Timesizing® Associates - Homepage
Timesizing News, June 16-30, 2002
[Commentary] ©2002 Phil Hyde, Timesizing.com, Box 622, Porter Sq, Cambridge MA 02140 USA 617-623-8080
6/30-7/01/2002 primitive Timesizing in the news, aka glimmers of strategic hope -
6/29/2002 primitive Timesizing in the news, aka glimmers of strategic hope -
- 6/30 French Socialists make Fabius second-in-command, Reuters 06/29/02 10:46 ET via AOLNews.
PARIS...- France's Socialists declared Laurent Fabius their second-in-command on Saturday, patching up a feud over what role the centrist ex-prime minister should play as their demoralised party recovers from twin election defeats.... Left-wingers like Labour Martine Aubry, the architect of a recent law to reduce the working week to 35 hours, have argued the party should shore up its appeal to voters on the left as it faces five years in opposition.
6/28/2002 primitive Timesizing in the news, aka glimmers of strategic hope -
- Interview - Hungary's centre-left targets full employment, by Emese Bartha, Reuters 06/28/02 04:39 ET via AOLNews.
BUDAPEST...- Hungary's new centre-left government is targeting full employment within 10 years, allied to a batch of labour policy changes to burnish its social credentials and boost its European membership bid.... Hungary's unemployment rate has fallen steadily over the past four years, to an official 5.6% in March-May, but thousands skip the jobless register to work on the black market. Average unemployment across the 12-nation euro zone was 8.3% in April..\..
Peter Kiss, Labour Minister in a new Socialist-led cabinet that took office last month, said Hungary still lags Europe in employment ratios as many unemployed do not register under a system that limits benefit payments to six months.... "While unemployment indicators are very favourable [5.6% is "very favourable"???], there are still too many peole who are inactive," Kiss told Reuters in an interview late on Thursday.
[Who cares how "active" they are. The question is, are they self-supporting?]
"Our idea is that, by joining the European effort [what "European effort"??], we will approach full employment by the end of the decade." He said this would push up the employment rate to 70% of the active population from around 53% today. Hungary's population is just over 10m.
Kiss said the new government planned to get 300,000-400,000 people into work before the next elections due in 2006, half through newly-created jobs and the rest by promoting part-time work, job shares, and working from home. He would also try to legalise much of the casual and black market - in construction, farming and cleaning - by reducing the social security burden on employers, he said. [Kiss] also said he hoped to trim the working week to a standard 38 hours from 40 as part of a broad deal with employers and trade unions....
- [and over on the Dark Side of the Force - in the USA -]
Steelworkers refute Mansfield [Plumbing Products] allegations; Criticize lock out of workers, PRNewswire 06/28/2002 12:57 EDT via AOLNews.
PITTSBURGH - ...In response to..Mansfield Plumbing's June 23 press release..., let's set the record straight: ...The company wanted to implement a 12-hour continuous shift for certain areas in the plant, effectively eliminating overtime pay for work after eight hours. Also, Sunday premium pay would be eliminated....
[Here's an indication of why American steelworkers are roadkill. They suck up overtime for the overtime premium instead of spreading the vanishing work to more members of their union and getting as large a population of voters as they can, voting in a block to protect what survives of the American steel industry and what's left of their own jobs. The employer here is just doin' whatever's convenient without consulting their employees who, by diddling along with a 1940-level workweek and then even working overtime above that, have allowed wave after wave of layoffs to make themselves as common as dirt and as powerless. Cut the reactive bellyaching, guys, and get into some proactive timesizing. Lordy, when the Hungarian government (see story above) has more on the ball than you, you're pretty pathetic.]
- [and then there are the PR types who are assuming 50 and 60 hour workweeks in the "advanced economy" USA -]
Pingtel xpressa IP phone wins prestigious gold award from Business Week and Industrial Designers Society, Business Wire June 28 2002 via AOLNews.
WOBURN, Mass. - ...The judges were particularly impressed with Pingtel's use of smart, sophisticated design to reinvent the office phone. Meg Hetfield, one of the 2002 Industrial Design Excellence Awards "judges" [our quotes - ed.], stated: "Office workers rejoice! One of the most important office tools is embodied in an expressive, ergonomic form that the worker can delight in for the long 40-50-60 hour workweek...."
[It'll be a frosty Friday in hell before employees at the dawn of the Third Millennium will be able to "delight in" anything when they're working pre-technology hours not seen for 80 years (50-hr workweeks of the 1920s) or even 100 years (60-hr workweeks).]
nothing in today's news so we dip into the 'barrel' of late arrivals -
6/27/2002 primitive Timesizing in the news - aka glimmers of strategic hope -
- (6/17) Woman who gave France 35-hour workweek loses seat, Reuters 06/16/02 14:35 ET via AOLNews.
LILLE, France...- Socialist Martine Aubry, a former minister and architect of the controversial law that cut France's standard working week to 35 hours, lost her seat in a parliamentary election on Sunday, the official count showed.... The count in Aubry's Lille constitutency gave her 48.91% of the second-round runoff vote, compared to 51.09% for Chirac supporter Sebastien Huyghe..\..
Aubry...is best known for her role in promoting and implementing the law that cut the workweek to 35 hours from 39 when she was labour minister from 1997 to 2000 in the government of Prime Minister Lionel Jospin. The daughter of former European Commission President Jacques Delors, who was also a Socialist minister, Aubry is the most prominent representative of the leftist faction of the party and one of the right's most vociferous critics.... She remains mayor of the northern city of Lille....
- (6/17) France braces for week of strikes, AP 06/16/02 14:50 EDT via AOLNews.
PARIS - French unions were preparing a week of post-election strikes, with employees from air traffic controllers to pediatricians pressing their demands.
[Isn't post-election a little late?]
