Tuesday, January 31, 2006

University Wire, January 27, 2006, Friday

Copyright 2006 Columbia Daily Spectator via U-Wire
University Wire

January 27, 2006 Friday

HEADLINE: Columbia's Collins thrives off family, faith

BYLINE: By Jonathan August, Columbia Daily Spectator; SOURCE: Columbia U.


In his senior season, on a young team with little chance at Ivy contention, Cornell swingman Lenny Collins is quick to acknowledge his role as a leader-not by his statistical merits, but rather through his ability as a teacher.
"I think that one thing I can help this team with is my experience," Collins said. "I played all four years and with younger guys who have been thrust into new roles, like Adam Gore, I think I can really help show them what it takes to be successful."
When it comes to attributing where he learned these skills, Collins points to his family and faith.
Collins' family has not only been the backbone of his athletic upbringing, but they have also played a key role in his lifestyle as a devout Christian. Even after a weekend of tough athletic play, Collins makes it a priority to go to church on Sunday and continue his religious practices.
"The biggest piece of advice my dad gave me is to put our faith in God through the ups and downs of a semester," Collins said. "My parents have been good examples of Godly people to us and one of the things I respect most about them is that they have raised Christian men and women."
Collins attended Santa Margarita Catholic High School in California before making the move to Ithaca, N.Y. Before had always experienced sports as a family affair. In addition to his father who was a basketball player at Seattle University, Collins has two younger brothers who are college athletes in Washington and an uncle who considered an athletic scholarship to Oklahoma State.
"It's definitely a good thing growing up to have two younger brothers close to my age," Collins said. "We would have battles that go on in the backyard almost every night that just helped develop my game and toughness."
This kind of upbringing has lead Collins to adopt a solid work ethic, which has translated into many kinds of success. While leading the Big Red in points and assists as a junior last season en route to making first-team All-Ivy honors, Collins was also named to the ESPN the Magazine/CoSIDA Academic All-District team.
Collins has been the most prominent offensive player for the Big Red this season as he leads the team in points, minutes, and assists. This year, Collins has been able to reconfigure his game from purely a perimeter player to one who drives the lane and helps get others involved.
Off the basketball court, Collins also has high expectations. Currently enrolled in the School of Industrial and Labor Relations at Cornell and after graduation this May, Collins plans to attend law school.
"On and off the court he is a tremendous role model," head coach Steve Donahue said. "Whether it is in his church or in the Industrial and Labor Relations School, everybody in the Cornell community respects Lenny Collins for the type of person that he is, and obviously that rubs off on his teammates and as the leader that he is on the court."
(C) 2006 Columbia Daily Spectator via U-WIRE

The New York Times, January 26, 2006, Thursday

Copyright 2006 The New York Times Company
The New York Times

January 26, 2006 Thursday
Late Edition - Final

SECTION: Section A; Column 2; Metropolitan Desk; Pg. 1



The Metropolitan Transportation Authority yesterday proposed a contract considerably harsher to the city's transit workers than the one they narrowly voted down last Friday.
Some labor experts said the authority's move was intended to pressure union leaders to accept binding arbitration -- but was likely to heighten labor unrest.
The authority's new offer keeps the provision that union members disliked most, a requirement that workers begin contributing 1.5 percent of their wages toward health-insurance premiums, and revives a proposal that had been taken off the table, that new workers contribute more to their pensions than current workers. It also includes provisions dropped early in the negotiations, like the expansion of one-person train operation.
In addition, the authority's new offer eliminates a provision that delighted many workers -- a pension refund that would give thousands of dollars to about 20,000 union members who made overpayments from 1994 to 2001.
The offer added yet another surprise chapter to a labor epic that led to failed negotiations in December, a 60-hour strike, a hard-wrought agreement that ended the walkout, and then, finally, the general membership's rejecting the overall contract settlement by just 7 votes.
While making its new, tougher offer, the transportation authority took steps to move the dispute to binding arbitration.
While some experts said the offer increased the possibility of another strike, others described it as a tactical move devised to show dissidents that the deal rejected last week was fair. Despite the request for arbitration, both sides could still come together to reach a new deal. A spokesman for Local 100 of the Transport Workers Union said last night that the union's leaders were studying the authority's new proposal and were not ready to comment.
The authority's proposal calls for the same total wage increases included in the settlement -- 10.9 percent -- but would stretch them out over 39 months, instead of the 37 months agreed to in the settlement. The longer contract would expire on March 15, 2009, removing the threat of a strike during the coldest months.
With the union leaders' insisting that they would not ''sell out the unborn'' -- that is, future workers -- the transportation authority, after the strike, abandoned its insistence that new workers pay 6 percent of their wages toward their pension plan, compared with 2 percent for current workers. In exchange, the union agreed to the new health care contributions.
But the authority jettisoned that crucial compromise in the new offer it made yesterday.
The authority's chairman, Peter S. Kalikow, left open the possibility of resuming face-to-face talks, but he suggested there was little to say to the union: ''While we can talk about issues, a lot of the financial incentives we have given them are probably as much as we can give.''
In papers filed with the New York State Public Employment Relations Board yesterday, the authority asked for arbitration, arguing that a voluntary resolution ''cannot be effected'' after the union's members rejected the contract.
Under the board's rules, the union has 10 working days to respond to the authority's petition. If the board concludes that the two sides are deadlocked and cannot reach an agreement on their own, it will help set up a three-member arbitration panel that can impose a new contract. But an arbitration panel might be barred from including in its decision two pivotal sweeteners that the union had won in the settlement: the pension refunds and improved health care benefits for some retirees under 65.
''We're going to do everything we can to resist binding arbitration,'' the union's secretary-treasurer, Ed Watt, said yesterday before learning of the authority's latest offer.
Harry C. Katz, dean of the Cornell University School of Industrial and Labor Relations, said the authority's tough stance appeared to reflect Gov. George E. Pataki's strong criticism of the settlement and in particular of the pension refunds, which would cost around $130 million.
''Management, by coming in this hard, is pushing the union leadership into the corner,'' he said. ''Then they look really kind of weak. That's not what you want. All they're going to do is possibly get another strike.''
Already yesterday, John F. Mooney said he and other dissident leaders were prepared to call for another strike. ''If they want to go to battle, we're ready,'' said Mr. Mooney, a union vice president who helped lead opposition to the settlement. ''We need to hold a unionwide membership meeting and the possibility of a strike has to be readdressed. The membership should strongly consider going on strike again.''
In an interview earlier this week, Roger Toussaint, the union's president, would not rule out another strike but cautioned against empty threats. ''There are people who can talk a fight without having to take responsibility for almost 34,000 troops,'' he said. ''I'm not making threats that are not believable and that I'm not serious about.''
Mr. Watt, who is Mr. Toussaint's top deputy, expressed frustration about the narrow rejection of the settlement. ''The previous deal was a really good deal,'' he said, urging workers to ''look at this as a union member and not as, 'What's in it for me?' '' Mr. Watt added that the union's executive board would meet on Tuesday and that decisions, if any, would wait until then.
Several labor experts said the authority's tougher proposal might have been designed to convince dissidents that they were wrong to vote down the previous deal, perhaps clearing the way for the two sides to reach a deal not much different from the rejected one.
Bruce C. McIver, a former chief of labor relations for both the city and the authority, said the union was in a weak position, with a divided membership having rejected a deal that its leaders negotiated.
''The M.T.A. has the upper hand right now,'' Mr. McIver said. ''Binding arbitration carries risks for the union. Rather than help Roger to solve this problem, this seems to put him in a much tougher position.'' Mr. McIver warned, however, that the authority's strategy could backfire. ''The danger is that they can lose public support if it looks like they're being gratuitously provocative,'' he said. ''At the end of the day they have to remember that these guys run the trains. It's hard work to heal the wounds after a strike. The angrier the work force is, the harder it will be to heal.''
The authority's latest offer also revived several provisions bitterly opposed by the union.
The offer calls for expansion of one-person train operation, a program begun in 1996 that gives the train operator the responsibility for opening and shutting the doors and making announcements, the traditional tasks of the conductor. It also calls for merging the jobs of conductor and train operator into a single job title, although the roles would remain separate. It would require station cleaners to perform new tasks, like removing graffiti, changing light bulbs and applying spots of paint.

The Washington Times, January 26, 2006, Thursday

Copyright 2006 News World Communications, Inc.
The Washington Times

January 26, 2006 Thursday


HEADLINE: Union targets janitors for organizing;
SEIU makes Miami university battleground after victory in Houston


The nation's largest union hopes to organize 15,000 janitors nationwide this year, and the University of Miami - run by former Health and Human Services Secretary Donna E. Shalala - has become an early battleground.
The Service Employees International Union, with 1.8 million members, is counting on support from students and community leaders to organize about 480 janitors at the South Florida campus and establish a foothold in a metropolitan area that employs an estimated 20,000 janitors.
"If we can succeed in Miami, that will be the second major city in the South where we organized janitors," SEIU Executive Vice President Eliseo Medina said. "But it has been harder because we haven't been able to find the same kind of employers that are sympathetic to workers."
The Miami campaign follows the union's victory in November in Houston, where 5,300 janitors from scores of office buildings agreed to join the SEIU and are preparing to enter contract negotiations.
The SEIU's achievement in Houston was viewed as groundbreaking because the union signed up so many workers at once, and it is hoping for a repeat in Florida. In addition to the campaign to organize University of Miami janitors, the union hopes to organize workers in South Florida's condominiums.
The union's achievement in Houston also was notable because it occurred in the union-wary South, where right-to-work laws don't require employees to pay union dues even in workplaces where a majority votes in favor of union membership.
A key to the organizing victory in Houston was its broad scope, said Richard Hurd, professor of labor relations at Cornell University.
"Organizing in the South is very difficult, there's no doubt about it. Any union that wants to organize in the South has to think of it in broader terms than workplace by workplace," he said.
More than 225,000 janitors already belong to the SEIU, which began its Justice for Janitors organizing campaign in 1985. The union has negotiated 27 master contracts for janitors in markets including the District, Chicago and New York.
Efforts in Miami and Houston also are significant because many janitors there are immigrants. The SEIU and other unions in the breakaway Change to Win Federation, which formed last year, have said organizing immigrant workers is important if the labor movement expects to grow.
Last week, the SEIU joined the U.S. Chamber of Commerce and Laborers International Union to press Congress to pass immigration reform that legalizes the estimated 11 million illegal aliens in the country.
Legalizing immigrants could be a boon for union organizing efforts, Mr. Medina said.
The SEIU's organizing drive in Miami is an effort to boost wages for janitors at the university who earn an average of $7.53 an hour and have no employee-sponsored health care.
University officials have stayed out of the organizing fight because the school outsources the work to Boston-based cleaning firm Unicco Services Co.
Unicco janitors at Harvard University earn an average of $13 to $14 an hour.
Unicco spokesman Doug Bailey said the company is willing to hold a National Labor Relations Board-sponsored election to determine whether University of Miami janitors join the union, but SEIU organizers hope to persuade the company to let workers join the union if a majority of janitors sign cards indicating they want union representation.
"We've been asking them to have an election and we will honor the outcome of an election," Mr. Bailey said.
Getting the company to acknowledge a card-check program and avoid an NLRB election likely will require getting university officials involved, SEIU spokeswoman Renee Asher said.
"Part of the initiative on campus is convincing the university and Donna Shalala that they need a responsible contractor policy," she said.
Last week the Labor Department said 200,000 people joined unions in 2005, bringing the total union work force to 15.7 million workers. Just 7.8 percent of the private sector work force belongs to a union, the department said. Among all U.S. workers, 12.5 percent belong to a union, down from 20.1 percent in 1983.

