Tuesday, January 30, 2007

Spero News, January 30, 2007, Tueday

Spero News

Culture: Books
Latino Catholics and the fight for social justice
An interview with Rev. George E. Schultze SJ, author of "Strangers in a Foreign Land": labor unions should recognize that Latinos are social conservatives who are uncomfortable with unions' pro-abortion, pro-gay approach.

Tuesday, January 30, 2007
by Mike Westfall | Tags: hispanics, latino catholics, social justice, labor unions

An interview with Rev. George E. Schultze SJ

Fr. George E. Schultze, SJ, is the author of the new book entitled “Strangers in a Foreign Land”, which deals with Latinos and the organizing of Catholic Latinos in the United States. It is an important book filled with interesting facts that all Americans should read.

Fr. Schultze is an expert on Latino issues. He challenges us to look closely at these major issues, and I have invited him to participate in this interview to discuss his views and his new book

MICHAEL WESTFALL: I would like to welcome you and thank you for your participation in this interview.

Using some of the very interesting statistics from your book, Hispanics now make up the largest minority group in the United States and at over 37.4 million; they now make up more than 13.3 percent of our total population. Catholics have always been involved in immigrant issues.

Could you give our readers an insight as to why you became personally interested and what inspired you to write a book about dealing with Latino labor issues?

Fr. GEORGE E. SCHULTZE, SJ: I became personally interested in Latino labor issues because my mother is a Latina. Her maiden name was Grijalva and she was born in Mimbres, New Mexico.

Her family moved to California in 1930 when they lost their land during the Depression. They worked in the orchards and canneries of Santa Clara Valley. My father's family had an orchard, and he also worked in the canneries.

Before and after they married they belonged to a number of different unions: Cannery Workers, ILWU, IAM, and the Operating Engineers. In the late 1950s, the U.S. labor movement reached the apex of its organizing success when roughly 1 out 3 U.S. workers belonged to a union.

Growing up in California, I followed the organizing of Filipino, Indian, and Mexican farm workers in the UFW. I learned from my parents' experience and the farm worker organizing in the 1960s and 1970s that a union could secure a living wage, benefits, and good working conditions.

The social question, which is basically a matter of having meaningful work and some economic security, requires us to organize for the common good. Catholic social teaching supports such organizing and my parents, my father was a convert, were faith-filled people.

Knowing that today’s Latino population is predominately Catholic, and that its numbers will continue to increase, I have been interested in their efforts at organizing to improve their lives. Catholic social teaching speaks of our need to see every man and woman as a son or daughter of God no matter his or her religion, ethnicity, or race. The book ultimately points to the need to work together to answer the social question for all our families.

MW: In Chapter 1, “Aliens No More”, you use the term Hispanic and Latino interchangeably to make it clear that you are not talking about a monolithic population. Why is this important?

GS: In my book I use Hispanic and Latino interchangeably because you find many people who by habit or preference favor one or the other term. You also find reasonable arguments supporting both terms.

Broadly defined Hispanics are people who at one time lived under Spanish rule and have adapted the Spanish language and culture to some readily apparent degree. Yet Brazilians lived under Portuguese rule and one might argue that "Latino" better identifies them.

In fact, the generic terms are not often used since people normally refer to their nationality: Mexican, Nicaraguan, Brazilian, Salvadoran and so on. To complicate matters, some Americans can trace their ancestry back to the period of Spanish exploration and settlement of the Southwest and see themselves as descendents of Hispanos.

You have clearly understood my point. This is not a monolithic group of people. They differ by race, ethnicity, education, income and culture to greater and lesser degrees.

In terms of our government statistics, roughly sixty percent of the "Hispanics/Latinos" in the U.S are native born. Of those who are foreign born, sixty-six percent are from Mexico. This points to the significance of U.S.-Mexican border and the importance of the socioeconomic relations between the two countries.

MW: Knowing the union issues and history as you do, what is different today relative to Latino issues compared to the 1950’s? What are the changes you see in unions and their positions over this same time frame?

What do you see as the future role of the Catholic Church in regards to Latino unionized workers?

GS: Through the 1930s, 1940s, and 1950s, one found union members of various faiths, races, and ethnicities. On the one hand, prejudices were present.

On the other hand, workers overcame those prejudices to organize, among others, the automobile, steel, coal, and construction industries. Economic needs, the political climate, and the nature of work itself resulted in union growth.

Catholics were active in the organizing because Catholic social doctrine encouraged worker associations that promoted families and, therefore, the wider society.

Today we find the labor movement severely weakened in the United States by globalization, legal impediments to organizing, and the lack of communal solidarity. Union members and church people are less evident in the middle or mediating zone that they have traditionally occupied between the public and private sectors.

In addition, the sexual revolution, no-fault divorce, and abortion have taken a heavy toll on our culture because they do not promote commitment. When we are not responsible and committed people, we lack meaning and direction as a society. Latinos, particularly Latino immigrants, tend to hold more traditional and conservative values even though they are susceptible to the same temptations as every other person.

The Latinos, like Italians, Poles, and Irish from an earlier era, will organize because of family ties and social networks. Labor leaders, however, need to meet them where they are at in their world outlook and not where some leaders and their intellectual advisors would like them to be.

If unions are directly or indirectly supporting NOW and its abortion position, or, say, same-sex marriage, then Latinos will feel uncomfortable with the union movement. These culture war issues are divisive in our nation and in our unions.

As I explain in my book, the Catholic Church continues to support the right of all workers to organize, and bishops, priests and religious have taken active roles in supporting this fundamental human right.

I believe that you will find Catholic leaders becoming more vocal in their rejection of organizations that directly or indirectly promote views inimical to Church teaching. They will support unionists who promote Judeo-Christian values in the union hall and at the election polls but will become more outspoken against the use of union members and funds that promote immoral positions.

As you know, many unionists are religious people. Somewhere between sixty to seventy percent of the Latinos in the United States are Catholic and the remainder belong to other Christian denominations.

The Catholic Church, while maintaining a position of mercy and compassion, will make clear to Latino Catholics the importance of voicing sound Christian morality in the public square.

MW: Do workers care about Biblical values today? Are religion and faith issues, whether Catholic or Protestant, as important to American workers and the unions that represent them as they once were?

GS: Yes, I find that many workers have biblical values because the United States citizenry maintains its Judeo-Christian roots given the significant number of Americans who practice their faith.

For example, the Ten Commandments, despite attempts at ending their public display, are essential to millions of people. Our parents, like their parents, imprinted biblical values in the hearts and minds of many of us. I have helped with organizing drives and because I am a priest I never fail to hear the importance of religion in the lives of working people.

As you know many people are leery of organized labor and the sometimes-conflictive nature of organizing, and this is not without reason, so workers will ask themselves and others if they are following Christ along this path. Organizers need much more sensitivity around this frequently voiced concern.

In fact, workers will often recognize as their leaders co-workers who hold and live biblical values. This is true of organizers too. Weren’t Martin Luther King, Jr. and Cesar Chavez holders of biblical values?

