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Timesizing News, Feb-Jan 2009
[Commentary] ©2004-09 Phil Hyde, Timesizing.com, Box 622, Porter Sq, Cambridge MA 02140 USA 617-623-8080

2/28/2009  bits and pieces of the timesizing solution in the news, reinvented thousands of times every day in every recession by mainly mid- and small-size companies, organizations and governments despite being *dismissed out-of-hand by many economists and business schools - with excerpting and [commenting] by Phil Hyde (PH) unless otherwise initialed -

  1. The Budget Crunch, By Teresa Moore, Ironton Tribune - Ironton,OH,USA
    The Lawrence County Commission Thursday agreed to invite the county’s other officeholders to its weekly work session March 10 to get some idea how each one will comply with a 15 percent budget cut enacted earlier this year.
    “Let’s get everybody together and see how things are going with the budget,” Commissioner Les Boggs suggested. “Even though everyone has their own separate office, we’re all one team here and we need to do what’s best for the taxpayers.”
    So how are the officeholders doing at trimming that budget and what plans do they have for making ends meet? Some are already taking steps to cut costs. Others are talking about which way is the best way to get the job done.
    Looking for an answer
    One group that will attend the March 10 work session is the Lawrence County Board of Elections members. At the board of elections Thursday meeting, they explored ways to meet the mandated budget cut and yet also provide those mandated elections.
    Board of Elections Chairperson Karen Matney Simmons suggested a couple options the board could consider: the board could ask its four employees to take a pay cut of, say, 10 percent or the board could just lay off two employees now and bring them back only “until the time we’re rolling into the election,” she said.
    “I’m for a cut if they (the commissioners) cut theirs,” fellow board member Craig Allen said. “They’re supposed to be leading.”
    [Compare Lincoln Electric's modus operandi = "everyone sacrifice together, starting at the top."
    Board member Bob Griffith proposed instead that each of the office’s four employees go to a four-day work week, a move that would save more than the required 15 percent.
    [Bingo = timesizing, not downsizing.]
    Griffith’s point was this: if the employees go to a four-day work week, they would all still keep their jobs and their benefits and no one would be sent to the unemployment line. Costs would still be curbed.
    “The state is doing it. I’ve heard from some of the guys at ODOT and they’re not happy,” Simmons said.
    “We’ll do our share if they’re willing to do their share,” board member Carl Lilly said.
    “We have an obligation to our employees to make sure they are treated fairly,” Allen said.
    “But we shouldn’t be worried about the other departments.” Griffith said.
    [Amen! - Waiting for all the traffic lights downtown to turn green before you get going is a sure excuse for never moving at all.]
    “But we’re going to ask our employees to do this and others not? Is that what you want?” Lilly asked.
    “We’ve got to do something,” Griffith replied.
    “I don’t think it's fair for our employees to take the hit if everyone else in the courthouse is not going to do it,” Allen said.
    Commissioner Jason Stephens said the cuts made last year to the commission-controlled staff was far more than the 15 percent ordered at the beginning of 2008 and much of the savings from those changes won’t be financially realized until this year.
    For instance, he said last year long-time maintenance worker Ernie Sizemore took advantage of the county’s early retirement incentives offer. The two remaining workers were given raises but Stephens said having the highest-paid worker of the three leave means a savings of roughly 33 percent. Also, two full-time workers at the dog pound left and were replaced by three part-timers.
    “You consider health insurance and salaries, that’s almost $50,000 in savings,” Stephens said. He estimated last year’s cuts amounted to 30-40 percent as opposed to the required 15 percent.
    Bare bones
    Lawrence County Recorder Sharon Gossett Hager laid off one person last year and did not replace another employee who left the year before.
    These two eliminations lowered her budget by 29 percent between 2007 and 2008 and has left her with a staff of only four — far more than the required 15 percent ordered last year. She hopes that between these staff reductions and her attention to details such as travel expenses and supplies, she can meet that new 15 percent cut. In spite of trying to do more with less, Hager told the commission Thursday she remains an earnest team player.
    [If she had just cut the required percentage of hours last year, she'd be in a stronger position to make this year's 15% cut = another advantage of hourscuts, not job cuts = they're far less drastic and far more flexible and fine-tunable.]
    “I will do my best to cut down on expenses,” Hager said.
    Hager will not attend this year’s continuing education seminar in Columbus. Not going to the two-day conference will save $250. Hager has plenty of company in her situation: other counties are also facing a budget crisis of their own and their recorders aren’t going, either.
    “Lawrence County is not the only county with problems,” Hager said. “There are other counties in worse shape than we are.”
    Hager said those who can’t go to the conference will get packets in the mail with all the necessary information. By law, she is required to earn 13 credit hours of education.
    Pay raises
    Even with the county’s budget crunch, some employees got raises. Others didn’t and they’re not happy about what they see as an unfair system.
    Most pay raises given at the start of 2009 were between 3 and 5 percent. One exception is the clerk of courts employees who got a 2 percent raise. The prosecutor’s office staffers received raises of between 3 and 21 percent, however, reflected in this is Prosecutor J.B. Collier’s raise that reflected his moving from part-time to full-time status.
    Hager is one of those officeholders who did not give her staff pay raises in 2008 or 2009. She said while she understands the county’s situation and wants to do her part, it is often hard to look at her own staff and say the words “no raise” when her employees look around and see folks in other offices whose paychecks are getting bigger.
    “It’s not fair to my employees,” she said. “My employees are just as valuable to me as those who work in other offices.
    “I am able to do what I do because I have such a great staff.”
    She said she sometimes worries if she continues not to give raises when other officeholders continue to give raises, her staffers may leave her for more money elsewhere.

  2. Volkswagen to cut all temporary staff: chairman, Agence France Presse.
    BERLIN — German auto maker Volkswagen will cut all of its temporary staff, which numbered some 16,500 in 2008, company head Martin Winterkorn said in an interview with Der Spiegel magazine.
    Asked how many temporary workers the company will have by the end of the year, Winterkorn said: "We will no longer employ any of them. It is dreadful for those concerned, but there is no other solution."
    He added, however, that permanent employees were not at risk for the time-being.
    "No one within the company is thinking about layoffs or those kinds of things for the moment.
    "With reduced working hours, we have succeeded in not producing surplus vehicles. And we have a 35-hour work week that we can reduce to 28 hours.
    "We can thus limit production and ensure (keeping) permanent personnel. I do not see any problem for this year," he said.

    Volkswagen, Europe's leading auto maker, employs some 330,000 people worldwide.
    The company has been hit by the fall in demand caused by the global economic downturn, with sales dropping 15 percent in January and Volkswagen predicting a 10 percent decline for 2009.
    Volkswagen's finance unit said earlier this month it had received up to two billion euros (2.5 billion dollars) in state guarantees for refinancing car loans.

2/27/2009  bits and pieces of the timesizing solution in the news, reinvented thousands of times every day in every recession by mid- and small-size companies (and some large, as here, Microsoft UK), organizations and governments despite being *dismissed out-of-hand by many economists and business schools - with excerpting and [commenting] by Phil Hyde (PH) unless otherwise initialed -

  1. ECHN To Lay Off 50, Cut Other Expenses, Hartford Courant - United States
    Eastern Connecticut Health Network said Thursday it will lay off 50 employees in across-the-board cuts.
    ECHN said it will also freeze merit increases and 401(a) contributions until the end of the year, reduce the work week for full-time employees from 40 hours to 37.5 hours, and reduce the hours of part-time workers in an effort to avoid further layoffs, said Dennis McConville, senior vice president for planning and marketing.
    ECHN serves 340,000 residents in 19 towns in eastern Connecticut.

  2. Microsoft temps get shorter hours - Cost cuts hit contractors, By Gavin Clarke, Register - London,England,UK
    Details are emerging of how Microsoft plans to trim its costs while axing as few full-time staff as possible during the ongoing worldwide recession.
    On current projects, Microsoft is cutting payments to staffing agencies by ten per cent, and it won't raise the rate for temps who return following a mandatory, 100-day break, the AP has reported.
    The company will also reduce the amount of overtime plus the total number of hours worked by temps and contractors.
    The reduction is smaller than expected. In January, chief financial officer Chris Liddel told Wall Street the company would cut "contractor cost" by 15 per cent.
    Last month, Microsoft said it would cut 5,000 staff during the next 18 months, with 1,400 gone immediately. Comments to the MiniMicrosoft blog made it clear that many Microsoft groups had been promised by managers that full-time staff would not feel the cuts.
    That put the focus on contractors and on areas not considered "core" to Microsoft and not home to large numbers of employees - such as the ACES game studio with just 150 staff.

2/26/2009  primitive timesizing in the news, reinvented thousands of times every day in every recession by mid- and small-size companies, organizations and governments despite being *dismissed out-of-hand by many economists and business schools - with excerpting and [commenting] by Phil Hyde (PH) unless otherwise initialed - 2/25/2009  primitive timesizing in the news, reinvented thousands of times every day in every recession by mid- and small-size companies, organizations and governments despite being *dismissed out-of-hand by many economists and business schools - with excerpting and [commenting] by Phil Hyde (PH) unless otherwise initialed - 2/24/2009  primitive timesizing in the news, reinvented thousands of times every day in every recession by mid- and small-size companies, organizations and governments despite being *dismissed out-of-hand by many economists and business schools - with excerpting and [commenting] by Phil Hyde (PH) unless otherwise initialed -

2/23/2009  primitive timesizing in the news, reinvented thousands of times every day in every recession by mid- and small-size companies, organizations and governments despite being *dismissed out-of-hand by many economists and business schools - with excerpting and [commenting] by Phil Hyde (PH) unless otherwise initialed -

2/22/2009  primitive timesizing in the news, reinvented thousands of times every day in every recession by mid- and small-size companies, organizations and governments despite being *dismissed out-of-hand by many economists and business schools - with excerpting and [commenting] by Phil Hyde (PH) unless otherwise initialed -

2/21/2009  primitive timesizing in the news, reinvented thousands of times every day in every recession by mid- and small-size companies, organizations and governments despite being *dismissed out-of-hand by many economists and business schools - with excerpting and [commenting] by Phil Hyde (PH) unless otherwise initialed -

2/20/2009  primitive timesizing in the news, reinvented thousands of times every day in every recession by mid- and small-size companies, organizations and governments despite being *dismissed out-of-hand by many economists and business schools - with excerpting and [commenting] by Phil Hyde (PH) unless otherwise initialed -

  1. Japan turns to 'work-sharing' to avoid layoffs, by Yuri Kageyama, AP via AOL News Australia via aol.com.au/news; and 7/21 The Hindu via HinduOnNet.com; and as "Japan: Recession Spurs 'Work-Sharing' To Avoid Layoffs" via 2/20 huffingtonpost.com and as "Firms warming to work-sharing - New tack means fewer hours, less pay, but U.S.-style mass layoffs are avoided' via JapanTimes.co.jp
    HIRAKATA, Osaka Pref., Japan - Yasuo Igarashi spends a lot of time these days on the jungle gym with his daughter, after his employer joined the growing ranks of Japanese companies adopting "work-sharing" to ride out the global slump.
    Common in parts of Europe, work-sharing means slashing employees' pay and hours instead of firing people outright. Two or three people might share what previously was one person's job.
    The idea is that employees are required to share the pain of coping with hard times while everyone gets to keep their jobs - even if they're paid less.
    Work-sharing is the latest buzzword in Japan Inc. Proponents say it's a good way to avoid American-style layoffs in a society that has long fostered lifetime employment. Toyota Motor Corp., Mazda Motor Corp., Toshiba Corp. and Fujitsu Inc., have all taken up some kind of work-sharing. Nissan Motor Co. and others are considering it.
    Although critics say it's merely a fancy way to disguise wage cuts, the practice is winning powerful supporters here, including Fujio Mitarai, the head of the major business lobby Keidanren.
    The government is now considering earmarking public money for companies that take up work-sharing to curb surging joblessness as the world's second-largest economy slides into what authorities are calling Japan's worst recession since World War II.
    Companies big and small are expecting losses or drastically dwindling profits. Thousands of job cuts have been announced in recent weeks.
    At ASKK Ltd., a precision machinery maker in Hirakata, central Japan, with 50 employees, that counts Panasonic Corp., Sharp Corp. and Toyota affiliates among its clients, no one has lost their job.
    But Igarashi, a 30-year-old employee there, says his monthly pay has dropped by about 60,000 yen ($640) from the 270,000 yen ($2,900) he earned before work-sharing kicked in earlier this year.
    Like many Japanese, Igarashi used to work six days a week and racked up a couple of hours overtime every day. Now he works only four days a week.
    "It can't be helped," he said with a smile and a shrug as he toiled by his whirring machine. "I try to find things to do that don't cost money."
    Igarashi has cut back on buying new clothes, and his wife looks for discount coupons for groceries. On the upside, he spends more time with his family, including going to the playground with his 3-year-old daughter.
    A handful of Japanese companies experimented with work-sharing during a slowdown a decade ago, but this time more are adopting the practice than ever before as a way to survive the far more serious recession.
    Work-sharing is catching on here for cultural, legal and practical reasons.
    Many Japanese companies maintain the tradition of lifetime employment so work-sharing is a way to avoid firing regular workers. So far, most of the layoffs have involved contract workers, whose use became legal in recent years to skirt the regulations protecting full-time, salaried workers.
    Labor laws
    Labor laws tend to defend lifetime employment, usually requiring companies to provide hefty severance packages or risk facing lawsuits. If a company is in bankruptcy or losing money, it becomes easier legally to lay off workers.
    At the same time, work-sharing allows companies to keep trained workers - and bring them back up to full-time quickly, once a recovery comes.
    Work-sharing is routine in nations such as Germany and Switzerland, where the government provides unemployment benefits to make up for the income fall from lost hours, said Jenny Hunt, economics professor at McGill University in Montreal, Canada.
    She said the practice is unlikely to be popular in the U.S., where companies prefer to "concentrate the misery in a few people," and simply reduce workers.
    [- and markets. Here's Japan's chance to catch up to Number One. But over a third of the U.S. states (18 as of 7/7/2009) do have government work-sharing programs with pressure on the rest to get'em...quick. Do any Japanese cities or prefectures have worksharing support? Email us at  ecdesignr@yahoo.ca  their webpage URLs and we'll put them on our list and give you a 'tip of the hat" and a hotlink if you've got a website, as long as you ain't the American Nazi Party.]
    "The income loss is spread over more people, and fewer people suffer the depression associated with unemployment," Hunt said. "The economic advantage is that firms retain their workers who are experienced on the job."
    Work-sharing is taking various forms in Japan, and some companies aren't even calling it that.
    At Tourism Essentials Tokyo, a job-referral company, two flight attendants sent to an airline were asked to share one job, and one person's pay, to avoid one of them getting fired.
    At Fujitsu's computer chip unit, the shifts at the 24-hour-running plants were increased from two shifts of 12 hours each to three 8-hour shifts so each worker had their hours and pay reduced by a third.
    At auto plants across Japan, including Suzuki Motor Corp. and Mazda, assembly lines are grinding to a halt on some days, resulting in a type of work-sharing. Toyota Motor Corp. has announced it will carry out work-sharing at its U.S. plants but has not expanded that to Japan.
    A recent survey by the Yomiuri newspaper found about half of its respondents, a nationwide sample of 1,077 people, support the idea of work-sharing, although they also expressed fears about lower pay.
    [South Korea  South Korea  South Korea  South Korea  South Korea  South Korea  ]
    Work-sharing is also finding acceptance in nearby South Korea.
    A group of labor, management, civic groups and the government to tackle the financial crisis is preparing to soon announce measures that will include work-sharing as a key element, said Kim Soo-gon, a Ministry of Labor official.

    The government plans subsidies for companies that maintain employment by sending workers on paid vacations and training programs, he said.
    Work-sharing has created some problems, says Sadao Nagakura, an executive at ASKK, the precision equipment maker.
    Accustomed to working long hours, some employees found that cutting back undermined their morale.
    [Get a life of your own, you wimps!]
    Another obstacle was that wives of male employees complained that they didn't want their spouses at home, he said.
    [Stake out turf!]
    Side jobs are allowed, he said, and at least one worker has already starting working at a convenience store on Saturdays to supplement his income.
    [But 'moonlighters' will eventually have to be included on a shadow time accounting basis, as provided for in Phase Three of the Timesizing program.]
    Nagakura, who has made a point of ending his work day at 3 p.m. lately, sees work-sharing as the best way to cope with a drop in orders that has erased about two-thirds of ASKK's profit over the last year.
    "There's no work for them to do even if they show up," he said. "I tell them to go on walks with their wives, holding hands."
    But Nagakura also sees the downturn as an economic opportunity to get ahead. He expects most rivals to go bankrupt in the next year or two before a recovery comes while his company rides out the recession in good shape.
    "We are going to survive, and we are going to win," he said.
    Associated Press Writer ShinWoo Kang in Seoul contributed to this report.

  2. [Whoa - Krugman asking The Big Question?! -]
    Who'll stop the pain? - Worries about a prolonged slump, op ed by Paul Krugman, NYT, A23.
    ...What's supposed to end this slump? No doubt 'this, too, shall pass' - but how, and when?
    ...The Obama administration is trying to mitigate the slump, not end it. The stimulus bill, on the administration's own estimates, will limit the rise in unemployment [ed: not by much] but fall far short of restoring full employment [ed: we haven't seen full employment since 1944]...
    What, then, will actually end the slump?
    Well, the Great Depression did eventually come to an end, but that was thanks to an enormous war...
    [It was already ending intelligently thanks to a nationwide innovation, the setting of a nationwide maximum workweek and the lowering of that workweek by two hours a year for two years. Unemployment, which peaked at 24.9% in 1933, troughed at 14.3% in 1937 and jumped back up to 19.0% in 1938. All the makework of the first New Deal couldn't even cut it by half (12.5%), so FDR went for the most downplayed but effective part of the second New Deal: systematic setting and reduction of worktime per person per week. Unemployment went down 2% for every 2 hours cut from the workweek - 1938: 19.0%, 1939: 17.2%, 1940: 14.6%, and 1941: 9.9% helped by Lend Lease in March and Pearl Harbor in December. The enormous war merely did what timesizing was doing faster, more dangerously and more wastefully, and distracted everyone from a policy that was working but has been spun as a failure - with no evidence - ever since.]
    So will our slump go on forever? No. In fact, the seeds of eventual recovery are already being planted.
    [Oh he thinks he has an answer with no timeframe? Check out this "answer" -]
    ...Housing starts [having] fallen to their lowest level in 50 years...means that spending on construction will fall even more. But it also means that the supply of houses is lagging behind population growth, which will eventually prompt a housing revival.
    [Anyone who has visited the Third World, or for that matter, post-Katrina New Orleans or the burgeoning homeless population in our inner cities, knows that mere population growth has no necessary connection to increased housing.]
    ...We're building up a pent-up demand for cars [and] durable goods and assets...
    [Again, demand without money is meaningless. The Third World is full of demand, but all the money is in the hands of the top tiny fraction of the population who were already spending all they cared to before they got the last ten million. And Krugman is not here mentioning that core money-concentration problem that is centrifuged by a perceived general labor shortage and the taxing of the wealthy which shortage-empowered working families can implement so that the recent astronomical redistribution of the national income and wealth to the nonspending topmost brackets can be reversed.]
    But still I wonder: Who'll stop the pain?
    [The people themselves...if they convert overtime into jobs and implement Reuther's " flexible adjustment of the workweek against unemployment" - in plain English, Phil Hyde will stop the pain, with Timesizing.]

