Timesizing® Associates - Homepage

Timesizing News, October 16-21, 2004
[Commentary] ©2004 Phil Hyde, Timesizing.com, Box 622, Porter Sq, Cambridge MA 02140 USA 617-623-8080

10/21/2004   primitive timesizing & worktime consciousness in the news = glimmers of strategic hope - all are 10/20 from GoogleNews & are searched-screened-collected by Alan Applebaum (AA) of Brookline MA with backup from *Ken Ellis (KE) of New Bedford MA (except #1 & 14 which are from 10/21 hardcopy), and with excerpting and [commenting] by Phil Hyde (PH) unless otherwise initialed -

  1. Take back your time, Somerville
    Somerville Journal
    By Auditi Guha (aguha@cnc.com)
    Medieval peasants worked less than the average Somervillian, and it's time for a change, some residents say.
    Two Somerville residents are part of a national movement to lower the work week from 40 hours to 35 hours in an effort to improve Amercian health. Their efforts culminate Oct. 25 as they celebrate Take Back Your Time Day, nine weeks before the end of the year. The date is significant because Americans could not work from Oct. 25 to Dec. 31 and still log the same number hours in a year as the average European.
    "It's necessary to give people back their family, health, sanity and a better quality of live," said Barbara Brandt, local author and activist with the Shorter Work Time Group and Take Back Your Time.
    The West Branch Library, 40 College Ave., will host a public forum Oct. 25 at 7 p.m. to discuss the effort. The day before, an event is planned for the Parkman Bandstand on the Boston Common from 1 to 3 p.m.
    The timesizing movement calls for trimming work weeks, not work forces or consumer bases, said Porter Square resident Phil Hyde, Web master of www.timesizing.com and author of "Time Trilogy."
    "The 40-hour week was implemented in 1940. Since then, with all the work-saving technology we have, we haven't undercut it one bit," he said. "We have not adjusted the work week in 65 years."
    A linguist from MIT and a self-described "layoff avoidance consultant to business and government," Hyde said he strongly believes productivity will not be affected by working fewer hours in America. With technology advancements every day, it is not logical to increase the amount of time people spend at work, he added.
    "The culture of longer hours causes us to have so much job insecurity, making us more [rather] than less with all this technology," he said.
    His economic model is simple and workable, he said: It's about doing deliberately what Americans did haphazardly over a 150-year span ending in 1929. At the time, work hours decreased from 84 to 44 as mechanization swept through farms and factories. The United States lowered the work week to today's 40-hour standard in 1940.
    Nucor, what Hyde said is America's only profitable steel company, has done timesizing for ages, he added.
    Brandt has been involved in the timesizing project since 1989, and said she is worried at how stressful people's lives are getting with work pressure and long hours. "People spend more time at work and have no time for family or themselves. And it's only gotten worse in the past 10 years," she said. "People feel it's just modern life, but that's not true. It can be changed - other countries have done it."
    Both Brandt, Hyde and their respective organizations propose personal, family, workplace and political solutions (see sidebar). These were formed from looking at the benefits nations like Canada and many European countries boast - a 35-hour work week; the right to refuse overtime; four weeks of annual leave; and paid summer and maternity leaves.
    "Looking at other countries [that deal better with work and time], the United State is far behind on this issue," she said. "We have the longest working hours among industrialized nations. This is a problem."
    For details, go to *www.timeday.org
    A four-point agenda:
    1. Three weeks minimum paid vacation.
    2. Paid family and medical leaves.
    3. Limits on mandatory overtime.
    4. Make Election Day a national holiday.
    - From Barbara Brandt, Take Back Your Time
    Timesizing 101 - From Phil Hyde's Timesizing.com website

  2. October 24 is Take Back Your Time Day
    by Colleen Cronin
    Boise [ID] Weekly
    President Bush has a theory: tax breaks and tax rebates put more money in our pockets, which increases consumer spending, which boosts the economy, which, in turn, makes us patriotic, happy Americans. But is working more to earn more to shop more really the answer to our problems?
    What about working less and earning less as a way of spreading the wealth, boosting the economy, fostering family values and making us a less harried, more content culture? The organizers of Take Back Your Time Day, a nationwide movement to challenge the epidemic of “time poverty,” hope Americans will begin to recognize that our increasingly stressed lives are actually driving us crazy. This Sunday, October 24, marks the second annual Take Back Your Time day—a date significant because it falls nine weeks before the end of the year, symbolizing that the average American works a full nine weeks longer than the average Western European worker.
    Take Back Your Time Day is modeled after Earth Day, which brought a new level of environmental awareness to America and led to the passage of significant ecological legislation including the Endangered Species Act and the Clean Air and Water Acts. John de Graaf, one of the founders of Time Day and co-chair of the Public Policy Committee for the Simplicity Forum, hopes the day will spark new attitudes toward the 9-to-5 lifestyle and spur people to commiserate about overly busy, work-centered lives.
    So how does working too much impact us? For starters, it takes a toll on health by increasing fatigue, accidents and injuries and decreasing time for exercise or eating healthy meals. Overworking also leads to job stress and burnout calculated to cost more than $300 billion a year. Joe Robinson asserts in his article, “The Incredible Shrinking Vacation,” in de Graaf’s book, Take Back Your Time, that half of all Americans are currently suffering from burnout.
    Clocking in mega hours also impacts our relationships by depriving us of meaningful, quality time with loved ones. Americans today spend 40% less time with their children than they did in the 1960s. And it’s not just adults who lack time; children too are now tethered to ridiculously busy schedules leaving precious little free or play time.
    The fact that fewer people are working longer hours directly impacts our economy and employment rate. Many European nations have discovered that shorter work-time policies better distribute jobs, reduce unemployment and promote work-family balance, gender equity and lifelong learning opportunities. Fewer hours at work often means improved overall quality of life—a recent study revealed 60% of French workers said shorter hours had indeed improved their quality of life. So how can you combat our work-obsessed, stressed out culture? Just recognizing that busy bee-hood can cause neglect of other values like strong families and communities, good health, a clean environment, active citizenship and social justice is a good start. Other suggestions from Time Day organizers include sleeping in or planting a tree. More involved ideas include starting a book group focused on time issues or asking your employer if you can job share or better yet, take a sabbatical.
    For more information and resources related to Time Day, visit www.simpleliving.net/timeday.

  3. A lesson in sharing
    Richmond Times-Dispatch VA
    Mary Lynn Toalson knelt on the floor by a group of her third-graders as they constructed models of the Greek Parthenon out of toilet paper tubes and construction paper.
    She was working with the students when several stood up and waved at Laura Magnusen, their other teacher, who had just arrived for the day. They hadn't seen Magnusen for a week.
    Toalson and Magnusen share a class and work every other week, switching on Wednesday afternoons. It's called job sharing, something that hasn't gained much attention in metro Richmond school divisions.
    But Toalson and Magnusen are participating in a pilot program at Chesterfield County's Alberta Smith Elementary School. So far, they have no complaints. The students "get the best of both of us," Magnusen said.
    Job sharing is when two employees work one full-time job. Typically, job sharing occurs when women have children and want to stay home with them, but can't afford to stay home full time. As teachers, they find another willing teacher in their school in the same grade or subject and devise a way to split the workload.
    The job sharing teams in Chesterfield are part-time employees. They give up their place on the salary scale and their benefits. Magnusen and Toalson are making half of their former salaries.
    Employment experts promote the benefits of job sharing by saying it increases productivity and is an excellent way to attract and retain employees.
    "It is a wonderful concept," said JoAnn Crowell-Redd, personnel director for Chesterfield schools. "The talent, the skills, the knowledge - it would have gone out the door."
    "Flexibility is what people want," said Pat Katepoo, founder of WorkOptions.com, a resource for people seeking flexible work solutions. "More time to address outside responsibilities, outside of the job, just makes for a better employee."
    Job sharing in its truest form, "does not penalize employees financially," Katepoo said, giving as an example if a teacher makes $50,000 a year, under job sharing they should keep the full salary.
    School officials are evaluating the program at Alberta Smith. "We wanted to make sure there's no breakdown of our instructional services," Crowell-Redd said.
    Toalson and Magnusen had been working across the hall from each other for more than a decade.
    "It was one of those things we kind of joked about," said Toalson...who has taught for 15 years. For her, retirement was a looming possibility, but she didn't want to leave the classroom for good.
    Magnusen...was going to leave the classroom when she and her husband started a family.
    Under the regular system, "if I did have a child, I wouldn't have come back," she said.
    Last year both teachers approached their principal, Jeff Beatman, with their job-sharing idea. "Once they convinced me, we made a proposal to the county," Beatman said.
    Toalson and Magnusen worked with human resources officials to come up with the pilot program. Parents were notified before the school year started and given an option to have their children in Toalson's and Magnusen's class. Nearly 40 parents volunteered their children for the 24 available seats.
    One of those parents was Beverly Fortune. "I was ecstatic," Fortune said. Toalson and Magnusen "have a unique way of handling things. And they don't miss anything." That's because "we have to talk about every single thing we did," Toalson said.
    Each Wednesday afternoon, both teachers meet at the end of the day to talk about everything that happened in the days that one of them wasn't there. They have a thick three-ring binder filled with their notes, parents' notes, daily activities and graded papers. "I can come in that day and feel like I've been here all week," Magnusen said.
    Job sharing won't work for all teachers. "It's got to be the right two people," Toalson said. "You have to have give and take."
    Toalson and Magnusen agree they have different teaching styles. But they play off each other's strengths. "I think I've become a better teacher," Magnusen said. "I feel the kids get more from me now individually because of what I've learned from [Toalson]."
    None of the metro Richmond school divisions has a policy regarding job sharing, and officials in Hanover and Henrico counties and the city of Richmond say they have no teachers currently sharing jobs.
    Two other teachers in Chesterfield are job sharing, although they are not part of the pilot program at Alberta Smith.
    Manchester High School science teachers Belinda Merriman and Renee Cranor are in their second year of job sharing. Chesterfield high schools have block schedules, where three of the classes meet on odd days and three others meet on even days. A fourth class meets daily. Merriman teaches on odd days, Cranor on even days.
    Merriman wanted more time to stay home with her two small children.
    The school division "got to keep two experienced, good teachers, and we got to keep a job we both love and we get more family time," Merriman said.
    The Chesterfield Education Association would like the School Board to create a job sharing policy, and to let job-sharing teachers keep their full-time salaries and receive benefits.
    CEA president Donald Wilms said he understands why school divisions wouldn't feel the need to address an issue like job sharing if there's no teacher shortage.
    [Work sharing via workweek reduction reinforces itself by creating a labor shortage that gives employees more bargaining power.]
    "But there is a teacher shortage, so let's try to keep our teachers from leaving altogether," Wilms said. "If we're going to approve it on an individual basis, why don't we just make it policy and make it easier for them to do it."
    Contact Holly Carroll at (804) 649-6945 or hcarroll@timesdispatch.com

  4. [Shorter hours and even longer vacations are happening anyway but under the worst possible conditions -]
    2 Lawrence department heads want to upgrade workers' pay
    The Decatur Daily AL?
    By Clyde L. Stancil (cstancil@decaturdaily.com, 340-2443)
    MOULTON, Ala. - Despite a revenue shortfall, two of the department heads in Lawrence County want the commission to upgrade their employees' pay classifications. That would be in addition to the across-the-board raise given to all employees Oct. 1. Revenue Commissioner Tommy Praytor wants all of his employees moved one step up on the pay rung, and he wants a manager for each of his three offices. Praytor also wants to promote two employees to assistant managers. County Engineer Jeff Griffin wants to reclassify 10 of his employees to reflect what he said are their true job duties. He said that even with the pay raises, his budget for salaries would be $33,000 less than last year. He discounted the fact that there are two vacant slots that the commission wants him to fill. That would negate his claim of having a smaller budget. Griffin and Praytor presently do not have a dollar amount for the pay increases, but they will meet with County Administrator Linda Harville. The other department heads may follow. Praytor said he needs the office managers because his offices are divided between two buildings, and he needs managers in each of them to make decisions when he is not there. The assistant managers would take their places when they are away. He has been in office since 1991. Praytor said that although the level of knowledge and workload for jobs in his offices has increased, the county has not upgraded job classifications. Praytor mentioned changes in the tag law and that his employees now have to do annual equalization, instead of once every four years, as reasons for the pay upgrades. "I believe if they moved everybody up one grade, it would solve the problem," he said.
    Select raises
    Praytor is seeking the pay raises at the request of his employees, who like other county employees were upset that the commission reclassified three county employees last year. The pay upgrades were three months after several employees were laid off or had to accept reduced work hours because of a revenue deficit. None of the other employees received pay raises. The commission gave them an extra week of vacation. There was a revenue shortfall again this year, but the commission was able to close the gap with holdover capital improvement funds. Despite deficit spending, the commissioners also gave employees pay raises. The raises that Praytor and Griffin seek will be in addition to those raises. Griffin said that his employees have threatened to find other jobs if they are not paid for what they do. Commissioners will discuss the reclassification of employees at their Nov. 8 meeting. Chairman Bradley Cross said that the county would see an increase in revenues now that it has paid off the defunct landfill on Alabama 157. Cross said that the commission could use some of what used to be an annual $98,534 in payments to offset the pay increases.

  5. Porsche wants to cut jobs, extend working hours
    AFP via Turkish Press
    FRANKFURT - Porsche, the German maker of luxury sports cars, wants to extend working hours and cut jobs, its chairman said in a newspaper interview at a time when other car makers in Germany are also drastically reducing their workforce in an attempt to drive down costs. "In our production facilities, those jobs that become free are not being replaced since we have been able to sharply increase output per worker," Porsche chairman Wendelin Wiedeking told the Financial Times Deutschland without providing any concrete figures.
    [More icewater in the face for those who cling to the dogma that technology creates more jobs than it destroys.]
    In August 2003, when Porsche held its last headcount, the car maker employed a workforce of just over 10,000.
    [Compared to what? Another reporter drops the ball in mid story!]
    Porsche has embarked on a programme to boost productivity to help counter the negative effects of the weak dollar, Wiedeking said. The German firm generates nearly half of its revenues in dollars. "We're holding intensive talks with workers, for example about the infamous 5-minute 'pee break'" that forms part of a wage agreement in Porsche's home state of Baden-Wuerttemberg, Wiedeking said. The break, which gives workers 5 minutes every hour to go the toilet, "is a relic that needs to be looked at," the chairman said.
    Fellow car maker DaimlerChrysler recently succeeded in abolishing the break and extending working hours at the end of a recent fierce battle with employees.
    [They've found employees who don't need to pee?]
    Auto makers in Germany are currently wrestling to push through draconian cost-cutting measures. US car giant General Motors has sparked mass protests across the country by announcing plans to slash as many as 10,000 jobs at its German unit Opel. And the country's biggest car maker Volkswagen is also planning a two-year wage freeze and a 30% reduction in labour costs by 2011 and has threatened to axe 30,000 jobs if it does not succeed.

  6. [another case of timesizing to reduce downsizing -]
    District cans 6 custodians, reduces hours for secretaries
    Muskegon Chronicle, MI
    By Federico Martinez
    The Reeths-Puffer school board laid off six full-time custodians and reduced work hours for building secretaries en route to cutting $250,000 from this year's operating budget. The board approved the cuts Monday. Superintendent Steve Cousins said the cuts were necessary because the district lost more students this fall than originally predicted. Those lost students translate into less state aid to the district. "People understand that we lost 37 more students than we had planned,"Cousins said. "We don't have a choice." School officials say there are several reasons why the district is losing students. Some families have moved out of the district to find better jobs, while other students have opted to attend a different school district under the county's schools of choice plan, school officials said. The county's declining birth rate is also a factor, they said. Reeths-Puffer, which has had to make several budget cuts in recent years, had no choice but to cut staff, said Cousins, who noted that 87% of the district's operating budget is for personnel. Earlier this year, the board voted to cut all administrators' salaries by 1% and increase the cost of their health insurance co-pay from 5% to 10%. The reduced number of custodians means less cleaning for some school building areas in the future, Cousins said. Custodians will continue to clean heavy-traffic areas daily but will tend to less busy areas less frequently, he said. "What it comes down to is everyone has to do more," Cousins said. Also as part of this week's budget cuts, the board opted not to fill a vacant maintenance position in the district. Maintenance employees do different tasks than custodial workers.

  7. [ever wonder what's happnin in the Baltic? -]
    VP Market employees cry foul
    wire reports via Baltic Times, Latvia
    TALLINN, Lithuania - A number of former employees of VP Market, the Lithuanian retail leader that has been expanding into Estonia this year, have turned to labor dispute committees complaining about unpaid wages and overtime work. Tiina Troska, secretary at the Tallinn labor dispute committee, told the daily Eesti Paevaleht that the committee had received five complaints from VP market employees, including office staff, a secretary and a personnel manager. A store assistant and general manager have also filed applications, she said. One of the recurring gripes is that employers often find staff performance during the probationary period less than satisfactory, the paper reported. In Tartu, 12 former VP Market employees have filed notices with similar demands, according to the report. In some cases the employer was accused of withholding employment record books and severance pay. Claims have also been filed for back wages and unpaid overtime work. The head of the Tartu labor dispute committee, Jevgeni Kupri, said that all of the applications appeared at the end of July. The committee has not received this many applications related to a single company in years, he said, though it has recently heard few such complaints from other retailers. Tessa Kutimets, former manager of the Tartu VP Market chain store who was dismissed 20 days before her probationary period ended, said that according to her knowledge, she was the longest serving manager of the store so far. After her dismissal, management has changed six times. "I've been working in retail for a long time, and there's no other chain that operates with the same style as VP Market," Kutimets told the newspaper, adding that employees had to work long hours and often throughout the night. VP Market has refused to pay her overtime and time worked during public holidays. Kutimets said the number of hours she worked in June - 346 - could be compared to slavery. Kestutis Liutkus, head of Estonia's and Latvia's VP Market advertising division, said the company had met all of its obligations according to employee-company contracts. "Some movement of staff can be explained by employees being visibly not ready to work honestly and in accordance with strict requirements," Liutkus said. "At the present moment we are not aware of any claims, but if there are any, we are asking to immediately notify the company's management." Liutkus added that the former store manager had written down the number of shocking working hours recorded by Kutimets. "VP Market is prepared to prove that these figures do not correspond with reality and are false," he said.

  8. Doctors withdraw strike threat
    TVNZ, New Zealand
    The Resident Doctors Association has withdrawn its threat of strike action. On Monday junior hospital doctors gave notice they would strike for six days from November 2nd over their claim for changes [increases] to their working hours and conditions. A spokesperson for the DHB's, Jean OCallaghan says talks on Thursday between management and doctors have made progress on outstanding issues and the notice to strike has been lifted. O'Callaghan says the talks will now focus on concluding a settlement with doctors. She hopes that can be achieved with further meetings next week.
    [Background -]
    Talks Hope To Avert Doctors' Strike
    NewstalkZB via Xtra News, New Zealand
    Both sides in the junior doctors' dispute return to negotiations today, in an effort to avert the threat of a six-day strike in November. Representatives from the DHBs and the Resident Doctors Association are meeting in Wellington to discuss concerns about long working hours. Meanwhile mediation in another health dispute continues today. The Nurses Organisation and district health boards are trying hammer out a new collective agreement. The pay talks have been going on since June.

