4/30/2011 – 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 (email@example.com) unless otherwise initialed -
- Re: Help for the jobless, letter to editor? by Surjit Singh Padham of Cambridge ON, Waterloo Record via therecord.com
WATERLOO, Ont., Canada - One solution that might reduce unemployment in Canada would be a reduction of the mandatory work week to 30 hours from current norm of about 40 hours. If, for example, any task requires input of 1,200 man hours then at 40 hours per week we may require 30 people to accomplish the task. If we work 30 hours per week, then 40 people are required to complete the same task.
A four-day work week of, say, Monday to Thursday, working 7.5 hours per day, would leave three days which could be used for spending time with family.
Those who work 40 hours per week would have to sacrifice 10 hours to help the unemployed. A new minimum wage of around $13 per hour could be put in place to compensate for that loss of hours.
[Surjit doesn't realize that when you absorb all the desperate surplus of labor that's underbidding itself, market forces will drive up wages and you won't need a minimum wage.]
Maximum wage can be determined by experience and the skill required to do the job.
[And as for maximum wage, it can and always has been determined by market forces - no arbitrary determination required. When the time comes to start balancing the money skew, it's money per person (income) that's in the province of government, not wage (money per job). It's always the per-job variables we can healthily balance, so the per-job variables can continue to volatilize and telegraph warnings of shortages to us.]
- Fate of police, firefighters, libraries up to south Oakland voters, by Michael P. McConnell
and Catherine Kavanaugh, Royal Oak Daily Tribune via dailytribune
OAKLAND COUNTY, Calif. - Voters in four communities in southeast Oakland County will decide the fate of millage proposals to support city services and libraries in Tuesday’s election as officials try to fill budget gaps caused by declining tax revenues and expected cuts in state shared revenues.
The housing crisis, joblessness and the bad economy have hit most communities nationwide. As property values have plunged by double digits over the past several years, so have the tax revenues that support basic services like police, fire and public works.
Following is a roundup of what leaders in several cities say is at stake with the millage proposals in their communities.
Voters in Hazel Park are being asked to pass a police and fire millage that would increase taxes by 9.8 mills to maintain public safety services and staffing.
No resident groups have organized to fight the millage.
City officials estimate they will have to cut 56 percent of the police force and 48 percent of firefighters if the proposal fails.
Residents would see a massive reduction in the ability of the city to provide adequate protection from crime and fires, said City Manager Ed Klobucher.
“Hazel Park will look more like cities such as Pontiac, Highland Park and Flint where the level of protection of residents, businesses and visitors is inadequate,” he said. “The takeover of the city by a state-appointed emergency financial manager is a possibility even though we’ll make every cut we can to avoid that.”
All city employees took a 5 percent pay cut last year. Retiree health care costs were cut by $300,000 last year and the city saved about $300,000 by refinancing the Hazel Park Ice Arena. City Hall and other departments outside of police and fire have reduced their hours to four days a week to save money, Klobucher said. Police staffing in recent years has declined from 42 to 34 officers. The city also recently laid off a firefighter and eliminated a fire marshal’s position.
Klobucher no longer has a secretary and City Clerk Sharon Pinch also serves as assistant city manager and heads the building department. She and Klobucher are the only administrators left at City Hall. There are a total of only 11 clerks -- down from 24
-- left at City Hall and they work only part time.
“If the millage is approved we’ll be able to maintain our ability to protect residents,” Klobucher said. “If it fails there will be longer response times for police and fire, we’ll lose our life support ambulance and some crimes won’t be investigated.”
The millage proposal is for five years and would generate about $2.1 million -- less if property values continue to fall. The owner of an average house with a taxable value of $24,500 would pay about $269 more in annual taxes. City officials say, however, that if the measure passes the average owner will still pay about $18 less a year in taxes because of the steep drop in property values.
Police and fire staffing in Ferndale will have to be cut by up to 20 percent this year if voters defeat a five-year millage hike on Tuesday’s ballot, city officials said. Within five years the city would face a total of $16 million in cuts and public safety services would be cut in half, said Ferndale Mayor Dave Coulter.
“I believe passing the millage is the only way to protect our public safety services and our residents’ safety,” he said.
The millage would levy a 3-mills tax increase the first year and up to 5.4 mills for the remaining four years. The owner of a house with an average taxable value of $40,000 would pay $128 more in taxes the first year and up to $218 for the subsequent years.
The millage, called Proposal A, is needed to help close projected budget deficits, officials say.
This year the city faces a $2.2 million budget gap. Last year, the city made more than $3 million in cuts and eliminated about 40 employee positions, roughly 20 percent of city’s work force, which included police and fire layoffs.
One group of residents -- headed by former council appointees who studied the city’s finances and recommended the millage proposal in addition to more budget cuts – formed a campaign group to support the proposal. Another group opposes the millage and argues too many residents are too financially strapped to pay any tax increase. The city’s police and fire unions have publicly supported the millage. Police earlier this month agreed to a wage freeze and cuts in health care and other benefits equal to about 7 percent of their wages, according to Ferndale police Detective Brendan Moore, president of the city’s patrol officers union.
“The majority of the revenue raised with (the millage) would support our police and fire,” Coulter said.
The city agreed to lay off no police officers if the millage passes.
The police and fire chiefs recently told the City Council they will have to curtail services significantly if they have to make 20-percent reductions. The fire department will have to close its second fire station, lay off nearly a third of its 25 firefighters, increase response times and focus only on saving lives in building fires rather than fighting the blazes. The life support ambulance services would also be eliminated, fire Chief Kevin Sullivan has said.
Police Chief Timothy Collins told city officials earlier this month he will have to lay off 11 sworn officers and four support workers if forced to reduce operations by 20 percent. Response times would increase significantly from their current level of several minutes, he said, and many crime reports would have to be made at the station rather than by an officer responding to the scene.
Madison Heights is asking voters to approve two millages Tuesday that would last 10 years.
Proposal L seeks a tax hike of 1 mill to fund the city library, and a 1.18-mill increase called Proposal MR to maintain core services in the city.
No residents have organized to campaign against the proposals.
If both millages pass, the owner of a house with an average taxable value of $37,393 would pay about $81 more each year in city taxes -- $37 for the library and $44 to support city services.
City officials estimate property values are set to decline by an average of $93 annually and argue that even if both millages are approved the average resident would pay $12 less a year in taxes.
The city work force was cut by 20 percent last year, including reductions in police and fire staffing. City officials have closed gaps totaling $5.2 million in their budgets over the past two years. This year the city is facing a $2.4 million gap in its budgets despite making cuts, said Deputy City Manager Ben Myers.
The city millage “will offset revenue declines and help us avoid layoffs in the police, fire and public services in the next year,” Myers said. The millage would raise about $1 million a year.
The City Council has not yet made a decision on whether to use part of reserve funds in the general fund to curb some future cuts if the city millage fails, he added, but still faces the prospect of cutting core city services from public safety to snow removal. City Manager Jon Austin has said the city would have to eliminate at least another 10 jobs if the city millage fails.
“We don’t have layoff numbers yet because we still have several (unionized employee) groups in contract negotiations,” Myers said.
The library millage would generate about $898,000 annually and be used to avoid cutting two of its three full-time employees and reducing hours by 36 percent to 32 hours a week.
If the library millage fails the facility would have to be closed and employees laid off each August and for two weeks in December.
Approval of the library tax hike will allow officials to expand hours from 50 to 56 hours a week, triple the books and materials budget to $50,000 annually, replace five public computers and upgrade Internet bandwidth.
Voters will decide a 0.3-mill tax increase Tuesday to operate Blair Memorial Library, which just underwent $1.5 million of renovations made possible by a bond approved by voters in 2009.
The nearly back-to-back tax requests are confusing some voters, City Manager Mark Pollock said. They wonder why the library needs more money just one year into a 10-year bond for the 4,000-square-foot expansion, new roof, energy-efficient windows, and heating and cooling system.
Pollock said the bond covered brick-and-mortar upgrades. He said the millage levy is needed to maintain and restore library services, such as hours that have been reduced from 56 hours a week to 48 and now 40 because of city budget cuts.
A successful millage will generate about $110,000 a year and make the library self-sustaining.
“One-third of a mill is what we need to balance the library’s operating budget,” Pollock said. “We didn’t go for any kind of a buffer because we know people are scraping to get by themselves.”
If the millage passes, the owner of a house with an average taxable value of $56,000 would pay about $17 more in taxes annually. A mill generates about $330,000 in tax revenue, down from $409,000 since 2008 because of the housing crisis.
If the millage fails, the library will face more cuts like City Hall, where employees will go to four nine-hour days a week on Mondays through Thursdays starting July 8. Library hours could be reduced or the facility could be closed in the summer months.
“It would be a significant impact,” Pollock said. “The City Council would decide. They’re looking at using our little remaining fund balance to prevent layoffs so I don’t see them committing $100,000 for the library.”
Next door in Troy, that city’s public library got a reprieve from being shuttered yesterday because of a failed millage. Pollock said the closing date was pushed back to July 1.
4/29/2011 – 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 (firstname.lastname@example.org) unless otherwise initialed -
- Howard Stern Begins Shorter Work Week at Sirius XM Radio, by Amy Gilroy, Arts & Entertainment Playground via artsandentertainmentplayground.com
NEW YORK, N.Y. - Yesterday the self-proclaimed king of all media, Howard Stern affirmed that he’ll start cutting back to three or four day a week appearances on Sirius XM Radio. His reduced hours should begin next week, said Radio-Info.com.
Previously Stern told Rolling Stone that the he’d probably cut back his hours as part of his second 5-year contract with Sirius XM.
The Examiner quoted Stern as saying:
“I don’t want to hear any nonsense about it, because the option was either leave or work a few less days…I figured it was better if we showed up three days a week, sometimes four days a week or whatever, be here for you, touch base and do a good show.”
- Menomonie road project could force homeowners to dig deep, by Trent Artus, WQOW TV News 18 via wqow.com
EAU CLAIRE, Wisc. - Everyone loves a new road, but those feelings might change if paying for that road would force you out of your home.
Residents in Menomonie say Cedar Falls Road is in need of repair.
"It's worn, it's raised in the center, there's a lot of potholes of course," says Jean Davis, lives along Cedar Falls.
The city is looking into a plan to reconstruct the road, a project that would include adding curb and gutter, sewer and water lines, and a bike trail. Homeowner's in the area are being assessed to help cover some of the cost. Jean Davis, who has more than 1,366 feet of frontage along the road, faces a bill of nearly $90,000.
"I've lost a lot of sleep over this project," says Davis. "It's a big wait, being that I have the place paid for, I would have this big debt. I'm on a fixed income and social security doesn't go up."
Davis says she could defer some of the payment, but might decide to sell her home because of the cost of the project. Others are also worried about the financial impact. Jeff Luther is being assessed $20,000 on his property.
"In 2009, I took a 20 percent pay cut where I work, I was reduced to 32 hours a week for 10 months out of the year," says Jeff Luther, lives along Cedar Falls. "In 2010, my wife was unemployed for seven months and we have tapped out all our savings to stay in our house."
There are two developments that are located on the proposed project, but Luther says they won't have to pay anything.
"There are 55 to 60 homes, so there are 55 to 60 people and families that will benefit from this road and not a dime of its coming out of their pocket," says Luther. "And we're going to get assessed unreasonable amounts because of the frontage we own."
Besides the property assessment, there are other costs associated with the project, like keeping the bike trail portion cleared during the winter.
"It would be $30 to $75 per snowfall depending on how much snow," says Davis. "Plus it's state law that I would have to connect to water within a year, I've got a quote on that and it would run $2500 to $5000."
Luther says he doesn't see enough bike traffic in the area to make a bike and pedestrian trail necessary. He's also concerned about the trail being on his property.
"If they're going to take 15 feet of my front yard to put that bike trail in, why couldn't they shift the road over my way and put the bike trail on the other side? Because we're going to have bikers and pedestrians through my front yard, seven driveways they need to cross," says Luther.
Menomonie mayor Randy Knaack told WQOW News 18 that he's working on an alternative plan to reduce the cost to residents, but would not elaborate. Luther and Davis are hoping something can be worked out soon.
The Menomonie City Council will decide whether to approve the project on Monday. If the council gives the go-ahead construction could happen next year.
4/28/2011 – 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 (email@example.com) unless otherwise initialed -
- Racine County Assistant District Attorneys Start New Schedule May 8 - Assistant DAs who charge local criminals will work 32 hours per week starting May 8 - The reduced work week will last until the end of the current fiscal year on June 30, by Heather Asiyanbi, Caledonia Patch via Patch.com
Should the state cut the hours of assistant district attorneys to balance the budget?
CALEDONIA, Wisc. - Racine County assistant district attorneys will work 32-hour work weeks starting May 8.
District Attorney Michael Nieskes confirmed that he has informed the Circuit Court of his office's new schedule. The assistant DAs will work seven hour days Monday through Thursday and put in a four-hour day on Friday.
"Because of seniority rules with the contract, I can't have some lawyers off on different days of the week," he said. "By keeping everyone on a more regular schedule, we can hope the office continues to run smoothly."
One attorney in Nieskes' office is in her first year of service and is considered on probation. Her job will be eliminated on May 8, but Nieskes has the option to hire her back at 80 percent.
Court dates for first appearances will move from 1:30 Fridays to 11 am to accommodate the change.
"We need to make sure people are getting before a judge within 48 hours for a bond determination," Nieskes said. "The weekend schedule with court commissioners will not be interrupted."
The new schedule for the district attorney's office can potentially impact trial preparation since one day is needed for each day in court, but the assistant DAs' contract specifically prohibits any work being done if they're not in the office.
"Now that the work week will be condensed, the amount of time attorneys have to review search warrants or assist officers with evidence and testimony will be considerably less," Nieskes said.
Nieskes, his deputy district attorney, and the DA's special prosecutor are not affected by the state's requirement and will have a normal work week.
Late last week, the Wisconsin District Attorney Association sent a letter to the Office of State Employment Relations (OSER) stating that the OSER does not have the authority to layoff assistant DAs without the express consent of their elected bosses.
Nieskes said he was aware of the Association's letter, but since he is not a member, he's not a part of that discussion. Further, their letter does not change the status of his office.
Earlier this month, the Wisconsin Association of State Prosecutors, received layoff notices for the state's 345 prosecutors. Unless the attorneys agreed to take six additional furlough days, they would face layoffs in the form of work reductions of 20 percent, which affects pay but does not affect benefits like pension, sick time and vacation.
- Local Toyota implements 3-day work week, by Bernie Cahiles-Magkilat, Manila Bulletin via mb.com.ph
MANILA, Philippines – Toyota Motor Philippines (TMP) is implementing a three-day work-week or 50 percent reduction in production for about two months starting next week, but said there will be no layoff of workers as the company will just have to implement some work adjustment schedules.
TMP officials led by TMP vice-president Rommel Gutierrez had already informed the Board of Investments executive director Efren V. Leaño of their new work schedules. Gutierrez said that full commercial operation is expected to resume in July because the Toyota Japan plants are expected to be back on full operation sometime in June or even late May this year.
TMP also informed BoI there will be no layoffs as a result of the adjustments in work schedules at its assembly facility in Sta. Rosa, Laguna.
Under the adjusted work schedules, the TMP production workers at its Sta. Rosa plant will operate three days on two shifts from a five-day work week on two shift operation. While the other workers go on regular shift, the others would be undergoing some training, rotate their shifts, among others.
Gutierrez also told reporters they are scheduled to meet with the Department of Labor and Employment next week.
TMP assembles 120 units a day for both models. Vios accounts for 60 percent of its CKD production and Innova for the balance of 40 percent. These models account for 50 percent of its total sales.
Gutierrez said there will be no impact on production workers saying it is just a matter of scheduling. The temporary shutdown will not also affect its sales performance, he said.
Toyota Motor Philippines (TMP) finished 2010 strong with year-end sales of 56,855 units capturing 33.7% market share.
“We continue to observe normal working days except for the production line,” he said.
TMP, the country’s biggest car player, imports its SUV models as completely built-up (CBU) packs directly from Japan Alphard, Hi-Ace, Land Cruiser, Lexus, Prado, Previa, Rav 4 and Prius.
These CBU imports from Japan account for 10 percent of its total sales. Although some of TMP’s auto parts for its CKD assembly here are imported from Thailand , some tier 2 and 3 assembly parts are imported form Japan.
TMP also imports CBU models from Thailand to include Yaris, Altis, Camry, Fortuner and Hi-Lux. The Avanza is imported from Indonesia.
Toyota , the world's no. 1 car maker, suspended production at all its 18 factories in Japan from March 14 to 26 due to parts shortages. Since March 28, Toyota has been running just two plants at limited capacity to make Prius and Lexus cars.
The disasters resulted in a production loss of 200,000 cars from March 14 to April 1.
4/27/2011 – 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 (firstname.lastname@example.org) unless otherwise initialed -
- North Daviess cuts out jobs, hires new staff, GallatinNorthMissourian.com
NORTH DAVIESS, Mo. - The North Daviess R-3 Board of Education eliminated some positions and cut hours on others during their meeting held April 18.
The full time cook position was eliminated. A part time cook position was opened. Both full time secretarial positions were eliminated. A part-time (six hour) secretarial position was opened.
Daniel Street was offered the summer custodian position with the hourly rate of $10.50 an hour. Wendell Burns was offered a contract as high school counselor/district testing coordinator for no more than 550 hours. Charlotte Claussen was offered the extra duty of board secretary with the salary of $75 per meeting. Janese Courter was retained for the nursing position. Angel Michael’s resignation was accepted.
In other business, Jim Cook’s bid was accepted to mow the high school grounds. Stacey Lewis’ bid was accepted to mow the elementary school grounds.
New members Jason Lewis, Amanda Wynne and James Horner were sworn in. Debbie Ray will be president; Jason Lewis - vice-president; Jessica Nelson - secretary; Lee Courter - treasurer.
The board agreed to continue with current insurance plans in place. The board paid portion of $400 per employee. The board also voted to continue current life insurance plans at the rate of $2.75 per employee.
The financial statement was present by Becky Morris
The Facilities/Safety Evaluation prepared by Jeremy Dodds was accepted.
The Class of 2011 was certified.
Mrs. Morris presented a letter of written to the school district from the Department of Modern Languages, University of Central Missouri congratulating the Spanish students and professor Mrs. Fish on their accomplishments at the Film Festival. The Spanish I film and Spanish III films received awards. Spanish III received nine awards in all.
There will be a K-12 field trip to Wallace State Park in Cameron as a reward for finishing MAP and EOC testing.
Mr. Hartley announced that the MAP and EOC testing are over and everything went well at both buildings. He announced that the EOC testing was computer-based and went very well. The fundraiser items will be delivered at the elementary building.
The board entered into executive session pursuant to employee matters.
Next meeting was set for 7 p.m. Thursday, May 12, at Jameson.
Board Members Present: Jessica Nelson, Debbie Ray, Axel Olson, Lee Courter, Jason Lewis and Cecil McCrary. Absent: Jeremy Hunter.
- Harper announces support for small business, johncarmichael.ca [political party press release]
[HOUSTON via CALGARY, U.S. in Canada - ]
Prime Minister Stephen Harper today announced that a re-elected Conservative Government will implement a range of measures, including reducing unnecessary regulation, to support small businesses in creating jobs and spurring economic growth.
“Canada’s entrepreneurs are the backbone of our economy, creating jobs and driving long-term economic growth in communities large and small across our country,” said Mr. Harper. “It is important that government create the conditions for Canadian entrepreneurs to flourish and grow.”
A re-elected Stephen Harper Government will spur a culture shift within government [since when do real conservatives want any kind of "shift"? beware the religious shift cloaked in this "culture" shift] by legislating a ‘one-for-one’ rule, so that government must eliminate an existing regulation every time it proposes a new one.
[This, however, is a good idea, similar to steady-state immigration: one emigrant, one immigrant, and similar to postwar Italian PM Luigi Einaudi's policy of No spending bill unaccompanied by a corresponding funding bill. And dismantling the 60-70% of all modern governments devoted to offsetting the joblessness created by the maintenance of a frozen precomputer workweek deep into the age of robotics is a major goal of the Timesizing Program.]
The success of the small- and medium-sized business sector contributes greatly to the economic and social success of Canada; however, 26 per cent of small business owners say they may not have gone into business had they known the true burden of regulation.
Stephen Harper’s Government has taken decisive action to address the needs and concerns of entrepreneurs in the last five years, including reducing taxes and red tape; improving access to business financing; making substantial investments in training, research, and development; and opening up new markets. Building upon Prime Minister Stephen Harper’s declaration of 2011 as the Year of the Entrepreneur, a re-elected Conservative Government will further support Canadian businesses by:
* Moving forward with the Red Tape Reduction Commission, which will apply a small business lens to regulations to ensure that they do not have unintended impacts on small businesses.
* Introducing a $1,000 Employment Insurance tax credit for any new employees hired by a small business.
* Extending BizPal, an online service for businesses that provides streamlined, customized one-stop shopping for information on required permits and licences.
* Providing $20 million over two years for the Canada Youth Business Foundation, enabling young Canadians to launch more than 1,000 new businesses and generate an estimated 6,700 new jobs.
“As Canada emerges from a worldwide economic recession and government economic stimulus winds down, it is essential for Canadian businesses and entrepreneurs to drive our economic recovery,” said Mr. Harper. “The Next Phase of Canada’s Economic Action Plan will allow Canadian businesses do exactly that by giving them support, and will help spur the culture shift within government that they need to grow and create jobs.”
Mr. Harper also noted that the Ignatieff Liberal, NDP, Bloc Québécois plan to raise taxes on business would deal a harsh blow to Canada’s economic recovery, resulting in the loss of thousands of Canadian jobs. “The high-tax agenda shared by the Ignatieff Liberals, the NDP and Bloc Québécois will kill jobs, stall our economic recovery and jeopardize the financial security of hard-working Canadian entrepreneurs and families.”
Small- and medium-sized businesses account for 98 per cent of all businesses in Canada. Through innovation and ingenuity, small business owners and entrepreneurs create jobs and generate wealth in communities across Canada. As the economic recovery takes hold and the stimulus program winds down, it will be critical for Canadian businesses to grow and create additional jobs.
Stephen Harper’s Government has consulted closely with business stakeholders and has taken decisive action to address barriers faced by entrepreneurs, including reducing taxes and red tape, improving access to business financing, supporting training and research, and opening up new markets. Among other things, the Stephen Harper Government has:
* Reduced the federal income tax rate for small businesses.
* Increased the amount of income small businesses can claim under the lower tax rate.
* Eliminated the federal capital tax and the corporate surtax to encourage businesses to invest, expand and hire more workers.
