Phil "Mr. Timesizing®" Hyde

Downsizing stories prior to Sept. 30/98
[Commentary © 1998 Philip Hyde, PO Box 622, Cambridge MA 02140 USA]

9/29/98 Gillette will lay off 4,700 worldwide - 26 sites closing; impact in Mass. is uncertain, by Chris Reidy, Boston Globe frontpage.
[Instead of cutting this 11% of its WORKFORCE (and a smaller but spiralling percentage of its own market), Gillette should be reducing its WORKWEEK by 11% to 35.6 hours a week and KEEPING EVERYONE EMPLOYED - and purchasing razors.]

9/29 Varian [Assocs. of Gloucester, Mass.] slashing up to 200 more jobs, by Todd Wallack, Boston Herald, p. 35.
...because of the "lingering depression in the semiconductor industry." Varian's cutback is the first sign that the downturn in the semiconductor industry is growing worse. Just last week, Teradyne Inc. in Boston said it cut 300 to 400 jobs this quarter. And an industry trade group said members booked $60 in orders for every $100 in shipments last month - the worst ratio ever. "Business stinks," said analyst Fred Wolf of Adams Harkness & Hill in Boston. "It's not going to improve in the near-term." The problems can be traced to an oversupply of chips, declining PC prices and turmoil in Asia.... At least eight other firms have also reported local cutbacks. Varian has already cut nearly a third of its payroll, which numbered 1,100 jobs in February. But as it shed 330 jobs, it added another 90 through an acquisition. Another 145 to 200 of the remaining 860 workers will be let go....
[Keep downsizing your own markets, you morons, instead of timesizing to buffer your market hit by KEEPING EVERYONE EMPLOYED at a reduced workweek.]

9/27 Cheating death-by-Microsoft-upgrade, by Hiawatha Bray, Bos Globe, D1.
In 1994, Artisoft Inc. of Cambridge was riding high. Since then, it has shrunk from 700 employees to 150 and tumbled from a $13.6 million annual profit to a combined loss of more than $30 million. What happened? Windows 95....

9/27/1998  Lights Out:  For production workers, Osram's exit means NAFTA retraining provision kicks in - but anger and doubt persist, by Kathy McCabe, Bos Globe D1.
[So the middle class and the once-vast market it represented shrinks further by having to pay the training costs for these workers out of their taxes - to subsidize the astronomical pay of Osram executives.]
The closing of Osram Sylvania's light bulb factory in Danvers [Mass.] ends nearly a century of manufacturing by a Massachusetts company [photo caption].... whose bulbs have lit up everything from living rooms to Fenway Park and the Empire State Building../.. Osram's shift to Mexico and Canada has resulted in the loss of 690 Massachusetts jobs, including 570 workers laid off since July.... The average age of laid-off employees is 46. Blue collar workers at Osram earned an average of $24 an hour with benefits....
[There goes nearly 700 brand-loyal customers for Sylvania in Massachusetts, and their families, and their extended families, and their close friends - people who would buy Sylvania bulbs even if they were not the cheapest on sale. There goes nearly 700 families who were steady purchasers of all kinds of goods and services in Danvers - now they are strapped and are sharply curtailing their purchases of everything - all because the top executives of Osram Sylvania wanted to get cheaper labor elsewhere and keep their own astonomical salaries and perks steady and rising. But as the stock markets show, this near-sighted downsizing has already gone on so long that the purchasing power just is not out there anywhere in the world for virtually any big production facility that might serve as a destination for big investment.
The smarter move is to keep the jobs here and cut hours a bit if you want to save money. The long-term solution is to get bloated executive pay reinvested on as close as possible to a free-market basis in the wages of ordinary employees - that's what happens during wartime and that's why wars are good for economies - they stimulate spending by centrifuging wealth out of the top 10% and into the middle class, which has the time and need to spend it instead of just sitting on it.]