  9. Census: 3.5% in Missouri, 4% in Kansas work from home
    Kansas City Business Journal, MO
    About 3.5% of Missouri workers and 4% of Kansas workers worked at home in 2000, according to data the U.S. Census Bureau released Wednesday. More than 90,780 Missouri workers older than 16 worked from home most days of the week in 2000. The majority worked in management, professional or related occupations, or sales and office jobs. In Kansas, 51,862 workers older than 16 worked at home in 2000. Management and professional occupations, service jobs, and sales and office jobs topped the list of occupations for home-based workers. People working from home in both states shared a number of characteristics. Women made up 52% of those working from home, and a majority were between 30 and 54 and had at least a high school education. In both states, home-based workers generally worked fewer hours a week and fewer weeks a year than those who did not work at home, the data showed. Nationally, nearly 4.2 million people worked at home in 2000, up from 3.4 million in 1990. The 23% increase was more than double the growth in the overall work force from 1990 to 2000, the Census Bureau said.

  10. Work from home grows
    Minneapolis Star Tribune, MN
    H.J. Cummins
    The ranks of working Americans whose morning commute is a short walk from coffeepot to home office or workshop grew by 800,000 from 1990 to 2000, according to numbers released Wednesday by the U.S. Census Bureau. The 23% increase - to 4.2 million - is twice the growth rate of the overall workforce. Home-based workers are better educated, less well-paid, more likely to be white and work fewer hours than the U.S. workforce overall. The new count includes almost 117,000 Minnesotans. Among them is game inventor Kurt Kirckof of Brooten. Besides promoting his children's game, Going-Going Crazy, Kirckof operates an auto body and engine repair shop at the family home. It lets him share parenting with his wife, a nurse, for their five children - ages 6 months to 11 years.
    Jim Cutchey of Bloomington works at home.
    Bruce Bisping
    "To me it's all about the children," he said. "Yesterday they got out of school at noon and I got to pick them up." Technology that makes remote work easier, and employers' gradual acceptance of off-site work, is driving the increase, demographers said. Another factor is the typical migration into self-employment during the recent economic slump, others said. "The numbers don't surprise me," said Terri Lonier, founder of Working Solo Inc. in New Paltz, N.Y. "Those of us involved in this area have seen very active movement for some time," said Lonier, whose company consults on "microbusinesses."What's happening now is people are paying more attention, and the data-gathering is becoming more specific."
    Work-family balance
    The census snapshot of at-home workers doesn't mirror the American workforce. The home workers tend to be better educated but less driven, on average, than the rest of the workforce. Nationally, for example, more are college-educated - about 37% to 27% - but they work fewer hours and earn less money. One factor is parents scaling back for work-family balance. Also, all the home-based startups account for some of the low earnings. Jim Cutchey of Bloomington, for example, left a decadelong career managing auto body shops to try to launch his indoor-hockey training equipment for children. The setup, inspired by his own boyhood hockey play, has taken about two years to get the equipment patented, produced and packaged. Cutchey hopes his business, Blaze Sports, eventually will outgrow his home. Amber Bullock of Burnsville, on the other hand, breaks the mold. Her home office handles the phone/e-mail/Web duties of assorted small businesses and associations in the Twin Cities. She is working harder and earning more than she did before she started her business two years ago, after the birth of her third son. Her Buy Your Time company handles the office work of small businesses as well as associations - from the Rotary Club to the Minnesota (Dry) Cleaners Association - that often have no office of their own. "It's by my own choice," Bullock said. "I'm a workaholic." Still, she plans to keep her business at home. "I like being able to get up and work in my pajamas if I don't have any meetings," she said. And in another homey twist: Bullock now employs an assistant a few hours a week, who brings her baby daughter with her.
    On the move
    Data on Americans working at home are still imperfect. Different surveys use different terms - such as telecommuting, teleworking, working at home - and attach different definitions to them, said census demographer Clara Reschovsky. Even this census count is not definitive. It comes from a question asking the "usual means of transportation to work," and it counts those who answered "worked at home." Reschovsky interprets that to include anyone who works three or more days a week at home, either for themselves or someone else. The Census Bureau also has issued updated but less accurate estimates for Americans working at home in 2003: 4.5 million nationwide, including more than 122,000 Minnesotans. Other research offers a broader look. For example, the Bureau of Labor Statistics recently reported that 19% of Americans do "some or all" of their work at home. "That means not only are there a lot of people working at home, there are a lot more people doing at least some of their work at home," said Steve Hine, labor market research director for Minnesota's Department of Employment and Economic Development. In another trend, home-based businesses are changing traditional approaches to growth, said Ron Wacks in Minneapolis, president of the Minnesota Homebased Entrepreneurs Association. "The measure of growth in this world is no longer more employees, it's revenues," Wacks said. "I know more people who absolutely, deliberately want to stay in their own homes. One couple built their revenues 30 times bigger without moving out of their house. We don't hire. We subcontract, we partner, we go for alliances, but we're all still at home. This is the model I see for most people."
    H.J. Cummins is at hcummins@startribune.com

  11. Speer focuses on future of nation's family farmers
    Rochester Agri News, MN
    By Janet Kubat Willette
    ELGIN, Minn. - Farming is a good lifestyle, and farms are a good place to raise children, but Katherine Speer says she wonders if there will be a next generation of independent farmers. It's virtually impossible to help young people start farming, she said, and there are no incentives to keep farms in the family. At $4,000 an acre, few small farmers or want-to-be farmers can afford to buy land, she said. Investors and conglomerates are the only ones who can afford to pay the price. Republicans have said that eliminating estate taxes, the so-called death tax, will help pass on the family farm. Speer, a DFL volunteer, disagrees. Eliminating estate taxes only benefit 1% of the population and do not help farmers who want to sell or give their land to their children while they are living, she said. The government needs to do something to save the family farm, Speer said. She's been reading about a $1 billion projected state budget deficit and cuts that might be made to school funding and social programs. Will that mean more volunteers have to step forward? There's only so much property taxes can cover, she said. Minnesotans have the quality of life they have today because older generations were willing to pay for it, Speer said. She said she remembers her father working at an Iowa packinghouse in the 1930s. There was no such thing as a 40-hour work week. He worked when he was told to work. If he refused, he'd be out of a job.
    [Gee, just like today!]
    Working conditions are better now for all because of what unions did in the past," Speer said.
    [Oh yeah, where exactly?]
    "I have a lot of respect for unions," she said....
    [What unions? They're down to 13% of the US workforce, and mostly in the public sector, because they took their eyes off the prize = shorter hours, and focused on higher pay. And if you just get higher pay, you wind up with neither cuz you're fighting market forces, but if you just get shorter hours, you wind up with both, cuz you're creating a shortage of YOU and harnessing market forces on your side to help you get higher pay.]

  12. [and it's happening in Canada too -]
    Live with arbitrator's binding deal, labour minister tells blue-collars - Union threatening pressure tactics - It can appeal decision to courts, Despres says, but he's not stepping in
    Montreal Gazette, Canada
    Montreal's unionized blue-collar workers will have to live with an arbitrator's decision on their contract with the city, Labour Minister Michel Despres said yesterday. "They agreed to submit to an arbitrator, knowing the framework of the existing law, and the arbitrator did his job," Despres said on his way into a Liberal caucus in the morning. He said the union representing the 5,000 workers should appeal the decision and follow due process if it disagrees. "It's their right, it's their privilege (to appeal), but in the meantime, we cannot call into question the labour relations regime in Quebec," Despres said. Union leaders were highly critical of the arbitrator's ruling this week, calling it an unprecedented step backward for their working conditions. Quebec Federation of Labour president Henri Masse even called the arbitrator's decision a "piece of s--t." The union said its members would see pay reductions of up to $15,000 a year on top of losing their four-day work week. They also warn they'd lose some of their jobs to subcontractors. The union suggested it would stage pressure tactics if the city did not return to the bargaining table to renegotiate the contract. But Despres said it's too early to say whether his government would intervene. "It's now up to the city to make sure the decision is applied," he said. "As minister of labour, I'm there to ensure the labour relations procedure is respected. It was respected. One party was not satisfied. It's their right to take the (appropriate) recourse."

  13. [it's gettin weird out there...]
    Seasonal Work Available
    WJACtv.com, PA
    Workers wanted and that call is going out in our region for some seasonal jobs. Aerotek is looking for people from the Bedford area to do assembly line work at Sony's New Stanton plant in Westmoreland County. The company will pay your transportation and housing costs if you are hired. The job pays $8.50 an hour for a 60 hour work week. They also pay employees a $100 bonus for every week they don't call off sick. Aerotek will be talking with potential workers through Friday afternoon at the Bedford County Careerlink office.

  14. 'FWB' trend [friends with (sex) benefits] distorts the lessons of sex and love
    by Barbara Meltz, Boston Globe, H1.
    ...Bard College developmental psychologist Nancy Darling, who specializes in teen coupling, says teens cite a range of benefits to FWB: [Compare from the latest issue of Funny Times -]
    In the future..., by George Carlin, 11/2004 Funny Times, 9.
    A time machine will be built, but no one will have time to use it.
10/20/2004   primitive timesizing & worktime consciousness in the news = glimmers of strategic hope - all are 10/19 from GoogleNews & are searched-screened-collected by Alan Applebaum (AA) of Brookline MA with backup from *Ken Ellis (KE) of New Bedford MA, and with excerpting and [commenting] by Phil Hyde (PH) unless otherwise initialed -

  1. Kerry, Bush weigh in on employment-related issues - Rivals for presidency have taken positions on some workplace-related issues
    By Dawn Anfuso
    Daily Breeze, CA
    With just two weeks until the Presidential election and three debates digested, many Americans have chosen their candidate. The Iraq war and terrorism threats have played a significant role this election in influencing people's choice. But the economy certainly weighs on everyone's mind as well. To be sure, issues related to one's job and financial livelihood have an even greater immediate, daily effect. So, for anyone still undecided, here's a sampling of the workplace-related issues Bush and Kerry plan to focus on during the next four years:
    John Kerry
    As President, John Kerry says he will cut taxes for businesses that create jobs here in America instead of moving them overseas. He also plans to enforce our trade agreements. Senator Kerry promises to raise the minimum wage from $5.15 to $7 an hour by 2007. He plans to support pay equity legislation to ensure working women are paidthe same as their male counterparts. Senator Kerry believes that unemployment insurance should be reformed to cover more people, to provide sufficient benefits to people between jobs, and help laid-off workers gain the work force training skills they need to get working again and get ahead. Senator Kerry says he will protect workers' right to organize a union. And he hopes to expand the Family and Medical Leave so it will help more Americans balance the needs between work and family.
    George W. Bush
    Bush promises to provide $500 million for Jobs for the 21st century, which will help educate and train high-skilled American workers in schools and community colleges. He says he will work to make the tax code simpler for taxpayers, encourage savings and investment, and improve the economy's ability to create jobs and raise wages. Bush plans to promote comp-time and flex-time, enabling employees to choose paid time off as an alternative to overtime pay and to give employees the option of shifting work hours during a pay period. He hopes to reform federal job-training programs to double the number of workers trained. Under the Bush's Personal Re-employment Accounts pilot program, certain unemployed workers will be eligible to receive up to $3,000 that could be used for training and services, such as child care and transportation, that they believe will help them return to work. As an incentive, the program would allow the recipients to keep the balance of the account as a cash bonus if they find a job within 13 weeks.
    California law provides that employees must be given sufficient time off to enable them to vote at either the beginning or the end of the shift, unless otherwise agreed upon by the employer and employee. Employees must make an application for time off at least two workdays before the election if they know or should have known that extra time would be needed. And employers are required to pay employees normal wages for the time off for up to two hours. The polls will be open from 7 a.m. to 8 p.m. on Nov. 2, 2004. One vote can make a difference.

  2. Letter: Let's reclaim precious time
    by Peggy Hothem, Professor of Recreation & Leisure Studies, Gordon College, Woodsom Road, Hamilton, Mass.
    Hamilton-Wenham Chronicle, Mass.
    Are you feeling always rushed, stressed, hurried and have no time to do those things that you really want to do? You are not alone. Our relentless pace of life has a negative impact on our health, families, community life, spirituality, civic participation, environment and sense of personal well-being. But are we destined to continue to crank up the speed of our lives, going faster and faster until...what? Maybe it is time for us to Take Back Our Time.
    Within the last year, I have become involved with a new, nationwide, non-partisan initiative that challenges our national epidemic of overworked, over-scheduled, hurried lifestyles. The Time Day - www.timeday.org - organization is a grassroots network that is helping individuals, organizations and communities to consider choices to bring balance into our lives.
    In the 1960s and 1970s, we were promised that with high-tech innovations, our economy would create more leisure time. But what has actually happened?
    Since 1973, the average U.S. worker added an additional 199 work hours to his or her annual schedule. In fact, according to Economist Juliet Schor in her book "The Overworked American: the Unexpected Decline of Leisure," U.S. workers now work an average of nine full weeks more than European workers do.
    To bring a more conscious awareness of the increase of work hours in our lives, the Time Day organization is promoting its second "Take Back Your Time Day," Sunday, Oct. 24.
    Why Oct. 24? From Oct. 24 until the end of the calendar year represents the amount of time that on average, we work longer per year - nearly nine full weeks or 350 hours - than our peers in western Europe do. We have the shortest paid vacations in the world, and in 2002 Americans gave back 175 million days of paid vacation to employers, time they already had coming. When we are not working, we are more hurried than ever before.
    It is not only adults that have been affected by overwork, but perhaps our children are also over-scheduled. According to a University of Michigan study, our children have lost large amounts of play time and unstructured outdoor time in the past few decades.
    In his book, "Take Back Your Kids," family therapist Dr. William Doherty is concerned that we have allowed the adult world of marketplace values and hyper-competition to invade the wonder of childhood experiences and negatively affect the quality of family and community life.
    What can we do to slow down the pace of our hurried lives? Let's start by taking at least one day, Sunday, Oct. 24, to Take Back Our Time. We can wander in the woods, pray, make music, play board games, share time with a loved one, eat a picnic, take off your wristwatch, reach out to an older person in our community, do a jigsaw puzzle with your family, write a letter to an old friend, read a favorite Psalm slowly, reflect upon the meaning of life, and invite God to breathe afresh upon you.
    And maybe, we will enjoy this day so much we will carve out more days to experience the joy and celebration of life. Happy "Take Back Your Time Day." See you on the trails.

  3. Flex schedules gain popularity in judiciary Newark Star Ledger, NJ
    NEWARK, N.J. - The desk for state Superior Court Judge Edward Gannon's law clerk is standard issue - except for the two in-boxes sitting on the left corner. There is one for each of the two women who are splitting the clerkship, a post normally filled by a single person. The idea of sharing the position was proposed by the two recent law school graduates, who both have young children and wanted to get started on their careers without sacrificing their personal lives. The shared clerkship marks the first time such an arrangement has been adopted in the state judiciary. "The trend here is to take a look at reinventing the workplace with flexibility. ... It was worth giving it a try," said Gannon, who hears criminal cases in Paterson.
    While there are few hard figures that track the number of lawyers who have alternative work schedules, it is clear the profession has started to embrace the notion. "Over time, it is slowly gaining more acceptance and is becoming more prevalent," said Stephanie Richman, associate director of career services at Rutgers University School of Law in Newark. "But it is still not necessarily the common approach." A survey last year by the National Association for Law Placement showed 96% of offices in its directory offered part- time working arrangements, an increase over the 93% from the previous year. However, the number of attorneys who took advantage of the option was still relatively small, just 4.1%.
    A number of New Jersey firms, including McCarter & English in Newark and McElroy, Deutsch, Mulvaney & Carpenter in Morristown, let attorneys work part time. One national law firm, Kirkpatrick & Lockhart, recently hired an organizational and social psychologist as the first director of "professional and personal life integration." At Lowenstein Sandler in Roseland, working a flexible schedule does not preclude lawyers from becoming partners. Earlier this year, corporate lawyer Christine Osvald- Mruz became the firm's first director who works part time.
    In Judge Gannon's chambers, the law clerk job is shared by Angela Arabia-Meyer...of West Milford, and Tara McCluskey...of Ridgewood. They have seven children between them. Each was nearing the end of course work at Rutgers Law, and they both figured they could not get a part-time job at a law firm. So, they decided to make a joint bid for a judicial clerkship.
    But first, they had to convince the state's highest court. They explained their plan to the former administrative director of the courts, Richard Williams, who has since retired. He agreed to ask the state Supreme Court to consider the job-sharing proposal. He told the women not to expect to hear back for at least a month. But four days later, it had been approved, Arabia-Meyer said.
    "Next, we had to find a judge," she said. Together, they wrote a cover letter and, along with their resumes, sent it to 97 judges in Essex, Passaic and Bergen counties. Two offered interviews. "We have teamed up to present ourselves as candidates for a single clerkship," the letter said. "It is our firm belief that by combining our individual talents and strengths, we will each contribute greatly to the position."
    It certainly grabbed Gannon's attention, who had been on a Supreme Court committee that discussed the issue of job sharing and flexible schedules. "It was a unique proposal," he said. "They had a pretty good idea of what they wanted to do and how it would work, and it was worth giving it a try."
    The two women started work last month. McCluskey works Monday and Tuesday, Arabia-Meyer works Wednesday and Thursday, and they alternate Fridays. They talk daily, and they can access each other's computer files so one can pick up a project where the other left off.
    "It has allowed me to have the time with my family plus the legal experience I hoped to have," McCluskey said. "In law school, I was surprised how narrow the choices were. ... At this point, certainly it has worked out very well with the judiciary and I hope it continues to work out for others."
    Gannon couldn't agree more. With two clerks, he gets to expose twice as many people to the workings of the judiciary, and gets more work done. "The two of them put so much energy into the job that they are able to accomplish jointly more than what two people could do. It is more than two for the price of one," Gannon said.

