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Timesizing News, June/2012
[Commentary] ©2012 Phil Hyde, Timesizing.com, Harvard Sq PO Box 117, Cambridge MA 02238 USA 617-623-8080


6/30/2012 – News bits about the timesizing alternative to downsizing, reinvented thousands of times every day in every recession by mainly mid- and small-size companies, but still an afterthought when any economy that's still around in 50 years will have long made it first and foremost - ( [commentary] by Phil Hyde ecdesignr@yahoo.ca unless otherwise initialed ) -

  1. The Buzz: As Sunday deadline looms, California unions reach furlough deals, by Hannah Madans, Sacramento Bee via sacbee.com
    SACRAMENTO, Calif., USA - As California's 21 state employee bargaining units faced a Sunday deadline, just two had not cut furlough deals with Gov. Jerry Brown's administration by Friday.
    California Attorneys, Administrative Law Judges, and Hearing Officers in State Employment agreed Thursday that its members will take a 4.62 percent pay cut for 12 months starting in July, with each receiving eight hours of personal leave per month.
    CASE's side letter agreement does not affect raises scheduled for July 2013. It will be sent to members for ratification, likely early next week.
    The agreement also establishes a committee that could lead to creation of higher job classifications as well as another to look at outsourcing. The deal came shortly after Brown signed a budget-related bill to let him furlough members of bargaining units that do not reach deals by Sunday.
    All bargaining units that do will be protected from further furloughs.

    The California Statewide Law Enforcement Association also took a similar deal Wednesday.
    The two remaining units were Professional Engineers in California Government and the International Union of Operating Engineers.

  2. L.E.A.P Think: Professional Development Guidance - 30 hour salaried work weeks plus paid over time would solve many problems that are common in consulting and professional service jobs, by Brian Moran, SQL Server Pro (blog) via sqlmag.com
    NEW YORK, N.Y., USA - What could work and life be like if we didn’t spend the super majority of our time consumed in our careers? This blog post won’t solve world peace or invent cold fusion. But it does present a framework for how white collar professional service, especially billable hour, careers could be better for employers and employees. My premise is simple. Pay people a salary based on 30 hours a week and then pay over time for more than that.
    I’ve been chewing on this idea for a while. It’s not entirely fleshed out. I’m sure it has a few warts. My prose isn’t as polished as it might be. But, all in all, my idea rocks and could revolutionize white collar professional service careers and a wide array of other corporate ladder climbing careers. One day someone richer and more famous than myself will write this up for Harvard Business Review but you and I will know who came up with the idea first. Maybe I should trademark “30 Hours+” and sell t-shirts?
    Let’s pretend that Bobby is a BI consultant with BestBI Inc. Billy is a salaried employee and makes $100,000 a year. BestBI bills Bobby to customers at an average rate of $185/hr.. So, BestBI is paying Bobby about $2,000 per week and would bill clients about $7,400 in my simplified example assuming Bobby billed 40 hours in any given week.
    BestBI makes about $11,100 in that same week is Bobby bills 60 hours. That’s an extra $3,700 in profit that week for BestBI and well over an extra 100K per year if poor Bobby works long hours ever week. Guess what? BestBI has a financial motive to allow Bobby to work a heck of a lot of over time. We all know that.
    Is it inherently evil for companies to want to make more money by asking, aka requiring, employees to work over time? Well no. But, it can lead to a pretty crappy lifestyle for Bobby the BI developer and frankly it’s really not a vision of optimized and efficient work for BestBI. People don’t tend to be as efficient in those overtime hours when asked to burn the middle candle over, and over, and over again.
    What if Bobby is paid a salary that covered up to 30 hours per week and then was paid an hourly rate for overtime past the first 30? And yes, the model presumes that bobby might be paid about 25% less. I’m going to call this salary model “30 Hours+” This model might throw a monkey wrench into consulting company business models that are designed to treat their employees like crap with constant overtime expectations. But, I think more evolved and mature companies will recognize that employees who are engaged and happy will be loyal, take care of the customer, and all in all find ways to do amazing stuff.
    What about Bobby? Would could Bobby achieve if he had some margin in his life? Would Bobby be happier? More productive? Invent the next Google? I’m not sure. I know he’s be less stressed and more in control of his life. Maybe he’d choose to work over time on a regular basis. Maybe he’d volunteer at his church. Maybe he’s take a lot of naps. Maybe he would invent the next Google. I don’t know. It’s not really my job to know or decide what Bobby does with the time. But I do know that he would have the option of building a life that does that assume the vast majority of his productive waking hours is spent doing the stuff that pays the bills.
    Let’s assume that Bobby doesn’t work much over time and sees his salary cut by about 25%. Do you think Bobby can live on that? I’m starting to stray into an entirely different blog post so I won’t go too deep. But, I’ll be blunt. Consultants and professional service white collar jobs tend to pay a heck of a lot. Like it or not we are truly the 1%. I’ll be straight with you. If you can’t find a way to be happy making 25% less money while having a more fulfilling life then you probably aren’t going to be happy with that extra 25% income no matter what it allows you to buy.
    P.S. 30 hours+ easily lends itself to almost any type of job especially tech jobs. I wrote this blog post in context of a consulting model since that’s what I know best and didn’t have time or space to extend the argument to other jobs. But hopefully it’s easy to see how this could apply to almost any sort of salaried position. And no, I’m not advocating a European model that gives people a 60 weeks of vacation a year. I’m simply suggesting that we reinvent work so that people can have lives outside of work and that companies don’t have as compelling an interest think about how can I squeeze one extra hour of profit from my people.


6/29/2012 – News bits about the timesizing alternative to downsizing, reinvented thousands of times every day in every recession by mainly mid- and small-size companies, but still an afterthought when any economy that's still around in 50 years will have long made it first and foremost - ( [commentary] by Phil Hyde ecdesignr@yahoo.ca unless otherwise initialed ) -

  1. Gov. Snyder signs work sharing bill in an effort to curb unemployment in Michigan, by Melissa Anders | manders@mlive.com, 1260 The Pledge via 1260thepledge.com
    LANSING, Mich., USA — Gov. Rick Snyder on Thursday signed a work share bill that allows certain employers facing potential layoffs to instead decrease worker’s hours and let them collect limited unemployment benefits.
    Snyder called for the legislation last December in a speech about developing and connecting Michigan’s talent. The bills nearly unanimously passed the legislature.
    “This new alternative plan will enable Michigan to keep its skilled and talented work force employed,” Snyder said in a statement. “By providing partial compensation to workers with reduced hours, we can support both families and businesses as we continue rebuilding our economy.”
    Here’s how the program could play out under the new law:
    An employer decides that instead of laying off workers, it will cut employees’ hours from 40 to 30 hours a week, representing a 25 percent reduction in hours. If the employer meets all the criteria set out in the law, its workers could receive 25 percent of the unemployment check they would have received if they were collecting full unemployment benefits.

    Employers that are up-to-date on their unemployment taxes could only use the program once for a maximum of one year. They couldn’t lay off any employees in the affected department during the duration of the plan, which could end up lasting fewer than 52 weeks. The plans also could not affect employees’ fringe benefits.
    The plans need approval of the Michigan Unemployment Insurance Agency.
    The law takes effect on Jan. 1, 2013. Employers may not apply for shared work plans that would begin after Jan. 1, 2018.
    [Another take -]
    Snyder signs ‘shared work’ bill to help firms keep employees they might have laid off, by Meghana Keshavan, Crains Detroit Business via crainsdetroit.com
    LANSING, Mich., USA — Employers hit by the downturn can now reduce workers’ hours and the state will pick up the slack. On Thursday, Gov. Rick Snyder signed a bill to help employers prevent layoffs by creating a voluntary “shared work” program.
    Under the program, employers suffering a downturn and seeking to avoid layoffs could create shared-work plans — state-approved arrangements that would reduce workers’ hours and allow them to receive limited unemployment benefits to help compensate for lost wages.
    “The new alternative plan will enable Michigan to keep its skilled and talented work force employed,” Snyder said in a statement. “By providing partial compensation to workers with reduced hours, we can support both families and businesses as we continue rebuilding our economy.”
    To qualify for the program, employers must obtain labor union approval, already have paid wages for three years, provide an estimate of the number of layoffs that would be avoided, have at least two employees participating in the plan and reduce workers’ hours 15 percent to 45 percent.
    The program can’t affect employee benefits such as health insurance, retirement or paid time off.
    In May, the bill passed unanimously in the Senate. Legislation will go into effect Jan. 1.

  2. Guaranteed Employment and Basic Income, by Robert Skidelsky policyinnovations@cceia.org, policyinnovations.org
    WARWICK, U.K. - Governments have to resume responsibility for maintaining full employment. In the United States, I would argue, we both [presumably Robert & son Edward] would argue, for socializing medical care. Both [full employment & socialized medical care] will relieve some of the pressure to go on working.
    [i.e., to delay retirement? Apparently the Skidelsky's still believe in retirement = worklife regulation despite the two lethal flaws in that idea: the blank check it represents on society and the attack it represents on the human dream of longer lives.]
    By full employment, though, we don't mean a guarantee of a 40-hour working week. One can have full employment on the basis of 30 hours, or even 25 hours [or indeed, 10 hours or, 10 hours every two weeks or every month or every year, depending on how far we go with worksaving technology]. We don't, though, want a society divided into those rich or poor who work 60 hours a week and a large number who can't get enough [hours of] work to meet their basic needs. So full employment, yes, but we have to rethink what we mean by full employment—not the standard full employment that we now think of, but a full employment based on shorter hours of work.
    [Amen.]
    The simplest approach to reducing the hours of work would be to legislate a maximum, to limit the working week [most effective because you get 52 weekly applications per year], and/or increase statutory vacation times [much less effective with only one application per year]. There's nothing new in this.
    [Something new would require speaking of legislating a fluctuating maximum workweek to adjust for full employment or against un(der)employment.]
    I [what happened to "we both"?] think again, people often say, "But that would be an intolerable interference with the individual right of contract, to work as long as a person wants."
    [OK, granted I'm also on two levels in these comments, content and grammar, but a singular OR plural viewpoint, pick one, is basic grammar, and if you socialists are going to scurry to get back on the power issue (worksharing) that you abandoned while never expanding, you need to show some grammatical respect. (And you're welcome to whup my butt when I fall short as well - item 3 below gives you a big chance...) ]
    But governments have always interfered with hours of work.
    [From a linguistic viewpoint, "interfered" is even worse than "regulated' in the context of a right-shifted "center," and will get you dismissed and ejected from any discussion faster. If you're going to presume to take up cudgels for worktime economics and SWT, puhleez avoid tripping the linguistic trapdoors. Find synonyms such as "intervened."]
    From the beginning of the factory acts in the 19th century, they [governments] have taken steps to limit the amount of work that an employer can demand of his workforce.
    [And Timesizing does let individuals work as long as they want, IF they reinvest 100% overwork earnings (where "overwork" means total overtime per person from all sources including "investment care") in overwork-targeted training and hiring. In other words, you get to "consume" this precious vanishing natural resource (market-demanded employment) up to a certain unemployment-adjusted workweek ceiling, but if you want to keep working after that, you gotta love it enough to share it, like "the little toymaker" who "never worked a day in his life." The deflationary incentive involved gradually spreads and provides a natural positive inflation control that weans us off our current growth-clobbering inflation control via raising interest rates (how dumb is THAT?!).]
    France has taken the lead in this, not just recently in the 35-hour working week, but much earlier they legislated a maximum of 40 hours a week. So they have taken a lead.
    [The U.S. legislated a 44-hour maximum in 1938 (in the overtime section of the Fair Labor Standards Act), 42 in 1939, and 40 in 1940 (taking hold on Oct.24, 1940). Was France before that? Of course, both have weak overtime-conversion-into-training&hiring designs, but at least France has a 1.5%(?) tax on payroll with an exemption if that amount is spent on training. France's real leadership is its current global leadership in the shortest nationwide workweek max in the world, which, embarrassingly enough for the human species in the age of robotics, is still no lower than 35 hours a week. The U.S. passed a 30-hour workweek through the Senate in 1933 but FDR clobbered it in the House, took only two years to sorely regret it, and could then only get that 44-42-40 hour workweek in 1938-39-40. Many expected 38hrs/wk in 1941 but Lend Lease started in March and America's usual delayed worldwar entry in December, and once again shortsighted employers started descending upon FDR demanding no further reductions and in fact, exemptions from the 40 max. But both US (19.0 to 14.6%, 1938-40) and France (12.6 to 8.6%, 1997-spring2001 before US-led recession hit) got 1% less unemployment for every hour cut from the workweek.]
    Trade unions have always pressed for a shorter working week [unfortunately not "always" in the U.S. where unions got lured away by higherpay&benefits after the War and commenced their collapse to less than 13% of the workforce]. And the European work directive also lays down, for guidance only, a maximum working week of 40 hours.
    So I don't think we [singular and plural viewpoints one after another?] are saying anything so radical in this, though it may seem to be so. It's really just carrying on what governments have always done since the Industrial Revolution.
    [Or since the 1840s in the USA anyway, when factory owners introduced natural-gas lighting and tried to extend long summer daylight hours throughout winter.]
    Within such a framework, it would be open to employers and employees to negotiate flexible retirement and work-sharing arrangements.
    [It is not "open" to employees to negotiate anything in the context of massive officially denied labor surplus which slopes the Market playing field steeply in favor of employers.]
    Now, [some] people are aghast at the idea of work sharing, and it wouldn't apply to a lot of occupations.
    [Yes, it would apply to all occupations because all activity or inactivity on or near the surface of this planet can be timed. Skidelsky is making a distinction in the wrong place here. The right place is the occupations where you do and do not have to stop work after a certain number of hours per week. The absolute stoppage applies to you only if you have inflationary incentive in your occupation as evidenced by your unwillingness to work overtime (from all sources) without deriving unaccountable personal spending power therefrom. If you are willing to reinvest 100% of overtime (and overwork = OT from all sources) income in OT-targeted jobs (and OJT wherever necessary), hay-ell pardner, you can work all 168 hours of the week if you want, cuz you're giving back and creating rather than consuming natural market-demanded still-unautomated human employment over and above the current non-arbitrary workweek ceiling (as it repeatedly adjusts against unemployment). In other words, you're part of the solution above that threshold, not contributing to the problem of employment and monetary concentration and system slowdown.]
    But in some occupations, work sharing is the rational and civilized way of distributing the work burden.
    [Again, these thinking-in-a-rut socialists give away the store because on the contrary, in ALL occupations, worksharing is the rational and civilized way of distributing and keeping deconcentrated the vanishing resource of natural market-demanded remunerated activity, and preventing the population from speciating into workers and drones à la Morlocks and Eloi, where the vulnerably dependent drones (Eloi) get treated like cattle and eaten. Check out your own labor history, ye socialists, and note that at every stage in the downsizing of your own historic workweek, there were always precious arrogant occupations who deemed themselves sooo indispensable or important that they must ever be above any limitations on their working hours. But this is merely a pretension and a symptom of incompetent or haughty management, obsessed with bottlenecking access to their skills with elaborate credentialling and making those skills as difficult as possible to acquire by means of super polysyllabic jargon. American physicians, truckers and several other preciously overstuffed egos are prone to this. It will gradually be swept away in the most successful economies of the future, which will be those that move fastest and fullest into timesizing and away from downsizing.]
    If your objective is to maximize growth, then you don't want work sharing [oh yes you do, because you want Full Employment and maximum centrifugation of the money supply to maximize consumer spending and velocity of currency circulation and marketable productivity and sustainable/profitable investment and...growth], you don't want an idea that there is a limited amount of work to go around [oh yes you do, because as long as kneejerk downsizing is substituted for timesizing, jobcuts for hourcuts, consumer spending is shrinking, currency circulation is slowing, and let's just say ya cain't get Growth alias UPsizing by DOWNsizing], because you are always trying to increase the growth of the economy [no, you're always paying lipservice to Growth/UPsizing but undermining it with DOWNsizing]. But if growth is abandoned as the main policy objective, then work sharing is a civilized way of bringing about a balance between demand for labor [=employment, jobopenings] and supply of labor [jobseekers] in a world in which automation is shrinking the demand for jobs. I think that's the perspective we have to always bear in mind.
    [Not at all. At this point, the timesizing direction, with bandaid worksharing as the first big step, is the one and only way to actually achieve the Growth policy-objective rather than just keep talking the talk while walking the walk of inducing downturn and recession by downsizing. Gawdamighty, these damn socialists have given away the store! They have not thought this through deeply enough to puncture the contradictions of the prevailing self-defeating narrative. OK, in their defense, it took moi 20-25 years and I had the advantage of being an Alice-in-Wonderland linguist, not a brain-washed economist, plunged in the subtly self-contradictory ruts of economese.]
    Now, that's not enough. We need something else. That's why we come to favor the idea of a basic income for everyone.
    [No, it IS enough. Basic income for everyone just guarantees proliferating dependency, or in biological terms, dumb parasitism = parasites that harm their host.]
    I want to just define it. By basic income we mean income paid by the state to each full member or accredited resident of a society regardless of whether he or she wishes to engage in paid employment, or is rich or is poor—in other words, independently of any other source of income a person may have.
    [This is a major and suicidal and unsustainable attack on the work ethic, even though work must now be reduced on a per-person basis in order to save it. Work, alias giving up control of parts of our lives to a larger entity such as The Market as repeatedly made fairer by the balancing of the great economic disparities in strategic order, is what keeps us from drifting off onto other planets and subspeciating. And as we've found out by repeated historical experiences, subspeciating or even approaching it (raciallizing) is unstable without massive promotion of Diversity, and then Diversity can get us into trouble, as when Canada's diverse Governess General finally succumbed to Canada's dictator-in-training, Stephen Harper, and agreed to shut down ("prorogue") Parliament in late 2009(?) - whereas the Queen would have sent him packing in einem Augenblick = "heraus, Führer-wannabe"!]
    Now, people say, "Oh dear, this will be a terrific disincentive to work." Yes, that is true. But then the incentive to work should no longer be at the center of our aims when we are in a society of abundance.
    [Yes it should, because there is no guarantee of continued abundance when we attack the incentives of those providing the abundance.]
    It's a scarcity perspective [not at all - it's an incentive perspective], and we are trying to say let's let our imagination move forward to a world in which there is abundance or plenty [which we ALL participate and share in contributing to], and then how can we reduce the pressure to work?
    [by timesizing instead of downsizing, duh.]
    That would be one way of giving people income independent of work.
    [NOT a valid or sustainable or worthy goal, and an evidence of socialist self-contradiction: sharing in benefits, not sharing in costs - how is this any more sustainable than what Saint Chomsky castigates as privatizing (notsharing) profits and socializing (sharing) losses?]
    It has been proposed by many economists.
    [I only know of one, Robert Theobald - but to his discredit, even Buckminster Fuller advocated Life Research Fellowships even as academic tenure was beginning to fray.]
    It is always said that we are too poor to do anything [no it isn't; the crunchers are the incentive and sustainability problems] like that, and we should start in a very modest way [in the U.S. we've already started bigtime with welfare-disability-child"disability"-prison and it's a burgeoning disaster, flinging voters over to the right]. Well, I agree we should start in a modest way, but then build it up as the national income grows.
    [Dumba dumbdumb.]

  3. Unemployment (joblessness) as an extreme environment - A presentation in Steve Bailey's 6/27/2012 class in ANTH 0149A Extreme Environments 6/27/2012 at Tufts University, timesizing.com (here! now!)
    SOMERVILLE, Mass., USA - This presentation, like Gaul, is divided into three parts:
    1. philosophical background
    2. history and current status (bad; diagnosis)
    3. current status (good; emerging cure) and future
    Joblessness as an Extreme Environment Part One - Philosphical Background
    Joblessness is about anxious, financially insecure free time alias unemployment rather than about confident, financially secure free time alias leisure. In any case, it's about time, so we'll have a time quiz and a comparative-science quiz to provide some background about time, which people find mysterious. St.Augustine, for example, said he knew what time was but if a man asked him, he couldn't tell him.
    So, what are the four ancient elements (hint outside parens)?
    air (earth fire water).
    Let's switch the order of the last two for later:
    air earth water fire.
    What are the four modern parallels?
    space (time matter energy).
    What was Einstein's connection between the last two?
    E=Mc(2), or, Energy equals Mass times lightspeed squared.
    Let's switch the middle two to parallel our switched order of ancient elementes, considering that the constancy of waterflow was used in ancient timeclocks called clepsydras before glassblowing got good enough to use sandflow in hourglasses:
    space matter time energy
    Note the associations:
    air-space earth-matter water-time fire-energy.
    Now another quiz to provide some background on time from a different angle (no pun intended).
    What are the basic three dimensions?
    length (width height).
    Currently we treat the three dimensions pretty sloppily:
    l x w = h, or, length times width equals height.
    This totally omits mentioning such details as Area and Volume (space). If we were to include them, we'd get something like:
    l x w = A, and, w x h = Vol.
    If we tightened this up a bit, we'd get:
    l x w = A, and, A x h = Vol.
    Here we have the beginning of a sense of climb, from one dimension to the next one, and plateau, at the next one. We can run with this, and really neaten things up, IF we invent a term for length as plateau, such as Line, and for zero-dimensionality (too tiny to measure) as plateau, such as Dot, like this:
    Dot x l = Line, and, Line x w = A, and, A x h = Vol.
    But what is the formula for density (d) in every highschool physics book?
    d = M / Vol, where M is mass, or "matter."
    Hmm, this can be rearranged like this:
    Vol x d = M (Volume times density equals Mass).
    Whoa, this fits in nicely with our tidied-up three dimensions above, and extends them:
    Dot x l = Line, and, Line x w = A, and, A x h = Vol, and, Vol x d = M.
    And indeed, this appears in Definition 1 right at the beginning of Newton's Principia (1687) in old-fashioned language - "The quantity of matter is the measure of the same, arising from its density and bulk conjunctly." Notice the revolutionary nature of this 325-year-old statement. We commonly still regard time as the fourth dimension and speak of the four-dimenstionality of space-time. But the actual fourth dimension is mass, and this is neither optional nor arbitrary, but logically required. What then do we do with time?
    Well, old Newton also has a Definition 2 - "The quantity of motion is the measure of the same, arising from the velocity and quantity of matter conjunctly." In modern terms, this says that Momentum equals velocity times Mass, or in our terms: Mom = vel x M, and indeed, this definition of Momentum is in every highschool physics book. But if we reverse it, M = vel x Mom, whoa again, it also fits nicely with our neatened-up basic three, and now four, dimensions, and extends them, thusly:
    Dot x l = Line, and, Line x w = A, and, A x h = Vol, and, Vol x d = M, and, M x vel = Mom.
    Hmm, Momentum contains a time word, moment. What if time is Mom?!
    Our basic time unit is the day, which was originally from sunset to sunset, or from noon (no one, no shadow) to noon. This depends on the constant circling motion of the Sun across the sky (or the constant rotating motion of our viewpoint on a rotating Earth under the Sun). Early mechanical clocks had one hand going around a 24-hour dial to imitate this. It seems that time, then, is a special case of momentum, that of the apparent Sun circling (or actual Earth rotating), used as a standard motion or activity against which all other activity, or inactivity, can be compared and measured. Thus time is the great quantifier, for it can quantify any and all activity or inactivity. So time, as a special case of Momentum, is fifth-dimensional, not fourth, and this again is neither optional nor arbitrary, but logically required. St. Augustine could have told the man, "Time is the great quantifier of activity and inactivity, based on a special case of Momentum, and as such, fifth-dimensional" (= the fifth sense of measurement in a paradigm of steps, each the minimum-necessary departure from the preceding).
    But then there's Einstein's E=Mc(2), which squares a specific velocity, the speed of light (c). If we generalize it to M x vel x vel = E, we notice that the first two terms equate to Mom(entum). If we substitute in, we get Mom x vel = E. Once again, this fits neatly with our tidied-up hierarchy of dimensional equations:
    Dot x l = Line; Line x w = A; A x h = Vol; Vol x d = M; M x vel = Mom; Mom x vel = E.
    This series should be in every public school science book, and isn't, yet. Meanwhile, we have two robust definitions of time. Time is a general-purpose quantifier based on a standard planet-wide motion. And time is a special case of Momentum, with the defining mass etc. neglected, and is therefore fifth-dimensional since Momentum is the fifth sense of measurement between Mass and Energy. And again, this is neither arbitrarily capricious nor an optional matter of convenience (no pun), but logically and linguistically required.
    Note that our previously made associations between the four ancient elements and their four modern counterparts:
    air-space earth-matter water-time fire-energy,
    neatly parallel the last four of our newly articulated six dimensions:
    air-space-Volume; earth-matter-Mass; water-time-Momentum; fire-energy-Energy.
    Now for our comparative-science quiz. Name some social sciences:
    anthropology=our current course and linguistics=its major subscience (and others in American Heritage Dictionary order: sociology, psychology, economics, political science, history, and let's make up its omission, geography).
    Is there a great invention corresponding to each of these social sciences?
    anthropology: language, which distinguishes genus homo from the other species and gives rise to its chief subscience, linguistics
    (sociology: agricultural settlements;
    psychology: mind= another subscience of anthropology?;
    economics: mathematics as a 2nd language - quantified psychology may preferably be a subscience of economics;
    polisci: bipartisanship;
    history-geography or grouped as social studies: writing or in Greek, graphé as in geoGRAPHy, and as in the booktitle History Begins at Sumer, because Sumer invented writing and contemporary records.)
    Can these be arranged in order of time priority (chronological order)?
    anthropology - (from more and more elaborate signaling to) language - 3.6m-500k BP Africa
    sociology - agricultural settlements (on annual schedules) - 12k BP Near East
    geography-history - writing - 5200 BP Sumer
    polisci - bipartisanship - 292 AD Egypt: clerics/clergy vs. new monastics, priests vs. monks (Anthony of Thebes)
    economics - quantification or numb(er)ing of problems - 1690 England (Sir Wm. Petty)
    and let's add a social super-science which we hope will continue stealing centerstage from economics, ecology - balancing humanity's and nature's bottom lines - 1961 USA?
    We may get some creative ideas by seeing if the neat parallels between the last four of the six dimensions and the four ancient elements and their modern parallels, also parallel in some sense the last four of the social sciences plus ecology, like this:
    air-space-Volume-geography; earth-matter-Mass-polisci; water-time-Momentum-economics; fire-energy-Energy-ecology.
    Certainly the first two senses of measurement seem to suggest significant, value-base (cf. later currency-base) aspects of the first two social science eras:
    anthropology - Line or distance (e.g., two suns' walk to next town)
    sociology - Area or field (e.g., defined agricultural usage)
    These coincidences are always in this economic designer's mind, providing orientation, albeit simplistic and schematic, to this strange world in which we live, now burdened with overwhelming information overload. Particularly the six social-science eras provide orientational anchors and insight - three would be too few as in Toffler's three waves, much more than six would get unmanageable or hard to remember - to remind one of the post-modern but extreme-scientific assumptions that there's no such thing as objectivity, only specifiably extended subjectivity, and there's no such thing as "absolute," only specifiably extended "relative." The facile acceptance of objectivity and absoluteness and natural idenitification with them have delayed uncounted scientific discoveries (e.g., heliocentrism, flight, relativity, plate tectonics, symbiotic origins of eukaryotic cells - and we're STILL absolutizing the speed of light!) and with them, human progress in terms of increasing versatility and sustainability.
    Joblessness as an Extreme Environment Part Two - History and Current State Diagnosed
    With this more accountable idea of time, we push on to part two: the history and current status of unemployment. Notice that the origin of jobs was in the sociological age when agriculture made it possible for us to have big fixed population concentrations and skill specialization, but once there were jobs there could be lack of jobs (joblessness dba unemployment). Notice also that joblessness is a master problem triggering poverty, starvation and crime. In other words, starvation is lack of food, but no one with money - outside of besieged towns or desert islands - lacks food. And poverty is lack of money, but no one with a good job lacks money. It all comes down to jobs, and jobs, after the Industrial Revolution made clocks and pocketwatches generally available, came down to time on the job.
    Meanwhile, we must keep in the back of our minds the consideration that it is possible to describe a problem in difficult or unactionable terms, or, terms that imply solution. The clue here is given by such difficult-to-solve monetary phrases as inequality or income gap, compared to the easiness of income concentration, which implies its own solution in terms of deconcentration or centrifugation. Similarly, we can reperceive unemployment as employment concentration...
    Employment concentrations or their flipside, labor surplus, often became a more critical indicator of overpopulation than inadequate carrying capacity. The major prehistoric (12000-5200 BP) and historic (5200-0 BP) "solutions" to labor surplus were plague and war. Merchants felt too vulnerable to plague to give it a complimentary title, but war was so good for them (despite their complaining about the higher wages they had to pay due to wartime labor shortage) that they often referred to "wartime prosperity," not realizing that the prosperity only arose because of the higher wages due to deconcentrated employment and money supply. As the "curse" of peace wears on, the wealthy gradually locate all the little money sprinklers on the lawn of the economy and adjust them from Spray to Stream - and point them up to themselves. They repeal the great antidepression legislation like the 1933 Glass-Steagall Banking Act (in 1999 under Clinton!) and toughen the bankruptcy laws against a few crooks and many poor, and yank more and more planks (money flows) off the hull of the economic ship and tack them onto the already oversized crowsnest, thus making for increasingly capsizable capitalism.
    The promise of innovation or creativity or technology or non-luddism was always that it would make life easier for everyone. "Recently" in the last 200 years, however, unemployment has been made a more extreme and stressful environment by the Technological ("Industrial") Revolution, not by technology itself but by the general, promise-breaking response to it of downsizing the workforce instead of the workweek. As machines took over more and more work, employers often disconnected the dots between their employees and their customers' customers and treated the former as costs and the latter as magically supplied as by voodoo.
    The proliferation of machines itself presented an extreme environment relative to all previous human history and prehistory, rivalled in physical changes only by the early urbanization of the agricultural revolution. Big buildings sprang up to house the machinery. Canals were cut through valleys. Railways were cut through hills and crisscrossed the land heedless of marshes and firths. Many comments - happy or fearful but all amazed - were recorded but now largely forgotten, same as early pictographic reactions to agriculturally concentrated population centers 5000 years before.
    Early hints of Moore's Law of Leaping Productivity were converted from blessing to curse by layoffs instead of hourscuts. This often had unpredictable results such as regional overpopulation, and increasing regional overpopulation events resulted in a huge increase in migration by 100 years ago. The USA was convinced by its old friend France's gift of Miss Liberty - "Give me your poor, your huddled masses..." - to regard its growing role as the world's excess-population acceptor as a defining positive, overlooking dislocations, especially in east- coastal cities, especially for the immediately preceding wave of immigrants and the long- established racial minorities, some of whom were experiencing an extreme environment on an individual level since their genome had evolved under very different climatic conditions.
    Similar to old-world disemployment, new-world unemployment necessitated moves to find jobs, but within the U.S. and Canada. This stressed family and kinship relations so that despite mounting rhetoric supporting family values, the ever-before social unit of the reproductive couple gradually became replaced by the productive person, in the hope that ever-after, the loss of the procreative pair would be compensated by the proliferation of creative individuals.
    As job desperation mounted, the leaping productivity of machines and automation and robotics became increasingly nullified by activity-padding, featherbedding and makework. The most popular target was government inefficiency and makework. When FDR blocked the 30-hour workweek in the House after it passed the Senate 4/06/1933, he found he had to resort to an alphabet soup of artificial makework programs such as the CCC, WPA, NIRA, TVA in addition to an elaborating government "safety net" with a socialist quartet on mainstage: Social Security, Workman's Comp, Minimum Wage and Unemployment Insurance - all this in order to avoid the "shared unemployment" of workweek reduction, which of course was shared financially secure leisure, not anxious unemployment. But unproductive makework spilled over into the private sector, not only in such traditional sectors as transportation, with 10,000s of individual diesel engineers pulling one freightcar apiece and tearing up the roads in the lobbyist-rich trucking industry, but also in the supposedly high temple of productivity, high tech, with a nasty quartet of cold wars going on between virus writers and virus checkers, adware writers and blockers, spyware writers and extractors, and the dread rootkit. Productivity in a high-unemployment economy has become a joke, especially when we consider that productivity alone doesn't count - it has to be marketable productivity and should never be mentioned without this qualifier. The military-industrial complex and the now-privatizing prison system have proven the makework campaigns of hypocritical "conservatives," while prolonged education is fast becoming the recourse of choice for liberals, tricky enough to get young people to pay and often go into huge debt to keep themselves out of the job market as long as possible.
    The costs of all these distortions are externalized from private-sector balance sheets and passed on to the public as much as possible. Thus the long-term unemployed go into the military on welfare or disability or the prison system (biggest in the world!), all of which have free healthcare, or they join our burgeoning numbers of homeless or even harder to get statistics on, suicides.
    A strange corollary to job desperation is the flipside among the elite of the fulltime employed. The protestant work ethic has enlarged in their minds and many have become workoholics, assuaging their infinite MY SHARE! guilt with Hard Work, that is, long hours, regardless of high error and accident rates in overtime. We think of physicians, who have recently reduced the hours of medical interns from 120 to 80 a week, and pilots, and even creeping down to truckers, thus nullifying some of the makework of keeping their freight off the rails. Their long hours are paralleled by their lengthening rigs that today can scarcely get through some city streets. And of course, their long hours just serves to concentrate natural, market-demanded employment even more tightly and worsen the whole problem-cancer.
    The 1%, and the 1% of the 1% (0.01%), are the major source of inflation, since exchange stabilizes and substantiates the value symbolism of money, but money means nothing to them except pecking order, and they are sacrificing exchange for pecking order because the redistribution of the nation's money supply up the income ladder converts it from fast-circulating spending power to slow-circulating investment power. But though insensitive to high unemployment (except for expiating their vague guilt with workoholism), they are extremely sensitive to inflation, and are prepared to nullify interest rates to counter it, even though their engulfing of the money supply and cannibalization of their consumer base has meant they have created deflation dba price drops in response to shrinking sales. Ordinarily they don't care that their sole inflation-fighting tool, lowering interest rates, clobbers the chief god in their lip-service pantheon, Growth, and induces recession, because businesses can't borrow and hire as cheaply. But now they have tried to counter recession and create stimulus so extremely that interest rates are virtually zero, what can they do? The realization is dawning on some of them that they themselves are the problelm and their own hyperconcentration of employment and money is what creates inflation and recession dba third-world-typical stagflation, and some of them are recommending giving away half their billions (Bill Gates) or paying higher taxes (Warren Buffett, Patriotic Millionaires for Fiscal Strength).
    Not only does the hyperconcentration, the black-holing, of the money supply undermine the economic system by slowing and decirculating currency (decurrenting currency?) - they might as well be using it for wallpaper or smoking it - it also contains the lethal flaw of nullifying or distorting system feedback. The 1% of the 1%, 30,000 Americans, have so much money they have simultaneously drawn to themselves all the important decision-making power, and insulated themselves from any negative consequences of any of their bad decisions. So they can't and don't learn. They are surrounded by so many layers of yesmen and sycophants that the important kind of feedback never reaches them, negative feedback, the kind that indicates need and direction for change. The system seems to be working for them and, if it works, don't fix it.
    Joblessness as an Extreme Environment Part Three - Current State Remedies & Future
    The historic "remedies" for joblessness were starvation, disease dba plague aka epidemic, and war. As mentioned, no one with money starves, and no one with a good job lacks money. So starvation no longer serves as a "solution" in the advanced economies.
    Neither does plague, because modern medicine has become too good. And American wars have become too small and robotized a la drones to kill enough Americans and create that magic labor shortage (as perceived by employers - everyone else sees a labor-employment balance) without which capitalism runs poorly.
    What about makework? We've seen that makework usually involves bigtime inefficiency and increasing costs to the environment. Plus civilian makework, as distinct from military, is almost always too little too late because conservatives just don't like it. Billions for "defense" but not a dime for infrastructure!
    Oh woe, alack and alas, it seems we're being forced into an intelligent solution for a change, one that only became possible in the last 200 years thanks to the Industrial Revolution, when timepieces became commonly available and owned. We're being forced to tear ouselves away from straining for enough artificial job creation and busywork to forever maintain a frozen pretechnology workweek at the 1940 level against wave after wave of technological productivity, and just resort to sharing the vanishing work. Damn. Forced to do the smart thing that we did from 1840 to 1940 without the world ending, despite the apocalyptic predictions of employers all along the way.
    Things kinda got started in the 1840s cuz employers introduced natural-gas lighting into the mills and factories, hoping to extend long daylight-based summer working hours into the winter. A 12 -hour day all year long was too much for employees and they organized into unions to fight it. By 1865 they'd basically won the 10-hour day, 25 years after 1840. It took them till 1940 to win the 8-hour day, 40-hour week, 75 years after 1865. They basically lost all the battles but won the war just because all the publicity gradually changed the culture. If the 6-hour day, 30-hour workweek takes 75/25 more years than the last cut, it will take 75x3= 225 years and won't happen till 2165. But the unions are in the tank anyway. We got anything else?
    How about the above conclusion that we're being forced to do the right thing cuz nothing else works? Well, there are a number of hopeful signs. France has led the world with the shortest nationwide workweek of 35 hours since 2001. It has recently dumped its 35-hour-hostile president dino-Sarcozy in favor of 35-hour friendly Hollande. In many places, worksharing is taking hold. The fifth-largest economy, Germany, just breezed through the last downturn with its version, called short work or Kurz-arbeit. Its unemployment has recently come down to 1992 levels.
    The embryonic shorter-hours movement in the U.S. now has three PhD economists inside the beltway (more when I confirm their PhDs are in economics): Dean Baker of CEPR (Center for Economic Policy and Research), Bob LaJeunesse of the EEOC (Equal Employment Opportunity Commission), and Kevin Hassett of the conservative American Enterprise Institute. In 2009 Bob wrote a book whose title tells the story, Work Time Regulation as Full Employment Policy. Dean and Kevin have formed a bipartisan team publicizing German success with worksharing and largely on the strength of their publicizing, we now have 25 states, half the country, with state-level worksharing. The federal jobs bill of February helps those states and encourages the other 25 to climb onboard. Naturally it would be more efficient to federalize the all this but there's still all that residual (OK, persistent) job desperation, especially when we're cutting state governments right and left.
    Worksharing, however, is only an emergency bandaid, an unsustainable halfway step to the ultimate sustainable design that we need, because it imposes on unemployment insurance funds - and it does obviously save those funds money - but those funds are really for cushioning jobseekers, not cushioning temporary hourscuts for jobholders. And as more and more of these hourscuts become more and more permanent, a different, sustainable funding design must be found.
    One proposal is "timesizing" funded by, say, a confiscatory tax on corporate savings from chronic overtime relative to hiring (and individual overwork earnings relative to getting a higher-wage job) with a complete exemption for overtime-targeted training and hiring. If that isn't enough to restore full employment (can be defined and refined by regular referendum), we trim the workweek at a referendum-set rate: two hours a year (as USA 1938-40 going from 44 to 40), one hour a year (as French plan, 1982-87, going from 40 to 35), four hours at once (44 to 40) in seven steps starting with largest corporations (as South Korea 2004-2011), whatever. If the workweek declines too far too fast for public comfort, we pause and transfer pressure for fuller employment to one of the "population variables"; namely, imports, outsourcing, immigrants, and births.
    Once this worktime approach has delivered all the employment and consumer spending it can, we move on to apply the same approach directly to the first of the money variables, in order, flowing money (income per person), standing money (wealth p.p.), and potential money (credit p.p.). There are other variables we'll eventually need to balance after this (creditability? celebrity?) but these are enough for now - if each takes only a century, this will take us 400 years - to 2500 AD.
    There are many obstacles of course. Elite control-freakiness; elite fear of freedom - for anyone else - despite their lip service to freedom and liberty; general acceptance of "work hard to get ahead" - as if we can compete with 24/7 robots; general confusion of busyness with importance; general confusion about what time is, which we hope we have cleared up in Part One... But driving this shift is the need for sales, and the need for consumer spending to make the purchases that constitute the sales, and the need for earnings to fund the consumer spending. We can't keep handing out money and spreading dependency. That just splits the population into workers and drones, which is not stable or sustainable. Ironically, to save work today, we have to cut it - for sharing and enabling everyone to participate in the game of self-support and the illusion of independence in the totally interdependent beehive of an advanced economy. Forcing our hand is the Ford-Reuther paradox - Henry Ford to labor leader after factory tour, ca.1939: "Let's see you unionize these robots!" Walter Reuther, "Let's see you sell them cars."


