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Union Membership Rates Continue to Decline

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The Bureau of Labor Statistics’ annual report on union membership rates came out yesterday and noted the following “highlights” from this year’s data: (more…)


Overtime: It’s the Work, Not the Title That Matters

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Overtime: It’s the Work, Not the Title That Matters

Employers are doing more with fewer employees, which means employees are working more hours. That’s fine as long as nonexempt employees are paid overtime if they work more than 40 hours per week. If they’re misclassified as nonexempt employees, employers will owe overtime for the extra hours being worked. That could amount to big money.

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Financial Reform’s Hidden Employment Surprises

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Financial Reform’s Hidden Employment Surprises

The Dodd-Frank Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act (also known as “financial reform” or “the Wall Street bill”) made headlines when President Obama signed it into law on July 21. However, many employers may still not realize the legislation contains diversity provisions that could affect them if they are contractors, subcontractors, or service providers for certain federal government agencies. More specifically, the diversity requirements found in the bill will affect financial industry organizations and those connected to them.

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Changed Forever — Tip of the Week

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Changed Forever — Tip of the Week

Much has been written about how the great recession has changed things forever. Those over 50 and unemployed may never work again. Consumerism will never be the same. Home ownership as the primary means of saving and investing is history. Today’s children won’t have nearly as good a life as we’ve had. The workplace will never again provide security and a reasonable living for most people.

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Firing With Respect — Tip of the Week

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Firing With Respect — Tip of the Week

I think it’s pretty clear that layoffs are going to continue and that our unemployment situation isn’t going to turn around anytime soon. In all likelihood, you will fire an employee, maybe several of the them, between now and the end of the year and on into next year. Things have changed a lot since the layoff craze began. Millions of people are sitting on edge every day. I’ve written as much as I can about why this should have never happened. As it continues, however, remember how stressed employees already are and how difficult being fired is, particularly in this economy. Instead of an email, memo, voicemail or some other impersonal contact, meet face-to-face with employees losing their jobs. You will need to give them something in writing. You can do that when you meet with them or give it to them later. Show them a little respect when they are on the verge of hearing what they’ve feared for months.


Age Discrimination Law Old News and Apparently Ineffective

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Age Discrimination Law Old News and Apparently Ineffective

When I began this blog, I predicted that the big area of employment litigation for the future was age discrimination. Because of the sheer number of  aging baby boomers, many would be retired or discharged, arguably in violation of the Age Discrimination in Employment Act (ADEA). When I made this prediction, I didn’t see the Great Recession coming.

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Sex Discrimination Lawsuit Filed Against Goldman Sachs

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Sex Discrimination Lawsuit Filed Against Goldman Sachs

Earlier this week, three former female employees of Goldman Sachs filed suit against the firm for sex discrimination. The three women allege that Goldman systematically discriminates against female employees by paying them less than males in comparable positions. They also contend that Goldman promotes male employees more frequently than females.

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When An Employee Asks for Help — Tip of the Week

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When An Employee Asks for Help — Tip of the Week

Most employees want to do a good job. They also want their superiors to think they’re doing a good job. The normal anxiety about doing good work is exacerbated in today’s workplace world because jobs are hard to come by, and its more important than ever to do good work and impress the powers that be.

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Money Can’t Buy Day-to-Day Happiness, But . . . .

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Money Can’t Buy Day-to-Day Happiness, But . . . .

Bloomberg Businessweek reports on a new study that will appear in this month’s Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences. The researchers who conducted the study used data from the Gallup-Healthways Well-Being Index, which surveyed 450,000 Americans over a two year period about their household income, emotional state during the prior day, and overall feelings about their life and well-being. Here are the results.

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The New Normal?

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The New Normal?

According to an article in the New York Times, a few of the unemployed are beginning to find new jobs. A few businesses are expanding. And a few businesses are hiring. However, the few jobs being created and filled are low paying. In other words, if an employee is fortunate enough to find a job today, he will be making less than he was in his previous job. This seems to be what’s ahead in a post-recession world.

