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Timesizing News, 2005-2006-2007-(2008)
[Commentary] ©2004-08 Phil Hyde, Timesizing.com, Box 622, Porter Sq, Cambridge MA 02140 USA 617-623-8080

11/21/2008   primitive timesizing & worktime consciousness in the news = glimmers of strategic hope with excerpting and [commenting] by Phil Hyde (PH) unless otherwise initialed -

9/29/2007   primitive timesizing & worktime consciousness in the news = glimmers of strategic hope with excerpting and [commenting] by Phil Hyde (PH) unless otherwise initialed -

9/12/2007   primitive timesizing & worktime consciousness in the news = glimmers of strategic hope
- from 9/11 hardcopy sent in by friends in Ottawa/Gatineau, with excerpting and [commenting] by Phil Hyde (PH) unless otherwise initialed - 3/16/2007   primitive timesizing & worktime consciousness in the news = glimmers of strategic hope
- from 3/15 hardcopy, with excerpting and [commenting] by Phil Hyde (PH) unless otherwise initialed -

4/29/2006   some thoughts today = glimmers of strategic hope -

The left can go on tut-tutting forever about all the gains the right is making, or it can develop a better all-informing vision than the warmed-over versions of the New Deal it's been making do with for decades. And in developing that vision, it needs to avoid three lethal errors it's been making now for centuries:

  1. If it squeaks, regulate it - no no NO.   The left must learn the principle - and the discipline - of MINIMALISM = the minimum necessary departure from status quo at each point. There are 3 ways to go: The right has "No controls" (by gov't anyway, so the insulated isolated short- and narrow-sighted topmost brackets can control whatever THEY want with no interference from gov't OR discipline from the Market). The failed old and new left has "Any controls," which rapidly turn into Many Controls, and stifle the very grassroots creativity they're trying to unleash. Timesizing has "Few controls," theoretically just One Control, so well-designed and well-positioned in the body economic that it emanates balancing to all the rest of the now-vast economic organism.

  2. If it squeaks, throw money at it - NO.   Rather, how do we redesign the situation so the problem solves (and funds the solution of) itself?

  3. "We've got to plan for the future."  No, we've got to redesign the present so it's sustainable. And that means designing to maximize variability. Because variability is the raw material of adaptibility, and adaptibility is the raw material of long-term large-system survivability.
11/08/2005   primitive timesizing & worktime consciousness in the news = glimmers of strategic hope - all are 11/07 from GoogleNews & are searched-screened-collected by *Ken Ellis (KE) of New Bedford MA, with excerpting and [commenting] by Phil Hyde (PH) unless otherwise initialed -

  1. AITUC call to reduce working hours
    Chennai Online, India
    Coimbatore - Trade unions should fight for reducing the working hours to six from the present eight hours, so that more employment opportunitiescan be created, AITUC [All India Trade Union Congress?] national joint general secretary H Mahadevan said today.
    In his inaugural address to the three-day 16th Tamil Nadu AITUC conference, Mahadevan said the working hours were decided some decades ago, when jobs and working hours were commensurate with the population.
    However, considering the present liberalisation, globalisation and privatisation trends and the changing economic scenario, it was imperative to bring down the working hours to six, he said.
    By reducing the working hours to six, the number of shifts could be increased from the present three to four, he said adding this would create more employment opportunities, and enhance productivity and purchasing power of the people.
    Mahadevan said employees in IT sector, particularly in places like Bangalore, were working like "bonded labourers" for 10 to 12 hours. This trend has to be reversed. All trade unions should join together and fight for bringing down the working hours, he added.
    About two lakh workers will be participating in a rally on November 25 as part of the conference, he said.
    S Duraisamy, general secretary, Marumalarchi Labour front, T K Rangarajan, vice-president, CITU, P L Subbaiah, Tamil Nadu INTUC president and Rajamani, president, HMS, also spoke on the occasion.

  2. CM asks administration to cultivate exemplary work culture - 'His priority will be creation of infrastructure & assets for state'
    Jammu and Kashmir Newsline (press release) via INF, India
    JAMMU - "The administration is required to be fully geared up at all levels in order to provide practical, transparent, honest, responsive and pro-people governance with a definite aim to usher the state as a whole in a new era of progress, prosperity and peace", said Chief Minister Mr. Ghulam Nabi Azad while addressing a meeting of Financial Commissioners, Principal Secretaries and Commissioners/Secretaries at Civil Secretariat immediately after reopening of durbar move offices here today.
    On the occasion, Chief Secretary Mr. Vijay Bakaya was also present.
    The Chief Minister stressed upon all the senior officers to cultivate new work culture, which will be of exemplary nature henceforth. He said that he was surprised to know that as compared to other states of the country and other developed and developing places of the world, in Jammu and Kashmir state the office hours were far less, therefore, he has decided to increase the working hours so that the people in general are benefited.
    [With all the unemployment and poverty in India, here's a guy who thinks he's going to benefit people in general by increasing working hours. But maybe he just means office hours - which you can increase with increasing workhours by having more shifts.]
    He advised that full concentration on official work should be given from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. on official disposals, meetings and mutual discussions while as after 3 p.m. all concerned should be available for meeting the general public till closure of the Secretariat....

  3. The Transcultural Trance in France
    The Progress Report
    by Fred E. Foldvary, Senior Editor
    When a person is in a trance, he is detached from his surroundings. He is in a dazed, semi-conscious state. The English term trance comes from the French word transir meaning to be numbed by fear, derived from the Latin transire, to pass or pass away or swoon. A person in a trance can be as if under a spell, like when one is hypnotized.
    French citizens have been non-acting as if they were in a trance, detached and unconscious of the millions of Muslim immigrants who fester in big housing projects in isolation, without employment, without chance of progress, without "liberty, equality or fraternity" [the national motto of France].
    Out of work, lacking opportunity, clustered in slummy dwellings,unassimilated, feeling unwanted by the majority, angry and alienated, the rioting and car burning by Muslim youth gangs in Paris and other cities should come as no surprise. Their condition does not excuse the destruction, but the French people have foolishly created a great disorder that can only grow worse unless quite radical changes are made.
    The American economist Henry George, writing about how civilization declines, accurately predicated that where social justice is lacking, there will arise new barbarians. France had the hubris to create a great empire, occupying half of Africa. She sought to Frenchify the peoples of northern Africa, so being designated as "French," many came to live in France. Many others have come more recently to escape from the economic paralysis of the newly independent states of Africa. But once in France, they had neither fraternity nor equality nor economic liberty.
    France was the home of an enlightened school of economics, the Physiocrats, who expounded a policy of free trade, a free market, and the financing of public goods and public works from the economic surplus that comes from the land. But France turned away from liberty and created a centralized bureaucratic state that continues to stifle enterprise. Unemployment for French men under the age of 25 is over 20%. High taxes and restrictions make labor too costly to hire. The French response was more regulation: laws enacted to limit hours of labor in a futile attempt to spread the work.
    [Hardly "futile" when it reduced French unemployment by 1% for each of the 4 hours France cut from its workweek, from 12.6% unemployment in 1997 when the French voted-in the workweek cut on the heels of voluntary cuts offered by the political right (the "Robien Law") that were only working slowly, to 8.6% in 2001 before the US-led recession finally began to take a toll on France, almost last among the EU economies. France's implementation of workweek reduction was primitive but it still worked, just as it did when the USA went from 44 hrs/wk to 40 between 1938 and 1940. And enterprise has hardly been stifled in France - the shorter workweek created a boom for leisure industries, such as bookstores, health clubs and travel agencies, which are still benefiting from the greater levels of free time, as is French family life and family values, and spiritual life and values, and civic life and values.... - see 6/20/2001, "The French miracle: a shorter week, more jobs, and men doing the ironing - Official study finds that France's 35-hour week has boosted the economy and proved a hit with both employees and their bosses," and 4/07/2001, "Analysis - Layoff outcry masks better French business climate" which includes the subhead, "France lures investors." Moreover, Americans and Brits are hardly in a position to criticize other nations' "liberty, equality and fraternity," now that both their governments are ignoring public opinion about vital questions such as war and free trade.]
    The French have now woken from their trance. They can now see the problem they created - a vast cultural minority of alienated North-African Muslims in the midst of their proud European Christian heritage that goes back to Roman and Celtic eras. The only way out is to go back to their revolutionary calls for liberty, equality, and fraternity. Adopt the French Physiocratic program for economic development, which has never been improved on in over 200 years of economic thought.
    Half-measures will not do. Treating the symptoms would be like foolishly mandating a 35-hour work week.
    [If the advanced economies had not mandated the 40-hour workweek, they'd all still be working 80-84 hrs/wk as they were in the 1820s, and in the context of automation and robotization, employment and wages would be so concentrated among so few people they'd all be third-world economies instead of advanced economies. Plus they'd be much more riddled with public- and private-sector makework than they are now, and the only thing advanced about them would be their environmental deterioration due to desperate overproduction of non-necessities.]
    The French need a new economic revolution.
    [Don't we all!]
    Sweep away the stifling taxes and restrictions.
    [The lower unemployment of the 35-hour workweek did allow the reduction of unemployment taxes.]
    Implement laissez faire.
    [Ain't it wonderful how these guys think we can all just go back to the wild west and have an economy left. It comes down to, cut taxes on the rich, cut restrictions on the "haves" so they can grab even more, and basically wind up with nothing to invest in. Recreate 1929 - this is their program. Brilliant - not.]
    Let entrepreneurs hire and fire employees at will, with no restrictions or taxes on honest and peaceful enterprise.
    [Funny how these guys serve CEOs of huge bureaucratic corporations by talking about little entrepreneurs. What phony romantics!]
    Implement a unique tax, the unique non-punitive source of public revenue, the surplus that is the rent of land.
    [Oh oh, this guy is a Georgist, a believer in Henry George's panacea of the single tax on land - which might have worked fine in the agricultural age, but today would ignore the tremendous amount of value added in high-rise office and residential buildings. Notice how taxes are OK if they're "non-punitive," defined as "not on me or my circle of friends."]
    Unfortunately, the European Union has imposed fiscal rigidity on its members, imposing restrictions and value-added taxes on all its members, and with a European Central bank that controls the trans-European currency, the euro. The EU would have to be reformed to liberate French labor and enterprise. But it does not matter, since the French governing chief doesn't wish to enact such 'reforms' anyway.
    [Our quotes - destructive policy are always pursued in the name of liberation and reform.]
    Instead, the French will first crack down, and then subsidize some jobs, and then pay some movie producers to create some very artistic films about the Muslim experience. Nothing fundamental will change, as France falls into a new trance of helplessly watching the increasing Islamicization of their cherished nation, encroaching ever more on French traditions and social freedoms, while suffering the sporadic violence that destroys social peace.
    Too bad. France is a beautiful country. It still has splendid museums and architecture, magnificent castles, and beaches which, for the time being, men and women can enjoy together. The growing Muslim influence will first require women to cover themselves more fully, then create segregated beach and recreational areas for men and women. Eventually, French wine will become increasingly non-alcoholic.
    Meanwhile, the troubles now plaguing France will spread to other countries in western Europe. In past centuries, Muslims invaded Europe, holding power in Spain and in the Balkans. Now it is Muslim immigrants who are creating a new Islamic presence. Europe can integrate Muslims into its culture while preserving the religion and culture of both Christians and Muslims, but only if there is economic opportunity for all. The riots in France present all Europe with a warning to integrate now or face disaster later.