The Atlanta Journal-Constitution, January 24, 2006, Tuesday

Copyright 2006 The Atlanta Journal-Constitution
The Atlanta Journal-Constitution

January 24, 2006 Tuesday
Home Edition


LENGTH: 744 words

HEADLINE: CLOSING OF FORD'S HAPEVILLE PLANT: Job losses hit fragile metro economy


The shutdown of the Ford plant in Hapeville deals another blow to a metro At-lanta economy struggling to regain traction after years of recession and lack-luster growth.
By itself, shuttering of the Ford assembly line would be a modest drag if the metro Atlanta economy of more than 2 million jobs were growing rapidly. However, the region's job growth has been sluggish, and the last few months have seen a series of discouraging stories about Atlanta companies.
The sale of Georgia-Pacific and Scientific-Atlanta. More cuts at BellSouth. The bankruptcy of Delta Air Lines.
Now comes the Ford plant closing. The disappearance of 2,100 Hapeville jobs will hurt, said Rajeev Dhawan, director of the Economic Forecasting Center at Georgia State University.
"These are high-paying jobs," he said. "Typically, each manufacturing job supports one-and-a-half or two other jobs. And this is another blow to manufac-turing here."
The losses go beyond the jobs at Hapeville. A manufacturing company often de-pends on a network of suppliers that bring materials to the plant. The factory also pumps money into the local economy for everything from janitorial help to road paving.
Even more important is the payroll. Consumers account for about 70 percent of the economy, and money paid to local residents is mostly spent here. Manufactur-ing paychecks in general average about $50,000 a year, and Dhawan estimates the Hapeville workers as a group are paid more than $100 million a year.
Large severance packages and a long period of continued benefits at Hapeville are likely and should soften any impact, he said. "If people are getting most of their pay, there isn't that much impact on spending patterns. But when the money runs out, that is when the real ripple effects run through the economy."
Yet most economic analysis underestimates the damage, argued Kate Bronfen-brenner, director of Labor Education Research at Cornell University in Ithaca, N.Y.
Much of the harm flows from a toxic blend of financial stress and mental pain, she said. "We've seen spirals in divorce, in spousal abuse and child abuse. The fabric that makes families and communities starts to tear. Only some of that is in dollars."
Hapeville is, in some ways, just a footnote in the elongated decline of manu-facturing, automaking and high-paying blue-collar work. When the United States dominated the world economy after World War II, manufacturing accounted for about one in three jobs.
Today, that figure is closer to one in eight --- and falling. In Georgia, manufacturing has plunged from 587,604 workers in 1995 to about 441,300, even while population soared.
Most economists call the process natural, a shift that lets poorer nations sell what they have in abundance: cheap labor. In contrast, economists argue, the United States moves to "higher value" goods and services, from jet planes to Hollywood movies.
It is not an argument that convinces everyone.
Whether Ford admits it or not, Hapeville is a victim of globalization, Bron-fenbrenner said.
"Ford is going to be making cars. They are just not going to be making them in the United States. This is not a U.S. story. It's a story of the race to the bottom. Companies are looking to make things in the cheapest way possible."
Most economists argue that, on balance, the U.S. benefits. American consumers get cheaper products.
But the nation also is losing its economic engine, Bronfenbrenner argued. "When people talk about the end of the manufacturing era, they forget that mak-ing things is what makes an economy work."
There is hope that at least some laid-off autoworkers can stay in the indus-try. Thousands of auto jobs have been added by foreign automakers like BMW in South Carolina, and Mercedes and Honda in Alabama. Though nonunion and generally less lucrative than the GM and Ford lines, they still pay far better than most jobs.
But there aren't enough of them to soak up all the laid-off assembly line workers --- people with experience and a proven work ethic.
"For a plant closing of this magnitude, the overall impact is somewhere be-tween traumatic and devastating," said labor economist Harley Shaiken of the University of California at Berkeley.
"Unless the workers are just about ready to retire, it is very unlikely that they will end up with anything like the income they had," he said.
"The general rule of thumb is that they'll get one-half to two-thirds of their pay and benefits --- and it will likely take a long time to be re-employed."

The New York Sun, January 24, 2006, Tuesday

Copyright 2006 The New York Sun, One SL, LLC
All Rights Reserved
The New York Sun

January 24, 2006 Tuesday


HEADLINE: Toussaint Silent as MTA Prepares To File for Arbitration

BYLINE: By BRADLEY HOPE, Special to the Sun

The outspoken leader of the Transport Worker's Union, Roger Toussaint, was unusually quiet yesterday as the Metropolitan Transportation Authority prepared paperwork to request that a state agency arbitrate a contract agreement with the union.
One labor analyst said a vacuum-like silence between the two sides has descended since the union's members voted Friday not to ratify a tentative contract agreement.
Observers said Mr. Toussaint, the Trinidad national who rose from a train car cleaner to president of Local 100, is reeling from what many say is a personal defeat. The union reached the tentative agreement after a three-day transit strike that put the city in a stranglehold in December.
The contract agreement was killed by seven votes, a razor-thin margin considering that more than 22,000 were cast. The illegal strike - the state's Taylor Law prohibits some public employees from going on strike - was the first of its kind in more than 25 years. In a similar deadlock between the MTA and TWU in 1980, transit workers walked off the job for 11 days.
With Mr. Toussaint facing possible jail time and millions of dollars of fines levied against transit workers and the union for violating the Taylor Law, observers have said that not only are negotiations back to square one,but the union may end up with less than it started.
Yesterday, the union's secretary treasurer, Ed Watt, said that a campaign of misinformation by members within Local 100 and "certain media outlets," including the New York Post, led to the contract being voted down.
Asked whether a lack of confidence in the contract agreement equated to a lack of confidence in Mr. Toussaint's leadership, Mr. Watt said, "It's not about Roger Toussaint. It's about the TWU."
A union vice president who opposed the contract agreement, Ainsley Stewart, dismissed Mr. Watt's contention yesterday. Mr. Stewart said he actively campaigned against the contract in conversations with hundreds of union members because he felt it was his duty to tell them the truth about how they would be affected.
"Toussaint set himself up for the fall," he said. "Members are smarter than he thinks. He thinks that by bombarding them with phone calls and fliers he will convince them it's a good contract, but it forced them to look at the contract more closely."
Mr. Stewart and fellow vice presidents John Mooney and Martin Goodman have fought the key union concession made by Mr. Toussaint: having workers pay 1.5% of their health care premiums. Mr. Stewart said the concession would mainly hurt the transit employees who spend more time on the job.
"He betrayed members by forcing on them this 1.5% after taking them on strike for pensions," he said.
The tentative 37-month contract included wage increases of 3%, 4%, and 3.5% over the next three years. The MTA dropped demands that workers begin receiving full retirement at 62 rather than 55, but Mr. Toussaint conceded that workers should pay 1.5% of their health care premiums.
If the Public Employee Relations Board declares an impasse, the two sides may go to binding arbitration, which would give authority to a panel of three arbitrators selected by each side to negotiate the contract. The union has been strongly opposed to arbitration from the beginning of negotiations because it would take away the final vote from the membership.
The chairman of the New York City Transit Committee, Barry Feinstein, said yesterday that the agreements made in the old contract wouldn't carry over into the new negotiations.
"All bets are off," Mr. Feinstein, who is a former head of Local 237 of the Inter national Brotherhood of Teamsters, said.
A professor of collective bargaining at Cornell University, David Lipsky, said he thinks binding arbitration, also known as interest arbitration, was the best option for both sides. The union's membership seems to think otherwise, he said. "It's obvious from the contract rejection that this is a union that is sharply divided," Mr. Lipsky said. "The membership is demanding a more militant approach to reach a contract with the Transit Authority."

With Mayor Bloomberg and Governor Pataki differing on key clauses in the old contract agreement, a political tug of war also could be on the horizon, a teacher of collective bargaining at the School of Industrial and Labor Relations at Cornell, Lee Adler, said.
Mr. Pataki directly controls six seats on the MTA board and Mr. Bloomberg controls four. Together, they control nearly half of the board.
After the preliminary contract agreement became public in December, Mr. Pataki threatened to veto a portion of the deal that would refund more than 20,000 transit workers a total of $110 million that workers gave up in extra contributions to a retirement program from 1994 to 2000. He argued that it amounted to rewarding transit workers who broke the law by going on strike. Mr. Bloomberg is a strong supporter of having transit workers pay a portion of their health care premiums, a trend he has said he hopes other city unions will follow to help the city save millions of dollars.
"They have divergent interests in this rejection of the contract," Mr. Adler said. "This makes it difficult to figure out where the leverage points are going to be" in the new negotiations.
Meanwhile, union leaders are waiting for Mr. Toussaint to schedule an executive board meeting so they can determine what the next step will be. The MTA has a board meeting scheduled for tomorrow.