2/19/2009  primitive timesizing in the news, reinvented thousands of times every day in every recession by mid- and small-size companies, organizations and governments despite being *dismissed out-of-hand by many economists and business schools - with excerpting and [commenting] by Phil Hyde (PH) unless otherwise initialed -
  1. 5,000 Characters, By Tom "The Sandwichman" Walker of Vancouver BC, EconoSpeak.blogspot.com
    The White House Task Force on Middle Class Working Families has increased their comment submission length from 500 to 5000 characters. The Sandwichman submitted the following 4,994 character summary, along with a link to a longer version:
    The key to addressing the issues of work and family balance, labor standards, equitable distribution of the fruits of economic progress and protection of the environment lies in regulating and limiting the hours of work. In the absence of countervailing union pressure or government policy, there is a structural bias that leads to the prevalence of socially and environmentally harmful long hours of work. This summary outlines the case for work time reduction and draws attention to a promising policy innovation to redress the current imbalance. A full, hyperlinked version of this submission is available [at the end of this post].
    American families have changed substantially since the 1960s but many policies aimed at assuring income security have remained unchanged since the New Deal of the 1930s. Today, two-thirds of all families with children are either single-parent or dual-earner families. Between 1979 and 2000, the hours worked per year by married couples with children increased by 16 percent, or nearly 500 hours. Bernstein and Kornbluh noted that without that increase in hours worked, the incomes of middle- and lower-income families would have stagnated or declined. That conclusion, however, overlooks the possibility that the increased supply of hours may itself have contributed, through a feedback effect, to wage stagnation.
    Most work-family advocates in the U.S. focus on the need for family-friendly policies such as child-care, paid family leave and flexible scheduling that mitigate the effects of a seemingly immutable working time regime. "The challenge," though, Kornbluh has noted, "is to frame work-life balance as a broader political economy issue."
    Historically, work-life balance was framed as a broader political economy issue in labor agitation for shorter working time. For nearly a century, from the 1860s to the 1950s, American labor unions also put forward the reduction of working time as their focal strategy for combating unemployment. After the Second World War, though, the unions' enthusiasm for shorter hours waned. Instead, the AFL-CIO primarily focused its efforts on urging government spending to foster economic growth and only sought shorter hours as a "last resort."
    [But "the last shall be first." Basically, unions "sold their birthright for a mess of pottage." Unions were seduced with management-cancellable 'candy' (pay & benefits) into giving up their power lever, smaller labor surplus by means of market-force-harnessing shorter hours, and after peaking in the mid-50s, unions proceeded to shrink to 13% of the workforce. By not staying 'on issue' in terms of shorter hours, unions have made themselves useless in the struggle for sustainable social progress.]
    What changed between the 1930s and the 1960s was the acceptance of the idea that government spending could stimulate economic growth. Although popularly referred to as "Keynesianism," Keynes himself did not accept the idea that boundless expansion of production and consumption was worthwhile for its own sake. Instead, he specified working less as the "ultimate cure" for unemployment. The imperative for growth was a notion added by later economists.
    Continued economic growth, fostered by government fiscal and monetary strategies, has led to an increase in effective demand for what Hirsch called positional goods. Competition for these socially or physically scarce or congested goods draws resources away from the output of final consumption goods and also exacts a personal cost in terms of time pressure. Individuals are compelled to spend more time in market activities and thus have less time to spend in non-commercial pursuits such as production for home consumption, leisure and sociability. "This has helped to upset a long-held expectation about the potential fruits of economic growth – namely, that they will be taken increasingly in the form of relief from material pursuits."
    Rosnick and Weisbrot estimated that if European countries adopted the long working hours prevailing in the U.S., they would consume 25 percent more energy. Conversely, if the U.S. adopted working times closer to the European average, it would consume 20 percent less energy. Assuming that the intensity of greenhouse gas emissions per unit of GDP continues to decline at a rate consistent with the historical trend, economic growth averaging 2.5 percent annually would increase emissions by around 75 percent over the next 30 years. Meanwhile, poverty and unemployment will creep steadily upward. The alternative to continual economic growth and a resulting environmental and/or social catastrophe is to reduce the average hours of work for the bulk of the working population and increase employment opportunities for the unemployed and the underemployed.
    Dean Baker has proposed government subsidies for shorter hours and vacation pay as part of the economic stimulus plan.
    The government could give employers an incentive to provide paid time off now by giving tax breaks to cover all or most of the paid time off…
    This is a neat form of stimulus because it directly gives employers an incentive to hire more workers, as can be easily shown…
    If employers of 50 million workers took up the deal, then this 6 percent would translate into 3 million jobs…
    There would undoubtedly be technical challenges to implementing a scheme such as that outlined by Baker. But there are challenges to implementing any stimulus package or policy reform.
    [But they are the right challenges if they are anywhere along the path of spreading the vanishing natural employment rather than artificial job creation, and the most gradual and market-oriented overall version of this approach is the five-phase Timesizing program.]

  2. Portfolio career replaces jobs for life as baby boomers pay, by Leon Gettler, 2/20 (cross-dateline) The Age - Melbourne,Australia
    THE financial meltdown will reshape the nature of work forever. When the recovery finally comes, careers and employment practices will look different, with more people [forced! to be] taking time out during the upheaval. That will lead to a reappraisal of the way we see work and leisure.
    [Leisure is financially secure and consciously chosen. Unemployment is insecure and willynilly.]
    How is that possible when people put in long hours? They do it because income, not the amount of leisure, is linked to our unquenchable desire for recognition and status. And how could there be more leisure with the traditional concept of retirement now coming to an end? After all, with so many Australians having their superannuation savings wiped out, or having lost everything because they took advice to buy shares with borrowed money, baby boomers will be working longer.
    Still, to describe this as "work until you drop" is wrong and simplistic. With fewer full-time jobs, it will be more of a portfolio approach, a term usually associated with the management thinker Charles Handy, who first used it in 1984.
    Portfolio careers often entail bringing together lots of different jobs, anything from working as a temp to consulting to company director. It can also involve volunteer work and time for personal development, which can mean anything from travel to writing books to yoga or learning a language. This is not unlike the student who attends uni, works as a part-time receptionist and does volunteer work at the local mission.
    But this trend was happening before the downturn. There is no longer a binary choice between work and retirement. The phenomenon of "worktirement", where older workers were staying on the job, going part-time, and taking on other kinds of work, was becoming popular. As was the "encore career", where boomers lent their skills to non-profits tackling such issues as environment, education, poverty and health.
    There are obvious reasons. First, the shift to service industries in the developed world means that fewer people have been doing hard, physical yakka in factories and mines and on farms and docks. We are not worn out after decades in the workforce. Secondly, the concept of retirement was originally designed around the notion that people stepped down at 65, and then snapped off this mortal coil shortly after. These days, they can be around 20 or even 30 years on from their 60s, and still be active.
    Adding to the leisure push is the growing trend of companies now cutting costs by putting their workers on three or four-day weeks. In the US, for example, Nissan is keeping car assembly plants on a four-day weeks and KPMG in Britain is offering its staff a shorter working week — at last count, 70% of staff had applied to work a shorter week or take extended, unpaid leave — and in Germany, Siemens is looking at reduced working weeks to prevent lay-offs. In Australia, several smaller companies are starting to do it and staff at accounting firm PricewaterhouseCoopers are being urged to cut their hours.
    Three years ago, a study by US economists Mark Aguiar and Erik Hurst found a dramatic increase in leisure time over the past 40 years. Leisure for men had increased by six to eight hours a week, motivated principally by fewer hours at work.
    [Probably not financially secure leisure, but insecure unemployment, since Juliet Schor found the opposite in her 1992 book "The Overworked American" - that the American workyear had actually expanded by a month since 1970. You can't count on mainstream economists to distinguish leisure from unemployment - it might make their "work hard to get ahead" dogma look bad, not to say impossible during the Age of Robotization.]
    Even more interesting was the figure showing that leisure for women had increased four to eight hours a week, motivated by what the economists call a "decline in home production work hours", created by dishwashers, washing machines, dryers, more sophisticated cooking equipment and outsourcing of functions such as house cleaning. Women have more leisure, despite their greater numbers entering the workforce.
    [There's a sentence of doubletalk if ever we've heard one.]
    The combining of work and leisure has become an increasing focus of Melbourne company Act 3. Set up to work with companies to develop options for older workers, the downturn sees it helping companies transfer people out of the business at all levels, through solutions that provide more leisure time.
    [Au contraire, the blurring of work and leisure means less real leisure and more bogus time on the beach...with your cellphone and/or blackberry. "On call" is NOT leisure.]

  3. Working Dad: Work-life balance is suffering from economic stress, By PAUL NYHAN, P-I REPORTER, seattlepi.com
    The nation's widening recession is reshaping the lives of working parents, disrupting not only their fragile balance of job and family but how they think about that elusive goal.
    It turns out working parents are hurting themselves by asking for less in an economy that seems to get worse by the week.
    Around Seattle and the nation, new moms are cutting short maternity leaves, while parents are logging more hours at work and are less likely to seek time off, experts suggest.
    "Parents may censor themselves," said Heidi Hartmann, president of the Institute for Women's Policy Research in Washington, D.C. "They wouldn't want to stand out as someone who needs things, the needy employee."
    The recession also is disturbing maternity leaves, as mothers squeeze job hunting in between nursing and diaper changing.
    So far, evidence is anecdotal -- sweeping research of workplace trends won't arrive for a while -- but those stories and economic history are compelling.
    History suggests that when our economy slumps, employers gain an edge in setting the rules of work, thanks to the basic economics of supply and demand.
    [Yep, the economy slumps because labor has become a surplus commodity. And when you're a surplus commodity, you're common as dirt and cheap as dirt. And "you can't get no respec'."]
    "In good times, employers may be willing to put up with things," said Heather Boushey, a senior economist at the Center for American Progress. "These are bad times. There are 10 people who can take the job you have if you have any sort of extenuating circumstances."
    While managers may gain power over work-life balance, parents also cede them power by limiting extenuating circumstances -- a day off for a sick child, absences for school field trips, extra vacation -- in today's economic uncertainty, Boushey said.
    [The good news for the planet is that this may discourage reproduction and slow the population explosion.]
    In North Seattle, Alice Naughton hears complaints from her circle of new moms. One friend is cutting short her yearlong maternity leave, and another is back to working start-up hours at her public relations business after laying off staff.
    [Shoulda shared the pain and cut hours for all, not jobs for a few (and a few more, and a few more...).]
    Naughton's own work-life balance was destroyed when she lost her job as project manager for a California-based educational software company.
    The 5 a.m.-to-2-p.m. workday that freed afternoons for her baby daughter was gone, replaced by frequent searches on CareerBuilder.com and Monster.com.
    Naturally upbeat, Naughton finds juggling motherhood and a job hunt increasingly stressful, especially since her husband is a pilot and often gone for four days in a row.
    "It just creates a lot stress," Naughton said.
    Overall, mothers likely will play an even bigger role in the struggle to preserve work-life balance in this recession because more men than women are losing their jobs, forcing families to rely on Mom's income, Boushey said.
    [cuz men are higher paid?]
    This reliance creates problems because women still earn less, on average, than men.
    "What is happening is higher-level jobs are going first in this economy, and it's the lower-paid wives who are keeping their jobs, and wives are having to scramble," said Carol Evans, chief executive at New York-based Working Mother Media.
    [and that weakens the foundational consumer markets faster and cuts marketable productivity quicker.]
    If the past is any guide, companies also are scrambling to cut costs, including family-friendly benefits such as broad health care coverage, Hartmann suggested.
    What is scarier is how quickly this economy is bleeding jobs -- roughly 3 million in the past three months alone -- faster than any other time in recent economic history, Hartmann added.
    "The financial strains on families are going to be enormous," she said.
    Amid all of this strain, families may think it's a bad time to ask for flexibility at work, but they may be wrong.
    Companies may be as desperate to save money as parents are to save their jobs, and a reduced workweek sometimes fills both needs.
    Since each job is different, make sure your boss is open to a new arrangement, such as a four-day workweek, said Michelle Goodman, author of the local work-balance blog Nine to Thrive.
    There also is strength in numbers, such as four or five employees banding together with a thoughtful written proposal, says Pat Katepoo, founder of WorkOptions.com.
    "It is called flexible downsizing, and it's an excellent way to leverage the situation," Katepoo said.
    When it comes to paternity leave, dads don't have to demand a block of weeks or months, Katepoo said.
    Instead, dads can ask for a few days off a week under a lesser-known provision of the Family and Medical Leave Act, Katepoo said.
    A dad who qualifies can work three days or four days a week and still help with his new baby, if his boss agrees, she wrote on her Web site.
    Whatever your work situation, this historic recession will call for flexibility in the corner office and the cubicle.
    It also may present parents with painful choices.
    Naughton was planning to have two children. But with no end in sight for this recession, she is reconsidering.
    "I am 39," she said, "and it's not like I can just hang out for a few years."
    paulnyhan@seattlepi.com, 206-448-8145, blog.seattlepi.com/family

  4. Youth Unemployment and Underemployment in Africa Brings Uncertainty and Opportunity, by Eric Zuehlke, Population Reference Bureau, PRB.org
    From the recent riots in Greece to increased unemployment in urban China to anxiety over the prospect of more protests by young people throughout Europe, youth unemployment and underemployment is increasingly recognized as a potential trigger for social instability in other world regions. Africa in particular faces demographic challenges as its population of young people ages 15 to 24 increases and access to secure jobs continues to be problematic. In addition, the global financial crisis threatens to further strain labor markets and exacerbate a tenuous situation for Africa's youth.
    Beyond economic costs, high rates of youth unemployment and underemployment have social ramifications. Some youth with few job prospects and little hope of future advancement may see little alternative to criminal activities or joining armed conflicts. "Unemployed and underemployed [youth] are more exposed to conflicts and illegal activities—many of them fall prey to armed and rebel groups," says Jorge Saba Arbache of the Office of the Chief Economist, Africa Region at the World Bank. In addition he says, "Youth unemployed and underemployed are more exposed to economic cycles," making them vulnerable to job instability.
    The World Bank's Youth and Unemployment in Africa: The Potential, The Problem, The Promise report, released in December 2008, investigates the nature of Africa's youth demographics and recommends policies to give its youth access to stable employment. It argues that creating viable jobs for young people is a recondition for Africa's poverty eradication, sustainable development, and peace; and in countries emerging from conflict, access to employment for youth is integral to peace-building processes.
    Africa's Unemployed Youth and Demographic Challenge
    Africa has the fastest-growing and most youthful population in the world. Over 20 percent of Africa's population is between the ages of 15 to 24 and, since over 40 percent of Africa's population is under 15 years of age, that number is expected to grow significantly in the coming years. According to the International Labour Office, youth make up as much as 36 percent of the total working-age population and three in five of Africa's unemployed are youth.
    "The [high] total fertility rate is Africa's biggest demographic challenge," says Carl Haub, senior demographer at PRB. "For 30 years, 45 percent of most African countries' population has been below age 15. So, a constantly rising number entering the labor force ages is one of Africa's biggest challenges." The combination of population growth associated with high fertility rates and the slow pace of job creation in Africa presents challenges to its youth. Despite annual economic growth rates of 6 percent or more in sub-Saharan Africa in recent years, there has not been a sufficient increase in stable employment opportunities for young people. With current demographic trends, the pressure to create new jobs will only increase over the coming decades.
    Migration patterns put further strain on urban areas and labor opportunities. Young people are more likely than other age groups to migrate from rural to urban areas. According to Arbache, "Empirical analyses show that rural youth migrate to urban areas to find better educational and work opportunities and a way out of poverty. Unemployment and underemployment in urban areas are associated with rural-urban migration. Young migrants often earn less than their counterparts in urban areas, but more than those in rural areas." Despite increased rural-urban migration however, over 70 percent of the African youth population still lives in rural areas. In fact, a major finding in the World Bank report is that the average young person in Africa is not an urban resident who migrated from a village. The average young person is a poor, literate, but out-of-school female living in a rural area.
    Unemployed and Underemployed
    Focusing solely on unemployed youth overlooks the fact that many young people may be working but are underemployed, working shorter hours than they would like, or reaping little economic gain.
    [What he means is "making less money than they would like" - young people are hardly worried about how short a time they take to make it.]
    In addition, in areas with few formal employment opportunities, many are left to fend for themselves in the informal economy, often beyond the scope of official employment statistics. The problem is that underemployment is difficult to measure.
    "What economists call 'underemployment' is so difficult to define and measure because the standard of comparison, 'fully employed', is itself difficult to define and measure," says Bill Butz, president and CEO, of PRB. "So is a person 'underemployed' if he or she is working fewer than 52 weeks in the year, or fewer than 40 hours in a week, or just fewer weeks or hours than he would like to work, or else less intensively than he might be able if well nourished and healthy? All four standards of comparison are used…and all are arbitrary. Each yields a different level of measured underemployment."
    [Note the unquestioned assumption that the arbitrary, historically accidental 40 hours in the workweek is on par with the mathematically hardwired 52 weeks in the year (52 weeks x 7 days = 364 days = 365.25-1.25). Hooboy, are we gonna havva hard time getting beyond this ceiling of progress. Here we have the assumption in all its barefacedness that The Sacred Forty Hour Workweek was given by God to Moses on Mount Sinai along with the Ten Commandments. The 40/40/40 plan of the original enactment of the 40-hour workweek in the USA on Oct.24, 1940 was almost as sanctimoniously resonant - 40 cents minimum wage, 40 hours maximum workweek, in the year of our Lord, 1940 - and we wouldn't even have needed a minimum wage if we'd use labor-surplus reduction via further workweek reduction. And as for God-given, how about a workweek of perfect-number one-TENth of all the hours in a week (7 days x 24 hours = 168 hours total) = a 16.8-hour workweek?!]
    ...2 graphs ("Youth Population by Economic Activity Status in Sub-Saharan Africa, 1997 and 2007") omitted...
    The employment distribution of sub-Saharan Africa's youth has changed little over 10 years. In both 1997 and 2007, about half of Africa's youth were either unemployed or "inactive," as defined by the ILO. Defining terminology can give a clearer picture of Africa's employment situation. "Unemployed" refers to those in the work force who do not have a job but are actively seeking work. "Inactive" refers to those who do not have a job and are not seeking work. Inactive youth may be attending secondary or higher education, but they may also be discouraged workers who are not seeking work because they feel they lack qualifications for a job, do not know where or how to look for work, or feel there is no suitable work available. In much of Africa, there are few or no formal employment opportunities for young people. While the unemployment rate in the charts above is relatively low, the figures can be misleading. Those out of the labor force may be underemployed or wish to work, but have no means to find stable employment. Young people are not considered officially "unemployed" even if they are without work and would accept a job if offered one.
    Potential and Promise
    While recognizing Africa's demographic challenges, the World Bank report also sees the large youth population as an opportunity: "The demographic transition makes youth the most abundant asset that the region can claim, thus making it a window of opportunity."
    The report recommends a multisectoral approach by governments and international agencies to address the issue. Recommendations include expanding jobs and education alternatives in rural areas; building a support environment for entrepreneurship; expanding access to and improving the quality of training opportunities; and addressing demographic issues. Since most young people live in rural areas, development in agriculture and nonfarm sectors is integral to creating demand for youth labor, argues the report. Investments in irrigation, water resource management, and increased use of improved seeds, fertilizers, and better agricultural practices can fulfill the promise of Africa's rural population.
    Even in the face of the rising number of young people and current lack of employment opportunities in Africa, Arbache is optimistic. "The demographic transition is an opportunity for Africa to compete internationally. The main challenge is to employ the appropriate policies for the region to benefit from this unique opportunity."
    Eric Zuehlke is an editor at the Population Reference Bureau.