  4. Paristan Is Burning
    Men's News Daily, CA
    by Joe Mariani
    The Paris riots, well into their second week at this point, are the inevitable result of Socialism and multiculturalism run amuck. What else can one expect when Leftist policies prevail, racial division replaces political debate, and angry, largely unemployed subcultures are created in the name of "fairness?" French Socialism and reluctance to assimilate the growing Muslim population are the underlying causes of the spreading violence. A society with enclaves of resentful, culturally-segregated groups of people who are not held responsible for their own lives is a recipe for disaster. The recent events in Paris should serve as a warning to all Americans: stop the drift towards multiculturalism and Socialism before it's too late....
    [What "drift toward Socialism"? America looks to us more like a flood toward fascism. This guy is 50 years too late.]
    Socialism is the government taking over responsibility for feeding, housing and clothing you, managing your health care and retirement, telling you where to live and how, even raising your children. Socialist governments turn productive, responsible citizens into helpless infants. In order to pay for all of that care, the government increases the tax burden on its most productive citizens and corporations, reducing economic growth and forcing businesses to reduce the workforce. This, of course, increases the number of citizens dependant on government assistance, which increases the cost of caring for them. The purpose of a Socialist government is to perpetuate the government and increase its control. For years France has had the sort of Socialist government the Left in America would love to emulate. Socialist policies drove their unemployment rate to 10%...
    [Wrong. "Conservative," rightist policies drove their unemployment rate to 12.6% in 1997, so the nation voted-in people who were willing to try worksharing policies that would allow the government to get out of the socialist job-creation business that, paradoxically, the conservatives had pushed them into.]
    ...though the Chirac government has recently been cutting taxes in order to spur economic growth and reduce unemployment.
    (Can we please stop pretending it hasn't worked in America now?)
    [Not until we stop pretending that American unemployment is only 5% regardless of the developed world's biggest per-capita welfare, homeless and prison population. And not until we stop pretending that pouring mega government-borrowing down the toilet of the Pentagon is "economic growth."]
    Nevertheless, French workers are guaranteed 35-hour work weeks and a minimum of five weeks of vacation by law.
    [Delightful how these tremendous symbols of French economic superiority really bug the American right!]
    Between that sort of productivity drain and high taxes, private enterprise is not doing well in France.
    [Except for the fact that France has higher productivity per employee hour than the USA. And by what measure is private enterprise "not doing well"? France has considerably higher consumption per capita than the U.S., and considerably fewer Walmart-bankrupted private enterprises and entrepreneurs.]
    There are no jobs for a rapidly-growing, self-segregated minority segment of the country - Muslims, who comprise between 7 and 10% of the population.
    [Gee, same as America - for the blacks, Latinos, and native Americans.]
    We should not seek to emulate Socialist policies that - combined with rampant multiculturalism - would lead to the same situation in America.
    [Evidently this guy doesn't follow his own American economic news too closely.]
    When people are taught to revel in being cultural outsiders, they are bound to feel inferior and resentful towards the majority.
    [Huh? How can feel inferior and resentful when they're reveling? They'd be much more likely to be ]
    That's what the Left wants. When responsibility for their own lives and decisions is removed, people also tend to feel inferior and resentful. That's what the Left wants. When a critical mass of isolated, resentful people is reached, the resulting explosion might tear the entire society apart. That's what the Left wants. [Sure, sure.]
    We must take steps to avoid the impending dual train wreck of multiculturalism and Socialism, before it's too late.
    [Ooh noo, Mr. Bill!]

  5. [Meanwhile, more backward motion in suicidally labor-surplussed USA -]
    Chronicle sees circulation plunge
    San Francisco Business Times, CA
    Ryan Tate
    The San Francisco Chronicle lost 80,000 weekday subscribers over the past year. At the end of September, the Bay Area's largest newspaper went to 400,000 subscribers, according to the Audit Bureau of Circulations. The 17% drop is huge, even compared with widespread declines in the newspaper industry as a whole. Other newspapers reporting declines include the the San Jose Mercury News, down 4% to 249,000 copies, the Los Angeles Times, down 7% to 843,000 copies and the Wall Street Journal, down one% to 2,084,000. The numbers come from the bureau's quarterly FAS-FAX report. The report, the newspaper industry's chief benchmark for circulation, is not released directly to the public. It was reported Monday in the newspaper trade journal Editor and Publisher. The Chronicle's circulation decline come despite what is widely regarded as an overstaffed newsroom left over from the merger of Chronicle and Examiner staffs five years ago. The paper lost $62 million last year, the Communications Workers of America's auditor has reported. Over the summer, Chronicle workers represented by the Northern California Media Guild union agreed to a five-year contract that cuts 120 jobs through buyouts, cuts pay immediately for 40% of members and eliminates one week of vacation and one week of sick time. Employees will receive an 11 percent pay hike over the life of the contract. Under the contract, they are not permitted to strike. Compounding the Chronicle's woes, the paper disclosed in an editor's note on Saturday that the first installment in a series on Golden Gate Bridge suicides lifted quotations from a similar story in the Oct. 13, 2003, New Yorker magazine and contained some identical language.

  6. From Roosevelt to Rove - The destruction of the American Dream
    American Chronicle, CA
    By Guy T. Sturino
    I grew up during the time that our elected leaders were promising things like two cars in every garage and a chicken in every pot. Our high school Civics lessons included grand visions of the future for the vast middle class. We were being prepared for a life of an honest day's pay for an honest day's work. Future wages of the middle class were expected to cover all the necessities of life - and then some. Leisure time and a few frills were expected as a reasonable reward for labor. Things didn't work out that way for nearly as many of us as was promised. One of our presidents, President Franklin D. Roosevelt [FDR], saw the broken promise coming, and tried to alert us to the danger.
    [But FDR was also the president who could have avoided the danger and made sure the promise was kept, because he was in power when the Black 30-hour workweek bill passed the U.S. Senate in 1933. This bill gave him the option to lead the country toward worksharing (sharework) instead of job creation (makework). But stymying the bill in the House derailed government into trying to offset every technological worksaving so net employment wouldn't shrink. FDR realized his mistake in 1935 after a couple of years of seeing how tough and pointless that was he finally got around to setting a national workweek (44 hrs in 1938) and cutting it two hours a year until 1940 (the 40-hr week on Oct.24, 1940). It was too high too late but it still worked to cut unemployment by 1% for each of the four hours cut from the workweek (from 19% in 1938 to 9.9% in 1941, with added help from the Lend Lease Act that started in March.]
    President Roosevelt, in his last State of the Union address more than sixty-one years ago [1944?], said,
    "We have come to a clear realization of the fact that true individual freedom cannot exist without economic security and independence. Necessitous men are not free men. People who are hungry and out of a job are the stuff of which dictatorships are made.
    In our day these economic truths have become accepted as self-evident. We have accepted, so to speak, a second Bill of Rights under which a new basis of security and prosperity can be established for all regardless of station, race, or creed.
    Among these are:
    The right to a useful and remunerative job in the industries or shops or farms or mines of the nation;
    The right to earn enough to provide adequate food and clothing and recreation;
    The right of every farmer to raise and sell his products at a return which will give him and his family a decent living;
    The right of every businessman, large and small, to trade in an atmosphere of freedom from unfair competition and domination by monopolies at home or abroad;
    The right of every family to a decent home;
    The right to adequate medical care and the opportunity to achieve and enjoy good health;
    The right to adequate protection from the economic fears of old age, sickness, accident, and unemployment;
    The right to a good education.
    All of these rights spell security. And after this war is won we must be prepared to move forward, in the implementation of these rights, to new goals of human happiness and well-being.
    America's own rightful place in the world depends in large part upon how fully these and similar rights have been carried into practice for our citizens."

    Since the time of FDR's presidency, there has been an open, unabashed effort to derail his vision of American society. The New York Times reports today that, "A $54 billion proposal headed for a floor vote this week amounts to budget cuts for the poor and environmental licentiousness." Who would lead such an effort? And, why? The only group that has a reason to oppose the implementation of these rights is the group with most to lose, the richest Americans. These are the people who own the means of production [and presumably need to sell what they produce...].
    President Bush called these rich Americans the "Have More's" as he was asking for their money to help him win the election in 2000. Those whocomprise the oft-denied American Aristocracy happily opened their wallets, and you can be sure they expected them to be replenished and more.
    But all of this is nothing new. The purchasing of political favors by the rich has been going on since the first coins changed hands. The assault on President Roosevelt's second Bill of Rights began as soon as he died. It was apparent to the "Have More's" of that time that the United States was headed in a direction which would put a drain on profits. In this new country, with its constitution written purposefully to root out all of the ills of other governments, President Roosevelt was leading the 'lower class' toward a richer existence. What is it about the second Bill of Rights that so bothered this 'aristocracy'?
    Consider this:
    1) Money is not self propagating. No matter how long it sits, money neverduplicates itself. Until such time as all manufacturing and agriculture can be mechanized, no amount of money will ever increase without the addition of manual or intellectual labor.
    [And then it won't increase because there'll be nobody with wages to buy what manufacturing and agriculture produce.]
    By simple deductive reasoning, this is true even for the insurance and financial industries. 2) People who don't have to worry about the basic necessities of life have the time and the incentive to educate themselves. 3) Educated people understand that money is not self propagating, and willdemand a fair price for their labor.
    [Error - wages do not vary fundamentally with people's education but with the surplus or shortage of people's skills, however much or little they may be educated. And now that people in India have high-tech educations, high-tech workers in the US are getting laid off and getting their wages cut.]
    4) Subsequent worker demands for wages and benefits would lead to diminishing the wealth of the 'aristocracy.'
    [- wealth, by the way, that is wasted for any useful purpose after the concentration of income and wealth passes a certain point, because the wealthy certainly can't or don't spend all their extra and they've vacuumed up so much of the spending power of the nation that there's nothing sustainable for them to invest in.]
    Simplistic? Maybe - but true none-the-less.
    Since 1945 [or at least since 1970 when the babyboomers entered the job market and restored the pre-1941 labor surplus of the pre-World War II period!], through the careful doling out of money and favors, this 'aristocracy' appears to have subjugated the leadership of the Republican Party, and spent the last sixty years working to ensure that the second Bill of Rights never sees the light of day. When President Regan refused to bargain in good faith with air traffic controllers, essentially making them slaves of the federal government, a major blow was struck in the fight against unionization. Since that time, the National Labor Relations Boardhas not been favorable to union growth.
    There can be no question that every penny available in the U.S. today was harvested from the physical labor or intellect of those who work for wages. All the means of production in the world are simply inert objects without labor. It is only the workers who can make capital gains a reality. It seems rather greedy, selfish, and arrogant for the wealthy owners of production to expect labor to work for subsistence wages while they flaunt their excess wealth.
    However, government actions over the past five years have demonstrated an all-out effort to create a rich-poor class structure. Everything that the Republican triumvirate of Senate, House and Presidency has done with regard to trade, labor practices, and their own spending spree has generously spread the fruits of labor on the table of the rich while setting up those who do the work to pay the tab. But credit must be given where credit is due.
    All of this has been accomplished with the consummate skill of a magician. Being fooled by a Harry Houdini is a lot of fun. Being fooled by a con artist prompts a much different response. Either those taken in are angry enough to do significant bodily harm, or too embarrassed to admit they were taken. But when the con goes really well the mark never realizes it, and passes his loss off to some other cause.
    How well the (neo)con artist gets the job done is entirely dependent on making up a believable lie and providing sufficient distraction so that the lie never gets questioned. The team pulling off the present (neo)con are very skillful. When the president signs legislation that appears to favor the people he does it with great fanfare. When he ís handing out the gifts to corporations and wealthy individuals, he often does it at 40,000 feet in the seclusion of Air Force One. Then, about the time someone might be paying attention, the triumvirate begins talking loudly about abortion, changing the constitution to tighten the definition of marriage, or teaching intelligent design, aka creationism. Everyone gets riled up and that's when they put yet another hand in the pocket of the lower class.
    The budget that the congress is working on today was predicted in 2001. An analysis of the final tax-cut package in 2001 released by Citizens for Tax Justice states that: The typical tax cut for the median income taxpayer will be $600 a year. For the 78 million taxpayers in the lowest 60% of the income scale, the tax cut will average $347 a year. In contrast, at the top of the income scale the average tax cut will be $53,000 annually. Robert S. McIntyre, director of Citizens for Tax Justice reports that, "As a result, over the upcoming years, average taxpayers will pay dearly for this tax cut plan in reduced public services, a return to budget deficits or, most likely, both." One of the more stark comparisons is that the bottom 1% of individuals share in 0.9% of the overall tax breaks, and the top 1% share 37.6%. The entire analysis can be viewed online at www.ctj.org/html/gwbfinal.htm.
    This raid on the national treasury in the first months of 2001 should have told us something. To cover up what was really happening, President Bush told us he was giving us a rebate. People on the streets were so happy to receive a few crumbs that they didn't even see that cake and caviar wasbeing served in the penthouses. Since then, additional tax legislation has continued to enrich the already wealthy, while significantly lowering disposable income for the vast majority of working Americans.
    [- and therefore lowering spending and markets and investment returns and the wealth of the already wealthy, making the policies they have pushed on the nation injurious to themselves.]
    How long will we let it go on? How long will it be before those who have been led into poverty with a dangling carrot of favor for their religious leanings wake up to what has been taken from them. How long will it bebefore those who are so consumed with passionate feelings against welfare, national healthcare, and any other so-called socialist idea, wake up to what has been taken from them? How long will it be before small business owners realize that they are not considered part of the aristocracy, and wake up to what has been taken from them? The list goes on. There ís a lot of waking up to do.
    Finally, there is the question of pride. Even if everyone wakes up to what is happening, how many will really accept the idea that they were taken in by temporary heros who took advantage of their own greed for money or power? Hopefully both the waking up, and the humility that comes with acceptance, occurs before we are forced to deal with the truth, in FDR's words -
    "Necessitous [ie: desperate] men are not free men. People who are hungry and out of a job are the stuff of which dictatorships are made."
    [Too late. The neo-cons own the three largest voting-machine companies, these machines aren't just "vulnerable to fraud" = the most that the tightly controlled mainstream US media report, so the US already amounts to a military dictatorship.]
    History has clearly demonstrated that when a greedy, miserly and arrogant aristocracy gains unchallenged dictatorial power, it rarely falls by any means other than by succumbing to an armed insurgency.
    The foreseeable economic future of our children and grandchildren is much less than it was for us. Something must be done soon. The framers of our constitution provided us with a sane alternative to insurrection, but it will only work if we use it. Hopefully we will not waste the opportunity.
    [The alternative they provided (elections) has already been short-circuited by the neo-cons under their unscrupulous strategist, Karl Rove.]
    We must avoid the future which is being written for our heirs, a futurethat is now much less promising than the one we had. Those who work for wages must work together to support and elect a president, senators and congresspersons who will see to it that we do not revert to a mediaeval society.
    [Too late. America is gone.]
    Our fate, and the fate of our children, is in our hands.
    [No, it's already been seized by the neo-cons and their radically suicidal policies, and is out of our hands - unless the Democrats try a boycott of elections until the Republicans make them auditable, or unless you put guns in "our hands."]
    Guy T. Sturino was born in Kenosha, WI in 1940, He spent the first four years after high school with the Marines, mostly in the far east. In '71 he attained a B.S. in Applied Science and Technology from the University of Wisconsin. He is retired after careers in the automotive industry, and teaching highschool. Along with C. Edward Burge, Guy is co-founder of Mutualist Alliance, a gathering place on the web for those interested in promoting humane coexistance and world unity.
8/09/2005   primitive timesizing & worktime consciousness in the news = glimmers of strategic hope - all are 8/8 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. Workers hungry for more free time - How do you spend your lunch hour?
    Evansville Courier & Press , IN
    By ARIELLE BRUSTEIN, Pittsburgh Post-Gazette via Scripps-Howard News Service
    Ah, the lunch hour. For many of us, it's that essential break in the day relieving us of cramped cubicles, annoying co-workers and staring at unfriendly computer screens.
    But apparently, not many of us are taking full advantage of the lunch hour, at least not in the tradition sense, that is.
    A recent survey conducted by office furniture designer Steelcase Inc. found that 55% of American office workers take 30 minutes or less for lunch each day. An earlier survey by the same firm found that 14% opt not to take a lunch break at all, while more than half do almost anything but eat during their lunch break.
    So what are office workers doing other than eating during lunch breaks?
    Well, I for one gave up my lunch hour to write this article. And I'm not alone - other office workers are busy catching up on work, running to the bank, going to the post office and even tying up their tennis shoes to burn a few extra calories. It seems the majority of us rather give up lunch to complete errands, work and other activities during the day in exchange for more time to spend at home with our families.
    Renu Zaretsky of Mount Lebanon, Pa., grabs a fruit smoothie and Power Bar for lunch to keep her going as she completes errands she would otherwise have to do in the evening. "Running errands at rush-hour traffic when you're going home is no fun," said Zaretsky, who works at the Jewish Healthcare Foundation in Pittsburgh. "I try to avoid that so I can go straight home."
    35% of those surveyed blame the disappearing lunch hour on a changing work environment, 22% each cited increased pressure to perform or a desire to get home earlier by taking a pass on their midday meals, and 21% say they use the time to catch up on individual work.
    "The traditional structure of the lunch hour has transformed as the natureof work has evolved," explained Chris Congdon, market development manager for Steelcase. "Efficiency has become a core aspect to our day-to-day lives, at work and at home. Most employees still feel entitled to their lunch hour, but many times choose to use their time efficiently - to catch up on work, run errands or grab a quick bite to eat."
    Lunchtime shopper Debbie Francis, a compliance consultant at Highmark Inc., said "Life is so busy" when asked to explain why she skipped lunch to buy gifts. Francis sympathizes especially with working moms who go straight home to pick up kids from day care and make dinner. "The lunch hour is probably the only uninterrupted time that they have to do the things they need to do," she said.
    At Pittsburgh's Point State Park, where office workers stroll in full business attire and sneakers during lunch, Robert Patton of Monroeville, Pa., took a breather from his lunch-time workout to comment on the growing trend of the shorter lunch "hour" and why he thinks office workers are using it for tasks unrelated to eating.
    Patton, a project manager with the U.S. Department of Energy and a previous worker in the mills, says that Pittsburgh's shift from a steel town to a more "service-oriented town" allows workers more flexibility with when they eat and the ability to free up their lunch break for other activities.
    "When you're back in the steel mill doing labor-type activities, you're so busy laboring that come lunch time, you're ready to eat," he said. "People can now eat lunch at their desk while they work."
    In today's fast-paced business world, it seems it isn't exactly food that American office workers find themselves desiring at lunch - it's time. "We're hungry for minutes," Zaretsky said.

