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Timesizing News, May/2013
[Commentary] ©2013 Phil Hyde, Timesizing.com, Harvard Sq PO Box 117, Cambridge MA 02238 USA 617-623-8080


5/31/2013 – News and opinion about the timesizing alternative to downsizing, reinvented thousands of times every day in every recession by mainly mid- and small-size companies, but still today an afterthought, though any economy that's still around 50 years from today will long since have made it first and foremost - ( [commentary] by Phil Hyde ecdesignr@yahoo.ca unless otherwise initialed ) -

  1. Ft. Polk to move to 4-day work weeks, by Jason Duke, KPLC-TV via kplctv.com
    FORT POLK, La., USA - The Department of Defense announced Friday that employees at Fort Polk will soon move to four-day work weeks.
    In a release issued, the furloughs of civilian employees is slated to begin on July 8. Employees would take either Mondays or Fridays as their designated furlough day.
    The release stated that it would be considered an "unpaid day," occurring weekly, equating about a 20% reduction in pay.
    [Better furloughs than firings, timesizing not downsizing.]
    The news release also stated that the furloughs would be temporary, ending on Sept. 30.

    Stay with 7News and kplctv.com as new details about the reported furloughs are revealed about the proposed furlough period.

  2. Furlough notices sent to 19000-plus civilian Defense Department workers in Kentucky, Indiana - 19,074 in Kentucky, Indiana face Defense Dept. furloughs, Courier-Journal.com
    WASHINGTON, D.C., USA — More than 19,000 civilian Defense Department employees in Kentucky and Indiana have begun receiving furlough notices this week, part of nationwide, automatic spending cuts required under a congressional budget agreement.
    The furloughs will affect 8,756 workers in Kentucky and 10,318 employees in Indiana, according to a state-by-state analysis released Thursday by Democrats on the House Appropriations Committee.
    About 680,000 civilian employees face furloughs as part of across-the-board cuts required under a budget bill that took effect March 1, the Pentagon said.
    The automatic spending cuts — a total of $85 billion this year shared by defense and nondefense programs — were created under a 2011 budget deal between the White House and Congress. The cuts, known as sequestration, are part of $1.2 trillion in reductions over the next nine years.
    Rep. John Yarmuth, D-3rd District, said the hardships the furloughs will create as the result of the sequester are no surprise.
    “This is exactly what was predicted if these reckless budget cuts went into effect, and it’s only one of the ways a decade of sequester cuts is already damaging our economy,” the Louisville lawmaker said. “Too many families are suffering. We need our senators to stop using the sequester to score political points and start working with us to immediately replace it with a responsible budget.”
    Sen. Dan Coats, R-Ind., a member of the Senate Appropriations Committee, also criticized the Pentagon furloughs.
    “I opposed the legislation that created the president’s sequestration cuts because the policy falsely assumes that all federal programs are equal and therefore should be cut equally,” Coats said in a statement. “Washington should cut the hundreds of duplicative and inefficient programs within our federal government, rather than furlough hardworking Americans serving at military installations in Indiana and across the country.”
    The distribution of furlough notices began Tuesday and is slated to be completed by June 5. Furloughs are to begin July 8.
    Employees will have one week to appeal the notices. But Pentagon officials last week told reporters that after exemptions for workers in war zones, shipyard workers and some others, additional exemptions were unlikely.
    Virginia, home to the Pentagon, will be hardest-hit, followed by California, according to the Pentagon.
    When the furloughs take effect, most military commissaries will close one day a week on Mondays, or, for those already closed on Mondays, will close on the next normal day of operation, according to Defense Commissary Agency.
    With Congress on recess, there was little other immediate reaction to the furlough notices from area lawmakers.
    The office of Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., declined to comment, while the offices of Sen. Rand Paul, R-Ky., and Sen. Joe Donnelly, D-Ind., did not respond to emailed requests for comment.
    Indiana Gov. Mike Pence’s office also did not respond to a request for comment. And Kentucky Gov. Steve Beshear’s office said he was unavailable.
    J. David Cox, national president of the American Federation of Government Employees, which represents about 270,000 defense workers, told Stars & Stripes that President Barack Obama and Congress were jointly guilty of “an absolute failure to govern.”
    Most Defense Department workers will be furloughed one day each week for 11 weeks, a cut that will be an almost $28.9 million hit to the Kentucky economy and a $34 million loss to the Indiana economy, House Democrats said.
    If there is any silver lining, the 11 furlough days are half what was originally predicted by the Pentagon.
    “I have made this decision very reluctantly, because I know that the furloughs will disrupt lives and impact DoD operations,” Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel said in announcing the furloughs on May 14. “I recognize the significant hardship this places on you and your families.”
    [not as much as there would be with layoffs instead!]
    The automatic cuts originally were envisioned as so draconian they never would be enacted. Instead, the cuts were created as a way to force lawmakers and the administration to come up with an alternative, more targeted set of budget reductions.
    After months of wrangling at the end of 2012 and early 2013, no compromise could be reached and so the sequestration provisions kicked in on March 1.
    While the Pentagon is furloughing workers, some other agencies have been able to avoid such a step by making other spending cuts, including reducing services and freezing hiring.
    Reporter James R. Carroll can be reached at (703) 854-8945.


5/30/2013 – News and opinion about the timesizing alternative to downsizing, reinvented thousands of times every day in every recession by mainly mid- and small-size companies, but still today an afterthought, though any economy that's still around 50 years from today will long since have made it first and foremost - ( [commentary] by Phil Hyde ecdesignr@yahoo.ca unless otherwise initialed ) -

  1. Korea to reduce yearly working hours of workers, by MKJI mkji@arirang.co.kr, (5/31 over dateline) Arirang News via arirang.co.kr
    SEOUL, South Korea - The Korean government has unveiled its roadmap for achieving a 70 percent employment rate. At a meeting with OECD Secretary-General Angel Gurria in Paris on Thursday, Korea's Finance Minister Hyun Oh-seok , said the government will reduce Korea's annual average working hours from more than 2-thousand hours down to the 1,900 range.
    [and 1,900 hrs/yr divided by 50 weeks would be a 38-hour workweek, like the unionized sector in East Germany. The Koreans are showing more intelligence and boldness than any English-speaking economy.]
    He also said Korea would create decent part-time jobs that give workers the same benefits as those afforded to full-time workers.
    [Aha, very good! = beefing up part-time like the Netherlands.]
    Hyun said it was vital for Korea to boost the female economic participation rate and foster the youth labor market.
    [Soooo good! /kàmsamidá/ THANKYOU, on behalf of all those concerned about the most basic freedom, Free Time, and all future generations! You South Koreans are moving into position to LEAD THE WORLD by good management instead of threatening people's livelihoods.]

  2. Oakley suspends furloughs, boosts salary ranges, by Rowena Coetsee, (5/29 late pickup) Contra Costa Times via San Jose Mercury News via mercurynews.com
    OAKLEY, Calif., USA -- In response to a recovering economy, the City Council has ended four years of furloughs and boosted employees' potential earnings.
    Council members decided Tuesday that Oakley's finances have stabilized enough to suspend the unpaid days off that most employees have had to take since March 2009.
    [and thus avoid layoffs?]
    "The economy's turning around, and we feel like we weathered the storm," City Manager Bryan Montgomery said.
    [Hold that mirage!]
    Employees have been furloughed 25 days each year -- one a month in addition to three days during Thanksgiving week and 10 days over the Christmas and New Year's holidays. Of that total, 12 days had to be unpaid; individuals could receive a paycheck for the remaining days if they had accrued enough vacation hours or other forms of paid time off.
    In addition, the City Council approved new salary ranges for 18 job titles, including accounting technician, parks and landscape maintenance worker, finance director and senior planner.
    The finance director's pay range, for example, saw a double-digit percentage increase: The monthly minimum limit went from $9,638 to $10,889, and the monthly maximum went from $11,824 to $13,557.
    Similarly, the assistant to the city manager's position previously had a monthly salary range of $6,529 to $8,019; the new low is $7,540 per month and the new high, $9,480.
    And whereas a senior planner had been making anywhere from $6,499 to $7,961 per month, on the new scale those wages range from $7,475 to $9,359.
    The revised figures reflect the results of a survey Oakley conducted in which it averaged the lowest and highest pay for similar municipal jobs in East County's other three cities -- Antioch, Brentwood and Pittsburg -- as well as in the comparable cities of Benicia, Hercules and Pleasant Hill in an effort to continue offering competitive wages.
    This is the first time that the city has updated its salary ranges in five years.
    In keeping with its compensation policy, seven employees will receive raises because they have slipped below the minimum salary for their jobs now that the ranges have increased.
    With their vote, council members also agreed that in 2013-14 the city will pay 2 percent more of each employee's share of cost for retirement benefits as well as about $35 more per month toward his or her health insurance premiums.
    In a related action, Oakley leaders adopted a new work schedule for employees that will have the effect of keeping city offices open longer.
    Starting July 1, city staff members will work 8 a.m. to 6 p.m. Mondays through Thursdays, giving the public 1½ more hours of access to them on those days than it has now. Every other Friday, City Hall will be open a half-hour longer. On the first and third Fridays, however, it will be closed.
    [And all without jobcuts?]
    Reach Rowena Coetsee at 925-779-7141.


5/29/2013 – News and opinion about the timesizing alternative to downsizing, reinvented thousands of times every day in every recession by mainly mid- and small-size companies, but still today an afterthought, though any economy that's still around 50 years from today will long since have made it first and foremost - ( [commentary] by Phil Hyde ecdesignr@yahoo.ca unless otherwise initialed ) -

  1. LDS Church Cutting Hours for DI Workers, EastIdahoNews.com
    SALT LAKE CITY, Utah, USA – In response to government-mandated healthcare rulings requiring corporations to provide heath insurance for full time employees, the Latter Day Saints Church [Mormon] is cutting hours for workers at Deseret Industries.
    The jobs, which often go to refugees, recovering addicts, and those lacking strong educational backgrounds, don’t currently provide insurance for most employees.
    To avoid the Obamacare mandate, most workers will see their salary [but not their hours?] cut to 30 hours a week. Officials say the cost of providing insurance is simply too high to retain workers full time.
    [Better hourscuts than jobcuts, but not good PR for a church of any flavor.]

  2. Muncie Public Library to cut hours, staff - MPL has to trim $400,000 this year, by Robin Gibson, (5/28 late pickup) Muncie Star Press via thestarpress.com
    MUNCIE, Ind., USA — Faced with declining funds, the Muncie Public Library plans to cut its staff — and with that, the hours the libraries will be open to the public — by this fall.
    MPL Director Virginia Nilles on Tuesday announced that, in order to trim $400,000 from its expenditures this year, the library would lay off a still-to-be-determined number of employees and, consequently, reduce hours at the two main branches
    Though the number of layoffs is still not set, they will come from the ranks of MPL’s 43 full-time employees, Nilles said.
    Cuts in hours as of September will trim an hour off the start or end of the day at Kennedy and Maring-Hunt libraries, but the most noticeable change will be the closure of those branches for one day each over the weekends, Maring-Hunt on Saturdays and Kennedy on Sundays. In addition, based on when usage is heaviest, Kennedy’s Saturday hours will also be trimmed from all day to just 1-5 p.m.

    Hours at the Carnegie Library downtown, which offers just local history and geneology and a computer lab, and the tech-focused Connection Corner, already more limited, are not slated to change with the staffing cuts.
    “We have to trim $400,000 and the only way to do that is through personnel,” the library director said in a phone interview. The library system gets some funding from fines and fees and from County Option Income Tax, but “the bulk of our funding is property tax.” The library’s net tax levy for 2013 is $2.5 million, well below the initial budget of $4.4 million.
    Roger Gilcrest, library board president, said the board supported Nilles and the library’s staff “in making the decisions that have to be made under the circumstances.
    “We wish it didn’t happen this way, but it is happening,” he said, adding, “This is the second time that we’ve been through a process that’s been very painful, that involves closing libraries and reducing staff.” Amid objections from supporters, MPL closed the Conley Branch Library in 2009 because of finances; the former Conley Branch opened as the technology-only Connection Corner in July 2012.
    Noting that the library has not given raises in several years, Nilles said, “We need to get smaller, in order to A) meet our payroll, and B) afford the library services people want.”
    Even while revenue for the library falls, usage has remained high, particularly with MPL’s efforts to add more technology. For 2012, MPL reported 401,127 visits to the library, 51,679 total library cards, and overall circulation — including print, audio books, e-books, music and videos — of 897,510 items.
    Nilles admitted she expects library usage to drop with the cuts in hours, though people taking advantage of ways to use the library online, such as downloading e-books, could increase.
    Stopping by Kennedy Library on Tuesday afternoon, library patron Teresa Lindley was sorry to hear of the pending changes, but, as a school librarian, said she understood all too well the need for such cuts as a result of a drop in public funds. “If that’s the only way they can survive, I guess that’s better than to close branches,” she said.
    Though her weekly library visits might be affected by the cutback in hours, Lindley noted she was among those who had started making greater use of the library’s online resources.
    MPL will also cut back on outreach services — going to Head Start, day cares and schools — to cut costs, but will continue to offer programs on site at the libraries.
    Muncie’s library isn’t alone in facing the need for such changes; other property tax-supported entities such as Delaware County government have trimmed staffing and even tried cutting hours. Libraries in other cities also have faced similar issues; according to a 2012 report on the American Library Association website, a cost-cutting plan to close Chicago libraries on Mondays was dropped, but libraries still dealt with layoffs and changes to hours, albeit with some staffers and operating hours later brought back.
    “We’ve never had to really do this, so it’s going to be tough,” Nilles said of the layoffs at Muncie’s libraries.
    This might not be the last time local library staffers — and patrons — experience such cuts, either. Unless the library’s financial outlook improves, “We’re going to have to keep doing this; this is not a one-time deal,” Nilles warned.
    Contact news reporter Robin Gibson at 213-5855.


5/28/2013 – News and opinion about the timesizing alternative to downsizing, reinvented thousands of times every day in every recession by mainly mid- and small-size companies, but still today an afterthought, though any economy that's still around 50 years from today will long since have made it first and foremost - ( [commentary] by Phil Hyde ecdesignr@yahoo.ca unless otherwise initialed ) -

  1. Greens vote for 35 hour work week, Radio Sweden via SverigesRadio.se
    VÄSTERÂS, Sweden - In Västerås, the Swedish Green Party’s bi-annual conference has rejected the party board’s line on three issues.
    The conference voted Saturday to press for a 35 hour work week. The board’s motion had called for the party to work for a reduction in working hours, but aimed at particular groups and with no specific number for all employees.

    Conference delegates also voted against the board to restore payroll taxes for people under the age of 26 to their 2006 levels. Over the past seven years those taxes have gradually been cut in half by parliament, in an effort to boost employment among young people.
    The conference also voted 152-63 over the wishes of the board to tighten the language in the party program regarding profits by private companies receiving public funding to run schools and healthcare facilities. The stronger language reads “any profits shall be reinvested in operations”.
    The TT news agency says the Greens will be prioritizing the EU parliamentary elections in one year’s time, partly as a launching pad for the Swedish national elections in September 2014, but also to keep the anti-immigration Sweden Democrats from becoming Sweden’s third largest party in Brussels.
    The polls currently indicate the Greens are Sweden’s third largest party, behind the Social Democrats and the conservative Moderates. Both the center-right government and the opposition Social Democrats are seen by analysts as trying to woo the Greens into a coalition after the 2014 vote.
    The Greens were part of an electoral alliance with the Social Democrats and Left parties before the 2008 elections.
    According to a survey by the newspaper Svenska Dagbladet Friday, in the past three years the Greens have voted more often in parliament with the Social Democrats than with the government, although they have entered into an agreement with the government on immigration, to forestall the influence of the anti-immigration Sweden Democrats.

  2. Swiss work week remains little changed, by Malcolm Curtis (news@thelocal.ch), TheLocal.ch
    Full-time workers in Switzerland worked an average of 41 hours and 23 minutes per week last year, according to new figures based on a survey from the federal statistics office.
    STOCKHOLM, Sweden - The time spent is virtually unchanged from 2007 — actually one minute longer, according to a report from the office released on Monday.
    The figures indicate that full-time Swiss employees have work weeks that are close to the average for the European Union.
    Numbers from the UK’s Office of National Statistics from 2011 showed full-time workers in Austria and Greece put in the longest weeks in the EU at around 43.7 hours, followed by those in the UK (42.7 hours).
    Denmark had the shortest week with an average of 39.1 weeks [sic - editor!!!].
    [What about France's 35-hour workweek and Germany's unionized sector at 35 in the West and 38 in the East? If Europe is losing fuller employment and markets due to relengthening workweeks, no wonder they're in recession.]
    The Swiss statistics show that the contractual period of work fell by two minutes in 2012 to 41 hours and 47 minutes from 2007.
    This figure is different from the actual number of hours worked because it includes the average period of weekly absences (1 hour, 34 minutes, down by a minute) offset by overtime (one hour, 11 minutes, up two minutes).
    According to a survey of the population, the average length of annual holidays for full-time workers increased from 4.9 weeks in 2007 to five weeks in 2012.
    The tendency over the past 15 years has been for longer holiday periods in Switzerland, the statistics office said.
    Average annual holidays in 1996 were 4.6 weeks, the office said.
    The oldest full-time workers, those aged 50 to 64, enjoyed the longest holidays (5.5 weeks in 2012), compared to 4.8 weeks for those aged 20 to 49.


5/26-27/2013 – News and opinion about the timesizing alternative to downsizing, reinvented thousands of times every day in every recession by mainly mid- and small-size companies, but still today an afterthought, though any economy that's still around 50 years from today will long since have made it first and foremost - ( [commentary] by Phil Hyde ecdesignr@yahoo.ca unless otherwise initialed ) -

  1. During your furlough, how about a round of golf? by Jerry Grubb, Grubb lives in Danville and is a real estate appraiser, 5/27 Roanoke Times via roanoke.com
    ROANOKE, Va., USA - The Associated Press recently released an article entitled “Pentagon to furlough 680,000 civilian workers” (May15 brief).
    The first line reads, “After weeks of debate and number-crunching, the Defense Department announced plans Tuesday [May 14] to furlough about 680,000 of its civilian employees for 11 days through the end of this fiscal year, allowing only limited exceptions for the military to avoid or reduce the unpaid days off.”
    Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel, in a memo to the department, called the decision “an unpleasant set of choices” between furloughing workers or cutting training and flight operations.
    In the same memo, “I understand that the decision to impose furloughs imposes financial burdens on our valued employees, harms overall morale and corrodes the long-term ability of the department to carry out the national defense mission. I deeply regret this decision.”
    Excuse me, but with the daily warnings of imminent doomsday, also known as sequestration, I am skeptical of such messages from Washington.
    In September 2011, an internal Pentagon economic analysis projected a 1 percent increase in the national unemployment rate if the automatic “sequestration trigger” were to take effect. The national unemployment rate then was 8.8 percent; in March of this year, it was 7.6 percent, down by more than 1 percent.
    But I was concerned. With 560,000 soldiers in uniform, the loss to furlough of almost 700,000 civilian employees even for a short time would be catastrophic for our defense. Further research revealed that the department had approximately 3 million employees, or more than 5 civilian employees for every soldier in uniform.
    I was interested in exactly what types of jobs these were. I found that there is an agency called the Army Installation Management Command. This agency offers a wide variety of openings, but one in particular got my attention. In spite of the pending furloughs, you can still apply for a position as “assistant business manager (golf pro).”
    What does the Army need with a golf pro? Well actually all branches of our military need more than just a few. Our military has 155 golf courses across the world. The four armed services have a total of six in Hawaii, and these are not nine-hole par threes either.
    One is the Kaneohe Klipper Golf Course. The following is taken from the course’s website, “Don’t miss the chance to play one of the world’s best military golf courses, consistently voted Number One by DoD patrons. The Kaneohe Klipper is an 18-hole championship golf course with separate driving range, chipping green and putting green. Experience this golfers’ paradise where the Ko’olau Mountains frame the front nine and the Pacific coastline spans the back nine. Enjoy the refreshing ocean breeze as it caresses beautifully manicured fairways. The Kaneohe Klipper Course offers a variety of additional services, including golf lessons, a Junior Golf Program and rental equipment. ADA compliant golf carts are also available.”
    There is an afternoon special for Department of Defense civilian employees. For $39, Monday through Thursday, they can play as many holes as they can before dark, plus cart. After a round, players get a free selection off the Samuel Adams Sports Grill’s special menu, as well as a Coors Light draft or soft drink.
    I doubt few of our enlisted personnel or entry-level civilian employees get the benefit of the Kanehoe Klipper Golf Course. So my question to Hagel is this: During those “weeks of debate and number crunching,” did you consider having the patrons of this world-class golf course buy their own beer?
    Jerry Grubb lives in Danville VA and is a real estate appraiser.

  2. Beware: The four-day week is out to get you, 5/27 StarPhoenix (blog) via blogs.thestarphoenix.com
    SASKATOON, Sask., Canada - As you may have noticed, most work weeks are five days long. They are the backbone of society. They roll up their sleeves. They get all their work done on time. They don’t expect any fanfare or special favours.
    Five-day work weeks are the law-abiding citizens of the calendar year.
    Sadly for them, five-day work weeks have to put up with the vain, shallow celebrities of the week family, the four-day work week.
    [Shallow only insofar as they haven't been cut deeply enough to allow full employment in the age of robotics.]
    Oh, everybody loves the four-day work week. It’s short. It’s over before you know it.
    It’s kind of like Tom Cruise reciting a haiku.
    But maybe the four-day work week gets too much credit. While five-day is shovelling all the coal, its diminutive sibling is reclining on the deck in its sunglasses, texting its friends to find out where the party is. It’s not fair. There ought to be a law.
    In fact, there is. As you know, the calendar is represented by two separate yet equally important groups: The police who always go after the wrong guy first and the prosecutors who have to make a bunch of flimsy evidence stick. This is one of their stories.
    The case against the four-day work week
    Item No. 1: Theft.
    The four-day work week starts with a daring daylight robbery in which an entire day just disappears. Most recently, it was May 20 — a normal, everyday day that was switched with a day called Victoria. May 20 was supposed to be a Monday, the start of the work week. Not so Victoria, who slept in and spent the entire day fooling around.
    Item No. 2: Mischief.
    I’m sure Victoria had her fun, but not without inconveniencing all the other days of the week. When workers finally reported for duty, it was already Tuesday. Tuesday! Not only were they tired from hanging around with Victoria, they had 20 per cent less time to do the same amount of work over the rest of the week! It was a perfect storm. (Which is also the name of a movie starring George Clooney and Mark Wahlberg — who are also both quite short).
    So there you are, starting your week on Tuesday. The morning is a writeoff. You were away so long you can’t even remember what it was that you did for a living. By 1 p.m. (okay, 1:30), you’ve finally put your nose to the grindstone. So now you have only three and a half days to do five day’s work. It’s the same feeling you get when you’ve got an exhausting amount of work to do before summer vacation starts. You have to work so hard to get everything done that you actually wouldn’t need holidays if you didn’t have to get all your work done before holidays.
    Item No. 3: Causing a disturbance.
    The four-day work week is the leading cause of calendrical disorientation in the labour force. Symptoms of this debilitating condition include metaphoric dizziness and the inability to remember what day it is at any given time.
    Sufferers are often heard speaking nonsense like “Geez, it feels like Sunday” when in fact it’s Monday, “It felt like Monday all day” when it’s Tuesday and “I can’t believe it’s Thursday” when, yes, it bloody well is Thursday.
    Studies have shown that it takes a full week to get over a four-day week, leading many to wonder if they are worth all the trouble.
    Epilogue:
    Giving a four-day week credit for flying by or making life easier is like thanking someone when they stop standing on your toe. Four-days get great publicity. Everyone thinks they like them, but there is far more image here than substance. Naturally, given our lenient justice system, the four-day week won’t get the punishment it deserves. I would expect something like a suspended sentence in exchange for a guilty plea — something in the range of two months, reduced by half with good behaviour. Oh my goodness. That puts it back on the street around Canada Day, which happens to fall on a Monday this year. If it feels like Sunday, don’t say I didn’t warn you.


5/25/2013 – News and opinion about the timesizing alternative to downsizing, reinvented thousands of times every day in every recession by mainly mid- and small-size companies, but still today an afterthought, though any economy that's still around 50 years from today will long since have made it first and foremost - ( [commentary] by Phil Hyde ecdesignr@yahoo.ca unless otherwise initialed ) -

  1. AFGE statement on mass furlough of federal workers, American Federation of Government Employees via PRNewswire-USNewswire via Sacramento Bee via sacbee.com
    WASHINGTON, D.C., USA -- American Federation of Government Employees National President J. David Cox Sr. today issued the following statement in response to today's mass furlough of more than 100,000 federal employees:
    "Furlough Friday" is a disgrace to our nation. Let no one believe for a moment that this is some kind of four-day weekend or holiday for federal employees forced out of work without pay.
    [No, complacent unions of government employees working pre-technological five-day workweeks deep into the age of robotics while more and more and more of their fellow Americans are marginalized into underemployment, unemployment, welfare, disability, homelessness, prison and suicide is a disgrace to our nation. And your self-disempowering focus on higher pay and benefits instead of full employment via shorter hours for everyone is an insult to intelligence. For your own sake if not for everyone's, wake up while you've still got jobs to your own economy's history and your own power issue, shorter hours - to spread the shrinking unautomated work across an expanding population. Then you'll have to focus on that population expansion.]
    For anyone making light of furloughs, taunting us with the claim that no one will notice, or saying that America is better off when whole agencies of the federal government are closed, consider this: No group of Americans does more to protect public health by enforcing clean air and water standards. No group of Americans does more to obtain housing for low-income or homeless veterans and others in need. No group of Americans does more to equip our troops and facilitate the success of our military. And no group of Americans comes close to having sacrificed as much toward deficit reduction as federal employees, even before sequester.
    Furloughing federal employees has never been justifiable for budget reasons; everybody knows that the savings from furloughs are more than offset by the costs they entail.
    Memorial Day is a solemn occasion to recall the heroic sacrifice of our military in defense of freedom, but the Friday before is a day of shame for the lawmakers and administration officials who allowed sequester and furloughs to occur.
    The American Federation of Government Employees (AFGE) is the largest federal employee union, representing 670,000 workers in the federal government and the government of the District of Columbia.

  2. US Park Police furloughs to end June 1, by Lisa Rein, WashingtonPost.com
    WASHINGTON, D.C., USA - Furloughs for the U.S. Park Police forced by the budget cuts known as sequestration will end June 1, the National Park Service announced Friday, because the agency was able to find other savings.
    “We’re ending the furloughs,” Park Service Director Jonathan B. Jarvis said in an interview, a month after the force of 747 sworn officers and support staff members in three cities began staying home one day per pay period in order to take 12 to 14 unpaid days off by Sept. 30. “We have resolved this within the Park Police budget.”
    The decision does not stave off staffing shortages through the Memorial Day holiday weekend, when tourists will flood into Washington and the Rolling Thunder motorcycle rally is expected to bring 400,000 bikers to the city. But Park Service officials said that security would not be compromised on the holiday.
    The U.S. Park Police force was the only federal law enforcement agency furloughed under the $85 billion in budget cuts.
    The police union had brought public attention to the furloughs for months, saying staffing shortages were compromising safety.
    “While this is encouraging news . . . the agency is still understaffed, poorly funded and lacks financial control of its own operations,” Ian Glick, president of the U.S. Park Police Fraternal Order of Police, said in a statement.
    Del. Eleanor Holmes Norton (D-D.C.), after meeting with the union and making other inquiries, wrote a letter to Senate and House appropriators this week asking them to consider allowing the Park Service to shift money from less-vital accounts to the Park ­Police to stop the furloughs.
    “The question is why the Park Service has no furloughs, while this unit that has essential employees does,” Norton said.
    The small force patrols national parkland in the urban areas of the Washington region, New York and San Francisco. About 350 officers are based in the capital region, with enforcement responsibility for 27,000 acres in the District, Maryland and Virginia — including the Mall and the monuments — and 144 miles of roadway.
    Like thousands of federal employees, from the Defense Department to the Environmental Protection Agency, the Park Police force was told that the cuts that kicked in across the federal government March 1 had to be rigidly applied. Five percent had to be shaved from every agency’s budget by the end of the fiscal year in September.
    There was little flexibility to shift money from less-vital services to others, and since the police budget is mostly salaries, the $5 million had to come from there.
    But Jarvis said his budget experts “took a really deep dive into the line budget” of the police force, “scrubbing every dollar.”
    The savings came from $1 million in furlough days that the police began taking in late April and other cuts to overtime pay, training, planned equipment purchases and travel, Jarvis said.
    “It was incredibly unfortunate that we had to furlough the Park Police,” Jarvis said. “We were stuck with the budget that was given to us.”


