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Timesizing News, May 2-31, 2010 +Jun.1
[Commentary] ©2010 Phil Hyde, Timesizing.com, Box 117, Harvard Sq PO, Cambridge MA 02238 USA 617-623-8080

5/30-31-6/01/2010  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 (ecdesignr@yahoo.ca) unless otherwise initialed -

  1. Your Social Life and Business Life: The Trust Issue, by Oliver Marks, 5/31 ZDNet.com (blog)
    NEW YORK, U.S.A. - Most people outside the tech bubble go to work in order to make money in order to put a roof over their head and fund their personal social life - they work to live, not live to work…leave their cube on Friday, and flip their brain into social mode until Monday morning. These social lives are built around finding people we trust, who are interesting and stimulating, and building enduring relationships with them.
    The word ‘trust’ is as old as language - tre-owe is old English for ‘faithful’ and there are equivalent ancient word origins in all languages. The hand shake used to be two handed to show we didn’t have weapons behind our back when meeting people. That medieval convention still metaphorically stands as we sniff out new people for sincerity and trustworthyness when we go through the ‘Gladwell Blink‘ first meeting impressions scan. Humans are hard wired for this, and most of us have sophisticated synapses that can intuit phony, to sense when something just doesn’t ’smell’ right.
    Entrepreneurs tend to be ‘always on’, constantly seeking insight and connections to further themselves and their businesses, but for the vast majority of people there is a clear delineation between their social and work life. A client recently said to me she felt violated if she was called by work on her lengthy kids/ drop off and pick up car commute to work - it was her precious time.
    This blur of work and play is made immensely more complicated by the current confused use of the word ’social’ in a business context.
    It was Henry Ford who effectively invented the weekend after realizing there was no point mass producing transport for the working man if they were always at work.
    [More accurately, it was the U.S. labor movement who invented the weekend because Ford had to be pressured into every conciliatory move he ever made since the above-market $5-a-day wage he introduced in 1912 so that (not often heard: he could forestall unionization and) as often heard, his workers could afford their own products.]
    ‘Welfare capitalism’ paid workers better, introduced the 40 hour work week and gave them weekends to use the car they could now afford to buy to enjoy their social lives, visit friends and explore new areas.
    [A few capitalists did realize this was better for everyone, including themselves, but Ford was actually not one of them. They included Lord Leverhulme of Lever Brothers, W.K.Kellogg of Kellogg Cereals, Edward Filene of Filene's Basement, the Lincoln brothers of Lincoln Electric...].
    Ford had a ‘Social Department’ just over 100 years ago (not to be confused with the current Ford ’social media’ marketing outreach with digital interaction devices ably manned by @scottMonty et al!)
    According to Wikipedia
    ….profit-sharing was offered to employees who had worked at the company for six months or more, and, importantly, conducted their lives in a manner of which Ford’s “Social Department” approved. They frowned on heavy drinking, gambling, and what might today be called “deadbeat dads”. The Social Department used 50 investigators, plus support staff, to maintain employee standards; a large percentage of workers were able to qualify for this “profit-sharing.”
    Ford’s incursion into his employees’ private lives was highly controversial [compare more recently H.Ross Perot], and he soon backed off from the most intrusive aspects; by the time he wrote his 1922 memoir, he spoke of the Social Department and of the private conditions for profit-sharing in the past tense, and admitted that “paternalism has no place in industry. Welfare work that consists in prying into employees’ private concerns is out of date. Men need counsel and men need help, oftentimes special help; and all this ought to be rendered for decency’s sake. But the broad workable plan of investment and participation will do more to solidify industry and strengthen organization than will any social work on the outside. Without changing the principle we have changed the method of payment”.
    With the recent advent of broadband and mobile connectivity we are seeing rapid change in a very different era within hierarchical large companies, in worst cases run in the style of the Soviet Union from an individual’s perspective. Employees with smart phones in their pockets and sophisticated personal social and business networks, which can make their employer’s command and control hierarchies look clumsy and wooden, have new skill sets and values.
    The old ‘unless you’re the lead dog the view remains the same’ cubical decoration (usually found next to ‘you don’t have to be mad to work here but it helps’, assorted kid art and photos with friends and family to remind the inhabitant of their personal social life) is now joined (in companies that allow it) by access to personal lives via the web.
    Hobby forum bulletin boards, instant messenger and AOL have now been joined by Facebook and Twitter, but the social trust issue is the same: we spend time in person and online in places where we gain value, building trust and rapport.
    This sensitive new world of interpersonal connection is very delicate and easily exploited, as evidenced by the repeated and astonishingly crude attempts to monetize Facebook user private information by changing terms of service on the fly to reveal it publicly, which is rapidly destroying the trust and goodwill of their users.
    Social work predates the use of the word in a hi tech online communication context - most people on the planet are familiar with the concept of social work as the pursuit of improving quality of life with welfare. social workers look after the elderly and infirm professionally, while general social work is generally understood to mean charity work - dealing with poverty for example. the new book ‘Building Social Business: The New Kind of Capitalism That Serves Humanity’s Most Pressing Needs‘ by Muhammad Yunus, the practical visionary who pioneered microcredit and, with his Grameen Bank, won the 2006 Nobel Peace Prize exemplifies those who are attempting to foster positive change in the world.
    Despite widely understood usage of the word social on the planet, the hi tech world has amplified recent usage of the word ’social’ by marketing experts to a relatively small subset of wealthy online consumers - customer relationship management by flattery and interaction through broadband and mobile.
    The sharp contrast between these two usages of the word social can be an irritant to those doing good works in technology free third world countries, who see personal information over sharing online by relatively wealthy western consumer chattering classes as in no way ’social’ - more self indulgence.
    The Enterprise 2.0 world of defining business collaboration value and finding executable ways to realize the more effective flow of information and connections internally is distinctly separate from all these social variants, and Ford’s experiment over a century ago shows how quickly the lines can be blurred between respect for personal space and privacy and what I call ‘creepy collaboration’.
    If you’re working in an organization where trust and morale is low, grafting a ‘Facebook for the enterprise’ onto it isn’t going to solve those issues, and the grumbling in people’s social time on their personal networks will probably increase. Start to intrude into people’s personal space with your brave new online company world and you will quickly hit the trust boundaries Henry Ford hit over a century ago.
    Once filters and trust boundaries are in place I predict the fashion for all things ’social’ will wain, much as previous vogues for loosely defined terms like multimedia broke out into more specific and useful categories. In the meantime trust and privacy controls are the high ground users should seek out digitally both for their social lives and for their work interactions.
    Designing safe, secure work environments to get you up to speed and working more efficiently together with your colleagues builds trust and rapport. No one likes to have to participate in social gray areas where you get to see your boss in spandex on a charity run and feel impelled to comment - this should be your visibility choice and discretion…
    Oliver Marks provides seasoned independent consulting guidance to companies on the effective planning of 'Enterprise 2.0' strategy, tactics, technology decisions and roll out.

  2. Germany's Economy Gains Steam - Unemployment falls and manufacturing is poised to rise, highlighting divide in euro zone, by Brian Blackstone & Laura Stevens, 6/01 (6/02) Wall Street Journal via online.wsj.com
    FRANKFURT, Germany — Germany's economy appears to be gaining steam despite mounting worries the fiscal troubles in countries along the euro-zone's fringe could undermine Europe's recovery.
    Germany's economy, the driver of the European economy, is likely to expand at a 3% to 4% rate this quarter, economists say, a forecast supported by a string of strong reports on employment, consumer spending and manufacturing Tuesday. Lower interest rates and a weaker euro have propelled Germany's investment and export-driven economy.
    The recovery could still falter, analysts warn. Just as the U.S. subprime-mortgage crisis thwarted Germany's expansion two years ago, Europe's brewing financial contagion could hamper growth if German banks face extensive losses and are unable to extend credit to industry and households. Other countries in Europe face years of weak growth or recession, making Germany vulnerable to any slowdown in markets including China or the U.S.
    Still, while the German public was strongly opposed to rescuing Greece, and its central bank is openly at odds with the European Central Bank's decision to purchase Greek and other struggling countries' debt, from an economic standpoint it has little to complain about.
    "As a firm, we're always one of the very first to experience the first affects of a crisis," says Dietmar Ahl, chief executive of Günther Bechtold GmbH, a Bavaria-based sheet metal processor and manufacturer. "That also has the benefit of making us one of the first to see a recovery. And that's what's happening right now."
    Business should be up 25% this year, Mr. Ahl says, after falling almost 50% between 2007 and 2009. The company has been able to add some temporary workers to its 66-person staff.
    German unemployment fell 45,000 in May, more than twice the drop expected by economists, bringing the unemployment rate down to 7.7%, the lowest since December 2008. The EU-harmonized figure is even lower at just over 7%.
    The German numbers highlight the divide between its economy and that of the greater euro zone. The European Union's Eurostat agency said Tuesday that unemployment across the 16 countries that share the euro rose to 10.1% in April, its highest level in 12 years, driven by increases in Spain, Portugal, Ireland and Italy. But Eurostat said there are signs the jobless rate may be close to peaking after only 25,000 people joined jobless queues in April, the second-smallest increase since March 2008.
    German manufacturing slowed in May, according to purchasing manager reports released Tuesday by Markit, but continues to expand at a healthy pace. Factory output slowed more markedly in the euro zone as a whole, highlighting the region's fragility.
    "The short-term outlook is very favorable" for Germany, said Alexander Koch, economist at UniCredit Group. He thinks Germany's GDP could swell 4%, at an annualized rate, this quarter. "The momentum is strong, which bodes well for the labor market in coming months," Mr. Koch says.
    JPMorgan Chase expects Germany's GDP to expand 3% this quarter, though that could be revised higher in light of recent data, economist Greg Fuzesi says. That should propel euro zone growth to around 3% this quarter as well, Mr. Fuzesi says. GDP in the currency bloc advanced just 0.8%, at an annualized rate, last quarter, well below growth rates seen in the US and developing countries such as China and India.
    The total number of German unemployed fell last month to 3.24 million. It was once feared that unemployment would top four million or even five million. The labor market is one area where Germany has outperformed the U.S., where the jobless rate is 9.9% despite strong economic growth at the end of 2009 and early 2010.
    A number of forces are at work here, economists say. The Germany statistics office changed the way it classifies unemployed people who are using employment agencies, which reduced the reported numbers of unemployed. Government subsidy programs aimed at keeping people in their jobs by paying part of their wages and employment taxes kept as many as 500,000 from going on the jobless rolls, some economists estimate.
    The number of people on Germany's subsidized work program, known as *Kurz-arbeit, has fallen roughly in half since it peaked at 1.5 million one year ago.
    That suggests a gamble Germany made at the start of the crisis is paying off. Kurzarbeit has been in place for decades, but the government expanded the program during the recent recession. Critics warned that by keeping people in their jobs, the government was simply delaying an inevitable adjustment that would have to come in order for Germany to stay competitive with other economic powerhouses including the U.S. and China.
    But now that global trade is recovering, German exporters have the staff, and expertise, on hand to meet demand.

