Timesizing® Associates

Downsizings, December 1-15/2000
[Commentary] ©2000 Phil Hyde, The Timesizing Wire, Box 117, Harvard Square, Cambridge MA 02238 USA (617) 623-8080


12/15/2000  2 downsizings reported, totaling 800 lost U.S. jobs -

  1. Digital Broadband [Communications] fires 450 workers, by Peter Howe, Boston Globe, D3.
    ...A [Waltham, Mass.-based] provider of digital subscriber line highspeed Internet access...laid off 450 of its 526 employees [86%], becoming the latest casualty in the DSL market meltdown. Just a week after HarvardNet of Medford [Mass.] announced it was dropping its DSL business and firing 60% of its 480 workers [see below, 12/07/2000, item 5], Digital Broadband said it failed to get more money to cover losses and network construction costs as it tried to reach profitability....
    [A roundup of downsizings in "Adero Inc. slashes jobs in 2d wave of cutbacks," by Healy & Bray, 12/19/00 Boston Globe C3, calls this 730 layoffs but we'll stick with this lower figure till we get corroboration of the higher one.]

  2. Northeast Utilities to cut 350 jobs, Bloomberg via Boston Globe, D5.
    Northeast Utilities, which is being bought by NYC's electric utility Consolidated Edison Inc. for $7.49B...will cut about 350 support staff jobs by March 1 as a result of the Con Ed acquisition.
    [Again the lethal takeover-downsizing connection.]
    The company said on its website it employs 9,639 people, suggesting the cuts represent about 3.6% of its total workforce. A smaller administrative staff will ease the transition related to the merger, chairman and CEO Michael Morris said in a live broadcast to employees....
    [Mike, baby, a smaller administrative staff won't ease anything. Demoralizing people with jobcuts and then expecting the survivors to do more work for the same pay is like an unfunded mandate from the federal government. Fat heads in government and business are full of ideas about what sacrifices other people should make, so they can get fatter. This is a formula for low productivity and failure - in a word, unsustainability. By contrast, well-run timesizing companies like Lincoln Electric practice the principle of "all sacrifice together, starting at the top.]

12/14/2000  3 downsizings reported, totaling 13,500 lost So. Korean & American jobs -
  1. Daewoo labor deal unravels, Bloomberg via NYT, W1.
    Union officials [are] withdrawing support for a plan to revamp Daewoo Motor [of South Korea], which is insolvent, because creditors pushed for cost-cutting measures without consulting workers. The company wants to shed 7,000 jobs, or two-fifths [40%] of its workforce to return to profitability in 2001 under a plan developed by Arthur Anderson.
    [Too bad Arthur Anderson isn't as smart as the savior of postwar Japan, W. Edwards Deming, whose Eighth Point for Management was "Banish fear from the workplace." The specifics on this downsizing turned up two weeks later in "Daewoo workers balking at retirement," Bloomberg via 12/27/00 NYT C4 - "...Management announced plans on Dec. 16 to cut 6,850 jobs, including 5,374 assembly workers."]
    Union support is seen as crucial to keeping Daewoo in operation long enough for creditors to sell it, possibly to General Motors and Fiat.
    [Yeah, like GM is gonna buy this white elephant when just yesterday it laid off nearly 7000 people of its own - not that it's ever cared too much about its own, as Michael Moore ("Roger and Me") can testify.]

  2. In downturn, an overhaul for Whirlpool, by David Barboza, NYT, C1.
    In yet another sign the economy may be slowing...
    [How many signs does it take for this reporter?]
    ...the nation's biggest maker of home appliances..\..announced a major reorganization [yester]day and said that it would cut up to 6,300 jobs, or about 10% of its workforce because of weakening demand for its products.... Whirlpool attributed its troubles to a sagging economy and stiff price competition in the appliance industry. "There are lots of uncertainties impacting consumers today," said David R. Whitwam, the chairman and CEO of Whirlpool...
    [Yeah Davey, and you just created some Big Ones for 6300 of your best consumers right before Xmas when you could have cut the workweek a mere 10% for your whole corporate team and kept everyone working and earning. "But why would employees accept a 10% paycut?" Because they can no longer assume that the "ocean" of job openings is infinite (it never is except in wartime or under timesizing) and some takehome pay is better than none, especially when the more downsizing you accept, the more downsizing you get. It's self-fueling.]
    ...who noted that a drop in stock prices, among other things, has weakened consumer confidence....
    [The trouble with these guys is they don't know anyone who works for a living and they don't even know any of their own employees whose stockholdings are insignificant.]

  3. [And that "giant sucking sound" again -]
    Cone Mills to close U.S. plant and expand in Mexico, Dow Jones via NYT, C4.
    ...A manufacturer of denim and other fabrics [will] close its money-losing Raytex decorative fabric printing plant in Marion, SC, and lay off 200 workers, or 4.7% of its workforce.
    At the same time, the company, based in Greensboro, NC, [will] spend $18m to expand a Mexican joint venture with Compania Industrial de Parras to expand denim production at the Parras Cone plant by 35%....
    [What lengths our CEOs will goto to downsize their American markets and their own future - $18m indeed!]