5/24/2013 – News and opinion about the timesizing alternative to downsizing, reinvented thousands of times every day in every recession by mainly mid- and small-size companies, but still today an afterthought, though any economy that's still around 50 years from today will long since have made it first and foremost - ( [commentary] by Phil Hyde ecdesignr@yahoo.ca unless otherwise initialed ) -

  1. Furloughs lead to longer Memorial Day weekend for many government workers, Today's TMJ4 via todaystmj4.com
    [Usually TMJ stands for templo-mandibular joint syndrome (or tight-jaw syndrome) but here it could stand for Today's Milwaukee Journal?]
    MILWAUKEE, Wisc., USA - The upcoming long Memorial Day weekend means a Monday off for most people, but some government workers are getting an unpaid holiday on Friday because of forced furlough days.
    [Better a forced furlough day than a forced firing completely out of a job. In France, they call getting a regular holiday stretched into a four-day weekend by hourscuts "making the bridge" (faire le pont).]
    If you're waiting for a tax return, you'll have to wait a little longer due to the IRS furlough closing up its Milwaukee office on Friday.
    The IRS made the move due to the federal budget situation in Washington, D.C.
    The closure affects 400 taxpayer centers across the country.
    No employees will be processing tax returns, and they won't staff the toll-free hotlines which help thousands of taxpayers with returns or any other questions.
    The IRS isn't the only agency dealing with a budget crisis.
    The Racine Public Library and its mobile library are also closed Friday and Saturday due to the city's mandatory furloughs.
    Even the library's web site won't be available.
    The library has to reduce 20 percent of its staffing for the week.
    By closing these two days, they are meeting that requirement imposed on by the city.
    Library officials say no books are due this weekend, so there will be no late fines.

  2. Top female judge calls for end to 'frenetic' working hours for women so they can spend more time with their families, by Jaymi Mccann, London Daily Mail via Mail Online via dailymail.co.uk
    • Lady Justice Hallett said the 'frenetic' working environment needs to change
    • Added that it is usually women who take control of caring duties
    • She wants society's priorities to change and for work not to encroach upon quality of life
    LONDON, England - A senior woman judge has called for an end to the ‘frenetic’ working environment as she fears it holds women back.
    Lady Justice Hallett, who is in the running to become the next Lord Chief Justice, said that society’s priorities need to change.
    She said that we need to look at peoples quality of life, adding: 'I want to see a time when the Prime Minister is criticised for not spending time with his family on a Sunday.’
    The mother-of-two said that women were put off becoming judges or senior partners in law firms as the hours are not conducive to a family life, reported The Times.
    She believes that there needs to be a change of culture, and that politicians should not just talk about changing working hours for women to be equal in the workplace.

    She said at a question-and-answer session held at the London School of Economics: ‘Even if you have a very modern partner, the chances are the burden of caring responsibilities – be it children when you are relatively young, or aging relatives when older – [will fall on the woman].’
    Lady Justice Hallett is also deputy president of the Queen’s Bench Division of the High Court and has put her name forward for the lord Chief Justice role.
    She couldn’t deny that she wanted the job, adding that she thought: ‘It is probably one of the best jobs in the world.’
    The position becomes available when Lord Judge steps down at the end of September. Lord Justice Leveson and Sir John Thomas who is currently president of the Queen’s Bench.
    Lady Justice Hallett was widely praised for the way she handled the inquests in toe 7/7 bombings. She has always been interested in diversity, and has spoken out in the past about being propositioned by senior colleagues and sexism in the workplace.
    She also complained when she was turned down for a scholarship by the Bar. She said that it was at a time were the view was held that a scholarship for a woman was a waste.


5/23/2013 – News and opinion about the timesizing alternative to downsizing, reinvented thousands of times every day in every recession by mainly mid- and small-size companies, but still today an afterthought, though any economy that's still around 50 years from today will long since have made it first and foremost - ( [commentary] by Phil Hyde ecdesignr@yahoo.ca unless otherwise initialed ) -

  1. Quinlivan proposes days off for city workers to save jobs, WXIX via FOX19.com
    [Timesizin' not downsizin'!]
    MADISONVILLE, Ohio, USA - Local residents had their final chance to weigh in on Cincinnati's $35 million budget deficit on Wednesday evening.
    In addition, Councilwoman Laure Quinlivan made a new proposal during the meeting as an effort to fill the budget gap.
    [Rhymes with cleanlivin'?]
    With the proposal, all city workers would be forced to take eight furlough days.
    Quinlivan says her plan would avoid layoffs for police, fire and other city workers. In addition, it would avoid a 15% cut to the city parks.
    By law, the city sent out layoff notices to 66 police officers, 71 firefighters and 64 support workers this week.
    If Cincinnati administration cannot reach a budget deal by June 1, the layoff notices will take effect on June 9.
    [A longer version -]
    Quinlivan: City employees should sacrifice to save jobs, by Chris Wetterich, (5/22 late pickup) Business Courier via bizjournals.com
    Laure Quinlivan has suggested furloughs for city employees to save workers from layoffs. (photo caption)
    [ Smart ... & beautiful! (Be still, my heart!) ]
    CINCINNATI, Ohio, USA - All city employees, including police officers and firefighters, would take eight furlough days in order to cancel all layoffs and keep funding intact for parks and other programs under a budget plan proposed by Councilwoman Laure Quinlivan.
    [Furloughs not firings = timesizing not downsizing.]
    The furlough days would generate $6.67 million, Quinlivan estimated.
    Quinlivan’s plan would retain or partially restore funding for the city’s pools, Bush Recreation Center in Walnut Hills, community councils, the Greater Cincinnati Film Commission and local chambers of commerce. Funding for all of that is set to be cut or eliminated under the city manager’s budget proposal.
    Funding also would be restored for the city’s lobbyist contract, a greenspace/flower pot program, the city’s arts ambassador fellowships and Keep Cincinnati Beautiful.
    Since 90 percent of the city’s workers fall under a collective bargaining agreement, they would have to vote on whether to take the furlough days. City employees should take the furlough days because they aren’t paying enough for health care, Quinlivan said. Her research indicated that most public employers require a 10 percent contribution to health care premiums from employees, while the city requires only 5 percent. Private sector plans often require a 25 percent contribution or more.
    “If a union votes against taking eight cost-savings days, members will instead experience the layoffs in their union groups as outlined in the city manager’s proposed budget,” Quinlivan said in her motion. “It’s time for all city employees to help solve this crisis, since employee healthcare costs have risen 300 percent in the last 12 years.”
    “Several councilmembers who make $60,000/year are already taking the equivalent of 65 cost-savings days this year,” she said. “Council members with family health coverage were notified by the law department in December 2012 that due to a recalculation of benefits, the city would no longer pay for family health coverage for council members, effective January 2013.
    “Even so, we will gladly give an additional 8 days without pay in 2014 to save the jobs of all city employees, and keep our great momentum going.”
    Wetterich covers government and politics, transportation and downtown development.

  2. FWCS cutting hours for 600+ employees - Affordable Care Act partially to blame, by Adam Widener, WANE.com
    FORT WAYNE, Ind., USA - Fort Wayne Community Schools [FWCS] is cutting hours for hundreds of part-time employees such as teacher assistants and cafeteria workers. Leaders at the district say the Affordable Care Act is partly to blame.
    On Friday, principals notified affected employees of the changes. They work six-hour days for a 30-hour work week. Starting on June 3, the last week of the school year, most of the employees affected will drop down to a 25-hour work week.
    [The right deed for the wrong reason.]
    “It’s not what we would have liked to have done,” said Kathy Friend, chief financial officer with FWCS. “Reducing hours is not good for the employees, but it is also not good for the schools who depend on their support. But we had to do it.”
    In all, Friend said there are about 840 FWCS employees working 30 hours a week. Beginning in January of 2014, President Obama's Affordable Care Act requires employers to provide a health care option to anyone working 30 hours a week or more. Adding that new eligibility to its part-time employees, which currently are not eligible for health care, would cost FWCS about $10 million.
    That's money Friend said is out of the question. FWCS, the largest school corporation in Indiana, is already working through a budget shortfall.
    “It's projected that we're going to have less money in 2015 then we're going to have in 2013 because of the most recent budget passed by the state,” Friend explained. “So because of budget reasons and because the Affordable Care Act provisions, which would have required us to add even more to the budget, we had to take a look at everyone’s hours and determine if we could make adjustments.”
    Of the about 840 part-time employees, about 610 will have hours cut. FWCS will give the remaining 230 employees the new health care option.
    “Even though we've somewhat solved this problem by cutting hours for employees, the 200 plus that become eligible in January are still a $2 million impact to the budget,” Friend said. “So it's still a budgetary issue to us.”
    Friend testified to the IRS on this topic in April. She said the schools initially thought the Affordable Care Act would average out a 52-hour work year. That way, school districts would be in the clear since teachers don’t work summers. Friend said they later learned that wasn’t the case.
    The final regulations for the Affordable Care Act still are not clear.
    Friend said this isn't just an issue in FWCS, but every school district in the country will have to figure out how to pay for health care for those part-time employees.
    One frustrated FWCS employee alerted NewsChannel 15 of the hour cuts via the Report!t feature on WANE.com .
    Three U.S. legislators representing northeast Indiana had the following comments about FWCS cutting part-time hours:
    “This is just another example of how Obamacare hurts Hoosiers and must be repealed. Here in Fort Wayne and around the State, teachers, families, and small businesses are struggling under the weight of Obamacare’s regulations. Our schools should be focused on educating our children, not complying with the IRS’ regulatory mess.” - U.S. Rep. Marlin Stutzman (R-3rd)
    "Senator Donnelly has heard from Hoosiers rightfully concerned about this issue, and he is looking at ways to address it in a way that works for both employers who are concerned about costs and workers who are concerned about their hours—and therefore wages—getting cut." - Elizabeth Shappell, Communications Director for Senator Joe Donnelly (D-IN)
    Representatives for Senator Dan Coats (R-IN) responded with a video of Coats talking about “Obamacare”


5/22/2013 – News and opinion about the timesizing alternative to downsizing, reinvented thousands of times every day in every recession by mainly mid- and small-size companies, but still today an afterthought, though any economy that's still around 50 years from today will long since have made it first and foremost - ( [commentary] by Phil Hyde ecdesignr@yahoo.ca unless otherwise initialed ) -

  1. 5 furlough days projected as school system deals with $5.6 million shortfall in budget plan, by Ron Daniel, (5/21 late pickup) douglascountysentinel.com
    DOUGLAS, Ga., USA - The Board of Education passed a tentative review of the fiscal year 2014 budget at Monday’s meeting that has a projected shortfall of $5.6 million and is expected to result in five furlough days for teachers and other employees.
    Greg Denney, the system’s chief financial officer, said the shortfall would be paid out of the reserve fund, which would drop the fund’s balance from $18.3 million to $12.6 million over the course of the next year.
    The board made clear it wouldn’t be comfortable letting the fund balance drop below $11.6 million, which Denney said gives the school system some room to maneuver.
    The school system will advertise for a public hearing on the budget at its June 3 meeting. The board will likely vote to pass the budget at the meeting unless there are last-minute concerns.
    The budget is based on projected revenues of $197,652,498.58 and expenditures of $203,287,748.61.
    Denny said he revised the projections earlier Monday to reflect expected savings in diesel fuel cots of an additional $300,000. The system also increased its projected income from the new title ad valorem tax on vehicles. Originally, the system estimated getting $50,000 a month based on the first month’s revenue of $41,000 from the new title tax. But Denney said last month’s revenue jumped to $192,000 from the title tax, so the budget is based on the system receiving $100,000 a month or $1.2 for the fiscal year instead of the initial $600,000 projection.
    The budget also assumes a 2 percent decline in revenue from property taxes with a 98 percent collection rate.
    Denney said those numbers were volatile, with the county projecting anywhere from a 2-4 percent decline in the tax digest. Denney said if the decline is 4 percent instead, that would be another $2.4 million the system would have to account for.
    Also, he said he would prefer to project with a collection rate closer to 95 percent rather than 98 percent, with each percentage point representing about $600,000.
    On the plus side, the county expects to get an additional $5.2 million from the state because of higher enrollment numbers.
    As far as teacher allotments, the revised numbers from last month’s budget session have a reduction of 9.2 elementary teachers and two para professionals, while adding 10.3 middle school teachers and 1.5 high school teachers. That will leave the system with a net positive of 2.5 more teachers.
    Denney said there will be enough open spots through attrition at the elementary school level so that no teacher or para professional loses their job.
    The board made clear that if revenues came in at higher than projected rates, it would like to make reducing furlough days a priority.
    Also Monday, the board discussed raising the prices of school meals. Breakfast would increase from $1 to $1.25 for students, the first increase in breakfast prices in five years, according to Dudley Spruill, the system’s chief of operations.
    Adult breakfasts would increase a nickel from $1.60 to $1.65. Staff lunches would go up from $2.80 to $3 and guest lunches would increase from $2.80 to $3.50.

  2. Gena Bigler: New bill before Congress would end overtime pay and 40-hour work week, KyForward.com
    WASHINGTON, D.C., USA - Overworked, and without recourse. Most Americans work longer hours than ever before and are seldom “off the clock.” Congress recently voted to essentially end our 40-hour work week and overtime pay. “The Working Families Flexibility Act H.R. 1406,” is not yet law, and is in a Senate committee, but we are precariously close to losing rights that have protected the American worker since 1938.
    This deceptively titled bill would replace our current overtime pay after 40 hours worked each week with ‘compensatory time.’ This time off would be at the employers’ convenience, so there are no guarantees about getting the time off at all. Unscrupulous employers may heap on extra work hours with unfulfilled promises of future time off. The workers’ only remedy would be to sue their employer which is costly, inefficient and practically impossible for most workers.
    Relying on the ethics of business to take care of workers has not worked in the past and there is no reason to think that it would today. Most big business takes full advantage of every opportunity to increase profits; this would be one more avenue for profit on the backs of workers.
    Americans work more than any other industrialized nation. As we move into vacation season, 88 percent of Americans will take their e-devices with them to check in with work. A third of Americans don’t take their allotted vacation time. Some workers fear that taking time off, even if it is allowed, will cost them either by losing promotions or being replaced with more ‘dedicated’ workers. As the middle class and working poor struggle to make ends meet, those with a million or more are increasing wealth at unprecedented rates.
    [And that is what causes recession and depression. And unless Americans wake up and get activist, their country will be completely stolen from them and they'll be living in shacks and huts like the old slave plantations. And unless what's left of the unions pull themselves together with the rest of Americans and focus on workweek reduction and more jobs for all, instead of just higher pay for themselves and fewer jobs for everyone else, it won't make any difference even if Americans do "wake up."]
    Increasingly, our elected officials are rich. The median net worth of our Congress is about $900,000 more than the median net worth of the average American household which is $66,740. The people making decisions about work weeks and minimum wage have no practical knowledge of them. Nearly half the members of Congress each have a net worth of over a million dollars. Very few millionaires have ever had to rely on a minimum wage job to pay their bills. If they did, maybe more Congressional members would realize how far minimum wage is from a living wage.
    To cross the great divide, several elected officials have attempted to live for a week on the allotted amount of food stamps appropriate for them. While I applaud this effort towards empathy, one week of giving up four-star restaurants is not the same as relying on food stamps for survival. It is not the same as going hungry so your child can eat. It is not the same when you can count down the days until gourmet returns. For the working poor, there is no counting down the days; there is no end in sight.
    Congress has recently attempted to cut food stamp programs by $4 billion and voted down a proposal to raise minimum wage. Contrast that amount with the $52 billion that is spent on oil, gas and coal subsidies to huge profitable corporations. Children are the primary beneficiaries of the food stamp program, alongside the 1.5 million veterans who relied on food stamps in 2011.
    Overworked Americans must be vigilant to hold onto the rights we have enjoyed for decades. Class climbing in America is being reduced to surviving. Politicians are increasingly winning elections funded by out of state money instead of relying on local constituents to provide financial support for their campaigns.
    Workers’ rights are on the chopping block, along with protections and support for the working poor. As politicians are more removed from these struggles, we must remind them of what is best for America. We must remind them to protect the working class that sustains America.
    Gena Bigler is passionate about public service and credits her time serving nonprofits in AmeriCorps and Volunteers in Service to America (V.I.S.T.A.) with teaching her extreme budgeting and bargain shopping. Gena is now CFO of McNay Settlement Group and serves on the board of the Lactation Improvement Network of Kentucky (L.I.N.K.). Gena would be happy to hear from you at lgbigler@gmail.com.


5/21/2013 – News and opinion about the timesizing alternative to downsizing, reinvented thousands of times every day in every recession by mainly mid- and small-size companies, but still today an afterthought, though any economy that's still around 50 years from today will long since have made it first and foremost - ( [commentary] by Phil Hyde ecdesignr@yahoo.ca unless otherwise initialed ) -

  1. State Of Emergency: Adamawa Govt Cuts Down Working Hours, News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) via leadership.ng
    ADAMAWA, Nigeria - The Adamawa Government on Tuesday reduced official working hours in the state by one hour, to ease the difficulties civil servants face since it imposed a dusk-to-dawn curfew on Wednesday.
    [Now there's a new reason for shorter hours!]
    The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that the 6 p.m to 6 am curfew was imposed to reinforce the current State of Emergency in the state.
    A statement by the Secretary to the State Government, Mr Kobis Aris and made available to NAN on Tuesday said workers would now close at 3 p.m.
    ``Sequel to declaration of state of emergency in the state by President, Commander-In-Chief and the imposition of 6 am to 6 p.m curfew in the state, civil servants find it difficult to reach home before 6pm.
    ``Consequently, Gov. Murtala Nyako has approved that the state civil service official working hours be adjusted from 8:00 am to 3:00 p.m during the time of the curfew,'' it said.
    It also said that the governor was holding consultations with various stakeholders in the state to generate support on the current security situation and ensure the restoration of peace and stability in the state.

  2. How to tame your work week, by Laura Vanderkam, MoneyWatch Live via CBSNews.com
    PHILADELPHIA, Pa., USA - M.R. Nelson, a project manager at a biotech company, recalls being in the office kitchen once when she overheard a curious conversation. Two colleagues lamented their endless workloads. One reported working 60 hours a week for as long as he could remember. The other claimed he was there until 7 p.m. every night, even though he was working through lunch.
    As Nelson writes in her new ebook, "Taming the Work Week," "I was busy, too, but I couldn't join them in their lament about long hours because I wasn't working them. I have opted out of the craziness. I work a 40- to 45-hour work week most weeks. Interestingly, at the same company as these two overworked colleagues, with her career zipping along just fine. She supervises five direct reports and 10 contractors, manages five projects directly and 5 indirectly, controls a seven-figure budget, and gets home to her two young daughters at a reasonable time -- and with enough energy left to maintain a popular blog called Wandering Scientist.
    How does Nelson do it? I caught up with her to learn her secrets.
    As a project manager, you see keeping your team members' work weeks at a reasonable level as a critical part of your job. Why is that? I suspect it's not just because you're a nice person.
    M.R. Nelson: Originally, it actually was just because I'm a nice person! But then I got interested in the question of why some project teams can bring amazing projects in on time and on budget, and others struggle to do so. I looked more closely at the high performing teams around me, and I saw that they weren't actually working super long hours.
    That made me think about what long hours actually do to a team. I realized that consistently requiring long work hours creates more risk to the project timeline, because 1) overworked people make more mistakes and mistakes take time to fix; 2) overworked people get fed up and quit, and then the project has to absorb the time it takes to find and train a replacement; and 3) there is no room to increase intensity for short periods of time if something goes wrong.
    You recommend limiting the amount of work in progress at any given moment. Given that there are always a million things to do, how can people make that work?
    The idea of limiting work in progress comes from a project management technique called "Kanban," which also includes the concept of a backlog of work. I think this is a powerful concept -- you capture tasks that need to be done so that you don't forget about them, but you explicitly put them on the backlog so that you can stay focused and actually finish the tasks you have in progress. I've been trying this method out both at work and at home, and it is really helping me to get more things finished.
    How can you work through periods of low motivation, so you don't waste time at work?
    I have a couple of tricks for this. One is to break the items on my to-do list down into small tasks, so that it is harder to justify not doing them. I keep subdividing the tasks until I have something so trivial that I am almost ashamed not to just go ahead and do it. I will also promise myself a small reward, like a walk or a piece of chocolate, when I complete a task I'm avoiding. The walk actually does double duty -- as a reward and as a break to help me get my energy back.
    You sometimes work at night. How do you keep a cap on this so you still get decompression time?
    I make a list of just the things I want to accomplish that evening, and write it on a sticky note. I stick the note to my laptop and work from that list at home. Once I'm done with the list, I shut down and go do something relaxing!
    Laura Vanderkam, a Philadelphia area journalist, is the author of 168 Hours and All the Money in the World: What the Happiest People Know About Getting and Spending.


5/19-20/2013 – News and opinion about the timesizing alternative to downsizing, reinvented thousands of times every day in every recession by mainly mid- and small-size companies, but still today an afterthought, though any economy that's still around 50 years from today will long since have made it first and foremost - ( [commentary] by Phil Hyde ecdesignr@yahoo.ca unless otherwise initialed ) -

  1. Letterkenny furlough reduced to 11 days, by Roxann Miller roxann.miller@herald-mail.com, 5/19 The Herald-Mail via herald-mail.com
    CHAMBERSBURG, Pa., USA — Employees at Letterkenny Army Depot are facing fewer furlough days than originally expected — workers are looking at 11 days without pay rather than 14.
    The 11 days are down from the 14 that the Pentagon advised would be needed, and only half of the 22 days originally anticipated, according to a statement released by the depot.
    Secretary of Defense Chuck Hagel announced in a town hall Tuesday that Department of the Army civilians will be furloughed up to 11 days, beginning no earlier than July 8.
    The furlough is scheduled to begin July 8 at the rate of one furlough day per week through the end of the current fiscal year, Sept. 30, according to a depot statement released Friday.
    “The Department has been doing everything possible to reduce this shortfall while ensuring we can defend the nation, sustain wartime operations, and preserve DoD’s most critical asset — our world-class civilian and military personnel,” Hagel said in a statement.
    “To that end, we have cut back sharply on facilities maintenance, worked to shift funds from investment to O&M [Operation & Maintenance] accounts, and reduced many other important but nonessential programs.”
    Hagel continued by saying that these steps were not enough to close the shortfall of more than $30 billion in the O&M accounts, ["]which are used to pay most civilian employees, maintain military readiness and respond to global contingencies,” Hagel said.
    [Then why is he reducing the number of furlough days? At any rate, so far he seems to be cutting the workweek, not the workforce = timesizing, not downsizing.]
    Continuing analysis of the budgetary situation is ongoing, and Hagel stated that if circumstances permit an early end to furlough he would prefer to do so.
    In a note to the workforce Friday, depot commander, Col. Victor S. Hagan encouraged employees to continue to review their personal finances and attend one of the sequestration personal finance and credit management lunch-n-learns conducted by Army Community Service, Carlisle Barracks and held at Letterkenny Army Depot.
    “I appreciate everyone’s continued support of the Warfighter during these challenging times,” Hagan said.
    “I will continue to keep you informed as information becomes available in the future.”
    [Omg, Hagel and now Hagan! But they aren't going to get anything close to wartime prosperity by cutting what little increased military-industrial spending can do without actually having a big labor-shortage creating war like WW2.]

  2. Hospitalists Work Longer, Patients Stay Longer, by David Pittman, 5/20 (5/17 late pickup) MedPage Today via medpagetoday.com
    NATIONAL HARBOR, Maryld., USA -- Long work hours for hospitalists led to longer patient stays and unnecessary orders, researchers reported here.
    In a less busy hospital, inpatient hospital stays increased as physician workload went up, Daniel Elliott, MD, hospitalist with Christiana Care Health System in Wilmington, Del., found in a retrospective, cohort study.
    "We're talking about a day and a half difference in length of stay across this range," Elliott said at the annual meeting of the Society of Hospital Medicine here. "We're talking about numbers that matter."
    However, as the hospital got busier, the length of stay was less responsive to changes in workload, he said at a session on hospitalist workload.
    "As the hospital gets busy, you can imagine reaching some sort of steady state where everything moves through at some sort of uniform pattern," Elliott noted.
    Henry Michtalik, MD, of Johns Hopkins University, presented data on hospitalist workload and patient safety which was published earlier this year in JAMA Internal Medicine.
    In a survey, he and colleagues found 40% of hospitalists reported inpatient census levels exceeded "safe" levels at least once a month, and 36% having an unsafe workload at least once a week.
    Such overworked physicians ordered unnecessary tests, procedures, or consultations due to inadequate time with a patient, Michtalik said.
    Those are costs that show up later and in other areas of the healthcare system. "We might be 'penny wise' by increasing the flow of patients through the system but 'pound foolish' in that we're increasing costs downstream," Michtalik said.
    John Nelson, MD, co-founder of the Society of Hospital Medicine, reported on a meta-analysis that found a higher-than-expected workload was associated with higher rates of dissatisfaction. Those findings were based on expected workload -- not real hours worked.
    "There is less evidence of a significant association with objective workload or work hours," said Nelson, of Overlake Medical Center in Bellevue, Wash. "Turns out that patient volume does not tend to predict burnout or stress, but the perceived level of work does."
    His talk didn't mention patient safety or outcomes like Michtalik or Elliott, but instead focused on a work-life balance for hospitalists.
    "We really don't know very much or with much precision about the 'sweet spot' of hospitalists' workload, and quality and safety, and career satisfaction and burnout," Nelson said. "I think we'd all agree we work too hard, but what is too hard?"
    Nationally, hospitalists average 11.3 patient encounters per shift over a year, he said.
    Nelson recommended that hospitalists try to find the number of billable encounters they need in a year and determining how many shifts you need to see a reasonable number of patients per day to meet that annual need.
    Hospitalists take too many days off and work too few days trying to fit more patients per shift, he said.
    That philosophy doesn't work. "I think many of us would be happier working more days," Nelson said.
    David Pittman is MedPage Today’s Washington Correspondent, following the intersection of policy and healthcare. He covers Congress, FDA, and other health agencies in Washington, as well as major healthcare events. David holds bachelors’ degrees in journalism and chemistry from the University of Georgia and previously worked at the Amarillo Globe-News in Texas, Chemical & Engineering News and most recently FDAnews.


