said. The union refused, and the
part-time program ended this year, he said.
The five employees required per shift are split between two stations.
Heath Mayor Dan Dupps said that filling the fifth slot with a part-timer
would not end overtime costs to the city, and that the growth of the fire
department has been greater in recent years than the growth of the city.
Keeping up that pace is difficult to support financially over time, Dupps
Heath Fire Chief Mark Huggins said he wishes that Alexander would have
approached him about concerns over his department before writing to another
"It's unfortunate I knew nothing about it," Huggins said. "It would've been
nice, since he was referring to my department."
Like Baucher, Huggins said he believes the city's failure to fill the
vacant positions inflated overtime costs.
Huggins said his firefighters work approximately 900 hours more than the
average American worker for the same basic pay.
Saying that they put in extra hours on the job with greed as motivation
demeans their work, he said.
Reporter Lachelle Seymour can be reached at 328-8546 or
Wash. School Official Puts Halt to Recess
Grand Forks Herald, ND
[More American stupidity, this time directly hurting children -]
TACOMA, Wash. - Outside of lunch playtime, recess is forbidden, a Tacoma
School District official has found it necessary to remind principals.
"If we want students learning to high standards, we need them in the
classroom, not the playground," Karyn Clarke, assistant superintendent for
elementary schools, said this week.
At least 20 of the district's 36 elementary schools have no breaks except
for lunch, The News Tribune of Tacoma found in a quick survey.
But Whittier, the one determined to have a formal afternoon recess signaled
by a bell, led the district in math and writing scores for fourth-graders
and ranked second in reading on the Washington Assessment of Student
"If you take it away, all the kids will be grouchy," student Elizabeth
Withrow told the newspaper.
At several other schools, several teachers might arrange to have recess at
the same time every day, taking turns supervising.
"We just can't do that," Clarke said.
A teachers union leader and some parents challenged Clarke's recent memo,
which she said summarized a district position established in 1997.
The district did not immediately respond Thursday to Associated Press
requests for a copy of the 1997 rule, and Clarke did not return a call for
Gayle Nakayama, Tacoma teachers union president, and others recall the 1997
recess rule as allowing teachers to schedule daily breaks if they watched
"I haven't seen evidence that getting rid of recess increases learning,"
Nakayama said, but there is research suggesting social, physical and
emotional benefits of exercise and recess.
"I think it's absolutely important kids have free time," said Elizabeth
Withrow's mother, LeEllen Withrow.
The Tacoma Education Association feels the decision on recess should be made
by school staff, Nakayama said.
Tacoma's move echoes similar actions around the country, and comes as
obesity takes center stage as a U.S. health concern.
Elementary students regularly move from one activity to the next within the
classroom and the school, Clarke noted. And they have PE class to address
"I think it's just a symptom of the obsession with testing that we have with
our state and across the nation right now," said Charles Hasse, president of
the Washington Education Association.
The statewide teachers union passed a resolution in 1996 calling for recess
breaks every two to three hours for elementary students, Hasse said.
Unstructured play allows children to learn creativity and cooperation, and
how to interact and constructively compete with others, according to the
National Association for Sport & Physical Education, which has urged schools
to keep recess and PE programs.
Tacoma has a shorter school day than some other districts, Clarke said. And
the district is on the government's list of those that must improve under
the federal No Child Left Behind Act.
It's fine for children to have a brief break on a particular day because
they are restless or sluggish, Clarke told the newspaper - but it's not
supposed to be a daily occurrence.
Airline workers turn to Plan B - 2nd jobs are nothing new in rocky industry, but some staffers now say their
hobbies have become lifelines
Charlotte Observer, NC
KERRY HALL AND AMY BALDWIN
When US Airways told David Blocksom it was laying him off, the 42-year-old
customer service agent considered it an bittersweet blessing.
For more than a decade he had earned extra cash building koi ponds during
his days off, but he was much too nervous to quit his regular job.
"This gave me the kick I needed," said Blocksom, who was furloughed Sunday.
In the airline industry, flexible work schedules and odd shifts have long
been common. So have second jobs.
But as mainline carriers such as US Airways struggle to stay afloat, those
extracurricular activities are becoming a necessary hedge. At US Airways,
some employees have parlayed hobbies into profitable businesses. Others are
just getting started.
Blocksom built his first koi pond, stocked with large gleaming goldfish, in
1991, but didn't start his business, Pondscapes of Charlotte, until 10 years
later. That first pond he built for his sister, who at the time was battling
cancer. His first paying client was a friend and customer service agent at
US Airways. Word spread among his close-knit work group, and Blocksom to
date has landed about a dozen clients.
"This is a new chapter for me," he said.
Former US Airways pilot David Richards, 43, has a new career as director of
the national wealth management program for the Charlotte office of
accounting firm Cherry Bekaert & Holland.
Armed with a degree in finance, Richards built a financial services firm on
the days he wasn't flying. He quit US Airways three years ago after a
15-year career, having decided the airline industry wasn't financially
"It was just something I had an interest in," Richards said of his new line
of work. "I never imagined it would become my full-time dedicated
Compared with most professions, some airline workers enjoy plenty of time
away from the job. A pilot or flight attendant might work a stretch of four
or five long days and then have three or four days off.
Flight attendant Holley Greene of Charlotte, like many in the industry,
started flying in her early 20s, lured by a job seen at the time as
glamorous and highly coveted for its travel perks.
Now, after two decades with US Airways, Greene, 45, is trying something
else. A year ago, she earned her real estate broker's license.
During her days off, she sells houses with First Charlotte Properties. She
predicts many of her co-workers will become real estate agents, too.
"When we fly a trip together, the first thing we ask each other; what is
your Plan B?" Greene said. "The writing's been on the wall for US Airways
for a couple years. Now, it looks really dim."
Employees in all industries are smart to have a Plan B, says Tammie Lesesne,
a licensed career counselor in Charlotte.
"People have an obligation (to themselves) to really stay vigilant -
whether it is starting a new business or having some skill set that is
recession-proof, or being able to turn on a dime if something happens,"
More than 3,000 US Airways employees in Charlotte lost their jobs in recent
years. The airline has been downsizing to compete with low-cost carriers
such as Southwest and JetBlue. On Sunday, US Airways filed for Chapter 11
bankruptcy protection for the second time in as many years. Some analysts
expect more layoffs will follow.
Pilot Steve Burnham, 41, of Concord knew he needed to hone a new skill.
"As a pilot, your skills are so refined," he said. "It's not like you can
make a lateral move and go someplace else."
Last year, Burnham opened Blues Barbecue and Catering, drawing on his love
of cooking for church picnics and other events.
He also sells his bottled barbecue sauce, Blues Carolina Dip, in gas
stations and coffee shops.
Outplacement expert Bob Carlson says US Airways employees should look for
work in activities they enjoy - aside from flying.
"If a pilot loves to work outside in their yard, why not look at that as a
(career) possibility," said Carlson, region managing principal for Right
Management Consultants in Charlotte.
He added, "I would start looking for my second career and say, `What makes
sense for me?' "
That's what John Soltis did in late 2001 when his US Airways unit in
Columbia was downsized.
Two weeks after losing his job as a customer service manager, he had landed
a job as a home loan originator.
"I was nervous at first, because I thought, `What did I have to offer?' I
don't have a (college) degree," said Soltis, 55, who works at New World
Mortgage in Charlotte.
Soltis, who spent 30 years with US Airways, sent his resume to New World
after a friend touted the company's customer service, an area in which he
knew he had ample experience.
The way he sees it:
"You have to be comfortable and confident with the fact that there is life
after 30 years in a separate industry."
Plan B Careers
Tips for how airline workers looking for their Plan B careers:
Source: Bob Carlson, region managing principal for Right Management
Consultants in Charlotte
Start making plans for your second career or next job as soon as
possible, especially if you fear you could be laid off. If you want to start
a business, that means you ought to be researching your business plan now.
If you want to go into a new profession, you should explore college courses
and find out if you need to take exams to get licensed to do such work as
selling real estate, processing home loans or doling out financial advice.
Consider what you enjoy doing in your free time. Ask yourself if you could
turn a hobby, such as landscaping, into a profitable business.
Consider the skills you could bring to a new line of work. Customer
service agents are lucky in that they have highly transferable skills. Every
company needs well-mannered workers to deal with customers, clients or both.
[Ad fight like hell for shorter-hour jobs to spread the vanishing work, reactivate our consumer base and give more people time for travel.]
9/16/2004 primitive timesizing & worktime consciousness in the news = glimmers of strategic hope - all are 9/15 from GoogleNews & are searched-screened-collected by Alan Applebaum (AA) of Brookline MA with backup from *Ken Ellis (KE) of New Bedford MA (except Australian & Far East stories which are 9/16), and with excerpting and [commenting] by Phil Hyde (PH) unless otherwise initialed -
German wages-war hots up [US: 'heats up']
by 'Edward' [last name?]
WSM website [probably World Socialist Movement, but this commentator is remarkably relaxed about leftist spin, as shown right in the second sentence -]
While Volkswagen's long cold summer trundles on relentlessly, there is more
news on the wage reduction/increasing hours front.
Following the decision by workers [or more accurately, the forcing of workers (to keep their jobs) ] at Siemens and DaimlerChrysler to work longer hours
announced earlier in the summer, Volkswagen itself and
construction company Bilfinger are looking for similar deals.
The numbers of workers now likely to be affected are no longer small:
Any VW deal would involve 100,000 workers, and the Bilfinger negotiations
are...liable to affect up to 800,000 construction workers. (Similar moves are
also in evidence elsewhere in Europe, the case of Alitalia pilots being only
the most recent).
My take on all this is that while I feel there is an inevitability about it
- many EU labour markets clearly need a shakeup - I do not share the rather
'rosy' picture most analysts are painting of the likely short- and mid-term
consequences. These deals are clearly deflationary in the classic sense.
They will affect consumption in the short, and possibly not so short, term.
So when you add the wage-reduction effect to the spending reductions implied
by the need to reduce government deficits, and the likely 2005 slowdown in
global growth which can affect exports, it becomes hard to see where exactly
growth in an economy like Germany's will come from.
[Bingo. At last a commentator who 'sees beyond one move in chess.' Translating "these deals are clearly deflationary," we get "these deals trigger depression." And depression ain't growth. Oh-so-clever German CEOs are slitting their own throats. They should be activating more of their homegrown consumers by:
All this is not only competitive but progressive, growth-fostering and sustainable, while re-lengthening your workweeks and lowering hourly wages is backward, economy-shrinking and unsustainable. How so? Because it shrinks your consumer base by re-concentrating the not-just-'fixed' but shrinking human employment of your Automation Age on fewer consumers and re-raising your unemployment rate. The real driving force here is not outsourcing, which we've dealt with millions of times in the past, but advanced stages of work-saving technology which any intelligent species is using to provide their whole population with the highest living standards and consumption per capita in history by providing their whole population with the freedom and flexibility of the most free time in history. And don't confuse financially secure free time with financially insecure under- and un-employment. And when you reduce your economy's unemployment and labor surplus by workweek reduction, you accomplish your reallocation of human capital by market forces AND your raising of wages and benefits by market forces - no micromanagement. And no, we do not agree that merely limiting overall worktime per person is micromanagement. Every game limits resources per person unless, like Monopoly, it wants to end. In ecological economics, which is what it's all about now, we're talking about indefinitely sustaining the game, not ending it. "Well if you're so ecological, how come you're trying to increase consumption?" We're talking about more no- or low-impact consumption or as Buckminster Fuller called it, "doing more with less." We're talking about much faster response to industrial impact on ecology than currently, made possible by the fact that there will be a lot more empowered "sensors" in the system in the form of a lot more employees with a lot more time and money for themselves. And not all of them are going to be burning it in Vegas. Many of them are going to be solving the myriad of little (and big) problems they see around them, but which they scarcely had time to notice before because they were so busy, so overscheduled, or just plain so "no time."]
- further reducing workweeks, not lengthening them,
- subsequently (not simultaneously and NOT previously) reducing long-term unemployment benefits,
- and dealing with competition from economies with low or no wages and labor standards by dumping their fatuous "free trade" dogma in favor of the principle, "you only access our rich consumer base to the extent you contribute to it with well-paying, good-working-conditions jobs." This would mean changing from a crude, blanket, economy-wide response to a sharp, targeted, corporation-specific response.
In depth - NHL lockout
The Globe and Mail , Canada
By ERIC DUHATSCHEK
As expected, the National Hockey League's board of governors voted
unanimously Wednesday in New York to lock out its players until a new
collective bargaining agreement (CBA) is negotiated, leaving a $2-billion
industry in limbo and putting the 2004-05 regular season and playoffs in jeopardy....
The first casualties of the lockout were the hundred or so employees at the
league's offices in New York, Toronto and Montreal who received their layoff
notices back on July 20 and will be out of work on Sept. 20. The majority of
staff layoffs came in the corporate communications, marketing and
special-events departments. Some staff members, who survived the initial
round of playoffs, were asked to work reduced hours for less pay....
[proportionately less total pay? - because that at least would be the same hourly wage.]
NHL teams have been preparing for the work stoppage for years now. Over the
past several seasons, the league assessed its teams $10 million apiece to
create a lockout contingency fund, which will enable them to continue
operating their businesses, even though their revenue streams have ground to
a halt. Many teams have issued layoff notices to their employees, while
others have reduced their working weeks to three days and rolled back
employees' salaries by a comparable amount....
Hockey lockout to hurt business
CBC Calgary, Canada
CALGARY, Alta. - Hockey fans in Calgary say they're going to miss hockey now
that the NHL has locked the players out, but they have a hard time
sympathizing with the millionaires when a lot of other people are going to
About 125 people work full-time in the club's front office. The lockout
will mean a shorter work week and a big pay cut for all of them.
And that will mean less business for Cass Caron, whose catering business
counts the Saddledome among its regular stops.
"Yeah, it's probably going to affect me. But you know, what can you do?"
"I don't want to resent anybody like Jerome Iginla or anything like that -
but it's kind of hard to understand where they are coming from when they are
making millions like they are."...
Oilers stand to lose $13 million this year without hockey: team owners
EDMONTON, Alta. - The Edmonton Oilers [hockey team] stand to lose $13 million this season if the team doesn't take the ice as a result of the NHL lockout, says board chair Cal Nichols.
But Nichols, who also serves as team governor, said Thursday the club's 37
owners are willing to take that hit in a bid for a new collective bargaining
agreement with players that will achieve economic certainty. "We will do
what we need to do," he told reporters. "If we don't fix this, we won't have
a future, certainly in Edmonton."
The NHL wants a salary cap, something the players have rejected.
But Oilers President Pat LaForge said the team's fans are behind the owners
because they know that without a new deal, their small-market team will have
a tough time winning another Stanley Cup.
"I can say that without any doubt that in Edmonton 99% of the fans
when polled have at the top of the list: 'Fix it. We want to buy into an
organization that can keep Doug Weight and Ales Hemsky."
He said fans want a team that can compete at the highest level, that can
keep its star players and not have to relinquish them to other teams because
they can't pay them.
Over the years, Oilers fans have watched a parade of star players - Weight,
Bill Guerin, Jason Arnott, Curtis Joseph, Anson Carter - leave for other
teams because they couldn't afford to pay them what the market demanded....
LaForge said the lockout is not a great day for hockey, but it is something
that had to be done to keep hockey in Edmonton and other small market cities....
The Oilers haven't laid off any personnel, but staff has been reduced from
90 to 67 as a result of departures by people looking for certainty in their
employment, he said.
The Oilers put staff on notice that they would be moving to a reduced work
week Sept. 15, but that has been pushed back until the end of November
because the Oilers have moved their American Hockey League Affiliate Toronto
Roadrunners to Edmonton to play at Rexall Place. "We'll see what happens then," LaForge said....
No light at end of lockout tunnel
Ottawa Sun, Canada
By CHRIS STEVENSON
OTTAWA, Canada - Ottawa Senators [sports team] president Roy Mlakar and GM John Muckler
unveiled the club's new uniforms for this season yesterday. They are some spiffy dark suits.
That's about all you're going to see when it comes to a fashion statement
this NHL season, and when the suits are front and centre, it can never be a good thing.
Owners and managers around the league put them on display yesterday as they
continued the battle to win the hearts and minds of anybody who is left
caring about a lockout nobody but the owners wanted.
So where to from here?...
Simply put, life will go on. It might not be quite the life a lot of people
who invest their money and passion in the Senators would like, but, hey,
those people will survive.
It's not so simple for the folks who work in the Senators' front office.
Mlakar said yesterday that Senators staff are going to be on vacation from
Sept. 20 to Oct. 1. There will be a reduced work week after that. The longer
this drags on, the more difficult it is going to be to justify even a
reduced work week....
Canuck general manager Dave Nonis doesn't endorse idea of salary cap
VANCOUVER, B.C. - ...NHL commissioner Gary Bettman has pounded the war drums saying the owners need cost-certainty in the form of a salary cap if the league hopes to survive. [He] has rejected the players' proposal for a luxury tax..\..
Although he believes the NHL needs a new system to operate, Vancouver Canuck [sports team] general manager Dave Nonis wouldn't publicly endorse the idea of a salary cap Thursday.... Nonis said if the NHL season were to begin today, the Canucks would have a payroll of around US$49 million, which would put Vancouver among the top 15 teams in the 30-club league. But Nonis refused to speculate on what a fair salary cap would be..\.. "I'm not going to comment on what system I think is appropriate," Nonis
told a news conference on the first day of the NHL lockout. "The system that is going to be in place at the end of the day we're confidence is going to work."...
In the previous four years the team lost millions of dollars..\..
[Just 'millions' - which $45m could cover? or hundreds of millions - which it couldn't?]
The Canucks have made a profit of $45 million the past two years, but to do
that "we've had to fire on all cylinders to make money," said Nonis....
"We're proud we're able to have our team improve on the ice and off the
ice," said Nonis. "We're running out of time here. We need a new system in
order for us to keep our team together and for us to be competitive long term."
The Canuck office staff has gone to a four-day work week. All the staff,
including coaches and management, have taken a 20% pay cut, Nonis said.
[So let's get this straight. They made a profit of $45 million in the past two years but they've given all their staff, including coaches and management, a 20% hours&pay cut? Did all the money go to debt or do we have a case of the Chesterton pan-utopian flaw here, or both?]
Road construction: Kenwood shops' profits take a detour - Some merchants blame the Arrowhead Road project, which is scheduled to end Oct. 15, on a decrease in business
Duluth News Tribune, MN
by Jane Brissett (218-720-4161, 800-456-8282 or firstname.lastname@example.org).
DULUTH, Minn. - Close to noon Thursday, Peak Bagel Bakery in the Kenwood Shopping Center had
just two customers sitting at a table and no one at the counter.
Owner Jeff Wallace, who bought the business May 10, is worried. The place
should be teeming with college students and other customers, he said, but
He believes the two-year project to reconstruct Arrowhead Road from Woodland
to Kenwood avenues is harming his business. In fact, in July, he said,
business was off 50% from a year ago when the road work was closer to
Since July, Wallace has reduced hours of operation, cut down on waste, let
some employees go and trimmed the hours of others....
[= hours cuts to avoid further job cuts.]
Eiffel Tower stays shut as strike drags on
AFP via Expatica, Netherlands
PARIS - Management and workers [of the Societe Nouvelle d'Exploitation de
la Tour Eiffel] at the Eiffel Tower in Paris were due to hold talks Thursday to
try to resolve a labour dispute which has kept the famous monument closed
to the public for three days.
The 250 employees of the company that runs the tower began their strike
Tuesday, saying they were concerned for their job security ahead of the 2005
expiration of the concession agreement with the city of Paris, which owns
the property and structure....
Thousands of tourists hoping to ascend the 324-metre (1,070-foot) tower
have reacted with dismay after being turned away from the closed ticket
booths.... The last strike at the monument dates back to 1998, when workers aired
grievances about implementation of the 35-hour work week.
...Built in 1889...the tower held the record as the world's highest building
until 1929, when it was eclipsed by New York City's Chrysler Building.
Germany: An employers right to reject an employees demand to work part time
Article by Georg Mikes
[Mondaq News Alerts, World]
Much to the consternation of many employers, the German legislature enacted a statute in 2001 that gave employees the legal
right to demand from their employer that the employee work only on a part-time basis. Though employers have been given some
statutory legal arguments against such requests most notably, employers can deny an employees request if operational reasons warrant such a denial it was feared that courts would give only lip service to this argument. However, as of late,
court decisions have clarified employers rights, and there has even been a tendency to limit employees rights to some degree.
On December 9, 2003, the Federal Labor Court held that an employee who asked to be put on part-time status could not force
an employer to hire an additional full-time employee if another part-time employee was not available. The employee could
also not demand that other employees work overtime so that he could work part time. The employee also tried to require the
employer to hire a temporary employee. This request also did not meet with success since the employer had successfully
argued to the court that the employer did not regularly engage temporary employees. The Federal Labor Court also had
decided already in September 2003 that an employer may deny an employees request for part-time employment if it is the
employers policy to have every customer be serviced by one sales person (such an argument by an employer would not be
persuasive, however, if the employers hours of operation were vastly different from the hours generally worked by a
full-time sales person). Similarly, the Federal Labor Court decided that the staff member of a kindergarten could not
successfully demand that she work only on a part-time basis as the teachers part-time status did not fit in with the kindergartens organizational plans.
The above decisions, which come from various sectors and are based on different situations, make clear that employees do not
have carte blanche to be put on part-time status. Additionally, the Federal Labor Court does indeed recognize that employers
do not have to put forth a "significant" or "compelling" reason to deny a request for part-time work. Instead, a "rational
and justifiable reason" will suffice. Though a court will review whether an employer is abusing its leverage if it rejects
an employees request, and of course whether the reason given by the employer truly exists, a court will generally refrain
from reviewing the reason given by the employer from an operational point of view.
