Thursday, November 29, 2007

The Day, New London, CT, November, 27, 2007, Tuesday

The Day, New London, CT, November, 27, 2007, Tuesday


Tribe To File Objection To Union Vote

Mashantuckets' challenge could lead to federal lawsuit

By Patricia Daddona Published on 11/27/2007

Three days after Foxwoods Resort Casino table-game dealers voted to approve representation by the United Auto Workers union, their employer made it clear that it won't back down from a legal fight over a decision it believes challenges its sovereignty.

Late Monday, the Mashantucket Pequot tribe confirmed that its next move would be an objection to the election for representation by the UAW. The tribe intends to file the complaint at week's end, following the union vote conducted by the National Labor Relations Board.

“We will be filing our objections with the NLRB by Friday,” tribal spokesman Bruce MacDonald said. “I can't say anything else about it.”

The official deadline for filing objections is Monday, according to John Cotter, assistant regional director for the NLRB in Hartford.

Unions and tribal casinos around the country are closely watching developments in the case, which could have national implications. Other unions already have reported a renewed push to organize Foxwoods' food-service and maintenance workers.

One Foxwoods dealer, Peter Trafaconda of Sterling, said he was both surprised and not surprised that the tribe would find another avenue to challenge the election. As an election observer for the union, he kept his eye on election activities for four hours and saw no improprieties, he said.

“I thought it was a very clean election, from both sides,” Trafaconda said. “There was no campaigning near the entrances. ... I wish the company would just accept our clear decision of what we want and sit down and negotiate with us in good faith.”

Technically, employers are only allowed to object to either a campaign to organize workers or an actual union vote, but Cotter said employers file objections for other reasons “all the time,” even though they may be “inappropriate.” An objection to the election based on jurisdictional issues, he said, would be inappropriate and would be dismissed, since the regional and national boards have already ruled on it.

The tribe already has argued before the NLRB, unsuccessfully, that its inherent sovereign authority, its enactment of tribal labor and other laws, and its government's reliance on the casino as its primary source of revenue necessitate that tribal labor law, not federal labor law, be applied to unionization.

Cotter said if the tribal objection is made solely on jurisdictional issues, it would be an indirect way to secure a court challenge. “It appears there's no aspect of the board's process in which they're not going to make that issue,” he said of the jurisdictional debate.

According to Cotter, once the NLRB resolves or dismisses the tribe's objections, it will certify the election and empower the UAW to bargain for a contract with Foxwoods. At that point, if the tribe refuses to negotiate a contract, it would be in violation of federal labor law.

The NLRB would then file suit against the tribe in federal court to force it to act in accordance with its laws, Cotter said.

Refusing to bargain may seem manipulative, but “it's the only way to get court review,” said Joseph Turzi, a management-side labor lawyer with DLA Piper, an international law firm in Washington.

Cotter and Turzi said either the Washington or 2nd Circuit federal appeals court would likely handle the matter.

Despite a Feb. 9 ruling in the D.C. appeals court that a casino owned by the San Manuel band of Mission Indians is subject to federal labor laws, the jury is still out on whether federal labor law pertains to tribal-owned businesses, Turzi said. However, he said, Foxwoods' experience could encourage unions to organize at other tribal casinos around the country — a view supported by other experts.

Lee H. Adler, who teaches employment law at the School of Industrial and Labor Relations at Cornell University, said the UAW's win at Foxwoods could speed up efforts by unions to organize other Indian-run casinos.

“It will certainly increase the unions that are interested in organizing the casinos,” he said. “Whether it will result in more casinos getting organized will in part depend on the first contract, how Foxwoods responds and what the union learns from its organizing campaign.”

Hammering out a contract could be difficult, Adler said.

“Depending on Foxwoods' position, getting a first contract is not as easy just because you win an election,” he said.

Employers have sometimes ended union recognition if a contract has not been negotiated within a year, Adler said.

In the Trafaconda household, word of the tribe's persistence in battling the election results was not welcome. Peter and his wife, Rene, are dealers who have each been with Foxwoods for 13 years. Both voted for the union to represent them, they said.

Peter Trafaconda said dealers would not begin paying union dues, which will amount to $408 a year, until a bargaining committee is formed and a contract is negotiated, so he and his colleagues are just waiting eagerly for some resolution.

Rene Trafaconda, who worked Sunday after election results were in, said morale was high among dealers and is likely to remain so.

“Everybody seemed very pleased with the outcome, at least the people I saw. We were all happy and hugging,” she said. As for the tribe, she said, “I think they're going to keep trying to fight it as long as they can.”

Information from an Associated Press report was included in this story.

Christian Science Monitor, November 26, 2007, Monday

Copyright 2007 The Christian Science Publishing Society

All Rights Reserved

Christian Science Monitor

November 26, 2007, Monday


HEADLINE: France, Germany swap strike tactics

BYLINE: Isabelle de Pommereau Correspondent of The Christian Science Monitor



No metro. No newspaper. No mail. And now, after all that, no victory.

Since 1968, France's unions have successfully blocked labor-market reforms by taking to the street en masse. Such was the intent of the transit workers, teachers, students, and newspaper printers who came out in force over the past two weeks to protest a cornerstone of Nicolas Sarkozy's campaign platform: pension reform.

But in what many see as a breakthrough, one by one, union leaders last week called for an end to the strikes.

"Let's face it. France has evolved; we live in Europe," says Damien Houilliez of Strasbourg, a train driver for 19 years. "It's OK to stage a day of protest, but do we have to take the whole country hostage?"

Across the Rhine, meanwhile, German conductors have also broken new ground. In a country where social unrest is rare, a hitherto obscure union earlier this month blocked freight and passenger trains for three days, staging Germany's worst rail strike since World War II. It cost the country an estimated ¤75 million ($111 million), but did more than wreak havoc on the economy. In rejecting an agreement between Deutsche Bahn, the country's main railway company, and the bulk of its workforce, the small conductors' union threatened a labor system that has been the backbone of social cohesion and economic success.

The upheaval in France and Germany shows how challenging it is for Europe's most prosperous economies to adapt their social-welfare systems in the face of globalization. The effort, experts say, is changing the unions in both countries, with each country borrowing from the other.

"You've got two strike cultures that are radically different moving closer," says Gerd Held of the University of Dortmund, who studies social conflict in cities around the world. "In France ... there's an increasing awareness that France can't go on living like in the past. In Germany, the strikes have shattered union unity. You're seeing small unions popping up with their own demands."

French culture of conflict waning

The contrasting strike cultures, with France dominated by conflict and Germany by consensus, are rooted in history.

"In France, people are used to having social conflict. They're prepared to act to defend their own interest even if it goes against the majority of workers," says Heiner Dribbusch of the Hans Boeckler Foundation in Düsseldorf, the research arm of the German Confederation of Trade Unions. "In Germany, there is a greater reluctance to challenge the law, to be on edge. The thinking is that a civil servant is someone who has to be loyal to the state."

Taking to the streets has been a part of French culture as far back as the Revolution. Rivalry among unions, which are many and often linked to radical left-wing ideologies, has fostered the conflicts. But last week, even the more militant Solidarity, Unity and Democracy union rallied behind negotiations.

By contrast, Germany is wary of union rivalry, which during the Weimar Republic led to social unrest and contributed to the rise of National Socialism. As a result, after World War II, politicians created a legal infrastructure where unions would become partners, and a guarantor of democracy, says Mr. Dribbusch.

Today, unions negotiate pay and working conditions for entire sectors of the economy through collective bargaining. Over the years, they have brought shorter work weeks, longer vacations, and better wages with little or no labor dispute for entire sectors of the economy. The standard of living in Germany has traditionally been higher than in France, "and more money has made compromise easier," says Professor Held.

