Wednesday, December 14, 2005

Business Wire, December 12, 2005, Monday

Copyright 2005 Business Wire, Inc.
Business Wire

December 12, 2005 Monday 1:00 PM GMT

DISTRIBUTION: Business Editors; Education Writers

HEADLINE: National University Names Dr. Sharon P. Smith Provost and Vice President for Academic Affairs and Vice Chancellor for Academic Affairs

DATELINE: LA JOLLA, Calif. Dec. 12, 2005

National University System Chancellor Dr. Jerry C. Lee announced today the naming of Dr. Sharon P. Smith as Provost and Vice President for Academic Affairs for National University and Vice Chancellor for Academic Affairs for the National University System.
"Dr. Smith's distinguished academic expertise will be invaluable as we continue to move National University and the National University System into the future," said Dr. Lee.
Dr. Smith will be responsible for leadership of National's academic agenda, for its six schools, the National University library and the University's Divisions of Student Services and Extended Learning. In her role as Vice Chancellor, Dr. Smith also will serve as an important resource for the affiliates of the National University System. Dr. Smith will officially assume her responsibilities with National on April 1, 2006.
Dr. Smith joins National from Fordham University, where most recently she was Dean, Schools of Business and Dean of the Business Faculty. After gaining distinguished research, government and corporate experience, Dr. Smith was named dean of Fordham's undergraduate College of Business Administration in 1990. At the time, Dr. Smith was one of only 25 women deans in over 1,200 schools of business and the first woman named dean at a Jesuit business school.
In 2001, when she was named Dean of the Graduate School of Business Administration and of the Business Faculty, it was the first time both the graduate and undergraduate colleges had been placed under the permanent management of one dean.
In her role as dean, Dr. Smith directed operations and strategic planning for Fordham's undergraduate and graduate business colleges and executive programs on three campuses in metropolitan New York and at a top-ranking MBA program in Beijing, China. Fordham's colleges and programs featured a total enrollment of over 3,700 students worldwide and generated more than $74 million in annual tuition revenue domestically.
Dr. Smith also directed the major fund-raising activities of a dedicated development staff, setting goals for gifts and pledges and participation levels from business school alumni. Gifts and pledges over the last five years totaled $15 million, and participation rates for undergraduate and graduate alumni reached 16 and 7 percent, respectively.
Dr. Smith spent a total of 15 years as head of the University's undergraduate business program. She is currently on sabbatical serving as a Visiting Fellow at Cornell University's New York State School of Industrial and Labor Relations (2005-06).
Dr. Smith's teaching experience includes service as Professor of Management Systems at Fordham (1992-2006); Visiting Senior Research Economist, Department of Economics at Princeton (1988-90); Adjunct Associate Professor of Economics at Drew University (1984); and Visiting Associate Professor of Labor Economics at Cornell University (1981).
In addition to her extensive academic achievements, Dr. Smith has enjoyed a distinguished corporate career. From 1982-88, she worked at American Telephone & Telegraph in New Jersey, where she served as District Manager in the areas of Corporate Strategy and Development, Labor Relations, and Economic Analysis Section. From 1976-82, she worked at the Federal Reserve Bank of New York, where she was a senior economist and was in a special unit which helped resurrect the city's then nearly bankrupt economy.
Dr. Smith has participated in several distinguished affiliations and memberships, including: the American Association for Higher Education; American Economic Association; Association of Jesuit Colleges and Universities/Business Deans of Jesuit Institutions; Committee on the Status of Women in the Economics Profession; Fordham Center for Corporate, Securities, and Financial Law; Industrial Relations Research Association; Middle Atlantic Association of Colleges of Business Administration; and the Princeton Club of New York.
She has also served on the boards of: NASD; NASD Dispute Resolution; NASDAQ Stock Market Educational Foundation, Inc.; Partners in Health; Securities Industry Association; Security Traders Association (STA); Security Traders Association (STA) Foundation; and St. Barnabas Hospital.
Dr. Smith was valedictorian of Rutgers University's Class of 1970, where she graduated summa cum laude and earned her bachelor's degree in economics. She also holds a Ph.D. and master's, both in economics, from Rutgers.
For more information about Dr. Smith, National University or the National University System, contact David Neville at 858-642-8163 or visit
About National University
Founded in 1971, National University is the second-largest, nonprofit, accredited, private institution of higher learning in California, with the third-largest graduate program in the country. The University is unique because of its intensive one-course-per-month format and flexible online degree programs, which enable students to complete graduate and undergraduate programs in an accelerated time frame while maintaining family and work responsibilities. National University is headquartered in La Jolla and has more than 30 campuses in 13 major metropolitan areas throughout California, as well as in Henderson, Nevada, and Honolulu, Hawaii.
About the National University System
The National University System was established in 2001 to meet the emerging challenges and demands of education in the 21st century. The System is uniquely aligned to connect a diverse student population to a network of innovative educational programs that are relevant to their lives, careers, and the marketplace and are delivered in a format that respects competing life priorities. The National University System includes National University, National Polytechnic College of Engineering and Oceaneering, Spectrum Pacific Learning Company LLC, National University Virtual High School, California Medical Institute, and the National University Center for Human Advancement. The System is headquartered in La Jolla, California.

CONTACT: National University David Neville, 858-642-8163


Los Angeles Times, December 12, 2005, Monday

Copyright 2005 Los Angeles Times
All Rights Reserved
Los Angeles Times

December 12, 2005 Monday
Home Edition

SECTION: MAIN NEWS; National Desk; Part A; Pg. 11

HEADLINE: The Nation;
NYU Grad Students Keep Up Fight;
The private university's refusal to negotiate fuels a strike that could affect labor at other schools.

BYLINE: Thomas S. Mulligan, Times Staff Writer


In a sign that striking graduate students at New York University may be settling in for a long siege, they've sent their rat out for repairs.
Labor groups use the giant inflatable rodent to shame employers they consider guilty of unfair labor practices. NYU earned such treatment, the strikers say, by refusing to negotiate a new contract with the United Auto Workers local that represents the students and by threatening them with the loss of their paid teaching jobs if they continue the strike they launched Nov. 9.
With the rat's generator motor on the fritz, strikers demonstrating in freezing weather outside the NYU library have had to make do with picket signs, chants and a drum kit with snare and cymbals.
"The music department has been very supportive," said Paul Kershaw, a striking teaching assistant in the history department.
The strike has resulted in the cancellation of student-taught classes, as well as other disruptions. Some of NYU's star professors, including author E.L. Doctorow, have publicly supported the strike. Sympathetic professors have moved classes off campus to avoid crossing picket lines. One alternative site popular with students is a room in the Chelsea headquarters of the Communist Party USA.
Until the UAW contract expired Aug. 31, NYU was the only private university in the United States with unionized graduate students. Approximately 1,000 candidates for doctoral and master's degrees teach classes, grade papers and exams, lead seminars and conduct research for faculty members. For this, they receive free tuition and health benefits, plus annual stipends of at least $19,000, a package that the university values at $50,000 annually.
The university says the clash centers on academic issues such as the administration's right to assign teaching assistants as it sees fit. NYU spokesman John Beckman said the UAW agreed in the original contract not to interfere with academic decision-making but then went back on its word, filing a number of grievances over teaching assignments.
The grad students say the issues are purely economic. For example, in several cases, the university reclassified teaching assistants as adjunct professors, a lower-paying designation, according to union activist Susan Valentine, a medieval history scholar. Since the contract expired, she said, NYU also has cut the students' health benefits, imposing higher deductibles and co-pays.
"If anything, what they're doing is a direct danger to academic freedom," said Valentine, who was bundled up in a parka on a cold afternoon last week as a dozen sign-bearing strikers demonstrated nearby.
Grad students in the University of California system and numerous other public universities are unionized, but their legal status is different. About 30 states, including California, recognize teaching assistants at state universities as public employees and explicitly grant them rights to organize and bargain collectively.
Private universities, like other private employers, fall under federal law and are answerable to the National Labor Relations Board.
The NYU contract was signed in 2001, a year after the NLRB ruled that its grad students had the right to join a union. But last year, in a case involving Brown University, the NLRB reversed itself on a 3-2 vote, finding that teaching assistants were not entitled to unionize because their relationship with the university was predominantly academic, not economic.
NLRB members are appointed by the president, so their views tend to shift from administration to administration.
Citing the Brown decision, NYU says it is under no legal obligation to negotiate with the UAW. Beckman noted that the union rejected a proposal last summer that would have allowed the UAW to continue representing the teaching assistants, but only on economic issues.
Valentine said the proposal was rejected in part because it would have required contract disputes to be arbitrated by the office of the university provost, which she said would have unfairly tilted things in the administration's favor.
The university set a Dec. 5 deadline for the strikers to resume their duties or face loss of their stipends and teaching posts. NYU said even the holdouts would continue to receive free tuition and health benefits, plus loans to make up for their loss of stipends. The administration said three-quarters of the teaching assistants have returned to class, a figure that the strikers consider inflated.
The university has so far held off on imposing sanctions, as several settlement proposals have surfaced from faculty members, and the administration wants to consider them, spokesman Josh Taylor said Saturday.
But Valentine said Saturday that the proposals were unacceptable because they would require the students to drop UAW representation.
Other private universities were watching the situation closely, said Richard W. Hurd, a professor of industrial and labor relations at Cornell University. Besides NYU and Brown, grad students have been trying to organize at nearby Columbia and Yale universities.
"A win at NYU would certainly create some energy" in the grad student unionization movement, Hurd said.
But at the same time, because of the lack of clear legal support, organizing grad students at private universities "is a high-risk investment for unions," he said. "If the law is going to get in the way, unions might be better off spending their resources on campaigns where there is legal protection."
Meanwhile, NYU spokesman Taylor mused that the generator for the inflatable rat probably requires a lot of gasoline. If the strike is going to continue, he said, "maybe they should look into a hybrid rat."