  4. France advised to work harder
    [How advanced in the Age of Automation - not.]
    Business Report, South Africa
    By Hugh Schofield
    PARIS - France must learn to work harder and rein in an excessive public sector if it wanted to avoid sinking into irreversible economic decline, a committee of experts led by former International Monetary Fund chief Michel Camdessus warned the government yesterday. Commissioned by finance minister Nicolas Sarkozy, the report painted a depressing picture of a country hampered by unemployment of nearly 10%, declining productivity and investment, and permanently low growth. Camdessus was highly critical of France's state sector, which consumes 54.7% of gross domestic product yet "is increasingly unable to respond as it should to the demands of society". Warning that the "social model is being borne on the backs of our children", the report called on the state to replace only half of the large number of public employees who will retire in the next decade. Proposing radical reforms, it recommended measures to restore labour incentives, encourage technological innovation, reduce the debt overhang and safeguard the system of social benefits. Sarkozy said: "I identify with this report because it says three essential things: that it is urgent to carry out reforms in our country, that reforms are not to be seen as a punishment and that the number of public workers can be reduced in exchange for productivity gains." However, trade unions were unlikely to react positively to the report's strong rejection of "share-out logic", the theory that had reduced working hours to a compulsory 35-hour week.
    [This is not a theory, despite the long-standing propaganda war against it by compromised economic "scientists" more interested in serving their wealthy alumni donors' short-sighted and self-destructive interests than researching the facts of economic history. The economic prosperity of worksharing is a law, usually enforced by the labor reductions of war, but also proven by 150 years of intelligent, labor-rationing workweek reduction prior to 1940, when the whole industrialized world jerked from lower-paid 80-84 hours a week to higher-paid 40 hours a week. Proven also by the US experience, 1938-40, in going from a 44-hour workweek to 40 hours and from 19% unemployment to 9.9%, and by France's own experience, 1997-2001, in going from a 39-hour workweek to 35 and from 12.6% to 8.6%. The main locus of human progress and advancement has always been a new technology of sharing, of becoming more available to one another: language, agricultural calendar, writing, loyal opposition, problem quantification, and now, programming for balance. The human populations that fail to adopt the new sharing technologies fall behind, like the Third World today. Sarkozy is a backward, unimaginative, ambition-blinded dunce who's leading France back into a sarcophagus.]
    Describing France as in the grip of a "serious syndrome of denial ... which curbs all but superficial reforms", it identified the main problem as France's work deficit, caused by low working hours and structurally high unemployment rates.
    [What complete hogwash. As if any industrialized nation, stuffed with automation and robotization, could possibly have any such thing as a "work deficit." This is our old one-sided supply-side economics again, which has given us this disguised worldwide depression - really no better than one-sided demand-side economics. It's high time we moved on to the two-sided "balance-side" economics of Timesizing, where production alone doesn't matter - unless it is met by matching consumption, and productivity alone doesn't matter - unless it is matched by consumability. Timesizing automatically maximizes consumer confidence and consumption (made ecologically sustainable by Bucky Fuller's principle of "doing more with less") by automatically maximizing the number of financially secure employed people, regardless of how short the workweek much become to do that, or how skillful managers must become at subdividing and suturing workloads. This is a technological imperative. The whole notion that technology creates more jobs than it destroys is merely a statement of statusquo-serving faith - somewhere else at some other some new technology is bound to create a few new job categories, like foundry jobs for steam engines, or oil jobs for automobiles. The easily repeatable scientific observation at factories and offices, however, is that new technologies have an immediate and consumption-dampening effect in terms of downsizing the workforce. It is workweek increase that shares and spreads unemployment and consumer anxiety in the Age of Automation, not workweek decrease. But the wealthy are so insecurified by their self-isolation and alienation from the rest of humanity that they can seldom afford emotionally to lighten up and let go of some of the comfortable lies they have spun, and this crazy assumption that the job market is infinite and will take any punishment, is just like their assumption that the oceans are limitless, and the ozone layer is limitless, and ground water is infinite, and species diversity is limitless. In short, there is always limitless plenty for all, and sharing is unnecessary - except on their own parsimonious discretionary terms. Of course they are unaware of the huge sharing technologies that buttress their present excess, not only in terms of one husband, one wife (monogamy) but one adult, one vote (universal suffrage) and one auto, one green light (traffic regulation), but also in terms of the really big sharing technologies mentioned above that characterize, in sequence, the Anthropological, Sociological, Geographic, Political, Economic, and soon the Ecological Ages, and indicate which human "teams" at any period of prehistory or history are carrying the " football of history."]
    [Here's another version of this silly story -]
    French must work more or suffer serious economic decline: Report - France 'facing irreversible decline' expert panel warns AFP via Expatica, Netherlands
    [Thus demonstrating how wrong and out-of-touch 'experts' can be.]
    PARIS - France must learn to work harder and rein in its "excessive" public sector if it is not to sink into irreversible economic decline, a committee of experts led by former IMF chief Michel Camdessus warned the government Tuesday. Commissioned by Finance Minister and presidential hopeful Nicolas Sarkozy, the report painted a depressing picture of a country hampered by unemployment of nearly 10%, declining productivity and investment, and permanently low growth rates. Proposing radical reforms, the report said these obstacles could be overcome by an economic "leap forward", and it recommended a series of measures to restore labour incentives, encourage technological innovation, reduce the debt overhang and safeguard the country's system of social benefits. The recommendations were immediately welcomed by Sarkozy, who is due to take over next month as head of the ruling Union for a Popular Movement (UMP) party. He has already indicated they will form the basis of the party's economic manifesto ahead of his probable presidential bid in 2007. "I identify with this report because it says three essential things: that it is urgent to carry out reforms in our country, that reforms are not to be seen as a punishment, and that the number of public workers can be reduced in exchange for productivity gains," Sarkozy said. However, trade unions were unlikely to react positively to the report's liberal economic tone, or its strong rejection of the theory of reduced working hours - which has underpinned recent unsuccessful attempts to fight unemployment. Describing France as in the grip of a "surreptitious stalling process", Camdessus said the severity of the country's problems was masked by a number of factors including historically low interest rates and the equally poor performance of many euro-zone partners. "A serious syndrome of denial is setting in which curbs all but superficial reforms. But the fact is we are indeed stalling, and if nothing is done to overcome the pernicious phenomena which we have observed, in about 10 years it will lead to an irretrievable situation," the report said. The report identified the main problem as France's "work deficit", caused by low working hours and structurally high unemployment rates - especially among the young and the old - and it called for an end to the "share-out logic" which has led to the compulsory 35-hour week. "If we are growing less quickly it is because we do not mobilise our labour resources sufficiently. Over 20 years the entire growth gap separating us from the US and Britain corresponds to the change in working hours," it said. Among the report's recommendations to open up the labour market were a flexible new work contract, a tax on companies that sack staff, and encouragement for the over-50s to work part-time. On the 35-hour week, it supported a "new notion of personalised, voluntary overtime". Retired people should be permitted to work, cumulating pay and pension. Camdessus was also highly critical of France's state sector, which now consumes some 54.7% of gross domestic product (GDP) yet "is increasingly unable to respond as it should to the demands of society." "Like one of the great clippers of the end of the 19th century, the state is encumbered by a set of sails that are too heavy and complex and finds it ever harder to manoeuvre effectively to respond to our most urgent problems," the report said. Warning that the "social model is being borne on the backs of our children," the report called on the government to replace only half of the large numbers of public employees who will retire in the next decade.
    [And then we find out that this isn't an IMF report but a backward-gaping self-serving Sarkozy-commissioned report -]
    Sarkozy-commissioned report urges far-reaching public sector 'reform'
    AFX via http://www.afxpress.com aka FXStreet.com, Spain
    PARIS - France must learn to work harder and rein in its "excessive" public sector if it is not to sink into irreversible economic decline, a committee of experts led by former IMF chief Michel Camdessus warned the government Commissioned by Finance Minister Nicolas Sarkozy, the report said France is struggling with unemployment of nearly 10 pct, declining productivity and investment, and permanently low growth rates Proposing radical reforms, the report said these obstacles could be overcome by an economic "leap forward", and it recommended a series of measures to restore labour incentives, encourage technological innovation, reduce the debt overhang and safeguard the country's system of social benefits The recommendations were immediately welcomed by Sarkozy, who is due to take over next month as head of the ruling Union for a Popular Movement (UMP) party. He has already indicated they will form the basis of the party's economic manifesto ahead of his probable presidential bid in 2007 "I identify with this report because it says three essential things: that it is urgent to carry out reforms in our country, that reforms are not to be seen as a punishment, and that the number of public workers can be reduced in exchange for productivity gains," Sarkozy said The report also rejects the theory of reduced working hours - which has underpinned recent unsuccessful attempts to fight unemployment. Describing France as in the grip of a "surreptitious stalling process", Camdessus said the severity of the country's problems was masked by a number of factors including historically low interest rates and the equally poor performance of many euro one partners The report identified the main problem as France's "work deficit", caused by low working hours and structurally high unemployment rates - especially among the young and the old - and it called for an end to the "share-out logic" which has led to the compulsory 35-hour week "If we are growing less quickly it is because we do not mobilise our labour resources sufficiently. Over 20 years the entire growth gap separating us from the US and Britain corresponds to the change in working hours," it said Among the report's recommendations to open up the labour market were a flexible new work contract, a tax on companies that sack staff, and encouragement for the over-50s to work part-time. On the 35-hour week, it supports a "new notion of personalised, voluntary overtime"
    Retired people should be permitted to work, accumulating pay and pension
    [This is true. We need to switch the locus of our worksharing from worklife limitation to workweek limitation.]
    Camdessus was also highly critical of France's state sector, which now consumes some 54.7 pct of gross domestic product (GDP) yet "is increasingly unable to respond as it should to the demands of society." Warning that the "social model is being borne on the backs of our children," the report called on the government to replace only half of the large numbers of public employees who will retire in the next decade.
    For more information and to contact AFX: www.afxnews.com and www.afxpress.com

  5. Daley says city workers should take unpaid days off
    KWQC-TV, United States
    CHICAGO - Mayor Richard Daley says city workers should take unpaid vacation days to help eliminate Chicago's $220m budget shortfall. Budget Director John Harris says Daley wants furlough days to avoid a round of employee layoffs. Harris says leaders of the city's unions will be briefed on the plan during two days of meetings, beginning today. He says public safety makes up 60 percent of corporate spending. A police union spokesman says manpower is already down across the city. The president of the firefighters union says he's willing to listen to the city. But he's not willing to reduce staffing levels to cover firefighters and paramedics on furlough.

  6. Editorial: Tired young doctors pose risk to safety
    New Zealand Herald, New Zealand
    Notice of a national strike by junior doctors presents the country's hospitals with a dire emergency. The prospect of all 2000 trainee doctors walking out of the wards for six days from November 2 is not easily contemplated. And with the emergency comes a dispiriting sense of deja vu. Every time the doctors' industrial document is up for renegotiation we hear of the impossible hours they are expected to work and the determination to bring some common sense to their negotiations. Yet no settlement seems to solve the problem and here we are again. The Resident Doctors' Association complains that although they cannot berostered to work more than 72 hours a week, they often exceed that limit with no penalty payments. They don't want the money, they want fewer hours,says the association secretary, Dr Deborah Powell. They want to work no more than 10 days on end rather than the 12 they can be asked to work at present, and they do not want to work night shifts of 10 hours for seven consecutive nights. Their employers, the country's 21 district health boards, are seeking to preserve flexible working arrangements. "People don't get sick or hurt just during normal working hours," says a spokeswoman for the boards, Jean O'Callaghan. "We need the flexibility to put doctors where they are needed when they are needed. Other health professionals accept this and work accordingly - why should trainee doctors be any different?" Flexibility is obviously necessary but if young doctors are working 72-hour weeks it is doubtful that flexibility is doing patients much good. There comes a point at which fatigue is downright dangerous and that point is surely reached well short of 72 hours, whether they are worked around the clock a few days a week or 10- to 12-hour shifts seven days a week. It is a ridiculous load to expect of any workers and it can only be wondered how these conditions survived so many industrial settlements over the years. There may be a high turnover of trainee doctors but their union representatives have not changed for many years. It must be hoped that the strike notice is a mere negotiating ploy. The boards accuse the union of acting hastily and sound willing to find a solution. In the meantime, however, the boards are preparing to suspend all but emergency services in the event that trainee doctors walk out in a fortnight. Even before then hospitals will start a planned reduction of services in preparation for the loss of medical staff. If this strike goes ahead it will be on a national scale. There will be no public hospitals available to back up those where the worst problems are likely to occur. The health union's push for national agreements has already contributed to difficulties in renegotiating agreements for nurses and senior hospital doctors this year. The district boards have agreed to merge their varied needs and arrangements but it is a complicated exercise and takes time, they say. Dr Powell insists her members are not looking for more money, although she mentions that a claim for penalty payments was rejected during the negotiations which began in May. Money is plainly not the solution to a problem of overwork that carries a risk to patients' safety. Indeed, higher pay could merely reinforce the hours already worked. Junior hospital doctors are medical graduates on a two-year term of general training before they move into specialist study and training. They typically arrive in the hospitals carrying substantial debt from the cost of the undergraduate course and facing the expense of a five-year postgraduate course. They are energetic and dedicated and probably willing to remain on duty for as long as a case demands. But they are a risk to themselves and their patients when they work beyond the point of fatigue. Their rosters ought to be sensibly defined once and for all, and strictly enforced.
    [Another version - ]
    Hospitals work out crisis plan
    New Zealand Herald, New Zealand
    Health boards have begun feverish contingency planning for what could prove the most disruptive strike in the history of public hospitals. Airlifting critically ill patients to Australia or using private hospitals may be considered if more than 2000 junior doctors walk out for six days from Tuesday, November 2, on their first national strike. All 21 of the country's district health boards will be targeted by the doctors, who say they are being worked off their feet and want reduced hours in place of a pay rise. Boards spokeswoman Jean O'Callaghan said 27% more junior doctors were on duty now than five years ago and working conditions were "pretty favourable" compared with those overseas. The boards yesterday proposed a return to negotiations before a mediator next Wednesday, less than a week before the strike, but it is understood there are moves to restart talks earlier. Ms O'Callaghan at first said the boards needed more time to assess the cost of union claims, which she insisted were presented in final form only in the past week, a suggestion denied by Resident Doctors Association secretary Deborah Powell. "We tabled all our claims on May 17. I can show you the documentation," Dr Powell said. "They've crunched the numbers at least twice before, but the problem was that their figures were inaccurate and they took them away." Clinical directors and hospital managers began contingency meetings yesterday. Most said it was too early to tell whether they could offer more than emergency services, or when they would have to start postponing non-urgent surgery, but Auckland City Hospital has set next Wednesday as its cut-off date. Hospital operations manager Ngaire Buchanan said elective surgery would stop then, but theatres would work overtime until the strike to clear acute and emergency cases. She said private hospitals might be asked to take patients, and did not rule out flying some to Australia. Neither did Ms O'Callaghan, whose Canterbury District Health Board flew some patients to other parts of New Zealand during a nurses' strike in 2002 but would not have that option if doctors walked out nationally. Senior doctors warn through their union they will be hard-pressed to provide enough safe emergency cover for six days. The Association of Salaried Medical Specialists is calling on the Government to bring forward the December 1 enforcement date of a health sector code of good faith under new industrial law, requiring striking unions to provide life-preserving patient services. "Urgent Government action is required if the catastrophic national six-day strike is not to be a complete disaster for patients," executive director Ian Powell said as Parliament was due last night to pass the Employment Relations Law Reform Bill through its final reading. A spokesman for Health Minister Annette King said her policy stood of not commenting on industrial issues.
    Claims over hours
    * The doctors want to work no more than 10 days in a row, rather than 12 now, and have a break in their rosters of seven consecutive 10-hour night shifts.
    * Doctors also want 30 days' leave a year, compared with 22 to 26 now.

  7. What the Government should do to solve the problems of the labour market
    Sydney Morning Herald (subscription), Australia
    Proposed Australian workplace reforms aim to increase flexibility but may well end up reducing it, write Ron Callus and John Buchanan in the first of a Herald series of articles examining opportunities for change and how they might affect the country. A likely Senate majority for the Coalition gives the Prime Minister an opportunity to realise a long-held dream to radically reshape Australian industrial relations. The Coalition's election policies on workplace relations gave little indication of what may now be possible. Its proposed incremental changes include: establishing specialised mediation services for small business; "firewalling" contractors from the industrial relations system; facilitating easier registration of individual agreements; and, of course, exempting small business from unfair-dismissal laws. But this agenda was shaped by dealing with a Senate where minor parties held the balance of power. By the end of the last parliament, 10 major workplace relations bills had been blocked or delayed in the Senate. If passed they would further limit the matters that could be arbitrated by the Australian Industrial Relations Commission, dramatically limit protected industrial action by unions and provide for a new regulatory body for the building industry. So it is hardly surprising that the Coalition's industrial relations policies (unlike Labor's) attracted almost no debate or interest during the election campaign - it was more of the same. Free of a less than sympathetic Senate, what might we now expect from the Government? The answer, perhaps, lies way back in the 1992 Jobsback manifesto, developed by John Howard as the Opposition spokesman on industrial relations for the 1993 election. How's this for starters: "Australia's future lies not with its institutions but with its working men and women" and "The policy ends compulsory arbitration". The vision embodied in this document has defined the direction of the industrial relations changes undertaken in recent years. During this time our system has changed dramatically from the one that operated for most of the 20th century. That had been based on a model of "national interest" as determined by compulsory arbitration. In the 1990s the interests of "the enterprise" became the defining feature of the system - primarily as a result of pressure from the Business Council of Australia. Recently, it has primarily been the Australian Chamber of Commerce and Industry that has been shaping the industrial relations policy agenda. Both Jobsback and the chamber propose a small business-friendly model of industrial relations. Examples of the more radical changes contained in these sources include: A system where minimum rates of pay are no longer determined by the Industrial Relations Commission, but are legislated by Parliament. A national unified industrial relations system that would see the Commonwealth take over much of the states' coverage of industrial relations matters. A system of private mediation and limited arbitration. Limitations on the use of tax-deductible union membership fees for political purposes by unions. Prohibition of strike action in essential service industries. The chamber has also proposed that certain "best practice" organisations be able to completely opt out of the system. How would these changes work? Choices for some, especially employers and managers, will increase. Australian employers already have one of the most favourable labour law environments in the world. Their freedom to choose whether to bargain with their employees and to lock them out exists in no other industrialised country. Their power is set to increase as that of unions and industrial tribunals falls, dismissing workers becomes easier and contractor forms of employment are nurtured. Power would also be centralised in Federal Parliament at the expense of the states and tribunals. The changes will not, however, remedy the major work problems affecting an ever-increasing number of Australians. More than a third of part-timers want more hours of work. More than half of those working 50-plus hours a week want to work less.
    [There's a worktime imbalance if there ever was one!]
    While more than one employee in four is called a casual, only a tiny proportion want intermittent work, and more than a million have been in the same job for a year or more. The pressure to balance work and other interests is increasing, especially for those with young children and ageing parents. In the lower reaches of the labour market hourly rates of pay have stagnated in real terms for a decade. Problems of this nature require new labour market standards that deliver the benefits of co-ordination and flexibility simultaneously. The "reforms" likely to be introduced move in the opposite direction. As such, they will merely deepen and not solve the major problems of Australian workers. Indeed, far from being part of the solution they are likely to become part of the problem of contemporary Australian working life.