The Chronicle of Higher Education, January 20, 2006, Friday

Copyright 2006 The Chronicle of Higher Education
All Rights Reserved
The Chronicle of Higher Education

January 20, 2006 Friday

SECTION: RESEARCH; Pg. 24 Vol. 52 No. 20

HEADLINE: Doctoral Programs in the Humanities Are Scrutinized


Doctoral programs in the humanities can raise their students' completion rates by admitting fewer students, setting clear expectations for how they spend their summers, and discouraging them from polishing or publishing their dissertations before receiving their degrees. Those were among the conclusions of two studies presented at this month's annual meeting of the American Economic Association, in Boston.
The studies drew on data from the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation's recent $80-million effort to improve Ph.D. programs in the humanities. From 1991 through 2001, the foundation offered grants to 51 highly ranked departments in the humanities and the "soft" social sciences.
In order to receive the grants, the departments were required to tighten academic deadlines and carefully monitor student progress. Known as the Graduate Education Initiative, the project has now been evaluated by scholars at the Cornell Higher Education Research Institute. The Cornell researchers gathered data from the 51 participating departments, as well as from 50 similar departments used as a control group.
The Mellon project had only modest effects on students' success, said Ronald G. Ehrenberg, a professor of industrial relations and economics at Cornell University and director of the research institute. The participating departments' cumulative attrition rates declined by an average of 3 percentage points.
A survey of more than 13,000 present and former graduate students, Mr. Ehrenberg said, suggested that clear expectations about student progress and encouragement to finish dissertations quickly were the most powerful elements of the program.
In a second paper, Jeffrey Groen, a research economist at the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, said that the program's small positive effects seemed to have been caused by increases in financial aid, improvements in student quality, and by reductions in cohort size that is, admitting fewer students each year.
Mr. Ehrenberg's and Mr. Groen's papers were financed by the Mellon Foundation.

Friday, January 27, 2006

UAW Solidarity, The Nine Line, November/December 2005, No. 4

UAW Solidarity
The Nine Line
November/December 2005 No. 4

Labor Day in Akron, N.Y.
South Koreans study Perry's, Local 686 relations

On Labor Day weekend a group of labor relations and human re-source managers from SK Corp., a huge multi-billion dollar corporate giant from South Korea, arrived in Akron, N.Y. to study a labor relations and union management success story with UAW Region 9, Perry's Ice Cream, UAW Local 686 and Cornell University School of Industrial and Labor Relations.

The trip was arranged by Cornell ILR staff in Buffalo to present a case study of how working together can help both union and company. SK brought 25 labor relations and human resource managers representing the SK Corp and their many divisions.

After spending a few days in Ithaca, N.Y., in a seminar with the Cornell University Center for Advanced Human Resources Studies, the SK representatives made the trip to Akron to meet with: Scott Adams, Region 9 international representative; Bob Engelhart, Local 686 unit president for Perry's; Michael Calhoun, Perry's vice president of operations; Art Wheaton, Cornell University ILR in Buffalo, and the members of Perry's Joint Operations Leadership Team.

At first glance having visitors from South Korea learn from a regional ice cream company may seem like a giant mismatch. SK had revenues of $55 billion in U.S. dollars and profits of $4.5 billion (U.S.) in 2004. SK has 25,000 employees.

Meanwhile Perry's Ice Cream has a workforce of fewer than 200 union members.

SK Corp. owns multibillion dollar businesses in energy and chemicals, information and telecommunications, logistics and services, and finance. SK has a labor union with some 2,500 members. The company offers high wages and benefits and extensive training and development. Size is not the most important issue when it comes to labor relations.

But best practices are not always created by the largest companies. Smart companies and unions are willing to learn from others. Perry's was selected because its labor management relations are vastly improved from their first collective-bargaining contract in 1999 and continue to improve the operations of the company.

With help from UAW Local 897 and Ford Stamping plant personnel, Perry's has turned its Joint Operations Leadership Team into a case study for others to model.

Most people in western New York think of the Delphi Automotive plant in Lockport when someone mentions UAW Local 686. While Unit 1 at Delphi Automotive is by far the largest unit of Local 686, it may not be the best case study for cooperative labor management relations.

While Perry's is a relatively small unit of Local 686, its labor management relations are a key to the success of the company and its ability to compete in the ultra-competitive ice cream market.

This is not the first time a Korean company has come to western New York to speak with Region 9 or Local 686. Last year LG Electronics visited Ford Buffalo Stamping plant and Local 897, meeting with Kevin Donovan, Region 9 Servicing representative; Frank Andrews, Local 686 president; and Bob Engelhart, the UAW unit president from Perry's.

A highlight of the program with SK management at Perry's came during the question-and-answer session. One of SK?s human resources senior managers said, ?It appears that the company has made too many concessions.?Mike Calhoun, Perry's vice president of operations, was eager to respond.

"If you perceive us paying above the market wage and providing a good benefits package, or jointly sharing in a decision-making process while in return getting better employees, increased productivity, 30 percent less scrap, working together to reduce compensation costs by half, if you perceive these things as concessionary then I must respectfully disagree," Calhoun said.

Region 9 Director Geraldine Ochocinska's and many UAW locals have participated in international programs and labor relations programs with Cornell ILR for many years. Western New York has long been a leader in cooperative labor management relations and successful union management partnerships.

Thursday, January 26, 2006

Daily News (New York), January 22, 2005, Sunday

Daily News, January 22, 2006, Sunday
Sunday Opinions, Page 37

Who Says Labor’s Dead? A Landmark Campaign By Hotel Workers Could Show That Unions Still Have Muscle

An extraordinary campaign called Hotel Workers Rising has the potential to be a historic
turning point for the labor movement in America.

At a time when many are writing off labor, citing fractured leadership and plunging
membership levels, a union is launching a powerful nationwide movement to raise
awareness of the cost to society of low-wage jobs and to secure better wages and benefits
for its workers.

UNITE HERE, the union running the campaign, has spent years aligning the expiration
dates of contracts they have with hotels in American and Canadian cities, including
New York; Boston; Chicago; Honolulu; Monterey, Calif.; Sacramento, Calif.; Seattle;
Toronto; Detroit; San Francisco and Los Angeles.
More than 60,000 UNITE HERE members--housekeepers, bell men, phone operators, food servers, mostly minority and immigrant women — are involved.

As a strike threat looms, the union says average hourly wages for nonunion hotel workers are $7 an hour compared with $15 for union workers. In New York, where nearly all hotels are union and the membership has a long tradition of fighting for good contracts, wages for room cleaners are $21 per hour with full medical and pension benefits.

Still, the Hotel Trades Council representing 28,000 workers in six unions that represent
hotel workers in 150 hotels and motels in N.Y. — says that even in New York there are companies that continually violate their contract by disciplining workers unfairly or maintaining unhealthy environments in the “back of the house.” An issue the union is highlighting is workload. As bedding in hotels gets heavier and more extensive
it takes room cleaners more time to finish a room.

In unionized hotels the workers have a way to negotiate fair changes in expectations, but
their nonunion brothers and sisters have to work that much harder or fear dismissal.

The showdown with the giant corporate stakeholders in the hospitality industry such
as Hilton, Sheraton, Marriott and Hyatt, will come during the height of the tourism season this summer, but the campaign to frame the issue for this potential clash is happening now.

For the union, the upcoming negotiations are not just about getting more dollars in members’ paychecks from employers making high profi ts. They are about setting standards for everyone, reducing poverty and saving the middle class.

As the recent transit strike in New York City highlighted, the benefits the middle class once took for granted are under attack. That strike, which successfully resisted cuts in retirement benefits for those not yet hired, generated a slew of articles about pensions in peril. Right on cue, IBM announced a freezing of its pension plan and showed this is not just a “blue collar” union issue, but something even the men and women in the gray flannel suits need to worry about.

Given this backdrop, UNITE HERE will be educating the public on the ripple effect of
higher wages, decent benefits and humane work rules. People will be asked if they are better off when their hardworking neighbors have decent pay or when they have little time and money to spend in their communities.

The pressures of competition between union and nonunion businesses already put
tremendous downward pressure on those unionized “islands” of good paying jobs, like
New York. To turn this around, unions must have strategies to set standards for compensation and working conditions in whole industries so no employer
has an unfair advantage. The upcoming hotel negotiations will be a major unfolding
of such a strategy.

If UNITE HERE’s public education campaign succeeds, this summer’s negotiations will be a referendum on what kind of jobs and economy we want to leave to the next generations. It will be a tremendously important test of organized labor’s ability to become a people’s movement again and not just a vehicle for a shrinking share of
the workforce. And we all have a stake in the outcome.

Margolies is on the extension faculty of the School of Industrial and Labor Relations at Cornell University.

Wednesday, January 25, 2006

Workforce Management, January 24, 2006, Tuesday

Workforce Management, January 24, 2006, Tuesday

Ford Tuition Assistance May Cushion New Round of Job Cuts

The program is limited to certain workers laid off in 2004 and 2005, but observers expect it to be extended to all employees in the automaker’s job bank.
January 24, 2006

Ford Tuition Assistance May Cushion New Round of Job Cuts

There may be an inkling of good news for the thousands of workers at Ford who learned Monday that they might lose their jobs.

The Detroit auto company made the much-awaited announcement of its "Way Forward" plan, which will cut 25,000 to 30,000 jobs in the next six years.

But days before, Ford made an announcement that might ease the pain of its own employees as well as workers at its competitors: a new tuition program. Under it, workers at Ford’s Edison, New Jersey, plant, which closed in 2004, and the 1,500 workers who were laid off in December after Ford closed its Avon Lake, Ohio, plant, can receive up to $15,000 a year toward school as long as they go full time. They also will receive full medical benefits and half of their usual hourly salary.

Spokeswoman Marcey Evans says the company does not know whether it will extend the program to all 1,100 workers in the company’s Guaranteed Employee Numbers Program, more commonly known as a job bank, which provides laid-off workers with full salary and benefits. But observers predict that it will. They also anticipate that General Motors, Delphi and DaimlerChrysler will follow in its footsteps as the companies prepare for intense negotiations with the United Auto Workers.

Job banks have become increasingly costly for the Big Three automakers as layoffs increase. That’s why Ford’s move right now makes sense.

"This is going to be a huge negotiation point for the Big Three in 2007 when the UAW contracts expire," says Sean McAlinden, a director in the economics business group at the Center for Automotive Research in Ann Arbor, Michigan.

McAlinden estimates that job banks cost about $130,000 per worker. That adds up, considering that GM has 5,300 workers in its pool. Delphi has 4,000, and DaimlerChrysler has 2,300. Ford’s numbers are expected to rise dramatically, given its announced layoffs.