2/18/2009  primitive timesizing in the news, reinvented thousands of times every day in every recession by mid- and small-size companies, organizations and governments despite being *dismissed out-of-hand by many economists and business schools - with excerpting and [commenting] by Phil Hyde (PH) unless otherwise initialed -

2/17/2009  primitive timesizing in the news, reinvented thousands of times every day in every recession by mid- and small-size companies, organizations and governments despite being *dismissed out-of-hand by many economists and business schools - with excerpting and [commenting] by Phil Hyde (PH) unless otherwise initialed -

2/16/2009  primitive timesizing in the news, reinvented thousands of times every day in every recession by mid- and small-size companies, organizations and governments despite being *dismissed out-of-hand by many economists and business schools - with excerpting and [commenting] by Phil Hyde (PH) unless otherwise initialed - 2/15/2009  primitive timesizing in the news, reinvented thousands of times every day in every recession by mid- and small-size companies, organizations and governments despite being *dismissed out-of-hand by many economists and business schools - with excerpting and [commenting] by Phil Hyde (PH) unless otherwise initialed - 2/14/2009  primitive timesizing in the news, reinvented thousands of times every day in every recession by mid- and small-size companies, organizations and governments despite being *dismissed out-of-hand by many economists and business schools - with excerpting and [commenting] by Phil Hyde (PH) unless otherwise initialed -
  1. Hasbro adapts to expected lower revenues, By Paul Grimaldi, Providence Journal - Providence,RI,USA
    Hasbro Inc. executives said yesterday that they expect the recession to weigh on the toy company’s revenues as it forces continued markdowns on leftover holiday inventory and higher spending to promote new products at the same time the toymaker deals with higher production costs and unfavorable exchange rates.
    The company has frozen salaries and travel expenses, briefly furloughed some manufacturing workers and cut the workweek at its factory in Ireland. It will renegotiate some contracts as it deals with the worsening economy, Hasbro executives said. The company also closed its “tween” electronics division due to poor sales.
    On Monday, Pawtucket-based Hasbro said that its fourth-quarter profit fell a sharper-than-expected 30 percent as the nation’s second-biggest toymaker cut prices on many items during the sluggish holiday season. The stronger dollar also hurt results.
    The global economy was “extremely challenging,” said Brian Goldner, Hasbro’s president and chief executive officer.
    Goldner and other Hasbro executives talked yesterday about the company’s finances and prospects with investment analysts gathered in New York for the opening of the annual International Toy Fair.
    Goldner said he has told Hasbro employees there will not be “wholesale layoffs” at the company as a result of the weakened sales.
    The company, however, plans a “mid-single-digit” price increase, said David Hargreaves, Hasbro’s chief operating officer and chief financial officer.
    The company looks forward to solid sales this year in its boys division, boosted by the release of three movies and new television programming, the executives said.
    First out to movie theaters will be Wolverine, followed by a sequel to the wildly popular Transformers movie, and then the emergence of the iconic GI Joe onto the big screen. More Star Wars television cartoons are due out this year as well.
    Company executives said they are hopeful the movies will do as well as the 2007 Transformers movie, which garnered the company more than $700 million, according to Box Office Mojo LLC. Transformer-related toys and licensed products such as T-shirts generated $480 million that year.
    That wish is particularly true for G.I. Joe, which in the 1960s was the company’s first big toy hit.
    “G.I. Joe fans have been waiting for a reconnection, some kind of spark,” Goldner said.
    Hasbro also has a six-year agreement with Universal Pictures to make at least four films based on game brands such as Monopoly, Battleship, Clue and Candy Land. The first film is due out in 2010 or 2011.
    The company also has high hopes for its digital gaming initiatives, particularly for the girls who like Hasbro’s line of Littlest Pet Shop toys.
    Hasbro will use partnerships with Marvel Entertainment and Electronic Arts, as well as its own development team, to bring products to movies, animated videos, online and on mobile devices, Goldner said.
    “What you are really seeing is casual gaming coming to the fore,” he said. “Our relations with Electronic Arts and others is going to accelerate our engagement with 10- to 14-year-olds.”
    Electronic Arts is developing an online entertainment and community destination for girls, based on Hasbro’s Littlest Pet Shop brand. Electronic Arts said its five Pet Shop-branded games have sold 2.8 million copies worldwide. The online community is set to launch in the fall.
    Electronic Arts also creates video, cell phone and other digital games for Hasbro’s Scrabble, Yahtzee and Tonka brands.

  2. Jacobson outlines road ahead for Medical Center, 2/13 Vanderbilt University News - Nashville,TN,USA
    The nation’s health care landscape will not survive the ongoing recession unscathed, but a renewed focus on belt-tightening and essential expenses on campus is keeping Vanderbilt Medical Center’s workforce of 16,000 intact, said Harry Jacobson, M.D., vice chancellor for Health Affairs.
    Jacobson’s annual State of the Medical Center Address on Wednesday to a standing-room-only crowd in Langford Auditorium was confident and upbeat despite the economy and focused, in part, on what lies ahead for the Medical Center and its employees.
    "We brought down spending quickly and efficiently, with no disruption to patient care, education or research,” he said.
    “If we act prudently and spend carefully, we will make it through this stronger than ever. We can make it through this better, smarter and stronger.” Operations for fiscal year 2008 were on par with projections but investment losses brought numbers down for an otherwise successful year.
    The Medical Center experienced a loss of $24 million in investment income as of Dec. 31, 2008, leading to delays in major capital projects.
    “We are going to meet our goals for operations,” Jacobson said. “But investment losses are really hitting us.” Other potential consequences could be a lower demand for elective surgeries, higher rates of charity care delivered and potential TennCare cuts.
    VMC delivered $238.6 million of uncompensated care in fiscal year 2007; $245.3 million in fiscal year 2008; and is already projected to reach between $286-$290 million in fiscal year 2009.
    Jacobson said he received news from Vanderbilt representatives in Washington, D.C., on Wednesday of a consensus agreement between the House and Senate on the economic stimulus package that “looks very good for us” in terms of helping to alleviate some TennCare cuts proposed at the state level.
    A stimulus plan at the federal level would help mitigate the proposed state cuts while adding crucial federal funding for women’s health services, research and information technology.
    The package would send $1.2 billion to Tennessee to assist with Medicaid, children’s health, research, graduate medical education (GME) funding and COBRA - which would give a $30.3 billion extension of coverage to the unemployed.
    “It looks like, if the vote of consensus goes through, we are looking at a better future with respect to TennCare,” Jacobson said.
    Tennessee Gov. Phil Bredesen had proposed a three-tier plan of TennCare funding reductions that would negatively impact the state’s safety net hospitals, but some of those cuts may now be avoided.
    The first tier proposes to cut essential access payments by 50 percent, cut GME payments by 50% and cut $14.5 million in state funding to Vanderbilt.
    The second tier would cut the remaining 50 percent of both GME and essential access payments, reduce rates for hospitals and Vanderbilt Medical Group by 7 percent, and add an additional $34.9 million cut to Vanderbilt.
    The third tier represented an additional 1.5 percent rate reduction for hospitals and VMG and an additional $4.4 million cut to Vanderbilt.
    Jacobson used the five elevate pillars to update attendees on performance in service, quality, people, growth and finance.
    In response to the slumping economy, departments worked together this fiscal year to identify areas of cost savings and eliminate unnecessary spending in order to preserve the quality of workers throughout the campus.
    Jacobson illustrated the “keeping the team together” concept in mentioning the Space and Facilities project management team, which collectively agreed to cut back to a 32-hour workweek rather than eliminate employees who had been planning for MRB V and the expansion of the Monroe Carell Jr.Children’s Hospital at Vanderbilt, which are postponed due to the economy.
    In the area of Growth, the new $169 million Critical Care Tower is scheduled for completion by September, with patient occupancy forecast to follow in November. Vanderbilt Health at One Hundred Oaks is nearing completion, with a Vanderbilt employee’s preview party scheduled for Feb. 17.
    Quality goals were established for VMC to be in the 90th percentile in all components of the health care system in 2009.
    Jacobson individually commended Vanderbilt University Hospital’s 10 South, 5 South, 8 South and General Medicine for improved performance over the past six months, saying all are close to 100 percent in the survey category of “Willingness To Recommend.”
    Vanderbilt’s observed-to-expected mortality rate for the current fiscal year is .71, which is on target to match the University of Wisconsin Medical Center’s top ranking last year. Vanderbilt placed seventh in the country in 2008 with a rate of .735.
    The crowd applauded as Jacobson announced that VMC’s combined community contributions for last year were nearly $200 million.
    “In five years, that’s a billion dollars,” he said.
    Contact: Craig Boerner, (615)
2/13/2009  primitive timesizing in the news, reinvented thousands of times every day in every recession by mid- and small-size companies, organizations and governments despite being *dismissed out-of-hand by many economists and business schools - with excerpting and [commenting] by Phil Hyde (PH) unless otherwise initialed - 2/12/2009  primitive timesizing in the news, reinvented thousands of times every day in every recession by mid- and small-size companies, organizations and governments despite being *dismissed out-of-hand by many economists and business schools - with excerpting and [commenting] by Phil Hyde (PH) unless otherwise initialed -
  1. Sharing the pain: the recession gets real - Mitel has become the latest company to take unpaid days off to help cut costs, writes Bert Hill with files from Citizen News Services, Ottawa Citizen, D1.
    Another sign this recession is for real: job-sharing is back.
    Mitel Network employees were told this week they will be taking one day of involuntary unpaid leave every three weeks as the company struggles with weak demand in the global economy.
    For some workers in Mitel global operations, the action will involve two days leave every three weeks, the equivalent of a 13% pay cut.
    [Is that 8x2 divided by 8x5x3?]
    "The general feeling is that people would rather take a pay cut than lose their jobs in this market," said Sandra Pacey, Mitel director of corporate marketing, who broke the news to her team.
    "Sure it stings because we still have to make ends meet at home at the end of the month. "But most people want to help the company avoid a situation like Nortel where people are leaving without a severance package."
    Mitel is no stranger to job-sharing. It used the technique during the recessions of the early '80s and early '90s.
    Like most companies struggling with a recession, it is one more tool to save money including cutting travel and discretionary spending.
    And, of course, layoffs.
    Mitel also cut more jobs this week, eliminating an estimated 45 more jobs in a global workforce of about 2,500. About one-quarter work in Kanata [western suburb of Ottawa].
    Last November, Mitel laid off about 300 jobs in addition to 400 earlier in the year following a takeover of Inter-Tel, an Arizona company.
    Chief executive Don Smith said that he cut his pay by one-third.
    Sharing: Trend is stronger in the United States (continued), D6.
    "The downturn is accelerating and nobody really knows where the hell it is going," Mr. Smith said. "You can't ask your people to step up unless you step up too. My father was unemployed so I know how tough it can be."
    [This is just like worksharing company Lincoln Electric of Cleveland and their principle of "everyone sacrifices together, starting at the top."]
    Job-sharing schemes allow employers to minimize the loss of key skills and avoid the payment of severance packages in full-scale layoffs.
    [We prefer to call them work-sharing schemes because "job" implies the old rigid standard of 40 hours a week, while 'work' is flexible, anything from zero to 168.]
    In addition to Mitel, 20-20 Technologies Inc., a Montreal-area company, is also using unpaid leave to reduce operating costs as the U.S. housing collapse hurts demand for its 3D interior design and furniture manufacturing software. It also chopped 13% of the workforce.
    In 1991, former [NDP] Ontario premier and...Liberal leadership candidate Bob Rae was pilloried by public service unions when teachers and government employees were forced to take one day of unpaid leave per month ["Rae days" - actually very successful]. In February of that year, there were 80,000 workers on job-sharing programs across Ontario, reducing the unemployment rate by one-half of a percentage point.
    The jury is out over whether job-sharing stops layoffs.
    [Not when you workshare and cut hours as deeply as required to stop layoffs, and this is the future of any economy that wants to survive in the age of robotics.]
    A federal study following the 1982-83 recession found that while 100,000 jobs were saved, almost as many were lost.
    [So, duh, cut twice as many hours - why is it that otherwise intelligent people go braindead on this topic?! This is not rocket science.]
    But a study following the recession of the early 1990s found that 64% of the jobs of participants were ultimately saved.
    [So gee, guess they cut more hours, duh.]
    The trend to use job-sharing this time is stronger in the U.S. because the recession has been running longer and deeper there.
    [And because Canada tends to be an unimaginative little copycat when it comes to big problems like this. I used to think the Great Depression in Canada was not as bad as in the U.S., but from reading Pierre Berton's book on the Depression in Canada, I learned that Prime Minister Mackenzie King was slower to relieve the suffering in Canada and basically had to sell it to his braindead co-politicos by citing precedents by FDR in the States.]
    Dell, the struggling computer maker, is using involuntary leave to save money and retain staff.
    A recent survey of 100 U.S. HR executives by outplacement firm Challenger, Gray & Christmas found that almost half of them avoided job cuts at their companies by using several options, including reducing salaries, forced vacations [ie: work sharing] and hiring freezes.

  2. James Harris: L.A. mayoral candidate, 2/11 11:11pm Los Angeles Times - CA,USA
    With the March 3 primary election drawing near, The Times asked all candidates for Los Angeles mayor to respond to questions about key issues facing the nation's second-largest city. Here are the responses from candidate James Harris:
    ...3. Q: To cut costs, Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa is considering layoffs or offering early retirement to city employees. Do you support either or both of those alternatives? Given the increased need for government assistance in these bad economic times, is now the right time to reduce the number of city employees or cut hours at libraries and city parks?
    A: I am against Mayor Villaraigosa's budget cuts. Layoffs, early retirements and cutbacks in city services will only worsen the conditions of working people. I say no cuts to libraries, schools and parks. In fact the use of these facilities should be greatly expanded, not cut.
    If elected I would fight for cost-of-living increases in all wages and benefits, as well as federal legislation to
    shorten the workweek, with no cut in take-home pay, to spread the available work to all....
    [Make it easier for people to support themselves and us taxpayers won't have to!
    Let's get government and taxpayers OUT of the role of employer and charity of last resort!]