[Good news???...or just more executives trying to look like they're doing something.] 9/27 Troubled Signal [Technology Corp.] moves back to Massachusetts, Bos Globe, D4.

9/25 Cirrus plans to cut up to [500,] 28% of jobs, Bos Globe C2.
...The company employs about 1,800.
[Under timesizing, Cirrus would keep everybody employed, reassign jobs and cut the company workweek to 28.8 hrs/wk - just like VW did a few years ago to avoid 30,000 layoffs and the destruction of their home town of Wolfsburg in Germany.]

9/24 Philippine Airlines goes out of business, Bos Globe, p. C2.
...Asia's oldest. The shutdown left about 8,000 airline workers jobless.

9/23 Venator sheds last vestiges of Woolworth, Boston Globe, page F2.
...Venator, formerly known as Woolworth Corp., will sell its 357 general merchandise stores in Germany.... In recent years[owing to over three years of sagging sales and profits,] Venator has closed or sold more than 1,700 stores....

9/23 Intel to lay off 675 in Hudson [Mass.] - Chip maker vows output at facility won't decline, by Hiawatha Bray, Boston Globe, p. F1.
[Ed: Great! even more unpaid overtime and less customer base.]
A nationwide wave of job cuts at computer chip maker Intel Corp. has finally reached the Bay State.... The Hudson plant employs 1,600 workers. Intel purchased the facility from Digital Equipment Corp. for $700M last year, as partial settlement of a patent dispute [that] required Intel to manufacture Alpha chips for Digital...since acquired by...Compaq.... Compaq...will begin using Alpha chips to power its high-end Himalaya computer systems used by banks and telecommunications companies. "This doesn't change...our commitment to manufacture Alpha under the agreement with Digital," said Intel spokesman Bill Calder. "What has changed is we think we can operate this manufacturing facility more efficiently." Intel has been in a nationwide efficiency drive this year, as it contends with dramatic decreases in computer prices and competition from chip making upstarts like AMD and Cyrix....
[Fair enough, there's an article right above the "continued" section of this one titled "AMD...Microprocessor about third of cost of rival's [Intel's]" on p.F13. But then we get to the part where Intel, as if it were no smarter than so many low-tech companies that practice this "strategy," does something real stupid and short-sighted - it confuses efficiency with cutting its customer base (and that of its client banks and telecom companies), i.e., cutting its own employee-distributed earnings -]
In April, Intel vowed to cut its worldwide headcount of 65,000 by 3,000 workers this year, mostly by attrition. Even before then, in January, Intel laid off about 1,100 workers at a chip plant in Arizona. And in May, the company cut 600 more jobs by shutting a plant in Washington that made private-label computers for retailers.... Like most plants, the Hudson facility runs 24 hours a day on three shifts.
[OK, time for me to have a little chat with my fellow nerds, the nearsighted boys running Intel - ah do you guys realize you're in a downward spiral, what we used to call a "vrille" in the first world war? You're cutting people who constitute and generate a market for their own (sorry, your own) products. As Walter Reuther said to Henry Ford when Ford taunted him with "Let's see you unionize these robots!" - "Let's see you sell them cars." Why not go from three 8-hr shifts to four 6-hr shifts if you want efficiency and KEEP THEM ALL EMPLOYED?! That's what far-sighted W.K. Kellogg did in 1930 and it raised efficiency without clobbering the cereal maker's own market, directly or indirectly. See Benjamin Hunnicutt's "Kellogg's Six-Hour Day" (Temple U, 1996).]
To...the father of Acting Governor Paul Celluci, [Argeo Celluci,] the news came as a disappointment, but not a surprise. Digital's management had overstaffed the plant, Celluci said, and layoffs were inevitable under the new owners.
[20/20 hindsight on "overstaffed," coupled with the last refuge of the near-term disappointed, longer-term suicidal coward - the excuse that layoffs are "inevitable."]
But Celucci predicted the lost jobs would have little impact on the region's economy, and that most workers would quickly find other jobs in any case.
[Sure, sure. More happytalk and "conspiracy of optimism." As we used to say in fundamentalist religion, "It's a sin not to smile." Brand on that smile, Argeo! Let somebody else take care of these laid off workers. Hey, we had no choice (and no imagination or foresight). Hey, we can always play the export card, right? Wrong - the Asian slump has hurt exports 'The loss of factory jobs is accelerating, and that's an indication that we are being hurt by the Asian slump,' said Cynthia Latta [of DRI in Aaron Zitner's "US jobless rate" article, Bos Globe, 9/5/95, cited on my " collapse" page.
[More from that other article, "As the currencies of Japan, Thailand, South Korea and other countries have weakened, the price of goods from those countries has dropped. This has made it harder for US companies to sell their products at home, where consumers can buy low-cost imports, or to sell them abroad, where the currency crisis has cut consumers' purchasing power. The Asian crisis most recently spread to Russia, where the value of the ruble has collapsed, and has hurt currency values from Columbia to Canada.... While [US manufacturing] added 95,000 jobs in August, the sector actually lost 48,000 or more jobs if the returning auto workers are excluded." Gentlemen, there's nobody out there to save you but YOURSELVES, and if you don't start maintaining your own markets via maintaining your own firm's employment levels, your markets will continue downward, killed by...yourselves.
[Where to get the extra money? How about from your own extremely bloated pay packages, CEOs of America? That's where it came from in World War II the last time we reversed a slide of this magnitude. The truth is, nobody else has any money - that's why prices are sinking all over the world - and if you don't start reinvesting a lot more of what you've got in your own markets, you won't have any either, as indicated in yesterday's (9/22) article by Bailey and Syre, "Executives' losses don't look good on paper - Stock market slump has trimmed portfolios by hundreds of millions" - Boston Globe, p. D1. In the good old days of five years ago, decision-makers could amass enough money to completely insulate themselves from any negative consequences of their own decisions - ergo, no feedback loop, no respondability. Now they've amassed so much that their wealth compression itself is undermining its own value! Squeeze it enough and it can't run around and circulate, and that's bad when it's whole game is running around and circulating - that's why we call it "currency," i.e., RUNNING stuff. And at the risk of monotony, repeat after me, "The more concentration, the less circulation" - it's called the "marginal efficiency of wealth or investment" in economic textbooks - you boys are just investing too much in too little - yourselves!]