6/28/2012 – News bits about the timesizing alternative to downsizing, reinvented thousands of times every day in every recession by mainly mid- and small-size companies, but still an afterthought when any economy that's still around in 50 years will have long made it first and foremost - ( [commentary] by Phil Hyde ecdesignr@yahoo.ca unless otherwise initialed ) -

  1. ISTAT - Istituto Nazionale di Statistica [ITIstat? ITAstat?]: Large firms labour indicators, 4-traders.com
    ROME, Italy - Labour indicators for large firms (enterprises with 500 employees and more) are calculated with reference to the base year 2005 using the Ateco 2007 classification (Italian edition of Nace rev. 2).
    In April 2012 the seasonally adjusted employment index in large firms decreased by 0.1% compared with March 2012 (-0.1% in industry and unchanged in services); net of workers in cassa integrazione guadagni (Cig = short-time working allowance), it is unchanged (+0.1% in industry and unchanged in services). The percentage change of the average of the last three months compared to the previous three months was -0.2% gross of Cig and -0.3% net of Cig.
    The unadjusted employment index in large firms decreased by 0.7% compared with April 2011 (-1.2% net of Cig); the percentage change in the first four months of 2012 with respect to the same period of 2011 was -0.7% (-1.3% net of Cig).
    In April 2012 the seasonally adjusted index of gross average earnings per hours worked increased by 2.9% with respect to the previous month (+0.2% in industry and +3.5% in services). The percentage change of the average of the last three months compared to the previous three months was +1.9% (+1.2% in industry and +2.0% in services).
    The unadjusted index of gross average earnings per hours worked increased by 5.3% compared with April 2011 (+6.9% in industry and +4.5% in services). The percentage change in the first four months of 2012 with respect to the same period of 2011 was +0.8% (+2.3% in industry and unchanged in services).

  2. Postal Workers Fighting to Save Jobs! - Hunger Strike to Stop the Starving of the USPS, by Dylan Seo, SocialistAlternative.org
    [Aaah, the angry socialists. If they only realized how much support they lose by their anger. The solution is happening without them and they're too angry to recognize the small beginnings. Or maybe they serve as scary extremes to make the progressives more palatable.]
    BROOKLYN, N.Y., USA - Over four long days, postal workers are taking a courageous and difficult stand by going on a hunger strike. This fast, from June 24-28, in coordination with hundreds of protesting postal workers and community members, is against the proposed cuts to the public service so many of us depend on. Community and Postal Workers United is organizing mass actions in Washington, D.C., targeting the postal head office at L'Enfant Plaza on June 28. This comes alongside a call for local actions across the country, in cities and towns, big and small; together we can make a stand to protect and defend this American institution, the United States Postal Service.
    These bold tactics are being used by our brothers and sisters to counter the severity of what is on the table. Nearly half - 229 of 461 - of mail processing plants are slated to shut down or be consolidated. Hours for over 13,000 small post offices will be drastically cut. These cuts are scheduled to go into effect July 1. All of this comes in the aftermath of the 2006 Postal Accountability and Enhancement Act, forcing the USPS to prefund retiree pensions, costing the service billions. No other federal agency has to prefund retirement benefits in this way. The propaganda used to justify these plans is the inefficiency of the USPS in our high-tech, fast-paced world. We must see this for what it really is: an attempt to systematically privatize the mail service industry.
    These plans will cost hundreds of well paid union jobs, deeply hurt our communities, and ultimately make sending mail more costly for the working class. The issue is not a lack of money, as big business and their government proxies continue to fund wars abroad and give billions to banks and corporations. We must demand for these proposals to be removed, to fully fund the USPS, including retiree benefits, and to do so by taxing the 1%.
    Socialist Alternative proudly endorses and stands in solidarity with our brothers and sisters putting their health and livelihood on the line. No one should be forced to take such measures to defend their jobs and communities, but when they push too far we must take action. In order to prevent these job cuts and the slashing of services, we must build mass pressure from below. For now, we must stand together in defense of what we have already gained through previous struggles. To truly change the situation requires us to come together into a mass workers’ organization; showing where our real power arises from: we are the 99%, we are the majority.
    For more information about local actions planned by Community and Postal Workers United check out their website: http://cpwunited.com/home.


6/27/2012 – News bits about the timesizing alternative to downsizing, reinvented thousands of times every day in every recession by mainly mid- and small-size companies, but still an afterthought when any economy that's still around in 50 years will have long made it first and foremost - ( [commentary] by Phil Hyde ecdesignr@yahoo.ca unless otherwise initialed ) -

  1. Teacher furloughs, good (relatively speaking); fewer classroom days, bad,
    draft editorial, Statesman Journal via community.statesmanjournal.com
    [Furloughs good relative to layoffs.]
    SALEM, Ore., USA - Here is a draft of Sunday’s editorial:
    Salem-Keizer students will have fewer class days next year, an unfortunate byproduct of the current budget situation.
    The normal school year for Salem-Keizer students is 177 days, although bad weather and money-saving furloughs reduced that number this year. Next year, students will be in class 171 days, down from 174 this year and 175 in 2010-11.
    District teachers are taking seven unpaid furlough days next year, with all but one being scheduled on instructional days. This year, employees had five or six furlough days — depending on their jobs — including two classroom days.
    “It’s been three long, very difficult years with extremely difficult discussions about how to balance the budget,” Superintendent Sandy Husk said Friday. “And I would remind people that we’re not out of this yet.”
    Teachers give up pay
    A year ago, the district laid off nearly 500 employees and eliminated or reduced some programs.
    The district didn’t have to slash programs further for next year in large part because teachers and other employees gave $8 million in concessions, primarily through the scheduled furloughs. All told, the district shaved $20 million off projected costs for 2012-13.
    But surely there’s a better way for the school district to balance the budget than cutting classroom time. Although the financial sacrifice of district employees is greatly appreciated, it’s disappointing that more in-service days or holidays weren’t used for furloughs. But Husk said teachers value having the in-service days for planning and training.
    Days chosen for least impact
    The Salem Keizer Education Association proposed shortening the 2012-13 school year by taking all the furlough days then. Instead, the union agreed to the district’s proposal for furlough days:
    • Oct. 12, a statewide in-service day when students are out of school.
    • Dec. 19-21, the days leading up to winter break.
    • Jan. 7-8, the days right after winter break.
    District officials said that schedule was chosen because it would have the least effect on district programs, including state tests, sports playoffs, and International Baccalaureate and Advanced Placement review periods and tests.
    This year’s furlough days were sprinkled throughout the year, which the two sides agreed didn’t work well.
    Contract governs schedule
    The 2010-13 teachers union contract with the district, which expires at the end of next year, states:
    • The normal year for teachers, specialists and therapists will 192 days, with an additional two workdays for employees who are new to the district.
    • The year will have 177 classroom days, eight in-service days, six holidays and “one district granted holiday.” In-service days include days set aside for grading.
    In addition, parent-teacher conference days are scheduled for Nov. 19-20, 2012, for all grades and March 20-21, 2013, for elementary and middle schools.
    Kids miss too many days
    With so many in-service days as well as furlough days, there’s a lot of time when kids aren’t in school.
    It’s good that the district and its staff were able to agree on employee concessions, including furlough days, without the strife that has occurred in some Oregon communities. But it’s discouraging that the furloughs focused on classroom days.
    Let’s do better if furloughs are required in the future.
    This is a draft. As with everything in the newspaper, all editorials are subject to editing before final publication. We welcome your comments and suggestions; please email them to the Editorial Board: Salemed@StatesmanJournal.com

  2. State employee furlough language back in CA budget, posted by Hannah Madans, State Worker via Sacramento Bee (blog) via blogs.sacbee.com
    SACRAMENTO, Calif., USA - A new budget bill has restored language that would allow Gov. Jerry Brown to furlough state workers without an agreement with their unions.
    SEIU Local 1000, the state's largest state employee union, tentatively accepted a deal Saturday to take 12 unpaid leave days over the next year, but Gov. Jerry Brown still is seeking agreements with other state worker bargaining units.
    The bill could give Brown leverage in negotiating with unions that have not yet struck deals or with SEIU should the rank and file turn the deal down in Wednesday's membership vote.
    The furlough language was introduced in Brown's proposed budget in May, but eliminated from the Legislature's initial 2012-2013 state budget. The State Worker previously reported that unions pushed Democrats to make the change, strengthening their position during negotiations with the administration.
    The furlough language is back in the budget trailer bills, Senate Bill 1037 and Assembly Bill 1497, lawmakers are expected to consider Wednesday.


6/26/2012 – News bits about the timesizing alternative to downsizing, reinvented thousands of times every day in every recession by mainly mid- and small-size companies, but still an afterthought when any economy that's still around in 50 years will have long made it first and foremost - ( [commentary] by Phil Hyde ecdesignr@yahoo.ca unless otherwise initialed ) -

  1. Local health depts. see budget cuts, by Jeff Noble, Times Tribune of Corbin via thetimestribune.com
    CORBIN, Ky., USA — Most people served by the three public health departments in the Tri-County region won’t notice any changes today. 
    It’s business as usual at the Knox County, Laurel County and Whitley County Health Departments, as the staff goes about their normal business of providing preventive medicine and services.
    What is different is how those departments will do their services with less money.
    Federal funding has been cut, and the reductions in funds have trickled down to the state and local level. As a result, some area health departments are reducing their hours, having their staff go on furloughs, and providing those services on a reduced budget.
    Like others across Kentucky, the Knox County Health Department is feeling the pinch. In fact, the office in Barbourville is now operating on a four-day workweek. It’s now open Monday through Thursday from 8 a.m. to 5:30 p.m., and closed Friday.
    “It has affected us, and it’s the budget cuts that’s the culprit.We’re getting $600,000 less in the budget for this (fiscal) year. That’s the story everywhere. The office hours are what the public will see first. For us, instead of laying people off, we’re going into a mandatory furlough, agency-wide, starting Monday,” said the Knox County Health Department’s Director Susan Liford.
    Around 85 employees work at the health department in Knox County. In a phone interview last Thursday, Liford noted while basic services will continue, some other roles the department plays will be less frequent.
    “It doesn’t affect home health. They work 24/7. But they’ll be going home earlier. But we might also be less visible out in the county in doing functions like health fairs and such. We’ll still be doing functions that we’re mandated to do, and we’ll do them with less money,” said Liford.
    Liford told The Times-Tribune it amounts to doing the basic services with less. Across the state, from Paducah to Pikeville and in between, local health departments provide services, such as the WIC (Women, Infants and Children) Program, home healthcare visits, vaccinations, family planning and nutrition counseling. She added the biggest problems with less money involve all but the smallest health departments in Kentucky.
    “The smaller counties can get by on less money, according to their population in those counties,” said Liford.
    According to the July 2010 U. S. Census, Knox County’s population was 31,893. Those same figures show Laurel County with a population of 58,944, and Whitley County’s population at 35,586. That’s compared to the state’s smallest counties in population, such as Robertson County with 2,279, Owsley County with 4,764, and Cumberland County with 6,850.
    Liford said the changed hours and the furloughs will continue until this December. “Then we’ll evaluate our financial status, and if we’re doing well, we’ll return to our original five-days-a-week schedule. If we’re not, we’ll continue with the furloughs.”
    Some health departments in the state prepared for the drop in dollars a couple of years ago. In the case of the Laurel County Health Department, Director Mark Hensley knew it was coming.
    “In 2010, then-state Commissioner of Public Health Dr. Will Hacker cautioned us that in a couple of years, the funding sources could go down. We anticipated this, and we went from a staff of 42 a couple of years ago, to a staff of 35 now. Those reductions were due to attrition. We haven’t laid anybody off, and we haven’t cut any services or programs. Not at this point,” Hensley said in a phone interview last Thursday.
    Still, Hensley points out the fiscal outlook has turned his department into a leaner operation that’s keeping an eye on costs.
    “The staff is doing more with less, and they’ve responded to it. We average between 70-80 patients a day, and our population is over 58,000 people in Laurel County, which is what we saw three-to-four years ago. Most of all, our clinic services have not dropped at all,” Hensley said.
    But with the new fiscal year starting next Sunday, July 1, Hensley cautiously looks ahead to the next few months — and to the balance sheet. “We’ll just have to tighten the belts and see what happens. That’s what we’ve done the last two years.”
    Of the three health departments in the Tri-County region, the Whitley County Health Department is the only one that has an office in Corbin. That’s in addition to their main office in Williamsburg, and keeping the offices staffed will be a concern in the next month to the Whitley County Health Department’s Director, Gail Timperio.
    “In August, we’re going to rotate our clinics between Corbin and Williamsburg. We will have some staffing changes at that time. I think we can still cover both Williamsburg and Corbin offices. I don’t think rotating the clinics will reduce services that much,” Timperio said last Wednesday in a phone interview.
    What her health department, and many others in the state are doing and planning, was the focus of a trip Timperio made last week to the city where some of the budget strings are attached. “We had a meeting in Frankfort (last) Tuesday with the KHDA, the Kentucky Health Department Association. There was a lot of good discussion on how we can cut costs and weather the storm.”
    Part of the storm was created by how Whitley County and other state health departments get their money.
    “There’s been a change in the funding methodology for local health departments. It’s a different formula, and some health departments will get a little more health grant dollars,” Timperio pointed out.
    That new formula takes into account the population that’s served and the percentage of the population that’s below the poverty level. According to the Associated Press, some counties in the state’s Bluegrass region serve more “working poor” persons who have jobs but no insurance, while others with extreme poverty serve more persons who qualify for Medicare, Medicaid or other government programs. Also, insurance and retirement costs for county health departments continue to rise. In addition, Medicaid has been moved to managed care by the state, which has lowered reimbursement rates.
    It’s all making for a pinched prescription for Timperio and her fellow directors in the three health departments that serve the Tri-County region. With their staffs doing more work with less money to spend, the months ahead could be critical for those who provide essential public health services.
    “If revenues can’t meet expenses, then furloughs might be the next thing to consider for us here. It’s a real situation all over the state,” Timperio said.
    The Associated Press contributed to this story.

  2. Postal Unit Cuts Hours to 30 Minutes Per Day, abcnews.go.com
    ]SUGAR HILL, N.H., USA - If you want to mail a letter in Sugar Hill, N.H., you’d better be quick.
    The town’s postal unit has cut its hours to a mere 30 minutes per day, sparking outrage from the rural community’s 563 residents that has now caught the attention of the state’s two U.S. Senators.
    “We are concerned about both the nature of the changes in service and the manner in which they were made,” Sens. Kelly Ayotte, R- NH, and Jeanne Shaheen, D-NH, said in a letter to the Postal Service district manager on Friday, also calling for USPS to hold a community meeting.
    The Postal Service announced in May that instead of eliminating up to 3,700 post offices, it would instead reduce their hours of operation from 8 hours per day to between 2 and 4 hours, but only after holding community meetings.
    In Sugar Hill, residents are scratching their heads as to why their office was stripped down to 30 minutes, and, moreover, why there was never a community meeting.
    “We had no prior knowledge of this,” Lissa Boissonneault, the Sugar Hill town clerk and tax collector, told ABC News. “One day there was a sign and the next day it started and we are pretty upset.”
    Boissonneault said the Postal Service “slapped a sign on the door late Friday afternoon” and by Saturday the new rules went into effect, cutting operating hours from 3 hours to 30 minutes per day and eliminating all services except selling stamps and delivering mail.
    But the postal service insists the Sugar Hill location is “not a post office” and therefore did not have to go through the requisite steps to reduce its hours. Tom Rizzo, the Postal Service spokesman for Northern New England, said Sugar Hill is a “very unique situation” and that there is no plan to cut post office hours back to 30 minutes nationwide.
    “It’s an isolated change that actually brings Sugar Hill closer to the normal operation of similar units, but still allows for roughly double the service of other units of its kind and has no national implications,” Rizzo told ABC News.
    Sue Brennan, a USPS spokeswoman, said that nationwide there are less than a dozen “non-personnel” units, such as the one in Sugar Hill.
    Nearly 13,000 post offices across the country could see their hours reduced, although probably none as dramatically as in Sugar Hill. The USPS claims its plan to cut back operating hours will save the cash-strapped service $500 million per year and will be fully implemented by September 2014.
    The plan is part of a broader initiative to try to fill the Postal Service’s multi-billion dollar budget shortfall. USPS posted a loss of $3.2 billion last quarter.


6/24-25/2012 – News bits about the timesizing alternative to downsizing, reinvented thousands of times every day in every recession by mainly mid- and small-size companies, but still an afterthought when any economy that's still around in 50 years will have long made it first and foremost - ( [commentary] by Phil Hyde ecdesignr@yahoo.ca unless otherwise initialed ) -

  1. Unemployment Insurance (U.I.) Shared-work plans - Senate Bill (S.B.) 1094: Summary as Enrolled, Michigan Legislature via legislature.mi.gov
    LANSING, Mich., USA - Senate Bill 1094 (as enrolled)
    Sponsor: Senator Bruce Caswell
    Senate Committee: Reforms, Restructuring and Reinventing
    House Committee: Commerce
    Date Completed: 6-21-12
    CONTENT
    The bill would amend the Michigan Employment Security Act (MESA) to allow employers to apply for approval of shared-work plans, and allow participating employees to claim reduced unemployment insurance benefits during the period of a plan without being unemployed.
    Specifically, the bill would allow employers to apply to the Unemployment Insurance Agency (UIA) for the approval of a shared-work plan if all the following conditions were met:
    -- The employer filed all reports required under MESA, and had paid all contributions and other amounts due.
    -- If the employer were a contributing employer, the employer's experience account reserve balance was positive.
    -- The employer paid wages for the three years before applying for the shared-work plan.
    Employers would be allowed to apply for more than one shared-work plan. Applications for shared-work plans would have to include all of the following:
    -- Certification from the employer that the shared-work plan would be in lieu of temporary layoffs affecting more than 15% of the employees in the affected unit, and would result in an equivalent reduction in work hours.
    -- Assurance from the employer that it would provide requested reports to the UIA within the time frames prescribed.
    -- Assurance from the employer that it would not hire employees in, or transfer employees into the affected work unit while the shared-work plan was effective.
    -- Assurance from the employer that it would not lay off participating employees, or reduce their hours more than the reduction percentage, except during holidays, vacation periods, equipment maintenance periods, or similar circumstances.
    -- Certification from the employer that it had obtained the approval of any applicable collective bargaining unit, and had notified all affected employees who were not in a collective bargaining unit of the shared-work plan.
    -- A list of any week or weeks when affected employees were anticipated to work fewer hours than originally anticipated in the plan due to holidays, vacations, equipment maintenance periods, or similar circumstances.
    -- Certification that the shared-work plan was consistent with the employer's obligations under State and Federal law.
    -- Assurance that the employer would abide by all terms and conditions of MESA as they relate to shared-work plans.
    -- Any other relevant information required by the UIA.
    The UIA would have to approve applications for a shared-work plan only if the following requirements were met:
    -- The shared-work plan applied to only one affected unit.
    -- All employees in the affected unit were participating in the shared-work plan, except for employees who had been employed by the affected unit for less than three months, or who worked more than 40 hours per week.
    -- There were at least two participating employees.
    -- The participating employees were identified by name and social security number.
    -- The number of hours worked while the shared-work plan was in effect would be the employee's normal number of work hours reduced by a standard reduction percentage, as stated in the application.
    -- The plan included an estimate of the number of layoffs that would be avoided under the shared-work plan.
    -- The plan indicated how the employer would give advance notice, if feasible, to affected employees.
    -- As a result of the shared-work plan, there would be a corresponding reduction in wages.
    -- The shared-work plan did not affect fringe benefits of participating employees.
    -- The specified effective period of the shared-work plan was 52 weeks or less, and the benefits payable under the shared-work plan would not exceed 20 times the weekly benefit amount for each participating employee.
    -- The reduction percentage was not less than 15%, or greater than 45%, it applied to all participating employees equally, and it could not change during the effective period of the shared-work plan unless the employer specifically applied for a change to the UIA.
    The UIA would have to approve or disapprove a shared-work plan within 15 days after the date it received an application meeting the criteria for a shared-work plan. The UIA would have to express its decision in writing, and include with any disapproval of a plan reasons for that disapproval. Approval of a shared-work plan would be at the discretion of the UIA, and would not be subject to the appeals process as provided in MESA.
    Shared-work plans would be effective for the number of consecutive weeks indicated in the employer's application, or a lesser number, as approved by the UIA. The effective period of the plan would begin the first calendar week after approval of the plan by the UIA.
    Participating employees would be allowed to file unemployment insurance (UI) benefit claims without actually being unemployed during the effective period of the shared-work plan. An employee's benefits would be calculated by multiplying the reduction percentage by the employee's weekly benefit rate, as calculated under Section 27 of MESA. While an affected employee was collecting benefits in this manner, the weeks of benefits paid would not count toward the 20-week limit on the duration of benefits, but they would count toward the maximum amount of benefits payable. Additionally, the UIA could not deny UI benefits to participating employees due to work search requirements as long as the employees were available for their normal work week with the participating employer.
    For purposes of determining a participating employee's benefits under a shared-work plan, a participating employee would receive benefits under the plan only if he or she were paid by the employer for the number of hours specified in the plan. If he or she were paid more or less than that amount, benefit eligibility would be determined without regard to the shared-work plan.
    The UIA would have to establish a schedule of two-week consecutive periods during the effective period of a shared-work plan, and the participating employer would have to file UI benefit claims on behalf of participating employees by the end of the week following the end of each period.
    The UI benefits paid under a shared-work program would be funded as follows:
    -- If Federal funding for the full reimbursement of costs related to benefits paid under a shared-work plan were available, benefits paid would not be charged to the participating employer's chargeable benefits account. However, the UIA could not use these Federal funds to reimburse claims under a shared-work plan for seasonal, temporary, or intermittent employees.
    -- If Federal funding for the partial reimbursement of costs related to benefits paid under a shared-work plan
    were available, half of benefits paid would be charged to the participating employer's chargeable benefits account. Benefits paid or deposits made under this provision would not be used to calculate the employer's contribution rate. The UIA could not use these Federal funds to reimburse claims under a shared-work plan for seasonal, temporary, or intermittent employees.
    -- If Federal funding for the full or partial reimbursement of costs related to benefits paid under a shared-work plan were not available, all benefits paid under a shared-work plan would be charged to the chargeable benefits account of the participating employer.
    The UIA could terminate a shared-work plan for any of the following reasons:
    -- The plan was not being executed according to approved terms and conditions.
    -- The participating employer failed to comply with the assurances given in the plan.
    -- The participating employer or a participating employee violated any criteria on which the approval of the plan was based.
    A participating employer could terminate a shared-work plan by written notice to the UIA.
    The UIA would be required to submit to the Governor, the Secretary of the Senate, and the Clerk of the House of Representatives for referral to the chair and minority vice-chair of the appropriate committees an annual report on shared-work plans. The first report would be due on March 1 following the first complete calendar year during which the bill was in effect, and each March 1 thereafter. The report would be required to contain the following:
    -- The number of approved shared-work plans.
    -- The number of participating employers.
    -- The number of participating employees.
    -- The amount of compensation and aid to participating employees.
    -- Any other information determined by the UIA to be relevant in assessing the impact of shared-work plans on the Unemployment Compensation Fund (UCF).
    Any provision of the bill that would cause the United States Department of Labor (DOL) to withhold approval required to operate a shared-work program would not apply.
    The UIA would be required to transmit the DOL approval or disapproval of the shared-work program to the Secretary of the Senate and the Clerk of the House of Representatives.
    The bill would take effect January 1, 2013. An employer could not apply for, and the UIA could not approve, a shared work plan that would begin more than five years after that date.
    Proposed MCL 421.28b
    FISCAL IMPACT
    The State's operational finances would be unaffected by the bill, but to the extent that shared-work plans would serve to reduce future unemployment claims, savings to the Unemployment Compensation Fund could be realized. The UCF is funded from State Unemployment Tax Act taxes, which are paid by Michigan employers. As unemployment rises, SUTA taxes generally increase, and as unemployment falls, SUTA taxes generally decrease. Since SUTA tax rates are calculated on an individual basis for employers, reducing the number of workers laid-off from a particular employer would serve to reduce its SUTA tax rate over time.
    Fiscal Analyst: Josh Sefton
    This analysis was prepared by nonpartisan Senate staff for use by the Senate in its deliberations and does not constitute an official statement of legislative intent.

  2. Work sharing bill in Ohio House could limit layoffs, (6/12 very late pickup) DevelopOhio.com
    COLUMBUS, Ohio, USA - A bill currently pending in the Ohio House of Representatives would encourage the practice known as work sharing or short-time compensation, wherein employers are encouraged to cut their employees' hours in exchange for those employees being able to receive unemployment benefits from the federal government as outlined in the Middle Class Relief and Job Creation Act, The Plain Dealer reports. Work sharing has existed nationally for about 30 years, but would be new to Ohio if the bill passes.
    While about 25 states have already approved [work] sharing, a provision requiring companies with collective bargaining agreements to have unions approve the arrangement may slow down the passage of the bill in Ohio, the article said. For more, read the full story [ on 5/20-21/2012 #2].

  3. WorkSharing - UI Claim Form, Labor & Workforce Development via Mass.Gov
    BOSTON, Mass., USA - Complete claimant information for filing UI claim.
    Request for Dependency Allowance pdf format of Dependency Allowance file size 1MB
    If you have one or more dependent children, you may be entitled to receive $25 per week per dependent child (not to exceed one-half of your weekly UI benefit rate). Return the completed form to DUA.
    Partial/Low Earnings Report pdf format of Partial/Low Earnings Report
    Report Gross Earnings on a Calendar Week Basis. Return completed form to your WorkSharing Employer - Human Resources Department.
    Participating in WorkSharing: *A Guide for Massachusetts Workers [=Employees]
    Developing Your WorkSharing Plan: *Guide for Employers A - information sheet

  4. Publication by the DGEFP of a detailed circular on short-time work, by Laurence Dumure Lambert & Régine Goury, 6/25 Mayer Brown LLP via Lexology.com
    PARIS, France - A detailed circular was published on 4 May 2012 by the DGEFP [General Delegation for Employment and Professional Training = La délégation générale à l'emploi et à la formation professionnelle] on all of the recent amendments to the instrument on short-time work (DGEFP Circular 2012/08 of 4 May 2012 NOR: ETSD1222939C).
    In fact, no less than three executive orders have recently amended certain provisions in the Labor Code on short-time work and long-term short-time working arrangements.
    • The decree of 7 February 2012 was aimed at extending the possibilities for training, skills assessments or recognition of prior experience in the context of long-term short-time working agreements. It also increases the hourly payment to the employee on short-time paid to him or her during these training periods to 100% of the employee’s net salary (Decree No. 2012-183 of 7 February 2012, NOR: ETSD1202684).
    • The decree of 28 February 2012 increased the hourly sum of the specific short-time workers’ benefit for which the State must pay to 4.84 euros for companies with 1 to 250 employees and 4.33 euros for companies with over 250 employees.
      • Moreover, this decree temporarily reduced the minimal duration of agreements giving rise to an entitlement to benefit from long-term short-time working arrangements, lowering the duration from three to two months up to 30 September 2012.
      • Finally, this decree extended the scope of prior consultation with staff representatives concerning training that may be undertaken during long-term short-time work (Decree No. 2012-275 of 28 February 2012, NOR: ETSD1205857D).
    • The decree of 9 March 2012 abolished the request for compensation which the employer had to request from the Prefect prior to moving employees onto short-time work. From now on, employers will send their requests for specific allowances after switching to short-time work. The prior opinion of the staff representatives will be transmitted by the employer to the Prefect without delay. In the case of an unfavourable opinion, the employer will have to attach the information presented to them, setting out the grounds for the reduction or temporary suspension of work.
    The decree also specifies that employees whose work time is set at an all-inclusive number of hours or days over the year may benefit from the specific short-time workers’ benefit in the case of a temporary closure of all or part of the establishment (Decree No. 2012-341 of 9 March 2012, NOR: ETSD1205432D).

  5. Approval of the national cross-sectoral agreement of 13 January 2012 on short-time work (Decree of 4 May 2012, OJ 8 May 2012), by Laurence Dumure Lambert & Régine Goury, 6/25 Mayer Brown LLP via Lexology.com
    PARIS, France - A decree of 4 May 2012 approved the national cross-sectoral agreement (NCA) of 13 January 2012 on short-time work (Decree of 4 May 2012, OJ 8 May 2012).
    Thus, the NCA has been made obligatory for all employers and employees included in its territorial and sectoral scope of application.
    To recap, the NCA of 13 January 2012 contains provisions concerning:
    • the base for calculating hourly remuneration paid by the company;
    • short-time work periods taken into account in calculating the length of paid leave;
    • how short-time work will affect the distribution of mandatory and optional profit-sharing.
    A second decree dated 4 May 2012 approved the national cross-sectoral agreement (NCA) of 6 February 2012 concerning long-term short-time work (Decree of 4 May 2012, OJ 10 May 2012).
    Thus, the NCA has been made obligatory for all employers and employees included in its territorial and sectoral scope of application.
    Under the terms of the NCA of 6 February 2012, the social partners asked Unédic to conclude an amendment to the agreement signed with the State concerning the financing of long-term short-time work. This amendment should provide in particular for the sum of Unédic’s contribution to the financing of long-term short-time work to be set at 2.90 euros from the first hour onwards.

  6. Air France flags layoffs, 6/25 (6/26 early pickup) Meetings-Incentives-Conventions & Business Tourism News (MICEBTN) via impactpub.com.au/micebtn
    PARIS, France - urope's Air France-KLM will lay off more than 5,000 of its French work force in bid to cut costs by US$2.5 billion a year if unions reject the company's business plan.
    The carrier said it would try to avoid compulsory layoffs by encouraging early retirement, voluntary redundancies, part-time work and work sharing.
    Alexandre de Juniac, the Air France ceo said: "Our business plan has two ambitions: to ensure Air France returns to profitability, and to better serve our customers. If we make all the necessary equitably distributed efforts, there will be no forced departures."
    It is not clear as yet what the impact will be on Air France's cargo division.
    Air France Cargo already has announced plans to reduce its fleet to two 747-400s and two Boeing 777 freighters, an eight-plane drop since 2009.
    Air France Cargo also is integrating operations with KLM Cargo and its Martinair subsidiary. The three carriers have been operating a single network since June 1.