  8. "More Money in Your Pocket" - American Myopia
    CounterPunch, CA
    Ever since formally democratic governments have replaced monarchies, one of the main rhetorical tricks of conservatives of various stripes - including what are called liberals in Europe and are now called Republicans in the US - has been to continually invoke the image of the free individual versus the authoritarian state. Freedom and state power, they say, grow in inverse proportion. In the impoverished condition of contemporary American political discourse, this antagonism takes an increasingly simplified and distorted form in conservative rhetoric: state power is defined as intervention into the economy, primarily through taxation. Thus, freedom is diminished whenever the government taxes individuals (or even corporations!) or attempts to regulate private industry. Meanwhile, as critics from Marx to Chomsky have pointed out, private power grows and concentrates in fewer hands. Global mega-corporations, which own or set the terms of business for most smaller corporations and businesses, increasingly control more aspects of life. Hard working individuals spend years working forty, fifty or more hours per week for companies that increasingly show little commitment to their employees. Private tyranny grows, unabated, while citizens and workers are instructed - by populist rhetoric fashioned by economic elites and their apologists - to fear public tyranny. And so it goes. In the final presidential debate last Wednesday, October 13, two former Skull and Bones members who had the same debate coach at Yale sought to distinguish themselves. Chicken Hawk, who was fattened on petroleum, tried to portray Hawk, fattened on ketchup, as a liberal - "a Massachusetts Senator!" - who seeks to replace individual freedom with government tutelage. In a move that would've made their debate professor proud, I'm sure, Chicken Hawk pulled out the old trick: "Let me talk to the workers. You've got more money in your pocket as a result of the tax relief we passed and he opposed. If you have a child, you got a $1,000 child credit. That's money in your pocket. It's your money. The way my opponent talks, he said, 'We're going to spend the government's money.' No, we're spending your money. And when you have more money in your pocket, you're able to better afford things you want." Money in your pocket? Is the Bush campaign trying to buy the vote? Indeed, this is part of the plan, though it should be noted that most of the money received from tax cuts is actually a loan, financed through deficit spending and to be paid for in the future by us and our children ($200 billion of the 2003 deficit according to the Congressional Budget office). Mostly this appeal of Bush, as with his conservative forbears, is rhetorical, meant to invoke the image of struggle between individual freedom and authoritarian government. It can't be exclusively an attempt to buy the vote any more than it can be simply an appeal to the principle that individuals should get to keep their hard-earned money, for these both contradict reality. For most workers, real (inflation adjusted) wages have been stagnating or declining over the last three decades. In 1972, the average hourly wage for US private sector, non-supervisory workers was, in 2003 dollars, $17.14. In 2003 it was $15.35, an 11% decrease over 30 years.[1] That's less money in your pocket. And the reduction in purchasing power of the average US worker has come not from an increase in the public power of the state, but from an increase in the private power of corporations and wealthy individuals. Corporations, their managers and major stockholders have become fantastically wealthy at the expense of their workers.[2] Real wages for most workers have been cut along with their social safety net and other social services. But rather than continue to cite numbers on incomes or taxes, I want to make a qualitative argument. The conservative position is only one view of the relationship between state and individual and, I might add, the view supported by nearly every person who benefits from the status quo. A more complex view of this relationship recognizes that gross economic inequalities, concentrations of power in private hands, pockets of extreme poverty, et cetera, are as potentially damaging to individual freedoms and a healthy democratic society as public tyranny. Poverty and a lack of opportunities for good jobs generate all sorts of social ills. Wal-Marts drive out community-owned businesses, pay poverty wages, and force suppliers into being sweatshops in order to provide an "everyday low price." General Electric, the eighth largest US defense contractor in 1999, owns NBC and major media outlets; more generally extreme concentration of ownership by for-profit mega-corporations shapes the means of communication to serve its own interests, severely restricting democratic discourse. A more complex view also sees that while the state may certainly restrict individual freedoms, it may also be an effective, and perhaps necessary mechanism for guaranteeing the opportunity to realize individual potential for large classes or segments of the population. Simply consider the history of women, blacks and other minorities. A strong state is needed to protect disadvantaged and unprivileged populations from powerful, entrenched interests and to counter the private tyranny that develops in a capitalist market society. Consider Teddy Roosevelt's implementation of anti-trust legislation in the face of massive corporate monopolies or his Federal regulation of food and drug purity; Franklin Roosevelt's establishment of social security and a "welfare state" that laid the foundation for the "Golden years" of post-war US economic growth, including rising real wages until the 1970s; and Eisenhower's use of the US military to enforce integration of schools in Little Rock under Brown v. Board of Education in 1957. Finally, a more complex view realizes that modern economy and society are themselves extremely complex and interdependent, that the US is a global economic powerhouse because of a strong, well-funded state combined with the collective labor of its workers to provide the foundation for prosperity. This idea is succinctly expressed by the second wealthiest person in the US, Warren Buffet: "society is responsible for a very significant percentage for what I've earned. If you stick me down in the middle of Bangladesh or Peru or some place, you'll find how much this talent is going to produce in the wrong kind of soil, I would be struggling 30 years later, I work in a market system that happens to reward what I do very well, disproportionately very well."[3] More generally, it is not simply a "free market" that provides the creation of wealth and prosperity, but what supports this so-called free market: a well-funded government able to enforce property rights and ensure order and safety, and also to provide infrastructure from basic research and development to sewer systems, highways and public spaces that increase the efficiency of the private sector and make our communities nice places to live and work. As two recently released reports just confirmed, one from the World Bank and one from the World Economic Forum, high tax rates are compatible with a competitive business environment. In both reports Finland, Sweden, Denmark and Norway, countries with some of the highest taxation rates and most extensive welfare states in the West, were ranked among the most competitive economies in the world.[4] The US also ranked among the top, placing second behind Finland in the World Economic Forum report. But some key differences should be kept in mind: while both economies are equally competitive, only one society has universal health care, four to five weeks annual vacation for beginning workers, publicly funded childcare as a right for all parents, paid parental leave for all working mothers and fathers [5], free high-quality university education, low economic and social inequality, and a functional social safety net. The conservative (anti-tax) view of the state is a form of American myopia.
    Matt Vidal is pursuing his doctorate at the University of Wisconsin in Madison. He can be reached at: mvidal@ssc.wisc.edu

  9. Council limits working time
    Union Democrat, CA
    Responding to a rise in noise complaints, the Sonora City Council last night voted to impose consistent hours on when construction crews may do their work. The new law limits operation of loud equipment to between 7 a.m. and 7 p.m. Monday through Friday, 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. on Saturdays and 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. on Sundays and federal holidays. Time limits for projects were previously set on a case-by-case basis. "We think in order to make it more uniformly enforced in the future, it's best to get something in the code right now," Community Development Director Ed Wyllie told council members. It gives the city both a standard to follow and a law for the Sonora police officers to lean on when they receive complaints, he said. Violators will receive a warning but could lose their building permits if the off-hours noise continues. At worst, offenders would be charged with a misdemeanor, pay up to $300 in fines and be jailed for up to three months. "If you get notified that you're creating a nuisance, it's probably the best thing if you quit doing it," Wyllie said. Councilwoman Liz Bass asked if the city could prohibit large developers from operating on Sundays but allow a residential builder, who may only be able to work on weekends, to do so. That would be discrimination, City Attorney Richard Matranga said. "It's noise, who cares who makes it?" he added. However, large developments must come before the Sonora Planning Commission, and at that point, the city could add conditions to the project given the location or other factors, Wyllie said. The law also allows for exceptions in special cases. "That is intended to be a safety valve," Wyllie said. For example, in case of emergency work needed in a building housing employees during the work week, Wyllie could allow a crew to work longer on the weekend to complete the project if needed. Council members approved the ordinance unanimously. Mayor David Sheppard was absent.

  10. The new big idea? Think small ones
    CNN via CNNI TV via CNN International
    Workers at GM's Opel plant in Germany protest over proposed job cuts. Managers obsessed with the big picture are wasting opportunities to improve their businesses by failing to harness the creativity of their workers, according to two U.S. management experts. Instead of agonizing over arch concepts of management theory and the latest trends from the MBA classroom [such as "rightsizing" or in search of a business breakthrough, they ought to be listening to their workforce, argue Dean Schroeder and Alan Robinson. Schroeder, professor of management and director of the MBA program at Valparaiso University, and University of Massachusetts professor Robinson, back up that claim in "Ideas are Free." Based on visits to 150 organizations in 17 different countries, the book includes case studies of successful businesses from large textile companies to nursing homes, ranches and furniture stores. "It was something that I saw was so prevalent," Schroeder told CNN. "I used to do business turnarounds and you'd talk to management and they'd give you these reasons and excuses that wouldn't really be that useful. "You'd get down to the shop floor and they'd know far more than management would give them credit for. They knew the reasons why they were in trouble and a lot of solutions as well. Not big things but tons of little things." Schroeder highlights last week's announcement by General Motors of 12,000 job cuts in Europe as an example of a situation in which the problem-solving potential of a workforce has been overlooked in favor of a short-term fix. "If they'd had everyone on the frontline helping them out and listening to those guys they wouldn't have got into that trouble in the first place," he says. "Management has a problem." The main problem is that most managers don't understand how to get ideas out of their employees. "Management has the suits, they've got the education, they've got the corner office and they've got the big pay checks," says Schroeder. "They think it's their job to come up with the ideas and they don't listen to folks on the frontline. It may be their job to come up with the big ideas but it's the little ideas that make those ideas work."
    Competitive advantage
    As well as boosting productivity and engaging employees, one of the biggest benefits of small ideas is that they can give businesses a sustainable competitive advantage. While rivals can quickly assimilate big ideas, either directly or via consultants, small ideas are far more difficult to pick up and imitate. Nor is there any such thing as a bad idea.
    [This statement itself is a bad idea!]
    "Bad ideas can actually be a positive and a lot of time people who come up with a bad idea will have identified a problem but not a good solution. So you sit down with them and work out a good solution. They learn, you learn, everyone benefits."
    [A better articulation of this concept is Bucky Fuller's "there's no such thing as a failed experiment because every experiment teaches you something."]
    Having recognized the importance of workers' ideas, managers still have to harness that creative potential. But Schroeder and Robinson warn that traditional reward-based incentive schemes can backfire disastrously. "You can never figure out how much an idea is worth," warns Schroeder. "The best reward you can give somebody for their ideas is to put their ideas into play. "The reason people come up with ideas is that they want to solve a problem that would make their jobs easier or they want to help the company because they are a team player. They're not necessarily looking for a big bribe. They're just looking for management to listen to them. As soon as you get money involved it changes people's behavior." The best way to tap into workers' ideas, suggest Schroeder and Robinson, is simply to ask. Whether formally at department meetings, when problems or complaints arise, or simply by inviting suggestions, managers need to keep channels of communication open from the top of a company to the bottom. But if the job of coming up with ideas is farmed out to the workers, what then are managers for? Schroeder believes that such an approach would eventually change the nature of management for the better. "They don't have to spend so long fire-fighting and handling the details which means they can focus on bigger system changes," he says. "They can focus on more strategic level stuff and they can focus on making sure the system is in place to capture this continual flow of ideas and ensuring the bigger ideas get championed and spread around. So essentially their role changes from fire-fighting and control to managing an improvement process and looking strategically at the future."