GRAPHIC: PHOTO: PROTEST: A picketer targets NYU President John Sexton. PHOTOGRAPHER: Carolyn Cole Los Angeles Times PHOTO: COLD WAR: Striking teaching assistants, whose United Auto Workers contract expired in August, picket New York University. PHOTOGRAPHER: Carolyn Cole Los Angeles Times

Newsday (New York), December 12, 2005, Monday

Copyright 2005 Newsday, Inc.
Newsday (New York)

December 12, 2005 Monday


HEADLINE: They'd pay for a strike;
Transit union leaders ponder whether breaking the state's Taylor Law with walkout is worth risk


As transit negotiators grind through talks on a new contract with the threat of a strike looming, there is an "elephant in the room."
The elephant is the state Taylor Law, which prohibits strikes by public employees and carries penalties that could cripple violators of its no-strike provision.
Passed in 1967 after the 1966 transit strike, it nonetheless did not stop another transit strike in 1980. It is anyone's guess whether it can prevent one this week.
Local 100 of the Transport Workers Union was fined $1 million and its members were fined two days' pay for every day of the 11-day strike in 1980.
On top of that, the union was penalized by having its automatic payroll deduction for dues revoked, forcing shop stewards to try to collect dues from members before the shattered union finally had the checkoff restored.
The current union president, Roger Toussaint, was elected in 2000 with the expectation that his rhetoric would translate into action. However, he averted a strike in 2002 after a tough round of negotiations.
Toussaint is well aware of the risks if there is a strike this year, but that does not mean there won't be one, said Lee Adler, who teaches public sector labor law at Cornell University.
"Still, labor leaders like Mr. Toussaint - fully aware that the law carries these penalties - at times have decided that leadership of their union requires actions that might trigger these harsh steps," Adler said in an interview. "What neither the MTA, the city nor the public knows is whether Mr. Toussaint and his members believe that this is one of those times."
Joshua Freeman, a history professor at Queens College and the author of a book on the transit union - who likened the Taylor Law to "an elephant in the room" - agreed that it is hard to gauge what will happen.
He noted that under former Mayor Rudolph Giuliani, the city got an injunction under the Taylor Law. Violations of the injunctions could have triggered even heavier fines.
Freeman and Robert Snyder, who also has written a book on the union, said they expected Mayor Michael Bloomberg to be influenced by his business background.
"It is difficult to think of Mayor [Robert] Wagner imposing huge penalties on a union," Snyder said. "It is easy to see Bloomberg doing it, with relish."
Then and now
A lot has changed since the city's two most recent transit strikes - in 1966 and 1980 - and the stakes might be higher.
1966 1980 2005
Fare 20 cents 60 cents $2
City population 7.8 million 7.1 million 8.1 million
Annual subway ridership 1.3 billion 1 billion 1.4 billion*
Mayor John Lindsay Ed Koch Mike Bloomberg
In the news Enemies Pakistan Scientist Enemies Pakistan
and India sign pact fear Mount and India pledge
to solve disputes Helens will cooperation
peacefully erupt to help
earthquake survivors
Hot TV show "Bonanza" "Dallas" "Desperate
*2004 figures
NOTE: Some figures are rounded. 1966 population figure reflects 1960 census. SOURCES: U.S. CENSUS, MTA, 1960SFLASHBACK.COM, 1980SFLASHBACK.COM, BBC NEWS

GRAPHIC: AP FILE PHOTO- Walking and driving across the Brooklyn Bridge into Manhattan during the 1980 transit strike. Chart - Then and now (see end of text)

The Atlanta Journal-Constitution, December 11, 2005, Sunday

Copyright 2005 The Atlanta Journal-Constitution
The Atlanta Journal-Constitution

December 11, 2005 Sunday
Home Edition




Immigration: Responses to "Walls can't truly keep out illegals," Editorial, Dec. 4
No way to compete with 'guest workers'
OK, we get it. The Atlanta Journal-Constitution supports illegal aliens and a "guest worker" program.
Let's ignore that the oft-used figure of 250,000 illegals in Georgia is ridiculously low --- from the lowest estimate of five years ago. And that many independent studies show that because of the amnesty of 1986 there are now likely 20 million illegals present nationally. And let's ignore that billions of people want to live here. But let's not ignore this from Cornell University labor economics professor Vernon Briggs: "The toleration of illegal immigration undermines all of our labor; it rips at the social fabric. It's a race to the bottom. The one who plays by the rules is penalized . . . a guest-worker program guarantees wages will never go up, and there is no way American citizens can compete with guest workers."
Let's enforce existing immigration law --- like Mexico?
King, of Marietta, is founder of the Dustin Inman Society, a coalition aimed at educating Georgians on the consequences of illegal immigration.
Penalize those who employ illegals
The AJC is exactly right about illegal immigration. As long as Georgia businesses continue to hire illegals, they will continue to come here, no matter how many fences are built and border agents are hired.
The only effective way to address this problem is to reduce demand by rigorous enforcement of labor laws, including stiff penalties for employers who hire illegals. Republican politicians are unwilling to do this, as their campaign contributors want to keep using cheap illegal labor. Instead, they will continue to call for ineffective measures such as denying in-state tuition benefits.
Build walls, hire agents, strip benefits
Walls will work if, at the same time, our immigration laws are enforced, additional border agents are hired exactly as recommended by the 9/11 commission, and a new law is adopted to deny all benefits to illegal aliens, including automatic U.S. citizenship to children born here of illegal aliens. Most of them will leave the United States if they cannot survive economically and if their children cannot receive any benefits whatsoever.
The Bush administration and both party leaders in Congress only want unlimited guest-worker visas and amnesty for possibly more than 11 million illegal aliens. If President Bush were serious about securing our borders, why hasn't he hired an additional 2,000 border patrol agents as recommended by the 9/11 commission? His proposal as well as the amnesty bill of Sens. Ted Kennedy (D-Mass.) and John McCain (R-Ariz.) will be a repeat of the 1986 bill that gave amnesty to 3 million illegal aliens. But its provisions to curb illegal immigration have been seldom enforced.
The United States still has tens of millions of unemployed and underemployed low-skilled Americans, including Hurricane Katrina victims, able-bodied welfare recipients and nonviolent prison inmates. Why not put them to work in jobs held by illegal aliens?
Ling-Ling is executive director, Diversity Alliance for a Sustainable America, Oakland, Calif.
Mountain paths show the problem
I have just returned from a visit to see firsthand the border between Arizona and Mexico --- what a joke ("Fix immigration on outside, inside," Equal Time, Dec. 4).
Paths are worn over our mountains by the border where illegals --- including those bringing drugs, diseases, weapons and people from terrorist states --- enter our country every day.
We must build a fence if we wish to remain a sovereign country.
Hilton Head Island, S.C.
Many noncitizens are here legally
Carlos Campos reports that "GOP leaders in the General Assembly have signed on to legislation that would require the state to verify citizenship before a person receives social services, in essence denying them to illegals" ("Are illegals a drain on Georgia?" Page One, Dec. 4).
Would the AJC and Republican lawmakers please remember that there are a large number of legal non-citizens in Georgia? They work, pay taxes and obey state and federal laws. They are clearly entitled to basic social services, even by the cruel logic that the GOP would use to deny health care and education to vulnerable, hard-working illegals. More compassion from the self-proclaimed "party of faith" would be welcome.
Stop rewarding lawbreakers
I support Senate Bill 170, which would prevent illegal immigrants from receiving state benefits intended for and paid for by legal residents of Georgia ("Bill to cut services for illegals strikes chord," Metro, Dec. 4).
Rewarding people for doing the wrong thing only encourages more people to do the wrong thing. Our current process --- which provides benefits to illegal immigrants --- costs taxpayers a lot of money and encourages more illegal immigrants to enter this country. I want it stopped.
Our federal legislators have been an embarrassment to our nation for not enforcing our borders and for not implementing a reasonable process to legally allow people into this country when it is in the best interest of this country. Amnesty programs only reward folks for doing the wrong thing.
Children of illegals will open floodgates
I don't know what all the fuss is about.
Police should have the authority to hold illegals until proper authorities handle it. We should change the law that says a child born to an illegal immigrant in the United States is automatically a citizen. Employers who hire illegals should do jail time.
It is about money, it is about what is proper and it is about security. Do we teach our children that it is OK to cheat on taxes but not OK to rob a bank? Illegal is illegal.
If we cut back on unemployment and other social benefits, more U.S. citizens would do menial jobs and we wouldn't need illegals. If we continue to allow children of illegals to become citizens, eventually they will vote to open the borders to all illegals. I'm 77, so thank God I'll be dead by then, but my great-grandchildren will have to live with our mistakes.
NORMAN C. COX, Jackson
Warning: Politics of hate likely to backfire
Let's quit the immigrant-bashing.
We aging baby boomers need all the help we can get from south of the border. Who else is going to pay the taxes to fund our nursing home care, and who else will empty our bedpans? So what if a fraction of our taxes today pays for a few ungenerous benefits for illegals? The savings we gain from all the work they do for rock-bottom pay makes this the bargain of the century. Instead of griping about the nice Catholic folks with good attitudes who have come to work among us, we should thank our stars we don't have Europe's Muslim immigrants, an underclass that really is hard to assimilate.
But if Georgia Republicans keep up their mean-spirited attacks on Hispanics for short-term electoral gain, they could create burning resentments like those that erupted in France recently. Voters need to show these demagogues that hate politics doesn't pay.
Christmas: Materialistic orgy hardly honors Jesus
What's with all the controversy about Christmas being under attack? It seems that it is attacking me, with every supermarket, department store, etc., blaring inane Christmas songs all day and radio, TV and newspapers keeping up a steady diet of Christmas spiel as if everyone celebrates Christmas.
How can folks claim to celebrate a most spiritual person in an orgy of materialism? And there is scant historical evidence that this person actually existed as described in Scripture. But there is tons of evidence to suggest that the way this holiday is celebrated in the West is merely a modern extension of the ancient Saturnalia solstice rites, which predate Christianity.
It would be wise for people upset with those who dare to challenge tradition to remember that if all biblical accounts are true, then the one they say they worship was put to death for doing exactly that.
Another diversion launched by right
Christmas has joined Terri Schiavo, flag-burning and gay marriage as the latest diversion launched by the right wing. They start these non-stories, and the media cover them, wasting air time and column inches.
Businesses are free to call their sales whatever they want to call them. People are free to patronize those businesses or to take their business somewhere else. People are free to wish everyone good cheer as they wish to, and to decorate their houses any way they want. The issue is that government shouldn't decide which version of a winter holiday is the "correct one."
The fight has never been about Christmas --- it's about government intrusion. And even the right says they subscribe to that view. Relax, and have a great holiday season.
Glad the dark days of tolerance ended
This holiday season we can be thankful that we are more socially sensitive than we used to be.
In the dark days of my youth we had a melange of kids in our school. We had a couple of Palestinians, but we didn't know any better than to call them refugees and they didn't know enough to be offended.
Empty desks on a given day meant that it was a Jewish holiday, and the Jewish students got off for Hebrew school, too. Catholics got off one afternoon a week for religious instruction. Black and white Protestant kids came in last, with an hour off on Wednesday afternoons to listen to a woman who was a notorious fruitcake squeak on about the Communist threat. We had an atheist or two, but they got lumped in with the Protestants to get out of school. We wished one another Merry Christmas or Happy Hanukkah.
A byproduct of our ignorance was tolerance, an insignificant casualty in light of our newfound social awareness.
A nation without God is doomed
Some people have a problem with the word "Christ" when talking about a Christmas tree? Give me a break!
All of the people who are anti-God, anti-religion, anti-Christ, anti-Ten Commandments being displayed, etc., need to be rounded up and moved to their own little country where they can have it their way.
If President Bush wants to do one thing good for this country before he's done in Washington, he should make this happen. But without God invited into their country, they must be prepared for the worst to happen to it, because the devil is always lurking. If we want to end the craziness going on in our country, we must bring God back.
Global warming: Responses to "Global warming may be hazardous to health," News, Dec. 4
Americans want to have it both ways
Global warming may endanger our health --- oh, really? This is what environmentalists have been saying for years. Did you really think our only interest was the spotted owl or the snail darter?
"The lethal impacts are felt by people around the world, especially the poor," the article informs us. Yes, but Americans want to defend "our way of life" at all costs. And we call ourselves a religious nation.
JOAN O. KING, Sautee
It's harmful to the economy as well
The evidence points to the conclusion that global warming is causing illnesses to develop and spread more quickly. A growing number of people are dying and becoming sick as a result.
Not only can global warming be harmful to health, but many other aspects of life, such as our economy, could be negatively affected.
If we do not strongly combat global warming, there could be serious repercussions. There should be increased efforts to inform people of the possible harm of global warming and of how they can help. Those who act in ways that will help to slow global warming, such as recycling and using solar-powered heat, should be rewarded.
Aviation safety: Responses to "Skies safer, despite woes," Business, Dec. 4
Nonunion crew gets the job done
Unions don't have much going for them these days, including the truth, it seems. Union claims that unionized mechanics perform safer airline maintenance are bogus. Since Delta mechanics have never been unionized, is that airline unsafe?
My own recent experience as a Northwest Airlines pilot showed that unions can be decidedly less safe. Leading up to their August strike, the Aircraft Mechanics Fraternal Association mechanics at NWA deliberately allowed backlogs (called MELs) of mechanical discrepancies to build to high levels, ostensibly as a pressure tactic against the company. The Federal Aviation Administration allows fixing specific categories of discrepancies to be deferred for specified periods of time. This is not unsafe, but the effect can be cumulative.
Just before the strike, nearly all airplanes had multiple MELs, and I flew one with nine. Within two weeks of taking over, the replacement nonunion mechanics had the average down to well fewer than one per airplane.
Outsourced hires lack motivation
Dave Hirschman's article suggests that safety is not affected by outsourcing.
I have been helping people deal with flight phobia for 25 years. Whenever clients have spoken with mechanics, inevitably the mechanic is asked, "How do I know you do your job right?" The answer has never been because of the FAA, or concern about being fired or getting flak from a supervisor. Instead, it has always been, "Because I know when my family flies on a pass it is going to be on a plane I have worked on."
Mechanics doing the outsourced work do not get passes for themselves or for their families. Thus, the overriding motivation for doing the job right is being lost.
Bunn, of Easton, Conn., is a retired commercial airline pilot.
Nagin is a disgrace
After some good reporting by Mae Gentry, I can only say it is about time that New Orleans, Louisiana and the nation see Ray Nagin for what he is: a pathetic, ineffectual excuse for a mayor or a leader ("Evacuees frustrated with Nagin," Metro, Dec. 4) .
What caused many of New Orleans' problems (before and after Katrina) was all his talk and his almost negligent failure to act. It continues today with his "rah-rah" bravado without substance, fiscally or strategically, to support its people. Is this nothing more than an attempt to save his political life?