2/11/2009  primitive timesizing in the news, reinvented thousands of times every day in every recession by mid- and small-size companies, organizations and governments despite being *dismissed out-of-hand by many economists and business schools - with excerpting and [commenting] by Phil Hyde (PH) unless otherwise initialed -

2/10/2009  primitive timesizing in the news, reinvented thousands of times every day in every recession by mid- and small-size companies, organizations and governments despite being *dismissed out-of-hand by many economists and business schools - with excerpting and [commenting] by Phil Hyde (PH) unless otherwise initialed - 2/09/2009  primitive timesizing in the news, reinvented thousands of times every day in every recession by mid- and small-size companies, organizations and governments despite being *dismissed out-of-hand by many economists and business schools - with excerpting and [commenting] by Phil Hyde (PH) unless otherwise initialed - 2/08/2009  primitive timesizing in the news, reinvented thousands of times every day in every recession by mid- and small-size companies, organizations and governments despite being *dismissed out-of-hand by many economists and business schools - with excerpting and [commenting] by Phil Hyde (PH) unless otherwise initialed -
  1. To minimize layoffs, employers cut worker hours, Christian Science Monitor - Boston,MA,USA
    New York - Faced with a downturn in orders, Hardinge Inc. is laying off workers, cutting executive salaries, and freezing hiring. But the machine toolmaker in Elmira, N.Y., is also doing something else – something that hasn’t happened much in other downturns: Most of its workforce is now only getting paid [and only actually working?] for four workdays a week.
    “The alternative was to lay off 20 more people,” says Rick Simons, Hardinge’s president. “This way, we get to keep those people employed, and they get to keep their benefits going.”
    From coffee shops to machine shops, employers are trying to mitigate the effects of the downturn by reducing employees’ hours or overtime. California Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger, for one, has ordered some 200,000 state workers to take a two-day furlough every month in an effort to close a $42 billion budget gap. Even some of the legislation in the economic stimulus package would reward states that use “innovative benefits” – such as giving unemployment insurance to workers who have had their hours reduced.
    [Fred Best has an entire book about this: "Reducing Workweeks to Prevent Layoffs: The Economic and Social Impacts of Unemployment Insurance-Supported Work Sharing."]
    “Shrinking the hours everyone works helps reduce the extremes of how hard people are hit and maybe makes it a bit easier,” says Nigel Gault, chief US economist at IHS Global Insight in Lexington, Mass. “It also may be more helpful for morale, perhaps.”
    The attempt by companies like Hardinge comes during one of the worst job markets in decades. Last Friday, the Department of Labor reported that the US unemployment rate climbed to 7.6 percent in January, up from 7.2 percent in December. And the economy shed 598,000 jobs, the worst performance since the end of 1974. Over the past two months, more than 1 million people have lost their jobs.
    “This is about as bad as it gets,” says Daniel Meckstroth, chief economist at Manufacturers Alliance/MAPI in Arlington, Va. “There is no good way to spin this as anything good.”
    Since October, the US unemployment rate has climbed by one full percentage point, a pace of layoffs not seen since at least the 1980s. Given the number of recently announced layoffs and the rising number of new claims for unemployment, the February job losses could be even worse, some economists say.
    “If there is any silver lining to the news, we are seeing job cuts so widespread and massive [that] it may mean everyone is making all their job cuts all at once,” says Joel Naroff of Naroff Economic Advisors in Holland, Pa. “We are compacting an adjustment process that might have taken two years into 12 months, so we may get through it sooner.”
    Reducing workers’ hours may help keep the unemployment numbers from soaring yet higher, says labor economist Della Lee Sue of Marist College in Poughkeepsie, N.Y. “If the unemployment rate keeps going up, it makes a lot of people feel worse about the economy,” she says. “And that becomes a self-fulfilling prophecy.”
    But some work experts wonder if cutting hours is such a good idea. “It’s hard to get a team of people giving it their all when you’ve reduced their pay,” says Roberta Chinsky Matuson, president of Human Resource Solutions in Northampton, Mass. “This is particularly true if you have asked them to do more work than they have been required to do before.”
    [And if the alternative is total job loss? - some of these HR people just aren't thinking this through.]
    She worries that many people will be forced to get a second job. “They may like the other job better or be so exhausted [that] they may not be rested.”
    [The Timesizing program takes care of second jobs and moonlighting in Phase 3.]
    In Elmira, Mr. Simons says his workforce seems to have accepted the cut in hours, considering the alternatives. “They read the paper and see what’s going on,” he says. “We have another company, Corning, up here, and they have announced a layoff of 3,500, and most people know that.”
    Under New York State law, the Hardinge workers are eligible for unemployment payments for the loss of a paid day of work each week.
    According to Oakland, Calif.-based Maurice Emsellem, a lawyer at the National Employment Law Project, the states are “all over the place” on paying for reduced hours.
    Thirty states require an unemployed worker to seek full-time employment while receiving benefits. The federal Unemployment Insurance Modernization Act under consideration in Congress, part of the Obama economic stimulus plan, would offer states incentives to improve benefits coverage for part-time workers.
    Another thing that could help workers is if they anticipate that a work reduction is temporary. That’s the case for Katie Corrigan, who had her hours cut in half at a Boston recruiting firm last month. She envisions that the business will pick up once the economy recovers.
    “They will be calling on us. They will have to beef up their ranks,” she says. “We will be well positioned.”
    It helps, Ms. Corrigan says, that she likes the company. “What it comes down to is if it’s a company that you want to stay with, you will make the sacrifices over the short term to get the job back,” she says.
    For those who have had their hours sliced, however, there are adjustments. In Tacoma, Wash., waitress Kristen Olson has seen her hours at a local coffee shop cut from 35 hours a week to 20. Next month, she plans to move in with a roommate since she can’t afford rent by herself. And, she says, she either “sticks to happy hours” for dinner or makes a big pot of spaghetti that will last the week.
    The reduction in overtime at some companies can also be difficult for workers. In Jackson, Tenn., Bodine Aluminum has eliminated overtime for much of its workforce. “Some people bought houses and vehicles based on a 40-hour-plus workweek,” says Thaddessus Watford, a quality-control employee. “I’ve heard a few are in danger of losing their homes, and everyone is feeling the effects of it.”

  2. More companies use worker furloughs in tough economy - Many firms cut workweeks to avoid expensive hiring, training when good times return, By TAMMY JOYNER, Atlanta Journal Constitution - GA, USA
    To keep its workers off the unemployment line, Atlanta sheet metal contractor Gardner & Son has gone to shorter workweeks.
    Marietta businessman Jimmy Miller is considering doing the same next month if business doesn’t improve. In the meantime, he keeps his 60 employees working, doing odd jobs around his two fence firms.
    Just last week, Georgia lawmakers said 100,000 state workers will likely be furloughed to rein in the state’s $2 billion budget deficit.
    And at the Buckhead office of Dr. Bruce Edelstein, the staff takes a day off when patient bookings are thin.
    Once routine for government employees, autoworkers, airline pilots and flight attendants during economic lulls, furloughs or temporarily cutting employee hours are being used by more U.S. companies in what’s become a particularly brutal recession.
    Unlike the sting of permanent layoffs, furloughs let companies and government agencies keep workers and avoid costly hiring or retraining when conditions improve, some experts said. It can be particularly valuable for businesses that expect customers to return when the economy rebounds.
    “It’s increasingly being used throughout the economy,” said Mark Vitner, senior economist at Wachovia Corp. in Charlotte. “Mainly because so many companies are having a hard time finding skilled and capable workers during the good times that they don’t want to have to go through that again in a year or two when the economy comes back. They’re hoping to keep people.”
    California attorney Alison Hightower said the 700 lawyers at her firm have been inundated with calls from employers nationwide “asking questions about furloughs and other ways to reduce hours, workweeks and labor costs besides layoffs.”
    The intense interest in furloughs comes at a time when many companies are on second and third rounds of job cuts and American workers are taking a beating.
    Nearly 3.5 million jobs have vanished in the past year. And just last week the number of Americans filing initial unemployment claims soared to a 26-year high of 626,000 and the unemployment rate for January jumped to 7.6 percent.
    While corporate giants continue to jettison workers by the thousands, some manufacturers, media companies, doctors, dentists and plenty of other businesses have instituted or are considering shorter workweeks or unpaid time off — anything short of layoffs, which can be expensive and heart-wrenching.
    That’s Miller’s goal. His family’s fence businesses, Marietta Fence Co. and Circle A Fence Co., have never had a layoff.
    “My dad prided himself that he’d never had a layoff, and I am trying to keep that tradition alive,” Miller said. “I can’t say with certainty that I’m going to be able to do so. But my fear is if we let people go they will not be able to find another job. Under these conditions, the odds of them being able to find re-employment are pretty slim.”
    At 8.1 percent, Georgia’s unemployment rate is at a 26-year high. Miller’s employees would join the already hundreds of thousands of jobless Georgians looking for work.
    “The majority of our employees are married and have more than one child,” he said. “We’re affecting families, and that bothers me.”
    What bothers him even more is how little unemployment benefits are for jobless workers in Georgia — a weekly average of $271.
    “You might be able to buy groceries, and that’s about it,” he said. “God help you if you’ve got a house payment.”
    To keep his workers from having to collect unemployment, Miller said he has them do painting, cleaning and other odd jobs for the companies.
    “Whatever we can do to get them to 40 hours,” he said. “We’re resisting layoffs as long as we can. I’d rather cut them back than eliminate [jobs]. Something’s better than nothing.”
    Many industries that have been immune to downturns in the past are now scrambling to figure out ways to deal with this recession.
    Take Gannett Company Inc. Hit by declining advertising revenues, the nation’s largest newspaper publisher recently told workers to take an unpaid week off by March.
    “We would expect to see furloughs mainly where an economic downturn is substantial, broadly based across the economy and not expected to be permanent,” said Barry Hirsch, an economics professor and Usery Chair of the American Workplace at Georgia State University.
    Employers who use furloughs aren’t as worried about losing workers to other jobs when a downturn is as severe as the current one, Hirsch said.
    On the other hand, companies that don’t expect to see their business rebound are more apt to make permanent cuts such as layoffs, he added.
    The worsening economy has forced state and local governments to use furloughs more now, given the decline in sales tax revenue and falling home values.
    In addition to state workers, Fayetteville teachers have been furloughed along with city of Atlanta workers. Atlanta Mayor Shirley Franklin has come under fire for her decision to use furloughs.
    The head of the Atlanta firefighters union calls the practice “detrimental” for mission-critical jobs such as fire, police and rescue. Franklin ordered the furloughs to deal with the city’s $50 million revenue shortfall.
    “We understand employers want to use furloughs to hang onto highly trained, highly skilled workers,” said Jim Daws, a lieutenant with Atlanta fire and rescue and president of the International Association of Fire Fighters Local 134. “It pulls down staffing below need. It translates into more dangerous working conditions.”
    In addition to being furloughed, the city’s 850 or so firefighters have had overtime taken away and seen their pay cut 18 percent, Daws said.
    “Almost all of them have at least a second job, and many have a third job,” he said. Still, he conceded, furloughs may be a necessary evil in this economy.
    “It’s better to have a job than not have a job,” he said.

2/07/2009  primitive timesizing in the news, reinvented thousands of times every day in every recession by mid- and small-size companies, organizations and governments despite being *dismissed out-of-hand by many economists and business schools - with excerpting and [commenting] by Phil Hyde (PH) unless otherwise initialed -

2/06/2009 (caught up to on-the-day)   primitive timesizing in the news, reinvented thousands of times every day in every recession by mid- and small-size companies, organizations and governments despite being *dismissed out-of-hand by many economists and business schools - with excerpting and [commenting] by Phil Hyde (PH) unless otherwise initialed -
  1. Furloughs, the Future, by admin, AmericaDoomed.com
    California began its furlough program today where it requires certain state employees to take off, without pay, two days a month. Expect to see more of this in the future and it would be a good thing if they didn’t cut salaries. Long term America needs to embrace shorter working hours so that government and companies hire more people to do the work. However, it is important that these shorter work weeks still yield living wage jobs. That is the point that has been missed in California.
    Also, when employees are paid nothing more than living wage jobs, they can only pay for necessities. Paying for those necessities keeps some people employed; however, many people are employed in industries that sell “nice to have” products. Thus, people need to make more than a living wage to afford all of those other products.
    With unemployment zooming higher each month, many are just thankful if they have a living wage job. Yesterday, a thrift shop in Long Beach, California advertised 22 job openings and 400 people showed up to apply. In Florida, a thrift shop advertised some job openings and 1200 people showed up.
    America is doomed

  2. Cessna Aircraft cuts work week, warns of furloughs, By ROXANA HEGEMAN, AP via Forbes - NY,USA via Google News Search
    Cessna Aircraft Co. said Friday that it plans to cut the work week of some production workers to just three or four days a week as part of its ongoing effort to reduce costs amid a slumping economy.
    The move by the nation's largest manufacturer of general aviation aircraft comes a week after the Wichita-based company announced a total of 4,600 job cuts.
    Managers personally informed the affected employees, primarily those who make and assemble the small components used in building aircraft, said Cessna spokesman Doug Oliver. He had no numbers on how many workers in the components manufacturing department were affected.
    "The key is to keep inventory from building up and to make sure that we are producing only the parts we need to produce the number of aircraft we are going to produce this year," Oliver said.
    Reduced work weeks will begin on Feb. 13 and probably last seven weeks, he said.
    Cessna, which is a unit of Providence, R.I.-based Textron Inc. (nyse: TXT - news - people ), is also looking at other cost-cutting measures, including forced time off for some employees.
    "I don't foresee a plant-wide shutdown, but details are being worked on specific future furloughs," Oliver said.
    Last week, warning notices went out for most of the last 4,600 laid off workers, although a small number of support jobs are still being identified as part of those cuts.
    "We think we are at a level - given current economic conditions - that will carry us through this year and perhaps even next year," Oliver said.
    Cessna is not the only Wichita aircraft maker that's hurting.
    Wichita-based Hawker Beechcraft Corp. announced Tuesday it would lay off 2,300 workers on top of the nearly 500 positions cut last year.
    Two days later, Canada's Bombardier Aerospace said it is cutting 1,360 jobs, including about 350 at its Wichita plant, which 3,100 workers.
    Boeing (nyse: BA - news - people )'s Integrated Defense Systems plant in Wichita said last year it would lay off 800 workers due to the delay of a U.S. Air Force tanker replacement program. Boeing Co. has said it plans to lay off 10,000 more workers across the company.
    [The more you lay off instead of keeping on with shorter hours, the faster you downsize your customers' customers and your own markets.]

2/05/2009 (caught up to on-the-day)   primitive timesizing in the news, reinvented thousands of times every day in every recession by mid- and small-size companies, organizations and governments despite being *dismissed out-of-hand by many economists and business schools - with excerpting and [commenting] by Phil Hyde (PH) unless otherwise initialed -
  1. IP shortens work week, By Kathi Pines, 2/03 Suffolk News-Herald - Suffolk,VA,USA
    The Sheet Conversion Department at International Paper Co.’s Franklin mill has cut its operations to 32 hours a week, instead of 40.
    Mill spokesman Desmond Stills said Friday the reduction in hours is due to a lack of demand.
    The Sheet Conversion Department takes large rolls of paper produced by the plant and cuts them down to product size.
    “About 103 employees will be affected by the reduction, and they will remain on that schedule until demand increases,” Stills said.
    Word of the Franklin reductions came a day after Memphis, Tenn.-based IP said its fourth-quarter operating profit tumbled from a year ago, hurt by a sharp decline in demand for paper products and weaker results from its distribution and forest products businesses.
    The company reported a net loss of $452 million, or $1.07 a share, compared with a year-ago profit of $327 million, or 78 cents a share. Quarterly sales rose 12.1 percent to $6.55 billion, driven primarily by gains from last year’s acquisition of Weyerhaeuser Co.’s packaging business.
    Teresa Beale, executive director of the Franklin-Southampton Area Chamber of Commerce, said she was saddened but not surprised by Friday’s news about the Franklin mill.
    “It’s a sign of the times,” Beale said.
    She said the reduction eventually will have some economic impact on local businesses.
    “I don’t have the numbers, but with that number of workers bringing in less salary, there will be a trickle-down effect on the amount of disposable income spent with local merchants,” she said.
    “It’s a tough year, but we’ll all get through it. At least no one is losing their jobs (in the IP reduction). We are all finding that we have to make adjustments through this time.”
    In November, International Paper announced it was eliminating 50 jobs after a permanent shutdown of the No. 3 uncoated freesheet paper machine.
    The company offered buyouts for interested employees, and more than 100 decided to voluntarily conclude their tenure with the company. As a result, no employees at the Franklin mill were laid off, officials said.
    [Always take the first buyout, because the rest won't be as good, or won't happen at all.]

  2. Australian PM announces $42 billion crisis stimulus package, By Mike Head, World Socialist Web Site - Oak Park,MI,USA
    In a desperate bid to prevent an economic collapse and head off the eruption of social discontent, the Rudd government yesterday unveiled another multi-billion dollar rescue package—the sixth since last October. Under its latest "Nation Building and Job Plan," the government pledged to spend $42 billion over the next three years, claiming that this would "support up to 90,000 jobs".
    By the government's own estimates, however, unemployment will still nearly double to 7 percent by next year, destroying some 300,000 jobs, illustrating how quickly the package will be swamped by the continuing global economic meltdown. This has already happened to the estimated $44.7 billion already handed out to boost the banks, businesses and consumer spending over the past three months.
    Major finance houses and leading economists have warned that official unemployment will in fact rise to 10 percent by 2010, with another 10 percent of the workforce pushed into shorter hours, meaning that almost two million workers will be jobless or "under-employed".
    [...only by pre-robotics 1940 standards! The shorter hours can be part of a long-term solution....]
    The government's jobless estimate is as unreliable as the rest of its projections. Only two months ago, it was forecasting a 2008-09 budget surplus of $5 billion. Now, it is predicting a deficit of $22.5 billion—a $45 billion turnaround from the $22.5 billion surplus promised in last May's budget. As recently as last November, the government said the global slump would cut its tax revenues by $40 billion over four years. It has now almost trebled that estimate to $115 billion.
    Rudd vowed to "throw everything" at avoiding the national economy falling into recession. But no matter how much his government spends, it is powerless to hold back the impact of the worldwide financial maelstrom. All the country's major export markets are now officially in recession, except for China, whose economy has been contracting for the past three months.
    Chris Richardson of Access Economics commented: "What is happening internationally is absolutely diabolical. You are seeing economies very badly affected by the breakdown in the global banking system that happened in recent months and nothing Australia can do will stop recession here because it's recession everywhere."
    In his announcement, Rudd himself referred to "the worst economic crisis since the Second World War" and the "rapid unwinding of the mining boom," which has delivered multi-billion dollar profit and tax revenue windfalls for the past 15 years.
    In another sign of alarm at the speed of the downturn, the Reserve Bank of Australia cut its benchmark interest rate by a further 1 percentage point to 3.25 percent, the lowest level since 1964. This was the bank's fifth consecutive cut, with rates now down by a total of 400 basis points, from 7.25 percent in September. Despite these measures the latest data reveal that business and consumer lending dropped last year for the first time since World War II.
    It will not be long before the government exhausts its capacity to continue offering stimulus packages. Even by the Treasury's current calculations, this year's budget deficit will be followed by larger shortfalls over the following three years—by 2011-12, around $118 billion, or about 12 percent of the annual gross domestic product.
    Rudd will respond by demanding drastic cuts to welfare programs and social spending. While the government has predicted four years of deficits, former Labor Prime Minister Paul Keating has warned that the global "catastrophe" is "way worse than it appears" and will last for at least six or seven years.
    Yesterday's $42 billion package contained about $13 billion worth of various one-off handouts to low- and middle-income households. In their joint media release, Rudd and Treasurer Wayne Swan declared that these payments, together with similar ones in a $10.4 billion package last October, were "designed to assist those groups most affected by the flow-on effects of the global recession".
    This is a fraud. There is nothing for the growing army of unemployed, who have to live on just $225 per week. There is no money for emergency relief, despite welfare agencies telling the government that demand from families has doubled over the past few months. There is no increase in the level of pensions and benefits, which remain far below the poverty line, and nothing at all for self-funded retirees, whose savings have been decimated.
    Workers earning $100,000 or less per year will receive tax bonuses of $300 to $950. Low- and middle-income families will get a $950 per child back-to-school bonus and single-income families will get an extra $950. Similar bonuses will be paid to students and jobless workers who sign up for education or training. These amounts are puny compared to the scale of the growing hardship inflicted on working people, and their impact will soon evaporate. By their very nature, one-off handouts cannot address the ongoing social crisis.
    Even where families receive several of these amounts, the total will not relieve the distress caused by the loss of jobs, cuts in hours and pay, and the drop in home prices and superannuation funds. Despite falling interest rates, many will lose their homes. Well before last year's crash began, millions of households were already under severe financial stress, incurring record levels of mortgage and credit card debt just to make ends meet.
    Even as Rudd attempts to present a "caring" face his government continues to call for wage sacrifices and cuts on the pretext of "saving jobs". It is working hand in glove with employers to protect their profits, while imposing the full burden of the economic crisis onto the backs of workers.
    The package allocates about $20 billion for school infrastructure and maintenance, community facilities, road repairs and social housing. These amounts also bear no relationship to reality—they are a drop in the bucket compared to the urgent needs produced by the systematic running down of government schools, public housing and every form of social infrastructure over the past quarter century. A recent report found that in New South Wales alone, $2.2 billion in extra funding would be needed annually to bring government schools up to adequate standards. There is not a cent for the crisis-ridden public health and hospital system.
    While Deputy Prime Minister Julie Gillard described the $14.7 billion for schools as an "historic nation building investment," it amounts to just $1.54 million per school. Over the next three years Australia's 9,540 schools—including the wealthiest private schools—will each be eligible to build or upgrade just one building, such as a library or assembly hall, and to apply for up to $50,000 (small schools) or $200,000 (large schools) for maintenance or minor building repairs.
    The government's package also includes token so-called "green" initiatives—subsidies of up to $1,600 for households to either insulate their ceilings or install solar hot water systems.
    None of these programs involves any public works to provide jobs for the unemployed. Instead, the funds will be funneled into the coffers of the investment banks, construction companies and contractors that have fed off the privatisation of road and school construction, housing and every other social infrastructure program over the past three decades.
    Rudd's latest package is also designed to provide a sop to the growing concern among ordinary people about the tens of billions of dollars already allocated in government bailouts and guarantees to the same major banks, financial institutions and companies that were involved in the looting operations that led to the economic breakdown.
    According to Bloomberg News, a business publication, Australian banks, including the Macquarie investment bank, have saved at least $800 million in lower borrowing costs in the two months since the Rudd government started guaranteeing their deposits and bonds. While the banks are raking in the profits, however, lending for homes and businesses has substantially dried up, and business investment is tipped to plunge another 15 percent this year.
    The government guarantees have also left taxpayers heavily exposed to the risk of further international banking crashes, which could engulf the local banks.
    [So the Aussies learned nothing from Malaysia's intelligent example in the Asian currency crash of the late 1990s??]
    Last month, the government announced the establishment of a new fund, dubbed the Rudd Bank, to raise up to $30 billion to protect commercial property developers should foreign banks fail to roll over as much as $75 billion of maturing debt this year. Commercial property loans cover only a fraction of the economy.
    All the major business organisations, newspaper editorials and trade unions leaders have praised the latest package. Speaking in parliament, Rudd boasted that it had the backing of the Business Council of Australia, the Australian Industry Group and the Australian Chamber of Commerce and Industry, who were all consulted closely. Pledging the support of the unions, Australian Council of Trade Unions secretary Jeff Lawrence described it as "the right plan for very difficult circumstances".