  11. The 'Catastrophic' Success of the Republican Party - 'Third World' Election
    Collective Bellaciao, France
    by Manuel Valenzuela
    As much as America and the world wish to believe Florida will not be rigged with electoral fraud this November, the sad truth is that all the mechanisms needed to steal the state in favor of George Bush are already firmly entrenched. Thanks to Jeb Bush, Jim Crow manipulator of mandates, corrupt fraudster, decimator of democracy and brother of the president, and the Republican Party, which in essence controls the logistics of and the keys to running the election, Florida has already declared tens of thousands of voters, mostly black and Democratic, ineligible. Many more voters, of all creeds and colors, will be disenfranchised on election day, be it through intimidation, coercion, government intervention, criminal negligence, corruption and fraud, and, of course, through electronic voting machines, most of which are owned by staunch Republican supporters. Thus, it is fair to say that the election scheduled for November is already stolen, the purging of votes already assured, and the swindling of the 2004 Presidential election has become, for all intents and purposes, an absolute inevitability. In the most crooked state in the union can the lynching of American elections vividly be seen, becoming the poster child for the systemic evisceration of America's cherished principle of democracy. Already, throughout the nation, instances of Republican Party meddling with electoral procedures and citizens' right to vote have surfaced, from Florida to Nevada to Oregon to Ohio and everywhere in between, trying desperately to garner any advantage in any of a dozen states deemed as swing states, where the outcome will be so close that 10,000 votes could mean the difference between winning electoral votes and losing the presidency. With so much at stake, and with American democracy a mirage of its former self, Republican minions and vultures are hard at work, once more disenfranchising thousands from an election that will decide the future destiny of the entire planet. The so-called 'third-world' elections that we chastise, laugh at and condemn, thinking ourselves so enlightened to seriously contemplate ever having to experience them on our soil, those elections full of fraud, uncertainty, corruption and voter disenfranchisement, have landed on the shores of the cradle of liberty. After Florida 2000, teeming with fraud, corruption, court appointments and the usurpation of power by the losing - and much lesser - candidate in a most ignoble coup against the American people, November 2004 will see the erosion of yet more votes through the haze of clandestine mechanisms that have and continue to be methodically plotted out by a Republican machine that must win at all costs. After all, absolute power corrupts absolutely and addiction to the Almighty Dollar makes demons of already dishonorable miscreants. When so much is at stake for the ravenous vultures roaming the Earth in search of food, only the carcass of the American electorate will suffice. Victory by any means necessary is their call to arms; corruption, fraud and deceit are their weapons. Florida is but a small cell in an increasingly malignant tumor, and diseased are we all as the cancer slowly killing us awakens once more to destroy the very principles this great nation was founded on. In Florida, the clandestine war against the people has already begun, a microcosm of the wider battle being waged in lands plain and flat, forested and cloudy, and warm and humid. The virus of Florida has spread like plague to all corners of the land of the free and the home of the brave. In fact, throughout the country, millions of eligible voters will either not be allowed to vote or will have their vote uncounted, lost, made void, distorted or manipulated. From electronic voting machines that have no paper trail - which will count 30% of votes cast nationwide - to the unreliability of archaic voting machines, usually sent to poor neighborhoods, to the systemic suppression of votes, mostly poor, minority and rural by Jim Crow-like tactics, to the purging of registration cards, usually those of Democrats, this election is being stolen once more, right in front of our eyes, using stealth-like methods in close, battleground states. When so much power and control is at hand, with the reigns of authority on the line and with ultimate hegemony over the future course of America granted the winner a few million votes disenfranchised in key swing states, in an election predicted to come down to the wire, could mean the difference between impotence of power and corporatist domination of the American people. Florida 2000, and the four years subsequent, should remind us all of this reality.
    Easily Manipulated Electorate, Conditioned for whom to vote
    To the malfeasant swine roaming the halls of power and feeding off the garbage of greed, democracy is extinct, nothing more than a ploy that has become an exercise in manipulation, used to increase power and dominion over an electorate more and more oblivious to the detrimental ramifications their vote helps to birth and the further erosion of their lives fostered by the entities they help elect. When the most powerful man in the world is elected based on the question of ³which of two candidates would you most like to have a beer with?² the decline of the nation's intelligence and its ability to competently elect its leader should be seriously studied. When a populace elects into the highest office in the land the person they would prefer to watch a baseball game or NASCAR event with, and thereafter share BBQ ribs and a beer, based on nothing more than a genius campaign marketing strategy that brands a worthless son of privilege into an everyday working man and war president, can it be fair to say that the population has reached a level of ignorance that might very well spell the end of the Pax Americana in the coming years? It is not a reassuring phenomenon when tens of millions have no qualms keeping in office a bumbling, incoherent idiot with no concept of intelligence, empathy, wisdom and humanity, a man who deviously condemned thousands of American soldiers and tens of thousands of Iraqis to certain death, maiming and psychological hell based on ego and lies, manipulations and deceit, in the process setting the United States back decades by ruining the economy, scorching the environment, imploding the world alliance network, endangering global security and by immersing America in its greatest foreign policy debacle that will take decades to rectify at the cost of many human energies and national treasure. With a citizenry dumbed down and conditioned to vote based on image, personality and likeability, making decisions based on ten-second sound-bites and catchy-phrases, ignorantly believing the distortions, falsities and propaganda of campaign advertisements, and through our short-attention spans and incessant amnesia that guarantee we will forget the happenings of the past while ignoring the issues of the present, American democracy is in shambles, a shell of its former self. We cannot seem to see the disaster of the last four years, the implosion of the next four, nor the ramifications of giving a mandate to an administration and a president exploiting our very existence for the continued ascendancy of the corporate world. Make no mistake about it, American democracy is dead, nothing more than a twisted catharsis of make-believe empowerment from which the masses are manipulated into believing their voices are heard even as they traverse a black hole of falsity. American elections are a charade when half the eligible electorate decides to stay home watching Wife Swap or The Apprentice, sitting on the couch, stuffing their mouths full of Cheetos, oblivious to the sinister forces their indifference has set free, instead of casting votes to decide the destiny of the nation and the future of their children. Today, American democracy and the election we cherish are a chess match played by the nation's elite oligarchs and corporatists, where we are the pawns, nothing more than millions of disinterested and ignorant voters who are manipulated through careful marketing campaigns designed to affect our emotions, passions and ideologies. The tools of corporate marketing manipulation, conditioned fear, religious conviction, blind patriotism, economic fragility, psychological insecurity, hereditary bigotry, acquired ignorance and lack of education are exploited, converting the populace into an amalgam of voters manipulated into voting for the party that best succeeds at tapping into the human psyche.
    Republican Leadership, Corporatist Owned
    In America's case, it is the Republican leadership, those evildoers extraordinaire, exploiters of fear and insecurity, usurpers of patriotism, pilferers of freedoms and rights, enemies of free speech and assembly, those hypocrites espousing the cross yet holding the gun, preaching poverty yet seeking wealth, espousing compassion yet controlled by greed, praising Jesus while emulating Lucifer, warmongers and sadists, unscrupulous deceivers of truth and compulsive liars of fiction, the party of corporate elites, government oligarchs and fascist corporatists, that are best at delving inside the human mind, using, abusing and exploiting unenlightened and conservative environments of the rural and isolated persuasion, spawning the insecurities of ignorant, homophobic, xenophobic and macho WASP males cocooned in blind red, white and blue patriotism, and instilling the fear of the Almighty onto millions of bible-thumping, Armageddon-seeking, Confederate-clinging followers of false present-day prophets and believers of primitive fairy tales. It is the Republican leadership that has defecated on American democracy by its utter malfeasance in November 2000 as well as its continued attempts to suppress a citizen's right to vote. It is the Republican leadership that has terrorized security moms and NASCAR dads by brainwashing millions that Arab dark-skinned bogeymen hate us for who we are, not what we do, and are jealous of our freedom, not resentful of our foreign policy. They terrorize the populace so that complicit and acquiescent we become to the dictates of an invasive agenda set years before 9/11 that is designed to extinguish social programs, privatize government, instill their backwards conservative agenda, enrich corporations, make war perpetual, profit ceaseless and democracy obsolete. The atrocities of 9/11 and its collection of raw emotions that have yet to be forgotten by the American people are a rather convenient method by which these vultures feeding on corporatist crumbs can control, manipulate and indoctrinate their masters' plans into both society and our daily lives, transforming a once great nation into a splinter of its former self. Using Arabs and the Islamic faith as scapegoats and our still seething yet ignorant thirst for vengeance as the catalyst for perpetual, preemptive and profit driven war, the Republican-corporatist leadership has given rise to a new era of fear and insecurity, much like those days long since gone of Cold War fears and Soviet Communist paranoia. With the once prosperously marketed evil of communism having achieved its purpose, for decades serving as the bogeyman that worked to condition and control Americans to the wishes of the ownership class, a new enemy of tantalizing potential had to be invented to continue the subjugation of the masses. This new enemy would be marketed as an unseen ghost and an ambiguous goblin, lurking here, there and everywhere, invisible and hiding, coming out of closets dark and eerie, ready to slaughter Americans and destroy our way of life. They hate our freedoms and who we are, we are told. They are from a different civilization and religion, and they hate our Christian ways. With no tangible state sponsor, composed of borders and visible terrain, or an existent home that can be blown to dust these barbarians are said to spread throughout the world, thus becoming the catalyst - and the excuse - for American military - read military industrial complex - intervention in any land deemed a ³haven for terrorists.² The corporatist agenda to extend American tentacles to all lands vitally strategic, resource rich and geopolitically imperative for the continued expansion of the Pax Americana, and its corporate overlords in particular, can thus be implemented on a thoroughly conditioned, insecure and fearful American public through the mirage that is the ³war on terror.² An economy based on fear, insecurity and paranoia suits the corporatists, capitalists and ownership class just fine, as war, death and violence will perpetuate without end, resulting in limitless profits, wealth and expanded power, the growing fusion of the corporate world to government - which will persist unobstructed to the great detriment of the masses - and the continued regression of the American people into comatose sheep unknowing, indifferent and easily led into lives unhappy and increasingly schizophrenic, more and more dependent on the fictitious escapism of consumerist television and the hypnotic control of hallucinatory pharmaceutical drugs. The corporatist and ownership classes that control this nation thrive off of war, enriching and empowering themselves at the expense of the middle and working classes. Their many mechanisms are designed to control us, from the television we watch, the education we are conditioned with, the exponentially-growing hours we work and the system we live in and belong to. They thrive on division of classes, on hatred of differences, on the ignorance both caused and cursed by lack of education. For them power remains in their grip the more we fight, bicker, struggle and divide amongst ourselves. It is when we are transfixed with each other as enemies, as we so commonly are, and not united against the real degrader of our lives and happiness, that they prosper and gain yet more control and dominion over us. It is when we are divided against one another that they eliminate our rights and freedoms, erode our education and happiness, intoxicate our environment and health. When we pay little attention to their growing grip over government our lives are made to suffer; when we acquiesce to the corporate-friendly votes their blood-sucking leeches cast in the Congress our future progeny becomes condemned; when we transform knowledge into ignorance and scrutiny into conformity our taxes are wantonly raped and loved ones sacrificed, under the rubric of profit and greed driven warfare, to the dictates of the corporate and ownership elite further enriching itself at the expense of our blood, sweat, tears and life energies of loved ones. The corporatist, capitalist and ownership classes seek division of labor, division of social class and division of races. They seek to divide and conquer, purposefully constructing a system whereby perpetual castes will linger in rural and urban centers of inescapable fates, destined with indigence, lack of opportunity and a heavy shackle of entrapment from where capitalism's dark shadow can forever hide the sunshine of talent or ability. They debilitate our educational systems, each decade succeeding more in dumbing down America's children through regressing and degenerative mechanisms disguised as sound public policy. The corporatist cocktail of degradation acts to deny millions of our young the freedom and power that comes with knowledge, making extinct immense talents that only need the nutrients of both a worthy education and opportunity to blossom. Instead, talent is gutted, opportunity is destroyed, promise becomes ignorance, futures are predestined and millions upon millions are conditioned from birth to become the slave labor force of the ownership class. This system, this way of existing is what the Republican leadership stands proud to sponsor and strive to attain. The exploiters and the subjugators, the greed-infested and the money-addicted, those that choose profit over people, poverty over well-being, the wealth of the few over the benefit of the many, these are the individuals who most gain from having the Republican Party in control of the halls of power. Yet the surprising thing is that it is exactly those who stand more to lose, those who are the exploited and those whose lives are made worse that help appoint and retain these vermin in office. Lack of education and ignorance go hand in hand; unenlightened minds usually result in blind religious conviction. Is it any wonder, then, why the Republican leadership and the ownership class strive so ardently to eliminate any semblance of knowledge and education in American schools and why they push Christian fundamentalism in society? Is it any wonder why the continued dumbing down of America must persist? Why do you think our educational system is being gutted, under-funded and, more and more, being transformed into the brainwashing instrument of corporations, the government and the ownership class? Ignorance is their base, the bastion of success from which the fountain of subjugation flows, that is why. Unthinking sheep are their constituency, their keys to the continued reign of power; subservient, easily manipulated and dumbed down individuals thus become their unquestioning army voting against their own interests; religion, with its control of an individual's knowledge or lack thereof, its ability to arrest societal progress and its successful conditioning methodologies that brainwash from birth, has become their saving grace, the ultimate trump card that delivers millions of votes. In our unenlightened and unwise minds the Republican leadership finds its greatest weapon from which to harvest the continued war against the American people.
    Conservatives: Exploited, Used and Abused
    Fear has become the Republican leadership's only re-election platform, the only policy their administration has successfully implemented in the four years since their usurpation of power, hoping its hypnotic strangulation over increasingly paranoid citizens imprisons our analytical and reasoning minds away from realizing the decimation of America's future created by Bush and his administration. Fear has become the new Republican Party recruiter and best friend to the corporatist leadership. Real fear, however, should arise if they are given another four years in office because the hell they will unleash might very well condemn 290 million Americans to an implosion that will not be easily experienced. Taking advantage of good, decent American citizens still captured by the enveloping demons of 9/11 and the incessant horrors that no society had ever been overexposed to thanks to the repetitious and perpetual bombardment of psychologically penetrating images shown on television, the Republican leadership has preyed on the still-fragile emotions of millions whose entire psychology was altered on that most fateful of days. Honorable, decent conservatives from all walks of life, seeking security and happiness, leading good lives, are included in this group. The leadership of your party is using you for votes, capital and blind support of its corrosive policies. You are being used and manipulated to maintain them in power, to further enrich the wealthy and the capitalist elites that exploit every muscle and bead of sweat you excrete working for them. In truth, they care not an ounce for you. You are simply a machine born to work, sweat and bleed for their true constituents, meant to be exploited, underpaid and robbed of valuable wages. At every turn, be it in healthcare, education, worker rights, social security, prescription drugs, the environment, women rights, labor laws, the coming draft of your children and the future outsourcing of your job, the Republican/corporatist leadership will place the interests of the corporate world way ahead of yours. It is not even close. You are but a serf in a system designed to milk you for every breath of air you have, while your feudal lords feed and enrich themselves off the production and consumption pattern they have hard wired into your daily existence, yet you think they serve your purpose, and that, by voting for them, they will look after you and your family. This is but an illusion. You are being used by a leadership that manipulates your fears, emotions and passions into voting for them, even when the only voices they hear are those of their pimps in the corporate halls of governance. You are but a soldier ant and worker bee, born to work and breed, forming part in the great assembly line of subjugated, middle and working class laborers called human procreation. You are only useful for the energy you possess, becoming the battery that runs the capitalist machinery, pushing the buttons on keyboards, driving the trucks of commerce, manufacturing parts in monotonous assembly lines, taking care of the fields that once belonged to you, running conveyor belts and meat grinders that injure you, forever chained to the division of labor and conditioned to become the voracious consumer your entire life has taught you to be, fulfilling your role as one more anonymous and oppressed cog in a capitalist system that imprisons your body and tortures your mind, exploiting you through prolonged working hours, deficient wages, ever-decreasing benefits, eroded labor rights and exponentially-growing frustrations. The Republican Party leadership, that perceived model of conservative thought, a group of corrupt and unscrupulous men living off the laurels of family wealth and never having experienced the harsh life you have always known, for years in bed with corporate and elite interests, seeks the impotence of the many at the great benefit of the corporatist/capitalist/ownership few, thriving off the further polarization of the social classes and the continued and growing gap between the wealthy and the working masses. This is your party, and your blind vote to keep them in power assures the continuation of the time honored tradition whereby your ancestors forever remained stagnant and trapped in a destiny predetermined for them, where you are prevented from advancing forward, conforming to the dictates of corporate rule, and where your descendants will have to bear the brunt of the devastating policies, enacted thanks to your vote, that are and will continue to wreak havoc on our planet and society. You are being used and abused in principles contrary to your beliefs. The party you subscribe to exploits your hereditary conditioning, your insecurities and fears, your bigotry and ignorance, your religious beliefs and conservative ideals, attaching itself to your values and exploiting your noble concerns. They seek only your vote, and once they have it, they obliterate the mirage of concern and compassion they once pretended to share with you, instead whoring themselves to the corporate and capitalist interests they serve. Your interests are abandoned for those of the corporate Leviathan, and soon you find your wages frozen or lowered, your job outsourced or threatened, your environment raped and your debts exploding, your rights and freedoms vanishing, your son or father conscripted into the hell of war, your parents' healthcare costs soaring and the education of your children nonexistent. This reality is manifested through your vote to the corporatist/Republican Party.
    The Terrorist and Malignant Party
    Knowing that the population still suffers from unyielding memories of falling towers, crashing planes and cloud-filled avalanches of debris, that a collective post-traumatic stress has yet to dissipate and that the emotions of fear, hatred, vengeance, sorrow and mental anguish still fester, Republican-corporatist leaders continue to unscrupulously exploit to their advantage both our fragile egos and the bursting of the security/fantasy bubble that for too long protected us from the horrors that befall hundreds of millions of fellow humans throughout the world. You see, the Corporatist/Republican Party creates and exacerbates the illusory threat of Arab bogeyman terror to better able to control and oppress us. With an enemy that grows thanks to our own ignorance of the world outside our borders the corporatists can continue waging war against us. They terrorize and use fear to silence patriotic dissent and necessary debate, using terror to brainwash the emotionally fragile and ignorantly bred. Monopolizing the power of the American flag in times of uncertainty and insecurity and using it to squash protest and dissent, they have released upon our lives the most devastating annihilation of environmental laws and regulations in decades, sending us back thirty years. They have, thanks to Florida 2000 and the aftereffects of 9/11, commandeered the government straight into the pockets of the corporate Leviathan, creating a nefarious trail of corporate-friendly laws, regulations and appropriations and a revolving door of corporate executives, lobbyists and lawyers that now infest and control policy making decisions in Washington that have put the rights and lives of the American people in the backburner, now coming after the interests of the corporations they serve and protect. The Republican Party is the party of the corporate Leviathan and the military-industrial complex. It is the party of the wealthy and the elite that comprise the ownership class. It is the party of self-described royalty, of silver-spoon fed juniors like George W. Bush who grow up thinking themselves endowed with the powers of wealth and immune to the troubles of reality. It is the party of lunatics such as Pat Robertson and Jerry Falwell, the American Taliban and Christian fundamentalists who strive to divide, segregate, stir hatreds and impede the natural flow of human progress through their regressive ideology of bigotry and ignorance and literal belief in primitive myth. It is the Republican leadership who hungers for war and violence, wasting land and humans for the profit of their masters. It is they who send our loved ones to die for absolutely nothing but corporate interests, resulting in the maiming of thousands in both body and mind and forever fating us to the energies of karma and blowback. Wars for profit, slave labor and natural resources are commenced not for saving freedom and democracy but for instituting corporatist capitalism and market colonialism onto other peoples and their lands, transforming our loved ones into the mercenary army of the corporate Leviathan. The Republican Party is the party of book burnings and censorship, of homogenous boringness and ethnic superiority, of bigotry and selfishness, and of the overall attempt at regression of an ever more pluralistic society. It is the party of socio-economic segregation and racial oppression, of long gone slavery, apartheid and present day feudalism. It is right wing Republicans in power who hate dissent and protest, free thought and equal education to all. Ignorance is their succulent nutrition, knowledge their devastating kryptonite. They cringe at the prospect of equal pay for women, equal benefits and rights for gays and equitable selection and hiring of minorities to help make right centuries of hardship and lost opportunity. They fight against the wonders of diversity, the benefits of equality and rights of individual freedom. It is the Republican Party that does more to maintain the status quo in inner cities, cementing poverty and hopelessness, destroying any semblance of education and employment, preventing those who live there from ever seeing the light of day. It is they who have decimated small farms through their marriage to agri-business; they who have contributed to the death of thousands through their long-lasting flirtation with and stalwart support of the pharmaceutical industry, trying everything in their power to prevent cheaper importation of drugs, preferring the death of Americans than the lower profit margins of their masters. They are the party of profit over people, the Almighty Dollar over the American citizen, the benefit of the few over the greatness of the many. Their constituentsare Halliburton and General Electric, Ford and Monsanto, AOL and the Carlyle Group, the pharmaceutical industry, the defense industry and Big Oil. They are the Party of Enron and of all other CEOs making hundreds of times what their blue collar workers make. They despise the environment and the planet we inhabit, granting big business the power to pollute our skies, waterways, soils, oceans and cities. They ignore science and its realities, preferring instead to bask in the glow of ignorance and delusion. Casting aside the imminent and catastrophic danger of global warming, a threat more dangerous to humanity than that of terrorism, they subsidize the purchase of SUVs and oil exploration instead, every year making it easier for carbon dioxide emitters to release more heat into our atmosphere. They are the party that without remorse allows the poisoning of our bodies through the toxins spewed by their contributors who pollute the air we breathe, the water we drink and the foods we ingest. Hundreds of thousands of people die every year as a result of lax laws and regulations enacted by those in power, as corporations lace our foods with chemicals, additives, preservatives, hormones, toxins, poisons, artificial flavors and a plethora of cancer causing pathogens that now linger inside our bodies, our breast milk and within the bodies of our little ones. It is the Republican Party leadership that terrorizes our nation, using fear as an election gimmick and a controlling instrument of paralysis, manipulating and playing with our emotions and insecurities for its personal gain. It is the Republican Party that stands as a malignant cancer upon our nation. They are the Party of liars and of greed, of corruption and dishonor, of smear and intimidation. They are the Party of corporate welfare, giving hundreds of billions of dollars ($180 billion this coming year) in tax relief to their patrons. It is the party of the military industrial complex, presenting it with a $450 billion annual defense budget and an already wasted $140 billion more in Iraq so that it may continue building instruments of destruction through the pillage of our wages. It is the Terrorist Party, harborer of fictional fears and threats, home of the corporate Leviathan and the Corporatist oligarchs, home of toxic indifference and poisonous arrogance, neither compassionate nor caring, a tyrannical leadership devoid of humanity, a malignant tumor onto the nation that continues to exploit the emotions of millions for the benefit of a few. This is the Republican Party, silencing elected moderates who speak wise and true, hijacking tens of millions of good and honest conservatives, using their own beliefs and ideologies as bait, exploiting votes and support, later to devastate lives and discard promises made but never meant to be delivered. George W. Bush, while a miscreant and an embarrassment, is not the true problem. Sure, his administration must be made extinct, yet his disappearance will not hinder the corporatist/Republican leadership that has hijacked an entire Party and the millions of good people it once served. George W. Bush is the symptom, not the disease.
    Taking the Fight to Them
    The interests of the Corporate Leviathan in maintaining power are enormous, and so the Party that serves its interests will undoubtedly grow in wealth and power. It is for this reason that the Party serving the interests of the corporate world must be destroyed. Bush is but a puppet whose strings are attached to the hands of the corporatist elite, running the nation like a corporation diagnosed as a psychopathic entity. As long as the corporatist and ownership class control the buildings of government through their legion of vultures and parasites, the peoples' interests will not be served. Rather, we might soon find that corporations and their masters will possess even more dominion over our lives, and on the road to perdition we will find ourselves marching on, becoming a subservient, exploited and oppressed people whose existence we suddenly find to be reminiscent of the serfs of centuries long since past. The Democratic Party is headed in much the same direction, though certainly a lesser of two evils, yet the truth remains that it is the Republican Party leadership, or its present mutated form, that has transformed itself into a conduit for big business and the capitalist elite that comprise the ownership class. In the last few years its agenda has been a 'catastrophicsuccess,' and we are much worse off as a result. Four more years of the same will no doubt lead to a nation bordering on implosion, a citizenry on the verge of borderline paranoia and depression, and a form of governance dictated by a corporate Leviathan whose insatiable appetite for profit and power could further devastate our environment, society and the lives of 290 million people. Whether we take back a nation now in the hands of corporatists and corporations will be decided in a couple of weeks. The perilous manifestation of our failure to act accordingly will be hard to contemplate. In most ominous times do we find ourselves living in, ensnared in a war being waged against us as we continue to lose battle after battle, retreating further into trenches of defeat and surrender. Whether we finally decide to fight back or not remains to be seen. The uphill struggle will not be easy, but it must be climbed relentlessly and without cowardice, with conquest and victory as the only viable option, for to allow ourselves to capitulate to the powers of the corporate Leviathan, its corporatist masters and Republican henchmen would be devastating for the present course of human events and the future freedom of those that have yet to come.
    Manuel Valenzuela is social critic and commentator, international affairs analyst, Internet columnist and author of Echoes in the Wind, a novel now on sale by Authorhouse.com. A collection of essays, Beyond the Smoking Mirror: Reflections on America and Humanity, will be published in early 2005. His articles appear in alternative news websites and you can find him regularly on informationclearinghouse.info. His unique style and powerful writing is read internationally and seeks to expose truths and realities confronting humanity today. Mr.Valenzuela welcomes comments and can be reached at manuel@valenzuelas.net

  12. Filmmaker documents nude dancers' struggle to unionize
    Daily Pennsylvanian, PA
    Alex Small
    {Photo by jesse rogers - Communication professor Katherine Sender tries on an Exotic Dancers Union T-shirt last night after viewing filmmaker and former nude dancer Julia Query's documentary on the first union in the sex industry.} Filmmaker, writer and activist Julia Query is fighting for the social justice of nude dancers. "My message is about empowerment and workers' rights," Query said last night during the presentation of her documentary film, Live Nude Girls Unite! The film chronicles the struggle of nude dancers to unionize at a San Francisco club, the Lusty Lady. In front of an audience of about 65 at the Annenberg School for Communication, Query contrasted the empowerment of nude dancers with the objectification of women in the mass media. Her presentation concluded an ongoing film studies series undertaken by Communication professor Katherine Sender's "Politics of Representation" class. The class studied the ways in which different groups in society are represented through film. "Film is one of the most evocative mediums you can work with," Query said. "Film is more effective ... [in] allowing viewers to take in the reality of the people." She explained that high-quality documentaries display people in their appropriate context, reducing the potential for biased conclusions. Query said dancing is "empowering" because it allows women to feel attractive even if their bodies do not reflect the ideal image projected by the media. By portraying only one body image, the media has objectified women more so than the sex industry does, according to Query. In her documentary, Query warns that the corrupt practices of club owners threaten this empowerment. At the Lusty Lady, work shifts were delegated based on looks and race. For example, black dancers at the club received fewer hours and were not featured in VIP rooms because they were judged less desirable by the management.
    [Here's a glimpse into the reason we prioritize worktime disparity over racial disparity.]
    In addition, male patrons of the club illegally filmed the peep shows and distributed them to the general public. When the dancers demanded that this be stopped, management officials challenged them to go work somewhere else. These reasons convinced Query and her fellow dancers of the need to unionize. After many months of negotiations, the Lusty Lady became the first unionized club in the sex industry. "I believe [unions] are capable of shifting the way sex is perceived," Annenberg graduate student Josh Ratner said. "If unions get more publicity, the sex industry" will be more respected by Americans. The film won the audience award at the 2000 San Francisco International Film Festival.
10/19/2004   primitive timesizing & worktime consciousness in the news = glimmers of strategic hope - all are 10/18 from GoogleNews & are searched-screened-collected by Alan Applebaum (AA) of Brookline MA with backup from *Ken Ellis (KE) of New Bedford MA (except #3 & 10 which are from 10/19 hardcopy), and with excerpting and [commenting] by Phil Hyde (PH) unless otherwise initialed -

  1. Quebecers take it a whole lot easier - Poll reveals lifestyle contrasts among Canada's provinces
    CP via Winnipeg Sun
    Feeling overworked? Want to catch a few more minutes sleep every day? Then consider leaving your Prairie home and moving to Quebec. Quebecers work fewer hours and sleep more than other Canadians, and they also read less and spend less time exercising, indicates a recent poll. The Leger Marketing survey suggested Quebecers worked 38.3 hours a week on average compared with 40.7 for Manitoba and Saskatchewan, 42.7 hours for Atlantic Canadians, who led the country, and Ontarians, who were second with 41.7 work hours a week. Even Albertans reported putting in less time at work than Manitobans at 39.2 hours a week. Quebecers also said they slept more than other Canadians, the poll indicated. Quebecers said they slept 7.3 hours a day on average while Ontarians reported 6.8 hours of daily slumber and Atlantic Canadians said they lay down for 7.1 hours a day. Manitoba, Saskatchewan and Alberta all reported an average of seven hours sleep a day. If you're not much of a fan of reading, you'll also feel at home in Quebec. Quebecers reported fewer reading hours than other Canadians, averaging 7.3 hours a week. People on the Prairies reported 9.9 hours; Ontario, 10.3 hours; Atlantic Canada, nine hours. People in British Columbia were the Canadian reading champions, the poll suggested, averaging 11.3 hours per week. The 1,500 respondents to the Sept. 21-26 poll were not asked to specify if they read newspapers, magazines or books. And when it comes to exercise, the survey suggested Quebecers also lagged behind their fellow Canadians. While British Columbians topped the list at eight hours of exercise per week, Quebecers said they put in 5.6 hours a week of physical activity.
    Exercise, TV viewing
    Other regional breakdowns for weekly exercise were: Ontario, 7.1 hours; Atlantic Canada, 6.8 hours; Manitoba and Saskatchewan, seven hours, and Alberta, 6.8 hours. When it comes to TV viewing, Quebecers were second only to British Columbians in the amount of time spent in front of the television. While people in B.C. reported watching 14.2 hours of television every week, Quebecers said they spent 13.2 hours in front of the television. People in Manitoba and Saskatchewan reported watching 11.5 hours a week. Albertans watch 10.6 hours, the poll suggests. The poll has a margin of error of 2.5 percentage points, 19 times out of 20. The error margin for the regional breakdowns is higher. Claude Martin, a communications professor at the University of Montreal, said it's not surprising the poll paints a different portrait of Quebecers' lifestyles. There are lingering signs of the linguistic and cultural differences which have isolated Quebecers from the rest of the country, said Martin. "Traces of our Latinity remain," he said. It could be a product of the Catholic tradition that encouraged reading less than the Protestant tradition, he said.