As a result, among major advanced economies, Canada now has the lowest overall tax rate on new business income, while under the prior Liberal government we had one of the highest. Our Conservative Government has also:
* Provided funding for the Canada Business Network and the Canadian Youth Business Foundation to support and promote youth entrepreneurship.
* Increased the maximum eligible loan a small business can receive under the Canada Small Business Financing Program from $250,000 to $350,000, and $500,000 for loans made for acquiring real property — the first increase in over 15 years.
* Extended the Work-Sharing Program to 78 weeks so many small businesses can avoid having to lay off their workers during the global recession.
[Sounds good, but the word on the street is that Harper has this program trammelled with red tape and delays, so it's more parading-horse than reality.]
* Established a new private sector Advisory Committee on Small Business and Entrepreneurship to provide advice on how to further improve business access to federal programs and information.
* Created a new $40-million Small and Medium-sized Enterprise Innovation Commercialization Program, so that government departments can demonstrate new products developed by small- and medium-sized companies.
As the economy recovers, it is important that small businesses are able to expand and hire new workers so they can take advantage of emerging opportunities, compete in a global economy, and create more jobs for Canadians.
Stephen Harper’s Government has declared 2011 the Year of the Entrepreneur in order to help increase public awareness of the important role played by small business. Small businesses are a key part of Canada’s economy, and we agree with the Canadian Federation of Independent Business that “small businesses are indispensable in their role as job creators and innovators all across Canada.”
Building on the low-tax plan implemented by Stephen Harper’s Government since 2006, the 2011 Budget, the Next Phase of Canada’s Economic Action Plan, took additional important steps to help small businesses and entrepreneurs grow and create jobs by reducing red tape and making it easier for small enterprises to do business.
A re-elected Stephen Harper Government will implement the measures contained in Budget 2011, the Next Phase of Canada’s Economic Action Plan, which was rejected by Mr. Ignatieff and his Coalition partners, the NDP and Bloc Québécois, to further support small businesses and entrepreneurs, including:
* Creating a new $1,000 Hiring Credit for Small Business to encourage small businesses to hire additional workers. This credit will be available to approximately 525,000 employers, reducing their 2011 payroll costs by about $165 million.
* Extending permanent support for BizPal, an online service for businesses that provides streamlined, customized one-stop shopping for information on permits and licences that are required by the federal, provincial and municipal governments.
* Consulting with small businesses on how the EI rate-setting mechanism can be improved in order to ensure more stable, predictable rates.
* Building on the Government’s success in fulfilling its Budget 2007 commitment to reduce the paperwork burden on Canadian businesses by 20 per cent, we are moving forward with the new Red Tape Reduction Commission to (i) review federal regulations, (ii) reduce the cost of compliance for small businesses and (iii) identify additional measures to reduce obstacles to job creation.
* Providing written tax advice to queries from small business clients, and reviewing the penalty structure for late filing of information returns with particular regard to its impact on small business.
* Expanding the Industrial Research Assistance Program linking colleges with small- and medium-sized businesses.
* Extending the Work-Sharing Program for an additional 16 weeks so small businesses can keep their employees as the economy recovers.
* Providing $20 million over two years to enable the Canadian Youth Business Foundation to continue its important support for young entrepreneurs. Since its creation, the Foundation has helped young Canadians to start more than 4,000 businesses, creating close to 18,000 new jobs.
And a re-elected Stephen Harper Government will also spur a culture shift [see remarks on "culture shift" above] within government by legislating a ‘one-for-one’ rule, so that government must eliminate an existing regulation every time it proposes a new one. The rule will be designed to maintain the highest standards in all areas, including health, safety and environmental protection, while promoting a culture shift in government in favour of the needs of Canadian small businesses.
[The real choice is between totalitarianism in terms of a religious party camouflaged as "conservative" that shuts down Parliament whenever the going gets rough (and make no mistake, democracy delivers the most important kind of feedback = negative = the kind that indicates need and direction for change) and the Liberals or NDP, two parties that still value democracy - the Bloc represents a diverse, bilingual North America and is good if you aren't worried about them joining the still-suicidal USA or following angloCanadian economists who are following suicidal US economists instead of advanced worksharing Germany (breezing through downturns with Kurz-arbeit) or 35-hour workweek France.]
Canadians have a choice between Stephen Harper’s low-tax plan to help small businesses create new jobs for Canadians, and an Ignatieff-led Coalition with the NDP and Bloc Québécois, which has a high-tax agenda that will kill jobs and harm small employers.
[Not if the alternatives tax the wealthy instead of sales and get those billion$ trapped in the massive, insulated and isolated black hole in the tiniest topmost brackets back into circulation. Harper just wants to concentrate M1 (the money supply) in the topmost slice of the population and commit economic suicide, like the U.S. and its Third-World mentality.]
Michael Ignatieff and the NDP and Bloc Québécois are forcing this election — our fourth in seven years — because they want to seize power at any price.
[What nonsense. This Taliban masquerading as "conservatives" have shut down ("prorogued") Parliament twice in the last two years to retain power. They're nothing but totalitarian theocrats who have clung to power at the price of democracy itself. A vote for this regime is a vote against voting. The Bush-Cheney regime is alive and kicking in Canada. And they have proven that they will do or say anything for power, Canada be damned, just like Mulroney.]
The Conservative plan is about helping Canadians: helping Canadians secure good stable jobs, helping Canadians achieve financial security and helping Canada secure its economic recovery.
4/26/2011 – 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 (email@example.com) unless otherwise initialed -
- Part-time plan will save jobs, Sheffield Star via TheStar.co.uk
SHEFFIELD, U.K. - Sheffield manufacturers are calling for a German-style part-time work law to reduce redundancies.
They want to see a new employment law introduced that enables employers to reduce working hours and wages to 80 per cent during an economic downturn.
The call came during an event organised by leading law firm Nabarro designed to help local companies export to Germany.
As well as receiving tips on how to trade in Germany, the audience heard how the German government, trade unions and employers’ organisations worked together to keep unemployment in check during the recession.
Under the German ‘Kurzarbeit’ law, the Government part-funds workers’ reduced wages and enables them to work more flexible hours to meet demand.
Thanks in part to the Kurzarbeit, the German unemployment rate fell to a 17-year low during the recession, said Nabarro partner Martin McKervey.
“Without doubt the German economy has recovered far better and faster than ours and this is, in part, due to companies not having to make major redundancy payments and having a skilled workforce ready to step back up to full-time work to capitalise on the upturn when it came, thanks to Kurzarbeit,” said Mr McKervey.
Kevin Parkin, former managing director of DavyMarkham and now chairman of Parkin Limited, said: “In Germany, when workers’ hours were reduced, they were encouraged to spend the extra 20 per cent of their time in training and refresher courses.
“Other European countries have a continuous training mentality that we don’t find here. For example, the French have a training plan agreed with each employee at the start of each year. Such an approach would be of great help to the UK’s manufacturing sector and I fully support the call for the introduction of a new law that enabled us to emulate the German approach.”
Chris Hudson, who runs leading cutlery and promotional goods manufacturer Chimo Holdings, said: “The German view is that economic upturns and downturns are cyclical and to prepare for the bad times. This law helped companies save massively on redundancy costs – in the UK we spent, or wasted, around £14 billion making people redundant.”
Roger Pearson, managing director of Rotherham-based pelleting press manufacturer Sizer, added: “At Sizer and at Newburgh Engineering we already have a ‘short working’ clause in our terms and conditions for such down turns and find it highly beneficial, but for it to become mandatory across the board would benefit companies, the region, the Government, individuals and families to survive a recession with fewer job losses.”
[Maybe these British businessmen can get their time-blind London MPs to wake up and catch up to *Wales, if not *Germany. Here's another article on this that raises objections and lowers hope -]
Package can be expensive, thestar.co.uk
Germany has a law which allows employers to impose shorter hours and reduced pay on their workers in times of economic hardship. And, it seems, Sheffield bosses want the same kind of law to be introduced here.
While such a piece of legislation could be argued as good of the national economy, allowing businesses to continue to operate during harsh financial times, progress on this should only be adopted under strict guidance.
The Kurzareit law only operates courtesy of generous government support to top up employees’ wages and, under the present economic climate, it is difficult to see how this would happen here. The change in hours is also dovetailed to match continuous training, an idea which is something of a stranger to the UK economy.
While giving bosses rights to cut hours is attractive to them, they need to remember that it’s only part of a much wider - and more expensive - package.
- American Samoa workers face cut hours until July, Radio New Zealand International via rnzi.com
PAGO PAGO, American Samoa - Government workers in American Samoa who have had their working hours reduced will have to wait until July before the government’s financial shortfall is addressed.
The Governor Togiola Tulafono has apologised to the employees, whose hours have been reduced, saying they will have to wait until the Legislature convenes in July to see if the Senate will change their mind on spending measures.
One measure that the Senate has put on hold is the bill that raises the excise tax on beer, alcohol, cigarettes and tobacco.
Togiola says the government continues to look at ways to reduce expenses on a daily basis as well as ways to save money in an effort to lift the reduction in working hours.
[And in the same 'neck of the woods' -]
Judiciary may implement 32-hour workweek, by Sabrina Salas Matanane, KUAM News via kuam.com
HAGATNA, Guam - Vice Speaker B.J. Cruz, himself a former chief justice of the Supreme Court of Guam, said following today's State of the Judiciary Address what needs to addressed is government agencies who are spending beyond their means while the court continues to be shortchanged.
[So this is presumably why the judiciary is considering, or threatening? to implement a 32-hour workweek, although the workweek is not actually mentioned in the article itself.]
He told KUAM News, "If you look at the revenue and financial statement that was issued April 15, you go down and see the fact that the Judiciary has not got its full allotment and you'll look and see that there are certain departments that have overspent already. The Department of Administration is $12 million overspent. A number of other agencies have already spent above 50% and we're only at the halfway mark as of March 15. So...some people are getting better treatment and it really is a disservice to the judiciary and insult to the legislature that went through and passed this legislation that says they should get 100% funding and it's not being done we'll have to talk to the Department of Administration about that."
Chairman of the Committee on Judiciary Senator Adolpho Palacios he too is concerned about court's cash crisis, saying, "I hope Adelup and the governor would have an improved attitude with respect to releasing the allotment at least 90% no less of what it's entitled to. I had information that they're still owed from previous budgets back to 2004 they're entitled to that because it's supposed to roll over."
4/24-25/2011 – 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 (firstname.lastname@example.org) unless otherwise initialed -
- A clue to jobs creation: High wage ratio, by Charles Lawton, 4/24 PressHerald.com
PORTLAND, Maine - According to the Department of Labor's household survey -- the broadest estimate of how many Maine residents have jobs -- our state lost 62,644 jobs between August 2008 and February 2010.
By March 2011, we had regained 6,545 jobs, just over 10 percent of the recession's loss. So we've got 90 percent -- or about 56,000 jobs -- to go just to get back to where we were on the eve of the financial collapse.
One survival strategy that many companies pursued that helped keep the recession from being even worse was to cut hours rather than jobs and give those workers who weren't let go more responsibilities.
As the economic recovery becomes stronger (at least we hope it does), these same tactics help prevent the job creation that might otherwise happen.
[unless they are reversed...]
Businesses reluctant to go through the painful process of layoffs again naturally seek to get more work from existing employees. Eventually, this strategy is self-defeating as fatigue rises and morale and productivity fall.
Companies, from the smallest to the largest, must re-examine existing patterns within the division of labor and look for ways to bring new people onto an enlarged team.
It occurred to me that one way to explore where and how this job creation process -- like cell division in a living organism -- might occur is to look at the division of pay within industries across Maine's economy.
As a starting point, consider the Department of Labor's most recent (2009) all-industry, all-occupation wage survey.
In 2009, the average of each Maine industry's average salary was $38,037.
The highest industry average was $80,846 (not surprisingly in the "Securities, Commodity Contracts, and Other Financial Investments and Related Activities" industry). The lowest, at $21,239, was paid by retail gas stations.
But more interesting than averages is the spread between average entry-level salary and the 75th percentile salary, i.e., not the absolutely top salaries but those at the threshold of the top quarter of wage earners.
For the state as a whole, across all industries and occupations, the average entry-level salary was $22,563. The highest was $37,024 in the transportation equipment industry -- think BIW -- and the lowest was $16,141 in food service and drinking places (where tips are not included in the calculations).
The statewide, all-industry, all-occupation threshold for getting into the top 25 percent of salaries was $43,937. The lowest top 25 percent threshold was $22,744 -- back to the gas stations -- and the top threshold was $96,969 -- back to the securities dealers.
But the most interesting figure is the range between the two.
Where is the greatest opportunity for growth? Where is the ratio of the top 25 percent salary to the entry-level salary the greatest?
Might these high-salary-variation industries, and the companies within them, be the most opportune places for job growth as confidence in the recovery returns?
And, if so, might these industries and companies be the most appropriate targets for our efforts at tax and regulatory reform and labor training efforts?
For the state as a whole, the 75th percentile salary of approximately $44,000 is just less than double the average entry-level of approximately $22,600. The highest ratio at 3.2 is in -- no surprise -- the securities dealers, and the lowest at less than 1.5 is -- again, no surprises -- gas stations, leather products, food and beverage stores and general merchandise stores.
But the range of industries at or near ratios of 2.5 is interesting: hospitals, computer and electronic manufacturing, professional and scientific services, broadcasting, couriers and messenger services, chemical manufacturing, telecommunications, internet service providers, performing arts and spectator sports, religious, grantmaking, civic and professional organizations.
All these companies apparently have a wide range of pay levels between entry-level jobs and the top 25 percent of jobs.
How clearly the career pathways from one job to the next both within and across firms are defined by the companies and understood by the workers may well be the difference between another "jobless" recovery and a healthy, dynamic economy.
Charles Lawton is senior economist for Planning Decisions, a public policy research firm. He can be reached at: email@example.com
[And say, didn't he play Captain Bligh in "Mutiny on the Bounty"? (oh that was Charles Laughton, nevermind)]
- Left begins to realize their welfare state is unsustainable, by Conn Carroll, 4/25 WashingtonExaminer.com (blog)
["Conn" is right - and how about: "and Right begins to realize their jobless recovery is unsustainable"...]
WASHINGTON, D.C. - Today’s Washington Post claims that many Europeans are beginning to question their well established system of “redistributing wealth through taxes and welfare programs.”
[That's fine - redistribution should start with worktime, not money, and redistribution of money should start with starving access of employers to employees to prevent falling wages-markets-investments, not with starving access of the consumer base to funding via employment and earnings and spending money and market-support opportunity.]
Specifically, the Post reports:
Manuel Valls, a presidential hopeful in France’s Socialist Party, challenged party doctrine recently by declaring that it should not make an issue of preserving the 35-hour workweek if French factories have to compete with Chinese factories where the workweek starts at 60 hours and goes up from there.
[Doncha luvvit when your so-called leaders want you to ignore the whole point of all your work-saving technology and go back to 60-hour workweeks like you had in 1865? - not that THEY are necessarily going to go back with you... So why do France’s or anyone's factories have to compete with China's lack of labor standards and over 20% unemployment (yes sportsfans, that's over 200 MILLION people!)?? Oh, we forgot. Only because of the prevailing Free Trade religion which sacrifices 70% of the economy (domestic wages and consumption) for the less-than-30% of the economy in the export-import industry, never mind that no advanced economy today got "advanced" with Free Trade. This stupid brain-dead dogma has ignored study after study that proves it DOES NOT CREATE JOBS, but that just puts it in the same basket as the idiocy that says, Redistribute as much of your M1 (money supply) to your wealthiest tiniest subpopulation and IT WILL CREATE JOBS. OK then, SHOW US THE JOBS.]
In Denmark, Prime Minister Lars Loekke Rasmussen rattled many in that icon of Scandinavian cradle-to-grave welfare by suggesting Danes should work longer before retiring, to peel back the deficit by $2.8 billion.
[So they should, but their jobs and wages and markets and investments won't hold up unless the essential function of mandatory retirement - to leave jobs for young jobseekers - is transferred from a lifetime basis to a weekly basis via workweek reduction instead of worklife reduction.]
Europeans are not the only ones that are beginning to notice that liberal social welfare states are unsustainable.
[This blogger is purposely ignoring all the evidence that the "conservative" social hellfare states are also unsustainable, in fact, are deteriorating faster. He has also failed to realize the basics: that 70-80% of all modern governments, bureaucracy and all, exist to make up for the fact that we've made it so difficult for people to support themselves in the competition with automation and now robots (and a frozen, outdated, pre-computer workweek of five 8-hour days) that taxpayers have been dragged in to support them. So why not CUT THE WORKWEEK - as we did for the first two-thirds of American and developed-world history - and make it easier for people to support themselves so taxpayers don't have to, and so we can safely dismantle that 70-80% of all modern governments that only exists because we have NOT adjusted the workweek downward as our levels of worksaving technology adjust higher, - all the makework: pork patronage unemploymentinsurance, disability, welfare, prisons, industrialpolicy, blockgrants, councils for arts and humanities, americorps, peacecorps, subsidies for universities, "nonprofits," military-industrial, etc.etc.etc.]
The citizens of the bluest state in the union, California, are also beginning to question the size and scope of their government. The Los Angeles Times released a poll today showing 70% of Californians said they supported a cap on pensions for future government workers, 68% approved increasing government worker contributions to their pensions, and 52% support raising the retirement age for government workers.
[Break up mandatory worklife limits into mandatory workweek limits and you save most of this. Do it without doing that first and you deepen the downturn.]
The Times adds:
The public sentiment is a cause for concern for organized labor. Public employee unions that spent millions of dollars helping to elect Brown are working aggressively to keep their pensions intact. But the governor has made clear that he believes they must make concessions as the state struggles.…
“It’s one thing for Republican governors in Wisconsin and Indiana to support these types of changes, but seeing this type of support from California voters, even California Democrats, is really remarkable,” said Dan Schnur, director of the Jesse M. Unruh Institute of Politics at USC and a former GOP strategist.
- Officials challenge proposed cutbacks, by Gary Huffenberger, 4/25 Wilmington News Journal, OH via wnewsj.com
WILMINGTON, Oh. - Wilmington’s mayor along with the three city council members who comprise the finance committee called into question on Monday cost-cutting considerations presented in late 2010 by two city councilmen, occasionally using terms such as “knee-jerk recommendations” and “irresponsible” to describe the ideas.
Wilmington City Council passed this year’s General Fund budget last December in a 5-2 vote, with councilmen Don Wells and Bob Mead voting against the proposed $9.7 million General Fund budget. The two men presented ideas in late December on how to make cuts to expenditures, including a reduction of hours for all non-union city workers from 40 to 35 hours a week, a move they said would save $471,500.
On Monday, Mayor David Raizk said a premise underlying Wells’ and Mead’s proposals was that the city should not pull from its $3.7 million in cash reserves to pay for city government operations.
“We do have a significant [cash reserves] carryover. That’s money for services. They [citizens] don’t vote taxes and pay taxes for a savings account. They want the services. We just have to make sure that we provide them the services and that we can continue to sustain those services,” Raizk said.
Sometimes referred to as a rainy day fund, the carryover will help the city weather the dramatic drop in revenue caused by the DHL pullout and the Great Recession, said Raizk. For example, there was a 42 percent drop in the city income tax collections last year compared to the prior year.
“We can’t save it [carryover funds] and if we did, what are we saving it for? It’s raining now,” Raizk said.
One criticism of the Wells and Mead ideas is that the councilmen did not spell out the consequences that would result from the proposed cutbacks to city-provided services.
The idea of reducing the work week for all non-union employees “is not legal without extreme measures,” said Raizk.
It would be “extremely costly to implement legally,” according to a written handout from Raizk distributed at the finance meeting.
But Mead on Monday night said this about the 35-hour week proposal: “We understand that that is a voluntary thing. We talked to other cities. If people agree to do it, I can’t understand why it would be illegal.”
Regarding the councilmen’s idea of capping the city’s health insurance contributions for its employees at 2010 levels, Raizk said the city is trying to keep its employees’ contribution rate the same, given that there have been no raises in three-plus years and employees have less purchasing power anyway due to inflation.
“On top of that, to ask them to contribute more would be an actual cut in the paycheck. That would be I think of great harm to the employees and I’m not willing to do that,” said the mayor.
The proposed $91,050 cut to the Parks & Recreation Department would mean “something’s going to get closed, programs are going to be gone. There’s just no way around that,” Raizk said.
“Which park entrance should we chain?” asks the mayor’s handout.
“Regarding recreation, many citizens want the parks to be available for low-cost enjoyment for their families and children, especially in a tough economy,” Raizk said.
The idea to cut $100,000 from the Wilmington public transit system, said Raizk, “is unrealistic and irresponsible to the people of Wilmington who use the transit services and would negatively impact the local economy.”
Cutting $100,000 from the taxi budget would result in “severe” cutbacks in taxi service because of the way that federal and state grants — which account for the bulk of the transit system’s operating budget — are leveraged through local matching dollars, the mayor said.
Wells said Monday that he is not in favor of cutting taxi cab service, and that when the $100,000 cut was suggested he didn’t know about the proportional grants formula that’s tied to the amount of the city’s match.
“It’s an innocent thing,” said Wells.
Wells said he thinks the Monday critique of his and Mead’s budget-cutting proposals was to “exploit Bob [Mead] and I for [city council president] Fred’s reelection.”
Incumbent council President Fred Ertel and former councilman Scott Kirchner both are Republican candidates for council president on next Tuesday’s GOP primary ballot. One of Kirchner’s main campaign issues is to stop what he describes as the city’s deficit spending.
Similarly, Mead said he thought the budget matter was over, and added he thinks the Monday meeting was “a political ploy, with the primary a few days away.”
Finance Committee member Rob Jaehnig said the majority of city council is in favor of “a measured approach” to cutting expenses, which enables the city to maintain key services that help attract prospective employers.
Finance Committee member Mark McKay said he has supported using the city’s carryover funds “as a shock absorber“ in the wake of diminishing revenues from a battered local economy.
4/23/2011 – 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 (firstname.lastname@example.org) unless otherwise initialed -
- Tourism leaders wary about immigration bill - Fallout over immigration bill may depend on boycotts, location, hiring practices, by G.G. Rigsby, Savannah Morning News via savannahnow.com
ATLANTA, Ga. - Whether the sky is falling could depend on where you’re standing.
Tourism leaders are wary that the immigration bill passed by the Georgia Legislature at the end of its session will harm the conventions-and-meetings business in the state.
Gov. Nathan Deal has said he will sign the legislation and some national groups have promised boycotts and legal challenges.
How closely the Georgia bill mirrors a controversial law in Arizona is up for debate. The Arizona law is being challenged in the courts.
"Visit Savannah" President Joe Marinelli said he’s still reviewing the 27-page bill.
“What concerns me the most, when the state of Arizona passed a similar law, it had a tremendous negative impact on conventions and meetings, in places like Tucson, Phoenix, Flagstaff, Scottsdale,” Marinelli said. “We found a lot of national and regional organizations stopped going to those cities.”