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Organized Labor Targets Carwashes

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Organized Labor Targets Carwashes

On the heels of a recent post wondering what the heck unions are doing to organize workers who are surely bummed about the state of their employment in these tough economic times, it comes to light that organized labor is trying hard to unionize workers at carwashes in Los Angeles. Before you ridicule this effort, consider a few facts.

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O Labor, Where Art Thou?

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O Labor, Where Art Thou?

My Labor Day post suggested that organized labor should receive a boost from the Great Recession. There is, of course, a quite legitimate contrary view. For those employers to whom I may have given heartburn on Labor Day, here’s your antacid.

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Labor Day

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Labor Day

I have done two previous posts to recognize American workers on Labor Day. The first one contained a history of Labor Day provided by the U.S. Department of Labor. The second one focused on a statement about Labor Day issued by Secretary of Labor Hilda Solis. This year’s Labor Day post will be different, since it seems appropriate to look at Labor Day in the context of the ongoing Great Recession.

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Buffett and Gates: Billionaire Bluster

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Buffett and Gates: Billionaire Bluster

Approximately 40 (out of 400) billionaires in the U.S. have committed to give away half of what they have. Prompted by Warren Buffett and Bill Gates, they have signed the “Giving Pledge.” Though the adulation they’ve received has been substantial and has come from all quarters, the billionaire bluster has been troubling, even nauseating, to me.

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Wall Street Bonus Redux

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Wall Street Bonus Redux

In case you missed it, Wall Street banks have announced that bonuses will be more this year than last year. And why not? After being bailed out by the federal government (aka, taxpayers) because they were on the verge of collapse and deemed too big to fail, the banks are now reporting record profits. With such a quick turnaround in the worst economy since the Great Depression, maybe the banks weren’t as close to collapse as the powers that be thought.

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I’m Mad As Hell?

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I’m Mad As Hell?

Three recent stories in the news caused me to think of  the most famous line from the 1976 movie Network: “I’m mad as hell, and I’m not going to take this any more.” First, there’s the stressed-out Jet Blue flight attendant, who ended his career like many employees say they’d like to. Second, protests by laid-off bank workers are growing and now include sit-ins. In China. Third, an era of anger among employees is sweeping the U.S. These stories have something in common, but when put together, there’s a degree of incongruence.

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Chronic Unemployment That Shouldn’t Have Happened

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Chronic Unemployment That Shouldn’t Have Happened

It’s finally sinking in that jobs for the unemployed aren’t being created, with no sign of that changing anytime soon. America has begun to experience “chronic unemployment,” which is a post-recession condition previously experienced in other countries but not heretofore experienced in this country. People become newly unemployed every week. The thing is, though, a good percentage of the millions of unemployed have been unemployed for two years or more.

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LeBron James: Today’s Employee

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LeBron James: Today’s Employee

I’m a little late to the party with any thoughts on LeBron James’ move from Cleveland to Miami. I just couldn’t think of anything to say other than he’s as greedy and arrogant as some of the top executives in the business world. An article in the Los Angeles Times made me think again about the meaning of Lebron’s ship-jumping.

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Arizona Immigration Law Derailed

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Arizona Immigration Law Derailed

Yesterday, significant parts of Arizona’s new and controversial immigration law were ruled invalid by a federal judge. (Read here.) Undoubtedly, there will be an appeal, so who knows what will eventually happen? Not many people disagree with the proposition that there should be a federal overhaul of immigration law. But Congress isn’t about to act on this before the November elections, and it’s unlikely Congress will act on it after the elections.

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Manufacturers’ Hiring Stymied?

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Manufacturers’ Hiring Stymied?

According to the New York Times, manufacturers are desperate to hire workers again. In Cleveland, where 40,000 manufacturing jobs were lost during the Great Recession, only 4,500 jobs have been added since the first of this year. More would have been added if manufacturers could find qualified applicants. In one company, six machinests are urgently needed to run computer numerical control machines. Fifty people applied for these jobs, but none were qualified. None!

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