Sun-Sentinel (Fort Lauderdale, Florida), December 10, 2005, Saturday

Copyright 2005 Sun-Sentinel Company
All Rights Reserved
Sun-Sentinel (Fort Lauderdale, Florida)

December 10, 2005 Saturday
Broward Metro Edition



BYLINE: Tom Tracy

Title: President of Reform Temple Shaarei Shalom in Boynton Beach, with
average weekend attendance of 300.

Other job experience: Former director of program development for New York
State Education Department; supervisor of instruction for Temple Beth Emeth in
Albany, N. Y.

Other community posts: Past president and divorce mediator, Albany Center
for Alternative Dispute Resolution.

Education: Bachelor's degree in science, City College of New York; master's
in education from University at Albany/State University of New York;
certificate in labor from Cornell University in New York.

Personal: Born in Brooklyn. South Florida resident since 1971.

Family: Married to Harvey, a retired attorney. Children: David; Lawrence;
Elizabeth and six grandchildren.

Q. A distinctive feature of your religion?

A. Jews have maintained their covenant with God for 5,766 years in many
lands and places, and Judaism has evolved as a religion and a culture. Temple
Shaarei Shalom is 13 years old, originally functioning as an adult
congregation. It opened to families five years ago.

Q. What's religion for, in 25 words or less?

A. It is a path that brings together prayer, study and acts of loving

Q. What are temple presidents supposed to do?

A. The president is the leader of the congregation, working with the board
to define and implement the policies. I work with the congregation, clergy and
community to make sure things happen.

Q. What book have you been recommending lately and why?

A. Anything by columnist Thomas Friedman. He has an ability to look at
politics and the way the world is changing in a very broad way. He can prepare
a reader for the changes taking place globally and locally.

Q. Written any books?

A. A curriculum for the state of New York.

Q. Favorite pastime?

A. Theater, movies, travel. I am on my way to Houston to attend a
conference of the Union for Reform Judaism, which is a chance to meet with
people from Reform congregations from throughout the United States.

Q. Favorite vacation spot?

A. Israel and the Middle East. That's where the roots are, and it
reinforces everything I have learned and studied.

Q. Favorite music? Favorite performer(s)?

A. Evita, West Side Story, Leonard Bernstein and Barbra Streisand.

Q. Do you have a hero?

A. Golda Meir, a woman who was intelligent, respected and capable. And she
was elected the leader of her adopted country at a time when women where not
normally put into positions of leadership. She served her country well.

Q. Favorite TV shows?

A. The West Wing. It is such a wonderful example of staffing and
coordination. I like the way they work together as a team, serving the

Q. Your most memorable spiritual experience?

A. Giving birth to each of the children. It was the deepest, most awesome
experience -- the creation of something beyond myself.

Q. Something that only your best friends know about you?

A. I love dark chocolate.

Q. What does your faith say about other faiths?

A. That we each seek peace in our own way.

Q. What's the most important thing you've ever learned?

A. How easy it is to make war and how hard it is to maintain peace. We seem
to think it's a simple process. But it requires so much attention, and you
can't presume anything. You have to keep working at seeking peace. That is
also how you keep a good marriage.

Q. What person in history would you like most to meet?

A. Eleanor Roosevelt, because she helped so many people. She was a woman of
great social station and yet she became an independent person. She saw the
needs of others and reached out to them and accomplished a great deal of
social good. She had so much care and compassion and people responded to her.

Q. Motto, or favorite scripture verse?

A. Micah 4.3. "And they shall beat their swords into ploughshares, and
their spears into pruning hooks. Nation shall not lift up sword against
nation; neither shall they learn war anymore."

--Tom Tracy

Do you know someone we should profile? Tell Religion Editor James D. Davis
at 954-356-4730 or

LEADER: Joan Milowe of Temple Shaarei Shalom admires Golda Meir, The West Wing and West Side Story. Staff photo/Carline Jean

Ventura County Star (California), December 6, 2005, Tuesday

Copyright 2005 Ventura County Star
All Rights Reserved
Ventura County Star (California)