5/18/2013 – News and opinion about the timesizing alternative to downsizing, reinvented thousands of times every day in every recession by mainly mid- and small-size companies, but still today an afterthought, though any economy that's still around 50 years from today will long since have made it first and foremost - ( [commentary] by Phil Hyde ecdesignr@yahoo.ca unless otherwise initialed ) -

  1. It was furloughs or hurt readiness, Hagel says, by Tom Philpott, Tacoma News Tribune via TheNewsTribune.com
    WASHINGTON, D.C., USA - Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel has ordered the furlough of 680,000 civilian employees for one day a week, from early July through September, to avoid taking deeper cuts in training and maintenance that could have degraded readiness to the point of threatening “core missions,” he said.
    [Here's a new trade-off: we're used to cutting hours not jobs - here we have cutting hours not "defense" missions.]
    The Department of Defense furlough plan will cut work hours and pay of most civilian employees by 20 percent for up to 11 weeks to save $1.8 billion. And Hagel doesn’t rule out needing another furlough plan in 2014.
    This furlough will help the department absorb $37 billion in arbitrary budget cuts from sequestration, a mechanism the White House and Congress agreed to in 2011 to try to scare Republicans and Democrats into compromising on a hefty debt-reduction deal. It didn’t work.
    Members of Congress, it turns out, prefer capricious spending cuts to putting their names on a more considered compromise that might put their re-election at risk. Republicans have chosen sequestration over closing tax loopholes and Democrats prefer it to curbing entitlements, despite warnings from military leaders that automatic defense cuts are devastating readiness.
    This leave-no-fingerprints approach to debt reduction has left the annual budget deficit shrinking. The Congressional Budget Office reports this month that federal spending this year will exceed tax revenues by only $642 billion, the smallest shortfall since 2008.
    If sequestration stays in effect, defense spending will be cut another $52 billion in fiscal 2014 and by $500 billion over the next decade. And in 2014 and beyond, military personnel accounts won’t be protected from sharing the burden of sequestration like they are in this first year.
    On Tuesday, Hagel told a group of department employees in Alexandria, Va., that he settled on ordering 11-day furloughs because “I could not responsibly go any deeper into cutting or jeopardizing our core missions on readiness and training.”
    Roughly 120,000 workers will be exempted, including 50,000 foreign nationals who work on U.S. bases overseas under host-nation agreements. The other 70,000 exempted employees either hold critical readiness jobs, are needed to ensure safety of life and property, are essential for delivery of military health care including to wounded warriors, or are deployed or temporarily assigned to war zones. Among those in critical readiness jobs are almost 30,000 shipyard workers building or overhauling nuclear submarines and aircraft carriers, platforms critical to force readiness.
    Childcare center employees will be exempted to protect families. Non-appropriated fund employees who run base exchanges and morale, welfare and recreational activities also won’t be furloughed because doing so for these employees wouldn’t save appropriated defense dollars.
    Teachers and faculty in department-run dependent schools overseas and in rural areas stateside will face furlough for only five days after classes begin in the fall. Fewer furlough days protects against a lapse in accreditation.
    Hagel noted that 11 days is half the length of furlough projected in March, before Congress finally passed a 2013 defense appropriations bill and before budget officials scrambled to find ways to soften sequestration’s effect on civilian workers. The number will not exceed 11 this year, senior defense officials explained in a background briefing at the Pentagon to discuss how the decision was reached and how it will be implemented. And the number could fall from 11 by September if spend rates are lower than expected.
    Commands will sent out furlough letters May 28 to June 5. Employees will have seven days to appeal. Some might argue their jobs are more critical than commands appreciate, but more exemptions will be hard to get. Financial hardship will not be a consideration, officials said. They assume furloughs will hit many workers and families hard.
    “This is one of the most distasteful tasks I’ve had in more than 30 years of government service,” said one official who helped shape the plan.
    The biggest negative expected will be to employee morale, officials predicted. No one will be happy losing 11 days’ pay, but federal employees also haven’t seen an annual pay increase for three years.
    Political appointees are not subject to furlough, but Hagel has promised to forfeit his pay the same number of days as department employees.
    Defense Department comptroller Robert Hale told an auditorium of Pentagon employees in April that furloughs not only would impact morale but “seriously damage productivity in virtually every area of the department.”
    Among employees being furloughed are skilled maintainers of ships, tanks and aircraft; medical personnel; educators of military children; and managers of contracts worth billions of dollars, officials said. Reducing their work hours 20 percent for 11 weeks will free up more training dollars for soon-to-deploy units, but the cost to longer-term readiness is still unknown.
    Write Military Update, P.O. Box 231111, Centreville, VA 20120, or email milupdate@aol.com.

  2. HUD to close offices, furlough days, by Jim Drury, (5/17 late pickup) WDTN 2News via wdtn.com
    CINCINNATI, Ohio, USA - The US Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) is taking a hit from spending cuts.
    ["Hud is a 1963 western film whose title character is an embittered and selfish modern-day cowboy." - Wikipedia. "Paul Newman is 'Hud'! - the man with the barbed wire soul!" - movie poster. Here's hoping the Housing Dept. doesn't have a barbed-wire soul and is closing offices and doing temporary furloughs rather than closing offices and doing permanent jobcuts.]
    It is scheduling seven furlough days for employees and is closing some offices.
    The HUD office in Cincinnati is among the 16 field offices that will close by early 2014. The office closings affect about 120 people.
    HUD will also close all offices for one day on Friday, May 24. It will then schedule another six furlough days by the end of August. Those dates are June 14, July 5, July 22, August 2, August 16 and August 30.
    HUD says the moves will save from $110 to $150-million over the next ten years. It currently has 80 field offices nationwide.
    "We looked at where our staff needs to be in order to make certain we can achieve the greatest possible impact on the people and places we serve," said Pat Hoban-Moore, HUD's Assistant Deputy Secretary for Field Policy and Management. "We will implement this realignment without disrupting the program delivery networks [or the number of jobs?] currently serving communities throughout the nation."
    The furlough days are a direct result of government spending cuts that took effect March 1.
    HUD operates three offices in Ohio in Cincinnati, Columbus and Cleveland.


5/17/2013 – News and opinion about the timesizing alternative to downsizing, reinvented thousands of times every day in every recession by mainly mid- and small-size companies, but still today an afterthought, though any economy that's still around 50 years from today will long since have made it first and foremost - ( [commentary] by Phil Hyde ecdesignr@yahoo.ca unless otherwise initialed ) -

  1. Treehouse cuts work week by 20% thanks to Web productivity tools, by Eric Floresca, itbusiness.ca
    [This is exactly the response to technology that we want, because it's sustainable. Economies that keep downsizing jobs instead of hours will find themselves in the third world with no domestic consumer spending or markets.]
    ORLANDO, Fla., USA - Ryan Carson might be so passionate about his fourth startup, Treehouse, that he wants the company name engraved on his tombstone – but that doesn’t mean he wants to work himself to death. Just the opposite, Carson has combined modern Web tools and a laser-focused planning approach to reduce his entire team’s work week from the typical five days down to four days.
    Treehouse is an online education platform that teaches people how to code for a fraction of the cost it would cost to learn in college or university. Carson has chosen a path to less profit for Treehouse, but to more time for its employees.
    Carson came to realize that traditional education is too expensive. The debt students incur at university isn’t worth what they get especially in technology where the pace of change is only accelerating. There are too many people in debt trying to get an education that isn’t meeting the needs of the workplace, in dire need of skilled technical workers and more scientists and engineers. ...
    Treehouse values personal time above everything and as part of that commitment, it has a four day work week not five. I bet everyone who works five days just got very jealous of the crew at Treehouse, but Carson says his workers manage to pack a full work week into those four days.
    Carson wants his employees weekend to be their own. He makes it a habit of not sending work-related emails on the weekends, using boomerang to schedule them to come on Monday so they don’t get pulled back into work on their own time.
    To work this way Carson wants to keep email focused on actionable items only. Often email becomes a time sink full of conversation and dialog that Treehouse has expunged and put on Convey, their own internal forum, a Reddit clone that took one of their programmers only a day to develop.
    Convey is a place for conversations, Carson says it acts as their “digital water cooler” where employees can share thoughts, ideas, articles and whatever else they are thinking about. Listening to Carson they use Internet tools and the structure of their work environment to facilitate a sense of community.
    By keeping conversation off of email, Carson keeps email laser focused on important items for that individual. By replacing email for conversation through Convey they’ve expanded their company’s options for communication which takes on an even more vital role because they have a distributed workforce. The ability to connect for work or play allows everyone to stay connected no matter their location.
    For meetings across locales they’ve used GoToMeeting and currently use Google Hangouts religiously, according to Carson. To use either one of these tools there are a few considerations you need to keep in mind. To make best use of these tools you need to have a wired setup because Wi-Fi causes lag in the stream.
    Carson states outright “you need really good gear” they all have mics and or headsets so that everyone can hear and be heard. You also need to be in a quiet place setup to hold the meeting to keep the audio nice and clear. These are just the technical issues you need to be aware of when using either tool. Once you work out all these details it becomes an impressive way to meet and interact with everyone on your team no matter their location.
    Carson says that the “last thing that ties their company together is that we meet up physically.” It’s important for people to meet, talk, socialize and have a drink every so often. They do a company-wide meet up once a year, that’s a week long where they can see the person attached to the posts or conversation they have online, internally.
    With 50 employees, 30 work in Miami (lucky folks) and 8 in Portland and the rest working remotely keeping people feeling connected becomes even more important. The assumption that people work remotely means that Treehouse makes use of several tools to work and communication with each other and it means planning plays an even more important role.
    Part of this commitment to a four day week requires a lot of planning and one of the tools they use is Trello. From the folks at Stack Overflow is a simple app that allows Carson and his employees to manage tasks in a visual and simple way. Asana is another task management tool they use for their teams that just helps them keep in sync.
    Carson also realizes that when they are up against a deadline they may have to work five days a week to get things done. They’ve created a culture that demands a lot but provides the flexibility and appreciation of their time that makes everyone at Treehouse work harder than they would if it were just another 9 to 5.
    They use Campfire to allow people to rooms so they can chat. All the tools and approaches Carson and Treehouse take helps to keep their team focused and their individual email clean, free of noise that most people have to wade through every day. They’ve done this while expanding their employee’s ability to engage and converse through these tools in ways email never could.
    This comes from the top down and is something that creates something more than employees, it creates a team everyone on board will gladly give their all too. My next post will talk about Carson’s diabolical plan for world domination in education by making post secondary education inconsequential for technology at least, especially for the type of education students will need to get the jobs of today and jobs of tomorrow.
    Eric Floresca is a writer who is passionate for technology and the Canadian startup scene. He loves uncovering how entrepreneurs are changing our lives through innovation and what it takes to turn their ideas into reality. Eric has a degree in Business from the University of Windsor and has written for Techvibes, The Ad Buzz, and Marketing Magazine among others since he started on his own writer's journey.

  2. On The Rise: A U.S.-Style Work-Sharing? - ObamaCare Side-Effect: Fewer Hours, More Gov't Aid, (5/16 late pickup) Investor's Business Daily via Yahoo! Finance via finance.yahoo.com
    [The right deed for the wrong reason = shorter hours to duck health-insurance premiums = the great USA backs into the future.]
    WASHINGTON, D.C., USA - ObamaCare was sold as a way to achieve several goals: affordable care, guaranteed coverage, protections against bankruptcy.
    But before such promises have a chance of being realized, the health reform appears to be delivering something else: Germany-style work-sharing.

    Germany's program gives employers incentives to cut hours instead of payrolls, as government supplements pay of workers facing shorter shifts.
    Back home, employers are cutting hours to avoid ObamaCare fines for failing to provide full-time workers with broad, affordable coverage. There's evidence that firms are adding workers and reducing hours.
    Economists hailed Germany's work-sharing for reducing unemployment during the recession. ObamaCare may be having a similar effect. But there are differences that make the health reform's labor side-effects much more questionable.
    Over the past year, retailers have cut average weekly hours for nonsupervisory workers by 2%, the sharpest such decline in more than three decades. Meanwhile, rank-and-file employment is up 132,000, or 1%, over the same period.
    Also, total benefits for service-occupation workers fell in Q1, the first decline on record, in a sign that employers are preparing to shift some costs of health care coverage to the government.
    Some 2.3 million workers might have their hours cut due to ObamaCare's employer mandates, even if there's no negative impact on total hours worked, a recent study from the University of California at Berkeley Labor Center estimated.
    The other part of the equation involves more government benefits for those facing shorter hours. This will come starting in 2014 from ObamaCare health subsidies. Households working less may also get additional benefits, such as food stamps.
    While Germany's work-sharing is seen as an antidote to recession, ObamaCare is long-term.
    ObamaCare's incentives to limit employee workweeks will remain in effect at all points of the economic cycle.
    Another big difference relates to whom the work-sharing will impact. In Germany, work-sharing helps firms cut costs because the unionized share of the labor force is much higher and it is hard to dismiss workers.
    The program is tailored to deal with short-term declines in factory orders, for example.
    But ObamaCare's employer mandate will primarily affect the hours of the modest-wage service-industry employees who will be eligible for the program's subsidies.
    It seems likely that this long-term tilt toward part-time jobs for modest-skilled workers will lead to two unwelcome results.
    More workers will have extra difficulty climbing above the bottom rung of the corporate ladder.
    Also, more people will work multiple jobs, at a likely cost to individual productivity and quality of life.

  3. Unemployment office to cut hours with staffed phones, by Jonathan Horn, U-T San Diego via UTsandiego.com
    SAN DIEGO, Calif., USA - Think it’s hard to get through to the state unemployment office?
    Just wait until Monday.
    That’s when the state Employment Development Department will only be staffing phones in the mornings for the foreseeable future. Starting Monday, the EDD will take calls from unemployed workers only from 8 a.m. to noon. Previously, phones were staffed from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m.
    The reason for the cut? Sequestration, the $1.2 trillion of automatic federal spending cuts over 10 years that began in March when negotiations to avoid the across-the-board reductions fell through between Congress and President Barack Obama. The state is seeing a $158 million shortfall in federal funding, so it is moving its reduced staff to a time when there is most demand for phone service — the mornings. The agency is facing a 27 percent reduction, above the national average of 22 percent in lost federal funds.
    “We are very concerned about the impact of the federal funding shortfall on our staffing levels and are working very hard to mitigate the effects on services,” EDD Director Pam Harris said in a statement. “We urge our customers to use self-help options whenever possible so our limited staff can be available to help those with more complex needs.”
    The state EDD is already down 900 employees from Great Recession levels through attrition. While overall demand for unemployment insurance has declined from the height of the Great Recession, it is still more than double pre-recession levels, an EDD news release says.
    In California, there are currently 988,000 people receiving weekly unemployment checks. The state allows 26 weeks for standard unemployment, with weekly checks ranging from $40 to $450 per week.
    With federal extensions, an unemployed Californian can receive up to 73 weeks of jobless benefits. However, those checks are cut 17 percent, also due to sequestration. And unless Congress and President Obama come to an agreement, all federal extensions will end on Dec. 28, 2013, no matter how many weeks are left on an individual’s extension. The state will continue to offer 26 weeks of unemployment benefits, and those checks are not affected by sequestration.
    The EDD is referring those unemployed to self-help services, such as what’s called eApply4UI to file a new claim or reopen an existing one for the benefit.


5/16/2013 – News and opinion about the timesizing alternative to downsizing, reinvented thousands of times every day in every recession by mainly mid- and small-size companies, but still today an afterthought, though any economy that's still around 50 years from today will long since have made it first and foremost - ( [commentary] by Phil Hyde ecdesignr@yahoo.ca unless otherwise initialed ) -

  1. Vicksburg schools custodians save jobs but pay high price with pay, benefits cuts, by Tom Haroldson, Mlive.com
    [Not as high a price as job loss. Why don't they take advantage of Michigan's new *work-share program?]
    VICKSBURG, Mich., USA – Custodians for Vicksburg Community Schools have saved their jobs and headed off a privatizing move, but it comes at a high cost.
    The Vicksburg Board of Education Monday approved a new one-year contract with members of VESPA, the union representing custodians and other service workers, that calls for significant cuts in pay and benefits.
    The contract, ratified by the union, avoids the outsourcing of 17 school custodians and saves the district at least $160,000, one of several movies officials say is needed to deal with a potential budget deficit of $500,000 to $700,000.
    “It hurts everybody,” said Brenda Eberstein, president of VESPA, which also represents bus drivers, maintenance and food service employees who all took a hit in the new contract. “It hurts the lower paid people really bad.”
    Under terms of the contract, custodians will take an 11 percent pay cut, be required to take five unpaid furlough days, lose vision insurance and a uniform allowance and will no longer receive a shift premium.
    The wage scale for administrative assistants, maintenance and transportation workers will be reduced 2 percent. Food service workers will have a wage freeze.
    All VESPA members except food service will lose two paid holidays, the day after Thanksgiving and Memorial Day, and cash in lieu of health insurance will drop from $250 to $125. The VESPA sick leave allowance is also lopped in half.
    “I will vote for this…but I don’t feel good about it,” said Skip Knowles, Vicksburg school board president, who actually abstained from the contact vote because his son is a maintenance employee. “It’s a situation where we did not have much choice.”
    Steve Goss, assistant superintendent, called the negotiations difficult, but lauded the union for being professional and courteous.
    “The concessions are significant and will be hard on the staff, and I don’t like that,” Goss said. “In negotiations, we like to walk and away and feel we have accomplished something, but in this case no one feels good about asking for concessions.”
    The school district, like many districts in Michigan, is facing tough economic times. Vicksburg schools is battling declining enrollment that leads to loss of state aid dollars, rising costs such as for retirement and flat state aid. Goss said the result is a potential deficit that could be $700,000 by the end of the school year unless the district deals with the shortage.
    Earlier in the school year the district took six bids on contracting out custodian service, and found that by privatizing it could save the district about $680,000 over the next three years. It had cost about $800,000 a year for custodians’ salaries and benefits.
    Through negotiations, the district had hoped to save $175,000, and while Goss and Eberstein said it fell about $15,000 short of that the resulting contract was needed.
    “It’s a high cost to pay for a lot of people,” Eberstein said.
    Parents in the district had rallied to keep the school custodians in Vicksburg schools rather than privatize. They said students become close to custodians, help them in ways not tied to their jobs and are a friendly face in the buildings.
    While school officials agreed with that, they also added that the district was under some financial pressure to at least consider outsourcing custodian services. For example, Goss said, the state will pay $100 per student if a district meets best-practices checklist items. One of them is to take competitive bids for non-instructional services. The district met that standard with its custodian services bids.
    Privatizing custodians and other employees is not unusual. The majority of school districts in Kalamazoo County have outsourced work, including bus drivers in Galesburg-Augusta and two of three custodial shifts at Portage Public Schools.
    With the settlement of the VESPA contract, the district now moves into negotiations with the Vicksburg teachers’ union.

  2. Facebook Exec Works Four-Day Work Week, by Samantha Walravens, Huffpost Women Canada via huffingtonpost.com
    REDWOOD CITY, Calif., USA - Facebook recently hired Nicola Mendelsohn, a 41-year-old British advertising executive and mother of four, as the new Vice President for Europe, the Middle East and Africa. It is a big job. She will manage a team of almost 1,000 people.
    What is more amazing about her new position is that Mendelsohn arranged it so that she would have a four-day work week, so that she could spend more time at home with her kids, who range in age from 8 to 16.

    Mendelsohn was previously the executive chairman of the ad agency Karmarama, where she has allowed 65 percent of the firm's 180 employees to work remotely.
    As Mendelsohn said recently: "The industry has to more readily welcome back its best women. I would much rather hire a talented woman on four days a week than lose her forever."
    These are important words for the 43 percent of women who have dropped out of the professional workforce to raise kids. For them, returning to work can be extremely difficult. Employers may be reluctant to hire moms who have been out for a number of years because their skills are rusty, or for fear that they may not be 100 percent committed to their jobs.
    Flexible work options will define the future of the workplace. Corporate America will change -- it is already happening -- not just to accommodate the needs of working parents, but to accommodate the younger generations who have grown up on mobile devices. These young workers -- the Millenials and beyond -- don't see the need to sit at a desk in an office from 9-5. They expect to be able to work at any time, any place. Just so long as the work gets done.
    I am encouraged by companies like Facebook that are making an effort to bring women back and let them do their jobs without having to sacrifice their families. I am thankful for pioneering and talented women like Nicola Mendelsohn, who was willing to ask for what she needed to be the best at her job and at home. This is the way to get more women to the top.
    Samantha Walravens is the author of TORN: True Stories of Kids, Career & the Conflict of Modern Motherhood, chosen by the New York Times as the first pick for the Motherlode Book Club.

  3. Foxconn Audit Finds a Workweek Still Too Long, by Vindu Goel, nytimes.com
    TAIPEI, Taiwan - Foxconn Technology, the company that manufactures Apple’s popular iPads and iPhones, has made substantial progress toward improving safety and other working conditions at three of its Chinese plants dedicated to making Apple products. But it has not yet achieved the most difficult goal: reducing the average workweek to the maximum allowed by Chinese law, a global monitoring group said on Thursday.
    The auditors, supervised by the Fair Labor Association, said Foxconn was still working toward lowering the average workweek to the 49-hour cap. And labor unions at the plants that are supposed to represent the workers’ interests are still dominated by management, the group said.
    Still, the average workweek has come down sharply from the typical 60 hours or more that has been common practice at the Chinese suppliers of Apple and other technology companies.
    Although the auditors declined to be specific about the length of the Foxconn workweek, Apple has said that it has been working to reduce the long hours put in by workers at its suppliers, which are mostly in China.
    In a statement on its supplier responsibility Web site, the company said for more than a million workers in its global supply network that it tracked in 2012, “the average hours worked per week was under 50.”
    An Apple spokesman, Steve Dowling, declined to discuss the specifics of the Fair Labor Association audit, which he said was done independently of Apple. In a statement, Foxconn said the F.L.A. report confirmed the company’s recent improvements in its operations. “We will continue to build on that success as we work toward compliance with the F.L.A. Code,” the company said.
    But Mr. Dowling said Apple has been working closely with its suppliers and conducting its own monitoring to improve conditions at the factories that make its products, and the company has posted public progress reports.
    Foxconn, part of the Taiwan-based company Hon Hai Precision Industry, employs about 178,000 workers at the three factories inspected. It has about 1.2 million workers at plants making products for Apple, Hewlett-Packard, Dell, Microsoft and other technology companies.
    Foxconn has been under intense scrutiny for several years because of working conditions inside its factories. Investigations by The New York Times, outside groups and Apple’s own supplier responsibility officials have found illegal amounts of overtime, crowded working conditions, under-age workers and improper disposal of hazardous waste. Industrial accidents have injured and killed Foxconn workers, and the company also experienced a wave of worker suicides.
    Labor and consumer activists have pressured Apple, one of the most profitable companies in the world, to do more to improve conditions for the people who make its products. The monthly earnings of Foxconn workers making Apple products are currently about $500.
    Apple joined the Fair Labor Association, or F.L.A., in January 2012, and asked the group to audit its suppliers, beginning with Foxconn. The labor group has periodically inspected Foxconn factories in Guanlan, Longhua and Chengdu since February 2012 and interviewed thousands of workers. Apple pays for the audits.
    After the first inspection, Apple and Foxconn agreed to an action plan of 360 items to be completed by July 1, 2013. As of January, 98.3 percent of them had been achieved, the group’s report said.
    Most of the items were “housekeeping issues,” said Auret van Heerden, chief executive of the F.L.A., in an interview Thursday. “Those things they plowed through.”
    But Foxconn has also addressed more substantive problems, Mr. van Heerden said. For example, in fire safety, the company added more escape routes and cleared choke points after the auditors asked it to test the evacuation of buildings during shift change, when plants are most crowded. “We were, in a way, looking for trouble,” he said.
    He noted that Foxconn has also overhauled many processes, including using robots instead of people to polish the aluminum backs of iPad cases and water to capture and dispose of the resulting dust. An aluminum dust explosion in May 2011 at Foxconn’s Chengdu factory killed three workers and injured more than a dozen others.
    Critics of the F.L.A. and Foxconn said the most recent audit played down problems found by other investigators, such as unpaid overtime and Foxconn’s use of unpaid interns.
    “Over all, the F.L.A.’s reporting on Foxconn continues to be unjustifiably rosy,” Scott Nova, executive director of the Workers Rights Consortium, a university-backed group that monitors apparel factories worldwide, said in an e-mail.
    Steven Greenhouse contributed reporting.
    [That was the New York Times version. Here's the Wall Street Journal version -]
    Foxconn and Apple Still Exceed Working-Hour Laws, by Jessica E. Lessin, blogs.wsj.com
    CUPERTINO, Calif., USA - Workers at Apple Inc.’s largest supplier, Hon Hai Precision Industry Co. Ltd., are getting more involved in unions but still working more than Chinese labor law allows, according to a new investigation by the Fair Labor Association.
    The FLA on Thursday released its latest report card on the labor practices of Apple’s biggest supplier, known as Foxconn. Apple of Cupertino, Calif., in 2012 became the first technology company to join the FLA following mounting criticism about the working conditions in factories that churn out iPhones and iPads. By joining the FLA, Apple agreed to audits by the group.
    The latest review, conducted in January, found that Foxconn had complied with 98.3% of the 360 action items it and Apple agreed to following the FLA’s initial investigation last year. They include items ranging from the factory’s intern policy to protection from excessive heat and building more fire escapes and toilets. In the latest review, Foxconn met 70 of the 76 items that were pending as of mid-2012.
    But working hours– which Apple CEO Tim Cook has identified as an area for improvement — continued to trip the company up.
    Apple’s own supplier code mandates workers work no more than 60 hours a week. But Chinese law is more strict and legally limits workers to 40 hours of work per week and 36 hours maximum overtime per month. Apple and Foxconn agreed to comply with those rules by July 2013.
    The new report says that assessors found during the January review that workers at two facilities reviewed worked between 40 and 60 hours every week. At the third facility, workers also worked between 40 and 60 hours, except for two weeks in September and one in October, where working hours were between 40 and 70 hours per week during the launch of the latest iPhone.
    The surveys were based on observations and interviews at facilities that employ an estimated 178,000 workers.
    An Apple spokesman said the company continues to work with the FLA and also collects weekly data about working hours itself. In March 2013, Apple reported that 97% of the million workers it tracks met the 60-hour work week.
    Auret van Heerden, president and CEO of the FLA, singled out Foxconn’s progress on union representation. The auditors found that the percentage of worker representatives in main union committees increased in each factory by around 20% to nearly 40%.
    “When FLA first visited Foxconn last year, the union committees – like those at most other factories in China – were dominated by management. By this time next year, we expect worker participation to be even higher,” he said in a statement. orkers at Apple Inc.’s largest supplier, Hon Hai Precision Industry Co. Ltd., are getting more involved in unions but still working more than Chinese labor law allows, according to a new investigation by the Fair Labor Association.
    The FLA on Thursday released its latest report card on the labor practices of Apple’s biggest supplier, known as Foxconn. Apple of Cupertino, Calif., in 2012 became the first technology company to join the FLA following mounting criticism about the working conditions in factories that churn out iPhones and iPads. By joining the FLA, Apple agreed to audits by the group.
    The latest review, conducted in January, found that Foxconn had complied with 98.3% of the 360 action items it and Apple agreed to following the FLA’s initial investigation last year. They include items ranging from the factory’s intern policy to protection from excessive heat and building more fire escapes and toilets. In the latest review, Foxconn met 70 of the 76 items that were pending as of mid-2012.
    But working hours– which Apple CEO Tim Cook has identified as an area for improvement — continued to trip the company up.
    Apple’s own supplier code mandates workers work no more than 60 hours a week. But Chinese law is more strict and legally limits workers to 40 hours of work per week and 36 hours maximum overtime per month. Apple and Foxconn agreed to comply with those rules by July 2013.
    The new report says that assessors found during the January review that workers at two facilities reviewed worked between 40 and 60 hours every week. At the third facility, workers also worked between 40 and 60 hours, except for two weeks in September and one in October, where working hours were between 40 and 70 hours per week during the launch of the latest iPhone.
    The surveys were based on observations and interviews at facilities that employ an estimated 178,000 workers.
    An Apple spokesman said the company continues to work with the FLA and also collects weekly data about working hours itself. In March 2013, Apple reported that 97% of the million workers it tracks met the 60-hour work week.
    Auret van Heerden, president and CEO of the FLA, singled out Foxconn’s progress on union representation. The auditors found that the percentage of worker representatives in main union committees increased in each factory by around 20% to nearly 40%.
    “When FLA first visited Foxconn last year, the union committees – like those at most other factories in China – were dominated by management. By this time next year, we expect worker participation to be even higher,” he said in a statement.