[And a tidbit from our shrinking healthcare industry, recently fully one seventh of our economy -]
9/23 Carney [Hospital] slashes 56 jobs, Boston Globe RegionBriefs, p. F7. [Doesn't sound like much but, read on...] laying off 56 full-time workers due to a drop in patients and multimillion-dollar cut-backs in the federal Medicare program. Spokeswoman...Baker-Gomez said..."We're expecting $4M less in revenues for next year." The hospital...asked people to volunteer for the layoffs.... Said Marge Adams, a critical care nurse..."We've never had anything as big as this." Hospital administrators are not expected to close any departments, but the layoffs will likely affect all departments. Carney's critical care unit, for example, will lose seven nurses.
[Even more overtime and stress, even less rest and employee health and...customer base. Funny how we get better and better equipment and technology, and worse and worse service from fewer and fewer more stressed out employees, and of course, there's more of us who need good service because fewer of us can afford health insurance and we have less and less money to keep ourselves healthy in a proactive way.
[At the risk of harping, we just don't know how to deal with technology. We would all be living in heaven if we used it for less work (and by market forces, more pay) instead of fewer jobs (and by market forces, less pay) - in other words, if we used it for "timesizing, not downsizing." If you're reading this and you haven't realized that this is the title of my book just out, go back to my top page and click on "For book lovers" in the menu near the bottom.]

