Thursday, May 28, 2009

States News Service, May 27, 2009, Wednesday

Copyright 2009 States News Service
States News Service

May 27, 2009, Wednesday

Major Academic Study Finds No Union Intimidation from Majority Sign Up



The following information was released by the AFL-CIO:

Majority sign up does not cause union or employer intimidation, according to a new report released by departments at University of Illinois, Rutgers University, Cornell University, and University of Oregon. Participants analyzed data from public sector workers in New York, New Jersey, Illinois, and Oregon for six years and found that out of more than 34,000 people who joined unions through majority sign up, a process sometimes referred to as card check, there was not a hint of union or employer intimidation.

The report states:

In brief, from 2003-2009, a total of 34,148 public sector workers employed in state, county, municipal and educa-tional institutions voluntarily joined a union. Most importantly, contrary to business claims, in 1,073 cases of union cer-tification and in at least 1,359 majority-authorization campaigns, there was not a single confirmed incidence of union misconduct.

The report comes as Congress considers the Employee Free Choice Act, legislation that will give workers back the freedom to bargain with corporations for better wages and benefits. It includes a majority sign up provision which gives workers the choice of how to form a union rather than leaving that choice in employers' hands, as it is under current law. Opponents claim this will lead to intimidation and coercion from unions, but according to today's report, that simply isn't true.

Today's report proves, once again, that corporations are leveling baseless allegations in a desperate attempt to pre-vent workers who want a union from forming one, said AFL-CIO President John Sweeney. Unions are the single best ticket in our nation to the middle class for working men and women. The Employee Free Choice Act returns to workers the freedom to form and join a union to improve their lives.

According to the findings, the lack of intimidation on either side also shows that when there is a clear path to form-ing a union, the workplace as a whole functions more smoothly with no friction.

The report concludes:

As is true in so many other policy areas, on the subject of union representation the states are incubators for new ideas and practices. New York, New Jersey, Illinois and Oregon have demonstrated that a majority-authorization peti-tion can genuinely determine the will of the employees to be unionized and provides a functional, largely non-adversarial and event-less process for insuring a fair work environment for everyone.

According to the report, the states' laws are very similar to the proposed Employee Free Choice Act majority sign up provision. The report was commissioned by the United Association for Labor Education.

The report was authored by Robert Bruno, Associate Professor and Director of the Labor Education Program, Uni-versity of Illinois School of Labor and Employment Relations; Adrienne E. Eaton, Professor, Department of Labor Studies and Employment Relations, Rutgers University; Sally Alvarez, Director of Labor Programs, Extension Division School of Industrial and Labor Relations, Cornell University; Lynn Feekin, Instructor, University of Oregon Labor Education and Research Center.
To view the report, go to:
Contact: Alison Omens/Joshua Scannell, 202-637-5018

LOAD-DATE: May 27, 2009

Telecommunications Weekly, May 27, 2009, Wednesday

Copyright 2009 Telecommunications Weekly via
Telecommunications Weekly

May 27, 2009, Wednesday

HEADLINE: Union Ironworkers Support Project Labor Agreement Study

The skilled tradesmen who do more than you can imagine Union Ironworkers are in full support of the recently released study titled Project Labor Agreements in New York State: In the Public Interest by Fred B. Kotler, the Associate Director of the Construction Industry Program at the Cornell School of Industrial and Labor Relations. Union Ironworkers support the results of the independent study affirming that a Project Labor Agreement (PLA) is an effective construction management tool for quality construction.

The use of PLAs on construction projects has successfully ensured work for ironworkers who are well-trained and capable of completing projects in a timely manner. Our proud union fully supports the use of PLA s and will con-tinue to do our part with other building trades as we coordinate our work and fulfill our requirements based on these agreements, said Joseph Hunt, general president of the International Association of Bridge, Structural, Ornamental and Reinforcing Iron Workers.

According to Kotler s study, PLAs provide job stability and prevent costly delays by providing a uniform contract expiration date guaranteeing no-strikes and no-lockouts, providing alternative dispute resolution proce-dures and assuring that contractors get immediate access to a pool of well-trained and highly-skilled workers through union referral procedures.

