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Timesizing News, December, 2015
[Commentary] ©2015 Phil Hyde, Timesizing.com, Harvard Sq PO Box 117, Cambridge MA 02238 USA 617-623-8080


12/31/2015 – News&opinion about the timesizing alternative to downsizing, reinvented thousands of times every day in every recession by mainly mid&small-size companies, but still today an afterthought, though any economy that's still around 50 years from now will long since have made it first & foremost - ([commentary] by Phil Hyde (PH3) ecdesignr@yahoo.ca unless otherwise initialed) -

  1. New Brunswick Passes Local Sick Leave Ordinance, While New Jersey Legislature Considers Statewide Paid Leave Bills, by Joseph C. O'Keefe & Allison Lynn Martin, Proskauer Rose LLP via (12/30 late pickup) Lexology.com (registration)
    NEW BRUNSWICK, N.J., USA - As 2015 comes to a close, paid sick leave remains a hot issue in New Jersey. The City of New Brunswick recently became the eleventh municipality in New Jersey to mandate paid sick leave, but will be the first city in the state to specify that leave may be used for purposes related to domestic violence, sexual assault, or stalking. On the state-level, the New Jersey Senate approved a sick leave bill earlier this month which, if implemented in its current form, would preclude additional cities from adopting local sick leave laws.
    Some key provisions of the New Brunswick Ordinance include:
    • Private-sector employers with 10 or more employees are required to provide full-time employees with up to 40 hours of paid sick leave in a calendar year. Employers with 10 or more employees are required to provide part-time employees with up to 24 hours of paid sick leave in a calendar year. For purposes of the Ordinance, an employee who averages 35 hours per week of work time is considered to be “full-time” and an employee who averages between 20 hours and 35 hours per week is considered to be “part-time.”
    • Private-sector employers with fewer than 10 employees are required to provide employees with up to 24 hours of paid sick leave in a calendar year.
    • The Ordinance does not apply to: (i) individuals who are employed by a governmental entity (including any New Jersey school district or Board of Education); (ii) any person who is a member of a construction union and is covered by a collective bargaining agreement (“CBA”) negotiated by that union; (iii) employees covered by a CBA, to the extent that the Ordinance’s requirements are expressly waived in the CBA in clear and unambiguous terms; (iv) employees who average less than 20 hours of work per week (regardless of the size of the employer); (v) employers with less than five full-time equivalent employees; (vi) individuals who work from home; (vii) independent contractors; and (viii) per diem or temporary hospital employees (as defined by the Ordinance) .
    • Eligible employees will accrue one hour of sick time for every 35 hours worked in New Brunswick, subject to the caps described above. Exempt employees are deemed to work 40 hours per week for purposes of calculating sick leave accrual, unless their actual work week is less than 40 hours, in which case sick leave accrual is based upon their actual work week.
    • Employees begin to accrue sick leave on the first day of employment, but employers may prohibit the use of accrued sick time until after 120 calendar days from the start of employment. Employees who are employed when the Ordinance takes effect will begin accruing sick time immediately, but employers may prohibit the use of accrued sick time until the 120th day after the effective date.
    • Employees generally must be permitted to carryover unused sick time from one year to the next year; however, employers are not required to allow (i) an employee to carryover more than the maximum amount of sick leave that the employee was eligible to earn in the year in which it was carried over, or (ii) the use of more than 40 hours of sick time in any calendar year.
    • Employees may use sick leave for the following purposes: (i) to care for the employee’s or employee’s family member’s mental or physical illness, injury, or health condition, need for medical diagnosis or treatment, or need for preventative medical care; (ii) in the event of certain specified public health emergencies; or (iii) for certain specified reasons related to domestic violence, sexual assault, or stalking.
    • When the need to use sick leave is foreseeable, an employer may require reasonable advance notice of the intention to use sick time as soon as practicable. Where the need to use sick time is unforeseeable, an employer may require that an employee provide notice of the need to use sick time before the beginning of his/her work shift or work day, or, in the case of emergencies where advance notice is not possible, as soon as practicable.
    • Employers can decide whether to permit employees to use sick time in increments of less than one day or one shift.
    • If an employee takes three or more consecutive shifts or days of sick time or if the employer reasonably observes a pattern of absences indicating that the employee may be fraudulently using sick time, the employer may require that the employee provide reasonable documentation that sick time has been used for a purpose consistent with the Ordinance. The Ordinance specifies what type of documentation is considered to be “reasonable.”
    • The Ordinance contains certain provisions that are specific to particular types of employers, including “Temporary Help Service Firms” and “Hospital Employers,” as defined in the Ordinance.
    • Employers must provide employees with written notice of the Ordinance’s requirements at the commencement of employment, or as soon as practicable for employees who are employed as of the Ordinance’s effective date, and also must display a poster of employee’s rights in a conspicuous and accessible place. The notice and poster must advise of the entitlement to sick time, the accrual rate, amount and terms of use of sick time, the prohibition against retaliation, and the right to file a complaint with the City.
    Beyond the local level, the New Jersey Legislature continues to debate whether municipalities should be permitted to regulate sick leave and other conditions of employment. The State Senate recently approved legislation (S785) that would prohibit municipalities from adopting local ordinances mandating paid sick leave for private employers after the law’s effective date, and would preempt any previously enacted local law provisions that offer less favorable benefits than the state law. Legislators in the State Assembly are currently considering a bill (A2354) that would require paid sick leave statewide, but would not preempt any of the municipal laws.
    We will continue to monitor the progress of a statewide sick leave law. In the interim, New Brunswick employers should review their current sick leave policies and practices and prepare to update them in compliance with the requirements of the new law. Preexisting policies (such as sick leave, vacation day, or similar paid time off (“PTO”) policies) that are equivalent to or more generous than the requirements of the New Brunswick Ordinance can satisfy the new law; however, employers should confirm with counsel that these policies are in compliance because the requirements of the new law may be more expansive than existing policies.

  2. On Money, letter from Matt Hancock of Philadelphia, (1/01/2016 early pickup) NYT Magazine via nyt.com
    Adam Davidson ("Rebuilding the Middle Class the Army Way," Magazine 12/20/2015) turned to the old-fashioned organizational values of the United States military — hierarchy and bureaucracy — to determine how to rebuild the middle class.
    PHILADELPHIA, Pa., USA - Adam Davidson offers a fascinating peek into the seemingly contradictory world of the Army War College. As a solution for what ails the middle class, however, the article falls short. While the disappearance of the middle manager is no doubt a part of the story, the bigger news is the effect that the concentration of capital ownership and technology has on inequality and employment.
    What if equity were more broadly shared with employees, so that more of us could share in the benefits — and responsibilities — of ownership? And what if we used future productivity gains not just to pay more but also to give people more vacation time or paid leave or shorter workweeks?
    In the United States, we have robust experience with ‘‘employee ownership’’: forms of broad-­based equity sharing in businesses. Today, nearly 14 million workers own equity in their companies. Research shows that these companies pay better, tend to lay off fewer workers and provide stronger retirement benefits.
    What about working less? It wasn’t until 1938 that a 40-hour workweek became standard,
    [actually not until 1940; iIt wasn't until 1938 that we got a standard workweek and it started at 44 hours, then in 1939 it was 42, and the next year we finally got..."the 40-40-40 Plan": 40 hours maximum workweek, 40 cents minimum wage, in 1940; and if we had thought of "fluctuating adjustment of the workweek against unemployment" at that period and shortened the workweek further in subsequent years, we wouldn't even have needed wage controls such as that unskilled-hiring-disincentivizing minimum wage.]
    and between the ’40s and ’70s, median wages rose. During that time, productivity gains supported increased wages — and there was lower unemployment for a growing population.
    [Yes, lower unemployment achieved in the wasteful way: war, instead of the intelligent way, Timesizing.]
    The story of inequality isn’t a story just of wages or wealth but also of stressed-out and overworked middle- and professional-class families. Too often we’re asked to choose between career and family, economic security and personal fulfillment. There is an urgent need for new thinking — thinking outside the 40-hour-workweek box and beyond the outdated paradigm of ‘‘owners’’ versus ‘‘workers.’’
    [Timesizing in some form has been practiced for centuries but it's new to many who are stuck in the old "work hard to get ahead" Puritan work ethic, and few yet realize how obsolete that has become in the age of robotics and A.I.]


12/30/2015 – News&opinion about the timesizing alternative to downsizing, reinvented thousands of times every day in every recession by mainly mid&small-size companies, but still today an afterthought, though any economy that's still around 50 years from now will long since have made it first & foremost - ([commentary] by Phil Hyde (PH3) ecdesignr@yahoo.ca unless otherwise initialed) -

  1. National Zoo Cuts Hours, Prompting A Petition From Neighbors, by Jacob Fenston, AMerican University radio 88.5 fm via WAMU.org
    D.C.'s National Zoo is slashing its hours, and some local residents aren't happy with the change. (caption on photo of lioness & 2 cubs looking...unhappy? not really, they're looking same as usual: http://wamu.org/news/15/12/30/national_zoo_cuts_hours_prompting_a_petition_from_residents)
    WASHINGTON, D.C., USA - Starting Jan. 1, the Smithsonian National Zoo will open later and close earlier, eliminating three hours of visitor time each day. The change isn't about budget cuts, according to zoo officials, but pedestrian safety.
    The zoo will now open at 8 a.m. instead of 6 a.m., and close an hour earlier, at 5 p.m. [instead of 6 p.m].
    The change likely won't affect the many tourists who flock to the zoo, but neighbors in Woodley Park and Mount Pleasant say the early morning and evening are the only hours they can make it to the zoo.
    Even on a dark, rainy morning, joggers trot in and out of the zoo entrance, between the bronze lion statues on Connecticut Avenue. It's a regular route for Calvin Jackson.
    "Sometimes I stop and like to see the animals as I'm jogging, put it on Snapchat or Instagram or something," Jackson says. He runs the loop before work from his home in Columbia Heights. He jogs through Adams Morgan and Woodley Park then runs back through the zoo and Mount Pleasant. "There's no other way for me to get to Mount Pleasant from here. So I wouldn't be able to jog this route anymore," he says.
    Starting Jan. 1, the zoo grounds will open two hours later — not enough time to jog and get to work. "It's just really shocking. More disappointing than shocking, though," Jackson says.
    Zoo spokesperson Annalisa Meyer says the change is about safety, keeping pedestrians out of the path of zoo vehicles in the dark hours in the morning and evening.
    "We've had near-misses," Meyer says. "We have not had actual crashes. And what we're doing is taking these steps to make sure not one accident happens."
    But neighbors say it's a solution to a problem that doesn't exist. Mount Pleasant resident Kaaren Holum has been walking a loop through the zoo each morning for almost two decades.
    "Early in the morning my neighbor comes up, and we start walking at 6:15," Holum says. "There's always work waiting so the early hours are the only time you can regularly schedule a good walk."
    Holum walks through the zoo, she says, because it feels safe, without car traffic, and because of its beauty. "The views are jaw-dropping, when you stand at the top of the hill and watch the sun come up. It's a transcendent experience," Holum says.
    As for concern over zoo vehicles? "We have never felt unsafe because of the vehicles. We always know where they are and we step aside and let them by. It's not hard to cooperate," Holum says.
    Holum and other residents created an online petition to stop the changes. So far, just over 500 people have signed it. Neighbors have also deluged the office of D.C. Congresswoman Eleanor Holmes Norton.
    "This issue has showed me what really matters to residents of the District of Columbia," says Norton, with a laugh. She notes that she's heard more about zoo hours than she did about the recent congressional spending bill, which included record funding for the District.
    Norton doesn't question the need for safety at the zoo. But in a letter, she urged the zoo director to find some middle ground with residents.
    [Better to have hourcuts than jobcuts. But are there really no jobcuts here? -]
    "You would think there would be some kind of compromise that didn't punish the employees [red flag], and didn't punish the residents," Norton says.

    Norton acknowledges the zoo is a federal facility, so D.C. residents don't actually have a say in the matter.
    [So much for American rule by the people ("democracy").]
    "But we are entitled to the courtesy of hearing from us first," the representative says.
    [In a real democracy (=a direct democracy, closest current example= Switzerland), you'd have a say in the matter.]
    Zoo director Dennis Kelly did meet with residents, at a meeting of the Woodley Park Community Association earlier this month, after the change was made official [our emphasis].
    [So is this really about Kelly giving himself a raise?]
    In one concession to residents, the zoo is keeping open the multiuse path along Rock Creek. It's open from 6 a.m. to 7 p.m., and used by many bike commuters. Zoo buildings will also open one hour earlier, at 9 a.m.

  2. Azerbaijan endorsed 1937 working hours for 2016 - Azerbaijan endorsed 1,937 working hours for 2016, Fineko News Agency via Azerbaijan Business Center via abc.az
    BAKU, Azerbaijan - The Ministry of Labour & Social Protection of Azerbaijan has approved hourly rate and production calendar for 2016.
    According to the Ministry, the hourly rate and production calendar is used in accordance with the Labor Code regardless of legal status to all enterprises, departments and organizations.
    According to hourly rate, the non-working days in 2016 are as follows: 1-2 January (New Year’s Holiday), 20 January (day of mourning), 8 March (international women’s day), 20-24 March (Novruz Bayram), 9 May (Victory Day), 28 May (Republic Day), 15 June (Revival Day), 26 June (Armed Forces Day), 6-7 July (Ramadan), 12-13 September (Qurban Bayrami), 9 November (Flag Day), December 31 (Day of Solidarity of Azerbaijanis of the World).
    In case the holiday fall on weekends, 25 March, 30 May, 27 June for those who work 5 days a week and 25 March and 27 June for those who work 6 days a week were also declared non-working days.
    Due to the fact that February 2016 will consist of 29 days, the year will consist of 366 calendar days, including 243 working days, 109 weekend days, 15 holiday days and 1 day of mourning.
    The hourly labour norm in Azerbaijan is defined at 8 hours a day and 40 hours a week. In accordance with the Labour Code, the hourly norm in the pre-holidays, pre-mourning day and days of voting are declared short (by one hour). Thus, the annual labor rate in 2016 will reach 1,937 hours.


12/29/2015 – News&opinion about the timesizing alternative to downsizing, reinvented thousands of times every day in every recession by mainly mid&small-size companies, but still today an afterthought, though any economy that's still around 50 years from now will long since have made it first & foremost - ([commentary] by Phil Hyde (PH3) ecdesignr@yahoo.ca unless otherwise initialed) -

  1. Elizabethtown library to cut hours because of budget impasse, by Christopher Pratt, LancasterOnline.com
    ELIZABETHTOWN, Pa., USA - Uncertainty over the state budget impasse is forcing the Elizabethtown Public Library to reduce its hours starting January.
    Beginning Saturday, hours of operation will be reduced from 55 to 45 per week. The South Market Street facility will be closed Monday mornings, opening at noon instead of 9 a.m. On Wednesdays, it will close at 1 p.m. instead of 8 p.m., said director Deborah Drury.
    The cost-saving measure is expected to reduce paid hours for all 20 staff members, Drury said. No layoffs are expected,
    but librarians, clerical workers who handle passport applications and coffee shop employees will be among those affected, Drury said.
    [Leisure, not layoffs = timesizing, not downsizings!]
    "Pretty much we're having to reduce everybody," she said.
    The hours cut were selected to minimize effects on popular reading programs and visiting times. Drury said the stalemate in Harrisburg has resulted in the local library not approving its budget for next year.
    Funding from the state and local municipalities accounts for less than half of its budget. About 60 percent of the Elizabethtown library's budget is generated from several sources, including fees for processing passports, background checks, an on-site coffeehouse, fines and donations.
    But libraries are not guaranteed to receive a certain dollar amount from the state each year. The library, which is a nonprofit, has a budget of around $550,000 for 2015.
    Drury, who has led the library for 15 years, said the Elizabethtown library has endured "cut after cut" during the state budgetmaking process going back to 2008. For example, as a result of less state funding, the library's budget dropped from approximately $613,000 in 2013 to roughly $550,000 in 2015, she said.
    Elizabethtown is not the only county library dealing with funding shortages in the face of Pennsylvania lawmakers' inability to pass a state budget.
    State dollars are a "significant" source of funding for the Eastern Lancaster County Library, director Heather Smith said.
    For now, Smith has no plans to cut hours at the New Holland facility. But she said the library will have to take stock "if it (the budget impasse) goes on more than another 30 days."
    To ease the burden of funding shortage, the board of the Library System of Lancaster County is making available $250,000 in interest-free loans to its 14-member libraries. That pot of money will be available Jan. 1.
    "This is just to hold them over until the budget passes" Mary Ann Heltshe-Steinhauer, a spokeswoman for the organization said. She said the money was intended to help libraries pay their bills in January, and "hopefully" a state budget will be approved by February.
    Drury said although the Elizabethtown library may get a loan, it would not halt the reduction in service hours. The library director said it's unchartered territory to be wondering about state funding levels by this time of the year.
    “As long as I've been here, we've always had a budget by the end of the calendar year,” she said.
    Drury said the increased cost of operations comes at a time when demand for services sought at the facility has increased.
    More than 150,000 visitors came to the Elizabethtown library through the first 11 months of the year, Drury said. About 180,000 patrons visited in 2014.

  2. Working hours meeting boycotted, by Yupina Ng, (12/30 over dateline) Hong Kong Standard via thestandard.com.hk
    HONG KONG, HKSAR, China - All six employee representatives may quit the Standard Working Hours Committee altogether, after they boycotted its latest meeting.
    The six also walked out of last month's meeting, complaining that employer representatives failed to support legislation to regulate working hours.

    The committee went ahead with its meeting yesterday morning, despite the boycott by the six labor representatives and the absence of three other members.
    The identities of the latter were not disclosed.
    Chairman Edward Leong Che-hung said the committee discussed the draft consultation document.
    "The secretariat will formulate the consultation document for consideration at the next meeting, and commence the second-stage consultation as soon as possible," Leong said.
    The committee, which was set up in 2013, is expected to present final proposals to the government before winding up in March next year.
    Calling the boycott "a little sad," Leong [Che-hung] told members of the media after the meeting in Sheung Wan: "We cannot stop working just because one or two people disagreed (with the consultation document)."
    [Let's see: all 6 employee reps plus 2 employer reps - that's a lot more than "one or two" people who disagreed. How many's the whole committee anyway - eight sounds like a serious percentage, probably denying the committee a quorum, especially when it now lacks all of one side of the issue and two of the other side?! They probably need to dump the chairman and get a more effective one, which probably wouldn't be too difficult considering this one's been dithering for two years and can't count.]
    Two worker representatives who boycotted, Leung Chau-ting and Stanley Ng Chau-pei, said earlier on a radio program the consultation paper will be a "lame duck" if the committee still goes ahead with its work.
    "The committee will be over in March when they need to submit the report," Leung [Chau-ting] said.
    "And, by that time, I don't want to see it claiming the employees' views have been included."

    Ng, who is also the chairman of the Hong Kong Federation of Trade Unions, said: "We will set up a meeting between January and February for the labor sector to see if we will completely boycott the consultation."
    Leong also said the committee agreed to consult organizations on four policy directions, namely the proposed "contract working hours," a policy involving those whose monthly salaries did not exceed HK$25,000; a combination of these two; or some other recommendations such as formulating guidelines for individual sectors.
    He said the committee secretariat will meet with the absentees in order to consider their views.
    The employee representatives are demanding a standard working week of 44 hours.