5/15/2013 – News and opinion about the timesizing alternative to downsizing, reinvented thousands of times every day in every recession by mainly mid- and small-size companies, but still today an afterthought, though any economy that's still around 50 years from today will long since have made it first and foremost - ( [commentary] by Phil Hyde ecdesignr@yahoo.ca unless otherwise initialed ) -

  1. Re-look at circular on SHOs working hours: HC to police chief, by Jed Graham, Business Standard via business-standard.com
    DELHI, India - The Delhi High Court [HC] today asked the Delhi Police Commissioner to re-look at the circular relating to working hours of station house officers (SHO) here with a "humane" approach.
    A division bench of Chief Justice D Murugesan and Justice Jayant Nath gave the direction on a plea seeking withdrawal of the September 2012 circular which asks officers to be on duty twenty four hours without any leave and does not allow them to go home unless they have permission from their seniors.
    "Have a re-look into your circular. Have some humane approach towards the officers.... How can they stay away from their family...," the bench said and asked the counsel to seek instruction from the department by July 31, the next date of hearing.
    The bench was hearing a PIL seeking withdrawal of police circulars relating to alleged inhuman working conditions of SHOs claiming people of Delhi would suffer by way of "degraded and inefficient policing".
    The petitioner said, "Both the circulars of August 30, 1995 and September 10, 2012 are not in conformity with the Delhi Police Act and Article 21 of the Constitution of India and are also not according to the general conscience of a human being."
    The court order came after an affidavit was filed by the police which said that "the job of the police officer is of urgent and emergent nature and directly relates to public service, so the police be allowed to continue with this practice for better public service."
    "This circular was issued to make the area policing effective, to instill confidence among citizens at large and make them feel responsible for whatever happened in their jurisdiction," the reply filed by G S Awana, additional deputy commissioner of police said.
    The affidavit said that as these days law and order and crime situation has started emerging continuously out of the various kinds of reasons- like accidents, missing children, rape of minors etc., SHO's continuous presence in police station is necessary.
    "Their absence may lead to dilution in handling of the cases and may also lead to situation going out of hand," it added.

  2. Mum and dad dinosaurs shared work load! Zee News India via zeenews.india.com
    LONDON, Britain - Dinosaurs shared the load when it came to incubation of eggs, according to a new study into the brooding behaviour of birds.
    Research into the incubation behaviour of birds suggests the type of parental care carried out by their long extinct dinosaur ancestors.

    The study aimed to test the hypothesis that data from extant birds could be used to predict the incubation behaviour of Theropods, the group of carnivorous dinosaurs from which birds descended.
    The paper, published in Biology Letters, was co-authored by Dr Charles Deeming and Dr Marcello Ruta from the University of Lincoln's School of Life Sciences and Dr Geoff Birchard from George Mason University, Virginia.
    By taking into account factors known to affect egg and clutch size in living bird species, the authors - who started their investigation last summer at the University of Lincoln's Riseholme campus - found that shared incubation was the ancestral incubation behaviour.
    Previously it had been claimed that only male Theropod dinosaurs incubated the eggs.
    "In 2009, a study in the journal Science suggested that it was males of the small carnivorous dinosaurs Troodon and Oviraptor that incubated their eggs," Deeming said.
    "Irrespective of whether you accept the idea of Theropod dinosaurs sitting on eggs like birds or not, the analysis raised some concerns that we wanted to address.
    "We decided to repeat the study with a larger data set and a better understanding of bird biology because other palaeontologists were starting to use the original results in Science in order to predict the incubation behaviour of other dinosaur species.
    "Our analysis of the relationship between female body mass and clutch mass was interesting in its own right but also showed that it was not possible to conclude anything about incubation in extinct distant relatives of the birds," Deeming added.
    "The previous study was carried out to infer the type of parental care in dinosaurs that are closely related to birds. That study proposed that paternal care was present in these dinosaurs and this form of care was the ancestral condition for birds," Birchard said.
    "Our new analysis based on three times as many species as in the previous study indicates that parental care cannot be inferred from simple analyses of the relationship of body size to shape, anatomy, physiology and behaviour.
    "Such analyses ought to take into account factors such as shared evolutionary history and maturity at hatching. However, our data does suggest that the dinosaurs used in the previous study were likely to be quite mature at birth," Birchard said.
    PTI


5/14/2013 – News and opinion about the timesizing alternative to downsizing, reinvented thousands of times every day in every recession by mainly mid- and small-size companies, but still today an afterthought, though any economy that's still around 50 years from today will long since have made it first and foremost - ( [commentary] by Phil Hyde ecdesignr@yahoo.ca unless otherwise initialed ) -

  1. New working hours to boost ambulance service, CumnockChronicle.com
    CUMNOCK, Scotland - NEW Ambulance Technicians are set to start work across Scotland following a £6.8 million investment.
    The increase of 150 staff is to allow a change in working hours that ensures ambulance workers get planned rest breaks in their shift, but are still able to attend emergency calls when required.
    All of the Scottish Ambulance Service 2,685 front line posts have now moved to the new system.

    [Fewer hours, more jobs, more shoppers, more marketable productivity, more sustainable investment.]
    Health Secretary Alex Neil today met with some of the latest group of additional trainees to start the Ambulance Technicians course at the Scottish Ambulance Service Academy in Glasgow.
    Mr Neil said: "These 150 new technicians are destined for posts all over Scotland. Students in the group I met today will be heading for various locations from Gairloch to Aberdeen to Stranraer.
    "The ambulance service is absolutely vital to Scotland and it is important that we have the right number of staff working in the right way for our patients. This £6.8 million investment demonstrates this Government's commitment to our NHS workforce.
    "The new staff will be particularly welcomed in our remote and rural areas, giving additional resilience and more flexibility to the service.
    "We know that the priority of ambulance staff is their patients and the new ways of working which these additional staff will support will in turn help all staff to respond to those emergency cases who need them the most."
    Pauline Howie, Chief Executive, Scottish Ambulance Service said:
    "The Scottish Ambulance service Academy has trained a record number of new recruits in the last year, which ensures that we will continue to operate with appropriate clinical skill mix and resources across the country, delivering high standards of patient care and safety.
    "Every day, ambulance staff go the extra mile for their patients with a strong sense of professionalism and commitment that starts from the day they join the service as a new trainee."

  2. Cayuga CC Board of Trustees works to balance College budget through furlough days and wage concessions for [ie: from] employees, posted by Steve Yablonski, (5/13 late pickup) Oswego Daily News via oswegocountytoday.com
    AUBURN, N.Y., USA – During a special meeting Monday night, the Cayuga Community College Board of Trustees voted 6 to 3 to accept agreements with the four college bargaining units. This action prevents employee layoffs and will balance this year’s operating budget.
    The college needed to reduce expenditures of its $32.36 million operating budget by approximately $1.5 million before the end of the fiscal year on August 31, 2013, to help make up for an unexpected 5 percent enrollment decrease.
    Last fall, senior leaders and budget managers identified more than $778,000 in savings through employee retirements, operating budget reductions, cuts to travel, and reductions in part-time employee hours.
    Earlier this spring, managerial and confidential employees, executive staff, and the president accepted furlough days and helped bring budgetary savings over the $817,000 mark.
    The agreements with the remaining employee bargaining units will help close the budget gap for this year, providing relief for immediate budgetary shortfalls.
    “We’re pleased that the college employees were able to come together and reach a collaborative solution to address the financial pressures that we are facing this year,” said College President Daniel Larson. “They represent a shared sacrifice by employees, who are all dedicated to ensuring continued high-quality education and seamless services for our students.”
    College administrators have been working with bargaining units over the past several months to develop proposals that would avoid layoffs and find the savings necessary to make-up the budget shortfalls.
    Three of the bargaining units, Maintenance and Custodial Group, Educational Support Professionals, and the Administrative Professionals Group, agreed to accept unpaid furlough days, ranging in numbers from two to 10 days, based on bargaining units and salary levels.
    Lower paid employees will take fewer days than those making more money, but on average, it will cost employees approximately 3.8 percent of their salaries.
    The reductions to salary will be spread out over the remaining pay periods through August 31, 2013, to ease the impact. The College will pay back the money to employees beginning in 2015-16.
    Faculty Association members voted last Friday to accept a proposal of a 4 percent wage concession equivalent, which the college will repay to faculty members over several years, beginning in 2015-16.
    Several factors contributed to the budgetary shortfall this year, including lower than projected enrollment, student retention issues, stagnant state aid and local funding, and increased fixed costs for the college.

  3. Cornwall-Lebanon looks at tax hike, furloughs to balance budget, by Lisa Chenoweth, Lebanon Daily News via LDnews.com
    LEBANON, Pa., USA - With five weeks left until final adoption of the 2013-14 spending plan, the Cornwall-Lebanon school board continues to crunch the numbers in an effort to balance the budget.
    The board, last month, approved the proposed final budget of $65.5 million, which includes an anticipated 3.7 percent tax increase and real estate tax of 104.64 mills.
    Kurt Phillips, director of business affairs, during the board's work session Monday evening, informed the board of some personnel changes he is recommending to include a few furloughs as well as resignations and reassignments, which will save approximately $250,000.
    However, he added, $80,000 will need to be added back into the technology portion of the budget for maintenance agreements and server back-ups.
    "We realized that when we went looking for money at the last minute to get the budget balanced, that we hit a couple of areas too hard, and one of those was the tech area," he said.
    In additional savings, he said, the building revisions fund was cut by $100,000.
    A few other variables that Phillips said will impact the final numbers include a bond refinancing plan, which could save the district $100,000 and will be reviewed at the May 20 meeting; Lebanon County reassessments; additional staff changes; and based upon the state's final budget, retirement costs may increase by $85,000; and a possible extra $200,000 in basic education subsidies. But as Phillips reminded the board, some of these answers won't be known until the next few months.

  4. SK omnibus labour bill impacts parental leave, work week and unions - Federation of Labour says bill weakens labour standards and undermines bargaining rights, by Lisa Schick, 650 CKOM News Talk Radio via newstalk650.com
    REGINA, Sask., Canada - Some new changes to labour legislation in Saskatchewan could change what you can do at work, and how you do it.
    Now that the provincial government has passed an omnibus labour bill, what will it mean for you?
    Saskatchewan Labour Minister Don Morgan joined John Gormley Live on Tuesday to explain some of the changes.
    The bill introduces new types of leave you can take from work. Those include leaves for organ donation, attending a citizenship ceremony, care for critically ill children, a crime related death or disappearance of a child.
    The qualification period for maternity, parental, and adoption leave will be downsized from 20 weeks, to 13.
    Minimum wage will now start being indexed to inflation. Part time workers will start being paid overtime after working eight hours in a day instead of 10.
    The bill will now require all workers to give two weeks of notice when leaving their job.
    "What we heard from employers is that it's a right and fair thing to do. We require employers to give notice when they terminate employees,” Morgan said. “So we think this puts a positive obligation on the employee to give notice (or) suffer the consequences on it.
    Changes will also be made to the work week. It will still be 40 hours, but people will have the option of working five days at eight hours a day, or four 10 hour days.
    There are also provisions to protect people who are looking for work from unscrupulous recruitment services.
    The omnibus labour bill also includes new provisions for unions. It will require bargaining to start earlier, and has a process which would get it back on track if it failed.
    Unions will also be required to provide audited financial statements to members, and provide unaudited statements for each bargaining unit to the members of those units.
    The bill will also redefine employees so that those whose duties are confidential and directly impact the bargaining unit can't be a part of the union.
    The Official Opposition NDP, and labour unions are criticizing the bill. They believe the consolidation of the 12 bills in the omnibus legislation will weaken workers' rights.
    The Saskatchewan Federation of Labour says the act waters down current labour standards and undermines bargaining rights.
    In an interview with the Canadian Press, SFL president Larry Hubich maintained that message that the legislation is flawed.
    “I know the government made a few modest amendments so I think that was good they made those amendments, but they barely scratched the surface,” he said.
    Hubich is also critical of how the government has narrowed the definition of supervisor, while removing a provision that allowed unions and employers to agree on the scope of jobs.
    The essential services legislation is not yet included in the Saskatchewan Employment Act. The Saskatchewan Court of Appeal recently ruled in favour of the government after a previous ruling declared the law unconstitutional.
    The Labour Minister expects to add essential services to the bill in the fall.
    Edited by CJME’s Adriana Christianson with files from Canadian Press

  5. High time for a law on standard working hours, editorial, South China Morning Post via scmp.com
    HONG KONG, China - If the introduction of a minimum-wage law was a tough battle, the crusade for standard working hours may be more daunting.
    [How about giving up minimum wages in exchange for a workweek that adjusts downward as far as it takes to achieve full employment? With full employment, competition between employers for good help will harness market forces in raising wages and make minimum wages unnecessary.]
    During the first meeting of an advisory committee appointed by the government, employer and worker representatives are said to have been at odds on almost everything. Their only agreed on the need to consult the public and to meet every other month. Although the labour side wants to see the law enacted as soon as possible, the employers argue that "improvements" in working hours would be sufficient.
    That both sides are poles apart is disappointing, but not surprising. Unlike the wage floor, which targets the lowest income group, a statutory cap on working hours covers employees of all ranks and professions. The impact is, understandably, far more wide-ranging and requires careful consideration. This is why the task has been entrusted to a committee made up of academics as well as representatives from both sides.
    There have been suggestions the committee may take three years just to decide whether legislation will be needed. Compared with the 13 years it took for the minimum-wage law to come to fruition, such a timetable may seem reasonable. But for those who are eager to see quick results it may look like foot-dragging. After all, the issue was put on the agenda by the former chief executive as early as 2010. The Labour Department took it forward with a hefty 344-page report, outlining overseas experience and the measure's possible financial impact - additional labour costs of up HK$55 billion a year.
    Bosses are expected to use the same arguments adopted in opposing the wage floor - massive lay-offs, reduced competitiveness and companies going under. But if the past two years are any reference, these doom-and-gloom scenarios have not materialised. On the other hand, the benefits of a good work-life balance have been well recognised - less illness, enhanced productivity and better public health.
    Forging a consensus on a new law takes time. With better effort from all sides, an early agreement could be reached.
    This article first appeared in the South China Morning Post print edition on May 15, 2013 as Time for a law on working hours.

  6. Myanmar workers demand 8 working hours and $100 monthly salary, ElevenMyanmar.com
    YANGON, Myanmar - Myanmar's local workers from a Chinese-named factory in Yangon Region staged a peaceful protest on May 11 against its owner demanding an increase of their salary to 85000 kyats (about $100) a month and 8 working hours a day.
    They also demanded timely payment of overtime pay and no salary cut on working days except Sundays [huh?].

    "We went to the township's negotiation office to ask for dealing with our demands. They told us they will not do it, and asked us to meet the factory owner to deal with. But when we went, the factory owner said "no salary increment". So we almost all workers went outside of the factory to make our demands," said Cho Thet Mon, a worker from the factory.
    The factory was named "Hote Sein" in Chinese which is a laminated woven bag factory located in Hlaingtharyar Township, Yangon.
    It employs about 110 local workers and 80 out of them had taken part in the protest.


5/12-13/2013 – News and opinion about the timesizing alternative to downsizing, reinvented thousands of times every day in every recession by mainly mid- and small-size companies, but still today an afterthought, though any economy that's still around 50 years from today will long since have made it first and foremost - ( [commentary] by Phil Hyde ecdesignr@yahoo.ca unless otherwise initialed ) -

  1. Hoyer: Republican "Pay Working Families Less" Bill Ends the 40Hour Workweek As We Know It, 5/12 (5/08 late pickup) Democratic Whip Steny Hoyer via democraticwhip.gov
    WASHINGTON, D.C., USA - House Democratic Whip Steny H. Hoyer (MD) spoke on the House Floor this afternoon in opposition to H.R. 1406, Republicans' “Pay Working Families Less Act."...
    "Ms. [Martha] Roby [R-AL] and I are friends, but we have a very substantial disagreement about this bill. I call it the ‘pay working families less’ bill, because what it will result in is a cut in pay for almost everybody.
    Yes, there will be those who will volunteer who can afford to do comp time. Others will not be. So they will not be able to earn overtime, because the employer will invariably – not because they are bad people, but will invariably – go to the person that will in fact do it for free. I understand it's comp time, but they won't get paid.
    “Most workers at this level need the pay. They need to pay their mortgage. They need to pay their car payment. They need to send their kids to school.

    [Steny, NOBODY but NOBODY should be relying on constant or frequent overtime for NEEDS like mortgage and car payments and sending their kids to school as long as there are millions of other people who can't find ANY paid time at all, and are sliding down the chute of unemployment-welfare-disability-homelessness-prison-suicide. So get your ass in gear and push for federal economy-wide emergency worksharing to save the existing surviving human employment in the age of robotics, and then upgrade to permanent timesizing to create the massive training&hiring we need throughout the economy to pull back all our lost people, externalized from the publicized economic indexes and forgotten in welfare, disability, homelessness, prison, and suicide.]
    It would of course be cheaper to run a business if we didn’t pay people at all, but it wouldn't be America.
    [Unfortunately that's what America is coming to, Steny, because you Dems and GOPers have have created a powerless surplus of jobneeders by not adjusting our workweek lower as you've adjusted our technology higher.]
    “Mr. Speaker, today in the House it's déjà vu all over again. This bill has been here before, in 2003. It was pulled from the Floor. Why? Because at that point in time there were a significant number of Republicans who thought this was a lousy idea and thought it would undermine the Fair Labor Standards Act and the pay of working people. Unfortunately there aren't that number of Republicans left in this House.
    “Déjà vu all over again. Not only because this bill would send American workers back to the days before the 40-hour workweek. But we’ve also seen this same bill introduced and then, as I have said, withdrawn. That's because it would eliminate the 40-hour workweek as we know it. I know my friends on the Republican side disagree with that premise, but I have been an employer. I’ve seen employers. They are not bad people, but they are trying to maximize profits. And they wouldn't be paying minimum wage if they didn't have to. And, very frankly, the minimum wage is way below what it ought to be.
    “This bill says that we would provide the workers with comp time. But permission as to when a worker could take accrued comp time would be entirely in his or her boss’s hands.… The result would be longer hours for workers with no overtime pay and only the hope that their bosses will let them take their earned time off when asked.
    “How we have skewed the rules and play against the middle, working class of America. You ought to read the book Who Stole the American Dream? by Hedrick Smith. Workers wishing to collect their overtime pay would be forced to wait until the end of the year, essentially granting employers an interest-free loan.
    “Mr. Speaker, this isn't fair. It isn't right. And it isn't going to become law. And everybody on this Floor knows that. Everybody – all 434 of us that are here today know that this bill is not going to become law, but we are wasting our time on it. Instead of wasting time on a partisan measure that would never make it through the Senate, we ought to working on creating jobs and restoring fiscal discipline. Not a partisan roll back of workers’ rights, but a bipartisan compromise to help put more Americans to work.
    “Again I say if those Republicans who were a Member of this House in 2003 were still here, this bill will not be on the Floor.”
    [Steny, quit screwing around with overwork on one side & dependency on the other and get us emergency worksharing and permanent timesizing on the federal level. Here's another take -]
    House of Representatives Votes to Alter 40-Hour Work Week, by Christian A., 5/13 LongIsland.com
    The “Working Families Flexibility Act” drew great support from House Republicans, but has also received heavy criticism from worker advocacy groups.
    WASHINGTON, D.C., USA - The US House of Representatives voted last week to pass the “Working Families Flexibility Act” which would fundamentally alter the 40-hour work week established by Fair Labor Standards Act of 1938. Under current law, hourly employees who work more than 40 hours in a week are required to receive compensation equal to 1.5 times their normal pay rate for any time spent over that threshold. The new bill would save companies that expense by providing an alternative to paying their workers overtime wages.
    Instead of receiving increased pay, or any immediate compensation for that matter, the Working Families Flexibility Act would allow workers to bank excessive time worked and apply it towards future time off. Employees could store up to 160 hours of extra time and use it in lieu of vacation or personal time at a later date, or cash out whatever has gone unused at the end of the year.
    Labor groups and other opponents of the bill criticize it for not providing a reliable method of ensuring workers would not be pressured by employers out of taking overtime pay, which would result in a higher net pay for the employee than banking time off.
    The bill also does not guarantee workers would be able to use the time-off they have earned when they want or need it. It states that they are entitled to use that time in a “reasonable period after making a request” so long as it does not “unduly disrupt” business operations, but does not specify what is considered reasonable or disruptive. This leaves the decision of when and if an employee can apply their banked time entirely up to the employer, and effectively prohibits the worker from using it in the event of a family emergency without the benefit of a particularly caring boss.
    Voting occurred mostly along party lines with heavy Republican support; when the bill passed 223-204 only 3 Democrats voted in its favor. It is not expected to pass the Democrat-led Senate, but the White House has threatened a veto if it does.

  2. Is The 70-Hour Work Week Worth The Sacrifice? 5/13 Forbes.com
    NEW YORK, N.Y., USA - There is a persistent, unspoken belief that entrepreneurs must work 70-100 hours per week in order to be successful. In fact, this is often glorified. Despite philosophies like The Four Hour Work Week becoming wildly popular, long work weeks have remained the norm.
    Rahim Fazal (disclosure: Rahim is a member of Empact Sphere) is the co-founder of Involver, which raised $10M and eventually sold to Oracle ORCL -0.71% in 2012. In his words, “Over-working is a very important and pervasive problem. It impacts people at all of the phases of the company’s lifecycle and can be very damaging to the founder, the company, and its people. When you’re young and don’t know any better, you follow that as a heuristic. It’s completely false.”
    However, it is a complex issue. While Rahim may have temporarily damaged his health and some of his closest relationships, he is a lot richer now. Since he sold his company, he has taken multiple long vacations with his family and friends to rebuild bonds, begun a daily gym and meditation habit, changed his diet, and given back through speaking.
    Given the two recent high-profile suicides of tech entrepreneurs, Aaron Swartz and Jody Sherman, that have rocked the startup world, the topic is timely.
    [Digital activist and early employee at Reddit, Aaron Swartz, committed suicide in New York on January 11. He was 26. Swartz was a fiery proponent of Internet freedom and the founder of DemandProgress.org. He was a co-creator of the RSS 1.0 standard and was a co-founder at Reddit. Source: Digital Activist Aaron Swartz Dead At 26, 1/12/2013 TechCrunch.com
    A few months ago, on Sunday, January 27, an entrepreneur named Jody [boy's name here] Sherman had plans to see a movie with a friend. But...at 11:12 PM, the police found Sherman's body. He was in his car...about 25 miles from Las Vegas. Sherman had been shot in the head. The Clark County coroner's office determined that Sherman had killed himself. It was five days before his 48th birthday... Just a few days after Sherman's suicide, his company, Ecomom, had a board meeting in which his co-founder and the board found the startup in a startling state. A couple of weeks later, Ecomom closed its doors. The prosaic reason: The company's liabilities were greater than its assets... Source: The Story Of A Failed Startup And A Founder Driven To Suicide, 4/4/2013 BusinessInsider.com]
    Rahim took a personal risk, and it paid off. It hasn’t for most. Is sacrificing our personal health and relationships worth the cost of a potential financial and reputational gain or social impact in the future?
    A Culture of Shame Around Personal Challenges
    To answer the risk question, I talked to a variety of entrepreneurs at different stages of growth as well as one of Silicon Valley’s top life coaches. Rather than provide pithy time management advice, I wanted to delve deep into the topic.
    As I started talking to people, I quickly ran into a realization. Talking publicly about the topic brought fear of judgement for many including one person who agreed to speak only on the basis of anonymity. Two of the people I interviewed said that things like sharing vacation photos was a taboo as investors might see them.
    People who start ‘lifestyle’ businesses and who talk about balance and stress are often put into a bucket of people who aren’t serious about business.
    The anonymous young female founder that I spoke to is a graduate of Stanford and Harvard and raised $700,000 to start a socially-conscious tech company. She is now in the beginning phases of shutting her company down for personal reasons. “I hadn’t found the right balance. The costs had started to outweigh very, very significantly what was coming back to me, my investors, and employees now and in the future. After seeing a therapist for 7 months, I finally made the hard decision to shut down the company. I’ve started telling people selectively. Some people have been supportive. Others have said that I need to suck it up and that high stress is part of what it means to be an entrepreneur.” She admits that her experience was self-inflicted, but she thinks her experience of high anxiety is far from unique.
    As much as Silicon Valley specifically and America in general celebrate retrospective failure, there is a lot of shame wrapped up in discussing personal challenges as they’re happening.
    What Makes Work-Life Balance Uniquely Challenging For Entrepreneurs
    David Kashen is one of Silicon Valley’s top entrepreneur coaches. He is a successful entrepreneur who sold his first company, and he helped me frame what makes work-life balance particularly challenging for entrepreneurs:
    • Intermingling of Personal Identity and Business Well-Being. “Most entrepreneurs wrap their identity and their company fairly tightly together. It becomes like their baby. There is so much of an emotional attachment. As a result, their own well-being becomes determined by what’s happening in the company. Even the best companies have major ups and downs, sometimes on a single day.”
    • Fear of Failure. Entrepreneurs often have their life-savings wrapped up in their company. If the company goes down, so does their savings. “They tell everyone they know about the company because they want their support. Therefore, they become connected to the company. Therefore, there is a fear of public failure.”
    • Love of Work. “Entrepreneurs are passionate. They are inspired and pulled by a vision of the future they create in their mind.”
    • Rewarded for Getting More Work Done. Of course, there is the obvious reason to work hard; you actually get more work done. Furthermore, the rewards of the work go back to the entrepreneur more than they would for an employee. While productivity per unit of time may decrease at a certain point, overall productivity generally increases the more we work. At least it feels that way. The costs of over-work often build up slowly in the background and are easy to ignore at first.
    The Workaholism Test
    There are certain periods of life when the costs of personal sacrifices are much lower. There are also times in businesses that require extra work.
    The purpose of this checklist is not to make working hard bad. It is designed to help you take inventory of your personal sacrifices and make better decisions. How long have you experienced the sacrifices below? [In each case, the choices are: 6 Mos, 1 Yr, 5 Yrs, or 10+ Yrs.] Are your sacrifices more or less than the rewards you’ve received?
    Health:
    Sleep Deprivation
    Poor Diet
    Lack of Exercise
    High Stress
    Personal Relationships:
    Lack of time with friends/family
    Lack of attention to friends/family when w/ them
    Forgoing children
    Forgoing a significant other
    Personal:
    No time for hobbies
    Lack of unstructured time for creativity
    Lack of alone time
    Lots of unwanted travel
    Personal Money:
    Less money than you started out with
    Spent savings
    Spent savings
    Gone into debt
    Sold important personal items
    Recreating Yourself
    Steve Mariotti (59) founded the Network for Teaching Entrepreneurship (NFTE) in 1987 and helped build it into one of the world’s leading youth organizations. To date, NFTE has taught 500,000+ low-income young people about entrepreneurship.
    “Over NFTE’s 25-year history, I looked at my health as something secondary to building an international movement. I worked an average of 75 hours per week and only took a handful of vacations. I never got married, and I never had children. I thought family and work were mutually exclusive.”
    “I lost my health three years ago — I almost died. That was a wakeup call! In retrospect, I deeply regret my work-life balance decisions personally and professionally. I don’t think about it just daily. I think about it hourly. I think NFTE would have actually been more successful if I had taken more time for my personal life.”
    Steve’s story ends on a high note though. He has recreated himself by taking the following steps:
    • Stepping down as President of NFTE and focusing on the areas of NFTE where he had particular strengths and passions.
    • Developing a relationship with a higher power by praying, and meditating daily.
    • Reading and writing six hours per day. Since his turnaround, Steve has written 90 articles for publications like the Huffington Post and received a book contract with Templeton Press.
    • Taking care of his mental and physical health by eating healthy; exercising daily; and solving a longstanding sleeping challenge, which turned out to be sleep apnea.
    • Being a better friend and family member by focusing on their needs first, ahead of his own and NFTE’s.
    • Starting a part-time business to help other young social entrepreneurs build their dreams.
    Steve’s story serves as both a warning of the sacrifices entrepreneurs unknowingly make that never pay off and an inspiration for how we can all recreate ourselves at any point in our life. NFTE has never been in a better position and Steve has never been happier.