Lowell Turner, chairman of international and comparative labor at Cornell University in Ithaca, N.Y., says the Germans have combined economic success and high wages, with strong labor and employer associations meeting each other at the negotiating table. But that success is facing serious challenges.

"It's a good model, but it's been under tremendous pressure since the Berlin Wall came down," says Professor Turner. With globalization opening Europe toward new markets and Eastern European workers driving wages down, Germans have increasingly felt that collective bargaining no longer protected their interests, says Turner. It also makes it more difficult for employers to be as flexible as they need to in an age of globalization, according to studies by the German Economic Institute in Cologne. Since 1991, the German Federation of Unions has lost almost half its members.

Splintering of unions in Germany

Airline pilots, doctors, and now train drivers have broken away from big unions to get better deals. In the latest strike, conductors want a 31-percent pay raise, saying that the 4.5-percent raise the big railway union secured doesn't do justice to drivers who have seen their salaries decline 10 percent since 1994 while the workweek went from 38 to 41 hours. On Saturday, Deutsche Bahn said it was prepared to offer a raise of up to 13 percent, but refused to give conductors a separate contract.

If train drivers successfully negotiate their own contracts, that would further erode Germany's system of collective bargaining, says Turner. "You now have certain groups in a strong marketing negotiating position breaking off and demanding their own, much better deals, and that's a threat for the German model of industrial relation and social partnership," he explains.

A consequence of companies negotiating salaries with more disparate unions is that unions with competing interests could strike more often. Better-organized unions would have the upper hand, making differences among workers greater and making social conflict more prevalent, as is the case in France. "Union unity isn't there anymore," adds Held. "The threat potential of unions is going to grow."

Now, just as militant unions in France are showing signs of compromise, unions in Germany are showing signs of stepping up social conflict. German train driver Manuel Zimmermann of Frankfurt keeps his eyes on France. "You see there that by striking, workers get what they want much more quickly."

(c) Copyright 2007. The Christian Science Monitor

LOAD-DATE: November 25, 2007

Targeted News Service, November 26, 2007, Monday

Copyright 2007 HT Media Ltd.

All Rights Reserved

Targeted News Service

November 26, 2007, Monday 12:39 AM EST


BYLINE: Targeted News Service



Cornell University's School of Hotel Administration issued the following press release:

Davis & Gilbert LLP, a long-established full service law firm in New York City that represents numerous restaurant and hospitality properties nationwide, has become the newest partner of Cornell University's Center for Hospitality Research. In conjunction with the new partnership, Gregg A. Gilman, a partner in and co-chair of the firm's Employment Practices Department, will become a member of the center's Advisory Board.

"Gregg Gilman will strengthen our board immensely," commented Professor David Sherwyn, academic director of the center. "Gregg, who is a graduate of Cornell's School of Industrial and Labor Relations, has been a notable panelist at all of the center's legal roundtables and is one of New York City's leading management side labor and employment law attorneys. We are fortunate to gain his expertise in research issues relating to employment law."

Companies in a wide variety of industries turn to Gregg Gilman for counseling in the full lineup of workplace-related matters, employment and restrictive covenant agreements, compensation arrangements, reduction in force programs, and wage/hour issues. They also rely on Gregg Gilman's winning track record as defense counsel in court and before administrative agencies against claims of unfair competition, wrongful termination, harassment, and discrimination. A frequent author and guest lecturer at the Hotel School, Gregg Gilman is the creator of "Respect in the Workplace," a preventative management seminar that addresses sexual harassment and workplace sensitivity.

Mr. Gilman's colleagues, Steven M. Manket, a graduate of Cornell's School of Industrial and Labor Relations and partner in Davis & Gilbert's Corporate Department, and Robert A. Karin, a graduate of Cornell Law School and a partner in the firm's Real Estate Department, will also serve on the center's Advisory Board; Mr. Manket in 2009 and Mr. Karin in 2010.

Contact: Jennifer Macera, 607/255-3101,

LOAD-DATE: November 27, 2007

The New York Times, November 25, 2007, Sunday

Copyright 2007 The New York Times Company

The New York Times

November 25, 2007, Sunday

Late Edition - Final

SECTION: Section 1; Column 0; Metropolitan Desk; NEWS ANALYSIS; Pg. 43

HEADLINE: In Broadway Dispute, Both Sides Agree: It's All About Fairness



From the day the stagehands' strike began two weeks ago, the Broadway producers courted public opinion by insisting that the dispute was about one issue: fairness.

The producers declared, repeatedly, that the stagehands' contract was filled with so many inefficiencies that elemental fairness cried out for overhauling it.

''The core of the dispute is not about wages,'' said Charlotte St. Martin, executive director of the League of American Theaters and Producers. ''It is about fairness. We think it is fair to be able to hire the workers we need and to pay them for the work they do. We think it is not fair to have to hire workers we don't need and pay them for doing nothing. No industry can continue to tolerate such featherbedding.''

But many labor relations experts say that the Broadway strike, like most other labor confrontations, is not so much about fairness, but about power: the relative power of the two sides.

''We all like to cloak our economic interests in highfalutin' principles,'' said Joshua B. Freeman, a professor of labor history at the City University of New York Graduate Center and author of ''Working-Class New York.'' ''But I really think this is about power. The Broadway houses have huge labor costs, and they're pushing to reduce their costs, and the union is resisting.''

This is the first time that the New York stagehands, in Local 1 of the International Alliance of Theatrical Stage Employees, have gone on strike since their union was founded 121 years ago. And with management pressing for more sweeping work rule changes than ever before, the stagehands seem to have dug in, confident they can outlast the theater owners and producers in a showdown that has darkened 26 shows, caused hundreds of actors, musicians and ushers to lose pay and annoyed thousands of theatergoers.

The two sides are scheduled to resume formal negotiations today for the first time in a week.

The theater owners and producers have zeroed in on several work rules that they say are particularly inefficient and costly. They resent a rule, for instance, that requires them to pay stagehands $56 per hour, the highest pay rate, for mopping a stage before each performance, amounting, they say, to extra costs of as much as $24,000 a year, plus benefit contributions. The league also dislikes, but is no longer insisting on changing, a rule that requires making premium payments to stagehands who work on Sunday when other Broadway workers, like actors, do not receive them.

The league also abhors a rule that requires producers to maintain a predetermined number of stagehands for every day of a load-in, the period when a show is being set up in a theater, which can last for weeks. As a result of this rule, the league says, many stagehands get paid even though they sit around for hours on end with nothing to do. The two sides are close to a compromise on this issue.

Management has repeatedly questioned the fairness of rules like these, describing them in detail at news conferences. But the stagehands' union sees fairness in a different light, saying management and union should focus on the fairness of the give-and-take in collective bargaining.

''We're looking for an agreement that has exchanges,'' James J. Claffey Jr., the union's president, said in an interview in July, before the contract expired. ''We're not going to commit to a concessionary agreement.''

Union officials rarely defend the merits of specific rules in public, but they have repeatedly questioned the fairness of the league's effort to rewrite many of those rules, which have come about through decades of bargaining.

''These are work rules that go back nearly a century,'' said Bruce Cohen, a union spokesman.

One of the work rules that management is eager to change involves what is known as the continuity call. A continuity call happens when the stagehands who are working on a running show are called for an hour's work before or after a performance to do work relating to that performance. Any work that goes beyond that hour requires a costly four-hour work call.