According to the National Building Trades, Ironworkers and other building trade unions successfully completed 34 documented PLA projects in 2008. Between 2004 and 2008 103 PLA projects were completed. Additional PLA pro-jects are and have been negotiated on the state and local level. These agreements may include various owner require-ments and are not typically reported on the national level due to variances within the resolution dispute procedures. About Union Ironworkers Members of the International Association of Bridge, Structural, Ornamental and Reinforcing Iron Workers are part of the construction trades. It is their job to unload, erect and connect steel beams that form the skeleton of a structure in addition to working in precast concrete, metal buildings, reinforcing steel, ornamental iron and metal curtain wall construction. Throughout the United States and Canada there are over 120,000 union Ironworkers in local hiring halls and fabrication shops. More information can be found at or

Keywords: AT & T, Telecommunications, Union Ironworkers.
This article was prepared by Telecommunications Weekly editors from staff and other reports. Copyright 2009, Telecommunications Weekly via

LOAD-DATE: May 21, 2009

Bloomberg, May 26, 2009, Tuesday


May 26, 2009, Tuesday


GM Canada Contract Cuts Labor Costs, Would Help Bankruptcy Exit

By Katie Merx

May 26 (Bloomberg) -- General Motors Corp., working on labor agreements to help speed its exit from a probable bankruptcy, won union approval of a cost-saving contract to protect jobs in Canada.

The Canadian Auto Workers, representing about 9,000 hourly employees, ratified the accord yesterday with 86 percent of the vote, letting GM freeze pension payments until 2015 and cut new hires’ pay. The United Auto Workers will present a tentative U.S. contract today to plant-level leaders in Detroit.

Shrinking labor expenses would give GM a boost in a court- ordered restructuring. Many bondholders have said they will reject GM’s plan to swap equity for $27 billion in debt by today, imperiling Chief Executive Officer Fritz Henderson’s goal of getting 90 percent approval to avoid bankruptcy.

“The conventional wisdom is that bankruptcy is imminent,” said Harley Shaiken, a labor professor at the University of California at Berkeley. He said the UAW would ratify its accord “to secure what it can before the bankruptcy, put pressure on the bondholders, and engage the larger political momentum.”

The biggest U.S. automaker must reorganize in court if it can’t do so on its own by June 1, the deadline set by President Barack Obama. Detroit-based GM is being propped up with $19.4 billion in emergency U.S. loans and projects needing $7.6 billion more after June 1.

Canada Pay

The CAW agreement would pay newly hired employees 70 percent of the full wage, increasing to 100 percent over six years, cut one week of paid time off and set the groundwork for negotiating a health-care trust to cover retiree medical costs, according to highlights shared with GM workers.

“This has been a grueling restructuring process, and no one has felt that more than our members and retirees,” CAW President Ken Lewenza said in a May 24 statement.

Approval of the contract positions the automaker to receive unspecified Canadian government aid the CAW said was necessary to keep GM Canada from being liquidated.

The UAW, representing about 54,000 GM hourly workers, hasn’t released the details of its tentative agreement.

People briefed at UAW meetings in Cleveland this month said the U.S. union retirees would give up dental and vision coverage as well as some prescription-drug benefits.

Those changes would match reductions that start as soon as July 1 for retirees at Chrysler LLC, which is already in bankruptcy. Cuts in unemployment benefits and work-rule changes at GM also would be similar, the people said.

GM has proposed that the UAW swap $20 billion of the automaker’s obligations to a retiree health-care trust for $10 billion in cash paid out over an unspecified period, and as much as 39 percent of the equity in a restructured company.

U.S. Agreement

“I would be surprised if the UAW deal passed with less than 75 percent approval,” said Art Wheaton, an industrial- relations specialist at Cornell University. “If it doesn’t get ratified, they get whatever the bankruptcy judge thinks they should get. In terms of who has the most to lose in this, it’s the workers.”

GM has about 522,000 union retirees and dependents. Only current workers vote on new contracts.

More cost cuts are coming. GM is likely to offer another round of buyout and retirement incentives, people familiar with the matter have said. GM has shed about 67,500 union jobs with similar programs since 2005. Its initial 2009 buyout consisted of a $25,000 voucher toward a new auto and $20,000 in cash.

GM is trimming salaried positions, eliminating 14 percent already this year. The automaker plans for a new set of cuts this month that may be similar in scope, and focused on North America, people familiar with the matter said this month.

Deadline Rush

The automaker is rushing to complete as many pieces of its restructuring plan as possible in advance of the Obama administration’s bankruptcy deadline.

Bondholders have so far been unwilling to accept GM’s offer that they take 225 shares in a newly created entity for each $1,000 in principal before the automaker executes a 1-for-100 reverse split of the stock. Their stake in a reorganized company would be 10 percent under GM’s government-backed restructuring plan.

GM’s offer expires at 11:59 p.m. in New York today. An ad hoc committee of large GM bondholders called the offer “neither reasonable nor adequate” and proposed a 58 percent stake. That offer hasn’t been adopted.

Individual GM bondholders have also opposed the automaker’s offer. A group that calls itself Main Street Bondholders has held rallies across the U.S. asking for inclusion in restructuring talks and better exchange terms.