  3. Why The 40 Hour Work Week Is A Thing Of The Past, by Daniela Walker, 5/13 PSFK.com
    [This sounds hopeful but it's so starry-eyed & new-age, it starts goin' the wrong way -]
    NEW YORK, N.Y., USA - "Working 9 to 5, what a way to make a livin,” at least so says Dolly Parton. Born of the industrial era, the 40 hour work week is now a standard the world over, but using time as a measurement of accomplishments is a relic, says Ilya Pozin.
    [Uh, time doesn't measure accomplishments, management benchmarks do. Time just sets boundaries between accountable and unaccountable activity, my life for you and my life for me. But Ilya Pozin seems to want to duck management responsibilities and have employees manage themselves, all in the name of Creativity. ]
    In an article for LinkedIn, the founder of web design company Ciplex argues that companies should do away with strict working hours and allow for flexibility to promote creative and productive thinking.
    [Oh it's the old Employee Choice ruse, which gradually turns into a blank check on the salaried employee's life and increasing pressure to play the Happy Slave.]
    The key to Pozin’s argument is the connection between an employee’s happiness, productivity and autonomy.
    Employers ensure an erosion of employee trust by strictly enforcing when their employees must complete their work. This puts employees on a fast-track to feeling less autonomous. And nothing kills productivity quite like an environment where employees feel forced to work.
    [Ah yes, the employer is only doing it for YOU, dear employee. Good lord, how many communes, cooperatives and ashrams have foundered on such idealism. Brook Farm syndrome. And still the Elmer Gantries and creative bold new Entrepreneurs give "ambitious" (young) people supposedly golden opportunities for self-sacrifice. It's like working for Harvard University - it's such an honor you're expected to do it for nothing ("wouldn't this internship look great on your portfolio?!" or accept self-sacrificial pay.]
    The traditional work schedule measures productivity not in the goals accomplished, but in the amount of hours spent in the office – and being present at the office does not necessarily ensure work is being done. Think of the amount of time workers reportedly spend of Facebook and perusing the web.
    [This does not sound like an employer who trusts his/her employees, and therefore an employer who is concerned only about trust as a one-way street = the employer's way. Shades of employers who just can't understand the erosion of employee trust after a big layoff.]
    Having to stare at a clock perpetually throughout the day kills productivity, works against teamwork, doesn’t build trust and is distracting – at least that’s how Pozin sees it. Letting workers determine their own hours, and set their own quotas, ensures a sense of responsibility, autonomy and trust. They will do the work they need to do, in the work schedule that is suitable to them.
    [Sounds like Marxism = assumes all men are angels. Not to mention sloughing off management responsibilities as unneeded. Note this is also what modern CEOs are doing to consumers: now we're supposed to book our own travel, cashier our own groceries, pump our own gas, be our own telephone receptionist, and then these clowns in the corner office turn around and wonder why their markets are weakening.]
    Says Pozin:
    Dropping your employees’ standard hours may require a cultural shift within your company. Not all change is bad. In fact, this one will reap benefits of increased flexibility and autonomy. Employee happiness and productivity is linked to trust–and enforcing hours shows exactly the opposite.
    [Sure, sure.]
    Daniela Walker is..a freelance writer and avid believer that a square of dark chocolate a day truly does keep the doctor away.
    [Me too.]

  4. Call to exempt some fields from standard work hours, by Candy Chan, 5/12 (5/13 over dateline) Hong Kong Standard via thestandard.com.hk
    [Here we go! "MY job is too IMPORTANT to be restricted to the same system-vital constraints as everyone else's! And MY skills are too unique and indispensable to share with anyone else because there's NO ONE ELSE who's good enough to do this anyway!"]
    HONG KONG, China - An employers' representative on the Standard Working Hours Committee has called for some industries to be exempt from any related future law.
    Making standard hours applicable to all industries would be unnecessary, Ho Sai-chu told a TV program.
    For instance, a security guard now required to work more than 12 hours a day may see their monthly pay cut by up to HK$3,000 if the eight-hour standard is made statutory, Ho noted.
    [Lord, we didn't expect THIS ignorant twist - here we have otherwise smart people who can't seem to get it through their heads that cutting hours on a system-wide basis (even if the system is just a whole city) creates an employer-perceived scarcity of labor, gets employers bidding against one another for help, and RAISES pay, so no one "needs" to overwork any more!]
    "Will these workers welcome the measure if they earn thousands [of dollars] less a month?"
    Not seeing the need for any legislation on hours, Ho said the needs of workers and maintaining the economic edge of the SAR should be balanced.
    "We should look overseas for ways to improve work hours."
    Ho said some countries set standard hours to raise employment rates, but this is not the case here as the SAR has a low 3.5percent jobless rate. "Workers do have a say as they can switch employers if they are not satisfied with work conditions."
    But Federation of Trade Unions lawmaker Chan Yuen-han said legislation is necessary and that overtime work must be compensated.
    "This demand is a very basic one," said Chan, adding Ho should not be opposing standard hours.
    Long hours and overtime are common in Hong Kong and it is unfair, she said. "All the parties should take an open approach to sit down for talks. Exemptions could be made for some unique jobs."
    The 23-member government- appointed committee held its first meeting on Tuesday, agreeing to meet every two months and also on the need for a wide-ranging public consultation on the issue.
    Chairman Edward Leong Che- hung said the road towards a standard hours law will be long, but hopes to have a preliminary plan in a year.
    "Within three years, we hope to have agreed on a standard for the legislation," Leong said.


5/11/2013 – News and opinion about the timesizing alternative to downsizing, reinvented thousands of times every day in every recession by mainly mid- and small-size companies, but still today an afterthought, though any economy that's still around 50 years from today will long since have made it first and foremost - ( [commentary] by Phil Hyde ecdesignr@yahoo.ca unless otherwise initialed ) -

  1. DC Shared Work Unemployment Compensation Program, Dept. of Employment Services via does.dc.gov
    WASHINGTON, D.C., USA - In 2010, the District of Columbia enacted the Keep DC Working Act of 2010, which established the Shared Work Unemployment Insurance Program (Shared Work). Shared Work is a voluntary program that provides an alternative to layoffs for employers confronted with a temporary decline in business. The principle behind Shared Work is simple: instead of laying off a percentage of the work force to cut costs, an employer could reduce employees’ hours by the same percentage and keep the entire work force on the job.
    Shared Work offers many benefits to employers. Through this program, an employer maintains high productivity and quality because the existing trained work force remains in place. This means that employers can avoid the time and expense of rehiring and retraining new employees. Shared Work allows employers to maintain high employee morale because employees can avoid the insecurity and uncertainty that an impending layoff could bring.
    Participation in the Shared Work Program would allow employers to continue to provide fringe benefits for their employees. Instead of facing the emotional and financial hardships of unemployment, employees would be able to keep their jobs. Additionally, because employees would remain job attached, they could continue to take part in professional development opportunities to further improve their skills.
    To apply to the Shared Work Program, please download the DC Shared Work Employer Guide and review the guidelines for Shared Work.
    *DC Shared Work Employer Guide
    *DC Shared Work Process
    *DC Shared Work Plan Application
    For additional information on the Shared Work Program, please contact the following:
    Service Contact: Office of Unemployment Compensation
    Contact Email: sharedwork@dc.gov
    Contact Phone: (202) 698-6364
    Contact Suite #: 4th Floor
    Office Hours: Monday to Friday 9 am to 5 pm

  2. Budget cuts cause furloughs at local library, Newsradio 620 via 620wtmj.com
    RACINE, Wisc., USA - Some services in Racine will be shutdown because workers are being forced to take unpaid days off.
    The furlough means the Racine Public Library will be shutdown May 24th & 25th.
    "It's very disappointing to tell people, I'm sorry were going to have to be closed," said library director Jessica MacPhail. "People are very upset about it."
    The library's website will also go dark. MacPhail said because the workers who run it are city employees there is no choice but to shut it down for the two day period.
    MacPhail said the amount of money for the library system continues to dwindle. Staff will be forced to take a total of six furlough days.


5/10/2013 – News and opinion about the timesizing alternative to downsizing, reinvented thousands of times every day in every recession by mainly mid- and small-size companies, but still today an afterthought, though any economy that's still around 50 years from today will long since have made it first and foremost - ( [commentary] by Phil Hyde ecdesignr@yahoo.ca unless otherwise initialed ) -

  1. Casey Mulligan on Work Sharing, by Dean Baker, Center for Economic Policy & Research via cepr.com
    WASHINGTON, D.C., USA - Casey Mulligan used his Economix blog post to discuss the topic of work sharing. It's always good to see work sharing get some attention and Mulligan raises many of the right issues.
    I will correct a couple of points.
    [Our version is two days ago - scan down to 5/08/2013 #4 below.]
    Mulligan tells readers:
    "It is also possible that work-sharing would reduce employment by making jobs less attractive to people who desire full-time work. One reason that people sometimes justify commuting long distances to work or enrolling in demanding training programs – trucking and nursing are two such occupations — is that they expect to recoup those cost by taking advantages of opportunities to earn extra by working long hours."
    Neither of these claims is quite right. Long commutes are a disincentive to short workdays, but one could easily imagine shorter working hours being associated with fewer working days rather than shorter work days. (Anyone hear of a 4-day week, say 4 days at 8-9 hours per day?) Of course, if most workers had fewer week days then we would all enjoy shorter commutes.
    The other point about fewer hours providing less incentive to train for jobs needs two important qualifications. First, if work sharing is a short-term alternative to layoffs, then it does not imply a reduction in average hours. It would simply reduce the risk of being unemployed and replace it with an increased risk of being forced to work fewer than desired hours. If we assume that most workers are risk averse, this should increase the desirability of training for jobs since there will be a lower probability of being out of work altogether.
    If we follow the route of Western Europe and have shorter work years (they work on average about 20 percent less than us), then it is important to keep in mind that no one is literally being prevented from working. In other words, in countries where the average work year is 1500 hours, no one arrests truck drivers or nurses who want to work extra hours. If they want to find a second part-time job in addition to their normal full-time job they are free to do so, just as many people in the United States work at more than one job.
    Arranging a second job is of course more difficult than simply working more hours on a first job, but the point is that we are not talking about rigid constraints. The issue is instead one of relative costs.
    In Europe policy has pushed in the direction of shorter work years. This includes items like mandates requiring employers give paid vacation, sick leave, and family leave. Some countries have shorter workweeks requiring overtime payments for as little as 36 hours of work.
    In the United States the push is in the other direction. The fact that hugely expensive health care insurance is typically provided by employers, and usually treated as an overhead expense (all workers get the same insurance whether they work 35 hours a week or 60 hours a week), means that employers have a strong incentive to have workers put in more hours.
    The Affordable Care Act, by making it easier for workers to get insurance on the individual market, will reduce the incentives for long work years. It will be interesting to see if it has an impact in shortening work years.
    Dean Baker is co-director of the Center for Economic and Policy Research in Washington, D.C. He is the author of several books, his latest being The End of Loser Liberalism: Making Markets Progressive.

  2. Bibb School Board to Furlough Teachers, by Robin Folsom & Katelyn Heck, 13WMAZ.com
    MACON, Ga., USA - Facing an $18 million budget shortfall, all Bibb County school employees will have to take a furlough day on May 28.
    That move, decided at Thursday's board meeting, will save the district between $500,000 to $600,000 from this year's budget, which the board intends to put towards next year's financial crisis.

    [Thinking ahead!]
    Officials also proposed cuts to athletics and fine arts programs, the high school magnet allotment, and a mentoring program.
    Members also discussed how to support the instruction of Mandarin Chinese, instituted under former superintendent Romain Dallemand.
    The Confucius Institute, which trains and supplies the educators, has offered to pay for 12 teachers, whom the board decided to split between six schools.
    The board delayed Thursday's scheduled vote to waive a state-recommended student-to-counselor ratio, signed into by Gov. Nathan Deal this year. That a bill that suggests schools have one counselor for every 450 students.
    Bibb school district administrators have proposed having one part-time counselor for every 699 students. For schools with 700-999 kids, they would have one full-time counselor.
    Elementary and middle schools with over 1,000 students would get one part-time and one-full time employee, while high schools with that number of students would have two full-time counselors.
    Several parents, employees, and even children showed up at Thursday's meeting begging the board to keep all of the counselors currently in the schools.
    The board put off their decision on the waiver until their next meeting on Tuesday.
    Board president Wanda West says, "It is my position that counselors are very, very important to not only the work in the schools, but supporting the children through development of issues, career counseling, and it goes on and on."
    The board also delayed their vote on the reduction in force, where 97 jobs are on the line. They will vote Tuesday, which is one day before their deadline. On May 15, certified employee contracts will automatically renew.
    And yet another big vote expected Tuesday deals with graduation ceremonies.
    Four years ago, the board voted to not allow students who do not pass all portions of the Georgia Graduation Test to participate in the ceremony. That was supposed to start with the class of 2013.
    Previously, students who did not pass part or all of the state test would be allowed to walk at graduation, but they were required to make up the failed test portions later. However, district administrators say that doesn't always happen, which brings graduation rates down.
    Parents crowded the school board room with signs and posters Thursday. Many of them said they were not notified about the change. The school board asked the administration to come back to them Tuesday with a detailed report on how many this will affect and how parents and students were informed about it.

  3. ObamaCare's 30-Hour Work Week: Fulfilling a Longtime Leftist [and Rightist] Dream? Is it a backdoor move towards a drastic nationwide work-week reduction? b y Tom Blumer, PJ Media via pjmedia.com
    MASON, Oh., USA - One summer during the early 1970s, I was given a document distributed by a protest group which came from the Students for a Democratic Society or one of its radical affiliates. The item pretended to present a comprehensive platform for reshaping a “just” society.
    One of its key economic positions was something which recently, thanks to the passage and clumsy implementation thus far of the statist “train wreck” known as ObamaCare, has become a very hot topic: the idea of a 30-hour work week.
    [Great news! 'Course, we'll have to ejjeekate these folks that don't know we cut the workweek in half between 1840 and 1940 and wages went up, not down, because surplus labor was reduced and that harnessed market forces to maintain and raise wages, spending, markets, productivity and investment.]
    The radicals [ha!] wanted to make it the law of the land.
    [Same thing the uneducated said every step of the way in bringing the workweek from over 80 hours a week down to 40 between 1840 and 1940. And here we have another self-styled Freedom defender who thinks you're free when you're working long hours.]
    Since I had recently worked 48-hour weeks at a minimum-wage summer job washing dishes, I found their proposal interesting but completely unappealing.
    [Better go back to that job, pal.]
    Why, after considering overtime, would I have wanted to take a 42 percent pay cut? Their simplistic answer was to make the minimum wage about twice its then-current level of $1.60 per hour, and to force employers to pay the same amount of money for only 30 hours of work. Even as a teenager, I was smart enough to know that as the person most recently hired, I would have been the first person fired if they had gotten their way.
    [But not smart enough to figure out that the employer-perceived labor shortage engineered by workweek reduction would harness market forces in maintaining and raising wages on a systemwide basis, whether city, state or nation, company, industry or economy. And not smart enough to figure out that free time is the most fundamental freedom, without which the other freedoms are inaccessible or meaningless.]
    It turns out that the idea of a 30-hour work week in the U.S. is at least nearly a century old. Its lineage ultimately goes back to Karl Marx’s long-discredited idea of “surplus labor.”
    [Surplus labor is only discredited by "externalizing" = ignoring our mounting longterm unemployment, welfare, disability, homelessness, incarcerated, suicide, backtoschool, backtoparentshouse, trytomakeitasanartist... all because no (40-hour) jobs. Plus it turns out that the conservative U.S. Senate passed a 30-hour workweek bill in the depths of the Depression. And here's a guy who pays lip service to Freedom but is evidently scared to death of the real thing and has no idea of the hundreds of CEOs and companies that cut workweeks instead of jobs every day in every recession.]
    In 1919, the 30-hour week was a central but ultimately abandoned demand in nationwide negotiations between unionized coal companies and their United Mine Workers members. A measure mandating it passed the U.S. Senate during the early months of Franklin Delano Roosevelt’s first term in 1933, but somehow failed to get through the Democrat-dominated “rubber stamp” House. Though that’s much further than the idea should have advanced, modern leftists are probably dreaming when they assert that such legislation “almost” become law. Master politician FDR publicly supported it, but insisted on so many conditions before he would consider it acceptable that he effectively killed the measure without the messiness of a veto.
    The 30-hour week, with hourly wages raised by one-third so that no worker’s pay would suffer, often accompanied by a requirement to pay double-time instead of time-and-a-half for additional hours, remained a favorite goal of Big Labor during much of the 1960s, championed at different times by railway workers, the United Auto Workers, and others. The UAW’s Walter Reuther supported the idea while claiming, as interpreted by the Associated Press, that:
    … he sees no end in sight for organized Labor’s demands for more pay and improved working conditions so long as the American economy keeps expanding.
    … he said unions will never let up so long as they feel their demands are “economically just and economically necessary” and while science and technology continue to create more abundance.
    The 30-hour work week became doomed in the late-1960s and early 1970s, thanks to two recessions and firms in other countries becoming legitimate industrial competitors.
    [No, the shorter workweek was just paused, because it was actually even more needed around 1970 when the grownup babyboomers entered the job market and replaced the wage&spending-bashing labor surplus of the Great Depression. That's why the two recessions. Unfortunately Jimmy Carter didn't have anything better than the New Deal Revisited, and Reagan practiced the hypocrisy of "conservative makework" of military buildup on a massive peacetime scale.]
    But it wasn’t forgotten, and is still considered an important goal in many leftist [and rightist!] quarters.
    [Blumer also never heard of the rightwing and Republican (Lincoln, TR, Hoover, Nixon...) history of shorter hours, and the CEOs who've backed shorter hours - Lord Leverhulme, Kellogg, Filene, Lincoln Bros., the Nucor boys...]
    As to ObamaCare, the law dictates the following: “The term ‘full-time employee’ means, with respect to any month, an employee who is employed on average at least 30 hours of service per week.” It also “requires any business with 50 or more full-time employees to provide at least the minimum level of government-defined health coverage to those employees.”
    That new definition and its related requirement have given rise to a new guideline for small business survival. Known as “49 and 29,” it suggests that small firms would be very unwise to expand their operations beyond 49 full-time employees as defined by ObamaCare, or to allow part-timers to ever work more than 29 hours in a given week, lest they accidentally move into the law’s full-time category.

    [Great news! Now all we have to do is convert all hours being worked over 30 a week into training and jobs, and we'll have wartime prosperity again based on an employer-perceived labor shortage - without the war.]
    Large companies also have an incentive to keep as many employees as possible below the 30-hour threshold.
    Last Friday’s employment report – especially because the administration expressed pleasure with its results — makes you wonder if ObamaCare, among other things, wasn’t deliberately designed to force the country over the long-term to accept a work week of just under 30 hours, something we’ve always seen as part-time employment, as the “new normal” definition of a full-time worker.
    [But then, throughout most of our history, 40 hours was seen as part-time employment too. Maybe Blumer better bone up on some of his own country's history. He's pretty uninformed.]
    Seasonally adjusted government figures for April show that the private sector added 176,000 jobs, while average total weekly hours worked dropped from 3.926 billion to 3.909 billion, a fall-off of almost 16.6 million hours. That difference, the largest since October 2009 when the economy was still losing jobs, caused the number of “full-time equivalent” jobs (i.e., total weekly hours divided by 40) to fall by a stunning 416,000.
    Other evidence abounds that an already existing trend toward hiring part-time help has accelerated, while full-time work is stagnating. The economy is still almost 2.6 million jobs short of where it was at its January 2008 peak, but one area of employment has just fully recovered while reaching a seasonally adjusted all-time high of 2.66 million workers. That category would be workers at temporary help services, many (probably most) of whom are either part-timers or usually don’t put in consecutive months of full-time work. Since the recession as officially defined ended in June 2009, the economy has added 913,000 temps, a stunning 17 percent of all employment growth during that time.
    Anecdotally, here are just a few of the employers who have officially or unofficially taken concrete steps to keep part-timers’ hours below 30, busted full-timers down to part-time, or both: Kroger; Circle K Southeast; Regal Entertainment; the city of Long Beach, California; and the state of Virginia. Many others are taking their actions quietly to avoid leftist protests and intimidation.
    At the rate things are going, it shouldn’t be too many more months before everyone will have to admit that ObamaCare’s 30-hour full-time employment definition is on track to permanently alter the nature of work and employment in America — and not for the better.
    [No, for the better. Why should taxpayers keep shelling out to dream up enough makework for a rising population to keep spinning the ir wheels for a pre-automation workweek frozen forever at the 1940, 40-hour level because so many CEOs respond to technology by downsizing instead of timesizing? Does blundering Blumer want us all to go back to the 80-hour workweek of 1840. That would be REALLY "better," right? Wake up, dude.]
    Last week, even the Associated Press referred to a well-known economist who cited it as “a reason some employers are holding back” on hiring.
    [The more they hold back on hiring, the more their markets will hold back on buying, because they won't have money to buy with.]
    Is all of this really, as Democrats and their press apparatchiks want to claim, an “unintended consequence” of ObamaCare? Well, Obama himself said in 2008 that his presidential campaign was all about ”fundamentally transforming the United States of America.” Why should we automatically assume that this isn’t a deliberate part of that transformation, leading to a slow but sure adoption of the radical left’s [and right's] and Big Labor’s [and far-sighted CEOs'] long-time dream?
    [Wakey, wakey, Blumer. Shorter hours has always been a centrist, nonpartisan issue with advocates on both sides of the aisle = neither left nor right but out in front. It represents the true Third Way of worktime economics. Are you too stuck in the straitjacket of two-party pondering to grasp?]
    Tom Blumer owns a training and development company based in Mason, Ohio, outside of Cincinnati. He presents personal finance-related workshops and speeches at companies...


5/09/2013 – News and opinion about the timesizing alternative to downsizing, reinvented thousands of times every day in every recession by mainly mid- and small-size companies, but still today an afterthought, though any economy that's still around 50 years from today will long since have made it first and foremost - ( [commentary] by Phil Hyde ecdesignr@yahoo.ca unless otherwise initialed ) -

  1. Furloughs Only The Latest Blow To Federal Worker Morale, by Yuki Noguchi, NPR.org
    WASHINGTON, D.C., USA - Federal workers say they don't have much to celebrate these days.
    Furloughs began in April, exacerbating already low morale for many government agencies as budgets have tightened. Downsizing has meant more work for those who remain, and talk of further cuts has many worried about job security.
    [What provides more job security, furloughs or downsizing? hours cuts or job cuts?]
    This year is also the third that federal workers haven't received a pay increase, contributing to discontent.
    Jenny Brown is in her 27th year as an examiner for the Internal Revenue Service, where she answers peoples' tax questions. The IRS is a major employer in Ogden, Utah, where Brown works, but her co-workers are getting fed up and leaving — and they aren't being replaced.
    "We keep being told things like, 'Work smarter, not harder.' Or, 'Well, you're just going to have to do more with less,' " Brown says. "And there's only so much you can do."
    As a result of understaffing, Brown says, wait times on the IRS hotline have quadrupled. And after more than an hour waiting on the phone, taxpayers get downright ornery.
    "We hear, you know, 'This is ridiculous. I don't have all day to spend on this,' " Brown says. "They're frustrated and they need to vent when they finally get us on the phone. Which, obviously, just takes us even longer to get to the next call." U.S. President Barack Obama greets newly sworn in United States citizens during a naturalization ceremony in the East Room of the White House on March 25, 2013 in Washington.
    No Ink To Spare
    The problems don't end there. Brown says her office recently ran low on paper and ink and was told it could not afford to restock. Brown recounts a recent meeting where a co-worker was doodling. "A management official was just joking," she says, but "he said, 'Be careful with that ink. You don't want to waste it. We may not be able to buy more.' "
    In Detroit, 1,600 miles away, Ryan Gibson works as a Customs and Border Protection officer, monitoring for terrorists and drug traffickers at entry points along the Canadian border. He fell in love with the work a decade ago, he says.
    "I remember the first big apprehension that I had as an officer. I was on an adrenaline high for days to come," he recalls. "I felt like, 'Man, this is what I want to do.' "
    Gibson says the Boston Marathon bombings highlight the need for law-enforcement jobs like his. Yet Gibson says many officers feel undervalued. He says a colleague he overheard in the hallway illustrates the problem. "You know what's sad?" the colleague said, according to Gibson. "That this place doesn't care about employee morale."
    Gibson, who is local president of the National Treasury Employees Union, says the attitude starts with politicians in Washington and trickles down.
    "You're disrespected every day at work by your own employer," he says. "You're disrespected by the members of [the] public every day because they don't understand what you do and how you do it, and ... they feel that we're just there collecting a paycheck, not doing anything, and we have all these fringe benefits that we shouldn't be entitled to.
    "What's the positive out of it?" Gibson asks. "Where's the — you go home and feel good about the job that you did?"
    'Trying To Fight An Octopus In A Cave'
    Even before the furloughs, federal-worker morale was on the decline. Last year's annual by the Office of Personnel Management showed government employees were both less engaged and more dissatisfied with their jobs than the previous year — largely, but not exclusively, because of stagnant pay. Satisfaction with pay decreased four percentage points from 2011 to 59 percent. And "global" job satisfaction — measuring not only job satisfaction but also things like happiness with pay and the organization — declined to 63 percent last year from 66 percent in 2011.
    "People are human," Foley says. "They respond to criticism of government employees. And so that's something that [has] unfortunately been on the increase."
    Among federal agencies, the National Archives and Records Administration ranked the unhappiest in the 2012 survey; only 50 percent reported being satisfied.
    Darryl Munsey, president of the bargaining unit representing those workers, says he was not surprised by the results. Munsey's been working 40 years at the agency, where, among other things, he buys specialized boxes, folders and polyester sleeves that preserve the nation's historical documents.
    "We are much, much more careful this year than we have ever been before in trying to figure it down to the last box of how many we need," he says.
    Munsey says the jobs and the archival history he's fighting to save are treasures undervalued by both Congress and the public.
    "One of my great, great sorrows in life is I feel like, because I am president of this organization, that I should be able to do something to mitigate it," Munsey says. "But it is so difficult, that it's [like] trying to fight an octopus in a cave, underground, that has just squirted you with ink."
    What's hard to accept, Munsey says, is the real possibility that this is his new normal.

  2. RadioShack Sees $5.8 Million in Penna. Overtime Claims, by Sophia Pearson, Bloomberg.com
    PENNSDALE, Pa., USA - RadioShack Corp. (RSH), the electronics retailer that in February hired its fourth chief executive in three years, said it faces at least $5.8 million in claims for unpaid overtime in a Pennsylvania lawsuit.
    David Verderame, an ex-manager, sued the chain last month in state court in Philadelphia on behalf of all Pennsylvania RadioShack workers, accusing the company of failing to pay overtime wages since April 2010. RadioShack had the case moved to U.S. District Court yesterday, saying its possible liability put the proposed class action under federal jurisdiction.
    “The district courts shall have original jurisdiction of any civil action in which the matter in controversy exceeds the sum or value of $5,000,000,” Fort Worth, Texas-based RadioShack said in a filing. It calculated that potential overtime “premium damages/costs” total at least $5.8 million in the Pennsylvania case, which “well exceeds” the threshold.
    RadioShack runs about 288 stores, kiosks and dealer locations in Pennsylvania. It has used a so-called fluctuating workweek method to calculate overtime pay for more than 100 employees since 2010, Verderame alleged.
    Fluctuating Workweek
    Verderame, who was a manager at a store in Pennsdale, Pennsylvania, accused the company of paying workers half the overtime rate they’re eligible to receive for time worked more than 40 hours under the fluctuating workweek method.