Atlanta has more convention business than leisure business and likely would take the brunt of protests, he said.
Savannah, he said, has more leisure business than convention business, “But we’re also in Georgia. The trickle-down effect to meetings and conventions that happen in Savannah could be a big concern.”
Marinelli said a site selection committee that’s considering, for example, Charleston, Savannah and Asheville for a conference and looking for reasons to narrow the choice might grab the immigration law as a handy excuse.
“If groups see this as being negative, it will impact us,” Marinelli said.
A report by the Pew Hispanic Center dated Feb. 1 stated that Georgia had the seventh-highest unauthorized immigrant population in the country last year, at an estimated 425,000, or 4.4 percent of the state’s total population. Arizona had the eighth-highest, at 400,000, or 6 percent of the population.
Trip Tollison, vice president of governmental affairs for the Savannah Area Chamber, said time will tell the impact on Georgia. “Businesses should be concerned as to what kind of perception Georgia will have in the international community,” he said.
For Georgia to be equated with Arizona bothers Tollison. “I don’t think the bill is as Arizona-ish as people think,” he said.
Brian Robinson, spokesman for the governor, said changes were made at the last minute and lawyers still have to analyze the bill, but that Deal intends to sign it.
Deal has 40 days after the end of the legislative session to sign or veto the bill. If he takes no action, the bill automatically becomes a law.
Robinson said illegal immigration costs state taxpayers $2.4 billion a year for education, health care and criminal justice.
“The economic argument must take into account the overwhelming amount that our state, counties and cities have been paying because of illegal immigration,” Robinson said. “It’s a matter of who’s going to pay for it. Some folks benefit from illegal labor, no doubt about it.”
“Federal government lives in La La Land where they can print money to their heart’s content,” Robinson said. “Georgia has to raise money or cut spending. We live in the real world and have to make real decisions.”
Robinson said he had heard of no specific groups threatening boycotts.
John Krueger, senior vice president for public policy for the Georgia Chamber of Commerce, said the Arizona law is different from the Georgia bill.
He said the Arizona law requires a police officer who has “reasonable suspicion” that someone is an illegal immigrant to do an immigration status check.
In Georgia, the bill says a police officer who stops someone for probable cause of committing a state or federal violation is authorized, not required, to ask for ID verifying citizenship. If the suspect has no ID, then the officer can try to verify the person’s immigration status.
“There shouldn’t be any negative effect on tourism business because the laws are different,” Krueger said. But, “Perception sometimes drives decision making.”
The measure is prompting different opinions from newspaper editorial writers. The Savannah Morning News urged Deal to veto the bill, saying it’s a “quick fix” whose downsides outweigh the positives.
The Marietta Daily Journal urged Deal to sign the bill, saying the federal government’s “do nothing” approach is only allowing the problem to “fester and fester.”
Charles Kuck, an immigration lawyer from Atlanta and past president of the American Immigration Lawyers Association, said Friday his firm is crafting a legal challenge to the bill.
He said the Georgia bill is much worse than the Arizona law in some respects, including the punishment for “aggravated identity fraud,” or using fake ID to get a job.
In Arizona, it would be a misdemeanor punishable by six months in jail, while in Georgia it would be a felony with a penalty of one to 15 years in prison and up to a $250,000 fine, Kuck said.
“The penalties are clearly unconstitutional,” said Kuck, who is an adjunct law professor at the University of Georgia. “It appears to me that this bill was never meant to be enforced but merely to send a message: Immigrants leave Georgia.”
“It will have massive consequences on the convention and tourism business,” in Georgia, he said, calling it a “Juan Crow” law.
Among the bill’s provisions:
- State or local police are authorized to arrest people for violating federal immigration law.
- When a police officer has probable cause to believe a suspect has committed a state or federal crime, the officer is allowed to ask for proof of citizenship.
- Race, color or national origin are not to be considered when implementing the law, “except to the extent permitted by the Constitutions of Georgia and the United States.”
- Crime witnesses or victims can’t have their immigration status investigated because they contact police.
- City, county and regional jails must make a “reasonable effort” to determine the citizenship of foreign nationals.
- Private businesses with more than 10 employees must use the federal work authorization, or E-Verify, program.
- Employees who work at least 35 hours a week must have their citizenship checked.
[Note the common U.S. assumption that a 35-hour workweek is standard full-time. This is something that the host of mainstream economists painting France's 35-hour workweek as radical need to wake up to.]
- Businesses must prove they use the E-Verify system before they can get a county or city business license.
- Applicants for public benefits must prove they are U.S. citizens.
- “Subject to available funding,” the state auditor will conduct annual compliance audits on at least half of public employers and publish the results on the Web.
- Any state department or agency that violates the law twice in five years will have its appropriations cut by at least 10 percent. The violation will be listed on the Web.
- Concealing or harboring seven or fewer illegal immigrants at the same time in the same location is a misdemeanor, with a penalty of up to a year in jail and a $1,000 fine.
- Concealing or harboring eight or more illegal immigrants at the same time in the same location is a felony, with a penalty of one to five years and a fine of $5,000 to $20,000.
- Concealing or harboring one illegal immigrant with the intent of making a profit or receiving anything of value is a felony, with a penalty of one to five years and a fine of $5,000 to $20,000.
Source: Georgia House Bill 87
On the Web: www1.legis.ga.gov/legis/2011_12/fulltext/hb87.htm
The bill might mean some additional business for employment firms because more small businesses might be looking to outsource hiring, said Shelia Durham, regional director for Manpower in Southern Georgia.
She said the measure may impact the availability of workers in restaurants, hotels and retail. “This law will have the most impact on small businesses,” she said.
“National chains have most likely implemented some type of verification process already,” she said. Manpower has used the E-Verify system for more than two years.
CHART - The numbers - States with Largest Unauthorized Immigrant Populations, 2010 (State Estimated Population in thousands):
New York 625
New Jersey 550
The Pew Hispanic Center is a non-partisan research organization that seeks to improve public understanding of the diverse Hispanic population in the United States and to chronicle Latinos’ growing impact on the nation.
- Expanding property firm hires 14 new staff members, by Iain Laing, The Journal via Northern Echo via nebusiness.co.uk
HEXHAM, U.K. - Fast-growing Isos Property Services (IPS) has hired 14 new staff as the company expands to take on more work.
The Hexham-based business is now responsible for the fast turnaround of all empty properties for parent company Isos Housing.
This new service adds to the IPS remit, which already involves gas servicing and planned and emergency repairs for nearly 12,000 Isos properties across the North East.
Whenever an Isos tenant decides to move on, their property needs to be checked over, cleaned, then have any minor repairs completed as quickly as possible to allow a new tenant to move in. This work was previously carried out by a subcontractor, but now IPS has transferred 10 staff from that company to work for IPS directly.
IPS has also hired two electricians and two roofers for specialist work across the Isos estate – bringing total IPS staff numbers to 96.
The roofers have been employed on innovative annualised contracts so they can work longer hours in the summer months, when the weather and daylight hours are better for working at heights, and shorter hours in the winter.
Bill Tuddenham, general manager of IPS, said: “We now have a great all-round team at IPS, which has grown rapidly in the short time we’ve been in existence.
IPS was launched in April 2010, after forming out of the building services division of Isos Group member Milecastle Housing.
The aim was to cost-effectively look after every property owned by Isos Group, which at the time was made up of three distinct businesses. Now those companies have all come together under the Isos name.
The company has already enjoyed success, completing 22,223 repair jobs requested by tenants in 2010, which was nearly 10% up on 2009’s performance.
- New judicial center irks some county workers - $50 million building, past furloughs unrelated, commissioners say, by Peter Roper email@example.com, The Pueblo Chieftain
PUEBLO, Colo. - News that Pueblo County commissioners intend to start building a $50 million judicial building this year stung some of the county employees who were required to take a day of unpaid leave every month last year to cut county spending.
A list of 20 employees sent an e-mail to The Pueblo Chieftain on Friday protesting that the 1,100 county employees had not received a cost-of-living raise in three years and had been forced to take 11 furlough days last year.
Saying employee morale was at a "very low point," the letter said, "We had the understanding that furloughs were put into place in 2010 in order to allow the county to operate, not create a fund to build a new judicial building."
The commissioners announced Thursday that they were reviving the judicial building project after more than a year's postponement. They said future property tax revenues from the Xcel Energy Comanche 3 plant and a new Black Hills Energy power plant will pay the cost of the $50 million, tax-exempt financing plan.
Commission Chairman John Cordova said he expected to hear some complaints from employees because of the freeze on pay increases and the furloughs.
"I know they haven't had a cost-of-living increase and we're certainly going to look at that," Cordova said Friday. "But this project won't cost them anything. It will be paid for by the increase in property tax revenues we're expecting."
The commissioners also argued that the recession has brought construction costs so low that the judicial building is more affordable now.
Commissioners canceled the mandatory furlough program beginning this year. Still, the judicial building announcement caught employees by surprise, said one worker, who asked not to be identified by name, but signed the e-mail.
"The furloughs last year essentially translated into losing $1 an hour in pay for me," the worker said. "It's disheartening to have your salary cut for a year to save the county money and then come in and see a newspaper report that we can now afford a $50 million building. Why aren't the commissioners taking care of their employees first?"
4/22/2011 – 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 (firstname.lastname@example.org) unless otherwise initialed -
- Court Redefines Standard For Employers To Designate A "Workweek" For Overtime Purposes And Broadly Interprets "Hours Worked" For On-Call Employees, Sheppard Mullin Richter & Hampton LLP via JDSupra.com (press release)
SACRAMENTO, Calif. -
Summary: In a recent decision having broad implications for employers, the First Appellate District of the California Court of Appeal in Seymore v. Metson Marine, Inc. (April 14, 2011, __ Cal.App.4th __, Case No. A 127489), reversed summary judgment for the employer after finding that the employer's designation of the workweek denied employees their right to overtime compensation under the Labor Code. The Court also found that the employees were due additional overtime pay for time spent "on call" because the employer exercised a sufficient level of control such that the time should qualify as "hours worked."
In this case, the employer provided crew members for offshore oil spill recovery vessels that were prepared to respond to emergency oil spills 24 hours a day. Crew members on the employer's ships worked on 2-week rotational hitches, i.e., 14-day hitches, alternating with 14-day rest periods. Each 2-week schedule started on a Tuesday at noon and ended at noon on the Tuesday 14 days later. The employees were paid to work a 12-hour daily shift during this 2-week period, except on crew change days, when they worked only 6 hours. They were paid their regular hourly rate for the first 8 hours and time and a half for the additional 4 hours of each 12-hour shift.
The remaining 12 hours in each 24-hour period were designated as "off-duty." The employer designated 8 hours of the "off-duty" time as sleep time, 3 hours as meal times and 1 hour as free time. During the "off-duty" time, the employer required employees to be on "standby." Crew members could leave the boat during their "off-duty" time, but were required to carry a cell phone or pager and be able to return to the ship within 30 to 45 minutes of an emergency call. The employer provided sleeping quarters for the crew who were required to sleep on board the vessels. Though it seldom occurred, if an emergency was reported while crew members were asleep, they were required to respond and return to work. They were also prohibited from consuming alcohol at any time during the 14-day hitch.
The employees filed a lawsuit seeking to recover unpaid overtime wages for both the time worked on the seventh consecutive workday and for the 12 hours that they were "on-call" each day.
On the first issue, the employees argued that the employer violated the Labor Code by failing to pay them a seventh-day premium on both the 7th and 14th days of each hitch. Labor Code Section 510 requires overtime for "the seventh day of work in any one workweek." Section 500(b) defines a "workweek" as "any seven consecutive days, starting with the same calendar day each week. 'Workweek' is a fixed and regularly recurring period of 168 hours, seven consecutive 24-hour periods."
The Court found that it was undisputed that the employees worked a regular 14-day schedule beginning at noon on Tuesdays and ending at noon 2 Tuesdays later. Consistent with the workweek used by many employers, the employer calculated overtime pay on the premise that the workweek began at 12:00 a.m. on Monday and ended at 11:59 p.m. the following Sunday. Under the employer's calculations, the employees worked 6 days in the first workweek, 7 days in the second workweek, and 2 days in the third workweek. Based on the Monday-Sunday workweek, they were paid a single seventh day premium at the end of the second workweek.
The employees thought this was incorrect and argued that the premium pay must be calculated based on the "fixed and regular" schedule actually worked. They claimed that the employer should not be able to designate "an artificial workweek that does not correspond with the period actually worked." They thus asserted that the workweek actually began and ended on Tuesday and that they were entitled to overtime wages for work performed on the 7th and 14th days of each hitch.
The Court of Appeal agreed and declared that while an employer has some latitude in designating the "workweek," it may not do so in a manner designed to evade overtime requirements. In fact, the Court stated that "an employer may designate a workweek used to calculate compensation that differs from the work schedule of its employees only if there is a bona fide business reason for doing so, which does not include the primary objective of avoiding the obligation to pay overtime."
The implications of the Court's holding are significant because it calls into question the long-standing practice by employers of establishing a uniform "workday" and "workweek" for employees who work a variety of different schedules in order to efficiently administer payrolls and consistently compute overtime without the need to use different workdays and workweeks for different employees depending on their schedules. The Court's ruling suggests that an employer cannot have a single workweek or workday where employees work and "observe" varying schedules. While this ruling may not be the final word on this issue, employers should consult with experienced legal counsel to discuss the implications of this decision on their wage and hour and payroll practices.
On the second issue of "on call" time, the employees claimed that they were entitled to additional compensation for "on-call" hours worked in the course of their 14-day hitches. The employees argued that, in addition to pay for their 12-hour shifts, they were entitled to overtime for the 12 hours they were on standby each day because the restrictions imposed during that time period subjected them to continued control by the employer.
The Court explained that the term "hours worked" means the time during which an employee is subject to the control of an employer, and includes all the time the employee is suffered or permitted to work. The Court examined the various factors that are considered in evaluating the level of control exerted by the employer, including (a) whether there was an on-premises living requirement; (b) whether there were excessive geographical restrictions on employees' movements; (c) whether the frequency of calls was unduly restrictive; (d) whether a fixed time limit for response was unduly restrictive; (e) whether the on-call employee could easily trade on call responsibility; (f) whether use of a pager could ease restriction; and (g) whether the employee had actually engaged in personal activities during call in time.
The employees were required to sleep at the employer's premises. In addition to their 12 hour shifts, 8 of the remaining 12 hours of off-duty standby time was allocated for sleeping aboard the ships. If employees left their ship during their standby time, they had to be able to return within at most 45 minutes. The employees also could not consume alcohol.
After evaluating the relevant factors cited above, the Court found that the employees were subject to the employer's control and should be compensated for the 4 hours of standby time that they were not sleeping. The Court's finding hinged on the fact that the employees were required to sleep on the ship.
Nonetheless, the Court determined that the employees were entitled to only 4 hours of pay for the "on call" time because the employer and employee had entered into an agreement to exclude the 8 hours of sleep time from hours worked. The Court noted that such an agreement to exclude up to 8 hours of sleep time from work for compensable time on 24-hour shifts, which need not be written, is permissible if adequate sleeping facilities are provided. Finding these requirements met here, the Court held that the employees were only entitled to overtime pay for the 4 hours of standby time when they were not sleeping.
This case provides further guidance for employers who have "on-call" employees, particularly those that require employees to sleep on the premises during extended shifts. Employers should consult with counsel to evaluate whether they are properly paying employees for "on call" time, and whether they can deduct the time employees spend sleeping from compensable time.
Authored by Sheppard Mullin's Labor & Employment Practice Group.
- Jefferson County: Pass a new occupational tax, letter to editor from Mike Shirley of Gardendale, The Birmingham News via al.com
GARDENDALE, Ala. - I am so sick of seeing Jefferson County sewer receiver John Young talking about going up on sewer fees that residents cannot afford to pay. I don't know what that so-called judge was thinking by hiring him for $500 an hour when the county is going broke and having to put employees on 32 hours a week.
While I'm on the subject of the county, lawmakers in Montgomery need to hurry and pass another occupational tax so we can keep our courthouse satellites open and workers can stay on 40 hours a week so they won't lose their homes. Also, county commissioners should sell all their county vehicles and drive their own cars to work like the rest of the workers have to do, and pay for their own gas.
I'm sick of all this dragging on.
4/21/2011 – 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 (email@example.com) unless otherwise initialed -
- Recruiting Physicians Takes Twice as Long as a Decade Ago, by Leigh Page, Becker's Hospital Review via beckershospitalreview.com
IRVING, Tex. - It takes twice as long to recruit a physician today than it did just a decade ago, due to a growing shortage that is expected to worsen as demand for physicians grows and supply remains flat, says Travis Singleton, vice president of marketing at Merritt Hawkins, a physician-recruiting firm in Irving, Texas.
[So, here's a radical suggestion. BUST OPEN access to medical skills. And if the AMA won't do it, BREAK the AMA and the power of the stifling control-freak clique of old-guard self-martyring, self-overpaying masochists who run it. Hopefully a new generation of more human physicians, with plenty of independent female physicians who want a life outside the hospitals and examining rooms, will take over as life seeps from the claws of this closed-shop of old-boy buzzards. I say this as an old buzzard moi-meme but one who has to maintain an inner age of eight just to keep getting the BGOs (blinding glimpses of the obvious).]
In 2002, he reports, it took 2-3 months on average for Merritt Hawkins to find a physician for a hospital, group practice or other client. Now it takes 7-9 months and by the time the physician has moved and begun his new job, about a year has elapsed, he says.
Mr. Singleton says many hospitals have suspended recruiting, preferring to wait and see how healthcare reform and the financial recovery will play out, but he thinks that's a mistake. "The reality is that the need for more physicians is not going away," he says. "Hospitals that wait a year or two will find that it even harder to recruit the physicians they need."
Demand rises for generalists, falls for specialists
Demand for physicians is greatest in primary care, Mr. Singleton says. "For the last three years there has been a 20 percent increase in requests for primary care physicians each year," he says. And the demand is still rising. In the first quarter of 2011, Merritt Hawkins saw a 20 percent increase in primary care demand over the first quarter of 2010. The reason for all this growth? "Hospitals were taking their primary care physician network for granted," Mr. Singleton says. "Now they recruiting to rebuild those networks."
Specialist demand, in contrast, has been falling. A decade ago, hospitals were investing heavily in service lines like heart, oncology and orthopedics, Mr. Singleton says. Then specialty care started losing money. Requests for cardiologists, who took a big hit in reimbursements, have been falling by 20 percent a year, he says. Demand for gastroenterologists, anesthesiologists and radiologists is also down, while orthopedics demand is just a bit off, he says.
Origins of the impending shortage
Even though specialist demand has been falling, it will eventually recover because of the impending overall shortage of physicians, Mr. Singleton says. The current shortage got its start in the 1990s, when healthcare policymakers perceived a glut of physicians. Congress froze Medicare-funded residency training positions in 1997 and the number of slots has not risen since then.
Now U.S. medical schools are dramatically expanding their class size, but the number of residency positions still has not increased in 14 years. With the total number of residency slots static, U.S. medical students are likely to push foreign-trained physicians out of training programs, but the total of new physicians isn't increasing, Mr. Singleton says. Now, faced with huge budget deficits, the federal government may not have the will to expand slots. "It would take another $5 billion to $10 billion a year in federal spending to train the physicians we need," he says.
Compounding the shortage is young physicians' growing desire to work shorter hours. This means more physicians are needed to do the same work.
[Well, that's good. In case the American Medical Assoc. hasn't noticed, there's a lot of unemployment out there and it severely impacts health. So, aah, radical suggestion. OPEN UP ACCESS to medical skills. And if the AMA won't do it, BREAK the AMA and the power of the stifling control-freak clique of old-guard self-martyring, self-overpaying masochists who run it. Hopefully a new generation of more human physicians, with plenty of women who want a life outside the hospitals and examining rooms, will take over as life seeps from the claws of these old buzzards. I say this as an old buzzard moi-meme but one who has to maintain an inner age of eight just to keep getting the BGOs (blinding glimpses of the obvious). "Except ye become as a little child..."]
Some young physicians are asking for flex schedules, under which they can work half the normal time, Mr. Singleton says. Moreover, almost half of U.S. medical school graduates are women, who, on average, work 0.67 of the time of their male counterparts, he says.
Growing demand for midlevels
As it becomes harder to find physicians, Merritt Hawkins has seen a growing demand for midlevel providers, especially nurse practitioners and physician assistants. The company has experienced a 15 percent yearly growth in requests for NPs and PAs, mostly from group practices. But Mr. Singleton sees midlevel providers as only "a band-aid solution" to a physician shortage. The shortage, he says, will worsen in the huge expansion of covered patients in 2014 that is planned under the healthcare reform law. "The Massachusetts reform law is a harbinger of what will come in federal reform," Mr. Singleton says. "Patient waits to get an appointment in Massachusetts have been going through the roof."
- Manitoba introduces flextime legislation, Canadian HR Reporter via hrreporter.com
[This isn't flextime; this is deregulation. Once again, labor is selling its birthright, workweek limitation, for a mess of potage on the basis of "individual" employee-employer negotiation. In the context of gross labor surplus where labor is at a severe disadvantage at the bargaining table, this will be followed by longer hours, lower wages, "happy" slaves, vaster concentration and decirculation of the provincial income and money supply in a tinier topmost slice of the population, weaker provincial consumer base, and weaker markets for the shortsighted managers and employers who lobbied for this legislation. Place this deregulation story under "Getting worse before it gets better," At least they're talking about workweek manipulation, which most people block on.]
WINNIPEG, Man. - Manitoba has introduced legislation that would make it easier for businesses to introduce flexible work hours that accommodate employers' needs and allow them to better balance their work-life schedules.
"Businesses have told us they want a streamlined process and employees have said they want the option of more flexible hours to balance their work hours with their home and family needs," said Labour and Immigration Minister Jennifer Howard. "The legislation we are introducing today will do just that."
Under the current employment standards code, the standard hours of work are eight hours in a day and 40 hours in a week. When the needs of a business cannot be accommodated within these standards, employers can apply to the director of the Employment Standards branch for a permit to average the standard hours of work across a specific number of weeks.
Until now, an averaging permit allowed employers to increase the daily hours in a 40-hour workweek or average the hours across a longer period. Employers that asked or allowed employees to work longer than the hours allowed in the permit had to pay 1.5 times their regular hourly wage for each hour of overtime. Permits were not generally given for flextime or to accommodate individual employee schedules.
[This does not justify a change in the legislation. It does cry out for sample cases so readers can judge for themselves the merits of some of these denials of permit.]
To ensure employees are protected, the director of the Employment Standards branch would have the ability to cancel these agreements if an employee does not agree or is coerced.