At the Automotive News World Congress this month, UAW president Ron Gettelfinger said that he does not believe that "it’s time to change" the jobs banks, but observers predict he might not get his way.

"If I was a Ford worker who had been laid off, I would take the tuition, because it is very likely that these job banks are going away," says Jim Gillette, director of supplier analysis at CSM Worldwide.

Evans concedes that the program will make it easier for Ford to manage its pool of idled workers, but would not say that the company made the move to ease negotiations with the UAW next year. "We did this to benefit the employee," she says.

GM plans to take a close look at Ford’s program before deciding whether it would make a similar move, says Stefan Weinmann, a GM spokesman. Delphi has no plans to follow Ford’s lead currently, spokeswoman Lindsey Williams says. And DaimlerChrysler has no plans to offer a similar program, company spokesman David Elshoff says.

Being the first to offer a tuition program may make negotiations easier with the UAW next year because it is a gesture of good will, says Arthur Wheaton, an industry education specialist at Cornell University’s School of Industrial and Labor Relations. "Unions are more willing to negotiate innovative contracts with someone they trust," he says.

--Jessica Marquez

Monday, January 23, 2006

The New York Times, January 22, 2006, Sunday

Copyright 2006 The New York Times Company
The New York Times

January 22, 2006 Sunday
Late Edition - Final

SECTION: Section 1; Column 6; Metropolitan Desk; Pg. 30

HEADLINE: Deal Voted Down At Last Moment


Until about 12 hours before the noon deadline on Friday, when the tide suddenly shifted, New York City transit workers seemed poised to approve the proposed contract their leaders had negotiated with the Metropolitan Transportation Authority, a union official said yesterday.

For more than a week, there were slightly more votes to ratify the settlement than to reject it, until about midnight on Thursday, said the official, James P. Mitchell, the elections chairman for Local 100 of Transport Workers Union.

By a 7-vote margin out of 22,461 ballots cast, union members rejected the contract on Friday, scuttling the deal reached after the subway and bus strike of Dec. 20 to 22.

Mr. Mitchell said there was no last-minute surge in the number of votes, but the sudden shift suggests that most members who remained undecided until the final hours ended up opposing the deal.

''Voters who were lukewarm on the contract may have sat out the vote assuming it was going to pass anyway, because most contracts pass, and newspapers and commentators were hailing it as a pretty good deal,'' said Ken Margolies, a labor organizer who teaches in the New York City extension program of the Cornell University School of Industrial and Labor Relations.

Mr. Mitchell said there were no plans for a recount or a revote, despite some complaints about the voting process.
Members began voting by phone and Internet the week of Jan. 8, using a unique numeric code sent to them by the American Arbitration Association, which conducted the election.

URL: http://www.nytimes.com

The Ithaca Journal (New York), January 17, 2006, Tuesday

Copyright 2006 The Ithaca Journal (Ithaca, NY)
All Rights Reserved
The Ithaca Journal (New York)

January 17, 2006 Tuesday 1 Edition


HEADLINE: Briefly in Business

Cornell professor earns business book award

NEW YORK - A book by a Cornell University School of Industrial and Labor Relations professor has been named one of the 15 best business books of 2005 by Fast Company magazine.

The book, "Get Them on Your Side: Win Support, Convert Skeptics, Get Results," was written by professor Samuel C. Bacharach, an expert on organizational behavior and the McKelvey-Grant Professor of Labor Management at the ILR School.

Using illustrations from business, government, academia and nonprofit organizations, Bacharach shows how executives can build political competence and develop specific leadership skills to get results.
The book was also recognized by the national Canadian newspaper, The Globe and Mail, as one of the top business books of the year.
In addition, Harvard Management Update discussed the book and author in its January 2006 issue.
Bacharach is director of three New York City ILR programs: the Institute for Workplace Studies, Master of Professional Studies and Smithers Institute for Alcohol-Related Workplace Studies. He conducts certificate-based seminars for labor and business leaders on proactive leadership. Most recently he published studies on the effects of workplace stress on New York City firefighters and transit workers.
From Journal Staff Reports.

Newsday (New York), January 17, 2006, Tuesday


Will vital hotels union be next to strike?


January 17, 2006

Strike talk is in the air again. This time, it's not mass transit that's at stake, but the city's vital hotel industry.

The New York Hotel and Motel Trades Council, an umbrella group representing 28,000 workers in six unions, is threatening to walk out this summer.

And with 41 million visitors to the city spending more than $21 billion last year, any disruption to hotel services would be a big blow to the economy.

"This is the most important contract negotiation in history for a variety of reasons: protecting pensions, resisting givebacks and preventing management from willful and repeated abuses of the contract," said John Turchiano, a trades council spokesman.

The union's five-year contract with 150 hotels and motels in the city expires July 1.Vijay Dandapani, chairman of the Hotel Association of New York City, which represents the management of more than 200 hotels, acknowledged tough negotiations ahead.

"We don't know what will come to pass or whether there will be a strike or not," he said.

The union proved last year that it can get results.

Through protests and a well-managed media campaign, hotel workers were instrumental in forcing Elad Properties to scale back plans to convert the Plaza Hotel into condominiums -- saving 350 union jobs slated to be cut.

The brewing hotel labor dispute is part of a nationwide campaign to win better contracts for hotel workers.

Contracts in Chicago, Boston, Toronto, Honolulu, Sacramento, Cincinnati, Detroit and Sacramento expire this year.

"New York is not operating in isolation," said Kate Bronfenbrenner, director of labor education research at the Cornell University School of Industrial and Labor Relations. "It is a national strategy."

Locally, the Hotel Trades Council has much in common with the Transport Workers Union Local 100, which called last month's three-day transit strike.

The transit union negotiated its contract with the MTA while the agency was flush with a $1 billion surplus.

Likewise, the hotel industry is reporting profits not seen since 2000. Daily occupancy ended the year over 80%, and the average nightly room rate was $240 -- totaling about $9.5 million a day.Both unions want to protect pensions.

Both want raises. And both accuse management of unfair treatment.

But unlike transit workers, who are state employees and forbidden by law to strike, hotel employees are free to walk off the job.

Hotel workers say they are not afraid to walk out. The last New York City hotel strike, in 1985, lasted 27 days.

"This is a union that knows how to prepare a strike and knows how to win," Bronfenbrenner said.

Copyright © 2006, Newsday, Inc.

The Press of Atlantic City, January 12, 2006, Thursday

B.L. England union makes contract dispute public

By MICHAEL MILLER Staff Writer, (609) 463-6712
Published: Thursday, January 12, 2006
Updated: Thursday, January 12, 2006

UPPER TOWNSHIP-A union representing workers at the B.L. England Generating Station is taking its contract dispute with Atlantic City Electric to the public.

The International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers Local 210 sent letters to towns across southern New Jersey warning of power interruptions for residents and possible safety hazards for emergency workers in the event of a lockout or strike.

The contract with about 540 Atlantic City Electric employees expired Dec. 10 but was extended to give negotiators more time.

The unsigned letter, dated Jan. 5, warned that replacement employees would be less experienced than union members in maintaining electricity service and responding to downed wires or other hazards.

"You can count on longer outages from storms, automobile accidents, faulty equipment and other problems that occur in the system," the letter stated.

The letter included the e-mail addresses for company executives and criticized Atlantic City Electric's parent company, Pepco Holdings Inc.

"While PHI executive's (sic) salaries and bonuses have continued to skyrocket, our numbers are slashed," the letter said. "It seems the company has forgotten the IBEW workers who are keeping your lights on in the worst of conditions."

Company spokeswoman Betty Kennedy declined to comment on the union's position about replacement workers.

"It's our union's right to negotiate and share information however they see fit," she said. "We have the utmost respect for our employees and the negotiations process."

We just ask that everyone remain focused on doing their job safely during contract negotiations," she said.

Local residents who have seen their utility bills rise this winter might be unsympathetic to the union's public appeal. But a labor-relations expert at Cornell University said this tactic is often successful.

"It's very common for unions to bring the public on board," said Kate Bronfenbrenner, director of labor education research at the university.

Public confidence in utility companies is ebbing in the wake of energy scandals such as Enron's, she said, adding that the union's concerns about safety and competence declining during a strike are valid.

"Union apprenticeship training is highly focused on safety. When they hire replacement workers, particularly a utility with highly skilled workers, they're hiring people who are not as well-trained," she said.

"There tend to be more accidents and more injuries. You don't have people as knowledgeable about the equipment."

Union spokesman Charlie Hill, of Absecon, said the letters were designed to raise public awareness about the important jobs the union members do.

"People would be upset about the rates they're paying. I can understand that," Hill said. "But those costs are not necessarily a result of us."

Complicating negotiations somewhat is the uncertain future of the plant in Upper Township, Cape May County, he said.

The company said it plans to close the plant in 2007 when stricter mercury emissions standards go into effect in New Jersey.

"That adds a different dimension than typical negotiations. Obviously, we have concerns about what would happen to employees," Hill said.

The union and company are still at the bargaining table.

Woodbine Mayor William Pikolycky said the letter's transparent attempt to use towns as a bargaining chip was unusual. But he said it made good points about maintaining service.

"I'm glad I was made aware of it," he said. "In the summertime, it's nice to have electric. But in the wintertime, you freeze to death without it."

To e-mail Michael Miller at The Press:MMiller@pressofac.com

Inter Press Service News Agency, January 9, 2006, Monday

A New Internationalism Rising Peter Costantini

SEATTLE, Washington, Jan 9 (IPh)

As the U.S. Congress contemplates a bill that would build fences along nearly 700 miles of the U.S.-Mexico border to keep foreigners out, recent immigrants -- many of whom crossed that same border -- are pumping fresh blood into an anemic U.S. labour movement.

In late November, for example, the Service Employees International Union (SEIU) announced that 4,700 janitors who clean more than 60 percent of the office space in Houston, Texas had joined the union and would begin bargaining with their employers for a contract.

Houston is the latest in a string of campaigns known as Janitors For Justice that have unionised 225,000 janitors in 29 cities over the past two decades, according to the SEIU.

In this and many other cities, the building-maintenance workers and union organisers are mostly recently arrived immigrants, many from Mexico and Central America.

The Houston victory was particularly significant because workers in Texas and across the U.S. South are less unionised than elsewhere in the country.

Houston janitors are not covered by health insurance, and most work part-time at an hourly base rate of 5.25 dollars, just 10 cents above the federal minimum wage.