The league says it is wasteful to pay for a four-hour work call just because it had already called for an hour's work before the performance. But Mr. Cohen said the four-hour work call makes sense because it discourages theaters from ordering stagehands to continue working until midnight or 1 a.m. For the many stagehands who supplement their income working day jobs like loading in other Broadway shows, setting up trade shows at hotels or working at other cultural institutions like Lincoln Center, late nights can be troublesome, he said.

''They want all this great flexibility after a performance,'' Mr. Cohen said. ''They want us to work one hour, two hours, three hours after a performance. We want to go home and make our train. We live in the suburbs, and we want to make the last train out of Penn Station, and they don't seem to recognize that.''

Union officials began to realize the more serious tenor of this contract negotiation at preliminary meetings early this year, when the league sketched out the sweeping changes it would be seeking. In the past, the theaters controlled the bargaining, and they knew they could always pass on increased costs to the producers. But this time the producers are playing a more vocal role in the league's negotiations, and they signaled early on that the league was taking a tougher bargaining stance.

Moreover, a $20 million emergency fund the league set up put the union into a more defensive -- and in ways defiant -- posture.

If the Broadway showdown is more about power than fairness, then the stagehands' union may be in good shape, experts say.

Lois Gray, a professor of labor management relations at Cornell University, said the teachings of Alfred Marshall, the British economist, show that the roughly 350 stagehands who are on strike have a lot of bargaining leverage.

''The stagehands have classic bargaining power,'' she said. ''They're essential to the production. They cannot be replaced in the short run, and they are a relatively small percentage of total costs. That puts them in a very strong position.''

In this way, she said, the stagehands are like airline pilots. A small number of workers can shut down an industry, and it rarely pays for management to endure a long strike because those workers represent only a small fraction of overall costs -- and management can often pass the increased cost on to consumers. For Broadway producers, the cost of the stagehands' labor is far outweighed by the cost of advertising and theater rent.

With the strike entering its third week, league members say they hope to obtain work rule changes that will yield big savings over the next decade or two, savings that they say will outweigh the cost of the strike.

Lengthening the strike is the union's insistence that it will accept work rule changes only if management matches those changes with wage or benefit increases of equal value. In the union's view, anything less than that would be unfair.

But the producers say it would be hugely unfair to have to compensate the union dollar for dollar in exchange for eliminating practices that they view as inexcusable featherbedding.

Producers have presented some offers to make changes palatable in the short term -- including a one-time payment of $25,000 to every stagehand who mops, in exchange for cutting the mopping pay rate roughly in half. Over time, it would save the producers a considerable amount, but the union rejected the proposal becauseit would mean less pay for members in the future.

Ultimately, how long the Broadway showdown lasts and who wins may turn on whose demands for fairness prevail: the producers' demands for what they consider to be fair work rules or the stagehands' demands for what they see as a fair give-and-take in negotiations.


GRAPHIC: PHOTO: A striking stagehand walked the picket line at ''The Phantom of the Opera'' on Friday. (PHOTOGRAPHS BY BEBETO MATTHEWS/ASSOCIATED PRESS)

LOAD-DATE: November 25, 2007

Wednesday, November 21, 2007

The Chronicle of Higher Education, November 23, 2007, Friday

Copyright 2007 The Chronicle of Higher Education
All Rights Reserved
The Chronicle of Higher Education

November 23, 2007 Friday

SECTION: STUDENTS; Pg. 23 Vol. 54 No. 13

HEADLINE: Is Bigger Any Better?


Admissions deans have perfected the wistful tone of regret. In rejection letters, they talk of wrestling with "difficult decisions" and having "so many more qualified applicants than space." Harvard University's dean of undergraduate admission wrote last year that he wished "it were possible for us to admit more of our fine applicants."
To the rejected, those words often ring hollow. After all, the student remains excluded no matter what the reason. But there is mounting evidence that top colleges, especially wealthy private ones, do sincerely feel bad about having to turn away so many of their applicants. Stanford feels bad. Yale feels bad. And Princeton does, too.
In his president's column in Stanford University's alumni magazine, John L. Hennessy recently floated an idea that has already gained some traction at other ultraselective institutions: Why not expand?
By turning down a record number of "exceptional and deserving students," Mr. Hennessy wrote, the university must "come to terms with the fact that we are denying Stanford the benefit of talent that could contribute to the university and society at large in a significant way."
Yale University is considering a similar move for the same reason. Two committees there are examining the possible impact of gradually adding 650 more undergraduates, for a total undergraduate enrollment of 5,900. And Princeton University is already in the third year of an expansion that will eventually bring its undergraduate enrollment up to 5,200, an increase of 500 students.
It is difficult to discern which types of students would benefit from marginally higher odds of acceptance at these institutions. Both Stanford and Yale say it's too early to even speculate, and Princeton says its expansion was not intended to benefit one group of students in particular.
Critics view such plans to grow as attempts to hoard more of the brightest students. Not so, the colleges say. There are many more qualified students out there than in past years, and accepting more of them is part of colleges' social obligation.
"This kind of expansion shows the commitment our institution has to offering this incredible education to more students," says Janet Lavin Rapelye, dean of admissions at Princeton. "We have the capacity to educate more students, so it was right for our university."
Growing Knowledge
Considering the recent fortunes of the country's richest institutions, it is no surprise that they feel a responsibility to share the wealth. Endowment coffers are more flush than ever at most Ivy League institutions, while enrollments have remained more or less static. Spending per student is at an all-time high, and the last notable expansion at most of these universities happened when they went co-educational in the 1970s. Since then the number of students attending college has nearly doubled.
The country's richest and most selective institutions have recently been devoting their wealth to improving their facilities and raising the number of faculty members. Both Harvard and Brown Universities have added at least 100 new faculty members in the past five years, and Princeton has added 60 over the past 10 years. Stanford has added 250 more faculty members over the past decade.
Many of these universities are also buying more space. Yale purchased the former campus of the Bayer Healthcare complex, in Orange, Conn., last summer, which will add over 500,000 square feet of laboratory facilities to the university. Harvard plans to add 600,000 square feet of science-teaching space and laboratories for its stem-cell-research center and other projects. Columbia University and the University of Pennsylvania have recently acquired 17 and 14 acres, respectively.
Both Harvard and Dartmouth College say that as much as they would like to admit more students, space constraints on their campuses make it impossible for now. But for some elite institutions, adding more students is a way of increasing access to a tremendous wealth of resources that keeps on growing.
"As knowledge expands, great universities have to expand along with it," says Christopher L. Eisgruber, provost at Princeton. "If you want to have the right educational ecosystem, when you grow the faculty you have to grow the student body, too."
Though additional students could lead to more tuition revenue, the logistics and costs involved in any significant expansion of a private university would make it unlikely to be profitable, at least in the short term, says Gordon C. Winston, an economist at Williams College. A college's customers are paying only a fraction of the actual cost to educate them, even when they pay full tuition, Mr. Winston says. So at most institutions, additional students are costing more money than their tuition generates.
At Princeton, for example, the university finances the expense of more students through its $15.8-billion endowment. According to the provost, net tuition revenue per student is lower than it was before the expansion began, in part because the university is enrolling more students who qualify for financial aid. University officials had not originally intended for the expansion to change the proportion of such students. But Princeton's program to replace all loans with grants in every financial-aid package, introduced in 2001, attracted more students who qualified for aid.
The average scholarship awarded to freshmen entering in the fall of 2001 was $22,300, compared with $31,000 for those entering in the fall of 2007. Over the same time period, the percentage of low-income students (those whose families make less than the median family income as defined by the U.S. Census Bureau) grew from 10.9 percent, or 130 students, to 15 percent, or 180 students.
Some institutions, however, can bring in more money by expanding if they intentionally admit less-expensive students.
At Cornell University, enrollment has gradually drifted up about 5 percent in the last 20 years, according to Ronald G. Ehrenberg, director of the Cornell Higher Education Research Institute.
The institution was able to avoid a significant increase in costs by accepting more transfer students, who are upperclassmen and do not require on-campus housing. Had the college needed to add more dormitories, the expansion would not have been as profitable, he says.
Mission and Reputation
The most difficult question for institutions weighing the pros and cons of expansion is "How many students is too many?"
To find the answer requires careful contemplation of a college's mission and reputation.
Three characteristics traditionally influence a university's reputation: its age, size, and selectivity. For most colleges, expansion often comes at the expense of selectivity. Elite institutions are in a rare position because they can add more students without becoming noticeably less selective.
There is a limit, however, to how much any college can expand while maintaining the quality of its educational experience. Institutions like Princeton pride themselves on their intimate environment and know they cannot double in size and maintain that culture. Even adding a relatively small number of students required building a new dormitory at Princeton because of its strong residential tradition.
Haverford College recently decided to forgo an expansion that would have added 200 students to its current 1,200. After a year and half of debate and many meetings, university officials decided that more students would dilute the Haverford experience that all students share, says Jess H. Lord, dean of admissions.
In contrast, concerns about identity did not stop New York University from adding over 1,000 students to its undergraduate population, now 19,400, over the past five years. As a large urban institution with students living throughout New York City, NYU did not have to worry about preserving a close-knit sense of community because its students tend to be more independent, according to Barbara F. Hall, NYU's associate provost for enrollment management.
"We don't get together on a Saturday afternoon and paint our faces and go to football games -- in fact, we don't even have a football team," she says.
Benefits of Bigness
At Princeton, at least, expansion has been costly, and it has not improved any one applicant's razor-thin chance of being accepted. In fact, since expansion, the opposite has happened. In 2004, Princeton received 13,700 applications and admitted 12.7 percent of the applicants. Last year close to 19,000 students applied, and the acceptance rate fell to its lowest level ever, 9.7 percent.
Even when an institution is turning down more students than ever before -- in both sheer numbers and overall percentage -- accepting a larger number of students does give admissions officials more freedom in crafting the freshman class.
In recent years, Ivy League institutions and others with reputations for being elite have come under fire for giving preference to legacy students and athletes. Some critics have argued that this practice denies space to academically worthier students who do not have the advantage of family connections or a winning jump shot.
"With expansion, the idea is it's less of a zero-sum game, and you can open up opportunities for low-income kids without cutting access to existing groups," says Richard D. Kahlenberg, a senior fellow at the Century Foundation, a nonprofit research group in Washington. "It's a very political process -- there are a limited amount of spots, and each constituency group pushes for its own interests."
Another advantage an admission office gains by accepting more students is the opportunity to improve its academic profile. Though Princeton was not wanting for high-achieving applicants, it has a strong athletics tradition compared with its peers, and is one of the smallest institutions in the Ivy League. Even after Princeton completes its expansion, only Columbia and Dartmouth will have fewer undergraduates.
The athletes who are admitted to Princeton have much higher test scores and grade-point averages than athletes at many other universities, but the athletes' test scores and averages still tend to be slightly lower than those of other Princeton students.
"We're obviously very proud of our athletic teams and their contributions to Princeton," says Mr. Eisgruber, the provost. "But when we expand the number of students we admit and not the number of teams, it does ease the choices that have to be made by the dean of admission."
Those choices are only relatively easier, of course. Even with a significant expansion, Ms. Rapelye, Princeton's admissions dean, says her office is forced to turn down many students it would like to accept. If Yale and Stanford follow through on their plans, the magnitude of growth at their institutions will do little to stem the tide of hopeful applicants who will be rejected. The regret that admissions deans write about to applicants appears sincere, but also unavoidable.
Eric Hoover contributed to this article.