12/27-28/2015 – News&opinion about the timesizing alternative to downsizing, reinvented thousands of times every day in every recession by mainly mid&small-size companies, but still today an afterthought, though any economy that's still around 50 years from now will long since have made it first & foremost - ([commentary] by Phil Hyde (PH3) ecdesignr@yahoo.ca unless otherwise initialed) -

  1. Japanese government, companies should swiftly review working practices, conditions, 12/28 ChicagoTribune.com
    TOKYO, Japan - The following editorial appears in Monday's Yomiuri Shimbun:
    In order to promote the active participation of women in society, it is essential to first review the way men work.
    The government adopted at a Cabinet meeting its new basic gender equality program, a compilation of policy targets and measures for the next five years.
    To promote the empowerment of women in various fields, the new plan is unique in that it stresses the need to bring changes to male-dominated practices, such as long working hours and job transfers, which are considered normal.
    It also pointed out the importance of amending current approaches to child rearing and homemaking, and having men share the burden, which has been carried mostly by women.
    Sixty percent of working women choose to leave their jobs when their first child is born. Long working hours have prevented women, whose time for work is limited due to child rearing and other matters, from building up their careers.
    The number of women who have the will to work, but are forced to give it up, is as many as 3.03 million. This is a great loss for the Japanese economy.
    Long working hours also prevent men from participating in child rearing and homemaking.
    The plan aims to bring the percentage of people who work more than 60 hours a week down to 5 percent, about half the current level, by 2020. It also sets a target of raising the child care leave usage rate among men to 13 percent from the current 2 to 3 percent. The hours Japanese men spend on homemaking and child rearing are among the lowest in the world at a little more than an hour. The plan aims to extend this to 2½ hours, on level with Europe and the United States.
    Men need richer lives, too
    Including such targets in the new plan makes sense. Having more fulfilled lives at home and in their local communities should be also desirable for men.
    As specific measures, the plan lists such measures as promoting the use of paid holidays and creating a working environment where men can more easily take child care leave. The government will also consider placing a cap on overtime work. Before anything else, it is important for companies to devise effective measures.
    The new plan also set goals to further promote the appointment of women in specific fields. The target percentage of female government officials at the section chief level will be raised from the current 3.5 percent to 7 percent, while for female workers in private companies at the same level, the rate will be raised from 9.2 percent to 15 percent. The plan seeks to achieve both targets by the end of fiscal 2020.
    The government has a target to have women occupy about 30 percent of leading positions by 2020, and this is stipulated in the new plan as well. However, [by setting lower targets for the appointment of women] it has simultaneously shown that the goal is difficult to achieve. Behind this is the reality that little headway is being made in training women as future candidates for management positions.
    The new plan includes an additional target for the appointment of women at the subsection chief level, which is a step before a management post. For companies, the target is set at 25 percent by the end of fiscal 2020. The law to promote the active engagement of women enacted in August should be effectively utilized to steadily achieve this goal.
    Improving labor conditions for the greater part of the female workforce, such as part-time workers and other non-regular workers, is also a crucial issue. Low wages induce unsteady employment, which in turn causes wage gaps between men and women, and poverty in single-mother households.
    Gender equality is the foundation of the government's initiative to promote "a society that enables the dynamic engagement of all citizens." Both the public and private sectors should expedite their efforts.

  2. To curb pollution, Noida plans to change work hours for schools, offices, shops and factories, 12/27 Scroll.in
    The local administration in UP’s Gautam Budh Nagar said it would implement slightly altered timings and staggered weekly offs from January 1.
    GAUTAM BUDH NAGAR, U.P., India - The administration of Uttar Pradesh’s Gautam Budh Nagar has decided to change work hours for school, shops, offices and factories in areas in and around Noida to bring down pollution from vehicles. The administration has been discussing this move for a month and has involved traders, factory owners, IT companies, government officials and school authorities, said GB Nagar District Magistrate NP Singh.
    As part of the plan, the work timings for all the establishments have been shifted by half an hour to an hour. This, the administration believes, will reduce congestion from thousands of people trying to reach work and school at the same time. For instance, factories in Sector 1 to 6 will operate from 8.30 am to 5.30 pm, sectors 7 to 11 will function from 9 am to 6 pm. Shops and commercial establishments will be asked to have their weekly holidays on either Saturday or Monday, depending on the sector they are in. Schools have also been asked to change their timings by fifteen minutes to half an hour.
    The environment department conduct a study on the possible outcome of such a scheme, Singh said. The results showed that the move could bring down vehicular congestion by about 20% and decrease overall pollution levels by 30-40%, The Indian Express reported.
    In June, the National Green Tribunal had suggested variable office hours for government and private sectors in Delhi to bring down traffic congestion.
    [Another version -]
    From January 1: Noida to alter work hours of offices and shops, timings of schools - Weekly holidays in these factories have also been altered accordingly, 12/28 Express News Service via IndianExpress.com
    GREATER NOIDA, India - For industries in Noida, the working hours have been altered in order to reduce vehicular congestion. While factories in Sector 1 to 6 will operate from 8.30 am to 5.30 pm, sectors 7 to 11 will function from 9 am to 6 pm.
    In an unprecedented move, the administration of Uttar Pradesh’s Gautam Budh Nagar has decided to alter working hours and timings of schools, shops, factories and corporate offices in Noida, Greater Noida and other surrounding areas from January 1, to bring down vehicular pollution. The decision was taken after discussions with various stakeholders in the last one month, said G B Nagar District Magistrate N P Singh.
    “We held meetings with various groups — traders, factory owners and workers, IT companies, government department officials and school authorities. Such an initiative has never been implemented in the country as a step to counter rising levels of pollution. In the last 20 days, these meetings were held daily for 3-4 hours. The scheme will be implemented from January 1,” said Singh .
    He also said that a study was conducted by the environment department on the scheme. “The study showed that this move will bring down vehicular congestion by 20 per cent and, hence, lead to an overall reduction in pollution levels by 30-40 per cent,” he said. Singh added that the administration will watch the effects of the scheme for a month before altering or expanding the measure.
    Under the new measure, weekly holidays have been altered for shops and commercial establishments. For instance, sectors 10, 62, 64, 87 will have a holiday on Saturday while another area comprising sectors 1, 3, 15, 16, 57,68, 80, 90, Baroli, Nithari, Morana will have their weekly holiday on Monday.
    For industries in Noida, the working hours have been altered in order to reduce vehicular congestion. While factories in Sector 1 to 6 will operate from 8.30 am to 5.30 pm, sectors 7 to 11 will function from 9 am to 6 pm.
    Weekly holidays in these factories have also been altered accordingly.
    The administration has also altered school timings — reducing or increasing it by 15 to 20 minutes — as part of the scheme.
    For instance, the new timing of Somerville Public School is from 8.15 am to 2.15 pm as opposed to the current timing — 8 am to 2 pm. Cambridge Public School, on the other hand, will function from 8.30 am to 2.30 pm against its present timing — 8 am to 2 pm.
    While the local administration said the concept came up during discussions with various stakeholders on the issue of pollution, the National Green Tribunal (NGT) in June had suggested variable office hours for government and private sectors in Delhi.
    Urging the Centre to adopt innovative measures to tackle air pollution, the NGT had said, “Variable working hours could be a solution. Courts and government offices in Delhi open at 10 am. If we have a gap of one or two hours, this will help to reduce vehicular emission immensely.


12/25-26/2015 – News&opinion about the timesizing alternative to downsizing, reinvented thousands of times every day in every recession by mainly mid&small-size companies, but still today an afterthought, though any economy that's still around 50 years from now will long since have made it first & foremost - ([commentary] by Phil Hyde (PH3) ecdesignr@yahoo.ca unless otherwise initialed) -

  1. Labor advocates storm Eric Chu's campaign office, by Alison Hsiao, 12/25 (12/26 dateline issue) TaipeiTimes.com
    Holiday cuts: Activists said that slashing holidays to make way for a new 40-hour workweek system would increase, not ease, the burden of workers
    [Why does a 40-hour workweek need to be "made way" or compensated for? The whole point is to spread the work and wages and increase the momentum of monetary circulation, not just rearrange it, and if that leads employers to spend more of their coagulated income and wealth on "payroll costs" = invest more in the stability of their own markets, so much the better! It's time employers started connecting the dots between their employees and their customers' customers.]
    TAIPEI, Taiwan - Dozens of workers’ advocates yesterday stormed the campaign headquarters of Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) presidential candidate Eric Chu to protest a government decision to reduce the number of official holidays.
    Members of Labor Struggle — a coalition of scores of workers’ groups formed in October to bring to the fore the issue of labor rights, which the groups believe has been largely ignored in the presidential race — took campaign headquarters staff by surprise yesterday morning when they stormed into the building and sprayed the walls with the slogan: “Return our holidays.”
    After clashing with police, the protesters were evicted. The coalition accused the police of turning a blind eye to a KMT staff member kicking some activists and pulling their hair.
    At least one protester was handcuffed and taken away by police.
    The activists were railing against [=biassed phrasing on the part of the newspaper - how about just "protesting"?] the Ministry of Labor’s amendment to the Enforcement Rules of the Labor Standards Act, announced on Dec. 9, changing the number of official holidays per year from 19 to 12 days.
    The revisions were made following the legislature’s passage in May of the amendment to the Labor Standards Act, capping the number of working hours to 40 every week, instead of 84 hours every two weeks, starting on Jan. 1.

    [If the legislature is too timid and tense to reduce the workweek to 40 without taking away existing benefits, it should have kept things simple and just reduced from 84 to 82 hours every two weeks, with a commitment to review the question every year to reassure itself and employers that, far triggering from the end of the world as they seem to fear, they're actually getting slightly more markets and paradoxically more productivity. But for God's sake, everyone else in the developed world came down to a standard 40-hour workweek in the mid-20th century. This just displays to the world once again the low self-respect of people who have allowed themselves to shift into a condition of crowding and overpopulation relative to the job market, nevermind their belief in the fallacy that they can have a stable society by splitting widely without limit into have-mores and have-lesses.]
    The ministry has said that under the new system, workers would enjoy 13 more days off per year compared with the current system. As such, even after the number of holidays are reduced, workers would still have six more days off, it said.
    However, the coalition says that passing a 40-hour workweek regulation does not guarantee that all workers will be able to enjoy two days off per week.
    “As Article 36 of the Labor Standards Act still stipulates that ‘a worker shall have at least one regular day off every seven days,’ capitalists can make up for the two hours of work that would be cut every week by asking [ie: forcing] people to work overtime,” the group said after storming the Ministry of Labor offices on Tuesday last week.
    The coalition yesterday said that while Chu has “constantly boasted that the two days off per week is a KMT policy achievement, it should be noted that a 40-hour workweek does not automatically equate to two days off per week.”
    [because you can always arrange it, for example, as six 6-hour days and one 4-hour day?]
    The policy is “a lie that disregards workers’ needs by justifying the seven-day-holiday cut with the new 40-hour workweek,” it said.
    KMT spokesperson Lee Ming-hsien said the public “should not tolerate the actions of people who express their views via irrational and violent means.”
    [That wouldn't happen if the KMT were rational and unforceful.]
    “Chu has long said that workers should have more days off. These people are barking up the wrong tree,” Lee said, adding that the protesters got inside the building by pretending they were visiting and hurt several volunteers.
    The group said that “the true violence is slashing holidays when Taiwanese workers are already overworked” and rejecting negotiations with workers’ groups, leaving them with no choice but to use their bodies to fight for the rights of exploited workers.
    “As KMT chairman and New Taipei City mayor, Chu can still draw a salary even when he takes a break to campaign for the presidency,” the group said.
    “The KMT administration has slashed the workers’ holidays with an executive order to curry favor with capitalists before the elections,” it said.
    “The KMT should be held accountable for workers’ missing days off,” the coalition said.
    This story has been viewed 1543 times.

  2. Odd and even Car Number: CAIT suggests Variable Working Hours for Delhi, by Vijyender Sharma, Yugabda.com
    NEW DELHI, India - The Confederation of All India Traders (CAIT) has appealed [to] Delhi Chief Minister Shri Arvind Kejriwal to reconsider the decision of implementing odd-even formula in Delhi since it will prove much detrimental to Delhi trade and will kill distributive character of trade in Delhi. Instead, the CAIT has suggested of having variable office hours for the schools, courts, government offices, commercial markets and private sector in Delhi to reduce vehicular pollution in peak hours. Dilution of concept of peak hours [=1?] and resolving traffic jam situation [=2?] is the answer for less pollution in Delhi and any formula should meet these two conditions-said CAIT.
    CAIT Secretary General Mr. Praveen Khandelwal said that lacs [=lots?] of traders of Delhi lives in satelite towns like Noida, Gurgaon, Faridabad and adjoining areas of Delhi and it is a known fact that traders do carry cash with them while on movement. How they will carry cash on a day when they are not having vehicle with them ? Will it not be a threat to traders & their business-asked Khandelwal.
    He also said that in supply line of commodities is life line of Delhi. In odd-even formula spelled out by CM [Chief Minister] no exemption has been given to Truck & Tempo who carries goods not only from other states but even within the city and [that] it will greatly affect smooth flow of goods resulting into scarcity of commodities and escalation in prices can not be ruled out.
    On his suggestion of variable working hours, he [CAIT Secretary] said that generally all offices open at 10 am resulting into much high load of traffic on roads which creates traffic jam and thereby generate pollution. If we gap [=the range?] of two hours is maintained, vehicular emissions will be reduced immensely. Pressure on buses, autos and metro [=subway?] during peak hours could also be reduced.
    Staggered work timing means that [a] few offices may open at 8am and some may open at 9am while others may start at 10am. Similarly closing timings will also [be] staggered. Different offices starting and winding up work at different hours will certainly ease the traffic [and pollution] in Delhi-said Mr. Khandelwal.
    [And maybe this superficial flexibility will open the way to the deeper, job&freedom-creating flexibility of a few offices opening for fewer hours?]
    Traffic would thereby flow more smoothly, public transport would be utilized more rationally, and the physical and psychological strain would be lessened for all concerned.
    He said that Singapore has successfully adopted variable timings which started in year 1975.The CAIT has asked Delhi Government to deliberate on the suggestion with all stakeholders.
    Noted lawyer Ms. Shilpi Jain who has represented CAIT in National Green Tribunal said that even Principal Bench of National Green Tribunal headed by Justice Swatantra Kumar also mooted the idea of variable working hours also at one of the hearing[s] at National Green Tribunal and asked the Government to consult all stakeholders but no steps were taken by either Government [municipal ministry and national tribunal?] to study workability of the idea. In comparison to odd-even formula, this suggestion is more practical and will not put inconvenience to anyone-added Ms. Jain.


12/24/2015 – News&opinion about the timesizing alternative to downsizing, reinvented thousands of times every day in every recession by mainly mid&small-size companies, but still today an afterthought, though any economy that's still around 50 years from now will long since have made it first & foremost - ([commentary] by Phil Hyde (PH3) ecdesignr@yahoo.ca unless otherwise initialed) -

  1. Court Gives Overworked Greek Doctors a Break, by William Dotinga, (12/23 late pickup) Courthouse News Service via courthousenews.com
    ATHENS, Greece - Greece broke EU law by forcing doctors to work up to 32 hours consecutively without required rest breaks, the European Court of Justice ruled Wednesday.
    Ten Greek medical associations lodged a complaint with the European Commission after legislation passed requiring doctors and interns to work between 60 and 93 hours per week, including up to 32 hours consecutively without minimum daily and weekly rest periods mandated by EU law.
    The commission in turn took the Hellenic Republic to the EU high court, claiming that by ignoring the EU's maximum work week of 48 hours - and minimum rest periods of 11 hours per 24-hour period and at least 24 hours' uninterrupted rest each week - Greece violated EU law.
    On Wednesday, Europe's highest court agreed, finding that doctors should not be treated differently than any other worker in the EU and Greece had an obligation to set the same maximums and rest requirements for doctors as other workers enjoy.
    The Luxembourg-based court also noted that time doctors spend on call or providing emergency services must also be figured into their maximum 48-hour work week.
    As for rest periods, the court ruled that Greece cannot force doctors to be on call immediately after working their shifts since doing so would result in shifts of 24 and even 32 hours without the required 11-hour uninterrupted break.
    Greece must change its national law or face fines from the commission.
    The court's opinion was not made available in English.

  2. Maharashtra :3 resident docs get TB, seek better work norms, by Ranjana Diggikar, TNN via ETHealthworld.com via The Economic Times via (12/25 dateline issue) health.economictimes.indiatimes.com
    AURANGABAD, Maharashtra State, India [named after the Mughal emperor Aurangzeb and not after our Borneo cousin the orangutan] - Three resident doctors in government hospitals across the state have been detected with pulmonary tuberculosis in the past one month, prompting the Maharashtra Association for Resident Doctors (MARD) to seek reduction in working hours.
    The three TB cases reported in the past one month were from Mumbai, two from JJ hospital and one from KEM. One junior resident doctor was working in the gynaecology department of the JJ hospital and had contracted lymph node TB, while the other doctor was detected with lung TB.
    JJ medical college dean TP Lahane said, "Both residents had joined the hospital in August and were diagnosed with TB in November. They may have contracted TB before joining the hospital, but they do not reveal the details."
    He added that all precautionary measures are being initiated at the hospital. "We have made it mandatory for the staff, including the doctors, to wear mask before entering the TB ward since last year," he said.
    Resident doctors said that they have to work for long hours, often lasting for 100 hours a week, which causes inadequate sleep and irregular eating hours. They said that the residents living in hostels do not get proper nutritious food.
    Mangala Borkar, head of medicine department, Aurangabad GMCH said tremendous stress, long-working hours, lack of nutritious diet for students staying in hostels and high exposure to TB patients in the hospitals put resident doctors at a higher risk.
    "Resident doctors tend to have fewer meals as a result of hectic work schedule and night shifts. This reduces their immunity and makes them vulnerable to various infections," said MARD secretary Ayudh Magdum.
    About 90 resident doctors at 15 state government hospitals have undergone TB treatment in past three years. MARD members said that some of the resident doctors had contracted drug-resistant TB. About 50% of the cases were from the medical colleges in Mumbai, including the state-run JJ hospital.
    MARD president Sagar Mundada said that 45 cases were of resident doctors in Mumbai, 10 from Nagpur, seven from Aurangabad, six from Pune and five from Nanded. "We have been demanding high-protein breakfast to be made available for resident doctors and reducing working hours. Resident doctors are working for an average 100 hours per week, which leads to lack of sleep and decreased immunity," he said.
    Dismissing the MARD claim, Aurangabad GMCH authorities said that they had not recorded any cases of resident doctors contracting tuberculosis in the past three years.
    Avinash Lamb, TB and chest ward in-charge, said that the hospital records do not show any such cases in past three years. "One case of a resident doctor from medicine department suffering from extra pulmonary TB was reported few years ago. But the medico underwent treatment, recovered and completed her degree. She is no longer attached to the college," he said.


12/23/2015 – News&opinion about the timesizing alternative to downsizing, reinvented thousands of times every day in every recession by mainly mid&small-size companies, but still today an afterthought, though any economy that's still around 50 years from now will long since have made it first & foremost - ([commentary] by Phil Hyde (PH3) ecdesignr@yahoo.ca unless otherwise initialed) -

  1. Warm weather brings Kurzarbeit to Swiss mountain railways, Die Stern (The Star) via stern.de
    CHUR, Switzerland - Lack of snow due to the warm weather in parts of the Alps is causing unemployment in Switzerland: The Swiss news agency SDA [Schweizerische DepeschenAgentur] reported that in Graubünden, a dozen mountain railways and other tourism businesses have signed up for Kurzarbeit (=UK: short-time working, US: worksharing).
    Mountain tourism companies in Switzerland can temporarily get financed by the employment office up to 80% of wages in case of losses due to unusual weather.