"Everybody in our division of SEIU sent organisers and resources to help in Houston," said Sergio Salinas, president of Local 6 in Seattle, "so it was a combined national effort." This campaign, Salinas believes, has "historical importance" as a major inroad by unions into the South.

Overall union membership in the U.S. is down to 12.5 percent of the workforce from a high of 20.1 percent in 1983. In the private sector, the rate is only 7.9 percent, about half what it was in 1983.

Of the few unions that have continued to organise aggressively, many are in the service sector and focus on immigrants without regard to their legal status.

Among them, the SEIU, with members primarily in property services, health care and the public sector, has become the largest and fastest growing labour union in the U.S., claiming a membership of 1.8 million. Immigrants account for some two-thirds of that figure, Salinas estimates.

The SEIU is a leading proponent of an increasingly visible strain of internationalism in the U.S. labour movement.

Where more conservative unions have historically ignored or excluded immigrants, demographic changes in the workforce, shifts in the U.S. economy and a hostile political environment have pushed some unions to welcome recent arrivals into their ranks or face irrelevance.

Among other unions with large immigrant memberships are the United Food and Commercial Workers, UNITE HERE, the Laborers, the Carpenters, and the United Farmworkers.

Last June, these and the Teamsters split off from the main U.S. union confederation, the AFL-CIO, to form a new grouping called Change to Win (CTW). These unions, which represent some five million workers, have pledged to concentrate much more effort and money on organising. The AFL-CIO and some member unions have also recognised the need to aggressively expand membership.

This internal globalisation is largely a response to a labour force in which immigrants, documented and undocumented, are a growing source of energy.

In many areas of the country, low-wage jobs in certain parts of the economy are filled primarily by workers from Latin America, Asia, Africa and Eastern Europe.

In the service sector these include property services, landscaping, hotels and restaurants, food services, health care, day care, laundries and educational support staff. Non-service industries include construction, meat and poultry packing, and garment manufacturing. In several of these sectors, the majority of workers are also women.

A significant portion of all new union recruits are immigrant workers, according to Kate Bronfenbrenner of Cornell University. "Recent immigrants overall are more receptive to unions than native-born Americans, particularly those who had union experience in their own country," she observed, unless unions there were linked with repressive governments.

As their ranks expand, some of those immigrant workers have moved into positions of union leadership.

According to Salinas, a veteran of the labour movement in El Salvador, three other presidents of major SEIU locals are also Latin American immigrants.

Both rank-and-file and leaders have cross-pollinated the labour movement here with trade union experience, political sophistication and positive attitudes towards collective action brought with them from their home countries.

But immigrants, especially unauthorised ones, can be particularly vulnerable to employer pressures: in more than half of organising campaigns involving undocumented workers, Bronfenbrenner has found, employers threaten them with deportation, a very effective way of undermining unionisation.

"Two things are true," said Lance Compa, a former official of the NAFTA Labour Secretariat. "One, many immigrants are afraid to organise because of fear of deportation, thus retarding union organising in many workplaces and communities, and two, many immigrants are the most active, fearless organisers, bringing new unions to many workplaces and communities."

"The challenge for unions is to find and mobilise group two to bring enough of group one over to their side."

A Human Rights Watch report by Compa quoted a worker from El Salvador at a U.S. meat-packing plant: "The company has armed police walking around the plant to intimidate us. It's especially frightening for those of us from Central America. Where we come from, the police shoot trade unionists."

When David Ayala, an SEIU leader in Portland, Oregon and Salvadoran immigrant, talks with workers he asks them: "What did you dream? Why did you come here? Why did you cross the border? Why did you almost die? And now you're earning 5.25 an hour with no Social Security, no health insurance. Is that why you came here all the way from down there?"

In the past, undocumented workers have been a point of contention for organised labour, but the decline of membership and the influx of unauthorised immigrants have led more unions to welcome all workers into their ranks, regardless of legal status.

The right wing calls them "aliens", Ayala said. "What's an alien? It's not a human being. An alien is somebody from outer space. So then when you hear, oh, an alien, the public doesn't relate with a human being, somebody who has a family, somebody who is a good person."

The internationalisation of U.S. labour is occurring in the face of increasingly vocal xenophobia in some quarters.

A vigilante group called the Minutemen has received wide publicity for its ad hoc efforts to police the Canadian and Mexican borders.

The current immigration bill in Congress, while likely to be modified in course of the legislative process, passed the House of Representatives with key provisions favoured by the extreme right.

The bill, which is more restrictive than the proposals of the George W. Bush administration in some respects, would criminalise both living in the U.S. without papers and assisting those who do, and would tighten requirements that employers verify employee immigration status.

Congress is expected to take up immigration legislation again in February.

While the debate intensifies, total immigration into the U.S. has fallen from a peak of some 1.5 million in 2000 to 1.2 million in 2004, a decline of 20 percent, according to research by the Pew Hispanic Centre. Mexican immigrants represent about a third of that flow.

Since 1990, however, the total proportion of the foreign-born in the U.S. population has increased from eight percent to 12 percent, according to the U.S. Census Bureau, with over half from Latin America.
Among a total undocumented population of about 11 million, Mexicans represent 57 percent, with 80 to 85 percent of all Mexican immigrants estimated to be undocumented. Of the civilian labour force, 6.3 million workers or 4.3 percent are unauthorised, according to the Pew Hispanic Centre, with one-third of these in the service industries. (FIN/2006)

Wednesday, January 18, 2006

Buffalo News (New York), January 15, 2006, Sunday

Copyright 2006 The Buffalo News
Buffalo News (New York)

January 15, 2006 Sunday


HEADLINE: Business calendar

The Business Calendar runs each Sunday in the Business section. Notices of meetings, seminars and workshops of interest to the area business community should be sent to the Business News Desk of The Buffalo News, P.O. Box 100, Buffalo, N.Y. 14240, by the preceding Thursday or faxed to 849-4587.
Business groups
* Speakeasy Toastmasters, 7 p.m., Mansard Inn, 3365 Abbott Road, Orchard Park. Call Joe Coughlin, 602-4977 or Mary Haden, 648-2227.
Professional groups
* The Buffalo Chapter of Financial Executives International, monthly dinner meeting, 6 p.m., Protocol Restaurant, 6766 Transit Road, Williamsville. Program: "Accounting Standards Update," presented by Michael Murray, Ernest and Young. Call Greg Setter, 608-8524 or e-mail: gsetter@rosina.com.
Business groups
Executive Marketing Chapter of Business Networking International, 7 a.m., Millennium Hotel, 2040 Walden Ave., Cheektowaga. Speaker: Elda Ryba, ACN. Guests welcome. Call Maureen Snyder, 626-2539.
* Business Networkers of Business Networking International, 7 a.m., Christe's Restaurant and Banquet Room, Southgate Plaza, Union Road, West Seneca. Speaker: Greg Fisher, Crest Cleaners. Call Judy Krawczyk, 662-3928.
* Erie County Industrial Development Agency Board of Directors, 10 a.m., ECIDA, 275 Oak St. Call Pat Rogowski, 856-6525, ext. 132.
* Brainstorm--The Communicators Club of Buffalo and Eric Mower and Associates, "Don't Think Pink!" event, 6 p.m., Pearl Street Grille, 76 Pearl St. Cost $25 members; $35 nonmembers. Reservations, call 693-3807; e-mail: office@brainstormbuffalo.com or visit: www.brainstormbuffalo.com.
Seminars and classes
* SCORE, the U.S. Small Business Administration and Canisius Center at Amherst, "Creating a Winning Business Plan" workshop, 8:30 a.m.-4:30 p.m., Greater Buffalo Savings Bank, 2421 Main St. Cost, $35. Call 551-4301 or visit www.scorebuffalo.org.
* Buffalo Niagara World Trade Center, 2006 Global Economic Outlook luncheon, 11:30 a.m.-1:30 p.m., Saturn Club, 977 Delaware Ave. Speaker: Dr. David Hensley, JPMorgan Chase Bank, New York office. Registration, call 852-7160 or visit: www.wtcbn.org.
* The Greater Olean Area Chamber of Commerce, Build a Weblog seminar, 6-10 p.m., Olean Business Institute, 301 North Union St., Olean. Concludes Jan. 24. Cost, $25 WNY and Pennsylvania chamber members; $40 nonmembers. Registration, call GOACC, 372-4433 or e-mail: tourism@oleanny.com.
Business groups
* Niagara River Greenway Commission, 3 p.m., Visitors Center, Festival Theatre, Niagara Falls State Park, Prospect St., Niagara Falls. Program: Commission members will hear from the three finalists for the development of the Niagara River Greenway Management Plan. Visit: www.niagaragreenway.org.
* Niagara Frontier Tourism Task Force, 6 p.m., MacGruder's Restaurant, 4995 Broadway, Depew. Reservations, call 934-3775 or e-mail: pforge@verizon.net.
Seminars and classes
* The state Department of Labor, Buffalo Chapter Job Service Employers committee and the Cheektowaga Chamber of Commerce, business seminar, 8:30 a.m.-noon, Erie 1 BOCES, 355 Harlem Road, West Seneca. Topic: "How to Prevent a Hostile Work Environment," presented by Richard Braden, Goldberg Segalla, and Regina Gentry, labor department. Cost $15. Reservations, call 851-2750 or e-mail: carolyn.bright@labor.state.ny.us.
* Financial Planning Association of Upstate New York, College Financial Planning seminar, 11:30 a.m.-3:30 p.m., Sonoma Grille, 5010 Main St., Snyder. Program: Robert Kloss and Mark Morlock will examine the pros and cons of using 529 plans, Roth IRAs and other alternatives to college funding. Cost, $25 (includes lunch). Registration, FPA Chapter Office, P.O. Box 539, Webster 14580; call: (800) 442-3769 or visit: www.nyfpa.org.

* Cornell University School of Industrial and Labor Relations, information sessions to address human resource certification, 6-7:30 p.m., Canisius Center at Amherst, 300N Corporate Parkway. Call Cynthia Price, 852-4191 or e-mail: cp42@cornell.edu.