LOAD-DATE: November 19, 2007

Ithaca Times, November 20, 2007, Tuesday

Ithaca Times

By: Colleen Corley


Gary Bettman, the commissioner of the National Hockey League, spoke to members of the Cornell University community on Saturday, Nov. 11. Bettman, an alumnus who graduated '74, hit on moments of controversy in his tenure at the NHL and previously at the NBA, including the installation of salary caps in both leagues and NHL work stoppages in 1994 and 2004. To a crowd of School of Industrial Labor Relations students, Bettman recalled the lessons in collective bargaining and cognitive dissidence he learned while an ILR student and shared memories of sleeping outside while waiting for CU hockey tickets. At the end of his talk, students and alum posed some questions of their own.
What are some of the adjustments you had to make moving from the NBA to the NHL?
Gary Bettman: Hockey's great because the fans - and all of the research demonstrates it - are more avid, more connected and more passionate about the game than the fans in any other sport. [It] doesn't mean we have the most fans. Part of it has to do with the fact that ... we only had six franchises. After that we only had 12 franchises. Going back to the '90s, we had 21 franchises, and not all of them were in the United States. The point of all that is hockey people had to be very passionate about their game and the people associated with it. So the first rap on me when I left the NBA [was] 'He's a basketball guy.' I was always a hockey fan first and foremost, and if you want to work in sports you take the job you can get when you can get it. [The] biggest adjustment was ... understanding the people. That's where [I] first got into a little bit of trouble, because I didn't know my owners very well.
Is it true that while you were at the NBA you were known as the "Pope of Salary Caps"?
GB: There were some people - and I'm not sure in flattering ways - who always referred to me that way because there had never been a salary cap before and I was the one who installed it. It was no secret that when the NFL decided, after all the litigation in the '80s, that they wanted a cap they actually came to visit. Baseball consulted us as well....You can't take what you do in one sport and use it on a cookie-cutter basis in another sport. The businesses, the dynamic, the player development, what goals you're making for a team, differ from sport to sport and you have to take that into account. As commissioner you were looking at liquidations. [In Buffalo], most of the sports and business world said turn the lights out, leave. In your leadership you took it in a different direction. Could you share some of the examples of what led you in that decision making?
GB: I believe that a sports league has a covenant with its fans. It's not that the fans just buy tickets or buy jerseys or watch on TV. Your fans ... perhaps unlike [in] any other product make an emotional commitment to you. It's not just the money and the time; it's passion and emotion. We provide that, we sell that more than anything else. And if you ever begin to cut that off, I think you jeopardize the very fundamentals of what professional sports represent. If you do it in Buffalo, maybe somebody in Ottawa is gong to say, "Well, if Buffalo's gone, maybe we're next ... and maybe we need to separate from the team." There are some times situations that are untenable, it won't work, there's no amount of money that can save it and you have no choice. I always believe you've got to do everything to try to make it right.
Who's going to win the Stanley Cup?
GB: If you look at my standings right now, nobody's out of it. Everybody's got a shot. If you look at the standings for the last two seasons, 25 clubs were still in the hunt in the last months of the season to make the playoffs. To me that's the best measure of competitive balance. With one or two exceptions, no matter who you root for this year you've got a shot at making the playoffs. The best thing that any sport can give its fans is hope. So the answer is I have no idea, and that's why we play the games.
- Colleen Corley

©Ithaca Times 2007

The Ithaca Journal (New York), November 20, 2007, Tuesday

Copyright 2007 The Ithaca Journal (Ithaca, NY)

All Rights Reserved

The Ithaca Journal (New York)

November 20, 2007, Tuesday

1 Edition


HEADLINE: Town public works employees seek union status

BYLINE: Krisy Gashler


The Ithaca Town Board voted unanimously Monday night to work with employees of the town's Department of Public Works as they seek to join the Teamsters union, Local 317.