    "Right now, the Germany industry is starting to heal itself very slowly," says Matthias Freund, who owns Freund Human Resources Consulting, which focuses on management recruitment. "Firms are starting to hire employees again, and you can sense that the business climate is getting better."
    Europe's debt crisis could still derail expansion, because German banks are heavily exposed to the debt of at-risk peripheral countries like Greece, Portugal and Ireland. But for now a weaker euro is shielding the economy from financial turbulence. The euro now fetches around $1.23 against the U.S. dollar, down more than 15% since December.
    —Nicholas Winning in London contributed to this article.
    Write to Brian Blackstone at brian.blackstone@dowjones.com and Laura Stevens at laura.stevens@wsj.com

  3. Euro zone unemployment rate reaches record high, by Kay Murchie, 6/01 FinanceMarkets.co.uk (blog)
    BERLIN, Germany - The European Union’s statistics agency has today announced unemployment in the 16-member euro zone rose to 10.1% in April – the first time it has reached this level since the common currency was introduced in 1999.
    The rise in the jobless rate highlights the sluggish recovery within the euro zone.
    Eurostat said 15.86 million people were unemployed in the euro zone during April.
    Meanwhile, in the 27-nation European Union, the unemployment rate rose to 9.7% with a total of 23.3 million people unemployed.
    Spain has the euro zone’s highest rate of unemployment at just over 20% – the country has been hit by a severe slump within its key construction industry, which has led to a significant amount of job losses.
    Latvia, which is not a member of the euro zone, has the highest rate of the EU, with unemployment at 22.5% of the population.
    Germany is the only country to have seen its rate of unemployment fall over the last 12 months. The country‘s job market is much stronger than in many other countries and many believe it is the result of the “Kurzarbeit” scheme, introduced by the German Government, designed to prevent mass redundancies.
    Meanwhile, there are concerns for the euro as it continues to fall. It has hit a four-year low against the US dollar, falling to $1.2111 at one point. It also fell against sterling – to a 12-month low of €1.1935.
    This is primarily due to the ongoing concerns about the European financial sector’s ability to survive the euro zone debt crisis.

5/28-29/2010  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 (ecdesignr@yahoo.ca) unless otherwise initialed -

  1. A 4-day work week? letter to editor by Dennis Hernan of Fairview Twp., 5/28 Patriot-News via pennlive.com
    HARRISBURG, Penn. - Here's an idea for savings that should be considered during the upcoming budget negotiations.
    Many state workers work a 37.5-hour work week, five 7.5 hour days. Cut the work week to 36 hours, four 9-hour days, saving 1.5 hours per employee per week. The total number of employees makes this a large savings. One of the other proposals is to cut one day a month. That would be 7.5 hours of wages lost vs. six hours a month.
    We state workers have given up or lost a lot, probably adding to a slower economy. I would rather give up six hours than 7.5. This would have the additional benefit of transitioning our entire economy to a four-day work week, which in the long run is, I believe, a better quality of life.

  2. Short-time working in Gschwend to continue 2010, 5/28 (5/29) EUWID Wood Products and Panels via pfleiderer.com
    NEUMARKT, Germany - Pfleiderer AG will probably continue the 100% short-time working which has been in place in the Gschwend factory since June 2009 until the end of the period which is legally possible, i.e. until the end of 2010; an earlier re-launching of production is not planned at present. By means of improved utilisation of capacity in the other Pfleiderer factories, the intention is rather to increase the average price level further and to concentrate the particleboard business on business with better margins.

  3. Working Hours Vary Little for Men and Women, 5/28 YLE News via yle.fi
    HELSINKI, Finland - Working hours for men and women in Finland have almost balanced out, according to a recent dissertation study from the University of Tampere. However, women in Finland still tend to do more housework.
    Women spend about ten more hours a week doing housework than men. Nevertheless, men still spend slightly more time at their jobs.
    Both genders say they long for more time during the day.
    Researcher Hannu Pääkönen says that equality continues to develop in Finland. However, change has been slow.
    ”This is an international trend in many countries. The way men and women spend their time is becoming more similar. Differences between countries are also slowly starting to diminish.”

5/26-27/2010  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 (ecdesignr@yahoo.ca) unless otherwise initialed -

  1. Labor Standards: There's an App for That, by law prof. Roger Alford of Pepperdine U., 5/27 Huffington Post (blog)
    BEIJING, China - The news coming out of China of ten suicide deaths at Foxconn industrial park is terribly distressing. All of the workers who committed suicide were recent high school or vocational training school graduates between the ages of 18 and 24. One of the fatalities, Sun Danyong, jumped to his death after being interrogated over a missing iPhone prototype. Foxconn, the makers of Apple iPhones and iPads, is now under international scrutiny for its working conditions and the news is not good. Not surprisingly, Apple (and other companies that purchase Foxconn products such as Dell and Hewlett-Packard) are also under intense scrutiny regarding their enforcement of supplier codes of conduct.
    An Apple spokesman stated today that "a team from Apple is independently evaluating the steps they are taking to address these tragic events and we will continue our ongoing inspections of the facilities where our products are made." Sounds good.
    But it made me wonder what Apple has done prior to these tragedies to promote labor standards. The news isn't pretty. Apple's Supplier Code of Conduct is acceptable enough, limiting working hours to 60 hours per week (including overtime), requiring minimum wage and benefits consistent with local laws, and clean and safe dormitories with adequate heat, ventilation, personal space, and entry and exit privileges.
    So does the reality match the rhetoric? When social auditors examined factory compliance, they found distressing news. Only 46% of their audited suppliers comply with Apple's working hours requirements. This means a majority of Apple's audited suppliers violate the 60 hour work week. Here's what Apple's 2010 Supplier Responsibility Progress Report says:
    "At 60 facilities [of the 102 audited], we found records that indicated workers had exceeded weekly work-hour limits more than 50 percent of the time. Similarly, at 65 [of the 102] facilities, more than half of the records we reviewed indicated that workers had worked more than six consecutive days at least once per month. To address these issues, we required each facility to develop management systems--or improve existing systems--to drive compliance with Apple's limits on work hours and required days of rest."
    Second, according to the report, 65% of the audited factories comply with the local minimum wage and benefit laws. In other words, one-third of Apple's audited suppliers pay their employees below the minimum wages required by the local law. According to the report:
    "At 48 of the [102] facilities audited, we found that overtime wages had been calculated improperly, resulting in underpayment of overtime wages. At 24 facilities, our auditors found that workers had been paid less than minimum wage for regular working hours.... Another common violation we found was underpayment of legally required benefits. We found 57 facilities with deficient payments in work benefits such as sick leave, maternity leave, or social insurance for retirement." 
    Finally, the audit revealed a 51% compliance rate with respect to management accountability and responsibility. In other words, almost half of Apple's audited suppliers do not evidence a commitment to corporate social responsibility. According to the report:
    Our audits revealed 55 facilities [of the 102 audited] that did not have dedicated personnel accountable for compliance with all categories of Apple's Code. Apple required the facilities to appoint qualified personnel, ensuring that responsibility and accountability for compliance are included in their job descriptions. These job descriptions include ownership of a process for correcting deficiencies identified by internal and external audits, written corrective action procedures, and verification of the completion of appropriate actions.
    Apple's report states that it "is committed to ensuring the highest standards of social responsibility throughout our supply base." Today an Apple spokesman stated that the company is "saddened and upset" by the suicides and that Apple was determined to ensure that Foxconn workers were treated with respect and dignity. But if you scratch beneath the surface, Apple's own social audit report paints a different picture of its suppliers. It is a picture of employees who are routinely being underpaid, overworked, and poorly supervised.
    [An additional article on this -]
    Concern over human cost overshadows iPad launch, by Martin Hickman, 5/26 Independent.co.uk
    The American electronics giant Apple was investigating damaging allegations last night that Chinese workers making its new iPad device were subjected to such "inhumane" treatment that some of them took their own lives by jumping off factory roofs.
    Documents seen by The Independent reveal there are widespread failures by Apple's suppliers to respect standards on labour rights and safety specified by the company, which had sales of £30bn last year.
    An update to the US firm's supplier codes in February revealed that a majority of its 102 facilities flouted its "rigorous" rules on working hours, which include a weekly limit of 60 hours a week – equivalent to 12 hours a day. Some 39 per cent broke rules on workplace injury prevention and 30 per cent broke guidelines on the management of toxic chemicals.
    Audits uncovered violations involving child labour, falsified records and disposal of hazardous waste.
    The company has been embarrassed by publicity surrounding 11 suicide attempts at the vast Foxconn facility near the southern boom city of Shenzhen, where the iPad is made, which threatens to overshadow the global launch of the touch-screen computer tomorrow.
    Yesterday a "saddened and upset" Apple promised to investigate whether the plant, which employs 300,000 people who earn around 30p an hour, should continue to make its products, which sell for hundreds of pounds each.
    At the 1.2-square mile Foxconn facility, which also makes products for Dell, Hewlett Packard and Acer, nine workers have died and two have been gravely injured in roof jumps in the first five months of 2010.
    All the incidents involved workers aged under 25, who apparently have been disturbed by the long shifts and strict discipline. Talking and music are banned during shifts, which last at least 10 hours. Workers must perform a certain number of repetitive operations per shift, under the eye of allegedly harsh military-style supervisors.
    "Foxconn's management is totally inhuman," one worker told the Reuters news agency. Another said: "They don't treat workers as humans."
    A young Foxconn line supervisor, Tang Wenying, told journalists allowed into the complex yesterday: "This is a good place to work because they treat us better than many [other] Chinese factories." In an attempt to prevent more suicides, the Taiwanese-owned firm has hired 2,000 singers, dancers and gym trainers. It is also putting up netting to thwart future suicides.
    Concerns were expressed about the factory three years ago by China Labour Watch, a US organisation which claims dire conditions involved "serious labour violations including excessive working hours, unpaid wages for up to 30 minutes of work each day, compulsory overtime and extremely poor dormitory conditions."
    Last July, it revealed the suicide of a young worker, Sun Danyong. According to its report, only workers producing for Apple were given a stool to sit while working, while all others had to stand.
    Workers also complained of violence, including beatings with iron bars and whips.
    The allegations have not surprised campaigners, who say that while Western shoppers often hear of problems at Asian clothes factories, conditions for workers in cleaner, bigger consumer electronics plants are just as grim. "When you look at large-scale export-driven trade, it doesn't really matter whether the workers are making clothes or electronics," said Simon MacRae, senior campaigns officer at War on Want. "There's a similar pattern: long working hours, very poor pay and suppression of labour rights. The sector provides jobs but without decent wages you are not going to lift people out of poverty."
    Last month a report by the National Labour Committee, an American NGO, found that workers at a Chinese factory supplying Microsoft, Hewlett Packard and other brands toiled for up to 15 hours a day in heat of up to 30C. Other allegations about the KYE factory included sexual harassment and humiliation by supervisors.
    Teenage workers were pictured slumped over their desks during a break in a 15-hour shift. One said: "We are like prisoners. We do not have a life. Only work."
    KYE management responded that conditions were excellent and fully complied with Chinese labour laws. Microsoft said it was "very concerned" and launched an investigation.
    Although China has occasionally expressed concern over the regime in export factories, the spate of suicides has spurred a national debate about whether workers fulfilling foreign orders are being pushed too hard.
    Campaigners believe Bangladeshi clothes factories are the very worst sweatshops, but factories in China can combine the financial advantages of a cheap labour supply with a totalitarian state's intolerance of industrial rights. Most of those in free trade export zones such as Shenzhen, the "the workshop of the world", are owned by foreign companies.
    Apple, which will open its 27 stores around the UK as early as 8am tomorrow to sell the iPad, said it was taking the spate of suicides "very seriously". A spokeswoman said: "A team from Apple is independently evaluating the steps they are taking to address these tragic events and we will continue our ongoing inspections of the facilities where our products are made."
    Hewlett Packard said it was investigating "the Foxconn practices that may be associated with these tragic events". Dell said it expected its suppliers "to employ the same high standards we do in our own facilities". Acer declined to comment.
    Hard labour for gadgets
    60 hours Maximum working week stipulated in Apple's "supplier responsibility" code of practice
    54 per cent Factories breaking Apple's rules on working hours (according to Apple's Supplier Responsibility 2010 Progress Report) 
    39 per cent Factories breaking Apple's injury prevention rules
    30 per cent Plants breaking Apple's hazardous substance rules
    30 pence Hourly wage of 300,000 workers at Foxconn in Shenzhen
    86F Temperature exceeded in workshops at the KYE Factory in China, which supplies Microsoft
    2,000 Number of Microsoft mice mouse-makers in the KYE Factory must make per shift
    15 hours Maximum length of a shift at the KYE factory

  2. Shared Parenting Leave in Future, submitted by Alexander Stewart. 5/26 TopNews United States
    LONDON, England - The latest announcement by the Queen will remove barriers to flexible working hours. As per a survey of 1,000 people in Britain, 65% of the people felt that the Government should introduce shared parental leave, which can be split between mothers and fathers.
    It is expected that Government will start measures which allow mothers and fathers to share parental leave in the country. It was supported by 90% of women and by 70% of men. They liked this provision and felt it would be important in their job making decisions.
    It was also found that by 2020 people will be a part of the ‘sandwiched generation' which will be divided between dividing for their children and caring for their own elderly parents. This will ensure that flexible working will become an increasingly important condition forpeople while choosing their future employer.
    These measures are also finding a lot of support from people across the country. They felt that it will ensure that men also play an important role in the growth and development of their children.
    Currently, only parents and carers of disabled adults are allowed to ask their employers for convenient working hours. Government will first consult with various business groups before taking a decision. Union experts were also supportive of these proposals which they felt could increase the satisfaction levels of employees considerably.