6/23/2012 – News bits about the timesizing alternative to downsizing, reinvented thousands of times every day in every recession by mainly mid- and small-size companies, but still an afterthought when any economy that's still around in 50 years will have long made it first and foremost - ( [commentary] by Phil Hyde ecdesignr@yahoo.ca unless otherwise initialed ) -

  1. Maine Voices: New state program can help maintain both work forces and workplaces - Workers lose hours – not jobs – and collect limited benefits, while firms hang on to skilled employees, by Rep. Diane Russell, Maine Today Media (mTm) via Portland Press Herald via pressherald.com
    Former employees of a paper mill in Pasadena, Texas, read their layoff papers in 2005. In Maine, a new state “work-share” program encourages companies to reduce employees’ hours rather than laying people off entirely. (photo caption)
    PORTLAND, Maine, USA - The Maine Department of Labor recently announced that it will be launching a "work-share" program, which provides employers an alternative to layoffs during an economic downturn.
    Last year, the Legislature passed a bill I introduced to create this program with strong bipartisan support. Thanks to a little extra help from the Obama administration and the work of the Legislature, the program launched this June.
    The work-sharing programs allow businesses to reduce hours for employees, while allowing the workers to collect a limited amount of unemployment insurance as a stopgap. This is a proven way to help businesses weather the storm of an economic downturn, and it also helps families limit the damage of losing a job completely.
    In February, President Obama signed the Middle Class Tax Relief and Job Creation Act of 2012, which Congress passed to provide additional assistance to states that participated in the work-share program.
    Here's how it works: Rather than waiting until companies have to lay off a large portion of their employees, businesses would have the option of reducing hours for an entire division or department, and enabling those workers to collect a proportional share of their unemployment insurance benefits.
    Under the current system, if a company needs to reduce payroll for several months to weather a downturn, it might have to lay off 20 percent of its employees, who end up collecting unemployment insurance benefits while their former co-workers keep on working full-time at their regular pay.
    Under work-sharing, businesses can avoid layoffs entirely, keep all of their trained and valuable employees and plan to bounce back by reducing workers' hours and allowing them to access a limited amount of unemployment insurance benefits.
    Twenty other states have implemented work-sharing, including New Hampshire, Massachusetts and New York. Those states were able to help large numbers of people keep their jobs when they would otherwise have lost them.
    New York state's Shared Work program saved nearly 11,000 jobs at more than 2,200 companies. Massachusetts' WorkSharing program enrolled more than 9,900 workers at 450 companies, directly saving 2,500 jobs.
    This program will literally save jobs.
    We've seen it work in other states, and now Maine has an opportunity to make it work here.

    The work-share program ensures that our middle-class families and small businesses don't fall through the cracks.
    Under the current system, Maine workers who are laid off and collect unemployment end up with an average income of $285 per week, less than half of what they were making when they were employed.
    Under work-sharing, everyone would keep their job, bear a little bit of the sacrifice and be able to collect a share of the unemployment benefits to make up for hours lost. This program could result in income reductions of as little as 10 percent for workers who would otherwise need to be laid off -- with no added cost to the state.
    Work-sharing would also benefit Maine's businesses and our economy. One of the greatest impediments to job creation coming out of the recession is recruiting and training good employees. Work-sharing allows employers to hold on to skilled, experienced workers and maintains productivity by bolstering morale, which typically suffers greatly during a mass layoff.
    Avoiding job losses also eases the impact on local businesses that depend on workers' spending on goods and services, minimizing the domino effect of secondary job losses that inevitably result from layoffs.
    What is more, by bolstering a wider base of consumer spending and decreasing the number of laid-off workers depending on health care and other public services, work-sharing can lower the burden on state and local governments.
    This program is truly a win for everyone.
    Democratic Rep. Diane Russell represents Portland's East End in the Maine House.

  2. SEIU Local 1000 reaches tentative furlough agreement with Jerry Brown, Sacramento Bee (blog) via blogs.sacbee.com
    SACRAMENTO, Calif., USA - California's largest public employees' union has tentatively agreed to accept furlough terms that will reduce employee pay by 5 percent starting July 1, but Gov. Jerry Brown's proposal to accomplish the savings with a shortened workweek isn't part of the deal.
    Service Employees International Union Local 1000's deal with Brown, announced just a few minutes ago, accepts 12 unpaid leave days over the next 12 months. Although employees' paychecks will show the monthly hit on their wages, they have some flexibility to schedule the time off.
    The agreement doesn't affect any other aspect of Local 1000's current contract, including a scheduled 3 percent raise for top-step employees scheduled for July 1, 2013.
    The union said members will have a chance to vote on the agreement on Wednesday at one of about 100 polling places set up around the state. The results of the vote will be announced July 2.
    Brown also gave Local 1000 two items on its wish list, agreeing to terminate all but the most essential state retired annuitants and student assistants and to set up a task force on state outsourcing.
    Departments will have until Sept. 1 to purge retirees and students from their payrolls, with exemptions only for those whose jobs are deemed "mission critical." The state won't hire either during the 12-month furlough period for SEIU-covered workers.
    Last year, about $110 million of the state's $15 billion payroll went to roughly 5,800 retirees who drew a pension and a paycheck, according to a Bee review of data from the state controller's office. The state employed about 1,600 student assistants in 2011, paying them a total of $13.4 million.
    Those figures don't include employees in either the California State or University of California systems. Brown's authority doesn't extend to either system, nor does Local 1000 cover workers in either system.
    In May, the governor suggested putting most state workers on 9.5-hour shifts, 38 hours per week. Departments would have closed every Monday or Friday, giving their employees longer weekends. But with Local 1000 representing half the state's unionized workers, the floating furlough agreement announced today means the four-day plan workweek is dead.
    Walker said that Brown's idea was a "tweak" of her suggestion that the state adopt a 4/10 workweek to save money on operational costs.
    But the logistics of longer workdays didn't go over well with many rank-and-file employees who worried about fatigue and lost productivity, child care and how the state would interact with federal or local agencies and private businesses that keep a standard workweek schedule.
    Many employees rejected the notion of a pay cut as a matter of principle, since the union is under contract, and pleaded with Walker to avoid negotiating one with Brown.
    Some suggested that Local 1000 refuse to compromise and force lawmakers to spend the time and effort on legislatively imposing a pay reduction that the union could fight in court. That door is now closed, assuming SEIU's voting members OK the agreement.
    The budget for the 2012-13 fiscal year that starts on Sunday assumes $839 million in state employee payroll savings, about $401 million of that from the $92 billion general fund. SEIU is the seventh labor group to reach a furlough agreement. The others include unions representing correctional officers, fire fighters, CHP officers, psychiatric technicians, skilled crafts workers, maintenance and equipment managers and doctors and dentists.
    Four groups haven't agreed to a pay reduction. They represent state attorneys and administrative law judges, engineers in Caltrans and a handful of other departments, park rangers and wardens, and operating engineers.

  3. Mailbag: Cut the work week, 6/18 letter to editor by Ed Hemmingson of Albany OR, Albany Democrat Herald via democratherald.com
    ALBANY, Ore., USA - All the talk in the news these days is the need for new jobs and growth, and the world’s debt, and failing countries. The Devil, of course, is in the details. Let us try to simplify: There are too many jobs already.
    People doing jobs that are a total waste, like building submarines at several billions each, whose only use would be to destroy any country in the world, but not to take a “cruise” on one.
    This list is so long it would cover the whole page. The solution is to quit making the useless junk and divide the useful work among the able-bodied. The 40-hour week was established when a machine run by one person was turning out one piece at a time, and now precision work is done by computers and robots.
    Even reducing the work week to 35 hours would [not?] absorb most of the unemployed right now. A 20-hour week would be sufficient, after a few repairs to the system.

    [Exactly what Art Dahlberg recommended 80 years ago in his prophetic Jobs, Machines and Capitalism.]
    As to the debt, realize that all debt has one common denominator. It is money owed to people who have so much they don’t know what to do with it, by other people who will never have the ability to pay it back. It must forever increase, as we can see if we look. The only solutions are (one) to devalue the currency in which it is owed, thus neutralizing the true value, or (two) just cancel some or all of it, depending on who owes it.
    This has happened many times in other countries, when money became worthless. A better solution would be to produce what we need (or want) and write a paycheck to enable the public to buy it. That would be a real “market economy.”


6/22/2012 – News bits about the timesizing alternative to downsizing, reinvented thousands of times every day in every recession by mainly mid- and small-size companies, but still an afterthought when any economy that's still around in 50 years will have long made it first and foremost - ( [commentary] by Phil Hyde ecdesignr@yahoo.ca unless otherwise initialed ) -

  1. State's work-share costs could drop by $36M per year - Report says few states cashing in on new federal law for part-time workers, by Kevin James Shay kshay@gazette.net, Maryland Community News Online via Gazette.Net
    ANNAPOLIS, Maryld., USA - Maryland could save almost $36 million per year in unemployment insurance costs by federally financing its work-sharing program, according to a recent study.
    The study by researchers at the Center for Economic and Policy Research in Washington, D.C., states that all 50 states and Washington, D.C., combined could save as much as $1.7 billion annually.
    Work sharing, which has operated in Maryland since 1984 and is available in about 23 other states and the District, allows employers to avoid layoffs by instead reducing employees’ hours. Employees remain employed and receive some compensation for the time off through state unemployment insurance funds, while employers avoid having to train new workers when they need to hire them back.
    The Middle Class Relief and Job Creation Act, signed into law by President Barack Obama in February, includes provisions that would allow the federal government to pay for states’ unemployment benefits for those in work-share programs.
    The law allows the federal government to cover 100 percent of work-sharing benefits for up to three years in states that already have work-sharing programs, including Maryland and Pennsylvania, and Washington, D.C. In states that don’t have such programs, such as Virginia and West Virginia, the federal government would cover 50 percent of benefits for up to two years if those states agree to provide work sharing.
    [Isn't that backward in terms of getting more states onboard?]
    Researchers Nicole Woo and Dean Baker based their savings projections in the study on the percentage of work-sharing participation in Rhode Island, which has embraced the program more than other states.
    “If states were to take advantage of the federal financing for work sharing in the new law, it would be reasonable to expect that they could reach approximately the same level of participation as Rhode Island did in 2009,” Woo and Baker said in the report.

    The state labor department currently is undertaking a comprehensive review of the federal application process to determine the appropriate next steps, said spokeswoman Summar Goodman.
    The average number of work-share claims nationally has dropped to 24,452 in the week ending May 26 from 37,249 a year ago, according to federal labor figures.
    This week, the U.S. Department of Labor released details on how states can begin receiving federal reimbursement of payments made by short-term compensation programs such as work-sharing. Besides providing reimbursement funds, the federal government has about $100 million in grants to administer a work-sharing program.
    Awareness of work sharing among employers is lacking even in states with longtime programs, Woo and Baker said.
    “With millions of workers still being laid off every month, the work-sharing provisions could make an important and positive difference in the lives of millions of workers, employers, their families and communities,” they said. “These provisions mean states can also improve their finances by promoting work sharing.”

  2. SD teachers celebrate deal to save jobs with district, by Maureen Magee, San Diego Union Tribune via U-T San Diego via utsandiego.com
    SAN DIEGO, Calif., USA - Educators, district officials and community leaders Thursday celebrated a tentative forged by the teachers union and San Diego Unified School District to save nearly 1,500 jobs and keep class sizes manageable next year.
    School board President John Lee Evans said the deal represents a new spirit of collaboration between labor and management. What's more, he said the deal reflects the "rational and reasonable" demeanor of teachers union president Bill Freeman. Freeman's style, Evans said, is a stark contrast to that of former labor leader Camille Zombro, a former union president who was ousted as vice president of the organization in a recent election.
    "We could not have negotiated this deal two years ago," Evans said.
    The agreement calls for a third and fourth year of furloughs. If state voters reject Gov. Jerry Brown's tax initiative come November, the school year could be cut by a total of 19 days -- a month's worth of education.
    "A shortened school year, as painful as it may be, causes less harm to our students than eliminating 1,500 teachers and having class sizes sky[rocket."]

    Now that the San Diego Education Association and the San Diego Unified School District have hammered out a deal, its up to 7,000 teachers to decide whether to accept it or reject it. The union will put the agreement up to a vote Sunday throughout Tuesday. If it receives more than 50 percent approval, the school board will vote to ratify the pact next week.
    The district staged its celebration on Thursday at Central Elementary School in City Heights, which would lose more than half its teachers to layoffs if the tentative agreement is rejected.
    State Superintendent of Public Instruction Tom Torlakson congratulated the union and district on the deal a statement he issued Thursday.
    "The teachers and school district officials of San Diego deserve our appreciation for stepping up to the plate in a big way to make kids their top priority. It should serve as an example to us all that teachers and staff gave up well-earned pay raises to avoid layoffs and keep class sizes manageable in service to their students. In these tough economic times, the needs far outstrip the dollars we have available - even for something as fundamentally crucial as our public education system."


6/21/2012 – News bits about the timesizing alternative to downsizing, reinvented thousands of times every day in every recession by mainly mid- and small-size companies, but still an afterthought when any economy that's still around in 50 years will have long made it first and foremost - ( [commentary] by Phil Hyde ecdesignr@yahoo.ca unless otherwise initialed ) -

  1. Less Work, More Jobs, by Don Peck, (6/20 late pickup) TheAtlantic.com
    NEW YORK, N.Y., USA - Quick: How many jobs has the U.S. economy created each month in the past year? 125,000? 150,000? These are the numbers we see reported, but actually, over the past year of data, the private sector alone created more than 2 million new jobs a month—the problem is, each month it also destroyed nearly as many. The number we see reported is the difference between jobs created and jobs destroyed.
    This isn’t just trivia: the point is that the economy is much more dynamic than we may think. If we could keep creating 2 million jobs a month, while stanching job losses, we could get people back to work much faster.
    “Work-sharing”—or “short-work”—could make this prospect a reality.
    Today, American companies facing weak demand typically lay off workers, even though that decision can be costly down the road (rehiring and training are expensive). A work-sharing program would allow companies to instead make temporary, across-the-board reductions in hours worked by (and wages paid to) the same number of employees; the government, instead of paying unemployment benefits to laid-off workers, would make up much of the difference in pay.
    Work-sharing is not a new idea—Germany used this system throughout the Great Recession to help keep its unemployment rate low, and some U.S. states have work-sharing systems in place, although they tend to be poorly publicized and poorly funded—but it’s an idea worth trying on a larger scale. It has garnered support from economists on the right and the left, and it won’t break the bank. So why aren’t we doing it?

  2. Air France to cut 5122 jobs by end-2013, CNBC.com
    PARIS, France - French carrier Air France unveiled plans to cut more than 5,000 jobs by the end of next year as part of an effort to slash costs and debt to return to growth in the face of increased competition and soaring fuel bills.
    The airline, under pressure from France's new Socialist government, pledged to try to avoid forced layoffs by encouraging early retirement, voluntary departures, part-time working and work-sharing.
    [And early retirement, voluntary departures, and part-time working are all forms of worksharing in the larger sense.]
    But the carrier warned forced redundancies would be "unavoidable" if unions refused to support management's plans.
    "Assuming the new agreements are signed, procedures for dealing with overstaffing will exclude any recourse to forced departures," Air France said in a statement on Thursday following a meeting with the airline's works council.
    Air France-KLM and Europe's other leading legacy carriers have been confronting losses in their short-haul operations, leading to a wave of painful contract negotiations and strikes.
    The Franco-Dutch group unveiled a three-year plan in January, fleshed out last month, to reduce debt and operating costs by 2 billion euros ($2.54 billion) in an effort to return to break-even in 2014.
    But the 15.9 percent state-owned airline had not yet detailed job cuts as it seeks 20 percent efficiency gains in the airline's network by 2014. Air France employs more than 70,000 of the 103,000 workers at Air France-KLM.
    The staff cuts come as France's new President Francois Hollande has pledged to clamp down on layoffs with plans to ramp up the cost for companies of shedding staff. At 10 percent, the French jobless rate has hit the highest level this century.
    (Reporting by James Regan; Editing by Lionel Laurent and Hans-Juergen Peters)


6/20/2012 – News bits about the timesizing alternative to downsizing, reinvented thousands of times every day in every recession by mainly mid- and small-size companies, but still an afterthought when any economy that's still around in 50 years will have long made it first and foremost - ( [commentary] by Phil Hyde ecdesignr@yahoo.ca unless otherwise initialed ) -

  1. Obama Administration Issues New Guidance on Reed’s Layoff Prevention Law - RI to save millions as a result of Reed’s efforts, PoliticalNews.me (press release)
    WASHINGTON, D.C., USA – The U.S. Department of Labor (DOL) issued new guidelines on U.S. Senator Jack Reed’s (D-RI) work sharing law (also known as Short-Term Compensation (STC) programs). The new law provides federal support to expand existing state STC programs and helps more states develop programs that give employers an alternative to layoffs during a business slowdown.
    “This is a cost-effective program that saves jobs. It benefits taxpayers, businesses, and workers. It will save Rhode Island millions of dollars, help more workers earn a steady paycheck, and allow companies to save when they’re forced to temporarily scale back. This is a bridge to better days and a smart alternative to mass-layoffs,” said Reed, who first proposed work sharing legislation in 2009 as a policy to help protect against future recessions. “Giving states an incentive to expand their work sharing programs is a smart investment in preventing future layoffs and blunting economic downturns.”
    Reed wrote the Layoff Prevention Act, which was signed into law by President Obama earlier this year as part of the package extending the payroll tax cuts (the Middle Class Tax Relief and Job Creation Act of 2012, Pub. L. 112-96).
    The goal is to save taxpayer money and keep workers on the job by giving struggling companies the flexibility to reduce hours instead of their workforce, helping them save on rehiring costs while employees keep their jobs and receive a portion of Unemployment Insurance (UI) benefits to make up for lost wages.
    Already Rhode Island and 21 states and the District of Columbia have implemented similar programs, saving over 365,000 jobs since 2009. 
    Under Reed’s law, the federal government will provide an estimated $500 million for business-state partnerships nationwide to help prevent layoffs.
    Rhode Island’s cost-effective work sharing initiative has helped preserve over 10,000 jobs since 2009. Under the new law, during the next three years the state will be relieved of all work sharing payments provided it meets all requirements. If these provisions would have been in place over the previous three years, Rhode Island would have saved an estimated $36 million in state funding. Since the law was enacted in February, Rhode Island has paid out approximately $1.9 million in work sharing benefits through June 15, 2012. Thanks to Reed’s law, the state will be fully reimbursed for those expenditures.
    “Those are resources that can now be targeted toward creating jobs and economic growth in Rhode Island,” said Reed, noting that economic estimates have shown that every dollar spent on short-term compensation will generate $1.64 in economic return.
    The 22 states that currently have STC programs include: Arizona, Arkansas, California, Colorado, Connecticut, Florida, Iowa, Kansas, Maine, Massachusetts, Maryland, Minnesota, Missouri, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New York, Oregon, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, Texas, Vermont, and Washington.
    [It's now 25 states - better list.]
    Today’s DOL guidelines help codify and expand the existing definition of STC. States that had been operating an STC program before enactment of the new law have two and a half years to amend their laws to conform to the new definition.
    As an incentive for states to enact state STC programs and promote the use of STC, this law provides for 100 percent reimbursement of STC benefit costs paid under state law for up to 156 weeks (three years). Authority to provide these reimbursements ends on August 22, 2015.
    The law also establishes an optional temporary federal STC program and provides “approximately $100 million in grants is available to states with eligible work sharing programs.”
    DOL must provide model legislation, technical assistance, and reporting requirements after consultation with stakeholders. DOL must also report to Congress in 4 years on best practices and state challenges and conduct a survey of employers.

  2. Economist Robert Skidelsky on Keynes and working hours, BBC News via bbc.co.uk
    LONDON, U.K. - A century ago, economist John Maynard Keynes predicted that by now, no-one in Britain would have to work more than 15 hours week because machinery and technology would take the strain.
    Robert Skidelsky, an economist from the present, looks at what happened to those predictions and what people want today.
    He finds a society "obsessed with consumption" and people working for more money, simply to buy more.
    [Scan down to the probable basis of this BBC interview(?) on 6/08/2012 #1, article "Too Much Faith in Markets Denies Us the Good Life" - as we pointed out there, you don't have to fight consumption during a recession-depression, cuz that's what a recession-depression is all about = underconsumption and unmarketable productivity alias "excess productivity" in standard economese. What you need to fight is a frozen pretechnology workweek that depresses wages and weakens consumer spending below what can support the tremendous decirculating coagulation of the money supply in 0.01% of the population. And you may never need to fight consumption if we're smart enough to "do more with less" and, like, buy ecofriendly massages and green advice from one another instead of ever bigger gas-guzzling cars. Somebody nudge Skidelsky onto this more strategic focus!]


6/19/2012 – News bits about the timesizing alternative to downsizing, reinvented thousands of times every day in every recession by mainly mid- and small-size companies, but still an afterthought when any economy that's still around in 50 years will have long made it first and foremost - ( [commentary] by Phil Hyde ecdesignr@yahoo.ca unless otherwise initialed ) -

  1. Reforming Unemployment Insurance to Protect Jobs and Incomes for American Workers, by Katharine Abraham and Jason Furman, (6/18 late pickup) The White House (blog) via whitehouse.gov/blog
    WASHINGTON, D.C., USA - In his inaugural address, President Obama praised workers who “would rather cut their hours than see a friend lose their job.” But in most states, our unemployment insurance (UI) system discourages reducing hours in this way. A worker who is laid off has access to UI benefits that temporarily cover part of lost wages, but a worker whose hours are reduced has no such access, creating an incentive for layoffs while leaving workers who face an involuntary reduction in their hours with no protection or support. Today the Department of Labor is issuing guidance on new legislation that will help to address these problems. This guidance is part of a series of important UI reforms designed to contribute to job creation and job placement that the President proposed in the American Jobs Act, were signed into law in February and are now being implemented.
    Programs in some states that allow workers whose hours have been cut to claim pro-rated UI benefits—so-called short-time compensation or work sharing programs—help to keep workers on the job. President Obama has long advocated the expansion of work sharing to help employers and their workers. It’s an idea that has been supported by economists across the political spectrum. The President’s proposal to expand the number of states with work-sharing programs, and increase employer awareness of the benefits of work sharing, was included in both his FY 2012 and 2013 Budgets, and in last September’s American Jobs Act. That proposal was signed into law on a bipartisan basis as part of the February extension of the payroll tax cut, and is being implemented today through guidance released by the Labor Department.
    The premise of work sharing is simple: If a struggling employer puts in place a work sharing plan, a worker whose hours are reduced will have some of their lost pay made up through the UI system. This creates a true win-win situation for businesses and workers. By softening the effect of reduced hours on workers, it gives businesses a better chance of hanging on to their skilled employees during a rough period. With a full-strength workforce operating at reduced hours, businesses have the ability to scale up quickly when their economic situation improves.
    Interest in work sharing grew during the recent recession, but fewer than half of the states operate a work sharing program, and employers may not know about work sharing even where it is available. The new law has three major components, all of which are designed to encourage states to implement a work sharing program and promote it among their employers. In states that already have a permanent work sharing program in place, the new law provides temporary Federal reimbursement for the benefits paid to workers under the state program. In states that do not, it offers a temporary Federal work sharing program to bridge the gap until the state can create a permanent program. Finally, states that create a new program or wish to expand an existing one will have access to $100 million in Federal implementation grants to help them jump-start program participation.
    A number of states already have work sharing programs. In the state of Rhode Island, work sharing is a well-established part of the unemployment insurance system. Senator Jack Reed has been a strong advocate of the program at a national level, and was the lead sponsor of the legislation that formed the basis for the President’s proposal. In Rhode Island, employers are well-informed about the benefits of the program, and can access it with a minimum of hassle. Work sharing played a crucial role in Rhode Island in the recent recession: an average of over 4,000 people per week claimed benefits under work sharing programs in the state during 2009, preventing unemployment from rising even higher. Last fall, Deputy Secretary of Labor Seth Harris visited the Pilgrim Screw Corporation, a fastener manufacturing firm that used work sharing to avoid laying off 35 workers in their Rhode Island facility. Said Pilgrim’s President Geoff Grove at the time, “The work-sharing program in Rhode Island has been a lifeline for Pilgrim. It’s helped a small manufacturing business like ours to maintain the institutional knowledge and skills that are crucial for our success.”
    As the experience of many states including Rhode Island, and of many employers including Pilgrim has shown, work sharing can give businesses and workers added flexibility to make it through tough times.
    Katharine Abraham is a member of the Council of Economic Advisers and Jason Furman is the Assistant to the President for Economic Policy and the Principal Deputy Director of the National Economic Council.

  2. Expanding the Use of Work Sharing, social.dol.gov
    WASHINGTON, D.C., USA - In February, President Obama signed the Middle Class Tax Relief and Job Creation Act of 2012. The law extended the payroll tax cut and federal Unemployment Insurance (UI) benefits that have helped sustain the economic recovery. As important as that was, the law also included several components for the first major overhaul to the Unemployment Insurance program in decades, with the goal of improving the functionality of the UI system. These key reforms are helping to turn the Unemployment system into a Re-employment system.
    Together, these reforms will provide states with more flexibility to respond to changes in the economy, by providing employers tools to avoid layoffs, helping the unemployed get back into the workforce faster and even expanding opportunities for the unemployed to start their own businesses.
    This week, the Labor Department announced the next step in this historic overhaul. Through guidance issued by the department’s Employment and Training Administration, states can now use the UI benefits for short time compensation programs, or commonly referred to as “work sharing”. Work sharing is a win-win for workers and employees alike. Employers with a work sharing plan can reduce the work hours for group of employees, rather than laying off an individual worker. Workers affected by reduced hours can have their lost wages made up through a portion of their weekly unemployment compensation payments. By avoiding layoffs, businesses can keep their skilled workforce and weather the effects of a poor business environment, while also maintaining the ability to quickly get back to full speed when the economy picks up again.
    This announcement clarifies the new federal definition of work sharing and provides guidance to states on how to adopt this new definition. In addition, states that already have an active work sharing program may now be eligible to begin receiving 100 percent federal reimbursement of working sharing payments. The Labor Department will also issue additional information in the next couple of months to help enable states to implement or expand a work sharing program, through the availability of approximately $100 million in federal grants.
    The Labor Department will continue to take the necessary steps to support President Obama’s mission to streamline and improve the workforce system.

  3. DOL Supports Work Sharing Programs, by Joshua Bjerke, recruiter.com
    SAVANNAH, Ga., USA - The U.S. Department of Labor has announced it will offer support to state unemployment insurance (UI) agencies that oversee short-time compensation, popularly known as “work sharing.” The guidance is part of a series of UI reforms resulting from the recent Middle Class Tax Relief and Job Creation Act of 2012.
    “Work sharing is a win-win for workers and employers,” said Secretary of Labor Hilda L. Solis. “This program will provide more flexibility to workers and employers so they may more efficiently and effectively weather the ups and downs of the economy.”
    The guidance will provide information regarding the new federal definition of short-time compensation and on how compensation programs can best transition to the updated definition; the new definition includes additional protections for workers including health insurance and retirement benefits maintenance. States will also receive information on how to receive 100 percent reimbursement for short-time compensation payments made by state programs.
    Other short-time compensation features addressed by the DOL include a two-year initiative to allow states to implement short-time compensation programs quickly and grants totaling about $100 million for states implementing or improving short-time compensation programs. Legislative language is also being developed that will assist states in amending laws to allow for implementation of short-time compensation programs. To view the program letter in its entirety visit wdr.doleta.gov/directives.
    Joshua Bjerke, from Savannah, Georgia, focuses on articles involving the labor force, economy, and HR topics including new technology and workplace news. Joshua has a B.A. in Political Science with a Minor in International Studies and is currently pursuing his M.A. in International Security.


6/17-18/2012 – News bits about the timesizing alternative to downsizing, reinvented thousands of times every day in every recession by mainly mid- and small-size companies, but still an afterthought when any economy that's still around in 50 years will have long made it first and foremost - ( [commentary] by Phil Hyde ecdesignr@yahoo.ca unless otherwise initialed ) -