A second group, GM Bondholders Unite, is trying to gather investors and hire legal representation to get “fair and equitable treatment” in any GM bankruptcy filing, according to the group’s Web site.

“In terms of the bondholder vote, no way can they get approval for what the government has offered,” said Maryann Keller, an auto analyst and president of Maryann Keller & Associates in Stamford, Connecticut. “There isn’t really much time to get agreement and I think the bondholders have expressed a generally negative reaction to what the government has offered.”

A GM bankruptcy is inevitable, Keller said, and may not be “as easy” as Chrysler’s because of the array of bondholders.

The U.S. and Canadian union agreements are intended to help GM reduce hourly labor costs so it can return to profit after a restructuring with or without court protection.

Government officials in Canada had said the CAW needed to make its local labor costs comparable with those for Toyota Motor Corp. Prime Minister Stephen Harper said May 22 the government was “committed” to helping GM restructure.

With new labor agreements, the unions can’t be made a scapegoat, said Gary Chaison, a professor of industrial relations at Clark University in Worcester, Massachusetts.

“They can say, now, that they did all that they could,” Chaison said. “If GM goes into bankruptcy, they’ll be able to say it wasn’t their fault.”

To contact the reporter on this story: Katie Merx in Southfield, Michigan, at

Last Updated: May 26, 2009 11:17 EDT

Journal Gazette, May 24, 2009, Sunday

Journal Gazette

May 24, 2009, Sunday

Journal Gazette

Auto bailouts aim to buck history

’75 British effort failed, but experts say economy, labor different now

By Marty Schladen

British Leyland Motor Corp. was once a lot like General Motors Corp.

When it was formed in 1968, British Leyland was the No. 1 carmaker in the United Kingdom, the proud producer of Jaguar, Rover, Triumph, MG and other popular vehicles.

But spiking oil prices, outdated production plants, poor management and worse labor relations helped push the company to the brink of collapse, prompting a government investment of about $9 billion in today’s dollars over five years.

The government rescue didn’t work, but it parallels in some respects efforts by the U.S. government to save General Motors and Chrysler LLC.

Both governments made downsizing big, inefficient car companies a precondition of taxpayer money. But experts and those involved in the U.S. auto industry point out there are vast differences between the England of 1975 and the United States of 2009 and their automakers.

“The degree of crisis is different,” said Lee H. Adler, a professor at Cornell University’s Industrial and Labor Relations School in Ithaca, N.Y.

The Labour government in England assumed control of British Leyland at a time when inflation ran as high as 25 percent and unions were notorious for walking out even when their own leaders told them not to.

The U.S. government started lending money to GM and Chrysler about six months ago at a time when inflation was essentially zero, credit was frozen and workers feared for their jobs as auto sales dipped.

“Both governments recognized there was going to be a catastrophe and a lot of voters were going to lose their jobs,” said Michael Hicks, director of Ball State University’s Center for Business and Economic Research. “But that’s where the comparison ends.”

One big difference has to do with the role of the governments.

The British government took the reins of Leyland, a company the government helped create seven years earlier by pushing the merger of England’s two largest carmakers, Leyland Motors and British Motor Holdings.

In the United States, the federal government has lent General Motors and Chrysler cash that could be converted to an ownership stake in the companies. But the Obama administration says it wants GM and Chrysler to make hard choices needed to become profitable so it can get out of the car business as quickly as possible.

It has already rejected austerity plans from both companies. It allowed Chrysler to slide into bankruptcy at the end of April, and it could let GM suffer the same fate soon.

The plan is to use bankruptcy protection to force on bondholders and employees largely represented by the United Auto Workers bitter medicine they otherwise aren’t willing to take.

Some critics say the U.S. government’s venture still will end up the same as that in England, but Hicks says that misreads what’s happening now.

“The Labour government (in England) really took excessive steps,” he said. “It was essentially a socialist government. What’s happening today is very different.”

Another big difference has to do with the role of organized labor.

With inflation running well into double digits, the Labour government in England sought to control prices by limiting pay raises for Leyland’s production workers.

Union leaders consented to the measure, but autoworkers struck for a month in 1977 anyway, bringing Leyland to the brink of collapse, according to contemporary news reports. The workers backed down only when Hugh Scanlon, leader of the powerful Engineers Union, said he wouldn’t protest if Leyland fired the wildcatters – workers who strike without the authorization of their union.

That strike was hardly the only disruption as Leyland tried to control wages and cut its workforce.

Between 1978 and 1979, union leader Derek Robinson led 523 walkouts at Longbridge, Leyland’s largest plant, the BBC reported in 2005.