December 6, 2005 Tuesday


HEADLINE: Underground economy growing as illegal immigrants spread out

BYLINE: Angie Wagner

The Associated Press
LAS VEGAS -- Each morning, Israel Gonzalez rises before dawn and heads to the sidewalks around the city's plant nurseries to wait for a job. There, alongside other men, he watches for pickup trucks that slow down, hoping today he will be chosen for work.
It's a morning ritual played out regularly in cities and towns as day laborers, mostly illegal immigrants, scramble for work in a country that comfortably accepts their work while disavowing their right to be here.
The work is steady, the money is good, and when Gonzalez gets picked up for a job, no one asks for documents or identification.
"The bosses don't care if the papers are real or not," he said, wearing a navy hat with an American flag on it.
Gonzalez, 31, lives with his three brothers in an apartment; none of them is legal. They are among millions of illegal immigrants who work in obscurity, in the shadows of the American economy, quietly bringing home wages from people and companies more than willing to hire them.
On paper, many don't exist. Fake Social Security numbers and birth certificates make sure of that. They are nannies, housekeepers, landscapers, construction, farm and food service workers. Cash is paid under the table, or fake documents are accepted without question.
Illegal immigrants may number as high as 20 million, and they are gaining a larger share of the job market, according to Bear Stearns in New York.
More and more, they are spreading beyond traditional immigrant states like California and Texas. They are spreading through the West and South, where there is tremendous growth, affordable housing and family networks. They are increasingly found in states like Utah, Washington, Pennsylvania, Tennessee, Georgia and the Dakotas, and they're heading to suburbia.
This is America's underground economy, and it generates billions of dollars worth of labor each year. Illegal workers come for the jobs and always find companies eager to hire them.
"The toleration of illegal immigration undermines all of our labor," said Vernon Briggs, a Cornell University labor economics professor.
"It rips at the social fabric. It's a race to the bottom. The one who plays by the rules is penalized.
It becomes a system that feeds on itself. It just goes on and on and on."
For years, the immigrant population mainly stuck to six destination states -- California, Texas, New York, Florida, Illinois and New Jersey. In the past five years, the most rapid growth has taken place in states once of little interest to immigrants -- Tennessee, Mississippi, the Dakotas, Ohio and Pennsylvania, said Bill Frey, demographer at the Brookings Institution in Washington, D.C.
They are following rapid growth, going where the jobs are and where the cost of living is low. Suburbs now attract more new immigrants than cities.
In the West, the immigrant population in the Mountain states is growing faster than the rest of the region. In the South, the interior Southeast has higher immigrant growth than the more glamorous coastal states, Frey said.
Hooked on cheap labor
The way Bob Justich sees it, America is hooked on cheap, illegal workers. As a senior managing director for Bear Stearns, he has spent the last two years meeting with immigrants, business owners, police and real estate agents to determine the size of the underground economy and its effect on the real economy.
This he knows for sure: There are way more illegal immigrants in the country than the government estimates. The government puts the number at around 8.5 million; Justich says it is more than double that: closer to 20 million, mainly because illegal immigrants don't bother to respond to Census Bureau forms.
"If everybody was deported tomorrow, it would be like emptying the equivalent of New York state," he said, "and this source of labor has become vital to many businesses."
Illegal immigrants hold from 12 million to 15 million jobs in the United States, or about 8 percent, according to Justich. That may seem a small percentage, but the pressure of its presence helps keep wages for unskilled jobs low. Many of the jobs are off the books, meaning the government may be foregoing $35 billion a year in income tax collections, he said.
That figure, however, is partially offset by employers withholding taxes for illegal workers who never file returns or seek benefits, said Marti Dinerstein, a Center for Immigration Studies fellow.
An analysis by Barron's estimated the size of the shadow economy at about $970 billion, or nearly 9 percent of the goods and services produced by the real economy.
The service sector employs the most illegal immigrants with 33 percent, followed by the construction industry, production and food processing and farming, according to the Pew Hispanic Center.
The hotel and restaurant businesses and construction are the big employers. More than 1 of every 4 drywall installers and landscape workers are illegal, the center estimates. About 1 in 5 workers in meat and poultry packing are illegal, as are about 1 in 6 in the leisure and hospitality industry or construction.
Illegal immigrants make far less than the rest of the population. Their average family income of $27,400 is more than 40 percent below the legal immigrant or native family income of about $47,700, the Pew Hispanic Center found.
That's because illegal immigrants work cheap and don't complain; those that do complain are easily replaced. They have little bargaining power, and employers take advantage of that.
"We're seeing the wage bases in these industries erode simply because there is a glut of low-skill labor flooding the low-skill market," said John Keeley, spokesman for the Center for Immigration Studies. "The business community has become addicted to it. It's a way for them to keep their business costs down."
Enforcement is lax, especially in a post-Sept. 11 world. The government doesn't have the time or resources to devote to rounding up illegal gardeners or maids; instead, it focuses on national security and critical infrastructure sites.
A Government Accountability Office report in August found work site arrests were down from 2,849 in 1999 to 445 in 2003. In 1999, 417 civil notices of intent to fine employers for hiring illegal workers were issued, not counting civil settlements; in 2003, there were just four. Part of that may be due to employees using false documents, making it harder for employers to be held accountable.
Since the Immigration and Naturalization Service disbanded and Immigration and Customs Enforcement was created in 2003, the focus has switched to criminal investigations of national security sites instead of civil fines.
From 2004 to 2005 the number of work site criminal indictments, mostly from national security investigations, were up from 67 to 140.
With the government occupied with national security sites, the numbers show the practice of hiring illegal workers is not only tolerated, but largely ignored.
Nowhere is that more evident than in communities across the country where thousands of illegal immigrants wait for work on street corners.
With the federal government paying little attention, many cities have been forced to create day-labor sites, where job seekers can congregate at a central location without loitering near businesses and bothering citizens.
That has come with its own set of problems. Critics don't believe local governments should use tax dollars to fund centers that cater to illegal immigrants.
In Herndon, Va., six residents, represented by the conservative legal group Judicial Watch, have sued the town over its plans to create a day labor site. In Farmingville, N.Y., Hispanics have been beaten, harassed and evicted in disputes over day laborers.
"No one's solving the problem," said Wade Bohn, owner of Jay's Market, a gas station near where day laborers loiter in Las Vegas. The county here is considering creating a day labor center.
"They're just moving it. Instead of enacting some type of legislation that forces them to become legitimate, they're trying to find a way to corral them and put them in a center.
"Something just smacks me all wrong about that."
In the sidewalks around Jay's Market, contractors and landscaping companies pull up constantly. No one cares that men are taken to job sites where they will be paid under the table for a day's work, usually around $8 an hour. The practice is widely known and largely unchecked.
Gonzalez is thankful for the steady work. He usually gets chosen for a job and sends money home to his wife and 7-year-old son in Mexico. Justich projects illegal immigrants will send from $19 billion to $20 billion home to Mexico this year.
"Here you can work year round," he said. "It gets hot, but the climate is a lot like Mexico."
In the underground economy, there is no one to make sure workers like Gonzalez are getting paid and are treated properly. Many workers are willing to take risks to get cash, sometimes at horrible consequences.
A 2004 Associated Press investigation found that Mexican workers are 80 percent more likely to die on the job than are native-born workers.
'Brings out the worst in society'
The hazard is not just workplace safety. Upset that he wasn't paid for three weeks, construction worker Jesus Hernandez shot his boss to death in January 2004 in Lehi, Utah, and is now serving five years to life in prison.
"All of this brings out the worst in society," Briggs said. "It's just like a cancer. It just eats at the social fabric. It brings out all kinds of prejudice. They (illegal immigrants) are willing to take the chance, and as long as they're there, there are people willing to take advantage of them."
If all the illegal workers in America packed up and left the country tomorrow, business wouldn't come to a halt, but experts believe it would be dramatically affected.
With cheap labor no longer available, prices would rise for food, child care, household maintenance. Businesses would have to pay workers more, and the demand for workers in some trades would drop. Some smaller providers would be forced to shut down, Justich said.
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Daytona Beach News-Journal Online, December 5, 2005, Monday

Daytona Beach News-Journal Online
December 5, 2005, Monday

Sound advice for a raise You can get more pay, but you have to ask -- politely

By DONNA CALLEA Business Writer
Last update: December 05, 2005

DAYTONA BEACH -- Attention average worker.
If you've been doing an average job for your employer, and your employer is about average when it comes to compensation, you can expect an average pay raise of about 3.6 percent in 2006. That's what several recent market studies conclude.
But what's that, you say?
You're not average? You're well above average -- not to mention highly reliable, with skills, talents, stamina and/or other qualities that make you deserving of more?
Well then, you'd better ask if you want to receive, advises Stuart Basefsky of the Institute for Workplace Studies at Cornell University in New York.
"People still do ask for raises," he said in a telephone interview. And they should -- assuming they've honestly and fairly evaluated their worth to their employers, investigated the going rate for workers such as themselves, and concluded they're underpaid. In today's working world, nothing is automatic -- including receiving just rewards for jobs well done, he pointed out. And employees no longer pledge themselves to companies for decades on end, if they think they can do better elsewhere.
"It used to be that people were loyal to their firms, and firms were loyal to their workers. There used to be quid pro quo," Basefsky
said. But with downsizing and other cost-cutting measures, "workers have lost confidence and trust in companies." They may feel as if they're just a commodity. And "if you're a commodity you might as well act like a commodity," he said. Especially in times such as now, when unemployment is very low.
Of course, no one is irreplaceable. "Employers say everyone can be replaced, and they can," Basefsky acknowledged. "But the cost of turnover can be a problem." Depending on the sector and the timing, it may be difficult and expensive for companies to fill vacancies.
Still, asking for a salary increase isn't an easy thing for most people to do.
"It can be intimidating," acknowledged Wayne Green, a 39-year-old construction masonry worker from DeLand, who successfully negotiated a raise about three weeks ago.
The rising price of gas and increasingly high cost of his commute to work prompted his request. But the important thing was, his employer "knew I was a good worker," said Green. "I had a good work history, and that boosted my confidence."
He asked for a dollar more an hour, and got 50 cents. "It was a compromise," he said.
Gerda Winger, 79, a part-time hostess at Mr. Dunderbak's in Volusia Mall, still vividly recalls the first time she asked a boss for a raise.
She was in her early 20s, working as a fashion model in Sweden, and it wasn't all glamour.
"I told the owner I'd like a raise. And he said: 'What for?' I said: 'You're working me to death. If you don't give me a raise, you can kiss my heinie,' " Winger recalled with a chuckle. And he did. Give her a raise, that is.
That approach, however, is not generally recommended by human resources experts. "You want to be respectful," Basefsky said. "You don't want to ever threaten (to walk)." Sometimes an employer may truly not be able to afford to pay more money, but can offer other perks such as more flexible hours or better working conditions.
The bottom line, though, is employees are "remiss if they don't ask for rewards for their loyalty and increasingly good performance," he said.
Here are tips from experts on asking for a raise.
· Be respectful and make a request rather than a demand.
· Back up your request with facts about your performance.
· Do your own market research (available at many employment sites on the Internet), and point out what the going rate is for people in your position in your industry in your geographical area.
· If you're in a supervisory position, emphasize the success of those who report to you.
· Emphasize any additional training, education, certification, awards or praise you've received.
· Saying you need more money because of your personal situation isn't an effective argument and typically doesn't cut any ice.
SOURCE: News-Journal research

Buffalo News (New York), December 4, 2005, Sunday

Copyright 2005 The Buffalo News
Buffalo News (New York)