  1. (H-1) CJC SB-1094, As Passed Senate, June 14, 2012, House Substitute for Senate Bill No. 1094, 6/18 legislature.mi.gov
    LANSING, Mich., USA - A bill to amend 1936 (Ex Sess) PA 1, entitled "Michigan employment security act,"
    (MCL 421.1 to 421.75) by adding sections 28b, 28c, 28d, 28e, 28f, 28g, 28h, 28i, 28j, 28k, 28l, and 28m.
    THE PEOPLE OF THE STATE OF MICHIGAN ENACT:
    [Awesome.]
    1 SEC. 28B. AS USED IN THIS SECTION AND SECTIONS 28C TO 28M:
    2 (A) "AFFECTED UNIT" MEANS A DEPARTMENT, SHIFT, OR OTHER
    3 ORGANIZATIONAL UNIT OF 2 OR MORE EMPLOYEES THAT IS DESIGNATED BY AN
    4 EMPLOYER TO PARTICIPATE IN A SHARED-WORK PLAN.
    5 (B) "APPROVED SHARED-WORK PLAN" MEANS AN EMPLOYER'S SHARED
    6 WORK PLAN THAT MEETS THE REQUIREMENTS OF SECTION 28D AND THAT THE
    7 UNEMPLOYMENT AGENCY APPROVES IN WRITING.
    8 (C) "FRINGE BENEFIT" MEANS HEALTH INSURANCE, A RETIREMENT
    2
    S04773'11 (H-1) CJC
    1 BENEFIT RECEIVED UNDER A PENSION PLAN OR DEFINED CONTRIBUTION PLAN,
    2 A PAID VACATION DAY, A PAID HOLIDAY, SICK LEAVE, OR ANY OTHER
    3 SIMILAR EMPLOYEE BENEFIT PROVIDED BY AN EMPLOYER.
    4 (D) "NORMAL WEEKLY HOURS OF WORK" MEANS THE ESTABLISHED
    5 STANDARD WORK TIMES AND NUMBER OF HOURS IN THE WORKWEEK FOR THE
    6 POSITION OR, IF STANDARD WORK TIMES AND NUMBER OF HOURS HAVE NOT
    7 BEEN ESTABLISHED FOR THE POSITION, THE WORK TIMES AND AVERAGE
    8 NUMBER OF HOURS PER WEEK ACTUALLY WORKED BY THE EMPLOYEE IN THAT
    9 POSITION OVER THE MOST RECENT 3 MONTHS BEFORE THE EMPLOYER FILES
    10 THE APPLICATION FOR DESIGNATION AS A PARTICIPATING EMPLOYER.
    11 (E) "PARTICIPATING EMPLOYEE" MEANS AN EMPLOYEE IN THE AFFECTED
    12 UNIT WHOSE HOURS OF WORK ARE REDUCED BY THE REDUCTION PERCENTAGE
    13 UNDER THE SHARED-WORK PLAN. PARTICIPATING EMPLOYEE DOES NOT INCLUDE
    14 A SEASONAL WORKER AS DEFINED IN SECTION 27(O)(9)(E) OR A WORKER
    15 EMPLOYED ON A TEMPORARY OR INTERMITTENT BASIS.
    16 (F) "PARTICIPATING EMPLOYER" MEANS AN EMPLOYER THAT HAS A
    17 SHARED-WORK PLAN IN EFFECT.
    18 (G) "REDUCTION PERCENTAGE" MEANS THE PERCENTAGE BY WHICH EACH
    19 PARTICIPATING EMPLOYEE'S NORMAL WEEKLY HOURS OF WORK ARE REDUCED
    20 UNDER A SHARED-WORK PLAN IN ACCORDANCE WITH SECTION 28D(2).
    21 (H) "SHARED-WORK PLAN" MEANS A PLAN FOR REDUCING UNEMPLOYMENT
    22 UNDER WHICH EMPLOYEES OF AN AFFECTED UNIT SHARE A REDUCED WORKLOAD
    23 THROUGH REDUCTION IN THEIR NORMAL WEEKLY HOURS OF WORK.
    24 SEC. 28C. (1) AN EMPLOYER THAT MEETS ALL OF THE FOLLOWING
    25 REQUIREMENTS MAY APPLY TO THE UNEMPLOYMENT AGENCY FOR APPROVAL OF A
    26 SHARED-WORK PLAN:
    27 (A) THE EMPLOYER HAS FILED ALL QUARTERLY REPORTS AND OTHER
    3
    S04773'11 (H-1) CJC
    1 REPORTS REQUIRED UNDER THIS ACT AND HAS PAID ALL OBLIGATION
    2 ASSESSMENTS, CONTRIBUTIONS, REIMBURSEMENTS IN LIEU OF
    3 CONTRIBUTIONS, INTEREST, AND PENALTIES DUE THROUGH THE DATE OF THE
    4 EMPLOYER'S APPLICATION.
    5 (B) IF THE EMPLOYER IS A CONTRIBUTING EMPLOYER, THE EMPLOYER'S
    6 RESERVE IN THE EMPLOYER'S EXPERIENCE ACCOUNT AS OF THE MOST RECENT
    7 COMPUTATION DATE PRECEDING THE DATE OF THE EMPLOYER'S APPLICATION
    8 IS A POSITIVE NUMBER.
    9 (C) THE EMPLOYER HAS PAID WAGES FOR THE 12 CONSECUTIVE
    10 CALENDAR QUARTERS PRECEDING THE DATE OF THE EMPLOYER'S APPLICATION.
    11 (2) AN APPLICATION UNDER THIS SECTION SHALL BE MADE IN THE
    12 MANNER PRESCRIBED BY THE UNEMPLOYMENT AGENCY AND CONTAIN ALL OF THE
    13 FOLLOWING:
    14 (A) THE EMPLOYER'S ASSURANCE THAT IT WILL PROVIDE REPORTS TO
    15 THE UNEMPLOYMENT AGENCY RELATING TO THE OPERATION OF ITS SHARED
    16 WORK PLAN AT THE TIMES AND IN THE MANNER PRESCRIBED BY THE
    17 UNEMPLOYMENT AGENCY AND CONTAINING ALL INFORMATION REQUIRED BY THE
    18 UNEMPLOYMENT AGENCY.
    19 (B) THE EMPLOYER'S ASSURANCE THAT IT WILL NOT HIRE NEW
    20 EMPLOYEES IN, OR TRANSFER EMPLOYEES TO, THE AFFECTED UNIT DURING
    21 THE EFFECTIVE PERIOD OF THE SHARED-WORK PLAN.
    22 (C) THE EMPLOYER'S ASSURANCE THAT IT WILL NOT LAY OFF
    23 PARTICIPATING EMPLOYEES DURING THE EFFECTIVE PERIOD OF THE SHARED
    24 WORK PLAN, OR REDUCE PARTICIPATING EMPLOYEES' HOURS OF WORK BY MORE
    25 THAN THE REDUCTION PERCENTAGE DURING THE EFFECTIVE PERIOD OF THE
    26 SHARED-WORK PLAN, EXCEPT IN CASES OF HOLIDAYS, DESIGNATED VACATION
    27 PERIODS, EQUIPMENT MAINTENANCE, OR SIMILAR CIRCUMSTANCES.
    4
    S04773'11 (H-1) CJC
    1 (D) THE EMPLOYER'S CERTIFICATION THAT IT HAS OBTAINED THE
    2 APPROVAL OF ANY APPLICABLE COLLECTIVE BARGAINING UNIT
    3 REPRESENTATIVE AND HAS NOTIFIED ALL AFFECTED EMPLOYEES WHO ARE NOT
    4 IN A COLLECTIVE BARGAINING UNIT OF THE PROPOSED SHARED-WORK PLAN.
    5 (E) A LIST OF THE WEEK OR WEEKS WITHIN THE REQUESTED EFFECTIVE
    6 PERIOD OF THE PLAN DURING WHICH PARTICIPATING EMPLOYEES ARE
    7 ANTICIPATED TO WORK FEWER HOURS THAN THE NUMBER OF HOURS DETERMINED
    8 UNDER SECTION 28D(1)(E) DUE TO CIRCUMSTANCES LISTED IN SUBDIVISION
    9 (C).
    10 (F) THE EMPLOYER'S CERTIFICATION THAT THE IMPLEMENTATION OF A
    11 SHARED-WORK PLAN IS IN LIEU OF TEMPORARY LAYOFFS THAT WOULD AFFECT
    12 AT LEAST 15% OF THE EMPLOYEES IN THE AFFECTED UNIT AND WOULD RESULT
    13 IN AN EQUIVALENT REDUCTION IN WORK HOURS.
    14 (G) THE EMPLOYER'S ASSURANCE THAT IT WILL ABIDE BY ALL TERMS
    15 AND CONDITIONS OF SECTIONS 28B TO 28M.
    16 (H) THE EMPLOYER'S CERTIFICATION THAT, TO THE BEST OF HIS OR
    17 HER KNOWLEDGE, PARTICIPATION IN THE SHARED-WORK PLAN IS CONSISTENT
    18 WITH THE EMPLOYER'S OBLIGATIONS UNDER FEDERAL LAW AND THE LAW OF
    19 THIS STATE.
    20 (I) ANY OTHER RELEVANT INFORMATION REQUIRED BY THE
    21 UNEMPLOYMENT AGENCY.
    22 (3) AN EMPLOYER MAY APPLY TO THE UNEMPLOYMENT AGENCY FOR
    23 APPROVAL OF MORE THAN 1 SHARED-WORK PLAN.
    24 (4) AN EMPLOYER SHALL NOT APPLY FOR AND THE UNEMPLOYMENT
    25 AGENCY SHALL NOT APPROVE A SHARED-WORK PLAN THAT BEGINS MORE THAN 5
    26 YEARS AFTER THE EFFECTIVE DATE OF THE AMENDATORY ACT THAT ADDED
    27 THIS SECTION.
    5
    S04773'11 (H-1) CJC
    1 SEC. 28D. (1) THE UNEMPLOYMENT AGENCY SHALL APPROVE A SHARED
    2 WORK PLAN ONLY IF THE PLAN MEETS ALL OF THE FOLLOWING REQUIREMENTS:
    3 (A) THE SHARED-WORK PLAN APPLIES TO 1 AFFECTED UNIT.
    4 (B) ALL EMPLOYEES IN THE AFFECTED UNIT ARE PARTICIPATING
    5 EMPLOYEES, EXCEPT THAT THE FOLLOWING EMPLOYEES SHALL NOT BE
    6 PARTICIPATING EMPLOYEES:
    7 (i) AN EMPLOYEE WHO HAS BEEN EMPLOYED IN THE AFFECTED UNIT FOR
    8 LESS THAN 3 MONTHS BEFORE THE DATE THE EMPLOYER APPLIES FOR
    9 APPROVAL OF THE SHARED-WORK PLAN.
    10 (ii) AN EMPLOYEE WHOSE HOURS OF WORK PER WEEK DETERMINED UNDER
    11 SUBDIVISION (E) ARE 40 OR MORE HOURS.
    12 (C) THERE ARE NO FEWER THAN 2 PARTICIPATING EMPLOYEES,
    13 DETERMINED WITHOUT REGARD TO CORPORATE OFFICERS.
    14 (D) THE PARTICIPATING EMPLOYEES ARE IDENTIFIED BY NAME AND
    15 SOCIAL SECURITY NUMBER.
    16 (E) THE NUMBER OF HOURS A PARTICIPATING EMPLOYEE WILL WORK
    17 EACH WEEK DURING THE EFFECTIVE PERIOD OF THE SHARED-WORK PLAN IS
    18 THE NUMBER OF THE EMPLOYEE'S NORMAL WEEKLY HOURS OF WORK REDUCED BY
    19 THE REDUCTION PERCENTAGE.
    20 (F) THE PLAN INCLUDES AN ESTIMATE OF THE NUMBER OF EMPLOYEES
    21 WHO WOULD HAVE BEEN LAID OFF IF THE PLAN WERE NOT IMPLEMENTED.
    22 (G) THE PLAN INDICATES THE MANNER IN WHICH THE EMPLOYER WILL
    23 GIVE ADVANCE NOTICE, IF FEASIBLE, TO AN EMPLOYEE WHOSE HOURS OF
    24 WORK PER WEEK UNDER THE PLAN WILL BE REDUCED.
    25 (H) AS A RESULT OF A DECREASE IN THE NUMBER OF HOURS WORKED BY
    26 EACH PARTICIPATING EMPLOYEE, THERE IS A CORRESPONDING REDUCTION IN
    27 WAGES.
    6
    S04773'11 (H-1) CJC
    1 (I) THE SHARED-WORK PLAN DOES NOT AFFECT THE FRINGE BENEFITS
    2 OF ANY PARTICIPATING EMPLOYEE.
    3 (J) THE SPECIFIED EFFECTIVE PERIOD OF THE SHARED-WORK PLAN IS
    4 52 CONSECUTIVE WEEKS OR LESS AND THE BENEFITS PAYABLE UNDER THE
    5 SHARED-WORK PLAN WILL NOT EXCEED 20 TIMES THE WEEKLY BENEFIT AMOUNT
    6 FOR EACH PARTICIPATING EMPLOYEE, CALCULATED WITHOUT REGARD TO ANY
    7 EXISTING BENEFIT YEAR.
    8 (K) THE REDUCTION PERCENTAGE SATISFIES THE REQUIREMENTS OF
    9 SUBSECTION (2).
    10 (2) THE REDUCTION PERCENTAGE UNDER AN APPROVED SHARED-WORK
    11 PLAN SHALL MEET ALL OF THE FOLLOWING REQUIREMENTS:
    12 (A) THE REDUCTION PERCENTAGE SHALL BE NO LESS THAN 15% AND NO
    13 MORE THAN 45%.
    14 (B) THE REDUCTION PERCENTAGE SHALL BE THE SAME FOR ALL
    15 PARTICIPATING EMPLOYEES.
    16 (C) THE REDUCTION PERCENTAGE SHALL NOT CHANGE DURING THE
    17 PERIOD OF THE SHARED-WORK PLAN UNLESS THE PLAN IS MODIFIED IN
    18 ACCORDANCE WITH SECTION 28I.
    19 SEC. 28E. THE UNEMPLOYMENT AGENCY SHALL APPROVE OR DISAPPROVE
    20 A SHARED-WORK PLAN NO LATER THAN 15 DAYS AFTER THE DATE THE
    21 UNEMPLOYMENT AGENCY RECEIVES AN EMPLOYER'S SHARED-WORK PLAN
    22 APPLICATION THAT MEETS THE REQUIREMENTS OF SECTIONS 28C AND 28D.
    23 THE UNEMPLOYMENT AGENCY'S DECISION SHALL BE EXPRESSED IN WRITING
    24 AND, IF THE SHARED-WORK PLAN IS DISAPPROVED, SHALL INCLUDE THE
    25 REASONS FOR THE DISAPPROVAL.
    26 SEC. 28F. (1) A SHARED-WORK PLAN IS EFFECTIVE FOR THE NUMBER
    27 OF CONSECUTIVE WEEKS INDICATED IN THE EMPLOYER'S APPLICATION, OR A
    7
    S04773'11 (H-1) CJC
    1 LESSER NUMBER OF WEEKS AS APPROVED BY THE UNEMPLOYMENT AGENCY,
    2 UNLESS SOONER TERMINATED IN ACCORDANCE WITH SECTION 28J.
    3 (2) THE EFFECTIVE PERIOD OF THE SHARED-WORK PLAN SHALL BEGIN
    4 WITH THE FIRST CALENDAR WEEK FOLLOWING THE DATE ON WHICH THE
    5 UNEMPLOYMENT AGENCY APPROVES THE PLAN.
    6 SEC. 28G. (1) COMPENSATION SHALL BE PAYABLE TO A PARTICIPATING
    7 EMPLOYEE FOR A WEEK WITHIN THE EFFECTIVE PERIOD OF AN APPROVED
    8 SHARED-WORK PLAN DURING WHICH THE EMPLOYEE WORKS THE NUMBER OF
    9 HOURS DETERMINED UNDER SECTION 28D(1)(E) FOR THE PARTICIPATING
    10 EMPLOYER ON THE SAME TERMS, IN THE SAME AMOUNT, AND SUBJECT TO THE
    11 SAME CONDITIONS THAT WOULD APPLY TO THE PARTICIPATING EMPLOYEE
    12 WITHOUT REGARD TO SECTIONS 28B TO 28M, EXCEPT AS FOLLOWS:
    13 (A) A PARTICIPATING EMPLOYEE SHALL NOT BE REQUIRED TO BE
    14 UNEMPLOYED WITHIN THE MEANING OF SECTION 48 OR FILE CLAIMS FOR
    15 COMPENSATION UNDER SECTION 32.
    16 (B) THE BENEFIT RATE OTHERWISE PAYABLE AS PRESCRIBED IN
    17 SECTION 27 SHALL BE MODIFIED SO THAT A PARTICIPATING EMPLOYEE SHALL
    18 BE PAID COMPENSATION IN AN AMOUNT EQUAL TO THE PRODUCT OF HIS OR
    19 HER WEEKLY BENEFIT RATE AND THE REDUCTION PERCENTAGE, ROUNDED TO
    20 THE NEXT LOWER WHOLE DOLLAR AMOUNT.
    21 (C) WEEKS THAT A PARTICIPATING EMPLOYEE PARTICIPATES IN A
    22 SHARED-WORK PLAN ARE NOT WEEKS OF UNEMPLOYMENT FOR PURPOSES OF
    23 ESTABLISHING LIMITS ON THE DURATION OF RECEIPT OF UNEMPLOYMENT
    24 BENEFITS UNDER THIS ACT, BUT THE DOLLAR AMOUNT OF BENEFITS RECEIVED
    25 UNDER THE SHARED-WORK PLAN APPLIES TOWARD THE MAXIMUM AMOUNT OF
    26 BENEFITS PAYABLE.
    27 (D) THE UNEMPLOYMENT AGENCY SHALL NOT DENY COMPENSATION TO A
    8
    S04773'11 (H-1) CJC
    1 PARTICIPATING EMPLOYEE FOR ANY WEEK DURING THE EFFECTIVE PERIOD OF
    2 THE SHARED-WORK PLAN BY APPLYING ANY PROVISION OF THIS ACT RELATING
    3 TO ACTIVE SEARCH FOR WORK OR REFUSAL TO APPLY FOR OR ACCEPT WORK
    4 OTHER THAN WORK OFFERED BY THE PARTICIPATING EMPLOYER.
    5 (E) A PARTICIPATING EMPLOYEE SATISFIES THE AVAILABILITY AND
    6 SEEKING WORK REQUIREMENTS OF SECTION 28 IF THE EMPLOYEE IS
    7 AVAILABLE FOR WORK DURING THE EMPLOYEE'S NORMAL WORK WEEK WITH THE
    8 PARTICIPATING EMPLOYER.
    9 (F) A PARTICIPATING EMPLOYEE MAY PARTICIPATE IN A TRAINING
    10 PROGRAM TO ENHANCE THE EMPLOYEE'S JOB SKILLS WITHOUT BECOMING
    11 INELIGIBLE FOR BENEFITS UNDER THE APPROVED SHARED-WORK PLAN, IF THE
    12 TRAINING IS SPONSORED BY THE EMPLOYER OR PROVIDED UNDER THE
    13 WORKFORCE INVESTMENT ACT OF 1998 AND THE EMPLOYEE'S PARTICIPATION
    14 IS APPROVED BY THE UNEMPLOYMENT AGENCY.
    15 (2) FOR PURPOSES OF SUBSECTION (1), IF A PARTICIPATING
    16 EMPLOYEE WORKS FEWER HOURS THAN THE NUMBER OF HOURS DETERMINED
    17 UNDER SECTION 28D(1)(E) FOR THE PARTICIPATING EMPLOYER DURING A
    18 WEEK WITHIN THE EFFECTIVE PERIOD OF THE APPROVED SHARED-WORK PLAN,
    19 BUT RECEIVES REMUNERATION AS IF THE EMPLOYEE HAD WORKED THE NUMBER
    20 OF HOURS DETERMINED UNDER SECTION 28D(1)(E), THE EMPLOYEE IS
    21 CONSIDERED TO HAVE WORKED THE NUMBER OF HOURS DETERMINED UNDER
    22 SECTION 28D(1)(E) DURING THAT WEEK.
    23 (3) A PARTICIPATING EMPLOYEE'S ELIGIBILITY FOR COMPENSATION
    24 FOR A WEEK WITHIN THE EFFECTIVE PERIOD OF AN APPROVED SHARED-WORK
    25 PLAN SHALL BE DETERMINED WITHOUT REGARD TO SECTIONS 28B TO 28M IF
    26 THE EMPLOYEE RECEIVES REMUNERATION FOR THE WEEK FROM THE
    27 PARTICIPATING EMPLOYER THAT IS GREATER THAN OR LESS THAN THE AMOUNT
    9
    S04773'11 (H-1) CJC
    1 DUE FOR THE NUMBER OF HOURS DETERMINED UNDER SECTION 28D(1)(E).
    2 SEC. 28H. (1) THE UNEMPLOYMENT AGENCY SHALL ESTABLISH A
    3 SCHEDULE OF CONSECUTIVE 2-WEEK PERIODS WITHIN THE EFFECTIVE PERIOD
    4 OF THE SHARED-WORK PLAN. THE UNEMPLOYMENT AGENCY MAY, AS NECESSARY,
    5 INCLUDE 1-WEEK PERIODS IN THE SCHEDULE AND REVISE THE SCHEDULE. AT
    6 THE END OF EACH SCHEDULED PERIOD, THE PARTICIPATING EMPLOYER SHALL
    7 FILE CLAIMS FOR COMPENSATION FOR THE WEEK OR WEEKS WITHIN THE
    8 PERIOD ON BEHALF OF THE PARTICIPATING EMPLOYEES. THE CLAIMS SHALL
    9 BE FILED NO LATER THAN THE LAST DAY OF THE WEEK IMMEDIATELY
    10 FOLLOWING THE PERIOD, UNLESS AN EXTENSION OF TIME IS GRANTED BY THE
    11 UNEMPLOYMENT AGENCY FOR GOOD CAUSE. THE CLAIMS SHALL BE FILED IN
    12 THE MANNER PRESCRIBED BY THE UNEMPLOYMENT AGENCY AND SHALL CONTAIN
    13 ALL INFORMATION REQUIRED BY THE UNEMPLOYMENT AGENCY TO DETERMINE
    14 THE ELIGIBILITY OF THE PARTICIPATING EMPLOYEES FOR COMPENSATION.
    15 (2) THE BENEFITS UNDER A SHARED WORK PLAN SHALL BE FUNDED AS
    16 FOLLOWS:
    17 (A) IF FEDERAL FUNDING IS AVAILABLE TO THIS STATE FOR THE
    18 PURPOSE OF FULL REIMBURSEMENT FOR THE COST OF FUNDING BENEFITS PAID
    19 BY THE UNEMPLOYMENT AGENCY PURSUANT TO SECTION 2162 OF THE LAYOFF
    20 PREVENTION ACT OF 2012 AND AN APPROVED SHARED WORK PLAN UNDER THIS
    21 ACT, THOSE BENEFITS SHALL NOT BE CHARGED OR EXPENSED TO A
    22 PARTICIPATING EMPLOYER. HOWEVER, THE UNEMPLOYMENT AGENCY SHALL NOT
    23 USE THAT FEDERAL FUNDING AS A REIMBURSEMENT FOR COMPENSATION PAID
    24 TO A CLAIMANT UNDER A SHARED-WORK PLAN IF THE CLAIMANT IS EMPLOYED
    25 BY THE PARTICIPATING EMPLOYER ON A SEASONAL, TEMPORARY, OR
    26 INTERMITTENT BASIS. IN THAT CASE, BENEFITS SHALL BE CHARGED TO THE
    27 PARTICIPATING CONTRIBUTING EMPLOYER'S CHARGEABLE BENEFITS ACCOUNT
    10
    S04773'11 (H-1) CJC
    1 OR REIMBURSING PAYMENTS IN LIEU OF CONTRIBUTIONS SHALL BE REQUIRED
    2 FROM THE PARTICIPATING REIMBURSING EMPLOYER.
    3 (B) IF FEDERAL FUNDING IS AVAILABLE TO THIS STATE FOR THE
    4 PURPOSE OF PARTIAL REIMBURSEMENT FOR THE COST OF FUNDING BENEFITS
    5 PAID BY THE UNEMPLOYMENT AGENCY PURSUANT TO AN AGREEMENT ENTERED
    6 INTO BETWEEN THIS STATE AND THE UNITED STATES DEPARTMENT OF LABOR
    7 PURSUANT TO SECTION 2163 OF THE LAYOFF PREVENTION ACT OF 2012, ANY
    8 APPROVED SHARED-WORK PLAN SHALL PROVIDE THAT THE EMPLOYER SHALL
    9 MAKE A REIMBURSING PAYMENT IN LIEU OF CONTRIBUTIONS TO THIS STATE
    10 EQUAL TO 1/2 OF THE BENEFITS PAID UNDER THE EMPLOYER'S APPROVED
    11 SHARED-WORK PLAN. THAT PAYMENT SHALL BE DEPOSITED INTO THIS STATE'S
    12 UNEMPLOYMENT COMPENSATION FUND. BENEFIT PAYMENTS OR DEPOSITS MADE
    13 UNDER THIS SUBDIVISION SHALL NOT BE USED FOR PURPOSES OF
    14 CALCULATING AN EMPLOYER'S CONTRIBUTION RATE UNDER SECTION 19. THE
    15 UNEMPLOYMENT AGENCY SHALL NOT USE FEDERAL FUNDING UNDER THIS
    16 SUBSECTION AS A REIMBURSEMENT FOR COMPENSATION PAID TO A CLAIMANT
    17 UNDER A SHARED WORK PLAN IF THE CLAIMANT IS EMPLOYED BY THE
    18 PARTICIPATING EMPLOYER ON A SEASONAL, TEMPORARY, OR INTERMITTENT
    19 BASIS. IN THAT CASE, BENEFIT PAYMENTS SHALL BE FUNDED BY THE
    20 EMPLOYER AS REIMBURSING PAYMENTS IN LIEU OF CONTRIBUTION.
    21 (C) IF FULL OR PARTIAL FEDERAL FUNDING IS NOT AVAILABLE AS
    22 PROVIDED IN SUBDIVISION (A) OR (B), THE BENEFITS PAID BY THE
    23 UNEMPLOYMENT AGENCY PURSUANT TO AN APPROVED SHARED WORK PLAN UNDER
    24 THIS ACT SHALL BE CHARGED TO THE PARTICIPATING CONTRIBUTING
    25 EMPLOYER'S CHARGEABLE BENEFITS ACCOUNT OR REIMBURSING PAYMENTS IN
    26 LIEU OF CONTRIBUTIONS SHALL BE REQUIRED FROM THE PARTICIPATING
    27 REIMBURSING EMPLOYER.
    11
    S04773'11 (H-1) CJC
    1 SEC. 28I. AN EMPLOYER MAY APPLY TO THE UNEMPLOYMENT AGENCY FOR
    2 APPROVAL TO MODIFY A SHARED-WORK PLAN TO MEET CHANGED CONDITIONS.
    3 THE UNEMPLOYMENT AGENCY SHALL REEVALUATE THE PLAN AND MAY APPROVE
    4 THE MODIFIED PLAN IF IT MEETS THE REQUIREMENTS FOR APPROVAL UNDER
    5 SECTION 28E. IF THE MODIFICATIONS CAUSE THE SHARED-WORK PLAN TO
    6 FAIL TO MEET THE REQUIREMENTS FOR APPROVAL, THE UNEMPLOYMENT AGENCY
    7 SHALL DISAPPROVE THE PROPOSED MODIFICATIONS.
    8 SEC. 28J. (1) THE UNEMPLOYMENT AGENCY MAY TERMINATE A SHARED
    9 WORK PLAN FOR GOOD CAUSE.
    10 (2) FOR PURPOSES OF SUBSECTION (1), GOOD CAUSE INCLUDES ANY OF
    11 THE FOLLOWING:
    12 (A) THE PLAN IS NOT BEING EXECUTED ACCORDING TO ITS APPROVED
    13 TERMS AND CONDITIONS.
    14 (B) THE PARTICIPATING EMPLOYER FAILS TO COMPLY WITH THE
    15 ASSURANCES GIVEN IN THE PLAN.
    16 (C) THE PARTICIPATING EMPLOYER OR A PARTICIPATING EMPLOYEE
    17 VIOLATES ANY CRITERIA ON WHICH APPROVAL OF THE PLAN WAS BASED.
    18 (3) THE EMPLOYER MAY TERMINATE A SHARED-WORK PLAN BY WRITTEN
    19 NOTICE TO THE UNEMPLOYMENT AGENCY.
    20 SEC. 28K. THE DECISION TO APPROVE OR DISAPPROVE A SHARED-WORK
    21 PLAN, TO APPROVE OR DISAPPROVE A MODIFICATION OF A SHARED-WORK
    22 PLAN, OR TO TERMINATE A SHARED-WORK PLAN IS AT THE UNEMPLOYMENT
    23 AGENCY'S DISCRETION. THOSE DECISIONS ARE NOT SUBJECT TO THE APPEAL
    24 PROVISIONS OF THIS ACT.
    25 SEC. 28l. IN ADDITION TO OTHER REPORTS REQUIRED BY LAW, THE
    26 UNEMPLOYMENT AGENCY SHALL SUBMIT TO THE GOVERNOR, THE SECRETARY OF
    27 THE SENATE, AND THE CLERK OF THE HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES FOR
    12
    S04773'11 (H-1) CJC
    1 SEC. 28I. AN EMPLOYER MAY APPLY TO THE UNEMPLOYMENT AGENCY FOR
    2 APPROVAL TO MODIFY A SHARED-WORK PLAN TO MEET CHANGED CONDITIONS.
    3 THE UNEMPLOYMENT AGENCY SHALL REEVALUATE THE PLAN AND MAY APPROVE
    4 THE MODIFIED PLAN IF IT MEETS THE REQUIREMENTS FOR APPROVAL UNDER
    5 SECTION 28E. IF THE MODIFICATIONS CAUSE THE SHARED-WORK PLAN TO
    6 FAIL TO MEET THE REQUIREMENTS FOR APPROVAL, THE UNEMPLOYMENT AGENCY
    7 SHALL DISAPPROVE THE PROPOSED MODIFICATIONS.
    8 SEC. 28J. (1) THE UNEMPLOYMENT AGENCY MAY TERMINATE A SHARED
    9 WORK PLAN FOR GOOD CAUSE.
    10 (2) FOR PURPOSES OF SUBSECTION (1), GOOD CAUSE INCLUDES ANY OF
    11 THE FOLLOWING:
    12 (A) THE PLAN IS NOT BEING EXECUTED ACCORDING TO ITS APPROVED
    13 TERMS AND CONDITIONS.
    14 (B) THE PARTICIPATING EMPLOYER FAILS TO COMPLY WITH THE
    15 ASSURANCES GIVEN IN THE PLAN.
    16 (C) THE PARTICIPATING EMPLOYER OR A PARTICIPATING EMPLOYEE
    17 VIOLATES ANY CRITERIA ON WHICH APPROVAL OF THE PLAN WAS BASED.
    18 (3) THE EMPLOYER MAY TERMINATE A SHARED-WORK PLAN BY WRITTEN
    19 NOTICE TO THE UNEMPLOYMENT AGENCY.
    20 SEC. 28K. THE DECISION TO APPROVE OR DISAPPROVE A SHARED-WORK
    21 PLAN, TO APPROVE OR DISAPPROVE A MODIFICATION OF A SHARED-WORK
    22 PLAN, OR TO TERMINATE A SHARED-WORK PLAN IS AT THE UNEMPLOYMENT
    23 AGENCY'S DISCRETION. THOSE DECISIONS ARE NOT SUBJECT TO THE APPEAL 24 PROVISIONS OF THIS ACT.
    25 SEC. 28l. IN ADDITION TO OTHER REPORTS REQUIRED BY LAW, THE
    26 UNEMPLOYMENT AGENCY SHALL SUBMIT TO THE GOVERNOR, THE SECRETARY OF
    27 THE SENATE, AND THE CLERK OF THE HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES FOR
    12
    S04773'11 (H-1) Final Page CJC

  2. US Labor Department announces guidance to state Unemployment Insurance agencies on implementing short-time compensation or 'work sharing', 6/18 PRNewswire via COMTEX via MarketWatch.com (press release)
    WASHINGTON, D.C., USA -- The U.S. Department of Labor today announced guidance to state agencies responsible for Unemployment Insurance regarding short-time compensation, commonly referred to as "work sharing." Today's announcement is the latest in a series of innovative reforms to the UI program made possible by the Middle Class Tax Relief and Job Creation Act of 2012 signed by President Obama in February.
    "Work sharing is a win-win for workers and employers," said Secretary of Labor Hilda L. Solis. "This program will provide more flexibility to workers and employers so they may more efficiently and effectively weather the ups and downs of the economy."
    Work sharing allows employees to keep their jobs and helps employers to avoid laying off their trained workforces during economic downturns by reducing the hours of work for an entire group of affected workers. Workers affected by reduced hours can have their wages compensated with a portion of their weekly unemployment compensation payments.
    The guidance issued today provides detailed information about a new federal definition of short-time compensation - which includes more worker protections such as maintenance of health insurance and retirement benefits - as well as how states currently operating short-time compensation programs can transition to the new definition. The guidance also provides information to states that already have permanent short-time compensation programs on how to begin receiving 100 percent federal reimbursement of payments made by state programs.
    The Labor Department will issue additional guidance to address other aspects of short-time compensation found in the Middle Class Tax Relief and Job Creation Act of 2012, including a two-year federal initiative to enable states to quickly implement and try out short-time compensation programs; and the provision of approximately $100 million in grants to states for the implementation or improved administration of, or for promotion of and enrollment in, a short-time compensation program. The department also is developing model legislative language, to be provided in the near future, that will assist states in amending their laws so they can adopt short-time compensation programs.
    For more information about the guidance issued today, read the Unemployment Insurance Program Letter 22-12 distributed by the Labor Department's Employment and Training Administration at http://wdr.doleta.gov/directives/corr_doc.cfm?DOCN=9382 .
    SOURCE U.S. Department of Labor

  3. Office hours cut for Modesto agencies, 6/17 The Modesto Bee via modbee.com
    MODESTO, Calif., USA - Office hours for Modesto and Stanislaus County planning agencies will decrease a half-hour on both ends of the workday starting July 2, to save money.
    New hours will be 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. on the third floor shared by the city and county at Tenth Street Place, 1010 10th St., Modesto. Affected are the city's Community and Economic Development department, including divisions of planning, land development engineering, building safety and neighborhood preservation as well as the county's planning, building permits and community and economic development divisions.
    For details: (209) 571-5566 or www.modestogov.com/ced; (209) 525-6330 or www.stancounty.com/planning.

  4. Five post offices may cut hours, by Ronnie Blair, 6/17 The Tampa Tribune via www2.tbo.com
    LAND O' LAKES, Fla., USA -- Five rural post offices in Pasco County are among those that could be getting reduced hours under a new strategy announced last month by the U.S. Postal Service.
    The strategy is aimed at keeping the nation's smallest post offices open, while still reducing costs and helping the postal service return to financial stability.
    The Pasco post offices affected are: Crystal Springs, Lacoochee, Saint Leo, Trilby and Aripeka.
    Under the plan, hours at the Lacoochee Post Office would be reduced from eight to four. Hours at the other four offices would be reduced from eight to six.
    Enola Rice, a U.S. Postal Service spokeswoman, cautioned those hours are the number of hours the postmaster works, and not necessarily the hours the post offices are open to customers.
    The postmaster's schedule can include time spent sorting and preparing mail before opening to customers, she said.
    Reduction of hours affects the post office's retail window, but access to the retail lobby and post office boxes would remain unchanged, the postal service said.
    The new strategy, announced May 9, would be phased in over a two years and changes should be completed by September 2014.
    The Postal Regulatory Commission will review the strategy before changes are made, the postal service said. Community meetings also would be held to review options in greater detail.
    Communities will be notified by mail of the date, time and location of the meeting, the postal service announcement said.
    "The post offices in rural America will remain open unless a community has a strong preference for one of the other options," said Megan Brennan, postal service chief operating officer. "We will not close any of these rural post offices without having provided a viable solution."
    Those other options would be:
    Providing mail delivery in the affected community by rural carrier or highway contract route.
    Contracting with a local business to create a village post office.
    Offering service from a nearby post office.
    rblair@tampatrib.com (813) 371-1853


6/16/2012 – News bits about the timesizing alternative to downsizing, reinvented thousands of times every day in every recession by mainly mid- and small-size companies, but still an afterthought when any economy that's still around in 50 years will have long made it first and foremost - ( [commentary] by Phil Hyde ecdesignr@yahoo.ca unless otherwise initialed ) -

  1. Civil Service Jobs Saved - Union makes concessions to help with city financial woes, by Jeff Lipton, (5/12 late pickup) longbeach.patch.com
    LONG BEACH, Calif., USA - The jobs of 38 union workers were retained in Long Beach on Friday when the CSEA overwhelmingly approved several cost-saving measures for the city, including a two-year wage freeze.
    The measures are projected to save the cash-strapped city almost $5 million over the next two years.
    The Civil Service Employees Association (CSEA) membership voted 195 to 22 to save union jobs and to ease the tax burden on city residents. Other union concessions include a lag in payroll and reductions in overtime.
    During the city’s declared fiscal emergency, in which Long Beach is staring at a $10 million budget deficit, officials previously announced that 25 full-time and 42 part-time workers would be laid off, saving $2.5 million each fiscal year.
    As a result of the union concessions and Friday’s vote, city officials said that there will be no other layoffs over the next two fiscal years.

    “Our members have stepped up to help this city in this fiscal crisis,” said John Mooney, head of the Long Beach CSEA. “I am proud of this union and our members.”
    Council members praised the union for making several concessions to get a deal done.
    “This was a remarkable effort by CSEA leadership, Councilman [John] McLaughlin and myself,” said Michael Fagen. “Our local union is unlike most municipal unions. They are not just municipal workers. They are our neighbors and our friends, and they decided that the city’s needs should come before theirs and some of their fellow workers. And in the end some great suggestions, along with some strong union leadership, provided a working remedy for the city.”
    McLaughlin added that the CSEA has always made sacrifices in times of need. “They have a history of doing that,” said McLaughlin. “Anytime we had anything like that going on, they have stepped up to the plate – during snow storms, hurricanes and now this financial storm. I’m just happy we were able to save these jobs.”
    Fagen added: “I would hope that the city would now look at exempt salaries in an effort to offset the proposed water and transit increases.”
    He said reeling in the pay for the city’s top-echelon salaried employees such as commissioners and managers would offset a proposal to raise transportation rates 25 percent and water rates 20 percent, which the council members will look at their June 19 meeting.
    Fagen said council members have been in negotiations with CSEA leadership on and off for more than a month. He added that the union workers were due step increases in their salaries as per their contract over the next two years, but are “foregoing that to help the city.”
    “Otherwise, these people would have been laid off, which would have killed the local economy,” he said. “A lot of people would have lost their homes.”
    The Long Beach City Council recently approved an $87.9 million budget, which McLaughlin and Fagen voted to table in a bid to renegotiate contracts and seek other potential cost-saving measures in order to save jobs.
    But City Manager Jack Schnirman told Patch that council members are not legally empowered to negotiate on behalf of the city, and that Fagen played no role on the administration’s negotiation team.
    “After the first vote failed, we came back to the table and worked together on a package that made sense for everybody,” Schnirman said. “The CSEA worked with us and really played a critical part in helping the city through the financial crisis, and we are grateful.”
    Schnirman said that with the agreement, the city meets its savings target and has a balanced budget going forward.
    “[W]e now know with certainty what our budget looks like as of July 1, and it is a much improved financial picture of the city going forward, and we’re now officially on the road to financial recovery. We’re happy that 38 workers will be coming back to work and help make the city a great place to live.”
    In statement sent Patch, Mooney thanked McLaughlin and Fagen for their ideas, help and support.
    “They showed how much they care for the city and the entire workforce,” he said. “I would also like to thank the city manager and his support staff.

  2. District cuts deal with teachers union to preserve jobs - Some class sizes will be increased, by Anna Bitong annab@theacorn.com, Thousand Oaks Acorn via toacorn.com
    CONEJO VALLEY, Calif., USA - Conejo Valley Unified School District rescinded layoff notices sent to 41 teachers last month but will increase some class sizes in the 2012-13 school year as part of a tentative agreement with the Unified Association of Conejo Teachers.
    The agreement, completed May 25 and approved by the school board on June 5, will raise English and Algebra I class sizes in eighth through 10th grades from 25 to 30 to save the district $500,000. It also includes two “budget cut” days that will save CVUSD $1 million. Budget cut days are different from furlough days in that aren’t counted as school days; teachers don’t get paid either day.

    “I think it’s unfortunate that the finances of the state have put us in this position,” UACT president Colleen Briner-Schmidt told the Acorn. “I am grateful for a district that is willing to work with us for the best possible outcome.”
    The number of furlough days next school year will be finalized when voters decide whether to approve Gov. Jerry Brown’s tax initiative in November. The measure would raise state sales and income taxes to boost state revenue.
    If the initiative passes, state education funding will stay the same. If it does not pass, CVUSD will lose about $8.9 million—or $441 per student—in funding in November, Superintendent Jeff Baarstad said.
    The cuts would force the district to implement up to seven additional furlough days beginning in December, which would cost students five days of class.
    As part of the agreement with UACT, the school district will use nearly all of its $9-million “rainy day” fund to create a balanced budget for next school year. If the tax initiative fails, midyear budget reductions would require CVUSD to dip even further into its reserves, use $1 million from the sale of surplus property and cut about $200,000 from adult education.
    Baarstad said that other school districts have reached an impasse with unions “instead of what we’re doing here, which is trying to move forward proactively for the best interests of students and classroom instruction.”
    Briner-Schmidt said negotiations with CVUSD were smooth.
    “Our district was very transparent about opening the books to us,” she said. “We knew where there was and wasn’t money. When you have a district that is upfront, it makes it much easier to reach agreements.”
    The president said she hoped for voter support for the governor’s tax initiative.
    “If the measure passes, (the budget) will stay horrible for a while. If it does not pass, it will be devastating,” Briner-Schmidt said.


6/15/2012 – News bits about the timesizing alternative to downsizing, reinvented thousands of times every day in every recession by mainly mid- and small-size companies, but still an afterthought when any economy that's still around in 50 years will have long made it first and foremost - ( [commentary] by Phil Hyde ecdesignr@yahoo.ca unless otherwise initialed ) -

  1. SharedWork program could help prevent layoffs in Ohio, by Tiffany Parks, The Daily Reporter via thedailyreporteronline.com
    COLUMBUS, Ohio, USA - A House bill designed to allow employers and employees to work together by reducing work hours in exchange for eliminating potential layoffs has made its way to the Senate.
    House Bill 484, sponsored by Rep. Mike Duffey, R-Worthington, would create the SharedWork Ohio program.
    The initiative would carve out a program for helping employers cut down on work hours in lieu of layoffs.
    Companies that participate in the venture would have to submit a plan to the director of the Ohio Department of Job and Family Services that satisfies specific requirements such as guidelines for giving advance notice about reduced work weeks.
    Under the bill, if a SharedWork program is approved, employees will maintain pension and health-care benefits and would be eligible to receive 26 weeks of unemployment benefits on a pro rata basis.
    Duffey said HB 484 was crafted to allow employers and employees to join forces to prevent potential layoffs.
    “This legislation addresses a system that is currently biased toward layoffs and instead fosters an environment of productivity and prosperity,” he said.
    “Shared work corrects an important imbalance in the current state-federal unemployment system because only layoffs qualify for unemployment.”
    Duffey said a bill similar to HB 484 stalled in the last General Assembly.
    The proposed legislation states that SharedWork plans would be good for a single year and requires any benefits paid to an individual to be charged only to the account of the participating employer.
    HB 484 also charges the ODJFS director with preparing and submitting a report to the state’s Unemployment Compensation Advisory Council evaluating the utilization and effectiveness of the program.
    “Avoiding layoffs is not only good for Ohio workers and their families, but also for employers who wish to keep their talented workforce ready for a return to full work,” Duffey said.
    “By sharing the burden of economic hardship, shared work exemplifies Ohioans’ reputation for willingness to help each other.”