5/23-24-25/2010  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 (ecdesignr@yahoo.ca) unless otherwise initialed -

  1. Jordan's special-ed budget is cut; 69 teaching aides let go, by Rosemary Winters rwinters@sltrib.com, 5/24 Salt Lake Tribune via SLtrib.com
    RIVERTON, Utah - Twelve-year-old Daniel Beckstead uses his eyes to communicate with his teachers and classroom aides at Kauri Sue Hamilton School in Riverton. Unable to move or speak because of cerebral palsy, he can't say when he is in distress. He just casts a glance.
    Next year, there will be fewer eyes watching his.
    Jordan School District's special education department is staring down a $6.5 million shortfall for the 2010-11 school year. The special-ed budget, funded solely by state and federal sources, is separate from Jordan School District's general fund, which faces a $17.5 million hole.
    The budget cuts mean there will be fewer aides in special-ed classrooms.
    Part of the special-ed deficit, $1.5 million, is due to increased retirement costs. The remaining $5 million is a result of Canyons splitting away from the district last July: About 40 percent of Jordan's special-ed students went to Canyons, taking education funding with them.
    "Our costs exceed what we will now get as a smaller district," said Beth Usui, Jordan's director of special education. The district still operates three dedicated special-ed schools in addition to classrooms throughout mainstream schools.
    To make up for the smaller special-ed budget, Jordan is cutting 19 teachers and 69 full-time classroom assistants. Thirty-four of the assistant jobs will be filled with two part-timers to save on paying benefits.
    Usui has cut her own district office in half -- from 18 positions to nine. As much as possible, she said, employees will be moved to other jobs within the district. Because special ed does not receive local funds, the Board of Education does not vote on the budget, which is set by Usui.
    "They are dramatic cuts," Usui acknowledged. "But we would not have made cuts where we didn't think we could still meet needs and deliver services. I would really like our parents to be assured that their students' needs are going to be met."
    At Kauri Sue Hamilton, which serves children ages 5 to 22 with severe disabilities, the cuts mean losing 14 full-time instructional assistants and four part-timers -- basically one aide from each of the school's 16 classrooms.
    "These kids need one-on-one help," including diaper changes and feeding, said Jennie Beckstead, Daniel's mom.
    Daniel can't say, "Hey, I need help," she said. "He's got to wait until someone has enough time to see he needs help and help him. In these schools, the teachers have to know the students well enough and have enough people in the room to be able to see when someone needs assistance."
    Beckstead and her husband, Doug, have planned a rally for Thursday at 12:30 p.m. outside Kauri Sue Hamilton to protest the staff cuts, which also include cutting teaching assistants' hours from 40 to 35 hours a week. Their daughter, Aubrey, is a part-time aide at the school and will lose her job, Beckstead said.
    "There has to be another way" to balance the budget, said Lani King, chairwoman of the Kauri Sue Hamilton Community Council, whose 21-year-old daughter attends the school. "With fewer staff, they're just not going to physically be able to give as much to each student."
    [There is. When we had a prosperous economy, there was much less of the national income and wealth trapped and dramatically decelerated in the black hole of the topmost income brackets. Restore steeply graduated income taxes on the wealthy and you can restore your quality of public services. Don't want to do it using taxes? Then create a wage-raising general shortage of labor hours by resuming our 1776-1940 workweek reduction.]
    But Rita Bouillon, the school's principal, said the school is up to the "challenge" of a smaller staff. The work force, she noted, will be similar in size to other special-ed schools in Utah that operate like Kauri Sue Hamilton, 2827 W. 13400 South, Riverton.
    But it was hard for her to make the cuts, which, according to district rule, hit workers with the least seniority.
    "It's not like just cutting 14 line items," Bouillon said. "It's people, and they're good people. We've cried a lot of tears."
    District-wide, some "cluster" classrooms that serve special-ed students at neighborhood schools have shrunk and will be consolidated, Usui said. Seven of the 19 teaching positions cut would have been reduced anyway, she said, because of smaller class sizes.
    The district now has 5,660 special-ed students, down from about 8,500 before the split that formed Canyons School District.
    Federal law, she noted, requires that every special-ed student receive a "free" and "appropriate" education.
    "Students will be getting those same services," Usui said. "They may be getting it in a different classroom."

  2. NHS working hours must be addressed by employers, warns BMA, by Helen Gilbert, 5/25 PersonnelToday.com
    NHS employers were today urged to develop safe working rotas for doctors and encourage rest breaks during night shifts - or run the risk of endangering public safety.
    LONDON, England - A new British Medical Association (BMA) report, Shift-work, Rest and Sleep: Minimising the Risks, warns that medics who work irregular shift patterns are more prone to health risks and sleep deprivation, which could threaten patient safety.
    The report, by the BMA's Scottish Junior Doctors Committee (SJDC), claims that many junior doctors work a combination of shifts such as a week of nights followed by a week of late shifts with a day or two off in between.
    Although this pattern would be compliant with the European Working Time Directive (WTD), the report argues such long periods of unsociable hours could have serious implications for the health and wellbeing of doctors and negatively affect patient care.
    "It has become evident that poor rota design of working time regulations (WTR)-compliant shift patterns may also result in a shift structure predisposed to high-intensity work that may lead to fatigue and may carry unacceptable burdens of risk to doctors and patients," the report says.
    Recommendations include making shift lengths as short as practicable and encouraging doctors to rest during night shifts as much as possible.
    Dr Gordon Lehany, chair of the SJDC, said: "It is important that as NHS boards try to become compliant with European WTR they also consider safe shift-working patterns. To do this effectively, junior doctors should be involved in drawing up rotas. It is essential that the problem associated with working irregular shift patterns are recognised and reduced."
    But Bill McMillan, head of medical pay and workforce at NHS Employers, told Personnel Today that employers already work with doctors to ensure that shift work arrangements maximise patient care, patient and doctor safety and doctor training.
    "This was reflected in our written evidence to the Temple Review looking into working hours and quality training in England, and we await detailed recommendations arising from that review," he said. "NHS organisations have effectively implemented related working hour arrangements, such as the European Working Time Directive, and are able to make any adjustments necessary to ensure the safety of both patients and doctors."
    Last year Personnel Today reported how poor workforce planning by NHS HR functions had led to a rise in medical staff vacancies.

  3. Traffic personnel to get parasols, reduced working hours, 5/23 Times of India via timesofindia.indiatimes.com
    AHMEDABAD, India: The summer has forced the men in white to change shifts and style of working. Personnel of city police's traffic branch will soon get parasols (large umbrella) at junctions and protective gear to beat the heat.
    According to senior traffic branch officials, the summer is taking a toll on personnel deployed on the road due to prolonged exposure to heat. After several reported incidents of fainting and dehydration, the officials have relaxed working hours.
    "We have asked all personnel to consume as much liquid as possible on duty. They have also been asked to stay in shade during lean hours or take rounds in nearby areas to reduce chances of a heat stroke," said Mohan Jha, joint commissioner of police (traffic).
    He added that the protective gear will be provided soon. "All major points have been identified and umbrellas will be made available soon. No heat-related incident involving personnel has taken place yet but precautionary steps are being taken to prevent it," added Jha.
    Traffic brigade officials have also been provided with goggles. Similar proposal is in the pipeline for traffic police personnel, said senior officials.

5/21-22/2010  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 (ecdesignr@yahoo.ca) unless otherwise initialed -

  1. The Lesson Of The European Social Welfare System, by Tom Lindmark, 5/22 istockAnalyst.com (press release)
    You may remember in the darkest days of the financial crisis here in America some media types talking about how Europe, particularly Northern Europe didn’t seem particularly affected by the global recession. The reason commonly advanced for this seemingly contradictory state of affairs was that the automatic stabilisers built into the European economies kicked in as their economies started to crumble and kept money flowing to consumers thus preventing demand from falling off the same cliff it did in the US.
    Not often explicitly stated, but nonetheless implied was the thesis that if America had these sorts of social policies in place we would have mitigated the effects of the crisis. Essentially, the oft repeated criticisms of Europe’s welfare state were misplaced.
    A couple of examples.
    From the NYT on March 26, 2009:
    Last month Frank Koppe gathered together all 50 of his employees at Koppe-Apparatebau for coffee, cake and the kind of bad news that has lately become all too familiar. He told them the small company’s business, designing and manufacturing custom equipment for industrial plants, had been sliced nearly in half.
    But rather than resorting to layoffs, Mr. Koppe asked half his employees to come in every other week. The government would make up roughly two-thirds of their lost wages out of a fund filled in good times through payroll deductions and company contributions.
    The program — known as “Kurzarbeit,” which translates as “short work” — and others like it lie at the heart of a heated debate that has erupted on the eve of next week’s Group of 20 meeting of industrialized and developing nations and the European Union, creating a rift between the Obama administration and European governments. The United States is pressing for a coordinated package of stimulus plans by member countries to encourage economic growth, something that Prime Minister Mirek Topolanek of the Czech Republic, which holds the European Union presidency, has called “a way to hell.”
    But virtually all European governments, led by budget-conscious Germany, are resisting the American pitch, saying the focus should be on stricter regulation of financial markets.
    The Europeans say they have no need for further stimulus right now because their social safety nets, derided in good times by free market disciples as sclerotic impediments to growth, are automatically providing the spending programs that the United States Congress has to legislate.