2/04/2009 (caught up to on-the-day)   primitive timesizing in the news, reinvented thousands of times every day in every recession by mid- and small-size companies, organizations and governments despite being *dismissed out-of-hand by many economists and business schools - with excerpting and [commenting] by Phil Hyde (PH) unless otherwise initialed - 2/03!/2009 (changing to on-the-day)   primitive timesizing in the news, reinvented thousands of times every day in every recession by mid- and small-size companies, organizations and governments despite mainstream economists' and business schools' scorn - with excerpting and [commenting] by Phil Hyde (PH) unless otherwise initialed - 2/03/2009   primitive timesizing in the news, reinvented thousands of times every day in every recession by mid- and small-size companies, organizations and governments despite mainstream economists' and business schools' scorn - with excerpting and [commenting] by Phil Hyde (PH) unless otherwise initialed -

2/2/2009   primitive timesizing in the news, reinvented thousands of times every day in every recession by mid- and small-size companies, organizations and governments despite mainstream economists' and business schools' scorn - with excerpting and [commenting] by Phil Hyde (PH) unless otherwise initialed -

2/01/2009   primitive timesizing in the news, reinvented thousands of times every day in every recession by mid- and small-size companies, organizations and governments despite mainstream economists' and business schools' scorn - with excerpting and [commenting] by Phil Hyde (PH) unless otherwise initialed -

  1. [Temporary] Pay cut or [permanent] job cut? - Sideways, by Anita Gabriel, 1/31 Malaysia Star - Malaysia
    PARIS, the inimitable city of romance, art and everything fine in life, turned into a city of near chaos over the week. Millions led by unions thronged the city through snarling traffic to protest part of the government’s US$34bil stimulus plan – to cut the number of permanent public sector jobs. Indeed, too much for the French who have long grappled with high unemployment of 8%-10%.
    In contrast, unemployment has never quite been a prickly issue in Malaysia and as long as the jobless data hovered around 3%-3.5% (full employment by some standards), it didn’t have to be. Up till now that is.
    In recent weeks, there has been a deluge of grisly jobless data that has hit a nerve among Malaysians. The Malaysian Institute Economic Research (MIER) expects unemployment rate to creep up to 4.5% this year as businesses brutally slash cost and downsize operations amidst a slowing global economy.
    Malaysian Employers Federation (MEF) reported that 10,000 people have lost their jobs so far this year and expects more layoffs on the cards.
    Over the week, the International Labour Organisation, not meaning to be alarmist, warned nevertheless that global unemployment rates will increase this year, particularly in developing countries.
    Naturally, Malaysians who have escaped layoffs are now asking – will I be next?
    Just when the Government thought they have enough problems to deal with, in came another major one – the rising tide of layoffs. Let’s not forget. Thousands of fresh graduates are expected to enter the market this year, flooding a labour pool that could potentially shrink.
    Companies in dire straits, who are strapped for funds on the back of dwindling sales due to waning consumer confidence, may find it hard pressed to adhere to the Government’s behest to use retrenchment as a last resort. And what if many companies find themselves at that point of “last resort” and are compelled to cut jobs? Not unthinkable considering pundits’ forecast that this may be a long and arduous downward spiral.
    It was announced late in the week that a three-day work week may be on the cards for companies and factories if workers and employers agree. The rationale is clear – instead of laying off staff, companies can cut their work days and reduce the wages proportionately. It’s drastic but not quite as drastic as losing one’s job. Half a job is better than none at all.
    But that’s easier said than done. Imagine a factory with over 1,000 employees and trying to get all of them to agree on such a plan, particularly when the two groups – employer and employees – most often have such divergent positions.
    Desperate times call for desperate measures as well as speedy intervention. In order for public policy to rise above partisan interest, could the current circumstances be compelling enough for the Human Resources Ministry to formulate a regulation or legal framework that allows companies, which meet a certain set of criteria, to cut working hours if the only remaining alternative is to cut jobs?
    Some industry participants also suggest that this may be the right time for the country’s Employment Act, 1955 to be tweaked as it’s still very much related to the old economy which makes it “rather archaic”.
    There is, however, comfort in the fact that the Government has moved to tackle some burning issues concerning the slack in the labour market.
    For starters, employers in the textile and electronics and electrical sectors will be able to save some RM40mil, as they have been exempted from the human resources development levy for six months. The MEF has called for the exemption to be extended to other industries as well – not a bad idea, given the speed and scale of the impact of the global recession on Malaysian businesses.
    In addition, the Human Resources Ministry has asked for more funds to retrain those who have been retrenched from their jobs.
    How about temporarily reducing the mandatory 12% contribution by employers to their employees’ retirement fund, the Employees Provident Fund? Maybe it’s also time to rethink if we should have unemployment insurance, something the Government has long said we do not need, given the rose-tinged vision of full employment.
    Most of these measures may be a bitter pill to swallow for the employed lot but if they manage to stave off job cuts and add a ray of light in a dark employment landscape, then why not?
    Unemployment rate is an important indicator of a country’s general state of economy. Close rapport and regular discussions between the traditional tripartite parties – employers, employees and Government – is imperative in an economy banking on spending its way out of a slowdown.
    Anita Gabriel, business editor of The Malaysia Star, is overcome by an impulse for fairness. She thinks it’s time for the wealthy to pitch in during times of distress.

  2. VW sales tumble 15% in January, 1/31 Chattanooga Times Free Press
    Sales at Volkswagen fell by 15 percent in January as the worldwide slump in the car industry showed no sign of slowing, its chief executive officer was quoted as saying.
    Sales at Volkswagen were still better than its competitors, however, Martin Winterkorn told the Financial Times. Auto sales worldwide are down 25%.
    Still, it has put around two-thirds of its German work force on shorter hours as it slashes production to cope with the fall in demand.

1/31/2009   primitive timesizing in the news, reinvented thousands of times every day in every recession by mid- and small-size companies, organizations and governments despite mainstream economists' and business schools' scorn - with excerpting and [commenting] by Phil Hyde (PH) unless otherwise initialed -
  1. USPS Wants To Cut Back To Five-Day Work Week, By Alex Chasick, 1/30 The Consumerist - New York,NY,USA
    A $3 billion deficit and expected losses of $6 billion more have led the Postmaster General to suggest cutting mail delivery from six to five days.
    The post office blames FedEx and email, along with the decline of advertising mailers that has occurred with the economic downturn, for its troubles. Various studies have estimated that cutting a day of service, probably Tuesday or Saturday, could save between $1.9 and $3.5 billion annually.
    We pay most of our bills online, most of our packages come via UPS or DHL, so the only mail we usually get is magazines and ad fliers. Would you care if the mail came only five days a week?

  2. Britain Needs a Shorter-Hours Culture, What’s New, Sloan Work and Family Research Network, 1/30 Work and Family Blog - http://wfnetwork.bc.edu/blog/
    David Spencer of the United Kingdom’s Guardian [=Manchester Guardian] calls for a change in traditional orthodox economic theory to a more radical approach that would readjust work time to reduce the jobless rate and improve work life quality.

1/29/2009   primitive timesizing in the news, reinvented thousands of times every day in every recession by mid- and small-size companies, organizations and governments despite mainstream economists' and business schools' scorn - with excerpting and [commenting] by Phil Hyde (PH) unless otherwise initialed -
  1. Budget looking bleak - Councilors discuss options for smallest tax increase possible, By Dawn De Busk, Independent Publishing Group - Windham area, ME,USA
    During a budget workshop following the Windham Town Council’s regular meeting on Tuesday night, Town Manager Tony Plante presented a set of recommendations to stimulate revenue and decrease costs.
    The councilors repeated many of the same sentiments and beliefs they had expressed in earlier workshops. Councilors stated they did not want to lay-off town employees, and they voiced a concern for most residents’ ability to pay higher property taxes sometimes balanced with a realization that taxes might be raised within the levy limit to cover necessary costs.
    Plante advocated for maintaining road funding and replacing aging police cruisers in addition to exploring any other creative ways to deal with an anticipated $1.5 million budget gap for the 2009-10 fiscal year.
    In providing the council with his suggestions for reducing the budget, Plante slimmed the budget gap down to $335,000. His recommendations included: a one-year wage freeze for town employees, flat funding all operating expenses, a $50,000 reduction in capital equipment funding, and suspending contributions to the lands and buildings capital improvement fund.
    “A wage freeze could reduce the size of the gap,” Plante said. “The world has changed. The wage freeze is in line with what’s going on (economically) in the private business sector. It keeps staff we have as whole as possible.”
    “I’d rather see a freeze than layoffs,” Councilor Donna Chapman said. As she has mentioned in previous meetings, Chapman advocated for exploring a four-day workweek like the Town of Gray has established.
    Councilor Bob Muir asked Plante to provide his perspective of the four-day workweek.
    A four-day workweek would be the equivalent of a “20 percent wage decrease. For some, that’s not sustainable,” Plante said. Going to that work schedule would force some town employees to seek another full-time job, and would make the town less attractive in the marketplace when it advertises for positions left open after someone retires or gives notice, he said. In addition, employee’s health insurance deductions would go up.
    [Some people just don't understand that in a depression there is not "another full-time job" no matter how hard you "seek," and what makes the town less attractive in the marketplace is the amount they resort to layoffs. Plante's just another braindead destroyer. All he knows how to do is cut, cut, cut - right down into the 3rd world.]
    “The wages go down, but we would take more out of wages to pay health insurance,” he said.
    There wouldn’t be any significant savings from shutting down the Town Hall and the Windham Public Library one extra day out of the week since both structures are small and fairly efficient to heat, he said.
    [No, let's kill jobs, not just hours, and with the jobs let's kill employee-consumers and their dependent-consumers - let's just gather round and drink economic cyanide!]
    With some reluctance, Plante said the state-set tax levy limit correlates into a 15 cent per 1,000 mils increase, “but things can change.”
    Councilor Liz Wisecup said she’s been soliciting comments from residents, and everyone told her they don’t want to see any increase in their property taxes.
    “The majority of people can’t afford it. People are willing to see a reduction in town services,” she said.
    Muir and Chapman agreed with Wisecup on avoiding taxation.
    “Given the economy, I’m not in favor of raising taxes if we can get around it,” Muir said. “Fees and taxes – it’s money out of people’s pockets.”
    “It’s a tough one when we’re talking about people’s tax dollars,” Chapman said. She said not only is she a resident who pays property taxes, but many people in her district do – and some of them are not faring well enough financially to afford a jump in their tax bill.
    “This is going to be a tough budget season,” she said. “I have got one call about the budget, and it was from a town employee worried about their job. Tony, I wouldn’t want to be in your seat when it comes to handing out pink slips.”
    Chair Carol Waig said she would not support cutting jobs. As she had stated in the past, she thinks layoffs will only contribute to the recession.
    “It’s a ripple effect: you lose your job, you lose your home or your car,” Chapman said.
    Muir asked Plante if he could envision any way to cut services without cutting positions. Plante responded, “Not really.”
    [Plante has no vision at all - except The Great Depression Revisited.]
    Plante said he would keep the councilor’s input and priorities in mind while finalizing next fiscal year’s budget. He said he would be meeting with town managers in other communities to brainstorm creative solutions for making cuts or stimulating town revenue.
    [But creative solutions are staring him in the face and he's too lacking in vision to recognize it. And if these downsizing-bound Americans dominate the next few years, America is finished as a world leader.]
    The Windham Town Council will receive the proposed budget on March 31.

  2. Creative Cost-Cutting Tactics For Small Biz - How to pinch pennies until they wail, By MELANIE LINDNER, 1/29 FORBES.COM via 2/04 AOL rotating headline (Why the Stimulus Will Not Save Us - A Small Windfall Now Doesn't Equal Long-Term Help...)
    With credit locked up and consumers on the sidelines, small businesses should be sleuthing for any and all ways to shave expenses. Chopping heads only gets you so far--slice into muscle and you may be too hobbled to ride the rebound.
    "Many think that the next step is to eliminate head count, but they will almost certainly be late when recovery comes," says Ken Hagerstrom, chief executive of Carlsbad, Calif.-based consultancy Expense Reduction Analysts.
    With that in mind, we canvassed small business owners and consultants across the country to root out a host of creative cost-cutting techniques.
    Serious cost cutting means looking everywhere--even at the very packages that you send through the mail. Aaron Rubin, chief executive of karatedepot.com, an online karate-equipment retailer, cut costs by switching from the free boxes used by the United States Postal Service to lighter, bubble protected plastic envelopes. While he has to pay for the envelopes, the difference in weight is so significant that it costs him less than using the free boxes.
    "If you get a package down from one pound, one ounce to less than one pound, the saving for priority mail is over $3 per package," says Rubin.
    Sharing office space can save more than a few bucks. Tyler Jorgenson, a real estate broker in Chino, Calif., recently renegotiated his lease to include a provision for subleasing. He's now renting out 65% of his location and charging two tenants enough to cover his entire rent. One of the conditions of the deal is that Jorgenson pays for the utilities and Internet connection for the whole office (which he would have to do anyway if he didn't have tenants).
    Sometimes you have to lie down with competitors for survival. Group-purchasing organizations like the Council of Small Business Enterprise in Cleveland negotiates on behalf of nearly 17,000 members to get better deals on everything from employee benefit programs to office supplies. Buying in bulk lowers everyone's rates.
    If after preliminary layoffs your payroll is still weighing you down, consider turning your line workers into entrepreneurs.
    Say your firm writes software. Instead of chopping overhead by chopping heads, let each of the developers take charge of their own product while you take a stake in their efforts. In lieu of a salary, offer them partial support (in terms of marketing, product testing and health benefits) to build out their slice of the business and, with any luck, substantially increase their wealth. If all goes well, everyone wins.
    Don't forget to crack open your information technology expenses. You could pay $15 a month for conference-calling services offered by the likes of AccuConference, which allows an unlimited number of callers to convene for up to 10 hours per call. For that price, you get special features like the ability to poll participants during the call and, if they have a computer nearby, real-time viewing of Power Point presentations.
    Or you could pay nothing at the slightly stripped-down freeconferencecall.com, which allows up to 96 callers to have a maximum six-hour conference call. You can call in by phone or computer; record and reply to the call and share it by RSS feed or podcast. Cost: only your usual long distance fees.
    Cash-strapped manufacturers and other businesses with significant hard assets should take advantage of Section 179 of the United States Internal Revenue Tax Code. This provision allows deductions for "tangible" assets such as property and equipment.
    In 2007, the maximum deduction was just $125,000, but for 2008 and 2009, the IRS raised the amount to $250,000. If you're thinking of buying, say, a new truck and want that deduction, do it within the next year because the maximum deduction will drop back down to $125,000 in 2010. (For a complete description of property eligible for Section 179 deductions, click here.)
    Short on cash to cover year-end bonuses? Offer a few extra paid vacation days for the coming year instead. That way, you can still compensate employees for hours they didn't work, but you don't have to lay out all that cash in one shot.
    This one may be a tough sell during the holidays--but, hey, it's worth a shot.
    [Or how about offering a few extra unpaid vacation days - in a recession they're likely to view this as better than a 'permanent vacation.' And the amazing thing about this article is that it never mentions cutting the workweek = offering a few extra unpaid hours of free time each week - which, as the recession deepens, employees are also likely to view as better than being laid off.]