    Duffey said shared work at the federal level began with President Ronald Reagan and, more recently, has been amplified by President Barack Obama and House Speaker John Boehner.
    “The history of shared work is one of bipartisanship and alliances across the political spectrum to help American workers to keep their jobs,” he said. “And this spirit is reflected in this bill.”
    Christopher Ferruso, legislative director of the National Federation of Independent Business/Ohio, has expressed the organization’s support of HB 484.
    “NFIB/Ohio recognizes the potential benefits of this tool allowing employers to keep their workforce employed and not potentially losing highly skilled, trained and valued workers that can be difficult to replace,” he said.
    “Although the circumstances that cause the need for utilizing the program created in the bill are unfortunate, we believe it is another option to simply letting employees go.”
    Ferruso said employers who would take advantage of the SharedWork program are experiencing a downturn and likely anticipate a return to normal operations.
    “The bill is permissive and it is our understanding that the bill requires an employer to assume the costs associated with charges to her/his unemployment account and thus those charges will not be mutualized across all other employer accounts,” he said.
    Policy Matters Ohio also has come out in support of HB 484.
    Hannah Halbert, Policy Matters Ohio policy liaison and workforce researcher, said shared work is a “proven layoff aversion tool.”
    “These programs increase the flexibility of the unemployment compensation system. Instead of allowing UC only to be paid to workers who are laid off, the program allows UC to also be paid to workers who face a reduction in hours,” she said.
    Halbert said there would be numerous benefits to signing HB 484 into law.
    “Employees can maintain much of their income, stay employed and retain their benefits. They are able to continue to meet their financial obligations and to contribute to their local economies. Employees can retain their health insurance and keep accruing retirement benefits,” she said, noting that the emotional hardship associated with layoffs would be averted.
    “Employers can retain skilled employees, avoid expensive retraining and rehiring, boost employee morale and be more easily able to gear up when demand recovers.”
    A co-sponsor of HB 484, Rep. Jim Buchy, R-Greenville, said he is pleased the bill has continued to move through the legislature.
    “Currently, unemployment is high and these people want to work. A job will give each man and woman the dignity that comes with a job,” he said.
    “Providing unemployment recipients the opportunity to work at a low cost to the employer benefits the employer and the employee by incentivizing workers to work at a lower-paying job while unemployment dollars subsidize the loss in income to the family.”
    In addition to NFIB/Ohio and Policy Matters Ohio, HB 484 has also been endorsed by the Ohio Chamber of Commerce and the Ohio Manufacturer’s Association.
    The bill had a hearing before the Senate Insurance, Commerce and Labor committee this week.

  2. New short-time working model, by Mats Kullander & Jon Halling, EIROnline: european industrial relations observatory on-line via eurofound.europa.eu/eiro
    STOCKHOLM, Sweden - A short working time model has recently been proposed jointly by social partners from the industrial sector. The proposed model, which is supported by both the government and the opposition, will make it possible for companies to retain employees at lower cost during difficult economic times. If implemented, the model would guarantee any employee affected at least 80% of their wages, and the cost would be borne by the employer, employee and the government.
    Background
    During the financial crisis in 2008 and 2009 social partners in the industrial sector reached agreements at local level that reduced working time and labour costs (SE0904029I, SE0906019I and SE0903019I). These agreements helped industry save between 12,000 and 15,000 jobs, according to the trade union IF Metall.
    However, the need for a permanent model that would more effectively help industry avoid mass redundancies during future economic crises has been voiced. As a result, in 2010 a bipartite project between the industrial sector’s social partners examined possible short working time models. This led to the proposed model presented on 16 February 2012.
    Proposed model
    The proposed model has a set of rules to determine when and how it would be used. The primary principle is that it should be used during a demand-driven crisis in the economy, and not during a structural crisis. For it to be activated, trade unions, employer associations and the government must all agree. Social partners at local level can then negotiate how it should be designed to fit the needs of individual companies.
    The short working time model would allow an employer to pay employees less for a maximum of 12 months, although they would be paid at least 80% of their usual wage. Exact income would depend on time worked:
    - employees working 80% of their usual hours would receive 90% of their usual wage, 80% of this to be paid by the employer and 10% by the government;
    - employees working 60% of their usual hours would receive 85% of their wage, 65% paid by the employer and 20% by the government;
    - those working 40% of usual hours would be paid 80% of their wage, 50% paid by the employer and 30% by the government.
    The amount that the employer would pay under this model consists of two parts; the first is a wage for the actual time worked, and the second a so-called short-time compensation, which would be exempt from social taxes.
    The model is designed to have no effect on the social insurance system. Any social insurance payments made would not be based on reduced working hours. Furthermore, because the short working time model would be in place for such a short period, it would have a minimal effect on pension contributions. Employees would be expected to use their extra free time to undergo relevant training. As it is unrealistic to expect companies to pay for training during an economic crisis, it is proposed that this training be publicly funded. The intention is that both employees and companies would exit the crisis in a stronger position.
    Broad support for the model
    Shortly after the announcement of the proposed short working time model, representatives from the ruling coalition announced their support in an article in the newspaper DN (in Swedish). ‘This is a system that we would like to have in place if we are hit by a crisis such as the one in 2008,’ Finance Minister Anders Borg commented just after the announcement.
    It has also won broad support among trade unions and employer associations in Sweden.
    Veli-Pekka Säikkälä, Collective Bargaining Secretary of IF Metall, expressed the widely held views of many about the urgent need for such a model, saying in a press article by DN (in Swedish):
    A short working time model would provide security for employees during economic crises as employers would not need to get rid of as many employees.
    Commentary
    The proposed model has been designed by studying similar short working time models in Finland, the Netherlands and Germany (11/08/2010) (EU1010021I). It will diminish the competitive disadvantage Swedish companies experienced during previous crises and help them remain competitive during future crises.
    The broad support for the model means there is a good chance that it would be successful in the long term. A short-time working model that has governmental support might therefore be the first step towards a system where the government actively collaborates with social partners when dealing with labour market policies.
    Mats Kullander and Jon Halling, Oxford Research

  3. Swedish working week hits historic 26 hour high, TheLocal.se
    Swedes are working more hours today than at any point in the last two decades, according to a new study, which found that Swedes today work nearly one hour more per week on average than they did in 2006.
    STOCKHOLM, Sweden - Using data from Statistics Sweden, the Confederation of Swedish Enterprise (Svenskt Näringsliv – SN) looked at the number of hours worked by Swedes and how that figure has evolved since the current centre-right Alliance government took power in 2006.
    According to the group's calculations, the total number of working hours completed by Swedes aged 20 to 64 work works out to 26.2 hours per week on average, which is nearly an hour more compared to 2006.
    [The stupidity of the Puritan work-harder-and-longer instead of work-smarter-and-shorter goes on and on and on into the age of automation and robotics, spreading its economic flaccidity.]
    The group adds that the additional hours worked by Swedes is the equivalent of [ie: substitutes for, or wipes out] 120,000 new jobs, if one assumes no change in population.
    According to SN, the increased number of working hours per person in Sweden is larger than any other European country except for Germany and the Netherlands.
    It also means that Swedes today are working more hours per person that at any time since 1991.
    [With more automation and robotization than ever? That's economic suicide, as they're finding out.]
    "One hour per week is a big increase, especially if you consider the increase took place during a turbulent period which included a financial crisis and a global slowdown," Confederation of Swedish Enterprise economist Stefan Fölster said in a statement.
    Fölster credits a number of government "reforms" [our quotes] that have contributed to a better functioning labour market in Sweden, including in-work tax credits and reduced employers' fees.
    [Substituting longer workweeks per person for additional jobs=employed persons=funded consumers is NOT "a better functioning labour market."]
    "The reforms have paid off [to or for whom, exactly?], but now the government needs to keep up the pressure for reform and further strengthen the economy," said Fölster.
    However, union representatives fear the increase in working hours is simply a result of people who are already overworked working even more.
    "Our members tell us that they are working a lot more. Many are working during weekends and vacations when they really ou[gh]t to be off the clock in order to recover," Cecilia Beskow from the Unionen labour union told Sveriges Radio (SR).
    "The phone is always on and they are available round the clock, and that can affect people's health in the long run."
    [So it seems that Swedish employers are just as clueless as other employers in Europe who don't know what they're doing right in terms of shorter workweeks, more people employed, more domestic consumers with wages to spend, higher domestic consumer spending per capita to provide markets for these fog-brained employers, and more sustainable domestic investment targets for Swedish investors. The worsening effect of this lengthening of workweeks per person, even at the comparatively low level of 26 hrs/wk, may be seen from the following headline -]
    Sweden to jobless youth: "find work in Greece," 1/29/2013 TheLocal.se
    Sweden's government-funded employment agency on Monday launched a campaign encouraging unemployed Swedish youths to look for summer jobs in crisis-stricken Mediterranean countries including Spain and Greece.
    [Telling them to go where there are NO JOBS at all? KJ: When they're just pulling a switch cuz all the Spanish and Greeks are trying to find jobs in Northern Europe?! How stupid is that! Then there's this one -]
    One in four Swedish firms planning layoffs, 1/18/2013 TheLocal.se
    Every fourth Swedish company has listed staff cutbacks as a top priority as they struggle to remain profitable in 2013, according to report released on Friday.
    [And these -]
    'Getting a job in Sweden is about who you know' (11 Jan 13)
    [and even -]
    Sweden's minimum wages 'too high': OECD (17 Dec 12)
    [where with an adequately short workweek you don't need any minimum wages at all - the downward adjustment of the maximum workweek takes care of it. It creates an employer-perceived labor "shortage" and market forces responding to this "shortage" maintain and raise wages on a flexible and gradual basis with no gap at the bottom of the wage ladder to hinder new job-market entrants. So all in all, maybe it's time for Sweden to switch from a descriptive "average" 26.2-hour workweek to a prescriptive 26.2-hour-workweek overtime threshold with any incidence of overtime utilized for natural market-demanded job creation via smooth and automatic OT-to-training&hiring conversion. Employers of every country need to get it through their thick heads that they cannot depend on other employers or other countries or their own or other countries' tiny population of superwealthy to fund their own or their customers' customers in the age of exponential worksavings from automation and robotics and rigidly regulated overlong, pre-automation workweeks. "It's just YOU, babe!"]

  4. Triumph's short-time working: 389 affected in the Burgenland, burgenland.orf.at
    [Translation (of article below) by Bing Translator with cleanup by Phil Hyde (who tries not for seamlessly smooth English but for some retained flavor from the original Austrian German).]
    BURGENLAND, Austria - The Triumph firm ushered in short-time working at three locations in Austria since July.   389 seamstresses at the Oberpullendorf and Oberwart locations [in Burgenland] are thereby affected.
    Since July at all three sites, Oberpullendorf, Oberwart and Aspang, about 500 seamstresses are affected by the short-time working
    - an even higher number short-timed at Triumph.
    Of the 389 seamstresses working at the two affected Burgenland locations, the greater part come from the surrounding area. Of the 269 seamstresses in Oberwart, fewer than 30 are from Hungary. The seamstresses' loss of pay in Oberwart from the short-time working comes to 5-10% net according to the works councils; a seamstress earns an average of 7.50 euros gross per hour.
    Statement by Triumph
    In a first written statement, the Triumph firm explained the measure:
    "Along with many other textile enterprises, Triumph International AG with headquarters in Wiener Neustadt stands under the cloud of the current difficult market climate in Eastern Europe. The outcome of this is an international sales decline as well for Triumph's trading partners as for the enduser. This has led to a weak take-up of backlogs for the Austrian production areas that's been traceable for months."
    Originally four locations in the Burgenland
    Short-time working at Triumph is nothing new; already in 2009, short-time working was in force at two plants in Burgenland. After half a year, things were again changed over to normal worktime.
    The Triumph firm in the Burgenland has been in the headlines in the past again and again. Originally, there were four locations in the Burgenland. Besides Oberpullendorf and Oberwart, sewing was also done in Rechnitz (Oberwart district) and Schattendorf (Mattersburg district).
    Closure came in Rechnitz already in 1994; three years later the site in Schattendorf was closed. Then in 2010, a further location, more important for the Burgenland, was closed in Hartberg in Styria, Austria. Many Burgenland skills were affected. Most of the women there are now in a workhouse.
    50 years in lingerie and swimwear
    Triumph-International AG of Austria is a subsidiary of the Swiss Triumph Spiesshofer & Braun KG and for 50 years has manufactured among other things lingerie and swimwear.

    [Austrian original in German -]
    Triumph-Kurzarbeit: 389 Betroffene im Burgenland, burgenland.orf.at
    BURGENLAND, Austria - Die Firma Triumph hat in Österreich an drei Standorten ab Juli Kurzarbeit angemeldet. 389 Näherinnen an den beiden Standorten in Oberpullendorf und Oberwart sind davon betroffen.
    An den Standorten Oberpullendorf, Oberwart und Aspang sind ab Juli insgesamt rund 500 Näherinnen von der Kurzarbeit betroffen - mehr dazu in Kurzarbeit bei Triumph.
    An den beiden betroffenen burgenländischen Standorten arbeiten 389 Näherinnen, der Großteil kommt aus der näheren Umgebung. In Oberwart sind von 269 Näherinnen weniger als 30 aus Ungarn. Die Gehaltseinbußen der Näherinnen durch die Kurzarbeit betragen laut der Betriebsrätin in Oberwart fünf bis zehn Prozent netto, eine Näherin verdient im Durchschnitt 7,50 Euro brutto in der Stunde.
    Stellungnahme von Triumph
    In einer ersten, schriftlichen Stellungnahme begründet die Firma Triumph die Maßnahme:
    „Ebenso wie viele andere Textilunternehmen steht auch die Triumph International AG mit Sitz in Wiener Neustadt unter dem Einfluss des aktuell schwierigen Marktklimas in Ost Europa. Folge dessen ist ein internationaler Absatzrückgang sowohl bei Handelspartnern von Triumph als auch beim Endverbraucher. Dies hat zu einer seit Monaten spürbaren schwachen Entwicklung der Auftragsbestände für die österreichischen Produktionsbereiche geführt“.
    Ursprünglich vier Standorte im Burgenland
    Kurzarbeit bei Triumph ist nichts Neues, bereits im Jahr 2009 wurde an beiden burgenländischen Standorten Kurzarbeit angemeldet. Nach einem halben Jahr wurde wieder auf Normalarbeitszeit umgestellt.
    Die Firma Triumph im Burgenland ist in der Vergangenheit immer wieder in den Schlagzeilen gewesen. Ursprünglich gab es vier Standorte im Burgenland. Neben Oberpullendorf und Oberwart wurde auch in Rechnitz (Bezirk Oberwart) und Schattendorf (Bezirk Mattersburg) genäht.
    In Rechnitz war bereits 1994 Schluss, drei Jahre später wurde der Standort in Schattendorf geschlossen. Im Jahr 2010 wurde dann mit Hartberg in der Steiermark ein weiterer, für das Burgenland wichtiger Standort geschlossen. Viele burgenländische Arbeitskräfte waren betroffen. Der Großteil der Frauen ist dort weiter in einer Arbeitsstiftung.
    Seit 50 Jahren Dessous und Bademode
    Die Triumph-International AG Österreich ist eine Tochter der Schweizer Triumph Spiesshofer & Braun KG und fertigt seit 50 Jahren unter anderem Dessous und Bademode.


6/14/2012 – News bits about the timesizing alternative to downsizing, reinvented thousands of times every day in every recession by mainly mid- and small-size companies, but still an afterthought when any economy that's still around in 50 years will have long made it first and foremost - ( [commentary] by Phil Hyde ecdesignr@yahoo.ca unless otherwise initialed ) -

  1. Plan would cut hours at 27 local post offices, by Carol Vaughn, Tasley Eastern Shore News via DelmarvaNow.com
    ACCOMAC, Va., USA -- Twenty-seven post offices on Virginia's Eastern Shore would be open fewer hours each day under a new plan announced by the U.S. Postal Service that officials say could keep the nation's smallest post offices open.
    Two post offices, Marionville and Withams, would have their retail windows open only two hours a day, while another 18 would be open four hours and seven would have hours cut from eight to six.

    Access to the lobby and post office boxes and the towns' ZIP codes would remain unchanged.
    Post offices open four hours daily would be Assawoman, Capeville, Craddockville, Greenbackville, Greenbush, Hallwood, Harborton, Jamesville, Keller, Locustville, Mappsville, Nelsonia, Pungoteague, Quinby, Saxis, Townsend, Wachapreague and Willis Wharf.
    Those open for six hours would be Atlantic, Franktown, Horntown, Machipongo, Tangier, Tasley and Temperanceville.
    The strategy is an effort by the financially struggling Postal Service to keep small post offices open while at the same time cutting costs. The service estimates it could save a half billion dollars a year by linking customer use to the number of hours retail windows are open.
    The Postal Service receives no tax dollars for operating expenses.
    The plan according to a press release "complements existing alternatives," to small post offices -- those alternatives include providing rural delivery, contracting with local businesses to create village post offices or providing service from a nearby post office.
    The plan would be implemented over a two-year period and would not be completed until September 2014.
    "Meeting the needs of postal customers is, and will always be, a top priority. We continue to balance that by better aligning service options with customer demand and reducing the cost to serve," said Postmaster General and CEO Patrick R. Donahoe.
    "With that said, we've listened to our customers in rural America and we've heard them loud and clear -- they want to keep their post office open. We believe today's announcement will serve our customers' needs and allow us to achieve real savings to help the Postal Service return to long-term financial stability."
    The service also announced a voluntary early retirement incentive for more than 21,000 postmasters.
    The Postal Service will file a request for an advisory opinion on the reduction in hours plan with the Postal Regulatory Commission later this month.
    Residents in affected communities will be notified by mail of the date, time and location of community meetings to be held to review different options for their post offices -- including the reduction of window hours as well as the other alternatives.
    A survey conducted in February found 54 percent of rural customers prefer reducing hours, compared to 20 percent who favor [reducing] village post offices, 15 percent who prefer providing service at a nearby post office and 11 percent who favor rural delivery.
    The Postal Service announced in July 2011 that almost 3,700 post offices nationwide would be studied for possible closure.
    There are more than 31,000 retail post offices in the United States.
    The service placed a moratorium on closing postal facilities through May 15. A complete list of post offices affected nationwide is at http://about.usps.com/news/electronic-press-kits/our-future-network/welcome.htm.

  2. Nicola Family Therapy loses grant, cuts hours, by Jade Swartzberg, MerrittHerald.com
    NICOLA, B.C., Canada - Nicola Family Therapy will be forced to cut its hours at the end of June due to the loss of a $35,000 annual contract.
    The cut means the office won’t open on Fridays after June 30, and the agency will service 20 to 30 less individuals and families.
    “We had depended on this contract, which has been in place since 1996,” said Sue Sterling a volunteer member of the Nicola Family Therapy Board of Directors. “We found out at the end of May and we were quite shocked.”
    Nicola Family Therapy is a non-profit society that offers confidential family and individual therapy to people to help break the cycle of violence in homes and relationships.
    Besides the lost local contract, Nicola Family Therapy operates with three larger contracts through government ministries that allow the local non-profit organization to provide counselling at no cost to the community and surrounding area. However, Agency Director Sheri Bishop said there will be families or individuals that won’t qualify for free service with the loss.
    “There just aren’t many families that have the ability to pay for counselling,” said Sterling.
    Besides the loss to the community, Bishop said the loss will be felt by employees as well. In order to maintain all staff members, each employee will lose one day of work each scheduled week.
    “As a non-profit organization, our budget is so tight, the only place we have to cut is staff wages — everything else is fixed,” said Bishop. “When you work in non-profit, you do the work because you are passionate, but it’s a struggle to keep qualified staff at this rate of pay.”
    Still, she said the biggest concern is the impact that closing on Fridays will have on the community. Since opening in 1993, Nicola Family Therapy has serviced 3,500 people. Bishop alone saw 60 individuals last month.
    So, with a goal to return to full time hours as soon as possible, Nicola Family Therapy employees and volunteer board members are kicking off a fundraising campaign to recoup revenue lost from the contract.
    Besides applying for grants and looking for local sponsorship, the organization will be hosting several fundraising events including a baron of beef dinner and silent auction at the Lower Nicola Community Hall on Sept. 29 and an evening of entertainment on Dec. 1.
    Fundraising had already been in the plans to generate funds for men and couples services, said Bishop, but now the first goal is to return to the status quo and open full time.
    To make a donation or get involved with fundraising contact the office at 378-9222.

  3. COMET plans to temporarily introduce short-time working in the Plasma Control Technologies product area on July 1, 2012..., (6/13 late pickup) press release via TMCnet via knowledge-management.tmcnet.com
    FLAMATT, Switzerland - COMET plans to temporarily introduce short-time working in the Plasma Control Technologies product area on July 1, 2012; increase in new orders expected at the end of the third quarter. After an increase in orders from the semiconductor industry in the first quarter of 2012, demand in the Plasma Control Technologies product area has dropped off in the second quarter. This decrease in demand is also due to a lack of investment because of surplus capacity and the postponement of projects by our clients in the flat panel and solar markets.
    The COMET Group is expecting, however, that new orders will rise again toward the end of the third quarter as the semiconductor industry experiences an upturn.
    For COMET, short-time working is the instrument to bridge the temporary downturn in orders, keep staff employed and prepare for the next upturn. The move affects 53 employees in the Operations area at Plasma Control Technologies in Flamatt.
    Media Relations: Ines Najorka & Flavia Nicolai Corporate Communications T +41 31 744 99 96 / 97 media.relations@comet.ch


6/13/2012 – News bits about the timesizing alternative to downsizing, reinvented thousands of times every day in every recession by mainly mid- and small-size companies, but still an afterthought when any economy that's still around in 50 years will have long made it first and foremost - ( [commentary] by Phil Hyde ecdesignr@yahoo.ca unless otherwise initialed ) -

  1. Rural post offices [in Arizona] to cut hours - Arizona City's Post Office not on the list, Arizona City Independent via TriValleyCentral.com
    ARIZONA CITY, Ariz., USA - The U.S. Postal Service announced a new strategy last month that could keep the nation’s smallest Post Offices open for business, while providing a framework to achieve significant cost savings as part of the plan to return the organization to financial stability.
    The plan would keep the existing post offices in place, but with modified retail window hours to match customer use. Access to the retail lobby and to PO Boxes would remain unchanged, USPS spokesperson for Arizona Peter Hass said, and the town’s ZIP Code and community identity would be retained.
    “Meeting the needs of postal customers is, and will always be, a top priority. We continue to balance that by better aligning service options with customer demand and reducing the cost to serve,” said Postmaster General and CEO Patrick R. Donahoe. “With that said, we’ve listened to our customers in rural America and we’ve heard them loud and clear – they want to keep their Post Office open. We believe today’s announcement will serve our customers’ needs and allow us to achieve real savings to help the Postal Service return to long-term financial stability.”
    The full changeover of revised post office schedules for 13,167 post offices across the country is planned using a two-year, multi-phased approach by 2014. It is estimated that a reduction in hours for rural post offices, including 48 in Arizona that are all currently operating eight hours a day, would save the USPS about $500 million a year.
    That is more than a previous proposal to shut down over 3,000 rural American post officers, which would have netted only about $200 million a year.
    While Eloy has been spared the chopping block, a number of more rural post offices in the state will be working under the new proposed scheduling, including a local office in Red Rock, which was established in 1897 and serves 600 delivery and post office customers.
    Going from eight-hour days to six-hour days by 2014 will be: Aguila, Tacna, Bylas, Peridot, Roosevelt, Young, Arivaca, Elfrida, McNeal, Naco, Pirtleville, Cameron, Joseph City, Polacca, Jerome, Kirland, Supai, and Yucca.
    Going from eight hours to four-hour days will be: Hayden, Red Rock, Valley Farms, Arlington, Gadsden, Wenden, Wikieup, Central, Fort Thomas, Solomon, Bowie, Cochise, Dragoon, Mount Lemmon, Pomerene, Rillito, Clay Springs, Fort Apache, Greer, McNary, Nutrioso, Pinedale, Hotevilla, Kykotsmovi, Second Mesa, Skull Valley, Chloride, Oatman.
    Going from eight-hour days to two will be Topawa. Sasabe will be going from six hours down to two.

    “The USPS does not get tax dollars for operating expenses, and relies on the sale of postage, products and services to fund its operations,” Hass explained regarding the decision to cut hours. Over time, some USPS mailing options have become less popular, and so has the revenue for keeping offices running 9-5, five days a week.
    “But this is not going to happen tomorrow,” Hass explained. “There will be an announcement to the customers about a community meeting prior to those changes taking place.” Dates for those community meetings have not yet been set.
    “The Postal Service is committed to serving America’s communities and providing a responsible and fair approach for our employees and customers,” said Megan Brennan, USPS Chief Operating Officer. “The Post Offices in rural America will remain open unless a community has a strong preference for one of the other options. We will not close any of these rural Post Offices without having provided a viable solution.”
    The Postal Service will provide an opportunity for the Postal Regulatory Commission (PRC) to review this plan prior to making any changes. Community meetings would then be conducted to review options in greater detail. Communities will be notified by mail of the date, time and location of these meetings.
    This new option complements existing alternatives, which include:
    Providing mail delivery service to residents and businesses in the affected community by either rural carrier or highway contract route; contracting with a local business to create a Village Post Office; and offering service from a nearby Post Office.
    A voluntary early retirement incentive for the nation’s more than 21,000 non-executive postmasters was also announced.
    Survey research conducted by the respected Opinion Research Corporation (ORC) in February, showed 54 percent of rural customers would prefer the new solution to maintain a local Post Office. Forty-six percent prefer one of the previously announced solutions (20 percent prefer Village Post Office, 15 percent prefer providing services at a nearby Post Office, 11 percent prefer expanded rural delivery). This strategy would enable a town to possibly have a Post Office with modified hours, as well as a Village Post Office.
    In addition to maintaining a retail network of more than 31,000 Post Offices, the USPS also provides online access to postal products and services through usps.com and more than 70,000 alternate access locations.

  2. Is work sharing an answer for high unemployment? by James Pethokoukis, The Enterprise Blog via http://blog.american.com
    [This is the wrong question, as will be seen from the quotations. The right question is, Is worksharing a way of preventing higher unemployment?]
    WASHINGTON, D.C., USA - Economist Barry Eichengreen [says yes]:
    The United States today is facing a crisis of long-term unemployment unlike anything it has seen since the 1930’s. …
    What is not well known, however, is that in the 1930’s, the United States, to a much greater extent than today, succeeded in mitigating these problems. Rather than resorting to extensive layoffs, firms had their employees work a partial week. The average workweek in manufacturing and mining fell from 45 hours in 1929 to 35 hours in 1932. We know this from a 1986 article by my Berkeley colleague James Powell and his co-author, none other than – wait for it – Ben Bernanke.
    The 24% unemployment reached at the depths of the Great Depression was no picnic. But that rate would have been even higher had average weekly hours for workers in manufacturing remained at 45. Cutting hours by 20% allowed millions of additional workers to stay on the job. They continued to earn an income.
    [They continued near-normal levels of economy-supporting consumer spending.] They continued to acquire skills. They had hope and the possibility of advancement.…
    An individual today, faced with the option of working 20 hours a week or drawing unemployment benefits, might be tempted by the latter. But, back in the 1930’s, before unemployment insurance, 20 hours was better than nothing.
    Of course, unemployment insurance replaces only a fraction of most workers’ previous wages, which suggests that its effect in this regard is not very strong. But, even if unemployment insurance does not discourage work-sharing, it could be restructured to encourage it. Partial benefits could be paid to workers on short hours, rather than limiting payments to those who are fully unemployed. The program would at least partly pay for itself, with additional payments to workers on short hours offset by lower unemployment (and thus lower payments to those who are completely without work).
    Other countries have gone further. In Germany, for example, the federal government’s Kurzarbeit program makes up a significant fraction of the difference when, owing to short hours, a worker’s earnings fall by more than 10%.

    Would such a strategy work? [- that's not in question - It DID work in the Depression, period.] Here is one study looking at the German system [that says no, but it is totally irrelevant because it goes beyond German worksharing (alias Kurz-arbeit), which also DID work, to weekly hours reduction without overtime-to-jobs conversion - and weekly hours reduction without a good OT-to-jobs conversion design is meaningless]:
    In this paper we estimate the employment effects of a reduction in weekly normal hours in West German manufacturing on the basis of an econometric models using industry panel data. We distinguish between unskilled, skilled and high-skilled workers and show that labor demand elasticities [not to mention skill-supply elasticities without OT-to-TRAINING&hiring conversion with respect to real wages [wages are irrelevant here] differ significantly between these three skill groups. Given wages [irrelevant here], the direct employment effect of a reduction in weekly normal hours is negligible for all three groups [because the strategy has been deprived of its core OT-to-t&j conversion feature, duh]. However, taking the adjustment of wages into account, which compensates workers to some extent for lost income due to the reduction of working hours, the net employment effect becomes negative on average [which of course is totally contradicted by German experience which brought unemployment levels down to 1992 levels when things picked up a bit after the downturn - Pethokoukis needs to do his homework and, for example, talk to Kevin Hassett of the...wait for it...American Enterprise Institute, who favors worksharing]. Due to their relatively large wage elasticity, this negative effect is particularly strong for the unskilled. Work sharing by means of general hours-reductions can thus not be considered an adequate policy to reduce unemployment.
    [Nobody is claiming it is. It REQUIRES systemwide OT-to-training&hiring conversion at its core.]
    And another [that says no, also irrelevant for the same reason]:
    This paper reviews the theoretical arguments and the empirical evidence on the effects of reduced weekly working time on unemployment. Given the prominence in the European popular discussion, the scientific literature is astoundingly thin on the topic. The main findings can be summarized as follows: There are theoretical arguments that can form the basis for a positive effect on employment in response to a reduction in working time. However, they rest on strong assumptions that appear counterfactual [appearance is not scientific]. Econometric studies show little or negative effects on employment in Germany [econometric studies are theoretical; actual German economic experience with Kurz-arbeit is dramatically positive, minimizing unemployment growth and facilitating the ability of Germany to take advantage of minor "recovery" to the tune of reducing unemployment to 1992 levels]. Only a set of simulation studies predicts a positive employment effect [and only a set of simulation studies aka econometric studies "show" little or negative effects, hello!] – but again, they appear to rest on counterfactual assumptions [and again, appearance is not scientific]. Hence, while the reduction of work hours may have increased workers’ utility – a legitimate goal of the unions – it does not appear to be justified as a cure against unemployment [a totally unjustified conclusion on the basis of the unscientific rhetoric that this unnamed source has been spinning].
    And this one [that says no, also irrelevant for the same reason]:
    Worksharing is considered by many as a promising public policy to reduce unemployment.
    [No it is NOT. It is only a proven-by-experience public policy to stop the increase of unemployment by avoiding layoffs. In other words, worksharing is purely a promising public policy to prevent raising unemployment by avoiding layoffs. If you want a policy that reduces unemployment, you need something like timesizing, which starts with a market-oriented conversion of chronic overtime into overtime-targeted&funded jobs (and training whenever needed) and ends with a market-determined workweek; that is, once overtime-to-jobs conversion is fully implemented and working smoothly, the "full time" workweek is gradually reduced as much as necessary to reduce market-produced un(der)employment, or raise domestic consumer spending, to any desired level. Basically first you stop rising unemployment-welfare-disability-crime by enforcing your existing 40-hour workweek max by converting OT into training&&hiring; then you stop the private sector from hypocritically relying on taxpayers to upsize/grow the markets it's constantly weakening by downsizing its own best customers, its employees - and their dependents.]
    This paper reviews the most pertinent theoretical and recent empirical contributions to the literature on worksharing. Next, we provide new empirical evidence [an "analysis" is NOT "empirical evidence"!!!] on this issue by a longitudinal cross-country analysis [= theoretical (and biassed)] of the long-run effects [into the future and therefore plainly non-empirical] of a reduction in working hours [a general hours reduction is NOT worksharing, which is only ad-hoc hours reductions to avoid layoffs] on employment and wages, exploiting aggregate data for 16 OECD countries. The conclusions of the theoretical literature survey are indecisive: the efficacy of worksharing as an employment enhancing policy tool depends heavily on the setting in which the analysis takes place. In line with recent empirical studies [WHAT empirical studies??? - this writer is pretending that computer models are empirical!], our results [you don't HAVE any results!] do not support the proposition that worksharing promotes employment [=unsupported and prejudged conclusion]. The results show a positive direct effect on employment of a reduction in working hours [now he's arguing on the other side!]. However, taking into account indirect effects, in particular the upward effects on wages [irrelevant except to fund domestic consumption, which is positive], we find that the long-run effect becomes small and insignificant [you don't FIND anything based on a computer model with questionable inputs].

    This study from Rutgers is a bit more positive:
    Starting in 1985, (West) German unions began to reduce standard hours on an industry-by-industry basis, in an attempt to raise employment [starting in 1840, American unions began to reduce standard hours ditto ditto ditto, resulting in a 10-hour day by 1865 and five 8-hour days in 1940]. Whether this ”work-sharing” works [this is not Kurz-arbeit worksharing] is theoretically ambiguous [would you like to test the ambiguity by going back to the 12-hour day and the 80-hour workweek, and see how much employment you have left? I'M CALLING YOUR BLUFF!]. I exploit the cross-industry variation in standard hours reductions to examine their impact on actual hours worked, wages, and employment. Analysis [theoretical] of industry-level data suggests that ”work-sharing” may have reduced employment in the period 1984-1994 [pure bias-vulnerable theory]. Using individual data from the German Socio-Economic Panel, I substantiate the union claim of ”full wage compensation:” the hourly wage rose enough to offset the decline in actual hours worked [= a good thing because there was then a negligible reduction in German domestic consumer spending].
    It seems to me the economy needs to continue its process of shifting labor to where it can be used most productively [which IS NOT HAPPENING in the mass layoff environment of the USA but DOES happen with OT-targeted&funded conversion to training&hiring]. And while that may take time, it shouldn’t be stopped [mass layoffs do not even START it - there's nothing started to stop!]. This is what Arnold Kling calls The Recalculation Story [a "story" has no authority beside HISTORY]. What government should be doing is creating as much of a pro-growth environment as possible [oh dear, just another hypocritical capitalist who wants government to make up for the private sector's self-destructiveness - while defunding government by trying to reduce taxes = pathetic. These morons keep trying to argue against actual positive history using theoretical negative conclusions from cooked computer models - talk about suicidal tendencies].


6/12/2012 – News bits about the timesizing alternative to downsizing, reinvented thousands of times every day in every recession by mainly mid- and small-size companies, but still an afterthought when any economy that's still around in 50 years will have long made it first and foremost - ( [commentary] by Phil Hyde ecdesignr@yahoo.ca unless otherwise initialed ) -

  1. US unemployment: some lessons in sharing from the Great Depression - In the 1930s US firms, rather than resorting to extensive layoffs as in the current crisis, had their employees work a partial week, by Barry Eichengreen, The Manchester Guardian via guardian.co.uk
    BERKELEY, Calif., USA - The United States today is facing a crisis of long-term unemployment unlike anything it has seen since the 1930s. Some 40% of the unemployed have been out of work for six months or more, which, as US Federal Reserve board chairman Ben Bernanke noted in a recent speech, is far higher than in any other post-second world war recession.
    This crisis of long-term unemployment is having a profoundly damaging impact on the lives of those bearing the brunt of it. We know this thanks to a series of careful studies of the problem conducted in the depths of the 1930s Great Depression.
    The most famous such study, of the long-term unemployed in New Haven, Connecticut, was conducted by E Wight Bakke, a graduate student and subsequently a professor of economics at Yale University. Through participant interviews, personal observation, time diaries, and longitudinal studies, Bakke showed how extended spells of unemployment caused workers' skills to deteriorate and made it difficult for them to acquire new ones. The long-term unemployed also experienced a variety of physical and psychological problems, among them demoralisation, apathy, and a sense of social isolation.
    For those unfortunate enough to experience it, long-term unemployment – now, as in the 1930s – is a tragedy. And, for society as a whole, there is the danger that the productive capacity of a significant portion of the labour force will be impaired.
    What is not well known, however, is that in the 1930s, the United States, to a much greater extent than today, succeeded in mitigating these problems. Rather than resorting to extensive layoffs, firms had their employees work a partial week. The average working week in manufacturing and mining fell from 45 hours in 1929 to 35 hours in 1932. We know this from a 1986 article by my Berkeley colleague James Powell and his co-author, none other than – wait for it – Ben Bernanke.
    The 24% unemployment reached at the depths of the Great Depression was no picnic. But that rate would have been even higher had average weekly hours for workers in manufacturing remained at 45. Cutting hours by 20% allowed millions of additional workers to stay on the job. They continued to earn an income. They continued to acquire skills. They had hope and the possibility of advancement.