    But large ski areas like the Weisse Arena in Laax still had plenty to do (on their own) for their employees. Of course, the trail offerings there too had to be restricted for lack of snow. Instead of the usual round figure of 20,000 skiers, we can currently handle only 12,000 in the area, said the Laax Cable Car CEO Reto Gurtner. "I think that holidaymakers are aware that at present an exceptional situation prevails," he said. But of course, winter with little snow has already happened before.

  2. Law You Can Use: Fair Labor Standards Act and the 24/7 work world, by Dr. Humphrey D. Germaniuk, Ohio State Bar Assoc. via (12/22 late pickup) The Logan Daily News via logandaily.com
    LOGAN, Ohio, USA - Question: Can a private employer ask or require an employee to perform work outside of the employee’s normal work schedule?
    Answer: Yes. However, assuming the private employer is covered by the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) wage provisions, and most are, the employer may be required to pay the employee for the time worked. This will depend on the employee’s employment status under the FLSA.
    Q: What is meant by “employment status”?
    A: Employment status refers to whether the employee is “exempt” or “non-exempt” under the FLSA.
    • Under the FLSA, certain employees are “exempt,” meaning that the employer is not required to pay these employees minimum wage and overtime pay.
    • To meet the FLSA’s general test to be an exempt employee requires that the employee’s duties meet certain requirements and, in most situations, that the employee is paid a salary of at least $455 a week. This is the current dollar figure, but it may be raised if proposed changes are adopted. There are some exceptions to this general test to be an exempt employee that this article will not address.
    • Employees who are not “exempt” are “non-exempt” employees and must be paid for all hours worked and time and one-half for all hours worked in excess of 40 hours in the workweek, a fixed 7-day period. For some positions, such as for nurses, time and one-half must be paid for all hours worked in excess of 80 hours in a fixed 14-day period.
    Q: What is an example of being asked or required to perform work outside of the employee’s normal work schedule?
    A: Example: a non-exempt employee’s supervisor calls the employee in the evening and asks the employee a work-related question.
    Q: Must the non-exempt employee be paid for the time on the telephone with the supervisor?
    A: It depends!
    Q: If a non-exempt employee receives and responds to work-related emails or texts from customers, must the employee be paid for the time spent?
    A: It depends!
    Q: If a non-exempt employee works on work-related documents or projects outside of regular work hours, must the employee be paid for the time spent?
    A: It depends!
    Q: What determines whether or not the non-exempt employee is paid?
    A: Payment for time spent on work outside of regular work hours depends on whether the time worked is “compensable” time under the FLSA. If it is, the employee must be paid for the time worked.
    Q: What kinds of things are considered when determining if time worked is compensable?
    A: Answers to these questions are considered:
    • Does the employer know or have reason to know that the work is being performed? (The employer does not need to request that the work be done.) Does the employer benefit from the work or permit it to occur?
    • Is the amount of time spent during the workweek more than “de minimis” (the minimum)? How long does it take and how often does it occur? (A single email once a week could be “de minimis,” but multiple emails or frequent emails are probably not. Work on a project for a few minutes one day during the week could be “de minimis,” but more than that is probably not.)
    • If employee is to be “on-call” (for example, the employee works the day shift, but is required to be available to take calls from 6 p.m. to midnight one evening a week), are all hours on-call compensable time? Do employment restrictions preclude the employee from using time for personal pursuits? (If the employee is not precluded from using time for personal pursuits, then time actually responding to calls or emails is compensable time, but the rest of the time on-call is not compensable time.)
    Q: If the non-exempt employee’s total compensable time exceeds 40 hours in the workweek, does the employer have to pay the employee time and one-half for all hours in excess of the 40 hours?
    A: Yes.

    [Today's standard overtime design does little to convert chronic overtime into training and hiring. In fact, it incentivates employees to work overtime by paying them extra, and in the age of costly benefits loaded onto full-time employees, it incentivates employers to overwork existing employees instead of hiring additional employees with their costly benefit packages. Far more effective is a design that taxes away corporate or individual incentive to do overtime or overwork and uses it to do the corresponding job training and creation, but gives tax breaks to corporations and individuals doing the job training and creation themselves.]
    Q: If the employer has rules regarding working outside of regular work hours and a non-exempt employee works in violations of those rules, can the employer refuse to pay the employee?
    A: The employer can discipline the employee for violation of the rules, but must pay the employee for all compensable time worked.
    This “Law You Can Use” column was provided by the Ohio State Bar Association. It was prepared by Humphrey D. Germaniuk, M.D., Trumbull County Medical Examiner and Coroner, with input from Dr. Thomas Vajen, Fairfield County Coroner; Judge David Trimmer of the Fairfield County Court of Common Pleas; and Jill Boone, Fairfield County Court of Common Pleas staff attorney and court administrator. Articles appearing in this column are intended to provide broad, general information about the law. Before applying this information to a specific legal problem, readers are urged to seek advice from an attorney.
    Law You Can Use is a weekly column published in The Logan Daily News. The views of this column may not necessarily reflect that of the newspaper.


12/22/2015 – News&opinion about the timesizing alternative to downsizing, reinvented thousands of times every day in every recession by mainly mid&small-size companies, but still today an afterthought, though any economy that's still around 50 years from now will long since have made it first & foremost - ([commentary] by Phil Hyde (PH3) ecdesignr@yahoo.ca unless otherwise initialed) -

  1. Board and unions approve the new order of official staff schedules to match the 35-hour week, News Directory via news.newsdirectory2.com
    [Machine translation, with now no access to original and minimal polishing.]
    CASTILE, Spain - The Government of Castilla-La Mancha and the unions have agreed Tuesday in the Sector Roundtable Personnel Administration Officer, Order of the Ministry of Finance and Public Administration for which official staff schedules are modified to suit the 35-hour week from 1 January.
    In the Sector Roundtable, which took place at the School of Regional Administration and which was chaired by the Director General of Civil Service, Jose Narvaez, were present representatives of all the unions that comprise it, CSIF, CCOO, UGT and STAS, as reported by the Board in a press release.
    The purpose of the meeting was to approve the Sector Board schedules [of?] the new order staff officer of the Regional Government of Castile-La Mancha to fit the normal working hours of actual work, which will, from next January 1, in general, [be] 35 hours a week.
    The reduction of working hours to 35 hours for all public employees, provided for by law 7/2015 by the law of complementary measures for implementation of the Plan of Social Services Guarantee is changed on day work, and approved at the regional courts last December 2, “represents a very significant improvement in their working conditions and boost[s] the reconciliation of personal, family and work life of these workers,” said the Board.
    To give effect to this reduction in working hours, as approved in the Sector Roundtable, the Order of September 7, 2009, on working hours and holidays of the civil servants, amended and Order of October 7, 2010, for which the special times of the jobs of the Superior Scales Systems and Information Technology, Engineering and Information Systems and Administrative Computer is regulated.
    They also modified and adapted the Order of May 29, 2012, for which the special schedule jobs to the Upper Scale of Local Health, specialty pharmacy and veterinary regulating and rate of compensation is determined by extraordinary services, and the order of 29 July 2014 establishing the special schedule jobs of the Conservatory of Music Jacinto Guerrero of Toledo is regulated.
    The law 7/2015 for amending the law of complementary measures for implementing the Guarantee Scheme Social Services, on working hours, which means that public employees working hours recover 35 hours per week, will take effect in January.

  2. Senator Sanders and the Average Workweek, by Chelsea German, (12/21 late pickup) Cato Institute via cato.org
    WASHINGTON, D.C., USA - Senator Bernie Sanders recently tweeted the following.
    Bernie Sanders @SenSanders - In the richest country in the history of the world people shouldn't have to be working 50 or 60 hours a week to put food on the table.
    [Is a country really rich when 40% of the wealth is owned by 1% of the people?]
    Fortunately, the gruelingly long workweek described by Sanders is not the norm.
    [He didn't say it was. He didn't say it was 'the average' either. But it's certainly common among people who still have a full time job, as noted by Juliet Schor in her 1992 book, "The Overworked American."]
    In fact, leisure time has been on the rise.
    [Uh, it doesn't qualify as "leisure time" unless it is secured by a living-wage job. Categorizing today's partial unemployment as "leisure" is a piece of breath-taking sanitization. Shorter hours are indeed happening anyway, but certainly not in a sustainable way.]
    In 1950, an average U.S. worker worked 1,984 hours a year, or about 38 hours a week. In 2015, an average American worker worked 1,767 hours, or about 34 hours a week.
    [A totally misleading comparison because the average today includes millions of workers who have been marginalized into part time and can subsist only with subsidies such as low-income housing and foodstamps or if young, cannot afford to leave home.]
    That means that the average U.S. worker had 217 more hours for leisure or other pursuits in 2015 than in 1950. That is about 9 days of extra time.
    [Utter happytalkin' nonsense.]
    The 50-hour workweek described by Sanders is more common in China, where the average worker worked 2,432 hours in 2015, or around 47 hours a week. Compare other countries using HumanProgress.org’s interactive dataset.


12/20-21/2015 – News&opinion about the timesizing alternative to downsizing, reinvented thousands of times every day in every recession by mainly mid&small-size companies, but still today an afterthought, though any economy that's still around 50 years from now will long since have made it first & foremost - ([commentary] by Phil Hyde (PH3) ecdesignr@yahoo.ca unless otherwise initialed) -

  1. Danville to Limit Certain Public Services During Mandatory Holiday Furlough - Inspection requests made during the furlough will not be scheduled until normal business resumes in 2016, by Autumn Johnson,12/20 (12/19 late pickup) Patch.com/california/danville
    DANVILLE, Calif., USA - Town offices will be closed and building inspection services will be severely limited in Danville between Christmas and New Year’s Day due to a mandatory furlough, town officials said Friday.
    [Better a furlough than a firing, a Timesizing than a downsizing.]
    On Dec. 29 through Dec. 31, Danville’s office staff will not be available and there will be limited building inspections made on an on-call or appointment basis.
    The normal business schedule resumes on Jan. 4, 2016, town officials said.
    Inspection requests made between that date and 6 a.m. on Dec. 31 will not be scheduled until the normal hours resume, town officials said.

  2. Operation Santa: Dad's hours cut - The program needs to raise $42,000 to help Lebanon County families, by Bree Smith, 12/20 The Lebanon Daily News via LDnews.com
    LEBANON, Penn., USA - Ben, 33, came to sign up for the Operation Santa program on behalf of his family.
    “This has been a rough year,” the married father of two admitted. “We’re struggling.”
    Ben and his wife have had a number of financial difficulties this year. When his hours were cut at work, Ben started looking for a part-time job to make up for the reduction in pay. Although his wife has a job, her income doesn’t cover much more than daily expenses. Having fallen behind on their mortgage payments, the couple is struggling just to keep up with necessities for their 11-year-old son and 9-year-old daughter. Having signed up for the Operation Santa program when his daughter was first born, Ben knew it was time to ask for help a second time.
    [Americans are gradually realizing this is not their parents' stronger economy, and it won't be again till we guarantee Full Employment by fully implementing something very much like the Timesizing program. Meanwhile, better an hours cut than a job cut!]

    “I didn’t want to come back, but I knew I had to,” Ben explained. Of the Operation Santa program, he added: “This has really helped us out of some hard situations. We’re grateful for that.”
    Operation Santa will give Ben’s children a merry Christmas. Run by the Lebanon Rescue Mission, Agape Family Shelter and Lebanon Daily News, the program helps local families in need at Christmas by purchasing toys, clothes and food with money donated by the community.
    This year, Operation Santa needs to raise $42,000 to help the 521 families — 797 adults and 1,095 children — who signed up for help. The children will receive a few toys or a gift certificate and a few articles of clothing. Families will receive food for a full Christmas dinner, including a turkey, as well as a week's worth of groceries, such as bread, cereal and milk.
    How to give
    To donate money to Operation Santa, mail checks to: Operation Santa, c/o Lebanon Rescue Mission, P.O. Box 5, Lebanon, PA 17042. Donors who do not wish to have their name published in the newspaper should mark their donations as ‘anonymous.’
    Advent train garden
    All proceeds from the raffle of an Advent Train Garden — an intricate model train layout made by volunteers from St. Mark Lutheran Church in Annville — go to Operation Santa.
    [More skill training, less job draining!]
    Chances can be purchased at the Advent Train Garden, which is on display inside the Lebanon Valley Mall at Boscov's until Dec. 23, when the winning ticket will be drawn at 8 p.m. The train garden will be delivered to the winner's home.

  3. Gov’t pins labor hopes on flexible work hours, by Kim Ki-Chan & Lee Ho-Jeong lee.hojeong@joongang.co.kr, 12/21 (12/22 over dateline) KoreaJoongAngDaily.joins.com
    SEOUL, S.Korea - By 2018, all public institutions and companies will adopt flexible working times.
    Flexible working hours, which were previously only offered to women employees who were either pregnant or just gave birth, will also be offered to employees who are sick or recovering from an accident.
    Even workers preparing for retirement will be eligible to apply for flexible working hours, or “flextime.”
    The government confirmed the new measures during a policy adjustment meeting presided over by Prime Minister Hwang Kyo-ahn in Sejong City on Monday. The decision to expand flexible working hours is a response to Korea’s thinning labor force [& what's the problem with that in the age of robotics?! Partitioned Thinking Alert!] and low fertility rate [& what's the problem with that when overpopulation globally is stressing the biosphere is hundreds of ways?! Partitioned Thinking Alert!], which are seen as major threats to the country’s economic sustainability.
    [Boy, have they got that backwards!]
    The government believes flexible working hours will bring women back to the workforce after giving birth and make jobs more flexible for workers in other situations.
    “Actively adopting flexible working hours will contribute to spreading flexibility in our labor market, a key project that could solve both the low fertility rate [not a problem] and job [what "job" problem?] problems,” Prime Minister Hwang said.
    [Insofar as this "flexibility" policy is actually code for shorter hours, as it seems below, it's the right deed for the wrong reason. More jobs at shorter hours and higher pay is an economic-system requirement of the robotics age in order to provide markets for the productivity of each human employee as vastly expanded by robotics and artificial intelligence. Speaking of which, how few managers, employers and economists seem to have the natural intelligence to realize this! - although some have known it for decades; one example, Edward A. Filene, son of the founder of Filene's Department Stores which later started Filene's Basement, begins his 1932 book "Successful Living in this Machine Age" (Simon & Schuster) with: "Mass Production is..large-scale production based upon a clear understanding that increased production demands increased buying... For selfish business reasons, therefore, genuine mass production industries must make prices lower and lower, and wages higher and higher, while constantly (avoiding a wage-depressing surplus of jobseekers by) shortening the workday and bringing to the masses not only more money but more time in which to use and enjoy the ever-increasing volume of industrial products."]
    He asked the government to focus on coming up with other policies to help flexible working hours take root.
    The plan announced on Monday is to convert more than 1 percent of each government institution’s jobs, central or local, to work under flexible times. These employees will work under the flexible [alias part time?] system for a given period so that they can better focus on child care or recovering from an accident. Once that period ends, they go back to the full-time [alias inflexible?] working environment.
    The government plans to expand the system to 60 percent of the public sector next year, and increase the number of institutions and companies that adopt the system to 80 percent in 2017.The targeted employees include 1,500 working in the central government, 2,900 in local governments and 2,700 in smaller public institutions.
    As of the end of the third quarter, only 312 central government employees and 1,100 employees at smaller public institutions were working under flexible schedules. For regional governments as of the end of last year, only 451 employees were categorized as having flexible working hours.
    A Ministry of Employment and Labor survey conducted last March on 1,500 adults showed the majority, or 73.6 percent, were interested in flexible working hours, nearly 10 percentage points higher than the previous year.
    According to a study by the OECD, the proportion of Korean workers with flexible working hours was far short of the OECD average of 16.8 percent. Korea’s ratio of employees with flexible working hours of less than 30 hours a week was 11.1 percent, even lower than the United States’ 12.3 percent.
    [So it sounds like "flexible" working hours in S.Korea is code for shorter working hours. Maybe SK has had such a hard time cutting workaholism that it's disguising shorter hours as flexible hours, who knows.]

  4. Steelmakers threatened with Kurzarbeit [worksharing] in Germany, 12/20 Die Welt via welt.de
    [Google Translate + cleanup by PH]
    FRANKFURT, Germany - Cheap imports from China endanger the steel industry in Europe. Yet the EU holds back with measures against dumping-level prices. Now world leader ArcelorMittal is reaching for its survival strategy.
    No good prospects for German steel production (photo caption)
    The German steel industry is in a survival crisis. "The industry has fallen into troubled waters," warns Hans Jürgen Kerkhoff, President of the German Steel Federation. After the association has already had to take back its forecast for 2015 and set at zero an originally planned growth, now for 2016 Kerkhoff is even announcing a clear negative.
    Crude steel production from firms like ThyssenKrupp, ArcelorMittal or Salzgitter and Saarstahl should sink around three percent to land here at still only 41.5 million tonnes. "By historical standards, this is an exceptionally low level," Kerkhoff observes.
    In fact, production expansion fell off in Germany in the last 20 years starting only in 1996, and during the financial crisis of 2009 went lower. "The reason for that was a recession and connected with it, a constricted demand for steel," says Kerkhoff.
    But now the industry is losing volumes and market shares becauses of ruinous and partially unfair international competition. "In 2016 it will therefore become a fateful question for the steel industry in Germany and the whole EU whether it is possible to enforce fair competition conditions in the European steel market," warns Kerkhoff, pointing to the example of Great Britain, where recently the end was announced for even more steel plants and also around 6,000 jobs along with them.
    China ensures surplus
    To be sure, Kerkhoff will not speculate about a similar development in Germany. "But no one can minimize a duration to ward off government-subsidized companies," hinted the association president. He's hinting at the Chinese steel producers. Because demand in the People's Republic has declined significantly due to the local economic slowdown, the local manufacturers are now pushing their surpluses onto the world market.
    Dr. Heinrich Hiesinger, ThyssenKrupp CEO ventures a cautious forecast: ThyssenKrupp was able to increase profits. Especially in the elevator and steel business results climbed. Nevertheless Heinrich Hiesinger is withholding of forecasts for the current fiscal year. (photo caption)
    And in 2015, according to estimates they're already exporting an imposing 112 million tonnes. By comparison: the annual steel consumption in the European Union is only marginally higher, with around 150 million tons. True probably only twelve million tons from Chinese plants land in the EU. But then comes a not inconsiderable cascade effect, says Kerkhoff.
    "Aggressive Chinese exports displace providers in other parts of the world, which then find their way into the relatively open EU market." In any event, third-world imports from countries like Russia, Ukraine, Iran, India and Japan had risen since 2012 by over 40 percent. And that with a relentlessly stagnating demand for steel.
    The trend accelerates
    In the coming months, these figures will once again significantly and quickly heighten, according to the industry.
    For on one hand, demand in China is further running down. According to experts, surplus capacity in the People's Republic is thereby climbing to the record level of around 430 million tonnes. "This risks a great part of it being offered to the markets at dumping prices," says a steel manager.
    On the other hand, several importing countries are increasingly sealing themselves off. The United States and India, for example, have recently signifcantly tightened their commercial protection rules. In addition, dozens of anti-dumping proceedings have been initiated worldwide. According to the Organisation for Economic Co-operation & Development (OECD). in the first ten months of 2015, more than double as many procedures have been brought into play as in the whole foregoing year. And only a third of them are directed against China.
    Anti-dumping tariffs against China
    Because Europe thus far and going forward appears liberal, the industry now fears an explosion of cheap direct imports from China. And in October that's already happened, reports the German Steel Federation, referring to the statistic that identifies an increase in imports by 120 percent.
    True the European Commission has meanwhile also imposed the first anti-dumping duties against imports from China. But this affects merely a fraction of the imports, the industry reports. "To minimize harm, the existing trade defense instruments must be used in the near term and consequently," says industry representative Kerkhoff. "We cannot afford to have in Europe in a significantly lower level of protection than in other countries."
    Meanwhile against this background, world leader ArcelorMittal openly raises the question of European production. Especially since, beside imports, EU producers are also additionally still threatened by multibillion-dollar burdens by the new order of emission rights trading, which does not exist in most other world regions.
    "If the situation does not improve, we will have to examine our presence in Europe again," reports a paper that Die Welt produced. The EU must regulate the unfair competition as soon as possible, else in 15 years there may be no more European steel production.
    "If our cost reduction programs are not sufficient and don't soon come to grips with the anti-dumping measures, tomorrow that concretely endangers our jobs in Germany and other European countries." In Spain there is already worksharing in the ArcelorMittal plants. "If this continues, we'll also be next in talking about this subject in Germany."