12/13/2000  6 downsizings reported, totaling 25,565 +unspecified lost jobs -
  1. G.M. phaseout of Olds[mobile division over the next several years] is at center of a range of cutbacks, by Keith Bradsher, NYT, C1.
    ...Stuck with the largest supply of unsold cars since the 1991 recession in an auto market that has slowed significantly, GM also announced that it would eliminate 10% of its 66,000 salaried jobs and 11,000 contract positions in the United States and Europe. The company said it would close a 2,000-employee assembly plant in Britain.
    [It's not clear whether the 2000 is additional to the 11000 and 6600 job eliminations because the word "also" isn't there, but let's assume it is, because an assembly plant is probably mostly permanent waged, not contract (temp) or salaried. So we've got a total of 19,600 jobcuts. Michael Moore of "Roger and Me" will love this - not.]
    Rick Wagoner, GM's CEO, said that the jobcuts would come "primarily through voluntary separation and early retirement programs." Blue collar workers will be largely insulated from layoffs.
    [What about the 2000 at the assembly plant in Britain?! Do we have to look this up on the Web again because of poor reporting?! The following is no help.]
    The same assembly plants in the U.S. that make Oldsmobilies build similar cars for other divisions, like Chevrolet and Buick, and will stay open. GM hired tens of thousands of factory workers a year in the 1960s and now has 6-8% of its blue-collar workforce retiring each year. So instead of dismissing them, it can more easily transfer its blue-collar workers as factories close.
    [So if "as goes GM, so goes America" as an arrogant GM executive spouted in the 50s, then America is closing factories and losing jobs. And if the world follows America, so is the world. Boy, guess that means that unless we cut the workweek, we'll need a lot more makework throughout the economy - or a lot more strained media happytalk to mask the spreading recession (mustn't say "depression" = taboo in America because FDR ended the Depression to end all depressions - just like Wilson ended the War to end all wars. Hang on. This may be an additional downsizing coming up -]
    Still, GM confirmed the long-expected closing of a 900-employee engine factory in Lansing, Mich., Oldsmobile's hometown.
    [And again, an engine factory doesn't sound particularly "salaried" or "contract," so assuming they would have said "included in the previous eliminations are" if they were, and they didn't, we now have a grand total of 6600+11000+2000+900= 20,500 jobcuts.]
    While GM warned that its profits would take a hit, the decision to end the Oldsmobile brand was welcomed on Wall Street, where "investors" [our quotes -ed.] bid up GM's stock 19 cents a share....
    [If these morons were anything but speculators, they'd realize that this is very bad for the long term and clobber the stock price with a huge sell-off. And with due respect to Michael Moore and his hometown of Flint, Mich., we can't think of a better candidate for corporate demise (with the possible exceptions of taxbreak-sucking Raytheon and Fidelity) because of GM's arrogance throughout the years and it's dirty tricks vs. steam railroading and electric trolleys.]
    GM will continue to sell its current Oldsmobile models but will not develop any new ones. Production of each of the current models will be halted once the price they can be sold at falls below the cost of assembling them.... The money that otherwise would have gone to designing and promoting new Oldsmobile models will be spent on other vehicles instead, particularly Saturns, which will replace Oldsmobiles as the cars that GM relies on most to fight foreign brands in the U.S.
    Olds... dealers criticized GM's decision.... They argued [against] abandoning older buyers of large cars the last five years in [GM's] unsuccessful attempt to woo younger, better-educated customers instead.... Oldsmobile was founded by Ransom E. Olds in 1897, six years before the creation of the Ford Motor Co....
    [And in the accompanying article, "A storied nameplate relegated to the museum," by Jim Motavalli, NYT, C4, we learn that "Oldsmobile had been the oldest surviving American automobile brand, outliving some 2,500 others." Today's Globe version, "GM puts its Oldsmobile brand on the scrap heap," Washington Post via Boston Globe, C2, reminds us of a few of the brands that Olds has outlived, "such names as Hudson, Nash, Studebaker, and Packard" and let's not forget Edsel and, what was the name of that silver sportscar owned by the guy that GM got the FBI to frame for drug possession? Oh yeah, the Delorian. And then there was the Duesenberg which gave rise to that wonderful phrase, "It was a doozey!" Plus our personal fave, the Stanley Steamer - hey, we're talking renewable fuel source here!]

  2. Cutbacks at bottler, Bloomberg via NYT, W1.
    Panamerican Beverages Inc. [will] reorganize its operations in Venezuela, Colombia and Mexico, cut about 3,300 jobs, or about 8% of its workforce, and take charges totaling $431m in an effort to cut costs and return to profitability.
    [Sooner or later CEOs are going to have to realize that the only they can, as a group, return to profitability is by relinquishing some of their huge share of the profits, far more than they can spend, and reinvesting in their own markets via their own employees' wages.]
    Panamerican, based in Mexico City, is a major Coca-Cola bottler and the largest soft-drink bottler in Latin America....