December 4, 2005 Sunday


LENGTH: 586 words

HEADLINE: Q&A: Cliff Suggs on labor issues

Cliff Suggs is a former federal mediator on the faculty of Cornell University School of Industrial and Labor Relations. Erie County is under a "soft" state control board with the threat looming, every day, that it could become a "hard" board able to impose a wage freeze. Delphi faces global problems reverberating to the Lockport plant. Suggs discussed labor issues relating to both public and private entities.
Q: Do you think county unions will come to the table under threat of a "hard" control board?
A: It may come as a surprise, but the county's unions voluntarily approached the executive branch, the Legislature and the independent elected officials in March to negotiate contractual changes to help solve the crisis.
This was long before there was any talk about control boards of any kind. In fact, it was only as a result of union cooperation that the county was able to reopen county parks, reopen the downtown auto bureau and maintain sheriff road patrols. Instead of acknowledging these facts, many public officials choose to continue on the bandwagon of "union bashing."
Q: Should county workers contribute to Erie County's fiscal stability?
A: They have. Through the 1,200 employees who were placed on layoff and lost their jobs and the retrenchment of others to fill lesser-paying jobs, most county employees have suffered a diminishment in pay and living standards. Some still working have suffered up to a 33 percent pay cut. And let us not forget these same workers are also residents who will pay the increased sales and property taxes.
Q: What steps can the county take to improve relations with the unions?
A: 1. Stop the attacks and pointing to them as villains. The unions aren't outside entities; they are our sons and daughters, our brothers and sisters, our friends and neighbors. 2. Acknowledge them as productive employees who arrange for and deliver the county's services. When's the last time you saw an elected official driving a snowplow? 3. Accept them as partners in problem solving. The person doing the job knows the job best. 4. Actually listen to their ideas and suggestions. 5. Deal with them with integrity.
Q: What is your opinion of the developments at Delphi and how that bodes for the nation's manufacturing industry and its workers?
A: The Delphi situation is another indicator of the failure of our government to establish an industrial policy to protect American workers. We are witnessing the dismantling of the American middle class, which will turn us into a nation of haves and have-nots. Every census report indicates the validity of this.
The affluent are becoming more affluent while the number of persons living in poverty increases. Census information cites the number of impoverished citizens increased by 1.1 million this year over last year, and that was before the hurricanes.
We should not allow global enterprises to file local bankruptcies. We have the power to seize or freeze the global assets of individuals or hostile corporations in other situations, therefore, we should enact such measures to protect American workers and their negotiated benefits.
Q: Given the flexibility of some private-sector unions, how likely is it that public-sector unions will also see the inevitably of privatization?
A: Privatization is a short-sighted, quick-fix approach to public services. By applying progressive management and methods in supplying services, governmental agencies can always be more cost efficient than the private sector because they have no profit motivations.

Star-Gazette (Elmira, New York), December 3, 2005, Saturday

Copyright 2005 Star-Gazette (Elmira, NY)
All Rights Reserved
Star-Gazette (Elmira, New York)

December 3, 2005 Saturday


HEADLINE: Obituaries

Pamela M. Cavallaro Age 44, of E. Pulteney Street, Corning, died Thursday, December 1, 2005, at Corning Hospital after an extended illness. Family and friends are invited to call at Carpenter's Funeral Homes on Sunday, December 4, 2005, from 2-5 p.m. A Mass of Christian Burial will be held Monday 9:30 a.m. in St. Vincent de Paul Church. Memorial donations may be made in Pamela's name to the American Cancer Society, 1318 College Ave., Elmira, NY 14901.
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Bessie Malvina Stoker Age 94, passed away Wednesday, November 30, 2005, a resident of the Hill Top Retirement Community, of Johnson City and formerly of Elmira. Family and friends are invited to call at the Centenary United Methodist Church, 424 S. Main Street, Elmira, NY 14904, Friday, December 9th, 2005, from 10:00 a.m. to 11:00 a.m. Memorial services will be held at the conclusion of the calling hour at 11:00 a.m. The Reverend Joseph Kim will officiate. Bessie will be cremated at the Southport Crematorium Inc. of Southport, NY. Her cremated remains will be placed next to her late husband William in the Woodlawn Cemetery, privately, at the convenience of the family. In lieu of flowers, please make memorials to the Community Service Ministry, c/o Centenary United Methodist Church, 424 S. Main Street, Elmira, NY 14904, or the Silver Bay Society, Silver Bay, NY 12874. Those wishing may leave a "Candle of Remembrance" for the family at
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Clayton E. "Brownie" Of 203 Bowers Drive Horseheads, NY passed away on Friday December 2, 2005. Arrangements are entrusted to the Lynch Funeral Home 318 West Broad Street Horseheads, NY and are incomplete at this time.
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Darrell R., Sr. Age 69, of Antler Road, Big Flats, died Wednesday, November 30, 2005, at Robert Packer Hospital in Sayre, PA. Family and friends are invited to call at Carpenter's Funeral Homes on Saturday, December 3, 2005, from 1-4 p.m. where a funeral service will be held 4 p.m. at the conclusion of calling hours with the Rev. Paul Mills officiating. Burial will be in Rural Home Cemetery, Big Flats. Memorial donations may be made in Darrell's name to Ducks Unlimited, One Waterfowl Way, Memphis, TN 38120 Attn: Memorials.
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Clara V. Age 85, of Campbell, passed away November 30, 2005 in Corning Hospital, Corning. She is survived by her children, Francis "Charley" (Brevadine) Furney, Jr. of Placida, FL, and Donna (Richard) Wainwright of Painted Post; granddaughters, Brenda (Vernon) Van Zile of Campbell, Haladine Furney of Australia, and Sharon (Monty) Wall of California; grandson, Lonnie Furney; great-grandchildren, Patrick (Crystal) Van Zile of Campbell, Ryan and Amy Van Zile of Campbell, Leanna Eygabroat of Corning, and James Wall of California; great-great-grandson, Jacob Ryan Eygabroat of Corning; foster great-grandchildren, Calvin, Alexis. Shaun, and Demitrius Haynes of Campbell; in- laws, Robert Allen of Chambers, Jolene (H. William) Anderson of Corning, and Mary (Albert) Allen of Elmira; several nieces and nephews. Clara was predeceased by her stepfather, Ford Grover; sister, Betty Allen; granddaughter, Teresa Lynn Wainwright; in-laws, Joseph and Merab Furney, Neamata and Joseph Paciorek, and Paul and Eleanor Furney. Clara's family will receive friends on Monday, December 5, 2005, from 2 until 4 p.m. at Phillips Funeral Home & Cremation Service, 17 W. Pulteney Street, Corning where her funeral service will follow at 4 p.m. with Rev. James Ellis officiating. Flowers will be graciously received but donations may be directed to First Baptist Church of Corning c/o Rev. James Ellis, 110 E. First Street, Corning, NY 14830.
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Ronald C. Age 69, formerly of Elmira passed away unexpectedly at his home in Florida on November 26, 2005. Ron was born in Elmira on October 30, 1936 to the late Charles F. and Mary E. (Shoemaker) Houghtaling. He received his Bachelor of Arts degree from Ithaca College and Master of Science in Education degree from Elmira College. He pursued his post graduate studies at The Cornell School of Labor Relations. For over three decades Ron acted as School Administrator and Personnel Director for the Elmira City School District. He was founder and Director of Labor Relations for Schuyler Chemung Tioga Board of Cooperative Educational Services, the first implemented in New York State. Ron was recognized throughout the state as an authority in the field of labor relations. In 1980 he was appointed to Governor Carey's Advisory Committee. Post retirement he served as interim City Manager for the City of Elmira and was notoriously the first City Manager to double whiff the opening drive of the season for the Mark Twain Golf Course. In addition, he acted as a labor relations specialist for numerous municipalities throughout the Southern Tier. Over the years, Ron was an avid fisherman, golfer, skier and enjoyed numerous years at his Pennsylvania cabin with his family and friends. Ultimately, he, his loving wife of 46 years, the former Mary Elizabeth Aderhold and his faithful canine companion, Binky retired to The Villages, Florida. In addition to his wife, Ron is survived by daughters Lynn (Thomas) Rodriguez of Stockton, New Jersey and Julie (Emilio) Houghtaling-Cappelli, Esq. of Clarence, New York; grandsons Dylan Snyder, Jared Rodriguez and Drew Rodriguez; Aunt Dorothy Carey of Elmira Heights; several nieces and nephews. Calling hours will be held at McInerny Funeral Home, 502 West Water Street between 10:00 a.m. and 12:15 p.m. Monday, December 5, 2005 followed by a Mass of Christian Burial at 1:00 p.m. at St. Mary's Church, 224 Franklin Street, Elmira with burial at St. Peter and Paul's Cemetery. Those wishing may remember Ron through donations to St. Jude Children's Research Hospital, 501 St. Jude Place, Memphis TN 38105.
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Robert S. Age 84, of Ridge Rd., Lockwood passed away on Friday, December 2, 2005, at the Robert Packer Hospital, Sayre. Arrangements are incomplete and under the direction of the Cooley Family of the Sutfin Funeral Chapel, 273 S. Main St., Nichols.
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Paul R. GREECE: December 1, 2005. Predeceased by his father, Ralph; and brother, Julius. Survived by his wife, Dorothy (McKensie) Lagonegro; sons, Paul II (Mary Ann), Mark, Kirk (Jennifer) and Alan (Zina) Lagonegro; mother, Anne Lagonegro; grandchildren, Stephanie, Nicole, Colleen, Sean, Samantha and Matthew; several nieces, nephews and cousins. Paul was a former employee of Xerox, where he worked for twenty-eight years. He is the holder of several patents both at Xerox and Delco. Paul was a former member of the parish council at Good Shepherd Church and a founding member of the Knights of Columbus, Henrietta Council. For more information, visit BARTOLOMEO & PEROTTO Funeral Home Inc., 1411 Vintage Ln (between Rte 390 & Long Pond Rd). Visitation Saturday 2 to 4 and 7 to 9 p.m. and Sunday 2 to 4 and 7 to 9 p.m. Paul's Funeral Mass will be held 10 a.m. Monday at St. Lawrence Church. Interment in Holy Sepulchre Cemetery. In lieu of flowers, donations may be sent to the Parkinson's Disease Center, 919 Westfall Rd, Suite 220, Rochester, NY 14618 or Continuing Developmental Services, 71 Perinton Parkway, Fairport, NY 14450.
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Ellison William Age 85, of Elmira, NY, passed away Wednesday, November 30th, 2005, at the Arnot Ogden Medical Center. Family and friends are invited to call at the Olthof Funeral Home, Inc., 1050 Pennsylvania Avenue, Elmira, NY on Saturday, December 3rd, 2005, from 3:00 p.m. to 4:00 p.m. Funeral and Committal services will be held at the conclusion of the calling hours at 4:00 p.m. The Reverend Joseph Kim and Reverend Keith Kissell will officiate. Interment will take place in Forest Lawn Memorial Park with full military honors accorded at the grave, after his cremation at the Southport Crematorium Inc. Southport, NY. Memorials in Bill's name may be made to the Community Service Ministry, c/o Centenary United Methodist Church, 424 S. Main Street, Elmira, NY 14904. The Brothers of the Ivy Masonic Lodge #397 F&AM are asked to assemble at the Olthof Funeral Home, Inc. Saturday, December 3rd, 2005, at 4:00 p.m. for a committal services for the late Ellison William Parfitt. Signed, President Those wishing may leave a "Candle of Remembrance" for the family at
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Cleaora Age 93, formerly of Canton, PA, died December 1, at Towanda Memorial Hospital's Skilled Nursing Unit. Cleaora "Tot" Herman was born on July 27, 1912. She was a daughter of Harry and Bessie (Page) Herman and grew up on the family's farm near Ogdensburg. Tot was married to the late Gerald Thomas for over 50 years. She was a member of the Canton Church of Christ (Disciples of Christ), Canton's Lady Rebekah Lodge 362 and V.F.W. Auxiliary 714. Mrs. Thomas was also active and held offices in Minnequa Grange 754 and the Bradford/Sullivan County Pomona Grange 23. Tot was devoted to caring for her family and home. She was a talented seamstress, enjoyed crocheting and especially loved times spent fishing with Gerald. She is survived by her son and daughter-in-law, Jack and Ruth Thomas, Vestal, NY; three grandchildren, Mark (Julia) Thomas, Marcia (Mark) Canford, all of Vestal, Craig (Diane) Thomas, Silver Spring, MD; six great-grandchildren, Katelynn, Brian, Joshua, Shana, Brandon and Megan; a brother, Lawrence "Fats" Herman, Roaring Branch, PA; a sister, Betty Rahall, Elmira, NY; two sisters-in-law, Alice Herman of Georgia and Ernestine Herman of Canton; several nieces, nephews and cousins. In addition to her husband, Gerald, Mrs. Thomas was predeceased by two brothers, Harry Jr. and Lloyd; and a sister, Stella Herman. Calling hours will be 12:30-2 p.m. Sunday, December 4, at Pepper Funeral Home in Canton. The funeral service will follow with Rev. David B. Morris officiating. Burial will be in Ogdensburg Cemetery. In lieu of flowers, memorials may be made to the Church of Christ (Disciples of Christ), P.O. Box 57, Canton, PA 17724.
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Glenn F. Age 97, of Country Terrace, Wellsboro, PA, formerly of Elkland, PA, died Friday, December 2, 2005, at Soldiers & Sailors Memorial Hospital, Wellsboro, PA. He was born July 10, 1908 in Gorham, NY, the son of William and Sarah Ellis Wilson. He was a world traveler and a veteran of the U.S. Army who served his country during WWII. He worked as a tool and die maker for Corning Glass, Remington Rand, American LaFrance, Kennedy Valve, and retired from F. & M. Burt in Buffalo, NY. He was also a sign painter who owned and operated "Glenn Wilson Signs" since 1925. He painted signs all over New York State and Pennsylvania. He is survived by daughters, Sally Jordan, Waynesboro, PA, Marjorie Millward, Waynesboro, PA, Linda Moore and Lee Horch, Elkland, PA, Glenda Wilson, Wellsboro, PA; daughters and sons-in-law, Joan and Joe Italiano, Parish, FL, Rhonda and Joe Orchowski, Elkland, PA, Beth and Daryl Dean, Orchard Park, NY; son, Roger Wilson, Elkland, PA; son and daughter-in-law, Mark and Jayme Wilson, China; 84 grandchildren, great-grandchildren, and great-great-grandchildren; several nieces, nephews, and cousins. He was preceded in death by a son, Donald Wilson, who was killed during the Korean Conflict; and his wife, Eleanor. Family and friends are invited to call at the Kenyon Funeral Home, Inc., #214 West Main St., Elkland, PA, Sunday from 2-4 and 7-9 p.m. where funeral services will be conducted Monday at 1:00 p.m., Rev. Larry O'Dell officiating. Memorial donations may be made to your local chapter of the "Disabled American Veterans" in Glenn's memory.
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The New York Times, December 2, 2005, Friday

