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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 -
  1. 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....

  2. [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.]

  3. [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).]
6/28/2002  primitive Timesizing in the news, aka glimmers of strategic hope -
nothing in today's news so we dip into the 'barrel' of late arrivals -
  1. (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....

  2. (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.]

6/27/2002  primitive Timesizing in the news - aka glimmers of strategic hope - 6/26/2002  primitive Timesizing in the news - aka glimmers of strategic hope - 6/25/2002  primitive Timesizing in the news - aka glimmers of strategic hope -
  1. [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."
    ...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."
    [= Another vicious 'unintended consequence' of downsizing instead of timesizing in response to waves of worksaving technology.]
    [Followup]
    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....
    [Followup]
    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.

  2. [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.]

  3. 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."...

  4. [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 -]
    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.]

  5. 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.]

6/23-24/2002  primitive Timesizing in the news - aka glimmers of strategic hope - 6/22/2002  primitive Timesizing in the news - aka glimmers of strategic hope - 6/21/2002  primitive Timesizing in the news - aka glimmers of strategic hope - 6/20/2002  primitive Timesizing in the news - 6/19/2002  primitive Timesizing in the news - 6/18/2002  primitive Timesizing in the news -
  1. 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."]

  2. 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....

  3. 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....

  4. 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.]

6/16-17/2002  primitive Timesizing in the news -
  1. 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.] ]

  2. 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....
  3. 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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