  3. Cutbacks at wheel maker, Bloomberg via NYT, C2.
    The largest manufacturer of wheels for the automobile industry, Hayes Lemmerz International [will] eliminate 1,200 jobs, or about 8% of its workforce...as part of a program to cut costs and dispose of surplus assets..\..because of production cutbacks that are being made by its customers. The company, based in Northville, Mich., said that the jobs would be eliminated in the U.S., Europe and Brazil....

  4. Georgia-Pacific Group, NYT, C4.
    ...Atlanta, [will] shut two paper-making machines and a pulp mill in Kalamazoo, Mich., on Dec. 22 and lay off 285 workers to cut costs.

  5. 'Ask Jeeves' lays off workers, by Michael Liedtke, AP-NY-12-12-00 2042EST via AOLNews via RadioTony.
    ...A search engine whose aristocratic butler is one of the Internet industry's best-known mascots, laid off 25% of its workforce in the latest fallout from the faltering online advertising market. By jettisoning 180 workers, the [Emeryville, Calif.-based] company estimated that it will save about $45m annually [and get] on course to turn a quarterly profit by the end of next year.... It will absorb a one-time charge ranging from $10-12m to pay for severance packages and other expenses incurred in the shake-up.
    ...Ask Jeeves [is] the 2nd major search engine to slash its workforce during the last three months. In September, Palo Alto-based AltaVista Co. trimmed 225 workers from its payroll.... The turmoil at Ask Jeeves reflects the weakening market for online advertising, which suffers as more dot-com businesses go out of business or slash their marketing budgets in an attempt to stay alive. The slowdown has put a crimp in the business plans of many popular websites that depend on advertising for revenue.... Even as its stock has sunk, Ask Jeeves' websites, including ask.com, directhit.com, and askjeeveskids.com, have grown in popularity. Using a technology that allows websurfers to make search requests as simple questions, the Ask Jeeves sites field about 11m queries from 45m visitors per day....

  6. Pat goes shopping, 2, by Steve Bailey, Boston Globe, C1.
    ...Pat Purcell...the Boston Herald owner...is shopping for his financing,...no simple matter.... Newspaper advertising has gone south with the economy \so Pat's attempted\ $150m purchase of Fidelity Investment's Massachusetts newspaper chain [= Community Newspapers?]...has gotten much harder.... Purcell is looking to raise about $175m in debt and equity.... He plans to pay for all the new borrowing [with] cost cuts. The company [= Boston Herald?] expects to save $4.3m immediately by cutting 50 positions at the Fidelity papers, eliminating open positions at the Herald, and other efficiencies. "Other items such as redundant staff reductions (consisting of up to an incremental 50 positions), revenue enhancements [...ad hikes...] and elimination of underperforming publications will be implemented within 60-90 days of closing [the deal]," according to the plan. Enjoy your community paper while you can....
    [Once again, the wording is unclear, but this looks like a total of 50+50= 100 jobcuts.]
12/12/2000  1 downsizing reported, 93 lost S.F. jobs - 12/11/2000  1 weekend downsizing reported, unspecified lost jobs - 12/09/2000  4 downsizings reported, totaling 272 + unspecified lost jobs -
  1. Pope Resources, NYT, B3.
    ...Poulsbo, Wash., an owner and developer of timberland [will] sell some of its resort and commercial properties and its Canadian forestry consulting business and eliminate about 150 jobs, or 60% of its workforce to focus on managing and expanding its tree farms.

  2. Allianz, Europe['s 2nd-biggest] insurer, trims South Africa business, Bloomberg via NYT, B3.
    Allianz AG [will] scale back...to about a fifth of its current size and lay off "a large number" of its 283 workers in [South Africa] to stem losses. [It will] stop offering conventional insurance to all but its biggest international clients in South Africa beginning in March....
    [So let's say in round figures, 100 jobcuts.]

  3. General Dynamics Corp., NYT, B3.
    ...Falls Church, Va., the U.S. Navy's largest shipbuilder...dismissed 322 employees, or about 5% of [its] workforce since Oct. at its Bath Iron Works unit in Maine to lower costs.
    [Well we already counted 300 of these on 12/03 below, so now we'll just count the other 22 jobcuts.]

  4. Sovereign to shut offices, by Scott Nelson, Boston Globe, F1.
    Sovereign Bank New England announced plans to close 19 branch offices inside Stop&Shop stores in Rhode Island. A 5-year contract between the bank and the supermarket chain expires in the spring, and Sovereign plans to begin consolidating the branches shortly thereafter. Customers will be transferred to the nearest full-service branch....
    [And employees??? We'll put them down for unspecified jobcuts.]

12/08/2000  6 downsizings reported, totaling 2,821 lost jobs -
  1. Unisys plans revamping, Reuters via NYT, C3.
    Executives at Unisys told analysts yesterday that they were considering shedding their federal computer services unit and cutting 2,000 jobs, or 5% of the company's workforce, as it eliminates low-profit businesses.... The company, based in Blue Bell, Pa. [expects] Q4 revenue to fall as it [leaves] the businesses....