MW: I spent my working years working in labor and found chapter 6, A “Swing to the Cultural Left”, especially interesting. This chapter discusses the Catholic unease with labor as beginning in the 1960’s. It talks about George Meany, a Catholic Democrat who was the builder of the modern AFL-CIO, as being appalled at the development of cultural radicalism in the Democratic Party.

In this intriguing chapter you go into the issues of abortion, same-sex marriage and how those who choose to practice homosexuality impact our culture. How do all of these issues inter-relate, and what do they have to do with unions, society and the Catholic Church?

GS: These issues are important to the direction of labor because millions of American working people continue to believe in a respect for life from conception to death and the sanctity of marriage between a man and a woman.

These are moral positions that faith and reason will always maintain. Labor leaders are making a huge mistake by accepting and at times supporting the abortion or so-called same-sex marriage positions of special interest groups who have bored from within.

Some might profile Mr. Meany as an anachronistic curmudgeon but large numbers of good-willed people still embrace his understanding of work as being the answer to the social question. Good jobs lead to secure families and communities for children, women and others who may be vulnerable in any society.

With regard to homosexuality, your question is well put. Homosexual men and women, according to Catholic teaching, should not suffer discrimination or any form of abuse. Homosexual activity, however, is a sin against God and nature.

I can reasonably argue that practicing homosexuality is bad for individuals and our society. I also argue with reason that adultery and stealing are wrong. Should we show compassion and mercy to those who have sinned? Yes. But we should not attempt to turn any wrong into a right.

MW: Unions have such a huge presence and influence in our nation. Chapter seven of your book, “A need for change”, asks the question: Can the AFL-CIO revitalize itself? It talks of the Catholic Church as being an institutional ally in the organizing of Latinos and all other peoples in need, and that labor unions will recognize greater success if they recognize the Catholic concerns for the family. In what ways can labor benefit?

Do you see any indication that today’s labor union officials are swinging back to more conservative positions, or do you see that they are entrenched and continuing down the slippery slope pursuing moral issues that the Catholic Church cannot tolerate? Why aren’t more union people speaking out on values and moral issues, or are there other labor voices speaking out? If so, who are they?

GS: The Catholic Church and the U.S. labor movement remain allies with regard to many work related issues; for example, just wages, adequate benefits, good working conditions, and the right to collective bargaining.

As labor leaders and their staff people move further to the left on culture war issues, I predict this relationship will become further strained. I often don’t feel comfortable at academic meetings that discuss labor in the United States because I hear views that are radically different from many union members and my own.

The Catholic Church sees a consistent ethic of life that includes our individual decisions e.g., sexual morality and our communal decisions e.g., just war. In other words, our personal moral decisions are seamless with our social moral decisions. I believe that many leaders do not personally believe in cultural radicalism but accept these positions due to labor’s traditional tie to the Democratic Party, which has swung to the cultural left.

A slippery slope exists in labor’s wrongheaded acceptance of attempts to redefine marriage and the failure to understand the importance of respecting human life. If we continue to disregard the unborn, we will find greater acceptance of euthanasia. This has already happened in Europe.

Not only will health care workers (who are often union members) benefit from a culture that respects life; it is the right thing to do. Unionists aren’t speaking out because they kowtow to those who in recent generations have set the cultural agenda, normally the media and academics.

Union leaders also find political correctness politically expedient. Isn’t this how Satan works? Unions are the most democratic institutions in the United States and they are susceptible to the pressure of special interest groups who want to leverage the power of the labor movement. Union members need to express their opposition to cultural radicalism through all the internal union channels available to them.

During the early 1990s, the international president of the plumber’s union wrote an article in a national Catholic magazine that explained his opposition to abortion and why he could not vote for candidate Bill Clinton. I have not heard nor read of any other union leader since then making such a clear statement.

MW: In Chapter seven you made an excellent statement that the labor movement, like so much of our wider society, has entered into an irreligious secular way of proceeding. What about the wider society? What are your thoughts relative to the new societal developments, such as the burgeoning atheistic Web sites run by those that deny Biblical creation itself as they fight for the exclusive teaching of evolution and other such issues?

GS: Yes, I think the labor movement has fallen into the traps of relativism and subjectivism, where basically the ends justify the means. I now read of nationally known labor leaders receiving awards from NOW for supporting abortion.

The Catholic Church and other people of faith have traditionally supported labor unions because they can improve the lives of men and women. As you know, the labor movement is full of good, hardworking people. They remind me of my own parents.

But organizing is always reorganizing. We need to raise up women and men who possess the cultural insight and the moral standing to sacrifice for the common good and lead us. We need to support labor leaders and workers who are already making holy sacrifices to do the right thing by workers, employers, and the people they serve.

MW: Being that you see issues that impact the whole country, where do you see our nation ending up if we continue in the direction we are now going? Do you have any more books that you are working on?

GS: I have hope and my hope implies faith. God is watching and directing us in love. We only need to respond in love. In Corinthians, St. Paul writes, Love does not rejoice in what is wrong but rejoices with the truth. There is no limit to love’s forbearance, to its trust, its hope, its power to endure. You recall that the Cold War years ended dramatically with the fall of the Berlin Wall.

Communism and its atheism could not hold. I believe that faith and reason will continue to promote an awareness of God and that ultimately we will witness some similar dramatic event that will end this present Culture War. Remember that culture implies worship, cult. Live your faith and God will see you through this time in the desert. As for the next book, I am considering a short work that discusses the meaning of work and the role of solidarity in promoting work life and the commonweal.

Thank you for this interview. I believe that any good-willed unionists would gain something from my book. While I focus on Catholic Latinos, I discuss a broader understanding of the role of faith in work and organizing. It is a short and clear read, and I believe your Local staff would benefit from it. God bless.

MW: In conclusion, I want to thank you for your participation in this interview. I highly recommend “Strangers in a Foreign Land” our readers.

You have stepped into the public eye and written a very important and interesting book about a critically significant segment of our population. It has taken a lot of hard work and dedication. I commend you for your concern, honesty and thoughtfulness. Are there any other final points or issues that you would like to address?

GS: I think we have covered some good points through your interview, but I want to thank you for creating your website and working to keep the labor movement on track. Democratic freedom is protected with a vibrant and responsible labor movement.

MW: Lexington Books has published this book. Would you please let our readers know how to obtain a copy, and furnish any addresses or e-mails you may have for people to contact you relative to your work?

GS: My book was just released by Rowman and Littlefield Publishing Group through its Lexington Press subsidiary. You can order it at the Rowman and Littlefield website or other online book sale sites.

Rev. George Schultze SJ studied Industrial and Labor Relations at Cornell University, completed an MBA at the University of California-Berkeley, and received his doctorate in Social Ethics at the University of Southern California. Prior to entering the Society of Jesus, he worked for the National Labor Relations Board.

K-State Sports (Kansas State Univ.), January 29, 2007, Monday

K-State Sports (Kansas State Univ.), January 29, 2007, Monday

Football program adds two coaches, staffers

Courtesy: Kansas State University
Release: 01/29/2007


View larger Courtesy: Associated Press

MANHATTAN, Kan. – Kansas State head football coach Ron Prince announced the addition of Frank Leonard as assistant coach and the promotion of Ricky Rahne from graduate assistant to assistant coach Monday.