....On Monday, pediatricians were expected to walk off the job to press for higher fees - $28.40 per consultation compared to $21.60 currently.... Starting Friday, emergency room doctors were expected to limit their workweek to 48 hours, down from 70, to protest for less strenuous hours.
[This gives us a basis of comparison with recent legislation to limit student doctors ("residents") to 80 hours a week in oh-so-advanced USA.]
6/26/2002 primitive Timesizing in the news - aka glimmers of strategic hope -
- [Oregon lawfirm takes up cudgels vs. overtime, also from viewpoint of employers' interests -]
All work and no pay? - New U.S. poll shows more Americans taking their work home; 21 percent of "Cell-Phone Nation'' workers believe they are being exploited by their employers, Business Wire 06/26/2002 14:46 Eastern via AOLNews.
PORTLAND, Ore...- The proliferation of employer-required cell phones, pagers, laptops, PCs, and other wonders of a modern mobile-workplace are to credit - or blame - for the fact that half of Americans now say that they take their work home. The survey also found that 21% of workers surveyed said that their employer's compensation policies for working outside the office "take advantage" of them. Survey results are from the latest "America At Work" public opinion survey of 1,000 adults commissioned by the Employment Law Alliance (ELA).
Sharon Toncray of the ELA member law firm *Miller Nash LLP in Portland OR says that the poll demonstrates how technology is having a profound impact on the American workplace. "The technology has created a 24-hour workplace, but there are hazards, legal and otherwise, in creating a 24-hour employee when that employee is not a member of management or otherwise exempt," she said. "The poll suggests why we're seeing a huge number of employee class-action suits over uncompensated time for work performed outside the regular workplace and that organizations - large and small, private and nonprofit - have to confront this issue."
The national poll of 1,000 men and women, conducted by Reed Haldy McIntosh & Assocs., of Media, Pa., focused on "non-exempt" employees, those whose work hours are legally regulated and who are entitled to overtime compensation. The poll was fielded within the past two weeks. Survey Director Dr. Theodore Reed outlined the results as follows:
- 31% said that they spend at least three hours a week away from their regular workplace responding to work-related e-mail, voice mail, pagers, or some other electronic form of work-related communication.
- 49% of employees said that they spend at least three hours a week conducting work-related activities other than responding to emails, voice mails, or pagers, at home or away from the office.
- Among non-exempt workers, only 17% said that they received some payment for their at home work while 55% said that they were not paid at all.
- 22% said that they were not compensated for the extra time worked because they chose not to ask for either overtime or compensatory time.
- 3% said that while they were not compensated directly, they did receive some benefit for that extra time worked, such as extra time off.
"There may be no bigger issue in the American workplace, especially if you are an employer with work locations in several states," said Toncray.
- Feelings about overtime
- 21% of non-exempt workers believe that their employer is "taking advantage" of them through their current compensation policies relating to work performed outside the regular workplace.
- 47% of non-exempt employees putting in ten or more extra hours per week feel taken advantage of, compared to only 11% of those working three to ten hours outside of their regular schedule and 14% of those working less than three extra hours.
- 52% of non-exempt workers who do not ask to be compensated for their overtime feel taken advantage of compared to those who are compensated in some way (30%) or not compensated at all (19%), suggesting that it is fear rather than dedication that prevents many of these workers from asking for their due.
[There is no bigger issue in the American or any other nation's workplace, and not only for employers but for employees and investors and the entire economy. That's why redesigning overtime occupies two phases of the Timesizing Program (Phase 2 and Phase 3) even preceding actual workweek adjustment.]
"Employers just can't ignore the fact that non-exempt employees may be working at home merely because the employees don't ask for compensation for that time."
The highly publicized employee class-action suit against Intel over uncompensated time is but one example of how litigation arises out of these disputes, how state legislatures become deeply involved in workplace issues, and how organized labor sees one of its biggest organizing opportunities in decades. "Widespread employee unhappiness often results in expensive lawsuits," Toncray noted. "Employers risk significantly more than they gain by ignoring this issue."
Dr. Reed, who with ELA created the "America At Work" series nearly two years ago, said that employers might find satisfaction in the fact that 76% of the workers sampled did not believe they were being taken advantage of through existing compensation policies. "However, I would be concerned about a false sense of security due to the fact that more than half of those who have not asked to be paid felt that they were being taken advantage of through existing compensation policies. This finding, combined with the fact that two out of ten workers are unhappy and feel unrewarded, is a significant problem that demands prompt attention."
The *Employment Law Alliance is the world's largest integrated, global practice network composed of premier, independent law firms distinguished for their practice in employment and labor law. There are member firms in every jurisdiction in the United States and major cities throughout the world. Other recent ELA-sponsored "America At Work" public opinion surveys have focused on attitudes toward violence in the workplace and romantic relationships between supervisors and subordinates.
Editors, please note: Non-exempt employees are commonly referred to as "hourly employees" although there are exceptions. For example, salaried employees can also be non-exempt and computer professionals can be paid hourly and still be exempt - as long as you pay them enough per hour.
[And "enough" is probably as judged by the professional in question, duly pressured by the global labor glut and the domestic dot-com collapse.]
Note: A photo is available at URL: *http://www.businesswire.com/cgi-bin/photo.cgi?pw.062602/bb4
Miller Nash LLP, Attn: Aaron Kirk Douglas, 503/205-2341
6/25/2002 primitive Timesizing in the news - aka glimmers of strategic hope -
- France sets annual minimum wage rise at 2.4%, Reuters 06/25/02 07:07 ET via AOLNews.
PARIS...- The government formally decided on Tuesday to raise the French minimum wage by the lowest amount possible [2.4%], saying that rather than giving a more generous increase it wanted to fight against employers who ignore it.
[Time for French employees to drop this impotent, market-bucking notion and focus on improving the design of their market-harnessing reduced workweek in terms of Timesizing's overtime-to-training conversion and workweek-vs.-unemployment fluctuation.]