  2. Boeing to lay off 400 Calif. workers, AP-NY-12-07-00 1058EST via AOLNews via RadioTony.
    Boeing Co. plans to lay off 44% of its [900-person] Palmdale [Calif.] workforce, beginning...in Jan. or Feb..\..as $9m in modfication work ends on the space shuttle Columbia.... The layoffs affects workers in Boeing's Reusable Space Systems division. Columbia is the oldest orbiter in NASA's 4-shuttle fleet. It arrived at Air Force Plant 42 in Palmdale for modifications in Sept. 1999.
    Boeing will begin rehiring when[ever] space shuttle Discovery is sent to the plant for cockpit upgrades and modifications..\..said Boeing spokesman Keith Takahashi....
    With the Cold War over and reduction of defense contracts, the number of defense jobs in Southern California has plummeted. A study by the L.A. Economic Development Corp. showed aerospace and defense contractors employed 425,000 workers in 1988. That number fell to 189,000 by 1996.
    [A drop of 56% in 8 years?! This gives you some idea of why "war is good for the economy," some idea of why in New York at the beginning of the War of 1812(? - could have been the War with Mexico in 1848 - need to rewatch the early episodes of public TV's history of New York City) one observer noted, "Universal joy among the merchants." War pushes aside the whining of spoiled employers that they "can't find qualified applicants" and shows them what a real labor shortage looks like. Market forces drive up wages and centrifuge the astronomically centralized wealth out to where people actually need it and spend it, and the whole economy experiences a solid, demand-driven boom - not to be confused with today's hyperhyped supply&mktg-driven hollow boom aka bubble. Of course, the intelligent way to achieve all these benefits - without the costs and carnage of war - is Timesizing.]

  3. More cutbacks at NorthPoint [Communications Group], by Simon Romero, NYT, C3.
    ...A provider of high-speed Internet services...squeezed by the high costs of building a network and signs that consumer demand is not as strong as projected..\..dismissed 248 employees or nearly 20% of its workforce to cut costs.
    [Bay Area employment site ValleyJobs.com makes this 25% in "More than 2,300 jobs cut at Bay area Internet firms in December," Business Wire BW2109 DEC 28,2000 12:50 EASTERN via AOLNews. And if they keep dismissing employees, consumer demand will be even weaker, cuz there won't be as many confident consumers.]
    NorthPoint, based in San Francisco, made the move a week after Verizon Communications pulled out of an agreement to acquire the company.

  4. Cutbacks at another consultant, by Matt Richtel, NYT, C3.
    The Viant Corp. became the latest e-commerce consulting company to announce it would revamp its business and eliminate jobs.
    [See Scient, Xpedior and Lante yesterday, IXL on 11/29/2000 and MarchFirst on 11/14/2000.]
    Viant said it would lay off 125 employees - 17% of its workforce - and close its Dallas office....
    [If 125 employees was 17% of its total workforce, its total workforce was 735 before the cuts and is now 610.]

  5. Priceline.com halts expansion; fires 48, Bloomberg via Boston Globe, D6.
    ...Norwalk, Conn.-based..\..Priceline.com Inc...will indefinitely postpone expansion into new businesses [such as] b2b, term life insurance and cellular telephone mkts..\..and fire about 11% of its workforce as it focuses on sales of airline tickets and other services. It also...ended discussions with Softbank Corp. about starting a Japanese version of its Web business.
    [Lord, why would they want to open in Japan? The Japanese don't have any money, or rather, Japan has the same problem as here = the top 1% of the population has all the money and they couldn't spend it in a thousand lifetimes. Except in Japan, they've been in an admitted depression all during the 90s.]
    The jobcuts are the second announced in the last 6 weeks....
    [See 11/03/2000, and 10/06/2000.]

  6. HomeBase says it will convert or close its home stores, AP via NYT, C3.
    HomeBase Inc. [will] give up trying to compete with Home Dept and Lowe's. Instead, [it] will convert 67 of its home-improvement stores in 9 Western states into home furnishings stores and close the remaining 22 stores. The conversions and closings will take about a year....
    [Bottom line - unspecifed jobcuts.]

12/07/2000  10 downsizings reported, totaling 3,285 lost jobs -
  1. British Airways to cut workforce, Gatwick flights, Bloomberg via Boston Globe, D2.
    ...Europe's biggest airline..\..will cut staff and almost halve long-haul flights at London Gatwick airport to help reverse the carrier's losses stemming from its operations at the UK's second-largest airport.... The two-year plan...shifts 10 international routes to [BA's] main London base at Heathrow International Airport, reduces by 1,000 its work force and cuts capacity by 20% by axing unprofitable routes.... In eliminating duplication between the two London bases, Rod Eddington, chief executive since April, is correcting BA's failure to develop a second hub to compensate for limited growth prospects at Heathrow.... Eddington said...the job cuts will take place over 2-3 years, with "the vast majority" coming from attrition.