[So what's the beef? We see nothing at all wrong with the existing legislation. This smells like another "suicide, you first" modification by short-sighted management, and management discipline has always been a much tougher long-term challenge than workforce discipline. Indeed, depressions are caused by management indiscipline - making things in the short term easier and easier for themselves and gradually, cumulatively weakening their foundations in the consumer base and employment basement.]
Manitoba’s proposed changes to the labour code would allow for individual agreements between employers and employees to alter the standard hours of work (flextime).
[This could only be positive if there was a level playing field between employers and employees, but in the context of huge labor surplus, the power gradient is steeply in favor of employers, and "employee choice" is a joke.]
"These changes will allow Manitoba businesses to quickly adapt to today's economic challenges and provide a better work experience for their employees," said Howard.
[Not in the worktime-deregulation direction they won't!]
- Minimum wage could be raised at least 3%: Wang,by Shelley Huang, TaipeiTimes.com
TAIPEI, Taiwan - Responding to calls for better compensation for the nation’s workers, Council of Labor Affairs Minister Jennifer Wang yesterday hinted during a Social Welfare and Environmental Hygiene Committee meeting at the legislature that a minimum wage increase of more than 3 percent this year was “very likely.”
Lawmakers grilled Wang on whether the council was doing everything it can in the best interests of the nation’s workers.
With the pay for civil servants, who earn at least NT$35,000 per month, expected to rise by 3 percent, workers who do not work in the public sector are seriously lagging behind in terms of salary compensation and labor rights, Democratic Progressive Party Legislator Huang Sue-ying said.
She said those employees in jobs where the Labor Standards Act applies are treated as second-rate citizens at best because their benefits and rights are not on a par with civil servants.
“Those who are not included in the Labor Standards Act are even worse off, because according to Article 84-1, they may be exploited by their employers to work as many as 360 hours a month,” Huang said.
Huang was referring to an article which states that workers in certain industries “may arrange their own working hours, regular days off, national holidays and female workers’ night work through other agreements with their employers.”
Jobs at private security firms, which are categorized as “monitoring or intermittent jobs,” fall into this category and employers have taken advantage of this regulatory loophole to demand excessive work hours from employees, she said.
In defense of the council’s actions, Wang said it was doing everything it could to fight for workers’ rights.
“The NT$600 raise in the minimum wage that went into effect on Jan. 1 was a 3.47 percent increase, which is higher than the raise given to civil servants,” she said.
Wang said that in July, when the minimum wage adjustment committee meeting is set to take place, the council expects representatives of business groups to allow the minimum wage to be raised by more than 3 percent.
Aside from a higher minimum wage, Wang yesterday also hinted at hopes of establishing two-day weekends for all employees.
Currently, employees in jobs to which the Labor Standards Act applies work 84 hours every two weeks, with extra hours worked calculated as overtime.
However, when lawmakers asked Wang about whether the country would work toward a 40-hour working week, she said: “The council supports shorter working hours.”
However, Wang declined to comment on when a 40-hour working week might be implemented, saying only that the bigger focus right now was on better salaries for workers.
[Historically around the world, it has always been a lethal mistake to focus on higher pay rather than shorter hours - and a very effective and misleading way for management to break the power of unions, increase labor surplus and weaken their own marketable productivity and investments via their consumer base and employment basement. Kiss Taiwan goodby as long as it has nitwit Jennifer Wang as Council of Labor Affairs Minister. Of its two major goals, shorter hours and higher pay, whenever labor focused on higher pay, it wound up with neither because it was just tacking an artificially high price on a surplus commodity, labor, but whenever it focused on shorter hours, it wound up with both because it cut the surplus and market forces raised pay in response. When is the other 50% of the labor movement going to wise up to this?! - not to mention the other 90% of management...]
4/20/2011 – 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 (firstname.lastname@example.org) unless otherwise initialed -
- Japan earthquake and tsunami forces Toyota to cut production at UK plant, by Julia Kollewe, The Guardian via guardian.co.uk
BURNASTON, Derbs., U.K. - Toyota has put one of its UK factories on short-time working after a shortage of car parts following the recent earthquake and tsunami in Japan.
Toyota will close Burnaston factory in Derbyshire for two days each week in May. Workers also agreed to limit production to half a shift on the other three days.
They will still be paid on Fridays through May, which will be designated as "non-attendance" days, and work back these hours at a later date. The remaining non-production time will be used for training and improvement.
Toyota employs 2,600 people at Burnaston, where the Auris and Avensis models are made.
"This working arrangements will help ensure that we are able to quickly respond to the demand for our products as soon as parts are available. Toyota UK would like to thank it's employees for their understanding and support in helping to manage this situation," the world's largest carmaker said.
Toyota became the third Japanese carmaker to announce production cuts in UK factories last month. Burnaston and its engine plant in Deeside, north Wales, will shut for the long Easter break, from 21 April to 3 May. Honda and Nissan have also cut production in the UK.
- US, Canada Need to Maintain Extra Unemployment Aid, OECD Says, by James G. Neuger, Bloomberg.com
BRUSSELS, Belg., E.U. - Countries like the U.S. and Canada may need to further extend jobless benefits to put a lid on long-term unemployment as the world economy emerges from the financial crisis, the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development said.
Long-term job seekers in the U.S., now benefiting from a December extension in federal aid, make up an “unusually high share” of the 8.8 percent U.S. jobless rate, the OECD said.
“The case can be made for maintaining the extension until labor-market prospects have sufficiently improved to prevent individuals from falling into persistent poverty,” the OECD said in a report issued in Brussels today.
With the crisis driving up long-term unemployment in at least 10 countries including the U.S., Britain and Spain, the OECD noted that most central banks are keeping interest rates at “strongly expansionary” levels in order to spur job creation as debt-wracked governments rein in spending.
“While monetary policy is still accommodative, fiscal policy is constrained in many countries by the need to reduce large public-sector deficits and contain rising debt levels,” the Paris-based research group said.
Any extension of jobless benefits needs to be coupled with incentives and training measures to steer the unemployed back into jobs and prevent them from lapsing into dependency, according to the report.
Countries such as Germany and Japan won OECD praise for programs that put workers on shorter hours during the crisis, enabling factories to cut payroll costs as production fell without pushing up the jobless rate.
“The ability of these countries to cushion the employment impact of the crisis may offer lessons that could help improve labor-market resilience to future shocks,” the OECD said.
To contact the reporter on this story: James G. Neuger in Brussels at email@example.com.
To contact the editor responsible for this story: James Hertling at firstname.lastname@example.org
4/19/2011 – 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 (email@example.com) unless otherwise initialed -
- Q and A: 5 tips on asking for a raise in tough times, by: Carrie Mason-Draffen, Newsday via GrandForksHerald.com
[Our tips: don't don't don't DON'T DON'T - ask for shorter hours cuz there's no demand anyway...]
GRAND FORKS, N.D -
QUESTION: My husband's employer has not given out raises in several years. With the economic downturn, things at the company became pretty tight, even leading to a four-day workweek for two years. Now the company is doing better. It has hired new employees and has suspended the four-day workweek. But so far it has no plans for raises.
In the five years since my husband last got a salary increase, the cost of living has gone up, and we have had two children. He is an exemplary worker. He never calls in sick and is the only employee who can perform almost any task the company gives him.
The company has offered him overtime on the weekends but no raise. He has kept his eyes and ears open for other opportunities but works in an industry that doesn't have many openings. In a time when the economy is still precarious, how should he approach the company about getting a much-needed and much-deserved pay raise?
ANSWER: Your husband's situation has a familiar ring to it because wages in general have been stagnating for some time. Still he has nothing to lose by asking for a raise. And for suggestions I turned to career expert Linda McLaughlin, a senior consultant at Right Management in Melville, N.Y.
"The key to effectively negotiating a raise is not to focus on what you want from them, but to help the company understand how much they want and need you as an employee," McLaughlin said. "This can only be done with careful preparation and a very calm approach."
Here are what she calls "critical steps" toward getting a raise:
1. Be prepared. Track all your accomplishments so you can share with your manager the impact you've had on the business over the past year. Focus on your key contributions in maintaining or growing the company's bottom line or efficiency. For example: "I've facilitated uninterrupted production through my reliable attendance and on-time performance, as noted by comments from my supervisor and my perfect attendance record," McLaughlin said.
2. Know your options and market value. Is your current salary above, below or in line with that of others performing similar functions at other companies? Salary surveys available online or at your local library can give some guidance, if not definitive pay rates. "If you're way below market value, you should certainly share that with them," she said. "If you're way above, you'll have to draw attention to why you're worth more by showing what you've done for them."
3. Be strategic. Make your pitch when your boss has time to listen. "Chances are it won't be the first thing Monday morning or late Friday afternoon," she said. Ask for a meeting to discuss some issues. "Start by speaking about how much you like working there and what's good about the company. Then try saying, 'I'm just wondering if we can do something about my current salary.' Then pause. Give them a chance to answer or at least think about it."
4. Be flexible. If you get turned down, remember that may not mean the end of the issue. "Recognize that the company may not be able to adjust your base pay now," McLaughlin said. "Think about other things like more paid time off, a one-time bonus in recognition of your contributions, or some developmental opportunities to advance to a new level. ... It's a good idea to also ask if you can revisit this conversation in three to six months to assess your newest achievements and value to the company."
5. Decide what to do if answer is "No." "Don't sulk or whine or threaten to quit," she said. "Your boss may just take you up on that, and then you'll be sunk. If it's time to move on, you want to do that on your own terms once you've already lined up a new job."
- It pays to support the unpaid, by Eva Cox, Business Spectator via businessspectator.com.au/bs.nsf
SYDNEY, Australia - In planning to tighten restrictions on childcare support, as recent budget leaks suggest, Prime Minister Julia Gillard fails to acknowledge the complex intersections of paid and unpaid work in social and individual well being.
That acknowledgement was also missing from her paean to the virtues and benefits of paid work, delivered last week.
Good jobs, fair pay and recognition of other responsibilities add to our community well being.
However, bad work, increased workplace hours and pressure, insecure and unpredictable work and the result may undermine worker capacities to deliver their other responsibilities or to maintain their own well being. A recent ANU study showed the health benefits of becoming employed were dependent on the quality of the job.
Moving from unemployment into a high quality job led to improved mental health however the transition from unemployment to a poor quality job was more detrimental to mental health than remaining unemployed. This finding together with unpaid work demands raises questions on the efficacy of increased ‘sticks’ being used to push some unemployed groups into paid work.
There are serious gender differences in the allocation of paid work and responsibilities for care and nurture. Women often curtail their paid work involvement because they take on more of the unpaid tasks. Australia has the second highest unpaid work sector in the OECD which means we are still dealing with most of it in the home.
Increased use of care services cannot and should not replace all informal care and many people prefer to maintain a substantial role in providing unpaid care. So tensions will arise when the spheres of unpaid and paid work conflict.
The current budget ‘leaks’ propose tightening up on demands on working age recipients of income support includes the ‘primary carer’ ie the parent that cares for the children. This includes sole parents whose children have turned six.
These parents are now expected to seek and take on at least 15 hours a week of paid work, a change of policy that started with the McClure Report in 2000 and enshrined in Howard’s Welfare to Work program in 2006.
This change moved solo mothers off parenting payments and onto the lower paid tougher income tested Newstart payment and demanded they looked for a job. The propaganda used feminist rhetoric to justify this as the right to have paid work, corrupted into an obligation to take paid work.
These sole parents, plus some longer term recipients who are ‘grandfathered’ on the former higher payment, provide the bulk of working age women on income support and are therefore likely to be targeted in the Budget.
Women on these payments are often ignored in the flurry of focus on the presumed male single dole bludger, and given their other responsibilities, need to be considered.
The biggest group of these are those sole parents. There were 1,324,310 women receiving income support payments earlier this year according a response to a question at 2010/11 budget estimates.
There were actually fewer men, 1,024,297 in total, on such payments. There are more men on Newstart, 326,000 compared to 209,000 women, but nearly 38,000 of those are sole parents with children aged six-plus. Add in the 314,000 single parent recipients of parenting payments and 120,000 on Carer pensions raises the question of the relationship of unpaid care and paid work.
How feasible is to push these recipients into the current job market? Last week in New Matilda I outlined the relatively few jobs that were available to the many more jobseekers.
There are more than five active jobseeker for each vacancy, and most want qualifications. How many of these would be suitable for those sole parents who have limited recent job experience and pressures, as outlined below, to be home early and take time out?
I was involved in two research projects on sole parents and paid work, one in 2001 and another started in 2007.
Both showed that the parents were more than happy to take on part-time or even more paid work, but only if their parenting capacities were sustained. They put their children’s needs first, like most good parents should, so recognised that there would be time clashes because a sole parent has no one else to call on if a child is ill or in trouble.
Additionally, there were often issues around separation and ongoing family law issues, children with minor disabilities or recurring health problems, housing, transport and other pressures that could make attendance a problem at certain types of jobs. They also needed jobs to fit school and care hours and that wasn’t always easy or possible.
Our unpaid domestic unpaid work sector, according to the latest OECD figures, is bigger than most of our other industries, yet we fail to recognise its value to the way we live and our well being. Policies that insist on making paid work the centrepiece of life undermine and devalue the other parts of our lives.
It may also implicitly trash those women and men who do decide that family needs outweigh their own career or job options and need partial public support for the valued services they offer.
This type of policy revaluing should be done without reinforcing women’s role in the unpaid household roles. Recognising the value of care roles or other community contributions for all of us and requires encouraging wider involvement by men.
This approach suggests a need to rethink the current policy emphasis on paid work as the main source of respect and value and the pressure being put on those on benefits to find any type of paid work.
We need a benefit system that recognises the value of certain unpaid contributions and a workforce culture that sees shorter hours and other responsibilities as a norm to be encouraged. Our unpaid contribution are major, if variable, parts of the good life and some people may need ongoing support financially to allow them to fulfil these important social roles.
An affluent developed country needs to make decisions on whether the quality of social life for many of its citizens requires collective funding of certain types of income.
There are carer payments but these require high level needs of the caree to be proved, so the lesser daily and intermittent needs of others are not considered.
The aged pension in Bismarck’s Germany in the late 19th century was one of the first examples of the collective risk sharing of the welfare state.
However, in the process of modernising payments, we seem to have overlooked the role of the state in supporting forms of care and support that added social value, if not gross domestic product.
Eva Cox is Research Fellow at the University of Technology, Sydney.
4/17-18/2011 – 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 (firstname.lastname@example.org) unless otherwise initialed -
- Williams, Farmer suffer self-inflicted wounds, by columnist Larry Dale Keeling, 4/17 Lexington Herald Leader via kentucky.com
LEXINGTON, Ken. - Sometimes, when you hitch your gubernatorial wagon to a shooting star, even an "Unforgettable" University of Kentucky shooting star, the flight can get a bit bumpy.
Welcome to the world of Senate President David Williams, who's been flying through an extended patch of politically stormy weather this year. Unfortunately for Williams, the latest turbulence comes courtesy of his running mate, Agriculture Commissioner Richie Farmer, the former UK basketball player whose popularity was supposed to be the antidote for the negative image Williams created for himself during more than a decade of ruling over the state Senate in a manner befitting his "Bully from Burkesville" sobriquet.
In recent days, though, Farmer's iconic image has lost a bit of its aura.
First, he opted to exercise his prerogative as a statewide constitutional officer to collect his pay for the six days this fiscal year when most executive branch employees have been or will be forced to take unpaid leave.
This has to give furloughed workers in the Department of Agriculture a warm, fuzzy feeling about the Kentucky idol who leads them — particularly since, while Farmer focused only on his own bottom line, all other statewide constitutional officers had the class to step up and voluntarily return six days' salary to the state treasury or donate it to a charity or a financially strapped state agency.
[This return of six days' salary creates an interesting new category: "symbolic furlough." Or... you've heard of "comp time"? Maybe this is "comp pay."]
Then, Farmer's wife of 13 years filed for divorce, claiming Farmer — who earns $110,346 a year — has limited her access to the family's finances to the point of forcing her to get by on what she earns (less than $1,100 a month) as a teacher's aide, a job she recently took after spending 12 years being a stay-at-home mother to the couple's three sons.
In Farmer's defense, divorce filings famously present just one side of a family feud. It will be a long time before we learn the full story of this breakup, if indeed we ever do.
Still, the allegations from his wife and Farmer's refusal to share the pain of furloughed state employees, including those who work for him, suggest that a love of money can be the root of some rather boorish behavior.
Williams, of course, added Farmer to the team with the hope his offensive skills (popularity as a former Wildcat) could deliver a lot of points (votes). The Senate president probably never dreamed Farmer might one day become a defensive liability. Now, though, Farmer's furlough decision and his wife's divorce petition make such a possibility a bit more likely.
Williams hasn't been playing great defense lately either.
He finished the overtime session of this year's General Assembly outmaneuvered, befuddled and holding the bag of responsibility for extending the session by 13 days after the House had adjourned sine die and put Frankfort in its collective rear-view mirror. The Legislative Research Commission estimates each day of a special session costs a little more than $63,500, which means the tab for Williams' 13-day ego trip runs somewhat north of $800,000, including more than $580,000 in salaries paid to lawmakers — for doing nothing.
But being held responsible for wasting tax dollars isn't the worst damage Williams suffered during this year's legislative session.
Putting it in basketball terms (How can I resist with Farmer a part of this narrative?), the way House Democratic leaders and Gov. Steve Beshear faked Williams out of an unseen part of his uniform and walked off the court with an overtime victory put a serious hurting on the Senate president's mythic reputation as a brilliant political strategist.
Two years into a new world order in Frankfort, Williams' ego still won't let him accept the possibility his old tactic of throwing down a "take it or leave it" gauntlet and waiting for fear of the consequences of leaving it to force House Democrats into taking it isn't working these days.
Under Speaker Greg Stumbo, House Democrats have proved nervy enough to withstand Williams' intimidation and savvy enough to come up with a third alternative when confronted with a "take it or leave it" ultimatum, an alternative that can leave Williams looking for missing uniform parts.
If there were a viable alternative in the Republican primary, the Williams-Farmer team might be in deep doo-doo now. But Louisville businessman Phil Moffett's attempt at pulling off a Rand Paul-esque Internet "moneybomb" produced more bomb than money, leaving his campaign poorly financed. And Jefferson County Clerk Bobbie Holsclaw doesn't appear to be mounting much of a campaign at all.
So, Williams and Farmer probably will stumble into this fall's gubernatorial finals. But to win there, neither one of them can afford to be a defensive liability.
Reach Larry Dale Keeling at (859)-231-3249 or 1-800-950-6397, Ext. 3249 or at email@example.com.
- Expect closed satellite courthouses Monday, ahead of this Friday's deadline, 4/18 WVTM Alabama's13 via www2.alabamas13.com
BIRMINGHAM Ala. – ..You won’t be able to get into two Jefferson County satellite courthouses, Monday. Gardendale and Forestdale closed this Friday, a week earlier than scheduled.
The County’s revenue director, Travis Hulsey, made the call to make the transition easier. Gardendale and Forestdale locations closed this past Friday, April 15, instead of this coming Friday, April 22. Remaining locations, Homewood and Centerpoint courthouses are set to shut down this Friday.
Hulsey will move all workers to courthouses remaining open, Birmingham and Bessemer locations.
This past week, the county commission voted to close all four satellite courthouses this Friday, and cut county hourly workers hours from 40 to 32 hours a week.
All staff from the satellite courthouses must be combined into the Bessemer and Birmingham locations.
The measures are expected to save the county $21 million combined.
Hulsey closed two satellite courthouses early to prevent intensely long lines from 2009, the last time the county closed satellite courthouses. Hulsey says preparation should partially alleviate the terrible congestion many experienced, two years ago. Also, this time around both the Birmingham and Bessemer courthouses will be fully staff. "Presently we have a full staff that will be available to the public at both the Birmingham and Bessemer courthouses,” Hulsey told Alabama 13’s Hilary Golston.
The closures and cuts come after the County lost significant revenue. The Alabama Supreme Court ruled Jefferson County’s occupational tax illegal, because it wasn’t advertised properly. The tax accounted for $73 million in annual revenue.
4/16/2011 – 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 (firstname.lastname@example.org) unless otherwise initialed -
- Another air traffic controller falls asleep, FAA says, by Ashley Halsey III, WashingtonPost.com
WASHINGTON, D.C. - The Federal Aviation Administration has suspended another air traffic controller allegedly caught sleeping on the job and is ending the scheduling system responsible for often putting sleepy controllers behind the microphone after just eight hours off duty.
The FAA said a Miami-based controller who directs planes after they reach cruising altitude fell asleep on the job early Saturday. It was the seventh instance this year when FAA Administrator Randy Babbitt has suspended a controller for allegedly sleeping on the job.
“We are taking important steps today that will make a real difference in fighting air traffic controller fatigue. But we know we will need to do more. This is just the beginning,” Babbitt said.
The sleeping controllers have been working the overnight shift, and until their dozing was discovered, at least 28 control facilities had just one controller working that shift. Babbitt and Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood ordered an end to single-person staffing this week.
Although scheduling is flexible to meet the air traffic system’s demands, one of the most popular schedules is known as the 2-2-1. Under it, a controller begins the workweek with two evening shifts, does a quick turnaround to a pair of day shifts and then does another quick turn before an overnight shift.
[It's bad enough that we've piled on the "worksaving" technology for 71 years without resuming our 100-year reduction of the full-time workweek, but our tendency to overschedule the most dangerous jobs - physicians, truck drivers, air-traffic controllers,... - is really stupid. Maybe we're starting to wake up on this issue.]
Those quick turnarounds — usually just eight hours — have been blamed for controller fatigue, particularly when the final quick turnaround comes at the end of the workweek and just before an overnight shift that usually is the least busy of the week.
The 2-2-1 is favored by many controllers because it compacts their workweek and creates a weekend of at least three days.
In 2007, the National Transportation Safety Board recommended that the FAA work with the National Air Traffic Controllers Association to “reduce the potential for controller fatigue by revising controller work-scheduling policies.”
Babbitt, who has developed a close working relationship with Paul Rinaldi, president of the air traffic controllers union, will need to work out the scheduling changes with Rinaldi’s group. The FAA said those discussions already were underway. Rinaldi said in a statement that he supports the FAA’s actions. The change will affect 15,475 controllers.
The Miami controller who was suspended Saturday was working the midnight shift at the Miami Air Route Traffic Control Center, which directs planes after they reach cruising altitude. He was on duty with 12 other controllers and two managers when a supervisor noticed he was asleep, the FAA said.
The FAA said a preliminary review of air traffic tapes indicated that the controller did not miss any calls from aircraft and that there was no operational impact.
Babbitt and LaHood were briefed on the incident early Saturday by David Grizzle, acting chief operating officer of the FAA’s Air Traffic Organization.