The valid rejection of a request for part-time employment presumes that the working hours as requested by the employee are
not reconcilable with the employers organizational plans, and that if the employees request were to be honored, this would
have an appreciable adverse effect on the employers business interests. The court must determine whether the employer is
unable to reconcile his business interests with the employees interests. Reasons given to deny an employees request for
part-time status with success include that the companys organization would be adversely affected, the companys
organizational procedures and security would be negatively impacted or the employer would incur unreasonably high costs as a
result of the employees part-time status.
Even if the business interests for rejecting a request seem clear to an employer, he should not curtly reject an employees
request to work part time. The employer is required, by statute, to try to reach a mutually-acceptable arrangement with the
employee. However, according to the Federal Labor Court, an employers failure to abide by this requirement will not
automatically invalidate an employers rejection. Regardless, if the employer abruptly rejects the employees request, then
the employee may be able to argue successfully to a court that he would have been able to arrange his part-time status to
the satisfaction of the employer if the employee had been given an opportunity to have a true exchange of ideas with the
employer. Employers should ensure that an employee does not have this argument available to him. Also, and maybe even more
significantly, there have been a few cases where an employee was able to push through his request for part-time status by
obtaining an injunction against an employer.
One point that employers should not ignore: According to the Federal Labor Court, an employer may waive the statutory
three-month notice period that employees must observe before beginning to work part-time. It is presumed that an employer
has "waived" this three-month period if he begins discussing with the employee who has not observed the three-month period
the reasons as to why the employer may not be able to honor the employees request for part-time status. In other words, an
inexperienced employer, or one who has not obtained adequate legal advice, may not appreciate the significance of pointing
out to an employee that the three-month period must be observed before engaging in discussions with the employee about the
substantive aspects of the request for part time. It can only be hoped that the Federal Labor Court will review the
practical effects of this decision as it actually dissuades parties from engaging in discussions with one another.
In the meantime, employers should consider whether they can devise a plan now to reject an employees future request for
part-time status by using the argument that it would negatively affect the companys operations, as this argument is not
subject to judicial review. This could be helpful to employers as there is nothing more convincing to a court than a
document that was clearly prepared prior to any dispute arising.
Compensation eased in workers' suicides
UPI via Washington Times, DC
TOKYO, Japan - Japan is planning to ease criteria under
which relatives of workers who commit suicide due to overwork and depression [Jpn: karoshi] can receive compensation.
The Health, Labor and Welfare Ministry is studying ways of easing the
compensation criteria, in the face of growing numbers of work-related
suicides, the Yomiuri Shimbun reported Thursday.
According to the ministry, over 90% of suicide deaths in 2003 were
likely related to depression. Also the number of applications for workers'
compensation over suicidal depression related to work hit a record-high 121
in fiscal 2003 - 60 times greater than the figure 20 years earlier. Only 40
people were granted compensation last year.
Workers' compensation for suicide was only granted in cases where the
person was diagnosed as insane until 1999, when the rules were revised to
include cases of depression-related suicide. The number of compensation
grants quadrupled over a five-year period.
9/15/2004 primitive timesizing & worktime consciousness in the news = glimmers of strategic hope - all are 9/14 from GoogleNews & are searched-screened-collected by Alan Applebaum (AA) of Brookline MA with backup from *Ken Ellis (KE) of New Bedford MA (except #11 which is from 9/15 hardcopy, and Australian & Far East stories which are 9/15), and with excerpting and [commenting] by Phil Hyde (PH) unless otherwise initialed -
Britons working shorter weeks - Average number of full-time hours worked falls to all-time low of 37.1, down from 38.9 10 years ago
The length of the average working week in Britain has fallen to an all-time low.
Contrary to the myth that Britons are working ever longer hours while the rest of the continent relaxes with shorter hours
and long lunch breaks, official data yesterday showed that the average working week across all types of occupations, full
and part-time, dropped to 31.8 hours in the three months to July, the lowest on record.
For full-time workers, the average fell to 37.1 hours, down from a peak of 38.9 hours 10 years ago. For part-time workers,
the average was 15.5 hours a week.
Statisticians said there had been a gradual downward trend for a long time, but this had accelerated in the past few years as a result of the EU's new working time regulations. They said the trend was likely to continue.
The figures also showed a sharp fall in the number of people working more than 45 hours a week. In the latest three months,
there were slightly more than 6 million people working more than 45 hours, or a fifth of the workforce. But that number was
down by nearly 100,000 on the previous quarter.
Men still work a longer week than women, with an average of 39 hours compared with 33.6 for women.
The average full-time working week of 37 hours compares with 35 hours in France and is roughly in line with the typical
German working week. However, recent news reports from those two countries suggest that the length of their working week is
growing as companies ask [ie: force] staff to work longer for no extra pay in an attempt to reduce costs.
[and compete with the lowest wages in world located in China and India - neither of which have a consumer base commensurate with their huge populations.]
A key difference between Britain and the other big European economies is in unemployment levels. The UK's 4.7% rate compares with 9.5% in France and 9.9% in Germany.
[But we believe English-language Britain follows English-language USA in defining unemployment less comprehensively.]
In the 25-country union, only four states, Austria, Cyprus, Ireland and Luxembourg, have a lower jobless rate than the UK. The EU average is 9%.
The TUC [UK: Trades Union Congress, cf. US: AFL-CIO] welcomed the news on working hours, but said the working week was not shrinking fast enough, and it wanted further
progress, particularly for people working more than 48 hours a week.
EU rules say workers should not work more than 48 hours, but Britain has an opt-out under which individual workers can
choose to work longer.
A TUC spokesman, Paul Sellers, said many workers were given no choice about working long hours. "We have 3.75 million people
working more than 48 hours a week. Our incidence of long hours is 3.5 times the European average."
He hoped the European commission, whose review of its working time directive is due this month, would overturn the UK's
opt-out on the 48-hour week. "That would take 1-1.5 million back below 48 hours a week. Ending the opt-out would be a really
important change," he said.
Bush overtime rules rebuked again - Blocked by a Senate committee
Minneapolis Star Tribune, MN
Alan Fram, Associated Press
WASHINGTON, D.C. - A Senate committee voted Wednesday to scuttle new rules
that critics say would deny overtime pay to millions of workers, as
Democrats won the latest round in their election-year bout with President
Bush over the issue.
The 16-13 vote by the Republican-run Senate Appropriations Committee came
less than a week after the GOP-led House embarrassed Bush by approving a
Despite the twin rebukes by Congress, the provision could well disappear
when House-Senate bargainers write a final version of the spending bill to
which it was attached. GOP leaders and the White House will dominate that
part of the legislative process.
Win or lose, Democrats hope the overtime fight will galvanize their union
supporters to vote in the November election.
"Working families across the country are demanding that Bush put their
interests above those of big business," AFL-CIO President John Sweeney said
after the vote.
The reverse effect might also benefit Republicans, who rely on campaign
contributions from companies and corporate executives, many of whom favor
the new regulations.
The Bush administration and most Republicans support the rules, which took
effect Aug. 23. They said the rules, the most thorough rewrite in five
decades, are a badly needed update.
"We ought to let it run for a while so we can judge what the effect of this
rule is," said Appropriations panel Chairman Ted Stevens, R-Alaska.
Alfred B. Robinson Jr., acting administrator for the Labor Department's Wage
and hour Division, said the vote "only hurts worker's overtime rights by
creating further confusion."
"We do not expect this provision to be enacted into law," he said. "In the
meantime, we will keep enforcing the stronger overtime protections that are
now in effect for millions of workers."
Two Republicans joined the committee's Democrats in voting to derail the
overtime rules: Sens. Arlen Specter of Pennsylvania, seeking reelection this
year in a state with a strong labor presence, and Ben Nighthorse Campbell of
Colorado, who is retiring.
The language was offered by Sen. Tom Harkin, D-Iowa, who said the new rules
would remove overtime protection for as many as 6 million workers.
"They undermine the 40-hour work week," he said of the rules, adding, "The
economic health of too many workers is at stake."
[When will Dems cut the bleeding heart softsell and go for the jugular? = the confident activity of too many CONSUMERS is at stake.]
Sen. Judd Gregg, R-N.H., called the estimate of 6 million workers losing
overtime "totally bogus."
[We'd ask for evidence from either side but this has become so political that convincing evidence is hard to come by and the poor overtime design of the Fair Labor Standards Act coupled with the growing expense of full-time benefits has rendered it largely irrelevant to cutting unemployment anyway. Now a good overtime design, like that in the Timesizing program... - see Phase Two and Phase 3.]
Bush's flextime remedy could be right pill for our "hurry sickness,"
by Froma Harrop, Providence Journal via Seattle Times, WA
Americans who suffer from "hurry sickness" don't need to be told what it is.
It is the daily struggle to squeeze 65 minutes out of every hour. It means
rushing around from daycare to job to supermarket - while agonizing over
every moment stuck in traffic. It's a life of multitasking: eating and
phoning while driving.
The disease affects men and women, married people and singles, but it hits
working mothers the hardest. A woman knows she's got hurry sickness when she
regards ironing shirts on the weekend without distractions as a kind of
Pressure in the workplace costs the nation more than $300 billion a year,
according to the American Institute of Stress. This is money spent on
stress-related health problems, missed work and efforts by employers to
pacify the troops. I don't know whether this number includes the millions
spent on aromatherapy candles, machines that make soothing ocean sounds or
other calm-down products, but it might as well.
The load seems to get only heavier. Some 62% of workers say their
job demands have grown over the past six months, according to a survey by
Kronos, a human-resources company. American workers now average 350 more
hours a year on the job than do their German counterparts. Americans outwork
even the Japanese.
All this is a roundabout way of getting into President Bush's campaign
promise to let workers take overtime pay in the form of more time, rather
than extra cash. As the law now stands, the standard American workweek is 40
hours. Employees must receive time-and-a-half wages for every hour worked
over that 40.
Organized labor opposes Bush's "flextime" proposal, which it sees as a
sneaky way to help companies pay their workers less money. Unions do come by
their suspicions honestly. There's hardly a cheap-labor idea this
administration hasn't embraced. But this concept does have merit.
Actually, flextime has been around many years as a women's issue. But
feminists envisioned moving those 40 hours around - not reducing them. For
example, someone might work four 10-hour days, then take a three-day
Opponents of Bush's plan worry that bosses would bully workers who want the
extra money into taking the extra time instead. Employers could do this by
giving all the overtime jobs to people they know will opt for more free
But the reality of today's pay structure suggests otherwise. Companies
nowadays are perfectly happy to spend extra money on workers who put in
overtime. It is cheaper to do that than to hire new people and provide them
with health insurance. A worker's health coverage costs the same whether
that person puts in a 40-hour or a 65-hour week -
and medical premiums are
rising far faster than wages. Some economists blame recent slow hiring on
employers' fears of having to buy health insurance for new workers. Given
this situation, bosses might really prefer that workers take the extra pay,
not the extra time.
Many workers who toil long hours already can choose between taking more
cash or more time. For nearly a quarter-century, flextime has been available
to federal workers.
[Flex time is not shorter hours, but merely a scheduling shellgame.]
Not a few union contracts offer flextime provisions as a
worker benefit. In any case, people aren't complaining that employers have
coerced them to take the extra time off and forgo bigger paychecks.
Certainly, there are workers who need or otherwise want that overtime cash.
But for so many, especially parents, time has become the most valuable
commodity. Note all those educated mothers who are delighted to steam milk
at Starbucks because the coffee chain gives them health coverage for working
only a 20-hour week.
France cut its legal workweek from 39 hours to 35 hours. The goal was to
encourage French companies to hire more people (rather than work current
employees harder). As economic policy, the forced shortening of the workweek
[No it didn't. Unemployment dropped 1% for each of the four hours cut from the workweek. In 1997, the unemployment level that got shorter hours voted in was 12.6%. In 2001 before the US-led recession snagged France, the level was 8.6%. Where is the evidence that the 35-hour workweek "failed"? This is just a piece of shortsighted-employer propaganda that has been repeated so often that dummies like this Providence Journal columnist swallow it wholesale. It was parrotted back in 1982 by MIT economist Lester Thurow in an unthinking kneejerk reaction to Phil Hyde's question, "If unemployment is so bad and persistent, why not just cut the workweek and spread the limited work?" No evidence was given then either. The evidence is support of the success of workweek reduction however is its corelation with the fuller employment experienced between 1776 and 1940 as the U.S. cut its workweek in half, from 80-84 hours to 40, particularly in the period, 1938-40, when the Fair Labor Standards Act established the workweek at 44 hours in 1938 when unemployment slipped back from the lowest the makework of the New Deal ever got it (14.3%) to 19.0%. As the workweek was cut to 42 hours in 1939 and then 40 hours in 1940, in each case on Oct.24, unemployment 'coincidentally' declined - to 17.2% in 1939, 14.6% in 1940, and 9.9% in 1941 when it was pushed not only by the workspreading of the two-hour workweek cut in late 1940 but also by Lend Lease in early 1941 (March). Again, where is the evidence, or even the 'corelative data', that workweek reduction "failed" in its goal of reducing unemployment?]
But nobody ever argued that it was anti-labor.
So would it be so terrible to let Americans who put in a 45-hour week turn
those five hours of overtime into an extra day off, rather than more money?
Labor groups fighting this particular Bush proposal should save their
strength for better battles.
Providence Journal columnist Froma Harrop's column appears regularly on
editorial pages of The Times. Her e-mail address is email@example.com
Time Is Money
by Gary North
Lew Rockwell, CA
Benjamin Franklin wrote this in a letter to a young man over 250 years ago.
It works both ways: money can buy you time, which is why we give money to
physicians and pharmaceutical companies after we have heart attacks. We can trade one for the other.
But we can buy more money with time than we can buy time with
money. The system is asymmetrical. There are people who are worth a billion
dollars. No one I know is going to live 300 years unless a major
breakthrough in medicine takes place. (If it does, Social Security's "trust
fund" will take another hit.)
A German man I know used to sell vacuum cleaners door to door. In Germany,
this is still common. He sold the Vorwerk cleaner. He even sold one to my
wife, back when Americans could legally buy them. It's the best vacuum
cleaner that my wife has ever seen.
The man who trained him in sales once asked a group of trainees if they
would pay him the equivalent of $10 if he would show them how to earn 25%
more money. They all did. Then he showed them how. "Work 25% longer."
Did he cheat them? No. The man who got that training never forgot this
lesson. For $10, that was cheap tuition.
Most people are not willing to work 25% longer. That would mean a 10-hour
work day. Businesses are penalized by law for offering extra work to
workers: overtime, a time-and-a-half wage penalty. They offer this only
under special conditions. The workers so benefitted must be above average in
their productivity. Otherwise, it would not pay businesses to pay them
[Unfortunately, with the rise in the cost of benefits such as health insurance, this is less and less true. It is more common that businesses find it cheaper to overwork existing employees than hire in additional - so businesses have become complicit in the weakening of their own general customer base which naturally depends on the maintenance of the existing employee base ('workforce').]
But 25% more pay is not the heart of the matter. People who start businesses
are more likely to get rich than anyone else. I have never known a business
owner who worked an 8-hour day. All of them work at least 10 hours, and most work on Saturdays. Yet they make far more than 25% more or even 50%
more. If their business survives, they move into the top 20% of income
It is not the fact that they work longer that makes the big difference. It
is that they decide to meet the demand of consumers in a unique way a way
worth the consumers' money. To do this, they must work long hours, because
the consumers are demanding. The consumer says, "Work harder. I'll pay you a
lot more if you do." So, the business owner does.
He also works smarter. He makes more money. So, he works longer. The barrier
to entry is three-fold: (1) his ability to work smarter; (2) his willingness
to work longer; (3) his willingness to accept failure. These are major
In effect, he invests his time in his business. He sees that time is money,
so he capitalizes his business with his time. When you're starting out,
that's the asset you own. You don't have much money.
There is a young man in my church. He is a radio announcer. He has already
seen how the industry works. "The guys driving the BMWs are the ones who
sell air time. The guys behind the microphones drive Honda Civics." He's got
it. The man who can convert air time into money is not easily replaceable.
The man providing modulated air time is, unless he is Rush Limbaugh.
I told him to spend the next two years studying everything he can about how
to sell air time. He is in a good place to learn the basics of selling in a
niche market. He is getting paid to modulate air. He must learn how to sell
He must therefore give up leisure.
THE HIGH COST OF LEISURE
In my report "Count Your Capitalist Blessings," one of them that I forgot
was leisure. A heads-up reader spotted that omission.
(If you spotted any others, send them to me at firstname.lastname@example.org.)
Leisure was once the major blessing of slave-ownership. Aristotle spoke for
the Athenian ruling class when he praised leisure as the basis of the good
life. The fact that Athenians were slave-owners made their leisure possible.
About a third of Athens' population were slaves. The good life, in
Aristotle's view, was civil. It meant participation in politics and culture.
He had contempt for manual labor and the work of artisans. That was work fit
only for slaves.
For most of man's history, hard manual labor has been the norm. Men have had
to struggle with the earth to eke out a living. Most of their children died
before reaching adulthood.
The words of Genesis have rung true:
And unto Adam he said, Because thou hast hearkened unto the voice of thy
wife, and hast eaten of the tree, of which I commanded thee, saying, Thou
shalt not eat of it: cursed is the ground for thy sake; in sorrow shalt thou
eat of it all the days of thy life; Thorns also and thistles shall it bring
forth to thee; and thou shalt eat the herb of the field; In the sweat of thy
face shalt thou eat bread, till thou return unto the ground; for out of it
wast thou taken: for dust thou art, and unto dust shalt thou return (Gen.
Capitalism changed all this. Beginning in the mid-18th century, productivity
began its steady upward rise: about 2.5% per annum. That compounding
process, over decades and then centuries, has multiplied our wealth by a
factor of 500 or perhaps 1000, doubling ever 30 years.
Population grew, worldwide, as technology improved. World population was
still under a billion in 1800. Today, it is over six billion. It may hit
nine billion by 2050.
The eight-hour day became a reality when Henry Ford figured out that he
could run three shifts of eight hours each and keep his plants open 24 hours
a day. But the eight-hour day was no miracle. Ford had been running a
nine-hour day prior to the change in 1914.
After the mid-19th century, the shorter working day became a goal of
American and British workers because it became possible. Output rose. Income
per hour worked rose as private capital provided the tools that made workers
When men can do it, most of them take their pay in extra leisure.
[This would be great if it was true outside Europe but again, it's not true in the U.S., U.K. or Japan.]
They agree to work for a fixed salary per time period: weekly, monthly, or whatever. Then they negotiate a shorter work week. They don't ask for more money. They ask for more time off. Extra money is taxable. Extra time off isn't.
[Great in theory, but not true in US, UK or Japan because of the huge propaganda campaigns against leisure and in favor of material acquisition, starting in 1920s USA - "the Gospel of Consumption." The full story is in Juliet Schor's "Overworked American" and Ben Hunnicutt's "Work Without End."]
Eiffel Tower shut by strike
PARIS - A strike by workers at the Eiffel Tower in Paris kept
the iconic monument closed to tourists for the second day in a row Wednesday
because of worries over job security, management and employees said....
The last strike at the monument dates back to 1998, when workers aired
grievances about the 35-hour work week, management said....
[Again, labor is its own worst enemy, because it has never developed a coherent and consistent worktime economics such as Timesizing to counter the shortsighted propaganda of economists against worksharing and in favor of buying stuff, and consequently it has never backed shorter hours and worksharing and workspreading. Even in France and Germany, the leaders in workweek reduction and worksharing, many employees are still buying the shortsighted employer spin against shorter hours, regardless of what the deteriorating effects that will have in terms of reraising the unemployment rate and relowering the consumer base.]
Former Clinton Adviser Suggests Ways for Europe to Boost Growth
Voice of America, DC
[Another pompous American gratuitously presuming to preach to an economy that has much higher quality of life by almost every measure than America.]
Washington - Former U.S. President Bill Clinton's top economic adviser, Martin Baily,
Tuesday released a study that includes proposals on how Western Europe can
boost its competitiveness and increase what has been an anemic pace ofeconomic growth.
Mr. Baily argues that if it is to boost growth and productivity, Western
Europe must scale back its generous social benefits, raise workers'
retirement age, and reduce regulations that hinder business activity. Now a
fellow at Washington's Institute for International Economics, Mr. Baily
concedes that the task is huge and politically unpopular.
But the more than 300-page study, Transforming the European Economy,
[pompous ass! - the return of the "ugly American" - and this at a time when we sure don't need Clintonians to help the Bushies insult the international community]
lays out the impediments that have restrained growth, making it almost impossible to reach the European Union's goal of creating 21 million jobs by 2010. That target was set by EU leaders in Lisbon in 2000. It implies that three
million jobs will be created annually. Last year the 15 EU members created
only 412,000 new jobs and 740,000 the year before. The European Union, now
expanded to 25 member states, is the world's biggest economic entity in
terms of population and GDP.
Mr. Baily applauds Western Europe for achieving a level of prosperity not
anticipated 30 years ago. He says Europe is far ahead of the United States
in having universal health care. But Mr. Baily says these very expensive
programs can be maintained only at the cost of reduced growth.
[Meanwhile, obsoletely long and lengthening American workweeks are reducing growth in Preacher Baily's own land, and you don't even want to think about the destructive stuff that is counted in the GDP, which inflates the "growth" of America relative to Europe - need we mention the prison and military industrial complexes?]
The early retirement age is but one example.
[Watch America deflate as it pushes up the retirement age and dismantles pensions right and left, without making it easier for seniors to support themselves with a reduced definition of "fulltime job" and more accessible training!]
"If you have similar incentives in the United States as you have in Europe
you'd have Americans behaving in the same way," he says. "If you have the
option of retiring at age 55 with full health care costs and a good pension,
then you'd have people retiring at age 55."
In Western Europe the average retirement age is 59 compared to 65 in the
Mr. Baily's theme is the need to have incentives that cause people to want
to work and work longer. Social welfare costs to government, largely health
care and retirement, equal 31% of GDP in Sweden
and 29% in France, compared to 15% in the United States. The
pattern is the same with the average number of hours worked per employee. In the 1960s and 1970s Europeans worked longer hours than Americans. Now they work considerably less, in part because paid vacations typically exceed four
weeks per year compared to barely more than two weeks in the United States. France recently reduced the work week to 35 hours.