  2. [The French HAVE more free time and STILL find reasons to complain -]
    French no longer bon vivants
    The Guardian via Guardian Unlimited, UK
    Jon Henley in Paris
    The French now have so much free time that they cannot afford to enjoy it, tourism professionals said yesterday, blaming a sharp fall in summer hotel and restaurant revenues on the average Gallic tourist's newfound parsimony.
    With many employees entitled to up to 11 weeks annual leave, thanks to the 35-hour-week laws introduced four years ago, the French are taking more breaks. However, they tend to be shorter, and holidaymakers have less cash to spend when they are away.
    [Only one remedy for that - cut the workweek further, choke off the labor surplus further, and intensify the action of market forces in raising general wage and income levels. At 35 hours a week, the French may have the shortest national workweek in the world, but that level was obsolete back in 1933 when the U.S. Senate passed the Black-Perkins Thirty Hour Work Week Bill. The danger of any jumpdown like France's from 39 to 35 hours a week recently is that it will be regarded as permanent. But no level is permanent while waves of automation and robotics are incessantly rolling into advanced economies.]
    The Union of Hotel and Restaurant Owners said its members have complained that holidaymakers now rarely take aperitifs, that they drink water rather than wine, eat sandwiches at lunchtime, order just one course at dinner and refuse even a post-prandial coffee. Overall, it estimates that takings this summer are down by 15-20%.
    "One of the effects of so much more time off is that people are spending so much more through the year on planes and trains that that they have to economise when they are actually away," said Brigitte Lenfant of the tourist office at Meditterranean resort of La Grande Motte.
    Official statistics appear to confirm the trend away from the traditional month-long summer vacation. A French government agency said last week that the average summer break now lasted a fortnight.
    France's faltering economy and unemployment rate is not helping either. A recent survey by Ipsos polling group found that 52% of French people planned to spend less than ?1,500 (£1,038) of their budget on holidays this year.
    The proportion taking at least one break away from home is also falling. Nearly 16% of the population have never been away and half of all French holidaymakers now stay with friends or family.
    The trend is being particularly keenly felt along the Mediterranean and south-western Atlantic coast, where most of the year's income is earned in July and August.
    "It's really getting problematic," said one Nice hotelier and restaurateur. "People are having a snack at lunchtime and avoiding anything that resembles a restuarant.
    "Often they'll go out for a full three-course meal in a decent establishment just once in their whole holiday. We're no longer a nation of bon vivants, it seems."

  3. [At one airline, employees are actively fighting for more free time -]
    Government intervenes in Asiana strike - Move to control economic impact
    Korea Herald , South Korea
    By Kim So-young (soyoung@heraldm.com)
    The government said yesterday that it will intervene in the Asiana Airlines strike this week and impose emergency arbitration to prevent the 23-day walkout from crippling the national economy further.
    The decision came after Asiana management and its pilots union failed to conclude contract negotiations until Sunday, a government-set deadline for ending the dispute at the country's second-largest airline.
    "Even though emergency arbitration is feared to exasperate the labor sector, it is inevitable we will pursue the measure as economic losses are snowballing from the strike," Construction Minister Choo Byung-jik said at a news briefing yesterday after a meeting with Labor Minister and other related officials.
    "If the strike drags on further, it would seriously undermine the nation's exports and credibility and deal a severe blow to our plan to develop Incheon International Airport into a Northeast Asian hub," Choo said. "Also, concerns are growing over flight safety due to the lack of working pilots."
    His comments came as the government said overseas shipments worth $150 million were affected last month due to the suspension of Asiana cargo flights, and that the nation could see a delay of an additional $690 million worth of exports in August if the walkout continues.
    If the government imposes emergency arbitration, the pilots will have to end the strike immediately. They will also be banned from resuming collective action for 30 days.
    If two sides fail to reach an agreement during the cooling-off period, the Ministry of Labor will turn over the dispute to the state-run National Labor Relations Commission for a binding arbitration ruling.
    The government has resorted to emergency arbitration only twice: during a 1969 strike at Korea Shipbuilding Corp. and a 1998 walkout at Hyundai Motor Co.
    Binding arbitration is often imposed when the government feels strikes in state-designated "essential public service businesses" are inflicting excessive damage on the national economy and the public.
    Hospitals, gas or electricity supply businesses, railroads, city bus lines belong to the essential service category, while the airline sector is designated as a "public service business."
    During yesterday's briefing, the construction minister also said that the government will consider incorporating the airline industry into the essential public service business category, a move that would strictly limit collective action.
    "We will actively push for the designation in view of the airline industry's impact on the national economy and government efforts to make the nation a regional logistics hub," Choo said.
    Asiana estimates that it has had over 200 billion won in lost sales so far while related tourism agencies and exporters have suffered a loss of 153 billion won, since its unionized pilots began a general strike on July 17 demanding better working conditions and greater participation in management.
    In particular, the strike has been inflicting heavy damage on exports as the carrier was forced to halt all its cargo flights to give priority to international passenger operations amid the summer holiday season.
    The Ministry of Commerce, Industry and Energy said that Korea may see only a one-digit growth in exports in July and August, following double-digit growth in the previous two months, bogged down by the strike.
    Asiana has a 21.4% share of Korea's air cargo market, while its bigger rival, Korean Air Co., controls 50% and foreign carriers 28.5%.
    Air freight amounted to $83.2 billion in 2004, accounting for about 33% of the nation's export deliveries. High-value items such as semiconductors, mobile phones, liquid crystal displays and computers make up the bulk of air cargo.
    Since the strike, Asiana has canceled more than half of its domestic flights, all of its cargo flights and about 10% of international flights, affecting some 450,000 passengers.
    Among the pilots' demands are the extension of the retirement age to 58, the reduction of annual flying hours by 17%, the right to participate in personnel shake-up decisions and more days off.
    But the management remains firm that it can negotiate on issues regarding greater welfare benefits but that any demands regarding personnel and managerial issues are unacceptable.