Grizzle assumed that acting role Thursday after his predecessor, Hank Krakowski, was forced to resign. Krakowski was ousted after recent embarrassments when controllers were caught sleeping and a year in whichrecorded errors by controllers — some of them leading to near mid-air collisions — increased 51 percent.
“We are taking swift action to ensure the safety of our aviation system,” LaHood said Saturday. “There is no excuse for air traffic controllers to be sleeping on the job. We will do everything we can to put an end to this.”
- Kent Land O'Lakes to lay off 45, by Ben Wolford, Ravenna Record Courier via recordpub.com
ST. PAUL, Minn. - A quarter of the workforce at Land O’Lakes manufacturing plant in Kent will be sent home temporarily for the “first time in recent years,” a corporate spokeswoman said.
Demand for butter changes seasonally, said Jeanne Forbis, communications director at Land O’Lakes, a butter and margarine company based in St. Paul, Minn.
The Kent plant is located on Mogadore Road at the S.R. 261 intersection.
She didn’t say for how long the 45 employees would be furloughed, but the goal is to “align production with the normal, temporary, seasonal slowdown in butter demand,” she said in an email.
[Note the confusion in language between "layoff" and "furlough" - which is why we search for workhour or workweek stories before we check out the furlough stories.]
Butter supply and demand can both fluctuate significantly, said James Dunn, a professor of agricultural economics at Penn State University.
“What could be what’s going on is that they have an expectation that the butter market’s going to soften up by the end of the year,” Dunn said. Consequently, they wouldn’t want to produce too much storage butter at a higher production cost.
“Summer’s just a different time of the year. You eat different things,” he said. “I mean, I still put butter on my sweet corn.”
Small, seasonal furloughs are not uncommon in the industry, Dunn said.
But furloughs at the Kent butter plant are.
“They’ve never had a layoff like this before. It’s a big shock to everyone,” said one worker, who declined to give her name.
Plant management told workers Tuesday the economy is to blame for the layoff, which is effective Monday, the employee said.
The Kent plant manager and the human resources director did not return calls for confirmation.
Officials at the city of Kent hadn’t been told about the furloughs.
“They’re certainly in the top 20” for income tax receipts, said Kent Finance Director David Coffee. “It’s not good anytime we hear there’s somebody in the community without work, even if it’s temporary.”
The Land O’Lakes plant has been in Kent since 1982. In 1992, it expanded its workforce from 145 when another factory in Fairbault, Minn., closed. It currently employs around 180 workers.
“Such adjustments are a normal business procedure and no significant work force reductions are planned,” Forbis said.
Record-Courier staff writer Dave O’Brien contributed to this story.
4/15/2011 – 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 (email@example.com) unless otherwise initialed -
- Who's Happier: Europeans or Americans? LiveScience.com
DALLAS, Tex. - Americans really do love to work, it seems, while Europeans are much happier if they skip burning the midnight oil in favor of leisure. That's according to a new study finding longer work hours make Europeans unhappy while Americans get a very slight (albeit not statistically significant) bliss boost from the extra grind.
"Those who work longer hours in Europe are less happy than those who work shorter hours, but in the U.S. it's the other way around," said study author Adam Okulicz-Kozaryn, a clinical assistant professor of public policy at The University of Texas at Dallas. "The working hours' category does not have a very big impact on the probability of happiness of Americans."
The study, based on survey data, can't tease out whether work causes happiness or unhappiness, though the researchers speculate the effect has to do with expectations and how a person measures success.
Okulicz-Kozaryn used surveys of European and American attitudes for the study. The surveys included questions about the number of hours worked and asked respondents to identify if they were "very happy," "pretty happy" or "not too happy."
They found that the likelihood of Europeans' describing themselves as "very happy" dropped from around 28 percent to 23 percent as work hours climbed from under 17 hours a week to more than 60 hours per week. Americans, on the other hand, held steady, with about a 43 percent chance of describing themselves as happy regardless of working hours.
The results held even after the researchers accounted for possible confounding factors, such as age, marital status and household income.
Because of a lack of research in the area, Okulicz-Kozaryn said it's not clear longer hours are the cause of happiness or unhappiness here. "It's quite difficult to argue causality," he said.
Without hard data, there are a number of potential explanations for why happiness may differ when it comes to work hours.
"It depends on what one's feeling is about the aspirations of Europeans and Americans," said Richard Easterlin, a professor of economics at the University of Southern California, who was not involved in the study. "We don't have a lot of good evidence on that."
He added, "I feel Europeans are more inclined to enjoy life and enjoy leisure, and Americans are more likely to be pursuing income and increasing their income. There's a difference in the structure of aspirations." However, "I'm not sure I could give you concrete evidence to that effect."
Americans may be onto something: Past research has shown wealth can bring happiness, particularly if a person's income is greater than their peers. Another study suggested that as income increases, so does a person’s overall satisfaction with life. However, that money lift didn't mean more moment-to-moment enjoyment of those days, which instead depended more on social and physical factors, such as whether a person smoked or spent the day alone.
Easterlin and Okulicz-Kozaryn agreed that perceptions may also play a big role, as people who believe their hard work has a greater impact on their success or upward mobility may be happier working more.
"In some countries in Europe, the income mobility may be higher, for instance in Germany," said Easterlin. "It's not really that hard work brings more success in the U.S. than in Europe, it's what people believe in."
Okulicz-Kozaryn said happiness working longer hours may be a product of the American dream — not of its reality, but belief in the dream itself.
"The idea that hard work brings success and the whole idea of the American dream ... is really artificial and made up by public policymakers and politicians to attract immigrants," he said, explaining that studies on the topic indicate that Europeans have similar levels of social mobility and a similar correlation between hard work and success.
Okulicz-Kozaryn noted that further research could be done on areas such as tax rates to better understand the impact of longer working hours. The theory is that Americans, paying lower taxes than their European counterparts, may be happier to work longer hours, as there is more cash going into their pockets.
Easterlin said further research should compare Americans with people in a specific European country rather than the continent as a whole, as it would allow a better understanding of the values of each place.
"Happiness depends upon satisfaction with your income, satisfaction with you family life satisfaction with your work, satisfaction with your health," he said.
"People trade off work and leisure," Easterlin explained, and so any attempt to explain the results of this study would have to take that into account. "[Happiness] has to do with what you think the goals are of people in the two countries."
The paper appears in the April issue of the Journal of Happiness Studies.
- Jefferson County, Ala. to close 4 satellite courthouses, move employees, DailyJournal.net
BIRMINGHAM, Ala. — The Jefferson County Commission has voted to close four satellite courthouses and move the employees to the downtown Birmingham and Bessemer courthouses.
[Brilliant! Americans are closing courthouses while creating more criminals via more joblessness with constant downsizing, automation, robotics and outsourcing versus a frozen 1940 workweek.]
The commission also voted Tuesday to reduce the workweek for most of its approximately 2,913 hourly workers and commissioners said they would study possible reductions for 445 salaried workers who are exempt from the workweek reduction.
The 3-2 vote on the closures came after Commissioner Joe Knight offered an alternative plan to close all six courthouses on a rotating basis.
Commission President David Carrington and Commissioners Sandra Little Brown and Jimmie Stephens voted to close satellite courthouses in Homewood, Forestdale, Center Point and Gardendale beginning April 22 and leave the two main buildings in Birmingham and Bessemer open.
4/14/2011 – 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 (firstname.lastname@example.org) unless otherwise initialed -
- State senate panel gives schools more flexibility, by Sommer Ingram, AP via VictoriaAdvocate.com
AUSTIN, Tex. - Educators who have begged state lawmakers for more freedom to deal with lower funding got a small victory Thursday when a state Senate committee voted to let school districts cut salaries and furlough contract personnel for a limited period.
They also agree more work needs to be done.
The bill allows districts to reduce contract employee salaries and furlough personnel for up to six non-instructional days - but only while the Foundation School Program entitlement remains below 2010-2011 funding levels.
Public education has taken the brunt of the cuts as state lawmakers slash spending across the board to deal with a budget shortfall that could reach $27 billion.
The bill was co-authored by Republicans and Democrats on the Senate Education Committee who spent six weeks meeting with education professionals to reach a compromise between teachers and administrators.
Sen. Wendy Davis, D-Fort Worth, emphasized the bill's requirements that school districts maximize furloughs and salary cuts before laying off a teacher for financial reasons.
"This is a place where we felt satisfied and recognized both the needs of schools and teachers," said Davis, who co-authored the bill. "I hope that districts will use reduction in force as an absolute last resort."
School superintendents have been asking lawmakers for permission to cut employee pay and give teachers unpaid days off - which current state law doesn't allow - to absorb some of the harsh cuts. Though grateful for the legislation, most school officials testifying before the committee weren't completely satisfied with the bill lawmakers came up with.
Dr. Wanda Bamberg, superintendent of Aldine ISD, was concerned with a provision of the bill that says districts have to use salary cuts and furloughs in proportion to the percentage of state funding the district loses. She argued that teachers in a district taking a massive cut will be unfairly suffering when their salaries are cut by that same percentage.
"I think I'm going to be creating a negative work environment by increasing their challenges and their anxiety and then significantly reducing their pay," Bamberg said. "I'm going to have teachers that can't make their car payments, that can't make their house payments. This could be very damaging to the very people we're trying not to cut."
The bill also allows districts to notify teachers they won't be renewed only 10 days before the last day of instruction instead of 45.
Eric Hartman with the Texas chapter of the American Federation of Teachers said that could leave teachers with anxiety and uncertainty about the coming school year. He also wants a firm expiration date on the time that salary reductions can be used, though lawmakers say they can't predict when the financial crisis will be over.
He said a definite expiration date would "keep pressure on the Legislature" to fix the real budget issue- a 2006 margins tax that didn't generate enough money and that will give Texas a recurring hole in the budget if not addressed.
Sen. Leticia Van de Putte, D-San Antonio, was the only committee member present that voted against the bill. She said school districts will have already cut employees by the time the legislation becomes law and reminded fellow lawmakers that the margins tax remains the real issue.
"I'm just so sorry it's our teachers and classrooms that are plugging this budget hole because it's our biggest expense," Van de Putte said. "Unless we have the courage to stop this craziness with the revenue stream we have, we're going to be making these decisions every year."
The bill now goes to the full Senate for consideration.
- Ford Australia Imposes job cuts; Toyota slashes work hours, by CJ Perrin, International Business Times AU via au.ibtimes.com
ALTONA, suburb of Melbourne VIC Australia - Ford Motors Australia has announced that it would cut down 240 jobs at its Victoria plant as demand for larger oil-guzzling cars had been down.
Workers at Ford's Geelong and Broadmeadows plants were told by management on Thursday they would be given other posts in other locations, but voluntary redundancy packages would be offered if alternative roles are not an option.
The job cuts will coincide with plans to slash down output to 209 from 260 cars per day in July ahead of the launching of new models in the Australian market in the coming months.
The Sydney Morning Herald reported that at Toyota, manufacturing adjustments will also be done at its Altona plant and will work a half-day shift from May 9.
Staff will be paid 75 percent of their normal wages as the factory operates on a reduced schedule of 50 per cent, while a similar outlook is expected in June.
The announcement will affect 3300 staff, who produce the Camry, Hybrid Camry and Orion models in Melbourne's west.
Toyota's manufacturing director Chris Harrod said in a statement this is in response to address the short-term supply issues caused by the disaster.
"We intend to resume 100 percent vehicle production as quickly as possible," Mr Harrod said.
The company has promised to minimise delivery delays.
4/13/2011 – 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 (email@example.com) unless otherwise initialed -
- Sharing workers to avoid layoffs, by Tracy Hanes, Toronto Star via thestar.com
OAKVILLE, Ont., Canada - When Hannah McKinnon started soul searching about her career plans, she remembered an observation her father made years before about the building industry.
He had noticed that while some companies were understaffed and needed an electrician, plumber or draftsman for a new project or when a deadline was escalated, other companies would have surplus staff.
“He said, ‘Wouldn’t it be great if there was a way to be able to connect and share those workers’,” says McKinnon, who lives in Oakville with her husband Rob and their three sons (7 and 6-year-old twins).
That was the inspiration for *Pooling People, a company McKinnon launched in January that connects businesses so they can share workers, who can be loaned out temporarily or placed permanently with another employer.
[This idea would be particular adaptible for Phase 3 of the Timesizing Program, where employees who love their jobs are willing to work overtime and reinvest in training and hiring, but each one individually might have too little of an overtime-earnings reinvestment to create a single substantial job for someone else, and so a work-pooling technique would be welcome.]
“The market is saturated with recruitment companies and I looked at what I could do that’s new and different,” she says. “I got thinking about how to connect companies that are understaffed and overstaffed, got my notepad out and started getting really excited.”
Pooling People is an online platform, along the lines of eBay or Craig’s List, which offers virtual space to companies that have workers they can offer temporarily or list employees who are about to be laid off, for permanent transfer to another company.
“It’s not a recruitment company, it’s not a resume-listing service, it’s an online facilitator,” says McKinnon. Her parents are shareholders in the company and her father consults with her on the business.
Pooling People trims staff costs during idle times, reduces seasonal or project-related layoffs, helps downsized workers find new work and cuts recruitment costs for companies seeking experienced staff.
During slow times, companies often have to pay their workers for down time or lay them off and hope they’re available to rehire when the work picks up, McKinnon explains.
“That can be eliminated if they lend their people out, either part-time or full time,” she says. “Now, they have money to spend on other things or add to their bottom line. The employee doesn’t have to worry about being laid off and is able to work on different assignments and, at the very least, have his or her horizons broadened and may be able to acquire new skills.”
The borrowing company benefits by getting referred, qualified workers at salary cost, with no agency fees. “Temporary help agencies don’t work for free,” Mackinnon notes. “I don’t think Pooling People will replace temporary agencies, but it will offer an alternative that recruitment companies and job boards don’t.”
The borrowed employee may also bring fresh views and different skills.
McKinnon, who is half British, half Swiss, grew up in Switzerland and, in her teens, became a commercial apprentice at DuPont, learning accounting and marketing.
Then she joined a small high-tech company that made motors for industrial and space applications and, by age 20, was head of purchasing. She got involved in human resources at the company and went to university part-time to expand her business management and administration education.
Next, she was hired by a small IT recruitment company to organize the office.
“This company was finding high-level IT specialists to work all over world,” she explains. “I have to say it was a phenomenal experience. I stayed with them for 14 years and ended up running the company. I was doing everything from going next door to buy milk for tea to anything that had to do with finance, human resources, setting up all the processes and procedures. I was able to be extremely creative. The company grew from doing $2.5 million in business the first year to $100 million by time I left.”
In 2009, the company was sold to Randstad, an international employment services company, with all employees continuing in their existing roles.
But McKinnon knew her electrician husband, who was born in New Brunswick, would want to return to Canada at some point. So last summer, they relocated to Oakville.
“When we moved to Canada, part of the deal in moving here was I would be able to set up my own business and try something new,” says McKinnon. “I did take a job at Randstad in Toronto briefly, but I got tired of spending three hours a day commuting. I did some soul searching and Pooling People was a new adventure.”
“This allows companies to keep employees on staff and their payroll when things are slow, without laying them off,” she explains. “They invoice the other company for the employee’s wages. Companies have control over the process and it’s up to them to negotiate the terms. We just help them connect.”
McKinnon says the concept can apply to virtually any industry and, for many companies, their loaned workers may not even have to leave their premises.
“For example, for jobs like a graphic illustrator, geography doesn’t matter,” says McKinnon. “It opens up a plethora of possibilities. You could have a draftsman in Winnipeg and some company in Niagara-on-the-Lake that needs one.”
The cost to open a Pooling People account is $250 per year. Because it’s a new concept, she is offering a six-month free trial.
“You need to give time to let people time to get heads around it. There are early adopters and others not sure about lending out their people.”
McKinnon says two concerns are company confidentiality and the possibility the borrowing company will “poach” the worker on loan. She has created template contracts, which include a non-solicitation clause that states the borrowing company cannot try to hire away the employee for a year.
“And if a company is using an employee temporarily, usually they don’t have the budget to hire fulltime,” she adds.
About 50 companies have signed up so far, including marketing, mining, pharmaceutical, manufacturing and IT companies.
“Just as eBay or any other website like that, Pooling People requires volume to work,” she says.
[See also story on 4/07/2011 #2 below.]
- Full-time hourly employees' hours cut, by Jenny Lancour, Escanaba Daily Press via dailypress.net
ESCANABA, Mich. - Full-time hourly employees working for the city of Escanaba will have their schedules reduced to 35 hours a week beginning July 1. The change was made during council's budget work sessions Tuesday.
After two days of reviewing the proposed 2011-12 budget with a $800,000 deficit, council unanimously approved the financial draft following a few adjustments.
In addition to council coming to a consensus on the decrease in employee hours, another change made during the budget review was the reinstatement of a full-time secretary at public safety and a half-time assistant in the assessor's office.
In a 4-1 vote, council chose to take $100,000 from the city's savings to keep the two positions in the upcoming budget. Council member Pat Baribeau voted against the motion. Those approving the motion were Mayor Gilbert Cheves and council members Pete Baker, Leo Evans and Brady Nelson.
The original proposed budget - drafted by City Manager Jim O'Toole and City Controller Mike Dewar - recommended the elimination of the full-time secretary at public safety, the half-time position in the assessor's office and a half-time position in the treasurer's office.
The full-time secretary and the individual who worked half-time for the assessor and half-time for the clerk's office would have been laid off. The full-timer in the utilities office would have continued to work part-time in that office and part-time in the clerk's office.
Council decided to keep the jobs in the budget because of the impacts they would have had on their respective departments at this time, said Cheves. The assessor's office has a new assessor on board and the clerk's office has upcoming elections.
"Changing the players at this time would have a negative affect on them," Cheves said. "For now, the changes have been deferred until we get a report from the city clerk and assessor."
Regarding other personnel, a current part-time employee at the library will not be in the 2011-12 budget. Seasonal employees will not be hired at public works.
The final budget does not include salary increases for employees, including administrators. Three union contracts will expire during the next fiscal year. This includes public safety administrators, police officers and electric workers.
4/12/2011 – 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 (firstname.lastname@example.org) unless otherwise initialed -
- GE Transportation to add 100 workers in Lawrence Park, by Jim Martin, Erie Times-News via GoErie.com
LAWRENCE PARK, Pa. - Even as GE Transportation looks for an alternate location for overflow production, the company is again adding workers at its headquarters in Lawrence Park Township.
Erie County's largest employer announced Monday that it will add 100 hourly workers. Those additions come on top of nearly 800 furloughed workers who have been called back to work in recent months and to another 100 workers added even more recently.
Jobs are being added to address growing demand for locomotives and other products, the company said in a statement.
"It's good news for Erie," said Stephan Koller, a spokesman for the company. "Things are looking up. Orders are returning, production is increasing. These are workers who will help us meet customer commitments."
Following a two-year period that saw many existing orders put on hold and new orders all but stop, Koller said the company has seen old orders confirmed and new ones placed.
The news comes less than 10 days after the company confirmed that it is exploring multiple other locations -- including a GE aircraft engine plant in Lynn, Mass., that could handle overflow production. That exploration remains on track.
GE's news release Monday said: "The company is evaluating competitive GE and non-GE U.S. sites to manufacture transportation equipment in the future."
Lorenzo Simonelli, chief executive of GE Transportation, said in a statement, "A second site will help us to effectively respond to the significant ups and downs in the transportation industry, better serve our customers, and improve our competitiveness, including cost competitiveness."
All of this happens against a backdrop of contract talks. The General Electric Co.'s four-year labor agreement with the United Electrical Radio & Machine Workers expires June 19.
Asked if the addition of new workers in Erie figured in any way into those pending negotiations, Koller said, "Workforce levels are tied to production volumes. It's all about taking care of our customers."
The company continued Monday to stress its plans to remain in Erie, where GE has been building locomotives for more than a century.
"GE continues to invest in its transportation business and its future in Erie," Simonelli said.
JIM MARTIN can be reached at 870-1668 or by e-mail: email@example.com.
- Peru revises policy on work hours, comp time, by Mary Standard, Lewiston Sun Journal via sunjournal.com
PERU, Maine — Selectman on Monday night approved two revisions to the Personnel Policy.
One states that 35 to 40 hours qualifies as full time; the other that compensatory time will be granted on time-and-a-half basis after 40 hours.
Employees can have no more than 40 hours on the books at any given time. The employee must take the pay before the end of the fiscal year, which is June 30. The supervisor may authorize the employee to take the actual time off without pay, the policy states.
In other news, former Selectman Dickie Powell questioned changing the title of secretary to the selectmen to administrative assistant. He cited a study by a committee in 2002 that concluded that an administrative assistant ran the town if there was no town manager.
Acting board Chairman Tim Holland said the title would only be a name change. There would be no more money involved or any more responsibilities other than what Selectman Kathy Hussey already carries with her job.
Holland read from “The Office Professional” newsletter, which stated that most secretaries polled preferred the title of administrative assistant. He said the town needs ‘checks and balances’ and Hussey provides them.
"Years ago, we had no real records from the Planning and Appeals boards, the code enforcement officer, the animal control officer and other boards. Now we have minutes to everything that is done in this town,” he said.
Powell said he did not deny that Hussey was totally capable but was objecting to anything that would cost the town more.
He also questioned providing the road commissioner with an office in the town office.
Road Commissioner Joe Roach said, “I requested that I have a place to keep my records from getting moldy in the damp garage. I also need a place to meet with people. I’m only talking about a few hours a week.”
The summer paving work for parts of Gammon and Mineral Springs Roads was awarded to Bruce Manzer, Inc. of Anson. Manzer bid $39,557.74 for the asphalt and $3,198.24 for reclamation, for a total of $42,755.98.
The other bidder was Pike Industries, headquartered in Belmont, N.H. It quoted $46,272 for asphalt and $7,878.60 for reclamation, for a total of $54,150.60.
Holland said Pine Tree Engineering will begin building the boat launch off East Shore Road on Worthley Pond after June 1. The launch is being funded by the Department of Inland Fisheries and Wildlife.
The board agreed to allow the Civil Air Patrol to meet in the old elementary school on a trial basis.
Town Clerk Vera Parent said nomination papers for two selectmen for three-year terms and road commissioner for a three-year term are due to be filed at the town office by Monday, April 18.
- Furlough 2011 Questions and Answers, Dept. of Defense CPMS (Civilian Personnel Mgmt Service) via warriorcare.dodlive.mil
WASHINGTON, D.C. - Rev: 7 April 2011 2
1. Office of Personnel Management (OPM) Guidance and Information on Furloughs
These questions and answers augment those provided in the Office of Personnel Management’s Guidance and Information on Furloughs, which can be found at: http://www.opm.gov/furlough2011/. The questions and answers are specific to the issues raised by this furlough and may not necessarily be the same for any future furloughs. If you have additional questions send them to firstname.lastname@example.org
FURLOUGH – GENERAL ADMINISTRATION
1. What is a furlough?
A furlough is the placing of an employee in a temporary non-duty, non-pay status because of lack of work or funds, or other non-disciplinary reasons. For most employees, there are two basic categories of furloughs, an "emergency" furlough or a "save money" furlough, each involving different procedures.
