OSHA announced yesterday (http://www.osha.gov/pls/oshaweb/owadisp.show_document?p_table=NEWS_RELEASES&p_id=19158) that it has temporarily withdrawn from review by the OMB its proposal to restore a column for work-related musculoskeletal disorders on employer injury and illness logs citing the need “to seek greater input from small businesses.”
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…)
In recognition of OSHA’s decision yesterday not to reconfigure its interpretation of occupational noise standards (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=eZGWQauQOAQ) (and since we played hooky from the blog during our snow sabbatical), we have an unprecedented “threefer” for you.
With a nod to the recently filed whistleblower lawsuit featuring Lane Kiffin, we have a twofer for the HR Song(s) of the Week.
The EEOC’s final regulations for the Genetic Information Nondiscrimination Act have been out for a bit- (http://edocket.access.gpo.gov/2010/pdf/2010-28011.pdf). However, we just found this clip:
Lafe Solomon, the NLRB’s Acting General Counsel, has just issued a memorandum regarding “Effective Remedies in Organizing Campaigns.” We’ll leave it for you to decide whether this represents the labor law equivalent of Newton’s Third Law (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Newton’s_laws_of_motion) or the administrative equivalent of “the Chicago way” (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2ScvAJG51V4). Either way, the announcement that the Board may seek remedies such as union access to employer’s premises, bulletin boards, and e-mail systems or “notice reading” (i.e., actually forcing a manager to read a Board notice of what the employer did wrong to affected employees) will generate some heated discussion in the labor law world. Moreover, Mr. Solomon has given us a reason to bring back the HR Song of the Week:
I don’t remember exactly when I first heard Happy Trails, but I do remember that it was while watching The Roy Rogers Show. Dale Evans is often given credit for the song, though that’s not quite right. But let’s not quibble about that. Roy and Dale sang the song while the credits rolled at the end of the show. For those of us who watched a lot of Roy and Dale, this song provides a strong memory.
Rarely has an instrumental been used as the song of the week. The title of this instrumental drew me to it. It’s by David Bowie and is supposed to represent his move from Europe to the U.S. There are lots of people who would like to start a new career in a new town, but they can’t sell a house, and the job market most everywhere is terrible. The thought of this possibility keeps people going, and the upbeat sound is hopeful. Bowie plays the harmonica in this piece.
John Rich stops by a New Jersey radio station, talks about Nashville’s “music mafia,” and sings Shuttin’ Detroit Down a few days before he actually records it. As expressed in the song, he’s no fan of the bailout, the billionaires on Wall Street, their bonuses and private jets. But he is a fan of hard working people to whom this song is dedicated.
Sawyer Brown sings about a 50-year-old farmer who can’t make a living any more on the farm and must find something else to do. “There ain’t no fields to plow,” so he’s at the cafe down on the corner, just a little out of place, because “he’s busin’ tables now.” How many people — farmers and city folks — find themselves in a similar predicament today.
Peter Gabriel’s Don’t Give Up is a song that will do us all some good. Though the song is about someone who is down and out, its beat and lyrics are uplifting, and most of us need to be uplifted these days. “Don’t give up ’cause you have friends, don’t give up, you’re not beaten yet . . . Though I saw it all around, never thought I could be affected, thought that we’d be the last to go. It is so strange the way things turn . . . Don’t give up ’cause I believe there’s a place where we belong.” Kate Bush joins Gabriel to sing this song in the video below.
We’ve used Bruce Springsteen songs before as the HR Song of the Week — but not this one. It’s by no means new, but it’s as though it was written for our time. The Boss sings about an employee whose employer shut down the plant where he worked. He “went out lookin’ for a job but he couldn’t find none.” Plus his house was about to be taken away by the bank because he couldn’t pay the mortgage. He’s desperate, commits a crime, ends up in court, and has no desire to live any more.
Ben Folds sings about a man in an industry that was already being hit hard even before the Great Recession started. Fred Jones is a newspaper man who, after 25 years, is being laid off. It’s a beautiful, poignant song. “He’s cleared all his things and he’s put them in boxes . . . A man’s here to take him downstairs, and I’m sorry, Mr. Jones, it’s time . . . And life barrels on like a runaway train . . . You get off; someone else gets on, and I’m sorry, Mr. Jones, it’s time.” Ben Folds and the West Australia Symphony Orchestra perform this week’s HR song in the video below.
Remember the Jet Blue flight attendant who “quit” his job several weeks ago. He became a hero to some. Since he took out his wrath on passengers he was supposed to serve, I don’t think so. That’s not to say, however, that most of us don’t get fed up with our jobs. We want to do something we really like. Old Man Luedecke captures both the cynicism and idealism of chucking the job we have and starting over:
Bing Crosby sang one of the memorable songs associated with the Great Depression. I suspect some can relate to it in connection with the Great Recession. “I was building a dream . . . I was always there right on the job . . . Once I built a railroad . . . Once I built a tower . . . Why, don’t you remember . . . Brother [or buddy], can you spare a dime.” Listen to Bing Crosby croon, and watch the depression-era photographs go by.
This week’s song is by Led Zeppelin. Although the title of the song might not make it seem like a work song and while the song is subject to a variety of interpretations, I think it’s about the difficulty of balancing work and romance. It’s hard to maintain a romance when you’re: “Working from seven to eleven every night. It really makes life a drag. I’m about to lose my worried mind. Lord, that ain’t right.”
My Cubicle, a parody of James Blunt’s You’re Beautiful, paints a pretty dark picture of the life of an employee who has to work in a cubicle. No view. Nothing to do. Nobody looks you in the eye. One sits there in solitude. Of course, there are some folks who would think this sounds like a pretty good job.
I’ve chosen Making Believe as this week’s song in part because I like Emmylou Harris. She’s making believe because of a lost love, but I think what she sings could apply to many employees today. They’ve lost a job, or they’re in a job they really don’t like. They must come to grips with the truth that the way it is now may be the way it is from now on, but they can still make believe.
Not as well known as some of Disney’s other songs about work, Enchanted’s “Happy Working Song” is worth a listen. Like the others, this song takes a look at work with fantasy, imagination, creativity, and a positive attitude. Perhaps when we need to temporarily get away from the job we have, it wouldn’t be a bad idea to have this song playing in our heads.
Supervisors and human resources professionals often receive sick notes from employees. If the employee wants to take off under the Family and Medical Leave Act, he must present a sick note signed by a health care provider. Some notes are incomplete. Some sound suspicious. Occasionally, there’s a sick note that’s like no other, as the one sung by The Clancy Brothers and Robbie McConnell: “Dear Boss (Sick Note/Bricklayer’s Song):