1/28/2009   primitive timesizing in the news, reinvented thousands of times every day in every recession by mid- and small-size companies, organizations and governments despite mainstream economists' and business schools' scorn - with excerpting and [commenting] by Phil Hyde (PH) unless otherwise initialed -

  1. Pass the stimulus - then help shorten the work week, op ed by Dean Baker, New York Daily News via nydailynews.com.
    As job losses hemorrhage, the American economy is in desperate need of a stimulus. It is becoming increasingly clear that Congress must work rapidly to approve some version of President Obama's plan.
    Then, Obama and the Congress should very quickly turn to taking a second, temporary step to create more jobs: creating incentives for companies to reduce the workweek and work year for many Americans.
    The idea is not as radical as it sounds - and could prove very productive indeed for the American worker.
    Recent Labor Department data make the scope of the problem clear: The economy lost more than 500,000 jobs a month in the last quarter of 2008. This adds insult to injury as state and local governments are already facing serious budget strains that will lead to massive service cutbacks and public sector layoffs.
    President Obama's $825 billion plan is a very good first step to contain the damage. Much of the package would go directly toward maintaining state and local services. The package also would help those hardest hit by the downturn with increased funding for unemployment benefits. For the first time, the feds also would cover most of the cost of health care insurance for unemployed workers. Finally, infrastructure and energy spending would inject money into the economy over the next two years and offer long-term benefits.
    But, big as the plan is, we're fooling ourselves if we believe that our work is done when some version of this stimulus gets passed. As President Obama's own analysis showed, the package would still leave us with 7% unemployment two years from now - roughly the current rate - even if things go well. This is intolerable.
    And of course, things could get worse. A further collapse of the banking system due to a tidal wave of bad debt or a run on the dollar are both plausible scenarios that could seriously worsen the situation.
    In short, we must right now start brainstorming creative and temporary plans to boost the economy further. One innovative policy that would provide a quick boost to the economy and jobs - and lasting gains in reduced unemployment - is a tax incentive for shorter workweeks or work years.
    No doubt, such a suggestion will make conservatives howl about liberals attempting to turn the United States into France, where in 2000 the government mandated a 35-hour workweek.
    But I'm not suggesting the government force a shorter workweek; I'm suggesting it create incentives for businesses to make the choice themselves.
    And in any event, there are worse examples to follow than France's on this score. The reduction in the workweek there created new jobs and improved productivity.
    Incentivizing a shorter workweek in the U.S. could take different forms. To qualify, an employer who currently provides no paid vacation might offer all workers three weeks a year of paid vacation, approximately a 6% reduction in work time. Alternatively, employers could cut the standard workweek, say from 40 hours to 36 hours, a 10% reduction in work hours.
    [This is essentially the way France's Robien Law worked in 1996.]
    Or they could offer paid sick leave or paid parental leave.
    How would this help the economy? The tax break would allow the employer to compensate workers for fewer hours up to some limit, say a maximum of $2,500 per worker. That would cut work hours but maintain staffing levels.
    As a result, workers would be getting just as much money as before the reduction in hours - but putting in 10% fewer hours. If workers have the same amount of money, then demand in the economy will be the same. At the same time, firms would then need to hire more workers to meet this demand, since they would be getting 10% fewer hours from each worker.
    Such a tax break would stay in effect for just two years. However, if workers and employers liked the new work schedules, there would be a lasting benefit from this job creation measure.
    Baker is co-director of the Center for Economic and Policy Research in Washington.
    [Dean Baker may turn out to be the fully credentialled economist needed by the shorter hours movement to lead the minimalist logical modification and upgrade of the time-blind illogic and contradictions within contemporary mainstream economics. See also the comments below this article on *this webpage.]

  2. ...More sectors of US economy hit by layoffs, 1/28 Singapore Business Times via ICIS News, ICIS.com
    Furloughs, wage reductions, hiring freezes and shorter hours simply did not do enough.
    [Then hours were not shortened enough across the board to reduce the labor surplus sufficiently to harness market forces in hiking wages...and spending and markets.... The volume of hours on offer in the job market is shrinking anyway - in the worst possible way - so it will happen anyway, and it finally goes so far as to create the necessary perceived shortage of labor to stop the collapse of wages. At that point, hiring and wage stability returns and we started calling the "recession" "over" ... at a much lower level of activity.]
    A year into this recession, companies across the board are resorting to mass job cuts.
    [Oh that's going to help - not! This is just further market-cutting suicide. Let's get back to shorter hours and retaining employee-consumers and their dependents.]

1/27/2009   primitive timesizing in the news, reinvented thousands of times every day in every recession by mid- and small-size companies, organizations and governments despite mainstream economists' and business schools' scorn - with excerpting and [commenting] by Phil Hyde (PH) unless otherwise initialed -
  1. How county departments will absorb personnel budget cuts, 1/27 Rome News-Tribune - Rome,GA,USA
    The Floyd County Commission on Tuesday accepted the proposed budget reductions for 2009 for various departments.
    The following list shows how each county department or agency will absorb a 4.5 percent cut in personnel funding for 2009. Larger departments also lost pay and benefit money for one in 10 positions. Salaries for elected officials and some of their deputies are set by state law.
    Office of Receiver & Jury Management: Each employee to take eight furlough days; Reduction in supplies, seminars and conferences, and legal fees line items.
    Juvenile Court: Eliminate two part time-positions. Each employee to take one furlough day per month.
    Probate Court: No furlough days. Reduction in supplies, health insurance, seminars and conferences, and hearing account line items.
    Clerk of Superior Court: No furloughs. Salaries of new clerk of court and chief deputy total $47,000 less than salaries of previous clerk and deputy.
    District Attorney: All employees to take one furlough day per month. District attorney, as well as each county-paid assistant district attorney, also will voluntarily take one furlough day per month. Seminar and conferences budget reduced.
    Victim Witness Assistance Program: No furloughs. Reduction in witness fees, seminars and conferences and child victim assistance program line items.
    Sheriff: Freeze up to five positions. All staff will take one eight-hour furlough day per month. Sheriff and chief deputy will voluntarily be part of the furlough program.
    Board of Commissioners: Each commissioner will voluntarily take a 4.5 percent pay cut.
    Human Resources: Each employee to take two furlough days. Reduction in merit board meeting fees, supplies, dues and subscriptions, seminar and conferences, repair and maintenance, employee medical exams, legal publications, data processing and postage line items.
    Police: Freeze four vacant patrol officer positions. Eliminate three school crossing guard positions, or require two days of furlough per employee. Reduce uniform budget.
    Facility Management: Each employee to take six furlough days. Three employees retired at the end of 2008. These positions are being replaced by employees with lesser salaries. Reductions in uniforms and small tools line items.
    Public Works: Freeze five positions. No furloughs. Employees to work Monday through Thursday – all PWC facilities to be closed on Fridays to save $15,000 in utility costs. Reductions in supplies, surface treatment (road paving), materials, uniforms, gas and oil, seminars and conferences, small tools, bridge material, traffic markings, and all other line items.
    Engineering: Two furlough days per employee; reduction in seminars and conferences and data processing line items.
    Prison: Freeze one outside detail officer position. Each employee to take five furlough days.
    Tax Assessor and Appraisers: Each employee to take three furlough days.
    Board of Assessors: reduction in days worked; no out-of-state audits; no new equipment. Reduction in supplies, seminars and conferences and data processing.
    Cooperative Extension: Each employee to take one furlough day per month.
    Tax Commissioner: Freeze two vacant positions. No furlough days to be taken.
    Magistrate Court: Eliminate two part-time constables and replace with one full-time constable. Eliminate one intern position in May. Eliminate overtime.
    Judges Durham, Colston, Mathews and Niedrach Court Reporters: No furloughs. Reduction in dues and subscriptions, seminars and conferences, postage and supplies.
    Superior Court Administrator: Furlough days to be taken. Reduction in bailiff’s time. Reduction in supplies, mileage, seminars and dues and subscription line items.
    County Manager: County Manager to take reduction in pay. Reduction in supplies, dues and subscriptions and seminars and conferences line items.
    County Clerk: All employees to take one furlough day per month.
    Purchasing: All staff will take one furlough day per month.
    Finance: Employees to take six furlough days. Eliminate intern position. Reduce seminars and conferences and data processing line items.
    Management Information Systems: All employees to take up to 12 furlough days.
    Emergency Management: Revised supplies, uniforms and seminars and conference line items. No furloughs.
    Animal Control: Reduce employee work week from 40 hours to 38 hours per week.
    911: Freeze two currently vacant positions to save $50,800. No furloughs.
    Solid Waste: Most employees to be permanent part-time employees instead of full-time; no special community clean-up days to be held in 2009, saving $12,000.
    Airport: Freeze one position. Cut back winter hours by one hour per day, closing at 8 p.m. instead of 9 p.m.
    211: One furlough day per month.
    Forum: Each employee to take nine furlough days. Reductions in uniforms, seminar and conferences and food and beverage line items.

  2. UK faces return of three-day week, 27/01/2009 1:55:41 PM globalhousepricecrash.com
    British workers could have their working week cut to three days under plans being considered by the government to help companies cope with recession.
    The government is understood to be considering paying firms to cut the working hours of thousands of staff instead of retrenching them in an attempt to stop unemployment soaring past two million.
    Now business secretary Peter Mandelson is facing calls to offer compensation for workers who have their hours cut.
    Unnamed ministerial sources told The Observer newspaper that a compensation scheme for workers was an option being discussed but was "not imminent".
    "Government sources said there were issues about whether to restrict compensation to the car industry or apply it to all firms," the newspaper said.
    The Department for Business is already advising employers on its website to consider cutting staff hours as a way to save money, saying it might be better than making staff redundant.
    Similar measures were [taken] after a series of crippling strikes by mine workers in the 1970s which had dramatic knock-on effects through the rest of the nation's economy.
    Former prime minister Margaret Thatcher introduced a short-time working directive in the 1980s to cover earnings lost through shorter hours.

1/26/2009   primitive timesizing in the news, reinvented thousands of times every day in every recession by mid- and small-size companies despite mainstream economists' and business schools' scorn - with excerpting and [commenting] by Phil Hyde (PH) unless otherwise initialed - 1/25/2009   primitive timesizing in the news, reinvented thousands of times every day in every recession by mid- and small-size companies despite mainstream economists' and business schools' scorn - with excerpting and [commenting] by Phil Hyde (PH) unless otherwise initialed - 1/24/2009   primitive timesizing in the news, reinvented thousands of times every day in every recession by mid- and small-size companies despite mainstream economists' and business schools' scorn - with excerpting and [commenting] by Phil Hyde (PH) unless otherwise initialed -
  1. Obama pressing for a quick jolt to the economy, by Calmes & Herszenhorn, 1/24 N.Y.Times, page A1.
    [The quickest sustainable jolt would be to enforce the existing 40-hour workweek on everyone, waged OR SALARIED, by transforming overtime into jobs (and training if there are too few qualified candidates) with a 100% tax on corporate overtime profits with a 100% exemption for reinvestment in (training&)hiring.]

  2. Another labor dispute erupts in Cebu over shorter workweek, 1/24 GMA news.tv - Quezon City,Metro Manila,Philippines
    MANILA, Philippines - A new labor dispute erupted in the province of Cebu over a meat processing factory's plan to reduce its workweek from six days to four days.
    The labor union of Lami Foods in Mandaue City started its daily protests Friday afternoon at the factory gates and is set to file on Monday an "unfair labor practice" case.
    Desiderio Lastimoso, president of the Workers Organization of Lami Foods, said the workers were surprised by a memorandum released by management on January 15 about the implementation of reduced work days starting February 16. "
    Lastimoso said the move constitutes a violation of their collective bargaining agreement that states workers must be informed and consulted of any work arrangements 10 days in advance.
    The workers called on management to withdraw the workweek reduction scheme and to comply with the CBA provision on consulting the union.
    "The two days reduction in the workweek means a 33 percent reduction in workers pay. It is a sacrifice that workers cannot afford given the hard times," said Lastimoso.
    Lastimoso said the workers can accept the cut in working days if there is no cut in wages. "Such a scheme simply means that management shares with its workers the increased profit resulting from the increased productivity of labor due to use of improved machines," he said.
    [This was the way it was supposed to be. This was the promise of technology that some managers betrayed by downsizing instead of timesizing. What part of "growth" don't they understand? - cuz DOWNsizing is NOT UPsizing, and growth has a lot more in common with UPsizing than DOWNsizing.]
    Lami Foods factory processes meat products from hotdogs to hams and canned goods for the Visayas and Mindanao market. It has about 75 regular workers and more than a hundred contractuals. – Jose Torres, GMANews.TV

    1/23/2009   primitive timesizing in the news, reinvented thousands of times every day in every recession by mid- and small-size companies despite mainstream economists' and business schools' scorn - with excerpting and [commenting] by Phil Hyde (PH) unless otherwise initialed -

    1. Germany's ThyssenKrupp to scale back production, 1/23 euronews24.org
      BERLIN - ThyssenKrupp will delay the planned start of stainless steel production at a $4 billion plant in Alabama, the German corporation's CEO said Friday.
      Speaking at the company's annual general meeting Friday, Ekkehard Schulz did not estimate how long the delay would be, but said the drop in demand was the worst he had seen in his 40-year career.
      "We will set and evaluate priorities, whether it makes more sense to move some investments to a later date," Schulz said. He said production at the plant near Mobile, Ala., would definitely start later than planned. Startup at the facility had been planned for early 2010.
      Schulz said Bochum-based ThyssenKrupp was considering overtime cutbacks and shorter working hours among other measures to help it adjust production to flagging demand.
      Even with those adjustments, Schulz said the unprecedented economic instability meant he could not rule out "significant cuts" in personnel.
      He said the company expected its high-grade steel division to post a loss at the outset of the fiscal year.
      On the Net: http://www.thyssenkrupp.com/

    2. [Timesizing can also mean workweek increases if the problem goes away or, as here, the solution is moved elsewhere (here, to paycuts for the highest paid).]
      Visteon goes back to full work week; pay cuts continue for some, by Alisa Priddle, 1/23 The Detroit News via DetNews.com - Detroit,MI,USA
      Visteon Corp. is restoring the five-day work week and base salary of most of its salaried workers effective Feb. 1, but cost-cutting measures mean the highest-paid employees will continue to accept a pay cut of as much as 10 percent of their base salary.
      In January, the parts maker instituted a four-day work week for about 2,000 white-collar workers at the headquarters in Van Buren Township as well as those working in Plymouth, said spokesman Jim Fisher. Dropping a work day came with a 20 percent reduction in pay.
      In February, the resumption of full-time hours marks the return of full base pay for those making up to $75,000. But the need to control cost means some reduction for those whose salaries exceed $75,000, affecting about 1,200 executives globally, Fisher said.
      Those making more than $75,000 can expect a pay cut ranging from 2 percent for some positions to 10 percent for the chairman and CEO, he said. The company will re-evaluate that policy June 30.
      [Meaning roughly a 6-month review.]
      Visteon, once the parts division of Ford Motor Co., is one of the largest components suppliers in the auto industry.
      You can reach Alisa Priddle at (313) 222 - 2504 or apriddle@detnews.com.

    1/23/2009   primitive timesizing in the news, reinvented thousands of times every day in every recession by mid- and small-size companies despite mainstream economists' and business schools' scorn - with excerpting and [commenting] by Phil Hyde (PH) unless otherwise initialed -
    • Get 'family-friendly,' or recession will last longer - Employers, government must repair work-life balance, major study concludes, by Kathryn May, 1/22 Ottawa Citizen, A5.
      [Hmm, sounds hopeful...but check out the spin on this -]
      Canada may not pull out of an economic slump unless governments and employers deal with the crushing workloads
      [so far so good]
      that are forcing a growing number of Canadians to delay or have fewer children,
      [whaaat? worried about having fewer children in the age of overpopulation as the planet explodes toward seven billion population, stressing every ecological system there is??? = weird!]
      says a leading expert in balancing work and family life.
      Linda Duxbury, a business professor at Carleton University's Sprott School of Business, delivered her sixth and final report on work-life balance yesterday....

    • Governors seek concessions from public workers, 1/22 AP via Forbes.com
      Governors across the nation are seeking significant concessions from public employee unions that they hope can help balance their teetering budgets during the economic downturn.
      From Maryland to California, Ohio to Hawaii, governors have asked or ordered that state workers accept furloughs, salary reductions, truncated work weeks or benefits cuts. They say the concessions are a better alternative to more job losses in the face of record-breaking unemployment.
      In hard-hit Ohio, Democratic Gov. Ted Strickland has asked unionized state employees to consider shortening their work week to 35 hours, taking a 5-percent pay cut
      [Hmm, a 12.5% hourscut and only a 5% paycut - not a bad deal!]
      and eliminating paid personal days and holidays for savings of hundreds of millions of dollars.
      [Well as long as they still take them, the overall labor surplus will diminish and market forces will boost wages (and higher wages will boost spending and markets).]
      According to an Ohio union memo obtained by The Associated Press, the Ohio Civil Service Employees Association is waiting to see Strickland's upcoming budget and the state's share of the federal stimulus package before making a decision. Executive director Andy Douglas declined comment because the union is in negotiations.
      The memo said there's no guarantee accepting concessions will preclude later job cuts, though the 5-percent across the board cut could save $163 million.
      Gov. Martin O'Malley of Maryland, another state facing an unexpectedly deep budget shortfall, imposed furloughs and salary cuts on thousands of state workers in December in a plan saving an estimated $34 million.
      In November, New Jersey trimmed two paid holidays from state workers' annual allotment: Lincoln's Birthday and the Friday after Thanksgiving. Eliminating the former holiday required legislative action and Gov. Jon Corzine was able to cut the latter on his own.
      Utah has also eliminated one paid holiday a year and is testing out a four-day state work week.
      Hawaii Gov. Linda Lingle has also raised the possibility she will pursue furloughs for that state's 36,000 employees, asking them to pay a larger share of their health insurance coverage, and foregoing raises.
      California Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger was able to impose furloughs two days a month beginning in February as a way to curb the cost for the state's 230,000-member state payroll to begin addressing a budget deficit projected to grow to $28 billion by 2010.
      He has had less success shaving two paid holidays off the current 14 that state workers receive, an allotment that is among the most generous in America.
      Spokesman Aaron McLear said the governor is "looking under every rock" to cut costs and believes it's a matter of fairness for state workers to do their part.
      "We can't go out there and tell the people of California, 'We're going to do all these terrible things to you (as a result of budget cuts),' and 'Oh, by the way, we've got 14 days off a year,'" he said.