  2. Scient warns of shortfall; will revamp and cut jobs, Bloomberg via NYT, C4.
    ...An e-commerce consulting firm whose fortunes have mirrored the rise and downturn of the dot-com economy [will] lay off 460 employees and reorganize its business, as it projected that quarterly earnings would fall far short of earlier estimates.... In announcing the layoff of about one-quarter [25%] of Scient's workers, Bob Howe, the company's chairman and chief executive, blamed an abrupt downturn in demand for its services, which entail creating websites and e-commerce strategies for corporations. Mr. Howe said Scient had also had an increase in competition from other consulting firms, which were undercutting its prices. ...Scient, which is based in San Francisco, [plans] to close offices in Austin, Tex., and in Silicon Valley..\..
    David Sturtz, research analyst for Credit Suisse First Boston, said..."This is all a byproduct of this irrational euphoria that created the Internet boom.... There was a tremendous amount of venture capital [V.C.] and IPO money poured into this market and that is all gone and the need for all the bodies is gone as well.... They gorged themselves on V.C.-backed clients," he said.

  3. Scient warns of shortfall; will revamp and cut jobs, Bloomberg via NYT, C4.
    ...Other Web consulting firms are suffering too. ...Xpedior Inc. said it would eliminate 380 jobs....

  4. Springs Industries, NYT, C4.
    ...Fort Mill, SC, a manufacturer of bed linen, [will] close some production lines at plants in Chester County, SC, in February and eliminate 320 jobs.

  5. HarvardNet to stop DSL service, fire [58% of 480-person] staff - Couldn't sustain high buildout costs, by Peter Howe, Boston Globe, D4.
    ...The Medford [Mass.]-based telecommunications service provider...is shutting down its entire digital subscriber line high-speed Internet access operation and laying off...200 workers by tomorrow and 80 more in January. [It] will shut down DSL offices in Westbrook, Maine, and Portsmouth, NH.
    [For a total of 200+80= 280 jobcuts altogether.]
    The company has arranged a job fair Monday [12/11] and is confident many employees can find jobs locally elsewhere in the still generally thriving telecommunications industry.
    ["Still" but how much longer?]
    ..\..HarvardNet president Mark Washburn said the company will shift to focus solely on hosting and managing corporate and institutional Web pages, a line of business that he said has far better chances of becoming profitable....
    HarvardNet has been buffetted by rumors of layoffs for weeks. This fall it waged a heated legal battle with an ex-employee who set up a HarvardNetSucks.com website that posted criticism of Washburn's management from company founder Bill Southworth and former HarvardNet president Brent Paine. A HarvardNet chat site at a profanely named website that specializes in Internet companies had attracted hundreds of posts in recent weeks, many apparently from unhappy HarvardNet insiders....

  6. Hasbro to increase job cuts; sells unit, Bloomberg via Boston Globe, D2.
    [NYT wimped out on this one - no mention of jobcuts in "Hasbro issues 4th-quarter earnings warning," Bloomberg via NYT, C4.]
    ...Hasbro increased the number of jobs it will eliminate to 750 from the 500-550 it originally estimated in October to cut costs....
    [Well, we've already called it 525 and counted them back on 10/13/2000, so we'll count an extra 750-525= 225 jobcuts now.]

  7. Scient warns of shortfall; will revamp and cut jobs, Bloomberg via NYT, C4.
    ...Other Web consulting firms are suffering too. On Tuesday, the Lante Corporation said that it expected to cut 120 jobs....

  8. Women.com [Networks] cuts staff, Reuters via NYT, C4.
    ...[A provider of] women-focused content and shopping services..\..based in San Mateo, Calif...founded in 1992 [and now] one of the older Internet companies \has\ slashed 85 jobs, or about 25% of its workforce, in an effort to save money and stay on track to achieve profitability....
    [It's been around since 1992 and it still hasn't achieved profitability??? Give it up!]

  9. GSI Lumonics, NYT, C4.
    ...Kanata, Ontario, a maker of laser-based manufacturing systems...cut about 80 jobs, or 5% of its workforce, at its Rugby, England, plant to reduce costs....

  10. Nordstrom laying off 35 people and cutting 2 catalogs, Bloomberg via NYT, C4.
    ...The operator of department stores said yesterday that its Nordstrom.com unit was laying off 35 people in Seattle [3.5%] as it reduces the number of catalogs it publishes to two from four. The Internet unit has 1,000 employees.... "We were mailing our customers too many catalogs," Nordstrom.com's CEO, Dan Nordstrom, said....
    [No kidding. Nice that one of you realizes it. Just a symptom of the spreading desperation for markets, hmm? But if you guys keep laying off employees, where do suppose the markets are going to come from? Only one long-range alternative = timesizing, not downsizing.]