    And Yves Smith’s Naked Capitalism on August 14, 2009 as well:
    It was conventional wisdom in the US and UK financial press that Europe was dong a hopelessly bad job of responding to the economic downturn, that it needed to do vastly more in the way of fiscal stimulus, that it was consigning its citizens to continued recession, and the Te Germans in particular were to blame for their conservatism re emergency fiscal measures. German readers begged to differ, pointing out the Germany (and the rest of Europe) has large automatic stabilizers (very generous unemployment insurance, for instance), making discretionary fiscal spending less necessary.
    I was traveling along the Danube and Rhine in June, and saw far fewer signs of distress (like vacant retail stores) then I see is TARP-supported Manhattan. I thought this was merely sample bias, the vagaries of being in tourist areas (albeit before tourist season was in full swing) and discounted my impressions.
    Turns out my sample may not have been so unrepresentative. The Wall Street Journal reports that Europe appears on the cusp of a bona fide recovery, with France and Germany both showing decent second quarter growth, while the US is trying to pretend that “things are getting worse less quickly” is tantamount to recovery.
    Now are any of the Euro bashers about to give the EU authorities some credit? I doubt it.
    And this disparity, if it persists, points to a much deeper issue. The US chose to deregulate across a wide range of activities and let the devil take the hindmost. Europe cares more about institutional frameworks and collective outcomes. US commentators regularly describe Europe as sclerotic. But if the EU winds up delivering better growth, what justification do we have for a system that seems best at redistributing income to the top?

    Now, of course, a large swath of the Continent is in the process of trying to renegotiate its social contracts with the electorate and things are not going well.
    [No, they're debating whether to send good money after bad in bailout attempts for Greece and the other PIGS, PIGGS, PIIGS or PIIGGS [Portugal,Italy,(Ireland,)Greece,(GreatBritain,)Spain].]
    Sclerosis is the least of the problem as the PIGGS discover that they simply can’t afford, or rather the debt markets will not allow them to deliver the promises made.
    The point here, however, is not to scorn those who bought into the meme that the European social welfare state represented a higher level of evolution. Hell, I was tempted by that train of thought. [Oh horrors!] It is to recognize that the critics of that system were more right than wrong.
    [No they weren't - they're just better at spindoctoring and ignoring what doesn't fit their fatuous glorification of America's death spiral, like say, the $10.4 trillion U.S. debt and its over $1 trillion annual deficit and the accelerating collapse and deceleration of its monetary circulation into the hyperconcentrated Black Hole of the super-richest ten-thousandth (0.01%) of its population.]
    The point that has been brought home with great force is that the European system is too expensive to maintain.
    [And the American super-rich aren't?]
    In too many cases, it’s been funded with debt rather than current revenues and absent vibrant economies or bubbles pretending to be vibrant economies, it drags down economies.
    [So the U.S. is better because it has bubbles pretending to be a vibrant economy? (And concentrated media ownership to hype the happytalk?)]
    Yes, the automatic stabilisers work at the outset but they quickly become a sea anchor in protracted downturns.
    [Unless Europe switches their funding to a sustainable basis, such as a confiscatory tax on overtime with a complete exemption for reinvestment in hiring (and training wherever needed). The 17-18 U.S. states with worksharing programs are also facing the same funding switch.]
    While a lot of this is obvious or becoming so, that hasn’t stopped a movement in the US towards a European sort of solution. The perpetual extension of unemployment benefits threatens to turn that system into a welfare program at not inconsiderable cost. [Note the above-mentioned need to switch funding to a sustainable basis.] The recession has brought home in graphic relief the problems within pension systems at the state and municipal level throughout the country. And, the Obama healthcare initiative while promising to be self-financing is based on assumptions and projected future actions that are dubious at best.
    The current state of the EU should be a wake up call.
    [The much more perilous state of the USA is much more a wake up call to Europe than vice versa - and the breath-taking ability of the US to remain in denial, and deepen it.]
    It isn’t necessarily an argument against a judicious expansion of the American social contract so much as it is a lesson in the peril of recklessly adding unfunded benefits. They bleed you slowly in the good times and have the potential to destroy your society when things go south.

  2. Turkish Airlines says notified of strike move - UPDATE 1 (Adds quote, shares, background), by Daren Butler, Reuters via 5/21 Forexyard.com
    * Union wants pay increase, fewer working hours
    * Shares fall 3.8 percent
    ISTANBUL, Turkey - Turkish Airlines said on Friday it had been notified of a move by union members to strike over wages and working hours, triggering fresh losses in the shares of Europe's fourth-largest airline.
    However, a strike was not imminent as notification of the strike decision by the Hava Is union will initiate a 60-day period of talks. Employees must give six days notice before striking, according to Turkish law.
    Shares in the flag carrier had fallen 3.8 percent to 4.04 lira by 1224 GMT, bringing two-day losses to 7.7 percent, underperforming the main share index, which was down 1.4 percent.
    Hava Is represents 11,000 workers, more than half of whom are pilots and flight attendants. The two sides have been negotiating since January without reaching agreement.
    "Our company received official notification of the Hava Is union strike decision on May 21, 2010," the statement from Istanbul-based Turkish Airlines said.
    Its rapid expansion into new markets has meant longer working days for pilots and attendants. Hava Is wants to shorten hours to comply with European and U.S. flight-safety standards, union chairman Mustafa Yagci told Reuters on Thursday.
    Turkish Airlines has more than doubled the number of destinations it serves since 2005 to 149 international and domestic airports.
    It wants to become Europe's third-biggest airline by passengers this year. Numbers have grown almost 50 percent since 2006, while revenue has nearly doubled.
    The summer months from June to September are Turkish Airlines' busiest, as millions of tourists travel to Turkey.
    The government can postpone strikes at strategic companies, which include Turkish Airlines. The state also retains a 49 percent stake in the carrier.
    (Writing by Daren Butler, editing by Will Waterman)

5/19-20/2010  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 (ecdesignr@yahoo.ca) unless otherwise initialed -

  1. Bridgeton library cut hours because of lost city contributions, says board treasurer, by Joe Green, 5/20 NJ.com
    BRIDGETON, N.J. — As the city library’s Board of Trustees prepares to cut the facility’s hours in half this July, some are asking why, in light of about $200,000 the board has in reserves.
    Board treasurer Al Tugman on Thursday said most if not all those reserves, made of private donations, can only be used for certain purposes.
    Library Executive Director Gail Robinson said the board voted to reduce operating hours to 24 per week from the current 50 at its last meeting Tuesday night.
    Trustess have told library staffers they intend to lay off five full time employees and invite them to come back part time at $8 an hour, but Robinson said that was not part of official action taken at the meeting.
    John Simons, a member of Friends of the Bridgeton Library, said he’d spoken to several library staffers on the night of the trustees meeting whom trustees told of the planned layoffs.
    All those changes would be effective July 1. Wages for workers there now range from around $9 an hour to a little over $12, and several have worked there for 20 years or more.
    Robinson is the only full timer whose position would not be threatened under the plan.
    Tugman said the board had to reduce operating hours because the city anticipates cutting funds it normally contributes to library employee benefits such as health, pension and social security.
    That amounts to $77,000 this budget year. The city still expects to contribute non-benefits funds amounting to $188,000, Tugman said.
    Employees working more than 20 hours a week must receive benefits, so minus the $77,000 from the city, the board decided to cut hours per worker to 19 a week.
    “No one on that board wants to reduce the workers’ hours or lay anyone off,” Tugman explained. “We have terrific people on that staff who are highly skilled...They provide a vital service to the community.”
    “The board is in a position in which we have to decide how much library we can offer the people if this budget is approved,” he continued. “We have to make a plan to run that library on that money ($188,000).”
    Tugman also said the $200,000 in reserves is comprised of two separate funds. One is to be used solely for structural renovations.
    The other contains private endowments and such that must be used only for specified purposes.
    “I don’t think it would be prudent to use those funds for salaries and benefits,” Tugman said.
    He said he would like to see a single library consolidating services offered here and in the county library on Route 49.
    Tugman prefers keeping a new facility in Bridgeton so residents can walk there.
    “My dream would be to put it in the city park,” he said.
    The current county library could serve as additional office space for county workers Tugman said are running out of room.
    The city has recently gone to bond for roof, HVAC and possibly lighting repairs to the building.
    Friends of the Library and fellow advocate group Save the Library! have also raised tens of thousands of dollars through various events.
    Simons said his group has more fundraising events planned, including a jazz cabaret and a yard sale.
    “And now this happens!” he lamented of the latest cuts. “We kind of feel like the rug has been pulled out from under us.”

  2. County councillor's climb aboard the gravy train, 5/20 ThisIsTotalEssex.co.uk
    ESSEX COUNTY, England - Essex county councillors scoffed £7,000 worth of biscuits at taxpayers' expense, the Chronicle can reveal.
    Taxpayers also picked up the bill as local politicians munched through more than £41,000 worth of free lunches washed down with £15,000 of coffee in a year.
    The shocking figures emerged as councillors voted to keep their members' dining area and also increase their expenses by around £130,000 – 8.3 per cent – to £1.6 million.
    Meanwhile, the council – which spends £2billion a year – is having to cut jobs and trim back-office services to the tune of £300million over three years.
    On Tuesday, union chiefs at Essex County Council said they had seen a secret hit list to axe 85 jobs to pay for performance-related pay, start a two-year pay freeze, stop bonuses for lowest paid employees, trim working hours from 37 to 36 or 35 hours a week, and stop sick pay for the first three days.
    An independent review into councillors' allowances, chaired by Sir Rodney Brooke, had recommended scrapping the private dining area where members get free coffee, soft drinks and crisps from vending machines and even free lunches and dinners delivered from the public/staff restaurant in County Hall, Chelmsford.
    But councillors voted unanimously against scrapping the restaurant gravy train, which cost £64,000 in the 2008/09 financial year, and agreed instead that it should be 'reviewed'.
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    At the same time they approved the rise in their allowances – also recommended in the independent review – but promised to approve no further hikes before 2013.
    In his report Sir Rodney, a former chair of the national Social Care Council, said expenses must be more "transparent than ever about what can or cannot be claimed, and be justifiable to a public which has become cynical about the issue generally."
    He added: "To help counteract public suspicion over the payment of allowances there is a need for greater transparency around what members are doing.
    "The Panel is recommending that in line with other councils Essex members should prepare an annual statement which highlights their achievements and activities throughout the year."
    Sue Gainey of the union Unison, which represents some of the 30,000 Essex County Council staff, told the Chronicle: "Our wages and salaries have been frozen and we probably expect the government to do the same for the foreseeable future.
    "I think the same caterers run the county restaurant and the private members dining area, but I don't think they get toad-in-the-hole like we do, they get something special.
    "They really should have frozen their allowances and shown that we really are 'all in this together'."
    Even the councillors were stunned by the restaurant figures. Springfield county councillor, Mike Mackrory, said: “I have never eaten biscuits in the members’ area but they are in cellophane catering packs of two. “Quite ordinary biscuits I think. It is unbelievable that my colleagues could have eaten that many in a year. There is still a lot of inconsistency over expenses in and between councils.”
    The lobby group the Taxpayers Alliance said: "It is appalling that any local authority should be considering raising expenses at a time when so many jobs will be on the line and people are having salaries frozen or reduced to keep their livelihoods.
    "The free lunches and coffee and biscuits leave us speechless.
    "These are the sorts of things that are nice to have, but even in good times should be controlled; in bad times they should be the first to go.
    "We know of one police force that got rid of free drinks and biscuits and saved a fortune.
    "Essex councillors should have been more in tune with their residents who have problems making ends meet in their daily lives and won't appreciate them on a gravy train."
    Council leader, Cllr Peter Martin said: "We organised a review by an independent panel and I don't believe it is right to get an independent body to fix members' allowances and expenses and not accept the recommendations.
    "On the members dining area Kent take a different view; we are reducing our costs but believe it is a valuable place for members to mix and talk together to help make the council work more efficiently.
    "What we have done brings us in line with most other councils.
    "The overall addition to the allowances budget is half of one per cent "Within that the independent panel recommended a 6.1 per cent increase in the basic allowance for all members and the increases for cabinet members from £27,000 to £35,000."