Mr. Baily applauds the European Union's call for labor market 'reform' [our quotes]. But
he says the changes have to be made by national governments. "We applaud the
efforts of the EU to push forward on social reform and product market reform
and the creation of a single market and so on," he says. "But at the end of
the day Brussels just doesn't have authority over a lot of the stuff that
Repeatedly in his presentation, Mr. Baily said there is much that is
positive in the European economic model and he does not advocate that Europe
blindly emulate the more market based U.S. model. He points to positive but
modest reforms in selected European countries, notably Britain, Sweden,
Holland and Denmark.
Malta to oppose work time directive changes - Malta will be opposing fresh proposals in relation to the work time directive which the European Commission plans to make next week
[Valletta Times, Malta]
Ivan Camilleri in Brussels
[Fine. You don't want to play by EU rules - you're OUT of the EU!]
Sources close to the government told The Times that Malta will reject the proposals probably together with a number of EU
member states, including the United Kingdom.
The new recommendations would give trade unions the right to reject working weeks longer than 48 hours. Individual
agreements between workers and employers would not be able to exceed one year and waivers for the 48-hour week would not be
allowed at the same time as an employment contract is signed.
The new Commission proposals are also set to limit to 65 hours a week the amount of overtime an employee can work.
At present the situation in Malta regarding overtime is flexible. An employee can choose to work more than 40 hours a week
and do overtime. He can also refuse to work more than 48 hours even if the extra time is considered overtime. Malta had
negotiated a transitional period for some sectors of the economy before introducing the new right for employees.
The European Commission launched a revision of a 10-year old working time directive earlier this year [note spin: "sooo outdated!"] amid controversy
surrounding the opt-out negotiated by the UK.
The directive sets out rules for a maximum working week of 48 hours for employees across Europe, rules championed by former
EU Employment Commissioner Anna Diamantopoulou.
Under the new rules any waiver of the 48-hour rule, to allow individual workers to work a longer week, would have to be
agreed with unions.
[Unions need to get clear that in practice this is not "allowing" them a privilege, but forcing them to concentrate technology-eroded employment on fewer employees and disempower themselves with higher levels of unemployment and labor surplus.]
The proposals, set to be unveiled by the Commission today week, are likely to receive a frosty reception from Britain and [a very few] other member states including Malta.
British Prime Minister Tony Blair recently wrote to EU Commission chief Romano Prodi putting across the case for keeping Britain's opt-out of the legislation.
[Don't want to play by the EU's rules? Get out of the EU.]
It seems Malta will follow suit. The sources said the Maltese labour market needs to be as flexible as possible in order to
face the challenges of a modern economy. The new proposals are deemed to result in adding financial and technical burdens
especially onto the private sector. The sources said this is one of the few issues on which there is a common position
between all Malta's social partners.
The Commission's proposals will not be final but will start the discussion both at the level of national governments
(Council of Ministers) and at the European Parliament. To be approved, the proposals would require the green light of the
majority of member states - which must muster close to 60% of the votes in the Council of Ministers. However, it is
not clear whether there is a comfortable blocking minority to reject them. The British government previously enjoyed enough
support within the EU for a blocking minority to protect its position. The accession of 10 new member states has put this at
risk, although business groups hope the UK may count on support from Poland, Malta and Cyprus.
CRFA boycotts Saskatchewan Minimum Wage Board
CNW Telbec (Communiqués de presse), Canada
REGINA, Sask. - The Canadian Restaurant & Foodservices Assoc. (CRFA), an
employer association, is boycotting the Minimum Wage Board's review of minimum
wage and pushing for a fair hearing from the Premier and Cabinet instead.
The association is alarmed that the Minimum Wage Board, which should be
an impartial advisory body, has consistently refused to consider the views
of employers in its deliberations. CRFA will provide input on minimum wage
directly to the Premier and Cabinet rather than to the board, which has set
today as the deadline for submissions "to support a minimum wage increase,"
according to one media report.
"The Saskatchewan Minimum Wage Board has lost all credibility with small
business employers and the restaurant industry in particular. Based on the
board's history and current make up it's clear that the fix is in and the
Board will recommend another arbitrary increase to the minimum wage," says
Mark von Schellwitz, CRFA's Vice President, Western Canada.
CRFA has raised a number of concerns with the government concerning the
Minimum Wage Board, including:
"It seems the board is only interested in hearing from those who want a
minimum wage increase," says von Schellwitz. "There are progressive tax
measures that can be taken to increase take-home pay without putting entry-
level jobs in jeopardy, but the board refuses to consider them."
Only 4.9% of the Saskatchewan workforce is paid the minimum wage, and
many of them earn gratuities that push their income much higher than minimum
wage. These employees will see their overall income drop if employers have
to reduce hours to absorb a minimum wage increase, which typically ratchets
up all wages.
The board also refuses to acknowledge that the majority of minimum wage
earners are high school students working part time who do not rely on this
income as a living wage. Increases in minimum wage reduce these entry-level
Saskatchewan's 1,800 foodservice establishments employ 36,600 people,
including 17,500 young people under the age of 25.
In its last minimum wage review the board would not meet with CRFA,
even though the association represents the industry that employs the
most entry-level employees.
The employer representatives to the board are now political
appointments. The opportunity for employer groups to provide input on
the appointments has been taken away.
During past consultations the so-called employer representatives were
not allowed to meet with small business association representatives.
The board recommended a substantial minimum wage increase during the
last review, but could not explain its rationale.
The board has reneged on a 1996 commitment to study the impact of a
gratuity wage differential or training wage differential for the
For further information: CONTACT: Mark von Schellwitz, Vice President,
Western Canada, 1-866-300-7675 or (604) 802-0245 (cell); Jill Holroyd, Vice
President, Research and Communications, 1-800-387-5649, ext. 4217.
9/14/2004 primitive timesizing & worktime consciousness in the news = glimmers of strategic hope - all are 9/13 from GoogleNews & are searched-screened-collected by Alan Applebaum (AA) of Brookline MA with backup from *Ken Ellis (KE) of New Bedford MA (except #22 which is from 9/14 hardcopy, and Australian & Far East stories which are 9/14), and with excerpting and [commenting] by Phil Hyde (PH) unless otherwise initialed -
EU axes opt-out from 48-hour working week
By Ambrose Evans-Pritchard in Strasbourg
Most employees are to be stripped of their right to work more than 48 hours a week and firms are to face extra costs and
paperwork under a 'Stalinist' directive being drawn up by the European Commission.
[It can avoid the charge of Stalinism and still do all that is necessary by letting those with deflationary incentives work all they want and only stopping those with inflationary money motives from working overtime. How to separate the sheep from the goats? Simple. Tax away 100% of overtime earnings but give a 100% tax exemption for reinvesting 100% of overtime earnings as directly and proportionately as possible in overtime-targeted hiring, or if necessary, on-the-job training. That would be Timesizing Phase 2 (corporate) and Phase 3 (individual). The invention of these two phases embodying this technique is akin to the Wright Brothers' rejection of a completely self-stabilizing powered aircraft like Harrison's in favor of a design for twisting the wings under the control of a pilot reacting to changing flight conditions. See video, The Definitive Story of the Origin of Flight, PBS, shown on Boston Channel 2, 9/15/2004, 8 pm.]
The proposal, expected to win approval from the full commission next week, would give trade unions and mandatory staff
councils a veto on whether individuals can choose to exceed the 48-hour limit. It prohibits all workers spending more than
65 hours on the job in any week.
Critics cite it as further evidence that Brussels has "lost the plot" as Europe slides deeper into economic and scientific
decline, with annual growth far below China, India and the United States.
The law, a product of the outgoing commission of Romano Prodi, will be the first test of the "reformist" rhetoric of Jose
Barroso, a student-Maoist turned free-marketeer who takes over in November.
It is designed to close a loophole in the EU's 1993 Working Time Directive that allows firms to negotiate individual
opt-outs in employee contracts. The TUC claims the clause has been widely abused by British companies to coerce workers into
signing away their protections.
But the CBI slammed the proposal as the latest in a series of heavy handed laws that strip member states of power to run
their own economies and that pose a threat to Britain's free market system.
John Cridland, the CBI's deputy director, called it a backdoor means of imposing the failing Franco-German labour model on
the rest of the EU. "These proposals are totally unacceptable. They completely undermine the right of the individual to
choose, and are a recipe for industrial relations conflict," he said.
The details may be changed in coming days but the draft appears to oblige both employers and workers to keep records of time
spent on the job. It bans opt-out agreements for employees on probation or signing work contracts, and mandates a fresh
agreement every year.
Where employees are unionised, the union will have the power to stop individuals opting out. Staff councils - to become
mandatory under separate EU rules - appear to play the same role in other companies. Firms with more than 50 workers (or 20
if in one location) may be affected.
The plan follows a clutch of EU proposals that threaten to raise the cost and complexity of doing business in Britain. The
CBI said it fears it is rolling back the "Thatcherite" reforms that have restored British dynamism and cut unemployment to
half the levels of Italy, Germany, and France.
The Government has vowed to fight the new legislation. "It is not for the EU to tell people how long they can work, and this
is exactly the wrong the way to run an economy," said a Foreign Office spokesman.
But Labour MEPs in Strasbourg have aligned with the French socialists in pushing for the end to the working-time opt-out.
A commission official said the proposal faces a rough ride in the Council of Ministers, where the new states from eastern
Europe are likely to club together with Britain.
The draft was written by the commission's social affairs directorate, described by one EU diplomat yesterday as reminiscent
of "1970s Stalinists" and divorced from economic reality.
French heed call to stand up - er, sit down and start a revolution -
A new book called 'Hello Laziness' has climbed France's bestseller lists
By Frank Renout
[Christian Science Monitor]
In the country that practically invented joie de vivre - the joy of life - two-hour lunches and 35-hour work weeks fit like
a silk beret.
But that life of leisure has come under assault of late. French Prime Minister Jean-Pierre Raffarin says that economic
pressures will soon make the shortened work week a thing of the past.
Enter Corinne Maier, author of a hot new bestseller called "Bonjour Paresse" - "Hello Laziness."
[More accurate would probably be "Welcome Laziness." Followup - And it's basic takeoff is "Bonjour Tristesse," a 1954 bestseller by Francoise Sagan. And fate has provided the later "Bonjour" with a morbid boost - Francoise Sagan died 9/24/2004 at 69 in Honfleur - see obit 9/25 NYT, B13.]
The humorous pamphlet is a passionate plea in favor of sloth. The subtitle says it all: "The art and necessity of doing the least possible in a corporation." Ms. Maier calls upon the French to sit down and relax at work. The young author has hit a nerve here, tapping into a backlash against the rat race. She promotes a calculated loafing only the French could love. Call it the new French Revolution - or as she says, a revolution from within.
"It's important to do those things in life that you really wish to do, instead of just obeying others," she explains. "Of
course you have to work to earn money, so you have to find a compromise. And that might just be to work a little less and
find ways to do what you really want to do in life."
Since "Bonjour Paresse" appeared in bookstores in May, the publisher has ordered six successive reprints to meet demand. It
is currently in the top five on the main bestseller lists in France.
What started out as a farce has become a serious lamentation on French companies and modern times. As she describes it,
French corporate life hasn't changed since the Louis XIV era in the 17th century. The system is extremely hierarchical and
fossilized, "Especially the big companies. They're stuck somewhere between an enormous amount of red tape, old-fashioned
rituals, and widespread cynicism. And that is a nightmare for the people working there," she says. "They're not free to do
anything themselves, they just have to obey all the time."
In her book she describes all that she despises about corporate life: from its jargon all the way up to globalization. If we
can't change things from outside, why not ruin it from the inside by doing the least we can, she asks, having gained
first-hand knowledge of the business world as a part-time employee of the French electric company EDF.
For the French, buying the book is a form of "protest to Ango-Saxon working standards" that are being pushed upon them,
explains Douglas Rosane, an American who heads the Paris office of International Survey Research (ISR), which collects data
on the business world.
[Let's call a spade a spade - it's the English-speaking economists' automation-outdated and masochistic workaholism. There are no working standards in the picture. It's a total evolutionary throwback.]
"You've always had the Ango-Saxon model and the Marxist model. France opted for a third road,
somewhere in between."
[Aha, sounds like the legendary Third Way.]
The French government last month presented plans to abolish the officially regulated 35-hour working week, implemented in
2000, to try to reduce France's unemployment rate, which remains a stubbornly high 9.9%. Nicolas Sarkozy, France's
minister of economic affairs, said in a interview with the newspaper Les Echos that tight restrictions on working hours puts
a burden of $19 billion a year on the French government and companies.
[Well, Bunky, that's the price of having robust consumer markets in the Automation Age.]
He said that someone who wants to work harder and
earn more should have the opportunity to do so.
[Only if they're working out of deflationary, qualitative incentive proved by their willingness to reinvest 100% of their overtime and overwork earnings in training and hiring. Sarkozy hasn't even begun to think through what he's talking about.]
France isn't the only European country looking to put its workers' noses to the grindstone. In Spain, the government caused a
cultural revolution last July proclaiming the abolishment of the siesta.
[Good grief, was this under Aznar or Zapatero?]
And Germany is pressuring unions to work longer
hours as well.
[Under clueless and base-betraying Schroeder.]
Research by ISR shows that the French are among the most dissatisfied workers in the world's richest economies. Only 55% say they have a satisfying job, compared with 65% of Americans. One of the main complaints: the workload. But
Maier's regimen is not easy. "Doing nothing ... is really hard," she writes. "You have to pretend you're busy all the time."
She's even prepared to take her message across the Atlantic. "The book will be translated into English," she says, "so I
might call upon the Americans as well to start being lazy!"
[Lord God, we need it most! Let's mine the synergies between it and Carl Honorés "In Praise of Slow" (or Slowness?).]
Not everyone has enjoyed the "mini-earthquake" - as one magazine called it - Maier's book has caused. EDF was not amused,
considering her an embarrassment to the company and to her fellow employees. The company wrote a letter to Maier accusing
her of reading newspapers while in meetings and leaving meetings before they finished.
She was called in for a disciplinary meeting in August, but that was postponed - Maier had already booked her vacation. Last
week she finally sat down with her bosses and discussed things. "There will be no sanctions, so that's a victory!" she says
Not that the whole affair is forgotten. "I'm a bit afraid what might happen now," she says. "I got the message that things
might get difficult for me at work. Well, let's see what will happen."
- Take time to sit back, relax and work up a taste for the easy life
The Scotsman, UK
WHEN Corinne Maier's book Hello Laziness - a manual on how to be lazy at
the office - became a "surprise" best-seller in France, the only shock from
this side of the Channel was that the French needed any help in slacking
[On the other hand, how stupid are the Brits/Scots who pioneered the Industrial Revolution but are still working as if it had never happened? Afraid of real freedom, free time? And how stupid are they for copying the worst of their American "colonies'" culture - and not getting rid of Blair who suckered them into Iraq on the leash of our monstrous utopian, Bush Jr?]
After all, our Gallic neighbours are generally seen as a somewhat work-shy
nation, with 35-hour weeks, a culture of long lunches and six-week summer holidays.
[And you, their Anglic neighbours, are leisure-shy, despite being surrounded by worksaving technology. This sounds a bit like sour grapes.]
Over here, we tend towards the work-obsessive side with the longest office hours in Europe and the shortest holidays. And, according to a recent
survey, even at the weekend we can't relax - almost a quarter of Britons
ruin their Sundays by working, worrying about work or feeling depressed
about the week ahead. Research has shown 40% of British managers
work more than 50 hours a week.
But according to Tom Hodgkinson, that's exactly why we need help shirking
our duties. The author of a new book, How To Be Idle, claims we should
celebrate laziness and battle the work ethic at every opportunity.
"It's good to be idle," Hodgkinson smiles. "It [overwork] is a natural
result of the competitive economy, religious guilt, capitalism and the
general desire of our governments to have a docile population.
"Apparently even the Italians are at it now - they're going to ban the
siesta," he sighs.
[This moron doesn't even know the siesta is Spanish, not Italian.]
After being happily sacked from a tabloid magazine in 1993, Hodgkinson decided to decamp to sleepy North Devon to launch The Idler magazine, and explore new and better ways to work and live.
And, according to Hodgkinson, the blissful culture of laziness - or simply taking time out to consider the flipside of the daily grind - has been criticised by modern society for too long.
"The idlers don't start wars, the idlers don't force their opinions on everyone else, so why should we [idlers] suffer?
"There's a revolution brewing and the great thing is that to join it, all you have to do is absolutely nothing."
["The sage does nothing, and yet nothing remains undone." - Lao Tzu.]
So what are the best ways to skive off [US: goof off] according to the experts?
Hodgkinson starts off with the best ways to wake up and ease into another
"It is a sad fact that from early childhood, we are tyrannised by the moral
myth that it is right, proper and good to leap out of bed the moment we wake
in order to set about some useful work as quickly and cheerfully as
possible," he laments.
He blames parents for starting off this brainwashing about the benefits of
early rising, followed by school timetables and, horror of horrors, the
dreaded alarm clock, which he dubs, "a device to make every day of our lives
start as unpleasantly as possible".
[Doesn't he have the order of events a bit backwards here?]
Rather than give in to the constant pressures to get up as early as
possible, Hodgkinson advocates lying in bed half awake - your morning
slumber time - as he believes that it stimulates creativity, gives you a
chance to get your thoughts in order and mentally prepares your mind for the
His top tip for lie-ins? Train children to get themselves up and prepare
their own breakfasts as soon as is humanly possible.
["Get your own Wheaties, OK, Cheerios, whatever...snore...." Oops, in Britain it's Bubble & Squeak = chance of major 'cock-up'. Do try to avoid the gout-inducing fried tomahtoes. But try the bread fried in bacon grease & slathered with jam.]
Of course, after that lie-in, you will now be late for work. So why bother going in at all? Maier, in her book, subtitled The Art and Importance of Doing as Little as Possible, suggests making use of every sick day possible.
Or change religion - the economist [why are we suddenly calling Maier an 'economist'??] who works for French electricity giant
EDF, whose book became a best-seller in France last month, advocates
converting to Islam or Judaism if that means being able to claim festivals
and holy days off.
But suppose, despite all efforts, you end up in the office after all. Now
you're actually at work, how do you avoid doing any?
Hodgkinson believes the real treat that comes from skiving is derived from
the knowledge that you are not working while everyone is toiling away.
"The idler wants to be throwing frisbees while the hordes are suffering,"
His tips include
Maier's suggestions include
- learning to delegate. If you can convince people that
doing your legwork is a fun and exciting activity, you can get the job done
with the minimum of effort and still get most of the credit.
Only ever schedule meetings at 11am, lunchtime or at 4pm - that way the
meetings can never be too long. The 11am meeting should never run into
lunch. After the lunch gathering, you can plot to leave early in exchange
for your precious lunchbreak. And the 4pm session is unlikely to go on much
And it could just be that a little slacking isn't all that bad for us. Life
coach Zoe Jones says it's important to take time out to reflect on what's
really important in your life.
pretending to be a smoker - no need to actually
light up, just hang about outside for five minutes every hour.
As for the
other 55 minutes in each hour - delegate. Maier's theory is that only
freelances, trainees and temps do any real work. And now that you've dropped
all the actual work on to someone else, what are you supposed to do?
As Maier says: "What you do is pointless. You can be replaced from one day
to the next by any cretin sitting next to you. So work as little as possible
and spend time - not too much if you can help it - cultivating your personal
network so that you're untouchable when the next restructuring comes
[Amen. Working on pompous CEOs' agendas is trivial compared to what each individual could be doing on their own agendas. The only thing supporting many CEOs' self-importance is their unhealthy overwork, or worse, their penchant for crisis management that requires them to inconspicuously but constantly CREATE crises in the first place.]
And she adds: "Never accept a position of responsibility for any reason.
You'll only have to work harder for what amounts to peanuts. Make a beeline
for the most useless positions [forward planning and strategy are the best,
apparently] where it is impossible to assess your contribution to the firm."
[This gal is a genius, a GENIUS!]
In fact, any role which is extremely specialised is good as no-one
understands what you do, so they can't criticise. And learn a lot of jargon.
But you still need to look important and busy - top tips for this include
always walking through the office building with a file in your hand. The
papers in it might be blank, but you'll look authoritative. And while you're
walking, do it quickly - it looks good and keeps questions from subordinates
and superiors at bay.
[This is hilarious. And true.]
AND take the file home with you, always being sure to visibly leave a few
minutes late - but don't actually open it at home.
Speak with authority but only on obvious and proven facts and subjects.
Agree with every decision and dress in corporate style; never instigate
changes or innovations, people might remember who you are and nominate you
for more work - or worse, suggest your name when the next round of
Take advantage of technology - e-mail timers, a standard feature in
Microsoft Outlook, let you send e-mails hours after you have gone to bed - a
painless way to suggest to the boss that you are burning the midnight oil.
You can also get calls forwarded to you so they follow you from place to
place throughout the day.
And don't forget those simple student favourites -
hide a novel inside a complicated work manual and make sure your computer
screen is angled so that no-one can see you're playing games.
If all this fails, Maier says: "If you absolutely must do some work, ensure
you do it at the slowest possible speed. Don't set yourself any dangerous
precedents by showing the boss you're a fast worker."
"Getting a good work-life balance is key to healthy living both mentally
and physically, but in day-to-day life we tend to get wrapped up in what's
expected of us rather than what we really want," she says.
"When you take time out from the daily routine you can really start to
re-evaluate what's important instead of being bogged down in the goals set
by your families, peers and society in general."
She points out that we all need to make sure that we have something to look
forward to in order to keep moving forwards. "Definitely take your holidays
from work - that's what they're there for. And look into working flexitime.
"Basically, it's about working smarter, not harder."
[Especially wedged, as we are, between the Age of Automation and the Age of Robotics.]