The employees include laborers, equipment operators, maintenance workers, mechanics and engineering technicians. They have never before been represented by a union.

In accordance with the Teamsters' wishes, the board passed a resolution authorizing a neutral third party, The Rev. David Jones of Bethel Grove, to verify that a majority of the employees have designated the Teamsters union through authorization cards.

Town Supervisor Cathy Valentino said "it is a very solid majority that signed with them."

Town Highway Superintendent Fred Noteboom said his public works employees first started talking about wanting to join the Teamsters about a month ago. He said employees have mentioned several reasons for wanting to unionize, including better health benefits and changes in town government.

Town Board member and Supervisor-elect Herb Engman defeated current 12-year Supervisor Cathy Valentino in the Democratic primary Sept. 18. In the Nov. 6 general election, Engman ran unopposed.

"The general climate, I guess, some people are concerned," Noteboom said. "Changes are coming to the town. Cathy's leaving pretty soon, she's been here for years. I've heard that mentioned, I don't know if that's got to do with it."

Engman said that concern had not been expressed to him, and he believes he and the rest of the town board will be fair negotiators for town employees in the future.

"This town board is very union friendly," he said. "I've advocated for collective bargaining rights for farm workers for 30 years." Engman was director of the Cornell migrant program.

Board members Jeff Cowie and Pat Leary both work for Cornell's School of Industrial and Labor Relations and board member Will Burbank recently helped negotiate a union for substitute teachers in the Ithaca City School District, Engman pointed out.

Engman said he thinks a bigger reason might be the smaller pay increase town employees received as compared to last year.

Last year town employees received an increase "well over four percent," but this year their pay increase was 2.7 percent.

"There's sort of an emotional reaction to salary increases. You're overjoyed when you get the higher one, but when you get the lower one, it's hard to reconcile," Engman said.

Town board members and the town supervisor will receive a 2.2 percent salary increase in 2008. The supervisor will make $45,967 in 2008. Each of the six Town Board members will make $8,335.20.

Salary increases are calculated based on "a combination of cost of living increases," Engman said.

"It's a matter of matching what employees would like with what the public can bear because there are folks out there that aren't getting increases as high as we're getting, and yet they're having to increase their taxes to pay those increases," he said.

Assisted-living proposal

The board heard a proposal for an 80-bed assisted-living center in the south edge of town off Route 13. The assisted-living center would accept Medicaid patients.

Developers Paul and Chris Vitale said that although Tompkins County has several assisted-living facilities, none are authorized through the state's Assisted-Living Program to accept Medicaid patients.

Currently, if seniors in the county require more care than they can receive at home and cannot afford to pay for assisted living, their only option is to enter a skilled nursing facility an option that is more restrictive for the senior and more expensive for the government.

The developers currently operate two similar assisted living centers in Geneva and Baldwinsville.

"We really pride ourselves on this being a first-class facility at an affordable rate," Chris Vitale said.

Engman and Burbank expressed skepticism about the plan because the center is located in a rural area and borders a conservation zone.

"It's a low-density area and we'll be urbanizing it," Burbank said.

"It's a state highway," Valentino responded.

Leary said the board should not dismiss the proposal because the assisted-living center could help low-income seniors and will not have an enormous traffic impact because many seniors in assisted-living centers do not drive.

"Kendal is way up there," Leary said, referring to the high-end assisted-living center in the north of town. "Kendal is out of most people's reach locally."

The board agreed to re-consider the issue at its board meeting in January because three board members were absent: Jeff Cowie, Peter Stein and Sandra Gittelman.

Gittelman is retiring from the board at the end of this year. Cowie is halfway through his four-year term. Stein was just re-elected to an additional four-year term.

LOAD-DATE: November 22, 2007

The New York Times, November 20, 2007, Tuesday

Copyright 2007 The New York Times Company
The New York Times

November 20, 2007 Tuesday
Late Edition - Final

SECTION: Section A; Column 0; National Desk; Pg. 1

HEADLINE: Decline of the Tenure Track Raises Concerns at Colleges



Professors with tenure or who are on a tenure track are now a distinct minority on the country's campuses, as the ranks of part-time instructors and professors hired on a contract have swelled, according to federal figures analyzed by the American Association of University Professors.
Elaine Zendlovitz, a former retail store manager who began teaching college courses six years ago, is representative of the change. Technically, Ms. Zendlovitz is a part-time Spanish professor, although, in fact, she teaches nearly all the time.
Her days begin at the University of Michigan, Dearborn, with introductory classes. Some days end at 10 p.m. at Oakland Community College, in the suburbs north of Detroit, as she teaches six courses at four institutions.
''I think we part-timers can be everything a full-timer can be,'' Ms. Zendlovitz said during a break in a 10-hour teaching day. But she acknowledged: ''It's harder to spend time with students. I don't have the prep time, and I know how to prepare a fabulous class.''
The shift from a tenured faculty results from financial pressures, administrators' desire for more flexibility in hiring, firing and changing course offerings, and the growth of community colleges and regional public universities focused on teaching basics and preparing students for jobs.
It has become so extreme, however, that some universities are pulling back, concerned about the effect on educational quality. Rutgers University agreed in a labor settlement in August to add 100 tenure or tenure-track positions. Across the country, faculty unions are organizing part-timers. And the American Federation of Teachers is pushing legislation in 11 states to mandate that 75 percent of classes be taught by tenured or tenure-track teachers.
Three decades ago, adjuncts -- both part-timers and full-timers not on a tenure track -- represented only 43 percent of professors, according to the professors association, which has studied data reported to the federal Education Department. Currently, the association says, they account for nearly 70 percent of professors at colleges and universities, both public and private.
John W. Curtis, the union's director of research and public policy, said that while the number of tenured and tenure-track professors has increased by about 25 percent over the past 30 years, they have been swamped by the growth in adjunct faculty. Over all, the number of people teaching at colleges and universities has doubled since 1975.
University officials agree that the use of nontraditional faculty is soaring. But some contest the professors association's calculation, saying that definitions of part-time and full-time professors vary, and that it is not possible to determine how many courses, on average, each category of professor actually teaches.
Many state university presidents say tight budgets have made it inevitable that they turn to adjuncts to save money.
''We have to contend with increasing public demands for accountability, increased financial scrutiny and declining state support,'' said Charles F. Harrington, provost of the University of North Carolina, Pembroke. ''One of the easiest, most convenient ways of dealing with these pressures is using part-time faculty,'' he said, though he cautioned that colleges that rely too heavily on such faculty ''are playing a really dangerous game.''
Mark B. Rosenberg, chancellor of the State University System of Florida, said that part-timers can provide real-world experience to students and fill gaps in nursing, math, accounting and other disciplines with a shortage of qualified faculty. He also said the shift could come with costs.
Adjuncts are less likely to have doctoral degrees, educators say. They also have less time to meet with students, and research suggests that students who take many courses with them are somewhat less likely to graduate.
''Really, we are offering less educational quality to the students who need it most,'' said Ronald G. Ehrenberg, director of the Cornell Higher Education Research Institute, noting that the soaring number of adjunct faculty is most pronounced in community colleges and the less select public universities. The elite universities, both public and private, have the fewest adjuncts.
''It's not that some of these adjuncts aren't great teachers,'' Dr. Ehrenberg said. ''Many don't have the support that the tenure-track faculty have, in terms of offices, secretarial help and time. Their teaching loads are higher, and they have less time to focus on students.''
Dr. Ehrenberg and a colleague analyzed 15 years of national data and found that graduation rates declined when public universities hired large numbers of contingent faculty.
Several studies of individual universities have determined that freshmen taught by many part-timers were more likely to drop out.
''Having an adjunct in a course is not necessarily bad for you, but having too many adjuncts might be,'' said Eric P. Bettinger, an economics professor at Case Western Reserve University in Cleveland.
Students say they can often tell when a professor is part-time. Mike Brennan, a sophomore at the University of Michigan, Dearborn, said the courses taught by adjuncts tend to be more basic and the exams less challenging. ''They have so many classes that they give tests that are easier to grade,'' Mr. Brennan said.
Carly Matkovich, a senior at the university, said she had bonded more with her part-time teachers, in part because they have more practical experience. But it is usually hard to find time to talk with them outside class. ''They're never around,'' Ms. Matkovich said. ''It does make me feel kind of cheated.''
At some departments the proportion of faculty who are tenured is startlingly low. The psychology department at Florida International University in Miami has 2,400 undergraduate majors but only 19 tenured or tenure-track professors who teach, according to a department self-assessment. It is possible for a psychology major to graduate without taking a course with a full-time faculty member.
''We're at a point where it is extreme,'' said Suzanna Rose, a psychology professor who said she stepped down as department head in August, primarily because she could not hire as many tenure-track professors as she thought the department needed. ''I'm just very concerned about the quality.''
Ronald Berkman, the provost at Florida International, disputed her numbers, saying the psychology department has 23 professors who are tenured or tenure track and 5 full-time teachers on contracts. The department is conducting a search for three more tenure-track professors, Dr. Berkman said.
''Which is not to say that they don't need more, which they do,'' he said.
Tenure, a practice carried from Germany to the United States, was designed to guarantee academic freedom to professors by protecting them against dismissal. Some argue that it also protects incompetent or lazy teachers and sometimes leaves universities saddled with professors in disciplines that have lost currency.
The lack of tenure can leave adjuncts vulnerable. In a number of cases, professors outside the tenure track have been dropped after run-ins with administrators over everything from grading to opinion articles in newspapers.
Several unions have been organizing adjunct faculty in recent years. In Michigan, the American Federation of Teachers has successfully organized full-time, nontenure-track professors at Eastern Michigan University, as well as part-time and full-time adjuncts at the University of Michigan campuses in Ann Arbor, Dearborn and Flint.
''They are so exploited, the only difficulty in organizing adjuncts is finding them,'' said David Hecker, president of the teachers federation.
Keith Hoeller, who has been teaching philosophy for 17 years as a part-timer in Seattle, described it this way: ''It's a caste system, and we are the untouchables of academia.''
Aletia Droba taught for 10 years as a part-time philosophy professor in the Detroit area. She said she was paid as little as $1,400 a course at community colleges and as much as $2,400 a class at universities.
Some semesters, Ms. Droba said, she taught as many as seven courses at four colleges, including across the border in Canada. This fall, she landed a full-time, non-tenure track job. She will teach five courses in the fall and spring combined -- less than the number she often taught in a single semester as a part-timer.
Ms. Droba will not miss the constant driving that a part-timer does, shuttling among universities. ''My students used to ask me how come I knew so much about current affairs,'' she said. ''And I'd say, 'I listen to NPR all day.' ''