    Why was there so much work-sharing in the 1930s? One reason is that government pushed for it. In his memoirs, President Herbert Hoover estimated that as many as two million workers avoided unemployment as a result of his efforts to promote work-sharing.
    Second, legislation encouraged it. The industrial codes of the New Deal set ceilings on the workweek for specified industries and workers. The Fair Labour Standards Act provided financial incentives by requiring overtime pay for employees working long hours.
    Third, there was no unemployment insurance to discourage it. An individual today, faced with the option of working 20 hours a week or drawing unemployment benefits, might be tempted by the latter. But, back in the 1930s, before unemployment insurance, 20 hours was better than nothing.
    Of course, unemployment insurance replaces only a fraction of most workers' previous wages, which suggests that its effect in this regard is not very strong. But, even if unemployment insurance does not discourage work-sharing, it could be restructured to encourage it. Partial benefits could be paid to workers on short hours, rather than limiting payments to those who are fully unemployed. The program would at least partly pay for itself, with additional payments to workers on short hours offset by lower unemployment (and thus lower payments to those who are completely without work).
    In fact, the US already has something along these lines: a programme known as Short-Time Compensation. Workers can collect unemployment benefits pro-rated according to their hours when their employer submits an approved work-sharing plan, while the federal government compensates the states for a portion of the set-up costs. At last count, 24 states have begun adapting their unemployment-insurance systems to take advantage of the measure.
    Unfortunately, the financial incentives that the federal government provides are mainly limited to helping the states to advertise and automate their programmes. And those programmes, in turn, are too modest, especially for senior workers with a reasonable expectation of remaining in a full-time job, to make work-sharing an attractive option.
    Other countries have gone further. In Germany, for example, the federal government's Kurzarbeit (short work) programme makes up a significant fraction of the difference when, owing to short hours, a worker's earnings fall by more than 10%.
    The US federal government could emulate this example by compensating the states more generously for their Short-Term Compensation programmes. Its failure to do so not only inflicts avoidable pain and suffering on the unemployed, but also threatens to inflict long-term costs on American society.
    Barry Eichengreen is professor of economics and political science at the University of California, Berkeley.

  2. Shared-Work Program, Workforce Development Newsletter May 2012 via Pennsylvania Career Link Delaware County via delcoworks.org
    MEDIA, Pa., USA - In March, Pennsylvania started a new Shared-Work Program for local employers. Instead of laying off employees, employers can have employees work a reduced amount of hours. These employees then receive some of their unemployment benefit for that pay period. This new program is a great alternative to a full lay off of staff. If you are interested in participating in this program, please call 877-785-1531 or visit this site.
    If your company is planning on laying off several employees, and you are considering a re-employment service, PA CareerLink® Delaware County can help. PA CareerLink® can offer your former employees job search, resume and interview assistance. These services come at no cost to you or your former employees. Call Marge Mirarchi at 610-619-9912 to learn more today.

  3. Premier Rae was ahead of his time, by Steve Paikin, OttawaCitizen.com (nice catch, Gail Stewart of Ottawa!)
    OTTAWA, Ont., Canada - It’s been nearly 20 years since Bob Rae unveiled perhaps the most controversial proposal he ever advanced as premier of Ontario.
    If you don’t remember the economic environment we were in, let me tweak your memory, because it’s eerily reminiscent of what we’re going through today.
    [And it will continue to be so, until we implement a sophisticated version of Bob's Rae Days.]
    Deficits were hitting unprecedented heights. Revenues were crashing. Unemployment was going up. Economic growth rates had been anemic, then tanked and brought in one of the worst recessions since the Great Depression.
    Rae made plain in his government’s first budget that he had a choice to “fight the deficit, or fight the recession, and we choose to fight the recession.” Essentially, he cranked up government spending to record levels in hopes of doing what the private sector wouldn’t or couldn’t do, namely, spur on some economic growth that could create some jobs.
    But interest rates weren’t almost at zero as they are today, and the cost of Rae’s borrowing was significantly higher.
    So, his government came up with an idea that, it turns out, would achieve two things: first, it would save jobs, and second, it would utterly alienate Rae from his [extremely ignorant and self-destructive] support base. He did it anyway with the full support of his cabinet. Not a single member resigned, not even the labour minister.
    The idea was the Social Contract. It was part of a so-called three-legged stool the government created to deal with some impossible economic numbers.
    Leg 1: raise taxes to boost revenues. Leg 2: cut spending, after having primed the pump. And Leg 3: try to negotiate $2 billion in savings from public servants by having them take a bunch of unpaid days off work.

    [= one day off a month, the famed "Rae Days," which suicidal unionists and backstabbing backroom NDPers roasted him for, and essentially drove this golden boy out, back into the Liberal Party to the great loss of the NDP. Wudda buncha dopes. Here it is, you morons. Try to remember this: If labor can only get ONE of its two historic goals of shorter hours and higher pay, and it's higher pay, labor winds up with neither, because it's bucking market forces and just pinning an artificially high price on a surplus commodity = itself, labor. But if it can only get one and it's shorter hours, it winds up getting BOTH, because shorter hours harnesses market forces to reward a shortage commodity = itself. Get that through your dumdum heads! This backstabbing by backroom NDPers was even stupider than when the Dems abandoned Howard Dean when he let out that whoop - and they should have all immediately taken it as their war cry. Gawd, why are "progressives" always fighting their own interests? Oh yeah, Yeats: "The worst are full of a passionate intensity | While the best lack all conviction." and intelligence and strategy...]
    It was either that or fire tens of thousands of them in the middle of a recession to find that $2 billion.
    I was working for TVO at the time and thus caught in the Social Contract issue. To me, it made sense to take the unpaid time off work, rather than see thousands of my fellow provincial employees fired. But my view was decidedly in the minority.
    People who worked in the private sector seemed anxious to see a lot of public servants fired. The private sector had already faced a painful downsizing and they didn’t see why the public sector should be spared a similar experience.
    Politically, it probably would have made Rae look tougher to downsize the civil service, and I don’t know a politician who doesn’t mind looking tough.
    We now know the fallout: the unions felt betrayed, thought Rae should have gone after corporations and rich people to get that money, and even urged him to default on portions of Ontario’s debt to save money. Rae showed considerable guts in abrogating collective agreements once the negotiations broke down. His government simply legislated the cuts provided for in the Social Contract. But it also meant his hopes of re-election were non-existent, since his base had now all but abandoned him.
    What’s happened since the Social Contract? In fact, far from being a discarded “one-off” experiment, it seems to have somewhat caught on.
    When the state of California was facing similar budget crunches during Arnold Schwarzenegger’s governorship, The Governator brought in his own version of the Social Contract to save money and jobs. And today, the current governor, Jerry Brown, is also experimenting with similar ideas.
    And it’s not just the public sector. The Globe and Mail inexplicably saw its advertising revenues fall off a cliff recently. The change was so dramatic that the paper offered its employees a version of the Social Contract in response. A handful of people have decided to take three months (unpaid) off work, while others will sprinkle four days of unpaid leave throughout the year.
    The hope, again, is to avoid having to fire a lot of people, and instead, find necessary savings in the midst of an uncertain economy.
    So, 20 years later, why don’t we just admit it: Bob Rae was right. But probably too far ahead of his time for his own political good.
    Steve Paikin is anchor and senior editor of The Agenda With Steve Paikin (theagenda.tvo.org).


6/10-11/2012 – News bits about the timesizing alternative to downsizing, reinvented thousands of times every day in every recession by mainly mid- and small-size companies, but still an afterthought when any economy that's still around in 50 years will have long made it first and foremost - ( [commentary] by Phil Hyde ecdesignr@yahoo.ca unless otherwise initialed ) -

  1. Work sharing get's nod, 6/10 Observer & Eccentric Newspapers via hometownlife.com
    SOUTHFIELD, Mich., USA - Sen. Vincent Gregory, D-Southfield, and Rep. Jim Ananich, D-Flint, praised passage by the Senate Reforms, Restructuring and Reinventing Committee of Senate Bill 1094, legislation sponsored by Sen. Bruce Caswell, R-Hillsdale, to implement a work-sharing program in Michigan to help part-time workers.
    The bills reportedly closely mirror legislation introduced by Gregory and Ananich in 2011, Senate Bill 697 and House Bill 4516, respectively.
    Similar to SB 1094, SB 697 and HB 4516 would create a work-sharing program for qualifying employers in Michigan that would allow for the payment of unemployment benefits to individuals whose wages and hours have been reduced. This would allow employees working part time to also collect unemployment benefits and enable companies to retain multiple employees rather than laying them off.
    Work-sharing has proven to be an effective tool in other states to reduce unemployment and help part-time workers stay afloat, according to a press release. It has also enabled businesses in other states to keep their payroll commensurate with their production and adjust to downturns in demand without losing valuable employees.

  2. Shared work bill designed to help firms keep employees it might have laid off, by Amy Lane, 6/10 Crain's Detroit Business via crainsdetroit.com
    DETROIT, Mich., USA - Michigan employers faced with having to lay off valued employees could have a new alternative to help keep those workers.
    Under a bill moving through the Legislature, employers suffering a downturn and seeking to avoid layoffs could create "shared work" plans -- state-approved arrangements that would reduce workers' hours and allow them to receive limited unemployment benefits to help compensate for lost wages.
    The arrangement can help employers retain skilled workers in whom they have invested -- and who might find other work in Michigan or out of state if they were laid off, said Steve Arwood, director of the Michigan Unemployment Insurance Agency and deputy director of the Michigan Department of Licensing and Regulatory Affairs.
    "It comes across ... as a talent retention/skill retention program," Arwood said.
    Such programs exist in 23 states, Arwood said. In his December legislative message on talent development, Gov. Rick Snyder called on the Legislature to adopt such a measure. Sweetening the idea: federal funding for the unemployment benefits that would be paid.
    Provisions passed and signed into law in February as part of the federal Middle Class Tax Relief and Job Creation Act of 2012 provide for states to receive 100 percent federal funding of benefits paid under the plans, provided their work-share bills conform with federal requirements.
    The benefits would not be charged to the employer's unemployment insurance account, so the employer's UI tax rate would be unaffected by the increased benefit payouts.
    Arwood said the full federal funding is available through Aug. 22, 2015. He said he expects the Michigan legislation will conform with federal requirements and receive full funding.
    The federal funding negates any potential impact on the Michigan Unemployment Insurance Trust Fund, through which the state collects employer UI taxes and pays benefits.
    "We know that the net effect of these programs in most states is to increase benefit payout, and so that does have an effect on the trust fund," said Wendy Block, director of health policy and human resources for the Michigan Chamber of Commerce. "If the federal government is willing to pay for the program, it wouldn't have that same negative effect.
    "Our members are somewhat mixed. On one hand, they're concerned about trust fund solvency. But on the other hand, if there is a real threat to permanent layoff, this could actually help with trust fund solvency."
    Block said employers' key concerns have been addressed. Those include capping the duration of a shared-work plan at 52 weeks and allowing only "positive balance" employers -- those who have paid more in unemployment taxes than have had benefit claims charged against them -- to participate in the arrangement.
    Employers would have to meet several criteria, including certifying that the plan would be in lieu of temporary layoffs affecting at least 15 percent of the employees in a unit and would result in a corresponding reduction in work hours.
    Arwood said a unit might be an entire business, in the case of a small firm, or, with larger companies, might be a location, plant or operating division.
    Among the requirements, employers must:
    • Obtain approval from any applicable labor union.
    • Have paid wages for three years before applying for the shared-work plan.
    • Include in the plan an estimate of the number of layoffs that would be avoided.
    • Have at least two employees in the affected unit participating in the plan.
    • Reduce workers' hours no less than 15 percent and no more than 45 percent and apply the reduction to all participating employees equally.
    The shared-work plan cannot affect any employee's fringe benefits, like health insurance, retirement benefits or paid time off.
    Employers would apply to the UI agency before layoffs, and the agency would have 15 days to approve or deny applications.
    Benefit payment amounts would be a percentage of the full weekly UI benefit the worker would have received had he or she been laid off. For example, if a worker receives a 25 percent reduction in hours, he or she would get 25 percent of the unemployment benefit that would have been paid if laid off.
    The bill passed the Senate unanimously in May and is being discussed the House Commerce Committee, which on Tuesday adopted an amendment limiting the new state program's legislative authorization to three years. The legislation would take effect Jan. 1.
    [So I suppose we can't expect a state worksharing info webpage till Jan. to hotlink to our potentially allstate (&allcountry) worksharing page.)

  3. Fridays off: 4-day workweeks boost morale for some El Paso workers, by Vic Kolenc, 6/11 (6/10 late pickup) ElPasoTimes.com
    EL PASO, Tex., USA - ridays have become a holiday for some workers. El Paso City Hall workers get that week day off year-round; employees at area school districts get Fridays off in the summer; and some workers, such as Greater El Paso Chamber of Commerce employees, get Friday afternoons off.
    "I was probably the Grinch that stole Christmas. I was not excited about the idea" of employees having Friday afternoons off, said Richard Dayoub, president of the Greater El Paso Chamber of Commerce. "But now, I'm sold on it. The staff loves it. It's helped morale."
    Chamber employees have been taking Friday afternoons off for about a year.
    City Hall and school districts give employees Fridays off to save money on utility bills. But higher morale has been a side benefit.
    "It's a win-win situation for employees, and our bottom line," said Patricia Ayala, a spokeswoman for the Ysleta school district.
    Most employees who get Fridays or Friday afternoons off have to work longer hours during the rest of the week to make up for the time off.
    However, some employers give Friday holidays without adding extra hours during the week.
    The seven-member staff of Dr. Gary Mundy, an El Paso orthodontist, get Fridays off year-round and work a 32-hour week.

    Staff members get production bonuses, which make up for the lost work hours, Mundy said.
    Mundy said the stress of a dental practice is probably the reason many dental offices take Fridays or Friday afternoons off.
    "When you see patients all day long, 32 hours is about all you can do (in a week) and be productive," Mundy said.
    Betsy Keller, president-elect of the El Paso Society for Human Resource Management and human resources director for El Paso County government, said most studies show employees value time off. But they usually don't want to take less pay in exchange for shorter workweeks, she said.
    Tax-supported government agencies would have a difficult time letting employees have extra time off without requiring the time be made up with longer work days, Keller said.
    Four-day workweeks have pros and cons, she said.
    One factor that needs to be examined is whether people get more tired and less productive when they work 10-hour schedules for four days, she said.
    The positive side is an extra day off is a great motivator, she said. Another benefit is some businesses and government agencies can extend customer-service hours on the longer work days, Keller noted.
    Former El Pasoan Greg Cohen gets Friday afternoons off during the summer without having to work longer hours on other days.
    "Our CEO (Ed Brown) spearheaded it. He's a big proponent of work-life balance. He believes people work harder and are happier with their jobs with time away from the office," said Cohen, a Coronado High School graduate who works in Dallas as corporate communications director for The Patrón Spirits Co.

    The company, based in Las Vegas, sells Ultimat Vodka, which, as part of a "Find Balance. Find Ultimate" marketing campaign, had a survey done to determine who gets time off on summer Fridays.
    New York ad agencies in the 1960s instituted time off on Fridays during the summer because they noticed worker productivity dropped on the hot afternoons, Ultimat Vodka reported in a news release.
    Many ad agencies in New York, and even in other places, continue the Friday summer holidays, Cohen said. One large ad agency in Dallas gives Fridays off year-round, he noted.
    Ultimat Vodka's survey, done by Harris Interactive, found only 12 percent of employed adults work for companies with policies that give time off on Fridays during the summer. Employers in the Northeast are more likely to have such a policy than in other areas of the country, it found.
    "Some businesses, like stores, can't close on Fridays. For offices that can, I think it's a really nice perk to offer," Cohen said. "We hope the survey encourages employers" to consider letting employees have time off on Fridays, at least in the summer, he said.
    Ysleta and El Paso school districts close administrative offices and schools on Fridays during the summer to save money on utility bills. The El Paso district expects to save about $500,000 by being closed eight Fridays this summer and July 4-5. Ysleta expects to save more than $200,000 by closing seven summer Fridays this year. The savings don't include the week it closes for the July 4 holiday.
    The districts require employees to work 10-hour days Monday through Thursday in the summer to make up for having Fridays off.
    "This is a common practice among school districts throughout Texas," said Ayala, the Ysleta spokeswoman.
    While it's done to save money, Ayala said it also boosts employee morale.
    School districts closing on summer Fridays was one reason city of El Paso officials in 2009 did a pilot program closing City Hall on Fridays in the summer. Savings on utility and fuel bills and other benefits prompted City Council to approve closing City Hall on Fridays year-round. Some other administrative offices outside City Hall also close Fridays. City municipal court offices close Fridays in the summer.
    City Hall in May 2010 went to a permanent, 10-hour, four-day workweek, with Fridays off. That schedule cut utility and fuel costs about $430,000 a year, said Carmen Arrieta-Candelaria, the city's chief financial officer.
    A survey of city workers in 2010 found 61 percent of employees favored the shorter work week, 10 percent had no preference, and 30 percent would prefer to keep a five-day schedule.
    "We found there's a reduction in leave time, and sick time" since the four-day work week was instituted, Arrieta-Candelaria said.
    Mark Weber, neighborhood services coordinator for the city, said he likes having Fridays off. It makes it easier for him and his wife to take out-of-town weekend trips, it gives him more "me time" on Fridays because Saturdays are often for doing chores and Sundays are designated family time, he said.
    "I contribute more to the local economy. I used to do more shopping online. Now, I can go on Friday, and I tend to shop more at (local) stores," Weber said.
    Weber said his productivity also improved.
    It used to be easy to let a project hang for a couple of days until Monday, he said. Now, with a three-day weekend, Weber said he tends to push to get projects done by Thursday.
    "I notice other people that I work with, the attitude is, 'Let's get it done because we don't have Friday to work on it,' " Weber said.
    Vic Kolenc may be reached at vkolenc@elpasotimes.com; 546-6421. Follow him on Twitter @vickolenc.

  4. Short-time working had little effect [on individual participating companies] during 2008 crisis, 6/11 DutchNews.nl
    AMSTERDAM, Netherlands - Companies which took advantage of the government's short-time working scheme (wtc) during the economic crisis of 2008 and 2009 did no better than those that chose not to take part, government research showed on Monday.
    [Another example of "The Europeans don't even know what they're doing right." The point is not the effect on individual companies but the fact that saving employment and related domestic consumption during a downturn minimizes the downturn on the economy. And btw, did these researchers consider participating-company savings relative to a control group that downsized (instead of timesizing) and then tried to rehire when things picked up, incurring costs of (re)training? Probably not.]
    The scheme allowed companies to place their workers on unemployment benefit for a six-week period without having to sack them. The companies themselves topped up wages to 100%.
    The research shows that companies which used the scheme did not do 'any better than those which did not use the crisis measure' when it came to restoring turnover ["restoring turnover"? employee turnover? there's nothing good about that anyway!] and keeping employees once the crisis receded, reports news agency Novum.
    [The point is not keeping employees after the crisis recedes but DURING the crisis. This survey sounds biassed and stupid.]
    Employers who used the scheme are still positive about its effects, with 75% saying it preserved jobs, knowledge and experience. However, employees are less enthusiastic, with only one-third of respondents saying their job would have disappeared without the scheme.
    [How the heck are employees supposed to know whether their job would have disappeared? That's a question for employers, not employees. Again, this survey sounds biassed and stupid.]
    The government set aside €200m to fund the scheme, enough for 20,000 workers. It eventually cost €760m for nearly 122,000 workers.
    [And how much lost business did that save the economy? And if you don't like the cost to taxpayers, move on to full-fledged timesizing = taxing chronic overtime with an exemption for reinvestment in OT-targeted training&jobs, and whatever reduction in the nationwide workweek required to restore and maintain full employment and maximum domestic consumption, cuz domestic consumer spending is all you can count on these days.]


6/09/2012 – News bits about the timesizing alternative to downsizing, reinvented thousands of times every day in every recession by mainly mid- and small-size companies, but still an afterthought when any economy that's still around in 50 years will have long made it first and foremost - ( [commentary] by Phil Hyde ecdesignr@yahoo.ca unless otherwise initialed ) -

  1. Worksharing: New Developments during the Great Recession and Beyond*, by Jon Challenger & Naj Ghosheh, ILO Conditions of Work and Employment Programme via ilera2012.wharton.upenn.edu
    “ ‘[S]hort-time work’ (kurzarbeit) is fast becoming an international word…In 2009, our economy contracted by almost 5 per cent because we are so heavily dependent upon exports. And as our country basically does not have any natural resources, we had to pause and consider what it is that makes Germany strong…And it was clear that, on the one hand, our strength lies in our employers—not only our large companies, but also our small and medium-sized enterprises—and on the other hand, in our workers, who have often been with a company for a long period of time. We understood that it was vital to keep this bond between employers and employees during difficult times [and] we therefore introduced short-time work as an instrument proposed by the State…The good thing is that it all turned out well, simply because the companies believed that they had a future, and because the State was ready and willing to actually invest quite a lot of money into the programme…” - German Chancellor Angela Merkel at the 2011 International Labour Conference in Geneva, Switzerland
    GENEVA, Switzerland - Introduction
    The global financial crisis which first hit the United States in the autumn of 2008, and then the rest of the world shortly thereafter had a profound effect on the “real” global economy as well. A massive wave of reduced liquidity in the financial sector generated a negative macroeconomic shock which drove down aggregate demand in countries around the world to a degree unseen since the Great Depression—turning the global financial crisis into the Great Recession of 2008-2009 and a deep and lingering global jobs crisis as well. Governments responded with a range of economic policies: first and foremost, Keynesian macroeconomic fiscal stimulus, but also a variety of labour market policies, ranging from unemployment insurance to skill training and a variety of other types of employment assistance. Arguably, however, one of the most effective labour market responses to this crisis deployed by any country was Kurzarbeit: a German word meaning “short-time work”, which as German Chancellor Angela Merkel stated, is indeed “fast becoming an international word”. However, Kurzarbeit was merely the largest and the best known of many similar measures developed and implemented in a broad range of countries to promote reduced working hours in lieu of job cuts. These measures, which are known by a variety of different names in different countries, can collectively be referred to as work sharing.
    Work sharing is a labour market instrument based on the reduction of working time, which is intended to spread a reduced volume of work over the same (or a similar) number of workers in order to avoid layoffs.
    [How excruciating it seems for humans to have to talk themselves back into this obvious strategy which was their main gauge of progress from 1840 to 1940. OK, self-styled "intelligent species" - take it as slow as you like, but keep it on the table and nudge it toward the center, or centre, in British and Canadian (and Aussie?) spelling. Cuz we're going to keep going down until we just DO IT.]
    In the framework of national work sharing programmes, enterprises can receive benefits when they refrain from layoffs, and instead “share” the lower amount of available work by reducing the working hours of all their employees or all members of a specific work unit. Work sharing should not be confused with job sharing, which refers to a voluntary arrangement whereby two persons take joint responsibility for one full-time job; for example, a common form of job sharing is to split one full-time job into two part-time jobs.
    National work sharing policies attempt to alleviate problems for workers and employers while helping to keep firms going through hard economic times. First there is a cut in working hours and wages, which though not as bad as unemployment is still a hardship for workers. For this reason most countries with work sharing programmes have developed some type of wage supplement to replace part of the lost earnings. National work sharing programmes also establish specific time limits on the period of application of these programmes in order to minimise “deadweight” (the amount of public work sharing subsidies received by firms who would not have engaged in layoffs in any case) and displacement effects (i.e. a crowding out of emerging businesses and industries by existing, inefficient ones, which could potentially result from the public subsidies). Most work sharing programmes also include training and retraining activities to help workers upgrade their skills to improve their productivity, and if necessary, to new jobs as an economic recovery takes place.
    Interestingly, work sharing may also be linked with happiness. Working time is also considered to be an important contributor to individual well-being in the burgeoning new literature regarding the economics of happiness. The happiness literature uses an individual’s “reported subjective well-being as a proxy measure for individual welfare” (Frey and Stutzer, 2010, p. 3). In this literature, unemployment is universally found to be detrimental to happiness, not only due to reduced income, but also because paid work provides people with a sense of identity and opportunities for socialization, while ceteris paribus more work hours are positively associated with reported levels of happiness (ibid.; see also Commission on the Measurement of Economic Performance and Social Progress, 2007). By contrast, this is no longer the case when working hours become excessively long. Thus, part of the rationale for work sharing lies in the potential improvements in well-being for the overworked and the overemployed (those workers whose hours are long but could be shortened) as well as for those workers for whom unemployment (or underemployment) could be prevented or lessened via the jobs and hours gained from work sharing.
    History of Work Sharing
    Historically, the first work sharing agreements were in Germany - the epicentre of work sharing policies. These agreements regarding the reduction of working time with monetary compensation for the reductions (in some cases) were made back in 1881, and unemployment compensation, including short-time work benefits, was introduced at the beginning of the Weimar Republic in 1918 (Will, 2011, p. 3). With the establishment of a government employment agency in Germany in 1927, short-time work became one of its labour market policy tools, where (despite some changes in the institutional framework in the post-WWII period) it has remained to this day (ibid.).
    During the Great Depression, a wide range of work sharing initiatives, both industry-led and government-led, emerged in both Europe and North America. Work sharing in the US began with voluntary, business-led efforts to shorten working hours as an alternative to layoffs during the soaring unemployment of the early 1930’s, with strong support from the Hoover Administration. (Best, 1981). With the election of the Roosevelt Administration, a modified version of Depression-era work sharing became a major initiative (along with public job creation and unemployment insurance) to combat unemployment. The President’s Reemployment Agreement (PRA) announced in July 1933 encouraged individual firms to sign up and consisted of 3 parts: (1) shortening the workweek to 35 hours; (2) increasing hourly wages; and (3) legal recognition of workers’ rights to collectively bargain. During the period of post-war prosperity that followed WWII, the concept of work sharing faded into the background as the economies of Western countries boomed and generated a quantity of jobs that was sufficient to keep most of the developed world at or near full employment for nearly three decades. It was only with the “stagflation” that followed in the wake of the oil price shocks of the 1970’s that the reduction of working hours as an employment policy re-emerged as a major issue in these countries. And even then, the policy experimentation with working time reductions intended to create or preserve employment which occurred during that period was primarily in a handful of Western European countries, notably Belgium, Denmark, France, Germany, and the Netherlands.
    The onset of the Great Recession and the global jobs crisis that it spawned led to a dramatic re-emergence of work sharing as a labour market policy tool aimed at preserving existing jobs. Work-sharing programmes had already been implemented in a number of countries in the industrialized world prior to the onset of the global economic crisis, including: Austria, Canada, Belgium, France, Germany, Switzerland, the Netherlands, and small programmes in some individual states in the United States. Preserving jobs during the recent global crisis was also a top priority in many middle-income countries, which were particularly hard hit by job losses in their formal economy, often in export-oriented or consumer goods industries. These countries include: Argentina, Chile, Mexico, and Uruguay in Latin America; Bulgaria, the Czech Republic, Hungary, Romania, Slovakia, and Slovenia in Eastern Europe; and also South Africa and Turkey.
    Structure of the Volume
    This volume examines the resurgence in the interest in and use of work sharing as a job preservation strategy during the Great Recession, with the objective of learning lessons for the future from its successful use as a crisis-response measure in a number of countries. In addition, the volume will also consider the implications of the crisis experience for the application work sharing as an employment creation measure, thus contributing to the on-going debate on the efficacy of this form of work sharing. Chapter 1 provides an introduction to the background and history of work sharing as well as identifying how widespread versions of it have been applied at national level. Chapters 2 and 3 investigate the use of work sharing and related measures (e.g., working time accounts, establishment-level agreements) as a job preservation strategy in Europe during the crisis. It begins in Germany whose work sharing programmes [sic] was the largest in the world during the Great Recession, then in four other European countries (Austria, Belgium, France, and the Netherlands) that substantially revised and expanded their work sharing programmes during the crisis. Chapter 4 provides analysis of an Asian experience, Japan, a country which made extensive use of several mechanisms for the adjustment of working hours to avoid layoffs. Chapters 5 and 6 then review two of the new work sharing measures which emerged in a number of middle-income countries for the first time during the Great Recession. Chapter 5 analyses the Reduced Working Time Programme in Turkey, which was by far the largest work sharing measure in any developing country during the recession. Chapter 6 turns the focus to Latin America, and specifically to Uruguay, where two different instruments were implemented—one combining work sharing with training and the other sharing work by linking rotating, temporary layoffs with unemployment benefits. Chapter 7 explores the potential of work sharing not only as a strategy to preserve existing jobs, but also as a tool to create new employment by means of permanent reductions in working hours. This chapter will also consider the potential benefits of such “permanent” work sharing beyond its effects on employment and unemployment, including promoting improvements in individual well-being. Finally, the concluding chapter of this volume synthesizes the main findings of the preceding chapters and considers their implications for the future of work sharing—learning the lessons of the Great Recession, but moving beyond it toward the goal of promoting a sustainable, job-rich recovery.
    Conclusions
    The preponderance of the evidence presented in this volume demonstrates that one of the key lessons learned from the experience of work sharing programmes and measures during Great Recession is that cutting hours of work can have positive effects on employment levels during economic crises. Although available estimates of the employment effects of crisis work sharing measures vary considerably across countries—and even within countries as well—nearly all of them concur than crisis work sharing measures preserved jobs, typically with minimal deadweight effects. However, the design of the programme is crucial for making crisis work sharing measures effective.
    Work sharing as a measure designed to create new employment also involves a downward adjustment of hours of work. However, in this case the reduction of working hours is not being made in response to a decline in the demand for a firm’s products or services, but rather is the result of an explicit government policy. Such reductions in average hours of work can be achieved by different methods, ranging from legally-mandated reductions in the normal or standard legal workweek in a country to collective bargaining in specific industries to the use of tax incentives (e.g., reduced payroll taxes or tax credits) provided to companies which reduce the average workweek of employees in their enterprises on a weekly, monthly, or even an annual basis, or some combination of policies. Regardless of the specific method used, the objective of this form of work sharing is the same: to reduce average hours of work per worker in order to increase employment. However, there are a number of different factors (e.g., overtime leakages, productivity offsets, the existence of skills shortages in industries or occupations where hours are reduced, potentially increased unit labour costs, etc.) that might substantially reduce the extent to which reductions in hours of work are translated into new employment. Nonetheless, it appears that a reduction in average weekly hours could potentially induce employers to move more quickly to expand hiring than would otherwise have been the case.
    The proven job preservation effects and the potential job creation effects of work sharing programmes and measures are important reasons for considering the use of such measures. Their benefits to those who would be unemployed without work sharing are obvious. However, there are other potential benefits of such measures as well. For one thing, the existence of substantial portions of the workforce who are overworked (and thus more likely to experience health problems and work-life conflict) side-by-side with substantial proportions of the workforce who are unemployed or underemployed suggests that the current distribution of hours of work is less than optimal in many countries. Those workers who are most at risk of overwork (those suffering from symptoms of work-related fatigue and stress) could benefit from reduced hours. In addition, workers who are overemployed (that is, those who would prefer shorter hours of paid work even if it results in reduced earnings) could benefit from reduced hours as well. Both of these groups of workers could also potentially benefit from improved work-life balance due to shorter hours.
    All of this is not to say that work sharing is some sort of a magical “silver bullet”. However, as countries (particularly those with advanced economies) are discovering, regardless of their economic and fiscal policies economic growth is increasingly moving to the developing world. Perhaps this is simply inevitable, as countries which have lagged behind the West economically for various reasons are now starting to close the gap. While it is clear that work sharing cannot meet such an enormous challenge alone, it can be one of a number of measures which help to promote improved work-life balance, more sustainable economies, and ultimately, more equitable societies.
    ----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
    * The material in this brief paper is based on the forthcoming book “Work Sharing: New Developments during the Great Recession and Beyond” (© Messenger and Ghosheh, editors) which will be published in 2012. The material in both this presentation and the book are the views of the authors. The views, positions, and statements in this book (and brief paper) do not represent the position of the ILO, its constituents, or other affiliates; officially or unofficially; stated, unstated or implied.

  2. Teachers union and LA school district reach pact to save jobs, by Howard Blume, (6/08 late pickup) Los Angeles Times via http://latimesblogs.latimes.com
    LOS ANGELES, Calif., USA - The Los Angeles Unified School District and the teachers union reached a tentative agreement Friday that would prevent thousands of layoffs in exchange for one year of pay reductions.
    Under the accord, teachers would lose 10 days of pay and students would lose five days of their school year.
    The pact mirrors agreements reached by other employee unions.
    The agreement must still by ratified by teachers and approved by the L.A. Board of Education.
    “We are grateful to our labor partners for making this sacrifice on behalf of our youth,” said L.A. schools Supt. John Deasy in a statement. “This agreement will enable many of our valued employees to remain in the classroom next year.”
    The budget picture could be affected by the November election. That ballot will include two funding initiatives for public education. If approved, some of the funds may be used to restore the full academic year, which is typically 180 days.
    More than 9,000 teachers had faced layoffs as of June 30, with the school year drawing to a close.
    The teachers union, United Teachers Los Angeles, has estimated that even with an agreement, about 800 members still would lose jobs because of declining enrollment; others will be out of work because funding for some positions at schools has been lost or redirected.
    Union officials were not immediately available for comment.

  3. Re: CBO "Millions of jobs saved or created", only cost taxpayers $540,000 per job, posts by SamH, (6/08 late pickup) Catholic Answers via forums.catholic.com
    EL CAJON, Calif., USA - ... Jun 7, '12, 5:47 am; SamH, Senior Member; Join Date: June 10, 2009; Posts: 8,722; Religion: Catholic
    Quote Originally Posted by EmperorNapoleon: Underemployment is nothing but a measure of professional happiness; not a meaningful economic statistic. Its only "value" is that it serves as a partisan tool used to bludgeon the President every time someone boo-hoos to the BLS that they're not the CEO of a fortune 500 company.
    Where did you dream that one up?
    The BLS counts the underemployed in its U6 calcualtion. The U-6 measure counts persons employed part time for economic reasons are those working less than 35 hours per week who want to work full time, are available to do so, and gave an economic reason (their hours had been cut back or they were unable to find a full-time job) for working part time.
    ... Jun 8, '12, 11:50 am; SamH, Senior Member; Join Date: June 10, 2009; Posts: 8,722; Religion: Catholic
    Quote Originally Posted by ComputerGeek25: What would be interesting is to see the Mean / Median pay of people in a particular field/education level. If a PhD had to take a survival job, I would assume wages would go down. Or someone who spent years working as a Software Engineer, was laid off and had to take a job at a help desk to pay the mortgage.
    As long as they are working full time they are counted as employed are not "underemployed" or "unemployed". EmperorNapoleon's assertion that "underemployed" people are those that want a better job or higher paying job has no bearing on the government's counting. ...
    [And economic system requirements in the age of automation and robotization is that this 35-40 hour range defined as "working full time" be gradually adjusted downward as far as needed to restore "wartime prosperity" levels of full employment.]