Municipalities, businesses that rely on airport fret over airline's plight
Pittsburgh Post Gazette, PA
By Teresa F. Lindeman, Pittsburgh Post-Gazette
When US Airways began cutting Saturday evening flights through Pittsburgh
several months ago, the staff's hours at Charlie Brown's Airport Parking
were shifted to the early morning and midday. But it could get a lot worse
if the airline is forced to liquidate, with reduced hours giving way to
layoffs for the 43 employees....
[Hey, apparently they tried to practice timesizing, not downsizing.]
Bethlehem Area library approves 2005 budget If City Council confirms $2.6
million plan, summer Saturday hours would return
Allentown Morning Call, PA
By Kathy Lauer-Williams and Bill Tattersall Of The Morning Call
The Bethlehem Area Public Library would open its doors again on Saturdays
next summer if Bethlehem City Council approves a 3% increase in
funding to the library.
State cutbacks last year forced the library to cut hours, but under the
library's proposed $2.6 million 2005 budget, the library will reopen its
doors Saturdays from June through August, as well as on election days,
Columbus Day and the day after Thanksgiving.
The budget was approved unanimously Monday by the Library Board....
Jack Berk, library executive director, said he is excited about reopening
summer Saturdays. He said it is frustrating seeing patrons trying to get
into the library when it's closed....
Berk said by bringing back 14 days [a summer], some of the staff whose hours were
slashed could get more work time.
[Apparently this library is one of the thousands of firms and agencies that practice timesizing, not downsizing when times get tough.]
However, staff that was lost last year
will not be restored....
[Well, OK, at least the timesizing reduced the amount of downsizing.]
Americans get plenty of sleep, watch lots of TV
San Diego Union Tribune, CA
By Andrea Hopkins
WASHINGTON The average American spent 8.6 hours a day sleeping last year,
only 3.7 hours working and had 5.1 leisure hours half of which was spent
watching television, a survey showed Tuesday.
The national study included everyone from working parents with almost no
free time to retirees and teenagers helping to explain why this "average"
day does not reflect anyone's actual day.
Working parents aged 25 to 54 appeared to have the longest day. They spent
eight hours a day working or commuting, slept for 7.5 hours, spent 2.6 hours
on leisure and sport, 1.3 hours caring for others and 1.1 hours on
housework. The rest of the day was spent eating, shopping, grooming or on
The telephone survey of 21,000 people over the age of 15, conducted
throughout 2003 for the Dept. of Labor, is the first national survey of
time use in the United States and offers a treasure trove of statistics. For
the study, respondents were asked to recount 24 hours of activity from the
The results confirm the suspicions of many that women do more work around
the home than men even when both work full time. On an average day, 84
percent of women and 63% of men did housework, cooked, cared for the
lawn or managed household finances. Women also spent more time on housework,
at 2.3 hours a day compared with 1.3 hours for men.
But men put in more hours of paid work, the survey showed, working 8.0
hours compared to the women's average of 7.1 hours. Part of that difference
is because women are more likely to work part time. But even among full-time
workers, men worked a bit longer 8.3 hours versus 7.7 hours for women.
ANYTHING GOOD ON?
The average American had 5.1 hours a day for leisure, half of which was
spent watching television, the survey found. The typical person also spent
41 minutes socializing, 22 minutes reading, 20 minutes on sports or
recreation, 20 minutes relaxing and thinking, 17 minutes playing games,
often on the computer, and 31 minutes on other leisure activities.
Men typically had more leisure than women, with 5.4 hours compared to 4.8
hours. Those with children under the age of six had the least time off at
4.0 leisure hours.
The survey counted time use mainly according to "primary activity" so
that if you watched television while you ironed clothes or ate dinner, only
one activity was counted.
The one exception was for child care, which could be a primary or secondary
activity. Women spent more time caring for kids than men, at 1.7 hours
versus 0.8 hours.
Perhaps not surprisingly, a working mom with a child under 6 got less sleep
and free time than a stay-at-home mom, but the homemaker spent nearly twice
as much time caring for others and working around the home.
Travel time was counted with whatever activity was involved so that a
commute was included in work time, while shuttling the kids to soccer was
part of child care.
Sex was counted under a larger "personal care" category rather than as a
leisure activity and was not quantified.
Economists and social scientists hope the study can be used as a first step
toward putting a dollar amount on unpaid work to help measure total economic
output, income and productivity as well as gauge Americans' quality of
As it currently stands, U.S. gross domestic product rises when a family
puts a child in day care or sends their shirts to the dry-cleaner, and falls
if they cancel day care or do their own laundry even though the same
amount of work is done in both examples.
- Morale high despite war, study finds -
But 2003 survey notes Army units are an exception
MarineTimes.com, United States
By Vince Crawley
Times staff writer
Troops are working longer hours and deploy more often than in the recent
past, but a Pentagon survey taken during the height of last autumn's Iraq
insurgency still showed high morale and increased satisfaction with military
One key exception: Soldiers, bearing the brunt of the Iraq campaign, show
declining desire to remain in uniform compared with a July 2002 survey,
taken during the lull between the Afghanistan and Iraq invasions. Slightly
fewer airmen also said they were likely to stay in. On the other hand, a
growing number of sailors and Marines said they would like to stay in
An increasing number of troops - 35% - also said their spouses or
"significant others" want them to leave active duty.
But 50% of service members report being "satisfied with the military
way of life," and another 12% said they were "very satisfied."
Results of the active-duty survey are markedly different from the findings
of a recent survey of reservists, taken in May, which showed widespread
declining morale in reserve units, regardless of whether they were
The Status of Forces Survey is administered regularly by the Defense
Manpower Data Center and is used by policy-makers to gauge attitudes of
For example, Pentagon deputy personnel chief Charles Abell said his staff
constantly monitors data to look for eroding re-enlistment rates or other
signs that the extensive pace of combat deployments is undermining the
all-volunteer force. The Iraq operation has involved hundreds of thousands
of service members in the largest sustained combat mission since the Vietnam
Results of the November 2003 survey were provided by the Defense Manpower
Data Center at the request of Marine Corps Times. Findings include:
Overall, 62% of service members said they were satisfied "with the
military way of life," while 18% were not. The overall satisfaction
rate was one percentage point higher than in the July 2002 survey.
However, last fall's survey showed a slight decline in satisfaction among
soldiers, with 56% saying they were satisfied and 24% saying
they were not. Airmen were the most satisfied, at 71%.
Service members said they worked beyond their "normal duty day" an average
of 111 days in the previous year, compared with 87 days in the 12 months
before the survey in July 2002.
Soldiers reported working long days most often, an average of 136. Sailors
said they worked "overtime" an average of 90.6 days; Marines 124.5 days; and
airmen 93.9 days. All those figures were much higher than in 2002.
All told, 57% of service members said they were "likely" or "very
likely" to remain on active duty, versus 58% in 2002.
In the 2002 survey, 28% of service members said their "spouse,
girlfriend or boyfriend" supported their leaving active duty.
In the November 2003 survey, on which the question was worded slightly
differently, 35% said their spouse or "significant other" favored
them leaving active duty.
Volkswagen, Bilfinger Urge Wage Cut; Unions See Blow to Economy
German companies such as Volkswagen AG, the
country's biggest carmaker, and Bilfinger Berger AG, the second-largest
builder, are demanding pay cuts and longer hours from almost 1 million
workers to boost flagging earnings.
Volkswagen, based in Wolfsburg, Germany, starts negotiations today in an
attempt to freeze wages for more than 100,000 employees, with the aim of
lowering costs by 30% through 2011. Talks to force about 800,000
construction workers to put in longer hours entered a third round this week,
after Siemens AG and DaimlerChrysler AG workers agreed to work more earlier
"I can't think of concessions on this scale since World War II," said
Joerg Hinze, an economist at the HWWA in Hamburg, one of six research
institutes that compile twice-yearly economic reports for the German
government. "We are only at the beginning of a long process. Pressure on
workers will increase."
The German attempt to improve productivity is spreading across Europe.
Alitalia SpA, Italy's state-controlled airline, is demanding cost savings,
while France wants to relax the 35-hour work hours amid economic growth
that's lagging the U.S. and Asia.
Unions say agreements such as those at Munich-based Siemens and Stuttgart,
Germany-based DaimlerChrysler, both of which won wage concessions and
longer hours after threatening to move jobs out of Germany, may set back the
economic recovery. German domestic demand unexpectedly contracted in the
"Companies see wages only as costs, but they also mean purchasing power,"
said Hartmut Meine, chief negotiator for the IG Metall trade union, which is
negotiating with Volkswagen.
Companies' leverage is increasing as unemployment rises and union
membership wanes. Between 1980 and 2000, union membership dropped to 25% in Germany. It declined to 10% of the workforce from 18% in France.
Volkswagen would slash some 30,000 German jobs unless workers accept a pay
freeze, dismissing a union demand for a 4% increase, Stefan Ohletz, a
company spokesman, said last week. The company aims to preserve 176,544 jobs
Shares of Volkswagen have slumped 22.5% the past year, lagging the
DAX Index's 12.4% gain. The company in July cut its 2004 earnings
target amid "weak demand" and rising oil prices. Earnings last year
slumped to 1.095 billion euros ($1.34 billion) from 2.58 billion euros in
the year-earlier period.
State-owned Alitalia is trying to eliminate 5,000 jobs and split the
airline in two to save 1 billion euros. The Rome-based company said last
month it has only enough cash to last through September and faces
liquidation if unions don't agree to Chief Executive Giancarlo Cimoli's plan
by Sept. 15.
Volkswagen, which has negotiated separate agreements from the nationwide
union accords, pays its workers about 20% more than competitors,
according to Robert Heberger, an analyst at Merck Finck & Co. He has a
"sell" rating on the company.
At 27.09 euros ($33.29) per hour, western German manufacturing wage costs
were some 36% higher last year than hourly costs in the U.S., 45% higher than in the U.K. and seven times above the level in
neighboring Poland, according to the industry- sponsored IW economic
institute in Cologne.
German builders, reeling from a decade of declining demand during which
they almost halved employment, want workers to spend up to three hours more
per week on construction sites without extra pay to save 7% in wage
costs. In exchange, the employers may discuss measures to guarantee
"We're not even discussing wage increases anymore," said Herbert Bodner,
chief executive officer of Bilfinger Berger, Germany's second-largest
builder, in an interview.
The Mannheim-based company's net income was unchanged in the second quarter
at 13 million euros. Its shares have climbed 14.6% in the past year.
Since 1970, hours per worker in the European Union have dropped 17%,
more than five times the rate in the U.S., according to the Organization for
Economic Cooperation and Development in Paris. German employees put in an
average 1,446 hours last year and their French counterparts worked 1,453
hours, about a fifth less than workers in the U.S.
French Finance Minister Nicolas Sarkozy has advocated loosening the
country's 35-hour work week law to increase employees' earnings and reduce
A 35-hour work week "isn't feasible, given the enormous use of capital
that we have," said Hans-Juergen Thaus, chief financial officer of
Neutraubling, Germany-based Krones AG, the world's largest maker of
packaging and bottling machines.
[Nonsense, a 35-hour workweek and shorter is imperative in the Age of Automation for the activation of the consumer base. CFO Thaus is another tunnel-vision executive who looks at productivity and investment without relation to markets and demand.]
Krones, whose second-quarter net income rose 1.1%, plans to move a
"considerable" part of its production to the Czech Republic if talks fail
on extending the work week for some 6,000 employees with union contracts and
linking extra pay to performance, Thaus said. Krones produces almost
exclusively in Germany and exports about 80% of its machines.
To contact the reporter on this story:
Christian Baumgaertel in
Frankfurt at email@example.com.
Don't let Bush take away workers' overtime
Austin American-Statesman, TX
Dan Getman and Julius Getman, LOCAL CONTRIBUTORS
John Kerry needs to keep moving beyond Vietnam and remind voters that he's a
Democrat - and that Democrats are willing to fight for the rights of
workers. The issues are there, waiting to be addressed. American workers are
losing jobs, income and medical benefits while corporate executive salaries
aided by a massive tax cut have soared to record highs.
But the worst is yet to come if, as seems likely, the Bush administration's
new overtime policies move from regulations to reality. These regulations,
which the administration is insisting on despite votes against them in both
houses of Congress, will gut the protections of the Fair Labor Standard Act.
They will reduce income, cost jobs and, most importantly, take away free
time from workers - all on a massive scale.
Until now, the Fair Labor Standards Act has guaranteed time-and-a-half pay
for most employees who work more than 40 hours a week. Current laws limit
the types of employees that employers may treat as salaried and "exempt"
from the overtime laws to "professional" employees, such as professors,
scientists, lawyers, "executives" and "administrative" employees who run
businesses. These employees stand to benefit from longer workweeks in other
ways (they frequently receive benefits such as tenure, high salaries,
commissions, and bonuses that compensate, albeit imperfectly, for the
sometimes longer workweek).
The new regulations will expand the list of those who can be paid a salary
and exempted from overtime to lower-middle-class and middle-class workers
who get no such alternative benefits. Virtually every assistant manager of
every convenience store and retail outlet in the county will become exempt.
Employers will be able to shift workers to a salary of $23,600, then demand
unlimited overtime with no additional compensation. What a [short-sighted] blessing for
employers - more hours of work at less cost. This is the very abuse that
FLSA was meant to prevent.
What employer, particularly in these difficult economic times, will be able
to resist the allure of free labor? One can only conclude that the very
purpose of the Bush administration's proposed overtime overhaul is a
generous gift to employers of workers' time and sweat. Current estimates are
that 6 million additional workers will lose the protections of the overtime
law (though most will not be shifted over until after the election).
Salaried employees who do not have special credentials are easy targets for
abuse. We know of salaried employees who are forced to work up to 120 hours
per week for their employers - the equivalent of three full-time jobs.
Unless the Congress and the next president act together to prevent these
changes, excessive workweeks will become the norm. Unions are known as "the
folks who gave you the weekend." The Bush administration will be known as
the folks who took it back.
The administration claims to be pro-family. But if the new rules are allowed
to stand, employees in two-wage earner families will find the previously
difficult task of juggling child care and work time well nigh impossible.
Both parents and children will suffer.
In addition, workforce reductions will inevitably ensue. An employer who has
two 40-hour employees will be tempted to fire one and have the other cover
both jobs. Such action would unfortunately make economic sense to employers
devoted to the bottom line.
Many in Congress are rightly concerned about the devastating effect the
changes will have on individual constituents and on the economy as a whole.
The federal overtime law has been one of the bedrock protections of our
family and social life. Lying below the surface, it is not always recognized
for being one of the foundations of a civilized social order. But it is.
Even many Republicans have been wary of the potential political fallout from
taking away overtime protections that have been in place since 1938. The
Bush administration has given its largest campaign donors millions of hours
of free labor each week. This "gift" is really a "theft" of working people's
free time. John Kerry needs to speak out and bring this impending labor
crisis to the forefront of public consideration.
Julius Getman is a labor law scholar at the University of Texas School of
Law; Dan Getman is an attorney in New Paltz, N.Y., representing employees on
One of Chicago's darkest moments remembered by permanent memorial
By Frank Mathie
The Haymarket riot of 1886 is considered to be one of
the most significant events in Chicago's history. In a clash between
protesters and police eleven people were killed. Later four men went to the
gallows for a crime they didn't commit. Today, a memorial to that tragedy
was dedicated just west of the Loop.
The Haymarket memorial by Chicago artist Mary Brogger sits on the very spot
where the tragedy took place in 1886 at Des Plaines and Randolph. And today,
just as 118 years ago, different groups are represented. Some people calling
themselves anarchists are there, so is labor and, of course, the police. And
it's all about that sculptured wagon and freedom of speech.
"The wagon is a reference to the historical fact that there was a wagon at
this site and was used on the evening of May 4th for the speakers to stand
up on and address the crowd," said Mary Brogge, artist.
May 4, 1886 was a powder keg of an evening with three different forces
clashing - the force of a young labor movement, the force of freedom of
speech and the force of the Chicago Police Dept..
Workers had been protesting for an eight hour day when it happened. The
police moved in to disperse the crowd and a bomb was thrown. Seven police
officers died and four workers in the crowd were killed. Just six months
later four innocent men, as it turned out, were hanged. But out of this
complex tragedy came some good.
"That memorial behind us stands for the eight hour day and the forty hour
work week," said Dennis Gannon, Pres. Chicago Federation of Labor.
There has always been a controversy about a memorial there. The police said
it should honor those seven officers but now time has healed some of those
"A lot of those wounds need to heal and time has taken care of most. But we
will never lose the memory of the sacrifices that were made by those police
officers," said Mark Donahue, Pres. Federation of Police.
By the way, just twenty feet from the new memorial is the original
cobblestone alley where it all began.
- Alitalia pilots agreed, pointer blurb (to B10), WSJ, front page.
...to nearly double their  annual flying hours [how safe is that?] and accept a paycut in an effort to keep the airline in business.
[Target article's headline -]
Alitalia pilots make concessions giving a big lift to rescue plan, by Luca di Leo, Dow Jones via WSJ, B10.
- Canadians voice concerns about tractor trailer trucks: Ipsos-Reid survey -
half of Canadians think that Canada's roads and highways are becoming less safe - The number of tractor-trailer trucks on Canada's roads and highways is "a problem" and causes drivers stress - According to Canadians, the number of hours truck drivers spend driving a week are too high, CNW Telbec (Communiqués de presse), Canada.
OTTAWA, Canada - According to a new Ipsos-Reid survey conducted
on behalf of Canadians for Responsible and Safe Highways (CRASH), half of
Canadians (54%) think that Canada's roads and highways are becoming less
safe and many Canadians (68%) point to the number of tractor-trailer trucks
on Canada's roads and highways as "a problem."
CRASH President, Harry Gow, says the public is anxious when driving in
the presence of big transport rigs. "Truck drivers", says Gow, "are doing
their best and are mostly good drivers and responsible people. But they are
under tremendous pressure to go the extra distance. They are running
marathons and then being pushed to run two more miles. The general public is
right to ask, is the transport driver behind me alert?"
The Ipsos Reid poll found that wide majorities of Canadians agree with
the two statements that "the number of tractor-trailers on the road today
increases the level of stress felt by drivers of passenger vehicles" (75%)
and that "drivers of passenger vehicles drive more erratically when they
feel stressed or threatened by tractor-trailers on the road" (80%).
There is no consensus over which issues the government should focus its
attention towards to increase the safety of Canada's roads and highways when
it comes to tractor trailer trucks - but many want the government to focus
on the "maintenance and safety record of trucking firms" (34%) and the
"hours that truck drivers are allowed to drive" (30%).
However, the overwhelming majority of Canadians voice concerns about the
long hours truck drivers spend driving on the road: Nine in ten Canadians
(92%) agree with the statement that "the long hours that truck drivers can
be required to work place too much stress on them", and 85% disagree with
the statement that "longer driving hours for truckers do not put other
drivers on the road at risk".
On average, Canadians estimate that truck drivers spend 16 hours too
many on the road on a weekly basis. This is measured in the difference
between the hours that Canadians believe truckers currently drive (61 hours
on average) and the hours that Canadians say is appropriate for truckers to
drive on a weekly basis (45 hours on average).
The poll found eight in ten Canadians (82%) in favour of a rule
requiring that all trucks be equipped with electronic devices to record
actual driving hours.
"Government", says Gow, "is not listening to the public. They are
proposing new rules, which will increase the hours worked week in and week
out by transport drivers. Instead of listening to the public, the federal
government, in cahoots with the trucking industry, is trying to fool people
into believing that the new rules will address driver fatigue, when it is
only likely to get worse. The federal government's refusal to mandate black
boxes, a measure that would allow for better enforcement of hours of service
regulations, shows a lack of commitment to safety."
The Ipsos-Reid/Canadians for Responsible and Safe Highways (CRASH) poll
was conducted from August 27th to August 30th, 2004. For the survey, a
representative randomly selected sample of 1000 adult Canadians were
interviewed by telephone. With a sample of this size, the results are
considered accurate to within (+/-) 3.1 percentage points, 19 times out of
20, of what they would have been had the entire adult Canadian population
been polled. The margin of error will be larger within regions and for other
sub- groupings of the survey population. These data were weighted to ensure
the sample's regional and age/sex composition reflects that of the actual
Canadian population according to the 2001 Census data.
For further information: please contact: Harry Gow, President, CRASH,
(819) 827-0157 or (800) 530-9945; For more detailed information on the poll,
please contact: Alexandra Evershed, Vice-President, Ipsos-Reid, Public
Affairs, (613) 241-5802; For full tabular results, please visit www.ipsos.ca.
News Releases are available at: http://www.ipsos-na.com/news/.
- Blair urged to reject the American model, by John Steele, telegraph.co.uk
The Government's record on workers' rights was heavily criticised by trade union leaders yesterday, who urged Tony Blair to
reject an American-style, deregulated labour market and embrace the European "social model" of employment protections.
On the day the Prime Minister attended the TUC annual conference in Brighton, several leading trade unionists voiced their
continued implacable opposition to "anti-union" laws created by previous Tory administrations.
Unions believe the Labour Government, ostensibly a pro-European administration, is trying to distance itself from "social"
elements of European law which would offer improved job security and safety, and trade union rights, in Britain.
There remains deep concern that the Government is attracted to an American-style approach to unions, in which labour
"flexibility" is vital and rights and protections are a low priority.
They have accused the Government of clinging "desperately" to the right to opt out of key directives. Unions are
particularly keen to see an end to the opt out on the 48-hour working week directive and another ensuring rights for agency
The TUC believes the European constitution is being "spun" as a framework which will not affect British labour laws.
However, it has recently commissioned a legal report which suggests it might provide grounds for challenging some British
Brendan Barber, the TUC general secretary, in his speech to the conference, said: "It is not exaggeration to say that we
stand at a defining moment. On the one hand we have the American model - deregulation, casual hire and fire, minimal levels
of social welfare, long working hours. An economy in which trade unionism is under constant attack from corporate
leaderships desperate to deny people a voice.
"Vast wealth is generated for sure but look how it's divided - obscene wealth for a few sitting alongside desperate poverty
for too many. "The alternative for which we have to be the standard bearer in this hugely important battle of ideas is the
model we have developed in Europe, based on secure welfare states, social partnership and a strong framework of rights."