12/06/2000  5 downsizings reported, totaling 5,728 lost jobs -
  1. Union: Union Pacific expands cuts, AP-NY-12-05-00 1424EST via AOLNews via RadioTony.
    ...A union official said..\..the nation's largest railroad is laying off 4,638 workers as part of its winter layoffs, thousands more than in recent years and about half of Union Pacific Railroad's building and maintenance workers....
    ["Winter layoffs"!?? These morons practice seasonal downsizing instead of seasonal timesizing?! What a pathetic excuse for managers! This means that every year they impose on the unemployment insurance system and risk losing part of their skill set in a recurring situation that is highly predictable. What a bunch of goofs. Is this the kind of crap they teach them at this nation's business schools? If so, no wonder we're inducing depression and treading water in terms of substantial societal progress. And by 'progress' we do not mean the waves of superficial technological glitz that are constantly being passed off as 'progress'!]
    "They gave us a memo and said it was for budget reasons," Dave Tanner, general chairman of the U.P. division of the Brotherhood of Maintenance of Way Employees, told the Omaha World-Herald. "We're evaluating what we can do to get these people back to work."
    [The unions are really no brighter than management. You can negotiate for seasonal timesizing, not downsizing, Dave. Look at your own union history and get with sharing the vanishing work. Ever heard of 'solidarity'? It means keeping people together, sacrificing together as well as enjoying the profits together. As long as you accept layoffs instead of hours cuts, you're not keeping people together or sacrificing together. You're letting a few people take the whole spear and the rest get off scot-free - except the disemployed then constitute a downward pressure on their wages at the next contract negotiations.]
    Tanner said Monday that the largest previous layoff he could remember in 30 years of working on the railroad took place in September 1998 when Union Pacific cut about 600 track maintenance workers for the season.
    Union Pacific spokesman John Bromley acknowledged that more workers were getting pink slips than last year, but said seasonal layoffs occur every year.
    [Pretty stupid, John.]
    The number of job cuts were in line with previous years, he said, adding that the railroad has grown significantly over 30 years and employs more people. Comparing some years with others is an "apples and oranges kind of thing," Bromley said.
    [John, make up your mind. Are the cuts in line with previous years or you can't compare them? (John don't seem too bright, do he. Let's try this on him -) John, ya ever heard of percentages, as in percentage-of-workforce laid off? That's how you compare the "apples and oranges" of layoffs across a growing workforce.]
    The job cuts occur when construction on culverts, tracks and bridges ends, especially in the northern half of Union Pacific's system. Bromley said this year's layoffs are systemwide. But the railroad expects to resume projects at the first of the year, when most of the workers are expected to return to their jobs.
    [Lordy, with this kind of seasonal predictability, you don't even have to timesize across employees. You can just annualize hours and pay on an individual-employee basis - work'em longer in the summer and shorter or not at all in the winter, but pay them an even amount all year long. Can you spell a-v-e-r-a-g-i-n-g, John? Hate to see railroad men actin so dumb.]

  2. Outboard Marine plans layoffs of 14% of staff, Bloomberg via NYT, C4.
    The Outboard Marine unit of Greenmarine Holdings [will] lay off...about 1,000 [employees] to cut costs because demand for marine recreational vehincles [has] slowed. Outboard, based in Waukegan, Ill., said problems with the supply of engine materials also hurt its operating performance....

  3. Grand Ole Opry going offline, Reuters via NYT, C8.
    Gaylord Entertainment, owner of the Grand Ole Opry, [is] exiting the Internet business and cutting 85 related jobs. Gaylord [expects] to sell or shut down its online unit, Gaylord Digital, by the end of the month....

  4. Oxygen Media to eliminate 10% of its jobs, by Bill Carter, NYT, C8.
    ...[An owner of] a cable TV channel and many websites devoted to programming and information aimed at women..\..will lay off about 65 employees...as part of an overhaul of its finances.... Oxygen laid off 18 people last summer when it temporarily ceased production on some cable TV shows. But...all of those jobs had been refilled when the shows went back into production.
    [More wasteful firing and hiring in this primitive frozen-workweek makework-loaded type of capitalism we facetiously call efficient. At least Oxygen Media isn't doing it annually like the Union Pacific above.]

  5. JuniorNet.com fires 33% of staff, by Beth Healy, Boston Globe, D10.
    ...A Boston company that provides online entertainment for children said it fired 40 employees.... The struggling startup...said the cutbacks occurred across all departments and were necessary to its long-term strategy....
    [If there's one thing that downsizing is NOT, it's a "long-term strategy." On the other hand, timesizing is a long-term strategy.]

12/05/2000  8 downsizings reported, totaling 1,654 lost jobs -
  1. Dun & Bradstreet raises number of job cuts to 1,300, Bloomberg via NYT, C4.
    ...A provider of credit reports and other business information said its cost-cutting program, begun in October would eliminate...1,000 more [jobs] than previously announced. Of the 1,300 [total]. 42% are in North America, 52% are in Europe, and 6% are elsewhere.... About 400 of the 1,300 [total] are vacant....
    [This implies 1300-1000= 300 previously announced. We think the NYT and Boston Globe missed that announcement because we've only archived one previous announcement of 700 jobcuts twelve months ago - see 12/18/1999. So we're counting all 1300 jobcuts here.]