  2. New show up North:'Hockey Not in Canada' - Hockey's birthplace faces NHL-less winter
    By DAVID CRARY, The Associated Press via Concord Monitor, NH
    MONTREAL - Instead of the beloved Canadiens, rock bands Van Halen and Incubus will be playing soon at the Bell Centre. "Hockey Night in Canada"- must TV viewing for fans from Newfoundland to Yukon - has been replaced by a triple bill of Hollywood films, starting off with Disney's Dinosaur. In a country where hockey rouses passions almost unfathomable to outsiders, the shutdown of the National Hockey League, perhaps for the entire season, is generating bitterness, awkward adjustments and a deep sense of loss. Fans in the United States may be frustrated by the owners' lockout of players in a bid to rein in payrolls, but America offers an array of other big-time pro and college sports. North of the border, where the NHL is now the only major league operating outside Toronto, Canadians face a winter of discontent without a sport woven into the national identity. "The prevailing mood is that they're all wrong - the owners were foolish to pay the players so much money, and the players are greedy," said Roy MacGregor, author of several popular books about Canadian hockey. "There's no sympathy for either side, but we'll miss the game that we love," he said. "There's a void." The lockout's impact is profound, emotionally and financially. Business is certain to plummet at restaurants, bars and sports shops around the arenas; some social programs could suffer because they get funds from provincial sports lotteries dependent on NHL wagering. Of Canada's six NHL cities, Montreal is perhaps the hardest hit. Not only are the Canadiens the league's most celebrated franchise, but the lockout comes just after Major League Baseball confirmed the Expos' departure for a new home in Washington, D.C. "The Canadiens are now the only major sport here, so people are extremely passionate," said team spokesman Donald Beauchamp. "They want the system to be fixed. They want hockey." The Canadiens' 150 full-time employees have been assigned four-day weeks to reduce salaries. About 1,000 part-timers who work at the Bell Centre during games have been laid off. "Those are the people really affected,"said Beauchamp, noting that many of the ushers, ticket-takers and vendors are students or retirees badly in need of the extra income. On a game night, whether the Canadiens are home or away, fans endure long outdoor waits to jam into La Cage Aux Sports, a vast two-story sports bar at the Bell Centre. On Wednesday evening, when the Canadiens would have been opening their season at Ottawa, only a handful of tables were occupied, and baseball, not hockey, filled the giant TV screens. "It's dead," said waiter Alexander Tellier..... "The difference is like night and day." There have been no layoffs so far, Tellier said, but there are shorter working hours. Tellier expects his earnings to drop by half. Disillusionment is particularly high among young fans - like Yoni Troy, a 7-year-old Montrealer who plays hockey once a week and adores the Canadiens. "It's so cheap that there's no hockey," he said. "I thought, 'Why do they play for money?' I thought they played because they liked hockey." In Ottawa, the lockout has dismayed the young patients and staff at the Children's Hospital of Eastern Ontario, which normally gets fund-raising help from the Ottawa Senators, treasured visits by many of the players and hundreds of free tickets for ailing children - often issued as a reward for completing onerous treatment regimens. "We're feeling the loss," said hospital spokeswoman Marie Belanger. "A lot of kids are asking if they're going to a game this year, and we have to say, 'We don't know.'" For TV broadcasters, the lockout has forced a scheduling scramble. Sports channel TSN is replacing canceled games with matches from past decades; the Canadian Broadcasting Corp. is laying off 50 "Hockey Night in Canada" employees and will replace the popular Saturday night fixture with a three-film "Movie Night in Canada." Saturday's season-opening offerings: Dinosaur, Raiders of the Lost Ark and Jaws. At Canadian newspapers, some hockey writers are wondering if they might be moved to non-sports beats. In Edmonton, however, that's not an issue for now. The Oilers shifted their minor league affiliate, the Road Runners, to their home rink - selling more than 5,000 season tickets and getting almost as much local media attention as the parent club would have received. But Edmonton is one of only four Canadian cities with American Hockey League franchises, along with Hamilton, Ontario; St. John's, Newfoundland, and Winnipeg, Manitoba. For the rest of the country, the best available hockey will be provided by locked-out NHLers in charity games or by the 56 teams in Canada's major junior leagues, which groom players aged 16 to 20 for pro careers. The lockout may prove a mixed blessing for junior hockey. Some teams hope it will boost ticket sales; others dread the loss of NHL development funds. The Quebec lottery - which depends heavily on sports betting - caused a furor by replacing canceled NHL games with junior league games in its lucrative Mise-O-Jeu contest. The decision was quickly reversed as Loto-Quebec officials acknowledged the unsavory prospect of gamblers trying to corrupt teenage players making only $40 a week in meal money. Another option for Quebec fans is the 10-team North American Hockey League, which encourages on-ice fights and features several former NHL enforcers. The league has won a television contract and dates for two games at the 21,273-seat Bell Centre. All six of Canada's NHL franchises performed well in 2003-04, with only Edmonton - by a narrow margin - failing to make the playoffs. So a season that Canadian fans eagerly anticipated is now in jeopardy; some worry that the Stanley Cup may not be awarded for the first time since a flu epidemic halted the 1919 final. But Yoni Troy remains hopeful, in part because Canadiens goalie Jose Theodore is building a house near one of his playmates. "I'm going to try to meet him and ask him to try to fix the strike," the second-grader said.

  3. Sarkozy backs easing of French retail-price law, Dow Jones via WSJ, A16.
    ...Earlier this year, he cajoled retailers and manufacturers into imposing a 2% price cut on a range of 4,000 household staples..\.. Sarkozy has sought to sustain a boom in consumer spending to drive the euro zone's second biggest economy to a faster pace of growth than Germany's and Italy's....
    [How ironic that Sarkozy is actually weakening the consumer boom by separately weakening the shorter workweek, which has spread work and jobs and wages and consumer confidence and unified the nation with something uniquely French ("l'exception francaise") that leads the world = the world's shortest nationwide workweek in the Age of Automation and Robotics.]

  4. [case in point -]
    French unions force U-turn on sacking laws
    Jon Henley in Paris
    The Guardian
    France's centre-right government yesterday lost an important battle in its bid to slash red tape that still governs the economy, bowing to union pressure to scrap measures that would have made it easier for companies to shed staff. The highly-regulated labour market and hefty social costs of taking on and laying off staff in France are seen as brakes to growth.
    [Only to growth of top executive pay and decay of consumer confidence.]
    It puts France, already toiling under an unemployment level of 9.9%, at a disadvantage compared to the more liberal regimes of Britain or the United States, where it is easier to hire and fire.
    [Especially fire - giving the U.S. a real unemployment rate of 13.8% when you count all the categories they've carefully excluded from "unemployment" - categories lacking in France - such as 2m welfare families, 5.7m disabled, est. 2m homeless, 2.2m incarcerated, and untold millions in forced early retirement, forced UNretirement, forced self-"employment," forced part-time....]
    In the face of fierce union opposition and to the disgust of the employers' federation Medef, France's CBI, the government of prime minister Jean-Pierre Raffarin confirmed yesterday it had removed several core clauses from a new white paper on redundancy procedures. The paper - "On forward-looking management of the workforce and the accompaniment of economic change" - contained two measures that prompted trade union representatives to storm out of talks with the government last week. The first would have permitted layoffs to "safeguard a company's competitiveness".
    ["Competitiveness" can justify anything, even the revival of slavery.]
    Even if a firm was performing well now, it would have been allowed to shed jobs if it felt its future prospects were jeopardised by shrinking margins, falling profits, or threatening economic trends.
    [Economic slumps start when companies performing well start downsizing their customer base by downsizing their workforces instead of their workweeks.]
    The second would have allowed a company to fire employees who refused to accept "the modification of an essential element of their contract", such as a relocation or a new job description.
    [We've never heard of relocation or a new job description described as "essential elements of employment contracts." The only thing we've heard of is at Lincoln Electric and Nucor Steel, which give employees a lifetime guarantee of employment in return for willingness to accept job reassignment when the companies are in trouble - plus willingness to forego unionization and acceptance of the principal that everyone sacrifices together, starting at the top.]
    Both principles, considered in Britain or America as straightforward [hardly!], have now been dropped from the draft text.... But in a time of rapidly shifting consumer behaviour patterns, many businessmen are complaining that France's inflexible employment laws stifle corporate responsiveness, hinder growth and are ultimately counter-productive in terms of retaining - still less creating - jobs.
    [Nonsense. In the age of automation, jobs are more reliably "created" by work sharing, not businessmen's empty promises.]
    The finance minister, Nicolas Sarkozy, is due to present today a report by a former head of the International Monetary Fund, Michel Camdessus, on "brakes to growth" in France. It will propose several changes including scrapping the 35-hour working week and, rather than fining companies that sack workers, rewarding those that do not.
    [Subsidies at taxpayer expense? = more corporate socialism from the "capitalist" IMF.]

  5. Are We Better Off Than 4 Years Ago? - Overall, wages went up - but job losses have hit family incomes hard
    Businessweek, United States
    Ronald Reagan struck a nerve during his 1980 Presidential campaign against Jimmy Carter when he asked Americans: "Are you better off now than you were four years ago?" The economy had gone through a recession earlier that year, so the answer for many was a resounding no. Ask the same question about President Bush's tenure today, though, and the response isn't so clear-cut. Families have made some real gains. Surprisingly, average wages managed to outpace inflation right through the downturn of 2001 and are about 2% higher today, after inflation adjustments, than they were before Bush took office. His mammoth tax cuts, while top-heavy, also put money into average household's pockets. And low interest rates have propelled home ownership to record heights. But at the same time, the data show an apparent contradiction: that despite the wage gains of the past four years, family incomes have nonetheless declined after inflation. Why? Because employment is down and so are hours worked, outweighing the pay gains.
    [Decline in hours worked does not necessarily mean a drop in pay. In fact, if everyone cuts hours and once and creates a perceived labor 'shortage,' shorter hours mean a general raise in pay.]
    Even the affluent haven't been spared. To compensate, Americans have refinanced mortgages, piling on the debt andlowering their average net worth. Soaring medical costs, which employers have been shifting onto workers, have further depleted the family purse. Those at the bottom of the ladder have fared the worst: Poverty climbed steadily throughout the Bush years. Add it all up, and the average U.S. household is somewhat worse off today than in 2000 - several years of pain followed by not enough gain to make up the difference. "Americans barely held their own in the past four years, with bottom-half families clearly losing ground and some top-half ones maybe a little better off, mostly from the tax cuts," says Economy.com Inc. Chief Economist Mark M. Zandi. The hot-and-cold experience of most families may explain why Democratic Presidential candidate Senator John Kerry has not been able to gain more traction on the issue. Certainly, he and running mate Senator John Edwards have tried, attacking Bush on sluggish job growth, the middle-class squeeze, and two Americas, rich and poor. But the fact that real wages have largely held up, as have households' ability to maintain their purchasing power, seems to have offset the wider backlash that Kerry might expect after four years of sagging family incomes. "Americans have been borrowing to sustain their consumption, which means they're optimistic about the future," says Kevin A. Hassett, the director of economic policy at the American Enterprise Institute (AEI), a conservative Washington think tank. Perhaps the most unusual aspect of the Bush economy is the growth of wages through the recession even as the recovery came up short on job creation. Although unemployment rose and then slowly declined, wages beat inflation for the first three years of Bush's term, according to an analysis of Census data by the Economic Policy Institute (EPI), a liberal group in Washington. Only this year did real hourly pay fall a bit. Tax cuts, meanwhile, benefited everyone, though most of the money went to the upper brackets. The average taxpayer's total annual income boost: $647 from three major tax reductions, according to an analysis by Washington's Tax Policy Center, a joint venture of the Brookings Institution and the Urban Institute. Unfortunately, the jobless recovery is still causing pain. Employment has climbed in the past 13 months but remains at about 1 million jobs less than before the downturn began more than three years ago, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics. That's by far the worst showing in decades. Not only are 1 million fewer people earning paychecks than in 2000, but several million more have withdrawn from the labor market or didn't join it in the first place, according to BLS data showing stagnation in the growth of employment relative to population. In addition, a decline in work hours has lowered the pay of many of those who have held on to their jobs. The average family put in 2,965 hours of work last year, a 5.5% decline from 2000, the EPI found. The punishing combo of fewer jobs plus fewer hours worked has left family incomes in the hole. The average household earned $43,588 last year, 3.4% less than in 2000, after adjusting for inflation, according to Census Bureau data. That's a decline of about $1,500 a year, which $647 in tax cuts couldn't fully offset. Further biting into the family pocketbook: more health insurance cost shifting from employers onto workers. Employees' share of annual medical costs are up to 32% this year, vs. 25% in 2001, according to a survey by benefits consultants Hewitt Associates Inc. (HEW ) Employers are also covering fewer Americans - 60% last year, down from 64% in 2000. As a result, the ranks of the uninsured have jumped by 5 million since 2000, to 45 million. Loretta Marcin, a $10.81-an-hour kindergarten aide in Carson City, Nev., says her medical premiums have jumped 50% since 2000, to $200 a month, all but eclipsing the small pay hikes she has seen. "I'm making more than I was then, but I'm not taking any more home," says Marcin, 48, who says her husband, a self-employed construction worker, can't afford to be on her plan and thus has no health insurance.
    The Rich Get Poorer
    Affluent families have been hit, too. Average family incomes of those in the top 5% have trailed inflation by 6% since 2000, sinking to $253,000 last year - a $16,000 drop. Meanwhile, the tax cuts gave them back an average of $11,600, according to the Tax Policy Center. Economists think a lot of the lucrative stock options cashed in at the peak of the market boom dried up. In addition, many high-paid tech jobs got wiped out with the Internet bubble and haven't come back. Indeed, the jobless rate for computer scientists and electrical engineers hovered above 5% last year, a level neither had ever reached in more than two decades, according to an analysis of BLS data by Ron Hira, a public policy professor at Rochester Institute of Technology. Bush advocates don't deny the negative numbers but argue that most families have been able to keep spending more nonetheless. The AEI's Hassett says that given how much people are buying, there's scant evidence of a middle-class squeeze. He points to a 2% rise in consumer spending from 2000 to 2002 among middle-income households. The numbers aren't available for later years, but Hassett predicts they will be better than during the recession. "The best measure of whether someone is better off is consumption, which has shown gains during the worst period," he says. In addition, Americans have continued to increase home ownership. Although the ownership rate bumped up and down in the recession, it started climbing again in 2003 and hit a record 69.2% in the second quarter this year. Home equity loans and credit cards probably aren't the best ways to prop up your spending when your income stalls. Yet that's what many have done - lowering the median household's net worth from $89,300 in 2000 to $84,400 today, after inflation adjustments, according to Zandi's analysis of Federal Reserve Board data. Of course, most families don't have an exact fix on how much they're worth at any given moment. This likely has muted the political impact of lower family incomes and higher debt. The overall reality is ambiguous and complicated - not the sort of stuff that is likely to move the political needle sharply.

  6. Deadline to prevent doctors' strike too tight, say bosses
    New Zealand Herald, New Zealand
    The country's 21 district health boards (DHBs) say they will face the almost impossible task of producing an offer in one week to stop a strike by 2000 trainee doctors. The doctors have threatened a six-day strike at public hospitals from November 2 - the first time resident doctors will have gone on strike countrywide. The strike would shut down all but emergency services. The junior doctors, who earn about $70,000 a year on average, do not want more pay, but say they are unhappy with their conditions, claiming a 72-hour or more working week. The two sides have been in talks since May, sometimes with a mediator, but have been unable to agree on the doctors' collective employment terms. New Zealand Resident Doctors' Association spokeswoman Deborah Powell said today the DHBs could stop the strike if they came up with a deal in the next week. But DHB spokeswoman Jean O'Callaghan, who is also CEO of Canterbury District Health Board, said the union had jumped the gun by threatening to strike if a deal was not struck. The DHBs needed more time to co-ordinate an offer. "There has been no clear claim that 21 DHBs, with 21 CEOs, can consider in a short time, can cost, and work out what that means," she told National Radio. "While the doctors may say it's about reduced hours for the same pay, that could have huge implications for the sector." Ms O'Callaghan said throwing more money at the problem and putting more trainee doctors on ward floors had not worked in the past. "Over the last five years we have seen a 27% increase in the number of trainee doctors, a 56% increase in salary costs, and the problems the doctors complain about still exist - there has to be a better way." Ms Powell said resident doctors worked 12 days in a row and the association sought a reduction to 10. It also wants a shorter working week for the number of overnight shifts. She said the claim had been on the table since May. "We want to reduce our hours so we're not so tired, we can treat our patients properly and have a life outside the hospital as well," she said.

  7. 2000 resident doctors to walk off the job
    Stuff.co.nz, New Zealand
    All but emergency services will be suspended at public hospitals throughout the country from November 2 as 2000 trainee doctors go on strike for six days. New Zealand Resident Doctors' Association spokeswoman Deborah Powell said yesterday the doctors were left with no choice but to strike after failure to progress with the doctors' collective employment negotiations with the 21 district health boards. It will be the first time resident doctors have gone on strike countrywide. "We've been trying to negotiate. We've been at it since the beginning of May, and the DHBs haven't made a substantive move on the key issues," she told NZPA. "It's the level of frustration that has resulted in this action." The planned strike has been condemned by the health boards and the Association of Salaried Medical Specialists called it "a catastrophe". Association of Salaried Medical Specialists executive director Ian Powell said there was no way that safe emergency care could be provided for such a long period of time. "Previous strikes have always been localised with other public hospitals available for back-up. None of this is possible in a long national strike. "...senior doctors know what a catastrophe for patients is when it stares them in the face." Mr Powell urged the resident doctors, DHBs and the Government to give top priority to resolving the dispute. "The danger and risks to patient safety are simply too great to do anything else." Doctors were not asking for a pay rise, Ms Powell said. They were seeking a reduction of the 72-hour or more working week, and adequate time to recover from overnight shifts before going back on day shift. Resident doctors worked 12 days in a row and the association sought a reduction to 10. It also wants a shorter working week for the number of overnight shifts. "We want to reduce our hours so we're not so tired, we can treat our patients properly and have a life outside the hospital as well. "We know that 40 residents in Canterbury DHB work more than 72 hours a week. This is horrific. They're tired and tired people make mistakes," Ms Powell said. However, a spokeswoman for the country's DHBs, Jean O'Callaghan, said they had made provision to meet the doctors' claim, but their union had jumped the gun. "What is disappointing is that this strike notice is unnecessary and could have been avoided with just a little more time. The issues of modern patient care, safe working hours and a work-life balance for trainee doctors need a co-ordinated and co-operative sector-wide response." Ms O'Callaghan said each DHB had a contingency plan and would assess how the planned strike would affect services in their areas. "It's likely all but emergency services will be suspended during the strike and hospitals will need to start the planned reduction of services leading up to the strike." DHBs were doing all they could to find a solution that would avoid the strike and were working with a mediator, she said. "Throwing more money at the problem and putting more trainee doctors on ward floors hasn't worked in the past and is not an option for the future. "Over the last five years we have seen a 27% increase in the number of trainee doctors, a 56% increase in salary costs, and the problems the doctors complain about still exist - there has to be a better way."