TUC delegates demanded, among other things, protection from sacking for workers who take lawful strike action, including
secondary industrial action.
The mood was summed up by Tony Woodley, general secretary of the Transport and General Workers' Union, who said it was
"incredible" that unions were still demanding rights which were enjoyed by workers elsewhere in Europe.
"It's also incredible that a Labour foreign secretary should rush home to a CBI conference to re-assure the bosses that
Thatcher's laws are not for changing."
This was a reference to the deep union anger at reports that Jack Straw had re-assured the Confederation of British
Industry that the European constitution's social element would have no practical effect on British labour laws.
Mr Woodley said that under current employment laws workers were being sacked by text message, others were "robbed" of their
pensions and employees were forced to work long hours or take low pay.
Digby Jones, the CBI director general, said: "I think this is terribly sad and utterly irrelevant to the modern world of
work. The unions are looking into the dustbin of history."
[Excuse us. If employers are pushing for a return to long working hours in the Automation Age, they're the ones looking into the dustbin of history, not unions.]
- UK unions close ranks with Blair as election nears (update1),
Sept. 13 (Bloomberg) - U.K. union leaders say they will try to win votes
for Prime Minister Tony Blair at today's Trades Union Congress, softening
criticism of his policies to help the Labour Party win an unprecedented
third consecutive general election.
"There is a sense of people coming together and rallying together now that
an election is not that far away," said Brendan Barber, the TUC's general
secretary, in an interview in his London office. "There is now a shared
agenda being established."
Blair is scheduled to address the TUC's 70 member unions, representing 7
million workers, later today in Brighton. The GMB, Britain's fourth-biggest
union with 700,000 members from plumbers to public employees, withdrew
funding for Labour in July. The largest government workers' union, the
Public and Commercial Services Union, yesterday announced plans to call a
strike ballot for a one-day protest on Nov. 5 against job cuts.
The support of the TUC would help Blair's election effort by mustering
votes, campaign volunteers and funding. TUC unions provided 80% of
Labour funds in 2001, the last election year. Their backing may help Blair
raise his party's share of the vote from the 90-year low of 22%
scored in European Parliament elections in June.
Labour was founded in 1900 at a conference hosted by the TUC with the
purpose of examining how to better represent the interests of workers in
Parliament. Unions controlled 90% of the votes on party decisions,
including the leadership, until 1993, when Labour changed to a system of one
vote per member.
"The relationship between trade union members and the Labour Party is a
crucial one," said Labour Parliamentarian Peter Pike, vice-chairman of a
group of legislators who are members of the GMB. "Their involvement in the
party as workers helping us in elections, knocking on doors and delivering
leaflets, is something I don't take for granted."
After taking over leadership of the Labour Party in 1994, Blair removed a
clause in the party's charter calling for the nationalization of companies.
He returned the Labour Party to power in 1997, after 18 years in opposition.
Blair continued the previous Conservative government's policies of selling
state-owned companies to private investors and refused to raise spending
above the Conservatives' two-year plan. Labour won re-election in 2001.
Labour's popularity among voters has fallen by 7 percentage points in the
past year, according to a Populus poll last week. The survey, which had a
margin of error of 3 percentage points, put Labour support at 32%,
down from 39% last year and 2 points above the Conservatives. Populus
interviewed a random sample of 1,009 adults between Sept. 3 and Sept. 5.
In the agenda for today's meeting, unions are calling on Blair to limit the
work week to 48 hours, in line with European Union legislation, and are
demanding more spending on health care and education and tougher measures
against gender discrimination in the workplace. They are also urging Blair
to force companies to make pension payments of at least 10% of
Unions have a better chance of achieving some of those goals with the
Labour Party than under a government led by the Conservatives' Michael
Howard, said Ed Sweeney, general secretary of Unifi, the largest union for
"It's just practical politics - I'd rather be inside the tent than
outside it," Sweeney said in an interview. "I simply don't want a Tory
government," he said, referring to the Conservatives.
Support at a Price
The support this week from Barber's TUC probably comes at the price of
"substantial commitments as to legislation," said Gerald Dorfmann, a
professor in British politics at Stanford University.
Dorfmann said union leaders may also hope Blair will cede his post to his
Chancellor of the Exchequer Gordon Brown, whom they see as a better
representative of their interests, soon after the election that Blair will
probably call in the next 12 months, according to his party.
"On issues related to the quality of working life, on working time, on all
of these issues an understanding has now begun to take shape," Barber said.
"Unions expect the Labour party to keep its word."
Unions say Blair has failed to promote workers' interests as much as they
expected when they helped him win power in 1997, ousting the Conservatives,
who passed laws curbing unions' rights under Margaret Thatcher's leadership.
The TUC "is extremely concerned at the failure to repeal Tory anti-union
laws," the Transport and General Workers' Union said in the TUC's
preliminary agenda. The union wants Blair to expand workers' rights to join
unions and to strike.
'Dialogue With the Deaf'
As many as 290,000 government workers may stage a one-day walkout in
protest at government job cuts, after the Public and Commercial Services
Union yesterday called for a strike ballot from Oct. 1 to Oct. 22. The union
is demanding guarantees that no public workers will be fired and no moregovernment work will be contracted out to private companies. It also wants a
reversal of government plans to raise the retirement age to 65 from 60.
"We can only solve these problems with dialogue," said Mark Serwotka, the
union's general secretary, at a press conference in Brighton. "But talking
to the government is like a dialogue with the deaf."
Blair's government is trying to appease unions with policies that include
improving public services. Brown in March pledged to raise education
spending by 33% and health spending by 22% through the fiscal
year ending April 2008.
At the TUC's 2002 conference, Blair warned the unions against withholding
support for his party.
"It happened before: in 1948, in 1969, in 1979," he said in a speech.
"The result then was the folding of the Labour Government and the return of
a Tory Government. Not this time. It will just be less influence with the
same Labour Government."
Even so, support from unions may be more muted than in past elections,
Dorfman said. Barber has committed to funding 3 million pounds ($5.4
million), according to Labour party chairman Ian McCartney, short of the 8
million pounds the TUC raised for the 2001 elections.
Union leaders say Labour needs their backing for more than just funding.
"All the money in the world will not put people on the ground in the
constituencies," said Sweeney. "You need people on the ground."
To contact the reporter on this story:
Alexander Hanrath in London at firstname.lastname@example.org.
- [Here's another article about beating around the bush instead of directly addressing the management problem of employment overload -]
The way to a more productive employee may be through the gym,
by Stephanie Waite, AP via Wilkes Barre Times-Leader, PA.
CORAOPOLIS, Pa. - You might be forgiven for raising an eyebrow when
employees at GlaxoSmithKline in Moon Township tell you how hard they work.
Listen to them talk about the onsite, fully equipped, trainer-staffed
fitness center, the cafeteria with entrees such as meatloaf with tomato and
mushroom gravy, the ice cream socials, the midday aerobics classes, the
walking teams that scoot around the building during working hours, and you
just might think these folks have got it made.
They do have it good, employees say. But they also work very, very hard, for
very long hours, at very tough jobs.
All the perks, far from distracting them from their jobs, only feed their
passion to do their jobs well.
"I look at it as productivity," said Mark Saunders, senior marketing manager
at GlaxoSmithKline, who uses the gym regularly for strength workouts. "I'm
more productive and creative because I work out here. It really makes you
energetic and sharp. Especially in winter, this keeps my engine going."
Scientists and business people think he's right. Research has shown that
physically active employees are more productive and help lower employers'
health care costs. Employers are realizing that helping employees get fit
helps the bottom line.
Researchers at the University of Michigan who studied 23,500 healthy General
Motors employees found that annual health care costs averaged $2,300 for
sedentary normal-weight employees and $3,000 for sedentary obese employees.
But costs for physically active obese employees dropped $300 to $400 a year.
Obese employees have more difficulty getting along with co-workers, and miss
significantly more work days, according to another study, in the January
2004 Journal of Occupational and Environmental Medicine. Physically fit
workers, by contrast, do more, better quality work.
A survey by the National Business Group on Health found that 56% of
employers offering fitness programs found higher worker morale as a result.
27% attributed reduced health care costs to the programs.
Employers' interest in workers' fitness has grown gradually every year since
fitness became a craze in the 1970s, said Bill Parise, executive director of
the YMCA of Beaver County.
Several Beaver County companies pay for employees' YMCA memberships, Parise
said. About 50 others, from large concerns to five-person firms, pay for
corporate memberships, which entitles their employees to 15% off
Still others bring employees in for team-building volleyball or basketball
games, or reserve spots for their workers at the YMCA's child-care center.
"Companies understand that healthier employees are better employees," Parise
GlaxoSmithKline opened its onsite fitness center when it moved into a new
building in Moon Township about two years ago. A British multinational
health care company, GlaxoSmithKline's consumer health care business is
based in Moon, where it employs about 500.
The company's emphasis on fitness comes from the top, said Joyce Hrynewich,
human resources manager.
Top executives hit the fitness center regularly.
GlaxoSmithKline purchased the equipment, and contracts with Falls Church,
Va.-based L&T Health and Fitness to run the center. Employees pay $25 a
month, through payroll deduction, to use the center; about 30% are
members. It's a break-even proposition for the company, Hrynewich said.
Besides a full range of cardiovascular machines and weights, and a full
locker room, the fitness center also offers daily classes, in step aerobics
or body sculpting, for example.
Last winter, the gym sponsored a Winter Weight Busters program, with 17
teams of five people each competing to see who could lose the most weight.
They lost a combined total of 736 pounds, despite the sabotage efforts of
teams that sent boxes of Krispy Kreme doughnuts to rival teams.
Teams with names like "Pavement Pounding Divas" are competing in the current
"Summer Size Your Body" to see who can be the first to walk the distance
from Pittsburgh to Myrtle Beach, S.C. Two times around the building is one
mile, and it's not uncommon to see employees making the circular trek during
GlaxoSmithKline's attitude assumes employees act professionally, and do not
abuse their privileges.
"We let people have the freedom to get the job done on their own terms,"
Hrynewich said. "You get so much more in return."
For example, the company doesn't have a problem with absenteeism; workers
average fewer than three days of sick time a year. Turnover has averaged
about 3% over the last seven to nine years.
Employees are grateful that they're given so much freedom, and respond by
putting in extra hours when necessary, Saunders said.
[In emergencies is fine, but some managers are "walking emergencies" and if there isn't one, they create it. Result? Chronic overtime.]
"It is an extremely challenging place to work,"...Saunders
said. "We have to create a culture that gets the most out of people."
"The expectations are extraordinarily high, and people work extraordinarily
hard," Hrynewich said.
[Yeah, 'high' of employees and low of employers' scheduling skills.]
"It's not unusual for people to put in 50-hour-plus
work weeks. This is what the company gives back."
[Great. The company throws you tokens while your life hemorrhages away on their hackeneyed agendas.]
Having the fitness center onsite makes it easier for him to have a life
outside work, Saunders said.
[Some people have pretty limited definitions of "life outside work."]
He works out right after the workday ends, then
goes home and is free to devote himself to friends, family or hobbies.
[IF there's any time left after his 50-hour-plus workweeks.]
Since he already gets a cardiovascular workout playing sports, he wanted to
concentrate on building muscle at the gym. A personal trainer at the gym
designed a workout schedule that outlines specific exercises and repetitions
for Saunders, concentrating on a different muscle group every day.
The gym is a great recruitment tool, Hrynewich said. But unlike much of the
corporate world, it's not unheard of for people to stay at GlaxoSmithKline
for 20 or 30 years.
Having the gym on site helps even the veterans keep a young attitude,
"We're energetic," he said. "We embrace change."
[However, "we" don't seem to be very energetic about embracing the greater amount of free time that worksaving technology grants us, do "we."]
- Post labor-day reflections,
by Joe Ramsey, The Tufts Daily, MA.
As Labor Day has passed us by and we scramble into the fall semester, it
seems appropriate to stop and reflect on the meaning of this
seldom-celebrated holiday. Too often Labor Day is just another long weekend,
the last chance to get away before the leaves begin to turn. But in addition
to being a chance to fire up the grill, Labor Day presents us with a time to
recognize the long and continuing struggles of workers, in our own Tufts
community, around the U.S. and around the world.
After all, though seldom acknowledged, the labor movement has fought for
and won many rights and social and economic benefits that Americans now take
for granted. These rights include but are not limited to the 5-day, 40-hour
workweek with mandatory overtime pay, minimum wage, unemployment and
workplace disability insurance, social security, workplace safety standards,
the prohibition of child labor, free public education, and the right to form
In spite of all its accomplishments, today labor rights are under assault
from big business, union-busting law firms, "conservative" and anti-labor
lawmakers and judges. Furthermore, globalization has fostered an intense
race to the bottom that encourages competing firms to throw unionized
workplaces overboard as they seek out cheaper - non-union - labor-power
abroad, often in Third World countries where tyrannical political regimes
and right-wing paramilitaries systematically repress labor rights. (Such
films as Michael Moore's Roger and Me have detailed the local effects of
this de-industrialization of America's union heartland.)
Indeed, recent decades have seen a dramatic decline in union membership in
the U.S., with predictable repercussions for American workers and U.S.
society. At present, only around 15% of private sector workers are
union members, down from around 40% in 1960. This fall in union
membership has precipitated a fall in real wages in the U.S. for a majority
of wage-earners, as well as a dramatic increase in the percentage of
Americans without health insurance, a lengthening of the average American
work-week, and a rise in work-place injuries.
[We would argue that the orginal fall in union membership was itself precipitated by unions' failure to stay "on issue" and get the workweek adjusted downward as worksaving technology flooded in, threatening a labor surplus. That threat came true and kept coming truer and truer. The mounting labor surpluses and numbers of un- and under-employed raised job insecurity and depressed wages and benefits. Employees lost power, and unions, useless once they lost control of worktime per person, lost "market share."]
(It has also, I should note, been accompanied by sky-rocketing stock prices and corporate profits.)
[Well, this was true during the dot-com boom but stock prices are having a hard time getting much above the Dow 10,000 now, and any sky-rocketing corporate profits are as likely to result from creative accounting and CEO fraud as from reality. Generally, stock prices in the 1990s went up because labor surplus prevented ordinary employees from getting raises of the same scale and frequency as in the 50s and 60s, and all that extra money gushed up to the top to swell CEO pay and perks, which gone over 500 times that of ordinary employees in the U.S. The concentration of the national income has become so intense that the top brackets are actually cannibalizing their own consumer base and suctioning the spending power away from their own investment targets. There was a technology stock bubble in the late 90s when investors had nothing else to invest in, but now they're increasingly retreating to cash and thereby crafting a classic depression scenario. But our economic indexes have been defined to "externalize" so much of the bad news, that it will really take a "conk on the head" to make mainstream cheerleaders, oops, economists admit that we're in a long secular (not cyclical) and gradually deepening depression from which the only way out is national-income-centrifuging labor shortage, whether caused by war or engineered by timesizing.]
More generally, the increased exploitation of non-union labor has fueled an
unprecedented polarization of American society into rich and poor, with the
top 5% of households possessing over 60% of the country's
The decline in unionism has in turn opened the door for depleting the
hard-won rights of workers, like overtime pay, minimum wage, and the ability
to form unions in the first place. Recent years have also seen a steady
co-opting by big business of government agencies such as the Labor
Dept., the Occupational Safety and Health Agency (OSHA), and the
National Labor Relations Board (NLRB). Thus, more and more workers in their
attempts to unionize now encounter not only corporate threats to move
operations off-shore, not only high pressure and often illegal employer
anti-union campaigns, but also long bureaucratic delays that serve to
postpone laborers' rights even longer.
Hence, today many employers get away with such illegal tactics as
intimidating and even firing union activists and sympathizers. Other
employers, including our own Tufts administration, have endlessly appealed
union elections to prevent having to recognize a democratically elected
Indeed, universities in this country have been far from innocent bystanders
in this wholesale rolling back of labor rights. Increasingly conscious of
cutting costs, university administrators have done much to undermine unions.
At Tufts for instance, several years ago our administrators "out-sourced"
janitorial work, firing many of the long-time employees and bringing in an
outside contractor to maintain the campus for radically reduced wages and
without offering Tufts-employee benefits. This new corporate employer,
UNICCO, slashed worker wages and benefits dramatically. While the workers,
their union, and Tufts' Student Labor Action Movement (SLAM), have made
marginal gains in the treatment of our workers, Tufts' janitors are still
making less in real wages for their service today than the Tufts-employed
janitors were making 10-years ago.
Tufts administrators, of course, would like to wash their hands of the
matter, claiming that they do not actually employ the janitors any more at
all and that the issue of the janitors' conditions is strictly between
employees, their union, and their employer OneSource. Meanwhile, hundreds of
mostly immigrant Tufts/One Source custodians work two or three different
jobs to make ends meet, all the while fearful that if they raise their
voices too loudly for workplace rights they will be fired or even deported.
Such national university efforts to cut costs by cutting employees harm
more than just janitors. Indeed, as educational institutions strive to lower
labor costs wherever they can, they have been increasingly replacing
full-time, full-benefit, and tenure track professorships with part-time,
low-paying and often no-benefit, one year renewable adjunct positions or
graduate students. Recent studies have shown that more than half of all the
face-to-face teaching hours performed at U.S. universities are now being
performed by either adjunct faculty or by graduate students, not by
full-time, or tenure track professors.
Stay tuned for the continuation of this viewpoint, to be run on Wednesday,
Joe Ramsey is a PhD. student, a grader in the English Dept. and an
organizer for ASET/UAW, the Association of Student Employees at Tufts/United
Auto Workers, the group working to form a graduate student employee union atTufts.
- Companies are hedging their bets by hiring contingent employees, by Daniel Nasaw, WSJ, B10.
...Companies in white-collar industries such as technology, media and PR are hedging their bets by hiring "contingent" workers [who] typically work full-time for months for a single employer, collecting hoursly wages - but no benefits - from an outside staffing agency. Companies enjoy lower costs and the flexibility of easy layoffs. Indeed, at any given time, people in such "non-standard" work arrangements are nearly twice as likely to be unemployed one month later than traditional full-time workers, concludes an Oct.2003 report by the Economic Policy Institute, a Washington research organization..\..
[And CEOs expect people in this situation to be 'confident consumers'??]
Matthew Marlott should have been thrilled to land a $40,000 paralegal job with a major financial-services firm in New York in April. After all, he had been unemployed for more than six months. The catch: He received no health insurance, sick days, vacation or job security. "It's basically like you're a disposable worker," [he] says....
PR executive Aimee Grove...accepted a 2-month position with Allison & Partners, a San Francisco PR agency. [She] received a flat weekly fee with no benefits for working about 40 hours a week. After she completed her stint in April 2003, the firm hired her permanently.... Her compensation rose more than 10%, including benefits, although she works longer hours....
- Employers concerned over minimum wage rise, The Publican, UK.
The Confederation of British Industry (CBI) has spotlighted the hospitality
trade's fears over rises in the national minimum wage.
A survey by the employers' group found that pub, hotel and restaurant
companies top the list of those concerned about the effect on costs. Next
month sees the minimum hourly rate increase from £4.50 to £4.85.
The poll of 520 companies found that 25% thought the rise would
have a 'significant' effect on costs, with some planning to cut hours or
jobs in response.
The survey found that hospitality and retail employers had the biggest
concerns about absorbing the cost.
( Here's the current search pattern used by our backup, Ken Ellis - he's experimenting with four search runs because of erratic one-run behavior:
"work sharing", OR overwork, OR overworking, OR "work-sharing", OR
"job-sharing", OR "job sharing", OR "work week", OR workweeks, OR
"work-week", OR "work-weeks", OR "working week", OR "working weeks", OR
"work-time", OR "worktime", OR "decreases hours", OR "shorter schedule"
"cut hours", OR "cutting hours", OR "reduce hours", OR "reduced hours", OR
"reduces hours", OR "reducing hours", OR "hours reduction", OR "40 hour", OR
"40 hours", OR "forty hour", OR "forty hours"
"free time", OR "long hours", OR "extra hours", OR "long work", OR "long
days", OR "long workdays", OR "long workday", OR "decrease hours", OR
"decreased hours", OR "decreasing hours", OR "schedule reduction", OR Nucor,
OR "Lincoln Electric"
overtime -sports -coach -coaches -coaching -football -soccer -baseball
-olympics [on hold unless fewer than 10 stories from above] )
9/11-13/2004 primitive timesizing & worktime consciousness in the news = glimmers of strategic hope - all are 9/10-12 from GoogleNews & are searched-screened-collected by Alan Applebaum (AA) of Brookline MA with backup from *Ken Ellis (KE) of New Bedford MA (except #22 which is from 9/11-13 hardcopy, and Australian & Far East stories which are 9/11-13), and with excerpting and [commenting] by Phil Hyde (PH) unless otherwise initialed -
- 9/11 Must children do overtime to pay the household bills? Is extending school hours is really the way to help harassed working parents?,
by Muriel Gray, Sunday Herald, UK.
I'm confused. I thought this was the government that wanted parents to work
more flexible hours, to take stock of their family and work commitments and
use the legislation concerning part-time work and job sharing to see more of
their children. But with the Education Secretary Charles Clarke's
announcement that he plans to make schools in England and Wales stay open
from 8am to 6pm, to help harassed working parents who struggle to find good
childcare, the message seems rather different. Doesn't it rather imply that
he wants us all to work harder and longer?
The Enid Blyton image of the traditional British family, one where
pipe-smoking dad comes home from the office to floury-handed mum taking
scones from the oven, while apple-cheeked children sit in deep concentration
over their homework, is of course a ludicrous fiction. A huge percentage of
British children live in either single-parent families, or a family where
only one adult is their natural parent, and few couples of the rare
Blytonesque model now have the financial resources to be able to luxuriate
in one of them piddling around at home with scones while the other goes to
work to pay the bills.