Leonard most recently served as a special assignment scout in the New England Patriots organization and will take over as K-State’s tight ends coach in place of James Jones, whose contract was not renewed, Prince said.

Rahne, K-State’s offensive graduate assistant during the 2006 season, has been promoted to running backs coaching, according to Prince. He served the 2005 season as the running backs coach at Cornell prior to joining Prince’s staff last spring.

“I am very pleased to announce the hiring of Frank Leonard and the promotion of Ricky Rahne,” Prince said. “Both men are tenacious, go-getters and I believe provide our football organization with an exciting blend of experience and youth. But above all, these coaches are excellent teachers and men of integrity and I expect both of them to be real assets to our program.”

A versatile coach with a keen eye for evaluating talent, Leonard has worked at the highest levels of the game during his 26-year career and joins the K-State staff after a three-year stint with the New England Patriots that included a World Championship in Super Bowl XXXIX.

As a special assignment scout with the Pats from 2004-06, Leonard worked closely with the organization’s personnel evaluation of both college and professional players and contributed to many of the team’s player personnel decisions.

Prior to his tenure in New England, Leonard worked 10 seasons on the coaching staff at Richmond, serving as the Spiders’ offensive line (1994, 1997-2003) and running backs coach (1995-96) as well as the program’s recruiting coordinator (2003).

At Richmond, Leonard mentored a number of players who earned All-America honors, including offensive linemen Eric King (1998), who went on to play for the Kansas City Chiefs, and Eric Beatty (2000).

The Spiders also produced unprecedented success as a team during Leonard’s tenure. In just his second season at Richmond, Leonard helped the Spiders to a 7-3-1 record and a No. 20 final ranking. The seven wins were the 10th most in school history and signaled that the program was on the rise.

Three years later, Leonard helped guide Richmond’s 1998 squad to a 9-3 mark, the program’s first Atlantic 10 title and a berth in the NCAA I-AA playoffs and a No. 5 final national ranking.

A second A-10 championship followed in 2000 as the Spiders rolled to a 10-3 record to rack up the most wins in school history. Led by Leonard’s offensive line, Richmond rushed for a school-record 3,369 yards, reached the quarterfinals of the NCAA I-AA playoffs and ended the year with a No. 6 national ranking.

Before arriving at Richmond, Leonard spent four seasons as the outside linebackers coach at the University of Connecticut (1990-93), where he tutored a pair of All-Yankee Conference performers in Bruce Bourgoin and Paul Duckworth.

He also served six seasons as a defensive line coach and then offensive coordinator and offensive line coach at Western Connecticut (1982-84, 1987-89) and two seasons as the defensive line coach at Central Connecticut State (1985-86).

A native of Wethersfield, Conn., Leonard is a graduate of Central Connecticut State, where he earned bachelor’s and master’s degrees and played football for three seasons.

A record-setting quarterback while at Cornell University, Rahne worked closely with all aspects of the Kansas State offense during 2006 as a graduate assistant.

Prior to joining Prince’s staff at K-State, Rahne spent the 2005 season as the running backs coach at Cornell, where he mentored first team All-Ivy League selection Luke Siwula. During 2005, Siwula had six 100-yard rushing games. He ended the year with 1,086 yards on the ground for the 10th-best single-season rushing total in Cornell history.

Rahne spent the 2004 campaign as an assistant defensive line coach at Holy Cross. In his only season with the Crusaders, Rahne worked extensively with the program’s defensive ends. He also was responsible for all video breakdowns of opponents’ defense and special teams and assisted the defensive coordinator in developing game plans while coordinating scout teams.

A 2002 Cornell graduate with a bachelor’s degree in industrial and labor relations, Rahne worked as an intern in the National Football League office during the summer before his senior year. Prior to his stint at Holy Cross, Rahne worked at the Cintas Corporation as a part of the company’s management trainee program.

On the field, Rahne finished his career as the Big Red’s all-time leader in nearly every passing category and earned the team’s MVP honors three times.

A three-year starter, he remains the program’s career leader in completions (678), yards (7,710), touchdown passes (54) and 200-yard passing games (25). He took over the top spot for total offense with 7,994 yards (7,710 passing, 284 rushing) during his senior season and finished his career ranked No. 3 in the Ivy League in career passing yards with his 7,710 yards.

In addition to the coaching staff additions, Prince announced the hiring of Darren Honeycutt as assistant strength and conditioning coach for football, John Colbert as director of high school/junior college relations for football and Inge Jorgensen as research assistant. Prince also announced that Abby Boustead has resigned her position as director of football administration to pursue graduate degree studies at the University of Florida.

Honeycutt brings over 17 years of strength and conditioning experience with him to Kansas State, and was on staff at Appalachian State while Prince was a player for the Mountaineers. A long-time collogue of current strength and conditioning coach Mike Kent, Honeycutt worked alongside Kent during stops at Pittsburgh (2004-06), Louisville (2000-03) and Appalachian State (1991-94).

A high school teammate of Prince and a graduate of nearby Junction City High School, Colbert has had a long association with Prince and played with him at both Dodge City Community College and Appalachian State. He also served as a graduate assistantship at Alabama A&M during Prince’s tenure as the program’s offensive line and tight ends coach in 1993 before beginning an 11-year career as a high school coach.

Most recently, Colbert managed the 26-sport athletics department at Maynard Evans High School in Orlando, Fla., as the school’s athletics director.

The Minnesota Lawyer (Minneapolis, MN), January 29, 2007, Monday

Copyright 2007 Dolan Media Newswires

The Minnesota Lawyer (Minneapolis, MN)

January 29, 2007


HEADLINE: Minnesota Lawyers in the News: January 29, 2007

BYLINE: Minnesota Lawyer Staff


Garth G. Gavenda has become an associate attorney with Anastasi & Associates. Gavenda will work in the areas of corporate and commercial transactions and represent construction-related businesses. He earned his law degree from William Mitchell College of Law and his Bachelor of Arts degree in political science and communication from University of Minnesota- Morris.


Charles A. Parsons, Jr., a member of the real estate practice group at Moss & Barnett, P.A., was recently named the 2006 recipient of the Distinguished Service Award by the Real Property Law Section of the Minnesota State Bar Association. The award is given to those who make significant contributions to the field of real property law.


Jason J. Kuboushek has been named a partner at Iverson Reuvers Law Firm. Kuboushek practices in the defense of municipal liability claims, land use claims, civil rights lawsuits and general litigation. He received his law degree from William Mitchell College of Law in 2000.


Edna Vassilovski has joined the Minneapolis office of Fish & Richardson P.C. as a principal in its Patent Prosecution Group. Vassilovski will focus her practice in the fields of chemistry, biotechnology and pharmaceuticals. She received a J.D. in 1995 from Columbia Law School, an M.A. in chemistry in 1990 from Harvard University and a B.S. in chemistry, with distinction, in 1988 from Stanford University.