    1/22/2009   primitive timesizing in the news, reinvented thousands of times every day in every recession by mid- and small-size companies despite mainstream economists' and business schools' scorn - with excerpting and [commenting] by Phil Hyde (PH) unless otherwise initialed -
    1. [Obama mentions timesizing instead of downsizing in inaugural speech -]
      'To reaffirm our enduring spirit', by Pres. Barack Obama, 1/21 WSJ, R4.
      [10th-last paragraph -]
      For as much as government can do, and must do, it is ultimately the faith and determination of the American people upon which this nation relies. It is the kindness to take in a stranger when the levees break, the selflessness of workers who would rather cut their hours than see a friend lose their job which sees us through our darkest hours....
      [There are five obstacles if Obama is serious about pursuing the only intelligent & sustainable way out of this economic crisis, namely timesizing: (1) It's the time dimension - makes us uneasy unless stays it stays in the background. (2) It's upstream of our income - requires we challenge our cushioned decision-makers & 'experts.' (3) It's contrary to our work ethic - "work hard to get ahead" - "keep busy" - "if you want it done right away, ask a busy person" - all must be revised in favor of "work smart - creative - flexible." (4) "The devil finds work for idle hands to do" - no, the leisure industry does. (5) Cutting workhours may activate a sense of guilt, but it gives everyone more time and more money to think ahead and work on the myriad crises facing us in the ecological age.]

    2. BMW to cut production of its 3, 7 Series in Germany, 1/21 Indian Autos Blog via Google News Search.
      The German car manufacturer - Bavarian Motor Works (BMW) today announced axing work hours at four of its main production facilities in Germany due to sick economic conditions.
      BMW Indian operations in Chennai gets the 3-Series in a box from one of these plants and puts it together locally. Although BMW India projects a 100% increase in sales, 3,000 or 4,000 cars annually would do little in forcing the German plants to work longer hours.
      BMW said that “26000 workers at its Dingolfing, Regensburg, Landshut and Berlin will work shorter hours in February and March.”
      “The highly qualified employees we are able to retain today will give us a decisive competitive edge in the future,”
      BMW said in its press release.
    1/21/2009   primitive timesizing in the news, reinvented thousands of times every day in every recession by mid- and small-size companies despite mainstream economists' and business schools' scorn - with excerpting and [commenting] by Phil Hyde (PH) unless otherwise initialed -
    • Volkswagen puts German workers on shorter hours, by The Associated Press via 1/20 Mlive.com
      BERLIN -- Volkswagen AG says it will put about 60,000 workers in Germany on shorter hours for five days next week.
      Volkswagen says in a statement Tuesday that the shorter hours will apply from Feb. 23 through Feb. 27 as it adapts production to demand.
      It says about two-thirds of the car maker's 92,000 employees in Germany will be affected.
      The company says some areas, such as component production and research and development, will be exempted.

    1/18/2009   primitive timesizing in the news, reinvented thousands of times every day in every recession by mid- and small-size companies despite mainstream economists' and business schools' scorn - with excerpting and [commenting] by Phil Hyde (PH) unless otherwise initialed -
    • Freeze or cut wages, By Sue-Ann Chia, 1/17 Straits Times - Singapore
      Singapore - The National Wages Council (NWC) wants companies hit by the worsening economic slump to introduce a wage freeze or pay cut to minimise layoffs, which are expected to surge after Chinese New Year.
      It has also called on companies to reduce non-wage costs, adding that the Government could help them stay afloat by reducing business costs.
      Those companies doing well are, however, urged to reward their workers with 'moderate' wage increases which should not be built into fixed wages but given as variable payments. Similarly, wage cuts should start with variable components bonuses, and management should lead by example, said the council yesterday.
      However, it is not in favour of any cut in the CPF contribution rates.
      The recommendations of the 13-member council are a revision of the guidelines it had announced last May when economic conditions were brighter.
      The Government has accepted the new guidelines, saying they were 'timely' to cope with the financial crisis.
      Though not mandatory, the recommendations are followed by most companies in Singapore.
      In announcing the changes, NWC's chairman, Professor Lim Pin, said they were enough for now. The council, with representatives from the Government, employer groups and unions, will meet again in April or May, when it holds its usual annual meeting.
      'Let's hope nothing too drastic happens between now and then,' said Prof Lim, indicating that more drastic measures will be taken if necessary.
      The latest meeting, the second in eight months, reflects the bleak state of the economy.
      It is only the third time in NWC's 37-year history that guidelines were revised way before the annual deadline. It did so in 1998 during the Asian financial crisis and again in 2001, after the Sept 11 attacks on the United States.
      The council said yesterday that retrenchments had started to rise 'significantly' in the fourth quarter of last year.
      The extent of the increase will be known by this month's end when the Manpower Ministry gives the numbers.
      Asked if the new guidelines will stave off retrenchments after Chinese New Year, council member Stephen Lee from the Singapore National Employers' Federation (SNEF) said: 'It can't prevent, but it can moderate retrenchments.'
      The guidelines also included a call for companies to tap on the new Government-sponsored training programme, which gives employers more money to retrain, rather than retrench, workers.
      So far, 170 companies have committed about 8,000 workers for the Skills Programme for Upgrading and Resilience or Spur. Another 2,000 jobless Singaporeans have also signed up.
      The NWC also reminded employers to follow the tripartite guidelines on managing excess workers, which means considering other cost-cutting options like a shorter work week before cutting staff.
      Council member Heng Chee How from NTUC said more than 18,000 workers from unionised companies have been put on a shorter work week since November.
      Standard Chartered Bank economist Alvin Liew describes the guidelines as 'logical'. He expects the Budget next Thursday to further flesh out the suggestions by cutting business costs.
      Other analysts, like Mr Leong Wai Ho from Barclays Capital, foresee more salary reductions, even a cut in employers' CPF contribution rate later should the recession persists.
      Industry groups such as the Singapore Chinese Chamber of Commerce and Industry and the Singapore Business Federation welcomed the recommendations, in particular, the call for Government to reduce non-wage costs, such as rent and utilities.
      Also backing the guidelines, SNEF noted that business costs rose 8.9 per cent in the first nine months of last year, compared to 2 per cent for the whole of 2007.
      NTUC on its part called on companies not to let up on efforts to retain older workers, and improve employment terms for low-wage and contract workers.
      Acting Manpower Minister Gan Kim Yong, at a separate event, said: 'I hope companies will take NWC's advice seriously and work with us to manage this downturn. If we can, we will be able to cut cost and save more jobs.'

    1/17/2009   primitive timesizing in the news, reinvented thousands of times every day in every recession by mid- and small-size companies despite mainstream economists' and business schools' scorn - with excerpting and [commenting] by Phil Hyde (PH) unless otherwise initialed -

    1. Johnson Controls posts loss, shares fall, By Soyoung Kim, 1/16 Reuters.com
      DETROIT (Reuters) - Auto parts maker Johnson Controls Inc (JCI.N) posted a wider-than-expected quarterly loss on Friday and forecast a similar loss in the current quarter, underscoring the worst auto market in decades.
      Johnson Controls, whose shares fell nearly 9 percent, is planning additional cost-cutting actions in response to a deep downturn in North America, where 2009 auto production volumes could fall to their lowest levels since 1983.
      "It became more apparent and evident that the depth and duration of the U.S. economic slowdown and recession was going to be greater than what we had initially expected," Johnson Controls Chief Executive Steve Roell said on a conference call.
      Chief Operating Officer Keith Wandell added, "Our customers, especially in North America, are almost inevitably going to do some downsizing. We'll have to respond accordingly."
      U.S. auto parts suppliers are reeling from tight credit, a housing market slump and a slowing economy, all of which have combined to drive down U.S. auto sales to decade lows. Demand in Europe and Asia has also followed the United States into a slump, dealing a further blow to the struggling supply base.
      Johnson Controls expects 2009 auto production volumes to decline about 30 percent in Europe.
      Johnson Controls, which makes car interiors, seating, batteries and building controls, said it is 30 percent complete in its plans to cut 9,300 jobs. In addition, it is freezing new hiring and salaries, eliminating annual bonuses for executives and considering four-day work week schedules, mostly in the automotive business....
      Parts suppliers, whose balance sheets are already strained by tighter credit and plunging auto production, have taken a further hit in recent months by concerns about the health of their major customers.
      Chrysler LLC, considered the weakest of the Detroit automakers, said on Thursday it would extend its month-long shutdown of its manufacturing operations at three plants, citing weak U.S. vehicle demand.
      Johnson Controls said industrywide North American production volumes are expected to be down 46 percent in the January-March quarter.
      Shares of Johnson Controls were down $1.47 or 8.6 percent at $15.60 on the New York Stock Exchange on Friday afternoon.
      (Editing by Derek Caney and Matthew Lewis)

    2. General Motors Shortens Work Week In Hungary Over Econ Crisis, 1/16 Agence-France Presse via CNNMoney.com
      BUDAPEST--U.S. car maker General Motors Corp. (GM) has shortened the work week at its engine and transmission plant in Hungary because of falling orders, a GM spokeswoman said Friday.
      The cutback to a four-day week, which started Friday, will be a temporary measure, Edit Legradi told AFP.
      Under the decision, made in agreement with the trade unions, the 640 employees and 39 contract workers at the plant will receive half their wages on the forced days off.
      GM Powertrain-Hungary Ltd. had already cut back on manufacturing, closed down engine production for a week and laid off 70 contracted employees in October due to the global economic slowdown.
      The plant in Szentgotthard, in western Hungary, turned out about 392,800 mid- size engines for export to Opel, Vauxhall and Saab models in 2008, which was " significantly lower than planned," Legradi said.
      "However, parts production remained in good shape throughout the year, with 205,000 cylinder heads produced," she added.
      At the end of November, Japanese car manufacturer Suzuki Motor Corp. (7269.TO) announced the lay-off of 1,200 employees at its Hungarian plant.
      Hungary's economy is heavily export-orientated. The government expects the economy to contract by as much as 2%-3% in 2009 as the country feels the full force of the global economic downturn.

    1/16/2009   primitive timesizing in the news, reinvented thousands of times every day in every recession by mid- and small-size companies despite mainstream economists' and business schools' scorn - with excerpting and [commenting] by Phil Hyde (PH) unless otherwise initialed -

    • Toyota cuts North American production as sales slump, By Alan Ohnsman, 1/15 Bloomberg.com
      Toyota Motor Corp., reeling from its biggest U.S. sales drop in more than three decades last year, plans to further cut North American vehicle production this year.
      The company is reducing output at all U.S. and Canadian plants by canceling several scheduled production days through April 3 to cut inventory, spokesman Mike Goss said in an interview. Reductions vary by plant and line, and include the elimination of 29 production days this quarter on the Georgetown, Kentucky, plant lines that build Camry sedans, Toyota said.
      Toyota is reducing its inventory of unsold vehicles that ballooned to more than 90 days at the end of December, as the company’s annual U.S. sales dropped 15 percent. Toyota’s move follows Nissan Motor Co.’s announcement yesterday that its U.S. auto-assembly plants will stay on a 4-day workweek indefinitely.
      “There’s really no way to average these,” Goss said, who declined to comment on what further steps may be taken. “We’re still studying what the future holds.”
      To contact the reporter on this story: Alan Ohnsman in Los Angeles at aohnsman@bloomberg.net

    1/15/2009   primitive timesizing in the news, reinvented thousands of times every day in every recession by mid- and small-size companies despite mainstream economists' and business schools' scorn - with excerpting and [commenting] by Phil Hyde (PH) unless otherwise initialed -

    • Zep stops 401(k) match, chairman gets pay cut, By PÉRALTE C. PAUL, 1/14 The Atlanta Journal-Constitution via ajc.com.
      Zep Inc. will immediately suspend its matching contributions to its employee 401(k) retirement plan, its chairman will take a 20 percent cut in salary and about 60 senior executives will have their pay and benefits reduced by up to 13 percent.
      John K. Morgan, chairman and chief executive of the Atlanta-based industrial cleaning chemicals company, confirmed the news Tuesday in an interview with The Atlanta Journal-Constitution. He likened Zep’s slump to the “flu” and outlined future steps he’s taking to return the firm to profitability.
      On Monday, the company reported a loss of $1.9 million, or 7 cents per share in the three months ended Nov. 30. Zep, which in December announced a 5 percent reduction in its non-sales work force — or 45 jobs — in response to the down economy, blamed the loss on that restructuring as well as falling sales and high commodities costs.
      Tuesday, Morgan held a dial-in conference call open only to employees to explain the measures Zep was taking.
      He said he told employees reinstating the matching contributions to 401(k) accounts is the first priority upon returning to profitability.
      He also said acquisitions are on hold and stressed that debtwise, Zep has only drawn down about $60 million against its current credit facility and another $60 million available.
      With the economy so weak, Zep employees are concerned about future job cuts. But Morgan said he is open to reducing work weeks for some workers as a means to keep from cutting positions. In an interview, he estimated that reducing the work week for 300 to 400 people in warehousing, customer service and manufacturing would save the jobs of 40 to 60 workers. A final decision will be left up to the company’s eight presidents.
      [With this strategy Mr. Morgan is on the mainline of progress toward reversing our downward economic spiral and restoring an employee and consumer base that is populous enough and well-paid enough to purchase its own output. The strategy he is contemplating is adaptable to either private- or public-sector and extendable to any level of aggregation. It will be implemented in some form by every corporation and economy that survives the next 50 years, just as the most advanced corporations today, Nucor of Charlotte NC and Lincoln Electric of Cleveland, are successfully implementing partial, discretionary forms of it already.]
    1/14/2009   primitive timesizing in the news, reinvented thousands of times every day in every recession by mid- and small-size companies despite mainstream economists' and business schools' scorn - with excerpting and [commenting] by Phil Hyde (PH) unless otherwise initialed -
    • Visteon Forecasts Lower Product Sales, By JOHN KELL, 1/13 6:00 PM ET WSJ online.
      Visteon Corp. expects fourth-quarter product sales volume to fall from a year ago amid lower global vehicle production and said it would suspend its 401(k) matching contributions and salary increases.
      Auto-parts supplier expects product sales for the quarter to be about $1.55 billion, a 43% drop from a year ago, amid lower vehicle production by Visteon's global customers.
      Visteon said it is on track to complete its 800 global job cuts, which were first announced in October, by the end of the first quarter, with annual savings of $60 million expected upon completion.
      For January, Visteon will adopt a four-day workweek for about 2,000 of its employees, along with a commensurate 20% reduction in salaries. Other cost-cutting efforts include suspending 401(k) matching contributions and salary increases for 2009.
      Visteon is the latest company to cut its employee retirement contributions. FedEx Corp., Starbucks Corp. and Motorola Inc. also eliminated or suspended their 401(k) contribution offerings.
      Last month, the company withdrew its 2008 guidance in light of bigger-than-expected declines in global vehicle production and industry uncertainty....
      Shares were even in after-hours trading at 37 cents.
      Write to John Kell at john.kell@dowjones.com
    1/11/2009   primitive timesizing in the news, reinvented thousands of times every day in every recession by mid- and small-size companies despite mainstream economists' and business schools' scorn - with excerpting and [commenting] by Phil Hyde (PH) unless otherwise initialed -
    • Slack demand drives 3-day work week at Hyundai plant
      Friday, January 09, 2009, Staff Report, Montgomery AL Press-Register.
      Hyundai's Montgomery plant operated only three days this week following Monday's announcement of dire North American sales for December, including a 73 percent nosedive in sales of the Montgomery-built Sonata. The work schedule could continue through the end of the month, said spokesman Robert Burns, who would not elaborate further.
      "We are monitoring market conditions and will operate a flexible work schedule depending on customer demand during the month of January," Hyundai Motor Manufacturing Alabama LLC, said in a statement Thurs day. "(The plant) operates a lean and efficient manufacturing system that can quickly respond to changes in market conditions and customer demand with flexibility. This flexibility is critical to the long-term success" of the company.
      From October to December, the plant cut 11 production days.
      The plant employs about 3,000 people, and in November turned out about 11,000 vehicles — the fewest since the plant reached full production in 2005. It turned out some 19,800 vehicles in an average month last year. December totals have not been announced.

    1/10/2009   primitive timesizing in the news, reinvented thousands of times every day in every recession by mid- and small-size companies despite mainstream economists' and business schools' scorn - with excerpting and [commenting] by Phil Hyde (PH) unless otherwise initialed -