So we can understand why Clarke is trying to help out those working parents
who feel they have no choice, those weary, stressed and guilty souls who
watch the clock like cobras, desperately time-managing pick-ups and
drop-offs like someone organising a royal wedding. There's no doubt that
dumping the children at 8am and then collecting them 10 hours later would at
least provide a comforting continuity of care, convenient geography for
parents whose childcare is a distance away from home and school, and much
more importantly a degree of safety and security that may be lacking in
other convoluted arrangements.
But is it so very wonderful for the children? This is a tough one. Those of
you with children, particularly of primary school age, will have noticed
something about school. It knackers them. The proposed extended hours are of
course to be filled with activities and play, and something else the
Education Secretary calls mere "supervision", although how one can supervise
33 tired and grumpy six-year-olds without giving them something diverting to
do remains a mystery. All terrific stuff on paper, but often the tiny wee
souls just want to come home, lie around on a carpet and watch a bit of TV,
or poke at something outside with a stick.
It's certainly true that all children are different, and those who run the
already existing breakfast and after-school clubs report that their tiny
charges seem content enough with the arrangements. The niggling concern is
that whilst these clubs exist to help out the most hard-pressed parents with
very few other choices, a culture of long school hours acting as free or
cheap childcare is inevitably going to attract the attention of another sort
of parent: parents who do have choices, but pick this as an appealing
opportunity to work longer, spending more time with reasonable, undemanding
colleagues, and less time dealing with unreasonable, demanding children at
Having so very little home life, maybe only half an hour in the morning to
get dressed and dropped off for breakfast at school, then two hours before
bedtime at night, is a pretty raw deal for children. One critic, Emma
Hutchinson, co-director of a charity that provides after-school music
lessons, has described Clarke's plans as "boarding schools without beds",
and you can see what she means.
And what about the teachers? Are there really huge sacks of extra cashavailable to ensure these already overworked individuals are properly
remunerated for all that extra "supervision", or will there be funds for a
whole new team of play leaders and qualified child carers to march in and
take over after 3.30pm? If so, wouldn't those funds be a little better spent
on providing the kind of key, essential educational resources so painfully
lacking in schools that headteachers have been begging the government to
provide for years?
Anyone who knows a teacher personally will testify to the fact that they
don't exactly drop the chalk at the end bell and head for the pub. The extra
work they do is substantial, often extends way into their personal time and
is often largely unrecognised or rewarded. But even in a fantasy world where
teachers shout hoorah at being required to work an even longer, harder day,
whilst their school still creaks under the financial restraints that
prevents it from serving their pupils' best interests, the key message of
Clarke's plan is the one that still seems rather disquieting. Under his
calm, parent-friendly proposals, why can I hear another voice saying: "Hey
you? Working too hard, too long to see much of your children? Then have more
free state childcare. Never mind the kids. You can always sew nametags into
the backs of their shirts so you remember what they're called. Now get back
to bloody work, you shower of slackers."
Fair enough, but how about this instead? The parents who are struggling are
probably doing so because their jobs don't pay enough to keep up with
utterly insane house prices, cope with the rocketing fuel bills that make
the onset of winter a real concern, or even begin to address the burden of
council taxes that take the breath away. The double-income family, juggling
their jobs and farming out their kids, is no longer solely the choice of
couples that want to enjoy a lavish lifestyle. For many it's the only way
they can keep a modest household going.
It would be a tad more comforting to hear plans from a government,
constantly bleating about parental choice and flexible working, about how
they might manage the economy more efficiently, to give those who wish to
lead a simple family life, taking care of their children as well as their
finances, a very real option instead of a pipe dream.
[The Big Question restated.]
- 9/11 Searching for Southern California's most overworked woman - A region wide contest to find the most overworked woman - Many women today
have two careers: one outside of the home, and one managing the home - They
are essentially working two full time jobs - This routine is pushing many to
prolonged periods of stress, leading to burn-out and other illnesses - Tired
women or people who love them, are invited submit a nomination to win a
restful weekend retreat, PRWEB via Emediawire (press release).
The Art of Rest - Retreats for Busy Women, today announced a regional contest to find Southern California's Most Overworked Woman.
The company seeks to bring attention to the detrimental effects of
prolonged periods of overwork and overload. Given time, overload can lead to
mental and physical exhaustion, sickness, weight-gain, weight-loss,
depression, anxiety, broken relationships, burn-out and more.
The contest will run from September 10-25 and is open to anyone
interested in submitting an entry at The Art of Rest website. Family
members, friends, co-workers & employees are all invited to nominate an
Often times the woman on the verge of burn-out is not always able to
acknowledge when she is reaching or has reached her limit.
A few of the signs of burn-out are:
"Like many behaviors, overworking becomes a habit, a way of being. If not
addressed it becomes a problem," said Jordan Mercedes, founder of The Art of
Rest. "I'm continually amazed at the lack of attention this issue gets.
It's as if we expect women to be super human; the sad part is that many
women expect that from themselves. They are often disappointed when they
cannot achieve it."
One reason women are overworked is they don't know where to go or how to
ask for help. They feel like they have to do it all alone.
"We want to be a part of the solution" says Mercedes. With that in mind The
Art of Rest is calling for businesses with goods and services that can help
busy women, to submit information for consieration in their new on-line
directory that will be available this winter. This is not an open call for
solicitation. Only those with valid resources will be included in the
directory. Services such as organizing, meal planning, and personal
assistance are a good fit.
The directory will be available for no charge at the website.
The top 10 contest winners will receive the "Art of Rest Gift Pack" which
includes practical resources that will help to create a more balanced life,
pampering products, 2-personal sessions with a Rest Coach and exclusive
benefits for upcoming retreats.
The first place winner will receive a weekend of rest at the October 1-3,
"What Turns You On! Reconnecting with Your Passion" retreat. This includes
two night stay (double occupancy) at a beautiful resort, five gourmet meals,
fitness classes, art session, personal coaching session and more. The winner
will be announced on Monday, September 27th on The Art of Rest website at
www.theartofrest.com and on the retreat line at (562) 920-0017. For more
information on The Art of Rest - Retreats for Busy Women please visit the
- The inability to stay focused on the task at hand.
- The feeling of exhaustion even after a full nights sleep.
- A "just beneath the surface" feeling of frustration and loss of enthusiasm for things that were once enjoyable. More information on burn-out and stress can be found at the WebMD.website.
Contact: Jordan Mercedes, The Art of Rest, P.O. Box 3144, Lakewood, CA 90711, (562) 881-4024 or 920-0017, www.theartofrest.com.
- 9/11 Economic agenda - Europe should forget its batting average and increase its score, by Roger Bootle, Telegraph.co.uk.
On Friday, European finance ministers and central bank governors met in Holland to consider, among other things, reform of
the Stability and Growth Pact, which is supposed to govern fiscal policy. They did so against a backdrop of widespread European economic failure.
[Only when judged by our perverse GDP indicator, which gives points for lots of suicidal things that the USA is doing and doesn't give points for lots of constructive things that Europe is doing.]
At the EU summit in Lisbon in 2000, European leaders agreed a strategic goal for the next decade: to make the EU the most
competitive and dynamic economy in the world. At the time, it seemed like a cruel joke. Subsequent poor economic performance
has confirmed that this initial response was on the mark. But what is at the root of this poor performance?
[Besides a flawed economic measure (GDP)?]
Not putting in the hours
Over the past decade, the EU's average annual growth rate [in GDP] has been about 1% below America's.
[So 1% is the difference between American "success" and European "failure"? Pure American political spin.]
It is widely believed [by Americans] that EU productivity growth has been equally bad but, in fact, if you measure it correctly, this is not true. If you measure
the [irrelevant] growth of output per head in the economy, then Europe does come out badly compared to America, but not if you measure [relevant]
output per hour worked. On that basis, EU productivity growth has been faster than America's. Not only that, but the level
of productivity is almost equal to America's.
[And "almost equal" without the huge prison and military industrial complex.]
So where is the great European 'failure' [our quotes]? The source of higher US output is simply that Americans work more hours than
Europeans do, because of both a higher proportion of people in employment and a greater number of hours worked by those with a job.
[Which is a regressive indicator of less average free time per person, and free time is the basic freedom, in spite of America's increasingly strained and shrill protestations and self-assurances about its own great freedom and liberty.]
Our chart makes clear that, in the EU, the proportion of the population aged 15-64 who work is pretty low compared to the
US. Whereas America's rate is 75% and the UK's 71%, the euro-zone's is only 63%. There are several
reasons for these different rates - including different rates of unemployment. The US rate is 5.6% compared to the EU's 9%.
[But then, the US rate doesn't count anything, like welfare (2m families), disability (5.7m individuals), homelessness (est. 2-3m), incarcerated (2.2m), forced early-retired, forced self''employed'....]
The figures are also affected, though, by different rates of early retirement and different rates of female
participation in the workforce.
[Glad an anglophone commentator is finally mentioning early retirement.]
Over and above all this, our lower chart reveals something else, something that we all suspected. In the euro-zone,
employees work about 15% fewer hours per year than their counterparts in the US. Shorter working days and longer
holidays are what make the difference.
[That is, Europeans have much greater freedom and a much higher quality of life. And with more political parties to choose from, they have more political freedom. Switzerland is the most advanced political design with regular issue-oriented referendums gradually replacing the beauty contest of "representative" democracy.]
Now all this gives rise to an interesting idea. Is European under-performance an illusion?
[Now we're getting somewhere.]
If Europeans choose to work less
than their American counterparts but achieve about as much for each hour they are at work, then what is wrong with that?
Too much work?
Choosing increased leisure because you are already rich enough makes more sense in some parts of Europe than in others. It
makes a great deal more sense, for instance, in the former West Germany than in the former East, or in the new members of the EU.
[No, it makes a lot of sense everywhere, because it ties into work sharing = shortening the workweek so everyone can get a share of the vanishing human employment in the age of automation and support themselves so taxpayers don't have to. Getting full participation in the job market would centrifuge the national income, even in the former East Germany and in the new members of the EU, and that would activate all domestic consumers to the max, getting the spending power out to the middle and lower income brackets who spend it immediately. The rising tide would lift all boats, including the rich's.]
...I have considerable sympathy with the widespread European view that Americans work too hard and, in
particular, that they take ludicrously short holidays. Surely one of the fruits of increased wealth should be increased leisure.
[Amen. It's not called "work-life balance" for nothing.]
You may not end up quite so "well-off" in terms of money as if you worked all the hours that God sends, but in this context the words "well-off" are completely misleading. In a wider human sense, you might be much better off, even though you have less money.
So does this let Europe off the hook? Hardly.
[Au contraire, completely, relative to the chest-thumping U.S. He now drifts into irrelevance.]
For a start, the respectable productivity performance is partly a reflection of the low numbers of hours worked. If employment levels are low, in general it is the least productive who do not work.
Equally, for those who are employed, if not many hours are worked, the least important jobs will go undone. This way, the
average level of productivity can be raised by cutting out the least productive. In the same way, you can raise the batting
average of a cricket team by restricting the batting to the top four batsmen. However, winning the game is not about
maximising the batting average but about maximising the overall score. So it is with achieving the best economic
More importantly, the much lower participation rates in most of Europe are not the result of free choice. Except in the
narrowest sense, millions of European people without jobs have not chosen to be unemployed. Rather, European macro-economic
policy has failed to generate enough demand in the economy to create sufficient jobs [as everywhere in terms of ignoring automation's worksharing imperative] and the web of regulations and labour market restrictions in most countries has made employers reluctant to hire people even when aggregate demand is sufficient.
The argument that lower labour inputs are the result of choice has more force when applied to the number of hours that
people work. But there are limits, even here. In most jobs, individuals cannot choose their hours but have to accept hours
laid down for them, and/or negotiated by trade unions. Over and above that, their choices are restricted by official regulations, such as France's 35-hour week.
Admittedly, many Europeans may well prefer shorter hours to more money, but that choice is heavily distorted by the fact
that many of them do not have to face the full consequences of their actions. In particular, they enjoy a level of financial
security provided by the state that is unsustainable. They are set to enjoy generous pensions which, by and large, are not
funded but are rather due to be paid by the taxes levied on future workers.
When the chickens come home to roost, I wonder what European work/leisure choices will be then. This highlights another
reason why the short working hours should not be taken at face value to reflect European preference for increased leisure
over more money - tax. Working to earn money is taxed whereas leisure is not. And, by and large, marginal tax rates are much
higher in Europe than in America.
[But concentration of wealth is much higher in America than in Europe, and that acts as a hidden tax, especially with Bush giving taxbreaks to the rich and necessarily throwing more of the tax burden on everyone else for the the indefinite future. Let's get the whole picture here.]
Need for reform
In my view, there is scant comfort for European leaders in the revelation that productivity per hour is almost as high in Europe as in the US.
[Productivity regardless of marketability is meaningless anyway.]
The low number of aggregate hours worked in the EU is less the result of a conscious choice and more
the direct result of policy failure - the failure of macro-economic policy to generate enough demand [the only way it could do that is through even lower aggregate hours and more workspreading] and the failure of
micro-economic policy to make it profitable for people to work and employers to hire them [here he has a good point]. These failures are the direct
responsibility of European politicians. So, after their meeting on Friday, European finance ministers should not make a
long weekend of it. Unlike so many of their compatriots, they have a job to do.
Roger Bootle is managing director of Capital Economics and economic adviser to Deloitte. You can contact him at roger.bootle@capital economics.com.
- 9/10 Dakota County pressed to lid [tax cap] for budget, by Michele Linck, Sioux City Journal, IA.
DAKOTA CITY, Ia. - Even the rather austere budget it is proposing for fiscal
2004-05, has forced the Dakota County Board of Commissioners to the lid.
The board is prohibited by state law from raising the county's property tax
levy above 50 cents per $100 assessed value. But with an eye to both
continuing services and paying the bills, the board is proposing a tax levy
of .4999. Following a public hearing on Monday, a final budget must be
submitted to the state by Sept. 20.
The proposed property tax would mean a 15 to 18% hike; a home with a
$50,000 valuation would pay $250 in property taxes. About 4 cents of each 50
cents would be shared among the Agriculture Society, the Historical Society
and the Dakota-Covington Fire District.
Along with taxing to within a hair's breadth of the limit, commissioners are
also proposing to slice a half-hour each day from most county employees'
schedules and reduce hours at the Veterans Affairs office by more than half....
- 9/10 Cash-strapped authority to lobby MPPs for more funding,
by Richard Leitner, Stoney Creek News, Canada.
HAMILTON, Ont. - The Hamilton Conservation Authority is planning to add some political
arm-twisting to a mix of cost-cutting measures as it struggles to rein in a
projected $810,000 budget deficit in the coming months.
Chief administrative officer Bruce Duncan said his agency will be lobbying
local MPPs as part of an Ontario-wide effort to convince the Liberal
government of Dalton McGuinty to reverse years of funding provincial cuts.
Those cuts have seen the province's contribution to the local authority's
$9.8 million annual budget dwindle to about $200,000 from more than $1
million in 1993, he said.
To compensate, the authority has increasingly relied on gate receipts from
its parks and attractions to pay for flood and erosion control, watershed
studies, land planning advice and other provincially mandated
responsibilities no longer funded by Queen's Park [= the provincial gov't].
But poor gate receipts the past two summers - blamed on a combination of bad
weather and the tourist chill from SARS, the war in Iraq and 9/11 - have
thrown that strategy in question, with this year's projected deficit
following a $415,000 shortfall last year....
To help stem this year's red ink, since Aug. 1 the conservation authority
has cut staffing and concession hours at area parks, closed the Dundas Trail
Valley Centre two days a week, shut down the Wild Waterworks wave pool on
cold and rainy days, and reduced grass cutting.
Mr. Duncan said the authority is investigating employment insurance
arrangements for staff who voluntarily cut their work week, but "not looking
at layoffs at this time."...
- 9/10 Supreme Court affirms wide use of class actions in overtime claims, by Jack Steven Sholkoff, Mondaq News Alerts, World.
LOS ANGELES - In a severe blow to employers, the California Supreme Court affirmed, and
effectively encouraged, the use of class action lawsuits against employers
to recover overtime wages from employers. Giving extraordinary deference to
trial courts, and potentially moving away from its prior holdings on wage
and hour law, the Court, on August 26, 2004, in Sav-On Drug Stores, Inc. v.
Superior Court, affirmed the trial court's certification of an overtime
class action claim. The Court's decision makes it absolutely imperative that
employers review their employee wage classifications with legal counsel to
minimize their risk of misclassification liability.
In recent years, significant numbers of California employers have faced
charges that they have improperly failed to pay their employees overtime.
Because California permits employees to recover unpaid wages going back, in
some cases, up to four years, the stakes in these cases are extraordinarily
high: cases involving hundreds of employees can easily result in liability
to an employer in the tens of millions of dollars. The primary mechanism
that permits employees to sue as a group is the class action lawsuit. The
Court's decision in Sav-On will almost certainly make it easier for
employees to bring and maintain such lawsuits against employers.
In Sav-On, the plaintiffs were operating managers (OM) and assistant
managers (AM) of Sav-On retail outlets. The plaintiffs contended that Sav-On
had improperly classified the OMs and AMs as exempt employees. The
plaintiffs urged class certification because Sav-On itself, as does
virtually every other employer, relied upon a uniform job description as
well as operational standardization when classifying the employees. The
trial court agreed. The Court of Appeal reversed, finding that whether an OM
or AM was exempt was inherently an individualized inquiry because of the
differences between all of the managers' duties. The Supreme Court reversed
the Court of Appeal and affirmed the decision of the trial court granting
The Supreme Court held that the trial court had discretion to find, based
upon evidence presented by the plaintiffs, that the employer's "uniform
classification policy was put into practice under the standardized
conditions alleged" and that despite potential differences between the
plaintiffs, "misclassification was the rule rather than the exception."
Accordingly, based upon these findings, the trial court had discretion to
hold that a class action would be the most efficient method for resolving
the case. Put simply, the Court punted; it held that in most cases, the
trial court's determination whether to certify a class in overtime
misclassification cases cannot be disturbed by an appellate court.
Equally important, the Court rejected the primary argument against class
certification posited by employers. Sav-On had argued that whether a manager
was exempt was inherently an individualized decision, requiring an analysis
of the actual duties performed by each manager. Sav-On's position was
reasonable, and was based upon language contained in the Supreme Court's
prior decision in Ramirez v. Yosemite Water, Inc., 20 Cal.4th 785 (1999).
Ramirez had held that in determining whether an employee is exempt, a court
should determine "how the employee actually spends his or her time" and
whether this practice "diverges from the employer's realistic expectations."
Because the managers were doing different duties, Sav-On, as many employers
before them, argued that class certification was inappropriate, since
individual mini trials would be required to determine whether each
individual performed exempt duties.
The Court disagreed. The Court stated that the determination of whether an
employee is exempt from overtime requirements involves analyzing the job's
requirements and the employer's reasonable expectations. This, the Court
concluded, can be handled on a class wide basis. The Court stated:
"A reasonable court could conclude that issues respecting the proper legal
classification of AM's and OM's actual activities, along with issues
respecting defendant's policies and practices and issues respecting
operational standardization, are likely to predominate in a class proceeding
over any individualized calculations of actual overtime hours that might
ultimately prove necessary."
This is not to say that an employer cannot demonstrate that individual
issues predominate in a case such that a class should not be certified.
However, in light of Sav-On, it is likely that most trial courts will likely
follow the Supreme Court's analysis and find class certification
The Court also appears to have clarified its decision in Ramirez, and
especially its focus in Ramirez upon the actual duties performed by an
employee when determining an employee's exempt/non-exempt status. Ramirez
appeared to hold that in any classification analysis, the ultimate issue is
"how the employee actually spends his or her time." In Sav-On, the Court
stated that while each individual employee's actual duties are important,
this factor must be analyzed in conjunction with the employer's expectations
and the requirements of the job. As a result, an employer classifying an
employee's job must not only parse out which of the employee's duties are
exempt and non-exempt and then determine which predominate, but the employer
must also carefully monitor the employee's actual performance to ensure that
the employee is actually performing duties that comport with the employee's
In sum, Sav-On does not help employers. It provides trial courts with
significant discretion in determining whether to certify a class in wage and
hour cases, thereby increasing the uncertainty in predicting the outcome of
these cases. Also, the case imposes further duties on employers seeking to
preserve the exempt status of their employees.
- 9/10 Gov't execs told to cut salaries - GOCCs & GFIs ordered to help in austerity campaign, by Genalyn D. Kabiling, Manila Bulletin, Philippines.
Malacañang yesterday warned top executives of government financial
institutions (GFIs) and government-owned and-controlled corporations (GOCCs)
to scale down their high salaries and allowances in line with the
government's austerity program, or risk losing their jobs.
Press Secretary Ignacio Bunye said President Gloria Macapagal Arroyo would
find replacements for presidential appointees assigned in the state-run
agencies if they refuse to cooperate in cutting back on expenditures to save
Bunye said the government intends to cut down the huge salaries and benefits
of the board of directors of the Philippine Amusement and Gaming
Corporation, Land Bank of the Philippines, National Power Corp., Philippine
National Oil Co. and Philippine Charity Sweepstakes Office, among others.
"If the national government, if some members of Congress, local governments
are prepared to sacrifice so that we should all equitably share the burden,
then the GOCCs should likewise share the burden.
"We are hopeful that these GOCCs, through their respective board of
directors, would be responsible and heed the call of the national
government," Bunye said.
The President has issued Administrative Order No. 103, ordering a wide range
of cost-cutting measures, including limited foreign and local travel, ban on
additional benefits and suspension of overtime pay.
"Kung hindi sila makikipag-cooperate sa mga programa ng ating Pangulo,
hahanap tayo ng mga director na puwedeng magpatupad ng austerity measures,"
he said in a radio interview, adding the President has the authority not
only to hire but also dismiss her officials.
Bunye said Budget Secretary Emilia Boncodin has issued severe warnings
against the "non- performing and inefficiently run GOCCs."
"I believe those consistently non-performing are targeted or they may be
subject to possible re-engineering."