    The company’s method of calculating overtime violated state minimum-wage law, Verderame said in his complaint. He’s seeking to proceed on behalf of all current and former employees who worked at the company’s Pennsylvania stores since April 5, 2010.
    RadioShack’s filing broke down the approximate number of overtime hours worked by the proposed class of nonexempt store managers in the state for each of the years in question. The company is facing similar claims by employees in federal courts in New Jersey, New York and California.
    The case is Verderame v. RadioShack Corp., 13-02539, U.S. District Court, Eastern District of Pennsylvania (Philadelphia).
    To contact the reporter on this story: Sophia Pearson in Philadelphia at spearson3@bloomberg.net
    To contact the editor responsible for this story: Michael Hytha at mhytha@bloomberg.net


5/08/2013 – News and opinion about the timesizing alternative to downsizing, reinvented thousands of times every day in every recession by mainly mid- and small-size companies, but still today an afterthought, though any economy that's still around 50 years from today will long since have made it first and foremost - ( [commentary] by Phil Hyde ecdesignr@yahoo.ca unless otherwise initialed ) -

  1. New column from Rep. Tony Burkley - Shared Work Program Provides Alternatives to Traditional Layoffs, The Paulding County Progress via progressnewspaper.org
    PAULDING, Oh., USA - Legislation that passed out of the Ohio House in April helps businesses and employees manage layoffs in a way that softens the blow for everyone involved. Rather than having to face being let go, under what is called “SharedWork Ohio,” a worker can remain employed and simply have some hours cut back.
    The workers whose hours are cut continue to earn normal pay for regular hours, but they can collect unemployment for the hours they no longer work.
    Consider the difference. Someone who is laid off loses that source of income and has to look for another job. But under a shared work system, that individual can continue to learn the skills of the job and earn a paycheck. Because the unemployment benefits are only a small part of the equation under this program, it also puts less strain on Ohio’s unemployment compensation system.
    SharedWork Ohio is not an attempt to somehow defeat the laws of economics. What the program does is simply provide other avenues for making decisions during difficult times. The hope is that these other avenues will help businesses weather the storm of tough economic conditions without having to resort to mass layoffs.
    As with many pieces of legislation, it is important that there be proper oversight so that the system is not abused. Employers who wish to participate in the program must submit a plan to the director of the Ohio Department of Job and Family Services. The plan must be proposed in lieu of layoffs and cannot be greater than the cost of a traditional layoff. In other words, employers cannot take advantage of the SharedWork Ohio program as a way to make more money.
    But it does give businesses the opportunity to take a more moderate stance. Business owners have to make difficult decisions in order to remain competitive, but SharedWork Ohio allows those employers to take a more moderate approach when making these choices.
    Twenty-five other states have already adopted shared work policies to help them deal with unemployment concerns. By becoming the 26th, I think Ohio is providing extra stability to a situation that can sometimes be very painful for families.
    Rep. Burkley may be reached by calling (614) 644-5091, e-mailing Rep82@ohiohouse.gov or writing to State Representative Tony Burkley, 77 South High Street, Columbus, Ohio 43215.

  2. The New 29-Hour Work Week, by Bud Meyers, (5/5 late pickup) DailyKos.com
    BERKELEY, Calif., USA - Whenever I think of a CEO sitting in a boardroom conjuring up new ways to make money, I imagine a convict in prison contemplating all the ways they can escape...it's a never-ending venture.
    [Nice. We'd say it's a never-ending treadmill going nowhere.]
    Every day we learn of how those at the top have been ripping off and profiting from others. It's almost overwhelming, as they are always coming up with new schemes to legally defraud consumers and investors.
    A New York Times article features a father-son team who earned $118 million in "advisory fees" over the last three years while diluting company stock and cutting dividends, thereby "legally" ripping off investors.
    It seems like every time one scam, Ponzi scheme or rip-off is discovered and reported, three more new ones pop up...it's a never-ending venture.
    Now that we already have too many part-time workers (7.6 million to date) with no healthcare insurance (because businesses never think they earn enough, or because they claim they "feel uncertainty in the marketplace", or because they claim they must be "more competitive in a global market"), the government has unwittingly provided new incentives for these businesses (and colleges) to create more part-time jobs to save themselves money at the worker's and consumer's expense.
    From the Wall Street Journal: "Under the Affordable Care Act, employers must provide health insurance to employees working an average of 30 hours a week or more. If they don't, the employer faces fees starting at $2,000 per worker annually. (I posted on this subject before in ObamaCare® Loophole Creates More Part-time Jobs)
    Trade associations such as the National Restaurant Association have been lobbying lawmakers to raise the number of hours that trigger the requirement. This is to avoid insuring bartenders, cocktail servers, waiters and busboys --- many who only earn $2.13 an hour because they are tipped employees and their tips are taxed from hourly earnings in their pay checks.
    Others, including the National Education Association teachers union and school districts, have been pushing the Internal Revenue Service to make smaller tweaks to the way an employee's hours are counted in federal rules.
    The state of Virginia has begun implementing a 29-hour curb that will apply to 37,000 state employees who are classified as waged temporary workers, including college adjunct faculty. Unlike tenured faculty, whose annual salaries can top $160,000, adjunct professors make an average of $2,700 per course and receive no health care or other benefits.
    Professors with PhDs are already working part-time so college presidents can pay themselves multi-million-dollar salaries; and non-paid college basketball (and football) players continue to generate billions of dollars of revenues through the NCAA for colleges, advertisers, and Las Vegas casinos --- all while tuitions are getting so expensive that one has to be either very wealthy, or go deeply into depth to get a higher education.
    Keith Hall, the former commissioner of the Bureau of Labor Statistics, who recently testified before the Joint Economic Committee, says 102 million working-age Americans don’t have jobs – about 41.5 percent of all potentially available workers.
    “The long-term unemployment rate underestimates the number of long-term jobless,” said Hall, who’s now a researcher at George Mason University’s Mercatus Center, adding that the long-term unemployed are “helping to hold back economic growth.”
    Hall said the unemployment rate has fallen without significantly reducing joblessness. By dropping out of the workforce, these former workers are making the participation rate shrink and are making the long-term unemployment numbers look much better than they are, he said.
    Kevin Hassett, a researcher at the American Enterprise Institute, says the longer a worker is jobless, the greater the chance of divorce, family strife, suicide and a host of other ills that do permanent damage to children, who’ll become workers someday.
    And now businesses and colleges want to further expand on that theme. For all the jobs that can't be outsourced to foreign countries, they want to create millions of more part-time low-paying jobs with no benefits at all. They will do anything to extract every penny they can, like a huge sucking vacuum, sucking all the wealth to the top.
    Virgil Bierschwale of www.keepamericaatwork.com recently sent me this email:
    I just went to Home Depot for the first time in a year (I wanted some charcoal to go with some beer.) I went to check out and all they had were the self-checkout lines, which I refuse to do.
    In the middle, a lady was ringing up a guy's purchases, so I waited patiently. When he went to pay, she made him pay via the nearest self-checkout. I asked her about that, and after she told me everybody had too, I left my stuff and walked out.
    While some of you may think I am a fool for that, that cashier doesn’t make much money to start with. He, or she needs that job. I refuse to give my money to somebody that will destroy jobs. So I will not be going back, even if it means that I need to pay substantially more and do business in my small community. At least that way I will support my community and create jobs.
    Sometime today I will have a article along these lines at Keep America at Work (After I calm down, of course.

    I wrote him back: "I'll be waiting for that article. Did you get the cashier's name? Did you speak to the manager about this? I would do a full "investigative" story about this. Essentially, management is asking their employees to help propagate in the laying off of fellow employees and/or themselves."
    He replied, "Nope. There's no sense giving the poor girl grief. Decisions like that are made at the ivory tower level. I’m betting this is nationwide, so there's no sense going to the manager either." (Here is a post I did on Home Depot)
    Commentary - Venture capital firms such as Bain Capital is continuing its war on the American worker. Just name one unethical, immoral or criminal activity that a major corporation (or university) won't engage in to increase their profits and executive pay (e.g. lying, bribery, theft, etc). Just name one. And yes, you can also include manslaughter, murder and even genocide (such as tobacco). There is NOTHING they won't do for an extra buck, NOTHING. Creating an economy with nothing but part-time low-paying jobs without any benefits might be the LEAST of all their offenses against humanity and the American worker.
    Why did Obama appoint Penny Pritzker, a billionaire and owner of Hyatt Hotels, as Secretary of Commerce when she is clearly very anti-union? Just because she's a big campaign donor? Democrats and Republicans are all corrupt.
    As a society, we could fix many of these things if our political system wasn't so corrupt. The majority of Americans (and what they desire) are being completely ignored by our political leaders. We could make laws BANNING the outsourcing of jobs and FORCING corporations to repatriate their overseas earnings.
    We could also tax "capital gains" as regular wages too. Forbes reports that "capital gains are the key ingredient of income disparity in the U.S. --- and more than 80% of the increase in income inequality over the past several years was the result of an increase in the share of household income from capital gains."
    We could do anything we wanted to, IF our Congress ever did the "will" of the people (instead of being for sale to the highest bidder). So, until we first fix our corrupted political system, nothing else can ever be fixed. Otherwise, America's workers will have nothing to look forward to, except to be the next "emerging market" after the corporate game of "musical countries" (in search of the cheapest labor) finally comes back to the United States.
    Currently, the labor participation rate is at a 40-year low. The Bureau of Labor Statistics reported that as of 2011, 1.7 million Americans earned exactly the prevailing Federal minimum wage of $7.25 per hour and 2.2 million had wages below the minimum. Together, these workers made up 5.2 percent of all hourly paid workers.
    Almost a quarter of all U.S. households live on a median income of $19,315 a year. And according to the Social Security Administration, half of all U.S. wage earners (who filed a W-4 with an employer and paid FICA taxes) earned $26,965.43 a year or LESS after taxes
    Millions of American workers (if their schedule permits) works more than one part-time job, or works "split shifts". Can you live on $7.25 an hour (that Congress refuses to raise), working 29 hours a week, with no healthcare? Half of America's workforce may one day be expected to do so if the current trend continues. This is what 3 million new high school graduates have to look forward to this year, and the years ahead.
    And let's call "entitlements" what they really are -- "wage subsidies" -- and companies like McDonald's and Wal-Mart (and others who dodge taxes) benefit the most.
    Quote from the late Justice Louis Brandeis: "We can have democracy in this country, or we can have great wealth concentrated in the hands of a few, but we can’t have both.”
    William Shakespeare: "You take my life when you take the means whereby I live."
    14 comments
    • Tip Jar (22+ / 0-)
      If people won't go protest in the streets, then they'll end up sleeping on them instead.
      by Bud Meyers on Sun May 05, 2013 at 11:08:54 AM PDT
    • Isn't the 29 Hours to Wriggle Out of the Obamacare requirement? (5+ / 0-)
      32 hours would be more logical for established scheduling and shift practice as it's 4 complete workdays rather than 5.
      There could be some real benefits to a 4 day workweek in terms of adding millions of jobs.
      We are called to speak for the weak, for the voiceless, for victims of our nation and for those it calls enemy.... --ML King "Beyond Vietnam"
      by Gooserock on Sun May 05, 2013 at 11:25:56 AM PDT
      • Sure... (6+ / 0-)
        Put everyone on a 32-hour work week ---- but increase their hourly wages by 20% to compensate for the lost hours.
        by Bud Meyers on Sun May 05, 2013 at 11:33:15 AM PDT
    • Boomers continued to be bypassed... (4+ / 0-)
      Nearly two million Americans 55 and older are still out of work. http://www.pbs.org/...
      by Bud Meyers on Sun May 05, 2013 at 11:32:04 AM PDT
      • Males 50 & over face a 14.8% unemployment rate (3+ / 0-)
        From a U3 perspective. Likely 22-23% if trying to count everyone.
        .................expect us......................... FDR 9-23-33, "If we cannot do this one way, we will do it another way. But do it we will.
        by Roger Fox on Sun May 05, 2013 at 01:09:55 PM PDT
      • Bud - one nit (0+ / 0-)
        Bain Capital did start as a venture capital firm but transitioned to become primarily a private equity investor a long time ago. Venture capital and private equity operate in dramatically different ways.
        "let's talk about that"
        by VClib on Sun May 05, 2013 at 10:16:54 PM PDT
    • It's actually at least a 58-hour week (6+ / 0-)
      Because in order to make enough to live on, many people Have to work 2 part-time jobs - as Dubya proudly said, 'Isn't that great? Uniquely American!'
      WAR IS PEACE, FREEDOM IS SLAVERY, IGNORANCE IS STRENGTH - Big Brother 1984, Republican Party 2000-2013
      by Fordmandalay on Sun May 05, 2013 at 12:04:06 PM PDT
      • It's getting worse every year... (2+ / 0-)
        CNN just reported that personal income fell by 3.6% last January...the largest drop in 20 years.
        http://money.cnn.com/...
        by Bud Meyers on Sun May 05, 2013 at 12:44:40 PM PDT
    • I really don't think the 29 hour week requirement (1+ / 0-)
      is as big a deal as people make it out to be.
      I may be wrong, of course, because I am a member of the reality based community.
      Given all the other requirements and the need to attract good workers and the cost of training new workers employers will find the health care requirements are that big a deal.
      I may be wrong, but let's give this new law a chance.
      Republican tax policies have led to financial conditions which have caused Republicans to demand cuts to programs they have always opposed.
      by AppleP on Sun May 05, 2013 at 12:11:11 PM PDT
      • Attracting good workers? (2+ / 0-)
        I just applied for a Golf Course Assistants position, 40k, free housing, health, Dental, 401k, 2 wks vacation, paid local and national association dues.
        About a 65k package.
        Obamacare has no bearing in that business. but they are the exception.
        Sure lets give the law a chance, but lets also acknowledge the impacts. the Reality before Obamacare is that people work 2-3 jobs, the reality is lots of part time jobs.
        Lets at least recognize the trend.......
        by Roger Fox on Sun May 05, 2013 at 01:18:21 PM PDT
    • Do you know what $2000 a year is? (0+ / 0-)
      less than $2 an hour for every hour worked. Businesses have dropped a ton to the bottom line, they can handle this if they chose to.
      by lakehillsliberal on Sun May 05, 2013 at 04:48:27 PM PDT
      • more like 1$ per hour for a 40 hour work week (0+ / 0-)
        hours x weeks = annual
        40 x 50 = 2000
        by BusyinCA on Sun May 05, 2013 at 08:40:04 PM PDT
        • I am assuming a 30 hour week but either way, it (1+ / 0-)
          is not a great deal of money considering what each employee makes for their masters.
          by lakehillsliberal on Sun May 05, 2013 at 09:17:21 PM PDT
    • I wish all adjuncts made $2,700 a course :) (0+ / 0-)
      I make 2 grand a course at an institution in Illinois.
      "The working class mind? is strange and unpredictable" -- Ty Lookwell
      by Illinibeatle on Sun May 05, 2013 at 06:13:14 PM PDT

  3. Break the taboo of shorter working hours - Jobs are scarce and we should find ways to share and share alike, by Wijnand Duyvendak, DutchNews.nl
    [Tom Walker, notice the resonance with your own "why is the only feasible solution the forbidden one?"]
    AMSTERDAM, Netherlands - The Netherlands has a new taboo. No-one dares speak its name: shorter working hours. The unions are silent as the grave, opposition parties pretend it doesn’t exist. Incredibly, at a time of historically high levels of unemployment, the government raises the pensionable age from 65 to 67. This taboo needs to be broken and the sooner the better.
    Every day in March a thousand people were registered unemployed. The total number reached 8% of the working population, or some 643,000 people. Unemployment reached a level comparable to the 1980s. Youth unemployment hit 15%. And many fear it will be their job next.
    Too optimistic
    There is every reason to expect the number of unemployed will grow to 750,000 or 800,000 people in the coming years if we are to believe the sombre CPB and EU prognoses for 2013 and 2014. Not that their prognoses are always right. If anything, they are far too optimistic. A good example of this is the Commission Bakker’s 2008 paper on the labour market.
    2015 would see a shortage of 375,000 workers, the commission blithely predicted. They were only wrong by about a million and it is, of course, the other way around. There is no shortage. There is a huge surplus and we would do well to realise there is a lot of hidden unemployment among the self-employed and unregistered unemployed as well.
    Scarce goods need to be divided fairly. Now that jobs have become scarce it would make sense to divide them equally among those who can and want to work. Let’s start with the next five years. There are many ways in which shorter working hours can be introduced and we must consider the pros and cons of all of them carefully.
    Half
    The obvious thing to do is to abolish the proposed rise in the pension age. It might be interesting to find out whether people over 55 would consider cutting their number of working hours in half, thus giving a younger person the chance of a job. A shorter working week, say 32 hours, would create jobs for a great many unemployed.
    Fewer working hours or years is high on the wish list of many people who are still in paid employment. It creates space for many forms of unpaid work, like voluntary work or care duties.
    Onus
    The cabinet appointed former CDA MP Mirjam Sterk to be the ‘youth unemployment czar’. On news show Pauw&Witteman she called on young people to ‘improve their chances of a job’, ‘re-train’, ‘broaden their search for work’, and ‘persevere’.
    This is putting the onus on the young. It’s typical of what is happening: if you’re unemployed you only have yourself to blame. If you try hard enough you will find work. Social affairs minister Lodewijk Asscher says he will do everything in his power to ‘guide people from job to job’.
    But minister Asscher: what jobs?
    Unemployment is not an individual problem. It’s a structural problem that concerns society as a whole. Our economy is not generating enough work and is destroying jobs at the rate of thousands a month. That is the cause of the present high level of unemployment. There is simply too little paid work to go around. Additional training will only help a small number of people, and so will Asscher’s ‘job to job guidance’.
    It is high time we looked at ways of reducing working hours as a means of dividing up the available work fairly.
    Wijnand Duyvendak is a former GroenLinks MP.
    1 comment
    sadie p • a day ago
    Agreed, in principle, but it was tried in France a couple of decades ago and didn't really work out.
    The last contract I had stated that my contracted working hours were 38 per week or 'as required'. In reality I was working almost 50 hrs most weeks - but being paid for 38 I was was 'salaried' and not on an hourly rate.
    I've been out of work for some time now, but as I am not claiming any type of benefits am one of those who do not show up on the statistics; there are probably thousands more like me.
    I would welcome working part-time if only to gain some recent experience, but only if I were strictly working my 'contracted hours' and not being taken advantage of by a company who expects me to work longer 'for free'.
    Reply
    Great title and article, Wijnand! And Sadie P, you've been suckered. Shorter hours DID work in France but in-denial economists have bent over backward to spin it as a failure. The 39-to-35 hour cut in the French workweek cut unemployment (UE) 1% for every hour cut from the workweek same result as the US got 1938-40. In 1997 when the cut was voted in, French UE was 12.6%. By spring 2001 before the US-led recession hit France, their UE was down to 8.6%. The in-denial mostly anglophone economists spin it as "didn't really work" by shifting the data window on to something like 1998-summer/2001: ca.1998 when business anticipation of the 4-hour cut (39 to 35/wk) had already brought UE down to 10 point something and summer/2001 after the US recession had brought UE back up to 10 point something - QED! a failure! But the USA itself got the same result 1938,39,40 when they cut the workweek 44,42,40 and UE went 19.0%, 17.2%, 14.6% - 1% less UE for each hour cut from the workweek. And then there's the whole period 1840-1940 when the US, with other economies following (and some leading), cut the workweek in half, from over 80 to 40 hours, and things got better, not worse. Time to look at the history with its plentiful experience and howto, and drown the deniers in data. Capitalism works best on a wage&spending-raising labor shortage which we've usually achieved by plague and war, as in "wartime prosperity." Now that modern medicine has "spoiled" the plague "solution" and modern drones have knocked out the war "solution", we're being forced to get that employer-perceived labor "shortage" (everybody else perceives a labor-employment balance) the intelligent way. Damn! Forced into the intelligent solution! Its two essential market-oriented elements? Smooth conversion of chronic overtime into OT-targeted training&hiring and automatic adjustment of the workweek against un(der)employment &/or weak consumer spending. So simple. So obvious. We call it TimesizingNotDownsizing.com. It makes the problem solve itself, a design principle that we apply in every other design field but our plutocrat-paralyzed economic core. The very idea of economic design is new to most people.

  4. What Job-Sharing Brings, by Casey B. Mulligan, New York Times (blog) via economix.blogs.nytimes.com
    [Apparently, confusion. This UnChic economist can't even get the terminology right - it's WORKsharing = temporarily cutting "full time" hours, however they may be defined at the moment. Job-sharing is splitting up a rigidly 40-hour job.]
    CHICAGO, Ill., USA - When employer costs are taken into account, it is unclear whether jobs are something that can be efficiently shared.
    [When the matter of efficiency has been taken over and massively mastered by technology, the area of employment becomes a question of funding markets for massive amounts of products and services that the technology is churning out, 24/7. So either we redefine "efficiency" in the area of human employment to include a maximum of consumer-spenders, ie: humans, or, no economy. Casey Mulligan, idiot savant, is apparently unaware of Sismondi's ripost to Ricardo in 1819: "In truth then, there is nothing more to wish for than that the king, remaining alone on the island, by constantly turning a crank, might produce, through automata, all the output of England" (New Principles, p.563, fn.), nevermind there'd be no market for it. Or mayhap he's swallowed what his fellow ingénue, Richard Hyse, had the fatuousness to comment on Sismondi's footnote, "Sismondi could not foresee, or indeed imagine, that new production methods might create new jobs which would absorb not only the existing labor force, but indeed a much larger one." You really have to wonder about this prevailing stupidity, as if short-term-profit-incentivated employers introduce new production methods for any reason but to cut payroll - and their own customers' customers. Neither Hyse nor Mulligan can forsee, or indeed imagine, what is happening already all around them. Technology is being introduced, now in terms of robotization. "New production methods" are everywhere. So OK, Hyse and Mulligan, WHERE ARE THE JOBS??? Show us or SHUT UP. All we can see is burgeoning welfare, disability, homelessness, prison and suicide. Cut this insulated cant or fan the class warfare you're so comfortably starting into increasing terrorism and revolution, which sets pretty far aside any notion of efficiency, let alone the irrelevant and unsustainable notion you've been harboring.]
    The idea behind work-sharing is that employers have a certain [or fixed] amount of work that needs to be done [NO, "need" has nothing to do with it - they have a certain amount of work that they are willing to PAY for], and that the work can be divided by many employees working a few hours each or a few employees working many hours each. If hours per employee could be limited, by this logic employers would have to hire more employees to get the same amount of work done.
    [He's trying to introduce the two-faced sophistry of the lump-of-labor-fallacy sneer (LOLF) but we cut him off at his knees by denying him the economic use of the sociological word "need." And he presumes to ignore history and paint work sharing as some kind of academi hypothesis: "If hours per employee could be limited..." Come on, Mulligan, hours per employee HAVE been limited, with great success, for over a century and a half. Read your own economy's history for once and cut the sloppy thinking and misleading writing. You're supposed to be a scientist, not a propagandist and die-hard defender of the dysfunctional status quo.]
    American labor law has traditionally placed some limits on employee hours, such as overtime regulations. While the recent Affordable Care Act does not strictly limit hours per employee, beginning next year it gives employers a strong push toward part-time employment by levying a significant fee per full-time employee and exempting part-time employees from the fee.
    A number of employers have said they would change some work schedules to part time from full time to avoid some Affordable Care Act fees. Because part-time workers generally have fewer benefits than full-time employees, this could save employers a considerable sum. From the work-sharing perspective, the part-time employee exemption by itself would be expected to increase employment, because employers would have to hire more people (probably on a part-time basis) to complete work their employees used to accomplish when full time.
    But it is possible that work-sharing would reduce employment rather than increase it, because it prevents employers from accomplishing their tasks at minimum cost, adding administrative and coordination expenses.
    [Here he contradicts his previous LOLF-backed implication (in his tacit ridicule of worksharers' assumption that there is a certain (or shrinking) amount of work that needs to be done) that everyone knows the amount of work that needs to be done is infinite. Here he implies that worksharing will reduce employment. So on the one hand, he ridicules worksharers for their idea that employment is fixed or shrinking, while warning that worksharing itself will shrink employment. How could worksharing or anything else finite possibly reduce employment if it is indeed infinite? Make up your mind, Mulligan! (Notice the major rhetorical scam here - switching vocabulary for the same concept - sometimes he calls it "work" when he wants it to appear expanding or infinite; sometimes he calls it "employment" when he wants it to appear fixed or shrinking. The LOLF sneer is like Freddy or Jason, some kind of nightmare on Elm St - or Main St - that keeps coming back from the dead thanks to sloppy thinkers.)]
    Higher costs for employers may put them out of business, or at least reduce the scale of their business. When companies reduce the scale of their activities, that means fewer employees.
    It is also possible that work-sharing would reduce employment by making jobs less attractive to people who desire full-time work.
    [Mulligan can apparently not imagine a time when, or a situation where, "full-time work" is defined differently. He is a simpleton who assumes that full time work was, is, and always shall be, the same - though notice he conveniently never specifies exactly what he is assuming it is. When worksharing is upgraded to timesizing, the definition of full time work is reduced and it is perfectly fine for people to desire it. In fact, deflationarily (job satisfaction) motivated people can work all 168 hours a week. And if they're inflationarily motivated (just doing it for the money), they are a system-attacking virus that needs to be stopped at whatever the definition of full time comes down to at any point in order to achieve the maximum consumer demand that inheres in full employment. And the "attractiveness" of jobs could hardly be at a lower ebb than in today's economy where the concept of full time work is mostly completely unenforced as a maximum, since both employers and employees are incentivated to disregard it, employers by the cost of per-employee benefits and employees by the lure of time&ahalf pay - not to mention the blank check on employees' lives posed by the exempt-from-overtime salary concept.]
    One reason that people sometimes justify commuting long distances to work or enrolling in demanding training programs – trucking and nursing are two such occupations — is that they expect to recoup those cost [sic] by taking advantages [sic] of opportunities to earn extra by working long hours.
    [Here Mulligan seems to be doubly arguing that two wrong's make a right - not too smart. A long commute to work long hours in trucking? Sounds like bad management based on a dysfunctional jerry-built economic-core design. And as for nursing and other occupations whose training costs have been shoved onto employees by increasingly insulated, isolated, cushioned, and dysfunctionally moneysupply-coagulating employers, Mulligan is again rationalizing a sick status quo instead of making a scientifically based advance in the situation, as in every other science except the prevailing pathetic version of economics.]
    Work-sharing proponents have credited Germany’s comparative low unemployment rate to its adoption of a work-sharing program, because the program encourages German employers to reduce employee hours rather than lay workers off. Work-sharing proponents may be right, although Germany carried out a number of labor-market reforms at the same time, such as allowing businesses to use temporary workers more easily.
    [Here, the usual insertion of that sliver of doubt that can be magnified later.]
    As the Affordable Care Act suddenly pushes business toward part-time employment, we economists will have an unusual opportunity to learn whether cutting employee hours creates jobs, or destroys them.
    [Ahistorical and unscientific American economists never think to learn from the experience of their own economy from 1840 to 1940, when cutting the workweek in half, 80 hours to 40, made for massive job creation.]
    Casey B. Mulligan is an economics professor at the University of Chicago. He is the author of “The Redistribution Recession: How Labor Market Distortions Contracted the Economy.”
    [How ironic, then, that he's trying to perpetuate those distortions, and continue weakening capitalism with a mounting wage&spending-depressing labor surplus. According to his mini online bio, he also authored "Parental Priorities and Economic Inequality, which studied [and presumably justified] the transmission of economic status from one generation to the next." This relates to the conversion of the economic into a terminating game like Monopoly, where there is no re-set, from a sustainable group of players like any sports league, which requires that every team start every season at zero games won. This involves a regularly repeating re-set, which in human society used to be done by institutions like the Hebrew jubilees, the Northwest potlatches, or the Hopi katchina and social dances. In any adequate economic core design today, it must be done not by a jerky repeating reset but a smooth and continuous "running reset," such as described in the core Timesizing Program, where overwork is automatically filtered for sustainability or converted into jobs, and the start of overwork is automatically and dynamically adjusted to ensure maximum consumer demand regardless of nondemanding technological assistance.]