Joseph M. Nemo, III has been elected as a shareholder of Arthur, Chapman, Kettering, Smetak & Pikala, P.A. Nemo currently is the chair of the Subrogation Practice Group and co-chair of the Workers' Compensation Practice Group. He received his law degree from William Mitchell College of Law in 1999 and his B.A. from Marquette University in 1993.


Ryan E. Strom has joined the intellectual property law firm of Patterson, Thuente, Skaar & Christensen. Strom will be practicing prosecution and litigation. He earned his B.A. in History from Stanford University and his J.D. and an M.S. in Mechanical Engineering from the University of Minnesota.


Daniel Poretti has joined Halleland Lewis Nilan & Johnson, P.A., as a shareholder. Poretti practices in the areas of commercial litigation, employment and products liability litigation. He received his undergraduate and master's degrees from the University of Minnesota, as well as his law degree from the university's law school, magna cum laude, in 1987. Eric Durr has rejoined the firm as an attorney. Durr's background encompasses all aspects of labor and employment law. His commercial litigation experience includes representation of both private and public employers of various sizes and industries. Durr received his undergraduate degree from the University of Missouri and his law degree from the University of Minnesota Law School in 1998.


William Mitchell College of Law professor A. Kimberly Dayton has been elected to the Executive Council of the Association of American Law Schools Section on Law and Aging, and the National Academy of Elder Law Attorneys Council of Advanced Practitioners. Dayton received her J.D., magna cum laude, from the University of Michigan, Ann Arbor, and her B.A. from the University of Kansas. In addition, Jay Erstling, director of the Patent Cooperation Treaty (PCT) and advisor to the director general of the World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO), will join the faculty of William Mitchell College of Law in fall 2007. Erstling received his law degree from Cornell University Law School and his Bachelor of Science degree from Cornell University School of Industrial and Labor Relations.


Jana Aune Deach, Elizabeth H. Kiernat, Michael S. Poncin and James J. Vedder have become shareholders in the law firm of Moss & Barnett, P.A. Deach and Vedder practice in the area of family law. Kiernat practices in the real estate area, and Poncin focuses his practice in civil litigation. In addition, Dave F. Senger and Thomas J. Shroyer were recently re-elected to three-year terms as members of the Board of Directors of the law firm. They will also continue to serve on the firm's Management Committee. Senger is a member of the firm's business law practice group and Shroyer is a member of the firm's litigation practice group.


Renee Brown, JD, CLU, ChFC, AEP, Principal of Wildwood Wealth Management, has been elected to serve a two-year term on the board of the Tenant-in-Common Association, a national trade association organized to represent professionals who are involved in providing tenant-in-common investments.

Buffalo News (New York), January 28, 2007, Sunday

Copyright 2007 The Buffalo News

All Rights Reserved

Buffalo News (New York)

January 28, 2007 Sunday



LENGTH: 831 words

HEADLINE: Unions face another trying year



Big Labor is feeling the heat in the Buffalo Niagara region.

With intense global competition already squeezing the labor movement's traditional base of members among the region's manufacturers, unions now are grappling with the loss of thousands of members as the auto industry slashes jobs.

Growing global competition, a surge in outsourcing and the long-term decline in U.S. union membership have given management the upper hand in negotiations at a time when most unionized companies face nonunion competition at home, as well as from imports from lowwage nations.

As a result, unions generally have been willing to accept a shrinking factory job base in return for lucrative buyouts and early retirement incentives that helped cushion the blow for departing workers. The strategy lets unions avoid a possibly devastating confrontation with struggling companies at the expense of a shrinking membership base.

In all, nearly 3,000 local auto workers accepted buyouts and early retirement incentives last year. At bankrupt auto parts maker Delphi Corp., for i n - stance, 1,333 workers accepted buyouts and were replaced by 900 temporary workers. Those temporary workers were made permanent late last year, which pleased the United Auto Workers union, but those employees are earning only about half of what existing workers earn in comparable jobs.

And while strikes have become increasingly rare as companies have gained leverage to keep operating with replacement workers, a pair of highprofile work stoppages last year showed that walking out still can be a risky move.

About 1,100 workers at the Goodyear-Dunlop plant in the Town of Tonawanda spent more than three months walking a picket line after going on strike Oct. 5 before agreeing to a contract in late December. The strike cost Goodyear between $30 million and $35 million a week, but it also spared the company the burden of paying for retiree benefits in the future after funding a $1 billion health care fund for those former workers.

And the 38 workers who walked off their jobs at Buffalo Wire Works in November 2005 to protest proposed cuts in pay, benefits and vacation time, ended their nine-month strike in August without regaining their jobs.

Still, unions carry a significant amount of clout in the Buffalo Niagara region, with about 24 percent of all workers belonging to a union, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. Union membership here is almost double the 12.5 percent national average.

Union membership nationally is concentrated among the public sector, with 36 percent of all government workers belonging to unions, compared with just 7.8 percent of all private sector workers in the United States. Union membership to day is 38 percent lower than it was in 1983.

"Unions are almost totally irrelevant economically in the 21st century workplace of individualization and technology," said Heritage Foundation researchers Tim Kane and James Sherk in a study last year. "The slow demise of General Motors is visibly intertwined with the inefficient labor contracts that the United Auto Workers secured in decades past," including a jobs bank that allows laidoff workers to collect up to 95 percent of their pay.

Some of the biggest challenges this year for labor will continue to be centered at the local auto plants.

While automakers have been cutting jobs, productivity improvements, especially from the big investments that have been made at the local GM and Ford plants, have kept output from dropping in lock step.

That rising productivity is allowing manufacturers to get by with fewer workers. "We're facing it big time with the restructuring in the auto industry," said John Austin, a Brookings Institution senior fellow and the author of a study that outlines a regional strategy for reviving the struggling Great Lakes economy.

Even a plant like GM's Tonawanda Engine Plant, which ranks high for its productivity, has slashed its work force to just over 1,900 people, just half of what it was five years ago. Even with the new V-8 engine line it will be getting and a recent revamping of two of the plant's other main engine lines, the plant's work force still is expected to shrink in the coming years.

"You don't need as many manufacturing workers as you did in the past," said Gary Keith, the chief economist at M&T Bank Corp. in Buffalo.

To their credit, greater cooperation and worker involvement on the plant floor has helped some local auto plants increase productivity, local labor officials said.

At Ford, for instance, hourly workers are involved in efforts to improve quality at the plant, said Charles Gangarossa, the president of UAW Local 897. "Ford is investing in Buffalo because we're doing the right things in this plant," he said.

At GM's Tonawanda Engine Plant, hourly workers have offered input on how to set up the assembly line for a new engine, said Arthur Wheaton, a labor expert at Cornell University's School of Industrial Relations in Buffalo.

e-mail: drobinson@buffnews.com

GRAPHIC: Bill Wippert/Buffalo News About 1,100 workers at the Goodyear-Dunlop plant in the Town of Tonawanda joined thousands of others across the nation in a three-month strike last year that finally settled with a compromise on provisions for retiree health care.