The Palace has expressed willingness to open the finance records of the GFIs
and GOCCs for auditing after several lawmakers claimed the country's huge
budget deficit and debt problems are caused by the agencies' losses and
"Our public books should be open to scrutiny. We want people to be aware of
the situation. Awareness of the problem is one step in solving the problem,"
The President has ordered a rationalization of the compensation of corporate
executives after the Commission on Audit (CoA) submitted a report showing
that top officials of GOCCs and GFIs are receiving annual salaries ranging
from P3 million to P7.3 million.
Boncodin, however, admitted it might be difficult to reduce or remove the
benefits because they have been instituted. Instead, the budget chief urged
the state-run agencies to impose a moratorium on the increases as specified
in Administrative Order No. 20.
She noted that GFIs and GOCCs are free to fix the pay scales of their
officials and employees because they are exempted from the Salary
But she clarified that most GOCCs observe the Salary Standardization Law
(SSL) unlike GFIs. The budget chief explained the GOCC executives claimed
that they want to match the salaries in the private sector as much as
- 9/10 RN strike impact debated, by John George,
Philadelphia Business Journal, MSNBC.
WILLINGBORO, N.J. - Nearly five months after the registered nurses at
Lourdes Medical Center of Burlington County hit the picket line, one of the
region's longest nurses' strikes in recent history is showing no signs of
On April 19, the 287 registered nurses at Lourdes Medical Center
represented by the JNESO, a health-care union based in North Jersey, went
out on strike over scheduling issues.
Union and hospital officials are offering conflicting viewpoints on how the
lengthy labor dispute has affected the 259-bed hospital.
"We are operating at normal occupancy levels," said hospital spokeswoman
Wendy Marano. "We haven't seen any dips in our census. Maternity department
admissions are up about 10%" since the strike began.
According to Marano, the hospital has averaged about 130 patients a day in
recent months, the same level as before the strike.
Marano said, since the strike began, about 85 of the union nurses have
returned to work. In addition, she said, the hospital hired 30 new nurses
under the terms of a new contract it implemented last month after both sides
in the labor dispute declared an impasse.
Lourdes is also employing about 40 agency nurses, most supplied by
Denver-based U.S. Nursing Corp., on a per-diem basis. That figure is down
from the 70 agency nurses Lourdes brought in when the strike first began.
Virginia Treacy, JNESO's executive director, believes the strike has
"No matter what they say, we have friends on the inside who tell us they
are running at between 56 and 66 patients a day," Treacy said.
Marano said the hospital did not need to replace the total number of
striking nurses since many of them worked only part time. As to the union's
contention that admissions are far less than what the hospital is saying,
Marano said, "We invite them to come in and see for themselves."
Many of the nurses who went out on strike have experienced little or no
trouble landing work at other hospitals, given the ongoing shortage of
Treacy said of the 200 striking union nurses at Lourdes who responded to a
recent survey, more than 150 nurses said they have found employment
"Some are not full time and some are not in permanent positions," she said.
"A lot of them went to work at our next closest union hospital, Virtua West
Jersey. We have some members who worked at Lourdes (formerly Rancocas
Hospital) since it opened 40 years ago and they want to go back, but not
without their union card."
Although many of their colleagues are working at other locations, a handful
of Lourdes nurses still venture out with picket signs during rush hour.
Last week, Phyllis Snow, a recovery room nurse who has worked at Lourdes
for more than 16 years, stood alone outside the hospital's Sunset Road
entrance carrying a sign that read, "Yes Still on Strike - Week 20."
Snow waved to each motorist passing by. Many honked in support. Others
"Every once in while somebody gives you a thumb down, but I had two people
this morning stop and offer to bring me coffee," she said.
Snow said that while some nurses needed to cross the picket line to support
their families, the majority are willing to stay out on strike as long as it
takes to get what they consider a fair contract.
"We didn't think [the strike] was going to last this long," she said. "It's
awful. We really do want to go back to work."
Other than Lourdes, the longest recent local nurses' strike took place last
year at MCP Hospital in Philadelphia, where the staff went out protesting
mandatory overtime rules. The day after the nurses reached an agreement
ending the five-week strike, the hospital's owner announced plans to close
Last week, the East Falls hospital changed owners and will now be operated
as Women's Medical Hospital. The day after that transfer took place, the
nursing staff at Women's Medical - who had been represented by the Office
and Professional Employees International Union - said they intend to join
the Pennsylvania Association of Staff Nurses.
Treacy said the Lourdes strike is not about economic issues but, instead,
an effort to block the hospital from "unilaterally" shifting nursing to
different departments and changing work schedules.
"This isn't a normal strike," she said. "It doesn't have anything to do
with wages or benefits. It's about control and power, and who determines
what the work environment is."
Lourdes' position in the strike is about economic issues. Marano said the
union rejected a compensation package it put forth that would have provided
raises of 10% to 16% over three years.
Treacy thinks the hospital's goal is to break up the union.
"They don't want a contract. They want the union gone," she said.
"We don't want to get rid of the union," she said. "It's their legal right
and they've been there for 20 years. We just want to work with them fairly
in the same way we work with our physicians and non-union employees."
Marano said in the existing contract, provisions concerning work schedules
are ambiguous, and the hospital has sought to include more specific language
in the nurse's contract to eliminate confusion when such issues arise.
Treacy said the language in the contract has never been called into
"Lourdes is the fifth owner in 20 years, and they are the only one who has
been unable to figure out what the language means," she said.
Lourdes acquired the assets of what was previously known as Rancocas
Hospital for $46.5 million in 1998 from the now defunct Allegheny Health,
Education and Research Organization.
- 9/10 China's factories go short on labor - Low pay, wage defaults and poor conditions drive migrants away, by Tim Johnson, Knight Ridder via Charlotte Observer, NC.
DONGGUAN, China - A large number of migrant workers in the region known as
the "world's factory" are getting fed up with their low-paid jobs and are
shucking the assembly line, creating a significant labor shortage.
It's an unusual, and somewhat startling, occurrence in a nation with an
excess of workers.
The Pearl River Delta became the fastest-growing region in the world over
the past quarter-century as peasants, untethered from their collective
farms, migrated to the delta's factories. Guangdong province, which
surrounds the Pearl River Delta, saw its economic output soar 64-fold over
the past quarter-century. For anyone observing, it was like a high-speed
video of a region rising.
But some of the 30 million or so migrant workers providing the Pearl River
Delta with its industrial muscle say they haven't shared in the bounty.
While industrialists earn buckets of cash, joining gated country clubs and
gambling away fortunes on junkets to the nearby casino mecca of Macao, wages
for migrant workers over the past decade haven't grown at all, workplace
Earlier this year, some factories found the pool of job applicants drying
up. Exacerbating the situation, many workers who went home for the Chinese
New Year holiday never came back. Some estimates put the labor shortage in
Guangdong province at up to 2 million workers. In cities such as Dongguan,
60% of factories need laborers. Banners stream over factory
entrances, promising that the companies won't default on wages, as they have
in the past, or that they're improving work conditions.
The labor situation in southeastern China is worth watching for reasons far
beyond the economy. Workers have few ways to voice dissatisfaction in China.
They can't form independent labor unions. So worker discontent is one of the
many wildfires around the pillars of Communist Party rule after more than
five decades in power.
Experts pinpoint a number of factors for the sudden shortage of laborers in
small- and medium-sized factories.
Among the obvious reasons are that workers have grown weary of forced
overtime, wages of $50 a month, rampant workplace injury, disregard for
labor law and frequent nonpayment.
Another possible explanation of the shortage is that migrants have sent word
home about abuses in the Pearl River Delta region.
Liu Kaiming, the head of the Institute of Contemporary Observation, a
nonprofit group in nearby Shenzhen that monitors workplace issues, said
researchers of the Dongguan Communist Party Committee found in a survey this
year that 100 of some 300 local factories questioned had defaulted on wages
to workers. Moreover, 60% of workers in Dongguan must toil an average
of 120 hours of overtime per month (or about 30 hours a week), he said.
A less obvious reason for the shortage, perhaps, is the coming of age of a
more independent-minded generation of young workers born since 1979, when
China began a family planning policy that limited urban couples to one child
and most rural ones to two.
"They've grown kind of picky about their jobs. They haven't gone through the
hardships that their parents did," Liu said.
Another factor is the Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome, or SARS, epidemic
that spread from Guangdong in late 2002 and eventually left 800 people dead
worldwide. The outbreak spooked parents of migrant laborers.
Along the alleys of this city, the third-largest export hub of China, labor
discontent is evident.
Outside the Esteem Industries electric fan factory, about three dozen
workers quickly swarm a visitor inquiring about conditions.
"By October, 50% of us will leave here," said Tang Hua, a 23-year-old
with dyed spiky blond hair. He said as many as 16 workers are crowded into
each room in the dormitory provided by the factory. Guards barred a
photographer from entering.
"The food is terrible and it is not clean. That is the main reason we want
to stop working here," said Li Tianxin, a migrant who came from Hunan
Many of the 8,000 or so workers at the factory say they make less than the
$55 a month required by local labor legislation.
"According to labor law, we should be paid more. But the factories don't
follow the law," said Zhou Deqing, 26.
City and provincial officials declined to talk about the labor shortage.
In lectures to factory managers, Zhang Youhuai, a management expert at the
Guangdong Academy of Social Sciences, said he encourages them to treat
workers better, comparing the workplace "to a big ship ... The workers are
the crew. If you want the ship to go fast and in the right direction, you
have to be nice to the crew."
- 9/10 End of an era, by Michaele Shapiro, PULSE (Web Log) via INTHEFRAY Magazine, MA.
La dolce vita may be coming to an end. Despite claims that many European
workers already work forty hour work weeks, the myth which leads many
Americans to seek a better life on the other side of the Atlantic may be
more fiction than fact. And if it's still fact, it may not be for much longer.
Headlines on Bloomberg.com, DW-World.de, The Economist, The Christian
Science Monitor, and USA Today proclaim the demise of the idyllic
minimalist work week as though it marked the end of an era.
Perhaps it does. According to a nifty little chart in an article in USA
Today, just about any European country has a better vacation plan than most
jobs provide here in the United States. No wonder in Germany there's been
controversy over the concessions labor union heads have made in order to
keep companies from moving where labor costs are cheaper than they are in
But if, as reported by Noelle Knox in USA Today, workers in the Czech
Republic average an extra five hours per week and earn only 40% as much as
the typical German laborer, what incentive do large companies have to stay?
The frenzy over the state of the European economy is alive and well. Is it
greed or is the economy really underperforming? The entry of ten new
European Union members on May 1st has been blamed for 'tipping the balance'
of an already delicate European Union economy, leading to fears of
deflation, a rise in unemployment, and a lower quality of life as a result.
Knox alludes to the stereotype that Europeans 'work to live' rather than
'living to work.'
Apparently the American economy's overtime norm doesn't yield the gargantuan
advantages in productivity we had expected it would. Knox notes that,
according to the Organization of Economic Cooperation and Development, seven
of the most advanced European countries are "just as productive as the USA"
(the countries are France, Denmark, Germany, Ireland, Italy, Netherlands and
She quotes OECD economist Paul Swaim as confirming the commonly held
perception that Americans work about a third more than Europeans do:
"[W]e found that average incomes in Europe were also about one-third lower,
because output per hour was essentially the same Obviously, the next
question is: Who has it the best, on balance? Is it better to work less and
live with less income?"
Now there's a question worth answering.
- 9/11 Thoughtful 'takes' on politics - Don't neglect economy, by Johanna Marizan, Orlando Sentinel, FL.
The most important issue in the 2004 elections is, without a doubt, the
economy and jobs.
[Except for the Republican electronic voting machines (eg: Diebold Gem 18.19 and 18.23) that are designed for stealing the election.]
Currently, there are about 8.2 million Americans who are
unemployed, and both John Kerry and George W. Bush have proposals as to how
they will handle that problem.
Wages have grown but have struggled to keep up with the inflation rate.
This has left the American public disgruntled and blaming the Bush
administration. The Republicans like to emphasize that there is an upward
arc in the recovery of the economy, while the Democrats like to stress that
the income gaps are widening more and more. Both have good points, but which
candidate has the solution to our current economic problems?
Public-opinion polls have concluded that Bush is stronger on issues of
international policy and terrorism, while Kerry is stronger in terms of
domestic policy, which includes the economy. Considering that the war in
Iraq has not been a complete success, Bush perhaps needs to focus on other
He has blamed the current economic woes on a few factors that include Sept.11, the dot-com bust and the recession. He tries to balance those negative
factors by mentioning that there has been an increase in homeownership and
American productivity. The increase in jobs has been significant, but it has
yet to lead to a solid economy. Outsourcing is another influence that has
contributed to the loss of a significant number of American jobs. Kerry is
an advocate of the middle class who believes that there are too many jobs
being sent overseas so that business people's pockets can get fatter while
the little person struggles.
People are finding it more difficult to obtain a job these days, and many
who are employed are struggling to maintain their jobs or deal with reduced
hours. Particularly in a city such as the one we live in, where one sector
dominates a large part of the economy, the recession has left a huge void.
The tourist industry in Orlando was one of the hardest hit in the country
because people were afraid to travel, and many no longer had the funds to do
A lot of people will be going into the voting booths in November with empty
pockets, which will have a big impact on their candidate choices.
Johanna Marizan...a native of New York, is majoring in political science
at the University of Central Florida.
- 9/11 Corporate reform tests to give Europe some vital answers, The Scotsman, UK.
Optimists hoping for reform of Europe's worst performing companies and the
corporate structures which allow them to be propped up by the taxpayer, have
had cause for hope recently. Agreements at Siemens, Robert Bosch and Daimler
Chrysler on extra hours and pay freezes this summer have convinced workers
that the need for change has dawned - even if the agreements represent
paltry concessions that will do little to boost the continent's
But the next wave of corporate issues will produce a much sterner test of
the appetite for change. Will the Italian government back the management at
Alitalia to impose layoffs and cutbacks to avoid bankruptcy? Will the French
government overcome union anxiety and partially privatise Éléctricité De
France (EDF)? And will government and unions in Germany agree to changing
practices at Volkswagen (VW)?
In the case of Alitalia, the government has for years proved unable to
resist meddling in the running of the state-owned airline, leading to its
current bloated and indebted state. The latest management rescue plan
involves up to 5,000 job losses and splitting the company in two. Unions
seem unimpressed and - as usual - want the government to bail them out.
Management says the money will run out by the end of the month. Rome's
willingness to play hardball will be a key test of how serious the
government is about introducing a more rigorous corporate environment and
keeping Italian state finances under control.
In France, the commitment to privatise EDF has attracted massive and
effective protest, and the government will have to overcome its instincts to
water down change. The situation in Germany is even more interesting, where
VW has announced that up to 30,000 jobs could be in jeopardy unless unions
agree to a wage freeze. VW represents much that is wrong with European
business, being run by a cosy cartel of unions and weak management,
protected by a regional government golden share. Change at VW really would
be a sign that the wake-up call has been heeded - although the initial
response, again, from the unions has been dispiriting.
In a month, the outcomes at EDF, VW and Alitalia will give us a better clue
about whether Europe really can reform itself.
Advertisements for holidays from Tui must drive shareholders in Europe's
largest travel company crazy. While the world's beaches and vacation
hotspots are glossed up for travellers, the company, which owns Thomson
Holidays and Lunn Poly, is being buffeted by a stormy business environment.
The latest change in tack came when Tui's management cancelled the listing
of nearly half of the shipping operations at its Hapag-Lloyd unit. Investors
should not be surprised at the failure of yet another German listing. Fewer
than half of the new share issues scheduled for this year were completed.
Even Postbank, the biggest German initial public offering (IPO) of the
year, nearly failed to materialise. The former state monopoly feared lack of
demand for the share after institutional investors balked at the initial
price. The company delayed the listing and lowered the price to attract
investors. Other German corporations refused to succumb to such blackmail
and cancelled their listings after institutional investors asked for special
deals on share packages.
The Hapag-Lloyd sale was halted for considerations little to do with the
market. Selling nearly half of the shipping unit could have made Tui an
easier takeover target. Chief executive Michael Frenzel has been warning
over the past few months that predators are circling his company. By halting
the Hapag-Lloyd listing, Tui is showing it prefers to remain
difficult-to-swallow. It retains around 2.5bn in net debt.
The travel company was just able to maintain its position in the DAX 30
index of German blue chips - Puma was tabbed as the replacement. Without the
Hapag-Lloyd stake, analysts say TUI would barely qualify for the M-DAX index
of German midcaps. Relegation to a lower bourse is a guarantee for a share
price decline, making a company cheaper for predators.
Tui is worth more intact than broken up, making it unattractive for most
corporate raiders. But it solves no long-term problems. Frenzel will have to
do more than cry wolf to make investors happy.
THE French government has unleashed a price war among the nation's
supermarkets that now look set to hand 1bn to customers in price cuts this
Under a June deal with finance minister Nicolas Sarkozy, the country's big
five supermarkets pledged to cut prices across their stores by an average
Wielding stick and carrot, Sarkozy warned that the bureaucratic hurdles
that protect the market could be changed and simultaneously promised a
review of the Loi Galland, designed to protect food manufacturers, that bans
stores from offering loss-leaders to tempt consumers.
Sarkozy's aim was to kick-start flagging French consumption and boost
domestic demand, an objective he also tackled by easing credit restrictions
and promoting tax-free gifts between family members.
The top retailers - Carrefour, Leclerc, Casino, Intermarché and Auchan -
have cut prices and unleashed massive marketing to tempt consumers.
Carrefour, which also owns Champion supermarkets, and Casino, proprietor of
Monoprix, claim to have gained market share.
But rating agency Standard & Poor's said last week that high market
concentration and a protectionist regulatory environment benefit retail
Little wonder then that despite the price war, S&P continues to award
copper-bottomed ratings to the nation's retail champions.
- 9/11 DuPage Airport cuts irk some,
by Harry Hitzeman, Chicago Daily Herald, IL.
DuPage Airport's plan to cut maximum vacation days, lower the number of
paid holidays by one day and reduce overtime pay for employees has ruffled
Commissioners on Monday will consider the changes that would affect all 52
airport employees. If approved, they will take effect Jan. 1.
David Bird, airport executive director, said the plan will bring an "overly
generous" benefit package in line with industry standards and result in
"significant savings," although he could not specify how much.
Bird said reducing payroll costs is one way the airport can get off the tax
rolls - a longtime goal of DuPage County officials like county board
Chairman Robert Schillerstrom of Naperville.
"That is the overriding mission of the board and myself," Bird said. "We're
moving from a subsidized environment to a market environment."
The airport collects about $6.4 million a year from DuPage County taxpayers,
or about a fifth of its $29 million budget.
About $4.5 million of airport spending, or 15%, is devoted to
salaries, benefits and uniforms.
Some employees are grumbling about the cuts, which they say will reduce
their overall earnings and hurt morale.
Among the expected changes:
Bird said he and other airport officials have been up front with employees
about the changes and an "overwhelming majority" have accepted them because
they're good for the airport.
Bird said if workers vote to unionize, every benefit will be subject to
"The package that would result from that would be less than it is now," he
said. "If they're unhappy here, if they can find a better package someplace
else, there is nothing tying them to the airport."
Airport staff members are all at-will employees not bound by contracts. Bird
said he thinks the new benefit package is still competitive with what
similar airports pay.
Airport authority Commissioner Kaaren Oldfield said she hopes the cuts won't
"The airport has just soared phenomenally in terms of revenue and
reputation. It's all been on their watch," she said. "I'm concerned they
will feel like they've been penalized."
aximum vacation would be capped at four weeks for employees. Some
employees with more than 16 years of service and five weeks vacation will
lose a week. But employees who don't take all their vacation can be paid the
balance of it at the end of the year. Before, the airport had a "use it or
lose it" policy.
Paid holidays will be reduced from 11 to 10 each year. Columbus,
Presidents and Veterans days have been cut, but Martin Luther King Jr. Day
and a floating holiday have been added.
Holiday pay will be reduced from triple time to double time. For example,
each employee is paid eight hours for a holiday. If that employee works,
they will be paid their same hourly wage. Under the old agreement, employees
were paid double time if they worked a holiday, plus their holiday pay. The
holiday pay changes do not apply to salaried employees.
- 9/11 Socialists campaign in Alabama mill town,
by Susan Lamont, The Militant, NY.
SYLACAUGA, Alabama - "I worked in a union place before," said Edwin...who
has worked at Avondale Mills here for six months. "There you would get
overtime for any work over eight hours, not like Avondale, where you work
for 12 hours each shift, with no overtime pay. In companies that aren't
union, you're really treated badly. I wish everyone was for the union."
The textile mill worker told campaigners for the Socialist Workers Party
2004 ticket of Róger Calero for president and Arrin Hawkins for vice
president that he liked the campaign's support for workers' right to
organize unions. "I like that part of your plan," he said.
Edwin was speaking at a picnic several mill workers organized for Janine
Dukes, SWP candidate for U.S. Senate in Alabama. The event took place
September 4 at Noble Park here. Dukes is a weaver at the Avondale mill,
which is also known as Eva Jane.
Avondale Mills, Inc., is one of the largest textile producers in the
country. Its mill here produces denim. It employs 1,200 workers and is
located in a part of Alabama that has traditionally been a center for the
textile industry in the state. The workforce includes workers who are Black
and white, as well as a growing number of Latinos, mainly from Mexico.
Sylacauga is a classic company town, with most of the public buildings named
"Comer" after the family that founded Avondale.
Before the picnic, socialist campaigners went door-to-door to visit a
number of textile workers and others in this town, about 55 miles southeast
"I know you!" said James, an Avondale worker, who opened the first door
socialist campaigners knocked on. He recognized Dukes right away and signed
up for a Militant subscription. Another Eva Jane worker, Alma, bought a
subscription to Perspectiva Mundial, the Militant's sister monthly
publication in Spanish.
A third worker who subscribed had worked at Eva Jane earlier and now has a
job at a nearby quarry.