5/16-17-18/2010  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 (ecdesignr@yahoo.ca) unless otherwise initialed -

  1. Madeira Beach city employees get shorter workweek, by Sheila Mullane Estrada, 5/18 St. Petersburg Times via Tampabay.com
    MADEIRA BEACH, Fla. — The city may not have enough money to give raises, but it has found something else to reward its employees — a shorter workweek.
    All city employees, except firefighters, are now working four hours less each week as they head home at noon on Fridays for an extended weekend.
    The new schedule is part of the city's contract negotiations with the Communications Workers of America and affects about 40 city employees.
    "We don't have the money, so we tried to find another way to reward employees," City Manager W.D. Higginbotham Jr. explained Tuesday. "Madeira Beach is a good place to work and we want to keep it that way."

    Although the new CWA contract does not go into effect until Oct. 1, Higginbotham has already started the shorter workweek.
    "I wanted to get an agreement with the CWA as soon as possible, so we could better plan our budget this summer," said Higginbotham.
    The CWA contract was overwhelmingly approved by city employees with only two voting against it.
    The City Commission approved the agreement at its meeting last week.
    According to the new contract, the shorter workweek will be in effect for six months in both 2010 and 2011 — May through August and November and December.
    Higginbotham said there is no direct cost to the city for the new schedule, although it will mean that City Hall will be closed to residents on Friday afternoons.
    "Not that many people are coming in late on Fridays," Higginbotham said.
    The shorter workweek applies to all non-firefighter city employees, including administrators.
    Higginbotham said affected employees would be paid as though they worked a 40-hour week, and would receive overtime pay for any work performed after 36 hours each week.
    The City Commission approved the CWA contract and the new work schedule with only Commissioner Nancy Oakley opposed.
    "These are tough times," said Commissioner Steve Kochick. "What we gain in holding up morale is well worth it."
    Mayor Pat Shontz described the shorter workweek as "a very small thing" the city can do for its employees.

    "This is a win-win for the city," said Vice Mayor Terry Lister.
    Not all residents at last week's commission meeting agreed.
    Dick Lewis called the move a "dangerous precedent," while Helen Palladeno said "working stiffs" in the city would resent the new benefit.
    "Good luck getting this taken away (after the new contract expires). I know how unions work," Palladeno said.
    However, Higginbotham stressed the shorter workweek is only for one year.
    The city is still negotiating a new contract with the union representing firefighters, but Higginbotham indicated Tuesday the city will not be able to offer the same shorter workweek as it has given to other employees.
    "We don't have the fire staff to do that," he said. "It would end up costing the city even more because we would have to cover everything with overtime."
    Like the CWA members, firefighters have not had a raise in two years.

  2. Shortened work week draws union challenge, by Claire Lowe, 5/18 ShoreNewsToday.com
    – The local Government Workers Union is filing a suit against Egg Harbor Township alleging unfair labor practices after Township Committee agreed Wednesday, May 12 to reduce the work week from 40 hours down to 35 for some of the union employees.
    In total, the GWU represents 91 employees in the township, including Public Works and clerks, Mayor James “Sonny” McCullough said.
    In order to avoid laying off 10 more employees, the action was necessary, McCullough said.
    “We’ve asked them to go back to the bargaining table and save 10 of their employees. We’re trying to save 10 more people from losing their jobs,” he said.
    “Our administrator (Peter Miller) feels that with 10 less people on top of what we’ve already cut is going to make it extremely difficult to service this town properly.”
    GWU President David Tucker did not return calls for comment, nor did Miller.
    McCullough said the GWU employee contract expired at the end of 2009 and a new one has yet to be ratified. He said that those employees did not receive a pay increase this year and in March, five were laid off. Now, McCullough said, the GWU will allow for more of their members to be let go.
    “Instead of protecting the 10 people that belong to the union, they’re saying, ‘lay them off’,” McCullough said.
    [Some "union" - some "solidarity" - with unions like this, who needs Chainsaw Dunlap? Colleague Kate says the problem is senior union members, who have become stupid and selfish since they're not going to be the first to be laid off - witness the outrageous 20% raise for Boston firefighters over the next 4 years regardless of how many other city departments will have to be cut (but hopefully in hours, not jobs) unless, of course, Boston wealth gets smart and accepts graduated municipal income taxes.]

  3. Lansing council opts to impose furloughs - Approved budget also has $10.3 million in spending cuts, by Susan Vela • svela@lsj.com, 5/18 LansingStateJournal.com
    LANSING, Mich. - Lansing looked Monday to its approximately 550 non-emergency employees rather than a property tax increase to help solve $1.7 million of a $12 million deficit.
    The council unanimously voted to furlough its non-emergency employees for up to 26 days in the fiscal year that begins July 1. It also unanimously adopted the city's $109.4 million 2010-11 budget.
    The furlough plan still has to be negotiated with employee unions. But it means the city could preserve a five-day workweek and keep City Hall open on Fridays.
    The 26 furlough days - as well as a 0.4-mill property tax increase paired with 13 unpaid furlough days - were both floated by the council as alternatives to Mayor Virg Bernero's proposal for a four-day, 36-hour workweek for city employees, with City Hall being closed on Fridays. All three proposals were projected to save $1.7 million each.

    As many as 26 furlough days is nearly three times the nine furlough days ordered this year.
    Bernero, who was not present for the budget vote, has three days to veto the spending plan that kicks in on July 1.
    However, "that's budgetarily what we set out to do," said Finance Director Jerry Ambrose, who will negotiate with unions the details that will permit the furlough hours.
    The question now, according to Ambrose, is how does the city accomplish the 26 furlough days, which could mean the same 10 percent pay cut that a 36-hour, four-day workweek would have wrought.
    "There's not going to be one solution," Ambrose said.
    Besides the 26 furlough days, most of Bernero's original budget survived relatively intact, along with options to cut approximately $10.3 million more in city spending - including the closing of the Washington Park Ice Complex and Fire Station No. 3 on West Hillsdale Street.
    There's also a proposal for early retirement incentives, fewer firefighters for daily contractual staffing and some departmental reorganizations.
    "We are not including a tax increase in this budget," Council Vice President Kathie Dunbar said, adding that an ad hoc committee will be formed to vet revenue-raising options and the wisdom of a tax increase over the course of the next year.
    Some council members said a more thorough study is needed before higher taxes are pursued.
    "At this point, I would not be in favor of it," Councilwoman Tina Houghton said.
    Other council members lauded the negotiations during tough economic times.
    "Every person has a different life circumstance," Councilwoman Jessica Yorko said. "We did a good thing as a council, as a group. I'm proud of us."
    Council President A'Lynne Robinson said the upcoming budget was the result of a thoughtful process. Yet, "we have got to stop (with) makeshift budgets," she said.
    Doug Warren, an Amherst Drive resident, agreed that solutions need to address the structural deficit problem that the city is experiencing.
    "It's not going to get any better," he said.

5/14-15/2010  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 (ecdesignr@yahoo.ca) unless otherwise initialed -

  1. Pa. needs work-sharing law, state official says - Labor & Industry Secretary Sandi Vito visits Wyoming Valley to call for changes in the jobless benefits system [long version], by Bill O'Boyle boboyle@timesleader.com, 5/14 TimesLeader.com
    Sandi Vito, secretary of Labor & Industry, talks about work sharing and the unemployment compensation system. (photo caption)
    WILKES-BARRE, Pa. – State Labor & Industry Secretary Sandi Vito was in town Thursday to campaign for establishment of a work-sharing program and the enactment of changes to the state’s unemployment compensation law.
    Vito said state House Bill 2160, a measure that would establish a work-sharing program to help prevent layoffs, was unanimously passed by the state House and is now in the state Senate.
    “This legislation is about protecting good jobs now and in the future,” Vito said. “It is also about ensuring that Pennsylvania’s companies remain competitive and its workers continue to provide for their families, especially during times of recession. It will provide employers and employees with a valuable tool for economic success.”
    Work sharing would enable businesses to avoid permanent layoffs by reducing the number of regularly scheduled hours of work for all or part of their work force, Vito said. Employees whose hours are reduced through work sharing would be eligible for unemployment compensation for those lost work hours.
    Because work sharing is an alternative to layoffs, there would be no additional costs to the state’s Unemployment Compensation Trust Fund, Vito said.
    “Nobody wants to have their hours reduced or be laid off,” she told The Times Leader Editorial Board. “I wish we had this program in place at the start of the recession.”
    Employers have the option to use a shared work program, she said. The labor department will monitor the program to ensure employers comply with its rules, Vito said.
    Vito said there are advantages to employers and employees in work sharing.
    “Work sharing allows employers to retain skilled workers and avoid the costs of recruiting and training new workers when the economy improves and those orders start coming in again,” Vito said. “We find morale is better when employees feel that their jobs are being preserved.”
    Vito said 17 states have enacted work-sharing programs, which were first adopted in California, Arizona and Oregon in 1982. Nationwide, the number of employees filing new work-sharing claims increased to 341,200 in 2009 from 117,400 in 2008, according to the U.S. Department of Labor.
    Vito said more than 30,000 Pennsylvanians who have lost their jobs during the recession were declared ineligible for unemployment compensation benefits. She said many of them paid into the system but didn’t meet eligibility requirements. She said that by changing state law, they would be eligible to collect.
    Vito said House Bill 2400 has been introduced in the Legislature and a hearing on the bill is scheduled for June 17.
    “It’s important we provide unemployment compensation to people who deserve it,” Vito said. “I urge people to call their legislators to encourage them to support the bill. We can’t let politics stand in the way; we all know a lot of good programs don’t get into law because of silly politics.”
    Vito said she sees the state’s economy improving, pointing to almost 23,000 new jobs in recent times.
    “We still have a half million people unemployed,” she said. “We have a lot of growing to do.”
    Bill O’Boyle, a Times Leader staff writer, may be reached at 829-7218.
    [1st of] 10 Reader Comments
    Paul Dee said...
    How does this help ? YOu work less hours for less pay , and that is supposed to be good for who ? What we need are less GOVERNMENT , LESS UNIONS , LESS REGULATION AND LOWER TAXES . That is the only way to create jobs and wealth , if you cut a pizza into 12 slices instead of eight you still have the same amount of pizza but smaller cuts that leave everyone hungry . This government has done nothing but destroy jobs since 2008 , where is the " LAZER " focus Obama promised ? Right , what is important to Obama is the next election , Liberal judges , punishing the oil industry , and passing ammnesty . None of which will create any jobs for American people . I dare anyone to show me differntly .
    May 14, 2010 at 6:13 AM
    [Picking up the "dare," Phil Hyde's comment was -]
    Paul Dee ignores the overall level & the long term. Overall, pay goes by supply & demand like everything else. Job shortage lowers pay due to jobseeker surplus. Job surplus raises pay due to jobseeker shortage. Everyone working less hours creates jobseeker shortage, job surplus & higher pay. Long term, pre-1840 we worked 80+ hrs/wk for low pay. Post-1940 we worked 40 hrs/wk for high pay - until the postwar babyboomers grew up & restored the job shortage. The only way to create jobs & wealth in the age of automation & robotics is either to roll back the robots or resume the hours-cuts of the 1840-1940 period. We can get less gov't & regulation only by finding the single all-sufficient regulation, so well designed & positioned that it safely supersedes all the more detailed regulations. The closest thing to that in our lifetime is fluctuating adjustment of the workweek against un- & under-employment, coupled with automatic conversion of overtime into training&hiring. Check timesizing.org
    [But this was only 1000 of the full 4154 characters of Phil's comment, cut to fit the website's comment format, and the more concise it got, the harder it was to understand, so here's the full comment -]
    Paul Dee is ignoring the overall level and the long term.
    Overall, pay goes by supply & demand like everything else. Job shortage? Lower pay due to jobseeker surplus. Job surplus? Higher pay due to jobseeker shortage. Everybody works less hours? Jobseeker shortage, job surplus & higher pay.
    Long term, before 1840 we were working over 80 hrs/wk for low pay. After 1940 we were working 40 hrs/wk for high pay - until the babyboomers grew up & restored the job shortage of the Depression. The only way to create jobs & wealth in the age of automation & robotics is either to roll back the robots or resume the hours-cuts of the 1840-1940 period. If we keep cutting jobs and markets instead of just cutting hours, we'll worsen the job shortage, cut pay levels lower & cut spending & markets further.
    We can achieve Paul Dee's goal of less gov't & less regulation only if we find the single all-sufficient regulation (SASR), so well designed & centrally positioned that it safely supercedes all the more detailed & nitpicky other regulations. The closest thing to the SASR in our lifetimes is automatic, fluctuating adjustment of the workweek against unemployment & underemployment, coupled with automatic conversion of overtime into jobs. More on Timesizing.org . 
    As for the pizza comparison, what if you have 12 people to feed, Paul? Are you seriously going to have 8 people completely satisfied & 4 people dead of starvation, instead of 12 people who could do with more to eat but all are alive? And the difference with smaller cuts of work for more people is that there are fewer leftover people begging for a cut even if it has less cheese on it.
    We now have thousands of resumes coming in for only hundreds of job openings. Better we should have the reverse. Capitalism has always worked well under a shortage of job applicants, as during World Wars 1 & 2 ("wartime prosperity") but capitalism has always worked worse & worse under a deepening shortage of jobs relative to jobseekers. And it's a lot smarter (& safer in the nuclear age) to get that magic job surplus-jobseeker shortage by cutting the arbitrary level of the "full time" workweek than by killing & wounding jobseekers in wars.
    And Paul Dee is right about unions unless they get back to their lazer focus on shorter hours, instead of higher pay. If you can only get one of these 2 historic union goals & it's higher pay, you wind up with neither because you've just tacked an artificially higher price on a surplus commodity, YOU, and market forces will work against you. But if you can just get one of these 2 goals & it's shorter hours, you wind up with both, because you've reduced the surplus of YOU & harnessed market forces on your side to reward a perceived shortage of you instead of a deepening surplus. Employers will get bidding against one another for good help & pay levels will rise, instead of 100s of resumes coming in for every job opening, each jobseeker desperate & offering to do the job for less.
    This is not about liberal or conservative, or about higher or lower taxes. It's about learning from our downward drift in the last 40 years since the babyboomers restored the pay-stagnating job shortage of the Depression & made it necessary for both parents to work to support the family (& beg for childcare to let strangers bring up the kids).
    Lower taxes is not a panacea - remember that "wartime prosperity" always involved taxes, but steeply graduated on the topmost brackets who had far far more than they could spend & more than they could even sustainably invest. But since most of modern government is makework to compensate for not having adjusted the workweek for the last 70 years of automation upgrades, full employment by workweek adjustment would obviate all those artificial job creation programs, pork & patronage, & replace them with a new & lower level of something that has always been artificial anyway, "full time employment."
    Then we would solve the "Ford-Reuther quandary" where Henry Ford takes union leader Walter Reuther on a factory tour c.1939 & says, "Let's see you unionize these robots!" & Reuther shrugs, "Let's see you sell them cars."
    [Phil also made an earlier start, as follows -]
    OK, I'll take up Paul Dee's dare. He needs to think longer term system-level, which is where we're ruining ourselves with the level of thinking he's bought stuck at. efore 1840, we worked over 80 hrs/wk for low pay because we were a surplus commodity as machines took over human employment. From 1840 to 1940 we cut hours and our own surplus of hours, which harnessed market forces in raising pay, no "minimum wage laws" required. So that's #1 = pay goes by supply & demand, not by longer hours, or the Chinese would be the highest paid workers in the world with their megahours (never mind their 20%+ joblessness).