  4. [Less free time = more absenteeism...]
    Sharon Kaleta: Employee absence rises to business issue
    Providence Journal , RI
    SAN DIEGO - Employee absence is a large and growing problem in Corporate America. According to meetings across America we've held with call-center employers, absence in some industries is increasing by 10% a year. This number is even larger than those found by other firms in the field. It includes "total" absence, measuring such things as "mental-health" days and other forms of discretionary employee withdrawal. Employee absence is expensive. Absence inflicts numerous costs, direct and indirect. Direct costs include increased overtime and lost productivity. Indirect costs include negatively affected customer service, scheduling and delivery disruptions, and increased management resource expenditure. Using a narrow measure to estimate direct costs, we estimate that a 10% increase in unscheduled absence at a 25,000-employee company translates into $4,375,000 in direct costs.
    Extrapolate these figures across the entire economy and one sees the magnitude of the costs involved.
    Employee absence is a massive if largely hidden drag on the economy. There are many reasons for the growth in employee absence. The still weak labor market is a major factor. Growing absence in a weak labor market might be counterintuitive, as one would think that employees who want to hold onto their jobs would be at work as often as possible to demonstrate their worth to the company.
    But absence is the flipside of employee commitment. The less commitment that employees feel toward executive and corporate goals, the more likely they are to call in sick when they're feeling a bit under the weather, or turning a regular weekend into a three- of four-day mini-vacation.
    Employee commitment has been undermined by relatively small wage and salary increases, benefit-cost shifting and high-profile corporate scandals. As real as absence is in a weak labor market, it would likely be far worse in a vibrant one. Recent surveys indicate 50% of employees would switch jobs if they could.
    How many more "mental-health" days would employees take if they knew their employers were really competing for their skills? Once the labor market hits full swing, lack of commitment could result in even higher levels of employee absence, as well as the exodus of dramatic numbers of skilled employees.
    Absence and turnover is not a recipe for customer satisfaction, productivityand sustained profitability.
    For a long time, employers have viewed absence as an individual employee issue. An individual had discrete problems, and they could be "fixed" through carrots and sticks -- mostly sticks. But such an approach doesn't begin to explain the measurable differences in absence rates among similar demographic populations. These differences lead one to conclude management processes and procedures play a significant role in employee absence. Real solutions need to address absence's root causes, those practices and processes that drive employee disengagement and lack of commitment. When management fixes them, it creates and sustains a workplace that rewards employee presence. The more employees are present and engaged, the higher their productivity and the company's profitability. This is especially critical in call-center and related customer-service operations. A single unsatisfactory exchange with a customer-service representative can permanently end a customer's relationship with a company.
    High employee absence can stress those employees who are at work, generating just such an unsatisfactory exchange. Increased employee absence is a "canary in the coal mine," a sign of operational dysfunctions with possibly wide-ranging negative productivity impacts.
    Reducing absence is an opportunity to wring out other inefficiencies and prepare a company for sustained growth. Those who seize this opportunity have a leg up in an economy that shows every indication that competition will only intensify. Before a company can have a productive workforce, they need a present and committed workforce. Employees have to actually be at work, both in body and in mind.
    As the labor market strengthens, it's essential that employees are engaged, and that management does what it takes to keep them engaged. This is notonly important for individual employers. It's essential for the overall economy. At the end of day, an economy like ours, built as it is on services, needs more than "hired hands." We need fully engaged persons who advance as they help their employers meet their goals.
    For this reason, absence management has joined the ranks of critical business issues.
    Sharon Kaleta is chief executive of the Disability Management Employer Coalition, based in San Diego.

  5. [More dog-in-the-manger U.S.-worshipping propaganda to stop Europeans from having more fun than Americans - what was that old definition of Puritanism? = "the nagging suspicion that SOMEbody, SOMEwhere, is having a good time."]
    Why Europe must embrace reform International Herald Tribune, France
    By Michael Heise
    FRANKFURT - Uncertainty about Europe's future has been growing. The French rejection of the European constitution in late May was followed only a few weeks later by the failure of Europe's leaders to agree on a budget. Both events are indicative of the fundamental stakes involved in the debate about Europe's economic future.
    Surveys have shown that more than 50% of citizens voting no in the French referendum did so for economic and social reasons. They are fearful of the demise of the "social" Europe that had sheltered them for so long. And they are apparently not interested in replacing the old, trusted model with a version that, in their minds, has too many similarities with Anglo-American liberalism.
    Meanwhile, as global competition intensifies, European governments are finally acknowledging the need for reform. In many countries, labor-market flexibility is on the rise, benefit levels are being cut back and work hours are increasing.
    [Since when is increasing work hours a "reform" - especially in the context of increasing automation and robotics? Chief economists like Heise still aren't connecting the dots between the success of the first 150 years of gradually automating capitalism and the worksharing involved in the concurrent decrease of work hours by half, from 80-84 to 40/wk.]
    These reforms serve the overriding goal of increasing employment in Europe. This aim was already defined in the European Union's Lisbon agenda in 2000, which called for an increase in the labor-market participation rate from 63% to 70% by the year 2010. That goal was set based on the simple realization that an economic and social model that employs less than two-thirds of those who are able to work is not sustainable in the long run.
    At half time, it appears that these measures are at least having a first effect. It is an encouraging sign that employment in Europe is up by about seven million to 163 million over the past five years. However, in order to reach the self-imposed goals, the rate of job creation must be accelerated further. Over the past two years, the rate of actual job creation has fallen below the target path.
    Consequently, there is no alternative to an intensification of labor-market reforms. Fortunately, politicians appear to be moving in this direction. In Germany, for example, where elections are likely to be held in the autumn, both major parties are committed to increasing the flexibility of the labor market as well as to reining in still excessive nonwage costs.
    Europe's reform agenda, however, cannot stop at the labor market. Increased participation rates initially lower labor productivity, which is already slowing down in Europe. It is thus absolutely necessary to enact measures that help shrink the productivity growth gap between Europe and other countries and regions, notably the United States.
    EU heads of state took a step in the right direction at their mid-term review of the Lisbon agenda when they agreed to focus anew on attractive investment and working conditions, and on spurring knowledge and innovation. But lasting change will only come about through concrete steps, such as the further liberalization of the markets for goods and services.
    At the national level, improving the quality of education as well as capital spending are important steps to ramp up productivity. To make Europe attractive to citizens and investors alike, public spending needs to be strengthened in areas such as child care, education and training.
    But Europe needs more than just the realization that the old ways of doing business no longer suffice. It also requires a vision of how to merge the requirements of a globalized and more dynamic world with the accomplishment in the social sphere that we Europeans are rightly proud of. To be truly successful, we must embrace the spirit of reform as a positive way forward, rather than a necessary evil that must be tolerated.
    Most likely, the European model of the future will be more selective. Instead of spending huge sums on programs that achieve little more than redistribution among the middle classes, this system should set a few clear priorities. One key focus must be on the provision of work as a means to escape poverty, with strict conditionality attached to social transfer payments. More individual responsibility will also be needed in the spheres of retirement provision and health care. At the same time, transfers must be provided to those whose income falls below a certain level.
    In the end, the evolution of the European economy will not only be characterized by a greater reliance on free markets and flexible labor markets, but also by a more focused and streamlined safety net. There willbe some convergence toward the British or American models, but Europe'sbalance between free markets and social cohesion will remain different. While the ultimate superiority of either model remains to be determined, the performance record over the past few years indicates that Europe definitely has the larger need for reform.
    (Michael Heise is the chief economist of the Allianz Group.)

  6. NSO analyzes latest trends in the Working Time Arrangements
    Maltamedia Daily News, Malta
    The National Statistics Office (NSO) has issued an overview of the working time arrangements in the Labour market focusing on the population and social conditions.
    The latest issue of such a study gives data on various aspects of the working time arrangements focusing on the average working hours, the factson overtime and the situation of part time work in Malta.
    The study shows how the average number of hours normally worked is 38.1 hours per week, whilst the average hours actually worked is a bit less and measured 36.5 hours per week. In this regard, actual hours worked takes into account hours which though paid are not worked such as those of vacation leave and sick leave.
    The NSO report continues by stating that out of all total employed, 10,676 persons or 7.2% worked overtime, of these 9,318 persons or 6.3% worked paid overtime. Of the person working overtime, the average number of overtime hours was 9.7 hours per week, which is almost equivalent to the mean paid overtime hours, 9.8 hours per week.
    It is also said that the majority or 75% worked fixed hours, whilst 10.7% worked a number of core hours with variation in the start and end time. A further 7.7% were estimated to determine their own working schedule.
    The NSO data shows that out of the total employed, 51.1% worked on Saturdays, whilst a further 28.8 worked on Sundays.
    The study shows that part-time working individuals are a growing feature in the labour market. 12,937 persons or 8.7% worked either part-time or full-time with reduced hours. Of these, 8,384 persons or 64.8% were female. The working pattern of the majority or 44.6% of part-timers worked with less hours per day.
    Of the total number of employed persons 17.8% or 26,550 persons were estimated to be working on a shift basis. The most common shift work pattern was the continuous shift.

( Here's the current search pattern used by our backup, Ken Ellis - currently he's experimenting with eight 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 "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 Nucor, OR "Lincoln Electric"
"days off" OR "day off"
"work hours", OR "working hours", OR "shorter hours", OR "shorten hours", OR "shortened hours", OR "shortened work"
"free time" labor OR workers OR employees
leisure labor OR workers OR employees
vacation OR vacations labor OR workers OR employees )

7/18/2005   primitive timesizing & worktime consciousness in the news = glimmers of strategic hope - all are 7/17 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. Sir Edward Heath, former British PM, dead at 89
    JuiceEnewsDaily, AL
    Sir Edward Heath, Prime Minister of the UK 1970-74, has died at his home in Salisbury just a week after his 89th birthday. Heath
    • led the UK into the European Economic Community,
    • initiated a failed power-sharing government in Northern Ireland, and,
    • in order to cope with economic unrest, instituted a three-day work week in the UK.
      [Here we have another conservative cutting the workweek - compare Herbert Hoover in cutting the Post Office workweek to 40 hours in 1932 and the UDF(?) Party and its Robien Law in France in 1996. How do we get more details on this forgotten factoid? Heath was the political mentor of Margaret Thatcher and like her (and Phil Hyde), grew up in a grocery store.]
    He was offered the post of Ambassador to the U.S. in 1979, but declined.
    He continued to represent the constituency of Old Bexley and Sidcup as a backbench MP until his retirement in 2001.
    [Place names worthy of the Harry Potter series.]
    He was created a Knight of the Garter in 1992.

6/6/2005   strategic hope - advanced timesizing & worktime consciousness sent to the news but not selected for publication -

Subj: 35-hour day a race to whose "top"?
Date: 6/6/05 11:02:31 PM Eastern Daylight Time
From: Timesizing
To: letters@nytimes.com
CC: Timesizing

NY Times
To the editor:
How interesting that Tom Friedman has convinced himself that the 35-hour workDAY in the sacred name of Capitalism is "A Race to the Top" (op ed, June 5), while the 35-hour workweek is "old," never mind the 77plus-hour workweeks of the 19th century. Although he lives in the age of robotization, Mr. Friedman is still talking about working hard, not smart. Is this "misery loves company," or The Future (for everyone else but him)?

With his praise for India's younger population and his scorn for Europe's older population, he also turns shorter life expectancy into a feature, not a bug. Orwell lives!

Mr. Friedman notes the lowest groups in India clamor to learn English to be more like us, but he expects us to give up leisure, good pay and benefits to be more like India. How strange his praise for democracy and freedom next to his scorn for the most basic of freedoms, free time. Like so many today, Mr. Friedman seems to be mistaking busyness for importance.

Philip Hyde III
Executive Director
Timesizing Party of Massachusetts
10 Carver Street
Somerville MA 02143

5/14/2005   primitive timesizing & worktime consciousness in the news = glimmers of strategic hope - all are 5/13 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. EU backpedals on work week opt-out
    Reuters via Times of Malta, Malta
    The European Commission appeared yesterday to soften its opposition to a move by EU lawmakers to scrap Britain's opt-out from the EU's 48-hour maximum working week, saying it was negotiating a compromise. On Wednesday, the European Parliament voted to scrap a provision under which governments can allow firms to ignore the work week limit, rekindling a long-running ideological battle with Britain. Its plan must now be reviewed by the Commission. Commission spokesman Katharina Von Schnurbein said yesterday the Brussels executive was looking for a deal to present to EU ministers on June 2. "We are now negotiating a compromise which will take into account the amendments of the Parliament and at the same time the interests of the Council," she told a news briefing. The Commission had said on Wednesday it did not agree with parliament's bid to scrap the opt-out, and that it would maintain its proposal to allow individuals to opt voluntarily to work longer where there was no collective agreement. The UK reiterated yesterday that flexible labour laws are vital for economic efficiency to compete with China and India. "I have no intention whatever of abolishing our opt-out. The vote is wrong. It is completely misguided," UK Prime Minister Tony Blair told a news conference in his Downing Street office. European Commission President José Manuel Barroso shared that view, Mr Blair said, but Ms Von Schnurbein said a compromise was being intensively negotiated, though she was unable to say whether it would keep the opt-out or phase it out differently. The Commission and member states want to keep the way on-call time for doctors is counted because it has an impact on health sector financing, Ms Von Schnurbein said. Member states in particular want to ensure that when doctors are on call but not dealing with patients - such as when they are at home sleeping - it should not be counted as working time, she added. The assembly did give some leeway on this point, suggesting that inactive parts of on-call time could be calculated differently to comply with the 48 hours maximum working week. "So the Commission is trying to find a compromise again between the position of the Parliament and the one of the Council (of ministers)," Ms Von Schnurbein said. Member governments must approve a final version of the legislation by qualified majority in the EU Council, and Britain will need to put togethera blocking minority of several countries if it is to preserve its opt-out. The text adopted by ministers in June will then go back to the Parliament for a second vote, Ms Von Schnurbein said.