Buffalo News (New York), January 28, 2007, Sunday

Copyright 2007 The Buffalo News

All Rights Reserved

Buffalo News (New York)

January 28, 2007 Sunday



HEADLINE: High tech helps auto plants stay competitive;

But jobs fall as efficiency improves



At Ford Motor Co.'s Woodlawn stamping plant, the future weighs 4,000 tons.

A mammoth Schuler press went into action last year, churning out parts for the new Ford Edge and Lincoln MKX. The plant is providing about 90 percent of the stamped parts for the new "crossover" vehicles, which are being assembled up the QEW in Oakville, Ont.

For the Woodlawn plant's hourly workers, the value of the press project far exceeded its $214 million price tag. They hailed the new press as a vote of confidence from Ford and as an opportunity to secure even more work.

With the new press, the 57- year-old Woodlawn plant can produce larger pieces and is capable of quick equipment changeovers. High productivity ratings can bolster the plant's standing within Ford at a time when Ford is closing some assembly plants and considering shutting down more.

Ford's giant press project at Woodlawn involved spending on the press as well as on 10 additional assembly lines and employee training.

> New work; no new jobs

But investment in existing auto industry plants doesn't carry the promise of more jobs. In fact, the headcount at area auto plants has plummeted as more-efficient technology has arrived. Yet the plants need the high-tech improvements to ward off reductions in their production volumes, or worse, extinction.

While a major new piece of equipment has arrived, the work force at the Ford plant is continuing to go down. More than 400 hourly workers at the 1,400-employee plant agreed last year to accept buyouts, under a companywide program aimed at trimming Ford's work force.

In decades past, the local plants now operated by Ford, Delphi Corp., American Axle and Manufacturing and General Motors collectively employed thousands more people than they do now. Even at a plant like GM's Town of Tonawanda engine factory, which receives high industry marks for productivity, the job count has fallen steadily over time.

GM's Tonawanda plant employ only 1,860 people, including about 1,600 hourly workers. Its headcount has declined due to improvements in production efficiency, as well as buyouts and retirement packages offered by GM. Just five years ago, the site had about 3,800 employees.

Earlier this month, the plant was chosen to make a new V-8 engine line for future luxury cars, probably beginning with 2010-model year Cadillacs. The new line is a $300 million investment by GM that makes the plant's future much more secure. But the new line will replace an older 5-cyliner engine line that will move to Flint, Mich. - so he job count her still won't increase.

Still, dwindling auto-plant jobs are coveted.

"I think they're even more valuable now that there's fewer of them," said Arthur Wheaton, an instructor at the Cornell University School of Industrial and Labor Relations in Buffalo who tracks the auto industry.

Plants need infusions of new technology to stay competitive, but that is only half the equation, Wheaton said. The automakers and their suppliers also need union cooperation to make changes in work rules that pave the way for the investment, he said.

GM gets that kind of cooperation from the United Auto Workers in Tonawanda. To win the new V-8, UAW members approved changes in plant work rules that will reduce break periods.

Such management-labor cooperation, along with high productivity ratings, helps the Buffalo area overcome its geographical disadvantage in the industry, Wheaton s a i d . Auto assembly plants are not located nearby, which goes against the trend of how automakers prefer to organize their operations nowadays.

Patrick Heraty, professor of business administration at Hilbert College, said companies have been good about providing training to their workers on the latest innovations. "The ideal situation is one in which you have experienced autoworkers learning how to apply the new technology," he said.

Heraty said the autoworkers have come to realize that increased use of advanced technology is a fact of life in the plants. "The option of not adapting to the new technology is a false option."

Business recruiters point out that auto industry plants have a positive spinoff effect on a region, through what they pay their workers and by attracting suppliers.

Last year, Delaco Steel Corp. opened a $20 million steel processing plant, called DKP Buffalo, in the Town of Tonawanda. Delaco executives said they made the decision primarily to supply Ford's stamping plant in Woodlawn.

> Trouble in autoland

While the Buffalo-area GM and Ford plants have succeeded in attracting large new investments, plants operated by American Axle and Manufacturing and Delphi Corp. are facing difficult battles, reflecting their parent companies' own struggles.

Delphi is in bankruptcy, and its Lockport plant has long been identified as a troubled operation. But last year, Delphi announced the Lockport site was among the few plants it intended to keep operating.

The Lockport plant had a tumultuous 2006, with buyouts and retirements, a strike authorization vote by its unionized members, and the hiring of lower- wage workers to fill vacancies. Late last year, the company announced it was converting 900 temporary workers to permanent status, making them eligible for benefits and cost-ofliving increases in their pay.

While the UAW welcomed the news of the workers' permanent status, the pay for most of those workers' jobs is still about half of what existing workers make in comparable positions.

American Axle's Delavan gear and axle plant received some gloomy news last year. The plant was passed over, in favor of a sister plant in Mexico, as supplier of rear axles for GM's new Camaro. That has raised the pressure on the plant to attract new work as older vehicles are phased out of production.

The Buffalo plant was targeted for shutdown in 2004 but was spared by a freeze on plant closings in the UAW's current labor contract, which is scheduled to run out in early 2008.

American Axle also operates a plant in Cheektowaga, which was opened with a two-tier wage system, and a forge in the Town of Tonawanda. Combined, the three plants had about 1,750 employees late last year.

For a plant like Delphi's, winning new investment at a time when the parent company is in bankruptcy can be a tough sell, Heraty said. He also noted that the area's auto plants "are pretty high-tech as it is." "It's not the absence of technology that caused their problems," he said.

Advancements in technology can also help the automakers protect market share, by allowing them to be versatile, Heraty said. For example, the faster a stamping plant can react to changing consumer tastes influenced by factors like gasoline prices, the more successful an automaker can be.

But the bottom line in the auto industry today centers on using technology to stay competitive in the global market. What once was work handled exclusively on American soil is now spread around the world.

"It's becoming easier to do so," he said.

e-mail: mglynn@buffnews.com

GRAPHIC: Harry Scull Jr./Buffalo News Delaco Steel Corp. last year built a $20 million steel processing plant, called DKP Buffalo, in the Town of Tonawanda, to supply the Ford Stamping Plant in Woodlawn. At right, Jon McAndrews monitors the steel-cutting process, shown at left.

Newsday (Melville, New York), January 26, 2007, Friday

Copyright 2007 Newsday

Newsday (Melville, New York)

Distributed by McClatchy-Tribune Business News

January 26, 2007 Friday


HEADLINE: Week flies by for these union workers

BYLINE: Erik German, Newsday, Melville, N.Y.


Jan. 26--Where can you work 9 to 5, take an hour off for lunch and still put in for overtime?

Brookhaven Town Hall, if you're among the town's 390 unionized white-collar workers. They enjoy the shortest workweek of all town employees on Long Island -- 32.5 hours, as mandated by their union contract.

The issue came up after the town board this week lengthened the workweek for management employees from 32.5 hours to 35 hours.

Union officials defended the unionized white-collar workers arrangement as proper, but some government leaders say it's laughable.

"That's a joke," said Steve Levy, county executive in Suffolk, where the white-collar union members work 35 hours weekly. "You just can't achieve productivity on such a low level."

But the head of Brookhaven's Civil Service Employees white- collar unit said the short workweek, in place for decades, isn't a sign of indolence.