  2. Finding a child care balance, by Julie Anderson & Veronica Daehn Stickney, 5/15 Omaha World-Herald via omaha.com
    Tina Stockfeld loves her children's child care center.
    The preschool curriculum is based on that of their school district. Storytellers and clowns come in, and children go on field trips.
    But as much as the Omaha family loves the center, they try to spend as much time with their children as they can.
    Either Tina or her husband, Matt, get 7-year-old Sam on and off the school bus. Paige, 5, spends only about five hours a day at the child care center and preschool.
    The couple credit flexible employers for making their schedules work.
    “We have always maintained that our kids would be with someone other than us at a bare minimum,” said Stockfeld. “It's worked out great for us.”
    The Stockfelds have keyed in on some of the main messages from the largest and longest-running study of child care in America: Find high-quality child care, and try to avoid very long hours.
    The federally funded study, which has tracked more than 1,300 children since 1991, found that kids who attended higher quality child care for the first 4.5 years of their lives scored slightly higher on academic and cognitive tests at age 15 than those who had been in lower-quality settings.
    “The biggest message is the child care quality message,” said Deborah Lowe Vandell, the study's lead author and a professor of educational psychology at the University of California, Irvine.
    Vandell said the concern is not with some time in day care but with a consistently high number of hours in child care.
    For those who spent longer hours in child care, the study found more impulsive behavior and more risky behavior at age 15 than among those who logged fewer hours.
    Risky behavior, for the study's purposes, included not wearing seat belts and bike helmets and using alcohol within the past year.
    The hours in childcare among study participants ranged from two hours a week to 60 hours a week, averaged over time, Vandell said. The average was between 20 hours and 30 hours a week.
    But Vandell said her earlier work found the increase in problem behaviors showed up among children in child care for 45 hours or more a week.
    For those in child care less than 30 hours a week, rates of problem behavior mirrored those of the general population. Those who spent fewer than 20 hours a week in child care displayed fewer problems than the norm.

    [Gee, maybe we should actually be looking for more free time to raise our own kids instead of more childcare to accommodate mega working hours (especially in the age of worksaving' technology?!).]
    In Nebraska and Iowa, finding good day care is an issue for many.
    Nebraska had the third-highest percentage — just over 75 percent — of children under age 6 with all of their parents in the work force, according to U.S. Census data released last fall. Iowa was No. 5 at 74 percent.
    The challenge is finding high-quality care, said Kenneth Smith, an associate professor of early childhood education at the University of Nebraska at Omaha.
    “Unfortunately, that puts parents in a bind,” he said. “Parents don't have a lot of background to pick good quality care, or time to do it.”
    Because very young children learn through relationships, Smith suggested looking at the degree of routine in the environment and the responsiveness of adult caregivers to children. Do they enjoy what children do, do they manifest that joy, are they active participants in what children do?
    Vandell said she advises parents to seek recommendations from trusted friends and neighbors and to call and interview the center director or in-home provider.
    Find out about their educational backgrounds and those of their staffs, ask what kind of curricula and activities they provide. Then go and observe for two hours. Find a child that reminds you of your child and watch him or her for 15 minutes, looking for interactions with staff and other children.
    Quality care can come with a cost. In the metropolitan area, child care ranges from roughly $100 a week to more than $200 a week per child.
    Carol Fichter, co-administrator of the Nebraska Department of Education's Office of Early Childhood, emphasized the need for more high-quality child care, which can make a particular difference in the lives of disadvantaged children. Improving quality has been one of the aims of groups such as Building Bright Futures. Fichter said she was less concerned about hours in child care than about quality care.
    “I don't think we want parents to walk away thinking the more hours my child spends in care, the worse it is for his or her social and emotional development,” Fichter said.
    One solution for parents may be to spend time after work talking and playing with their children, as difficult as that may be at the end of a long work day. Part of that can come during the daily routine, fixing meals, getting ready for bed.
    “Those are the kinds of things that are really important,” she said.
    She acknowledged, however, that wrench parents feel when they have to leave youngsters in child care. To that end, flexibility in the workplace, while certainly not universal, can help.
    First National Bank of Omaha, for example, offers a number of options, from flexible hours to compressed work weeks, said Kelly Parr, wellness and work/life coordinator. The bank has its own child care center, operated by Bright Horizons, a national child care provider.
    Not only can parents visit the center, which is close to the bank's downtown office building, but they also can stay in touch via phone and e-mail, said Don George, the center's director.
    Matt Stockfeld, the director of technology for Methodist College, has the flexibility to work from home occasionally. Tina works 35 hours a week managing property for a real estate company.
    On Wednesdays, when the Millard school district dismisses at 2 p.m., either Mom or Dad is there. The two alternate Wednesday pickup duty.
    Minimizing the time in day care is so important that Tina said she won't go to the gym or the grocery store while her kids are at day care or school.
    “Granted, that would make things much easier,” she said, “but I have working mom guilt, so I don't.” She notes, though, that daycare hasn't been a negative thing for her family.
    “It hasn't affected them at all,” she said. “My 7-year-old is very well behaved. You ask him, ‘Did you hate going to a babysitter when you were little?' and he says no.”

5/12-13/2010  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 (ecdesignr@yahoo.ca) unless otherwise initialed -

  1. Pa. needs work-sharing law, state official says [short version], by Bill O'Boyle boboyle@timesleader.com, 5/13 Wilkes Barre Times-Leader via timesleader.com
    WILKES-BARRE, Penn. – State Labor & Industry Secretary Sandi Vito was in town Thursday to campaign for establishment of a work-sharing program and the enactment of changes to the state’s unemployment compensation law.
    Vito said state House Bill 2160, a measure that would establish a work-sharing program to help prevent layoffs, was unanimously passed by the state House and is now in the state Senate.
    “This legislation is about protecting good jobs now and in the future,” Vito said. “It is also about ensuring that Pennsylvania’s companies remain competitive and its workers continue to provide for their families, especially during times of recession. It will provide employers and employees with a valuable tool for economic success.”
    Work sharing would enable businesses to avoid permanent layoffs by reducing the number of regularly scheduled hours of work for all or part of their work force, Vito said. Employees whose hours are reduced through work sharing would be eligible for unemployment compensation for those lost work hours.