Copyright 2005 The New York Times Company
The New York Times

December 2, 2005 Friday
Late Edition - Final

SECTION: Section C; Column 1; Business/Financial Desk; Pg. 2

HEADLINE: Mothers' Flight From Job Force Questioned


Working mothers may be stressed by the double job of caring for their careers and their families, but they are not leaving the work force because of it, a report has found.
While the percentage of mothers in the labor force has declined since its peak in 2000, the participation rate of women without children declined by a similar rate over the same period, according to the study by Heather Boushey of the Center for Economic Policy Research in Washington.
Rather than indicating that women are opting out of employment to have children, Ms. Boushey said, the decline underscores how weak the labor market has been for all workers since the recession of 2001.
''There is no trend of mothers dropping out of the labor force,'' Ms. Boushey said. ''It just looks like they are because the economy has been so hard on working moms.''
Ms. Boushey's study was, in part, a response to a recent article in The New York Times that found that many young women at elite colleges said they intended to put aside their careers, at least temporarily, when they start raising children.
For decades after the end of World War II, women joined the labor force in sharply increasing numbers. From 1948 to 2000, the labor participation rate of women ages 25 to 54 rose from just over 30 percent to a peak of more than 77 percent.
The trend varied in intensity by age and education. Mothers worked outside the home at lower rates than women without children, and the rate for mothers with preschool children was less than that for those with older children. But the steadily increasing work force participation by women held broadly across the spectrum.
Starting in the 1990's, however, the growth rate slowed. And five years ago, the tide turned. By October 2005, the participation rate of women 25 to 54 had dropped more than two percentage points.
The downturn prompted some scholars to speculate that women's long march into work might be tapering off. Maybe the pressures of family life -- particularly taking care of children -- were persuading more women to reconsider their careers and drop out of the labor force.
Francine D. Blau, a professor of labor economics at the School of Industrial and Labor Relations at Cornell University, doubts that the decline in working women denotes an opt-out revolution by mothers. But the data are hard to sort out.
''It's credible,'' Ms. Blau said, that the participation of women in the work force is ''entering into a period of slower growth, which might reflect the very high rates that we've attained. But it's also possible that it is due to general economic conditions.''
Ms. Boushey's study attributed the recent decline to a weak job market. Adjusting the data to take into account differences in labor participation among women of different ages, ethnic and racial groups, and education, as well as the impact of the economic cycle, Ms. Boushey concluded that from 2000 to 2004, the ''child penalty'' -- the impact of having children on women's labor supply -- continued to diminish.
All things considered, the labor force participation rate of mothers aged 25 to 54 with children was 8.2 percentage points lower in 2004 than the rate for all women in the age group, narrower than the 9.9 percentage point gap in 2000 and smaller still than the 14.4-point difference in 1993.
For women with a college degree, the child penalty declined to 3.8 percentage points in 2004 from 7.9 percentage points in 2000, also continuing the trend.
In other words, Ms. Boushey concluded, mothers are not dropping out of the job market faster than other women.
Part of the challenge in understanding what is going on is that recessions in the 1980's and 1990's did not reverse the trend toward more women in the work force.
But the 2001 recession did, Ms. Boushey acknowledged.
She attributed the decline to women's success in expanding the kinds of jobs and places where they work.
Women used to concentrate in relatively recession-proof occupations like education or nursing.
But now, many more women are found in nearly all economic sectors, including industries whose workers, particularly newly hired women, are much more vulnerable to job losses during recessions.


St. Louis Post-Dispatch (Missouri), December 2, 2005, Friday

Copyright 2005 St. Louis Post-Dispatch, Inc.
St. Louis Post-Dispatch (Missouri)

December 2, 2005 Friday



St. Louis unemployment1
September 4.8%
Year ago 5.9%
U.S. unemployment3
October 5.0%
Year ago 5.5%
Consumer confidence2
October 85.0
Year ago 92.9
3Q 2005 +4.1%
Year ago +1.3%
1 Missouri Division of Workforce Development, not seasonally adjusted 2 Labor Dept. 3 Conference Board, 1985=100 4 Labor Department, annual rate
"The toleration of illegal immigration undermines all of our labor. It rips at the social fabric. It's a race to the bottom. The one who plays by the rules is penalized."
Vernon Briggs, Cornell University labor economics professor

The Houston Chronicle, December 1, 2005, Thursday

Copyright 2005 The Houston Chronicle Publishing Company
All Rights Reserved
The Houston Chronicle

December 1, 2005 Thursday


Janitors joining the union ranks;
The move stands as labor's largest gain in Houston in the past 25 years