* Financial Women International, Member Recognition Dinner, 6:30-8:30 p.m., Tony Rome's, 1537 Union Road, West Seneca. Speaker: Amy Forrest, Wellness Solutions, will discuss health and wellness issues. Cost $20. Registration, call Debbie Kaczmarski, 759-8345 or Naomi Foote, 848-7896.
Professional groups
* The New York State Commercial Association of Realtors, monthly breakfast meeting, 8:30 a.m., Amherst Holiday Inn, 1881 Niagara Falls Blvd., Amherst. Speaker: Jennifer Birkemeier, Freed Maxick and Battaglia. Cost, $15 nonmembers. Call 668-6875 or visit: www.wnynyscar.com.
Business groups
* Southtowns Business Network, networking breakfast, 8 a.m., Alton's Restaurant, 2221 Transit Road, Elma. Guests welcome. Call Darryl Stacey, 854-1808.
* Rotary Club of Buffalo, 5 p.m., Gilda's Club, Delaware and Ferry. Topic: Slides of Provence, France. "Enchanted Evening," 6 p.m. Call John McClive, 854-3397.
Professional groups
* The Niagara Frontier Chapter of the American Society of Safety Engineers, monthly luncheon meeting, noon, Bison City Rod and Gun Club, 511 Ohio St. Cost $10. Topic: "Disaster Recovery." Reservations, contact Albert Stutz, 684-3891, ext. 221 or stutz.al@dol.gov.
Business groups
* The TIP Club of Buffalo, a networking group open to business professionals, meeting, 7:30 a.m., Millennium Hotel and Resorts, 2040 Walden Ave., Cheektowaga. Call Tony Calandra, 897-0700, ext. 2227.
Seminars and classes
* The PACE Program at Houghton College, free Microsoft Access application training, 8 a.m.-noon, West Seneca Campus computer lab, 810 Union Road. Register online: www.houghton.edu/pace/corporate and click on Professional Development Training Schedule to view other training sessions on Microsoft Office applications.
>Jan. 23
Business groups
* Buffalo Executives' Association, noon-1:15 p.m., Adam's Mark, 120 Church St. Program: Premium Coffee Roasters. Guests welcome. Call Cheryl Samilio Meyer, 852-6916.
* Buffalo Niagara Sales and Marketing Executives, dinner meeting, 5:15 p.m., Millennium Hotel and Resorts, 2040 Walden Ave., Cheektowaga. Program: "The Internet's Impact on the Future of Marketing and Customer Relations," presented by Karen Breen Vogel, ClearGauge, Chicago. Cost: $21 students; $30 guests. Reservations, call 662-2279 or e-mail: bnsme@bnsme.org.
>Jan. 24
Seminars and classes
* SCORE, the U.S. Small Business Administration and North Tonawanda Public Library, "Starting and Managing Your Business" workshop, 8:30 a.m.-4:30 p.m., North Tonawanda Public Library, 505 Meadow Drive, North Tonawanda. Cost, $25. Call 551-4301, ext. 305 or visit www.scorebuffalo.org.
* Success Force, executive roundtable, 11 a.m.-2 p.m., 5600 Broadway, Lancaster. Topic: "I Mean It When I Say It: Owner's Accountability as an Essential Element of Success." Cost, $50. Reservations, call 681-4434 or e-mail: tgg@success-force.com.
>Jan. 25
Seminars and classes
* Buffalo Niagara Sales and Marketing Executives, business breakfast seminar, 7:45 a.m., Millennium Hotel and Resorts, 2040 Walden Ave., Cheektowaga. Program: "Nine Year-Old Discovers CEO's Secret," presented by Michael H. Spindelman, Eventronics. Cost: $15 members; $25 guests. Reservations, call 662-2279 or e-mail: bnsme@bnsme.org.

Chicago Tribune, January 12, 2006, Thursday

Copyright 2006 Chicago Tribune Company
Chicago Tribune

January 12, 2006 Thursday
Chicago Final Edition


HEADLINE: Unions prescribe unity;
Steelworkers join pharmacist protest

BYLINE: By Barbara Rose, Tribune staff reporter. Tribune staff reporters Bruce Japsen and Stephen Franklin contributed to this report.

Workers who make a living inside gritty industrial plants would seem unlikely champions for pharmacists, with their white coats and nearly six-figure salaries.
But there they stood Wednesday--steelworkers in short-brimmed caps alongside pharmacists wearing ties and overcoats--picketing in front of one of Walgreens' busiest stores in Chicago.
Together, members of the United Steelworkers union and the National Pharmacists Association were protesting Walgreen Co.'s failure to negotiate a new contract covering 1,100 pharmacists in Illinois and parts of Indiana.
The two formed an alliance--prelude to a possible merger--in July after the pharmacists' strike collapsed, when as many as half of the union's members crossed picket lines to go back to work.
What does a worker who retired from a sweaty $18-per-hour job at Chicago's Acme Steel have in common with a Walgreens pharmacist who earns $47 per hour?
"Money is not the issue," said retired Acme worker Roy Collins, past president of United Steelworkers International Local 1657. "It's how people are being treated."
The USW's offer of support is not surprising, labor experts said. A decades-long loss of manufacturing jobs is prompting old-line industrial unions to reach for potential new recruits wherever they can find them.
Meanwhile, cost pressures and consolidation sweeping industries such as drug retailing are eroding autonomy for professionals, creating what unions hope will be a more fertile organizing climate.
"Health care is where the game is being played now," said Robert Bruno, a labor expert at the University of Illinois at Chicago.
Fewer than 10 percent of pharmacists belong to unions, including small independents like the National Pharmacists Association, which despite its name represents only local Walgreens pharmacists.
The giant USW, with 850,000 U.S. members, has been organizing outside its core manufacturing base for decades and already represents 10,000 pharmaceutical technicians and pharmacists in other states.
Marick Masters, a business professor at the University of Pittsburgh, said the USW's overtures to Walgreens pharmacists is "very consistent" with the union's "opportunistic organizing strategy," but he questioned whether such efforts would pay off.
"How are they going to represent people in that industry? That kind of organizing philosophy is one of the things that led to the split in the labor movement," he added.
Cornell University labor expert Richard Hurd disagreed, saying marriages of industrial and professional unions have worked despite cultural differences when unions "bring in staff representatives who can connect with professional workers."
That's exactly what the USW does, according to William Gibbons, a USW regional director who spoke at Wednesday's demonstration.
"We have pharmacists dealing with pharmacists' issues, and the pharmacists determine the policies that affect them," Gibbons said.
For now, the National Pharmacists Association remains independent while the USW contributes staff and organizing support for a Walgreens campaign. Wednesday's action, joined by labor supporters such as Rep. Danny K. Davis (D-Ill.), kicked off a new phase.
Pharmacy union officials said major bargaining issues are not wages but Walgreens' move to limit pharmacists' input into staffing decisions. The company disbanded a committee of union and management representatives that evaluated staffing needs store by store, union officials said.
Other issues include measures that union officials said are designed to break the union: eliminating automatic deduction of union dues from paychecks and ending the requirement that pharmacists join the union.
Wednesday's protest featured union leaders' claims that work overloads jeopardize patients' safety because pharmacists are filling too many prescriptions per day at busy stores.
Walgreens executives, during the company's annual meeting before more than 2,500 shareholders at Navy Pier, brushed off the criticism. While boasting to shareholders that stores fill an average of 263 prescriptions per day, they said customers are not at risk.
"We have both the highest volume and best-staffed pharmacies in America," Walgreens Chief Executive David Bernauer said.
President Jeff Rein said Walgreens is much more automated than independent pharmacies and mom-and-pop drugstores, another advantage in its ability to provide prescriptions to customers more safely.

GRAPHIC: PHOTO: United Steelworkers members support Walgreens pharmacists at an informational picketing Wednesday in Chicago.

PHOTO: U.S. Rep. Danny K. Davis (left) greets retired steelworker Ray Collins after Wednesday's rally outside the Walgreens store at Chicago and Michigan Avenues. Tribune photos by Tom Van Dyke.


The Oregonian (Portland, Oregon), January 11, 2006, Wednesday

Copyright 2006 The Oregonian
All Rights Reserved
The Oregonian (Portland, Oregon)

January 11, 2006 Wednesday
Sunrise Edition

SECTION: Business; Pg. B01

HEADLINE: Nurses will vote on union in Roseburg


SUMMARY: Work force An affirmative vote would make the nurses at Mercy Medical Center part of a growing labor movement
More than 300 nurses at Mercy Medical Center in Roseburg will cast ballots today on whether to join the state's largest nursing union.
The vote has the potential to turn into a rare win for the labor movement in Oregon. If the majority opt to join the Oregon Nurses Association, it would mark the second-largest successful vote for a private union in Oregon this decade. Only the Teamsters' successful drive last year to organize 486 workers at Smith Frozen Foods Inc. in Weston was larger.
It would also mark the largest organization of nurses in a quarter century for either of the state's nursing unions --the 10,000-member Oregon Nurses Association or the 2,700-member Oregon Federation of Nurses and Health Professionals, organizers said.
The share of the U.S. work force belonging to a labor union has declined from 30 percent in 1964 to 12.5 percent today, as organized labor has struggled to find an identity in the modern corporate world. The most successful private unions have moved away from traditional blue-collar fields and are increasingly targeting service and health occupations, such as janitors and nurses.
Nationwide, nurses are more likely to be organized than workers in other industries. Registered nurses boast a union membership rate of about 19 percent, labor experts say, which makes them half again more likely to be unionized than workers in all U.S. industries.
Labor experts say the trend highlights the fertile ground the health care industry represents for unions. A growing work force, employer consolidation, a worker shortage and an inability to send health-care jobs offshore make the industry a good target for organizing.
"Nurses are kind of primed to be unionized," said Rebecca Givan, assistant professor at the School of Industrial and Labor Relations at Cornell University. "They're in a position of strength. They're in that category of services that have to be delivered in person, so none of the usual outsourcing or globalization threats apply."
Paul and Darlene Clark, researchers at Penn State University, found that unions stand a better chance of organizing nurses if they appeal to a deteriorating climate of patient care rather than pocketbook issues. That appears to be the approach the Oregon Nurses Association is taking in Roseburg.
ONA organizer Jason Hatch said Mercy Medical's nurses mostly want a say in decisions regarding staffing, turnover and working conditions that affect patient care.
"Money is not a particular issue," Hatch said, though he went on to say that pay "does become an issue when you try to retain nurses."
Laura Garren, a 20-year-veteran of Mercy Medical's Family Birthplace maternity ward, said nurses think they lack a voice in helping administrators improve patient care and say they must work through breaks to cover staffing shortages.
She said she and colleagues became frustrated three years ago when her ward began to be used as an overflow for nonmaternity patients recovering from surgeries or illnesses.
"I'd been taking care of patients that I haven't taken care of since nursing school," Garren said. "That's not safe for our labor and delivery patients. It's not safe for our nursery patients."
More recently, nurses voiced dissatisfaction with hospital chief executive Victor Fresolone, who last month sent a letter to his nursing staff apologizing for an "inappropriate remark" he made to a physician in August. In the letter, he acknowledged referring to some nurses as " 'BMWs,' which, I regret, stands for 'bitchers, moaners and whiners.' "
Mercy Medical's communications director, Kathleen Nickel, said Tuesday that the comment was made privately to one physician and that Fresolone "owned up to it."
Nickel conceded that the hospital's pay for nurses is lower and its nursing staff turnover higher than average for hospitals in Oregon. She said consecutive years of losses between July 1, 2002 and June 30, 2004, prompted hospital administrators to freeze salaries and cut services.
"What we were hearing in the exit interviews was that people were leaving for compensation," Nickel said.
The hospital's nursing turnover rate is 17 percent a year, compared with a statewide average of 9 percent, according to a 2004 survey by the Oregon Center for Nursing.
Beginning in July, Nickel said, the hospital agreed to give nurses a series of four pay raises at six-month intervals in an effort to bring their average pay to scale with nurses statewide. Nurses at the hospital average between $26 and $27 an hour now, she said.
The hospital also addressed complaints in Garren's wing of the hospital in August by dedicating a smaller number of beds for maternity-only patients and separating the area from the rest of the hospital.
Mercy Medical Center, one of 69 hospitals nationwide owned by Minneapolis-based nonprofit Catholic Health Initiatives, employs nearly 1,400 and is in the midst of a $40 million expansion that will add 38 beds to its 153-bed inventory.
Nickel said the hospital has not taken an official position on the organizing campaign but said that administrators think nurses and administrators can work more effectively without a union.
"Right now people can speak up individually," she said. "With a collective body . . . there would be more steps involved."
Brent Hunsberger: 503-221-8359; brenthunsberger@news.oregonian.com, www.oregonlive.com/weblogs/atwork