"When we're here, we work like dogs, like everyone else," said unit president Meg Shutka. "The hours that we're provided still allows time with the family, and in today's society, that's something that's being lost. It's a shame more places don't have something like this."

After Brookhaven, North Hempstead's unionized office workers have the shortest schedule, clocking in at 33.75 hours per week. Babylon's white-collars had the same arrangement as Brookhaven until 2004, when the town upped the hours to 37.5 weekly. The rest of Long Island's town office personnel work at least a 35-hour week.

If Brookhaven's unionized white-collars were behind their desks 35 hours weekly, the town would get an additional 48,000 hours of work yearly -- even with two weeks' vacation for all members.

This struck some residents as problematic. "For a town this size, all those man hours are extremely important," said Ira Brickman, 58, of Middle Island. "As a taxpayer, I'd hope this would be reviewed to see if there is room for improvement."

With Brookhaven locked in to the fifth year of a 10-year contract, town officials said there's little they can do.

"We're stuck with this," said Councilman Steve Fiore-Rosenfeld. "It won't be a live issue until between four and five years from now." But even then, said Labor Historian Cletus Daniel of Cornell University, extracting concessions could be difficult for officials facing re-election every two years.

"Municipal unions have the advantage of being able to bring political pressure to bear on people who are responsive to that pressure," he said.

Copyright (c) 2007, Newsday, Melville, N.Y. Distributed by McClatchy-Tribune Business News. For reprints, email tmsreprints@permissionsgroup.com, call 800-374-7985 or 847-635-6550, send a fax to 847-635-6968, or write to The Permissions Group Inc., 1247 Milwaukee Ave., Suite 303, Glenview, IL 60025, USA.

The Post-Standard (Syracuse, New York), January 24, 2007, Wednesday

Copyright 2007 Post-Standard

All Rights Reserved

All Rights Reserved.

The Post-Standard (Syracuse, New York)

January 24, 2007 Wednesday




BYLINE: By BoNhia Lee Staff writer


Researchers from Cornell University interviewed two groups of local immigrants Tuesday to learn about their job skills and training needs.

The interviews will be used in the "Journey 2 Jobs" Workforce Development study, which will identify the hurdles that refugees and businesses encounter when it comes to employment.

"We're really trying to talk to the workers, the employers and government people," said Maralyn Edid, senior extension associate at Cornell, who is conducting the interviews. "We all need to be on the same page."

The Onondaga County Office of Economic Development received a $9,000 federal grant for the study.

Between 600 and 800 refugees are resettled in Syracuse every year, said Bob Huss, director of the Syracuse school district's Refugee Family Program.

The latest arrivals, who include Africans, Burmese and Russians, have difficulties finding jobs because of language, cultural barriers and job skills that can't be translated into work here, Huss said.

The Cornell researchers will meet with Somali and Liberian refugees today and will meet with employers, county officials and refugee service providers Thursday. The results are expected this summer.

The Post-Standard interviewed four immigrants who are part of the study.

Name: Thai Htoo Dee.

Age: 23.

Family : A 5-year-old son.

Originally from: Burma. She arrived in November.

Work experience: Worked in sales at a mall in Thailand, selling cookies and other desserts.

Job search in Syracuse: Dee does not have a job yet but is taking English classes.

Desired job: To be in sales again.

Challenges in finding a job: Language is hard, and there are problems with transportation.

Name: Liner Shue.

Age: 51.

Family: Wife, 9-year-old son and 8-year-old daughter.

Originally from: Burma. Shue and his family arrived in August.

Work experience: Shue was a police officer in Burma and taught Burmese language in a Thai refugee camp.

Current job: He starts work at Stickley on Monday.

Desired job: Any job because we come to America to work. No job, there is no money.

Challenges in finding a job: Not easy to find a job. Problem is English language.

Name: Fahima Mohammad.

Age: 30.

Originally from: Afghanistan, where she lived for seven years before moving to Russia. Mohammad lived in Russia for 22 years and arrived in Syracuse in April 2006.

Work experience: She studied education and was an elementary school teacher for three years.

Job search in Syracuse: Mohammad is not working yet. She is taking English classes.

Desired job: When I learn English well enough, I want to teach. I like children.

Challenges in finding a job: It's difficult, especially if you do not know the language. I know two languages, Russian and Farsi, and need to learn English.

Name: Feruza Mukhamedova.

Age: 41.

Family: Married with one daughter, 17, who lives in Texas; twin daughters, 14, and a son, 5, who live in Syracuse.

Originally from: Russia. Mukhamedova's family resettled in Syracuse last year. She remained in Russia because of a problem with her passport and other documents. She was reunited with her family in November through Catholic Charities' refugee program.

Work experience: Attended college in Uzbekistan. Worked as a chef in a cafe for five years.

Job search in Syracuse: She does not have a job but is taking English classes.

Desired job: To be a cook in a kitchen or to work in another cafe and make food.

Challenges in finding a job: You don't know the language. I am going to school to learn so I can get a job.

BoNhia Lee can be reached at blee@syracuse.com or 470-2134.

Study on foreign workers

Cornell University's School of Industrial and Labor Relations focuses on workplace studies such as labor laws and labor economics. The school conducted a training needs study for foreign workers in Sullivan, Ulster and Orange counties. The study determined that language, transportation, housing, safety and health were major issues for foreign workers, said Maria Figueroa, a senior extension associate at Cornell. The study resulted in the creation of a program to train workers about safety and health. The federal Occupational Safety and Health Administration funded the program.

GRAPHIC: PHOTO NO CREDIT Thai Htoo Dee Dee Liner Shue Fahima Mohammad Feruza Mukhamedova

US States News, January 24, 2007, Wednesday

Copyright 2007 HT Media Ltd.

All Rights Reserved

US States News

January 24, 2007 Wednesday 4:06 AM EST


BYLINE: US States News



The Cornell University College of Industrial and Labor Relations issued the following news release:

Quinetta Roberson, associate professor of human resources studies in Cornell's School of Industrial and Labor Relations (ILR), has been recognized by Diverse Issues in Higher Education magazine (formerly Black Issues in Higher Education) as one of the top 10 emerging scholars for 2007.

Roberson, the first African-American to receive tenure in ILR, is an expert in the areas of diversity and inclusion, fair employment practices, group dynamics and processes, human resources management, inclusive organizations, motivation, theory and behavior, and fair employment practices. She joined the Cornell faculty in 1999.

"Receiving this recognition is an honor, but also a testament to doing what you love," said Roberson. "I think this recognition is in part due to the impact that I've had on others and as well as the impact that various colleagues and students at Cornell have had on me by encouraging me to think bigger and reach higher."

Roberson's research has appeared in the Academy of Management Review, Group and Organization Management, Journal of Applied Psychology, Journal of Business and Psychology, Personnel Psychology, and Research in Personnel and Human Resource Management. In 2002, she was awarded the General Mills Award for Innovation in Teaching and received an honorable mention for the James A. Perkins Prize for Interracial Understanding and Harmony at Cornell.