...The rise is the lowest possible, based on a formula that takes inflation into account.... The increase will take the earnings of someone on the minimum wage working a standard 35-hour week to 1,127 euros ($1,096) a month....
[Sounds good, doesn't it? - "a standard 35-hour week."]
Economists say holding back the rise in the minimum wage will help ward off excessive public sector wage demands.... The new government is trying to cut France's public debt to honour a pledge..\..to European Union partners to balance its...national budget by 2004 - providing economic growth hits forecast levels. France's last conservative government in 1995-1997 sparked the worst social unrest since notorious student riots in 1968 when it began a tough budget austerity drive.
6/23-24/2002 primitive Timesizing in the news - aka glimmers of strategic hope -
- [creeping slavery via unpaid worktime hits the nation's front page -]
Suits say Wal-Mart forces workers to toil off the clock, by Steven Greenhouse, NYT, front page via Tom Walker via SWT e-list.
[Wal-Mart's motto: "We abuse our employees and pass the savings to you." (Motto credit to "Dogbert's Ad Agency," cartoon by Scott Adams, 8/02/1994 Dilbert strip in "Fugitive from the Cubicle Police," p. 143.)]
...Federal and state laws bar employers from making hourly employees work unpaid hours. Wal-Mart's [own] policies forbid such work. But many current and former workers and managers said an intense focus on cost cutting had created an unofficial policy that encouraged managers to request or require off-the-clock work and avoid paying overtime..\..
In southeast Kansas City MO \for example\, after finishing her 10 pm to 8 am shift [hope that's only four days a week! - ed.], Verette Richardson clocked out and was heading to her car when a Wal-Mart manager ordered her to turn around and straighten up the store's apparel department. Eager not to get on her boss's bad side, she said, she spent the next hour working unpaid..\..
[This is the effect a general labor glut will have - the "discipline of labor" gets so intense that they assent to the encroachment of slavery (work without pay) and the non-discipline of management - the sloppiness, the arrogance, the insulation, the isolation - gets so intense that they demand slices of slavery - ever-expanding slices - which decrease their own markets further and intensify their desperation to cut costs further. Slavery is just as bad as downsizing at ruining the economy, and even voluntary slavery ("voluntarism") has an eroding effect.]
she spent the next hour working unpaid, tidying racks of slacks and blouses and picking up hangers and clothes that had fallen to the floor. Other times after clocking out, she was ordered to round up shopping carts in the parking lot. Some days, as soon as she walked in, a manager told her to rush to a cash register and start ringing up purchases, without clocking in. Sometimes, she said, she worked for three hours without clocking in....
[Is Verette just a fluke, a particularly wimpy employee with a doormat attitude and a touch of masochism who just loves to play the patsy? If so, she's got a lot of company -]
She and 40 other current and former Wal-Mart workers interviewed over the last four months say Wal-Mart has [been] forcing or pressuring employees to work hours that were not recorded or paid.... Accusations like these are at the heart of a wide-ranging legal battle between Wal-Mart and employees or former employees in 28 states. In class-action and individual lawsuits, workers assert thta these practicees have helped Wal-Mart undersell the competition, push up profits and become the world's largest retailer.
[Great, the "world's largest retailer" practices slavery. Compare the outrageous practices of the wealthy American medical establishment in forcing their trainees to work 80-120 hour weeks. It's time we recognized that it ALWAYS in our short-term self-interest to cheat and not play the game, but then the game becomes unsustainable and will not continue. The game then has no future. And right now in "the Land of the Free," slavery is creeping back in because our workweek is way out of sync with our worksaving technology. We have become a sick unbalanced nation, and we've got the most work hours per year, the most sleep deficit, the most functional masochism and self-loathing dba need-to-prove on the part of our ordinary citizens ... all because we took the wrong fork in the road in 1933.]
..."They would tell me to have the workers punch out and then call them back to get the stuff off the floor"..\..Colby LaGrue, who was in charge of the unloading operations at a Wal-Mart store outside New Orleans...testified in a deposition in a Louisiana lawsuit. "It was like a plantation," Mr. LaGrue said.
..\.."They wanted us to do a lot of work for no pay," said Ms. Richardson, who worked from 1995 to 2000 at Wal-Mart.... "A company that makes billions of dollars doesn't have to do that."
[Billions of dollars that pour upwards into "the Great Leak" - the uncapped holdings of the top income brackets who already have more spending power than they can possibly spend in thousands of lifetimes. The vanity of a slightly higher position on the Great Pecking Order has overwhelmed the functionality of having plenty to spend on their daily needs and little (even big!) luxuries. The economics of "positional goods" is choking off the basic economics of functional goods and invoking the "social limits to growth" described by Fred Hirsch in his book of that name in 1978. And it gets worse -]
Although company policy prohibits off-the-clock work, Wal-Mart has created a system of rewards and punishments that critics say gives managers strong incentives to demand such work.... The official policy that Wal-Mart provides its store managers [says]: "It is a violation of the law and Company policy to work off the clock or for a Supervisor or Manager to request Associates work off the clock." But eight former managers said in interviews that headquarters set their store's payroll and staffing levels so low that it was nearly impossible to run their stores properly unless some employees worked more than 40 hours a week.... "They tell you that working off the clock is against the law, is not allowed by Wal-Mart, and then they tell you to get the job done"..\..Robert Eckert, a former assistant manager at five stores in California, said.... "But they didn't give you the budget to get the job done." As an assistant manager from 1996 to 1999, he said, he got the job done without requiring off-the-clock work by putting in 75 hours a week himself. But he said many managers who wanted to lead a normal life felt compelled to bend the rules.
..\.."Store managers told me to lean on people to get them to work off the clock," said Judy Danneman, who worked for Wal-Mart from 1989 to 2001 and was an assistant store manager at four of its Florida stores. "Everyone knew there was a lot of off-the-clock work going on."