6/08/2012 – News bits about the timesizing alternative to downsizing, reinvented thousands of times every day in every recession by mainly mid- and small-size companies, but still an afterthought when any economy that's still around in 50 years will have long made it first and foremost - ( [commentary] by Phil Hyde ecdesignr@yahoo.ca unless otherwise initialed ) -

  1. Too Much Faith in Markets Denies Us the Good Life, by Robert Skidelsky & Edward Skidelsky, Bloomberg.com
    WARWICK, U.K. - John Maynard Keynes’s generation of economists assumed that as people became more efficient at satisfying their wants, they would, and should as rational agents, work less and enjoy life more. Yet power relationships and the insatiability of human wants are such that we have maintained an ethic of acquisitiveness.
    International rivalries add fuel to the acquisitive fire. We are constantly being told to gear up to face further challenges, particularly from the Chinese and other poor but industrious peoples. But why, if we already have enough, should we strive for a larger presence in emerging markets?
    It is worth recalling that the ideal of economic growth as an end without end is of fairly recent origin. When British Prime Minister Harold Macmillan told the voters in 1959 that they had “never had it so good,” he was echoing the widely held view at the time that the capitalist countries of the West were rapidly approaching a consumption plateau, and the main problem of the future would be to ensure that the fruits of the new abundance were democratically distributed.
    Nevertheless, the perception of imminent bliss in the 1960s led to the restoration of Darwinian capitalism in the 1980s. And economic growth quickly and decisively came to trump all other objects of economic policy.
    Market Faith
    Margaret Thatcher (elected prime minister of the U.K. in 1979) and Ronald Reagan (elected president of the U.S. in 1980) added an essential ingredient to the philosophy of growth: an ideological faith in the market system. Faster growth would come from markets freed of red tape, lighter taxes and weaker trade unions. The Thatcher-Reagan philosophy also viewed increasing income inequality as acceptable insofar as it improved the incentives of the “wealth creators”: There would be a “trickle down” from rich to poor.
    It was the shift to a market-based philosophy of growth that inflamed the insatiability of wants -- by abandoning any interest in the social outcome of growth. The market was bound by the rule of law, but there was no longer any moral, political or cultural restraint on the individual pursuit of wealth. Keynes’s notion of satiety had no place.
    Such a system cannot work according to plan. It is both economically and morally inefficient. The Anglo-American system of the past 30 years, dominated by the financial-services industry, has been retained for the benefit of a predatory plutocracy that creams off the riches in the name of freedom and globalization.
    So, what intellectual, moral and political resources still exist in Western societies to reverse the onslaught of insatiability and redirect our purposes toward the good life?
    In many ways, the political economy of the first half of the 20th century was admirably tailored to realizing the good life. The problem was that it lost the language for describing itself in these terms. This is the main reason why it failed to survive the economic and social troubles that beset Western societies in the 1970s. The historian Peter Clarke has usefully distinguished between “moral” and “mechanical” reformism. Moral reformism saw improvements in material conditions as ways of elevating the moral condition of the people; mechanical reformism simply aimed to increase their prosperity.
    Efficiency Rules
    Deprived of their ethical language by the collapse of religion and the strongly individualist fashion in economics and political philosophy, by the second half of the century, “moral” liberals were forced back on purely “mechanical” arguments. They stressed the positive effect on productivity of a better-fed, better-housed, better-clothed, healthier and better-educated workforce. This was almost certainly true. However, once the commonly accepted language became one of efficiency, the moral reformers were vulnerable to the charge that their reforms had created inefficiency by lessening the incentives to work and save, and by stealing resources from the productive sector.
    The social liberalism of the 1950s and ’60s had nothing left to put in place of the profit motive, no defenses to offer against the philosophy of untrammeled self-interest. Tax rates tumbled, the welfare state was reined in, state industries were privatized, and the financial sector was set free.
    The coup de grace was delivered by the fall of communism. In the Cold War era, the West had to proclaim its own concept of the good life to counter the appeal of communism. This necessity was now gone. Market individualism remains the only game in town.
    What would an economic organization geared to realizing the basic goods for every citizen -- economic and personal -- look like? It would have to produce enough to satisfy everyone’s basic needs and reasonable standards of comfort. It would also have to reduce the amount of necessary work, freeing up time for leisure.
    Just as important, it would have to ensure a less unequal distribution of wealth and income, not just to diminish the incentive to work, but also to improve the social bases of health, personality, respect and friendship.
    How far should policy be pushed toward these aims? We favor a sort of non-coercive paternalism: encouraging or discouraging certain behaviors, without limiting individual freedoms. We must find ways to reduce the pressure to consume and hence, indirectly, the pressure to work.
    To begin, the aim of policy should be to maintain full employment, not full-time employment. Earning a living is an important means to the basic goods of respect and security. But it needn’t imply working eight hours a day, or five days a week, or 1800 hours a year, in a soul-destroying job. Our goal should be stable employment with fewer hours worked, but with more people employed.
    Working Less
    The simplest approach would be a progressive reduction in work hours by limiting weekly hours and/or increasing vacation times. Such a framework would allow employers and employees to negotiate flexible retirement and work-sharing arrangements. There is no reason why a general reduction in working hours should bring about a drop in wages. The Dutch, for example, work shorter hours than the British but enjoy a higher average income per head ($48,000 as against $35,000) with a more equal distribution of wealth and income.

    Productivity may even go up as workers pack more punch into shorter hours. This seems to have happened in places where the experiment has been tried. Hardly any production was lost in the two months that Edward Heath put the U.K. on a three-day week in 1974, for instance. Moreover, there is plenty of evidence that people are willing to trade income for leisure if they are allowed to and if the fall in income is not too great.
    Despite their attractions, however, work-sharing schemes are not affordable to many lower-paid workers. It is in this context that the idea of a basic income -- an income paid by the state, independent of any obligation to work, to each citizen -- becomes appealing.
    Two major objections are raised against basic-income proposals: that they would provide a disincentive to work, and that society cannot afford them. Yet when the goal is not to maximize growth but to secure good lives, the aim is precisely to reduce the incentive to work by making leisure more attractive. Furthermore, a rich society can increasingly afford to pay its citizens a basic income.
    An unconditional basic income, in the form of a single capital endowment or a guaranteed annual income, would start to give all workers the same choice as to how much work to do, and under what conditions -- a privilege now possessed only by the wealthy.
    In the future, education would be informed by the understanding that one’s job would represent a decreasing fraction of one’s waking hours. It would prepare people for a life of fulfillment outside the job market.
    Consumption Tax
    The state can also help reduce the pressure to consume.
    [Oops. An agenda that counters economic recovery. There's no need to reduce the pressure to consume during a recession-depression, oops, "stumbling recovery," because it's happening anyway. Juliet Schor gave us the same gratuitous effort in The Overspent American.]
    The economist Robert Frank has suggested doing this via a consumption tax, patterned after a 1955 proposal by Nicholas Kaldor. All spending above $7,500 per person would be subjected to an escalating rate of tax.
    [Then would the tax revenues be taken out of circulation? (and trigger deeper recession). Or would the government spend them? (and vitiate the intent of the tax).]
    Such a tax would be redistributive, striking a blow at inequality;
    [a tax on consumption would certainly be redistributive, but in the direction of further concentration of the money supply]
    it would reduce the pressure to consume;
    [only if tax revenues were taken out of circulation - increasing the pressure toward recession]
    and it would induce saving for retirement.
    [and take more of the money supply out of circulation, and defend the indefensible institution of retirement = a blank check on society, worsening as longevity increases, wasting the most experienced talents in the economy and mounting resistance to longevity increases]
    It would also divert resources from conspicuous consumption [who defines?] to spending on behalf of society as a whole [who defines?] -- for such benefits [who identifies such "benefits"?] as freedom from traffic congestion, time with family and friends, vacation time, better air quality, more urban parkland, cleaner drinking water, less violent crime and more medical research.
    The pressure to consume is inflamed by advertising, which today works mainly to make us want things we otherwise would not have thought of wanting. Advertising could be restricted, for example, by removing its tax deductibility. Companies would simply no longer be allowed to write it off as a business expense.
    These proposals are not free of problems. They are indications of direction, not blueprints for legislation. Whatever readers may think of them, they are at least an attempt to develop a collective vision of the good life.
    [why needed in the age of diversity? sounds elitist, restrictive and potentially oppressive]
    To instead simply blunder on without considering what wealth is for is an indulgence we can no longer afford.
    [No, to simply blunder on concentrating the money supply without limit without considering system requirements regarding minimum percentage of money supply in centrifuged and circulating spending power for X percentage of money supply in concentrated and decirculated investing power is an indulgence we can no longer afford.]
    The greatest waste confronting us is not one of money but of human possibilities.
    [Or more specifically, human diversity in a situation where we're concentrating the market-demanded employment and splitting the population into overworked and resentful workers and wasted and vulnerable dependents. Recall the Morlocks and the Eloi.]
    (Robert Skidelsky is an emeritus professor of political economy at the University of Warwick and the author of a three- volume biography of John Maynard Keynes. Edward Skidelsky, Robert’s son, is a lecturer at the University of Exeter, specializing in aesthetics and moral philosophy, and writes the column “Words That Think for Us” in Prospect Magazine. This is an excerpt from their new book, “How Much Is Enough? Money and the Good Life,” which will be published on June 19 by Other Press. The opinions expressed are their own.)
    To contact the writers of this article: Robert Skidelsky at Robert.Skidelsky@gmail.com Edward Skidelsky at e.b.h.skidelsky@ex.ac.uk
    To contact the editor responsible for this article: Mary Duenwald at mduenwald@bloomberg.net

  2. View: A Breakthrough for Work Sharing: A Summary of the Layoff Prevention Act of 2012, by Neil Ridley & George Wentworth, posted by Margaret Lamb, (April > 5/30/2012, very late pickup) Workforce3one.org
    A 2012 report by the Center for Law and Social Policy (CLASP) and the National Employment Law Project (NELP) on a new federal law covering work sharing. The Middle Class Tax Relief and Job Creation Act (H.R. 3630) legislation includes provisions designed to expand a creative layoff aversion strategy called work sharing.
    WASHINGTON, D.C., USA - On February 22, 2012, President Obama signed the Middle Class Tax Relief and Job Creation Act (H.R. 3630), extending the payroll tax cut and federal unemployment assistance through the end of 2012. Included in the $143 billion measure are provisions designed to expand a creative layoff aversion strategy called work sharing.(1) Work sharing, also known as short-time compensation, is an option within the federal-state Unemployment Insurance (UI) system that provides employers with an alternative to layoffs during a business slowdown. For example, a business that faces a slump in demand can reduce employees¡¦ hours by 20 percent instead of laying off one-fifth of its workforce. In a state with a work sharing program, workers can apply for and receive prorated unemployment benefits to help compensate for reduced work hours if the employer files a plan with the workforce agency.(2) Work sharing is widely known and used in other countries, especially Germany, where it is credited with preserving jobs and keeping unemployment from rising sharply during the recent recession.(3) Now it is gaining traction in the United States. Since 2009, six states (Colorado, Maine, New Hampshire, New Jersey, Oklahoma, and Pennsylvania) and the District of Columbia have adopted work sharing, bringing the total number of programs to twenty four.
    [And now adding Michigan and Ohio.]
    The enactment of H.R. 3630 marks a major breakthrough for work sharing in the United States. The legislation updates and clarifies short-time compensation (STC) provisions in federal law for the first time in 20 years. In a significant boost to implementation, the Act also provides nearly $500 million in temporary funding to states that adopt or expand programs. The impetus for these work sharing changes came from Sen. Jack Reed (D-RI) and Rep. Rosa DeLauro (D-CT), who introduced the Layoff Prevention Act in the 112th Congress.(4)
    Federal guidance, to be released soon, will provide a comprehensive explanation and interpretation of the new provisions and describe how states can receive temporary funding. This brief, prepared by CLASP and NELP, provides background information on the Act and a summary of its key provisions.
    Work Sharing Provisions in Federal Law
    Short-time compensation programs were permanently authorized as part of the Unemployment Compensation Amendments of 1992. However, the U.S. Department of Labor took the position that the definition of short-time compensation, as adopted in 1992, did not authorize certain elements in state laws that have been central to the operation of work sharing programs. For example, many states require employers to submit a plan for approval by the state workforce agency. Since 1992, states have adopted and operated programs without extensive federal guidance, and the U.S. Department of Labor has been unable to promote this layoff aversion strategy.(5)
    The 2012 Act updates and clarifies work sharing provisions in federal law. It requires an employer to submit a written plan to the state workforce agency, and to certify that workers health and retirement benefits will not be reduced due to participation in the work sharing program. The following table lists key elements of the new STC definition:
    Elements of the New STC Definition
    • Employer participation is voluntary.
    • Employers reduce employee hours in lieu of layoffs.
    • Employees whose hours are reduced by at least 10 percent but not more than 60 percent (as determined by the state) are not disqualified from unemployment compensation.
    • Employees receive a prorated share of the unemployment benefits they would have received if totally unemployed.
    • Employees meet work availability and work search requirements if they are available for their work week as required.
    • Eligible employees may participate in appropriate training approved by the state UI agency.
    • If health and retirement benefits are provided, employers must certify that those benefits will not be reduced due to participation in the STC program.
    • The employer must submit a written plan to the state UI agency describing how it will implement requirements of the STC program (including a plan to give advance notice, where feasible, to employees whose work week will be reduced), as well as an estimate of the number of layoffs that would have occurred but for the STC program.
    • The employer's plan must be consistent with employer obligations under applicable federal and state laws.
    The Act includes a mechanism by which a state may request approval by the Secretary of Labor for other provisions in state law that are determined to be appropriate for the purposes of a short-time compensation program. For example, most states require union consent to work-sharing plans if the employer has a collective bargaining agreement. The Act also provides for a transition period (extending two years and six months after the date of enactment) for states with existing STC programs that do not meet this new definition.
    Temporary Funding of State Work Sharing Programs
    States currently face a dual challenge: a weak economic recovery with high unemployment and continuing strains on state unemployment trust funds. The Act is intended to spur adoption of innovative STC programs in this difficult environment. It provides for two ways that states can use temporary federal funding to adopt work sharing or expand existing programs.
    For states with STC programs in law:
    The Act includes incentives for the 23 states and the District of Columbia that have existing programs and for additional states that are preparing to enact STC legislation [e.g., Michigan and Ohio]. It provides for 100 percent reimbursement of the amount of STC paid under a state law that meets the new definition.(6) States with programs that do not meet all elements of the new definition are eligible to receive reimbursements during the transition period and may continue to receive temporary federal funding when their laws meet the new definition. The temporary federal financing is available to states for no more than three years (156 weeks) and can be drawn down no later than three years and six months following the date of enactment.
    For states with STC programs in law:
    Because it may take time to enact state laws, the Act allows states without existing STC laws and programs to enter into an agreement with the Secretary of Labor to make work sharing immediately available to employers. Under this temporary federal program, states with an approved agreement are reimbursed for one-half of the amount of benefits paid to individuals; participating employers must pay the remaining one-half.(7) Temporary federal financing under an agreement is available for no more than two years (104 weeks) and can be drawn down no later than two years and thirteen weeks following the date of enactment.
    The following table summarizes key features of the two reimbursement options.
    Temporary Federal Financing Program for States (A) With Existing State STC Programs in Law and (B) Without Existing Programs in Law but By Agreement with States
    Eligible States
    (A) States whose programs meet the new STC definition.
    States with existing programs that do not meet all elements of the STC definition are automatically eligible to receive temporary funding during the transition period and may continue to receive such funding if their law meets the new STC definition.
    (B) States without programs in law must have a plan to distribute benefit payments in accordance with the new STC definition.
    Amount of Federal Reimbursement
    (A) 100% of the amount of STC paid under a state law.
    (B) 50% of the amount of benefits paid under an agreement.
    The remaining 50% of benefits must be paid by participating employers.
    Limitations on Reimbursements to States
    (A) Reimbursements are provided for STC payments amounting to no more than 26 times the amount of regular compensation payable to an individual under state law. Reimbursements are not available for individuals employed on a seasonal, temporary, or intermittent basis.
    (B) Same.
    Duration of Reimbursements to States
    (A) No more than three years (156 weeks).
    (B) No more than two years (104 weeks).
    Period of Availability
    (A) Beginning on or after the date of enactment and ending no later than three years and six months following enactment.
    (B) Beginning on or after the date of the agreement and ending no later than two years and thirteen weeks following enactment.
    States can terminate participation in the 50 percent reimbursement option and become eligible to receive the 100 percent reimbursement when they enact a STC program that meets the new definition. Combined incentive payments under both options (50 percent and 100 percent) are available for no more than three years (156 weeks) and can be drawn down no later than three years and six months following enactment.
    Grants for Program Enrolment and Administration
    The Act includes $100 million in grants to make state STC programs more efficient and more effective for workers and employers. Although some states have promoted work sharing, it is generally a little-known option for employers. In addition, some functions of state work sharing programs, such as the submission and processing of plans, are labor intensive for state agencies and burdensome for employers. Grants available under the Act can be used for startup and implementation, improvements in program administration, and increased outreach to employers.
    The Act requires the Secretary of Labor to oversee a process for certifying eligible states and awarding grants to states. It specifies a formula, similar to the one used to distribute incentive payments under the Unemployment Insurance Modernization Act, which must be used to determine the maximum amount of each state¡¦s grant. One-third of the grant must be used for implementation or program administration, and two-thirds must be dedicated to promotion and to enrolling employers in work sharing programs. The table below describes key features of the grant program.
    Features of State Grant Program
    Eligibility Criteria
    • States must have programs in law that meet the new STC definition, and their state laws must otherwise be in conformity with federal law.
    • States may not have STC programs that are scheduled to sunset or that are not expected to take effect within 12 months of the Secretary of Labor's certification.
    • Additional criteria to be determined by the Secretary of Labor
    Use of Funds
    • One-third of the grant may be used for implementation or program administration, such as automating plan submission and approval or improving the processing of STC claims.
    • Two-thirds of the grant may be used for promotion and enrollment activities, such as outreach to the business community or educating employers about the program.
    Period of Grant Availability
    • States must apply for grants before December 31, 2014.
    The Act also requires the Secretary of Labor to establish a process to recoup grant funds if it is determined that the state terminated the STC program or failed to meet program requirements during the five years beginning with the first date a grant was awarded to a state.
    Technical Support to States
    The Act authorizes the Department of Labor to provide enhanced assistance to states and actively promote the program at the national level. The Department of Labor is directed to:
    • Develop model legislative language to be used by states;
    • Provide guidance and technical support to states; and
    • Establish reporting requirements to track the number of averted layoffs, the number of participating employers, and other indicators.
    The Act also provides $1.5 million for the preparation of one or more reports on the implementation of work sharing programs.(8)
    Conclusion
    The enactment of H.R. 3630 is expected to raise the profile of work sharing, which until now has been available in fewer than half of states and has not been extensively used by employers. The incentives, together with new federal guidance and support, provide states with a historic opportunity to launch or expand STC programs. Although the economic recovery appears to be gaining steam, it is not too late to use work sharing to prevent layoffs in some sectors.(9) If implemented in conjunction with other layoff aversion strategies, work sharing can be a critical element in a state¡¦s response to an economic downturn in a region or within a specific industry. Equally important, states that move forward now can establish an important economic security program that benefits workers, businesses, and communities and have it in place when the next recession hits.
    --------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
    1) The section of the payroll tax cut and UI extension legislation related to work sharing is entitled the Layoff Prevention Act of 2012.
    2) Neil Ridley and David Balducchi, Work Sharing, an Alternative to Layoffs: Frequently Asked Questions, CLASP, September 2011, http://www.clasp.org/resources_and_publications/publication?id=1038&list=publications; also, Neil Ridley, Work Sharing¡Xan Alternative to Layoffs for Tough Times, CLASP, March 26, 2009, http://www.clasp.org/admin/site/publications/files/0481.pdf.
    3) Dean Baker, ¡§Work Sharing: The Quick Route Back to Full Employment,¡¨ Center for Economic Policy and Research, June 2011, http://www.cepr.net/index.php/publications/reports/work-sharing-the-quick-route-back-to-full-employment.
    4) Sen. Jack Reed and Rep. Rosa DeLauro first introduced short-time compensation bills in August 2009 during the 111th Congress (S. 1646, H.R. 4135). They introduced another version in August 2010. They introduced the Layoff Prevention Act (S. 1333. H.R. 2421) in July 2011 during the 112th Congress.
    5) Alison Shelton, Compensated Work Sharing Arrangements (STC) as an Alternative to Layoffs, Congressional Research Service, September 2011.
    6) Under the new law, federal reimbursements to state UI trust funds for STC benefit payments do not alter federal requirements that states charge employers for UI benefits (including STC benefits) through a system of experience rating.
    7) The employer payment (that is, one-half of the amount of the payments under an agreement) serves the same function as the requirement in existing state laws to charge employers for UI benefits (including STC benefits) through a system of experience rating.
    8) The new reports are expected to build on existing research, which is surveyed in the following publication: Sara E. Rix, Saving Jobs through Work Sharing, Insight on the Issues 45, AARP Public Policy Institute, September 2010.
    9) Anastasia Christman and Christine Riordan, Filling the Good Jobs Deficit: An Economic Recovery Agenda for Our States and Cities, National Employment Law Project, October 2011, http://www.nelp.org/page/-/Job_Creation/Filling_Good_Jobs_Deficit_Recovery_Agenda.pdf?nocdn=1


6/07/2012 – News bits about the timesizing alternative to downsizing, reinvented thousands of times every day in every recession by mainly mid- and small-size companies, but still an afterthought when any economy that's still around in 50 years will have long made it first and foremost - ( [commentary] by Phil Hyde ecdesignr@yahoo.ca unless otherwise initialed ) -

  1. Shorten workweek to increase jobs, by Wolfgang Risop, Wisconsin State Journal via host.madison.com
    MADISON, Wisc., USA — The easiest way to create jobs is to shorten the workweek from 40 to 37.5 hours. Increase all salaries by 6.75 percent and decrease all bonuses and compensation packages for CEOs and controlling directors by 10 percent.
    This would encourage an increase in the labor force without losing productivity by plants, construction, research and services in operation. To accommodate the additional labor force, a second shift could easily be arranged if not already in existence.
    This would give workers more time with their families and for participation in social activities. Vacation packages, usually two weeks a year, could be increased by at least a few days.
    With ever increasing growth in the world's population, the gross domestic product needs to be increased. And fewer man hours per job will promote the increase of production by means of additional workers[-earners-spenders].
    The reduction of hours should be made progressively until a 35-hour work week is obtained. At one time we had 48-hour workweeks, then shortened to 45 hours and later to 40 hours. Another round with shorter workweeks is logical.
    The gain in employment would certainly churn up [ie: stimulate] the economy with money earned being spent
    .

  2. United Nations Calls For Happiness-Based Economy, by Seán Dagan Wood, Positive News via YourOliveBranch.org
    NEW YORK, W.Hemisph., Earth - A high-level United Nations meeting on happiness has taken place, marking a significant step towards governments placing wellbeing at the heart of economic progress.
    [OK, why are my economic-designer alarms going off here - similar to when John Cobb and Herman Daly, and many others, tried to come up with a more "meaningful" or whatever economic scoring measure than GDP? Because if you target the Big General Positive, you wind up paving the way to hell with good intentions: Check out the history of the Christian Church - they repeatedly fell into this trap. It is invariably too narrowly defined because of the limitations and lack of experience and imagination of the definers, it rapidly gets into mind control and thence, all too frequently, into guilt manipulation and heresy trials. Check out the history of the USA (life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness) vs. the more laissez-faire history of BNA and Canada (peace, order and good government - now messing up the last one). The US still suffers from puritanism and early judgmentalism against Amerindians (though not as suicidal as the first Greenlanders against the Skraelings), from criminalizing drugs despite what it should have learned the hard way from Prohibition, from valorizing the sunny lifestyle so much you wind up building totally unsustainable cities in deserts (Phoenix, Tucson, Vegas...) and abusing-exhausting water resources....
    [From the economic-design point of view, the big general positives like happiness and wellbeing are too vulnerable to derailing to serve as suitable goals for economic core upgrades. They must be approached negatively-indirectly rather than positively-directly. Ask, what are the chief impediments to happiness, or reasons for unhappiness. Write them down; prioritize them; and pick them off, one at a time, in strategic order. It's the same with Control Inflation => identify and prioritize its components and solve them one by one in strategic order. It's the same with Cobb's Index of Socio-Economic Wellbeing (ISEW) - he does not identify the components cuz they're all still there in the index def'n all shmooshed together, but the result is as unactionable as "Income Gap" cuz there's no prioritization or strategic policy "pick off." Our prioritization in the top wide paragraph on the Timesizing homepage: "To save the world, you have to start at the right place = you can't start with hunger - no one with money is hungry. You can't start with poverty (lack of money) - no one with a good job is poor. It all comes down to jobs, & jobs come down to time on the job. Mess up your time arrangements & you mess up your whole society, cuz time counts it all." One concludes that if he'd just target and solve Unemployment, we'd be a lot further along. As it is, he's succeeded in doing nothing but creating yet another in the pressing crowd of diagnostic tools - we have sooo many already - and totally avoided making any progress on actual cure of anything. It almost seems that academics are fearful of actual solving joblessness, or even talking about it. "Eee-eeew" = too threatening to them? Too defensive about their own womb-like jobs? Desirous of identifying with the wealthy for whom "job" is low-class? But this is a more general affliction. Kate says people are unhappy about the wealth disparity. Well, that's third on the list of strategic priorities after unemployment and low income = 1.low earnings, and 2-3-4 = 2.low inflowing money, 3.low standing money, 4.low potential money (credit)... And once you use some step-by-step structure such as the five phases of the Timesizing program to solve the first one, you can detach those steps from worktime per person, drop them on income per person, and use them to solve the second disparity = balance the second imbalance. (Disparity implies a solution of paritization or equalization, but note that you must not equalize on a point - that is too stifling/restrictive. You can and must equalize on a range, the lower limit set by referendum and the upper limit set by the lower limit. Example, define un(der)employment by referendum and as long as there's too much of it, repeatedly redefine the upper limit of the range downward till the population under the lower limit shrinks to an acceptable/frictional minimum, if any = ifnot zero - but let's not get too compulsive-perfectionistic cuz that can be almost as bad as Certainty among the "virtues" of Hitler - see Bronowsky's chapter on (un)certainty near the end of "Ascent of Man". - I'm trying to be as informative as possible here for generations that follow cuz I'm quite hopeful and motivatedtosolve and lordknows there are plenty who aren't. I can only afford my appearance of cliff-high cynicism cuz of my skyhigh confidence in Timesizing and its successor programs.)]
    The first of its kind, the meeting took place at UN headquarters in New York on 2 April 2012 and brought together more than 600 participants from government, academia, business, civil society and spiritual and religious groups.
    Following the conference, wellbeing is now intended to be at the centre of new sustainable development goals, which are expected to replace the millennium development goals when they expire in 2015.
    “This will add a positive aspiration to improve human wellbeing alongside existing essential goals such as eradication of extreme poverty and universal education,” said Mark Williamson, director of Action for Happiness, who attended the meeting.
    The event was organised after a UN resolution on happiness - which was co-sponsored by 68 countries — was adopted by consensus in July 2011.
    [How "feelgood" - who can argue against motherhood, apple pie, and happiness. So they're going to end up with a long list of things that are inappropriate to the mind-boggling diversity of different countries on this planet. Many in the 68 are rolling their eyes but saying, we better rubberstamp this and send somebody just to make sure it stays in the realm of unimplementable theory, cuz if these new-agers ever start approaching practical measures, it could easily get oppressive and dangerous.]
    The ‘happiness resolution’ stated that gross domestic product (GDP) alone is not an adequate measure of human prosperity and that “a more inclusive, equitable and balanced approach is needed to promote sustainability, eradicate poverty, and enhance wellbeing.”
    [And the appropriate first target is simply unemployment. But that's still just one item on their list (next paragraph) and not even the first one, even though it's primarily job issues that are slowing all the rest. It takes huge focus and effort to get smooth overtime-to-training&hiring conversion and fluctuating adjustment of the workweek against unemployment, and we'll never get there when so many do-gooders just want to jump on their white horses and ride off in all directions.]
    Policy recommendations from the meeting are now being drawn up, ranging from prioritising investment in renewable energy, public transport and green spaces; to introducing work sharing schemes that increase leisure time and prevent unemployment; discouraging materialism by banning advertising to children;
    [Red flag: "discouraging materialism"??? Here we have an example of mission creep and overreaching mind control and diversity-dashing: these well-intentioned hominids are "spiritual" and not "materialistic" so they assume everyone should be the same and they demonize materialism. A more functional and adaptive reason for banning advertising to children is simply to avoid the attendant dediversification and the overreach of people who are assuming their products/services are universally wonderful (and purely coincidentally will enrich themselves).]
    and creating accounting systems that factor in the value of ‘services’ provided by nature.
    The idea of placing wellbeing at the centre of economies will also be carried forward to the Rio+20 sustainable development summit on 20–22 June this year.
    [MUCH more efficient for omnidimensional progress including "wellbeing" whatever that is, would be to place Full Employment at the centre of economic priorities.]
    “This is not about being anti-growth,” said Williamson, “it’s about redefining what we mean by progress. We should be aiming for growth in human happiness. A healthy economy is part of this, but other things are essential too — like vibrant communities and greater equality.”
    The April meeting was convened by the Himalayan Kingdom of Bhutan, which in the 1970s introduced the concept of gross national happiness (GNH). It began measuring GNH in 2008, looking at factors such as living standards, health, education, culture, good governance, and psychological wellbeing.
    In this context, Bhutan describes happiness not as relating to an everyday passing mood, but as “the deep, abiding happiness” that comes from living in harmony with the natural world and with others – that is, from “feeling totally connected with our world.”
    Although Bhutan, a small developing country, is currently struggling to fulfil the basic needs of its own people, it hopes to achieve consensus on a new global economic model to be implemented by 2015. There is growing interest in the GNH concept; in the UK, the Office of National Statistics began including questions on happiness in social surveys in 2011, and France and Luxembourg have also taken steps towards measuring happiness.
    World Happiness Report
    A report commissioned for the UN conference shows how a new ‘science of happiness’ is able to measure people’s wellbeing. According to The World Happiness Report, the happiest countries are all in northern Europe: Denmark, Norway, Finland and the Netherlands scored an average of 7.6 out of 10 for life satisfaction. The least happy countries are in sub-Saharan Africa: Togo, Benin, Central African Republic, Sierra Leone scored an average of 3.4. The UK was placed 18th.
    The report, which was published by the Earth Institute and co-edited by leading economist Jeffrey Sachs, states that although the least happy are poorer countries, more important than income are social factors such as supportive relationships, personal freedoms and the absence of corruption.
    The report also found that happiness has increased in some countries as living standards have risen, but not in others such as the United States; and mental health is the biggest single factor affecting happiness in any country.
    [And your job is the biggest single factor affecting your mental health.]
    A new economy
    At the UN meeting the prime minister of Bhutan, Jigme Thinley called for a “great transition” to an economy that creates the conditions in which all citizens are able to pursue “the ultimate goal of happiness.”
    The president of Costa Rica, Laura Chinchilla Miranda, a keynote speaker, said that wellbeing includes economic, social, cultural, environmental and spiritual factors, and that it demands a balance between individual and collective interests. UN secretary-general Ban Ki-moon cited Costa Rica as an example of holistic development and “a beacon of peace and democracy.”
    Awarded first place in the New Economics Foundation’s Happy Planet Index in 2009 and regarded as the ‘greenest’ country in the world, Costa Rica made primary education free and mandatory in 1870 – before the UK or US – and abolished its army in 1948. In 1970 a network of national parks was set up, protecting nearly 30% of its territory and it now aspires to become one of the first carbon neutral countries.
    The conference closed with prayers from Buddhist, Christian, Jewish, Hindu and Islamic leaders. The Bhutanese prime minister hoped it marked “the crafting of a new and bright chapter in human history.”


6/6/2012 – News bits about the timesizing alternative to downsizing, reinvented thousands of times every day in every recession by mainly mid- and small-size companies, but still an afterthought when any economy that's still around in 50 years will have long made it first and foremost - ( [commentary] by Phil Hyde ecdesignr@yahoo.ca unless otherwise initialed ) -

  1. CEPR in the NEWS May 2012, by Dawn Lobell, (6/04 late pickup) Center for Economic Policy & Research, Blog via cepr.net
    WASHINGTON, D.C., USA - The following newsletter highlights CEPR's latest research, publications, events and much more.
    CEPR on Work Sharing
    CEPR Co-director Dean Baker teamed up with the American Enterprise Institute's Kevin Hassett to pen this Sunday op-ed (5/13-14/2012 #1) on the benefits of work sharing for the New York Times. Dean appeared with [Kevin] on *PBS' NewsHour with [Jeffrey Brown] to discuss the issue. Dean has written extensively on work sharing as a means to address continuing long-term unemployment, most recently in an issue brief co-written with CEPR’s Director of Domestic Policy Nicole Woo [see "States Could Save $1.7 Billion per Year" below (today's #2 article)] that looks at how work-sharing provisions signed into law by President Obama in February 2012 as part of the Middle Class Relief and Job Creation Act could help states reduce their unemployment rates and also save $1.7billion per year.
    Senator Herb Kohl referred to the op-ed in his opening statement at a May 15th Aging Committee hearing titled "Missed by the Recovery: Solving the Long-Term Unemployment Crisis for Older Workers" [full statement on 5/15/2012 #2]: “And as a bipartisan opinion piece in the New York Times over the weekend stated, this problem is “nothing short of a national emergency.” Work sharing was also featured in this article [5/20-21/2012 #2] in the Cleveland Plain Dealer and this one [5/27-28/2012 #2] in the West Virginia Gazette.
    ...