  2. BMW Says New Leipzig Factory to Help Boost Efficiency (Update1)
    Bayerische Motoren Werke AG, the world's largest maker of luxury cars, said the design of a new factory in Leipzig, Germany, will help boost efficiency and enable the company to build different models as demand requires. The factory, being presented today to German Chancellor Gerhard Schroeder, is built with extensions that enable BMW to expand or reduce production more quickly than in traditional plants, said Norbert Reithofer, management board member responsible for production, in a prepared speech. Munich-based BMW wants to make 650 cars a day in Leipzig from about 160 now. ``We laid the plant out from the get-go with enough flexibility and sustainability to produce almost all current and future BMW models here,'' said Reithofer. The Leipzig factory builds the 3-Series, the company's most popular model. Production of the car was moved from the Regensburg plant in Bavaria to makes room for the 1-Series, the brand's smallest model. The new factory will add about 10 percent extra capacity. ``Demand for the new 3-Series is more than we expected and is one of the reasons why we're so optimistic about this year,'' said Chief Executive Helmut Panke in an interview. BMW expects vehicle sales to increase to a record this year, while profit will be little changed. The carmaker's 105,972 workers built 1.06 million autos last year, or 10 cars per worker. That compares with 11.8 vehicles per worker at Mercedes. The average Porsche AG employee builds 7 cars a year. BMW plans to improve productivity by 5 percent annually, said Panke. He declined to say by how much improved efficiency would reduce costs.
    Bach's Birthplace
    The company four years ago chose to build a new plant in the eastern Germancity, the birth place of Johann Sebastian Bach, over competing bids in Europe, to be closer to German suppliers and its main factories. A subsidy of almost a third of the total costs from the German government encouraged the Munich-based company to expand domestically, where wage costs are about five times higher than in neighboring Czech Republic. ``Germany still has the prerequisites to be successful in global competition,'' said Panke. ``Germany requires maximum flexibility in terms of job and working conditions.''
    Comp Time
    BMW and the works council, which represents employees, agreed that workers at the new plant will not be paid extra for weekend shifts or for putting in more than a 35 hour work week. Workers instead will be able to take compensation time when shifts exceed 35 hours a week. The plant is able to operate between 60 hours and 140 hours a week, depending on demand. German auto workers receive average monthly wages of 2,600 euros plusholiday payments and a vacation bonus, according to the Frankfurt-based IG Metall union that represents them. BMW makes two-thirds of its cars in Germany. Western German auto workers' compensation is about 37 percent higher on average than in the U.K., 41 percent more than in France and about five times higher than in the Czech Republic or Argentina, according to figures from the Frankfurt-based VDA German carmakers' association. The central building in Leipzig was designed by Zaha Hadid, a U.K.-based architect known for her sweeping use of concrete and metal surfaces. The factory is about 25,000 square meters in size and car bodies are transported on a line above desks in the administration area to the body shop, paint area and the assembly line. The 200-hectare (494 acres) site in the German state of Saxony will employ about 5,500 workers at full capacity. BMW shares fell as much as 70 cents, or 2.1 percent, to 33.42 euros and were down 1.2 percent at 33.71 euros as of 1:25 p.m. in Frankfurt. The stock has gained 1.7 percent this year, while Germany's benchmark DAX index is little changed.
    To contact the reporter on this story: Jeremy van Loon in Leipzig at jvanloon@bloomberg.net
5/13/2005   primitive timesizing & worktime consciousness in the news = glimmers of strategic hope - all are 5/12 from GoogleNews & are searched-screened-collected by Alan Applebaum (AA) of Brookline MA with backup from *Ken Ellis (KE) of New Bedford MA (except #1 which is from 5/12 hardcopy), and with excerpting and [commenting] by Phil Hyde (PH) unless otherwise initialed -

  1. My kids are too French - They want to work 35 hours a week and enjoy long weekends, owner Hingkeung Kwan of Brasserie Eiffel-Kennedy in Paris, East Vancouver Republic, p.1.
    [Here's another workaholic who wants the rich consumer markets of the shortest-workweek economy in the world but hasn't connected the dots between cutting the workweek, squishing the vanishing not-yet-robotized work onto more people, and maintaining lots of consumers with lots of spending money. Hey, Hingkeung, if you don't like the prereqs, don't take the course. Go back to China where you'll feel right at home with the other workaholics and long-hour low-wage serfs; in short, a huge population with no spending money and over 200 million unemployed, de-activated consumers. Put up or shut up.]
3/23/2005   primitive timesizing & worktime consciousness in the news = glimmers of strategic hope - all are 3/22 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. NLB to extend opening hours for libraries
    Channel News Asia, Singapore
    By S Ramesh
    SINGAPORE - The National Library Board [NLB of Singapore] wants to make libraries in Singapore the next most frequented place for Singaporeans, after their workplace and home. So from April 1, it is extending and standardising the operating hours for all its regional and community libraries. Regional and stand-alone libraries will operate from 10am to 9pm, while those libraries located in shopping malls will open their doors from 11am till 9pm.
    NLB says close to two million people visited libraries in 2003, a 30 percent increase over 2002. Between 4,000 and 7,000 people visit the stand-alone libraries on Saturdays and Sundays, while 10,000 to 12,000 people go to the libraries at the shopping malls and regional centres during the weekends.
    The operating hours have been extended to meet this keen demand for library services, especially over the weekend as more people are moving into the five day-work week.
    [Presumably from the 5½-day, or longer, workweek, which used up part of the weekend (usually Saturday morning?).]

  2. [Here's a mention of the author and book featured on Terri Gross' Fresh Air yesterday -]
    Hardworking parents fight for the right to paid sick days
    San Jose Mercury News, CA
    By Sue Hutchison This has been a revealing month about the psyche of the stressed-out American worker, especially the working parent, who increasingly resembles a pet hamster running on that little wheel in a mindless frenzy. First was the much-ballyhooed publication of Judith Warner's book "Perfect Madness," which details the folly of the round-the-clock Supermom. Next was the release of a report by the Families and Work Institute, which broke the very unsurprising news that one-third of American employees feel overworked and trapped by their jobs. Now there is a renewed effort to beef up family-leave policies and ensure that every employee has something many of us already take for granted: paid sick days.
    Telling statistics
    The two main groups behind the effort - the National Partnership for Women and Families and 9 to 5, the National Association of Working Women - have wasted no time getting the statistics out there: 47% of private-sector workers have no paid sick days at all, 76% of low-wage workers have no sick days, and 84% of restaurant workers have no sick days. A bill is being reintroduced in Congress next month that would guarantee employees in companies of 15 people or more seven paid sick days a year. Even in California, which has the best family-leave benefits of any state in the country, there are thousands of parents whose jobs are in jeopardy if they take days off to stay home with a sick child. Considering that it took the better part of a decade to pass the Family and Medical Leave Act, it's obvious that the proposed sick-leave law will be a tough sell. "Some conservatives will say the government shouldn't be mandating sick-leave policy," said Jodi Grant, director of work and family programs at the National Partnership for Women and Families. "But how else are parents supposed to be able to take care of kids who are too sick to even be allowed to stay at day care? This is the ultimate family-value bill."
    Heading to Sacramento
    Next month the Silicon Valley chapter of 9 to 5 will lead a trainload of working parents up to Sacramento to lobby for a similar law in California. Cathy Deppe, who lives in Milpitas and is head of the valley's 9 to 5 chapter, has witnessed for herself the family mayhem caused by lack of sick leave. She teaches adult education and sees many single mothers working minimum-wage jobs where they can't afford to take a day off if their child gets the flu. "I know of high school students who stay home with little brothers and sisters when they get sick because their parents can't," Deppe said. "The parents think it's better for their older kids to miss school than for them to risk being fired. What kind of choice is that?" Delilah De La Riva, a single mother who is an instructional aide at the San Jose adult education program where Deppe teaches, made a clear case for why the family-values crowd should be the first to support a sick-leave law. She used to have a job with no paid sick days, and when her 10-year-old daughter caught a bug, De La Riva risked more than just her job security. She felt she was risking her little girl's sense of security as well. "When they're really sick, you have to be the one to bring them soup and lie down with them in bed and rub their head," De La Riva said. "Those are the times they will always remember - that you were there taking care of them." And you can't take care of them when you're tied to that hamster wheel.
    Sue Hutchison's column appears Tuesdays in A&E and Sundays in Style. Contact her at shutchison@mercurynews.com

  3. [A bit of black humor -]
    New cars modeled on horses of old; Hit the horn and pass out!
    The Spoof (satire), UK
    by Ilona Ronay
    Prototype of the White Arabian - Unconscious Drivers Wanted Washington, DC, and Detroit, MI - The Big Three automakers today announced that they have developed a revolutionary car that will drive itself. Similar to the horses of the Old West, which would carry home drunken cowboys who fell across the saddle and slapped the horn before sinking into unconsciousness, these cars will enable stressed-out and overworked Americans to fall into the front (bench) seat, hit the horn, and be transported home with their eyes shut. One caveat: there can be no talking, no music, and no cell phones. A sophisticated computer tracking system will enable the cars to merge onto highways, stop at lights, yield or go at stop signs, and remember theiraddresses over 95% of the time without any assistance or even signs of consciousness or a pulse from the driver. All the cars need to operate is the initial horn blast and then...silence. President Bush hailed the news as good for America on many fronts. "These new cars will immediately rid America of those toxic vermin otherwise known as trial lawyers," he proclaimed. "Now that drivers are alseep or unconscious, they are not responsible for their actions. You can't sue a car, can you? Huh, can you? Can you? Bring it on!" He added, "Now, Americans can stay later at work and work many more hours every day because they don't have to worry about being alert on the roads. They'll get their sleeping down on the roads and can report alert to their second and third jobs to keep this economy humming and pay for my many important programs." The pharmaceutical industry and Walmart both responded positively to the announcement. "It sort of reminds me of the old days in the Wild Wild West," the President reminisced. The automakers, responding to his nostalgia, are consideringnaming and painting some of the new cars after horses. Choices under consideration include the Black Stallion, the Dappled Appaloosa, the White Arabian, and the Cream Shetland. Certain state governments expressed cautious optimism, saying that there was no way the automatic cars could drive any worse than some of the residents currently on the road. They also look forward to slashing the staffing at the various departments of motor vehicles. Shares of the Big Three automakers galloped to new highs on Wall Street, leaving industry analysts agape, aghast, and in the dust.