GRAPHIC: PHOTO: Elaine Zendlovitz, at the University of Michigan, Dearborn, puts in long days as she teaches six courses at four institutions. (PHOTOGRAPH BY FABRIZIO COSTANTINI FOR THE NEW YORK TIMES)

LOAD-DATE: November 20, 2007

The New York Times, November 17, 2007, Saturday

Copyright 2007 The New York Times Company
The New York Times

November 17, 2007 Saturday
Late Edition - Final

SECTION: Section C; Column 0; Business/Financial Desk; NEWS ANALYSIS; Pg. 1

HEADLINE: On Strike to Protect the Gains of the Past, With an Eye on the Future


Suddenly, it seems, organized labor is flexing its muscles again.
In the first strike in its 121-year history, the stagehands' union local in New York has shut down much of Broadway, while a walkout by 12,000 Hollywood writers is creating havoc for television and film producers. These work stoppages come on the heels of brief strikes by 74,000 workers at General Motors and 45,000 at Chrysler.

Do the walkouts portend a resurgence of labor, even a new union militancy? The answer, for various reasons, appears to be no.

Harley Shaiken, a labor relations expert at the University of California, Berkeley, said the disputes showed that unions, although weaker than before and going on strike far less frequently than before, will not shrink from some battles.

''To paraphrase Mark Twain, all this shows that reports of the death of strikes are greatly exaggerated,'' he said. But many labor experts said the strikes resulted not from a newfound aggressiveness, but from a defensive effort by unions to hold onto what they have.

When 350 stagehands went on strike last Saturday, closing down 27 Broadway shows, it was after the producers announced a policy that would reduce the number of stagehands per production as well as the overtime that stagehands would receive. The theater producers complained that the old union contract had unreasonably increased their costs on many shows by calling for more workers than necessary.

In Detroit, G.M. and Chrysler workers went on strike after the automakers, with higher labor costs than their Japanese competitors, demanded a less costly health plan for retirees and a lower wage scale for new hires. Some auto workers said union leaders had orchestrated short strikes to try to convince the rank and file that they had fought their hardest; the union leaders described the strikes as effective bargaining tactics.

''These aren't strikes to explore new territory, but rather to protect past gains -- to prevent deterioration in working conditions and job security,'' said Gary Chaison, a professor of industrial relations at Clark University in Worcester, Mass. ''All this shows that management is getting stronger and much more confrontational.''

Detroit's automakers, in their struggle to compete against Toyota and Honda, took their toughest bargaining position in decades. The latest U.A.W. talks seemed light-years removed from those of a half-century ago when, with each round of negotiations, the mighty union would win an ever-better health plan or pension.

U.A.W. leaders said they agreed to concessions with Detroit's Big Three because the union and its members have a stake in seeing the automakers grow competitive and survive.

The Writers Guild took to the picket lines after Hollywood producers refused to increase the payments they give writers from sales of DVDs and refused to offer extra payments when many works were used in new media like the Internet or cellphone transmissions. Many writers were seething that the producers continued to offer them only around 5 cents in payment per DVD.

''In all these situations, management basically said you do what we want you to do or you have to stage a strike, and the union viewed a strike as a good piece of strategic leverage,'' said Richard W. Hurd, a professor of labor relations at Cornell University.

He saw an important parallel between the disputes in Hollywood and Detroit. ''The unions there are struggling to keep up with the changing structure of the industry,'' Mr. Hurd said.

Ruth Milkman, director of the Institute for Research on Labor and Employment at the University of California, Los Angeles, argued that the writers' strike was an offensive struggle, not a defensive one, because the union was pushing to increase the payments.

''They're trying to push the envelope, but they don't have tremendous leverage,'' she said.

''They don't have the type of leverage that auto workers and the truckers once had when they could shut everything down.''

Mr. Shaiken suggested that the stagehands had more leverage than the writers. ''The stagehands have darkened the theaters. Period. With the writers, it's a long test of wills,'' he said. ''The TV networks can always show reruns, but the strike will exact a long-term toll in a volatile industry.''

He said the stagehands' dispute is a more conventional confrontation. ''Broadway producers can't simply move a play to a theater in Mexico and have a New York audience watch it there,'' he said.

These much-publicized strikes are by no means the only ones where unions are on the defensive. For example, 600 nurses went on strike seven weeks ago at Appalachian Regional Healthcare, a chain of nine hospitals in West Virginia and eastern Kentucky, after management insisted on increasing health insurance premiums, reducing holiday pay and eliminating a policy of giving 40 hours of pay for 36 hours of work.