  2. DoubleClick in layoffs as online advertising slackens, by Chris Gaither, NYT, C4.
    ...Engage [Technologies] in September announced plans to eliminate 175 jobs....
    [There are 2 other downsizings mentioned in this article. We already picked up & counted the one at 24/7 Media on 11/11/2000. Now here's the title layoff -]

  3. DoubleClick in layoffs as online advertising slackens - A victim of weaker enthusiasm over the technology sector, by Chris Gaither, NYT, C4.
    Cutbacks in the Internet advertising industry have reached DoubleClick, which laid off more than 150 employees, or about 7% of its workforce yesterday....
    [And from "DoubleClick cuts jobs, sees ad slowdown," Reuters 12:19 12-05-00 via AOLNews via RadioTony, we learn -]
    ...The job cuts are the first in DoubleClick's five-year history. The company had employed about 1,980 people at the end of June, a figure that had grown to 2,100 or more by the end of September. "We have always carefully managed headcount to assure our productivity outpaces our competitors," the company said in a statement....
    ["Always" up until now, that is. And any modern company, especially a high-tech one, should know by now that productivity is not a matter of headcount, but a matter of technology level. Creativity is the thing that should vary with headcount - and morale - so with layoffs, you'll probably raise superficial productivity at the expense of real productivity and creativity. If DoubleClick had any sense, it'd be timesizing, not downsizing - trimming hours a little for everyone and keeping morale and creativity high, instead of trimming jobs completely for a few. What to do about unproductive employees? Fire them for cause with due standards and warnings on a case-by-case basis, and quit hiding behind en masse layoffs "forced" by "economic conditions."]
    DoubleClick spends about $160,000 per year per employee..\..Executive VP Jeffrey Epstein...said. That includes compensation, benefits, the cost of providing office space and other expenses.
    [How much can office space cost in a pathetic age of shrinking, noisy cubicles?]
    "We have too many people for the revenue that we have currently," Epstein said.
    [No, you have too many working hours for the revenue you have currently. You've got everyone working hard, offering 'face time,' instead of working smart. How bizarrely backward in an age of miraculously worksaving technology that conventional executives and business "leaders" can't stop thinking in terms of quantity of employees instead of quality of working hours.]
    The company would be closing some offices, he said, and some new product lines have been pushed back in the development pipeline.
    [Oh that's a real smart move - like offering your jugular to a pack of hyenas.]

  4. Casualties of managed care - Hospitals lay off doctors in wake of failed strategy, by Liz Kowalczyk, Boston Globe, C1,C7.
    ...Emerson Hospital [Concord, Mass.] is closing its primary-care group, part of Emerson Practice Associates, and laying off 19 doctors by Jan. 1. It is losing $2m a year on the group, which has 7,000 patients....

  5. Casualties of managed care - Hospitals lay off doctors in wake of failed strategy, by Liz Kowalczyk, Boston Globe, C1,C7.
    ...And New England Medical Center said last week it's laying off six of 36 primary-care doctors [17%]....

  6. Casualties of managed care, by Liz Kowalczyk, Boston Globe, C1,C7.
    ...CareGroup, the network headed by Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center in Boston, is walking away from the Brockton medical group it co-owns and is considering pulling out of Sharon, where is employs four doctors. It already has closed practices in Weston and Cambridge, where it employed several physicians..\..
    ["Several"? Two at each location would probably be a very conservative estimate, for a total of 4 physician layoffs by CareGroup. Not to rub it in or anything, but remember when Americans were sneering at the Canadian system, and now the U.S health system has joined the American family, educational system, prison system, dot-com industry, presidential election system - we can't even think of them all now - in becoming another aspect of a nation in decline. America's healthcare "system" is a mess, and it all starts with the fact that doctors are trained to be sick - via a training program that fosters sleep deficit - see "Med students lose sleep to protest for shorter shifts" on 11/14/2000. Europeans have long noted and deplored this, but it goes on and on, and it's spread to lawyers and to dot-coms and further and further into the society. Workoholism, the ability to say "I'm busier than you, ergo I'm more important and should get more money than you" is pandemic in the American socio-economy.]
    Dr. Virginia Latham [laid off by Emerson Hospital - see above] said, "This is very sad. But Emerson Hospital is not the bad guy. I don't agree with the choice they made, but I understand it. They needed to preserve their own viability. We need to stop pointing fingers at each other and figure out a way to make the health system work."...

  7. Streamlining at Deutsche Bank, Dow Jones via NYT, C4.
    At a weekend board meeting, Deutsche Bank decided to reorganize its five divisions into two, with business banking, investment banking and real estate activities in a new corporate and institutional customer group, and securities, cash management and trade finance in a new asset management and private banking group. Analysts said that in addition to promised efficiencies the move seemed to set up visible springboards for two key lieutenants of Josef Ackerman, who will succeed the current chairman...in 2002.
    ["Promised efficiencies" meaning unspecified layoffs.]

  8. 'Seattle Times' plans staff cuts, AP-NY-12-04-00 2059EST via AOLNews via RadioTony.
    The president of the Seattle Times Co. said Monday his newspaper plans to cut staff positions in response to a two-week-old strike against the city's two major daily papers. Times President H. Mason Sizemore, who said money set aside to invest in the company has been diverted to cope with the Pacific Northwest Newspaper Guild strike, would not specify the timing or the size of contemplated job cuts....