5/07/2013 – News and opinion about the timesizing alternative to downsizing, reinvented thousands of times every day in every recession by mainly mid- and small-size companies, but still today an afterthought, though any economy that's still around 50 years from today will long since have made it first and foremost - ( [commentary] by Phil Hyde ecdesignr@yahoo.ca unless otherwise initialed ) -

  1. Cayuga Community College trustees table decision on layoffs [or] furlough days, by Dave Tobin dtobin@syracuse.com, Syracuse.com (blog)
    AUBURN, N.Y., USA -- Facing a $600,000 budget gap and dwindling financial reserves, Cayuga Community College’s trustees tonight put off a decision to lay off employees or require employees take furlough days.
    [Sacrifice worktime rather than workforce or your tax base will shrink and your tax burden will bloat.]
    More than 100 people attended a special board meeting at which speaker after speaker urged trustees to not cut staff or impose furlough days. Several trustees spoke about the need to come to a mutual agreement that shared the financial pain.
    Steven Keeler, vice president of the faculty association, said after the meeting he was pleased that the trustees chose to take another week to negotiate a resolution. Faculty will meet on their own this week seeking a new proposal for trustees. Trustees plan to meet at 6 p.m. Monday May 13.
    On grass outside the building where the trustees met, some 30 people, mostly students, held signs and chanted slogans such as – “Support our students, not the buildings.” Students held a similar rally last week at Cayuga Community College’s Fulton campus.
    CCC has 4,300 full and part-time students, about 1,500 at the Auburn campus, 1,040 in Fulton, and the balance taking online classes or college classes at their high school, said Margaret Spillett, a college spokesperson.
    Four bargaining units, serving full-time faculty, custodians and maintenance, educational support professionals (such as secretaries and administrative assistants) and an administrative professional group are negotiating with the administration over the cut proposals.
    Personnel costs account for nearly 80 percent of the college budget, said Daniel Larson, college president.
    Trustee Stan Kott said negotiations with faculty had not gone well. At one meeting, Kott said, “the faculty spent most of the time blaming the administration and playing ‘gotcha’ instead of accepting our offer to work with us to solve a problem that we have. We have a deficit.”
    But faculty, who have not had a pay raise since 2010, are not happy about proposed cuts the administration has made in recent years, said Susan Wolstenholme, a professor of English, who spoke at the meeting.
    She noted that as the percentage of full-time faculty declines through attrition, the school’s percentage of faculty who are adjuncts, part-time teachers without benefits, continues to grow.
    Daniel Larson, college president, said in an interview earlier in the day that the college’s reserve funds had declined over five years from $4 million to $1.2 million.
    He blamed the decline on reduced state funding and declining enrollment. Tuition accounts for 48 percent of the college’s $32 million budget, he said, and enrollment declines dramatically affect the bottom line.
    Trustees gave Larson a 5 percent raise last fall. He said he would be taking the equivalent of 12 furlough days’ pay cut, but work those days.
    “My whole approach from very beginning is through shared sacrifice everyone giving a little, no one will have to give everything,” he said.
    Keeler said that many of the college’s financial problems stem from poor decision making and overspending on capital projects. As one example, he cited the new Fulton campus building, purchased and renovated at the same time as the college pays an $800,000 a year lease on another building where the college once operated.
    "They’ll be paying that through 2016,” he said.
    Contact Dave Tobin at 470-3277 or dtobin@syracuse.com or via Twitter: @dttobin

  2. Consultations on working hours, RTHK.com
    HONG KONG, HKSAR, China - A new committee that will advise the government on whether standard working hours should be introduced, says it hopes to launch two large-scale public consultations on the issue later this year.
    But speaking following the group's first meeting, the committee's chairman, Leong Che-hung, said there was no fixed timetable for launching them.
    An employers representative on the committee, Ho Sai-chu, an honorary chairman of the Chinese General Chamber of Commerce, opposed legislation on standard working hours.
    [And a fuller "take" on this event -]
    Standard Working Hours Committee holds its first meeting, 7thSpace Interactive (press release) via 7thSpace.com
    HONG KONG, HKSAR, China - The following is issued on behalf of the Standard Working Hours Committee:
    The Standard Working Hours (SWH) Committee held its first meeting today (May 7). At the meeting, members received a briefing on the policy study report on SWH completed by the Government earlier, agreed on the future house rules and exchanged views on the way forward of the Committee.
    The Chairperson of the Committee, Dr Leong Che-hung, said after the meeting, "The Committee is tasked to follow up on the Government's policy study on SWH, promote understanding of this complex subject and related issues, and advise the Chief Executive on the working hours situation in Hong Kong including whether a statutory SWH regime or any other alternatives should be introduced."
    Dr Leong said, "At today's meeting members had a frank and constructive exchange on SWH and the future work direction of the Committee. This has provided very useful references for the future work of the Committee.
    Members agreed to conduct wide consultation on working hours, collect relevant information and contemplate further statistical surveys for members' reference and discussion on the way forward."
    He added, "After consolidating the views expressed at today's discussion, the secretariat will devise a work plan for the Committee's consideration. Our aim is to promote informed and in-depth discussion in the community on working hours, with a view to building consensus and assisting the Government to identify the way forward."
    Dr Leong said, "Working hours policy involves complicated work culture and legal issues affecting a wide spectrum of employees. There are different concerns of employers and employees in various trades.
    Through the platform of the Committee, I hope that various sectors of the community can actively give their views and, through objective and thorough discussions, jointly explore and work out the options best suited to Hong Kong. All members and I will work together conscientiously to take forward this important and challenging mission."
    The SWH Committee comprises a Chairperson and 23 members, including 12 serving members (employer and employee representatives) of the Labour Advisory Board. Of the remaining 11 members, one each comes from the labour sector and the business field, and three each come from academia, the community and the Government.
    Source: HKSAR Government
    [And then, maybe a "post mortem" on the meeting -]
    Working hours committee finds little to agree on - First meeting of representatives only manages to reach consensus on how and when to meet, (5/08 over dateline) South China Morning Post via scmp.com
    HONG KONG, HKSAR, China - Government-appointed committee members were at odds on just about everything at their first meeting on standard working hours yesterday.
    The only things they could agree on in the two-hour closed-door session were that they will meet every two months and that a wide-ranging public consultation on the issue is a must.
    Among the 23 committee members - representatives of workers and employers, academics and officials - not everyone agreed even with the timetable for their task. "Taking three years to decide whether legislation [on standard working hours] is necessary is just silly," said employee representative and labour unionist Stanley Ng Chau-pei.
    "We hope to have a preliminary plan by the middle of that - in a year. By three years, we hope to have agreed on a standard for the legislation."
    Ng said long hours and overtime were common in Hong Kong and it was unfair.

    Business representative Ho Sai-chu said he "didn't see a need for legislation" on standard working hours.
    [Nevermind that every advanced economy HAS seen a need for legislation. Businessmen still believe that the fox can protect the henhouse, that conflict of interest is synergy.]
    "We can examine the [earlier] report and look at examples from overseas, then come up with ways to improve working hours," Ho said.
    [Oh yeah, in the Sweet By and By.]
    Professor Leung Cho-bun said the policy paper released last year which Ho referred to needed to be updated, and any decisions made by the committee should be based on solid statistics.
    Committee chairman Dr Leong Che-hung said he could see the road towards a standard working hours law would be long and arduous.
    "If everyone agreed with each other, we wouldn't need this committee," he said.
    The committee is to be split into five groups to discuss different topics. Leong said once there is a "more certain direction" it will look at a public consultation. "The standard working hours debate is a complicated one. Some see it as part of our culture. It will affect our economy, our health and quality of life.
    "We need widespread consultation on the issue and long debates before any conclusion can be reached."


5/05-06/2013 – News and opinion about the timesizing alternative to downsizing, reinvented thousands of times every day in every recession by mainly mid- and small-size companies, but still today an afterthought, though any economy that's still around 50 years from today will long since have made it first and foremost - ( [commentary] by Phil Hyde ecdesignr@yahoo.ca unless otherwise initialed ) -

  1. New Hampshire Roll Call, by Jim Splaine, 5/05 Seacoastonline.com
    PORTSMOUTH, N.H., USA — Action this week included Senate votes on several House-passed bills:
    Prison privatization
    House Bill 443, "prohibiting prison privatization," prevents the N.H. Department of Corrections from transferring custody of prisoners to a facility operated by a private or for-profit business, except if the governor declares that a corrections emergency exists.
    In the House, the Criminal Justice and Public Safety Committee recommended passage 13 to 5. Rep. Laura Pantelakos, D-Portsmouth, reported, "The majority of the committee believes that prison privatization is not good for the state because our Constitution says that we are supposed to rehabilitate. The committee recognizes that prisoners are not the only ones affected by privatization and that family members also feel the effects."
    Recommending killing the bill, the minority reported, "Other than making some people feel good about demonizing private enterprise, this bill accomplishes nothing and could be harmful indeed. For example, there is no evidence to the majorities' contention that private facilities would absolutely scrimp on food and basic services like heat to prisoners. There is evidence, however, that some corrections officers at state-run prisons make more in benefits than they do in salary, a long-term structural concern that must be addressed."
    The bill was approved 197 to 136. "Yes" supported passage, "no" opposed:
    Yes: E. Elaine Andrews-Ahearn, D-Hampton Falls; David Borden, D-New Castle; Michael Cahill, D-Newmarket; Jacqueline Cali-Pitts, D-Portsmouth; Timothy Comerford, R-Fremont; Timothy Copeland, R-Stratham; Robert Cushing, D-Hampton; Rebecca Emerson-Brown, D-Portsmouth, Eileen Flockhart, D-Exeter; Frank Heffron, D-Exeter; Patricia Lovejoy, D-Stratham; Marcia Moody, D-Newmarket; Chris Muns, D-Hampton; Laura Pantelakos, D-Portsmouth; Lawrence Perkins, R-Seabrook; Donna Schlachman, D-Exeter; Thomas Sherman, D-Rye; Gerald Ward, D-Portsmouth; Brian Wazlaw, D-Portsmouth
    No: Patrick Abrami, R-Stratham; Mary Allen, R-Newton; J. Tracy Emerick, R-Hampton; Richard Gordon, R-East Kingston; Curtis Grace, R-Brentwood; Aboul Khan, R-Seabrook; Robert Nigrello, R-East Kingston; Frederick Rice, R-Hampton; Adam Schroadter, R-Newmarket
    Did not vote: Michele Peckham, R-North Hampton; Amy Perkins, R-Seabrook; Pamela Tucker, R-Greenland, excused; Steven Briden, D-Exeter; Joe Scarlotto, D-Portsmouth, not excused; Terie Norelli, D-Portsmouth, presiding, and under the rules does not vote except to make or break a tie
    When it reached the Senate, it was killed 13 to 11. Sen. Nancy Stiles, R-Hampton, supported a motion to kill the bill. Sens. Martha Fuller Clark, D-Portsmouth, and Russell Prescott, R-Kingston, voted against killing it. Prescott was the only Republican not voting against the bill, while all Republicans and one Manchester Democrat voted to kill it.
    Work-sharing adjustments
    HB 361, "relative to work-sharing," makes changes to the state's work-sharing reporting requirements in order to conform to the Federal Unemployment Tax Act. The House approved the bill Feb. 20 by a non-recorded voice vote.
    In unanimously recommending passage, the House Labor, Industrial and Rehabilitative Services Committee reported, "Work-sharing allows employers to reduce working hours for an entire group of employees rather than laying off some employees and continuing full employment for others. The plan provides unemployment compensation at a reduced rate. There are currently 169 employees participating in 15 separate plans."
    The bill requires employers to provide benefits as if the hours had not been reduced. The Senate agreed with the House, and approved the bill by a roll call of 24 to 0. It added a technical amendment so the legislation goes back to the House for further discussion.

    Disposing human remains
    HB 316, "relative to regulating alkaline hydrolysis for the disposal of human remains," establishes procedures for the use of that process in disposing bodies as an alternative to burying or cremation. It requires a facility to be licensed and provides rulemaking authority for the Board of Funeral Directors and Embalmers.
    The House Executive Departments and Administration Committee added an amendment and supported passage 11 to 1, reporting, " Rulemaking authority is appropriate for this process, and the fees will cover the cost of regulations. The committee amendment specifies technical requirements for the facility, the pressure vessel and proper discharge of fluid residues, resolving some concerns brought up at the public hearing."
    The House passed the bill March 27 by voice vote, but this week the Senate disagreed and voted 16 to 8 on a non-recorded vote to kill the bill for this year.
    Teacher evaluations
    HB 142, "relative to teacher evaluation systems," was passed by the House with an amendment provided that school boards will be responsible for the development and adoption of a teacher evaluation system. The Education Committee supported it 17 to 1, and the bill was approved by the House on March 6. The Senate this week further amended the legislation with language proposed by Sen. Stiles.
    The differences between the two bodies is in wording. The House version provided that "The school board shall develop, with the involvement of teachers and principals, for adoption any teacher evaluation and support system to be used in the school district or school for the continual improvement of instruction. Any teacher evaluation and support system that may be provided by the department of education or approved by the state board of education may serve as a guide and reference to the school district or school." The House language also provides that "Nothing in this paragraph shall supersede collective bargaining rights under RSA 273-A," which refers to state law.
    The Senate amendment changes that by stating, "School boards shall adopt a teacher performance evaluation policy, with the involvement of teachers and principals, for use in the school district. A school board may consider any resources it deems reasonable and appropriate, including any resources that may be provided by the state department of education." The amendment removes reference to collective bargaining rights.
    The Senate amendment was passed on a party-line vote, with Sens. Stiles and Prescott supporting the amendment, and Sen. Fuller Clark opposed. The legislation with amendment goes back to the House for further discussion.
    For more information, go to nh.com.

  2. Navy Air wings set to have flight hours cut in half, posted by Doris Taylor, 5/06 News Channel 3 via WTKR.com
    HAMPTON ROADS, Va., USA - Air wing 7 on USS Eisenhower and Air wing 1 on USS Theodore Roosevelt are set to have their flight hours cut in half, and Admiral Ted Branch says that will make the Navy less prepared.
    Trying to stay sharp while preparing for deployment will be tougher for Navy pilots
    .
    [So here, worktime per person is getting cut anyway, but in the worst way instead of the best way. We're supposed to be reactivating deactivated consumers by hiring the un(der)employed, not watching congressment pose vital cuts to try and force themselves to stand up to their wealthy campaign financers and restore the situation we had when we all had prosperity, namely steeply graduated taxes on the top brackets and an employer-perceived labor shortage to maintain wages. With this kind of weakening of our government and armed forces, why not just send out printed invitations to the al Qaeda, Taliban, random young Chechen jihadists, and what the heck, N.Korea, Iran, Syria and anyone else, to come attack us now because we're lowering the shields on the increasingly spaced Spaceship Enterprise.]
    Naval Air Force Atlantic is cutting the flight hours to just 11 hours per month for two of its air wings.
    “We’ll have a reduction in readiness, because we will have some air wings at tactical hard deck, and that will have an impact on those squadrons’ readiness,” Branch said.
    Rear Admiral Branch says he worries about the long term effects, grounding pilots means fewer of them will hit bench marks and won’t be as skilled.
    “That’s not training to the war-fighting mission, that’s essentially just safe operations of the airplane.” Branch said.
    There were concerns that Navy-wide four air wings would be shut down.
    Rear Admiral Branch says that’s still a possibility, one he is hoping to avoid.
    “You really start seeing some significant readiness degradations and the rule of thumb is it costs about three times as much to bring that air wing back as it would have to maintain the profile,” Branch said.
    Moving the pilots to 11 hours a month saves the Navy two million dollars each month.
    [That's two million more dollars each month that our Onepercenters can paper their gated-estate walls with and stuff in their 2million&21st spun-platinum mattress in their determination to depress 99% of the economy.]


5/04/2013 – News and opinion about the timesizing alternative to downsizing, reinvented thousands of times every day in every recession by mainly mid- and small-size companies, but still today an afterthought, though any economy that's still around 50 years from today will long since have made it first and foremost - ( [commentary] by Phil Hyde ecdesignr@yahoo.ca unless otherwise initialed ) -

  1. 2012 Report (4/11-3/12), Chapter 2, Section V. EI [Employment Insurance] Work-sharing Benefits, "by" The Honourable Diane Finley, (4/30 late pickup) The Ministry of Human Resources and Skills Development via HRSDC.gc.ca
    The original version was signed by: Chairperson Ian Shugart & Commissioner for Employers Judith Andrew & Commissioner for Workers Mary-Lou Donnelly
    OTTAWA, Canada - 1. Recent Legislative Changes
    The Work-Sharing program is designed to help employers and workers avoid layoffs when there is a temporary reduction in the normal level of business activity that is beyond the control of the employer.
    [Note the questionable assumption that downturn(s) is(/are) abnormal.]
    The goal is for all participating employees to return to normal working hours by the end of the term of the Work-Sharing agreement. The program helps employers retain skilled employees and avoid the costs of recruiting and training new employees when business returns to normal levels. It also helps employees maintain their skills and jobs [and consumer spending] while supplementing their wages with Work-Sharing benefits for the days they are not working.
    As discussed in the following subsections, the number of new Work-Sharing agreements, the volume and duration of Work-Sharing claims, and the amount of Work-Sharing benefits paid remained low [making this report a maximum of tax-intensive infrastructure about a minimum of economic benefit?] still above pre-recession levels in 2011/12. Previously, these figures had increased significantly in 2009/10, attributable to the late-2000s recession and to temporary changes to the Work-Sharing program as part of the Economic Action Plan.
    [Canada is fiddling with temporary improvements to the program instead of just improvements, period.]
    Work-Sharing agreements are signed for a minimum of 6 weeks to a maximum of 26 weeks, with a possible 12-week extension to a total of 38 weeks. Recognizing the level of uncertainty employers and workers faced during the late-2000s recession, the federal government—through the Economic Action Plan—introduced temporary changes to the Work-Sharing program to mitigate the effects of the recession on workers and employers.
    Budget 2009 introduced temporary changes to the program which included extending the duration of agreements by 14 weeks to a maximum of 52 weeks, increasing access to the program through greater flexibility in the qualifying criteria and streamlining processes for employers. Budget 2009 temporary changes were in effect from February 1, 2009, to April 3, 2010.
    In recognition of continuing economic uncertainty [note here the inherent undermining of the assumption that economic downturn is abnormal], Budget 2010 allowed employers with existing or recently terminated agreements to extend their Work-Sharing agreements up to an additional 26 weeks, to a maximum duration of 78 weeks. The greater flexibility in qualifying criteria also remained in place for new Work-Sharing agreements. The Budget 2010 temporary changes were in effect until April 2, 2011.101
    To assist employers who continued to face challenges, Budget 2011 announced an additional extension of up to 16 weeks for active or recently terminated Work-Sharing agreements. This temporary measure ended on October 29, 2011. In addition, Budget 2011 announced new policy adjustments to make the Work-Sharing program more flexible and efficient for employers. These new provisions became effective on April 3, 2011, and include a simplified recovery plan, more flexible utilization rules and technical amendments to reduce administrative burden.
    Reflecting slower than anticipated global growth during the first half of 2011, the November 2011 Economic and Fiscal Update announced an additional temporary extension of 16 weeks for employers in active, recently terminated or new agreements who still needed support. Budget 2012 re-announced this commitment. This temporary measure ended on October 27, 2012.
    2. EI Work-Sharing Benefits, Claims and Benefit Payments
    Work-Sharing usage102 and expenditures are countercyclical: they increase during a contraction in the labour market and decline during an expansion. As illustrated in Chart 35, the number of Work-Sharing claims peaked in 2009/10, reaching 127,880 claims as a result of the late-2000 recession. As the recovery took hold, the number of Work-Sharing claims started to decline. In 2011/12, there were 23,755 new Work-Sharing claims established, representing an increase of 12.7% compared to the previous year.. Even though Work-Sharing claims have decreased to levels of around 20,000 claims in the last two fiscal years, these volumes remain higher than those recorded before the recession.
    Two factors explain the increase in Work-Sharing claim volume in 2011/12. One factor is the new provisions in place to make the Work-Sharing program more flexible and efficient, and the other factor is the fragility of the economic recovery given an uncertain global context. In other words, as a result of the recent recession, the Work-Sharing program has been adapted to give employers the support they need to keep their business afloat in an uncertain economic environment.
    Work-Sharing benefit payments grew substantially during the late-2000s recession. In 2011/12 Work-Sharing benefits amounted to $31.7 million, a notable decrease from $98.3 million in 2010/11 and the $294.7 million peak reached in 2009/10.
    Table Equivalent of Chart 35 - EI Work-Sharing Claims and Benefit Payments, 2007/08 to 2011/12
    Year   Claims (000s)   Benefit Payments ($ million)
    2007/08   13.5   14.5
    2008/09   69.4   56.4
    2009/10   127.9   294.7
    2010/11   21.1   98.3
    2011/12   23.8   31.7
    The significant amount of Work-Sharing benefits paid in recent years can be explained by the higher volume of claims, as discussed earlier, coupled with the temporary increases in the maximum duration of Work-Sharing agreements introduced as part of the Economic Action Plan. Despite the recent decline in Work-Sharing benefits paid, the amount paid in 2011/12 remained above pre-recession levels. This is consistent with the volume of claims observed for that fiscal year.
    The average duration of Work Sharing claims established in 2010/11 was 13.3 weeks,103 a decrease from levels for claims established in 2009/10 (19.3 weeks) and 2008/09 (20.6 weeks). The current average duration is close to the average of 13.1 weeks for claims established in 2007/08, before the recession.
    3. EI Work-Sharing Claims, by Industry, Province, Gender and Age
    The manufacturing industry benefits significantly from the Work-Sharing program. For instance, this industry accounted for 79.3% of EI Work-Sharing claims and 80.9% of EI Work-Sharing benefit payments made in 2011/12.
    Table 15 - EI Work-Sharing Claims and Work-Sharing Benefits Paid, 2011/12
    [Misc.Categories]   Work-Sharing Claims   Work-Sharing Benefit Payments   Employment Share (2011/12)
    Total   23,755   $31,724,420   17,334,280
    Newfoundland and Labrador   0.4%   0.2%   1.3%
    Prince Edward Island   0.1%   0.6%   0.4%
    Nova Scotia   1.4%   1.2%   2.6%
    New Brunswick   0.3%   0.4%   2.0%
    Quebec   28.3%   30.1%   22.8%
    Ontario     56.2%   52.1%   38.9%
    Manitoba   2.5%   3.4%   3.6%
    Saskatchewan   0.1%   0.1%   3.0%
    Alberta   3.9%   3.4%   12.2%
    British Columbia   6.9%   8.5%   13.2%
    [Nothing for territories - Nunavut, NW Terrs., Yukon?]
    Gender
    Male   65.3%   72.8%   52.5%
    Female   34.7%   27.2%   47.5%
    Ages
    Under 25   6.3%   5.4%   14.2%
    25 to 44   44.2%   41.1%   43.2%
    45 to 54   31.9%   33.5%   24.8%
    55 and Older   17.6%   20.0%   17.9%
    Source: EI administrative data; Statistics Canada, Labour Force Survey.
    As illustrated in Table 15, Ontario accounted for over a half of Work-Sharing claims and benefits paid in 2011/12, while Quebec accounted for over 25% [a quarter] of Work-Sharing claims and benefits paid. Together, these provinces accounted for 84.5% of the claims and 82.2% of the benefits paid under Work-Sharing.
    British Columbia and Alberta together accounted for another 10.8% of the Work-Sharing claimants.
    Men and workers aged 45 and over are over-represented among Work-Sharing claimants. The fact that both of these groups are over-represented in the manufacturing industry seem to explain their high participation in the Work-Sharing program.
    4. EI Work-Sharing Agreements
    4.1 EI Work-Sharing Agreements Overview
    As in the case of Work-Sharing claims and benefits paid, Work-Sharing agreements also follow a counter-cyclical pattern. Up until the recent recession, which began in late 2008, the number of new Work-Sharing agreements had remained relatively low (see Chart 36). This changed when the number of agreements increased significantly in comparison to the year before, by multiplying by over five-fold in 2008/09 and over three-fold in 2009/10.
    Table Equivalent of Chart 36 - Work-Sharing Agreements, 2007/08 to 2011/12
    2007/08   433
    2008/09   2,305
    2009/10   7,717
    2010/11   1,379
    2011/12   1,198
    Source: HRSDC, Common System for Grants and Contributions
    More recently, there were 1,198 Work-Sharing agreements that began in 2011/12, a 13.1% decrease from the 1,379 agreements that commenced the year before.104 While the number of agreements has decreased significantly from the peak of 7,717 in 2009/10, it remains above pre-recession levels. This is consistent with the higher level of Work-Sharing claims and benefits paid and a direct result of the more flexible and efficient Work-Sharing program and the fragile economic recovery.
    4.2 EI Work-Sharing Agreements, by Province, Industry and Enterprise Size
    In 2011/12, there were 547 Work-Sharing agreements launched in Ontario and 320 in Quebec, comprising 45.7% and 26.7% of all Work-Sharing agreements, respectively. Together, British Columbia (209 agreements), Alberta (54 agreements) and Manitoba (33 agreements) accounted for 24.7% of all Work-Sharing agreements, while the rest of the provinces accounted for less than 3% of all agreements.
    Small and medium-sized enterprises continued to make up the majority of Work-Sharing agreements.105 In 2011/12, more than three-quarters (77.4%) of established agreements involved small enterprises (fewer than 50 employees). A further 21.3% of agreements established in 2011/12 involved medium-sized enterprises (51 to 499 employees) and only 1.3% of agreements were established with large enterprises (500 or more employees). Despite the large difference in shares, Work-Sharing agreements with large enterprises affect many more employees than do agreements involving small and medium-size enterprises.
    Of all Work-Sharing agreements established in 2011/12 (1,198), the manufacturing industry accounted for 727 or 60.7%, compared with a share of 52.5% in 2010/11.106 As in the case of Work-Sharing claims and benefits paid, Work-Sharing agreements in manufacturing were over-represented among all industries, as manufacturing represented 10.1% of total employment in Canada in 2011/12. In comparison, the professional, scientific and technical services industry represented the second-highest proportion of Work-Sharing agreements, with 97 agreements or 8.1% of all agreements, while representing 7.6% of national employment in 2011/12.
    Of the 1,198 Work-Sharing agreements established in 2011/12, a total of 416 were terminated earlier than their scheduled end date, accounting for 34.7% of all agreements (see Chart 37). Of the 416 agreements that ended earlier than anticipated, 88.2% concluded because the firm returned to a normal level of employment.107
    Table Equivalent of Chart 37 - EI Work-Sharing Agreements, by Early Termination, 2011/12
    Total Terminated Work-Sharing Agreements   1,198
    Agreements Terminated on Schedule   782
    Agreements Terminated Early   416
    Level of Employment Returned to Normal   367
    Level of Employment did not return to Normal   49
    Source: HRSDC, Common System for Grants and Contributions
    The proportion of Work Sharing agreements that ended ahead of schedule in 2011/12 (34.7%) was lower than the corresponding proportion in 2010/11 (36.3%) and the peak proportion in 2009/10 (54.0%).108 This recent decrease is in line with the conclusion of recent temporary measures that extended the maximum duration of Work-Sharing agreements.
    [Endnotes]
    101   Note that all extensions granted to agreements under these temporary measures must end no later than April 2, 2011.
    102   HRSDC, Usage of the Work-Sharing Program: 1990/91 to 2011/12 (Ottawa: HRSDC, Evaluation Directorate, 2013).
    103   Duration of Work Sharing claims is based on claims established in 2010/11 to ensure all claims were completed.
    104   Data on Work-Sharing Agreements were taken from the Common System for Grants and Contributions.
    105   Small-sized enterprises are defined as those that employ 1 to 50 employees. Medium-sized enterprises employ between 51 and 499 employees. Large-sized enterprises employ 500 employees or more. The categories for the size of enterprises reflect those found in Employment, Earnings and Hours, a Statistics Canada publication.
    106   Data on agreements by industry differ from last year, due to some differences in the classification of industries.
    107   Data on business recovery are obtained only at the end of a Work-Sharing agreement, and there are no further follow-ups.
    108   Given slight adjustments to methodologies and definitions used to identify early termination of agreements, the numbers reported in this report differ slightly from those reported in the 2011 EI Monitoring and Assessment Report.
    Date modified: 2013-04-30

  2. Retailers Slash Work Hours Rapidly Ahead Of ObamaCare, Investor's Business Daily via news.investors.com
    WASHINGTON, D.C., USA - Retailers are cutting worker hours at a rate not seen in more than three decades — a sudden shift that can only be explained by the onset of ObamaCare's employer mandates.
    [American employers are heading in the right direction in the wrong way. If they hire more employees to replace the hours they're cutting, they will reduce unemployment and market forces will force them to raise wages, bringing employees back towards 40 hours' pay for 30 hours' work. This may clue them in that they need to stop cutting jobs and start cutting hours in response to work-saving technology. If they do not hire more employees to replace those cut hours, they are cutting payroll and consumer spending and their own markets, for lack of realizing that any economic system which is constantly adding work-saving technology REQUIRES that "full time" be frequently readjusted downward as work savings mount upward and that chronic overtime be smoothly converted into training and jobs, no if's, and's or but's. Payrolls must be maintained or markets will shrink.]
    Nonsupervisory employees logged an average 30.0 hours per week in April, the shortest retail workweek since early 2010, Labor Department data out Friday show.
    Even as retail payrolls have kept rising, with rank-and-file employment up 132,000, or 1%, over the past year, aggregate hours worked have fallen 0.9% over that span.
    The average retail workweek was 2% shorter in April than a year earlier, the steepest sustained decline since 1980, an IBD analysis found.
    The retail workweek recovered steadily as the job market strengthened from the start of 2010 until the spring of 2012. Since then, it has been all downhill, with the apparent pace of decline accelerating in recent months.
    This reversal doesn't appear related to the economy, which has been consistently mediocre. Instead, all evidence points to the coming launch of ObamaCare, which the retail industry has warned would cause just such a result.
    Starting in 2014, large employers will face nondeductible fines of up to $3,000 per full-time worker who gets subsidized coverage via ObamaCare exchanges because qualifying coverage isn't available via the workplace. Next year's fines will be influenced by staffing levels in the second half of 2013.
    One way for employers to minimize the costs of providing "affordable" coverage to modest-wage workers is to shift more work to part-time, defined as less than 30 hours per week under ObamaCare.
    A multitude of companies have said they're considering a shift to more part-time work. Now, beyond the anecdotal reports, the ObamaCare effect is becoming evident in official data.
    The Labor Department also reported last week that total employee benefits in service occupations fell 0.3% in Q1, the first decline in more than a decade of data.
    This could reflect a shift to part-time work and decisions to no longer provide health benefits to part-time workers, which are both ways to shift more of ObamaCare's costs to the government.
    April's employment report also included other possible evidence of ObamaCare's impact, though it's premature to conclude how strong those effects will be.
    Temporary jobs rose by 30,800 in April and 83,800 over the last three months. Staffing firms are expected to benefit as companies look for ways to minimize the cost of complying with ObamaCare.
    It's also worth noting that overall private-sector employment has grown 75% faster than aggregate hours worked so far this year.
    If job growth had only kept pace with total hours over the past four months, then the U.S. would have added just 463,000 private nonfarm jobs vs. the actual 813,000.