Mr. Chaison said the strikes in Detroit had a lot in common with another recent strike: the walkout by subway and rail workers in France that crippled high-speed train service and the Paris subways. The workers in France flexed their muscles to block President Nicolas Sarkozy's demand to raise the age at which train workers can retire with a full pension, now 50. Most French workers cannot receive a full pension until age 60.

Mr. Sarkozy has argued that overly generous salaries and benefits for public employees have raised taxes so much as to weaken the competitive position of French industry.

''The U.A.W.,'' Mr. Chaison said, ''is trying to defend their jobs and income against the pressures of globalization, and the French government is trying to hold down costs because of pressures from globalization.''

These labor experts see some recent gains for America's labor unions, despite their weakened position.

Over the last year, unions have organized tens of thousands of low-wage workers, most notably at hotels, in child care, janitorial service and home health care. And the experts said labor was looking to make further gains in next year's election.

''Unions have a tremendous amount of influence in the Democratic Party,'' Mr. Hurd said.

''Labor knows that the Democrats have a pretty good chance of winning the White House, but whether they can win a big enough majority in Congress to enact pro-labor legislation over a filibuster, that may be tough. A lot of unions are placing their future hopes on that.''


GRAPHIC: PHOTO: The Writers Guild picketers outside Fox Studios last Friday. (PHOTOGRAPH BY DAVID MCNEW/GETTY IMAGES)

LOAD-DATE: November 17, 2007

Insurance News Net, November 14, 2007, Wednesday

Insurance News Net, November 14, 2007, Wednesday

Insurance News Net

Cornell U. professor presents disability report in Washington

Copyright: Cornell Daily Sun via U-WIRE Source: Comtex Business Wordcount: 954

ITHACA, N.Y., Nov 14, 2007 (Cornell Daily Sun, U-WIRE via COMTEX) -- Despite accounting for many ethnic, age, and gender groups, the U.S. Census Bureau's data on the current population fails to include statistics regarding the disabled population.
Cornell University professor Andrew Houtenville and fellow researchers at Cornell are seeking to alleviate this absence with the second annual Disability Status Report for 2006, presented last Wednesday in Washington, D.C., to a diverse audience of about 50 Capitol Hill staffers, disability-related agencies, the media and advocacy groups.
Houtenville is the director of Cornell's Rehabilitation Research and Training Center on Disability Demographics and Statistics. Houtenville, industrial labor relations, and three others were co-principal investigators on the report, funded by the National Institute on Disability and Rehabilitation Research. The report provides an overview of the key demographic and economic statistics of the disabled population from 2006. The investigators generated these statistics using data from the American Community Survey, "a U.S. Census Bureau survey designed to replace the decennial census long form," according to the status report, thus highlighting their main concern: many federal surveys do not address the disabled population.
"The federal government has a set of about 20 large surveys by which it generates statistics. Many of those surveys didn't have a disability question or a set of them," Houtenville said.

This absence prompted Cornell's initiative for this report.
"It provides comprehensive statistics for a population, but probably more importantly, it is getting the major agencies that generate statistics on poverty and unemployment to include the population with disabilities as a subpopulation, a demographic characteristic to look at. Like for employment, the Bureau of Labor Statistics provides thousands of different breakdowns by different subgroups but they don't provide anything for people with disabilities," he said.
However, possibly as a result of attention to reports like this one, there has been some progress in certain surveys. According to Houtenville, the BLS may begin to include disability measures as early as the fall of 2008, though they haven't completely committed to it. A change by the BLS would be critical to both the public and the report's improvement as it releases vital monthly unemployment rate numbers.
One of the most salient features this report produced was the employment gap between people with and without disabilities.
"The employment rate of people without disabilities is about 80 percent, and for people with disabilities it's around 40 percent. It's really consistent with most of the major federal policies that are aimed at the employment of people with disabilities," he said.
Similarly, in 2006, the median household income of working-age people without disabilities in the U.S. was $65,400, while that of those with disabilities was $36,300. Unfortunately, there was basically no change in the employment rate reported in 2005.
As for any disability policy change that could result from the report, Houtenville did not expect any immediate changes, since policy is notoriously slow to change. Rather, the report is meant to provide those initiating the change with a valuable resource.
"What we're hoping is that when people go and advocate for policy change that our statistics are available to them," he said.
The idea for the report originated when Prof. Richard Burkhauser, policy analysis and management, a co-principal investigator on the report, realized the need for data from the Census Bureau to fill the empty disability niche.
"Every year the Census Bureau puts out a report based on data from the CPS current population survey, that looks at the economic well-being, income, and poverty rates of the United States as a whole and global populations by race, ethnicity, age, gender," he said. "We felt that it was important to do a similar sort of report for people with disabilities. I thought that it'd be important for us to do this report card for people with disabilities because it wasn't being done by the government."
This initiative by Cornell also demonstrates its community outreach commitments.
"It's actually very consistent with Cornell and its land grant mission where we do research, but we also do outreach. We did a lot of policy-related research with the major federal surveys. As an outreach element, just generating the very basic descriptive statistics is something that we can also do with the data. This report represents a major component of our outreach efforts," Houtenville said.

On the Cornell campus itself, Burkhauser has found Student Disability Services very accommodating for students with disabilities.
"I think that Cornell has a first-rate accommodation center for its students. As someone who teaches ECON101, because I have 430 students a year, about 5 to 10 percent of those students have disabilities and I've had very good relationships with the accommodation center. I've felt that the backup that the Cornell Center provides for the students gives them equal access to an education at Cornell," he said.
In addition, certain students are also focusing on the issues brought up in reports like this one.
"We are aware of the social and economic concerns that face the persons with disabilities in the United States, and we believe that doing our part of increasing awareness at Cornell through various projects and programs will contribute to the betterment of our society," Elyse Lee '08, co-president of the Cornell Union for Disabilities Awareness, stated in an e-mail. "Cornell, as a leading university, must play its part in changing society to be more inclusive and accessible."
One improvement CUDA has been advocating and is currently creating is a class focusing on disability, which will be available beginning fall 2008, and may potentially expand into a Disabilities Studies Program.
Lee added that the program "will be used to advance the awareness of disabilities issues in the U.S. and around the world."

This is a news service of Thomson Business Intelligence Service ©2006.

Tuesday, November 20, 2007

Latin Business Chronicle, Tuesday, November 13, 2007

Latin Business Chronicle, Tuesday, November 13, 2007

Colombia: Small Business Boom

Latin Business Chronicle

Colombia's improved security and economic growth doubles the survival rate of small business ventures.


Small business is booming in Colombia thanks to reduced violence and economic growth, a new report says. Other experts also point to Colombia reducing red tape and becoming more competitive. The new report comes as the International Monetary Fund praises Colombia for its strong GDP growth and macro economic stability.

"The survival rates of ventures [in Colombia] double after 2001," Wesley Sine, an assistant professor of management and organizations at Cornell University's Johnson School of Management, said in a statement yesterday. "Entrepreneurs are more likely to take risks in stable environments."


Along with Shon Hiatt, a Cornell graduate student in organizational behavior, Sine has written Declining Insurgencies, a study that investigates the welfare of Colombia's small business owners and is based on a decade of research of almost 1,000 entrepreneurs. Many of the businesses surveyed were mom-and-pop endeavors ranging from small convenience stores to auto repair shops to beauty salons and other family-run operations-the businesses most affected by neighborhood violence.

The study tracked the same entrepreneurs over a 10-year period, allowing Sine and Hiatt to measure the effects of changing political turmoil on entrepreneurial processes from year to year and from region to region in Colombia.