12/03/2000  1 weekend downsizing report, totaling 300 lost Maine jobs - 12/02/2000  4 downsizings reported, totaling 2,466 lost US jobs -
  1. Delphi Automotive to cut more than 1,700 jobs, Bloomberg via NYT, B3.
    ...The world's largest autoparts maker [will] furlough more than 1,700 workers in plants in Mich., Oh., and NY because production of cars and light trucks in North America is slowing. The workers will be laid off indefinitely staring in the next three weeks...and will draw 95% of their regular pay; all will eventually be rehired.
    [Notice to leftists who think that "capitalists" would never do anything for workers apparently against their own interests - note that this indefinite 95%-paid furlough is a lot more radical than Timesizing, yet here it is. The left has no monopoly on the interests of workers. And the left-right distinction is irrelevant to the future. The more conservative approach of Timesizing would still be much better for a number of reasons than this suicidal blank check that Delphi has issued its employees. Timesizing varies the corporate workweek gradually with revenues and keeps everyone together, instead of these "keep going full blast till the last moment and then cut 1700 employees indefinitely" dramatics. Basically any downsizing policy creates a class system between those who get bumped and those who don't (or those who get extra vacation and those who don't), whereas any Timesizing system keeps everyone together and makes the term "corporate teamwork" more than an empty phrase.]

  2. Xerox to layoff 200 workers, AP-NY-12-01-00 1835EST via AOLNews via RadioTony.
    ...The Stamford, Conn.-based office equipment maker, reeling from stiff competition, posted its first quarterly loss in 16 years in October and has embarked on an overhaul that calls for slashing jobs, cutting costs and selling off billions of dollars in assets. The company said Friday it handed out layoff notices this week to 200 union[ized production] workers in the Rochester [NY] area, many of them hired within the last three years. They will receive pay and benefits until Jan. 26 but must remain on the job until at least Dec. 22. It is the first time in over a year that Xerox has eliminated union jobs. About 3,000 Xerox workers in the Rochester region, most located at a production hub in suburban Webster, are represented by the Union of Needletrades, Industrial and Textile Employees. Another 75 temporary jobs at inkjet-design and manufacturing plants in the nearby towns of Canandaigua and Farmington also have been eliminated. \The 200+75 is\ on top of 350 administrative...white-collar jobs in the United States who were let go...on Nov.15 [& not reported then, so we'll count'em now -ed.]...115 of them in Rochester \NY\ .... Xerox currently employs 94,000 people worldwide....
    [So, 200+75+350= 625 lost jobs total, and 625/94000 makes it 0.7% of the workforce.]
    "This [just the 75 temp layoffs or the 200+75??] is relatively seasonal," said Xerox spokeswoman Christa Carone. "As you start to slow down production for selling in the first quarter, you reduce your workforce accordingly."...
    [Not if your smart, you don't. You just reduce your workweek accordingly. Hiring and firing people seasonally is inefficient in the way it mashes morale, wastes training, and damages your skillset. And even Moody's senses something of these problems -]
    Moody's [on] Friday lowered the long-term senior unsecured credit rating of Xerox [citing] uncertainty surrounding management's ability to address the company's operational challenges.... All of the recently announced job cuts are separate from the 5,200 layoffs that the company said in March [see our 4/01/2000 story] would be carried out by April 2001....
    [We agree with Moody's. If Xerox CEO Paul Allaire can't learn from Lincoln Electric over in Cleveland, and Nucor down in Charlotte NC that you don't run a company of innovators by fire&hire earthquakes but simply by minor ongoing workhour adjustments, then he has no business running a company that has contributed as many innovations as Xerox.]

  3. DSL.net Inc., NYT, B3.
    ...New Haven, a high-speed Internet-access provider [will] cut its workforce 28%, or 141 jobs, to conserve cash.... The moves will save the company $8m in fiscal 2001....

  4. Miller [Brewing unit of Philip Morris] is set to sell its Celis Brewery business, Bloomberg via NYT, B3.
    ...and...shut down the unit's plant in Austin, Tex., later this month.... Celis is sold mostly in Texas. The Milwaukee-based Miller...bought...a majority interest [in Celis] in 1995 \and\ the remaining interest...in April..\.. Celis made 15,000 barrels of beer last year, a tiny share of Miller's total [43.3m barrel] output....
    [So, unspecified layoffs. This is another example of the toxic takeover-downsizing connection, and a sad example of the destructive effect that takeovers have on economic and product diversity dba consumer choice.]
12/01/2000  1 downsizing reported, 160 lost US jobs -

Click here for downsizing stories in -
Nov.16-30/2000.
Nov.1-15/2000.
Oct/2000.
Sep.16-30/2000.
Sep.1-15/2000.
Aug.16-31/2000.
Aug.1-15/2000.
Jul.16-31/2000.
Jul.1-15/2000.
Jun/2000.
May/2000.
Apr/2000.
Mar/2000.
Feb/2000.
Jan/2000.
Dec/1999.
Nov/99.
Oct/99.
Sept/99.
Aug.16-31/99.
Aug.1-15/99.
July/99.
May-Jun/99.
Mar-Apr/99.
Jan-Feb/99.
December/98.
November/98.
October/98.
prior to Sept. 30/98.

For more details, our laypersons' guide to our great economic future Timesizing, Not Downsizing is available at bookstores in Harvard Square, Cambridge, Mass. or from *Amazon.com online.

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


Return to Top | Return to Home Page