12/19/2015 – News&opinion about the timesizing alternative to downsizing, reinvented thousands of times every day in every recession by mainly mid&small-size companies, but still today an afterthought, though any economy that's still around 50 years from now will long since have made it first & foremost - ([commentary] by Phil Hyde (PH3) ecdesignr@yahoo.ca unless otherwise initialed) -

  1. Nucor shuts down steel mill due to market conditions, (12/17 late pickup) AP via WashingtonTimes.com
    CONVENT, La., USA - Nucor Corp. has decided to temporarily halt production at its St. James steel mill because of market conditions, the company announced.
    Nucor said Wednesday that its direct reduced iron plant has shut down for routine maintenance. Afterward, the company will continue to stop production at the facility until market conditions improve, The Advocate (http://bit.ly/1IaB1U2) reported.
    St. James Parish President Timmy Roussel said none of the employees at the plant will be laid off.
    Nucor issued a statement saying the company has a history of keeping its workers even during down market conditions.

    [The most flexible and advanced corporate design demonstrates its secret again = worktime cuts without job cuts aka Timesizing not downsizing.]
    Roussel said he hopes the plant can start production again in January, if market conditions improve.
    “When the raw materials market improves, Nucor Steel Louisiana has the ability to quickly ramp up and resume producing DRI,” spokeswoman Katherine Miller said in a news release.
    The company invested $750 million in the mill as the first part of a larger $3.4 billion steel complex that altogether would employ 1,250 people. The plant uses natural gas to make high-purity steel pellets from iron ore. Nucor mixes the pellets with scrap metal to make steel.
    According to data from the London Metal Exchange, a ton of steel was selling for $480 on Dec. 16, 2014. As of Dec. 9, that price had plunged to $170 per ton.
    Peter Ricchiuti, a finance professor at Tulane University who tracks regional stocks across the South, said a number of factors have hit the steel industry, including the slowdown of the Chinese economy, along with the fact that Chinese steel mills are continuing to run, even at a loss, flooding the global market with metals.
    “Everybody wants to be Nucor,” Ricchiuti said. “They’re definitely the right player, with the right technology. They’ve just been hit by this tidal wave of low steel prices.”
    Information from: The Advocate, http://theadvocate.com
    [Another version -]
    Nucor to close St. James plant until prices improve, by Russell Jones, WBRZ 2 ABC via wbrz.com
    BATON ROUGE, La., USA - Steelmaker Nucor announced they will close their St. James Parish plant because of sagging market prices for their products, and not reopen until prices improve.
    Nucor announced the closure during its fourth quarter earnings report Wednesday.
    It came alongside news to shareholders that the steel company's earnings will drastically drop in the last quarter of the year, falling to 15-20 cents per diluted share. The company posted a 65 cent per diluted share earning in the fourth quarter of 2014, and 71 cents per diluted share in the third quarter of 2015.
    The company said prices for their products have fallen faster than the price of raw materials, shrinking their margins. Nucor said in their earnings statement the fall was due to "continued deterioration in global steel markets amplified by global excess capacity and historically high import levels."
    The plant was announced in 2010 by Governor Bobby Jindal as a multi-year project which could create 1,250 new jobs as well as $3.4 billion in capital investment. At the time Jindal said his administration had worked with Nucor for years to land the plant project, offering a $160 million incentives package designed to stretch over six years.
    The company released a statement which said they were not planning to lay people off, and they would continue to work so the plant would be in a position to reopen quickly if the raw materials market improves.

  2. Contract negotiations impasse\:\ Bunnings workers show support for union strike, by Finn Rainger, GisborneHerald.co.nz
    Out in force: Seventeen workers at Gisborne's Bunnings Warehouse went on strike yesterday. They want to retain their ability to mutually agree with mangement on working hours. (photo caption)
    GISBORNE, Poverty Bay, N.Is., New Zealand - Seventeen of Gisborne’s Bunnings Warehouse workers joined hundreds of others around the country in a strike yesterday after negotiations failed between management and the workers’ representatives.
    The workers left the store at lunchtime and picketed outside it for an hour.
    They made up more than half the allocated staff for that day and others were called in to replace some of them because the store was open until 9pm for late-night shopping.
    Negotiators from FIRST Union met with management earlier this week to try to reach an agreement on the proposed changes to workers’ contracts.
    This failed because the company will not back down on removing a clause that would deny workers their right to negotiate contract hours, Gisborne FIRST Union organiser Colleen Ryan said.
    “Currently, any changes of hours has to be by mutual agreement with the worker. With this proposed change in policy, workers can only assume they want to be able to force them to change hours and days, which is pretty awful.”
    Gisborne workers are upset they have to take strike action but feel it is necessary, Mrs Ryan said.
    “Most of them enjoy working for Bunnings and have said managers usually accommodate changes to hours if they can. They do not understand why the employer wants to take away their right to do this.”
    FIRST Union will try to get facilitated bargaining through the employment relations policy.
    Further strikes are not planned next week but it not ruled out, Mrs Ryan said.
    More than four hundred workers from 19 stores went on strike either yesterday or on Thursday.


12/18/2015 – News&opinion about the timesizing alternative to downsizing, reinvented thousands of times every day in every recession by mainly mid&small-size companies, but still today an afterthought, though any economy that's still around 50 years from now will long since have made it first & foremost - ([commentary] by Phil Hyde (PH3) ecdesignr@yahoo.ca unless otherwise initialed) -

  1. Greenbrier Committee on Aging cuts hours, by Tina Alvey talvey@register-herald.com, Beckley WV Register Herald via register-herald.com
    FAIRLEA, W.Va., USA — Combined state and county funding cutbacks totaling upwards of $75,000 have forced the Greenbrier County Committee on Aging's [GCCA's] governing board to make some difficult decisions, according to past President Gloria Martin.
    Determined not to slash essential services to seniors, Martin said the board — of which she is a member — had no choice but to cut employee hours and, consequently, the hours of operation at the Fairlea Senior Center.

    "It's a bummer to have this happen at Christmas time," Martin said. "All of these employees have worked for us a long time."
    She said the board met with employees in November to discuss the GCCA's dire financial situation and warn them that hours would be reduced, but promised that the impact would not be felt until after the holidays. Although the cuts were implemented for the eight employees effective on Dec. 14, the payday for this week falls after the first of the year, Martin explained.
    Five GCCA employees saw their work hours reduced by about a full day a week, and three others are now working half the hours they did prior to the cutbacks.
    The resulting staffing reduction meant that the Fairlea Senior Center could not be open the usual number of hours; thus the facility is now closing at 1 p.m., three hours earlier than before.
    It is still open and serving lunch from 11:30 a.m. to 12:15 p.m. five days a week. Also, Martin said weekend events — many of which involve outside groups that rent the facility — will be unaffected by the cuts.
    "The staff at the senior center sat together and determined among themselves who'd cover what hours," Martin said. "Our staff will work with us on this."
    Martin emphasized that no program is being eliminated at this point.
    "We (the GCCA board) said we didn't want to cut back on services to seniors, so we're continuing transportation, continuing feeding and continuing in-house services," she said. "We will try our very, very best not to cut back on those services."
    She pointed out that some of West Virginia's committees on aging only deliver hot meals to shut-ins three days a week — leaving a cold meal at the same time for the following day. But Martin said making those deliveries five days a week, as the GCCA does, is important.
    "There's a great benefit in seeing someone five days a week," she said. "We have found people ill; we have found people on the floor. We do not want to risk leaving them alone, without face-to-face contact, for an extra day."
    Martin estimated that the GCCA serves around 3,000 meals every month — both through Meals on Wheels and the nutrition programs at the county's senior centers. Greenbrier's nearly 10,000 senior residents comprise approximately one-third of the county's population.
    That population is spread across a thousand-square-mile swath of often challenging terrain, Martin noted. "We spend a lot on fuel," she said, remarking that the recent downturn in gasoline prices has helped GCCA's overburdened budget, just not enough to compensate for the $50,000 to $75,000 deficit created by a lack of state and county funding.
    "Last year, we received fewer funds from the county commission — around one-third of the usual amount," Martin said. "And we have been told by our legislators there will be no money from the state this year."
    The GCCA's board will continue to monitor finances quite closely, Martin pledged. Board members and employees will keep looking for potential savings in purchases of goods. They also plan to ratchet up efforts to rent senior center facilities for parties, community gatherings and small conferences.
    "Our fundraising committee will meet after the holidays, and we'll be out in the community," Martin said.
    And Martin still has hope that local government will come through with at least a portion of the needed funding.
    "We are going to go to the county commission after the first of the year," she said. "We'll hope for the best."
    A February appeal this year netted the GCCA $17,000 from Greenbrier Commissioners, but that money did not come from an ongoing revenue stream. In fact, the funds were identified as one-time "unexpected windfalls," resulting from the county's savings on an audit contract and $14,000 in unclaimed grant money.

  2. Fed: Factory index slips as work hours drop, (12/15 late pickup) AP via Albany NY TImes Union via timesunion.com
    WASHINGTON, D.C., USA - Factory activity in New York shrank for the fifth straight month in December, forcing significant job cuts.
    The New York Federal Reserve's Empire State manufacturing index, released Tuesday, did improve but stayed in negative territory. It moved up to minus 4.6, from minus 10.7. Any figure below zero indicates contraction.
    There were some signs that the negative readings could be slowly turning around. A gauge of new orders increased to minus 5 from minus 11.8. And a measure of shipments jumped 10 points into positive territory, at 5.5.
    Yet a measure of employment dropped sharply, to minus 16.2 from minus 7.3.
    U.S. factories are closing out a tough year. A strong dollar and slow overseas economies have cut into U.S. manufacturers' exports. And oil and gas drillers have sharply reduced their orders for heavy equipment in the face of falling oil prices.
    Manufacturers in New York appear to be responding by lowering labor costs. The average work week fell in December to its lowest level since early 2009, the New York Fed said.
    [Lower labor "costs," lower consumer spending and marketable productivity and stable investment. But better dropping workhours than dropping workforce. So shorter hours are happening anyway - but not the best way.]

  3. Labor dispute sees little resolution as city of Fairbanks hashes out funding options, by Robin Wood rwood@newsminer.com, (12/15 late pickup) NewsMiner.com
    FAIRBANKS, Alaska, USA — Monday’s Fairbanks City Council meeting had a warm start as fifth-grade students from Denali Elementary School read aloud the Bill of Rights. Testy discussion soon followed, however, as the council took up contract disputes and budgets.
    The council voted 5-1 not to amend Fairbanks’ 2015 operating budget to fund the first year of a disputed contract. Councilwoman Joy Huntington voted in favor of funding the contract.
    As of press time, the council was still discussing 2016’s operating budget.
    A vote whether or not to appeal the disputed contract to Alaska Superior Court was expected in the evening.
    During a three-month window in 2014, the council approved, voted to reconsider and then unanimously rejected a three-year contract with the Public Safety Employees Association. Councilman Jim Matherly requested the reconsideration but didn’t file paperwork in time, so the council voted to suspend their own rules for reconsideration, which required a five-vote majority.
    The PSEA, which represents 68 personnel from police and dispatch, filed a claim of unfair labor practices with the Alaska Labor Relations Agency. On Nov. 24, the agency ruled in favor of the union, and ordered the city of Fairbanks to implement the contract in full. The disputed contract would provide a 10 percent pay increase while reducing weekly work hours from 40 to 36, and provide a $1,750 per person retroactive payment.
    City health care contributions would rise 24 percent, from $1,040 per month to $1,290, and employees of more than 10 years would see leave increase from 240 to 300 hours per year.
    PSEA President Ron Dupee said the contract’s cost is a fair package increase of 3.64 percent over the three-year period, citing numbers provided by Fairbanks’ financial department during 2014 negotiations.
    Dupee said throughout the contract’s life, reduction in weekly work hours would save the city almost $74,000, and a reduction in shift differential pay saves the city another $116,406. Shift differential pay gives members temporary wage increases for certain shifts.
    Dupee said the shorter work week was originally proposed by the city’s negotiating team, and the council’s concerns of increased overtime are unfounded.
    “Overtime is completely controlled by department administration,” Dupee said.

    Recruitment and retention also is being damaged at the department, according to Dupee. “Six sworn law officers from Fairbanks Police Department have applied for an open position at North Pole Police Department,” he said. “The longer this goes on, the more it will cost the city in the long run.”
    Councilman Jerry Cleworth disputed the numbers Dupee cited.
    According to numbers Cleworth had the finance department compile, the contract would give a package increase ranging between 15.64 percent and 20.25 percent, depending on the employee’s length of service. Cleworth also spoke of equity when dealing with the city’s various employees.
    “Close to $600,000 if you gave every city employee a $250 monthly increase to health care,” he said, adding the potential liability to fund unexpected overtime from 2015 could reach $1.2 million.
    Two former chief financial officers from Fairbanks wrote letters expressing their opposition with funding the contract. Councilman Jim Matherly read both aloud.
    Ron Woolf wrote, “It’s hard to comprehend how working less hours cannot cost more in overtime expense. … The city does not have the funds to pay the cost of this contract.”
    Jim Soileau, who recently resigned as CFO, wrote, “There are more questions than answers at this point, and I am not in support of this ordinance until they are answered.”
    Public comment was largely against funding the contract. Retired police officer Gordon Depue called the situation “ridiculous” and said officers are already overpaid. “You can only have one (police officer) if you’re gonna pay $130,000 a year.”
    Fairbanks North Star Borough Assemblyman Lance Roberts also said the council should not fund the contract and appeal it. Roberts said it’s the council’s job to be prudent with budgets, and the ALRA’s decision was “activist judges writing laws (that) should be done legislatively.”
    Citizen activist Frank Turney doesn’t like the terms of the contract but said he likes the idea of a lawsuit even less. “I know what litigation’s all about. It’s about feeding lawyers.
    [And American litigiousness is one of our Realms of Modern Makework.]
    … And what happens if the city loses? Taxpayer loses.”
    Contact staff writer Robin Wood at 459-7510. Follow him on Twitter at twitter.com/FDNMcity.


12/17/2015 – News&opinion about the timesizing alternative to downsizing, reinvented thousands of times every day in every recession by mainly mid&small-size companies, but still today an afterthought, though any economy that's still around 50 years from now will long since have made it first & foremost - ([commentary] by Phil Hyde (PH3) ecdesignr@yahoo.ca unless otherwise initialed) -

  1. Library trustees approve 2016 budget with minimal cuts, by Jeremy Maskel, KETV 7 ABC Omaha via ketv.com
    OMAHA, Neb., USA — After months of public debate and pleas to save services at Omaha Public Libraries, trustees approved a 2016 budget Wednesday with minimal cuts compared to what was threatened this summer.
    The conversation in June was over hours cut at branches across the city and the closure of a branch unless the city added three-fourths of $1 million to the system budget.
    "Omaha public libraries are a basic fundamental government activity," one advocate said at the time.
    Speaking Wednesday after the vote, OPL board of trustees President Mike Meyer said, "I think it was a normal process. The trustees' job is to let the mayor and the City Council know what the funding needs are for the library to carry out its mission and the trustees did that."
    However, trustees adopted a budget plan created by Omaha city finance staff Wednesday.
    The savings solution is to leave four full-time positions unfilled which are currently open and wind down extended, early-morning hours at the downtown branch.
    "And those are hours that were begun as an experiment to get more business people using the library," OPL Director Laura Marlane said. "And that experiment wasn't successful, so we're simply going back to the hours before."
    Why months of uncertainty?
    "I think there was a lot of institutional knowledge that left with the last director," city of Omaha Finance Director Steve Curtiss said. "And the interim staff struggled to understand how the budget came together."
    Some library trustees celebrated the vote.
    "It looks like we were able to have our cake and eat it, too," OPL trustee Mike Kennedy said.
    "Hallelujah that we got through this year," added OPL trustee Beverly Thompson.
    When asked if he was satisfied with the 2016 budget, Meyer said, "I am satisfied with the work our library director did to allocate the money that was approved for 2016."
    To avoid a similar predicament next year, the board said it would be helpful to begin planning for its 2017 needs earlier, as soon as next month.

  2. COMET plans to temporarily introduce short-time working in the Plasma Control Technologies product area on July 1, 2012; increase in new orders expected at the end of the third quarter, (6/01/2012? very late pickup) Comet-Group.com
    FLAMATT, Switzerland - After an increase in orders from the semiconductor industry in the first quarter of 2012, demand in the Plasma Control Technologies product area has dropped off in the second quarter.
    This decrease in demand is also due to a lack of investment because of surplus capacity and the postponement of projects by our clients in the flat panel and solar markets.
    The COMET Group is expecting, however, that new orders will rise again toward the end of the third quarter as the semiconductor industry experiences an upturn.
    For COMET, short-time working is the instrument to bridge the temporary downturn in orders, keep staff employed and prepare for the next upturn. The move affects 53 employees in the Operations area at Plasma Control Technologies in Flamatt.


12/16/2015 – News&opinion about the timesizing alternative to downsizing, reinvented thousands of times every day in every recession by mainly mid&small-size companies, but still today an afterthought, though any economy that's still around 50 years from now will long since have made it first & foremost - ([commentary] by Phil Hyde (PH3) ecdesignr@yahoo.ca unless otherwise initialed) -

  1. Number of workers on unpaid leave falls in latest data, (12/17 over dateline) CNA via TaipeiTimes.com
    TAIPEI, Taiwan - The number of workers in Taiwan on unpaid leave fell in the first two weeks of the month as did the number of companies that asked employees to take time off, according to statistics released by the Ministry of Labor yesterday.
    The mid-month figure for employees on unpaid leave was 4,377, down 1,060 from 5,437 at the end of last month, while the number of companies with workers on unpaid leave was down to 49, from 50 previously, the statistics showed.
    The government releases unpaid-leave data on the first and the 16th day of each month.
    The figures have drawn heightened attention in recent months as the economy has showed signs of slowing, largely because of falling global demand, leading struggling exporters to ask employees to take time off without pay to cut costs.

    [Better temporary leaves than permanent joblosses, better Timesizing than downsizing.]
    According to the ministry’s data, are more than 1,000 workers who have been on furlough since the end of September. The number topped 5,000 in the middle of last month and rose to a three-year high of 5,437 at the end of last month.
    In the latest two-week reporting period, 13 employers ended unpaid leave programs, while 12 initiated them. Of the 49 companies adopting furloughs, most were in the export-oriented high-tech sector.
    In the first 11 months of the year, exports fell 10.3 percent from the same period last year, largely because demand for high-tech devices has been on the decline. Several think tanks have trimmed this year’s economic growth forecast to less than 1 percent.
    The number of furloughed workers from firms in the Hsinchu Science Park, one of Taiwan’s most important high-tech production hubs, remained unchanged from the end of last month at 109, Hsinchu Science Park Bureau data showed.
    The bureau said three employers in the Hsinchu Science Park had workers on unpaid leave during the two-week period, also unchanged from previous data.
    This story has been viewed 357 times.