  4. NHS staff 'facing abuse threat'
    BBC News, UK
    Despite unpaid overtime and abuse, staff are fairly satisfied, the survey says NHS [National Health Service] staff regularly face abuse and violence, and work unpaid overtime to keep services running, a survey shows. A quarter of staff were abused or harassed by patients in the last year, with 14% being physically attacked, the Healthcare Commission said. The numbers subjected to any form of abuse rose to 37% when attacks by colleagues were included. More than half of the 217,000 respondents also said they had worked unpaid overtime. Some 12% said the extra unpaid hours accounted for more than six hours on average. The most common reason given for working unpaid overtime was to ensure patients received the best possible care.
    However, the staff quizzed, which included doctors, nurses and non-clinical staff, said they were fairly satisfied with their job, with only 9% wanting to leave the NHS. The findings in these areas were broadly similar to the watchdog's survey last year. But the survey, which was completed by 60% of NHS staff last autumn, also found more staff were undergoing training and being offered flexible working. There has also been a decrease in the numbers suffering work-related stress from 39% to 36%. Healthcare Commission chief executive Anna Walker said she was disappointed no improvements had been made in the danger staff faced. "It is clear from this survey that NHS staff remain committed to providing good patient care and helping their colleagues. "Staff are generally satisfied with their work, and there are welcomedincreases in the number of staff receiving training and appraisals.
    27% have faced harassment or abuse from patients, rising to 37% when attacks from colleagues are included.
    55% work unpaid overtime, with 12% clocking up more than six hours a week on average.
    93% have received some form of training.
    83% said their employer had offered them flexible working, with the most common being job sharing, reduced hours and flexi time.
    "However, it is worrying that little has changed with regards to the harassment and violence towards NHS staff."
    Karen Jennings, head of health at public sector union Unison, said more action was needed to reduce the attacks against staff. "Although there are no dramatic changes from last year's survey, it's very disturbing to see that the levels of violence and harassment. "We fully support zero tolerance in NHS trusts, but we would like to see violent offenders prosecuted and facing tougher penalties in the courts. "We need to make it clear that violence against health workers will not be tolerated and offenders will have the book thrown at them." Health Secretary John Reid admitted improvements were needed, but he also said the positive results should be recognised. "The Healthcare Commission survey shows that the vast majority of NHS staff are happy at work. "The government is committed to helping the NHS become an employer of choice and improving working conditions in order to recruit the best staff."
    NHS staff figures
    Meanwhile, figures released by the Department of Health show the number of staff working in the NHS now tops 1.3m - up 48,000 on last year. An extra 8,000 doctors, 11,200 more nurses and 3,000 more allied health professionals were recruited last year, according to the annual NHS workforce statistics for England. In total there are now 117,000 doctors and 397,500 nurses working in the NHS. However, less than half the NHS workforce is made up of qualified clinical staff. Last year the NHS recruited 2,400 new managers, bringing the total to 37,700. Shadow Health Secretary Andrew Lansley said the number of administrators had risen at double the rate of doctors and nurses in recent years and three times the rate since Labour came to power. "The NHS needs more doctors and nurses - it needs less bureaucracy." And Liberal Democrat health spokesman Paul Burstow added: "We cannot allow so many hardworking NHS staff to face violence and harassment while they try to do their jobs."

  5. Minnesota Labor to Rally at Capitol Today
    Public News Service via ILCA Online, DC
    ST. PAUL, Minn. - Over a thousand members of Minnesota's largest public employees' union say they'll rally at the State Capitol this afternoon (Wednesday)...to draw attention to issues they say are critical to workers \such as\ the need for a strong middle class and [the need] to support working families. ...Jim Niland, spokesman, AFSCME [American Federation of State, County & Municipal Employees] Council 5...says they're spending more hours on the job, but falling further behind economically. "Working families in Minnesota...many with two full-time workers..\..are seeing their real income decline, while, at the same time they're having to work more hours a week. So, people definitely sense they're going backwards." ...Niland says policymakers need to raise revenue, rather than cut public services, to resolve the state's budget problems. He says two possible sources are from the sale of cigarettes and gasoline.
    AFSCME has over 52,000 members in Minnesota, working in transportation, at state universities, veterans and nursing homes, and in public safety.
    Niland says...state spending reductions are affecting Minnesota's quality of life. "Their schools are getting more crowded. Teachers don't have enough textbooks. The roads are getting in worse shape. We're not snow-plowing as well as we used to. And, that's why we're saying the real solution is Minnesota demands a high level of public services, and the Legislature and the Governor have refused to fix the budget to provide that."
    ...Niland says...organized labor helps support a solid middle class, strong families and Minnesota's economy. "Unions need to be there, because there needs to be a level playing field between workers and their employers. Right now, we're seeing a situation where CEOs, even of even failing companies, are bringing home millions of dollars a year, while the workers, who do the real work for those companies, are seeing their real income decline. The only way to solve that problem is for workers to organize and have some bargaining strength. In places where there's more union members, people are paid better, they have better more healthcare benefits, as opposed to areas where there are no unions."

  6. [Another front in the global employers' battle against evenly spread, market-demanded employment and the maximum consumer demand and economic growth that it allows -]
    Business slams holiday law
    TVNZ, New Zealand
    The business community is renewing its attack on the Holidays Act, saying last year's reforms did not go far enough. Business New Zealand has presented the Minister of Labour with the results of a survey of 1,500 firms showing the act imposes big costs on companies. The Holidays Act gave all staff time-and-a-half and a day off in lieu for working on public holidays and launched a phase-in of four weeks holiday. It was amended last year to prevent inflated claims for sick pay.
    74% of survey respondents said the act had increased cost for their business, while 38% said it added up to 2% extra payroll cost and 22% said it added 3-5% to payroll.
    45% of the businesses surveyed had difficulty explaining the holidays changes to employees. Business New Zealand Chief executive Phil O'Reilly says the basis for setting holiday payments is flawed and the act is complicated, with both employers and employees finding it difficult to understand and apply. The "relevant daily pay" formula used by the act sweeps all sorts of additional payments into holiday and leave payment rates, significantly inflating leave costs for many employers, O'Reilly says. "And it has other counterproductive outcomes. It means the employer may not pay the employee more for working than for not working, employees may earn more by not being at work, and in several industries it means employees have less incentive to produce, so productivity diminishes." Among other things, the formula for calculating holiday pay should be changed back to something like the "ordinary pay" formula that was in the previous act, and the act needs to be simplified, he says.

  7. Ah ha! So this is what women want?
    FRANKFURT, Germany - What women want is flexible working hours, according to a new European Central Bank study on how to get more women into the European Union job market. Part-time jobs, flexible hours and maternity and paternity leave all increase the number of women in the workforce, the researchers said. These findings are important for EU politicians who are trying to boost the region's sluggish growth rate by getting more people into the labor market. With an aging population and strained public finances, more workers and higher productivity is essential to create faster growth. Women's labor market participation is around 60% in European Union countries, about 10 percentage points below the level in the United States where growth is twice as fast. A preference for leisure over work is a popular explanation for why fewer Europeans work, and why they work shorter hours than Americans. But the new ECB study, which surveyed EU labor markets from 1980 through 2000 and developed predictive models for factors that influenced decisions to participate in the workforce, found leisure did not explain why women stay at home. Neither did high tax rates. Instead structural barriers, such as strict union regulations and rigid working hours, were major hurdles to women joining and staying in the work force, the study said. "Our results discard any doubt on the influence of institutions on women's participation in the Europe," the authors said in the ECB study, "European Women: Why Do They Work?" that was published in March. Ireland and the Netherlands provide examples of how changes in institutional structures can attract more women into the workforce. As part-time jobs in Ireland rose, women's labor market participation increase by almost 40 percentage points in the 25-54 age group from 1980 to 2000, the study said. In the Netherlands, the increase in women's participation was nearly 30 percentage points, it said. If labor market rules and structures had stayed at 1980s levels, labor market participation of women aged 25 to 54 would have increased by 20 percent less than actually had occurred by 2000 in the United Kingdom and in the Netherlands, and by 30% less in the Portugal, they found. Maternity and paternity leave also seems to have an encouraging impact on labor market participation, the researchers said. But more than 10 months leave has a negative impact on whether a parent returns to work, they said. The full study is available on the ECB's Web Site at http://www.ecb.int/pub/pdf/scpwps/ecbwp454.pdf

  8. HP accused of labor violations cover-up
    By Ed Frauenheim of CNET News.com via ZDNet News via ZDNet
    Hewlett-Packard wrongly denied benefits to workers by misclassifying them as "contractors," deliberately destroyed evidence of the problem and retaliated against a whistle-blower trying to rectify the situation, according to two lawsuits. One of the suits, brought by HP employee Mike McClendon, claims company managers were directed to shred their notes after an October 2003 meeting in which it became apparent that HP was violating the law. In addition, a source close to the matter says, a complaint from McClendon related to the incident was sent more than a year ago to an HP ethics committee led by now interim Chief Executive Officer Robert Wayman, but no action was taken. HP spokeswoman Monica Sarkar declined to comment on the specifics of the two suits, which were filed this month in federal court in Idaho. But, Sarkar said, "we believe they are both without merit." She also declined to comment on the claim about the ethics committee receiving McClendon's complaint, or whether it was still looking into the matter. But she said the committee "takes any issues raised to them very seriously, and they do investigate them." The suits against HP come amid a wave of litigation related to work conditions in the technology industry, mostly focused on overtime pay in the computer game field. One of the HP suits is more akin to a lawsuit against Microsoft in 1990s brought by workers who were given labels such as "temporary" employees, "freelancers" and "independent contractors." In that case, dubbed Vizcaino v. Microsoft, the workers claimed they were actually Microsoft employees entitled to various benefits. It ended in a $97 million settlement. HP is facing a class action suit from 34 workers who claim they were "incorrectly classified by the company as 'contractors' or 'contingent workers' or other similar names" when they were actually "common law" employees according to criteria including a questionnaire used by the Internal Revenue Service. The suit alleges the workers were deprived of benefits such as vacation, holidays and leaves of absence. The suit, which seeks more than $300 million in damages, claims to be on behalf of more than 3,000 employees throughout the country who have beenmislabeled by HP as contractors. McClendon's lawsuit against HP also arises from alleged misclassification of employees by the computer giant. An HP veteran of more than 20 years, McClendon managed a team of about 19 people, with 11 of them at one point classified by the company as contractors or also referred to as contingent workers, according to the suit. McClendon thought their employment designation was illegal, and alleged in the suit that "the practice of illegally classifying workers as contractors had become widespread throughout HP by the year 2003." The purpose of the Oct. 14, 2003, meeting, according to the suit, was to learn from an HP attorney how to classify workers as contractors rather than employees in a legal way. But as the attorney reviewed the Vizcaino case, "it was apparent to those assembled that HP was violating the law in amanner that was virtually identical to the Microsoft case," the suit says. The managers told those assembled to shred their notes, according to the suit. McClendon and others did so, the suit says, but he raised concerns in the wake of the incident. "It is difficult to describe how shocked I was at this 'destroy all notes' order," McClendon said in a memo to HP Senior Vice President George Mulhern, according to the suit. "There is only one reason that we were being ordered to destroy our notes: We all knew that we were doing something very wrong, so we had to hide it. And a dozen people in that room were hiding it, conspiring as a group to hide it." According to the suit, HP retaliated against McClendon after he expressed his concerns, in part by terminating his position as a team leader. The suit claims HP violated whistle-blower protection provisions of the Sarbanes-Oxley Corporate and Criminal Accountability Act and the Employee Retirement Income Act. Among other things, the suit seeks economic damages as well as the reinstatement of McClendon to his management position. McClenden also asks the court to order HP to release him from an alleged "gag order" keeping him from talking to co-workers about the subject of the litigation or the illegality of misclassifying HP employees. "Plaintiff desires to be able to speak out because throughout the early part of his 22-year career, HP was an exceptionally fine employer, valued its employees, and contributed to the welfare of the economy and the work force," the suit says. "Plaintiff believes it is in the public interest and in the interest of the shareholders and employees of the company that the illegal practices cease and that the company return to its once-held posture of being one of the finest employers among the major corporations of America."