2. Under what authority is a furlough taken?
There are three legal authorities under which a furlough can be taken. Furloughs of 30 calendar days or less are covered under adverse action procedures found in Subpart D of 5 Code of Federal Regulations (CFR) 752. Furloughs of more than 30 calendar days are covered under reduction in force (RIF) procedures found in Subpart B of 5 CFR 351. Furloughs for Senior Executive Service members are covered in Subpart H of 5 CFR Part 359.
3. How is an employee notified of a furlough?
Employees are notified of a furlough in writing by memorandum that is either personally hand-delivered to the employee, or if not available in person, is mailed by certified/return receipt to their home address of record. If required to mail a notice to an employee, the certified/return receipt mail option provides proof of mailing that is a legally acceptable means of delivery.
[This U.S. Government Q&A goes on for 71 sections and 20 pages - click *here for the 'full banana.']
- Long on talk but short on facts, letter to editor from Pres. Ken Georgetti of Canadian Labour Congress, Parksville Qualicum News via BCLocalNews.com
VANCOUVER, B.C., Canada - Conservative politicians, including James Lunney, certainly know how to take a mile when you give them an inch.
He says in your paper (The News, April 5) that the Canadian Labour Congress gave full support to the 2011 federal budget. That’s simply not the case.
The CLC thought some measures were helpful to working people and the poorest seniors — such as an extension of EI work sharing, and an increase in the Guaranteed Income Supplement. But GIS is not a solution to the looming retirement security crisis.
While we noted the government’s commitment to pursue talks with the provinces on expanding the CPP we demanded more — a firm commitment and a time line to implement an expanded CPP.
Translating that into fully supporting the Conservative budget takes some nerve, a trait that many Conservative politicians seem to have in abundance. By those standards, we look forward to Conservative candidates saying the Canadian Federation of Independent Business supports expanding the Canada Pension Plan, since they too expressed support of some measures in the Finance Minister’s budget.
4/10-11/2011 – 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 (email@example.com) unless otherwise initialed -
- Union Describes Details of New Contract, by Jim Dooley, 4/10 HawaiiReporter.com
HONOLULU, Hawaii – The Hawaii Government Employees Association has released to its members a summary of the tentative contact agreement reached with Gov. Neil Abercrombie.
The summary was made available to union members with electronic passwords after HGEA officials said some news reports about the deal have been incorrect.
Ratification voting is scheduled later this month.
Here’s the union’s description of the contract:
SUMMARY OF TENTATIVE AGREEMENT HGEA BARGAINING UNITS 2, 3, 4, 6, 8, 9 & 13
* Effective 6/30/2011, furloughs and all related wage reductions end.
* 7/1/2011 through 6/30/2013, a 5% temporary across-the-board salary reduction is implemented based on salaries as of 6/30/2009. Salaries are restored to pre-furlough levels (6/30/2009 rates), effective 7/1/2013.
* For the period effective July 1, 2011 through and including June 30, 2013, there shall be no step movements.
2. Non-General Fund Employees
* At this time, the state has determined that all employees, regardless of funding source (federal, special, trust, revolving), will be subject to the 5% temporary across-the-board salary reduction during the period 7/1/2011 through and including 6/30/2013.
* Effective 7/1/2011 through 6/30/2013, the Employer shall pay a specific dollar amount equivalent to fifty percent (50%) of the premium rates established by the EUTF for any health benefits plan, including administrative fees.
* The 50% split shall apply to premium increases.
4. Supplemental Time Off
* Effective 7/1/2011, through 6/30/2013, employees shall receive six (6) hours per month of supplemental time off with pay that must be used within the contract period. In the event an employee separates from service for any reason, any remaining supplemental time off cannot be cashed out.
* Each jurisdiction shall consult with the union on their implementation plan for the supplemental time off.
* Employees will be given flexibility in determining when supplemental time off will be taken.
* The agreement covers a two year period, effective 7/1/2011 through and including 6/30/2013.
6. Favored Nation Status
As the first union to settle, HGEA receives favored nation status. As such, the employer provides assurance that all public sector bargaining units shall be subject to 5% wage reductions. With favored nation status, if another union negotiates a more favorable settlement, the employer will provide the same to HGEA bargaining units.
* * *
Some critics of the deal, including Honolulu Mayor Peter Carlisle, have argued that the addition of six hours of paid time off per month – the equivalent of about nine days per year – means the pay cut is really about 3.5% instead of the 5% figure cited by Abercrombie and the union.
Besides the new pay rates and extra time off, the new contract requires union members to pay 10 per cent more for health insurance – the section in the summary titled EUTF.
The state now pays 60 per cent of those costs into the Employer-Union Trust Fund (EUTF) and union members 40 per cent. The new deal changes the ratio to 50-50.
- Slovenia Risks Debt Crisis Without Pension Overhaul, Pahor Says, by Boris Cerni, 4/11 Bloomberg.com
LJUBLJANA, Slovenia - venia’s failure to persuade voters to back a pension overhaul may put the former Yugoslav republic on the same path of fiscal instability as Ireland or Portugal, Prime Minister Borut Pahor said.
Slovenia, which approved a plan to raise the retirement age to 65 from an average 60 years to reduce pension spending, may need to take the bill to a referendum should union leaders force a public vote after collecting the required signatures.
The euro region, which Slovenia joined in 2007, is being wracked by a sovereign debt crisis. Portugal and Ireland have joined Greece in asking for a European Union bailout after borrowing costs soared.
“If we fail to enforce the pension reform, we may end up in the group with Ireland and Portugal instead of sitting on the Franco-German train,” Pahor told reporters in Ljubljana today. “People seem to be unhappy with the current situation and yet are opposing reforms that seek to improve the situation.”
Slovenia’s export-driven economy is emerging from the worst recession since adopting the market economy two decades ago after gross domestic product plunged the most among the euro region members in 2009.
Efforts to help recapitalize its banks, offer state- guarantees to companies to rekindle the economy and subsidize shorter working hours pushed the public debt level to 38 percent of total output at the end of last year.
Jobs Bill Rejection
Yesterday, voters in the Balkan nation rejected with an 80 percent majority the so-called mini-jobs bill that was meant to expand eligibility for more loosely regulated jobs.
The Constitutional Court rejected the government’s claim that a referendum on pension reform would put the system of social benefits in jeopardy.
The nation’s public debt stood at 35.2 percent of gross domestic product at the end of 2009 and is forecast to advance to 43.3 percent of GDP by the end of this year, statistics office has said.
Slovenia’s failure to overhaul its pensions may also speed up a ratings downgrade of the country with the highest credit score in eastern Europe, Marko Mrsnik, an analyst at Standard & Poor’s Ratings Services, said in a Feb.3 interview.
To contact the reporter on this story: Boris Cerni in Ljubljana, Slovenia, at firstname.lastname@example.org
To contact the editor responsible for this story: James M. Gomez at email@example.com
4/09/2011 – 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 (firstname.lastname@example.org) unless otherwise initialed -
- Illinois lawmakers react to federal budget deal - Updated at 06:22 PM today, by Evelyn Holmes, ABC7Chicago.com via abclocal.go.com/wls
CHICAGO, Illin. -- A late night deal prevented a federal shutdown and Congress will come back next week and vote on the compromise.
If negotiations had failed Friday night, about 800,000 government workers would have been furloughed -- and a range of government services would have come to a halt.
The deal came together after six grueling weeks of negotiations, and while many Illinois lawmakers are happy government operations will continue, others say the focus now shifts to what comes next.
- CNMI Report - Hotels Cut Work Hours & Operations, by PNC Saipan Correspondent Mark Rabago, PacificNewsCenter.com
GUAM - Travel cancellations by Japanese tourists because of the earthquake and subsequent tsunami that hit Japan in March 11 is forcing the hand of hoteliers on Saipan to cut work hours, according to the Saipan Tribune.
Hotel Association of the Northern Mariana Islands chair Nick Nishikawa said Hyatt Regency Saipan has slashed staff work hours to 32 a week. Nishikawa is the general manager of the hotel chain’s branch in the CNMI.
He said his hotel also had to close down each of its restaurants twice a week to cope with the plummeting occupancy.
Nishikawa also admitted that he has allowed staff to clear outstanding annual leaves.
Other hotels in the island have also implemented 32-hour workweek schedules in an effort survive the current tourist dry spell.
Citing a Euromonitor International report, Nishikawa said the best-case scenario for international departures from Japan is a decline of 11 percent in 2011, while the worst case scenario is a severe plunge of 21 percent.
4/08/2011 – 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 (email@example.com) unless otherwise initialed -
- Toyota moves to shortened work week, by Carla Garrett, WoodstockSentinelReview.com
WOODSTOCK, Calif. — Toyota Motor Corp. has announced it is halting production at its 13 North American plants starting next week.
A meeting is scheduled this afternoon at Woodstock's plant, where more details on the shut down are expected.
Right now, it is reported that Toyota will not be running Monday and Tuesday next week and the following Monday, Tuesday and Thursday.
Some employees will be sent for training and have been asked to take vacation days, while contract workers have been asked not to come into work, said a Toyota Woodstock employee.
"I need the money... time off is nice, but I'm having mixed feelings," said the contract employee.
- Calendar of Events - ..Wednesday, April 13, Glen Cove Record Pilot via antonnews.com/glencoverecordpilot/calendar
BROOKVILLE, N.Y. - Tales of Workplace Danger and Advocacy, Presented by the LI Fund for Women & Girls, the LI Women’s Institute at the C.W. Post Campus of LIU and Herstory Writers Workshop.
On March 25th, 1911, an out-of-control fire at the Triangle Shirtwaist Company in downtown Manhattan killed 146 garment workers. The victims were mostly young immigrant women and teenage girls working to help support their families.
This tragic incident changed the course of labor history, leading to workplace reforms including minimum wage, shorter hours, safety standards and the right to organize unions. This collaborative event is a tribute to the brave women who perished in the Shirtwaist Factory Fire and their journey towards greater workplace equality.
Their struggle to form a union, achieve fair pay, shorter working hours and safer working conditions will be echoed through a variety of memoirs. A “Dare a Stranger to Care” panel, facilitated by Erika Duncan, will share with our audience how personal stories can be shaped into moving testimonial art, giving voice to current day working women whose jobs pose safety risks and danger. A short excerpt from the new PBS documentary “Triangle Fire” will also be shown at the event.
12:30 p.m. in the Hillwood Commons Cinema, C.W. Post Campus of LIU, Brookville.
RSVP to Fran Medaglia 396-9857, ext. 9 or email to firstname.lastname@example.org
4/07/2011 – 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 (email@example.com) unless otherwise initialed -
- Tough time for jobless, by Julian Makey, Cambridge News via cambridge-news.co.uk
HUNTINGDON, England - Job prospects look bleak for people facing unemployment in the Huntingdon area, a union organiser has said.
Workers set to lose their jobs at the bed manufacturer H Myer and Co are likely to struggle to find new work, according to Alan Costello, regional organiser for the GMB
Seventy jobs are set to go at the firm which is starting a 30-day consultation with employees at the factory, blaming tough trading conditions for the move which follows the loss of nearly 100 jobs two years ago.
The job losses come at a time when staff from Huntingdonshire District Council are leaving under an enhanced voluntary redundancy scheme. Around 124 full-time equivalent jobs in total will eventually go at the council.
Alan Costello, regional organiser for the GMB union, said the proposed redundancies at Myers also included major changes to the final salary pension scheme and working practices.
He said: “They have been on short-time working for the past four or five weeks and as redundancies often come after short-time working they were not surprised.
[And without the worksharing (alias 'short-time working') there would doubtless have been more downsizings (alias redundancies) sooner.]
“It was no great surprise to the staff at all, but the number of jobs was and its looks as if they will be across the board. There will also be significant changes to the pension scheme and working practices.
“To be fair to the company, it has been difficult for them in the current economic climate.”
Mr Costello said few other comparable jobs were available in the Huntingdon area and stretching out as far as Peterborough and Cambridge.
He said: “It is not looking good at all, especially for people aged 16 to 20 and those over 50."
Katy Sismore, Huntingdon Town Partnership manager, said it was a hard time for business, although there was light at the end of the tunnel.
She said: “It is very difficult at the moment. It is a tough time of year anyway for retail and shops.”
But she said planned developments in the town meant Huntingdon and the district were better placed than other parts of the country and that local government elections next month and the royal wedding could bring an upturn in confidence.
- Looking for staff in all the right places, by Hannah McKinnon, FinancialPost.com
OAKVILLE, Ont., Canada - I have to admit, when I’m faced with a question about staffing, I can’t help thinking about the familiar Beatles refrain “Help, I need somebody…” Of course the song has nothing to do with staffing, but the words could be a cry from the heart of anyone who manages a business.
It would be hard to find too many businesses that have not faced the problem of changing staffing needs. Changes in the flow of orders, contracts and client requests can easily cause peaks and troughs in the workload requirements.
You could try to plan your employment cycles ahead of time. But that’s as tricky as coming up with a budgeting forecast that will hit the mark further down the road. Estimates aren’t guaranteed to be accurate.
These inaccuracies inevitably lead to all sorts of problems. If you end up with too few staff to handle a job, you could be paying more than you should for temporary staff. Alternatively, you could be carrying too many staff during idle time.
Take for example an accounting firm (we’ll call it Accounting Firm A) that is looking to ramp up in preparation for tax season. It could take on an accountant on a permanent basis, but runs the risk of having to lay him/her off later on. Alternatively, it could hire one temporarily through an agency.
Then there’s Accounting Firm B, which has shelved a contract because of client issues. It already hired a full-time permanent accountant, who is now sitting around twiddling his/her thumbs.
In an ideal world, if these two accounting firms could be brought together, they could solve the problem efficiently from both a staffing sense and an economic standpoint. The work can be carried out from the accountant’s normal place of employment with Accounting Firm B. Accounting Firm A ends up getting the resources of a suitably qualified and vetted accountant with relatively little inconvenience. If we here continue the Beatles lyric, ‘Help, not just anybody’, the answer to finding suitably qualified and recommended staff becomes obvious.
This scenario can apply to countless branches of commerce and industry. After all, the greatest asset that any business possesses is its staff, but for the most part, staff is also the most expensive item on the profit and loss side of things. Over the years many efforts have been made in the workplace to increase working efficiency, yet virtually nothing has been done to create more efficient use of staff.
It only stands to reason that we could see far greater economic efficiency by bringing together companies in the same field that have fluctuating staffing problems. Developing closer working relationships with competitors to resolve staffing shortages/overages can have considerable benefits.
In most cases, the fear of “industrial espionage” is no more of an issue than hiring people from a staffing agency. On the contrary, whether you’re the “borrower” or the “lender”, staff is entirely in the hands of each individual company.
This approach can also be extended to cover permanent staffing needs. A company may need to downsize and permanently reduce a full-time employee to part-time, or terminate an employment contract altogether. Other companies can look to them to tap into a rich source of qualified, recommended personnel. And a company forced to lay off staff is better able to help employees find alternative employment and gain all the good will that goes with that.
If you are overstaffed, a good first step to take is a careful analysis of the order book, available staff and vacation planning. Do employees have overtime owing to them that they could take now? Has an employee always dreamed of taking a sabbatical leave? Have any employees ever mentioned wanting to reduce their working hours?
Once you’ve answered those questions, then you can approach employees in order to explore various options such as being “on loan” to another company, taking a sabbatical or a reduction in working hours. Learning to be flexible when managing fluctuating staffing needs can be a challenge, but ultimately it will be beneficial for everyone concerned, from business owners to employees.
To return to the Beatles song, “Now I find, I’ve changed my mind, I’ve opened up the doors”. Those doors could lead you to increased profits and happier staff.
Hannah McKinnon is founder of *PoolingPeople.ca, a Canadian-based company that has created an online business community enabling members to temporarily or permanently transfer employees among other members.
[See also story on 4/13/2011 #1 above.]
- Final Rule Clarifies Tip Credit, Comp Time, Fluctuating Workweek, Compensation.BLR.com
WASHINGTON, D.C. - he Department of Labor (DOL) has issued final regulations updating the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA). The final rule clarifies several confusing provisions of the law including tip credit, compensatory time for public employees, and fluctuating workweeks.
The DOL published a notice of proposed rulemaking (NPRM) in the Federal Register in July 2008, which addressed several provisions of the FLSA that needed updating. After receiving and analyzing public comments, the DOL issued a final rule in yesterday’s Federal Register.
Here are a few highlights from the revised regulations:
Employers are now required to inform an employee before implementing a tip credit. Unless an employer gives proper notice, the employer will not be eligible to use a tip credit. According to the final rule, the notice has to include the following explanation:
1. The amount of the cash wage the employer pays the employee, which cannot be less than $2.13 per hour;
2. The additional amount the employer is using as a credit against tips received, which cannot exceed the difference between the minimum wage ($7.25) and the actual cash wage paid by the employer to the employee;
3. That the additional amount claimed by the employer on account of tips as the tip credit may not exceed the value of the tips actually received by the employee;
4. That the tip credit cannot be applied to any tipped employee unless the employee has been informed of the tip credit provisions of the FLSA; and
5. That all tips received by the tipped employee must be retained by the employee, except for valid pooling of tips.
The final regulations note that the FLSA does not set a cap on the percentage of an employee’s tips that may be contributed to a tip pool. However, employers must notify employees of any required tip pool contribution amount, may only take a tip credit for the amount of tips each employee ultimately receives, and may not retain any of the employees' tips for any other purpose.
Compensatory Time for Public Employees
The DOL reminds us that it “has consistently interpreted its regulations [concerning compensatory time] as requiring that an employee's request for compensatory time on a specific date must be granted unless doing so would unduly disrupt the agency's operations.” The final rule omits a proposed change that public agencies are not required to allow the use of compensatory time on the day specifically requested, but within a reasonable period after the request is submitted by the employee. Therefore, public agencies will have to grant the compensatory time on the specific date requested, barring any major disruptions.
[Compare Walter Reuther's concept of designing an automatically "fluctuating adjustment of the workweek against unemployment" - as mentioned in his speech at the UAW Convention in Atlantic City in 1964, a concept that we have incorporated into Phase 4 of the Timesizing program.]
The final rule does not implement a proposed revision to the rules regarding the fluctuating workweek method of calculating overtime. The proposed rule would have permitted payments of non-overtime bonuses and incentives “without invalidating the guaranteed salary criterion required for the half-time overtime pay computation.”
However, the DOL noted, “While the Department continues to believe that the payment of bonus and premium payments can be beneficial for employees in many other contexts, we have concluded that unless such payments are overtime premiums, they are incompatible with the fluctuating workweek method of computing overtime.”
The DOL and those commenting on the previously proposed rules stated that, “the proposed regulation could have had the unintended effect of permitting employers to pay a greatly reduced fixed salary and shift a large portion of employees' compensation into bonus and premium payments, potentially resulting in wide disparities in employees' weekly pay depending on the particular hours worked.”
Employees Engaged in Fire Protection Activities
In the 2008 NPRM, there was a proposal to narrow the term “employee in fire protection activities” that are covered by the partial overtime exemption and overtime exemption provisions. The NPRM sought to exclude rescue and ambulance service personnel, even if they were part of the fire protection services of a non-fire department public agency. This proposal was not implemented.
The final rule is effective May 5, 2011.
More Changes Coming
The Wage and Hour Division (WHD) is expected to issue an NPRM to revise the FLSA recordkeeping requirements. According to the DOL’s Regulatory Agenda, the rule will require employers to provide workers with basic information about their employment, including how their pay is calculated. Any employers that seek to exclude workers from the FLSA's coverage would be required to perform a classification analysis, disclose that analysis to the worker, and retain that analysis to give to WHD enforcement personnel who might request it. The proposed regulations are expected to be issued this month.
This article also appears on HR.BLR.com.
4/06/2011 – 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 (firstname.lastname@example.org) unless otherwise initialed -
- Carmakers in cutbacks after Japan disaster, by John Reed & Bernard Simon, Financial Times, p.16.
LONDON, U.K. & TORONTO, Canada - Several Japanese carmakers are beginning to cut shifts or shut plants temporarily in Europe and North America as they begin to feel the brunt of last month’s earthquake, tsunami and power crisis in Japan.
Japan’s producers will be hit by the supply shortage caused by the disaster, but others who use Japanese components are also affected. Most are seeking to cut back hours rather than shut down entirely, because of the high costs inherent in re-starting a car plant.
Honda’s plant in Swindon, England is discussing with its workforce plans to either slow down production, or suspend it for a period in May.
Jim D’Avila, regional officer for the union Unite, told the Financial Times that the options Honda was discussing with workers included working a week with reduced hours, shutting down for four weeks, or shutting down for longer.
The plant employs about 3,000 people and makes its CR-V, Civic, and Jazz models. Honda is due to reach a decision shortly.
Elsewhere in Europe, rival carmaker Nissan is considering slowing down production or moving up holidays at its plants in Barcelona and in Sunderland, England.
In North America Honda, Nissan and Ford Motor are among the producers that plan temporary shutdowns at several plants over the next few weeks.
Toyota has said that “some production interruptions” are likely at its 14 North American plants, but has yet to disclose details. It has already cut back on overtime.
About 15 per cent of the parts Toyota uses in its cars in the US and Canada come from Japan.
Denso, Japan’s biggest auto parts maker and Toyota’s biggest supplier, said that it had no plans yet to close any of its 25 North American plants. However, the company said: “We are adjusting production to match and meet our customers’ needs”.
The impact of the disaster is being felt more acutely now as the supply of goods shipped by sea before the earthquake begins to dry up.
“It takes only one component to take a facility down”, said Mike Hall, auto analyst at IHS Automotive, the consultancy.
In a research note published on Tuesday, JPMorgan forecast that the combined overseas production of Japan’s three biggest carmakers – Toyota, Honda, and Nissan – would contract by 30 per cent in the second and third quarters compared to a year ago.
Japan is a leading producer of semiconductors, electronic components, and some raw materials used in cars.
Most carmakers are reluctant to discuss specific parts shortages because of sensitivities relating to their supplier relationships, or because they are scrambling to find fixes for shortages on a day-by-day basis, and think they may still manage to keep their plants operating normally.
Toyota, which has nine car and engine plants in Europe, is seeking to plug some supply gaps by transporting some of its parts by air rather than sea.
Honda’s UK operation described its situation as “fluid” and said it was getting daily updates from its suppliers in Japan. “It’s not black and white”, a spokesman said. “They’re putting together the jigsaw here to keep things flowing”.