The Ithaca Journal (New York), January 10, 2006, Tuesday

Copyright 2006 The Ithaca Journal (Ithaca, NY)
All Rights Reserved
The Ithaca Journal (New York)

January 10, 2006 Tuesday 1 Edition


HEADLINE: The shame of Cayuga Green is the process

Regardless of your position on Phase Two of the Cayuga Green project, one fact was painfully clear. From the many poorly addressed issues along the way to the final decision made despite countless remaining questions, the Cayuga Green "debate" process was shameful for a city that claims to be a shining example of democracy.
Bloomfield, Schon & Partners argued that there is great demand for the downtown movie theatre from students who would like something "closer" than the one at the mall. In the six years that I attended both Ithaca College and Cornell University, I never heard a single person complain about the distance to the Pyramid Mall. However, I have met hundreds of students (who likely represent thousands) who get close to graduation and have rarely left campus for anything other than Wegmans.
The downtown area never seems to reach its potential for attracting students, regardless of the stores or events. For example, for the last few years in early fall, there has been an event on the Commons just for students, with tables set up by local organizations to promote the many opportunities throughout the town. Year after year this event draws a disappointingly small percentage of students, and this is specifically designed for them! I recently spoke to one of the Student Service directors at Cornell who is an active member of the community, and she thought this event was a great idea and something worth promoting. But she had never even heard of it! These represent significant marketing and communication problems, and any argument that claims a movie theatre will be some great panacea ignores the reality and history of downtown's issues.
Next, what type of research did Bloomfield conduct to determine this great demand? Was it a general market analysis, or did they actually survey students and other residents to see if they would go to a theater downtown? If so, did they make sure these people knew that the Pyramid theater, a similar distance away if not closer, is to undergo a massive improvement?
How much did the Industrial Development Agency really question the developers on the poor state of the movie industry, which finished 2005 with a 7 percent drop from the previous year? Can I guess that Bloomfield replied with talk of a "brief downturn" followed by optimistic projections for the future? Any rational person would expect this automatic response from businessmen selling a project at a time of unprecedented uncertainty in their industry. Did the IDA ever obtain a truly objective market analysis to complement the predictably glowing projections used by the developers? What did Bloomfield, Schon & Partners say when asked why they first "needed" the full tax abatement, but then suddenly a sliding scale was acceptable?
Most people in this city are not against growth, they just think it should be smart growth. They are not against every project for that space; they just thought we might consider holding out for a proposal that was not defined by poor communication, dubious projections and a lack of concern for other community interests.
To top things off, a comment cited in The Ithaca Journal claimed that the number of people in the city for and against this movie theater/housing development appeared to be equal. While I am only one man, I have yet to meet a single person who supports this project. Instead, I spoke to at least 100 people who were appalled by the lack of clear answers, frustrated from the lack of adequate opportunities to voice their opinion and struggling to find anyone who could provide clear reasons to support this project.
We believe that every citizen against this project who sent an e-mail, made a call or showed up at a meeting, represented hundreds more who either couldn't keep track of what was going on or didn't have the time to get involved. Perhaps they were busy working or focused on trying to pay their astronomical heating bills. Or maybe they were just too disgusted to participate after hearing that our city was giving disturbingly generous tax assistance to a developer who used the terms "nine hundred dollars per month" and "affordable housing" in the same sentence.
All of these questions may have already been answered. Unfortunately, many members of the community who must balance our work lives with our desire to stay active in local affairs have no idea if they were ever properly addressed.
That may be typical for other cities. For Ithaca, it's disgraceful.
. . .
Ian Schachner lives in Ithaca. He has a bachelor's degree from the Ithaca College Business School and a master's degree from Cornell's Industrial Labor Relations School in 2004.

LOAD-DATE: January 15, 2006

Buffalo News (New York), January 8, 2006, Sunday

Copyright 2006 The Buffalo News
Buffalo News (New York)