- Wal-Mart math. Dorothy English says that as a payroll assistant [at a Wal-Mart in Clearview, La.] she was told to delete hours from employees' timecards. [photo caption]
- "Free" hot dogs. "There was no way the grill [at Wal-Mart No. 2066 in Houston] could continue operating with no one there to run it," Liberty Morales said. [photo caption]
...At 5 on many afternoons..."They would call me and say, 'You need to clock out,'" Ms. Morales said in an interview..\.. But [then] she did not go home; the store manager, she tesitified in a deposition in the Texas lawsuit, ordered her to keep running the restaurant for another hour or two because nobody else could do it.
[Note the failure to train. The lack of workweek regulation in America has resulted in a degree of labor discipline and lack of management discipline that American management is losing management skills, such as invoking training - they don't need management skills, or training costs, because employees are so desperate. In Phase Two and Phase Three of the Timesizing program, any incidence of overtime automatically triggers training and hiring and keeps management disciplined, skilled and functional.]
...In a deposition in [a] Colorado lawsuit, Radonna Perrin, one of the top payroll directors for Wal-Mart stores, said every store had to send headquarters a daily report that told whether the store exceeded its payroll limit, which was usually 8% of sales. "They threatened to write up managers if they didn't bring the payroll in low enough," said Joyce Moody, who worked as a Wal-Mart manager in Alabama and Mississippi. "There were some managers who were demoted back to hourly asociate for this."
Some managers said they saw little that was improper in demanding off-the-clock work because they had done it themselves....
[Same mean crap as in American medical training. "I got put through the wringer and now you're going to get put through too." Contrast the generous attitude of many American immigrants, "Life was hard for me. I want to make life easier for my children."]
Several employees said they felt so much a part of the Wal-Mart family that they were happy to do extra, unpaid work.
[The problem of "the happy slave" - who worsens it for everyone else.]
..\..Wal-Mart officials played down the extent of unpaid work.... But John Fraser, who ran the Federal Wage and Hour Administration for 11 years before retiring last year, said it was unlikely that the small number of complaints indicated anything [like] the pervasiveness of unpaid work at Wal-Mart. Workers, he said, are often reluctant to complain to the government, fearing they might lose their jobs if investigators contact their employer.
[Job desperation in America.]
..\..Lawyers and union officials say that not only is the practice [of off-the-clock work] prevalent at Wal-Mart but that the complaints against the company are far greater than at competitors like Target, Sears or Kmart.
[Then that's where we'll shop, not at Wal-Mart!]
...To delete time from [time]cards, [Ms. English] used Wal-Mart's computer, which allows managers to edit the times that punches are recorded.... In depositions, the store manager and payroll manager of Ms. English's Wal-Mart...denied doctoring timecards. Wal-Mart officials insist that this practice is rare.... But interviews and depositions pointed to additional cases of timecard manipulation in
Carolyn Thiebes, a former payroll manager at several Wal-Marts in Oregon, said she was often pressured to delete overtime.... She added, "Many of the changes were made simply to reduce the amount of time associates would be paid for."
- Florida [see 2nd followup below],
- New York,
- Oregon and
[= Another vicious 'unintended consequence' of downsizing instead of timesizing in response to waves of worksaving technology.]
Another day, another indignity - Lawsuits remind me of my unhappy job at Wal-Mart, by Barbara Ehrenreich, 6/30/2002 NYT, Week 15.
Only a person of unblemished virtue can get a job at Wal-Mart - a low-level job, that is, sorting stock, unloading trucks or operating a cash register. A drug test eliminates the chemical miscreants; a detailed "personality test" probes the job applicant's horror of theft and willingness to turn in an erring co-worker.
Extreme submissiveness to authority is another desirable trait. When I applied for a job at Wal-Mart in the spring of 2000 [in aid of writing a book], I was reprimanded for getting something "wrong" on this test: I had agreed only "strongly" to the proposition, "All rules have to be followed to the letter at all times." The correct answer was "totally agree."
Apparently the one rule that need not be slavishly adhered to at Wal-Mart is the federal Fair Labor Standards Act, which requires that employees be paid time and a half if they work more than 40 hours in a week....
U.S. jury cites unpaid work at Wal-Mart - World's top retailer faulted on overtime, by Steven Greenhouse, 12/20/2002 NYT, A20.
[See excerpts on 12/20/2002 #1.]
[Followup #2 -]
Florida judge declines to give class-action status for suit, 1/26/2004 WSJ, A10.
...that accuses Wal-Mart Stores Inc. of failing to pay low-level employees for extra work. Circuit Judge Glenn Hess in Panama City FL wrote in his ruling that if the plaintiffs were able to prove Wal-Mart shortchanged the workers, determining the amount owed to each worker would overwhelm the court.
[How about that. A judge refuses to provide justice because he doesn't have the resources. Still think this is the Greatest Country in the World?]
A former nightshift 'manager' [our quotes] in the Panama City Beach Wal-Mart Supercenter and several former employees of Chipley Wal-Mart sued the retailer in 2001, saying they were forced to work through breaks, skip meals and return to unfinished tasks after they clocked out. Steve Agan, a lawyer for the plaintiffs, said the next step will be to try to file a federal class-action suit under the FLSA, limiting the number of people joining.
- [another US firm offers job-sharing (on 40-hour basis), although not work-sharing (defining 'full-time' downwards) -]
Health magazine names Abbott Laboratories among 10 best companies for women, PRNewswire 06/24/2002 10:00 EDT via AOLNews.
ABBOTT PARK, Ill. - ...Abbott offers a number of innovative work/life programs for employees. For example, more than 20% of Abbott's US workforce participates in a job-sharing arrangement, works part-time, has a compressed work week or telecommutes....
['Compressed' workweek is ambiguous between genuinely 'reduced' or merely 'rearranged', e.g., four 10-hour days, which makes for no additional hiring.]