- 800,000 feds will likely be furloughed in a Teaparty-induced government shutdown, Under The Mountain Bunker & Coffee Shop - "Come for the Apocalypse – stay for the coffee!" via underthemountainbunker.com
UNDISCLOSED LOCATION, Rocky Mtns., Colo. -
What WILL happen:
Members of the military will not get paid and a significant number of Defense Department civilian employees will be furloughed, said the official who insisted he not be identified. In addition, the IRS will stop processing refunds for income tax returns filed on paper, the Smithsonian Institution and the national parks will close, the Federal Housing Administration will stop making new home loan guarantees, and the Small Business Administration will stop processing applications for new loan guarantees and direct loans to small businesses. And many government web sites will go dark.
What WON’T happen:
John Boehner and other members of Congress (and their staffs) won’t lose any pay during a government shutdown.
[Source article -]
Administration: 800,000 feds furloughed if shutdown occurs, by Sean Reilly, FederalTimes.com
WASHINGTON, D.C. - Some 800,000 federal employees will be furloughed if the government shuts down at the end of April 8, a senior Obama administration official said Wednesday.
Other likely effects of a shutdown would affect millions of Americans, the official said, including:
• Military personnel — like federal employees who are excepted from a furlough — would continue working but not be paid until after a budget deal is reached by Congress.
• The IRS will stop processing refunds for income tax returns filed on paper.
• The Smithsonian Institution and the national parks will close.
• The Federal Housing Administration will stop making new home loan guarantees.
• The Small Business Administration will stop processing applications for loan guarantees and direct loans to small businesses.
• Many government websites offering information and services to the public will go dark.
The White House and Congress remained deadlocked on spending legislation to carry government past April 8, when the latest in a series of continuing resolutions expires. If no deal is reached by that point, numerous government functions will cease on Saturday morning. Exceptions will be for operations necessary for the protection of life and property or those that are funded through some other means than annual appropriations, the official said. Also, any personnel needed to handle the orderly shutdown of federal operations will continue to work.
The administration official insisted on anonymity during a brief conference call with reporters.
This was the first time the administration has offered any substantive information on how a shutdown would affect operations across government.
While the number of federal employees facing furloughs is still being refined, it will likely be "in the same vicinity" as the 800,000 initially sent home during the 1995-96 shutdowns, the official said.
"We would anticipate significantly lower staffing levels at the White House and across all federal agencies."
It would ultimately be up to Congress to decide whether furloughed employees would be paid for their forced time off. For federal employees who keep working, the Office of Personnel Management said Tuesday that they — like military service personnel — will be paid once the budget standoff is settled.
If this week does bring a shutdown, it won't be a complete rerun of the mid-1990s closures. The Department of Homeland Security didn't then exist, and because of its security role, many of its operations will continue.
Not so for the Environmental Protection Agency. The EPA "will continue to do what is essential to protect life and property, but all other operations will cease," the official said.
The IRS will keep processing income tax returns filed electronically, the processing of paper returns — about 30 percent of total returns — will be suspended.
At the National Institutes of Health, clinical trials would continue during a shutdown, but the agency would not begin new ones or admit new patients.
In regard to government websites, only those related to "excepted activities" would stay up.
While the Social Security Administration is still working on its plans, current beneficiaries will continue to get their checks.
Federal courts could be affected by a shutdown. The Administrative Office of the U.S. Courts said on its web site federal courts could operate for up to weeks using non-appropriated funds. After that, however, "the federal court system faces serious disruptions," with operations limited to essential activities, the agency said.
In the legislative branch, elected senators and congressmen will continue to work while receiving pay and allowances as normal. Congressional staffs deemed essential would remain working on a non-pay status.
At the Government Accountability Office, less than 1 percent of the staff would keep working, according to an agency spokesman. Most staff will not be allowed in the GAO building and remote access to email and the agency's intranet will be cut off, according to a notice on the GAO employees' union web site.
At the Congressional Research Service, employees were being notified Wednesday whether they will keep working during a shutdown, said Dennis Roth, president of the Congressional Research Employees Association.
Roth said he expects that all of more than 300 CRS analysts will fall in the "excepted" category as well as some editorial staff that provide support. He was hopeful that information specialists would also be spared furloughs.
A senior Congressional Budget Office official said he expects the entire CBO workforce to remain working if there is a shutdown.
4/05/2011 – 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 (email@example.com) unless otherwise initialed -
- Valley's manufacturing sector is showing a spark of success, by Mai Hoang, Yakima Herald-Republic via yakima-herald.com
YAKIMA, Wash. -- More than two years ago, A.S.A.P. Metal Fabricators began participating in the state's shared-work program to prevent layoffs.
Under the program, workers were given unemployment pay for lost wages. It allowed the firm to keep employment levels at around 30 workers.
Now, as the firm's business activity has improved, A.S.A.P. Metal Fabricators has dropped out of the program and many of its employees are working overtime.
A similar trend has occurred at Canam Steel Corp. in Sunnyside.
After business began to decline in 2008, the company had 89 employees -- with about a third working reduced hours -- by the end of 2009.
Now there are 154 employees. While that number is still well below peak employment levels of around 200 employees four years ago, it's still a move in the right direction.
Signs of recovery can be seen in the industry across Yakima County after nearly three years at rock-bottom levels.
After 11 consecutive quarters of declining or flat job levels, manufacturers saw the number of jobs jump by 11.1 percent year-over-year during the final quarter of 2010, according to the state Employment Security Department.
The trend seems to be continuing in 2011. The county saw double-digit percentage increases -- of 25 percent and 21.4 percent, respectively -- of year-over-year manufacturing job increases in January and February.
Those figures are much better than the 1.4 percent increase in manufacturing jobs seen statewide in both January and February.
Those figures are likely to be revised downward, but will unlikely erode the upward trend that is being seen in that sector, said Employment Security regional economist Don Meseck.
"I think they definitely have gone through some tough times but they are bouncing back strong," Meseck said about local manufacturers.
Such jobs are vital to the Valley because they tend to pay higher wages and are not subjected to the seasonality seen in agricultural jobs, he said.
The figures are also a positive for New Vision-Yakima County Development Association, the county's economic development arm.
"It means we could get involved in expansion projects, which we've seen very few of (lately)," said New Vision president Dave McFadden.
While business levels are far from that of a few years ago, companies say business has improved from the past two years.
"Everything is an ebb and flow, but since October of last year, a number of manufacturers I'm working with have had much stronger business," said Patric Sazama, regional project director for Eastern and Central Washington for Impact Washington, a nonprofit organization focused on helping manufacturers compete on a global scale.
Canam Steel Corp. is seeing more business for its structural steel division, particularly with government jobs in Canada, said Roger Roudebush, vice president and general manager based out of the firm's Sunnyside plant.
"There seems to be a lot more demand up there," he said.
Indeed, some manufacturers throughout the state have managed to boost their bottom line by taking on jobs from international clients, Sazama said.
The recession forced companies to be more efficient with their operations and staffing just to stay afloat, but that same efficiency is now helping companies be more competitive for business abroad.
"There's no reason why a manufacturer in the U.S. can't be competitive with a business in South America," he said.
What this progress means for the individual manufacturer varies greatly.
"We're staying steady, I'm not going to complain or whine, but nobody has switched the big light on," said Greg Hayter, president of All Valley Sheet Metal in Yakima.
John Gehlsen, owner of Yakima Steel, wants to see a few more strong months before he gets excited about an uptick of business.
"We've seen a little bit of a jump, but we haven't been in it long enough to say it's sustaining," he said.
The company is still very much dependent on government jobs, Gehlsen said. It will be a good sign when it competes for more privately funded projects.
Sazama, of Impact Washington, said companies need to remain efficient because there is still a risk of going out of business, especially given current world events, such as the nuclear situation in Japan or the Middle East uprisings.
"Business almost seems to fluctuate like the price of gas," said Terry Schweyn, president of A.S.A.P. Metal Fabrication.
But most manufacturers can mix caution with optimism.
Last month, 41 percent of U.S. manufacturing executives surveyed expect employment to increase, compared to 28 percent in October, according to the KPMG Global Business Outlook, a nationwide study done by KPMG International, a global network of audit, tax and advisory service companies. An even higher number -- 68 percent -- expect a rise of business activity in 12 months.
Likewise, Roudebush, of Canam Steel, is optimistic, but is also prepared for a slow recovery.
"We're not going to see what we saw in 2006-2007 in the next 10 years," he said.
* Mai Hoang can be reached at 509-577-7685 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
- The 100-Hour Work Week? Wall Street Journal (blog) via blogs.wsj.com
NEW YORK, N.Y. - Would you work 100 hours a week for your dream job, or simply to have a job at all? Juggle contributor Kyle Stock asks these questions over at FINS.com, a Wall Street Journal site focused on careers:
Would You Work 100 Hours a Week for Your Dream Job? by Kyle Stock, FINS.com
There are two types of people in the finance industry: those who work a lot and those who are unemployed.
In fact, long hours are a point of pride at banks and brokerages.
When asked if they would accept a "dream job" if it required working 100 hours a week, 29% of 510 respondents said "yes" in the FINS.com online question forum Sign or Decline.
Keep in mind there are only 168 hours in a week. If you factor in seven hours a day for sleep and one hour a day for commuting, that "dream job" would afford less than two hours a day for everything else -- eating, shoe shines, karaoke, etc.
Work-life balance in the industry has in many ways tipped towards work in the past decade, as technology and increasingly global markets stretched on-the-job hours for knowledge-based employees, according to the nonprofit Center for Work-Life Policy, a New York-based research and advocacy group.
Much of the time, the stretched schedules are accepted willingly, said Karen Sumberg, spokeswoman for the Center for Work-Life Policy.
"There is a sort of badge of honor around having that kind of a job where you are always needed and always on," she said.
The story is the same across all industries where workers are highly paid.
In 2007, the Center for Work-Life Policy surveyed almost 1,600 workers who earned more than $75,000 a year. A little less than half of the respondents worked more than 60 hours per week, including 10% who worked more than 80 hours per week.
Of the 110 respondents who worked in banking and finance, some 28% had "extreme jobs," which the Center defined as a position requiring more than 60 hours a week as well as factors such as unpredictable demands, travel and tight deadlines.
The majority of those surveyed by the Center for Work-Life Policy who worked more than 60 hours said that they loved their jobs and were hooked on the challenge and adrenaline rush.
But half of "extreme workers" said they wanted to quit within a year and the same number said their employers' demands made it impossible to have a satisfying sex life. Talk about tradeoffs.
What Would You Do?
*Answer the question
and see how you match up with the rest of the FINS community.
You've just been offered your dream job, but...you will have to work at least 100 hours per week -- even over the holidays.
[The Timesizing program lets people who love their jobs - like the little toymaker who "never worked a day in his life" - work as many hours they want. How do we separate the sheep from the goats? If you're willing to reinvest overtime/overwork earnings in OT-targeted training&hiring, you can work all the hours you want.]
4/03-04/2011 – 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 (email@example.com) unless otherwise initialed -
- SC prisons workers' checks lose 1st furlough day, 4/03 BusinessWeek.com/AP
COLUMBIA, S.C. - Some employees with South Carolina's prison agency are seeing the first effects of a furlough package used to cut down a $7.5 million budget shortfall.
Corrections Department spokesman John Barkley says agency employees will see the first of five furlough days reflected in their paychecks Friday.
In February, Gov. Nikki Haley said Corrections had eliminated a $7.5 million shortfall by combining $2 million through unpaid worker furloughs with $5.5 million from lower medical and workers' compensation insurance costs and keeping open jobs unfilled.
The five furlough days for some officers and non-security staff come on top of another five days they were already required to go without pay.
Barkley says the five days are spread out over six pay periods, from April 1 to June 16.
- A new theme at Tokyo Disney: hardship, by Julie Makinen firstname.lastname@example.org, 4/4 Los Angeles Times via latimes.com
TOKYO, Japan — Hiroshi Miura and a dozen other taxi drivers dressed in crisp blue shirts were shooting the breeze in front of the quiet Tokyo Bay Hotel at dusk Saturday. They had one thing on their minds: "X Day."
"That's the day Disney is going to reopen," said Miura, leaning against a buddy's black cab and lamenting how he has lost at least two-thirds of his fares since Tokyo Disneyland and Tokyo Disney Sea shut down after Japan's March 11 earthquake and tsunami. "They're going to post a notice five days before 'X Day' on their website announcing what day they are starting operations. We're all waiting."
It's not just taxi drivers who have been suffering without the 70,000 customers that the Disney resorts in Japan attract each day on average. Many nearby hotels, restaurants and shopping centers sustained only minor damage in the quake but have seen a major drop-off in business, vividly illustrating the economic ripple effects of the disaster. The two Tokyo Disney properties are among the most popular theme parks in the world, attracting more than 25.3 million visitors in the 12 months that ended March 31.
The quake crumbled some Disney parking lots, but otherwise the facilities escaped largely unscathed. Yet the resorts' operator is still facing multiple issues as it considers when to throw open the gates again, including ongoing power shortages linked to the Fukushima nuclear power plant accident and an expected decline in visitors from the disaster zone and overseas.
Attendance may also be curtailed by the phenomenon of "jishuku," or self-restraint, as some Japanese feel it's unseemly to overtly partake in leisure activities at this time of national crisis.
A gloomy outlook for Japan's overall economy after the quake, tsunami and nuclear accident may also make potential Disney visitors think twice about shelling out for tickets.
Oriental Land Co., which owns and operates the parks under license from Walt Disney Co., did not respond to a request for comment. Disney representatives declined to comment. But an analyst at Morgan Stanley in Tokyo who follows Oriental Land said in a recent report that the parks will probably reopen this month during the daytime only and will probably have to discount admission prices because of the shorter hours. Ticket prices were supposed to rise to 6,200 yen ($74) for an adult starting April 23.
Each day the parks are closed costs Oriental Land 500 million yen (about $5.9 million) in operating profit, Morgan Stanley's Naoshi Nema estimated, and the stock has lost about a quarter of its value since March 11.
The closure's precise effect on the bottom line of Disney is a bit murky because neither the Burbank entertainment giant nor Oriental Land would comment on details of the licensing agreement. However, analysts at the stock analysis website Trefis estimate that Oriental Land remits about 7.5% of its theme park revenue to Disney, or about $230 million based on figures from fiscal 2009. Walt Disney Co. saw overall theme park operating income fall to about $1.32 billion last year from $1.89 billion in 2008.
Before the earthquake, the Tokyo Disney properties had been rebounding from a downturn in attendance in 2009, according to data from the Themed Entertainment Assn. Nema expects attendance in the 12 months that started April 1 to fall 10% from the 25.3 million visitors in the previous fiscal year.
The effect on Disney's bottom-line probably would be negligible, said Matthew Harrigan, a media analyst with Wunderlich Securities.
"It's basically a royalty deal," Harrigan said. "It's barely noticeable in the earnings."
Of greater potential financial significance to Disney is the long-awaited Shanghai park, which is expected to break ground Friday. It would be Disney's first park in mainland China.
The Mainichi newspaper reported last week that Tokyo Disney officials were considering placing large gas-powered generators within the parks in preparation for prolonged blackouts; the resorts use 570,000 kilowatt-hours of electricity daily, the Daily Yomiuri newspaper said. That's enough energy to power nearly 1,000 California homes for a month, according to data from the U.S. Energy Information Administration.
In a report Monday, Deutsche Bank analysts Yu Sato and Satoru Kikuchi said "an electricity shortage is the biggest problem" for the parks and that installing generators is "not a realistic near-term solution."
Even if the parks shorten operating hours or open fewer days, it would be good news for Hideo Serizawa, assistant general manager of the 428-room Tokyo Bay Maihama Hotel, which sits on the perimeter of the park.
The hotel has an average occupancy rate of 85%, Serizawa said, and late March is a particularly busy time because schools are on spring break; rooms start at about $300 (25,000 yen) a night. After the quake, though, the hotel received a slew of cancellations and had to contend with power blackouts, making it impossible to accept bookings even if there were customers.
"There was no problem here in our facilities," Serizawa said. "But we couldn't have customers round-the-clock."
After consulting with officials in nearby Urayasu city, where municipal water supplies were out of commission, the hotel started offering local residents in desperate need of a bath access to its spa for $6 (500 yen); 800 people came on the first day. For those who wanted to bathe in more privacy, the hotel also rented rooms in three-hour blocks for $46 (4,600 yen) and came up with a special $8 (700 yen) menu.
At the nearby Hilton Tokyo Bay, 100 of the 809 rooms are now occupied, mostly by earthquake or tsunami victims who are paying one-fifth the normal rate, spokesperson Mari Ikeda said. Part of the staff is on duty, but most of the housekeepers have been sent home because there's little work to do.
At the 140-store Ikspiari mall near the entrance to the Disney parks, business resumed with shorter hours March 28 after a hiatus of more than two weeks. Although the shopping center was moderately busy over the weekend, spokeswoman Hiroko Kanno said normally a third of the customers are Disney visitors. If the park remains closed or shortens its hours, that could lead to drops in profits for merchants or layoffs for some of the 3,000 people who work at the mall.
"So far, the store operators have not asked for a reduction in rent," she said.
Among the shoppers Saturday were Naoko Hikita and Mayumi Imada, friends in their 30s who live on opposite sides of Tokyo and decided Ikspiari would be a convenient rendezvous point.
"Some people say we shouldn't shop because it's not appropriate at this time," said Hikita, who purchased some accessories. "But I think it's good. It will help the local economy."
The good news for the parks' operator and the nearby businesses is that Disney has legions of die-hard fans in Japan like Kyoko and Sachiko Tabata. The sisters live in western Tokyo and came to the park over the weekend just to ride the train that runs along the perimeter and see if there were any signs of life inside.
"I was supposed to come on March 12, the day after the earthquake," Kyoko said. "I heard they were already practicing for the special Easter event, so we thought maybe we could catch a glimpse."
Special correspondent Kenji Hall in Tokyo and Times staff writer Dawn C. Chmielewski in Los Angeles contributed to this report.
- Long hours 'increase heart risks', 4/4 The Press Association (UKPA) via google.com/hostednews/ukpress
LONDON, U.K. - Clocking up extra hours in the office can increase the risk of heart disease, a new study has found.
People who work an 11-hour day compared to those who work a standard seven or eight hours increase their risk of heart disease by 67%, researchers at UCL (University College London) discovered.
Researchers, who published their findings in Annals of Internal Medicine, said that information on working hours could be useful to GPs when calculating a patient's risk of heart disease alongside other indicators such as blood pressure, diabetes and smoking habits.
The research tracked 7,095 British civil servants aged between 39 and 62 for 11 years.
Over the course of the study, 192 participants suffered a heart attack. People who worked 11 hours or more a day were 67% more likely to have a heart attack than those who worked shorter hours.
Professor Mika Kivimaki, who led the research, said: "We have shown that working long days is associated with a remarkable increase in risk of heart disease.
"Considering that including a measurement of working hours in a GP interview is so simple and useful, our research presents a strong case that it should become standard practice.
"This new information should help improve decisions regarding medication for heart disease. It could also be a wake-up call for people who overwork themselves, especially if they already have other risk factors."
Professor Stephen Holgate, chairman of the Medical Research Council's (MRC) Population and Systems Medicine Board, said: "This study might make us think twice about the old adage 'hard work won't kill you'.
"Tackling lifestyles that are detrimental to health is a key area for the MRC, and this research reminds us that it's not just diet and exercise we need to think about."
4/02/2011 – 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 (email@example.com) unless otherwise initialed -
- More Physicians Say No to Endless Workdays, by Gardiner Harris, NY Times, A1.
HONESDALE, Pa. — Even as a girl, Dr. Kate Dewar seemed destined to inherit the small-town medical practice of her grandfather and father. At 4, she could explain how to insert a pulmonary catheter. At 12, she could suture a gash. And when she entered medical school, she and her father talked eagerly about practicing together.
But when she finishes residency this summer, Dr. Dewar, 31, will not be going home. Instead, she will take a job as a salaried emergency room doctor at a hospital in Elmira, N.Y., two hours away. An important reason is that she prefers the fast pace and interesting puzzles of emergency medicine, but another reason is that on Feb. 7 she gave birth to twins, and she cannot imagine raising them while working as hard as her father did.
“My father tried really hard to get home, but work always got in the way,” Dr. Dewar said. “Even on Christmas morning, we would have to wait to open our presents until Dad was done rounding at the hospital.”
Dr. Dewar’s change of heart demonstrates the significant changes in American medicine that are transforming the way patients get care.
For decades, medicine has been dominated by fiercely independent doctors who owned their practices, worked night and day, had comfortable incomes and rarely saw their families.
[So they sacrificed their families for their work.]
But with two babies, Dr. Dewar wants a life different from her father’s and grandfather’s. So instead of being an entrepreneur, she will become an employee of a large corporation working 36 hours a week — half the hours her father and grandfather worked.
Indeed, emergency room and critical-care doctors work fewer hours than any other specialty, according to a 2008 report from the federal Department of Health and Human Services.
Her decision is part of a sweeping cultural overhaul of medicine’s traditional ethos that along with wrenching changes in its economics is transforming the profession. Like Dr. Dewar, many other young doctors are taking salaried jobs, working fewer hours, often going part time and even choosing specialties based on family reasons. The beepers and cellphones that once leashed doctors to their patients and practices on nights, weekends and holidays are being abandoned. Metaphorically, medicine has gone from being an individual to a team sport.
For doctors, the changes mean more control of their personal lives but less of their professional ones; for patients, care that is less personal but, as studies have shown, more proficient.
Older doctors view these changes with considerable ambivalence, among them Dr. Dewar’s 90-year-old grandfather and 61-year-old father, although both supported Dr. Kate Dewar’s decisions and were thrilled about the birth of her twins.
“My son and I had deeper feelings for our patients [and shallower feelings for their own families?! - ed.] than I think Kate will ever have,” Dr. William Dewar II said over lunch at a diner in Honesdale, about 30 miles northeast of Scranton. Munching on a club sandwich, Dr. William Dewar III gestured toward the diner’s owner, who had greeted them deferentially.
“I’ve had three generations of his family [and zero generations of my own?! - ed.] under my care,” he said as a waitress brought his usual Diet Coke without being asked. “Kate will never have that.”
In a separate interview, Dr. Kate Dewar said that treating chronic conditions like diabetes and high cholesterol — a huge part of her father’s daily life — was not that interesting. She likened primary care to the movie “Groundhog Day,” in which the same boring problems recur endlessly. Needing constant stimulus — she e-mails while watching TV — she realized she could not practice the medicine of her forebears.
“I like it when people get better, but I’d rather it happen right in front of my eyes and not years later,” she said. “I like to fix stuff and then move on.”
Her attitude is part of a gradual distancing between doctors and patients.