  8. Union: Women workers key to skilled worker shortages
    National Business Review, New Zealand
    Women could be the key to the skilled worker shortages identified in a recent Auckland Chamber business survey, according to Council of Trade Unions secretary Carol Beaumont. Ms Beaumont said the answer is not the "current trend" toward easing rules to allow temporary migrant labour into the country, but changing the work environment to enable easier entry and training for women. She said women are underrepresented in the current workforce because of obstacles to participation, not disinclination to work. Only 60% of New Zealand women are in the paid workforce, she said, compared with 77% in Sweden. "There [is] a range of reasons for this, including low wages in many industries that provide part-time work, unattractive or insecure part-time work, lack of access to affordable, quality early childhood education and lack of access to out of school care. "Basically, it is about the difficulty of balancing work and other personal and caring responsibilities," she said. Employers needed to consider flexible working hours and arrangements that suit workers, and invest in further training for their staff, she said.

  9. Chinese work ethic tires Spanish - Losing business to immigrants, Spanish shoe workers in Elche recently set fire to Chinese warehouses
    By Geoff Pingree, The Christian Science Monitor
    MADRID ­ When Spanish workers in Elche, a longtime shoe-producing town in the coastal province of Alicante, set fire to several Chinese shoe warehouses three weeks ago, many feared that the incidents were motivated by anti-Chinese racism - a troubling sign of things to come. Placards scrawled with phrases like, "No Chinese!" and "Stop immigration!" at a protest six days after the vandalism fueled this perception. But others suggest that the incidents have less to do with racism than with changes to Spain's economy. As Spain struggles to become an economic power in Europe, immigrant laborers are increasingly coming into conflict with native workers who approach work and the workplace with very different attitudes. Although the first Chinese immigrants arrived here in the early 20th century, their numbers have grown rapidly over the past two decades. Today it is estimated that there are between 50,000 and 100,000 living in Spain. They may be causing resentment, however, not because of their numbers (there are far more North African and Latin American immigrants), but because many Spaniards feel that their economic practices threaten age-old social customs, employment norms, and labor relations in Spain. This nativist anxiety is exacerbated by larger concerns over changing work patterns both in Spain, where regulations may even encroach upon the sacred siesta, and across Europe, where debates are brewing about standardizing Sunday and late-night work hours.
    Tough to compete
    In particular, many Spaniards are frustrated by the increasing control Chinese immigrants have taken of grocery stores and other small businesses traditionally owned by Spaniards. These days, most have Chinese owners who keep the shops open on Sundays and late into the night. Becaro Brothers is an exception; it is one of only a few grocery stores in La Latina neighborhood still run by Spaniards. "This store has been operating for more than a century and a half," says its owner Rosa, who emphasizes that it was always family owned, even when it sold just olive oil, butter, or chorizo. Rosa is set to retire in nine years, but she doesn't think her business will last that long. "In the last year I've been approached at least five times by the Chinese, begging me to sell them the store." Although she would prefer to keep the business in her family, she notes that, "You have to work hard to make a store like this run, and hardly anyone can do it anymore, except the Chinese." It's a feeling echoed at one of the neighborhood's other Spanish-owned groceries, La Gran Perla. "The Chinese work round the clock," says its owner, "never stopping for afternoon siestas or holidays or Sundays, and they're putting us out of business." The Chinese, however, contend that they are simply practicing good business. In an underground Chinese shopping corridor beneath Madrid's Plaza de España, Susana, a young mother from China, recalls why she immigrated. She came to Spain 12 years ago, she says, "because it looked beautiful in pictures." Today, she runs a small grocery store with her family in Móstoles, on the outskirts of Madrid. "In the store we work hard," she explains. "If you work in Spain, you make money." Manolo, a well-dressed Chinese man who says he took his name from the first Spaniard who befriended him, freely admits that it was economic opportunity that brought him to Spain. "I prefer China, but the money here is too good. Everyone needs us. We work hard, night and day, no holidays. We work hard now so we can return to China later and enjoy life there with the money we make here." For many Spanish, that kind of attitude clashes with traditional values that privilege family, friends, and leisure over moneymaking. But those values are also being undermined by the demands of Spain's attempts to enter the global marketplace. In Elche, for example, about 10% of the shoe businesses are owned by Chinese, who have not only extended work hours, but have increased production and cut workers. The Spanish shoemakers, on the other hand, have watched their production fall 12% and their number of workers drop 4% in the past year. It is that desperation, say observers, that drove Spanish workers to attack the Chinese businesses.
    Economic frustration, or racism?
    After the Elche attacks, Spain's minister of foreign affairs met immediately with the Chinese ambassador to assure him that the government would take all measures to ensure the safety of all people in Spain. And the Chinese Embassy here quickly set up a hotline in Spain for Chinese to call in case of discrimination or attack. Still, many deny that race was a driving factor behind the vandalism. A spokeswoman for the UGT, one of Spain's biggest labor unions, says that "the UGT has an office that determines the maximum number of work hours for its members, according to the Law for Foreign Workers. And because some foreigners, like the Chinese, are violating these norms, the laws are being renegotiated by the unions, the government, small-business organizations, and immigrant organizations. The goal is to shut down the underground businesses that do severe damage to the legitimate ones." The official, who declined to give her name, notes that the "problem is not the Chinese in particular, but immigration as a general phenomenon, and how it affects labor in Spain. The Chinese aren't a problem any more than any other foreign population here." Chinese here take the Elche attacks seriously, but see it as an isolated incident. If anything, say observers, Chinese residents may not be mindful enough of lingering discrimination. For now, their businesses are thriving, and any problems they encounter are, in their view, market-driven. Tony, a member of the Association for Chinese in Spain, shares the view of many of his fellow immigrants. "The events in Elche had nothing to do with the factories being Chinese. It was the result of an economic problem, and it was inevitable."

  10. GM workers in Germany protest jobcuts a 3rd day, by Mark Landler, NYT, W1.
    ...IG Metall [is] the metalworkers' union, which represents Opel employees. [Its] reduced role is another sign of changing times. Once a dominant force in labor talks, it has stumbled in recent confrontations with carmakers. In 2003, it was forced to abandon a strike for a shorter workweek in eastern Germany because of lack of support from the rank and file.
    [and/or from the pols.]
    ...The cuts come at a time when German carmakers, including DaimlerChrysler and Volkswage, have pressed their workers to accept wage freezes and longer work hours....
    [Here's the real grouping: lower pay and longer hours, just as the old rhyme says -
    "Whether you work by the piece or the day,
    Increasing the hours decreases the pay."]

( Here's the current search pattern used by our backup, Ken Ellis - he's now experimenting with seven search runs:
"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 "more 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"
"decrease hours", OR "decreased hours", OR "decreasing hours", OR "fewer hours", OR "schedule reduction", OR "long work", OR "long hours", OR "long days", OR "long workdays", OR "long workday", OR Nucor, OR "Lincoln Electric"
"days off"
"job cuts", OR "jobs cut"
"work hours", OR "working hours", OR "shorter hours", OR "shorten hours", OR "shortened hours"
"free time", OR overtime, OR "extra hours", OR leisure, OR "time off", OR vacation, OR vacations, -sports -coach -coaches -coaching -football -soccer -baseball -olympics [on hold]

10/16-18/2004   primitive timesizing & worktime consciousness in the news = glimmers of strategic hope - all are 10/15-17 from GoogleNews & are searched-screened-collected by Alan Applebaum (AA) of Brookline MA with backup from *Ken Ellis (KE) of New Bedford MA, and with excerpting and [commenting] by Phil Hyde (PH) unless otherwise initialed -

  1. 10/15   Court Upholds Renault's 35-hour Workweek
    Associated Press via Kansas.com
    PARIS - A French court on Friday rejected a trade union challenge against a working time agreement at Renault SA, upholding the car maker's interpretation of France's 35-hour workweek.
    The Communist-backed CGT union had demanded the annulment of the 1999 working time deal, alleging it broke the law by deducting training and breaks from extra days off awarded for overtime.
    Dismissing the CGT's case, presiding judge Claire Lacaze and her two deputies said that "none of the points raised over working time changes are pertinent or bring about the nullification" of the accord.
    The union criticized the ruling, which it described as "barely comprehensible in its argumentation." It said union leaders will meet next Wednesday to decide whether to file an appeal.
    The CGT's challenge had drawn criticism from some of the other major unions, representing 60% of Renault staff, which had backed the working time deal.
    In a statement, Renault welcomed the court's endorsement of what the company called its "balanced" working time agreement. The ruling represents a second high-profile setback for the CGT in less than three weeks.
    Late last month, the union was forced into a humiliating about-face, withdrawing its veto on a program of voluntary job cuts at Nestle SA's French water division after the Swiss food giant threatened to sell off its Perrier brand.
    A ruling against Renault could also have encouraged challenges against workweek deals at major French companies, at a time when the 35-hour law is under review by Prime Minister Jean-Pierre Raffarin's conservative government.
    The conservatives have already once amended the law, introduced under the last Socialist-led government. Now, urged on by the French employers' federation Medef, they are considering further changes to reduce the cost of overtime for companies and increase flexibility.

  2. 10/15   Industrial action looms for Post Office
    Expatica, Netherlands
    BRUSSELS – Trade unions representing Belgian postal workers have broken off talks with the Belgian Post office on the question of working time, bringing the threat of industrial action nearer, it was confirmed on Friday.
    The unions said they had walked out of talks because post office managers had not made any new efforts to meet their demand for reduced working hours.
    The unions want the working week for post workers to be reduced from 38 to 35 hours in line with a deal they struck with management to cover the period 2001-2004.
    But the post office says it cannot realistically respect the agreement
    [nonsense - when managers start trying to break their own contracts, we need new managers]
    and wants the union to consider alternatives to a shorter working week.
    [It's basically the old story of "discipline is OK for everybody but us." CEO's gather in millions they can't spend while claiming that "realistically they cannot respect agreements" to share.]
    For example, it is proposing to give unlimited contracts to certain workers who are currently only employed on a short term basis.
    [But what good are they new contracts when they "cannot realistically respect" the ones they've already made?]
    But the unions say this is not enough.
    Earlier this month the unions threatened to go on strike if the working time issue was not resolved speedily.

  3. 10/17   Row over working hours delays EU jobs report
    David Gow in Brussels
    The Guardian, UK
    A row between employers and unions over business demands for longer working hours and delayed retirement has held up a report for European leaders on how to revitalise the so-called Lisbon strategy for making the EU the world's "most dynamic and competitive economy" by 2010.
    A 13-strong group chaired by Wim Kok, the former Dutch premier, is due to present its findings to EU leaders at their Brussels summit early next month. It will warn them that, in the near-five years since the strategy was adopted, Europe has fallen further behind the US and Asia.
    Amid union fears that the incoming European commission is firmly wedded to the Anglo-Saxon model of liberalisation and flexibility, and is ready to abandon key elements of the continental social model, the Kok group is understood to have been riven by employer demands for a longer working life to kickstart the faltering EU economy.
    The report, due to be completed late last week, says that the EU will fail to meet its target of raising the overall employment rate for men to 70% and of women to 60% by 2010 because it is growing at 2% at the very most, compared with the goal of 3% - still far behind US and Asian growth rates.
    A draft version says: "If Europe cannot adapt its ageing working population will be unable to sustain the cost of maintaining pensions to Europe's growing army of pensioners, economic growth will stagnate and institutions will be faced with contraction and decline."
    Employers on the group, including Niall FitzGerald, former Unilever chairman who now holds the same position at Reuters, are said by insiders to want greater flexibility built into working hours, with clear hints that the 35-hour week enjoyed in France and Germany should be abandoned.
    [Abandon that and your consumer base will tank. Present-day CEOs have yet to resolve the conflict between competitiveness and consumption. If they can't figure out how to draw a line between their competitive cost-cutting and their own workforces, they will continue to cut their consumer markets and their own futures. And they won't do that until they realize that the main management skills of the future are workload subdividing, spreading and suturing.]
    German companies, including Bosch, Mercedes, Siemens and Volkswagen, are enforcing longer hours in return for job guarantees.
    [Job guarantees based on longer hours and resulting labor surpluses are contracts made for breaking.]
    But John Monks, leader of the European TUC, which has three members on the Kok group, said: "Our approach is not to look west [to the US] or east [Asia] but to look north, to the Nordic countries such as Finland, Sweden and Denmark which figured at the top of the league table in last week's Davos rankings on global competitiveness."
    [At last, an intelligent futuristic model for emulation.]
    He said the Scandinavian economies were already meeting the Lisbon targets, with low unemployment combined with high union density and collective bargaining across a range of issues - including retirement and pensions. "Finland has flexible retirement schemes which are a matter of choice and help meet the problem of an ageing population as well as high state support for economic change."
    The Kok report is expected to argue that the EU should drop many of its myriad targets, getting governments to draw up national plans for raising growth rates, including better job creation. It demands corporate tax harmonisation, including in low wage, low tax eastern Europe - a key French demand fiercely resisted by the liberal British and Dutch.
    [Liberal Dutch perhaps, but British? Hardly.]

  4. 10/17   Balancing work with other ways of life
    The Japan Times
    LONDON - Alan Milburn, the British secretary of state for health, resigned last year to "spend more time with his family." This excuse has often been used to cover some misdemeanor or a falling out with colleagues, but in this case it seems to have been genuine.
    Milburn felt that his commitments and his work did not give him enough time to be with his family and see his children as they were growing up. He was, however, reappointed to the Cabinet recently and given oversight of preparations for the Labour Party in the next election expected next spring.
    Why did he again accept office? Did he find that family politics and backbiting were even less palatable than the equivalent in government? Or was he simply bored with his family? Did ambition for power make him decide to forgo family relationships in favor of a return to government. Only Milburn knows the answers to these questions, and he is hardly likely to give honest public answers at this stage in his career. Perhaps he may do so when he comes to write the inevitable political memoir.
    The Milburn story highlights a real problem, though: how to achieve the right balance in our lives between work and leisure, and between job and family.
    In the United States, few employees can take long holidays, and many still get only two-weeks paid vacation. The long-hours syndrome seems to be well-entrenched especially in New York.
    In many offices in Japan, taking off more than a few days in a row seems to be unacceptable to fellow employees and to management. Japanese apparently fear if they are absent their work won't be done and that it will suggest they lack commitment to the company and their job.
    Alternatively, they may fear that no one will notice their absence and that it will become apparent that their job is redundant. Similarly, anyone who leaves for the day before his or her boss is likely to be frowned on as a shirker. Yet going out drinking with colleagues after work seems to be regarded as necessary for "harmony" and to confirm commitments. The damaging effect of these drinking sessions on family relationships is not thought to be important.
    In European countries, not only are the hours that can be worked regulated and limited, but lengthy holidays are specified by law with stipulations about maternity and even paternity leave. In August, many factories and offices are closed. The foreign tourist in Paris during that time frequently finds restaurants and shops shuttered for "les vacances." Government offices maintain only skeleton staffs.
    In Spain and Italy, especially but not solely during summer months, offices and shops are generally shut from 1 p.m. to 5 p.m. for the siesta.
    The French 35-hour hour week has been a drag on the economy and has not always well served those for whom it was designed.
    [Nonsense. It has enabled and motivated unprecedented flexibilities in the French economy and provided the stronger consumer base that made France the second-last EU economy to succumb to the US-led recession of 2000.]
    The idea that there is a "lump of work" and that limiting hours will lead to a reduction in unemployment has been shown to be nonsense.
    [Oh yeah? By whom? What's the reference? This is just a myth that self- and statusquo-serving economists and analysts have perpetuated by constant repetition against the evidence of the 150 years of workweek reduction prior to 1940 and two nationwide trials (US 1938-40 and France 1997-2001) when the unemployment rate declined one percent for each of the four hours cut from the workweek in each of the two cases.]
    It has instead entrenched old-fashioned practices and reduced competitiveness.
    [On the contrary, unlimited working hours is the old-fashioned practice. It's been in place ever since the invention of slavery. And as for competitiveness, as we said above, CEOs have yet to resolve the contradiction between competitiveness and consumption. Unless they can draw a line between their competitive cost-cutting and their own workforces, they will continue to commit suicide by cutting their own consumer base.]
    French employers are demanding greater flexibility, as are their counterparts in Germany. Unions, reluctantly, are beginning to have to accept changes in working practices if only to save jobs from being shifted to Eastern European countries that have recently joined the European Union.
    In Britain, the situation is somewhere between that in America and Europe. Workers in London engaged in banking, finance and law put in absurdly long hours. The old adage "all work and no play make Jack a dull boy" is accepted by most British people, but it often gets only lip service. Managers say competitive pressures and demands make it impossible to allow adequate leisure time.
    [Who is this moronic Hugh Cortazzi who argues both sides of the debate at the same time? There's no such thing as "absurdly long hours" if there's no such thing as a fixed or shrinking "lump of work" that needs flexible sharing and spreading to avoid further lumping and market-shrinking.]
    Deals must be completed by deadlines set by clients, and if this means working through the night, so be it.
    [Nonsense. We define the markets and the level of the playing field, and we can exclude from access to our rich markets any whose practices threaten to shrink them.]
    Staff can, it is reckoned, be rewarded and thus retained through systems of bonuses and other "perks," including payment of gymnasium fees and provision of expensive motor cars, although such perks attract additional taxes.
    [This is the old Gospel of Consumption dragged back to life. Substitute materialism for the true and basic freedom, free time. That's the approach that has been and is failing all around us, not flexible work-sharing.]
    The long-hours culture is not universal, but it can and does cause health problems. It leads to binge drinking and stress-related illnesses that are now more frequent in offices where competition to achieve is great. Stress leads to psychological ailments and, in some cases, to men and women "burning out" by the time they enter middle age. Early retirement may then be unavoidable. But early retirements have to be paid for and lead to the loss of experienced workers.
    The British continue to argue against pressures to adopt continental labor rigidities. The ironic Law of Cecil Northcote Parkinson - that "work expands so as to fill the time available for its completion" - has not been forgotten. Government offices and companies, however, need to be frequently reminded of it.
    At one stage in the information-technology revolution it was suggested that IT was opening the way for a major reduction in work and a significant increase in leisure. It is now apparent that this was, at least in part, an illusion.
    [Only because CEOs were too short-sighted and self-destructive to implement it.]
    We must work to live, but we do not live simply to work!
    [Pure rhetoric from this reporter - he's as confused as they come.]
    One basic problem is that not many people know how to use their free time sensibly.
    [He can't even keep his silly lassoos off people's FREE time.]
    For many, unlimited leisure would bore them silly;
    [who said anything about unlimited leisure? - this bozo bounces from one extreme to the other - both irrelevant]
    for others, without the necessary education or inclination, it would mean becoming couch potatoes and watching endless sporting events and game shows on TV.
    [Do the "primitive" Gilbert Islanders, who only work 14-15 hours a week, have the education this moron thinks is "necessary" for leisure? It's apparent that one of the things that drives compulsives crazy about free time is that they don't have any CONTROL over it.]
    Benjamin Disraeli, the great 19th century British prime minister noted that "increased means and increased leisure are the two main civilizers of man," but they will not be "civilizers" unless we learn to use wisely the leisure that modern means of production have accorded us.
    [Again, the thing about leisure is that it's unaccountable - to wisdom, to education, to boredom, or to anything or anyone else. It's like nature, or rain forests. We've got to protect them all from these compulsives who just can't leave them be.]
    It is not possible to lay down by law the right balance between work, leisure and family commitments. We all have to work this out for ourselves. It will be different for each of us depending on the nature of our work, interests and family commitments. For some people, job satisfaction is much more important than money. For others, in less satisfying jobs, monetary rewards may be the most significant. For everyone, job environment matters greatly. This is more a function of good management and the behavior of individual managers.
    Which of us has not at times been upset by a bad temper and bullying in the workplace?
    [Better in the workplace than Cortazzi's bullying in personal leisure space.]
    Yet, while rules and regulations may help prevent health and safety failures, they cannot cover all aspects of human behavior.
    Legislation needs to be permissive rather than prescriptive. [Too bad Cortazzi doesn't practice what he preaches.]
    Governments can, and should, move to encourage a sensible balance between work, family and leisure.
    [Sensible balance? Sounds prescriptive to us. All we need is a workweek controlled automatically by unemployment, comprehensively defined by referendum of the affected population - the less discretionary government "encouragement" and political interference, the better.]
    Hugh Cortazzi, a former British career diplomat, served as ambassador to Japan from 1980 to 1984.
    [Hugh, baby, siddown and shaddap till your mind clears and you can come up with a coherent story.]