Roberson received a Ph.D. in organizational behavior from the University of Maryland; she holds a B.S. from the University of Delaware in finance and accounting and an M.B.A. from the University of Pittsburgh in finance and strategic planning.

Diverse Issues in Higher Education was founded in 1984 and has been a top U.S. news source for information concerning diversity issues. The magazine received the 2002 Folio award as the best education publication in America.

Human Resource Executive's News & Analysis Update, January 23, 2007, Tuesday

Human Resource Executive's News & Analysis Update for January 23, 2007

Losing the Middle Manager

Unhappiness with compensation and prospects for advancement has left more middle managers dissatisfied with their organizations, according to a new study. More than one-quarter of them are looking for new jobs.

By Scott Flander

Middle managers might not get much glory, but companies that forget their importance do so at their own risk.

That's the message of a new Accenture survey, which found that middle managers in the United States are growing increasingly dissatisfied with their organizations, and that more than one-quarter of them are looking for new jobs.

Other experts say they are seeing the same discontent, and warn that unless organizations take it seriously, they'll end up losing some of their best people.

"Turnover is inevitable, but they're going to be turning over the wrong part of the organization," says Ed Newman, whose Phoenixville, Pa.-based company, The Newman Group, specializes in talent management and acquisition. "The risk is that you end up replacing really good talent with mediocre talent."

The Accenture survey found that 52 percent of middle managers in the United States were extremely or very satisfied with their organizations, down from 67 percent in 2004.

Among the biggest complaints: compensation and prospects for advancement. Thirty-seven percent of middle managers said their organizations handled compensation in a good or best possible way, a drop from 51 percent in 2004. And about one-third (32 percent) gave high marks in the area of prospects for advancement, down from 50 percent.

"Middle management is the overlooked group in a lot of organizations, and they're not happy ¿ they sense it, they feel it," says Ed Jensen, who runs the Accenture division that conducted the survey. "The overall trend is not good."

Although the findings were similar to those in Accenture's 2005 survey, Jensen says the overall drop from 2004 closely reflects what is happening in the workplace.

The latest results came as no surprise to academics who study middle managers, and to recruiters who help find jobs for them.

"The pressures on middle managers have been growing as companies have restructured and downsized," says Fred Foulkes, a professor of management policy at Boston University, where he is director of the Human Resource Policy Institute.

As companies eliminate layers of management, there are fewer opportunities for promotion, and it takes longer to move up the ladder, he says. That means more middle managers in an organization are competing for fewer jobs.

"The reality for most people is that the way to get ahead is to get promoted, and the chances of doing it in your own firm aren't so great," says Foulkes. That would explain, he says, why the survey found that 26 percent of middle managers are looking for new jobs, up from 21 percent in 2004.

Although Foulkes agreed with Accenture's overall findings, he questioned the methodology of the survey, in which 200 middle managers in the United States were interviewed online in September. "People who are disgruntled have time to do these surveys," he said, and added, "200 is a small sample." A total of more than 1,400 middle managers were surveyed in nine countries for the study.

Both Foulkes and Newman say the role of middle managers has been changing.

"I don't think the middle management of eight to 10 years ago exists anymore," says Newman. Because of restructuring and budget cuts, "the middle manager is now the worker bee."

Middle managers probably didn't voice as much dissatisfaction in 2004 because at the time, "they were just glad they had jobs," said Newman. "Now that we've had a couple of years of growth, people are thinking, maybe the grass is greener ... . "

And their discontent is bubbling to the surface.

Newman points to the 29 percent of middle managers who told Accenture that they felt they were doing all the work, but were not getting credit for it. "Traditionally," he says, "the workers would be complaining that the middle managers took all the credit."

The middle mangers surveyed gave high marks to their companies for working conditions and benefits -- 55 percent said their organizations handled both of those issues well. But 41 percent said their greatest frustration was in trying to balance work and personal time.

Newman believes this is a problem that will only worsen. "The baby-boomer mentality is, 'I'm going to work 'til I drop,' " he says. "But to the generation coming up, striking a work/life balance is more important to them."

Eileen Finn, whose New York-based executive-search firm, Eileen Finn and Associates, places human resource professionals, says that as companies cut back, "they're left with better employees who want to be rewarded, validated and acknowledged."

Although many organizations are trying to retain good managers, some sabotage their own efforts by outsourcing specialty functions, she says. This saves money but diminishes the roles of those who remain, creating further discontent.

Organizations must work harder to keep middle managers happy, the experts say. If there are few opportunities for promotion, middle managers should be encouraged to make lateral moves so they can grow and develop. They should be put on task forces to give them new challenges. And organizations need a system of recognition and rewards.

Those initiatives may be straight out of Management 101, but many companies don't know how to make them happen, says Finn. "It's very difficult to change the way people operate."

Greg Gostanian, managing partner of ClearRock, an executive coaching and career transition firm in Boston, notes that in the 1970s and 1980s, many companies did emphasize employee development. But those programs were "decimated" during the recession that followed. As a result, he says, many current top executives don't have that background, and so don't have the experience or expertise to make employee development a key element in their companies.

The experts say that as baby boomers retire in the coming years, the problem of middle-manager talent drain will become increasingly critical.

For Samuel Bacharach, a professor and director of the Institute for Workplace Studies at Cornell University in Ithaca, N.Y., the issue is whether companies are truly serious about retaining good employees, or whether they're simply willing to treat their workers -- including middle managers -- as commodities.

"There's a hidden message of the commitment of the organization," he says.

The latest Accenture survey also looked at middle managers in Australia and seven countries in Europe and Asia, and found that the unhappiness is worse overseas. In the United Kingdom, for example, only 27 percent of respondents were extremely or very satisfied with their organizations, compared with 52 percent in the United States. In France, the figure was 25 percent.

That means, says Accenture's Jensen, that multinational corporations need to address the manager discontent everywhere, not just in the United States.

Regardless of location, says Jensen, the risk of losing the most talented middle managers has far-reaching implications. "It's the future of senior leadership that's in middle management."

January 19, 2007

Copyright 2007© LRP Publications

Wednesday, January 24, 2007

CNNMoney.com, January 24, 2007, Wednesday


Blowing the whistle on illegal immigrants
Tired of waiting for Washington to enforce immigration laws, small businesses have begun taking their competitors to court.
By Elaine S. Povich
January 24 2007: 6:10 AM EST

WASHINGTON, D.C. (FSB Magazine) -- To see the latest front in the war over illegal immigration, take a look at Mordechai Orian. The 41-year-old owns Global Horizons, a Los Angeles-based service that supplies seasonal agricultural workers to apple, blueberry, and potato growers across the country. In May, Orian lost one of his biggest clients: Munger Bros., a Delano, Calif., blueberry farm, which decided to use a rival labor supplier, J&A Contracting of Bakersfield, Calif.