  2. Long working hours can cause heart disease - don't let your job be the death of you, By Miriam Stoppard, Today's Health Topic via Mirror.co.uk (blog)
    LONDON, England - I'm due for a heart attack any minute, according to a report which claims that people who regularly work 10 or 11-hour days greatly raise their risk of heart disease.
    But I'm not in a panic yet. As someone who's worked hours like this all my life, I believe the key lies in what you do in your free time.
    If you deal with stress by smoking 50 fags, downing half a bottle of vodka and having regular takeaways, then yes, you're probably heading for clogged up arteries, high blood pressure and a spare tyre - all heart disease risk factors.
    The findings, published in the European Heart Journal, came from a study of 6,000 civil servants. Researchers found that the number of hours they spent working overtime was strongly linked to a higher incidence of angina and heart attacks.
    Regularly working an extra three or four hours a day seemed to raise the risk by 60%.
    Long working hours may mean you skip regular health checks and ignore symptoms, not to mention missing out on quality time with your family and losing touch with friends.
    Don't despair if this applies to you - there are clever ways to change your life, making it less stressful.
    Here are my top tips to help you help yourself...
    (1) Get smart
    Is your overtime paid or does it happen because you struggle to get your work done in the allotted time?
    If you're being paid or run your own business, there's some satisfaction in knowing you're reaping rewards. But if you regularly work long hours for no extra benefit, you're probably doing yourself - and your health - harm.
    Is it a temporary or long-term situation? Do you need more training or do you just have too much to do? Is someone in the team not pulling their weight? Try to work out how to tackle the problem then talk to your boss - managers always favour staff who find their own solutions.
    (2) Ask about flexible working
    Would moving your work hours reduce stress - for example, starting and finishing earlier or working the same number of weekly hours over fewer days?
    Anyone can ask their boss if flexible working is possible but some employees, including parents of under-16s and carers, have a legal right to request it.
    By law your employer must seriously consider it and only say no for good business reasons. For more info, visit www.direct.gov.uk.
    (3) Get organised
    Plan ahead by writing to-do lists for the week, then break them down into days, adding a little extra time for unforeseen events and accepting things will change.
    Next, prioritise each task and put the most important towards the start of the week. Pepper the list with a few quick and easy tasks so you have the satisfaction of ticking some off promptly.
    (4) Share the load
    If you're in charge of anyone, delegate simpler jobs so you can concentrate on more demanding tasks.
    If you're not, do a bit of delegation at home if you have a partner or older kids. When I was a full-time working mum, I made sure all my sons helped out around the house.
    (5) Say no sometimes
    Never say yes to more work if you can't cope - the rest of your work will suffer. You can do this without looking like a skiver. Briefly explain why - "I already have one extra project and want to concentrate on doing it well" - but don't labour the point or it will sound as if you're protesting too much.
    (6) Don't dodge the doc
    Not going to the doctor because you're too busy is asking for trouble. Almost all conditions, even the most serious, are easily treatable in the early stages.
    There's also a lot of truth in the old adage "prevention is better than cure". Everyone should have their blood pressure checked. If you're over 40 see your GP or practice nurse for a heart health assessment.
    (7) Don't be a martyr
    Going in to work when you're ill will do you no favours. The work you do will probably be poor, annoying your boss, and colleagues won't be best pleased if they catch your cold or flu. You'll put your body under more strain if you don't rest.
    (8) Eat right
    Time may be short but don't let takeaways become a habit. A Which? report a couple of years ago found that some takeaways contained the same amount of fat, salt and calories in one meal that a woman should eat in a whole day.
    Try healthier fast-food options like a jacket potato with a tin of tuna, sweetcorn, light mayo and a salad.
    Or if you're opting for a ready meal, check the label for calories, fat, salt and sugar. The stress hormone cortisol can make us crave fat but stick to lasting-energy snacks such as fruit and nuts.
    (9) Get outside
    Taking a walk at lunchtime can help clear your head and get you away from a stressful situation so you can find a fresh perspective. You'll also get a dose of vitamin D which boosts mood among countless other health benefits.
    (10) Keep moving
    Exercise helps you blow off steam and releases anti-stress chemicals called endorphins. If you can't schedule in formal exercise, get in three sets of 10 minutes of moderate activity throughout the day. This could include walking or cycling to or from work - or a home workout session.
    Try skipping (boxers include it in their training), squats and lunges, half press-ups against the stairs or stomach exercises on the mat. Check out reliable exercise routines on the internet.
    (11) Have a hobby
    Having something pleasant and creative to focus on can be a relaxing antidote to stress. It needn't take up much time either - I love gardening and listening to music.
    (12) Do not forget your friends
    Friends can make you laugh, offer a different slant on a situation or just lend a sympathetic ear.
    Research shows that people who have a strong support network cope better with stress and are less prone to depression, so pick up the phone now and make some arrangements.
    [Or, go against all this advice. pick up the phone now and make some funeral arrangements.]

5/09-10-11/2010  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 (ecdesignr@yahoo.ca) unless otherwise initialed -

  1. Governor's race is full on the fringe, 5/11 San Jose Mercury News via mercurynews.com
    [As designers of a non-ageist economy that doesn't need mandatory retirement to reduced unemployment, we have deleted all the ages given in this article.]
    If you think Jerry Brown, Meg Whitman and Steve Poizner are the only options for California governor this year, you're going to be surprised when you see the ballot.
    Six others besides Brown appear on the Democratic primary ballot, and six others besides Whitman and Poizner are on the Republican ballot. Even most of the third-party primaries are contested: two American Independents, two Greens, and three Peace and Freedom candidates.
    Of 23 partisan gubernatorial candidates, only Libertarian Dale Ogden is unchallenged in his primary and therefore gets a free pass to November's general election.
    The other Democrats on June's primary ballot are Richard Aguirre, who is running on a solar-energy platform; Lowell Darling, a conceptual artist from San Rafael who also ran against Brown in 1978; and Vibert Greene, who vows to boost salaries for teachers and health care workers.
    There's also Charles "Chuck" Pineda, who advocates a 32-hour workweek; Peter Schurman, a former MoveOn.org executive from San Francisco; and Joe Symmon, who says he's a "moral voice of change" for California.
    Along with Poizner and Whitman on the GOP ticket are Bill Chambers, who advocates fiscal conservatism while keeping government out of issues such as abortion and marriage; Douglas Hughes, whose top issue is removing all pedophiles from the state; and Ken Miller, who vows to "fight the present socialist federal regime with all the power and authority invested in my position."
    There's also Lawrence Naritelli, who believes in "small limited government, low taxes, and free market capitalism"; Robert Newman, who calls his campaign a "grass-roots movement to bring change to California by God's movement in people"; and David Tully-Smith, a physician and CEO.
    Chelene Nightingale and Markham Robinson are competing for the nomination of the American Independent Party, a religious-based conservative party. Nightingale, a conservative anti-illegal-immigration activist, says on her website that she's running "to help restore our ailing state that has been hurt by special interest groups and big government." Robinson, the party's chairman, espouses a "Systematic Christian Political Theory" and sued in 2008 to challenge John McCain's eligibility to run for president, questioning his status as a natural-born citizen.
    S. Deacon Alexander and Laura Wells are competing for the nomination of the Green Party, a liberal environmentally oriented party. Alexander says on his website that he stands for "true social justice, nonviolence in word and deed, ecological wisdom that we can all believe in." Wells says on her website that "rather than drowning in debt and begging Wall Street for loans, California can institute a State Bank that invests in California's infrastructure, and future generations."
    Stewart Alexander, Carlos Alvarez and Mohammad Arif are competing for the nomination of the Peace and Freedom Party, which describes itself as "California's feminist socialist political party."
    Alexander, who was the Socialist Party USA's 2008 vice-presidential nominee, says on his website that he's running to "protect the working class" by creating jobs in electric-car manufacturing, a single-payer health care system and free college education.
    Alvarez says on his website that California's "economic woes should not be shouldered by working people" and calls for "forcing the state's richest banks and corporations to pay their share." Arif says on his website he would work to double the minimum wage, guarantee union rights for all workers, reduce the workweek to 30 hours and provide "a Universal Basic Income," all by taxing the rich.
    Also on the ballot: Governor's Race
    Richard William Aguirre, San Diego, businessman, real estate investor, http://aguirreforgovernor.com
    Lowell Darling, San Rafael, independent artist, www.lowelldarling.com
    Vibert Greene, Newark, mechanical engineer and CEO, http://vibertgreene2010.homestead.com
    Charles Pineda, Sacramento, retired parole hearing officer, *www.pinedaforgovernor.com
    Peter Schurman, San Francisco, nonprofit organization consultant, MoveOn.org co-founder and former executive director, http://peterschurman.org
    Joe Symmon, Rancho Cucamonga, Christian nonprofit charity founder and president, www.symmonsays.com
    Bill Chambers, Auburn, railroad switchman, www.billchambers4governor.com
    Douglas Hughes, Fountain Valley, retired business owner, http://hughes4governor.com
    Ken Miller, Fremont, family broadcasting executive, www.kenmiller2010.com
    Lawrence Naritelli, Carlsbad, accountant and controller, tea party activist, www.larrynaritelli.vpweb.com
    Robert Newman, Redlands, psychologist and farmer, www.newman4governor.org
    David Tully-Smith, Santa Rosa, primary care physician, electronic medical records company CEO, www.davetullysmith.org
    Chelene Nightingale, Palmdale, business owner, former actress and model, www.nightingaleforgovernor.com
    Markham Robinson, Vacaville, software firm owner
    S. Deacon Alexander, Los Angeles, student, community activist, former Black Panther, www.deaconforgov.com
    Laura Wells, Oakland, financial systems consultant, www.laurawells.org
    Dale Ogden, San Pedro, business consultant/actuary, www.dalefogden.org
    Stewart Alexander, Murrieta, political consultant; community activist, alexandercares.com
    Carlos Alvarez, Los Angeles, grocery worker, antiwar and gay-rights activist, http://alvarezforgovernor.com
    Mohammad Arif, Culver City, businessman, www.mohammadarif.com

  2. Protesting Furloughs, 5/10 WBNG-TV News via WBNG.com
    BINGHAMTON, N.Y. - Mandatory furloughs could be in store for state workers this week.
    More than 100 state employees protested Governor David Paterson's proposed furloughs Monday in Binghamton.
    The four-day work week would save the state more than 30 million dollars a week.
    The move is tied to an emergency bill up for vote in the assembly.
    State employees have tried to negotiate with Paterson.
    Saying that outside consultants could be eliminated from the payroll.
    And less costly state employees could perform the tasks instead.
    "You're looking at either a delay of services or you're looking at people not getting the care that they require," said Mary Twitchell, Regional Coordinator for NYS Public Employees Federation.
    Leaders in Albany are set to vote on the bill sometime tonight.
    If the emergency bill is shot down, government services could be in danger of closing down.
    Something opponents of the furloughs say would be drastic enough to force a compromise on the budget.

  3. Layoffs possible in Mesilla, by Steve Ramirez sramirez@lcsun-news.com, 5/09 Las Cruces Sun-News via lcsun-news.com
    LAS CRUCES, N.M. - The budget woes for Mesilla's town government may have very well reached the point where layoffs could become a reality.
    The Mesilla board of trustees will consider approval of a reduction in force plan when it meets at 6 p.m. Monday at Mesilla Town Hall, 2231 Avenida de Mesilla. Town administrators spent time this weekend on working out final details of the plan that would go into effect at the start of Mesilla's new fiscal year, on July 1.
    Mayor Nora Barraza said it appears that the equivalent of 3.5 positions will have to be cut. Although trustees will make the final decision of where those positions will be eliminated, Barraza said the cuts would likely come from classified positions in town administration.
    "Gross receipts taxes just aren't coming in like we hoped," Barraza said. "The budget projections we're looking at right now for the upcoming year are forecasting anywhere from a $160,000 to $180,000 deficit,"
    Currently, there are about 30 people who work for Mesilla town government.
    Struggles with Mesilla's budget have continued for the past two fiscal years. During that time, employees haven't worked a 40-hour week and salaries and benefits have been trimmed.
    Currently, town employees are on a 32-hour workweek. At the start of the current fiscal year, employee hours were increased to a 35-hour workweek but as fluctuations continued in tax revenues, trustees were forced to lower hours back to 32.
    Facing a potential reduction in force, trustees will also consider changing hours that Mesilla Town Hall would be open to the public. It is now open from 7 a.m. to 6 p.m. Monday through Thursday, but the building would be open from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday through Thursday in the proposed change.
    As another possible cost-cutting measure, trustees will consider closing the town's teen center at the Mesilla Community Center. All of the proposed changes will be presented at Monday's meeting by town administrators as part of the town's preliminary budget for the 2011 fiscal year.
    Another item on the board's agenda Monday is approval of a resolution that would finalize the board's approval of a plan to remodel a portion of Double Eagle Restaurant on the Mesilla Plaza. Initially, the town's Planning, Zoning and Historical Appropriateness Commission recommended the remodeling be denied, but at the board's April 26 meeting, it voted 3-2, with Barraza casting the deciding vote, to overturn the commission's denial.
    Steve Ramirez can be reached at (575) 541-5452.