- Court takes worker's suit against Nev. on leave act, by Anne Gearan, AP via Arizona Republic, A5.
WASHINGTON - The Supreme Court took on a new case testing the balance of power between Congress and the states Monday, this one affecting protections for state workers under a federal law guaranteeing time off for family emergencies.... The appeal the court accepted Monday involves a former employee of the Nevada state welfare department, who was fired after his bosses said he overstayed leave while caring for his ailing wife..\..
The court said it will decide whether state workers can sue their agencies for denying time off to care for a sick family member.... If the court follows recent examples, it could narrow the scope of the 1993 Family and Medical Leave Act, which allows up to 12 weeks of unpaid leave for the birth or adoption of a child, or to tend to a personal or family illness.
The case is similar to one the court decided last year, in which state workers were forbidden to use a federal disabilities rights law to sue their employers for money damages for on-the-job discrimination. In both cases, states claimed immunity from such lawsuits under the Constitution [presumably the states' rights section], and said Congress had not provided reason to override that immunity when it passed national laws.
Sen. Christopher Dodd, D-Conn., [however, who helped pass the family leave act...said Congress' intentions [to override] were clear.... "You shouldn't have to choose between the job you need and the family you love."...
- [here's a strange case of limits on worklife, front end, specifically on teenagers (= agism), instead of limits on the workweek for everyone -]
Record number of teens just say no to summer jobs, by Stephanie Armour, USA Today, 1B.
The summer job, once a rite of passage for teens, is fading faster than a suntan. Studies indicate that teenagers are forsaking work at a record pace: Labor market participation among the age group is the lowest in almost four decades. ...Instead of paychecks, they're focusing earlier than ever on career-builders such as academic programs and internships. For example:
[A related article appears in the first section -]
- The number of teens ages 16-19 who worked or looked for work during the month of July last year dropped to 60.6%, according to the Labor Dept., the lowest since 1964....
- It's not just summer jobs. Economists say teens in general are shunning work. Just about half of males age 16 to 19 were in the labor force last year, according to the Labor Dept. That's the lowest participation since the agency first started keeping the statistic in 1948.
[Could teens be sensing how totally out of whack our current American work life is - with more worksaving technology and yet more workoholism, poverty, insecurity and prisons?]
- Many teenagers who are working tend to be in internships or temporary work that allows them to learn professional skills, hiring experts say. It's a shift from the traditional [teen] burger-flipping job. And if [the teens in training] are not paid, they're not counted among the working....
- Some economists say the recession left fewer jobs available and that teens are being displaced from entry-level jobs by workers laid off during the downturn. Studies bear that out.... 95% of employers said they wouldn't actively advertise for teen workers this summer even though they had openings they could fill, according to a June poll of more than 1,000 employers by online job matching service Teens4Hire.org.
[This is reminiscent of the way women would move out of the job market in Japan during the period of full, lifetime male employment.]
- Economists say stock market or income gains in some households made more teens feel less need to work.
[Well that certainly doesn't apply since the dot-com bubble burst.]
- Intense academic competition has parents pushing teens into summer learning programs and camps instead of entry-level jobs, experts say. More teens plans to attend college full time, research shows, and fewer have set their sights on working.
Leaders-to-be disdain summer jobs, lose empathy, by Laura Vanderkam, USA Today, 23A.
[This is mainly about rich kids, and the empathy angle finally shows up in this sentence -]
...The old-time summer job at least deserves a eulogy, for when fewer of our country's future decision-makers have punched a timeclock, the general empathy that makes a stratified society work will be sadly undermined....
[This 'general empathy' or as we prefer to call it, common interest, is so pervasively important that it's generally overlooked. Timesizing supplies it by giving an entire population of exceedingly diverse lifestyles a common workweek range, whose lower limit is set by referendum and whose upper limit is set by the under-employment rate calculated from the lower limit.]
- Minimum wage dispute in France, AP 06/24/02 13:09 EDT via AOLNews.
France's powerful trade unions crossed swords Monday with the new conservative government over raising and reforming the country's minimum wage. ...Prime Minister Jean-Pierre Raffarin...angered unionists by suggesting last week that any hike in the minimum wage should not exceed 2.4%. Unions have called for increases as high as 6%.
[Alas, unionists in France are still fooling with the market-bucking minimum wage concept instead of focusing powerfully on the market-harnessing maximum workweek approach.]
They were also demanding that the system be reformed so that all minimum wage earners be paid equally. At present, wages vary.
[And this illustrates a number of the fatal flaws in the minimum wage concept - it's rigid, arbitrary, absolutist, unconnected with anything.... A maximum workweek can be designed to be fluctuating and connected to, relative to, and determined by comprehensive unemployment, as we design it in the Timesizing program.]
More than 2.6m workers, or 13.6% of employees, earned the minimum wage in 2000, the last year for which figures are available, according to the government statistics agency [= INSEE?]. The mandated minimum monthly wage varies between 1,011 and 1,127 euros ($970 and $1,081), depending on hours worked and when employees switched to the shortened 35-hour week. The shorter week was adopted by the previous Socialist government in an [extremely effective - ed.] attempt to create jobs.
[For all their flaws, the French are still the only people in the world with the sense to reduce the definition of "full-time" to as low as 35 hours a week. Thus our suggested motto for this nation of complainers, "Another shitty day in paradise" - paradise being a relative term, of course, relative to the backward-moving longer workweeks of the rest of us self-styled "intelligent species."]
In Monday's meeting with unions and representatives of employers..\..Francois Fillon, minister of labor and social affairs...again proposed an increase of 2.4% starting July 1, his aides said. That would add 27 euros ($26) to the 1,127 euro wage paid for an [old] 39-hour week.
[The French dropped to a 39-hour week in 1982, intending to drop an hour a year till they got to 35. Somehow this process got stymied after just one year, and so the 2000-2002 drop was a dramatic plunge of 4 hours at once from 39 to 35 - never a great idea for a large system.]