  2. Flexible work hours prefered by Millennials, by Jennifer O'Neill, Rivet Radio via rivetnewsradio.com
    WALTHAM, Mass., USA - Flexible work schedules would make employees more productive, according to the majority of Millennials surveyed by Bentley University in Massachusetts.
    [And "flexible" includes "shorter" according to other surveys = something you might expect from the greater prioritization and strategization you do when you have less time.]

    77-percent of those surveyed say the ability to work anytime, anywhere would boost workplace productivity for those born between the early 1980's and 2000s.
    The career advice website The Muse says as the Millennial generation becomes the majority, flex time and telecommuting will become more common, rather than a special privilege -- and by 2030 or so, the traditional 9-to-5 work day might go away for goo[d].
    Bentley Universiy's Leslie Doolittle says work doesn't define Millenials as much as it does for older generations, which means the work-family balance is shifting.
    The corporate office is also disappearing and the Muse says by 2030, most companies might have a number of hubs, rather than a permanent physical office location.


12/15/2015 – News&opinion about the timesizing alternative to downsizing, reinvented thousands of times every day in every recession by mainly mid&small-size companies, but still today an afterthought, though any economy that's still around 50 years from now will long since have made it first & foremost - ([commentary] by Phil Hyde (PH3) ecdesignr@yahoo.ca unless otherwise initialed) -

  1. Animal shelter closes doors to new intakes, cuts hours, by Wendy Holdren, Register-Herald.com
    BECKLEY, W.Va., USA - The Humane Society of Raleigh County is looking for a miracle this holiday season, as the shelter has closed its doors to new intakes and hours are being cut.
    With full kennels and ever-increasing veterinary bills, HSRC board member Melissa Lyons said the shelter has no other choice right now.
    The shelter has been a place of hope for the past three years, Lyons said, ever since the board decided to stop euthanizing for space. Thousands of homeless and unwanted animals have been saved in Raleigh County.
    But now, Lyons said, “The HSRC has been forced to close its doors for animals that are in need of a safe haven until they find a forever home.”
    December is an especially difficult month to get animals out to rescue groups, she said, since many rescues and transporters are busy for the holiday season.
    Additionally, due to the overwhelming debt the Humane Society is facing, the shelter will no longer be open to the public on Wednesdays, and they will have shorter hours on Fridays.
    New hours are 11 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. Thursday through Saturday and 11 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. Tuesday.

    [Can't run economy forever on debt and unemployment. Future must lie in using more shorter-hours "fulltime" jobs with higher pay due to soaking up surplus of desperate jobseekers and jobseeker shortage to deconcentrate, spread and accelerate the tremendous black hole of furiously but irrelevantly circulating money in the tiny population of the richest.]
    “We are having to cut costs where we can right now. We currently have outstanding veterinary expenses of over $20,000. We haven’t been making enough to cover our expenses of being open each day.”
    Lyons, who has been on the board for nearly three years, has seen the ups and downs of the no-kill mission. She said she is concerned about the future of the shelter.
    “This is the first time we have had to close intakes and actually close to the public due to our circumstances. I am worried about the future of our shelter if we cannot get some open kennels and raise some money to pay down the bills.”
    Lyons and other board and staff members are asking everyone to keep the shelter in mind this holiday season.
    “We are a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization so all donations are tax-deductible and will be used to save the lives of unwanted animals here in Raleigh County.”
    Donations can be made at the shelter, at 325 Grey Flats Road in Beckley, or by visiting hsrcwv.org and donating through Paypal.
    People can also help the HSRC by becoming a foster and giving a shelter pet a temporary home for the holidays, which opens up a kennel for another needy animal.
    “Also, if you are looking to add a new pet to your family, remember to adopt, don’t shop,” Lyons said. “We have amazing animals at HSRC, and we can find one that fits with your lifestyle and home.”
    She is urging the community to support the HSRC and its no-kill efforts.
    “What we have done here in Raleigh County is simply amazing and is not easy. We are proud of what we have accomplished, but we cannot continue without support from our community. If you have some time to spare or even a few dollars, it will go a long way to save the animals.”
    [A more focused version derived from the above (but we found it a day too late) -]
    Debt leads animal shelter to stop new intakes, cut hours, Associated Press via MariettaTimes.com
    BECKLEY, W.Va., USA — Officials at the Humane Society of Raleigh County say its no-kill shelter has been forced to close its doors to new intakes and cut its hours due to overwhelming debt.
    Humane society board member Melissa Lyons tells The Register-Herald (http://bit.ly/1J8MeiW ) that the shelter is faced with full kennels and ever-increasing veterinary bills.
    Lyons says the shelter has been a place of hope for the past three years, ever since the board decided to stop euthanizing animals for space.
    She says December is an especially difficult month to get animals out to rescue groups, since many rescues and transporters are busy for the holiday season.
    Lyons says that unless the shelter receives financial support to help with the bills, she fears for the shelter's future.
    Information from: The Register-Herald, http://www.register-herald.com [see above]

  2. Labor activists protest against reduction of holidays, by Liu Jian-bang & Zoe Wei & Evelyn Kao, CNA via FocusTaiwan.tw
    TAIPEI, Taiwan - Some 30 labor activists stormed into the Ministry of Labor (MOL) building Tuesday to protest against a law amendment which will cut the number of officially designated holidays per year from 19 to 12 from 2016 onwards, as part of the government's plans to implement a universal 40-hour work week.
    Taiwan has enforced a 40-hour, five-day work week system for civil servants since 2001, but the Labor Standards Act was not correspondingly amended to allow the country's entire workforce to enjoy the same treatment.
    Workers who do not have a 40-hour work week [what do they have?] are currently eligible to take the extra official holidays under the ministry's current rules.
    The MOL therefore pushed for an amendment to the Act that would apply the 40-hour work week system to the entire workforce by cutting the number of national holidays.
    With the passage of the amendment to the Act earlier this year, weekly working hours will be reduced [from what: 44? 48? other?] to 40 hours for workers, the five-day work week system will be implemented across the board, while number of national holidays will be reduced by seven [from 19 to 12] starting 2016.
    [We welcome Taiwan to the 20th century.]
    However, labor activists said that cutting holidays goes against the policy of reducing work hours under the Act.
    They argued implementing a 40-hour work week system does not guarantee that workers will be allowed two-day weekends and that the number of workdays in a week will be reduced because there is no explicit requirement that workers be given two days off every week, with many employers likely to simply pay more in overtime.
    Instead, their number of workdays in a week could be increased given that the law amendment will allow employers across the country to make flexible work arrangements which could result in even longer work hours, the activists said, adding that their protest was aimed at protecting their legal right to take paid days off and avoid overwork.
    In response, Huang Wei-chen, deputy director of the Department of Labor Standards and Equal Employment, defended the change saying that under the law amendment, workers will see their total paid days off per year increase to 13 and after deducting the seven national holidays, they will receive six more days off than under the current system.
    About 40 police were dispatched to divert the demonstrators away from the ministry building's main entrance and direct them into the square nearby.


12/13-14/2015 – News&opinion about the timesizing alternative to downsizing, reinvented thousands of times every day in every recession by mainly mid&small-size companies, but still today an afterthought, though any economy that's still around 50 years from now will long since have made it first & foremost - ([commentary] by Phil Hyde (PH3) ecdesignr@yahoo.ca unless otherwise initialed) -

  1. Smart Car Standoff Pits Social Progress Against Global Competition - French Plant Faces Choice: Lose Perk Or Lose Jobs, by Liz Alderman, 12/13 New York Times, Bu1, and NYtimes.com
    Smart cars lined up in a parking lot at the 168-acre Smartville factory, which is a major employer in the hamlet of Hambach, France. (photo caption)
    HAMBACH, France — On a drizzly afternoon in October, Mathis Cédric buzzed around the kitchen of his small Alsatian restaurant in Hambach, France, a bucolic town near the German border. It was lunchtime, and workers from a nearby Smart car factory would soon be filtering in to grab the daily special of sauerkraut and sausages before heading to their afternoon shift.
    Typically, when the workers gathered around the small tables, the atmosphere was chatty. But lately, a pall has hung over the conversation.
    To lift competitiveness, the bosses at Smart, owned by the German auto giant Daimler, had asked the plant’s 800 employees to vote on whether they would be willing take a pay cut and temporarily abandon the cherished 35-hour workweek, which had long prevailed at Smart and every other business in France. In return, Smart, Hambach’s biggest employer, would guarantee their jobs for five years.
    To Mr. Cédric, the answer seemed clear: For the sake of the factory, if not the town, the workers should agree to the deal. But Smart’s proposal had opened a rift inside the plant and with the factory’s powerful unions. Rumors flew that Smart might be closed if an accord was not reached.
    “This is on everyone’s minds — it’s the No. 1 fear,” Mr. Cédric said. “Frankly, I don’t understand why some of them don’t want to do a little more to save jobs. I work 40 hours just on the weekend,” he added. “But I guess people want to hold on to what they’ve got.”
    This week, after a three-month fight led by the unions, the workers will have one last chance to agree to change their contracts to allow a longer workweek, which would start in January. The unions that oppose the change are still resisting. But Philippe Steyer, Smart’s director of human resources, said he expected at least three-quarters of Smart’s employees to accept the change.
    More than 15 years after France’s 35-hour workweek became law, the showdown at Smart, which has captured headlines nationwide, is a vivid reminder that the measure is still a social and political lightning rod.
    [Employers are sooo 20th-century, few realizing that conservative economics is based on maximizing domestic consumer spending. Everything flows from that. And that can only be maximized by Full Employment = rising wages and more of the most fundamental freedom, job-secure Free Time, dba more time to shop. But employers are sooo backward, talking the talk of flexibility and walking the walk of tight-assed Puritan work ethic devenu workaholism, that they still assume Work Hard to Get Ahead, no matter how deep we plunge into the Age of Robots and how much growth-reversing downsizing they have to do to preserve The Frozen Forty(-hour workweek), which hasn't changed since 1940 except in France, where even there they don't know what they're doing right and they're trying to undo it.]
    At Smart and many other companies, employers say the rule and other rigid labor laws make France one of the most expensive places in Europe to do business.
    [But it comes back to them in elevated consumer spending and market share, while if they cut wage "costs" and vacuum the extra revenue into their own already bulging accounts, it becomes totally wasted coagulation. "Father, forgive them - they know not what they do."]
    To the outside world, France appears to be one of the most laid-back places anywhere to work — an impression that even made its way to one of the Republican presidential debates.
    “I mean, literally, the Senate, what is it, like a French workweek?” Jeb Bush asked Senator Marco Rubio recently, accusing him of a slack work ethic. “You get like three days where you have to show up?”
    Didier Getrey, a local union leader, is opposing a measure to make employees of the Smart car plant work 39 hours while continuing to be paid for 35. (photo caption)
    In reality, the 35-hour workweek has become mostly symbolic, because a multitude of loopholes allow companies to work around the law. French employees work an average of 40.5 hours a week — more than the 40-hour average in the European Union — and have high productivity. Many workers at the Smart factory already pull longer hours and are compensated in overtime.
    As France now grapples with five years of sluggish economic growth and high unemployment, President François Hollande has been exploring options that could hollow out what’s left of “les trente-cinq heures.” The government has proposed legislation that next year would give companies and workers more leeway in setting their own work rules, and would permit collective negotiation over salaries, employment conditions — and the length of the workweek.
    The mere hint that Mr. Hollande might relax the 35-hour rule put him at odds with the left wing of his Socialist party, which ushered in the law in 2000 and considers it a totem of social progress.
    French labor unions have also vowed to block the changes. The unions wield strong negotiating power even though less than 8 percent of the French work force now holds membership.
    At the Smart factory, the national debate was crystallized this fall around a nonbinding vote in September that wound up dividing the factory between blue-collar workers, who generally opposed the change, and white-collar workers, who supported it. Smart’s managers framed the referendum as a test of willingness to adapt to globalization. But some employees feared the mandate to “lift competitiveness” amounted to little more than squeezing workers to increase profitability.
    “What they’re asking is for people to work more and earn less,” said Didier Getrey, a local leader at France’s C.F.D.T. union, which is leading the deal opposition.
    “We cannot live in a world where we’re always scraping savings off the backs of the little guy to enrich the 1 percent,” Mr. Getrey said. “Those are Chinese labor standards. We are not going let it happen in France.”
    The standoff frayed nerves in Hambach, a former iron ore mining town that brims with red geraniums and rows of tidy Alsatian-style houses.
    Many of Smart’s employees have lived in the hamlet for years and work side by side at the factory making the Smart Fortwo, the lollipop-colored minicars that can squeeze into half a parking space in New York, Paris and other crowded cities. Nearly 2,000 other people in the area live off the Smart factory, including employees at cafes, hotels and other small businesses.
    Many of the town’s older people remember the hard times before Smart arrived. The Lorraine region, which was annexed briefly by Germany during World War II, depended on the mining industry for most of the last century. When cheaper competition arose in the 1960s from Eastern Europe and elsewhere, the mines began closing, prompting thousands of layoffs over the next three decades.
    Fortunes revived after local politicians and President Jacques Chirac persuaded Daimler to open the ultramodern Smart facility in 1997, praising low costs and high French productivity. New roads were paved into the rolling green hills, with names like Creativity Street and Mobility Boulevard. Helmut Kohl, then the German chancellor, joined Mr. Chirac in a ribbon-cutting ceremony to inaugurate Smartville, whose factory and supplier buildings swept over 168 acres.
    But competition from other countries is once again clouding the town’s future. While the Hambach plant is still profitable, Daimler recently opened a lower-cost Smart car facility in Slovenia, producing four-seater Smart cars. Many people at the plant and in town worried that Smart might move operations there if the two sides could not reach a deal.
    “If Smart were to leave, this place would become an economic desert,” said Gaston Meyer, Hambach’s mayor.
    Local unemployment isn’t as bad as when the mines closed, but it is stuck around 10 percent, on par with the national average. Nearby, a massive plot is supposed to be transformed into a new industrial park. The mayor is working to lure companies. But if there is even a hint that Smart might move, he wonders what business would even want to come.
    “We haven’t returned to the times of Zola,” he said, referring to the French author Émile Zola, who chronicled the grim struggle of workers in 19th-century France. “But we live off of industry, so we need to do everything we can to entice industries to stay and develop.”
    Philippe Steyer first set foot in the Smart factory 16 years ago as a floor manager overseeing the assembly line. A bright, youthful man with a firm demeanor, he walked the floor frequently, talking with employees who transformed bare Smart car frames into glossy, finished vehicles by snapping in steering wheels, dashboards and doors.
    Five years later, Mr. Steyer moved into an airy administrative office to work in the human resources department. The move made him one of “them” — an executive — in the eyes of some colleagues.
    After he was recently promoted again, this time to human resources director, Daimler officials called. Daimler was beginning to enact a companywide plan to improve competitiveness across all production sites to ensure their future viability. Would the French operation get on board?
    Mr. Steyer knew that would mean a fight.
    Across the country, French unions had been guarding against the unraveling of the 35-hour week. In Paris, they recently sought to override a vote taken by the mostly nonunionized employees of the Sephora cosmetics store on the Champs Élysées to be able to work until midnight for more pay. The Sephora workers prevailed after a protracted fight.
    At Smart, Daimler was trying to push the limits even further.
    “We’re in a good situation,” Mr. Steyer acknowledged. “But we need to prepare in case hard times come. Economic cycles move fast. We believe it’s better to do this before a crisis hits and our backs are against the wall.”
    Besides, he observed, Smart was the last factory in Western Europe still making small cars. The French carmaker Renault moved production of the Twingo to Slovenia over a decade ago. Fiat was making the Fiat 500 in Poland, where labor costs were nearly a third of Western Europe’s.
    Mr. Steyer authorized the nonbinding September vote, in which Smart employees would decide whether to work 39 hours, but get paid only for 37. White-collar workers would give up half of the 10 rest days they get annually on top of five weeks’ vacation. In exchange, Daimler would authorize Smart to guarantee jobs through 2020, and return the plant afterward to a 35-hour workweek.
    Even if workers rejected the measures, Mr. Steyer promised that Daimler would not close the French plant.
    On the day of the September vote, Mr. Getrey, the staunch opponent of Smart’s plan, stood in the parking lot handing out leaflets with members of the C.G.T., another powerful union that opposed it. Because Smart was still profitable, Mr. Getrey told workers that management had no legal right to ask them to decide.
    “This is a test of what could become a bigger national fight over the 35-hour workweek,” Mr. Getrey said.
    Not everyone was persuaded by the union’s argument. Raymond Wasbauer, a maintenance administrator, had worked at Smart since 1998 and was promoted several times. With his earnings, he was able to afford a modest home, evenings out with his family and vacations away several times a year.
    “I voted yes — I’m ready to do what I need to keep the operation going,” Mr. Wasbauer, 50, said afterward. “The world today is different than it was back when I got hired,” he said. “We need to make sure we survive.”
    When the vote was tallied, 56 percent of the overall employees had backed the change. Yet the referendum revealed a deep divide: 61 percent of the factory workers voted against, while among white-collar employees, 74 percent approved.
    The two unions vowed to stop Smart from going any further.
    “If they want us to work 39 hours, paid 39 hours, fine,” Mr. Getrey said. “Otherwise, this is basically blackmail,” he said. “We won’t move one single iota.”
    But last week, as the opposing unions stood firm, Smart raised the specter of moving production from France to Slovenia. On Wednesday, managers handed employees amendments to their contracts to cede the 35-hour workweek, at least for the next five years, and gave them a Dec. 18 deadline to sign.
    If 75 percent agreed, Smart would move to a longer workweek as of January. If not, Mr. Steyer said, “we would clearly need to study the possibility of making this car elsewhere.”
    The workers took their slips of paper and went home to mull things over. As Mr. Getrey again warned them not to sign, another union that had reluctantly come around to Smart’s point of view urged employees to seize their last chance save the factory.
    “In France today, can we really afford to insist on keeping perks at the risk of losing jobs?” said Mario Mutzette, the head of that union. “If Smart closes,” he added, “we will have a social disaster.”
    Mr. Steyer said, however, “We are confident that enough people will sign.”
    Caroline Chauvet contributed reporting.
    A version of this article appears in print on December 13, 2015, on page BU1 of the New York edition with the headline: French Plant Faces Choice: Lose Perk Or Lose Jobs.

  2. Helpers [domestic] take to streets in working hours protest, by Yupina Ng, 12/14 TheStandard.com.hk
    HONG KONG, HKSAR, China - Foreign domestic helpers staged a protest march yesterday to demand their inclusion in any working hours plan.
    As part of the 25th International Migrants Day, about 700 members of the Asian Migrants' Coordinating Body, dressed in red, marched from Causeway Bay to the Indonesian Consulate and the Central Government Offices, demanding more protection.
    Indonesian Migrant Workers' Union chairwoman Sringatin said the government's mindset has to change, as it thinks working 24 hours a day is the domestic helper's lot.
    "We should be part of the standard working hours discussion," she said. "And working hours should be written in our contracts." She hopes working hours will be set at eight hours a day, or [six days and] 48 hours a week.
    Most domestic helpers work more than 12 hours a day, Sringatin said.