[Oh so now they're trying to spin sane hours for doctors as gradual distancing from patients? I don't think so.]
Doctors were once revered, but a host of intermediaries — insurers, lawyers, the Internet, growing patient needs and expectations — have intervened, to the point that many patients now see doctors as interchangeable. Younger doctors are deciding that the personal price of being at their patients’ beck and call is too high, while acknowledging that teams of doctors can offer a higher quality of care. So they are embracing corporate, less entrepreneurial and less intimate roles in part for the uninterrupted family time they bring.
“Look, I’m as committed to being a doctor as anyone. I went back to work six weeks after my boys were born. I love my job,” said Dr. Kate Dewar. “But I was in tears walking out of the house that first day. I’m the mother of twins, and I want to be there to feed them, play games with them or open presents with them on Christmas morning. Or at least I want the option to do those things without fearing I’ll be called back to the hospital.”
The pain of that first week’s separation was lessened somewhat because she worked in the hospital’s new pediatric emergency department. “I felt better knowing that at least I was taking care of somebody else’s babies even if I couldn’t be with mine,” she said.
Three Generations of M.D.’s
The story of the Dewars demonstrates how these trends have played out over nearly seven decades.
Dr. William Dewar II opened his practice 67 years ago at his home in Catasauqua, Pa., an Allentown suburb, with his wife, Thelma, as his lone nurse and assistant. He delivered babies and set broken bones. Sick patients showed up on his doorstep at all hours, with some sleeping over. When they needed to be hospitalized, Dr. Dewar oversaw their care. Patients paid cash — $2 for an office visit and $3 for a house call, fees that covered most needed medicines.
Thelma Dewar handled the bills and laboratory tests, often by cooking urine samples on the stove before analysis.
“I loved my practice. Totally loved it,” Dr. Dewar said. “You were in touch with the patients. They were part of your family.”
[Sounds more like they replaced his family.]
The culture of medicine at the time was decidedly macho. Residents routinely worked 120 hours a week, often staying at the hospital for days at a time. Indeed, the term “residency” comes from the first such program at Johns Hopkins University, established around the start of the 20th century, where doctors lived in a dormitory next to the hospital, a monastic life inimical to women who wanted children. As the residency requirement took hold nationally, the share of female doctors, already low, fell further. Dr. William Osler, the founder of the residency program, celebrated such sacrifices.
“What about the wife and babies if you have them? Leave them,” Dr. Osler wrote. “Heavy are the responsibilities to yourself, to the profession and to the public. Your wife will be glad to bear her share of the sacrifices you make.”
After 25 years in Catasauqua, the Dewars moved to the Honesdale area, and their oldest son joined the practice — which by then had moved to an office building. But working outside the home meant that Dr. William Dewar III saw less of his children than his father had seen of his — though he attended more of their sporting events. He tried to make a point of eating dinner with the family, but often failed because his sickest patients spent more time in the hospital as fewer people died at home. Even when he did make it home for the meal, he often left afterward. He was on call seven days a week, limiting vacations.
“We always joked that as soon as Dad’s butt hit the chair for dinner, his beeper would go off,” Dr. Kate Dewar said.
A Changing Field
But even as the two men tried to keep their practice the same, the world around them kept shifting. Their patients’ medical needs grew steadily, and specialists began to take over the more complicated procedures.
After his father retired at 75, Dr. Dewar merged his practice with those of four other doctors, eventually moving into a large building that once housed the town’s bowling alley. Thousands of paper records occupy much of the building’s space, and 35 employees handle the billing and other clerical functions.
And the burden of trying to be all things to all of his patients became unmanageable. In 2006, after Wayne Memorial Hospital hired hospitalists — doctors who specialize in taking care of hospitalized patients — Dr. Dewar finally gave up hospital rounds.
For his hospitalized patients, the change meant putting their trust in a doctor who knew them less intimately but was more available and more adept at hospital care. “My patients are getting better care now in the hospital,” Dr. Dewar said.
And the change saved him hours of work each week. “It meant getting off the hamster wheel,” he said.
In her third year of medical school, Kate Dewar shadowed clinic doctors treating patients with everyday illnesses. It was just the kind of medicine her father practices: advising the obese to lose weight and the smokers to quit, and prescribing cholesterol and hypertension medicines again and again. “I hated it, and I felt terribly guilty,” she said. She called her father and broke the news that she wanted to work in a hospital. He was very supportive, she said.
Her father also remembered being both envious and disappointed. “On the one hand, it bothers me that the generation of doctors that my daughter is in doesn’t work as many hours and isn’t willing to do the stuff that I did,” he said. “On the other hand, I’m almost a little jealous.”
Such mixed feelings are common among older doctors, many of whom have been unable to sell or even give away their practices because younger doctors are not willing to work the hours required. Indeed, Dr. William Dewar III’s practice has hired nurse practitioners recently, in part because it cannot recruit doctors.
Merritt Hawkins, a top doctor recruitment firm, reported that 51 percent of the positions it filled in the past year were for hospitals, up from 14 percent eight years ago. And even a growing share of the jobs the company filled in private practices included income guarantees from hospitals. Young doctors surveyed by Merritt Hawkins listed quality of life well above finances as the most important factor in their job searches, and just 1 percent said they were willing to practice alone. Many young doctors will not take jobs that require them to be on call.
Almost every hospital in the country has vastly expanded its medical staff. Lehigh Valley Health Network in Allentown, where Dr. Kate Dewar currently works, has gone in seven years from 100 to 500 employed doctors.
A Different Pace
A day spent with Dr. Dewar in the emergency room of Lehigh Valley Hospital-Cedar Crest had the feel of an episode of “E.R.,” far different from “Marcus Welby, M.D.,” which her father grew up with. The attending physician was Dr. Rezarta Lloyd. The two women had complete control over a section of the emergency room reserved for the most serious cases, and there were many that day: a young woman with a deep gash on her hand that Dr. Dewar stitched closed, an older woman with suffocating fluid around her heart, and a 35-year-old man with a high fever, abdominal pains and an altered mental state.
The two doctors ordered a CT scan of the man’s midsection, and they stood next to a computer terminal and toggled through images of his internal organs, deeply concerned.
“Everything looks so inflamed,” Dr. Dewar said as Dr. Lloyd nodded. “Look at the stomach. Look at the wall there. What is wrong with this guy?”
The more challenging the case, the better the women liked it. Each tended to collect rare and difficult interventions like merit badges. Standing beside the display screen, Dr. Dewar told a story about having a patient whom she thought might need a tracheotomy, a rarely done procedure in which a tube is put into a patient’s throat to prevent suffocation. She had a “trach kit” placed in the patient’s room just in case.
While attending to another patient, Dr. Dewar noticed a commotion outside the patient’s room and yelled at her colleague on duty, playfully threatening bodily harm to anyone else daring to do “her” tracheotomy.
The tracheotomy story was interrupted by another phone call from one of the hospital’s radiology technologists, whom Drs. Dewar and Lloyd had sparred with all day. The two had sent a patient whose damaged eye was bleeding, leaking fluid and bulging. The doctors had described the patient’s condition in the order they submitted for the CT scan, but the technologists rarely seemed to read those instructions closely, Dr. Dewar complained.
“No,” she said. “We’re looking for a globe rupture.”
Then a 22-year-old man showed up with flu symptoms. Dr. Dewar, pregnant at the time, kept her distance while Dr. Lloyd went to his bedside and, later in the day, prescribed antivirals.
“My big fear is patients with the flu,” Dr. Dewar explained. “Pregnant women were the ones who died from H1N1, so Dr. Lloyd protects me by seeing them herself. I had my flu shot and all that, but if I don’t have to risk it, I won’t.”
Pregnant residents are another sign of medicine’s shifting culture. Residency hours and practices were once so grueling that few doctors deliberately became parents during those years. But in an effort to reduce fatigue-related errors, residency hours were reduced in 2003 to 80 per week. Last year at Johns Hopkins, the birthplace of the residency program, more than a third of the women in one internal medicine residency program became pregnant or were the mothers of young children — an outcome that would have been unimaginable to William Osler.
Still, carrying twins on a job that requires hours of walking between rooms was not easy. On a nine-hour shift in her 29th week, she drank three liters of water and snacked constantly on cheese crackers.
But when her shift ended, Dr. Dewar went home and put up her feet. And no pager threatened her rest — something her father has rarely experienced.
- Will 100 Years of Progress Disappear? by Barbara Burt (and Sally Greenberg?), BangorDailyNews.com
NEWCASTLE, Maine - The Maine Legislature is considering weakening the state’s child labor laws. That worries us and it would have worried Frances Perkins, who became a leader in the fight to ban exploitative child labor in the U.S. almost a century ago.
Coming after Gov. Paul LePage’s ill-conceived removal of the Department of Labor’s mural — which portrayed Frances Perkins and honored the struggles and accomplishments of Maine workers through history, including child workers — and the erasure of the name “Perkins” from a conference room, it seems that there’s an all-out attack on Maine workers under way.
Perkins was the first woman to serve in a presidential Cabinet and was one of the primary architects of the New Deal, which brought us many of the workplace protections and rights we all enjoy.
On March 25, 1911 — 100 years ago — Perkins, who at that time led the Consumers League in New York, witnessed the Triangle Shirtwaist Fire, in which 146 workers, mostly young immigrant women and girls — some as young as 14 and 15 — perished. The owners of the sweatshop factory had locked a door that might have helped their escape.
Galvanized by the sight and sound of young workers leaping to their deaths, Perkins dedicated the rest of her life to worker protections, first in New York’s Labor Commission and then as FDR’s secretary of labor, a post she held for twelve years. Her efforts against the exploitation of children culminated in the passage of 1938’s Fair Labor Standards Act, which outlawed most forms of child labor in the U.S.
Now, shockingly, Maine Republican legislators are ignoring that history by taking up bills to roll back its child labor laws. L.D. 516, introduced by Sen. Debra Plowman, R-Hampden, is already headed for a vote in the Senate. It would increase the hours that teenagers are allowed to work from 20 to 24. Sen. Plowman says that her bill will help students by allowing them to earn more money for college. We believe it will actually lead to a higher high school dropout rate.
Twenty-four hours per week may sound insignificant — it’s better than the 32 hours a week that she had originally wanted — but it’s too many hours: four hours a day, six days a week. The current 20-hour limit was not established arbitrarily; for years, 20 hours has been recognized by child advocates as the maximum that teens can work and attend school.
Researchers from the University of Washington, the University of Virginia and Temple University issued a recent report finding that working more than 20 hours a week during the school year leads to academic and behavior problems. Working more than 20 hours is not healthful for high school students.
The Plowman bill also would allow teens to work until 11 p.m. instead of 10 p.m. on a school night, making it a lot harder for kids to go to school, work, participate in after-school activities, do homework and get a good night’s sleep. If a teen works till 11, it seems likely they will only get four to six hours of sleep before they have to be in school. According to the National Sleep Foundation, more than one-quarter of high school students fall asleep in class now.
Each year, about 230,000 teens suffer work-related injuries. By increasing worker fatigue, we increase the likelihood of injury. Driving to and from the job is one of the most common ways teen workers are injured or killed. Do we really want teenagers on the road after 11:00, when their chances of falling asleep or encountering a drunk driver are increased?
Teens who work at night in retail establishments also are at an elevated risk of assault. Last year, an Illinois teenager working late in a sandwich shop was abducted, beaten and sexually assaulted. Working until 11 increases the chances that teens will be working alone or closing up.
The Plowman bill is bad enough, but a second bill, L.D. 1346 introduced this week by Rep. David Burns, R-Whiting, takes away the limit on the number of hours a student can work on a school night (currently four hours) and creates a sub-minimum-wage class — at $5.25 an hour — for workers younger than 20 as well as “trainees” for the first 180 days of work. There’s no way that Burns’ bill can be construed as “helping students earn money for college.”
Frances Perkins fought for child labor protections her whole life. She loved Maine and her family’s homestead in Newcastle, which today houses the Frances Perkins Center, the nonpartisan, nonprofit organization that carries on her commitment to economic security and social justice. Now, her beloved state of Maine may be turning back the clock. We hope for the sake of our kids — our future — that the Legislature rejects both bills.
Barbara Burt is executive director of the Frances Perkins Center in Newcastle. Sally Greenberg is executive director of the National Consumers League and co-chair of the Child Labor Coalition.
4/01/2011 – 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 (firstname.lastname@example.org) unless otherwise initialed -
- Save jobs by sharing work, by Lauren D. Appelbaum and Chris Tilly, Los Angeles Daily News via dailynews.com
SACRAMENTO, Calif. - California officials announced last week that the state in February made the largest jump in employment in the nation. While this is certainly good news, it's important to realize that employment progress in recent months was not mainly due to an increase in job creation, rather it was the result of a decrease in layoffs.
The fact is, public policy options for job creation are few. But there's one way to head off layoffs: make better use of work-sharing programs.
Work-sharing is not to be confused with job-sharing, where two workers split one full-time position by each agreeing to work part-time. Through work-sharing, workers don't share a job, rather they share the work.
A company with 20 employees that only has enough work for 16 employees would not have to lay off four people. Instead, all 20 employees could keep their jobs but see their hours reduced by 20 percent. Unlike furlough days, however, in which the employee loses a day's pay for a day not worked, the employee receives a proportional amount of their unemployment benefit for the hours not worked.
Thus, work-sharing saves jobs by using the unemployment insurance system to keep employees on the payroll. For example, an employee whose hours are cut back one day a week would receive 80 percent of her pay from her employer and partial pay from her unemployment benefit for the day not worked. Believe it or not, using this plan, the government spends little or no more than it already does for unemployment benefits. The state can partially pay unemployment insurance to five workers instead of paying one for a full layoff, and it comes out the same.
Work-sharing has been widely and successfully utilized in Europe, a track record that we and other researchers will be examining todayand Saturday at UCLA's conference "Reconnecting to Work: Consequences of Long-Term Unemployment and Prospects for Job Creation." In Germany, for instance, the decrease in GDP during the 2008 economic downturn was steeper than in the U.S. However, with an extensive work-sharing program, Germany was able to stave off layoffs. Germany's unemployment rate hovered around 7 percent, never increasing sharply as in the U.S., and started dropping many months before the recent U.S. unemployment rate decreases.
California is one of 18 states that already have work-sharing programs. Under state law, any employer that wants to decrease by at least 10 percent the hours of two or more employees may use the program. Indeed, there has been a significant increase in the use of this kind of compensation program in California since the recession hit. The trend has surely saved jobs, but with California's unemployment at 12.2 percent, work-sharing needs to be utilized more and expanded.
Unlike its German counterpart, the California work-sharing program is not broadly advertised so few employers know about it. Also unlike Germany, California workers face an untenable choice because activating work-sharing benefits would cut into their unemployment benefits should they be laid off at later date. Meanwhile, participating in work-sharing can increase unemployment taxes paid by employers. If lawmakers removed these requirements, work-sharing would become a more viable option.
Indeed, if all 50 states had work-sharing programs and these programs were used even modestly, job retention and unemployment could be powerfully affected. Nationwide, nearly 2 million people a month are involuntarily separated from their jobs. If even 10 percent of these people were able to hold on to their jobs through work-sharing, then 200,000 jobs per month or over 2 million jobs each year would be saved.
With nearly 44 percent of the country's unemployed out of work for six months or more - and more than 30 percent unemployed for over a year - it is clear that once people lose their jobs, it is a long and hard road to the next one. It doesn't help that new studies show that the longer someone is out of work the less likely you are to get a job.
If all 50 states had work-sharing programs and these programs were used even modestly, job retention and unemployment could be powerfully affected. Nationwide, nearly 2 million people a month are involuntarily separated from their jobs. If even 10 percent of these people were able to hold on to their jobs through work-sharing, then 200,000 jobs per month would be saved.
Improving the odds of holding onto a job is the most efficient way to attack the problem. Work-sharing programs that slow job loss are an important weapon in mounting that attack.
Lauren D. Appelbaum is the research director and Chris Tilly is the director of UCLA's Institute for Research on Labor and Employment.
- Harper promises boost for retraining programs, work sharing, by Steven Chase, Globe and Mail via theglobeandmail.com
[Harper will do or promise anything for power and is therefore the last person to be trusted with it.]
DIEPPE, N.B. - Stephen Harper is promising measures to preserve jobs and educate workers if re-elected, from extending programs that retrain older employees to encouraging work-sharing instead of layoffs.
The single biggest pledge is $420-million over two years to extend Employment Insurance [EI] pilot projects that help recipients find jobs while on benefits and aid those who can only obtain sporadic employment.
The Conservative Leader stopped in Dieppe, N.B., Friday morning for a campaign rally with many of the party’s candidates from across the province.
New Brunswick is still struggling with relatively more jobless than some other regions. The unemployment rate as of February in the province was 9.8 per cent, two points higher than the national average.
Mr. Harper visited Malley Industries, a specialty vehicle manufacturer in the Moncton area to unveil his promises, which total more than $600-million over two years.
“Our global economy is still fragile and too many Canadian workers are still looking for jobs,” the Conservative Leader said.
“Our plan will support workers and job seekers in today's job market and provide them with the immediate assistance they need.”
His job and training pledges take a page from the 2011 budget that was shelved after opposition parties defeated the Tory government March 2. The fiscal plan now serves as the mainstay of the Conservative campaign platform.
» Eliminating mandatory retirement for workers in federally-regulated sectors – such and transport and telecommunications.
» A $10-million extension for work-sharing funding that helped companies avoid layoffs by offering EI benefits to staff willing to work reduced hours as their company recovers. This would extend current or recently terminated work-sharing deals by up to 16 weeks.
» Beefing up the Canada Student Loan Program to increase the income threshold for loans and grants to part-time students and cutting interest rates charged in some cases so Canadians can study part time while working. This would amount to an extra $34.2-million per year.
» Another $420-million to renew two Employment Insurance pilot projects for another year.
The Working While On Claim project and the Best 14 Weeks project are currently set to expire in summer 2011. The first allows EI claimants to earn additional money working while receiving assistance. The second allows claimants in 25 higher-unemployment regions to receive enriched EI benefits calculated on the highest 14 weeks of earnings in the preceding year.
» Another $50-million to extend the Targeted Initiative for Older Workers until 2013-14. The federal-provincial program underwrites training and job opportunities for displaced older workers in areas with a population of less than 250,000.
» Expanding the Wage Earner Protection Program that would provides compensation of up to $3,400 in 2011 to workers for unpaid wages, vacation pay and severance if their company goes bankrupt.
Budget 2011 would also have extended this to workers who lost their jobs when a company's attempt at restructuring failed.
This would amount to about $4.5-million in annual support.
“These initiatives will help workers access additional training, support their families during periods of unemployment and collect money they are entitled to if their employer goes bankrupt,” Mr. Harper said
In New Brunswick, the Conservatives are hoping to wrest Moncton-Riverview-Dieppe from the Liberals and are trying to defend three other ridings – Miramichi, Fredericton and Saint John from Liberal challenges.
The Tories had hoped that former New Brunswick premier Bernard Lord would run for them in Moncton-Riverview-Dieppe but he recently deciding against standing.
Mr. Harper heads to Prince Edward Island later Friday for a rally in the riding of Malpeque in Covehead before jetting to Ottawa for a down day Saturday.
[And another version -]
Harper vows to end party subsidies - "Conservative" leader [our quotes] also uses N.B. stop to tout economic agenda, CBC.ca
[A real conservative does not shut down Parliament whenever the going gets tough.]
DIEPPE, N.B. - "Conservative" Leader Stephen Harper is still committed to scrapping party subsidies but says it would be impossible unless he formed a majority government.
The Conservative leader was asked during a news conference in Dieppe, N.B., on Friday whether he still endorses a move to eliminate the per-vote subsidy given to Canadian political parities.
Harper, who has long opposed the $2-per-vote subsidy, said political parties enjoy "enormous tax advantages" even without the additional subsidy and taxpayers should not financially support political parties that they don't support with their votes.
"I've wanted to change this. But we were very clear: unless we have a majority government we will never attempt to change it because we know in a minority government you can never move this forward," Harper said.
Harper tried to scrap the funds in 2008, a move that led to a revolt by all three opposition parties.
Canada Votes 2011
The Liberals, NDP and Bloc Québécois were upset over the Harper government's attempt to yank the party subsidies and the lack of an economic stimulus plan in the 2008 fiscal update.
The Liberals and NDP struck a coalition, supported by the Bloc Québécois, to topple Harper's minority Conservative government. Harper out-manoeuvred the opposition by asking then Gov. Gen. Michaëlle Jean to prorogue Parliament.
The Conservative leader said on Friday he would not cut the subsidy without discussing a transition plan with the other political parties to phase out the program.
"For the transition on the subsidy, we have in mind a transition of three years," Harper said.
"We will talk about what idea they may have in that regard. This is where we want to go and where we think voters want us to go."
NDP Leader Jack Layton told reporters in Sudbury, Ont., that he prefers a mixed system of public contributions and direct subsidies, the CBC's Rosemary Barton reported. Layton told reporters Friday he doesn't want "big money" brought back in to the system.
The Chrétien government created the per-vote direct subsidy in 2004, when it banned corporate donations to parties and limited contributions to ridings or candidates to $1,000 per year. Individual donations were capped at $5,000, down from $10,000.
In 2006, the new Harper government dropped the individual limit to $1,000 (adjusted to inflation; it was $1,100 in 2010 and 2011) and imposed a complete ban on donations from corporations, unions and organizations.
Economic recovery 'top priority'
The Conservative leader's appearance in New Brunswick was intended to talk about his party's economic track record during a campaign event.
Harper was using his first campaign stop in New Brunswick to remind voters about economic measures first outlined in the budget, which was introduced before the campaign started.
The budget was introduced but never implemented before the election was called.
"Canada is emerging from the global recession at the front of the pack," Harper said.
[No thanks to Harper who wanted to deregulate the banks.]
Harper reiterated his budget commitment to extend a work-sharing initiative to allow for an extra 16 weeks.
The Conservative leader said the work-sharing initiative helps employees work part of a week while collecting Employment Insurance benefits on the other days.
"I have to tell you this program has been enormously successful in combating the effects of the recession in Canada," Harper said.
"Almost 280,000 jobs have been protected by this program, some right here in Moncton."
Harper also referred to a plan to extend an initiative for older workers for another two years. He said the program is intended to give workers in hard-hit communities a second chance at finding work. The Tory leader said the proposal has already helped 14,000 Canadians.
Harper also stressed his commitment to allow workers who pursue part-time studies access to interest-free Canada Student Loans.
All of these initiatives, he said, were intended to help the country's economic recovery, which he said is still fragile.
"The top priority for our government is protecting and creating Canadian jobs," Harper said.
"And these supports for workers are among the most important initiatives in the budget that will continue seeing us protect and create jobs."
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