6/22/2002 primitive Timesizing in the news - aka glimmers of strategic hope -
- 6/24 Is a rested doctor a better doctor?, letters to editor, NYT, A22.
[This group of letters is in response to the op ed we featured on June 19 which argued against limiting doctors' hours to no more than eighty (80) a week! Most people outside the medical profession respond to this question like young Kim Breach of Cottonwood, AZ, "Duh, why do they even have to ask?" Surprisingly, there are two letters, both from male doctors, that answer "not necessarily" and go on to repeat the rationalizations in the op-ed below on June 19. So perhaps it is valuable to repeat the three sane letters, two from women, one of whom is a doctor, and one from a male law professor.]
- From Beth Alonzo of Luther OK.
In "Doctors learn in the long night hours" (op-ed, June 19), Howard Markel misses the point.
I seek medical expertise when I seek treatment. Sleep deprivation decreases judgment and reflexes.
I hope that the interns treating me at 3 am will be well rested, focused on my condition and aware of possible diagnoses, time-tested treatments and recent medical advances.
An exhausted person suffering from excessive caffeine consumption, jittery hands and sensations of painful hair is hardly someone to hold up as a model. That way lies a factory-line mentality for the processing of faceless patients, an overweening sense of entitlement to compensation and the continuation of the frat-boy mentality (I went through this hazing [so] you must too).
[Speaking of "overweening" and "frat-boy mentality," one of the letters (by Dr. Jonathan Glass of Atlanta) arguing the opposite viewpoint contains the statement, "Learning medicine is different and requires physical effort that may seem inappropriate to those in other professions." It begins to seem like a clash between a macho need to prove oneself by physical feats and the actual task of spreading health and balance - and unfortunately in America, the childish macho has won.]
- From Visiting Prof. Reginald Alleyne of Boston College Law School MA.
Howard Markel says it is "crazy" to work 36 hours nonstop, but he then defends long night hours for resident physicians. Providing an example from his own experience as a resident, he concedes that he "may have made some mistakes that night, but few, if any, were related to sleep deprivation."
How does he know? He may have been too sleep-deprived to know how sleep-deprived he was, and too sleepy to know the consequences of his deprivation.
- From Dr. Julia Samton of NYC.
As a neurology resident at a Manhattan hospital, I find the extreme hours to be damaging to patients and future physicians.... It has been my experience that long hours predispose doctors to concentration errors, as well as resentment about their chosen field. I takes much better care of a patient when I am rested and feel I am treated like a professional.
[Thus neatly calling into question the professionalism so glibly assumed by Dr. Glass above.]
6/21/2002 primitive Timesizing in the news - aka glimmers of strategic hope -
- Maine: Days off, minus pay, by Katherine Zezima, NYT, A10.
Gov. Angus King has imposed three unpaid days off for state employees in the 2003 fiscal year to help offset the state's $180m budget shortfall. The first day will be July 5 , when state offices will close. All employees must take two additional unpaid days by June 1, 2003.
[Trimming worktime instead of workforce and consumer base = Timesizing, not downsizing.]
Carl Leinonen, head of the Maine State Employees Assoc., said the plan was a political gimmick that had left workers angry and resentful.
[Kate - "Angry and resentful for losing 3 days of work in a year? Not likely." Phil - "He would prefer layoffs and reduced union membership, perhaps?]
6/20/2002 primitive Timesizing in the news -
- [good news and bad news]
Hewlett-Packard says workers to go on leave, Bloomberg via Arizona Republic, D2.
PALO ALTO, Calif. - HP said it's forcing most of the 4,000 contract workers in its internal computer-systems department to take three weeks of unpaid leave, as the company cuts costs after buying Compaq Computer Corp. The world's biggest personal-computer maker is asking the employees to take off June 24 to July 12, spokesman Arch Currid said. The move will save $15-20m he said.
[So that's the good news, because, so far, we're talking about avoiding further layoffs by trimming worktime instead of workforce - timesizing, not downsizing. When HP was still a good company focused on managing, not merging, it used to practice this kind of timesizing strategy all the time to avoid layoffs. But #1, this story can't seem to make up its mind whether the company is "forcing" or "asking" employees, and #2, isn't the merger with Compaq 4-5 months ago getting a little old as an excuse? It was completely unnecessary anyway, another case of the toxic merger-downsizing connection ("cutting jobs = cutting markets"), since 15,000 layoffs have been announced (see 9/05/2001 #1), motivated only by the suicidal ego-tripping of the CEO, in this case, HP's female CEO Carly Fiorina. Now for the bad news - ]
HP is considering ending contacts for some of the affected workers, Currid said. The decisions will be made during their leave so some employees may not return, he said. The Palo Alo-based ocmpany has said it plans to fire 15,000 people as it weaves together operations of the two computermakers.
[So there are going to be more jobcuts anyway. And they are being done in the worst possible way - with maximum morale-bashing uncertainty. At least we're talking about contract workers here, who are somewhat inured to this kind of corporate crap.]
6/19/2002 primitive Timesizing in the news -
- [bad news about American teachers' erstwhile long summer vacation]
Teachers' summers off evaporate, by Donna Harrington-Lueker, USA Today, 23A.
...According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics' most recent studies, American employees with 10 years on the job look forward to slightly less than 17 days vacation a year. Those with [only] a year's tenure have to pack their fun into 10 days.
And those numbers, which have remained [stuck] for the past 15 years, pale beside the months of vacation time teachers have traditionally enjoyed. But as the push to improve academic achievement heats up, free time for teachers is evaporating...quickly....
As states push challenging academic standards and penalize schools that don't achieve them, summer has become a time for school districts to look seriously at their curricula. That means hiring teachers for the time-consuming task of ensuring that local courses meet state standards.... There's also the beginning teacher's perennial need for money.....