    • MediaCorp to reduce work hours but programming not affected
      Posted: 09 January 2009 1638 hrs, Channelnewsasia.com
      Singapore - Media giant MediaCorp will be adopting alternate short weeks with staff taking block leave to cut operating costs. The announcement made on Friday, however, came with an assurance that MediaCorp's popular TV and radio programmes, publications and online properties will not be affected.
      MediaCorp CEO Lucas Chow said these and other cost cutting measures would help the company weather the economic storm, without having to resort to retrenchments at this stage.
      "We need to take pro-active measures to respond to the weak business condition. But whatever we do, our twin priorities are to ensure that there is no impact to our audiences and partners, and to save jobs," said Mr Chow at a staff briefing.
      The company, he said, has started seeing a decline in advertising revenue, which forms the bulk of its income.
      With the shorter 4-day week that will alternate with the regular 5-day work week starting from April 2009, the company will see a reduction of about 10 per cent in its annual wage bill.
      Further savings in operating costs will come from common leave taken across the group – except those manning 24 by 7 services such as news, broadcast transmission, live radio and advertisement bookings.
      The alternate short week and common leave will be scheduled around public holidays and school vacations, resulting in some breaks lasting up to a week. This break will enable MediaCorp to carry out equipment and facility maintenance.
      During the shutdown periods, the company is also considering letting staff undergo training and skills upgrading under the auspices of the NTUC and other agencies. The first block leave begins during the Lunar New Year week.
      The company’s in-house union had provided input on the scheduled shutdowns.
      Mr Ang Wah Lai, President of Singapore Union of Broadcasting Employees (SUBE), said: "Our employees understand it's a necessary step to save jobs. I am glad to have been consulted early, and the early notice of the scheduled shutdowns allows staff to plan their personal commitments.
      "I really appreciate the level of trust and openness between the union and management."
      He was comforted that the new working arrangements would be reviewed regularly as to whether they are needed.
      NTUC's Secretary General, Mr Lim Swee Say, said he is most encouraged by the close consultation between MediaCorp's management and SUBE.
      He said: "It will strengthen trust and build confidence which is especially critical during this period of economic downturn.
      "I am also happy that MediaCorp is making full use of SPUR (Skills Programme for Upgrading and Resilience) to upgrade the skills of the staff and enhance the capability of the organisation. I am sure MediaCorp will emerge from this downturn even stronger and better."
      These new working arrangements come on top of various other cost cutting measures already implemented, including cutting variable bonuses.
      Under SPUR which is a scheme developed by the Singapore Workforce Development Agency (WDA) together with the Manpower Ministry (MOM), National Trades Union Congress (NTUC) and the Singapore National Employers Federation (SNEF), companies and workers can tap into scale-up skills training programmes.
      Singapore's Manpower Ministry recently added more SPUR courses, bringing the total to 800 courses - a five-fold increase from December 2008 - to encourage companies to send workers for upgrading, instead of retrenching them.
      Through SPUR, employers can also look to save on manpower costs and better manage their excess manpower during the current economic downturn.
      - CNA/sf
    1/09/2009   primitive timesizing in the news, reinvented thousands of times every day in every recession by mid- and small-size companies despite mainstream economists' and business schools' scorn - with excerpting and [commenting] by Phil Hyde (PH) unless otherwise initialed -
    1. Good Jobs? Green Jobs? Shorter Hours! by "the Sandwichman" (Tom Walker, Vancouver), 1/08 EconoSpeak.
      A contest announcement arrived in the Sandwichman's inbox yesterday. It was from Working America, the "community affiliate" of the AFL-CIO:
      "Working America is going to be sending two grand prize winners and up to three honorable mention winners to the Good Jobs, Green Jobs National Conference, to be held Feb. 4–6, 2009, in Washington, D.C. Winners won't just get a free trip (up to a value of $1,500), they'll get an opportunity to hear from activists and experts from around the country on how we can create jobs and help the environment at the same time.
      "To enter, go here and answer the question: 'Why do you want to fight for a green jobs economy and why are you the right person to represent Working America's members at the Good Jobs, Green Jobs National Conference?' "
      So the Sandwichman visited the conference website and perused the agenda. M.S., B.S., Phd. (more of the same BS piled higher and deeper). To remedy the apparent lack of analysis besetting the GJGJ conference, the Sandwichman is offering a prize of his own to contest entrants pointing out the contribution that the reduction of working time can make to a greener economy (see for example, the CEPR paper by David Rosnick and Mark Weisbrot and "Are Shorter Work Hours Good for the Environment? A Comparison of U.S. and European Energy Consumption").
      The Sandwichman will award copies of Peter Victor's book, Managing Without Growth: Slower by design, not disaster to up to six contest entrants who make the environmental case for shorter hours. One of those prizes will go to the entry I like the best and up to five book prizes will go to any shorter hours entries that are selected as finalists by Working America. Just send a copy of your entry to the Sandwichman at "lumpoflabor(remove this)at(this too)telus(ditto)dot(ditto)net".
      By the way, entries arguing against shorter working time will also be eligible for the prize, if anyone is so inclined! Here's the Sandwichman's own entry (not eligible for the prize):
      "The name 'Good Jobs, Green Jobs' rings a bell. It recalls the theme of an issue of the Canadian environmental magazine, Alternatives, from 2001: 'Green Jobs, Good Work.' One of the articles, 'Good Work, Less Toil' by Anders Hayden, explored the relationship between work, consumerism and the environment. As Hayden pointed out, 'much of our work today feeds unsustainable forms of production that torment the planet.' That article was concerned with more than just the tension between the slogan of 'jobs, jobs, jobs' and the environment. It also addressed the time famine that many over-worked North Americans endure even while others remain underemployed or out of work. Sharing the work is thus an indispensable part of sparing the planet.
      "The dream of cleanly, efficiently and renewably retrofitting an economy addicted to unlimited growth is seductive but futile. As the 19th economist W. Stanley Jevons predicted -- and American experience in the wake of the energy crisis of the 1970s confirmed -- increasing energy efficiency alone leads to more, not less, total consumption. Similarly, green technologies can indeed lower emissions of greenhouse gases per dollar of output. But it is total emissions -- not just the intensity of emissions -- that need to be reduced. Urgent targets for reducing total emissions are only achievable by combining greener technology with slower or no economic growth.
      "In Managing Without Growth, Peter Victor, an ecological economist at York University in Canada modeled the effects on the environment, poverty and unemployment of various economic-growth scenarios. If we rely on economic growth averaging 2.5 percent annually to supply jobs, greenhouse gas emissions will increase by around 75 percent over the next 30 years even if the intensity of emissions continues to decline at a rate consistent with the historical trend. Even so, poverty and unemployment will creep upward. Simply ceasing economic growth, however, would result in catastrophic increases in poverty and unemployment. Only by slowing economic growth, reducing working time and targeting investment and regulatory policy on greenhouse gas reductions in combination can the goals of environmental protection and reduction of poverty and unemployment be approached simultaneously.
      "But how does the reduction of working time square with the goal of creating good jobs? Eighty years ago, economist Raymond Henry Mussey wrote that, 'no student of American labor history can fail to be struck with the extraordinary importance of the eight-hour issue in union thinking during the formative years of the American Federation of Labor.' Mussey affirmed that the shorter hours theory ideally fit the organizational needs of the labor movement. Indeed, in the face of the depression of the 1930s and concerns about job loss to automation in the 1950s and 1960s, the labor movement returned again and again to the issue of the shorter workweek. Today, what needs above all to be understood is that the reduction of working time creates opportunity for greater freedom and enjoyment through leisure and not a grim necessity to be borne with regret and resignation.

    2. HanseYachts CFO Sees Luxury Boatmakers in Crisis (Update3), by Claudia Rach, 1/08 Bloomberg.com.
      HanseYachts AG, Germany’s largest publicly traded yacht maker, predicts the global recession will trigger a slump in sales as customers postpone plans to buy boats.
      “We don’t think that the crisis will be over in half a year,” Chief Financial Officer Udo Potthast said in a telephone interview from Greifswald, where the company is based. “It will be a longer process.”
      SES Research’s Frankfurt-based Frank Laser, the only analyst with estimates compiled by Bloomberg, projects as much as a 33 percent slump in revenue to about 90 million euros ($122 million) in the year ending July 2009. “This is the dimension we could see,” Potthast said.
      HanseYachts fired 110 employees in the second half of 2008 and about 70 of its remaining 500 staff are working shorter hours to compensate for a drop in orders. The world economy will shrink for the first time in almost 50 years this year, according to the Institute of International Finance. That prospect is eroding demand for luxury goods from Swiss watches to French perfume.
      The shares fell as much as 11 percent on the Frankfurt exchange and closed at 3.20 euros, a decline of 20 cents, or 5.9 percent, that reduced the company’s market value to 20.5 million euros.
      Stormy Water
      In Germany, the world’s largest exporter, the government has proposed stimulus measures to cushion the economy against recession, including paying half of employers’ social insurance contributions for short-shift workers to discourage job cuts.
      HanseYachts is using the shorter week to try to and hold its workforce together. The boat-builder may take advantage of the government proposal to extend the current six months of truncated hours, Potthast said, adding that there are no plans to reduce staff further. He declined to rule out further job cuts.
      Boatmakers throughout Europe have been hurt because of lower demand for more expensive leisure activities such as sailing. Beneteau SA, the world’s biggest sailboat maker, last month said it expects a “pause” in profit as customers rein in spending on its yachts. The company also said temporary lay-offs affecting a total of 3,500 workers would begin this month.
      Rodriguez Group SA, the maker of Mangusta and Leopard motor- driven yachts, also reported plunging sales last year and has been struggling to get rid of its stock of second-hand craft. Poncin Yachts, the French maker of Catana catamarans, was forced to seek bankruptcy protection last year after failing to reach an accord with its creditors and as demand for its Harmony sailboats slumped in countries such as Spain.
      Export Slump
      HanseYachts made 85 percent of its sales abroad last year. German exports dropped in November by the most since records began after reunification in 1990, government figures showed today.
      “The problem is that customers are no longer spontaneous about making their dreams come true,” Potthast said. “They think about it much longer than they used to.”
      Prices for HanseYachts vessels equipped to its normal standard and excluding sales tax range from 61,000 euros to 730,000 euros, putting them in the same price category as luxury cars and luxury homes.
      The German government is considering a 100 billion-euro fund to help companies struggling to obtain loans because of the global credit crisis, according to a draft document drawn up by the Economy Ministry and obtained by Bloomberg News today.
      “HanseYachts has the financial leeway and a healthy balance sheet to get through the recession and emerge as a winner in the medium term,” said Laser, who rates the stock “buy”.
      Capacity utilization should increase in the months ahead so that the company can reduce short-time work, Potthast said.
      HanseYachts shares declined 86 percent last year as Germany, Europe’s largest economy, fell into the worst recession in at least 12 years. The company went public in March 2007.
      To contact the reporter on this story: Claudia Rach in Berlin at crach1@bloomberg.net

    3. Talks organised to help families cope with financial downturn, by Dominique Loh, 1/08 Channel NewsAsia Singapore News.
      SINGAPORE: As many as 15,000 unionised workers are now working shorter hours and work weeks since November last year.
      The National Trades Union Congress (NTUC) said this development is not unexpected as companies face up to the realities of a global economic downturn.
      On the bright side, it said retrenchment did not spike significantly. About 3,800 people lost their jobs last year, compared to about 3,000 in 2007.
      Going forward, the labour movement is planning a series of activities to help workers and their families cope with their financial situation.
      45-year-old Tan Koon Ban has his salary cut by 40 per cent since February last year as his company has implemented cost-cutting measures such as shorter working hours to stay in business.
      Despite a smaller take-home pay, he remains optimistic, thanks to his family's support and understanding.
      "Quarrelling over money can hurt relationships. When it comes to money issues, you must communicate with your family. You must be honest about the money situation," said Mr Tan.
      But others may not be so lucky as they face emotional stress and tension caused by financial difficulties. To resolve these issues, some feel there is a need to go beyond financial and job assistance.
      Lim Soon Hock, chairperson, National Family Council, said: "If a family does break down, it is not because of the financial crisis, but the result of the family not being able to manage it."
      Josephine Teo, assistant secretary-general, NTUC, said: "Anecdotally, the evidence is quite clear – relations do come under strain. Between 2002 and 2003, I did see a spike in divorce rates.
      "But in other years, it's not so obvious, and if we look deeper into the issue, even if a crisis is short term, the impact can be long term and it takes time to play out."
      That is why the NTUC and the National Family Council want families to equip themselves with simple tools to cope with the tough times.
      The organisations are rolling out The Resilient Family Series, which will give people tips on how to manage money and relationships. For a start, three talks are being planned in the first quarter, targeting at least 1,000 people.
      Members of the public can log on to www.tdc.sg for more details on the talks.

    4. Record levels of unpaid overtime - More than 5 million employees worked extra hours for free, losing £26.9bn in pay, says TUC, by John Carvel, 1/08 Guardian.co.uk.
      Employers had benefited from record levels of unpaid overtime provided by their workers last year in a further extension of the long-hours culture that has characterised the British workplace, the TUC said today.
      More than five million people gave free overtime worth £26.9bn by staying at work longer than their contracted hours – the highest number since records began in 1992.
      The TUC, whose figures were based on analysis of official statistics, said the previous record was in 2001, when five million employees worked unpaid overtime.
      The statistics measured hours worked in the 12 months to mid-2008, before the economic recession took hold. Officials said unpaid overtime was likely to increase this year among workers who were feeling increasingly insecure about keeping their jobs. But the trend will not apply in companies that are facing contracting order books and have had to impose a shorter working we on staff.
      The TUC said the average amount of unpaid overtime last year was seven hours and six minutes a week, or an extra £5,139 a year to workers if they had been properly remunerated.
      The biggest increases in unpaid overtime were in London, the East Midlands and Eastern England.
      TUC general secretary Brendan Barber said: "After years of progress, the numbers doing unpaid overtime has increased for the second year in a row. This is disappointing.
      "But while some of this is due to the long-hours culture that still dogs too many British workplaces, the recession will now be making many people scared of losing their job in the year ahead and joining the ever-growing dole queue. Inevitably, people will be putting in extra hours if they think it can help protect against redundancy or keep their employer in business."
      The TUC calculated that if those who worked extra hours for free put all their overtime together at the start of the year, they would not get paid until 27 February.

    1/08/2009   primitive timesizing in the news, reinvented thousands of times every day in every recession by mid- and small-size companies despite mainstream economists' and business schools' scorn - with excerpting and [commenting] by Phil Hyde (PH) unless otherwise initialed -
    1. So far, agreement on shorter work hours - Shorter working hours and forced leaves have been adopted by some industries, most notably the electronics industry, to prevent retrenchment, by Emilia David, 1/07 Philippines BusinessWorld Online.
      Employers and labor groups are willing to compromise on working hours to prevent retrenchments as an economic downturn takes hold.
      Organized labor, however, does not want employee benefits reduced and adds that management should be willing to drop the perks it enjoys.
      Employers, meanwhile, want laws eased to allow for additional concessions from workers.
      "The Labor Code is very rigid. All we can do is cut working hours and the like because we do not want to let go of our workers," said Vicente R. Leogardo, Jr., director-general of the Employers Confederation of the Philippines (ECoP).
      "It would be better if employers were allowed to reduce the fringe benefits like allowances of workers."...

    1/07/2009   primitive timesizing in the news, reinvented thousands of times every day in every recession by mid- and small-size companies despite mainstream economists' and business schools' scorn - with excerpting and [commenting] by Phil Hyde (PH) unless otherwise initialed -

    1. Work-sharing could protect jobs: Mitarai, by Hiroko Nakata, 1/07 Japan Times Online via search.japantimes.co.jp
      TOKYO, Japan -Big business needs to take every measure possible to improve the rapidly deteriorating employment conditions, and work-sharing is an option that should be considered, Japan Business Federation (Nippon Keidanren) Chairman Fujio Mitarai said Tuesday.
      Also, the government and the private sector should work together to create a safety net for people who lose their jobs, Mitarai said at a news conference.
      "To solve the current labor problems, the corporate sector should create a safety net together with the government and take every step to expand employment," the head of the country's most influential business lobby said.
      "The idea of work-sharing is one option for a company that needs to adjust employment," he said.
      The concept of work-sharing, where responsibility for one job is shared with one or more part-time workers, is a familiar one in Europe. Few Japanese companies have tried it.
      [No, that's job sharing. Work sharing is rejigging the workload of a whole group or company or city or prefecture or nation of employees to take less time and packaging the leftover responsibilities into jobs for additional employees that then need to be hired.]
      As for the hundreds of jobless people — many of them laid-off temp workers — who spent the New Year's holidays camped out in Hibiya Park in Tokyo, Mitarai said: "I am very sorry and personally feel sympathy with them."
      He said their plight was a result of job adjustments carried out by companies that were suddenly forced to cut production because of the global economic downturn.
      On the economic outlook for 2009, Mitarai said it will be extremely harsh. He said he expects the benchmark Nikkei 225 stock average to slip to as low as 6,000 by the end of the year. The Nikkei closed at 9,080.84 Tuesday.
      At the same time, the world economy has the potential for strong growth, considering the strength of emerging economies, possibilities for market expansion and potential growth of new businesses resulting from technological innovation, Mitarai said.
      At a separate gathering Tuesday, business leaders of top companies called for speedy measures to stem the economic downturn, saying it could be longer and more devastating than previous economic cycles.

    2. Brevard teachers won't get pay raises - Talks stuck as educators seek 7½-hour day, by Megan Downs, 1/06 Florida Today.
      VIERA, Fla. -- Teacher contract negotiations remained at a stalemate Monday after a daylong bargaining session.
      It did become apparent, however, that Brevard Public Schools' 5,000-plus teachers won't receive a raise for the 2008-09 school year, according to discussions between the teachers' union and school board representatives.
      Nor will Brevard's educators receive the pay increase typically awarded when they reach the next step on the salary scale.
      Earlier in the day, both sides agreed that there's not enough money during the tight budget year.
      The district already has lost almost $90 million and could lose another $10 million this month. Also, the district is projected to lose another $30 million to $46 million next school year.
      Contract negotiations began last summer, but dire budget predictions stalled progress.
      "Everyone understands that there are no dollars available," said Joy Salamone, chief negotiator for the Brevard County School Board. "But it's kind of sad that we could not come to an agreement."
      Last year, Brevard teachers received an average raise of 4.5 percent.
      The Florida Legislature also met Monday to discuss a $361 million cut to state education funds, $10 million of which would be struck from Brevard County.
      During negotiations, the Brevard Federation of Teachers had proposed that teachers work 7½ hours a day, instead of the eight-hour day required in the 2007-08 contract. They argued that a shorter workday would be a trade-off for no raises or step increases.
      Negotiators also proposed that the contract would stand for two years, until the start of the 2010-11 school year, or until the budget outlook changed. The bargaining team typically negotiates an annual contract.
      But Salamone said teachers must agree to return to eight-hour days once the funding improved.
      Union representatives countered that they could not accept those terms.
      "I thought we would have this settled. We thought of some creative solutions," Brevard Federation of Teachers President Janet Eastman said. "I can't take this back to teachers. I don't believe it would be ratifiable."
      Brevard County is one of only a handful of Florida districts to require eight-hour days.
      Teachers, who said they often work many hours off the clock, said they believe the district's unwillingness to budge on the issue means they aren't respected as professionals.
      "A 7½-hour day would not harm student achievement," Eastman said. "A half-hour would never prevent us from serving students or doing our job. . . . The district needs to trust teachers to do the right thing."

    3. Gorenje workers on shorter week as of Monday, 1/06 Slovenska Tiskovna Agencija.
      VELENJE, Slovenia... Gorenje, the Velenje-based household appliance maker, has joined the growing number of companies in Slovenia which are switching from 40- to 36-hour working week to cope with dwindling demand....

    1/06/2009   primitive timesizing in the news, reinvented thousands of times every day in every recession by mid- and small-size companies despite mainstream economists' and business schools' scorn - with excerpting and [commenting] by Phil Hyde (PH) unless otherwise initialed -

    • [Here's a story that encapsulates the blessing and curse of technology -]
      USPS cuts service hours, 1/05 Wisconsin WKOW-TV.com.
      MADISON, WI - The economic recession is now hitting the U.S. Postal Service. In November, they announced they were almost $3 billion in the red.
      Starting Monday, in a cost cutting move, window hours will be shorter at four area post offices. Those locations are Hilldale, Middleton, University, and Westside - all opening an hour later.
      But even with reduced hours, early birds still have another option.
      Six automated postal centers can now be found in post offices across Madison. Customers can buy stamps, send packages up to 70 pounds, even purchase special services like insurance, and certified mail.
      All you need is a credit or debit card. Post office staff say the machines are very user friendly.
      "If you can use an ATM, you can use an APC," said Karen Cronin, customer relations coordinator for USPS. "They're very easy to use -- screen by screen tells you exactly what to do. You always have the option to go back, make corrections, change your mind."
      But the machines can't do everything. No international shipping, no military shipping, you can't use cash, and you have to spend at least a dollar when you make a transaction. Plus, no on-site help is available when the counter is closed. Still, the post office says the machines save money, and more convenient.
      "It just makes it far more flexible for our customers because these machines can be available so many more hours in a day," said Cronin....

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