  2. States Could Save $1.7 Billion per Year with Federal Financing of Work Sharing, by Nicole Woo & Dean Baker, (5/24? very late pickup) Internationalrelations and Security Network via Eidgenössische Technische Hochschule Zürich via isn.ethz.ch
    This brief argues that the work-sharing provisions included in the US Middle Class Relief and Job Creation Act could help states reduce their unemployment rates. According to the authors, the provisions could also save unemployment insurance costs for up to three years. It concludes that states could improve their finances by promoting work-sharing but they will need to work to take full advantage of the new law in order to reap these benefits.
    WASHINGTON, D.C., USA - The Middle Class Relief and Job Creation Act, signed into law by President Obama in February 2012, includes work-sharing provisions that could help states reduce their unemployment rates and also save unemployment insurance (UI) costs for up to three years, but only if they take advantage of these useful provisions.
    Work-sharing programs, also known as short-time compensation, benefit both employees and employers. Work sharing allows employers to reduce workers’ hours, rather than lay them off. The workers, in turn, receive pro-rated UI benefits for the hours not worked, and are able to remain employed. Employers are able to keep trained employees on staff, and, once demand picks up, to avoid the costs of hiring and training new workers by simply increasing the hours of their existing staff.
    The new law’s work-sharing section – based on bills originally introduced in Congress by Senator Jack Reed (D-RI) and Representative Rosa DeLauro (D-CT) – provides federal support for work-sharing programs nationwide, giving states more incentive to promote work sharing. In addition to clarifying and updating work-sharing provisions in federal law, it also provides temporary funding to states that adopt new, or expand existing, work-sharing programs.
    Prior to passage of the law, states paid the actual regular UI benefits provided to workers in work-sharing programs. Under the new law, the federal government provides 100 percent of work-sharing UI benefits for up to three years in states that already have work-sharing programs (currently there are 24, including the District of Columbia), and 50 percent for up to two years in states that enter an agreement with the federal government to provide work sharing.
    At the moment, the take-up rate for work-sharing programs is low. According to the U.S. Department of Labor, the average number of work-sharing participants in 2011 was about 50,000 nationwide.(1) It peaked at about 153,000 participants across the nation in June 2009, and with work-sharing claims averaging a bit over one-quarter of a job, that represented about 40,000 full-time equivalent jobs. Participation has varied widely from state to state, with Rhode Island seeing the highest participation rates. Over 20 percent of UI claims in Rhode Island were from work sharing when the program was at its peak.(2)
    If states were to take advantage of the federal financing for work sharing in the new law, it would be reasonable to expect that they could reach approximately the same level of participation as Rhode Island did in 2009. At that level, they could save about 5 percent of their UI costs in states that have existing work-sharing programs, and about 2.5 percent in the states that do not. Table 1 shows that this adds up to $1.7 billion dollars per year nationwide.
    Before states can access this funding, the federal government will provide guidance on how the work-sharing provisions of the law will be implemented.(3) In early May, the U.S. Department of Labor issued a Short-Time Compensation (STC) Fact Sheet, which clarified some of the key dates specified in the new law.(4) In addition, the Center for Law and Social Policy (CLASP) and National Employment Law Project (NELP) have recently co-authored a detailed summary of the work-sharing section of the new law.(5)
    This new and unprecedented level of federal support for work sharing will give states more incentive to promote the program as an alternative to layoffs. First and foremost, states will have to make employers aware of this alternative to layoffs. At the moment, even in the states with longstanding programs, few employers are aware of this work-sharing option.
    With millions of workers still being laid off every month, the work-sharing provisions could make an important and positive difference in the lives of millions of workers, employers, their families and communities. These provisions mean states can also improve their finances by promoting work-sharing. However, states will need to work to take full advantage of the new law in order to reap these benefits.
    Nicole Woo is Director of Domestic Policy at the Center for Economic and Policy Research, in Washington D.C. Dean Baker is an economist and Co-director of CEPR. They thank Alan Barber and Kris Warner for helpful comments and edits.
    ------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
    1) See Woo, Nicole, “Drumbeat Continues from Left and Right for Work Sharing,” CEPR Blog, November 21, 2011. http://www.cepr.net/index.php/blogs/cepr-blog/drumbeat-continues-from-left-and-right-for-work-sharing
    2) See Woo, Nicole, “Job Creation that Both Parties Can Agree On,” CEPR Blog, January 7, 2011. http://www.cepr.net/index.php/blogs/cepr-blog/job-creation-that-both-parties-can-agree-on
    3) As of date of publication, the U.S. Department of Labor had not yet released the Short-Time Compensation Programs guidance. See http://www.ows.doleta.gov/unemploy/jobcreact.asp.
    4) See Employment and Training Administration, U.S. Department of Labor. “Middle Class Tax Relief and Job Creation Act of 2012: Short-Time Compensation (STC) Fact Sheet.” http://www.ows.doleta.gov/unemploy/pdf/Factsheet_STC.pdf.
    5) Ridley, Neil and George Wentworth. 2012. “A Breakthrough for Work Sharing: A Summary of the Layoff Prevention Act of 2012. Washington, DC: CLASP and NELP. http://www.clasp.org/admin/site/publications/files/A-Breakthrough-for-Work-Sharing.pdf.
    TABLE 1 - Potential Annual Savings per State with Federal Financing of Work-Sharing (dollars)
    States with Existing Programs
    Arizona $25,438,200
    Arkansas 18,144,800
    California 319,377,200
    Colorado 30,093,600
    Connecticut 38,882,400
    D.C. 8,490,600
    Florida 66,671,200
    Iowa 18,763,000
    Kansas 18,320,600
    Louisiana 16,476,600
    Maine 7,359,400
    Maryland 35,688,200
    Massachusetts 79,806,800
    Minnesota 38,365,000
    Missouri 26,517,000
    New Hampshire 5,518,200
    New York 158,581,600
    Oklahoma 13,028,200
    Oregon 37,413,000
    Pennsylvania 136,180,800
    Rhode Island 11,433,000
    Texas 119,406,200
    Vermont 4,226,800
    Washington 68,411,800
    Subtotal 1,302,594,200
    States without Existing Programs
    Alabama $8,418,600
    Alaska 4,278,500
    Delaware 3,062,300
    Georgia 22,593,300
    Hawaii 6,265,200
    Idaho 4,341,000
    Illinois 53,976,600
    Indiana 17,144,800
    Kentucky 12,065,500
    Michigan 32,875,200 [but getting worksharing]
    Mississippi 4,792,600
    Montana 2,880,100
    Nebraska 3,486,100
    Nevada 12,795,600
    New Jersey 57,359,700
    New Mexico 6,882,900
    North Carolina 33,256,200
    North Dakota 996,000
    Ohio 35,620,300 [but getting worksharing]
    South Carolina 10,331,
    600 South Dakota 683,200
    Tennessee 14,443,600
    Utah 5,829,000
    Virginia 14,506,300
    West Virginia 3,982,800
    Wisconsin 22,881,300
    Wyoming 1,967,700
    Subtotal 397,716,000
    -----------------------------------
    Grand total 1,700,310,200
    Sources: Authors’ calculations, based upon Employment and Training Administration, U.S. Department of Labor.
    “Unemployment Insurance Data Summary: 4th Quarter 2011.”
    http://workforcesecurity.doleta.gov/unemploy/content/data_stats/datasum11/DataSum_2011_4.pdf
    and 112th Congress. “H.R.3630 -- Middle Class Tax Relief and Job Creation Act of 2012.”
    http://thomas.loc.gov/cgi-bin/query/|z?c112:H.R.3630:

  3. The end of the growth is nigh - But economist Jeff Rubin says it isn't all bad, by Anthony BonaparteAnthony Bonaparte anthony@thesuburban.com, The Suburban Newspaper via thesuburban.com
    MONTREAL, QC, Canada - With the title of his latest book, The End of Growth, Canadian economist and resource analyst Jeff Rubin might come off like a harbinger of doom. But on further reading one soon realizes that what he's saying is not necessarily all that bad — in the long run.
    By the end of last week, the floundering U.S. economic recovery, slowing growth in China and India, and the continuing European debt crisis, stoked fears of another global slowdown, sending financial markets into a modest tailspin. Add to this the belief that the era of cheap oil is likely a thing of the past, the author says we better get used to a new reality.
    Rubin, former Chief Economist and Chief Strategist at CIBC World Markets where he worked for more than 20 years, was one of the first economists to accurately forecast soaring oil prices — and this was 12 years ago when a barrel of crude still averaged around $25 compared to the recent $81 price. (It peaked at over $141 in June, 2008).
    In his book, Rubin argues that the end of inexpensive oil means the end of growth. Cheap energy, he says, allowed the west to continually grow its economy, which is increasingly difficult to do with higher oil prices. The price hike not only affects how fast we drive our cars, but also how fast our economies can grow.
    Today, as China consumes much more of the world's oil, its economy grows, while growth in countries like the United States, which is consuming less of the world's oil, is not keeping to the pace it held before. “Economists call that zero-sum, where one party's gain is another party's loss,” says Rubin. Unfortunately, he says, central bank governors like the Bank of Canada's Mark Carney and the U.S. Federal Reserve's Ben Bernanke have yet to realize that the economy's speed limit has changed. “So they keep their foot on the accelerator when, really, the engine can't rev any higher, and I think that we're going to find that all these extraordinary measures to get our economy to grow — like zero-interest rates or a trillion dollar budget deficit in the United States - not only are they not a replacement for cheap oil, but they're actually going to make the adjustment to triple-digit oil prices even more difficult than it would otherwise be.”
    Instead of moving us toward economic recovery, the measures being taken are digging us into a deeper hole. As a result, our world is about to get smaller and our lives a whole lot different as we get used to living with no-growth or slow-growth GDPs. What's now happening in Euroland will happen here when China eventually stops funding the U.S. budget deficit, says Rubin. So what kind of macroeconomic policies should our governments be implementing? Rubin says, for one, Germany's job-sharing policy, called Kurzarbeit, makes a lot of sense because the biggest problem with stagnant economies is job creation. “It's credited with saving as much as 1.5 million jobs during the last recession and I think that there's nothing that prevents that model from being used in other places as well,” he says.
    On the microeconomic level this side of the pond, prescient consumers have already downsized their cars and put the brakes on urban sprawl by moving back to the city core. Government policy, says Rubin, should follow suit. “I don't think that we should be spending lots of money on roads. I think we're going to see more toll roads in the future because, in the future, only the rich are going to be able to afford to drive. So what we should be doing with our tax dollars is building mass transit, not roadways.” Yet, since we've all been taught to believe that growth means prosperity, how are we expected to accept a future with little or no growth? Rubin says whether we accept it or not, that's the reality that we face. “I think, as my book suggests at the end, that we'll find that there are a number of silver linings that come with this story. One of them is, we're not going to be able to afford to cook ourselves to death,” says Rubin with a laugh, adding: “I think we're going to find out that, like everything else, even our path to environmental self-destruction is going to run out of fuel.”
    High oil prices, he says, might actually save the planet and not the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), which is built around the premise that China and India will soon be consuming twice as much oil and coal as they are today.
    But the author says they ignore the effect rising energy prices might have on Asian growth. “What they're doing is extrapolating the rate of growth of the last decade, into the future… Just like Mark Carney doesn't realize that the economy's speed limit has changed, neither does the climate change modelers at the IPCC,” he says.
    “So if you're worried that 20 years from now climate change is going to swamp low coastal-lying regions, there's a reason for optimism.”
    The End of Growth is published by Random House Canada.
    [A mere 40 years after Limits to Growth was published by Potomac Assocs.


6/05/2012 – News bits about the timesizing alternative to downsizing, reinvented thousands of times every day in every recession by mainly mid- and small-size companies, but still an afterthought when any economy that's still around in 50 years will have long made it first and foremost - ( [commentary] by Phil Hyde ecdesignr@yahoo.ca unless otherwise initialed ) -

  1. USPS cuts hours, keeps post offices, by Matthew Wilde, (5/11 very late pickup) Waterloo Cedar Falls Courier via wcfcourier.com
    NEW HARTFORD, Iowa, USA --- Dozens of Northeast Iowa post offices that were on the chopping block will apparently stay open, but retail hours will be slashed.
    The U.S. Postal Service announced Wednesday [5/09] it will abandon plans to close thousands of small-town offices across the country, including 234 in Iowa. Instead, the agency plans to scale back service hours.
    [Cut hours, not post offices!]
    The new budget-cutting strategy is in response to customer concerns, postal officials said. While not ideal, city leaders say reducing window hours by up to two-thirds in some cases is better than closing facilities.
    News of the reprieve spread quickly in New Hartford, said Darlene Campanella, officer in charge of city's post office, previously targeted for closure.
    A town hall meeting a year ago with postal officials about closing the facility became heated, prompting USPS representatives to walk out. The fate of the office has been a hot topic ever since.
    USPS now recommends keeping the office open, but cutting retail hours in half to four hours per day. Campanella said customers say that's better than nothing.
    "They're just happy this office will stay open," she added.
    Retail hours will be modified to match customer use, the agency said. Access to post office boxes won't change, and town zip codes will be maintained.
    The USPS held informational meetings for almost two years in communities with post offices targeted for closure.
    Northeast Iowans for the most part loudly voiced their opposition, saying towns would suffer, business development would slow and closures would be a hardship on the elderly.
    "We've listened to our customers in rural America, and we've heard them loud and clear --- they want to keep their post office open. We believe (Wednesday's) announcement will serve our customers' needs and allow us to achieve real savings to help the Postal Service return to long-term stability," said Postmaster General and CEO Patrick R. Donahue in a prepared statement.
    The Postal Regulatory Commission will review the plan prior to any changes. Additional community meetings will be held to review options in greater detail, the agency said.
    The new strategy, if approved, would be implemented over two years in a multi-phased approach. It is expected to be completed at 13,000 locations by September 2014. It is estimated the plan will save $500 million. Some consolidations may still occur, the Postal Service said.
    The USPS reported a net loss of $5.1 billion for fiscal year 2011. It would have been $10.6 billion if Congress didn't postpone a mandated payment for pre-funded retiree health benefits. The 2010 fiscal year deficit was $8.5 billion.
    Raymond Mayor Monte Johnson knows the Postal Service needs to cut costs. He's just glad it won't be at the expense of his town's 788 residents.
    Though Raymond wasn't on the initial closure list, Johnson said that could have changed if the Postal Service didn't act. He hopes the decision will bring long-term security.
    The USPS signed a lease with the town in August to rent the post office building another five years. The retail window is currently open 8 hours a day.
    "I didn't have any delusions of grandeur we would sign another lease," Johnson said. "I guess having 4 hours a day is better than closing, if that's my alternative."
    The announcement preceded the end of a self-imposed moratorium on post office closures scheduled for Tuesday.
    Rep. Bruce Braley, D-Waterloo, said the postal service's decision is a major victory for Iowans who depend on their local post office to conduct business and connect with the world.
    "Post offices are a vital part of the rural Iowa economy, and we've worked for months to protect small town post offices from closure," Braley said in a statement. "I'm glad that the postal service has heeded our call and will keep our post offices open.
    "However, I am concerned about how severe the service cutbacks will be under the new proposal," he continued. "I'm going to closely evaluate its effect on post offices in Iowa."
    The decision won't affect post offices already closed. The Evansdale Post Office shut down last October, though residents and city officials are still trying to get it reopened.

  2. Libraries cutting hours, staff in Walker and Dade counties, by Tim Omarzu, Chattanooga Times Free Press
    The recently remodeled Chickamauga Public Library will be open fewer hours due to funding shortfalls within the Cherokee Regional Library System in Walker and Dade counties. (photo caption)
    CHATTANOOGA, Tenn., USA - Libraries in the Georgia cities of Rossville, LaFayette, Chickamauga and Trenton will only be open 30 hours a week — roughly a 25 percent reduction — under cutbacks approved this afternoon by the Cherokee Regional Library Board.
    Three people will lose their job, three will lose their benefits and nine will have their hours reduced.

    [But without the hourscuts, more would lose their job, and with deeper hourscuts, none would lose their job.]
    The cutbacks, which take effect July 1, were made due to an $83,000 budget shortfall caused by an increase in state health insurance costs and a reduction in funding from the Walker and Dade county school districts.
    While the library system hasn’t decided for sure, it’s most likely that the four libraries will be closed on Monday and Wednesday, Library Director Lecia Eubanks said.


6/03-04/2012 – News bits about the timesizing alternative to downsizing, reinvented thousands of times every day in every recession by mainly mid- and small-size companies, but still an afterthought when any economy that's still around in 50 years will have long made it first and foremost - ( [commentary] by Phil Hyde ecdesignr@yahoo.ca unless otherwise initialed ) -

  1. Orleans sheriff's staff to begin furloughs, 6/03 (6/04 early pickup) AP via TheAdvocate.com
    NEW ORLEANS, La., USA — In a cost-cutting move, Orleans Parish Sheriff Marlin Gusman ordered salary furloughs for many of the agency’s employees.
    Gusman said in a statement Friday that about 25 percent of his staff, including senior staff members and all administrative personnel, will be required to take one day without pay every two weeks starting Monday.
    The policy won’t apply to deputies involved in inmate security.
    Gusman said the move was a response to “financial pressures” on his office and would help avoid layoffs.

  2. Behind the Numbers: Slow Job Growth is a Problem; Long-term Unemployment is a Crisis, 6/04 TIME Magazine via business.time.com
    WASHINGTON, D.C., USA - Any way you slice it, Friday’s jobs numbers were a huge disappointment. Forecasters were expecting 150,000 jobs added, and even that figure would have represented mediocre job growth. But the actual number of 67,000 new jobs isn’t even enough to keep up with population growth. Combine that with the downward revisions of the March and April numbers, and what we have on our hands is a sputtering recovery.
    [No, what we have is an increasingly costly denial of a depression.]
    But perhaps the most depressing aspect of last week’s report – and the recovery [LOL] in general – is the huge number of long-term unemployed workers. Defined by the Bureau of Labor Statistics, someone is considered “long-term” unemployed if they have been jobless for 27 weeks or longer. According to Friday’s Employment Situation Report, the total number of long-term unemployed is at a staggering 5.4 million Americans, or 42.8% of the total unemployed.
    The effects of long-term unemployment are as numerous as they are pernicious. Dean Baker and Kevin Hasset, respectively of the progressive Center for Economic Policy and the conservative American Enterprise Institute, outlined many of these repercussions in a recent New York Times article. According to Baker and Hasset, problems plaguing the long-term unemployed include higher incidents of disease, suicide and lower future earnings for those workers and their children. Baker and Hasset write:
    “The result is nothing short of a national emergency. Millions of workers have been disconnected from the work force, and possibly even from society. If they are not reconnected, the costs to them and to society will be grim.”
    And long-term unemployment is a problem that compounds itself. The longer someone goes without working, the more his skills deteriorate and the less attractive he is to employers. So even if the U.S. economy were able to avoid the landmines of the European debt crisis plus slower growth in China and India, and regain the roughly 200,000 jobs a month pace it had in late 2011, many of these long-term unemployed will face permanent and devastating consequences from the Great Recession.
    Is there any plan to deal with this crisis? Baker and Hasset rue the fact that the United States didn’t follow Germany’s lead in the wake of the financial panic of 2008. Germany implemented work-share programs that encouraged firms to reduce hours worked rather than fire people, and subsidized those workers wages in lieu of unemployment benefits. Congress recently took steps to adopt this model, but it may be to late. According to Baker and Hasset:
    “Thankfully, there is some effort to learn from this model. The recent bill that extended the payroll tax cut included a provision that covered the cost of work-sharing programs in the 23 states that already had them as part of their unemployment insurance systems, and it helped other states start such programs. This should slow job destruction in those states, which will improve chances for all workers seeking employment. From now on, the first line of defense during a recession should be to expand work sharing rather than simply extend unemployment benefits.
    "But these changes come late, and we must get much better at sending a lifeline to those who are hardest to reconnect.”
    Do policy makers know what these lifelines should look like? Well, sort of, but most of the proposed solutions from both the left and the right are bereft of new ideas. Liberals have used statistics about the long-term unemployed to stress the immediacy of our economic problems and the dire need for aggressive government action. They warn that prolonged high rates of long-term unemployment have negative long-run effects on the economy. If too many workers’ skills atrophy, they will be doomed to become less-productive members of society and drag on the economy as a whole. This is what Larry Summers and Berkeley economist J. Bradford Delong argued in a March paper called “Fiscal Policy in a Depressed Economy.” Their solution? Aggressive borrowing and spending at the Federal level to prop up demand.
    Conservatives, predictably, disagree. Generally, those on the right regard our employment problem as structural, and think that no amount of government spending to boost demand will fix our labor market. Workers, they argue, don’t have the skills that modern firms need. What’s more, they say, much of the growth of the past generation was goosed by government spending, which masked underlying flaws in the economy. This is the argument that University of Chicago economist Raghuram Rajan puts forward in the recent edition of Foreign Affairs:
    “Rather than attempting to return to their artificially inflated GDP numbers from before the crisis, governments need to address the underlying flaws in their economies. In the United States, that means educating or retraining the workers who are falling behind, encouraging entrepreneurship and innovation, and harnessing the power of the financial sector to do good while preventing it from going off track.”
    [And Big Government should presumably do all this? This is not conservative. This is just more corporate socialism with a thin veneer of private-sector buzzwords. The only true conservative measure is to get the private sector to clean up and recycle its own mess of discarded employees aka deactivated consumers with a small government monitoring and enforcing a market-set repeatedly adjusting economywide workweek max and automatic overtime-to-training&hiring conversion. We're sooo spoiled by leaning on Big Gov't that even those on the right are doing it (but when they do it, "it's different" of course).]
    So what does this all mean for those workers who have been out of work six months or more? Unfortunately, not much. Gridlock in Washington will surely smother any bold, cohesive plan to help these people rebuild their skills and find work. And Congress has already begun to scale back long-term unemployment benefits. According to the National Employment Law Center, these changes will terminate unemployment benefits for 500,000 of the long-term unemployed by the end of August. Conservatives hope that removing this section of the safety net will push people back into the workforce, while liberals fear that it will only lead to suffering, poverty and even less demand in the economy. There is probably truth to both arguments, but in either case there are surely hard times ahead for the long-term unemployed.


6/02/2012 – News bits about the timesizing alternative to downsizing, reinvented thousands of times every day in every recession by mainly mid- and small-size companies, but still an afterthought when any economy that's still around in 50 years will have long made it first and foremost - ( [commentary] by Phil Hyde ecdesignr@yahoo.ca unless otherwise initialed ) -

  1. Work-sharing bill has supporters on both sides [of the political "aisle"]: Business Comment of the Day, Cleveland.com
    Lawmakers hope a new bill will help curb layoffs during business downturns. (Associated Press photo caption)
    CLEVELAND, Oh., USA - In response to the passage of a state bill aimed at curbing layoffs, cleveland.com user tidho
    This is going to be a disaster. Its basically green lighting companies to force part time on workers.
    User rk posts:
    This program will let business keep quality employees thru down periods. Whenever you lay an employee off, you risk the chance that they will find a new job. Hiring and training new people is costly. If a company has employees they want to lay off, they are free not to participate in the program.

  2. In our view: Cheers & Jeers - Shared-work programs benefit all; gambling fails to cure fiscal woes, The Columbian via columbian.com
    VANCOUVER, Ore., USA - Cheers: To Washington's shared-work program, which benefits employees, employers and the state government during an economic downturn. The program run by the state Employment Security Department lets employers reduce the hours of their full-time employees while those workers collect partial unemployment benefits. Currently, 77 companies and 673 employees in Clark County are participating, including Cadet Manufacturing, which builds baseboard and wall heaters, and thermostats at its factory near Fourth Plain Boulevard. At Cadet, workers such as Ros Sin have been able to keep their jobs and preserve their income despite a downturn in orders. It's also a win for Cadet, which keeps a talented, taxpaying workforce.
    Jeers: To any bureaucrats or politicians who believe that allowing more gambling in their communities will cure their civic budget woes. Woodland is an example. When it opened the town to cardrooms in 2011, the city council said it would receive $200,000 in additional tax revenues in 2012. But after its first quarter of operation, the OakTree Casino now looks like it is on pace to provide approximately half that amount. In the world of gambling, one thing you can bet on is that the odds are always against you.
    Cheers: To a new style of library being planned for Yacolt. The Fort Vancouver Regional Library has long served the county's smallest town — and other rural destinations — with bookmobiles, but that service will now be ending in Clark County. However, a promising partnership between the town and the library will result in the area's first "express" library. A portion of the old town hall will be remodeled into an area with books and other materials, and Internet access. It will be staffed about four hours a week; self-service users will be able to use the facilities beyond those hours. It's a way to provide equal or better library service to the community at a very low cost.
    Jeers: To IHN, a deadly fish virus that has been detected in Washington waters for the first time. The virus (infectious haematopoietic necrosis), which is sort of like the fish flu, was found at a salmon farm off of Bainbridge Island in Puget Sound. All of the salmon had to be destroyed, and 2 acres of pens must be disinfected. It's not unique to fish farms. IHN occurs in wild sockeye salmon and can be carried by herring and other fish.
    Cheers: To major road improvements coming to the west end of Northeast 88th Street. When the street was built decades ago, it was a typical rural road, with humps and dips and narrow lanes. Sidewalks and shoulders weren't considered, let alone bike lanes. Now, 88th connects Walmart with Costco, and passes hundreds of homes and dozens of businesses. The eastern half has been improved, so now it's the last 1.7 miles that will be suburbanized. The project is expected to cost $17.5 million and will add a continuous left-turn lane, sidewalks and bike lanes to the rebuilt arterial. Stormwater runoff also will be managed. Construction work is expected to last at least into 2013 and will probably try the patience of the hundreds of homeowners who live along the street. But for the 7,000 motorists who use the road on a typical day, it will be worthwhile.
    Jeers: To a downtown Vancouver land dispute that ended with a killing. The U.S. Army, the business community and the Catholic Church were embroiled in the dispute, which concerned ownership of a parcel of land. Also involved were two citizens, David Gardner and Amos Short. It all came to a head when Short shot and killed Gardner, and thus acquired the property. He was tried and acquitted, but today, 160 years later, Gardner's ghost is still said to haunt the Slocum House in the southwest corner of the popular downtown park named for Amos Short's wife.


6/01/2012 – News bits about the timesizing alternative to downsizing, reinvented thousands of times every day in every recession by mainly mid- and small-size companies, but still an afterthought when any economy that's still around in 50 years will have long made it first and foremost - ( [commentary] by Phil Hyde ecdesignr@yahoo.ca unless otherwise initialed ) -

  1. Wanted: A More Radical Plan to Reduce Unemployment, by David Frum, Daily Beast via thedailybeast.com
    People seeking jobs wait in line to speak to over 60 employers at an employment fair May 3, 2012 in the Queens borough of New York. (photo caption)
    NEW YORK, N.Y., USA - In the face of worsening economic news, it's time to start thinking about some more radical approaches to reducing unemployment. The German practice of "work-sharing" has been endorsed by both Kevin Hassett of the American Enterprise Institute and Dean Baker of the Center for Economic and Policy Research.
    [...tho' worksharing is hardly "radical" - we only DID IT for over 100 years when we cut the workweek in half between 1840 and 1940.]
    Here's a short library of research on the idea, which is provided for in the law of 21 states, but which has never gotten off the ground in this country—in large part because of the problem of sharing health-insurance coverage. (Another demerit of the American system of employer-based coverage.)
    In a 2011 paper, Baker explains what work-sharing might deliver:
    Germany ... has aggressively promoted a policy of work sharing, along with other measures aimed at persuading employers to retain workers. As a result, its standardized unemployment rate now [mid-2011] stands at 6.7 percent, 0.4 percentage points below the rate at the start of the downturn. This remarkable achievement was not due to superior economic growth. Through the fourth quarter of 2010, the growth rate of Germany’s economy since the start of the downturn had actually lagged somewhat behind the growth rate of the United States. The fact that Germany’s unemployment rate had fallen, while the unemployment rate in the United States had risen by 4.4 percentage points, was entirely due to different labor-market responses to the downturn.
    David Frum is a contributing editor at Newsweek and The Daily Beast and a CNN contributor.
    For inquiries, please contact The Daily Beast at editorial@thedailybeast.com.

  2. Animal Welfare, Human Welfare Linked, by David Vognar, HuffingtonPost.com
    NEW YORK, N.Y., USA - When I volunteer at my local animal shelter, which accepts thousands of dogs and cats per year, the worst sight is another animal control truck lumbering through the parking lot, bringing new lost, neglected or abused creatures to the shelter. After I had been at it for a while, I began to notice a pattern: trucks from the most impoverished towns in my area were much more prevalent than those from better-off areas.
    The pattern was no coincidence. Human welfare and animal welfare are related. Countries with little in the way of social services also have weak animal welfare systems. Think Russia and Mexico, where dogs roam the streets and are often in the most pitiful health. While affluent as well as impoverished areas can be host to animal cruelty or abuse, such practices are strongly linked to other crimes and volatile living environments. In an interview with The New York Times, Randall Lockwood, of the A.S.P.C.A., said, "Poverty often creates the sense of persecution and injustice that makes some people feel justified in striking back in order to gain the sense of power and control they otherwise lack." In cases of neglected or stray animals, poor people may just not have enough resources to adequately care for their pets and do not know that there are organizations that can help. But there are other reasons for animal neglect, as well. According to the Animal Legal Defense Fund, neglect of an animal is often associated with neglect of a child, elder or dependent. These unfortunate events are higher in low-income areas.
    Human and canine fate may have always been intertwined. New research points to the domestication of dogs as one of the reasons humans won out over Neanderthals about 30,000 years ago. Dogs were the "technology" that allowed humans to prosper in prehistoric hunts. It is more evident today than ever that to truly care for our companion animals, who helped us evolve to the species we are today, we have to be looking at improving the welfare of those who care for them. While some rail against recipients of welfare payments living off the government dole, those same people might otherwise gush over the cute pets their poor counterparts have at home. (No one ever complains about cats and dogs not working and earning their fair share.)
    [Is Vognar suggesting that some humans should function as pets? He might actually have an idea there.]
    We can help those who need government help, all in an effort to get them on their feet again and able to provide for themselves and their animals. We can do so by coming up with structural ways to provide for them and then have them provide for themselves. Such schemes include more investment in job-training, work sharing and counseling to deal with the strong and often violent emotions that come with living in poverty.
    Another tactic is to increase funding for animal welfare itself and hire those in the neighborhoods with high rates of animal neglect and abuse to work in local shelters. Currently some animal control and care facilities receive money from county or local governments. There are many other animal welfare organizations that survive on the donations of individuals and corporations. Gifts to the environment and animals totaled $6.66 billion in 2010, according to the most recent Giving USA report. This was one of the smallest categories of giving.
    One reason why we might give so little to animal causes could be because humans and animals are different species and, despite our affinity for our furry friends, one of the determinants of how we feel about providing welfare for others is how similar we are to the recipients. As Jeffrey D. Sachs explains in Common Wealth, "Social-welfare systems proved to be most effective and popular in ethnically homogenous societies, such as Scandinavia, where people believed that their tax payments were 'helping their own.'" Taking the dilemma a step further, another root of the problem may be that we see dogs and cats who wind up in shelters as somehow "other." Either they come from bad owners or from poor areas -- or maybe they are just bad animals that don't deserve help. The psychology of our decision to ignore animal welfare could be quite twisted.
    To overcome this mindset and provide for the millions of animals who fall through the cracks in communities that cannot support them, we could tax animal product suppliers to establish government-paid animal shelters in crisis areas. The government could provide an optional line on tax return forms to donate to animal welfare agencies in the inner city and elsewhere. There are already organizations, such as the Urban Animal Alliance and Poverty's Pets, which work against animal abuse and cruelty in inner-city areas. The recently founded Inner City Initiative in LA will help educate people in the inner city about animal care. These groups can use support in the interim. More organizations like these could spring up with public support.
    Social services are usually thought of as pertaining to humans only. But investing in services to those in need can also help animals. Coupling such targeted programs with more investment in at-risk animals could help solve many problems in the inner city.

  3. Important Change to Unemployment Comp On the Way, by Joe DeSantis, American Society of Employers via ASEonline.org
    LIVONIA, Mich., USA - Michigan seems assured of soon joining 23 other states in instituting a Work Sharing program.“Work Sharing” is the generic term for a program designed to enable employers to avoid layoffs during business downturns. They do it by reducing all employees’ hours and enabling those employees to draw partial unemployment benefits to cover part of their lost wages.
    Michigan seems assured of soon joining 23 other states in instituting a Work Sharing program.“Work Sharing” is the generic term for a program designed to enable employers to avoid layoffs during business downturns. They do it by reducing all employees’ hours and enabling those employees to draw partial unemployment benefits to cover part of their lost wages.
    Gov. Snyder touted Work Sharing in a speech last fall about rebuilding Michigan’s workforce. President Obama’s Jobs for America bill also promoted Work Sharing. The governor saw it as a way for Michigan employers to hold onto their talent through downturns when they would otherwise be forced to lay people off permanently. And it will provide cost savings to the state, and ultimately its employers, from reduced benefit payouts.
    Michigan’s Work Sharing bill, SB 1094, recently cleared the Senate in Lansing.It currently sits in the House Commerce Committee. The Senate version was introduced by a Republican (Sen. Bruce Caswell, Adams Township). The vote (24-13) went along party lines with only one Republican opposed; the only challenge to the bill during floor debate came from Democrat Sen. Vincent Gregory (Southfield) who nevertheless voted in favor of the bill when the roll was called.
    Assuming the bill is enacted into law, it would work as follows:
    An employer faced with the need to cut labor costs by, say, 25% would reduce everyone’s weekly hours by that amount instead of laying off 25% of its employees. Those employees would then be able to draw an unemployment benefit equal to 25% of the amount they would get if they were fully laid off.
    The amount of the benefit drawn would not count against an employee’s 20-week eligibility for benefits should he or she be laid off in the future.
    The employer would not be able to lay off any employees for the duration of the program, and the program could only be used one time for a maximum of one year.
    Employers that are unionized would have to negotiate the right to set up the program.
    The philosophical argument against Work Sharing is that it reduces the level of marketplace churn that ends up creating new jobs and workers qualified to perform them.
    [Well, we haven't been doing much worksharing yet in the USA and so we have had a lot of "workplace churn" in terms of downsizing - great according to this philosophical argument, right? - but WHERE is all this new job creation? WHERE are all the new jobs? This argument is just a little too "philosophical" for practicality. And the ASE is smart enough to drop it and move on -]
    The more practical form of opposition is likely to come from veteran employees, especially in a union environment, who would otherwise escape being laid off because of their seniority. Some of them will resist losing a portion of their income that they otherwise would not lose, even though they would gain more time off as an offset.
    [Believe it or not, almost half the union movement has been unifying enough to fight for all employees in terms of peferring shorter hours for all instead of layoffs for a few, and a few more, and a few more... But suicidal veteran unionists certainly exist who prefer layoffs and unemployment and their long-term wage-depressing effects than take a short-term hit themselves, however small.]
    Supporters of the concept of Work Sharing believe that employers would not use it unless they believe that demand for their products will eventually rebound and therefore they ought to hold onto their employees if they can. But, for example, an event such as the Great Recession could convince them that the changes to the economy will be systemic and not cyclical; in that belief they would likely reduce their workforces permanently through standard layoffs.
    The next step would be to clear the House Commerce Committee with or without changes and go to the House floor, which is majority Republican, for debate and voting. The committee met yesterday (Tuesday) to consider the bill.
    Sources: Gongwer 5/23/12; AARP Bulletin 4/5/11; MLive.com 5/21/12

  4. Komax to cut jobs, solar market in 'the grips of a crisis' - Komax will reduce it's workforce and introduce short-time working at its La Chaux-de-Fonds, Switzerland, site in June, evertiq.com
    LA CHAUX-DE-FONDS, Switzerland - Komax says it is taking steps to respond to the persistently challenging economic environment facing its Solar and Medtech business units.
    “The global solar market remains in the grips of a crisis whose end is currently difficult to foresee. As a result, Komax Solar is making further efforts to adapt its structures to the present demand situation,” a press release by the company said.
    Komax's solar business unit has a headcount of 285 employees, most of whom work outside Switzerland. The company plans to reduce this number by 70.
    Shorter Working Hours
    Uncertainty about economic developments is putting a damper on investment activity by Komax Medtech's customers, resulting in further postponements to projects.
    The company said that Komax Medtech is much more affected by the continuing strength of the Swiss franc than either of the other two business units, resulting in persistent spare capacity at its site in La Chaux-de-Fonds. “To bridge this temporary state of affairs, Komax Medtech is introducing short-time working in June,” the company stated.
    [And another article today on this -]
    PV equipment manufacturing: Komax Solar to lay off 70 workers, solarserver.com
    LA CHAUX-DE-FONDS, Switzerland - On May 31st, 2012 Komax Holding AG (Dierikon, Switzerland) announced that its Solar division will reduce staff by 70 employees, as part of an ongoing restructuring to adapt to reduced demand.
    The majority of the 285 workers that Komax Solar employed at the beginning of 2012 are located outside Switzerland. The company states that solar will remain an attractive market in the longer term, and that despite the layoffs its product range is being further developed and marketing efforts continue.
    Additionally, Komax will also introduce short-time work during the month of June at its Medtech division in Switzerland.
    Komax Solar maintains production facilities in Switzerland, France, the United States, Malaysia and China, as well as sales and service support via subsidiaries and independent agents in roughly 60 nations.




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