January 8, 2006 Sunday


HEADLINE: Business calendar

The Business Calendar runs each Sunday in the Business section. Notices of meetings, seminars and workshops of interest to the area business community should be sent to the Business News Desk of The Buffalo News, P.O. Box 100, Buffalo, N.Y. 14240, by the preceding Thursday or faxed to 849-4587.
Professional groups
* Western New York Safety Conference board of directors, 5:30 p.m., Holiday Inn Resort and Conference Center, 100 Whitehaven Road, Grand Island, to finalize the program for the 70th Conference and Trades Exhibits titled "Safety Links . . . Regulations, Training, Compliance," May 15, 16, 17 and 18. Call Walt Garrow, 283-4017, or visit: www.wnysc.com.
* Machine Shops Association of Western New York, dinner meeting and installation of officers for 2006, 6 p.m., Marinaccio's Italian Ristorante, 5877 Main St., Williamsville. Call Matt Georger, 893-8292.
* Engineering Society of Buffalo, officers, directors and committee members, 6 p.m., Rizzo's Restaurant, 2763 Eggert Road, Tonawanda. Call Tina, 873-4455 or e-mail: office@tesb.org.
Business groups
* Buffalo Executives' Association, noon-1:15 p.m., Sonoma Grille, 5050 Main St., Williamsville. Program: Dale Carnegie Training. Guests welcome. Call Cheryl Samilio Meyer, 852-6916.
Seminars and classes
* Everywoman Opportunity Center, Career Readiness training, 9 a.m.-2:30 p.m. through Jan. 13, in its offices, 899 Niagara Falls Blvd, Amherst. Call 837-2260.
Professional groups
* The Buffalo Chapter of Project Management Institute, dinner meeting, 5:30 p.m., Protocol Restaurant, 6766 Transit Road, Williamsville. Speaker: Tom Prentiss, Xerox Corp. Cost: $10 members; $25 nonmembers. Reservations, visit: www.acteva.com/booking.cfm?bevaid=100743.
* Western New York Society for Information Professionals, dinner meeting, 5:30 p.m., Hearthstone Manor, 333 Dick Road, Depew. Topic: "Disaster Recovery Business Continuity Options," presented by Bob Gale, TelCove. Cost, $20 members; $25 nonmembers. Reservations, call Louis Callari, 871-2939 or e-mail: wnysip@buffalo.com or visit: www.wnysip.org.
Business groups
* Executive Marketing Chapter of Business Networking International, 7 a.m., Millennium Hotel, 2040 Walden Ave., Cheektowaga. Speaker: Matt Glauser, M&M Glauser Inc. Guests welcome. Call Maureen Snyder, 626-2539.
* Sales Exchange Club of Buffalo, breakfast networking meeting, 8 a.m., Olympic Restaurant, 4611 Genesee St., Cheektowaga. Call Patrick Metzger, 684-8572.
Seminars and classes
* Orchard Park Chamber of Commerce, health insurance informational presentation, 6 p.m., Commons at Orchard Park High School, 4040 Baker Road, Orchard Park. Representatives from BlueCross BlueShield, Community Blue, Independent Health, Univera Healthcare and Dental Pay Plus will be present to answer questions. Reservations, call the Chamber, 662-3366.
Professional groups
* Niagara Frontier Subcontractors Association and the Construction Exchange, joint membership luncheon meeting, 11:45 a.m., Harry's Harbour Place Grille, 2192 Niagara St. Lunch 12:15 p.m. Cost, $21. Speaker: Thomas Kucharski, president and CEO, Buffalo Niagara Enterprise. Reservations, call 875-4627.
* Engineering Society of Buffalo, retirees luncheon; noon, Family Tree Restaurant, 4346 Bailey Ave., Eggertsville. Call John Beishline, 694-5154 or e-mail: office@tesb.org.
Business groups
* The Buffalo Business Builders Chapter of Business Networking International, 7 a.m., Cafe Aroma, 5229 Main St., Williamsville. Call Stephen Mayo, 362-2425.
Seminars and classes
* Cornell University School of Industrial and Labor Relations, information sessions to address human resource certification, 9 to 10:30 a.m., Workplace Education Center, 237 Main St., Suite 1200. Session will be repeated 6 to 7:30 p.m., Wednesday, Jan. 18, Canisius Center at Amherst, 300N Corporate Parkway. Call Cynthia Price, 852-4191 or e-mail: cp42@cornell.edu.
* The Cheektowaga Chamber of Commerce, CCC Charities, New York State Department of Labor and Walden Galleria Mall, 4th Annual Job Fair and Expo, 11 a.m. to 5 p.m., Walden Galleria Mall, Walden Ave., Cheektowaga. Call the chamber at 684-5838.
Professional groups
* The Western New York Paralegal Association, Litigation Specialty Section meeting, 12:15 p.m., 465 Main St., Suite 600. Program: "Structured Settlement Transactions," presented by Paul K. Isaac, Settlement Professionals. Reservations, e-mail: pkoenig@gross-shuman.com.
* Independent Insurance Agents Association of Western New York, Annual Affiliate trade fair, 4 p.m., Fanny's Restaurant, 3500 Sheridan Drive. Registration, 4-5:30 p.m. Cost $15. Call Barbara Duke, 634-1212, ext. 217 or e-mail: iiaawny@choiceonemail.com.
* The Buffalo/Amherst Business and Professional Women, dinner meeting, 5:30 p.m., Fairdale Banquet Facility, 672 Wehrle Drive, Amherst. Program: "Identity Theft," presented by Vinita Evans, FBI. Reservations, call Lora Warkentin, 832-9327 or e-mail: Lwarkentin@cornerstonemanor.org.
Business groups
* The Western New York Business Networking Group, 7:45 a.m., Cafe Aroma, 5229 Main St., Williamsville. New members welcome. Call 631-9572 or visit: www.wnybiznet.org.
* Construction Specifications Institute, luncheon meeting, 11:45 a.m., Daffodils, 930 Maple Road, Amherst. Program: "Dealing with Light Benefits of Natural Light Used in Building Construction," presented by Rick Baker. One learning credit for eligible architects and engineers. Reservations, call Donna, 875-4627 or e-mail: dpezzimenti@conexbuff.com with copy to: ajayo@localnet.com.
* Rotary Club of Buffalo, 12:15 p.m., Harbour Club, HSBC Arena. Topic: Vocational Services Committee Round Table Discussions. Call John McClive, 854-3397.
Seminars and classes
* The PACE Program at Houghton College, free Microsoft Word II application training, 8 a.m.-noon, West Seneca Campus computer lab, 810 Union Road. Register online: www.houghton.edu/pace/corporate and click on Professional Development Training Schedule to view other training sessions on Microsoft Office applications.
* The New York State Department of Labor and Buffalo Chapter Job Service Employers committee, business seminar, 8:30 to noon, Classics V Banquet and Conference Center, 2425 Niagara Falls Blvd., Amherst. Topic: "Put Training $$$ in Your Pocket." Cost $10. Reservations, call 851-2750 or e-mail: carolyn.bright@labor.state.ny.us.
Business groups
* The TIP Club of Buffalo, a networking group open to business professionals, meeting, 7:30 a.m., Millennium Hotel and Resorts, 2040 Walden Ave., Cheektowaga. Call Tony Calandra, 897-0700, ext. 2227.
Seminars and classes
* Babies "R" Us January Baby Fest Event, "Super Baby Shower," noon to 4 p.m., 1569 Niagara Falls Blvd., Amherst. Open to expectant moms and family and friends. Local business representatives offer advice with shower plans. Call 803-1399 or visit: www.babiesrus.com.
>Jan. 17
Business groups
* Erie County Industrial Development Agency Board of Directors, 10 a.m., ECIDA, 275 Oak St. Call Pat Rogowski, 856-6525, ext. 132.
Seminars and classes
* SCORE, the U.S. Small Business Administration and Canisius Center at Amherst, "Creating a Winning Business Plan" workshop, 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m., Greater Buffalo Savings Bank, 2421 Main St. Cost, $35. Call 551-4301 or visit www.scorebuffalo.org.
* Buffalo Niagara World Trade Center, 2006 Global Economic Outlook luncheon, 11:30 a.m. to 1:30 p.m., Saturn Club, 977 Delaware Ave. Speaker: Dr. David Hensley, JPMorgan Chase Bank, New York office. Registration, call 852-7160 or visit: www.wtcbn.org.
* The Greater Olean Area Chamber of Commerce, Build a Weblog seminar, 6 to 10 p.m., Olean Business Institute, 301 North Union St., Olean. Concludes Jan. 24. Cost, $25 WNY and Pennsylvania chamber members; $40 nonmembers. Registration, call GOACC, 372-4433 or e-mail: tourism@oleanny.com.
>Jan. 18
Business groups
* Niagara Frontier Tourism Task Force, 6 p.m., MacGruder's Restaurant, 4995 Broadway, Depew. Reservations, call 934-3775 or e-mail: pforge@verizon.net.
Seminars and classes
* The New York State Department of Labor, Buffalo Chapter Job Service Employers committee and the Cheektowaga Chamber of Commerce, business seminar, 8:30 to noon, Erie 1 BOCES, 355 Harlem Road, West Seneca. Topic: "How to Prevent a Hostile Work Environment," presented by Richard Braden, Goldberg Segalla and Regina Gentry, NYSDOL. Cost $15. Reservations, call 851-2750 or e-mail: carolyn.bright@labor.state.ny.us.
* Financial Planning Association of Upstate New York, College Financial Planning seminar, 11:30 a.m.-3:30 p.m., Sonoma Grille, 5010 Main St., Snyder. Program: Robert Kloss and Mark Morlock will examine the pros and cons of using the 529 plan, Roth IRA and other alternatives to college funding. Cost, $25 (includes lunch). Registration, FPA Chapter Office, P.O. Box 539, Webster 14580; call: (800) 442-3769 or visit: www.nyfpa.org.

Greeley Tribune, Colorado, January 8, 2006, Sunday

Copyright 2006 Knight Ridder/Tribune Business News
Copyright 2006 Greeley Tribune, Colorado
Greeley Tribune, Colorado

January 8, 2006, Sunday

HEADLINE: Waiting for work

BYLINE: By Brady McCombs


Antonio Cabrera's breath turns to steam as he chats in Spanish with Antonio Aguilar and David Loya outside the Panaderia Juarez on 11th Avenue and 5th Street in Greeley.
Cabrera pulls his hood up over his ears and buries his hands in his coat pockets as he tries to stay warm on this winter morning. Cabrera, an illegal immigrant from Chihuahua, Mexico, is waiting for someone to drive by and offer him work.
This popular spot for day laborers is where Greeley's underground economy starts.
Cars and trucks park in the dirt lot, looking for men willing to work in jobs ranging from roofing and construction to landscaping and house moves. They are promised between $ 6-$ 10 an hour to be paid in cash at the end of the day, tax-free.
For men like Cabrera, the work presents an opportunity to earn almost as much in one hour as he would in a day of similar work in Mexico. For the employer, the men offer cheap labor that comes tax-free.
"We're helping them and they're helping us," said Cabrera, 34, who six months ago spent two days crossing the U.S.-Mexico border on foot near El Paso, Texas.
No one has determined exactly how many illegal immigrants live in the U.S. -- estimates range from 8 million to 20 million -- but the Bear Stearns investment bank in New York believes they are gaining a larger share of the job market.
Bob Justich, a senior managing director of Bear Stearns, estimates that illegal immigrants make up about 8 percent of the job market.
Barron's financial magazine estimates this underground economy accounts for about 9 percent ($ 970 billion) of the goods and services produced by the real economy.
Some, like these day laborers in Greeley, will be paid in cash under the table. Others work in more formal companies using fake Social Security numbers and documentation. Either way, the economy has become dependent upon 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."
The employers who arrive at this Greeley parking lot don't ask for Social Security numbers, proof of residency or citizenship.
A willingness to get your hands dirty will get you work here. Cabrera, Aguilar, Loya and Juan Guerrero concur that most of the men that arrive here are illegal immigrants. A few, like Aguilar and Guerrero, are legal residents or U.S. citizens.
"If I had my papers, I would be working in a company," Cabrera says to the group.
But Aguilar, a U.S. citizen born in El Paso, Texas, and Guerrero, a legal resident and green card holder, refute Cabrera's assessment. They tell Cabrera that just being legal doesn't earn you work with companies who would rather employ illegal immigrants because they can pay them less.
On this day, Cabrera, Loya, Guerrero and Aguilar go home without work after waiting three hours. In Greeley, the underground economy isn't always buzzing.
In the winter, about five to 25 men gather at the Panaderia, and work is far from guaranteed. Only one man secured a job today, a cement job that paid $ 8 an hour. In the summer, though, is much better. They said as many as 80 workers will show up, starting at 6:30 a.m., and most get jobs.
Cabrera sends money home to his five children and wife who remain in Chihuahua; he would like to bring them to the U.S.
"Here, I can afford to feed my five children," Cabrera said.
Cabrera and Loya, 39, know that agents from Immigration and Customs Enforcement could send them home for being in the U.S. illegally, but they don't worry. Neither has ever seen "la migra," or ICE agents here. They say trucks that pull up to offer work do it openly and without worries.
"This is like Mexico," Cabrera said. "I feel like I'm at home. I come and go as I want and nobody bothers me. If you work and behave well, they treat you well here."
A coalition of conservative Republicans in Colorado, frustrated by what they see as a lack of progress on the issue, want to change this climate.
"We want to put out the message that people here illegally are not welcome in Colorado," said Rep. Dave Schultheis, R-Colorado Springs, alluding to Arizona's Proposition 200. "The word gets out instantly, and they start going to other states."
Schultheis supports the work of former Colorado Gov. Dick Lamm and Defend Colorado Now, who are working to get a measure on the 2006 ballot that will be similar to Arizona's Proposition 200, which barred illegal immigrants from access to state services including state-funded health care and financial aid for education.
This session, he and his fellow Republican legislators plan to introduce a host of immigration bills that will crackdown on both illegal immigrants and those who employ them. Schultheis will introduce a bill that would require law enforcement officials across the state to work with ICE to enforce immigration law.
"All of these bills that we are introducing are with that goal in mind: to make this a difficult state for people to live in illegally," Schultheis said.
Cabrera has his own solution; create a guest worker program that would charge $ 1,000 to interested workers and require background checks in both the U.S. and Mexico or the immigrant's home country. He said it will work for both sides if they make sure none of the criminals from Mexico are bringing their problems north.
"Who wants bad people?" he said.
But Schultheis calls guest worker programs worthless unless they are rigid. To he and his group, the bottom line is the rule of law.
"There is no other side to the issue -- you obey the law or not," he said. "If you're not obeying, you should get out."
Associated Press contributed to this story
To see more of the Greeley Tribune, or to subscribe to the newspaper, go to http://www.greeleytribune.com. Copyright (c) 2006, Greeley Tribune, Colo.
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