    [Doubly tough for foreign workers to sway native-born plutocrats, one without home court advantage, two without the market advantage of scarcity. One plan: return home to Indonesia, organize there and fight for what will give you market scarcity = overtime-to-jobs conversion and workweek reduction.]
    A 41-year-old maid, who gave her name as Sonia, said she works about 14 hours a day taking care of an elderly person.
    "I hope the working hours can be regulated so we can get more rest and work better," she said.
    Dolores Balladares, the union's spokeswoman and chairwoman of the United Filipinos in Hong Kong, said: "We want the monthly wages increased to HK$4,500 so as to cope with inflation. We still remain as cheap, insecure and disposable labor in Hong Kong."In October, the minimum allowable monthly wage for foreign domestic helpers was increased by HK$100 to HK$4,210, according to the Labour Department.
    But Balladares described the hike as measly and said it does not cover the level of inflation through the years.
    She added that the two-week visa rule for those whose service has been terminated should be eliminated, and helpers should be entitled to long-service payments if their contracts are terminated after five years.
    The two-week rule requires foreign domestic helpers to leave Hong Kong within two weeks of the termination of their contracts.
    Balladares said they will continue to fight.


12/12/2015 – News&opinion about the timesizing alternative to downsizing, reinvented thousands of times every day in every recession by mainly mid&small-size companies, but still today an afterthought, though any economy that's still around 50 years from now will long since have made it first & foremost - ([commentary] by Phil Hyde (PH3) ecdesignr@yahoo.ca unless otherwise initialed) -

  1. Well-done 'Nucor neighbor' brochure just might open a door, editorial, (12/11 late pickup) NorfolkDailyNews.com
    NORFOLK, Neb., USA — 'Become a Nucor neighbor ... and experience the Next Door Advantage.”
    That’s the straightforward and catchy phrase used to headline a new marketing piece being used by Norfolk in its economic development and job[opening, ie: employer] recruitment efforts.

    Put together by the City of Norfolk’s economic development team and the Norfolk Area Economic Development Council, the 12-page booklet was recently distributed at a trade show that was attended by companies across the nation that do metal fabrication work.
    Given the recent announcement of OCT Pipe’s plans to build a manufacturing plant in Norfolk — in large part because the proximity to the Nucor steel mill in Norfolk and that it will be customer of Nucor — the timing is perfect for this kind of economic development campaign.
    The brochure is attractive, full of color photos, helpful information, extensive contact information and detailed industry information that wouldn’t make a lot of sense to the average person but could be exactly what a company in the fabrication industry wants to know.
    It also touts Norfolk’s center-of-the-U.S. location as an advantage for transportation costs; highlights the presence of Nebraska Central Railroad in Norfolk for the provision of rail service; and also the presence of Northeast Community College, given its willingness to aggressively meet the needs of local and area industries in terms of training opportunities.
    Those three factors are exactly what Norfolk should be touting because the reality is that even though this community has a high-quality workforce, a low unemployment rate, a strong work ethic and other such factors, those same things can be touted in other communities and other parts of the state or nation.
    To make it stand out, Norfolk needs something different, something unusual. The opportunity to work in such close proximity to Nucor — the nation’s leading steel-making company — is one such factor.
    [And Nucor is a company that practices Timesizing on the corporate level (scan down to the corporations section), making it the most flexible and adaptible and survivable corporate design in the world: it flexes its workweek in response to market conditions, not its workforce - it respects its skill set too much to be firing and (trying to be) rehiring its employees. (In my revision of TSntDS, why not make the first five chapters the application of the five phases to the corporate level instead of the current miscellany, then the government level of the last five chapters would be perfectly symmetrical?!)]
    All that said, a nicely done brochure may or may not make the difference in Norfolk’s recruiting efforts. But by the same token, all it takes is for something like a brochure to catch the eye of a company official and prompt him or her to do a little more investigating. And that could ultimately lead to economic development success.

  2. Mulcair [bankruptcy] administrator will be offered Welsh Government support in bid to save jobs, by Owen Hughes, DailyPost.co.uk
    The civil engineer announced this week it was to enter voluntary administration - with 50 jobs lost CAERNARFON, Wales, U.K. - The Welsh Government says it will work with the administrator of Caernarfon civil engineering firm Mulcair to see if they can help save jobs.
    [As far as we know, Wales is the only one of the five(?) "united kingdoms" in the United Kingdom (England, Wales, Scotland, Northern Ireland, Isle of Man) that has a worksharing program (Brit: "short-time working programme"). It was called ProAct and now Skills Growth Wales (scan past the U.S. states to U.K. in the countries section). So will the Welsh Govt. be implementing Skills Growth Wales to avoid layoffs in this case? - Skills Growth Wales would certainly seem "just the ticket"!]
    The Daily Post revealed on Wednesday that Mulcair is to enter voluntary administration - making up to 50 workers redundant.
    The company - whose clients include Welsh Water/Dwr Cymru and a number of North Wales local authorities - said it had taken the decision to enter administration.
    Staff were told the news on Tuesday that they were being made redundant.
    Now the Welsh Government has said it will work to support workers and to assist the administrator.
    A Welsh Government spokeswoman said: "It is disappointing that the company has taken the decision to enter into voluntary administration.
    "Our immediate priority is to help and assist the workers and their families at this very difficult and uncertain time.
    "Once appointed, we will work with the administrator to do all we can to assist.”
    The firm - based at Cibyn Industrial Estate in Caernarfon - said they will formally enter administration this Friday (December 18) with a skeleton staff currently remaining at the site.
    Mulcair Limited are one of Wales's leading civil engineering companies.
    Among their major projects in recent years was flood alleviation work in Deeside in 2014 and work to build Pont Briwet across the River Dwyryd in Gwynedd in 2013.
    They also undertook the multi-million pound redevelopment of the Maes in Caernarfon.
    Arfon MP Hywel Williams last week said: "This is a huge blow to workers at the site and to the local economy in Caernarfon.
    "I hope the administrators will act swiftly to ensure continuity of employment with any new undertaking that’s set up."
    Arfon AM Alun Ffred Jones said: "This is devastating news as Mulcair has been a very important employer in the area.
    "It has trained and employed fine engineers, and I know many of the workers personally.
    "I hope that some of the jobs can be salvaged and will do all I can to help."


12/11/2015 – News&opinion about the timesizing alternative to downsizing, reinvented thousands of times every day in every recession by mainly mid&small-size companies, but still today an afterthought, though any economy that's still around 50 years from now will long since have made it first & foremost - ([commentary] by Phil Hyde (PH3) ecdesignr@yahoo.ca unless otherwise initialed) -

  1. Milacron’s Ferromatik Brand Realignment Strategy Returns Workers to Full Work Week Two Months Ahead of Schedule, BusinessWire.com
    MALTERDINGEN, Germany -- Milacron Holdings Corp. (NYSE: MCRN), a leading industrial technology company serving the plastics processing industry, today announced that the Ferromatik injection molding machine facility in Malterdingen, near Freiburg, Germany is moving forward ahead of schedule.
    In December 2014, Milacron management presented plans to realign the Malterdingen operations to support a new, forward-looking business model. Part of this measure was the introduction of a shortened workweek until the end of 2015. Since the announcement, and as a result of the execution of the measures taken, management and staff were able to return to a normal work schedule earlier than planned. Additionally, the shortened workweek was repealed October 31st, two months ahead of schedule.
    "The measures introduced allowed us the ability to act and better align with changing market dynamics. Our new sales organization continues to further penetrate existing markets by partnering and collaborating with major international, regional and local customers, and our operational realignment has provided us the flexibility to service and respond more efficiently to those same customers”, said Denis Poelman, Managing Director, Ferromatik Milacron GmbH.
    The operational change included optimizing the Ferromatik product range, as well as adding key product features and enhancements to better serve our customers and respond to market demand. The Fakuma trade fair marked the introduction of many of the various new enhancements and products, and included the all-electric ELEKTRON EVO machine series with comprehensive and user friendly MOSAIC control, the full-scale and modular FERROMATIK machine series as well as the European premiere of the servo-hydraulic MAGNA T SERVO - the new all-purpose Milacron machine series.
    Poelman summarized, "Since the introduction of the new Milacron brand at NPE 2015 in March, we see strong momentum – and at the same time the synergies within Milacron at the global and the local levels are excellent“.
    The new, servo-hydraulic MAGNA T SERVO machine series celebrated its European premiere at Fakuma.
    About Milacron
    Milacron is a global leader in the manufacture, distribution and service of highly engineered and customized systems within the plastic technology and processing industry. Milacron is the only global company with a full-line product portfolio that includes hot runner systems, injection molding, blow molding and extrusion equipment plus a wide market range of advanced fluid technologies. Visit Milacron at www.milacron.com
    ...Press Contact (Europe)
    Michael Schiele, Manager, Strategic Marketing EMEA, Milacron
    Neumattring 1, 76532 Baden-Baden, Germany
    +49 7221 5099-0   Michael_Schiele@milacron.com

  2. There should be a maximum working week for all of 35 hours, by Rosana, Italki.com
    [English polished by Martin of U.K., further by PH with inputs and comments from economese.]
    MADRID, Spain - Since the achievement of the 40 hour workweek during the industrial revolution, the amount of working hours has been a [under] constant debate. As such [For example] in 1998 [1997,] France enacted a law to reduce unemployment forcing the average [by imposing a standard] 35 hour working week, believing that the companies would employ more workers to keep up with the same production level. However, is this working time [week] really enforceable? In deed [fact], the real average nowadays for full time positions in France is 39.5 hours per week.
    [A shorter workweek is only enforceable when you don't have saboteurs like Sarkozy repeatedly relaxing and unenforcing overtime disincentives.]
    While this measure does not cure unemployment, because private companies tend to push their workers to increase productivity substantially [their working hours], it does bring benefit s to society in many ways.
    [Actually it did cure 4% of French unemployment, from 12.6% in 1997 to 8.6% in early spring 2001 after if was finally fully implemented and before the US-led recession hit France in late spring: that's 1% less unemployment for each of the 4 hours cut, even without deliberate overtime-to-jobs conversion = same result as the USA got in reducing from 44 to 40 hours 1938-40 (19%-15%). And though some companies push employees to increase workhours, it does not necessarily corelate to productivity increases - paradoxically, quite the opposite: workhour decreases tend to corelate to productivity increases, probably due to better prioritization on the part of employees.]
    Firstly, working less hours makes us healthier, reducing stress incidence attached to [connected with] exhaustion on a regular basis. Secondly, in many cases workers can arrange to work one day less per week, [thus] reducing commuting costs and the related pollution as well as gaining one day more to dedícate to their family[ie]s, friends or hobbies, reaching [in] this way a better work-life balance.
    In short, working less hours could help individuals, assuming their incomes are enough to live on. [It could help] and businesses too, especially in creative jobs and those that require concentration. Happy workers are more prone to be motivated by their when employers increasing[e] corporate morale. But forcing the reduction could be a perilous task in practice for people that earn peanuts and have no other solution than working over time overtime to fulfill their [meet] basic needs expenses.
    [Our edits both ignore two dangling participles: "believing that" and "reaching..a better work-life balance."]


12/10/2015 – News&opinion about the timesizing alternative to downsizing, reinvented thousands of times every day in every recession by mainly mid&small-size companies, but still today an afterthought, though any economy that's still around 50 years from now will long since have made it first & foremost - ([commentary] by Phil Hyde (PH3) ecdesignr@yahoo.ca unless otherwise initialed) -

  1. State budget impasse: Giving Tree helps Monroe Library; Pocono Mtn., Pike [avoid] cut hours, by Susan Jorstad, PoconoRecord.com
    Suzanne Campbell, Circulation Manager at the Eastern Monroe Public Library's Hughes Library, adjusts an ornament on the Giving Tree, which has requests for items the library hopes to have donated. Some are for materials patrons have asked for, while others are for functional needs such as a stapler. The state budget impasse has frozen the library's ability to make any new purchases. (photo caption)
    STROUDSBURG, Pa., USA - Patrons of the Eastern Monroe Public Library [EMPL] are helping its immediate needs during the six-month state budget impasse by donating requested items from a Giving Tree.
    The library includes the Hughes branch on Route 611 and Chipperfield Drive in Stroudsburg and the Smithfields branch on Route 209 in Smithfield Township.
    While EMPL has not yet had to cut hours or staffing, it is tapping into its reserve fund to stay afloat into January.
    [Better to cut hours than cut staffing, but new idea here, better still to cut down and put up a "Giving Tree" than cut either hours or staffing!]
    It also draws funding from a county tax and fund donations. In the meantime, it is not funding purchases of new materials or supplies.
    To bridge the gap, library staff is keeping a list of requested materials by patrons and needed supplies for the library – including items as basic as a stapler and pencil sharpener – and community members can take a tag from the Giving Tree to donate any of those items.
    The tree is on display in the lobby of the Hughes main branch library on Rt. 611 in Stroudsburg. Monetary donations are also being welcomed.
    “With the state budget impasse, we can’t purchase any new items,” said Circulation Manager Suzanne Campbell on Wednesday. “There’s a moratorium on buying any materials until the budget is resolved. Since the library is part of the community, people can buy the items that are requested and donate them so lots of people will benefit.”
    A second, smaller Giving Tree is located in the Children’s area, with donations accepted pertinent to the children’s programs and monetary donations.
    “We usually get state funding in January,” Campbell added. “We do have a reserve fund so we’ll be okay for a short period of time. Pocono Mountain Public Library just had to furlough people yesterday and they cut their hours back.”
    As announced on its website, the Pocono Mountain Public Library has reduced hours of operation, services, and furloughing some employees, effective Dec. 7.
    “We have to make cuts now to make our 2015 budget stretch into 2016,” reads the online announcement. “We need to keep our utilities running and a minimal staff to serve our patrons. This is all because we will not receive our normal State Aid in January 2016. Unless the state passes the budget by the end of December 2015, we'll be forced to make further cuts in February. This is a real disaster for the library and that is out of our control.”
    New hours of operation and a list of reduced services, along with contact information for the public to express opinions to state officials, are posted online at poconomountpl.org. Among the reduced services are children’s story hours, computer classes, arts programs, book club and the Interlibrary Loan program.
    The Pocono Mountain Library should not be confused with the Pocono Township branch of EMPL, which has not cut hours or services.
    “We won’t have to furlough in January,” Campbell said of EMPL. “But even if they pass the budget now, it’s going to take time before everything gets processed and we receive any money.”
    Pike County Public Library is cutting hours as of Jan. 1 to the state mandated 45 hours in the main Milford branch on 119 E. Harford St., which means it will be closed on Thursdays, and its Dingmans Branch at 100 Bond Court will reduce its schedule to 27 hours. It also will begin charging on Jan. 1 for public usage of the Community Room in Milford, which had been a free service.
    Pike library also expects a response from Wayne Bank by Friday for financing figures for its credit line application.
    "It's really tense right now," said Pike library Director Rose Chiocci of the mood at her library, the library in partnering Wayne County and other libraries with which she has been in touch. "Everything is up in the air for everybody."
    As for Clymer Library in Pocono Pines, Director Laura Laspe said, "The warning signs have been out there since last June, so we have gradually developed a survival plan. We based this on state funding for 2016 ultimately arriving late. But if funding is not received until after the first quarter of 2016, or funding in the new budget is reduced, it could impact our operations and services."

  2. House throws out shop hour changes (Updated), by Angelos Anastasiou & Elias Hazou, Cyprus-Mail.com
    NICOSIA, Cyprus - One week after the Supreme Court found parliament’s legislation regulating shops’ working hours unconstitutional, arguing the right to regulate the policy was squarely the government’s, the House responded by rejecting the government’s proposed regulations on Thursday.
    The proposal was opposed by 30 deputies from AKEL, DIKO, EDEK, the Greens, and the Citizens’ Alliance, with 14 DISY MPs voting in favour.
    EVROKO’s Demetris Syllouris and DIKO’s Athena Kyriakidou abstained.
    At the moment, shops are working extended hours under the provisions of a special ‘holiday’ status, lasting until January 1.
    The government wants a liberal working-hour schedule for shops, including the right to stay open on Sunday, which opposition parties claim benefits the large chains but is slowly killing small businesses who cannot afford to stay open as long.
    [Here's a novel argument against long opening hours.]
    Speaking at the House, DIKO MP Votsis accused the government of turning down a compromise, which would have allowed all shops to stay open on Sundays, but only during designated tourist months and the Christmas and Easter holidays.
    Going even further, AKEL’s Andreas Fakondis laid the blame for any layoffs – now that shops will stay open for fewer hours – at the government’s doorstep.
    “Possible en masse layoffs can only be described as vindictive…and AKEL shall not stand idly by while employees are sacrificed on the altar of corporate profit,” he said.
    Arguably, parliament’s action is in direct defiance of the Supreme Court ruling, which reasoned that the House may legislate broadly on matters, setting the framework within which the executive branch of government may operate.
    In this case, the court said, parliament passed a law distinguishing between shops according to their size and the products they sell, the area they are located in, affording some shops extended operating hours and restricting those of others.
    This ran counter to the labour minister’s explicit right to set shops’ operating hours, after consulting with legally-prescribed advisory committees at district level.
    An earlier law voted by the House had stripped Labour Minister Zeta Emilianidou of the right to set out shops’ working hours by ministerial decree, but last week’s Supreme Court ruling created a legislative dead-end, through which opposition parties are trying to pressure the government.
    The stalemate will trigger a return to a 2006 law regulating working hours, which did not allow shops to work on Sundays or Wednesday and Saturday afternoons. Following this law, the policy had been regulated by the labour minister through decrees – a prerogative now non-existent.
    Under the government regulations, general (non-specialty) stores would operate from 5am to 10pm, Monday to Saturday, and from 11am to 7pm on Sundays. This applied to the Nicosia, Limassol, Larnaca and Paphos districts. The same applies to the Famagusta district, except longer hours were to be allowed for Sundays: 7.30am to 11pm.
    Now, with the reversion to the 2006 law, shops will close at 3pm on Wednesdays, 2pm on Saturdays, and cannot open on Sundays.
    Effectively, the reversion means no areas across the island can be designated as tourist areas, and thus extended opening hours are prohibited.
    Exempt from this blanket prohibition are bakeries, kiosks and restaurants/cafes.
    But a cryptic warning by DISY leader Averof Neophytou may mean there’s more to the story, as he claimed Thursday’s rejection of the government’s proposal would bring about the opposite results.
    “For better or worse, the House’s ‘No’ vote on working hours, which ignores the Supreme Court’s ruling, will lead to stores being open 365 days a year,” Neophytou tweeted.
    It’s understood he meant that, as of January 2, many shopkeepers will likely ignore the 2006 law and stay open for longer hours, risking fines.
    Shopkeepers might then refuse to pay the fines and challenge them in court, most probably citing the Supreme Court’s decision last week that stated parliament has no say on specific trade matters.
    Another argument they might raise is that the 2006 law discriminates between different types of shops when it comes to operating hours.
    One such successful court case would be sufficient to set a precedent, possibly liberalising trading hours across the board – which is what DISY’s Neophytou may have been hinting at.
    Commenting on parliament’s move, Attorney-general Costas Clerides called it a “constitutional aberration”.
    “Parliament cannot on the one hand grant the executive branch of government the right to regulate via ordinances these matters, which according to the Supreme Court’s ruling fall under the jurisdiction of the executive, but on the other hand reject these ordinances when the government exercises this right,” Clerides told the Sigma news outlet.
    In theory, the government reserves the right to table new regulations, but Labour Minister Zera Emilianidou told Sigma that she did not intend to do so.