  9. State is home to 850,000 illegal migrants
    Orlando Sentinel via Sun-Sentinel.com, FL
    by Víctor Manuel Ramos
    Florida is home to at least 850,000 undocumented migrants, part of a national surge in people crossing U.S. borders illegally despite the tightening of homeland security since 2001, according to a study releasedMonday. The number of undocumented immigrants in the United States has grown by nearly half a million a year during the past decade, the report by the Pew Hispanic Center found.
    [Sounds like a wild undercount.]
    Florida, a state where many such workers have been reported to find employment in the agriculture and construction industries, ranks third behind the border states of California and Texas as one of the top destinations for undocumented immigrants in the country. "They make a sizable part of the labor force," said Roberto Suro, director of the Washington, D.C., center that issued the study. "There are many people who are willing to employ them because they find them economically attractive." The Pew analysis of government data from various sources shows that the tide of people crossing the border illegally or overstaying their temporary visas has risen dramatically between 1980 and 2004. It has created an unregulated labor force, giving rise to a generation of people who lack documentation to live and work here. People who enter the country illegally are not counted as such by any official means, but the analysis used census data and estimates for the foreign-born population and subtracted those accounted for as legal residents to get an estimate of those living in the United States illegally. The number of undocumented people calculated was estimated at 10.3 million nationally, including the 850,000 of Florida's 17.4 million population in 2004. Most of those undocumented immigrants, or 57% nationally, are from Mexico. Another 24% arrived from other Latin American nations. One-sixth of the undocumented population, or 1.7 million nationally, are children - showing that those newcomers are growing roots and increasingly raising families north of the border, the report says. The revelations sparked more calls for tightening border security and immigration control throughout the nation. "There's been a greater amount of lip service, but there hasn't been a greater amount of attention to border security," said T.J. Bonner, president of the union representing Border Patrol agents. "It's a shell game, and the American public are losers in this game." The union has sharply criticized the Bush administration's proposed 2006 budget, which would provide $37 million to hire 210 Border Patrol agents. The intelligence reorganization bill President Bush signed last year called for hiring 2,000 more agents a year over five years. Currently, there are fewer than 11,000 agents to patrol more than 6,000 miles of the nation's perimeter around the clock, Bonner said. The president also is expected to meet with Mexican President Vicente Fox on Wednesday, a talk in which the immigration issue probably will surface. Fox has been pushing for legalization of his country's emigrants, and Bush has supported a program of temporary visas for workers. In an effort to provide some form of identity for their undocumented workers, Mexican consulates have been issuing identity cards to their nationals that may be accepted as valid IDs by some private institutions. The Mexican consulate in Orlando has issued about 20,000 such cards a year since it implemented a tamper-proof version of the cards in 2002. But Deputy Consul Gilberto Velarde said the undocumented Mexican presence here is not a matter of national security, as some say. "Fundamentally, Mexicans come here to work. That's not a secret to anyone," Velarde said. "Undocumented Mexicans are not a security threat. Contrary to that, they come here to offer their work to help the economy grow, because no American citizen wants many of the jobs they have."
    [Nonsense. If they weren't here, wages would rise to levels acceptable to many Americans. As it is, they are disemploying minorities who are already here and depressing the wages of many who are still employed. Wages go by labor supply and demand. The notion that wages are determined by productivity is disinformation carefully crafted and promulgated by short-sighted employers, eager to extract more output from their already often-overworked employees and obscure the real secret of rising wages.]
    The majority of Mexicans who call Central Florida home are in Polk County, where they work the citrus groves and do other service jobs. The job picture, however, is getting complicated as the pool of workers increases, causing many of the undocumented to work for less than they would have before, said Catalina Mondragón, a farmworkers-rights activist and formerly an undocumented worker herself. "Those who are working have lost salary, benefits, days off and any job assurances," Mondragón said, "because there are more workers around." But as long as poverty in Mexico is worse, Mondragón added, they will keep coming.
    Wire services were used in this report. Víctor Manuel Ramos can be reached at 407-420-6186 or vramos@orlandosentinel.com

  10. France moves closer to a longer workweek
    Associated Press via Houston Chronicle
    PARIS - France took a big step toward liberalizing its rigid labor laws Tuesday as lawmakers voted to effectively dismantle the 35-hour workweek, cherished by workers but despised by many employers and potential investors. The conservative-dominated National Assembly, France's lower house, voted overwhelmingly to adopt a government-backed bill that opens the door for companies to increase employees' working time in exchange for better pay. The new law will give employers more latitude to strike labor agreements that call for more than a 35-hour workweek, a flagship policy of the former Socialist-led government that gave many people more leisure time but that also fueled anxiety about France's competitiveness. President Jacques Chirac's government has tried to sell the change to voters as an opportunity to "Work More to Earn More," but many remain unconvinced. Almost a million people joined strikes and demonstrations earlier this month to defend the 35-hour workweek. The new law endorses an increase in the extra hours employees can work to 220 every year from the previous limit of 180. It also allows them to go further with "optional overtime" in return for extra pay. It lets them sell part of their holiday entitlement back to their employers or put it toward early retirement, training or sabbatical leave. But trade unions doubt that the extra time will be quite as optional as promised.

  11. France adopts changes to 35-hour work week
    Reuters via Arab Times, Middle East
    PARIS - The French parliament adopted changes to the 35-hour working week on Tuesday that will allow employees to work longer, despite opposition by trade unions who say the reform spells the end of the shorter working week. The National Assembly, or lower house, approved the changes by 350 votes to 135 in a second reading, clearing the final hurdle to a government plan to make the rules on the working work more flexible. The upper house has already approved the reforms of the 1998 law, introduced by a Socialist-led government, which will allow workers to increase overtime and work if they want up to 48 hours a week, the maximum allowed under European Union law. President Jacques Chirac's conservative government hopes the changes will boost the competitiveness of French industry. But the reform could provoke new protests by trade unions who say workers will be forced to work longer hours for no extra pay and that the changes will in effect dismantle the 35-hour working week. Unions have already staged widespread protest against the changes but the government has pressed on with its plans, even though it fears voters could show their discontent by voting against the European constitution in a referendum on May 29. The Socialists cut the working week from 39 hours in 1998 to try to reduce high unemployment. But employers' groups, the main driver behind the reform, complained that without an equivalent cut in pay, companies simply became less competitive. The government says the increased flexibility will be good for companies, pay packets, jobs and the economy.

  12. France sidesteps 35-hour week
    Australian Financial Review, Australia
    French lawmakers effectively dismantled the country's 35-hour working week by voting on Tuesday to allow employers to increase working hours. In a final vote, the National Assembly approved a government-backed bill permitting employers to negotiate deals with staff to increase working time by 220 hours a year in return for better pay. The bill effectively clears the way for the gradual erosion of the 35-hour week, a flagship policy of the former Socialist-led government that gave many people more time off but added to concerns about France's declining global competitiveness. The shorter week was introduced on a voluntary basis in 1998 and made compulsory two years later in a bid to force employers to hire more people. But France's current 10% jobless rate is testament to its failure to generate the promised millions of new jobs. The National Assembly, controlled by French President Jacques Chirac's conservatives, approved the new law by 350 votes to 135. It does not formally abolish the 35-hour work-week but sidesteps it, allowing employers to offer staff extra working hours at a higher rate of pay. It also enables workers to sell part of their holiday entitlement back to their employers, or to put it toward training or early retirement. In order to apply the changes, however, companies will have to break away from their broad sector-wide agreements with unions - unchanged by the new law - and negotiate deals with their own staff representatives. This means that the effects of the reform will take time to make themselves felt. Any such initiatives could also be unpopular in France's present climate. Almost a million people took part in nationwide strikes and demonstrations earlier this month to protest the change to working time, as well as other threats to workers' benefits and public sector pay. Many French workers have become accustomed to taking longer holidays and regular weekdays off under the 35-hour law, and a recent survey by polling agency CSA showed that 56% of salaried employees oppose the bill, although jobseekers, retirees and unskilled workers approve.

  13. France relaxes 35-hour week rule
    BBC News, UK
    Unions say the move effectively dismantles the 35-hour week French MPs have effectively voted to relax the Socialist-era 35-hour limit on the working week, allowing private firms to increase working hours. The National Assembly, dominated by the centre-right, voted by more than two to one to allow up to 13 hours' overtime. Private sector workers will also be able to convert extra days off into wage rises or pension contributions. Employers said the 35-hour week, introduced in 1998, had failed to create jobs and was uncompetitive. The new law does not scrap the 35-hour week - it still applies in France's large public sector and it will remain the standard working week in the private sector. But the changes will allow workers to work up to 48 hours a week - the maximum allowed by the European Union.
    Flagship policy
    Labour Relations Minister Gerard Larcher hailed the reform as a "pragmatic and realistic" move, but Socialist deputies dismissed it as a backward step, the Associated Press news agency reports. "This text in fact just shows the blind refusal of a ruling party that is heading for trouble and toughening its line on ideological principles that date from another century and penalise jobs and workers," Socialist deputy Alain Vidalies said. Those in favour of changes, such as lorry drivers, were a minority A poll earlier this year showed that the majority of French workers did not want to work longer hours, with only 18% saying they did. Public sector trade unions mobilised against the reforms, bringing hundreds of thousands of protesters on to the streets in a series of protests across the country. But many blue collar unions said members wanted more pay, not more time off. The 35-hour week was introduced by a Socialist government, in the expectation that it would help reduce unemployment. However, unemployment remains stubbornly high at 10%. Prime Minister Jean-Pierre Raffarin said the changes were aimed at restoring the work ethic in France and improving its sluggish economic performance by encouraging people to earn more by working more. He said the change was vital to keep the French economy competitive and to create more jobs.

  14. French parliament adopts reform of 35-hour labour law
    AFP via Servihoo, Mauritius
    PARIS - The French parliament definitively approved a reform of the controversial 35-hour working week - a Socialist measure introduced to cut unemployment but which is blamed by the current government for doing the reverse. After its final reading before the right-dominated lower house, the National Assembly, the measure was voted through by 350 votes to 135. It will become law once the bill is published in the official gazette. Under the reform, the standard working week will remain 35 hours, but staff in the private sector will be able to strike deals with management to work up to 13 hours of overtime. Employees will also be encouraged to "sell back" the compensatory days off that they earn if they work more than 35 hours a week. Known as RTT days, these will be more easily convertible for salary or improved pension rights. The centre-right government of President Jacques Chirac says the aim is to restore the work ethic in France and give people the right to "earn more by working more." It points out that the change is not compulsory and does not apply at all to the large public sector. However the Socialists - whose former labour minister Martine Aubry brought in the 35-hour week in 1998 - describe the reform as a "fool's bargain" and say it will in practice be impossible for employees to refuse if management asks for extra hours. Last month more than 350,000 people demonstrated in cities across France against the government's changes. Polls showed that 69% of the public support the 35-hour week, which has allowed many in the public sector and large companies to enjoy more time with their families or in recreation. Opposition to the reform has fed into the climate of discontent which is a major factor behind the rise in the projected "no" vote in the May 29 referendum on the EU constitution. Two polls in recent days showed the constitution being voted down. For the left, the reduced working week was a mechanism for sharing out the nation's available labour among more people and thus bringing down unemployment - which did indeed fall during a period of strong economic growth until 2002. But the government has the backing of business when it argues that the change has put up the cost of hiring staff, scared off international investors and is in fact helping sustain France's stubborn jobless rate of more than 10%.

  15. France eases law restricting workweek to 35 hours
    Washington Post, March 23, 2005; Page A12
    By Erika Lorentzsen
    PARIS - The French Parliament voted Tuesday [3/22] to relax the country's controversial 35-hour workweek law, a move that supporters say will make French companies more competitive but that labor unions call an attack on employee rights. The legislation, passed on a vote of 350 to 135 after lively debate, gives businesses more flexibility to negotiate overtime pay, vacation times and workweeks that exceed 35 hours. Labor Minister Jean-Louis Borloo, left, answers questions from lawmakers as Prime Minister Jean-Pierre Raffarin looks on. Shortly afterward, the workweek proposal was approved. (Jacques Brinon - AP) Some analysts said the measure would have little immediate impact on France's economic problems. "This law isn't out of economic or social necessity, but more of an ideology of the center-right in favor ofbusinesses," Stephane Rozes of the CSA polling firm said in an interview. The 35-hour rule was proposed in 1995 by the Socialist Party to combat unemployment rates of 12.6%. Under a socialist government, it became compulsory in 2000, with supporters calling it a model of enlightened worker rights for modern Europe. Today, France has a 10% unemployment rate and its economy has stagnated. The government is now in the hands of the Union for a Popular Movement, which contends that the workweek limit has been part of the problem and has lobbied for the past three years for changes. Business groups argued that the law has been responsible for excessive labor costs and has discouraged foreign investors from setting up in France. But the Socialists and other supporters contend that of 2 million net jobs created in France from 1999 to 2001, 350,000 were the result of the 35-hour workweek. Providing for longer vacations and, in many cases, regular weekdays off, the limit remains very popular with the public. Polls show a 70% support rate. More than 300,000 people turned out across France on Saturday to march against the bill. Jean-Claude Mailly, secretary general of the national Force Ouvriere union, vehemently opposed the legislation, saying it would favor employers. But strikes and the power of unions in French society have declined in recent years, and unions faltered in efforts to mobilize workers to block the changes. Elie Cohen, an economist, said many French workers will feel a pinch from the new law. "Most workers get a certain amount of vacation time, and by tomorrow, those workers will have less," Cohen said. On the other side, Cohen said, changing the law "was really popular with big firms like the carmakers Renault and Peugeot, and at the end of the day, these companies can better manage" their operations. The government did not seek to abolish the limit outright because of concern that such a step would sacrifice public support for a vote in May to ratify the European Union's first constitution, some analysts suggested. "The French political establishment don't want to rock the boat before the vote," Pepper Culpepper, associate professor of public policy at Harvard University, said in an interview.