Munger Bros. executives say they switched suppliers when Global Horizons failed to live up to its contract, but Orian suspects a different motive. J&A, he says, provides cheaper, illegal workers, scooping workers up on street corners by the vanload and delivering them to farms. He says he has evidence of falsified Social Security cards to prove his assertions. And rather than filing a complaint with the federal government, Orian is taking both Munger and J&A to court. (A copy of Orian's complaint can be downloaded at fearnotlaw.com/gallery/download.php?id=34.)
J&A's lawyer, Steven Geringer, denies that his client hires illegal workers. Theodore Hoppe, the attorney for Munger Bros., says the blueberry farm switched suppliers because Global Horizons' workers weren't as reliable or experienced as advertised. But Orian is unconvinced.

"You have a guy who wants to break the law, and when you call the government you run into a brick wall," Orian says. "Enough is enough."
Which states love small business best?

That's a sentiment that most entrepreneurs can share: 70% of small-business owners declare illegal immigration a "very serious" or "serious" problem, according to a survey by the National Federation of Independent Business.

But solutions are trickier to agree upon. Politicians have become mired in a morass of proposals for immigration reforms, guest-worker agreements, and border fences. Some business owners balk at any plan that would punish them for unknowingly hiring illegal workers. Meanwhile, entrepreneurs who scrupulously follow the law are routinely victimized by competitors who hire cheap, illegal labor - a breach that routinely goes unpunished by the federal government.

"Our members are pretty frustrated," says Todd McCracken, president of the National Small Business Association (nsba.biz), an advocacy group based in Washington, D.C.

Now, tired of waiting for the legislative branch to solve the problem, entrepreneurs are turning to the courts. Their actions have put corner-cutters on notice: Break the immigration laws and you have not only the government to fear, but your fellow business owners as well. David Klehm, Orian's lawyer, says that his suit is the first of its kind, but experts say it presages a new era.

"The government's policy of benign neglect over the past few years has really stirred things up," says Eli Kantor, a Los Angeles labor attorney.

(Global Horizons has faced its own brand of legal troubles; the California labor commissioner recently found that the company had neglected to pay its workers all they were due.)

But it is not only rival companies that are going after outfits that hire illegal immigrants. The Global Horizons case follows a $1.3 million settlement in a Washington State class-action suit involving employees of Zirkle Fruit who sued their employer, claiming that it drove down wages by hiring undocumented workers. That suit was based on federal RICO - or anti-racketeering - laws, and was settled after a federal appeals court overturned a lower court decision to dismiss it.

Employees have also filed an ongoing suit against Mohawk Industries (Charts), a carpet manufacturer in Dalton, Ga. "They are frustrated with illegals dragging down their wages," says Chicago attorney Howard Foster, who filed the suit on behalf of the employees. (Mohawk denies knowingly hiring illegal workers.) Both Foster and Klehm say that their suits have drawn interest from several other would-be plaintiffs.

Some observers see the recent lawsuits as pointing to a potential solution to the country's immigration issue. If enough entrepreneurs and employees hold illegal employers accountable through the courts, says Vernon Briggs Jr., professor of industrial and labor relations at Cornell University, fewer illegal immigrants will be able to find jobs here. "They will deport themselves if they can't find employment," he concludes.

But for Orian, whose case is expected to be decided this spring, the battle is a matter of pride as well as price. He's an immigrant himself - he arrived from Israel in 1997 - and while he has yet to become an American citizen, he is the proud holder of a green card. His example, he says, proves that immigrants can be successful in business while staying on the right side of the law.

"I'm not against anyone trying to make a better life," he says. "But after doing it myself, it hurts to see people using shortcuts, and other people taking advantage."

Law.com , January 23, 2007, Tuesday

Law.com (National Law Journal)
January 23, 2007

AT&T Takeover Leads BellSouth GC to Resign

By Meredith Hobbs
Fulton County Daily Report

Marc Gary is leaving his post as general counsel for BellSouth Corp., which became a division of AT&T after the two companies completed their merger on Dec. 29.

Gary said he will leave AT&T Southeast -- the new moniker for BellSouth -- at the end of January. He said he is looking at options in Atlanta and elsewhere. "With the AT&T takeover, the position of GC for AT&T is already taken. My interest is to pursue a position as the GC of another major company or to go into private practice at a major law firm."

AT&T Southeast's new top lawyer will be Martin E. "Marty" Grambow, who will relocate to Atlanta from AT&T's headquarters in San Antonio, Texas, where he is a longtime member of the company's legal department, according to Gary. Grambow did not return phone calls for comment.

According to a biography provided by AT&T, Grambow has spent most of his career with AT&T and predecessor phone companies, following an early stint as an assistant attorney general under then-Missouri AG John Ashcroft. A native of New York, he earned a degree in industrial and labor relations from Cornell University and graduated in 1974 from St. Louis University Law School.

He joined the Southwestern Bell Telephone legal department in 1981 and handled regulatory matters. In 1989, Grambow became Washington counsel for parent company SBC Communications and in 2000 moved to San Antonio to do regulatory work there.

Gary, 54, was recruited from Mayer, Brown, Rowe & Maw in 2000 as associate GC for litigation, labor and employment, antitrust and compliance. He was recruited by the company's prior general counsel, Charles R. Morgan. Both men had been partners at Mayer Brown. Gary had been at Mayer Brown since 1981, except for two years in the early 1990s as an associate independent counsel investigating the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development. He chaired the Washington office's litigation department where he practiced antitrust, securities and professional liability litigation. Gary became BellSouth's GC in September 2004, after Morgan's abrupt resignation in July 2004 in the wake of criminal charges that he'd battered his wife.

At BellSouth, Gary has headed one of the largest legal departments in the city, with about 90 lawyers and a total staff of about 180. With BellSouth becoming a regional division of AT&T, the GC position will shift focus to advising regional business on day-to-day operations, he said. "That's a very different job than what the GC of a Fortune 500 company does."

He said at AT&T Southeast's legal arm, the Atlanta office will still handle regional functions, such as litigation, labor and employment, Southeastern regulatory work and legal advice for the regional business operations -- but that corporate functions will be handled by AT&T's legal arm in San Antonio.

"The nature of the job changes dramatically when you become a subsidiary," he said. "A lot of general counsel work is no longer done by a regional subsidiary. You're not advising the board of directors or most of the members of senior management and you're no longer focused on some of the most interesting legal issues, such as in the securities area, corporate governance with Sarbanes Oxley and executive compensation. All those get consolidated back to the public company itself. It's not what a regional counsel does."

In nearly seven years at BellSouth, Gary has established a robust pro bono program. He created the BellSouth legal department's pro bono program in 2001. Today 80 percent of the company's lawyers are involved, contributing about 1,000 hours per year to projects such as drafting wills for Atlanta firefighters and police officers and preparing immigration visa applications, according to Inside Counsel magazine, which this month featured him in a cover story on in-house pro bono. Last year Corporate Counsel magazine (an ALM affiliate of the Daily Report and Law.com) named BellSouth one of the top legal departments in the country, in part because of its pro bono work. "I'm very hopeful and confident that will continue. A lot of people will stay in the AT&T Southeast legal department who've headed those efforts, and I see no reason why they won't continue after I'm gone," he said.

"It's been a privilege and an honor to lead the BellSouth legal department," Gary said. "It is composed of some of the most talented lawyers that I've ever worked with and under the new regional GC, those lawyers will continue to serve for AT&T."