On a recent trip to Colombia, the authors observed that many businesses were more successful due to reduced levels of violence thanks to government crackdowns on guerrilla and paramilitary groups, and crime. "Once the fear of political violence and crime subsided, the entrepreneurs could focus on expanding their businesses," the statement says.


The study found that the amount of time entrepreneurs spend in expanding their social network has increased by about 10 percent, new product introductions by entrepreneurs have increased by 5 percent and the likelihood that entrepreneurs enter into new markets has increased by 5 percent. "These seemingly small changes produce huge ripple effects with survival rates for new ventures doubling in Colombia," the university said in the statement.

Although most Colombians were not directly affected by the violence in the country, the fear levels were high, causing small businesses to avoid risks, Sine says. "The collective fear was high, and small business people were afraid to take risks by expanding into new markets, trying out new products, and approaching other businesses and entrepreneurs that they didn't know," he says.

Entrepreneurs must network to succeed and won't grow if they are afraid to leave their immediate neighborhoods to meet potential customers and business partners because they fear for their personal safety, Sine points out.


The study cites the case of a Medellin entrepreneur who manufactured uniforms for factory workers. The entrepreneur, who had one factory with three sewing machines, could not grow his business because visiting potential clients outside his neighborhood was risky.

"Traveling to parts of the city with which he was not familiar could be dangerous due to high levels of violence, making him a target of local criminal and insurgent gangs," the statement says. "Moreover, doing business with companies that might have links to the paramilitaries would make him a target to other insurgent groups. So, he stayed home and only did business with existing customers who he knew and trusted."

However, as the violence and political uncertainty subsided, the entrepreneur began to take more risks. He began contacting more potential customers and a greater diversity of customers and expanded his product line to support organizations in different types of industries such as mining and industrial chemicals. "Today this entrepreneur has six factories and sells specialized protective uniforms to companies throughout Colombia," the university says in the statement.


Meanwhile, an IMF delegation visiting Colombia expressed strong faith in the country's economic policies and outlook. The IMF predicts that Colombia's economy will expand by 6.6 percent this year and another 4.8 percent next year. That follows GDP growth of 6.8 percent last year, the country’s best result in 28 years.

"Colombia's economic performance has been impressive," the fund said in a statement Friday. "Growth has been underpinned by the authorities' commitment to macroeconomic stability and the rising confidence in Colombia's long-term economic prospects."

Despite the progress in Colombia, local and foreign investors are eagerly awaiting U.S. congressional approval of the U.S.-Colombia free trade agreement that was concluded in February 2006. The U.S. House of Representatives last week approved the U.S.-Peru FTA, but congressional Democrats say they don't plan to approve the Colombia FTA any time soon.


Senator Hillary Clinton, the frontrunner among Democratic presidential hopefuls, issued a statement last week opposing the Colombia FTA. "I will oppose the pending trade agreements with South Korea, Colombia, and Panama," she said in a statement. "I am very concerned about the history of violence against trade unionists in Colombia."

The statement earned her a rebuke from President Alvaro Uribe. "This is an unforgivable lack of understanding of Colombia," he told reporters during the Ibero-American summit in Chile last week.

Meanwhile, U.S. business groups continue to lobby for the Colombia FTA. "We urge Congress to continue this positive momentum by acting swiftly to approve the pending trade promotion agreements with Colombia, Panama and South Korea," Michael Petricone, senior vice president of government affairs at the Consumer Electronics Association, said in a statement last week. "The CE industry relies upon innovation, and innovation can only flourish in a trading system free of unnecessary tariffs and obstacles."

© Copyright Latin Business Chronicle

Thursday, November 15, 2007

The New York Times, November 12, 2007, Monday

The New York Times, November 12, 2007

The New York Times

Big Apple Grapples With Multiple Showbiz Strikes

Published: November 12, 2007
Filed at 11:00 p.m. ET

NEW YORK (Hollywood Reporter) - Labor disputes have wrought what just a few months ago was unthinkable in contemporary New York: slowing the city's hard-charging entertainment industry.

From live theater to taped sitcoms, the biz in the Big Apple has been on an upward curve by nearly every metric over the past several years.

Broadway saw record receipts of $939 million last year, while New York film television production soared to more than 34,000 shooting days, easily the best in its history. Four late-night shows, network sitcoms like "30 Rock," cable series like "Damages" and countless movie shoots now call the city home.

But two strikes, though executed for different reasons and assuming different shapes, have managed to take the city to the same place: nowheresville.

On Monday, with 27 Broadway shows shut down by the Local One walkout, a spooky quiet settled above pockets of Times Square normally filled with carnival-style noise. The mood matched the stillness at the Ed Sullivan Theater and other venues around the city, where late-night shows in November are usually in full effect.

And if the soundstages at Steiner, Kaufman and Silvercup studios still hummed with business, that only obscured the day when the well of scripts runs dry and the lights go dim, at least on television productions.

Throw in a potential walkout later this week by CBS News writers and you have a city throwing more strikes than Roger Clemens.

The short-term economic impact to the city will be significant: about $17 million lost per day because of the Broadway shutdown, and the salaries for an estimated several thousand above- and below-the-line staffers on the city's television shows as a result of the writers walkout. The CBS News dispute could see an additional 500 staffers step away from their jobs.

Most experts agree that the stoppages won't cripple the New York economy, which with roots in advertising, fashion and finance is too diversified to suffer a meaningful hit from the strikes. But the effect on the city's entertainment sector could be more substantial.

"I don't think it will change the structure in the long term. But it will have many consequences in the short term, and it's going to take time to reconstruct the industry," said William Greene, an economics professor at NYU's Stern School of Business who specializes in entertainment. Greene likened the reconstruction period to the time it takes for sports leagues to reclaim fans after a labor stoppage.

The fallout from sports strikes tend to be geographically distributed; the current set of strikes will have its effects concentrated in just a few places, particularly New York.

Without a quick resolution to the stagehand walkout, tourism experts expect some visitors to cancel holiday trips built around theater-going.

On the film and television front, meanwhile, the writers strike could unravel years of progress from Mayor Michael Bloomberg, who has made entertainment production a hallmark of his two terms.

After a steady series of increases, the city's Mayor's Office of Film, Theatre and Broadcasting now has $30 million to give away in tax rebates annually. But if the strike continues, it might not have anyone to give them to.

Bloomberg and insiders at City Hall frequently like to point out that soundstages and city streets are booked to overcapacity (the streets are so crowded with crews that this year "The Bourne Ultimatum" and the Spike Lee pilot "M.O.N.Y." actually wound up shooting the same car crash on a Lower Manhattan street).

But New York entertainment insiders privately fret that for the first time in years there could be space to book at the city's three soundstages. (Reps from Steiner and Silvercup did not return calls for comment.)

The city's cultural capital might be hit as well. One writer on the picket line last week noted that network paychecks kept a number of writers afloat in a pricey city like New York. "If there are no shows to work on, I wouldn't be surprised if some writers either leave the city or leave the industry."

What makes the effects so surprising is that they're caused by a disparate set of factors: the stagehand strike is focused on a set of narrow work-rules disagreements. The writers strike stems from broad and amorphous issues about the future consumption of media.

But if the two diverge in scope, they also might share underlying motivations.

"Even thought the topics of the two strikes are different, they're both being driven by the changing nature of the industries and the increased concentration of ownership," Cornell University labor economist Richard Hurd said. "The view of the conglomerates is that they have to minimize costs and maximize returns, and the unions feel that they're not getting what they deserve. There are moral principles at stake for both."

And moral principles means that the impact could be felt for a long time.

Reuters/Hollywood Reporter