  16. Q&A: French working hours
    BBC News, UK
    The changes to the 35-hour working week have angered many workers France's National Assembly has passed a bill that all but brings to an end the country's greatly cherished and much envied 35-hour working week.
    What will the changes mean? The 35-hour week will not be abolished, but employers will be allowed to offer extra hours at a higher rate of pay. France's workers will now be able to clock on for a maximum of 48-hours a week, should they so wish. They also will be able to sell holiday back to employers, or put it towards training and early retirement.
    Was the 35-hour week popular? Very much so. Many people had got used to working fewer hours a week, and often only working four out of five days. Despite [or because of!] the shorter hours, French workers were some of Europe's most productive. And they were reckoned to be some of the region's least stressed and happiest.
    So why the change? Critics of the 35-hour week said it was a barrier to greater prosperity, faster economic growth and fuller employment.
    [Note Trivers' theory about the disfunctional evolutionary byproduct, self-deception. 3/27/2005 Boston Globe K4.]
    Originally brought in on a voluntary basis in 1998, it was made compulsory by the former Socialist-led government two years later in the hope that it would prompt employers to take on more workers.
    [And it did. Unemployment declined to 8.6% by 2001 before the US-led recession started affecting France.]
    However, with unemployment stubbornly stuck at 10% [before the shorter week was brought in, unemployment was stuck at 12.6% and the only reason it's stuck now is that the workweek is stuck at 35 when automation and robotization require its further reduction] and economic growth sputtering, the calls for change have grown increasingly and persuasively loud.
    Is there likely to be opposition? Almost certainly. Despite the overwhelming vote in parliament, where the bill was passed by 350 votes to 135, trade unions and many voters have said they will fight any changes.
    There could be more protests ahead
    Already there have been protests with critics seeing the bill as the thin end of the wedge and forecasting even greater erosion of worker rights and protection. Tensions have been building since the centre-right government of President Jacques Chirac unveiled plans to overhaul the country's social security system and labour market. Policymakers have already made it less attractive for employees to retire at 60 and increased the importance and availability of private pension schemes.
    [All schemes to reconcentrate employment and income, re-overload investors with surplus cash, restarve the consumer base, and redepress the French economy.]
    They also intend to limit the amount of money people can claim for healthtreatments and medicines. On top of that, public sector pay has stagnated over recent years, leaving many workers feeling that economic growth is leaving them behind, analysts say.
    Why push through such unpopular changes? The package of 'reforms' [our quotes] is aimed at cutting state spending [and favoring the wealthy]. France has an ageing population that is putting increased pressure on its healthcare and pensions system [so the wealthy say - but otherwise, increased 'pressure' on their overstuffed pockets]. The country's budget deficit has been running at more than European Union limits for a number of years despite assurances that it will bring the shortfall back under 3% of gross domestic product (GDP). Economic growth is sluggish and a lack of reform has often been cited as a key reason for Europe lagging behind the US and its bustling economy. There also is pressure from the private sector with companies complaining that the limits on overtime and the working week make them uncompetitive.
    [They're so eager to rejoin the race to the bottom.]
    The government, meanwhile, insists that it wants the labour market to be more flexible, letting people work more and earn more if they want to.
    [Yeah, gotta strengthen that 'right' to commit economic suicide and weaken the right to commit physical suicide - 'misery loves company.']

  17. France, bastion of productivity
    Dan Ackman
    Historically and especially recently, the French have been the butt of jokes portraying them as wine drinking, cheese-eating, cowardly snobs and layabouts. This week, the French parliament is seeking to undermine at least part of the stereotype by ending its 35-hour workweek legislation known as "les heures." The idea was that by reducing the hours of each worker, there would be more jobs to spread around. But now unemployment in France is at 10% and there is a widespread perception that the law has cut salaries and living standards. France will now allow a 39-hour workweek. "The intention was to spread work around, but the effect was to spread our salaries around," Thierry Breton, France's new finance minister, said last week, as quoted by the Associated Press.
    [Funny how economists don't notice that spreading salaries around instead of concentrating them at the top results in stronger consumer markets and dynamizes the economy. Apparently the law of marginalism applies to everything but wages and spending power. Their blindspot here is reminiscent of the insistence of medieval scholars that the Sun goes round the Earth and not vice versa.]
    The new 39-hour workweek legislation is expected to pass, despite the much-to-be-expected public protests earlier this month and denunciations by the Socialists, who passed "les heures" but are now out of power. Allowing workers to work more, and specifically to clock more overtime, hasbeen said to be especially beneficial to poorer workers who need more hours the most. It is especially helpful for companies in industries where long workweeks are the norm, such as restaurants and trucking. Ending the much-mocked law may also help fix France's negative image in countries like the United States - France's biggest source of international investment. But just how pathetic are the French? The numbers tell a mixed tale.
    [Gee, those unstressed French are sooo 'pathetic,' aren't they!]
    According to a 2003 survey of 25 industrialized countries conducted by the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD), the French do work less than most others. They clocked an average 1,431 hours per year. Even allowing six weeks vacation, this works out to just 31 hours per week, less than even "les heures" would dictate. But Norwegian and Dutch employees worked even less. German workers, who traditionally have been viewed as paragons of industrial effort, put in 1,446 hours, barely more than the French. British (1,673 hours), Americans (1,792 hours) and Koreans (2,390 hours) worked substantially more.
    [Now check out this contradictory spin -]
    Ranked by "competitiveness," France fares poorly, as ranked by a World Economic Forum survey. France places 27th, behind Chile, Spain, Belgium, Portugal and Luxembourg. But the even lazier Norwegians and Dutch rank 6th and 12th respectively. Korea places two rungs below France.
    [This must be on the basis of the irrelevant "output per worker" measure, regardless of hours per worker, rather than the meaningful "output per workhour" measure.]
    Still [or therefore], French workers remain among the most productive in the world, ahead of Britain, Germany, the United States and Japan, according to the European statistics agency Eurostat, the AP reports. In terms of gross national income per capita (GNI) as measured by the World Bank, France ranks 23rd with a GNI of $24,770.
    [plus say $5328 ($444/mon.) universal healthcare = $30,098, plus say ($785x24mons=18840 for ages 60-61 social security checks unavailable in US, divided by 40 years of work=) $471/yr = $30,569.]
    The U.S. is well-ahead in 5th place at $37,610.
    [Minus say $5328 healthcare = $32241, minus say $471/yr 60-61 social security = $31,770, minus the huge correction you need to make because this is an average which obscures the fact that US income is astronomically concentrated in the top income brackets.]
    But again, Norway, which works less, makes more, more even than the U.S. Germany is about $500 ahead of France. Another interesting fact is that between 1995 and 2003, France actually increased its work hours, albeit slightly, despite the 35-hour law, according to the OECD.
    [From what to what? Remember that the average US workweek is still hovering around 34 hours a week, because part-timers who can't find fulltime jobs are included in that average and they misleadingly pull it down. Similarly, more hours for French part-timers due to more jobs and re-activated consumers may have pushed their national average up.]
    In the last two years of that span, however, its work hours declined. In recent years, France's GDP growth rate has slowed. The same is true of Germany. But growth in Korea and the U.S., which each work more hours, has increased.
    [He must be carefully selecting his data, because this period covers a US-led recession when US growth slowed, and the only reason US growth can be said to increase recently is because GDP includes such destructive stuff as weapons manufactures and government war expenditures, regardless of unnecessary the war (the same economic bump could have been achieved sustainably by cutting the U.S. workweek), regardless of how many Americans (and Iraqis) get killed in that war, and regardless of how narrow the 'benefits' of that war are distributed.]
    As a nation, France boasts 33 entries in the Forbes 2000 list of the world's largest companies, including Total, BNP, AXA Group, Societe Generale Group, and Renault in the top 100. All told, the French worker is a fairly productive sort, even with all that cheese. But there is some evidence of slippage, and adding a few hours, or at least letting those so inclined work a bit more, is likely to help.
    [Not really. Juliet Schor has documented productivity increments when hours decrement (Overworked American, p. 154), and demoralized employees can be expected to reverse that.]

  18. Au revoir to 35-hour week - Unique work law failed to generate hiring expansion
    Associated Press via South Bend Tribune, IN
    [Watch again as another yet another US-worshipping journalist ignores the 12.6% unemployment rate in 1997 France that motivated the 35-hour workweek, and the 8.6% unemployment rate in 2001 before the US-led recession and the workweek's further downward rigidity nudged it back up to 9-10%. Plus France has nowhere near the huge US rates of welfare, disability, homelessness and incarceration.]
    Thousands of people demonstrate in Bayonne, southwestern France, earlier this month to defend the 35-hour workweek. Despite such protests, a government-backed bill to restore the previous 39-hour workweek is expected to win final approval this week. AP Photo/BOB EDME
    PARIS - Sophie Guilbaud not only holds a full-time job, she also helps run her son's nursery and treats herself to regular weekdays of shopping, movies and art shows. The secret to her balancing act is a remarkable piece of social engineering - France's 35-hour workweek. Introduced under the Socialists but headed for effective abolition by lawmakers Tuesday, "les 35 heures" have been a boon for some but, critics argue, a big drain on the economy. Heated debate over dismantling the working time law has fed into wider political and literary soul-searching in France, on themes ranging from the country's economic frailty and bureaucratic office culture to whether quality of life should be measured in time or money. For Guilbaud, a Parisian who works as a loan company manager, that last question is a no-brainer. "Work is not the only thing in my life," she said, suggesting she might quit rather than work more hours. But with unemployment at 10%, politicians of all stripes acknowledge that the country's unique 35-hour law has failed in its original ambition: to force employers to hire massively. What's more, there are strong signs that it hurt living standards as employers froze salaries to make up for lost labor. "The intention was to spread work around, but the effect was to spread our salaries around," Thierry Breton, France's new finance minister, said last week. A government-backed bill that effectively restores the previous 39-hour workweek is expected to win final approval this week, despite massive public protests earlier this month and denunciations by the now out-of-power Socialists. Amid soaring unemployment and stagnating wages, the reform is supported by jobseekers and even by factory workers, according to a survey that pollsters CSA published last month - and by 46% of the overall population, with 43% opposed. There are other signs that the vision expounded by former Prime Minister Lionel Jospin's Socialists now rings hollow in some surprisingly left-wing constituencies. Often touted as the working mother's godsend, the 35-hour week actually made life harder for poorer women and single parents, according to women's organization CLEF. "The women that suffered were the lowest paid, who needed all the overtime they could get to make ends meet," said CLEF president Monique Halpern. "I think this is one of the reasons that Lionel Jospin lost the elections." Clara Gaymard, the globe-trotting head of the French International Investment Agency, contends the 35-hour week has damaged investment in France, mainly because of its negative image in countries like the United States - France's biggest source of investment. "The perception was that the French didn't want to work any more," she said, whereas French workers remain among the most productive in the world, ahead of Britain, Germany, the United States and Japan, according to the European statistics agency Eurostat. Gaymard is the wife of former finance minister Herve Gaymard, who resigned last month in a scandal over his lavish publicly funded apartment. Marc Touati, chief economist at Paris-based Natexis Banques Populaires, conceded the law initially created some jobs and gave large employers an incentive to offer more flexible schedules because there were tax breaks andbusiness was good. In today's uncertain economic environment, though, the shorter workweek is "destroying jobs because companies wonder whether it's worth taking people on for just 35 hours a week," Touati said. Other governments regulate work hours, but France's law came under particular scrutiny because it applied to a broad cross section of workers, rather than to specific professions. According to a 2003 OECD survey of 25 industrialized countries, only Norwegian and Dutch employees worked less time each year than the French, who worked an average 1,431 hours. German workers put in 1,446 hours, British 1,673 hours, Americans 1,792 hours and Koreans 2,390 hours. Last year, a parliamentary committee reported that the 35-hour week cost France more than $13 billion a year, casting doubt on a labor ministry study that suggested it had created 350,000 jobs between 1998 and 2002. Still, many French workers are loath to give up their shorter hours, even for more cash. Some 56% of salaried employees oppose the government's plan, according to the CSA survey, while 36% approve. On March 10, almost a million people took part in strikes and protests over the working time reform - as well as other threats to workers' benefits and public sector pay. But Nicolas Sarkozy, who pushed hard for the law to be loosened while serving as finance minister last year and is expected to one day run for president, has no regrets. "It's wonderful to see so many people marching to defend the jobs they already have, pushing aside so many others who would also like the chance to have a job," he said. Associated Press writers John Leicester and Mary MacCarthy in Paris contributed to this report.

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