5/07-08/2010  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 (ecdesignr@yahoo.ca) unless otherwise initialed -

  1. For Mother's Day, Hope for Work-Life Balance and Workplace Flexibility, by Dir. David Gray of the Workforce & Family Program of the New America Foundation, 5/08 HuffingtonPost.com (blog)
    As we approach Mother's Day, the biggest gift that many moms are looking for is a gift of time and balance. There is a mismatch between the structure of American work and the needs of most families. Fortunately, there may be increasing hope for parents and others struggling with work life balance. Poll after poll shows the desire for more workplace flexibility for American workers and families.
    The landscape might finally be turning towards constructive action in this space. On March 31, President Obama hosted the White House Forum on Workplace Flexibility. The President and the First Lady talked about their work-life balance challenges in a way that could resonate with the 85% of Americans who report that they struggle with work-life balance. More and more companies are turning to workplace flexibility policies to recruit and retain workers. Consequently, last spring, the Society for Human Resource Management announced a work-life balance policy platform, which highlighted workplace flexibility, and included recommendations to help businesses provide extended time off. At the White House Forum, Office of Personnel Management Chief John Berry announced plans to expand telework and efforts to make the federal government a more flexible employer. On April 22, the House Worker Protection Subcommittee held a hearing on the Work Life Balance Award Act of 2010, which would create and recognize incentives for businesses to support work-life balance, and has real potential for bipartisan support.
    Moreover, the development in Australia of new "right to request" legislation provides a possible model for the U.S. Employers who have told me over and over that if employees simply ask for flexibility and time off, they would grant the requests in most cases. Great Britain enacted a law in 2004 to give employees the right to "request" a flexible schedule. However, "right to request" legislation has gone nowhere in the U.S., in no small part because most proposals contain enforcement mechanisms that are unacceptable to business. The Australian model allows an employer to deny the request for legitimate business reasons and there is no review of the decision. With the enforcement provisions removed, the Australian model, or some version of it, provides a starting point for a model bipartisan conversation about increasing such workplace flexibility. Conversations between employers and employees about flexibility are going on in the private sector each day and efforts to enhance them, such as Australia's model, are significant.
    Finally, the economic downturn has potential to highlight bipartisan work-life balance policies. An April 5 paper, co-authored by Kevin Hassett of the conservative American Enterprise Institute and Dean Baker of the liberal Center for Economic and Policy Research, argues that the best way for America to reduce its near-double digit unemployment rate is to promote work-sharing. The idea is that rather than laying off workers, employers would be encouraged by federal policy to reduce the hours of workers. So more workers would stay attached to work, but work fewer hours. Rather than paying unemployment insurance to workers who have been laid off and have no workforce attachment, those same funds would help make up the salaries of the workers who have reduced hours. Work-sharing is an important work-life balance concept that allows people to work reduced hours and spend more time with family. Interesting, the depression era Fair Labor Standards Act and its 40 hour work week became law as a kind of work sharing concept to reduce unemployment. The economic crisis is allowing leaders on both sides of the aisle to come together to argue for the expansion of flexibility policies.
    The result of the White House Forum is new momentum on workplace flexibility. For the first time in many years, the environment is beginning to look more promising for policies that help mothers, and all Americans, find more work-life balance.

  2. US Jobs Market Can Take Leaf Out Of Germany's *'Kurzarbeit', 5/07 RTTNews.com
    The U.S. economy seems like it has been out of recession for months but its labor market has not yet started to recover.
    [Notice the valium-based impression of the end of a recession favored by the financial industry.]
    As President Barack Obama ponders new measures to spark a revival on the jobs front during an election year, he may want to look towards Germany for a possible answer - job sharing [ie: work sharing].
    ["Job sharing" preserves the 70-year-frozen definition of "full-time job" as 40 hours that we're supposedly going to split. Work sharing is the proper term when we're going to continue our previous 100-150 year reduction of the "full-time" workweek as worksaving technology rolled in and threatened to self-destruct by disemploying its markets unless the barons of industry delivered on their promises that technology was going to make life easier with shorter, higher-paid hours instead of longer-deeper unemployment and anxious poverty.]
    The U.S. economy has staged a fairly solid recovery from the global financial downturn when compared to some of its peers. The country's gross domestic product grew by an annualized rate of 3.2% between January and March, marking the third straight quarter of growth. If followed 5.6% growth in the last three months of 2009, which is the fastest growth rate recorded in over six years.
    But despite the strong numbers, the country's unemployment rate has remained stubbornly high around the 10% mark and seems set to stay there for months yet. While that in itself is bad enough, a detailed breakdown of the large headline figure shows the true horror of the jobs situation in America.
    Consider the number of long-term unemployed for instance. According to latest official estimates from the Department of Labor, The number of people who have been jobless for over six months make up some 44% of all unemployed in the U.S. That's 6.5 million people who have been without a job since last summer at least.
    But even this does not do justice to full extent of America's jobs woe. It must be remembered that the Department of Labor's headline unemployment rate, while already high at 9.7%, is not technically the broadest measure of joblessness in the U.S. It is in fact a rather narrow measure.

5/05-06/2010  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 (ecdesignr@yahoo.ca) unless otherwise initialed -

  1. House OKs money for lost work hours, by Kevin Landrigan, 5/5 (5/06) NashuaTelegraph.com
    CONCORD, N.H. - A bill encouraging financially strapped companies to reduce work hours rather than lay off employees cleared the state Legislature.
    It also creates a competency test that unemployed workers can take and then demonstrate to company executives they have the necessary skills.
    Passage of the bill marks a significant victory for Gov. John Lynch, who made this New Hampshire Working initiative a major priority during the 2010 session.
    “The strong bipartisan support this initiative has received sends a strong signal to our workers that we care about them and we want to help them get back to work,” Lynch said.
    Without debate, the House of Representatives passed the bill (SB 501) Wednesday [5/5/2010] that had already gone through the Senate.
    The governor will sign it this afternoon [5/06/2010].
    New Hampshire will join 17 states that give workers unemployment benefits to cover the lost hours for companies that agree to avoid layoffs.
    Lynch also wants to double the state’s Job Training Fund to $2 million in 2011 and let the Department of Employment Security use some of the money to train workers.
    In March, the state unemployment office began a third part of this program that lets the state pay for six weeks of benefits while new workers get training. After that point, company owners can decide whether to hire those employees permanently or not.
    Kevin Landrigan can be reached at [603] 321-7040 or klandrigan@nashuatelegraph.com.

5/02-03-04/2010  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 (ecdesignr@yahoo.ca) unless otherwise initialed -

  1. Plainfield Schools shorten summer work week, by Catherine Cryder, 5/02 Plainfield Herald-News via Plainfield Sun via suburbanchicagonews.com
    PLAINFIELD, Ill. -- To save about $110,000 in utility costs, Plainfield School District is moving to a four-day work week for the summer.
    By shutting off the air conditioning, lights and computers Fridays and weekends, the district expects to save $110,000, said spokesman Tom Hernandez.
    The School Board approved this cost-savings initiative. This move is part of the district's plan to cut about million next year in operational and personnel expenses, including eliminating 159 full-time equivalent teacher, support staff and administrative positions.
    Currently, the 30 schools are open 8 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. Mondays to Fridays [8.5 x 5 = 42.5 - 2.5 lunch = 40 hours]. The new summer hours will be 7 a.m. to 5 p.m. Mondays through Thursdays [10 x 4 = 40 - 2.5 lunch = 37.5 hours]. Summer hours will run from June 7 to July 29 to minimize registration disruptions.
    "We took it to (Plainfield Association of Support Staff) and they were fine with it. They asked us if we could extend it two more weeks, and we said no. We need to go back Aug. 1 with registration," said Darlene von Behren, assistant superintendent for administration and personnel.
    Though the shortened week may take a day of availability away from the community, it does extend the daily hours and that may increase convenience for some schedules, she said.
    Fitness centers will have reduced hours too, operating Monday to Thursday evenings (6 to 8:30 p.m. at Plainfield South and 5:30 to 8 p.m. at Plainfield North and Central.) Since people enrolls in specific fitness center sessions, those signing up for the summer will be told of the new hours.
    The district had to make exceptions to its summer hours for churches and a dance group that already had rental agreements to use the buildings on the weekends.
    Groups will still be allowed to use the schools' fields and in some cases the washrooms that are part of the concession stands at the high schools.
    The district used to routinely operate four-day weeks during the summer until it extensive growth forced the five-day week.

  2. German manufacturing PMI posts survey-record high of 61.5, 5/03 Reliable Plant Magazine via reliableplant.com
    April data indicated that the German manufacturing sector started the second quarter with the strongest improvement in overall operating conditions since the survey began in April 1996. This was highlighted by a rise in the final Markit/BME Germany Purchasing Managers’ Index (PMI) – a composite indicator designed to give a single-figure snapshot of operating conditions in the manufacturing economy – from 60.2 in March to 61.5. The earlier flash figure for April was 61.3.
    The final PMI reading surpassed the previous record high registered in April 2000 and signaled that the recovery in the manufacturing economy continued to gain traction. All five components had a positive influence on the PMI in April, though the rise in the headline figure was primarily driven by a survey-record expansion of production.
    Output levels in the German manufacturing sector have now increased for ten consecutive months. The latest improvement reflected strong rises in all three market groups monitored by the survey. Investment goods producers posted the fastest rate of expansion, as has been the case throughout much of 2010 so far. Anecdotal evidence from survey respondents suggested that production was supported by higher global demand and, in some cases, efforts to rebuild stock from the extreme lows of 2009.
    A steep rise in new business intakes highlighted a continued rebound in client demand in April, although the pace of growth eased slightly since March. Stronger export demand underpinned the recovery, with firms commenting on a particularly marked improvement in new business from Asia. Manufacturers also commented on encouraging signs that the upturn in new export orders had broadened to the US and Europe at the start of the second quarter.
    Higher production requirements meant that companies continued to reappraise their staffing levels and input purchasing in April. Job creation was recorded for the first time since September 2008 and there were reports that short-time working had been scaled back. Meanwhile, purchasing activity increased at a survey-record pace in April as firms responded to rising output at their plants and the need to rebuild stocks of inputs. Latest data pointed to a rise in pre-production inventories for the first time since September 2008.
    Raw material stock rebuilding was partly constrained by longer delivery times from vendors. Anecdotal evidence suggested that capacity and inventory cutbacks amongst suppliers had yet to be fully reversed, resulting in a survey-record deterioration of vendor performance. There were also sporadic reports of delivery delays resulting from recent air transport restrictions in Europe.
    Supply chain pressures and stronger global demand for raw materials led to another marked rise in input costs in April, with the rate of inflation the steepest since July 2008. Manufacturers widely commented on higher steel prices and increased costs for oil-based products. This contributed to a third straight rise in output charges and the fastest rate of inflation since September 2008.
    Commenting on the final Markit/BME Germany Manufacturing PMI survey data, Tim Moore, economist at Markit, said: “April’s PMI figures provide reassurance that German manufacturing output continues to rise strongly from the extreme lows seen last year. A sustained resurgence in demand has given firms the confidence to scale back short-time working and react quickly to higher production requirements. However, the manufacturing recovery has not been all plain sailing, as supply chain pressures and raw material price rises continue to make their presence felt. Increased cost inflation presents a difficult crosswind for the sector and there are signs that some firms have started to respond by raising charges at the factory gate.”

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