[Now, a blast from the past (1996) to give Brockton Hospital a chance to show Carney what they SHOULD have done -]
2/29/96 Nurses OK hours cut to save jobs at hospital, by Diane Lewis, Boston Globe, p.30.
At a time when job security is uppermost in workers' minds, nurses at Brockton Hosptial have come up with a job-saving plan. Rather than the layoff of 86 nurses, the staff has agreed to reduced hours and pay cuts.... Under the plan,...about half of the 395 nurses...may give up one day a week or choose so-called flex positions and work a minimum of 24 to 32 hours weekly, with full benefits. When patient volume increases, nurses in flex positions would be asked to work 40 hours a week. "I'm new, which means without this plan I would not have a paycheck," said [Jennifer] O'Brien, who will now work in a 24 flex position.... Jody Fleit, a member of the union's negotiating team...developed the plan while reviewing the hospital's declining inpatient population and its staffing patterns.... Said Fleit..."For us, the challenge was to save jobs and have the right number of work hours per patient every day."
[And CEOs, remember that saving jobs is saving markets. Nucor Corp. of Charlotte, NC does the same kind of flexing as Brockton Hospital and they are one of the last surviving US steel companies. Similar, also, is Lincoln Electric of Cleveland, one of America's vanishing rustbelt companies (they make welding equipment and electric motors) but a survivor because of timesizing, not downsizing.]

Now back to the bad news - an entire downsized Canadian province -
9/20 Boston Globe Magazine's Colin Nickerson, p.14 - Newfoundland, farewell - Now that the once-abundant Grand Banks are fished out, many natives are doing something they never thought they'd do: leaving -
In 1992 [the federal minister of fisheries] ordered the fishing grounds closed indefinitely as stocks plummeted toward extinction [1,400,000,000 metric tons caught in 1968 down to 150,000 in 1991].... The desperate bid to protect the precious cod stripped nearly 30,000 fishermen and fish-plant workers of their livelihoods. By some reckonings, the emergency decree put 20% of Newfoundland's total work force onto the unemployment rolls.... Canada's poorest province - population 558,000 and falling - is also the only Canadian province to suffer a net loss of population in this decade.... In 1960, Newfoundland had 1,444 communities, mostly surviving on cod. Today, the number has shriveled to 700, as whole hamlets have been abandoned.... In interviews with recent graduates of [William Mercer Academy on the Bonavista Peninsula], students found that only 9% had gotten jobs in Newfoundland, while 42% had fled the province in search of work, 32% were on unemployment or welfare, and 17% were pursuing further education. [Hence Phil Hyde's identification of further education as yet another disguised government makework campaign.] Trepassey is one of those communities whose fortunes were tied wholly to the fishing grounds.... In five years, Trepassey's population has dropped by more than half, from 1,500 to fewer than 700 (53% unemployment and attrition).

9/19 The Economist 9 - The world's biggest chain of toyshops, Toys R Us, is to close 90 an effort to improve profitability. More than half of the shop it will be shutting are foreign. The firm has been suffering from cut-price competition.

9/16 Boston Globe's Jerry Ackerman F5 - ADE [Corp. of Westwood, MA] says it will lay off 15% [about 90 people] of its work force - Blames weakness in semiconductor industry
[This is a perfect situation for the type of timesizing legislated by the Robien Law from the rightwing in France between 1995 and 1997. To prevent 15% layoffs, firms were given seven-year taxbreaks to induce them to cut their corporate workweeks by 15%, reshuffle tasks and keep everyone employed and off the taxpayer. Disemploying people amplifies any downturn. Keeping them employed minimizes any downturn. CEOs take note - before you're facing government intervention on a scale that dwarfs the New Deal!]

9/11 AP via Boston Globe E4 - Pratt [& Whitney] to cut 1,000 [hourly] jobs in Conn. due to lost orders - or slightly more than 14% of its entire blue-collar work force in the state.... As many as 600 other salaried Pratt employees in the state also will face layoffs by the end of the year.... Other cuts to both salaried and hourly workers will be made at facilities in Maine, Florida and Georgia. This new round of cutbacks would bring Pratt employment in the state to about 6,000 hourly workers and 5,400 white-collar workers....\ Economic trouble in Asia has led some customers to defer engine orders, while instability in Russia has hampered sales and joint ventures.