Janitors who clean Houston's big buildings at near-minimum wage rates have won the right to begin negotiations with their employers for higher pay and benefits.
The Service Employees International Union announced Wednesday that a majority of the 4,700 janitors who work for four of the city's largest cleaning companies have joined its ranks.
For Houston's labor movement, SEIU's Justice for Janitors campaign is its most successful organizing drive in 25 years, signaling potentially higher wages and benefits for janitors and higher costs for building tenants.
"Wages are clearly the No. 1 issue," said Dan Schlademan, vice president of SEIU Local 1 in Chicago, who was in Houston for the announcement.
Bargaining for the first contract is expected to begin soon he said. But he added that it's too early to say what kind of wage and benefits package the union will try to negotiate.
It would be a "great victory," Schlademan said, if the janitors received a $1 an hour raise, which would represent a nearly 20 percent increase.
The janitors earn an average hourly wage of $5.30 and receive no health care benefits, according to the union. The minimum wage is $5.15.
"Today, I am very pleased to say we did it, Houston janitors," Flora Aguilar told the dozens of janitors who crowded into a conference room at Catholic Charities of the Diocese of Galveston-Houston for the festive announcement that was accompanied by a mariachi band and janitors banging on plastic buckets.
SEIU officials said that with the support from the majority of janitors at the four companies - ABM Janitorial Services, Sanitors Services of Texas, OneSource Facility Services and GCA Services Group - it will represent 62 percent of those who clean the city's big buildings.
Getting names, addresses Under terms of an agreement with the city's five largest cleaning companies reached in August, the union was given the names and addresses of employees who worked in buildings at least 100,000 square feet.
SEIU also targeted Pritchard Industries Southwest for the union drive.
Union leaders said Wednesday that they collected cards from 65 percent of Pritchard's employees and will present them for certification in the next few days.
If the Pritchard workers join, SEIU would represent 5,300 janitors or 72 percent of those working in large buildings.
None of the companies returned telephone calls for comment.
The union recognition was a quick victory for SEIU, which officially launched its Justice for Janitors campaign in Houston only this spring.
Even though SEIU's national Justice for Janitors campaign has been around for 20 years and has negotiated contracts in 27 cities, representatives of local building owners and even some labor leaders had expected a long struggle.
One tactic that might have sped things along was sympathy walkouts organized by SEIU in other cities.
The union also received widespread support from local religious and political leaders.
Conspicuously absent from Wednesday's event, however, were representatives of the Harris County AFL-CIO which had paved the way for SEIU when it quietly began planning its Justice for Janitors campaign two years ago.
The janitors need a union, said Richard Shaw, secretary-treasurer of the Harris County AFL-CIO. But he said SEIU, which left the federation in July along with three other unions, is betraying the labor federation in its efforts to recruit city government workers who have long been represented by the American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees.
But Shaw gave SEIU credit.
The last time labor had accomplished anything this big was 25 years ago, he said.
In the late 1970s, the AFL-CIO put $20 million toward the Houston Organizing Project, which brought significant gains among public school teachers and government employees.
But that effort, which also included SEIU efforts to organize food vendors at the Astrodome, was severely hurt when the economy turned down.
Words of caution One observer said that though the SEIU's victory is impressive, no one should expect other quick victories.
"You have to put it in perspective," said Richard Hurd, professor of labor studies at Cornell University.
This is part of a national organizing effort, and while it's certainly important, it isn't clear yet whether it will translate into other successes in Houston or in the rest of the South, he said.
Bill Bux, head of the labor and employment law section at Locke Liddell & Sapp, said the next significant event in this campaign will be the reaction from building owners, once negotiations with the cleaning companies are finished.
In some cases, the cleaning companies have "cost-plus" contracts with building owners that could allow them to benefit from the high-wage costs, SEIU's Schlademan said. That means the cost to the building owners could rise.
Will the building owners pass along the increased costs to tenants or will they find another nonunion company? Bux asked. Many building leases have "pass through" provisions that allow the owners to automatically pass along increases in bills such as utilities and cleaning services to their tenants.
If the cost gets too high, some tenants may not be able to afford to stay when it's time to renew their lease, Bux said.
Small businesses that lease space in downtown high-rises will be especially hurt by the increased costs, "that'll go right to their bottom lines."
"This will hurt a lot of different groups," he said. "There are a lot of dynamics."


GRAPHIC: Photo: 1. ECSTATIC: Norma Rubio, an employee with OneSource janitorial services, exults at the announcement that the company will be represented by the Service Employees International Union. The news came at the Catholic Charities of the Diocese of Galveston-Houston.; 2. PRAYERFUL: Otilia Carona of Houston holds her rosary during the announcement that the janitorial company she works for would be represented by the Service Employees International Union. Houston janitors earn an average of $5.30 an hour, but their unionized counterparts in other cities earn several dollars an hour more. (p. 6)

PR Newswire US, November 30, 2005, Tuesday

Copyright 2005 PR Newswire Association LLC.
All Rights Reserved.
PR Newswire US

November 30, 2005 Wednesday 9:34 PM GMT

HEADLINE: Study Finds Superior Performance in Medical and Legal Firms With Effective HR Practices;
* Gevity Institute-Cornell University Research Quantifies 15% to 22% Performance Advantage Overall


BRADENTON, Fla., Nov. 30 /PRNewswire-FirstCall/ -- Gevity (NASDAQ:GVHR), the leading provider of a comprehensive insourced employee management solution, announced completion of a landmark study sponsored by the Gevity Institute and conducted by Cornell University researchers. The study shows medical and legal firms using effective employee management practices achieve up to 22% better business performance than firms that do not use human resource (HR) practices that demonstrate a commitment to employees.
A team of researchers from Cornell's School of Industrial and Labor Relations examined the connection between employee management practices and business performance at 100 medical and legal practices with between 5 and 125 employees. It was part of a broader study led by Dr. Christopher Collins of Cornell University's Center for Advanced Human Resource Studies.
The first three phases of the study established a clear link between effective employee management practices and better employee performance, and between better employee performance and greater business success. In addition to confirming these links, the study quantitatively measured the level of superior performance achieved by firms with a commitment to their employees.
Quantifying the level of improvement

Among the study's key findings were:

* Companies with more than 40 employees that used effective employee management practices attained approximately 22% higher performance.
* Companies with fewer than 40 employees that used effective employee management practices attained approximately 15% higher performance.
* Firms with effective employee management practices saw 28% greater effort from clerical employees, 8% greater effort from assistant professional employees (nurses and paralegals, for example) and 29% greater customer orientation across both groups of employees.
* Firms with employees who viewed customers as their top priority performed 42% better than companies with employees who did not view customers as their first priority.
* Firms that view their assistant professional employees as highly important outperformed those that did not by nearly 40%.
* When clerical employees went above and beyond what was required and expected of them, firms achieved a 23% higher level of performance.
Competitive advantage, customer satisfaction and business success
Participating companies' commitment to their employees was measured based on their use of employee management best practices in the areas of hiring, training, motivation and performance management. Company performance was measured based on competitive advantage, customer satisfaction and fulfillment of the firm's potential for business success.
The study showed that companies using greater numbers of employee management best practices were more likely to have employees who:
* Are more willing to go above and beyond their job requirements.
* Increase their workload during challenging times.
* Act in ways that demonstrate customers are a top priority.
* Provide customers with the best possible service available.

The study focused on assistant professionals and clerical employees because in most cases the firms' professionals were also its principals. The study determined that firms implemented somewhat different employee management practices for their assistant professionals and their clerical employees. While both populations contributed to improved company performance when managed effectively, practices aimed at assistant professionals tended to have a greater overall impact.
High-performance employees: small businesses' biggest advantage
"Evidence of the connection between effective employee management practices and improved business performance is mounting, but until now there has been precious little hard data showing the measurable extent of the improvement that can be attained by small businesses that implement these practices," says Erik Vonk, Chairman and Chief Executive Officer at Gevity. "At Gevity, we will continue our commitment to help small businesses understand the link between employment practices and business success as well as help them implement the practices that will drive their performance higher."
For more details or to obtain a copy of the study, visit the Gevity Institute Web site at . Click Research Library and then select Research Reports. You may also obtain a copy by contacting David Sikora, Institute Director, at .
The Gevity Institute
The Gevity Institute was established to identify and quantify the link between people management practices and small- and medium-sized business performance. The Institute's goal is to establish an ongoing stream of information, data and recommendations focused on effective people management for smaller companies. The Institute sponsors research at leading universities and business organizations. Gevity will apply knowledge gained from Gevity Institute research to practical solutions that help smaller companies improve business performance.
About Gevity
Gevity helps clients increase profits, grow sales and improve customer satisfaction through our comprehensive employee management solution. We serve as the insourced human resource department to small- and medium-sized businesses nationwide. Our unique approach integrates three key drivers of business success: workforce alignment, administrative relief and business protection. We deliver our solution through our innovative people, processing and portal approach, combining the resources of our highly skilled human resource consultants and our scalable, Web-enabled technology platform.
A copy of this press release can be found on the company's Web site at .
CONTACT: Anne-Marie Megela, Senior Director, Investor Relations,
Gevity, +1-800-243-8489, ext. 4672, or
Web site:

Buffalo News (New York), November 29, 2005, Tuesday

Copyright 2005 The Buffalo News
Buffalo News (New York)

November 29, 2005 Tuesday


HEADLINE: Screening set Friday for film on labor activist

A film about longtime labor activist Julius Margolin, 89, will be shown at the Central Presbyterian Church in Buffalo on Friday, with a question-and-answer session with Margolin and a concert of labor songs to follow.
The event begins at 7:30 p.m. at the church at 15 Jewett Ave. Admission is free but organizers suggest donations of $5 to $10.
The screening of "A Union Man" is sponsored by Cornell University's School of Industrial and Labor Relations and the Western New York Committee on Occupational Safety and Health.
Margolin has been a rank-and-file activist since the 1930s in the Congress of Industrial Organizations, the National Maritime Union and Local 52 of the International Alliance of Theatrical and Stage Employees in the New York City Central Labor Council.