12/09/2015 – News&opinion about the timesizing alternative to downsizing, reinvented thousands of times every day in every recession by mainly mid&small-size companies, but still today an afterthought, though any economy that's still around 50 years from now will long since have made it first & foremost - ([commentary] by Phil Hyde (PH3) ecdesignr@yahoo.ca unless otherwise initialed) -

  1. Valbruna furloughing employees, JournalGazette.net
    FORT WAYNE, Ind., USA - Valbruna Slater Stainless Inc. is responding to weak demand by furloughing some of its hourly, unionized workers for one week a month. The temporary workforce reductions have been happening since September, local General Manager Tiziano Briozzo confirmed Tuesday.
    [BUT they still have their jobs. Better furloughs than firings, but furloughs constitute a reduction in worktime; not the workweek but the workmonth. And so again we chant: worktime is decreasing anyway, but not the best way. Let's get some focus, people, and go for a better way and standardize it.]
    Briozzo spoke to The Journal Gazette late last week about the steel-making operation. He said then that no jobs have been cut or workers laid off long-term because of slow sales.
    The furloughs, which are expected to continue into January, are being decided month to month, depending on market conditions, Briozzo said.
    After going one week without a paycheck, workers are able to claim unemployment benefits, even though the furloughs are separated by a few weeks of paid work, he said. Briozzo described furloughs as common practice among manufacturers. General Motors Co., among others, has furloughed local assembly line workers when inventories are too large. ...

  2. Phoenix city employee furloughs, pay cuts took effect this month, by Lindsey Reiser, (posted 7/17 very late reposting) KPHO/KTVK via 05 Action Button Answers via cbs5az.com
    PHOENIX, AZ., USA - City of Phoenix workers are facing pay cuts and mandatory furloughs, and many are upset after an internal memo from the city manager painted a much more positive financial picture.
    City employees knew these cuts were coming; they were a part of negotiations with their new collecting bargaining agreements.
    "They've shoved so much work on everybody's back and continued to take pay away; it's been tough," said Ryan McClure. He and his coworkers will have to take five unpaid holidays this fiscal year and an additional 26 furlough hours.
    "To take more days off and get paid nothing makes that month, that week, that much harder to pay the mortgage, to keep food on the table," McClure said.
    City employees across the board are facing some kind of furlough or pay cut. McClure said he's moving.
    "Tomorrow will be my last day with the City of Phoenix," McClure said.
    "We're going on six years of taking furloughs, and there's no end in sight," said Luis Schmidt, city electrician and president of McClure's labor union.
    [But unlike many Americans, they still have a job. Better furloughs than firings, Timesizing than downsizing. Do we agree that things USED to be better - when taxes were higher, especially on the rich, and when imports and population were lower? Even Timesizing can be overwhelmed unless previous higher levels of taxation are restored, particularly taxation on the rich who have been cutting their taxes ever since the postwar period, and unless previous lower levels of imports, immigrants, births are restored, and previous zero levels of offshore outsourcing. And if you want to keep today's higher level of worksaving technology, you MUST compensate with shorter workweeks. It's not optional: it's a system requirement. Because technology does NOT "create more jobs than it destroys" when the standard followup is downsizing. And the wealthy do NOT "get all that money right back to work creating jobs" when there are markets for products and services are weakening because of that downsizing.]
    In a March message to the mayor and City Council, City Manager Ed Zuercher acknowledged the budget was balanced thanks, in part, to employee concessions. But Schmidt said that isn't enough.
    "The city is not being creative," he said. "The city continues to balance the deficits on the backs of the employees."
    Schmidt said he became even more upset when the city manager sent out a note earlier this month saying the fiscal year ended on a positive note.
    "Here the city just painted a picture of how the economy is coming back, the city is doing great, but they fail to realize that it's our employees who are continuing to sacrifice," Schmidt said.
    We asked to sit down with the city manager today but were told he was unavailable. He did, however, send us a statement.
    "I want to celebrate Phoenix employees. One of the reasons we are in better financial shape is because employees were part of the solution negotiated in labor contracts 18 months ago. In addition, employees at every level of the organization have worked hard to save taxpayers money while providing great services 24/7."

  3. Trade unions must join the fight for steel nationalisation, by Matt Dobson, Socialist Party Scotland via socialistparty.org.uk
    EDINBOROUGH, Scotland - The consultation period over the threatened Tata steel plants in Motherwell, Clydebridge and Scunthorpe has come to an end. Despite Scottish government taskforces meeting the threat of closure is not over.
    There are rumours in the media that Tata has found three buyers who are bidding for the Scunthorpe steel plant.
    On 7 December Scotland's Daily Record reported the SNP Scottish government are considering a short term subsidy for the steel plants in Lanarkshire. The SNP also claim they have buyers interested.
    Christmas
    While this subsidy over Christmas, if agreed, will be a relief to workers and communities with the immediate prospect of mass redundancies being avoided, it's not certain how long this subsidy can be paid and what strings are attached.
    The workforce at both Motherwell and Clydebridge have been on short time working [British term for worksharing] since early November and under the subsidy it seems this will continue, but why can't the Scottish government pay full wages to the steel workers?
    [Socialists want to use The Employer of Last Resort (=gov't) for everything, but seemingly without any concern about where that employer is going to get the money. So the question really is, why can't the Socialist Party focus on raising taxes, especially on the wealthy who've been cutting their taxes for decades, coincidentally(?) the decades of diminishing prosperity and expectations. And for that matter, since shorter worktime is happening anyway but not the best way, why can't the Scottish Socialists focus on shortening worktime in a better way?]
    Why has the SNP government continued to drag the crisis on by insisting their preferred option is a private buyer?
    [Same questions.]
    The crisis over the closure of the Forth road bridge due to failing steel structures, which were contracted to Chinese companies, has again raised the issue of why Scotland's steel industry should be under public ownership and used for the necessary infrastructure projects.
    Economic conditions show that even if private buyers for the plants are found, the factors causing the crisis in the industry are long term. National manufacturers' organisation EEF found that the steel industry is leading the fall of manufacturing in the UK.
    Questions about the nature of private buyers have to be asked. The bosses are refusing to invest in manufacturing industry, investment is needed to protect the terms and conditions of steel workers and the long term future of the UK industry. There is a risk asset stripping can take place.
    Public ownership
    Trade unions at all the Tata plants and in the steel industry beyond, should convene an emergency meeting of shop stewards, across the industry, to organise a mass campaign.
    This should draw in support from communities for nationalisation and to demand that no loss of pay and conditions takes place during short time working and consultation periods, over the future of plants, or if private buyers come in.
    The trade unions cannot rely on taskforces involving the bosses who have mismanaged the industry to protecting the interests of the workforce. A discussion needs to take place among shop stewards and steel workers about tactics.
    This should include occupations and industrial action to force the issue of nationalisation and a fightback to protect terms and conditions, in the event of a private buyer, onto the agenda.
    Mass support for nationalisation and a fight-back to save jobs exists in communities and Socialist Party Scotland has been to the fore, calling on the Scottish government to nationalise steel plants. At the Scottish Steel Taskforce we handed in a petition supporting nationalisation with 2,000 signatures, collected on street stalls locally.
    Jeremy Corbyn
    The case for nationalisation could have been made more clearly and energetically by Jeremy Corbyn. This would give confidence to trade unionists, workers and communities and the forces who support him in the conflict with the Blairites in Labour.
    It's vital in the coming Scottish parliament election that candidates stand in Lanarkshire calling for nationalisation of the steel industry by the Scottish government and opposed to all cuts from Holyrood. The Trade Unionist and Socialist Coalition is willing to be a part of this.


12/08/2015 – News&opinion about the timesizing alternative to downsizing, reinvented thousands of times every day in every recession by mainly mid&small-size companies, but still today an afterthought, though any economy that's still around 50 years from now will long since have made it first & foremost - ([commentary] by Phil Hyde (PH3) ecdesignr@yahoo.ca unless otherwise initialed) -

  1. Library, city find a way to avoid drastic cuts to service, by Roseann Moring, Omaha World-Herald via Omaha.com
    OMAHA, Neb., USA - The Omaha Public Library can get by next year without significant cuts to services, a city finance employee told the Library Board on Friday.
    The downtown library would cut about 2½ morning hours each day under the plan. Other branches would maintain their current hours.
    A recommendation from accountant Bobbie King and Library Director Laura Marlane appears to resolve a discussion about whether the library will have to cut hours to stay within its 2016 budget.
    “We need a resolution before Jan. 1,” Marlane said. “And this is the best thing we have right now.”
    Mayor Jean Stothert has clashed with library officials, primarily Board President Mike Meyer, over next year’s budget.
    The library originally requested about $850,000 more than the $14.3 million that Stothert’s budget provided.
    Some City Council members attempted to increase the library budget from Stothert’s proposal, but that proposal failed to pass.
    Library staff previously said that under Stothert’s budget, the system would need to close almost every branch an additional day each week.
    Stothert contended that her budget could be met without cutting hours. She assigned King to review the library’s budget.
    Under King’s proposal, the library would maintain a staffing level of 98 full-time employees.
    [Hourscuts not staffcuts, Timesizing not downsizing!]
    It would get rid of four additional full-time positions that have remained unfilled.
    The money from those budgeted positions has gone toward part-time staff.
    But King proposes instead classifying the positions correctly, so the savings from health care can be applied toward part-time workers.
    Marlane, who started as library director in September, recommended some reshuffling of staff positions.
    They [who? King & Marlane? AMBIGUOUS ANTECEDENT] said the plan doesn’t involve layoffs, and the cuts to hours are less severe than originally proposed.
    The W. Dale Clark branch [= "the downtown library" above?] now opens at 7:30 a.m. in what Marlane described as an “experiment” to see whether downtown workers would use its services before work.
    Marlane said the library has failed to reach its traffic target. So under the proposal, the branch would instead open at 10 a.m. as it did previously [= "cut about 2½ morning hours each day" above?], Marlane said.
    The board took no formal action Friday, though the reception to the plan was warm.
    Board member Kyle Hutchings called the plan “good work” and praised Marlane, saying he has been impressed by her competence and professionalism.
    The board is set to vote on the budget Dec. 16.
    Contact the writer: 402-444-1084, roseann.moring@owh.com

  2. Ajman Government introduces flexible working hours - System aims to ensure the satisfaction of both employees and customers, GulfNews.com
    AJMAN, United Arab Emirates - The Ajman Government has approved a flexible work hour system for government institutions, authorities and departments affiliated to the emirate’s government.
    Under the system, the working hours of employees will be divided into various periods for arriving at work and leaving. The official working hours are set from 7am to 2.30pm, while other timings will be considered official flexible working hours, as long as the employee commits to working seven straight hours that begin upon their arrival to the workplace. Employees are allowed to arrive at work between 7am and 8.30am, while the end of their shift can range from 2pm to 3.30pm, depending on their time of arrival.
    [So this would be a 7x5= 35 hour workweek, unless they work Sat. or Sun. too.]
    As for Ramadan working hours, employees will be required to work for five hours upon their arrival at the workplace. The official working hours are set at 9am to 2pm. However with the flexible working hours system employees can begin their shift starting either at 8am or 10am, and end their shift at 1pm or 3pm.
    [So this would be a 5x5= 25 hour Ramadan workweek, unless they work Sat. or Sun. too.]
    The system provides flexible working hours to employees with personal or family responsibilities. It also aims to provide a high standard of services to customers by providing employees with diverse working hours. This ensures the satisfaction of employees and therefore ensures customer satisfaction as well.
    Employees who need to leave the workplace to tend to personal matters are allowed a maximum period of three ["personal"?] hours per day and a minimum of 30 minutes away from work [why necessary to specify a minimum?]. If the employee exceeds the three-hour period deductions will be made from their basic salary. Employees are allowed a maximum of seven personal hours per month.
    An employee is allowed a study break of two hours a day, with the break beginning at 12.30pm. The employee must at least cover five working hours, and they are allowed to merge a study break with personal hours as long as the total amount does not exceed three working hours.
    As for women employees returning from maternal leave, they are allowed one hour of breastfeeding per day for one year. The one-year breastfeeding period can be extended by another three months as long as the employee submits a written recommendation from an approved hospital. The one hour of breastfeeding will count towards working hours.
    The Central Administration of the Human Resource Development at the Ajman Executive Council will be responsible for issuing circulars to all relevant bodies regarding the flexible working hours system.


12/06-07/2015 – News&opinion about the timesizing alternative to downsizing, reinvented thousands of times every day in every recession by mainly mid&small-size companies, but still today an afterthought, though any economy that's still around 50 years from now will long since have made it first & foremost - ([commentary] by Phil Hyde (PH3) ecdesignr@yahoo.ca unless otherwise initialed) -

  1. Library Cancels Programs, Furloughs Staff, 12/07 Nexstar Broadcasting via PAhomepage.com
    COOLBAUGH TOWNSHIP, Penn., USA – The state budget impasses has forced the Pocono Mountain Public Library to make major changes. They include furloughing seven staff members. "It was awful. It was one of the worst things I've ever had to do,” said Library Director Ann Shincovich.
    The library is expecting more than $50,000 in state funding but can’t get the money until the budget passes.
    Since the budget is so late, leaders had to make a tough choice: Close on January first or try to stretch this year’s money into next year. They decided to make some cuts this year to keep the library open as long as possible. "It was very, very hard for us,” said Shincovich.
    Library hours have been cut by 13 hours a week.
    [Hourscuts not jobcuts, furloughs not firings, timesizing not downsizing!]
    The library is also cutting out all programs, activities, and interlibrary loans.
    Patron Stephen Healy of Tobyhanna was angry that political fighting is impacting so many agencies and services."It's no wonder people look down on politicians,” he remarked.
    Shincovich said it’s time for lawmakers to stop arguing and to start focusing on the needs in their communities. She added, "We all have to carry on working and doing our job and working as best we can to serve the public and we really expect you to do the same."
    Even after the budget passes, Shincovich said it could take up to thirty days for the money to come through.
    You can see the library’s updated hours here: http://www.poconomountpl.org.

  2. BNSF furloughs employees - hiring freeze, 12/06 (12/05 late pickup) Unofficial AllisChalmers Forum via allischalmers.com
    OMAHA, Neb., USA - BNSF Railway, employer of about 5,000 Nebraskans, said Wednesday it plans to reduce hiring and to place an unspecified number of workers on furloughs.
    The Texas-based freight railroad, owned by Omaha’s Berkshire Hathaway, has seen freight-hauling demand lag forecasts, spokeswoman Roxanne Butler said.
    “As a result we are having to adjust our workforce-demand numbers down to match volume and the work required to move that volume,” Butler said. “As part of that, we are reducing the hiring plans for the next several months and are, unfortunately, having to temporarily furlough some of our employees.”
    BNSF plans to recall the furloughed employees as soon as business needs require it, Butler said.

    [Better furloughs than firings, Timesizing than downsizing! (Is there an echo in here?)]
    She said the company is not releasing the number of affected workers or where they work.
    This month, Omaha-based Union Pacific Railroad also scaled back, citing lagging demand. The company, which employs about 8,000 Nebraskans, said it plans to reduce hiring this year to 2,400, from 2,800. Union Pacific also said about 500 positions have been affected by furloughs and other measures. The company this month missed quarterly earnings estimates for the first time since 2011 as freight volumes fell in four of the six major categories.
    “This has been a tough environment for railroads as volume has had sharp swings up last year and then a dip down this quarter,” said Logan Purk, a transportation industry analyst at wealth adviser Edward Jones. “Rails are good at adjusting assets to normal ebbs and flows of volume but are less successful with sharper moves, which is what we are seeing.”
    Union Pacific and BNSF are the largest U.S. railroads, each operating about 32,000 miles of track in the western part of the country. Union Pacific leads by operating income, while BNSF leads in ton-miles. Both employ about 48,000 people overall.
    Contact the writer: 402-444-3197, russell.hubbard@owh.com.


12/05/2015 – News&opinion about the timesizing alternative to downsizing, reinvented thousands of times every day in every recession by mainly mid&small-size companies, but still today an afterthought, though any economy that's still around 50 years from now will long since have made it first & foremost - ([commentary] by Phil Hyde (PH3) ecdesignr@yahoo.ca unless otherwise initialed) -

  1. Bill would tie teacher furloughs to performance ratings, Pittsburgh Post-Gazette via post-gazette.com
    HARRISBURG, Penn., USA - The state Senate may soon vote on a House proposal that would require school districts to choose teachers to furlough on the basis of performance ratings, rather than solely by seniority.
    [Well this is an unusual idea. Maybe antithetical to the solidarity-building function of worksharing and Timesizing, but possibly useful in idiosyncratic circumstances.]
    The bill also would allow a district to suspend employees for “economic reasons” [huh?]. Currently, districts may furlough professional employees only when there is a decrease in pupil enrollment, a change in education programming or the consolidation of schools, according to an analysis by House Republican staff.
    The proposal cleared the Senate Education Committee on Friday on party lines, with Republicans in support and Democrats opposed. It passed the House in June, 100-91, with all Democrats and some Republicans opposed.
    Jennifer Kocher, spokeswoman for Senate Majority Leader Jake Corman, R-Centre, said the Senate plans to take up the bill soon.

  2. Cryptocurrency-based enforcement of fair work sharing - Use capitalism to enforce communism, by "notexactly, Dec 04," Halfbakery.com
    [Not exactly our kind of worksharing, but ours is essentially just social software programing anyway, and this might stimulate some design ideas.]
    SUNNYVALE, Calif., USA - How do you enforce fair decentralized workload sharing among computers or programs? [or people, for that matter?]
    The problem is that malicious workers can exploit the others to get more than their fair share of work done, or to do less than their fair share of work.
    I'm thinking of this in the context of computers (or phones, or IoT nodes…) participating in a mesh network, where you want them to all share the work of routing each other's packets, but you cannot control the behavior of each one because they aren't all under your control. But this could equally be applied to ad-hoc cluster computing or other purposes.
    You could have them all inspect each other's programs to ensure that they will behave fairly. But that's impractical and reliability might be impossible.
    You could do it how cryptocurrencies do it, and incentivize the doing of work with monetary rewards, and/or use consensus to ensure consistency in operation between different workers. But the first method doesn't work if you have nothing of value to distribute, and the second doesn't work if each worker is in a different position and doesn't have access to all of the same resources as any given other.
    But there's a way to apply the methods described in the previous paragraph to this problem anyway. It adds another layer to provide the conditions necessary for the methods of fairness enforcement used by cryptocurrencies to work. This layer is a cryptocurrency.
    When a worker does a piece of work (e.g. a mesh node routing a packet), it receives a reward of some amount of this cryptocurrency. When it has work that needs to be done, it must spend some of its cryptocurrency to pay the other workers to do work for it (e.g. route its packets). To reduce overhead, several pieces of work can be paid for at once. Instead of mining new currency for doing work (which results in a deflationary currency, which I think is unnecessary for this purpose), each worker gets a specific amount of cryptocurrency just by joining the network.
    This provides something of value to exchange for work, and does not require that workers have consensus on the results of their actual work (which might be impossible to get), only that they can provide proof of work. The proof of work is used to enable consensus about cryptocurrency transactions, as usual. In that layer, all workers have more or less equal ability to ensure that the proof of work is valid and so form consensus.
    Proof of work depends on the type of work being done (routing, distributed computing, etc.), so I won't cover that here. (Also, I have no idea how to do that.) Several proof- of-work algorithms already exist (though most just do work for the sake of doing work, not doing anything useful; see Namecoin for an exception).
    Open problems include how to keep workers from creating new virtual workers and funneling their starting balance into their own wallets, how to implement proof of work for specific applications, and how to implement taxes and welfare (necessary because some workers have more work to be done and some have more resources—consider edge nodes and central nodes in a mesh network) without a central government, etc.
    I'm aware that all I've invented here is effectively capitalism for computers. (If you did the same thing with people, it would be nothing new.) But I've never heard of such a concept before.
    [Comments] ...
    — WcW, Dec 05 2015
    It is to easy to crib a system like this by having dummy nodes join and then produce massive quantities of faked circular traffic. Essentially the same idea was tried and failed in file sharing services; was easy to puppet the system using fake nodes and transactions.
    — notexactly, Dec 05 2015
    Circular traffic doesn't increase any money. But in the open problems paragraph, I did mention the related issue that fake new workers could be created to the same effect. I'm sure a Satoshi Nakamoto-level crypto genius could come up with elegant solutions to all of these problems.
    — sophocles, Dec 05 2015
    That would spam the blockchain with thousands of times more transactions than is necessary. The blockchain is the shared history of transactions in the current crypto-currency implementations. Out of 7B people, we might have a few dozen monetary transactions per day. But, with IoT or routers in general, we could easily generate 10,000 transactions per person per day, as even this halfbakery post reading is split into several separate packets as it goes across the net.
    — ixnaum, Dec 07 2015
    "It is to easy to crib a system like this by having dummy nodes join and then produce massive quantities of faked circular traffic."
    Maybe the edge should pay into the pool to run the infrastructure for each send/receive.
    "The blockchain is the shared history of transactions in the current crypto-currency implementations."
    Surely there is some better suited cryptocurrency out there that scales better for this kind of mesh application.
    — notexactly, Dec 07 2015
    "That would spam the blockchain with thousands of times more transactions than is necessary. …Even this halfbakery post reading is split into several separate packets as it goes across the net."
    Good point. This is partly solved by the part where I said, "To reduce overhead, several pieces of work can be paid for at once," which is currently done in practice with Bitcoin micropayments, but it would still be a problem eventually, just like it is with any cryptocurrency that keeps its blockchain forever. Probably the best solution is to have each node keep a local copy of only some amount of the blockchain, not going back all the way to genesis, and let only a few servers handle the whole thing. It does probably make a 51% attack a bit easier, but I think this is actually done in practice currently without serious problems.