9/9 Boston Globe's Michael Nol F2 - Metropolitan Life to cut 10% [or almost 2,000] of nonsales work force: Looks to slash costs as it mulls offering stock to public

9/3 Boston Globe D1 - Northwest [Airlines] lays off 27,000: Strike-plagued airline halts flights through Labor Day - Further layoffs are expected amoung Northwest's 50,000 employees as the strike continues
[Think this doesn't count because they'll get rehired when the strike's over? Hint - After getting left high and dry on Labor Day weekend, would you travel Northwest again? Depression doesn't arise suddenly from one source. It creeps in on little cat's feet from many sources.]

9/2 Northwest Airlines lays off 177 due to strike - says many of its 50,000 employees could be next,
by Karren Mills (and indeed 15,000 were to be laid off the next day because of the strike over pay and job security), p. D2, and

8/15 Oil's well that ends well, The Economist, 51.
The merger between BP and Amoco seeks to create a third "super major" in the oil industry. Is size really so important?
BP's workforce now has fewer than half the 112,000 people it had in 1992. Some 6, at the new BP Amoco are already earmarked to go [of the 99,000 total jobs]

8/15 The Economist 5 - Hoping to cut costs...Britain's BOC laying off 10% [4,000] of its workforce of 40,000
The restructuring is a response to a strong pound, Asia's deteriorating market, and a slump in the chip industry, which the company supplies.

8/15 Boston Globe's Ronald Rosenberg E1 - Serono Labs will close its factory in Randolph: 100 workers to lose jobs as firm shifts production of two drugs to [Switzerland and Spain]

8/15 The Economist 55 - Asian retailing: Going cheap
A year ago, stores were packed with free-spending locals and tourists. Asia was the world's fastest-growing retail market.... But the glitzy malls they stand as symbols of all that led to Asia's crash. Nowhere is overcapacity as obvious as in the white-elephant shopping centres of Kuala Lumpur, Jakarta, Seoul and Hong Kong.... Yaohan's operation outside Japan has declared bankruptcy, closing dozens of department stores. Daimaru and Matsuzakaya will close their Hong Kong superstores later this month.... Joyce has shut its operations in Thailand, the Philippines and Korea and severely cut back elsewhere.... Earlier this month Theme International, a clothing chain once the darling of professional women, closed almost all of its Hong Kong stores.... Most other Hong Kong clothing retailers are also cutting back, trimming staff and inventories as they pull down the shutters of their worst-performing stores.... Widespread layoffs mean that experienced managers and staff are now available, easing one of the long-standing problems in Asian retailing. [Or rather, silencing one of the long-standing myths spread by spoiled CEOs.]

8/12 Boston Globe, C7 - Raytheon Co. of Lexington, MA cuts 261 jobs from Andover plant - The firm also said it has eliminated 297 of the 335 Massachusetts jobs it planned to cut in January as part of consolidation [ed: more like con-liquidation]. Speaking of "con," Raytheon sought and received state tax breaks in 1995, saying lower taxes would save jobs in Massachusetts. [Ed: when will our state legislators wise up?] Raytheon says it has added more than 500 jobs in the last 18 months and now employs more than 15,400 in the state. [Ed: OK, let's do the math: 501 jobs minus 261 layoffs minus 335 planned (of which 297 done) gives us negative 95 - nearly 100 jobs cut this year alone after we gave them taxbreaks. Fateful words in this story? "Consolidation" and "acquisition" - by Raytheon of GM's Hughes defense business and Texas Instrument's defense electronic instruments business last year.] Raytheon has already announced plans to fire 8,700 workers its defense business, another 1,500 at its engineering unit, and continues to cut administrative staff. [Ed: I got a question for you geniuses in the executive suites - why doncha learn how to manage your own company before you start grabbing other people's companies? And maybe Raytheon executives should read The Suicidal Corporation by Paul Weaver (Simon & Schuster, 1988) about How Big Business Fails America - and cuts its own markets - with its whining for corporate welfare, and cut their own undeserved pay&perks. Watch. Whining Fidelity Investments will be next, as "US stocks caught in worldwide tumble" (8/12 Boston Globe frontpage headline).]