Business Wire, November 28, 2005, Monday

Copyright 2005 Business Wire, Inc.
Business Wire

November 28, 2005 Monday 6:18 PM GMT

DISTRIBUTION: Business Editors; Legal Editors

HEADLINE: Proskauer Rose Names Six New Partners & Three Senior Counsel

DATELINE: NEW YORK Nov. 28, 2005

Proskauer Rose LLP, an international law firm with over 700 lawyers in the U.S. and Europe, announced that it has promoted six attorneys to partner and three to senior counsel.
In the firm's Corporate Department, Yuval Tal and Janice Smith were named partner in the New York office and Monica Shilling in the Los Angeles office. In the Litigation & Dispute Resolution Department, Anthony Pacheco was named partner in Proskauer's Los Angeles office and Lionel Pashkoff was named partner in the Washington, D.C. office. In the Labor & Employment Department, Robert Projansky was named partner in New York.
Michael Lebowich and Marc Mandelman were named senior counsel in the Labor & Employment Department in New York and Stuart Kapp, who focuses his practice on commercial real estate and corporate transactions, was named senior counsel in the Boca Raton office.
"This is a highly accomplished and diverse group and we look forward to their continued contributions to the firm," said Allen I. Fagin, Chairman of Proskauer Rose.
Mr. Tal is a graduate of the University of Chicago Law School. Ms. Smith is a graduate of the Fordham University School of Law, and received her B.A. from Iona College. Ms. Shilling is a graduate of the Georgetown University Law Canter, and received her B.A. from the University of Redlands. Mr. Pacheco is a graduate of the University of Michigan Law School, and received his B.A. from Princeton University. Mr. Pashkoff is a graduate of the George Washington University National Law Center, and received his B.A. from the University of Maryland. Mr. Projansky is a graduate of New York University School of Law, and received his B.A. from the State University of New York at Binghamton.
Mr. Lebowich is a graduate of Harvard Law School, and received his B.S. from the Cornell University School of Industrial & Labor Relations. Mr. Mandelman is a graduate of the Hofstra University School of Law, and received his B.S. from Hobart and William Smith Colleges. Mr. Kapp is a graduate of Cornell Law School, and received his M.G.A. from the University of Pennsylvania.
About Proskauer Rose
Proskauer Rose, founded in 1875, is one of the nation's largest law firms, providing a wide variety of legal services to clients throughout the United States and around the world from offices in New York, Los Angeles, Washington, D.C., Boston, Boca Raton, Newark, New Orleans and Paris. The firm has wide experience in all areas of practice important to businesses and individuals, including corporate finance, mergers and acquisitions, general commercial litigation, private equity and fund formation, patent and intellectual property litigation and prosecution, labor and employment law, real estate transactions, bankruptcy and reorganizations, trusts and estates, and taxation. Its clients span industries including chemicals, entertainment, financial services, health care, hospitality, information technology, insurance, internet, manufacturing, media and communications, pharmaceuticals, real estate investment, sports, and transportation. The firm can be found online at

CONTACT: Linden Alschuler & Kaplan Josh Epstein, 212-575-4545


The New York Times, November 28, 2005, Monday

Copyright 2005 The New York Times Company
The New York Times

November 28, 2005 Monday
Late Edition - Final

SECTION: Section A; Column 4; National Desk; Pg. 1

HEADLINE: Union Claims Texas Victory With Janitors


Union organizers have obtained what they say is majority support in one of the biggest unionization drives in the South in decades, collecting the signatures of thousands of Houston janitors.
In an era when unions typically face frustration and failure in attracting workers in the private sector, the Service Employees International Union is bringing in 5,000 janitors from several companies at once. With work force experts saying that unions face a slow death unless they can figure out how to organize private-sector workers in big bunches, labor leaders are looking to the Houston campaign as a model.
The service employees, which led a breakaway of four unions from the A.F.L.-C.I.O. last summer, has used several unusual tactics in Houston, among them lining up the support of religious leaders, pension funds and the city's mayor, Bill White, a Democrat. Making the effort even more unusual has been the union's success in a state that has long been hostile to labor.
''It's the largest unionization campaign in the South in years,'' said Julius Getman, a labor law professor at the University of Texas. ''Other unions will say, 'Yes, it can be done here.' ''
Mr. Getman predicted that the Houston effort would embolden other unions to take their chances with ambitious drives in the South, although success could prove difficult because many companies will continue to fight unionization efforts, and many workers still shy away from unions.
''This could be important to build momentum in the South, but it's still an incredibly hard task to organize'' there, said Richard W. Hurd, a professor of labor relations at Cornell. ''One big problem is there's not a base of union members in the South to use to do organizing. And employers in the South have demonstrated a very strong antiunion bias and a willingness to go to great lengths to avoid unionization.''
The service employees' success comes as the percentage of private-sector workers in unions has dropped to 7.9 percent, the lowest rate in more than a century.
With its campaign to organize the janitors, the union has focused on two groups it says are pivotal if labor is to grow again: low-wage workers and immigrants. The janitors, nearly all of them immigrants, earn just over $100 a week on average, usually working part time for $5.25 an hour.
Some of Houston's business leaders oppose the unionization drive, saying its pledge of higher wages may hurt business.
''I don't see how it's going to help Houston from a business standpoint,'' said Mark Jodon, a Houston lawyer who represents employers. ''It has the potential of raising the cost of doing business.''
The union has trumpeted the Houston effort -- which cost more than $1 million -- as part of its Justice for Janitors campaign, billed as an antipoverty movement.
Flora Aguilar, a Mexican immigrant who cleans an office tower for $5.25 an hour, volunteered to help the organizing drive as soon as the union gave the janitors questionnaires asking what aspects of their jobs they thought needed improvement.
''The wages are terrible, there are no benefits, there's nothing,'' Ms. Aguilar said. ''I have to stretch myself like a rubber band to make ends meet. I want a union because it will give me a better life.''
In recent days, the union has collected cards signed by about three-fifths of the workers at four of Houston's biggest janitorial companies. An agreement signed in August calls for the American Arbitration Association to inspect the cards and certify when the union has received majority support. The janitorial companies have promised to recognize the union once that happens.
Even if the union is recognized, it still faces a big obstacle in negotiating a contract that delivers some of the hoped-for improvements in wages and benefits.
Yet the union's Texas achievement stands in stark contrast to the A.F.L.-C.I.O.'s failed drive in the early 1980's, which sought to recruit tens of thousands of Houston workers. Known as the Houston Organizing Project, that $1-million-a-year effort faltered along with the economy, as unions retreated and focused on holding onto the workers they had, and as Texas companies fought hard against unionizing.
Despite the A.F.L.-C.I.O.'s anger at the service employees' union, which in breaking away had accused the federation of doing too little to organize workers, Stewart Acuff, the federation's organizing director, praised the Houston janitors' campaign, saying more such drives were needed.
In the current campaign, the service employees urged several public-employee pension funds to press building owners and janitorial companies not to mount hard-hitting anti-union campaigns to defeat the organizing drive. To step up the pressure, the union called a strike at one building in Houston and then arranged sympathy strikes by janitors at 75 office buildings in four other states.
Because the union had no office or local in Houston, its giant local of building-service workers in Chicago oversaw the recruitment drive. That local dispatched a top official to Houston to run the campaign and flew in 25 Spanish-speaking janitors for weeks at a time to talk to janitors at their homes and workplaces.
Workers were told of the union's success in New Jersey, where the salaries of 4,500 recently organized janitors had risen to $11.90 an hour from $5.85 an hour three years ago, and where many part-time workers had been converted to full-time status with health benefits.
The union announced its campaign last April, but two years earlier, it sent a community liaison to Houston who helped line up backing from the city's mayor, several congressmen and dozens of clergymen, including the Roman Catholic archbishop, Joseph A. Fiorenza. The archbishop even celebrated a special Mass for janitors in August and spoke at the union's kickoff rally, telling the janitors that God was unhappy that they earned so little and did not have health coverage.
''They work for the same companies that are in Chicago, New York and Los Angeles, and their counterparts there are getting much higher salaries,'' Archbishop Fiorenza said in an interview. ''It's just basic justice and fairness that the wages should be increased here.''
Office building janitors average $20 an hour in New York City. They make $13.30 in Chicago and Philadelphia, cities with office rents comparable to Houston's and a cost of living about 40 percent higher. Janitors in Houston typically earn $5.25 an hour, 10 cents more than the federal minimum wage. But business leaders say the wages are consistent with what other unskilled workers earn.
''The wages that are paid in Houston to janitors are generally above minimum wage,'' said Tammy Bettancourt, executive vice president of the Houston Building Owners and Managers Association. ''Their wages are very much in line with every other part-time job and with the city's retailers. That's what the market dictates.''
Ercilia Sandoval, who cleans offices in a prime office tower, says she has not had a raise in eight years and does not have health insurance. A school dentist recently found that her 7-year-old daughter had six cavities, and fillings will cost $750, when her weekly take-home pay is $91.50.
''Everything has gone up except our wages,'' Ms. Sandoval said. ''If we ask for a raise, they say, 'Anyone who doesn't like it here, there's the door.' ''
The union and the janitorial companies declined to discuss details of the drive because of a confidentiality agreement. The service employees have pressured the companies to accept majority support based on the number of workers who sign cards saying they want a union.
Convinced that it is easier to unionize workers through card checks, the union has shunned the typical process of having an election run by the National Labor Relations Board.
Even before the confidentiality agreement was signed, cleaning company officials were reluctant to discuss the janitors' wages and why they had agreed to card checks and arbitrators' oversight.
OneSource, one of the nation's largest cleaning companies, said, ''OneSource, along with every other major contractor in the Houston area, made a business decision to remain neutral in this process.''
The company said it was premature to discuss wage levels while workers were considering whether to join the service employees' union.
Union leaders said the cleaning companies had agreed to remain neutral because of pressures from building owners and pension funds, and because the service employees had threatened to pressure operations elsewhere, as it did with the sympathy strikes in California, Illinois, New York and Connecticut.
Many unions hope to copy the Houston effort, but that could be difficult because many do not have the skilled organizers that the service employees have. Moreover, not all other industries are as vulnerable to union pressures.
Expanding on the Houston effort, the service employees hope to unionize 4,000 janitors in Atlanta, 2,000 in Phoenix and tens of thousands of shopping mall janitors nationwide. But even the service employees have encountered problems. For instance, their effort to organize 7,000 condominium workers in Miami has stalled because of opposition from the largest property management company there.
Still, the Houston effort has gone more smoothly than union officials had expected.
''We decided that Houston would be the place to bring to bear everything we've built in the last 15 years,'' said Stephen Lerner, director of the Justice for Janitors campaign. ''That would allow us to organize a whole city at once.''


GRAPHIC: Photos: Ercilia Sandoval with her daughters Jennifer, 4, and Genesis, 7, and Flora Aguilar, right, say they struggle to make ends meet as office cleaners in Houston. Janitors in the city typically earn $5.25 an hour. (Photographs by Michael Stravato for The New York Times)(pg. A14)