[Compare the general vacation picture.]
6/18/2002 primitive Timesizing in the news -
- [another dorky doctor tries to defend the indefensible - 120-hour workweeks -]
Doctors learn in the long night hours - Residents' shifts can be limited only so much, op ed by Prof. Howard Markel of UMich Meds, NYT, A27.
[Sure they learn - to hate their patients, their work and their colleagues, and to gouge as much "compensation" out of everybody as they can.]
...The Accreditation Council for Graduate Medical Education recently established guidelines that limit residents' on-call nights to 24 hours and their workweek to 80 hours. But I worry that these new guidelines will limit a young doctor's ability to learn how to practice medicine.
[This birdbrain evidently has "medicine" confused with sado-masochism. As Kate says, occasional long shifts are foregiveable, but when they get to be normal routine , as they have long since become by the time we're talking about 80-120 hour workweeks. And if you can't learn medicine in considerably less than 80 hours a week, there's something seriously wrong with either you or "medicine" or both. They manage to do it in Europe and practically everywhere else in the world in less than 80 hours a week. What's wrong with America? We have a suspicion that this guy's whole rant is going to turn into an vibrant display of arrogance à la "OUR profession is different from anybody else's (ie: more important) and we're so important and indispensible that WE have to work untrammeled by the sensible regulations binding lesser professions, aka I was forced to go through it and Goddamit, now everybody else is gonna hafta go through it too!]
..\..I will never forget the night [13 years ago] when, as a resident on call, I admitted 12 patients and was paged with the news that three more were coming from the ER. I had a bunch of IV's to start, a couple of blood tests to draw - not to mention a ward already full of sick children. I was so tired that even my hair hurt.
[Well isn't he wonderful and so awesomely self-sacrificing - but nurses can do all of the tasks he mentions, especially being "paged that three more patients were coming"?!]
...At 4:30 that memorable morning, I admitted an 8-year-old boy with newly diagnosed diabetes. Rattled by too many patients and eight cups of coffee, I had shaking hands as I started an IV to get him the fluids and insulin that literally saved his life that very day.
[Bet the kid really loved it as this zombie with his shaking hands groped around for a vein with the IV needle.]
Things hardly ended there. I saw him again at 6 am, 8 and 10 and in the early afternoon, monitoring him as he slowly got better.
[As if any other doctor or nurse could not have taken over and done this.]
I may have made some mistakes that night, but few, if any, were related to sleep deprivation.
[All studies show that sleep deprivation increases mistakes. This clown and his ilk were endangering patients by playing out this silly macho "us doctors don't need sleep" game on his side and cheap-assed "we can USE the resident" on the side of hospital administration.]
I was simply learning to be a doctor.
[At great risk to patients. And btw, spare us the lines from the Hollywood version. Oops, here comes the arrogance, starting with a paragraph on how much medicine has changed since long ago when people went to hospitals to die (or was it so "long ago"?) -]
But what has not changed is that learning how to be a doctor is a far cry from doing a shift at a factory. You need to be there for long periods of time to see the progress of an illness.
[Every line of work thinks it's so important and special that it needs long hours. Medicine is particularly ironic because he's basically saying to have to harm your own health and risk your patient's in order to restore someone else's health, or at least in order to learn to do so. Pathetic and dangerous megalomania.]
...As we re-evaluate how we train doctors, we need to remember that there are few better times for physicians to learn than at 3 o'clock in the morning....
[This sicko is apparently on a power trip. He doesn't know how to set limits himself - he's sold himself the pile of crap that says he's sooo important and error-resistant that he can control as much of his trainees' lives as antebellum slave owners controlled of their slaves'. No mention here, of course, of the threat to hospital revenues of losing their source of cowed and compliant slave labor.]
This is the only reliable way I know to transform a student into a doctor.
[Well, the guy's concept of "doctor" and "reliable" are seriously flawed. Comparable in a way to the concept many of today's RC priests have of the priesthood - a blank check on young doctors' lives and open season on the youth of the congregation. How do these professions evolve into such monstrosities? Guess it takes decades, even centuries of power over the powerless with no reality checks.]
6/16-17/2002 primitive Timesizing in the news -
- Nucor agrees to buy most assets of Qualitech, Reuters via NYT, C4.
...for $37m..\.. The nation's leading steel maker [is] in talks with the Mitsubishi Corp. about providing equity for the deal. Mitsubishi would also provide technology so the venture could quickly produce special bar-quality steel. Under the deal, Nucor will restart a Qualitech plant in Pittsboro, Ind., with production capacity of 500,000 tons of steel a year. The factory was shut down in January 2001. Nucor, which is based in Charlotte, NC, agreed in May to purchase the Birmingham Steel Corp., which filed for bankruptcy protection earlier this month.
[Nucor sports the world's most flexible corporate design, with fluctuating workweeks and fluctuating hourly wages dependent on corporate revenues. See our working models page under "larger companies."]
- France's conservatives win election, by Elaine Ganley, Reuters 06/17/02 10:46 EDT via AOLNews.
PARIS - Voters gave the French right a monopoly on power with a crushing legislative victory that will allow Pres. Jacques Chirac to forge ahead with plans to crack down on crime, reform the lumbering administration and placate business leaders chafing from five years of leftist government.... Some prominent leftists from Jospin's Cabinet lost their races, including Martine Aubry, the former labor minister who pushed the 35-hour workweek into being; Dominique Voynet, Jospin's environment minister; and Jean-Pierre Chevennement, a former interior minister....
- France sees power shift to right, by Angela Doland, AP 06/17/02 15:25 EDT via AOLNews.
PARIS - France's right has won across-the-board control of national politics with its crushing victory in legislative elections. Still, life probably won't change radically. Pres. Jacques Chirac has promised not to do away with the main legacy of the Socialist-led left, the 35-hour work week. Popular with employees,...