Things to notice: notice how the media always talk about "employees" when it's a question of hiring, and "workers" when it's a question of firing - as if people somehow turn into Marxists in the meantime and that justifies laying them off - no matter how good a job they've been doing. Notice too how the newspapers keep fluff like Monica Lewinsky and Mike Barnicle in huge articles on the front pages, day after day, and bury the really important stuff like "Raytheon cuts 261 jobs..." on page 7 of the third section in a small article. You even have to dig to the third section to read the rest of the "US stocks caught in worldwide tumble" story from the frontpage. Note too how the really big layoff figures are buried in the middle of the article ("8,700 workers in its defense business and another 1,500 at its engineering unit"). Note too they don't add them up if the total would pass a alarming benchmark of some kind (8700+1500 = 10,200 ). As 8th District candidate Alex Rodriguez says, "Language - language is important." But dream on, America. This is 1928 revisited and your "news" media are controlled by that great team of lullaby artists, Turner and Murdoch.

8/3/98 morning radio news, Boston WCRB 102.5 FM: 17-year old Stratus Computer of Marlborough, Mass. has just been acquired by Ascend of Calif. for $843m and 500 jobs will be lost.

7/29/98 Boston Globe's Elizabeth Lazarowitz C5 - Consumer confidence falls on job concerns: Report is another sign of slowing economy

7/22/98 Bos Globe C1 from Wash Post's John Berry - Fed chief: Inflation top worry, Asia crisis slowing growth but not biggest US threat
[Our horse-and-buggy brained Federal Reserve Chairman is still glumping along on obsolete economics. What about the inflation in the stock market, Mr. Greenspan? And without "inflation" as you call it, in wages, how the hey do you foresee ever bridging the widening income gap, which you occasionally decry, evidently from behind a separate partition in your thinking?

7/14/98 Bos Globe's Jerry Ackerman D1: PRI Automation of Billerica, MA to lay off 180 or 15% of its workforce: cites Asia, slowdown in computer chip demand. Most of the layoffs will be in Massachusetts. The company also expects up to a 20% decline in sales for its most recent quarter from the previous 3-mon period, along with a net loss for the quarter of 12-16 cents/share. One of Massachusetts fastest growing companies, PRI was on its way to a record of $200 million-plus in annual sales through the first half of its fiscal year. A year ago, the chip industry expected big gains from an ongoing changeover in technology that would increase chip production. Instead, thousands of workers around the world have been pink-slipped as customers postpone orders for new machines or request a delay in shipments. Many Asia-based chip makers are cutting back on equipment purchases in the wake of the financial crisis that has swept the region; US chip suppliers are slowing production as Asian customers, such as computer makers, reduce spending. Note 7/3/98 Bos Globe C3 from Reuters: Rubin says Asia on right track [ed. what a moron].

7/3/98 Boston Globe C3 from Associated Press: GM signals it may drop some slower-selling models and possibly close some aging plants in Detroit. GM has already reduced its lineup from 109 models four years ago to 80 today. Two models most likely to go first are the Pontiac Firebird and Chevrolet Camaro made at the St. Therese plant in Quebec (ed: and according to the documentary, "Emperor's New Clothes," Quebec is already in economic depression). GM's stock rose 3/8 to close at 68-7/8 yesterday on the New York Stock Exchange.

6/27/98 Boston Globe's Lynnley Browning page F1: Raytheon lays off 1,500 workers from struggling engineering and construction unit, 500 more than originally expected when it announced cutbacks at the Cambridge-based division in January. Charles Q. Miller, head of the unit, quit "to pursue personal interests," the company said. Raytheon class B shares rose 1-15/16 yesterday on the New York Stock Exchange to close at 56-7/8.