After an hour and a half of door-to-door campaigning, socialists joined a
group of textile workers and family members at Noble Park, who came to meet
Dukes and learn more about the socialist campaign. One worker, Carol, 31,
who has worked at the mill for two years, helped organize and build the
event among co-workers, friends, and family.
Campaign supporters reserved a pavilion in the park in case of rain and
arranged an attractive display of campaign literature and signs on the
After Dukes outlined some of the main themes of the campaign, a discussion
broke out about the first demand on the SWP platform: "Support workers'
right to organize unions and to defend themselves from the bosses'
assaults." Despite the company's anti-union propaganda, this demand produces
a strong response among workers at Avondale. None of the company's mills are
Conditions at the Sylacauga mill are getting worse, as the bosses try to
squeeze more and more out of fewer workers, Dukes said. Like many other
textile mills, Eva Jane employees work 12-hour shifts.
[Why not go for 24 like US medical students?]
On many jobs workers
get only two 15-minute breaks during the shift. In addition, the bosses are
increasing the number of machines workers have to tend.
"They don't pay you enough," said Carol. "Plus we have no breaks, people
are losing weight and getting sick."
"The [cotton] dust will kill you," added Edwin.
"They treat you like a slave," said Carol. "The creel hands have to come in
half an hour early to get set up on their job, and they don't even get paid
As the meeting ended, Carol said she was already thinking about how to
build the next campaign event.
Two workers at the picnic bought subscriptions to the Militant and one
bought a copy of the pamphlet The Working Class and the Transformation of
Learning: The Fraud of Education Reform Under Capitalism.
At the end of the day, socialists campaigned at the 6 p.m. shift change, at
two of the mill gates. Workers there bought nine copies of the Militant, and
one purchased a subscription to the newsweekly. A worker who has a job at
another company and happened to be driving by also stopped and signed up for
a Militant sub.
The total for the day was 12 copies of the Militant and six Militant
subscriptions and one subscription to Perspectiva Mundial. Campaigners are
looking forward to a return visit.
Janine Dukes and Jeanne FitzMaurice contributed to this article.
- 9/11 Chrysler considers third shift - Auto giant set to meet union on 900 jobs in Brampton - Seeks cost cuts, government support to meet demand, by Tony van Alphen, Toronto Star, Canada.
[Notice how firmly capitalist these companies are as they look for corporate socialism?]
DaimlerChrysler Canada Inc. and its union start talks next week for a
possible third shift and more than 900 jobs at the company's booming
In a letter yesterday to the Canadian Auto Workers,
DaimlerChrysler added it is also looking at the option of extra production
of the so-called LX models at assembly plants in the United States. However,
the company would need to put the models in potentially cost-prohibitive
truck operations south of the border because DaimlerChrysler doesn't have
any rear-wheel car plants there.
"The overwhelming market success of the new LX products has prompted the
company to investigate alternatives for increasing LX production levels,"
Mark Gendregske, the company's vice-president of human resources, said in a
letter to CAW president Buzz Hargrove.
Gendregske said the company is analyzing the feasibility of a third shift,
depending on agreement on such issues as operational improvements to
increase competitiveness, staffing numbers and maintenance of current
overtime schedules. Gendregske said the company will also need an
"appropriate" level of government support for training and technology.
Hargrove said preliminary talks will begin next week, possibly as early as
"This certainly opens the door for us," Hargrove said. "We have an
opportunity and we want to get at it right away. There is no doubt now they
need to find a way to increase production of these models."
It is still unclear, Hargrove said, when DaimlerChrysler would add a third
shift - late this year or some time in 2005.
Local union officials are pushing the company hard to add the shift and take
advantage of the sales market.
"They've got to capture the momentum and not lose it," said Leon Rideout,
plant chairman for CAW Local 1285.
DaimlerChrysler has remained non-committal about the prospects of a third
shift while trying to gauge lasting demand for the vehicles.
"It's very challenging," said Stuart Schorr, senior manager of
communications for DaimlerChrysler Canada. "We're evaluating the marketplace
to determine long-term demand of these products, and also evaluating our
current manufacturing capacity."
Company officials are torn between waiting to jack up output versus the risk
of losing major sales as impatient customers go elsewhere. Such losses hit
DaimlerChrysler when it delayed third shifts for the Dodge Caravan and
Plymouth Voyager minivans and PT Cruiser models.
At the same time, DaimlerChrysler doesn't want to create hundreds of new
jobs and then lay off workers after a few years if the popularity of the
vehicles declines and no new models fill the vacuum.
In the letter, DaimlerChrysler suggested it could assemble the models at
some U.S. plants, but insiders question that in view of such extra costs as
expenses for parts makers to deliver elsewhere.
The Brampton plant started operating on three shifts in 1998 for production
of the LH series of Dodge Intrepid, 300M and Chrysler Concorde models. But
the company eliminated the shift and about 1,000 jobs in 2001, when demand
declined significantly. That caused upheaval for many families and extra
costs for the company.
After a major retooling last year, the plant began producing the 300 and
300C sedans in January and the Magnum station wagon in March.
The distinctive, sharp design lines and bossy grill of the sedans and the
addition of a powerful Hemi engine in the 300C model caused a market
sensation and huge demand.
The Magnum's debut also generated heavy sales and orders because the vehicle
looks more aggressive and boasts extra power and utility over most station
That has triggered extensive overtime at the Brampton plant for more than
3,000 workers. The plant is operating two nine-hour shifts, five days a
week, plus eight hours on most Saturdays and another six hours on some
Sundays. The plant can produce up to 6,240 vehicles a week on that schedule
but is still falling behind consumer demand.
DaimlerChrysler also continues to use a temporary weekend workforce of
Bob Bannerman, president of Bob Bannerman Chrysler, Dodge, Jeep in Toronto,
said some customers have to wait two months for factory orders.
"Anybody that gets into it and drives it, buys it," Bannerman added. "It has
Meanwhile, the Brampton plant could face other production pressures.
Dieter Zetsche, president and chief executive officer for the Chrysler
Group, said yesterday overseas demand for the 300C is already outstripping
supply by more than 30%.
"We anticipate building above 10,000 units of the Chrysler 300C vehicles,
sedan and Touring combined, for sale outside of North America next year," he
said in Calgary.
- 9/11 Western psych nurses on strike,
Sydney Indymedia, Australia.
At the present time, the nurses at UPMC are paid "significantly less than
our colleagues at area hospitals," according to Susan Forejt, RN, a nurse
who has been with Western Psych for the past few years. She commented that
psychiatric nursing is a difficult field to recruit new nurses for in the
first place, and the salary deficiency is just making it more difficult. At
the present time, there is a 21% vacancy rate in the nursing staff at
Western Psych, this is three times the vacancy rate at other area hospitals.
Nurses at Western Psych work an average of 3 weeks of overtime a year in
order to compensate for the vacancy.
The strikers have a friendly atmosphere, offering each other, and even
reporters, support and cookies (oatmeal or chocolate chip). But their
message is grim, the patients at Western Psychiatric are not getting the
care they need because of not enough nursing staff. Loyal nurses to the
institution are concerned that when they retire, they will not be replaced.
This is all due to substandard packages offered new nurses, and an
administration that prefers to hand themselves raises than giving their
nurses competitive salaries.
At the present time, the nurses at UPMC are paid "significantly less than
our colleagues at area hospitals," according to Susan Forejt, RN, a nurse
who has been with Western Psych for the past few years. She commented that
psychiatric nursing is a difficult field to recruit new nurses for in the
first place, and the salary deficiency is just making it more difficult. At
the present time, there is a 21% vacancy rate in the nursing staff at
Western Psych, this is three times the vacancy rate at other area hospitals.
Nurses at Western Psych work an average of 3 weeks of overtime a year in
order to compensate for the vacancy.
The nursing union agreed to a wage freeze in the late 90's when the
hospital was not doing as well. The contract that was made from that bargain
expired on June 30th, but the administration was unwilling to bargain with
the nursing union despite requests starting in late April or early May. The
administration did agree to negotiations as of late July, but have
stalemated in the past 9 weeks. The union is asking for a 10% wage increase,
but the administration originally offered 0% and are now standing firm on
3%. This is an offer the nursing union will not accept when Western Psych
has turned a profit of over $4.5 million in the past three years, and has
given their administration $1 raises just yesterday (September 9, 2004).
Donna, who preferred to not give her last name, has been working for
Western Psych for the past 27 years. She has been uneligible for a raise for
11 years, because of a rule that no one gets a raise after 16 years of
employment. However, she is on strike so that she can see more nurses hired,
and know that she can be replaced. For Donna, it's about "making it so that
new nurses come here and stay."
Also, she complained that "we can't do what we need to do." She commented
that normally a psychiatric nurse has the advantage of taking time to take
care of the patients, by giving them extra bedding, or other extra attention
they might need. However, the nursing staff is so stretched, they don't have
time to do anything other than the basics for the patients. Donna complained
that this makes for less care for her patients.
Her mother, Jane Krause, also worked for Western Psych as a registered
nurse before her retirement. Jane spoke of a time when working for Western
Psych was a real treat, and they could donate a lot of time to the care of
the patients. But "times have changed," and the nurses just don't have
enough time to take this amount of care anymore. Jane is also supporting in
the nurses strike to support the nurses, despite having no personal stakes
"We're on strike for our own patients," Forejt commented. The nurses just
want to make sure that their patients continue to be given the best care
possible, keeping with their rank in the top 10 of nationwide hospitals (the
only UPMC hospital with that high of a ranking). They want a more
competitive salary package not for themselves, but so that new nurses can be
more readily hired and kept on staff. But most of all, they need more nurses
so that they aren't stretched so thinly. As Donna commented, "Psychiatric
nursing is normally a wonderful specialty, you get to watch patients
recover. Right now, it's about just getting the basics done."
- 9/12 Overworking MRT engineer suffers from stroke, China Post, Taiwan.
A senior engineer at the Taipei city government's Department of Rapid
Transit Systems was hospitalized yesterday due to heart attack.
The engineer was on night duty when the heart problem occurred, according
to a Central News Agency report.
His colleagues found the engineer, whose name has been withheld, lying on
the floor in the early hours yesterday and rushed him to a hospital. He is
believed to have suffered a stroke.
The engineer's heart beat had stopped when he was brought to the hospital,
which the report did not identify.
His pulse returned to normal after the emergency measures taken by the
hospital, but remained in coma as of 11:00 a.m. yesterday, the report said.
The engineer is being kept at an extra care unit.
The city government's health bureau believes the engineer had overworked,
which triggered the heart attack. He will undergo a heart operation after he
- 9/12 San Diego snarled in web of financial woes - With city's reputation sullied and its deficit growing, mayoral race heats up, by Kimberly Edds, Washington Post, DC.
SAN DIEGO - The Web site boasts of the city being "the most efficiently
run big city in California." Its commitment to fiscal conservatism has been
the envy of municipalities everywhere. But San Diego leaders are now finding
themselves staring at a deficit of more than $2 billion, largely of their
"This is the worst fiscal crisis this city has faced in its history," said
Carl DeMaio, president of the San Diego-based Performance Institute, which
has been studying the city's budgeting process. "It's an embarrassment."
Residents are feeling the pinch, and they are asking why. It costs more to
swim in the city's pools; some public libraries are cutting hours; potholes
are virtually ignored; Christmas in the city was temporarily canceled when
lack of funds forced organizers to call off a popular holiday celebration
featuring free admission to museums and cultural exhibits....
"It's ridiculous," said Harold Perdew, a retired engineer who moved to San
Diego from Texas six years ago. "It's crazy. They're paying these people all
of these millions of dollars, spending all this money on retirement. For
[For a contract, you moron. You promise, you keep.]
"There's plenty of money. They just don't direct it in the right way," said
Moretti [who dat? needs intro!].... "We live in a desert. Why do we have street medians with grass
while we're overburdened and overtaxed?...."
- 9/12 Once a party drug, meth moves into the workplace -
Stressed employees turn to the drugs to boost concentration and stamina -
But accidents and absenteeism tell the real workplace story,
by Daniel Costello, Los Angeles Times, CA.
Lawyers use it to deal with grueling workloads. Movie executives say they
like how the buzz keeps them focused as they multi-task throughout the day.
It's most popular, researchers say, on construction sites and in
manufacturing plants where workers need to stay alert during long hours of
repetitive work. And the cost - as little as $100 a month - makes it
affordable to many....
[So, another benefit of shorter hours = less drug addiction.]
While methamphetamines have long been a bane to law enforcement, and
treatment experts say the number of meth addicts has been increasing for
years, the drugs have graduated into a formidable problem in the workplace.
The illegal drug, also known as "ice," "Tina" or "crystal," is a powerful
stimulant: A single dose can keep users high for up to 14 hours. At least
initially, people say it makes them feel like a superhero - confident,
untouchable and able to accomplish a day's work in a few hours.
It may be particularly attractive for the growing number of American
workers who, studies show, are putting in longer hours and being asked to do
more by their employers. For some, the drug seems to provide a good solution
to busy work schedules and demanding bosses. Anecdotally, users talk of
stirring meth into their coffee in the morning before leaving for the
"A lot of people look at this like it's No Doz - just another way to keep
them awake and on message," said Nancy Delogu, a Washington, D.C., attorney
and an expert in workplace substance abuse.
Still, the problem of meth use remains largely unnoticed by much ofcorporate America. While a small number of employers are recognizing meth as
a problem, researchers, treatment counselors, and state and federal
regulators say most employers have done little to address the issue or the
myriad problems - erratic behavior, accidents, increased sick days and
health costs - that are attributed to its use. Although there are no
government or private statistics on meth use in the workplace, a major
national survey in 2002 found that an estimated 77% of people who use drugs
of any type are employed.
California appears to have much at stake. Methamphetamine use is highest in
the West, where its use first soared over a decade ago in cities such as San
Diego and Honolulu. According to the California Department of Alcohol and
Drug Programs, methamphetamines overtook heroin two years ago as the No. 1
reason Californians are entering drug treatment. Nationally, use of the drug
has also been growing in the Midwest and East, according to a 2002 study by
the National Institute on Drug Abuse.
"There is too much meth out there to explain this away as a party drug,"
said Dr. Richard Rawson, associate director of UCLA's Integrated Substance
Abuse Programs, who has studied methamphetamines for more than a decade. The
drug is more abused worldwide than cocaine and heroin combined, according to
the World Health Organization. And, Rawson said, it is popular with workers
in overachieving, highly productive economies such as those in Japan and
Recently, several indicators point to methamphetamines' growing influence
in the workplace. According to a study this summer by Quest Diagnostics
Inc., a company that processes more than 7 million employee drug tests each
year, the number of workers testing positive for the stimulant rose 68% last
The California Bar Assn. says one in four lawyers who voluntarily enters
drug rehabilitation programs is addicted to methamphetamines.
The Entertainment Industry Referral and Assistance Center, an employee
assistance program for industry workers and their families, says it sees one
to two methamphetamine addicts a day. That figure is up significantly from
five years ago, said the program's director, Dae Medman.
Researchers report a small but growing number of employers in industries
hit hardest by meth abuse - construction, sales and retail companies - now
screen employees for methamphetamine use, in addition to cocaine, marijuana,
opiates and PCP.
Methamphetamines have a long history of keeping people awake on the job.
Nazi troops used it during World War II, and many countries still provide
soldiers and pilots methamphetamines-like "go pills" to keep them awake
during long battles or flight missions. Before the U.S. government banned
the sale of methamphetamines in the 1970s, students, housewives and
businesspeople used meth, then known as "pep pills," to regularly cram for
exams or boost energy.
Some major concerns with meth use in the workplace are increased risk of
accidents, especially in the manufacturing and transportation industries, as
well as loss of productivity and higher employee health costs, according to
workplace experts and researchers.
The U.S. Occupational Safety and Health Administration is concerned about
the drugs' rising use in the workplace because employees can become
disoriented and develop a lack of coordination, said Dr. Don Wright,
director of occupational medicine. The agency now includes information about
methamphetamines on its website and provides training materials to help
employers recognize workers who may be using the drug. "As this becomes a
longer trend, we are definitely growing more worried," he said.
Katherine Deck, associate director of the Center for Business and Economic
Research at the University of Arkansas, is studying the economic impact of
methamphetamine use in Benton County, Ark. According to the study's
preliminary findings, meth use cost area employers $21 million last year -
about $42,000 per affected worker - in higher absenteeism and health costs.
"Employers are going to be surprised what this drug can mean to their bottom
line," said Deck, whose study was financed by Wal-Mart, the retailing giant
that is headquartered in the Arkansas county.
Methamphetamines work by blocking the brain's ability to cleanse itself of
the euphoria-causing neurotransmitter dopamine. That can lead to intense
feelings of pleasure and an elevated mood that last for hours, compared to a
cocaine high that lasts for around 45 minutes. Many people snort the drug,
but others smoke it or inject it intravenously.
Researchers say the drug has become as easily available as cocaine in
recent years. At their most extreme, meth users are easy to spot: They can
be extremely fidgety, sometimes aggressive and often talk rapidly without
stopping. Many experience rapid weight loss, and they may appear
overconfident, even cocky. Those who stay on the drug for days often don't
sleep and may become paranoid or delusional.
People who temper their use of the drug, known as maintenance users, are
more difficult to spot. After all, many of the drug's initial
characteristics - increased concentration and the ability to work longer
hours - are traits valued by managers and unlikely to be seen as a
Carol Falkowski, a drug researcher at the Hazelden Foundation, a prominent
drug treatment center in Center City, Minn., said some meth users could
maintain their use for long periods of time and never become addicts. "There
are definitely people who can hide" their use of the drug, Falkowski said.
Meth users tend to bottom out more slowly than people who use cocaine or
heroin, possibly because the drug is so cheap and doesn't often lead users
into financial ruin, according to a 2002 study in the Journal of Addictive
Diseases. Prices for meth vary around the country, but users can usually get
a hit for as little as $10.
Elizabeth Stuart, a ... mother of three from San Jose, has worked
as a radiology technician at a local hospital for the last five years. Four
years ago, she started using meth, after spending a few years dipping into
her son's attention deficit disorder medication, a stimulant, to boost her
energy. She stopped after her son's doctor suspected she was abusing the
medication and refused to write more prescriptions.
Initially, she said, meth helped her balance life at home with the stresses
at work, where she felt she was better able to concentrate. "It was my
super-drug," she said.
Eventually, however, things began to fray. Stuart said she started losing
her grip at home and by the end lost interest in work. Before entering a
30-day treatment program last month, she was often arriving late to work and
was calling in sick once or twice a week. She said her bosses never said
anything to her about the possibility she was on drugs. After asking her
boss for help, her employer, who declined to be interviewed, allowed her to
combine her vacation and sick days and take an unpaid leave. "I really
thought this drug kept me in control," she said.
Research is starting to document the long-term effects of meth use on the
brain, which appear to be severe. According to one recent study, long-term
users suffer losses in memory and cognitive ability similar to those of
people with Parkinson's disease.
UCLA's Rawson has found that users begin to reverse brain damage once
they've stopped using the drug for about a year. Although some treatment
experts have reported that meth addiction is very difficult to kick,
Rawson's research has found that success rates for treating meth addicts are
about the same as cocaine users - about 50% to 60%.
Stuart, of San Jose, returned to work last Thursday. At first, she was
uncomfortable, but she relaxed after her boss and co-workers told her how
happy they were to see her. "Other than my kids, right now my job is
everything," she said. "I hope to God I can keep it."
- 9/12 Library cuts back on open hours,
Kansas City Star, MO.
The Kansas City Public Library will start its new scheduled of reduced hours
this week, as part of a budget-balancing effort.
The Central Library and most branches will now operate under the following
schedule: 9 a.m. to 9 p.m. Monday through Wednesday; 9 a.m. to 6 p.m.
Thursday; 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Friday; 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Saturday; and 1 to 5
The one exception is the Sugar Creek branch, which will operate under the
following schedule: 11 a.m. to 7 p.m. Monday through Wednesday; 11 a.m. to 6
p.m. Thursday; 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. Friday; and 1 to 5 p.m. Saturday and
Most branches have cut four hours per week, while the Sugar Creek location
will lose two.
- 9/12 Animal shelter makes request for assistance, WKRN, TN.
A Middle Tennessee humane society is in danger of closing. Now
administrators in Dickson County are making a plea for help.
The shelter has cut hours and even staff. The next step, executive director
Lacey Powlas Nelson fears, could be closing altogether. The problem?
Nelson said, "There is no more money. There's not even money to be able to
get an emergency advance on our $8,000."
The $8,000 is all that the Humane Society gets from county government. 95%
of the shelter's budget comes from donations and fundraisers.
"They haven't been bringing in enough, and we've just been living
fundraiser-to-fundraiser. It's worse than paycheck-to-paycheck," said
It's never been this bad, Nelson said. Now, after just three months on the
job, the director finds herself in dire need of money. Money...and manpower.
"Yes, if we could get volunteers in here that could commit one day a week
to either clean runs, answer phones, clean cat cages," she said.
Nelson said that closing the shelter would shift the burden to Animal
Control. It might even have more lasting effects.
"[It might] increase animal abuse. We help prosecute with animal abuse, and
we try to educate. And right now, I don't even have time to start education
programs in the school, because I'm begging for money," said Nelson.
Because even though the number of dollars coming in the door has slowed, the
number of animals has not.
The Dickson County Humane Society's address is 410 Eno Road, Dickson, TN,
37055. You can mail checks payable to "HSDC." If you'd like to donate or
volunteer, just call 446-PETS.
- 9/12 Sunday offers a good time to get work done - For me, working late nights & putting in some weekend hours balances out the chunks of time for family, by Angela Lin, Boston Globe, G9.
Click here for spontaneous cases of primitive timesizing in -
(July 31+) Aug.1-10/2004
Feb.21-29/2004 + Mar.1
Jan.31 + Feb.1-10/2004
1998 and previous years.
For more details, see our laypersons' guide Timesizing, Not Downsizing, 'flung' into print as a campaign piece during the 1998 race for Joe Kennedy's empty Congressional seat. The handbook is available online from *Amazon.com.Top |
Questions, comments, feedback? Phone 617-623-8080 (Boston) or email us.