[First time we've seen this admission from the employer-tilted media in a long long while!]
it was a sore point with small business....
- French markets await action after right win, by Dominique Vidalon, Reuters 06/17/02 01:46 ET via AOLNews.
PARIS - Depressed financial markets will wait for France's newly elected conservatives to deliver on business-friendly reforms like tax cuts before cheering the results of Sunday's parliamentary vote, analysts said.... On paper, however, stock market strategists say financial, defence and consumer stocks stand to benefit from tax cuts while small and medium caps may also get a boost from plans to soften the 35-hour working week by allowing for more overtime.
[The first step in any workweek adjustment should be to design any overtime to be truly optional and if it occurs, to trigger its own phase-out via OT-targeted training and hiring.]
Retailers Carrefour and Pinault Printemps Redoute, luxury goods giant LVMH, consumer electronics firm Thomson Mulltimedia and carmakers Peugeot and Renault are among firms poised to gain from tax cuts provided they spur consumer spending....
[Guess that would depend on whether France is dumb enough to cut taxes for the rich - who laready have more money than they can spend - or for other people, who might - temporarily. For a sustainable spur to consumer spending, they'll have to strengthen worksharing with workweek reduction, not soften it. But we recommend the more intuitive and flexible timesizing approach.]
- 6/17 France snubs the left, boosts Chirac, by Charles Sennott, Boston Globe, front page.
...Yesterday, with the lowest turnout ever - an estimated 62% - the mainstream right took control of the National Assembly from the Socialists in a landslide, giving Chirac more power than at any time in the last 5 years...according to exit polls....
The key issue in this election was a sense of insecurity that French voters feel amid rising crime both nationally and locally.... Another key issue has been the 35-hour workweek implemented by the Socialist Party under Lionel Jospin and trumpeted as a benefit to working people.
Many small business owners and factory workers expressed frustration with the law. The small-business owners say they can't run their firms with the constraints placed on them by the law, and the factory workers and others say they simply can't make enough money to enjoy life.
[That's because they didn't lower the workweek far enough - there's still 9% unemployment in France, with plenty of desperate jobseekers driving pay down because they're willing to do the jobs for less than those currently employed. It's the same all over the world. Well, let the French factory workers creep back to a 40, 48 hour workweek and 12% unemployment and see how many raises they get then. Now they say they don't have enough money to enjoy life, then they'll have neither the money nor the time.]
Jean Marc Chevalier...the owner of the Sennen Extermination Co., kills rodents for a living in the wealthier districts of Paris and employs about 110 people. He said he was "fed up with the Socialists." "The 35-hour workweek is complete nonsense. You cannot run a business with the government dictating the hours that your employees will work," he said.
[Then why isn't this guy working them 70-80 hrs/wk like his grandfather?]
"The Socialists are saying work less to have more. It is a complete fantasy and everyone is waking up....
[Then work-saving technology, automation, computerization, robotization is a complete fantasy too? This guy should visit an modern auto factory.]
...Europe is very competitive now, we can't all just go off on three-day weekends."
[What's the point of winning a competition to retain the two-day weekend forever, or to go back to the one-day weekend or no weekend? What's the point of being competitive in a contest where the prize takes you backward?
Just watch - guys like Lester Thurow of MIT - whom strangely we haven't heard much from lately - are going to use this whole development to add to their "proof" that shorter hours doesn't work - when we haven't really heard here from any specific employees, just this one employer, and when the Socialist implementation of the shorter workweek was just a jump down to another rigid level instead of fluctuating adjustment of the workweek against unemployment. Jospin never made the direct connection with unemployment and he never tied in overtime-to-training conversion. Our conclusion - It was tried and it worked from 1840 to 1940, and even in France, the workweek came down 4 hours and the unemployment rate came down four percentage points.]
- 6/16 Chirac's allies set for sweeping win in France, by Catherine Bremer, Reuters 06/15/02 18:13 ET via AOLNews.
PARIS...- France goes to the polls for the fourth time in two months on Sunday for a parliamentary run-off seen handing a sweeping victory to Pres. Jacques Chirac's centre-right allies and leaving the left licking their wounds.... Polling booths open at 8 am (0600 GMT) and colse at 8 pm (1800 GMT) in large towns and cities, or 6 pm in small towns, with the first results due to land shortly after....
- A strong right-wing majority would free Chirac's hands to finally push through "reforms" [our quotes - ed.], from taxcuts to a loosening of labour laws and changes in pension provisions, after a frustrating 5-year "cohabitation" with the left.
- A more narrowly balanced result would make it harder for Chirac's team to unravel left-wing policies, like the controversial 35-hour work week, and press ahead with more privatisations and bringing U.S. style pension plans.
[Oh, like dying on the job or dialing 800-KEVORKIAN?! With reforms like these, who needs deterioration?]
- 6/16 France conservatives seek victory, by Angela Doland, AP 06/15/02 14:22 EDT via AOLNews.
PARIS - France's conservatives [a]re hoping to cap their first-round success with a big victory in Sunday's parliamentary election, securing crucial backing for Pres. Jacques Chirac and his pro-business agenda....
[Pro short-term gratification more likely - and longer-term? - back to 12-13% unemployment and chronic recession a la 1997.]
After legislative elections in 1997, Chirac was forced to govern alongside Lionel Jospin, watching [dangling participle!] helplessly as the Socialist prime minister passed major reforms such as shortening the working week to 35 hours.
[Note that this reporter calls the 35-hr workweek what it is, a reform, in terms of the reduction in the 84-hr workweek and the increase in hourly wages that took place globally between 1840 and 1940.]
...Chirac has said he will leave intact the shortened workweek - the left's flagship legislation - though he plans to ease its burden on businesses. He has also promised a tax cut....
[Same instant gratification, longer-term suicide that the American top brackets are shoving down the nation's throat via da Bushwhack adminustration.]
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