Early summer/98: 15,000 layoffs announced at the erstwhile huge individualism-fostering computer giant (#2) Digital Equipment Corp. (DEC) of Maynard, Mass., now compacted into Compaq Computer with quite a different corporate culture.

3/27/98 High tech giveth - And it taketh away, Reuters 6:30am PST.
NEW YORK - High-tech has created many jobs in the past five years, but it is also costing jobs, according to a survey by the international outplacement firm of Challenger, Gray & Christmas. The post-Cold War defense industry was No. 1 in job losses. Upheaval in telecomms (213,500 jobs lost) and computers (212,000) also had big cuts.
But No. 2 was retailing, hit by by a boom in new technology, especially in telemarketing and online sales. "Stores can now present their entire product line over the World Wide Web," said John Challenger, executive VP of the outplacement firm.... The survey reported that government deregulation may have negatively affected the telecomms, financial and transportation industries.

[Benefits or layoffs? - Choose one.... Now, those who chose layoffs are fired.]
1/25/98 Greater pains, greater gain - Franciscan Hospital survives layoffs, cutbacks - emerges as vital institution, by Mary Hurley, Bos Globe, City 1.
BRIGHTON [Massachusetts] ...Sitting on Warren Street, informally known in the neighborhood as "institution row," Franciscan Children's now offers a range of outpatient programs for children.... The day in 1994 when [CEO Paul] DellaRocco met with the staff to give a depressing choice - accept at least a 30% cut in benefits or at least 25 additional layoffs - has become a near-legend on Warren Street. When he asked for a show of hands, a clear majority chose the benefits cut. To those...who chose more layoffs, he said, "You're fired."...
[This makes a dramatic story, and it does yield the same kind of poetic justice as Solomon's decision about the two women and the one baby (I Kings 3:16-28). However, it is NOT the way we advise doing it, because it doesn't yield the same kind of win-win solution of cutting labor surplus and centrifuging wealth into wages as timesizing does.
[But we find that one of the great advantages of all these case studies is that they offer creative ideas for buffering the transition to the heaven of higher pay and shorter hours. Certainly we like the 'referendum' feature here - giving the employees the choice. And maybe a choice between job cuts or benefits cuts is less drastic than a choice between job cuts and hours cuts and should be offered first. On the other hand, it equates to a virtual pay cut, because you're working the same hours for less compensation. So no, we guess it's not part of the solution after all, just a creative wrinkle on the problem. But at least DellaRocco did Step One - give the choice to those affected - "no pain without input." To be on the road to the long-term solution, the choice, however, has to be jobs cuts or hours cuts, à la timesizing. "Jobs cuts or benefits cuts" just worsens the problem.
But what if it had been "jobs cuts or hours cuts - those who chose jobs cuts are fired"? No, that wouldn't work as an extendable strategy either, because word would get around and you'd have people deciding on the basis of Fear in the Workplace, something that Ed Deming said you should Banish (in Point 8 of his 14 Points for Management, modeled on Woodrow Wilson's 14-Point Plan for Europe after the War to End All Wars).]
[On 2/9/05 5:28:14 AM EST, we received the following email from Paul Dellarocco titled "Correction":]
Recently saw your quote concerning the Franciscan Children’s Hospital re: “you’re fired”. I’m afraid that whoever reported this bit of news never finished the quote or just got it plain wrong. The missing link here is that the statement was designed to show staff how they were all in this together. That is, if some staff believed that it was to their advantage to sacrifice others for their own betterment than they must be willing to reflect on the potential consequences associated with that belief. There were never any firings associated with this lesson. As with any downsizing, reductions in staff are far more targeted and generally directed to areas where there has been a loss of business.
For what its worth – Paul DellaRocco

And remember, as Will Rogers used to say, "I only know what I read in the papers."

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