12/04/2015 – News&opinion about the timesizing alternative to downsizing, reinvented thousands of times every day in every recession by mainly mid&small-size companies, but still today an afterthought, though any economy that's still around 50 years from now will long since have made it first & foremost - ([commentary] by Phil Hyde (PH3) ecdesignr@yahoo.ca unless otherwise initialed) -

  1. Troubled Summerside company Wiebel Aerospace has closed - Former employees holding out hope to be rehired eventually, by Colin MacLean, JournalPioneer.com
    SUMMERSIDE, P.E.I., Canada - One of the oldest aerospace companies on P.E.I. has closed.
    Wiebel Aerospace, located on Greenwood Drive in Summerside, closed its doors on Nov. 13, putting the remaining staff, between 12 and 15 people, out of work. At its peak, Wiebel employed more than 50 people creating custom machine parts for various industries.
    [not just aerospace?]
    The company’s closure is not well known in the community because the now former staff remain hopeful someone will purchase the business and reopen it, allowing them to go back to work. They fear that by talking publically about the closure they won’t be considered for rehiring.
    Wiebel set up in Summerside in the late 1990s and was one of the first companies attracted to the aerospace hub set up in the wake of the closure of CFB Summerside [Canadian Forces Base], now Slemon Park.
    ["Aerospace hub"? But Summerside sounds so vacationy!]
    Sources told the Journal Pioneer that work at Wiebel had been waning over the past year to the point where, by the end, employees were on a work sharing program.
    Work-sharing [scan down to Canada] is a federal program administered by Service Canada where a company’s staff work for part of the week, but receive employment insurance to top up their pay for the rest of the week. It’s a system designed to help struggling companies avoid eliminating jobs altogether.

    [This is the first story we've encountered where worksharing was implemented after a loss of market demand, but the loss continued and the worksharing, ever dependent on some exogenous recovery, was followed by closure. Hey, at least they gave it the ol' college try. Can't win 'em all. What would have been a better scenario here would have been the transformation of the whole town of Sunnyside into a timesizing area where 1) any chronic overtime was converted into training and hiring, 2) any proposed layoffs for a few Sunnysiders were converted into small hourscuts for all in Sunnyside, and 3) if Sunnyside-area unemployment began to build regardless, the workweek of the whole Sunnyside area was adjusted downward as far as needed to create enough convertible overtime to rehire everyone and maximize local Sunnyside-area consumer spending, markets, retail activity, wholesale activity, marketable productivity and sustainable investment. This would have, and still could, make a sunnier Sunnyside, and the additional job-secure Free Time (the most basic freedom!) would make Sunnyside as vacationy as it sounds. Even better, make the whole of P.E.I. a timesizing area. Lordy, it's got the natural solidarity that islands have, and its stepping through the five phases of a timesizing programme would make it a model for the rest of Canada, now suffering from the crash of Alberta, and the rest of the world. There is no core economy that's more adaptible, resilient, self-optimizing and competitive than a timesizing economy, as the most advanced examples on the corporate level, such as Nucor and Lincoln Electric, show. You cannot get growth aka UPsizing by downsizing, and the best thing to substitute is TIMEsizing. Unlike temporary worksharing, which waits for recovery to roll in from elsewhere, timesizing creates its own recovery, no waiting. And "No overtime alone." And "Quit complaining and start Training!"]
    Wiebel and its sister company Testori America, which is based in Slemon Park, were both purchased by TMC Avion Inc. in 2011. Almost immediately after the sale TMC Avion became involved in several lawsuits and countersuits related to the sale.
    TMC Avion was granted creditor protection in January of 2014 after P.E.I. Westside Funding called in the company’s debt.
    P.E.I. Westside Funding bought $12.1 million of TMC Avion’s outstanding loans from the P.E.I. government for $5 million in 2013.
    The Journal Pioneer has been unable to reach TMC Avion’s representatives for comment on the closure.
    Colin.MacLean@journalPioner.com   @JournalPMacLean

  2. Lincoln Electric Releases New 2016 Welding and Cutting Product Catalog, PRnewswire.com
    CLEVELAND, Oh., USA -- Lincoln Electric announces the release of its annual Welding & Cutting Solutions 2016 Equipment Catalog in electronic format, just in time for the holiday shopping season. This updated catalog includes over 80 pages of new products, content and features an updated, easy-to-navigate format, with detailed specifications close at hand to help customers choose the right welding and cutting products for their applications.
    The new catalog can be found online at www.lincolnelectric.com/equipment-catalog and will soon be available on the company's mobile literature app, the Lincoln Library, which can be downloaded to tablets from Google® Play and Apple® App stores. The tablet version of the catalog will be updated with new products as they are introduced and will be enhanced with rich media content throughout the year.
    [And its corporate structure is more variable and flexible and adaptible and competitive, because it adjusts its workweek instead of its workforce, same as Nucor Steel and hundreds of other smart, futuristic, and still unsung working models of timesizing (scan down to Corporations {micro-economic level}) throughout the USA. And there are thousands of other companies that should be doing this instead of freeloading on taxpayers.]
    In early January, the printed version of the catalog will be made available, and will be shipped to over 3500 distributor locations throughout North America. To find a Lincoln Electric distributor near you, visit the distributor locator on lincolnelectric.com.
    Lincoln Electric is the world leader in the design, development and manufacture of arc welding products, robotic arc welding systems, plasma and oxyfuel cutting equipment and has a leading global position in the brazing and soldering alloys market. Headquartered in Cleveland, Ohio, Lincoln has 47 manufacturing locations, including operations and joint ventures in 19 countries and a worldwide network of distributors and sales offices covering more than 160 countries. For more information about Lincoln Electric and its products and services, visit the company's website at www.lincolnelectric.com.


12/03/2015 – News&opinion about the timesizing alternative to downsizing, reinvented thousands of times every day in every recession by mainly mid&small-size companies, but still today an afterthought, though any economy that's still around 50 years from now will long since have made it first & foremost - ([commentary] by Phil Hyde (PH3) ecdesignr@yahoo.ca unless otherwise initialed) -

  1. Poll: Readers want a four-day work week, MagnoliaReporter.com
    MAGNOLIA, Ark., USA - Given a choice, magnoliareporter.com readers would prefer a four-day work week.
    [Magnolia is just east of Texarkana and south of Arkadelphia (vut a countree!) - and OK, N/E of Shreveport.]
    Starting last Saturday, we invited readers to select one of two answers to the following question:
    “Which of the following schedules would you prefer to work?”
    The results:
    Ten hours a day, four days a week, 122 votes, 79.22 percent.
    [And from there, hopefully a shorter trip to:
    Nine hours a day, four days a week = 36 hrs/wk, and then:
    Eight hours a day, four days a week = 32 hrs/wk, and then:
    Seven hours a day, four days a week = 28 hrs/wk, and...
    Because the robots are doing it to free us up, but when we keep working same ol' frozen forty, we just marginalize more people and depress our own wages, and spending, and markets, and economy...]
    Eight hours a day, five days a week, 32 votes, 20.78 percent.
    Total votes: 154.

  2. Nottingham driving test examiners strike over working hours, by Jemma Page, NottinghamPost.com
    NOTTINGHAM, Notts., England, U.K. - Driving test examiners in Nottingham walked out on Wednesday in a row over working hours.
    Members of the Public and Commercial Services (PCS) union – which represents 1,600 Driving and Vehicle Standards Agency (DVSA) staff at 360 sites across the UK – started their strikes on Monday, and the last will take place on Friday.
    The row is over new working patterns, which the PCS says will lead to longer shifts.

    The DVSA said it is doing all it can to make sure tests go ahead as planned, however if people want to change their test to another date they can do so online.
    Chief executive Paul Satoor, said: "Staff signed up to a new standard employment contract in April 2014 in exchange for a lump-sum payment and a three-year pay deal.
    [He'll have you workin' on Satoorday if he can - Nymphs and satoors, come away!]
    "This was agreed with the trade unions, and applies to all staff in the Department for Transport and motoring agencies. The pay deal included transitional arrangements that came to an end on 1 November 2015.
    "It's disappointing that the trade unions have now chosen to oppose the contract they agreed in 2014.
    "We are doing everything we can to minimise any disruption to customers and we apologise for any inconvenience."
    "We remain open to negotiations and have offered to hold further discussions with the unions.
    "The new contract meets all relevant legislation and we are very clear that there will be no negative impact on road safety."
    It is not yet known how many Nottingham employees were involved in the strike, however the DVSA said the "majority" of driving tests went ahead.


12/02/2015 – News&opinion about the timesizing alternative to downsizing, reinvented thousands of times every day in every recession by mainly mid&small-size companies, but still today an afterthought, though any economy that's still around 50 years from now will long since have made it first & foremost - ([commentary] by Phil Hyde (PH3) ecdesignr@yahoo.ca unless otherwise initialed) -

  1. Erie County Library system to cut hours due to state budget impasse, by Kevin Flowers, Erie Times-News via GoErie.com
    Jud Sackett, 76, of Waterford Township reads a Brad Thor novel Dec. 1 at the Blasco Memorial Library in Erie. The state budget stalemate will affect the Erie County Public Library's hours beginning Dec. 13. To reduce costs, the county's library system will cut 11 hours a week at the Blasco Library and three hours weekly at each at three of its branches to reduce costs, library Director Mary Rennie said. Sackett isn't happy about the cuts. "The governor has had chances to take care of this (budget impasse) and he's going for everything or nothing. The people shouldn't have to be short changed because of politics." Sackett said he and his wife Shirley Sackett (not pictured), 75, visit the Millcreek Branch of the Erie County Public Library System weekly and they visit the Blasco Library monthly. (photoc caption)
    ERIE, Pa., USA -- Jud Sackett understands why the state budget stalemate -- now in its 155th day -- is affecting Erie County's library system.
    That doesn't mean he likes it.
    "Reading is important to everybody, Sackett, a 76-year-old Waterford Township resident, said while searching for a novel by author Brad Thor during a visit to the Blasco Library on Erie's east bayfront Tuesday morning.
    County officials announced that starting Dec. 13, the county's library system will cut 11 hours at the Blasco Library and three hours each at three of its branches to reduce costs.
    "To restrict the hours at the library, especially when politicians in Harrisburg can't do their job ... the public is paying the price," said Sackett, a retired maintenance foreman and avid reader.
    "And the ones who aren't paying a price are the ones who are supposed to be guiding the state. Local politicians should be paid on accomplishments, not time spent. Right now, they're not accomplishing a whole lot in Harrisburg."
    Blasco Library will be closed Sundays, when it is normally open from 1 to 5 p.m. The main library, at 160 E. Front St., also will cut evening hours Wednesdays and Thursdays, closing at 5 p.m. rather than 8:30 p.m.
    The only evening hours will be Mondays and Tuesdays until 8:30 p.m.
    Branch libraries in Lawrence Park and Fairview townships and at the Millcreek Mall will cut evening hours Tuesdays, closing at 5 p.m. rather than 8 p.m. The only evening hours will be Mondays until 8 p.m.
    There will be no reduction in hours for the Edinboro branch library, Bookmobile or digital resources.
    Rennie said Tuesday that the reduction in hours will "allow us to continue services to county residents" without closing Blasco or any of its branches for extended periods of time.
    [Better a reduction in hours than closures or a reduction in jobs, better timesizing than downsizing!]
    She also said that while a film series at Blasco will likely be canceled, "in most cases we've scheduled the reductions in such a way where we can avoid making big cuts to programs. Early literacy programs for children, computer classes, they are all going on as scheduled."
    County Executive Kathy Dahlkemper said the reduced hours will stay in place at Blasco and the branches until the budget stalemate ends. The state has been without a budget since July 1.
    Asked if more county services could be cut back, Dahlkemper said: "It depends on how long this goes on. We could eventually have to shut down or cut back on other noncritical services."
    The cutbacks also don't sit well with Erie's Denice Bacchus, 61, who was at Blasco on Tuesday looking for books for her 18-month-old granddaughter.
    "That doesn't make me happy. It's not right," Bacchus said.
    Staff writer Valerie Myers and staff photographer Christopher Millette contributed to this report.
    Kevin Flowers can be reached at 814-870-1693 or by e-mail. Follow him on Twitter at twitter.com/ETNflowers.

  2. Employees in S'pore seek more leave days over flexible working hours: Survey, by Raymond Mark Tham, TodayOnline.com
    SINGAPORE — Workers in Singapore would like to have more annual leave days compared to having flexible working hours or professional development opportunities, a survey has found.
    The research, conducted by specialist recruitment firm Robert Half Singapore, asked 500 employees here – aged between 18-50, with 96 per cent of them being full-time employees, and across a variety of job scopes including PMEBs [professionals, executives, managers and businessmen] – to pick just one thing they wished their employer would give them.
    Thirty six per cent of respondents put more annual leave at the top of their wish list, followed by more flexible hours (32 per cent), professional development opportunities (20 per cent), the ability to work from home (9 per cent), and workplace perks such as childcare, laundry or fitness facilities (3 per cent).

    Employers’ however, had a different perception of what they thought their staff want, the survey showed.
    Robert Half Singapore also surveyed 150 senior management officers on what they thought their employees most wanted at their job.
    Fifty four per cent of respondents thought what their employees wanted most was flexible working hours. Only 18 per cent thought their employees wanted more leave days, and only 12 per cent of employers thought professional development opportunities were the thing their employees most desired.
    Ms Stella Tang, Managing Director of Robert Half Singapore felt that the employer’s wish list was more realistic.
    “While everyone would like more days off, very few companies will increase the amount of annual leave above that which was agreed to when the employee started with the company. So while the desire among employees for more days off is strong, it is a wish that is unlikely to come true.”
    “Employers believe their teams want more flexible work arrangements, and this is something that is within the power of the company to provide,” she said.
    “Work-life balance is important and flexible work arrangements can go a long way to helping an employee manage their personal and professional responsibilities. But as all employees know, there is still no substitute for having a whole day to themselves to do what they want or need to do.”


12/01/2015 – News&opinion about the timesizing alternative to downsizing, reinvented thousands of times every day in every recession by mainly mid&small-size companies, but still today an afterthought, though any economy that's still around 50 years from now will long since have made it first & foremost - ([commentary] by Phil Hyde (PH3) ecdesignr@yahoo.ca unless otherwise initialed) -

  1. Czech Republic: Short-time work introduced in Employment Act, Eurofound - Europa via eurofound.europa.eu
    PRAGUE, Czech Republic - The Czech President has approved an amendment to the Employment Act to include short-time work.
    Following on from Senate approval in July 2015, in August the President of the Czech Republic [Miloš Zeman] approved an amendment to the Employment Act concerning the introduction of so-called 'Kurzarbeit' (short-time work [=Brit, US= worksharing]) into the Czech working environment.
    The president’s approval is the last step in the legislative process, following which conditions for introducing short-time work have been finally set.
    Employees whose working time has been reduced due to the crisis will receive 70% of their normal salary, but only 50% of it will be paid by their current employer and the other 20% will be reimbursed by the government.
    Companies in crisis can ask for financial support via the Labour Office and their applications are individually discussed by the government.
    Vladimír Dlouhý, President of the Czech Chamber of Commerce, pointed out that the approval process is lengthy, inflexible and too bureaucratic that companies would rather try to solve their problems in other ways.
    [A common complaint, for example, with Canada's federal worksharing program, but as it becomes clearer and clearer that worksharing programs are needed for longer and longer terms, they will get streamlined and gradually transformed into Timesizing programs which create their own economic recovery rather than waiting and waiting for recovery to appear from somewhere else.]

  2. Gateway Medical institutes furloughs, by Jimmy Settle, jsettle@theleafchronicle.com, Clarksville Leaf-Chronicle via theleafchronicle.com
    CLARKSVILLE, Tenn., USA — Gateway Medical Center confirmed Monday that about 2 percent of its administrative support staff has been affected by furloughs and reduced work hours, in response to fiscal challenges faced at the Clarksville-based hospital.
    [Here two types of shorter worktime are used together, furloughs and reduced workhours, alias workmonth and workday reduction. In either case, they're far better than workforce reduction which has many more negative repercussions in terms of generating anxiety and pullbacks in spending by laid-off employees and their dependents, with domino diminishing-effects on local businesses and markets and monetary circulation and marketable productivity and investment solidity.]
    In an emailed statement to The Leaf-Chronicle, Gateway spokesman Ryan Windham said the local hospital "continues to operate in a challenging environment" with declining patient insurance reimbursements.
    "In response," Windham wrote, "we have made adjustments to our administrative support staff by reducing hours for some employees and making a small number of furloughs.
    "No affected positions are responsible for providing direct patient care. We are committed to serving the healthcare needs of our community and managing our operations for the long-term health of the hospital," he said.
    Asked how many employees the move affects specifically, Windham responded, "Approximately 2 percent of our workforce was affected by furloughs."
    The confirmation of a reduction in workforce hours comes after Gateway was recently granted authorization by the state for a certificate of need to build a satellite emergency facility near the city's Exit 11 corridor. That CON decision is being appealed, however, by the competing Springfield-based NorthCrest Medical Center, which also has sought approval for a satellite ER in the same vicinity of Clarksville.
    Reach Business Editor Jimmy Settle at 931-245-0247 and on Twitter @settle_leaf.




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Oct.1-5/2004
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Sept.7-10/2004
Sept.4-6/2004
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Jan.31 + Feb.1-10/2004
Jan.21-30/2004
Jan.10-20/2004
Jan.1-9/2004
2003
2002
2001
Y2000
1999
1998 and previous years.

For more details, see our laypersons' guide Timesizing, Not Downsizing on Amazon.com.

Questions, comments, feedback? Phone 617-623-8080 (Boston, Mass., USA) or email us.


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