  5. 10/17   More than a third of office workers stay after hours
    Taipei Times
    Some 35% of white-collar workers regularly remain at the office after their normal work hours are up, according to the results of a survey released yesterday.
    Topping the list of reasons for staying late was unfinished work, mentioned by 61.47% of the respondents, followed by a desire to work harder in the hopes of earlier career advancement, mentioned by 26.61%. The No. 3 reason was wanting to use the office facilities for things not related to work, mentioned by 24.77% of the respondents.
    The survey was conducted by the 1111 Job Bank between Oct. 7 and Oct. 15 on 2,172 white-collar workers. The poll has a margin of error of plus or minus 2.1%.
    The results seem to correspond with the <<2003 Year Competitiveness Yearbook>> released by the International Institute for Management Development, which showed that the Taiwanese top the global list in terms of average number of work hours per person in a year at 2,282.
    According to statistics compiled by the Directorate General of Budget, Accounting and Statistics in September, workers in the 20 to 29 age group work an average of 2,159 hours per year; while those in the 30 to 39 age group work 2,166 hours per year; and those in the 40 to 49 age group work 2,170 hours.
    The 1111 Job Bank survey found that 52% of the respondents feel lonely and empty after work, while 60% said they could not identify their goals in life. These two problems were found by the survey to be most common among workers in the 20 to 29 age group.
    1111 Job Bank spokesman Wu Rui-ying attributed this to the fact that most people under 30 years old are single and therefore tend to feel lonely if they have no one to talk to after work.
    He also said that most workers in this age group are not married and don't have a family, adding that after they get married, their "family" will automatically give their life a a purpose.
    (By Y.F. Low)

  6. 10/15   High Gas Prices Force Lifestyle Changes - Workers Try More hours, Closer Jobs, Frugality to Defray Costs
    Washington Post, DC
    By Bill Brubaker and Dina ElBoghdady
    Pat Kiser is 68 and she has no plans to retire. But yesterday she quit her job as receptionist at the Loudoun County Chamber of Commerce in Leesburg.
    With gas prices soaring she no longer could bear the cost of that slower-than-ever, 66-mile round-trip commute from her home in Charles Town, W. Va.
    "It's become terrible - awful," she said. "With the traffic worsening out here I've also been using more gas. When I sit in traffic I can almost see the gas in my tank disappear before my eyes."
    For some in the Washington region, the recent surge in fuel prices has been little more than an annoyance. A quick glance at the numbers on the pump - What's it today? Oh, two-something a gallon for premium? - and a shrug.
    "It goes up, then it goes down for a minute, then it goes up again," saidfederal government auditor Philomena Brooks as she lunched at Ollie's Trolley in the District this week. "I don't even have time to get mad about it."
    But for other workers, businesses and organizations, the spike in energy prices - for gas, diesel fuel or heating oil, take your pick - is changing the way they live, work and think about the future.
    Kiser, for one, plans to take a lower-paying job, close to home, with the Jefferson County school system in Charles Town. "I won't make as much money," she said, "but I won't have to fill up my tank almost two times a week."
    The price of crude oil, from which gasoline, diesel and heating oil are made, rose above $54 a barrel this week. Oil prices are rising as demand has increased around the world, particularly in China. At the same time, oil production is close to capacity. Oil traders have been bidding up prices because of concerns that factors such as pipeline attacks in Iraq and hurricanes in the Gulf of Mexico could lead to a shortage.
    Gasoline prices in the Washington region jumped to an average of $1.98 for a gallon of regular unleaded yesterday, up from $1.84 a month earlier, according to a survey by AAA. Diesel fuel - used to run trucks, construction equipment and other heavy machinery - surged from $1.92 to $2.17 over the past month. And the Energy Department estimates that users of home heating oil, natural gas and propane will be paying markedly higher prices this winter. The average heating oil bill in the Northeast will rise 28% to $1,223, the government predicted.
    Rising fuel prices are creating some unwelcome consequences, large and small, for drivers.
    District cabdriver Wubshet Abeza, 42, said he's paying $25 to $30 a day for gas, roughly a quarter of what he makes in fares some days. So he's compensating by bringing his lunch from home rather than stopping at Subway or his favorite Ethiopian restaurant.
    Tom Rust, owner of Loudoun Milk Transportation Inc. in Purcellville, said he may lose customers who balk at paying the fuel surcharges he's tacking on. But Rust, who operates 25 tractor-trailer trucks that consume 1,000 gallons of diesel a day, said he has no choice. "I paid $1.25 a gallon in 2001, and now it's $1.95 to $1.98," he said.
    And gas prices are the reason District resident James Harvey, a records technician at the Justice Department, has stopped driving his eight-cylinder Lincoln to work.
    When the price of premium topped $2 a gallon earlier this year, Harvey said he began taking a bus from his home in Southeast to the Potomac Avenue Metro, where he hops onto the Blue Line, then transfers to the Orange Line to get downtown.
    "It used to take me about 20 minutes by car, but now my trip is close to an hour," Harvey said. "I just don't want to pay $50 to fill up the tank every week, and that's what it would take: $50." Harvey also has sworn off his twice-monthly trips to Atlantic City, where he gambles, and Dover, Del., where he visits the NASCAR track.
    Cathy Repass, who delivers pizza for the Papa John's in Leesburg, has responded to the gas prices by working more hours.
    "Last year, I pulled about 35 hours [per week]. This year it's 60 or 70," she said. "The gas prices go up, but I can't stop paying my bills."
    Repass...earns $5.15 an hour (the federal minimum wage) and a 5% cut of whatever she delivers (65 cents on a large pepperoni pizza), in addition to tips. "It's very hard right now," she said. "My Toyota 4Runner costs $35 to fill up. And I have to fill up every other day."
    Not far from the Papa John's, Loudoun County schools assistant superintendent of support services Evan E. Mohler is trying to figure out how construction of the Ashburn-Dulles Middle School and Brambleton Area Elementary School may be affected by the spike in global oil prices.
    The school system budget allows $30.1 million for the 168,000-square-foot middle school and $16 million for the 84,000-square-foot elementary school, he said. But the school system hadn't anticipated such a sharp spike in fuel costs, which, Mohler predicted, will drive construction costs up.
    "Projecting out to next year, it is our belief that the total package will jump 20%," Mohler said. "You know, the tentacles on fuel go so far out. Everything in the construction world is tied to fuel.
    "It may be that we would have to do some creative, value engineering, such as reducing the amount of tile in the hallways."
    In the end, Mohler said, no one should be surprised by any of these developments.
    "You know," he said, "we are still in a war."
    [A war of choice isn't a war - it's merely makework and voter manipulation.]

  7. 10/17   Police Show Strain From Endless Alerts - Blue Flu Outbreak, Costs Raise Worries
    Washington Post, DC
    By Sari Horwitz
    The first call came in to the U.S. Capitol early in the morning. A Capitol Police officer was too sick to work. Soon, another officer called with the same problem. Then another. And another. By the end of the Columbus Day weekend, more than 70 officers charged with protecting Congress had called in sick.
    It was the largest number of Capitol Police officers who ever had "banged in." Many of them say they really were sick - an illness brought on by fatigue. The continual elevated terror alerts have meant weeks and weeks of 12-hour shifts, little vacation and fewer days off. When Congress decided to stay in session rather than adjourn for the holiday weekend, it was, for many, the last straw.
    "The officers are extremely fatigued. They're really stressed out," said U.S. Capitol Police Officer Andy Maybo, chairman of the police union, which did not organize or support the action.
    It's not just the Capitol Police. All across the country, but especially in Washington and New York, police officers and federal agents say the heightened alert and the strain of working long hours with no end in sight are taking their toll. Experts on policing, police chiefs and the officers themselves wonder whether the law enforcement agencies can sustain the current staffing levels without a general change in policy by government agencies that would provide some financial and manpower relief.
    "It is a real challenge to balance legitimate security needs against the economics of what's possible," said Chuck Wexler, executive director of the Police Executive Research Forum, a Washington-based think tank that helps large police departments. "They have to be more sensitive to the diminishing returns of keeping officers on extended overtime without resting them. Police chiefs are going to have to be more strategic."
    The chiefs also have to worry about how to pay their bills. For some, that means asking the federal government to help pay for the vigilance.
    "We have been making the case to our congressional leaders that New York, along with Washington, deserves special attention when it comes to federal counterterrorism funding," New York City Police Commissioner Raymond Kelly said Friday in a speech to Army War College students.
    Nowhere do the effects of the heightened alerts seem more apparent than in Kelly's city and the Washington area, where law enforcement agencies are spending millions of dollars in overtime and ramping up their counterterrorism efforts in the weeks before the Nov. 2 election. The summer political conventions threat has turned into a general pre-election threat, which is morphing into a threat against January's presidential inauguration, and police officials see no relief ahead.
    Law enforcement officials and agency heads said that with the constant alerts, they will do what they have to do to keep the country safe, even when it means canceling annual leave or extending their officers' shifts.
    Gary Hankins, president of a Washington consulting firm for police unions, said the result could be more fatigue like what occurred at the Capitol over the Columbus Day weekend.
    "The human mind and body were not created to sustain a continuous heightened alert," said Hankins, who headed the D.C. police union for 12 years. "You need to significantly expand the number of people you have performing the services."
    Inside the FBI's Washington field office, agents who are already juggling day-to-day threats and intelligence tips also have swung into high gear to plan for the extraordinarily tight security and massive manpower needed for the January inauguration - the first since the 2001 terror attacks.
    "It's rough," said Paul A. Garten, a supervisory special agent of Washington's Joint Terrorism Task Force, which investigates all possible terrorist acts in the District and Virginia.
    Three years ago, members of the task force, composed of local and federal law enforcement agencies, had not even finished writing their reports on the Sept. 11 attack on the Pentagon when anthrax was discovered on Capitol Hill. Ever since, they have run out every day to investigate thousands of reports of suspicious packages and powder.
    "It is unrelenting."
    Wexler, whose group has studied Israeli counterterrorism techniques, said that although the Israeli police have learned how to stay on heightened alert, this state of vigilance is still "a relatively new phenomenon in this country."
    "In Jerusalem, the police get hundreds of bomb calls a day and have been on heightened alert for years," he said. "With alerts that last days and months, every police chief in America is now being faced with a real dilemmawith limited resources."
    The Capitol Police and other D.C. area police agencies are at the center of that dilemma. On their 12-hour shifts, Capitol officers patrol the grounds, stop cars and trucks at roadblocks and use explosives-sniffing dogs to conduct hundreds of other inspections a day at congressional buildings. At the same time, FBI agents across the Washington region are interviewing Muslim businessmen and activists, Department of Homeland Security agents are stepping up investigations of immigrants and Metro Transit Police officers are patrolling the subway and warning riders to look for suspicious packages and passengers.
    Along with the issues of morale and effectiveness are the ballooning costs. In fiscal 2001, New York City spent $200,000 on police overtime for antiterrorism. According to the New York City Independent Budget Office, it costs $500,000 each week to maintain the current terror alert. New York officials said the heightened alert is built into their policing policy and strategy now, but the costs are daunting.
    "The city is facing a $3 billion deficit next year, and we are spending money we don't have because Congress hasn't come through for New York," said Ed Skyler, a spokesman for Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg (R).
    In Washington, the Capitol Police spend about $1.5 million in overtime every two weeks.
    The latest round of 12-hour shifts for the Capitol Police began after Homeland Security Secretary Tom Ridge raised the alert level in August for financial institutions in New York, Washington and Newark. Capitol Police Chief Terrance W. Gainer closed streets on Capitol Hill to protect lawmakers and staff members from a possible truck or car bomb. He set up a dozen checkpoints to inspect vehicles. And he ordered the officers in his approximately 1,600-member department to cancel their leave and begin the longer shifts. Many have had to work six-day weeks, but Gainer, who has received high marks from his officers, is now trying to give most of them two days off each week, Maybo said.
    Last month, Gainer ordered many of his officers to begin wearing new equipment to protect them from a biological or chemical attack.
    "We truly ask a lot of these guys," Gainer said. "Be sharp, give directions, smile all the time they're doing it and be ready to fall on a hand grenade."
    Gainer recently brought his officers together for an intelligence briefing and a pep talk about their role in the nation's safety.
    "The days and nights are long, but I told them they are not nearly as long and hot and dangerous as for our countrymen serving in Afghanistan and Iraq," Gainer said.
    "The nation is at war. We have a piece of it, and we have to grin and bear our portion."
    But on the holiday weekend, a large group of officers decided they had borne enough.
    Police Show Strain From Endless Alerts
    "I was disappointed," Gainer said. "I know that holiday weekend everyone was prepared for less work, but it was disconcerting that an inordinate number did not come in."
    U.S. Park Police officers also are weary from constantly working longer shifts under the heightened terrorism alerts, officers said.
    Park Police officers, charged with protecting the nation's monuments on and around the Mall, or what they call the icons, also have worked 12-hour days. Park Police Officer Jim Austen said the officers are starting to get some relief in their schedules but are "burned out."
    Each police chief is handling the heightened alerts differently. D.C. Police Chief Charles H. Ramsey put his officers on 12-hour shifts with no days off for several weeks right after Sept. 11, 2001. But he said recent intelligence briefings have not convinced him that he needs the longer shifts and reduced time off.
    Ramsey said that if the intelligence becomes more specific and imminent, he won't hesitate to take the same steps as the Capitol Police.
    "I'll go to 12 hours or longer than that in a heartbeat if I have to," Ramsey said. "We'll cancel days off or leave. We'll do whatever we have to. This is the new normal."
    At the same time, Ramsey said, big-city police departments are struggling to strike a balance between responding to terrorism and protecting the public from other social ills.
    "I deal with day-to-day crime in addition to terrorist threat," Ramsey said. "I've got to be able to do both."
    With a constant barrage of new intelligence from the CIA and other sources, though, sustainability has become the watchword.
    "This is a threat with no end in sight," Wexler said.
    Staff writers Michael Powell and Michelle Garcia in New York and Mary Beth Sheridan in Washington contributed to this report.

  8. 10/15   'Sportsthink' no way to score
    The Globe and Mail, Canada
    Corporate North America is in the grip of "sportsthink," as CEOs try to pump up motivation by using star athletes to talk about the keys to their success and even integrate sports philosophy into the company culture.
    But it's no way to score winning goals in business, says writer Steve Salerno. "Sportsthink demands results it cannot deliver and teaches people to look at their jobs, if not the world itself, through an overly simplistic, ultracompetitive lens," Mr. Salerno writes in Psychology Today.
    He points to Boise Cascade Office Products, which uses a chart of a football field to depict its progress toward its "goal line" for sales; teaches new recruits to think of themselves on the 20-yard line about to kick a field goal; and even draws sales plans from National Football League playbooks, sometimes complete with the X's and O's used in the locker room.
    "Most of these regimens are a mile wide and an inch deep," warns management consultant Jay Kurtz, who notes that curing an ailing company requires tough decisions and bringing about tedious change.
    Jim Bouton, former star pitcher for the New York Yankees and author of Ball Four, says "athletes don't become confident by having some other athlete scream at them: 'Now go out and be confident.' "
    The Olympics provided fodder for "Go for the Gold!" themes at conventions or in workplaces, but Olympic medals are often won by temperamental loners who shun teamwork and spend years in obsessive sacrifice that few employees would consider.
    Sports is rife with statistics but Mr. Salerno says that, for all the money spent on sports inspirational talks or business plans, no hard data indicate it has an impact.
    He recalls one company where, after a motivational talk by former Los Angeles Dodgers manager Tommy Lasorda, the marketing vice-president declared his sales staff was "stoked." A few months later, sales had declined....
    ...Glover Ferguson, chief scientist at Accenture Ltd., says that, if we had frozen our standard of living in 1950 and applied all subsequent productivity gains to reducing our work week, rather than increasing our consumption, we would now work two days and then leave for a five-day weekend.
    If we had waited until 1975 to freeze the standard of living, we would now have a three-day weekend. (Source: Outlook)...

  9. 10/17   More workers opt to make less money for more time
    By Kristen Gerencher, CBS MarketWatch via Seattle Times, WA
    SAN FRANCISCO - Many workers who may have been glad just to have job security during the recession are now grappling with dissatisfaction and weighing career options, according to several surveys.
    In fact, a growing number are considering downshifting, according to a survey of more than 1,200 people by the Center for a New American Dream, a nonprofit group that aims to help Americans consume responsibly.
    In the past five years, 48% of Americans have opted to make less money so they could have more time and a less stressful life, they told the center's pollsters. More than half would be willing to give up one day's pay per week to get that day off to spend with family and friends.
    Signaling that materialism doesn't trump all, one in two Americans would accept less money in exchange for more time, they said.
    At the same time, workers who survived several rounds of layoffs may still feel pressure to outperform, said Jim Derivan, spokesman for LifeCare, a benefits consulting firm.
    "While their primary concerns are with their family and care of their children, they're feeling a certain dedication to their employer to put in more hours to be productive," Derivan said, noting that they're "looking for new and creative ways to balance their responsibilities at work with their responsibilities at home."
    68% of working parents are considering cutting back or quitting due to child-care issues, according to a LifeCare survey of nearly 500 workers.
    46% said they like their job but want to work fewer hours, while 22% would like to quit for child-care-related reasons, according to LifeCare.
    Those who continue to work also often patch together backup systems in case a child gets sick or has some other unscheduled absence, and sick-child clinics are still hard to find, he said.
    Of course, labor concerns aren't confined to parents and their desire to alleviate time crunches.
    30% of workers are unhappy with their career progress, according to a survey of 1,600 mostly full-time workers from CareerBuilder.com, a job-search site.
    42% are planning to leave their positions, with 28% expecting to change jobs before the end of the year.
    "The top three factors we see time and time again in what causes the greatest amount of dissatisfaction with workers are pay, workload and career advancement," CareerBuilder spokeswoman Jennifer Sullivan said.
    Many workers say they don't see much opportunity in their organizations.
    "You become focused on your particular function within a company and may not know there's a great opportunity in another department where you can transition your skills and experience," Sullivan said.

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