5/03/2013 – News and opinion about the timesizing alternative to downsizing, reinvented thousands of times every day in every recession by mainly mid- and small-size companies, but still today an afterthought, though any economy that's still around 50 years from today will long since have made it first and foremost - ( [commentary] by Phil Hyde ecdesignr@yahoo.ca unless otherwise initialed ) -

  1. 60-hour work week decreases productivity: study, by Joni Mar, Postmedia News via VancouverSun.com
    VANCOUVER, B.C., Canada - Q: I've just been promoted to the C-Suite and the time demands are daunting. I am an effective time manager but I can't stay on top of all the additional requirements of the role. What more can I do?
    A: Protect your most productive hours of the day to do your big picture strategizing and reflective thinking. Since 20 per cent of your efforts produce 80 per cent of your results, prioritize your tasks and stick to it. Delegate the rest. This is more effective than doing it all. Studies show that a 60-hour work week decreases productivity by 25 per cent and gets worse as the work hours increase.
    Executives waste almost a day a week in meetings. Consider limiting meetings to between 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Keep them on track by sticking to a clear agenda, beginning and ending on time with specific actions for each individual, following up on their accountabilities at the next meeting.
    Email is often the biggest distraction. It helps to check email only at specific times of the day and to give your people guidelines on what you want to be copied. Have someone pre-screen and file items for you. Take the time to clear your inbox weekly. Additionally, the average leader is interrupted every three minutes - that is two hours a day. Instead of inviting intruders with: "How can I help" narrow their access by asking: "What do you need from me for you to accomplish this?"
    Forget multi-tasking altogether. it takes 20-40 per cent more time to finish items when you multi task compared with completing the same tasks in sequence. Time lost switching among tasks increases with the complexity of the tasks diminishing productivity and quality.
    Stay focused on holding the strategic vision, holding others accountable for operational details and keeping both in alignment.
    Joni Mar is a Vancouver based Certified Executive Leadership and Team coach. You can contact her at www.jonimar.com or 604-261-3809.

  2. Thanks Barack… Shorter Work Week Equivalent to 500000 Jobs Lost [=0.5m], by Jim Hoft, Gateway Pundit via thegatewaypundit.com
    [No, the decline in the workweek spread across 135.0 million people in terms of 12 minutes less per person per week is equivalent to 0.5 million jobs that would have been lost if EVERYONE had NOT taken that little hit, instead of all 135,000,000 people clinging to their previous hours and putting all their 12-minute losses on just 500,000 people whose jobs would have been totally sacrificed.]
    The good news is the unemployment rate dropped to 7.5%.
    The bad news is that companies are cutting hours.
    (photo caption)
    WASHINGTON, D.C., USA - In April the shorter work week was equivalent to 500,000 jobs lost.
    [No, read what the last paragraph says = it's the decline in the workweek that was equivalent to 500,000 jobs that would have been lost if all 135,000,000 employees hadn't taken that little 12-minute per week hit.] Market Watch reported:
    " The April employment report exceeded expectations, with 165,000 jobs created and a welcome drop in the unemployment rate to 7.5%.
    " But there was a dark side to the report: Total hours worked fell sharply, and the total amount of money earned by U.S. workers actually declined from the month before.
    “ 'Aggregate weekly hours' is an obscure series of data in the jobs report, but it’s vital to understanding how strong the economy is performing. As the name implies, it measures the total number of hours worked, which is what matters for sizing up overall growth in the economy.
    " Usually, we focus just on the number of new jobs created and the unemployment rate, but the number of hours we work matters just as much, if not more, to our economic well-being…
    " …In April, companies hired 165,000 more workers, but they cut everyone’s hours (on average) by 12 minutes. That doesn’t sound like much of a decline, but spread out over the 135 million-strong work force, the decline in hours worked is the equivalent of firing more than 500,000 workers while keeping hours steady."
    [So the commentator got it backwards. If hours had NOT been cut but kept steady, we would have lost 500,000 jobs. But because we DID cut everyone's hours an average of 12 minutes, we SAVED 500,000 jobs.]


5/02/2013 – News and opinion about the timesizing alternative to downsizing, reinvented thousands of times every day in every recession by mainly mid- and small-size companies, but still today an afterthought, though any economy that's still around 50 years from today will long since have made it first and foremost - ( [commentary] by Phil Hyde ecdesignr@yahoo.ca unless otherwise initialed ) -

  1. ' Shared work ' program is expanded, by Rick Karlin, Albany Times Union (blog) via blog.timesunion.com
    ALBANY, N.Y., USA - Gov. Andrew Cuomo has expanded a “shared work” program that makes it easier for business to keep employees on a part time basis if the alternative is laying them off.
    The idea is to offer partial unemployment benefits to cover the hours that employees lose if their hours are cut back. That way, people can keep fringe benefits like health insurance and vacation time that they would otherwise lose if they were simply laid off.
    Cuomo put out a release outlining the program and highlighting some small business around the state that have used it.
    In the Capital Region, the Fuera Bush-based World Logistics has been able to keep 60 people employed, although that number would have dropped to 20 said office manager Ronda Fusco. The firm operates a warehouse for Vermont-based Burton snowboards and their busy season is in the months preceding the winter season when they are shipping gear to retailers, she said. “We are a seasonal business,” she remarked.
    Here is Cuomo’s release laying out the changes and outlining the jobs they say have been saved: ...
    [Here's the whole original press release from the beginning -]
    Governor Cuomo Announces Improvements to Shared Work Program to Help Businesses Avoid Layoffs During Short Term Financial Difficulty - Businesses and Workers Across State Benefit from Program - Program Saved More than 3,200 Jobs in 2012 and Already Saved Nearly 1,000 in 2013, governor.ny.gov
    Albany, NY - Governor Andrew M. Cuomo today announced additional reform measures to strengthen the state's Shared Work program that will help businesses avoid layoffs during short term financial difficulties. In 2012, employers using the Shared Work program saved 3,280 jobs. So far in 2013, 280 Shared Work plans have been approved saving an estimated 945 jobs.
    "Any employer in New York considering layoffs should first contact the State Labor Department to determine how their jobs could be saved," Governor Cuomo said. "Shared work can be that lifeline, not only for business, but also for employees and their families."
    The Shared Work program gives employers facing short term financial pressures an alternative to layoffs. Rather than lay off workers to cut costs, the program enables employers to reduce a worker's hours and enable the worker to collect partial unemployment insurance benefits to make up for the lost wages. The program allows workers to keep their health insurance, retirement, vacation pay and other fringe benefits. The employer, in return, gets to keep the skilled and trained workers and avoids the high cost of re-hiring and re-training new employees when business picks back up.
    The changes announced by the Governor today include:
    • Increasing the number of weeks an employee can receive partial unemployment benefits - from 20 to 26
    • Lowering the minimum number of employees a business must have on the payroll to qualify, from five to two
    • Allowing part-time employees to be eligible for the program.
    In addition, under the Governor's enhancements, employers' Unemployment Insurance (UI) accounts will not be charged for benefits paid to Shared Work participants and employers' UI experience ratings will no longer be negatively affected by participating in Shared Work. These changes will save employers money in UI contributions paid. An employer pays more in UI contributions for a poorer rating.
    "This program is vital to the future success of businesses here in New York, allowing them to retain their valuable employees when they lose a contract or see a temporary reduction in demand for their product or service," said Labor Commissioner Peter M. Rivera. "This program will help a business get back on its feet and avoid detrimental layoffs."
    Additional reform measures include:
    • With few exceptions, (i.e. seasonal or temporary work), the federal government will be temporarily reimbursing the state for the benefits paid under this program. Through his legislation, the Governor has elected to pass that savings on to the participating New York employers.
    • In most cases, retirement and fringe benefits will not be reduced.
    • Shared Work employees may participate in employer sponsored training or training funded by the Workforce Investment Act.
    Employers from across the state have benefited from the Shared Work job-saving program.
    In the Central New York region, 65 Shared Work plans were approved in 2012. A total of 990 workers participated, and the State Labor Department estimates that 260 jobs were saved.
    Christie Pearson-Riggell, of Interface Solutions, Inc. in Fulton, NY, said: "We are a company that have used the Shared Work Program for many years and have been very happy with it. We feel it benefits both the business and our employees, saving both time and paperwork in not having to lay staff off on a weekly basis. I would very much recommend the program to other companies and look forward to our continued use of the program."
    In the Capital Region, 75 Shared Work plans were approved in 2012. A total of 870 workers participated, and the State Labor Department estimates that 225 jobs were saved.
    Ronda Fusco or World Logistics in Feura Bush, NY, said: "The Shared Work Program benefitted World Logistics because we are a seasonal business. Through using the program we were able to keep 60 employees working and on the payroll instead of laying them off. The employees appreciate the program as well."
    In the Finger Lakes region, 120 Shared Work plans were approved in 2012. A total of 2,030 workers participated, and the State Labor Department estimates that 530 jobs were saved.
    Michelle Solpietro, the owner of Warsaw Meat Packing LLC in Warsaw, NY, said: "I am an owner of a small, family-owned business and have been in business for 36 years. I have been involved with Shard Work for two years and have been very pleased with the program. It helps me avoid laying off my employees. It is nice to know there is a program out there to help us small businesses."
    In the Hudson Valley region, 85 Shared Work plans were approved in 2012. A total of 630 workers participated, and the State Labor Department estimates that 165 jobs were saved.
    Earl Thornton, President of Thornton Inc. in Ellenville, NY, said: "We opened our business 50 years ago and we have seen good times and bad. We have used the Shared Work program and it has been a nice partnership between us and the DOL. The program has worked very well for us, enabling us to keep afloat when tough times strike and then immediately go to a full work force when the tide turns."
    In the Mohawk Valley region, 35 Shared Work plans were approved in 2012. A total of 950 workers participated, and the State Labor Department estimates that 245 jobs were saved.
    Linda Schuster from Alpin Haus in Amsterdam, NY, said: "Shared Work is a really good alternative to total unemployment insurance benefits. We have used it for over eight years and it works out well for the employees and for our business. The biggest benefit for the employees is that they do not lose their health insurance. For us as an employer, we keep our skilled workers."
    In New York City, 100 Shared Work plans were approved in 2012. A total of 925 workers participated, and the State Labor Department estimates that 240 jobs were saved.
    Brandon Bolds of Pluribus Products in Brooklyn, NY, said: "The Shared Work Program has allowed us as a company to stay open and keep our full staff and operations intact. The aid allows us to save on our overhead, while lessening the financial hit on our employees, who we would have otherwise had to lay off completely or drastically reduce hours."
    In the North Country region, 25 Shared Work plans were approved in 2012. A total of 295 workers participated, and the State Labor Department estimates that 75 jobs were saved.
    Joe Farney, General Manager of FiberMark in Brownville, NY, said: "The Shared work program has proven to be beneficial for our Brownville employees, as it ties nicely with the supply/demand aspect of our quick lead time business. Our customer base requires an almost spontaneous service attribute, which when business is strong works excellent. However when seasonality or slow economic events hit we see almost immediate downturns. The Shared Work option allows us to keep a flexible schedule and provides some stability for the employees' income when these events are encountered."
    In the Southern Tier region, 65 Shared Work plans were approved in 2012. A total of 2,145 workers participated, and the State Labor Department estimates that 555 jobs were saved.
    Jeanette Potter of Esterline Advanced Sensors in Norwich, NY, said: "We first used the Shared Work Program in 2009 when we had a downturn in business. The employees who participated in the plan were very grateful that the program helped us preserve their jobs; and we were thrilled to keep our talent. When we experienced another downturn in March of 2013, we opted for the Shared Work program again. We currently have 120 employees on the program, and are grateful again to be able to keep our pool of talented employees. The flexibility of the plan is extremely helpful, being able work full weeks when business needs necessitate it. The program has helped us keep 10 employees who otherwise would have been part of a lay off."
    In the Western New York region, 120 Shared Work plans were approved in 2012. A total of 2,160 workers participated, and an estimated 560 jobs were saved.
    John Ruth, General Manager of Exel Inc in Lockport, NY, said: "The Shared Work Program has been an excellent resource for our facility during difficult economic times. The program greatly assists our employees by protecting wages and ensuring benefits are available to those involved in the program. The Shared Work program has been a great help."
    To apply for the Shared Work program, employers can call the State Labor Department at (518) 457-5807 or visit: www.labor.ny.gov/sharedwork.

  2. New York employers no longer penalized for using shared work - Changes in the state's Shared Work program mean employers' unemployment insurance ratings and funds won't be impacted, by Marnie Eisenstadt meisenstadt@syracuse.com, syracuse.com
    SYRACUSE, N.Y., USA - New York businesses that use the state Shared Work program to avoid layoffs will not be charged for using the benefit and it will no longer impact their unemployment rating.
    Gov. Andrew Cuomo's office announced those changes to the program today to make it more attractive to businesses looking for ways to get through lean times.
    The Shared Work program is a short-term alternative to layoffs. It allows employers to reduce hours for workers, who are then allowed to collect partial unemployment to make up for lost wages. The workers retain their health insurance, retirement pay, vacation time and other benefits.
    In 2012, employers used the Shared Work program to save 3,280 jobs. So far this year, 280 companies have used shared work to save an estimated 945 jobs, according to Cuomo's office.
    In Central New York last year, there 65 companies had shared work plans that saved roughly 260 jobs.
    Contact Marnie Eisenstadt at 315-470-2246 or meisenstadt@syracuse.com.

  3. IBM Cuts Hours of US Contract Workers as Company Retrenches, by Sarah Frier, Bloomberg Businessweek via businessweek.com
    NEW YORK, N.Y., USA - International Business Machines Corp. (IBM), cutting costs in the wake of its first quarterly earnings shortfall in eight years, ordered some U.S. contract workers to reduce their hours, according to a memo obtained by Bloomberg.
    CDI Corp. (CDI), a provider of staffing and outsourcing services, told employees working on IBM jobs that they should bill for no more than 36 hours a week in the second quarter, according to the memo. CDI, based in Philadelphia, cited “challenging economic conditions” in explaining the move.
    “You should understand that this action is being taken by IBM to retain as many CDI resources as possible for future work,” Eric Gonzalez, a delivery executive, said in the memo.
    “This action is not a reflection of any dissatisfaction over the services provided by you or CDI but rather an IBM business decision.”
    When it reported earnings on April 18, IBM said it would spend $1 billion cutting jobs in its own workforce to reduce expenses. The company, famous for methodically setting and meeting its goals, jolted shareholders by posting first-quarter profit of $3 a share, missing the $3.05 predicted by analysts. The shares tumbled almost 10 percent to $187.83 over the following two trading days.
    Stock Rebound
    IBM has regained some of that ground over the past 10 days. The stock climbed (IBM) 1.4 percent to $202.39 at the close today in New York, bringing it within $5 of its pre-earnings value. CDI shares, meanwhile, fell 4.9 percent to $14.04.
    Vince Webb, a CDI spokesman, declined to comment on the memo. IBM, the world’s biggest computer-services provider, accounts for 20 percent of CDI’s revenue, according to the contractor’s annual report.
    James Sciales, a spokesman for Armonk, New York-based IBM, also declined to comment on the memo. The company relies on contractors to manage labor costs on information-technology projects for clients, he said.
    IBM told CDI that the change in hours would only be in effect during the second quarter, according to the memo. The employees aren’t allowed to work beyond 36 hours unless approved in writing by IBM management.
    To contact the reporter on this story: Sarah Frier in New York at sfrier1@bloomberg.net
    To contact the editor responsible for this story: Nick Turner at nturner7@bloomberg.net


5/01/2013 – News and opinion about the timesizing alternative to downsizing, reinvented thousands of times every day in every recession by mainly mid- and small-size companies, but still today an afterthought, though any economy that's still around 50 years from today will long since have made it first and foremost - ( [commentary] by Phil Hyde ecdesignr@yahoo.ca unless otherwise initialed ) -

  1. Technology and the 40-Hour Work Week, by Heather Huhman, Tech Cocktail via tech.co
    CHICAGO, Illin., USA - Throughout the years, technology has created ways for people to be more productive. For startups thinking about hiring more employees, it’s important to consider this question: Is a 40-hour work week justified for your startup? With today’s technological advancements, startups can ultimately increase their productivity and decrease the number of hours worked each week.
    As the owner of your startup, it’s easy for you to work around the clock to finish a project. However, if you expect this from your employees, they may have a hard time staying focused if they crave work-life balance. By taking advantage of the latest productivity applications and getting the most out of the technology you use, your startup employees won’t have to work 24/7.
    If you’re looking for ways technology can help you improve the productivity of yourself and your employees, here are some helpful ideas to get you focused.
    Prioritize your schedule. To be more productive during your work week, it’s important for you to prioritize your tasks. When using a task manager like Wedoist, you can assign tasks to your employees and create deadlines to organize your priorities. This will help your employees stay on top of projects and remember deadlines.
    Track productivity. If you want to know how you can make the most of your time, use a platform like Rescue Time to track productivity. When using Rescue Time, you and your employees can track how time is spent on the Internet and set goals to make work more productive when using the web. By tracking productivity, you can figure out when to focus more and which work habits need improvement.
    Speed up communication. Instead of using email for continuous conversation, consider using Skype. Sometimes, email can become a very slow tool for communication; with Skype, communication can be instantaneous. Because of it’s chat capabilities and live phone calls, you can communicate with your employees immediately, and you don’t have to wait for them to check their email. Plus, the great thing about Skype is that it allows you to display your availability, so your employees will know when they can contact you and vice versa.
    Set aside time in your day for email. As the owner of a startup, it’s important to dedicate a specific time in your day to focus on responding to emails. Instead of logging on first thing in the morning, wait a few hours to open your mailbox. The few minutes you spend in the morning to check your email has the potential to create a distraction for the entire day. When you start work, begin a project and once it’s complete, move on to your email. This way, you won’t be tempted to interrupt your productivity by checking your email periodically.
    It’s important for your startup to promote productivity with the use of technology. Many startups don’t realize how much time is wasted by constantly checking emails or by using the Internet as a distraction. By prioritizing your schedule and creating effective communication using technology, you will be able to shave minutes - or even hours - off of your work day for yourself and your employees.
    What ways have you used technology to improve productivity at your startup?
    About the Author - Heather R. Huhman is a career expert, experienced hiring manager, and founder & president of Come Recommended, a content marketing and digital PR consultancy for organizations with products that target job seekers and/or employers. She is also the author of Lies, Damned Lies & Internships (2011) and Taking Your Career from Classroom to Cubicle (2010).

  2. House bill would offer employees comp time instead of OT pay, BusinessManagementDaily.com
    WASHINGTON, D.C., USA - Republican lawmakers have introduced a bill that would allow nonexempt employees to choose compensatory time off instead of overtime pay. Crafted as an amendment to the Fair Labor Standards Act, the Working Families Flexibility Act (H.R. 1406) would let private-sector employees take an hour and a half of paid time off for every hour of overtime worked.
    Example: If a nonexempt employee worked 48 hours in a workweek, she would be eligible for either eight hours of overtime pay or 12 hours of paid leave. The employee would get to choose, not the employer. The bill would require employees to agree in writing that they want comp time in lieu of overtime pay.
    Employees would be able to earn up to 160 hours of comp time per year, and could cash out unused, accrued comp time at the end of the year.
    The legislation would impose length-of-service criteria: Employees would have to put in at least 1,000 hours on a continuous basis for the same employer within 12 months to be eligible to take comp time.
    On April 17, the House Committee on Education and the Work-force approved the bill on a straight party-line vote: Republicans in favor, Democrats opposed. Rep. George Miller, D-Calif., called the legislation a “misguided attack on the 40-hour workweek.” He voiced fears that employers would coerce employees into accepting comp time instead of overtime pay, in effect granting employers “interest-free loans.”
    The bill now goes to the full House, where it is expected to pass. However, it could stall in the Democratic-controlled Senate.

  3. Americans Work More Than Anyone, by Dean Schabner, [not sure the "May 1" here is even this year] abcnews.go.com
    NEW YORK, N.Y., USA - Americans work more than anyone in the industrialized world.
    More than the English, more than the French, way more than the Germans or Norwegians. Even, recently, more than the Japanese.
    And Americans take less vacation, work longer days, and retire later, too.

    That much most people agree on. What's harder to pin down is exactly how much Americans are working. It may be more than our industrialized competitors, but is it more than we have ever worked before?
    The short answer, according to the government, is that it is only slightly more and not so much that most people should really notice.
    Numbers from the Bureau of Labor Statistics show a very gradually rising trend through the 1990s that has only just recently tapered off, hovering somewhere just north of 40 hours weekly.
    A Month More a Year?
    The long answer is, of course, more complicated. It depends who you ask, and about whom you're asking.
    Author Juliet Schor, who wrote the best-selling book The Overworked American in 1992, concluded that in 1990 Americans worked an average of nearly one month more per year than in 1970.
    There are also volumes of surveys that ask people if they're working more than they used to. Generally, people say yes, of course they are. And they also estimate almost 10 more hours a week than the government does.
    A Bunch of Whiners?
    Critics pooh-pooh such studies, saying self-estimators are exaggerators, although most of those studies echo the same general trend as governmental figures — a bit of a rise through the '90s with a slight dip recently.
    Dissenters to overworked-American theories say it's better to base studies on employers' reports of worker hours, which is what the government does, but that leaves out overtime hours worked by salaried employees.
    Critics also point to what they say is a growing number of part-time jobs. How can people be working more if they are not working full-time?
    Here's where you have to ask which workers we're really talking about.
    Measuring Past the Punch Clock
    That's what Schor's book tries to do, as well as two recent releases: The White-Collar Sweatshop by Jill Andresky Fraser, and The Working Life by Joanne B. Ciulla.
    All those books have been embraced by a large part of the public that apparently feels harassed by the pressures of the workplace.
    The authors all find evidence that many Americans are overstressed and overworked in trends that are not necessarily measured with a punch clock; trends such as road rage, workplace shootings, the rising number of children in day care and increasing demands for after-school activities to occupy children whose parents are too busy or still at work.
    They aren't the only ones finding long hours in at least certain parts of the workforce. According to a Bureau of Labor Statistics report released last year, more than 25 million Americans — 20.5 percent of the total workforce — reported they worked at least 49 hours a week in 1999. Eleven million of those said they worked more than 59 hours a week.
    Sweat Under the White Collar
    Who are these people? Fraser, after four years of interviews, concludes they are white-collar workers, who do not punch a clock and whose hours therefore are the most difficult to track.
    The other evidence often pointed to that people are not really working as much as they say is the increasing number of part-time jobs. How can people be working more if more people are not working full-time?
    But the anecdotal evidence presented by Fraser, Schor and Ciulla — and met by millions of people everyday — is that many Americans feel they are working more than ever.
    An ABCNEWS.com poll released Monday found only 26 percent of Americans feel they work too hard. Although far more feel the opposite, that's still a lot of people and it's twice as many as the 13 percent who told a Harris Poll in 1960 that they felt overworked. And the percentage rises to about a third of people with kids, or people between 35 and 54 years old.
    What Happened to 'The Little Woman'?
    Even for people who are not actually working longer hours than they used to, there's an explanation for why some of them might feel over-burdened anyway, particularly men.
    Experts who accept some of the arguments of both sides of the working-longer debate often focus less on individuals' hours worked, instead looking at household hours on the job.
    In Overworked and Underemployed, a study in The American Prospect, Barry Bluestone and Stephen Rose argue that to really understand the situation Americans face, you need to look beyond individuals and numbers.
    The overall figures for how many hours a week the average American works have been held down by the increasing number of part-time service and retail jobs in the economy. But since many of the part-time jobs have been filled by the increasing number of women in the workforce, and many of these women had previously been housewives, there are fewer hours when anyone is taking care of household chores.
    Instead of coming home to find the refrigerator and cupboards stocked, dinner ready, the table set, the clothes washed, the house clean and the children entertained, men are coming home and finding they have to chip in, because their wives aren't "the little woman," anymore. They are now sharing duties as breadwinner, which means men have to share household chores. The situation is exaggerated when both spouses work full-time — particularly if they don't earn enough to hire help.
    If people aren't spending quite as many more hours at work as they think they are, the fact that they aren't allowed as much leisure time once they're off work might account for the apparent illusion.
    Authors like Fraser, Schor and Ciullo, though, argue that there is no illusion, and the case made by the harried Americans who fill their books — and fill commuter trains and highways — is hard to discount.




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