Partly due to the strife with the Leyland unions, the Conservative party defeated the Labour government in the 1979 elections and swept Margaret Thatcher into the prime minister’s office.

Her goal was to crush the unions, said Cornell’s Adler. By the 1980s, the habitual strikes lost much of their emotion.

Jonathan Moss now owns an Auburn-based construction consulting business with his wife. But in the 1980s, he still lived in his native England, and for a time he drove every day past strikers at a Leyland plant in Oxfordshire.

“For weeks and weeks, there were picket lines, but they were fairly passive,” Moss said. “By that point, they were fairly resigned.”

Contrast that with the United Auto Workers’ 2007 agreement – without strikes – to a wage system that pays new hires $14 an hour and to take over a retiree health plan for less than its expected liability. Then, in separate negotiations with GM and Chrysler this year, the UAW has agreed to accept stock instead of cash for at least part of that health care liability.

It’s a far cry from England’s strikes of the ’70s, said Hicks of Ball State.

“The UAW has really made an attempt to cooperate,” he said. “I give (UAW President) Ron Gettelfinger a lot of credit for ending the antagonistic relationship.”

And unlike Thatcher, President Obama isn’t at war with manufacturing unions.

“Now the president feels like he needs to save the auto industry,” Adler said. “He doesn’t feel like he needs to pulverize the unions.”

As the economy has become more global, it has become easier for manufacturers to move production overseas and for foreign carmakers to open non-union factories in the U.S. That might be part of the reason relations between American carmakers and the UAW are more cordial now than those between Leyland and British carmakers were in the 1970s.

“When I first went to work, it was more of an adversarial relationship. We had more power,” said Orval Plumlee, a 32-year autoworker and president of UAW Local 2209, which represents production workers at GM’s Allen County assembly plant. “Now we’re more of a partnership. I don’t know if I agree with that, but it’s a reality and a necessity.”

Important cultural differences might also have made Leyland’s problems with its unions worse than the U.S. automakers have had with theirs. Several newspaper articles from the 1970s blamed the British class system for a workplace where management didn’t communicate with labor.

In February 1979, 19,000 Leyland workers struck for weeks after losing a pay increase for not meeting productivity targets. Management never told workers what the productivity targets were, the New York Times reported.

It’s not certain how the U.S. government’s venture into the car business will turn out, but it’s a different venture than the one England undertook 34 years ago.

The Wall Street Journal, May 21, 2009, Thursday

The Wall Street Journal

May 21, 2009, Thursday

The Wall Street Journal

Union's Rich Assets Recall the Glory Days


The United Auto Workers is sitting on $1.2 billion in assets, making it, by that measure, the richest union in the country by far.

Among the UAW's assets: $700 million in U.S. Treasury securities; $321 million in other investments, mainly securities; and $100 million in fixed assets, including a $3 million townhouse in Washington's Dupont Circle and a $33 million lakeside retreat and golf course.

Altogether, the union's investments generated about $38 million in interest in 2008, according to the UAW's latest filing with the Labor Department.

The auto industry's implosion has hurt the union, leaving it with fewer dues-paying members. Last year, it took in $161 million in dues from 431,000 people, according to its filings, down from $206.5 million from 654,000 members four years ago.

But the union can't readily use its funds to help members who lose their jobs -- or to cover operational costs or provide money for political campaigns, according to Jerry Tucker, a former UAW regional director. Most of its assets are tied up in its strike-assistance fund, which had $871 million at the end of 2007.

In recent years, the union hasn't had many big strikes, and under its recent agreement with Chrysler LLC, it gave up the right to strike for six years. But in 1970, about 660,000 UAW members struck for 10 weeks, consuming most of the then-$900 million fund, Mr. Tucker says.

Long term, the UAW's financial health could hinge on what happens to the union-operated trust funds covering retiree health-care benefits. "That potential liability could be enormous," says John Russo, a co-director of the Center for Working-Class Studies at Youngstown State University in Ohio.

If the funds -- which are expected to be backed by Chrysler and General Motors Corp. stock in the future -- fall short, the union might be forced to dip into its treasury to cover some costs.

The UAW's most notable asset is the Walter and May Reuther Family Education Center, which includes the Black Lake Golf Club and 1,000 heavily forested acres in Onaway, Mich.

The union bought the property in 1967. It included a hunting lodge once used by auto executives and celebrities, including Lucille Ball and Desi Arnaz, who honeymooned there in 1940.

The UAW named its new property after its longtime president, whose ashes were scattered there following his death in 1970.

The Onaway site was envisioned as a place to train Detroit workers at week-long conferences. After a renovation in the 1990s, the property has a gym with two full-sized basketball courts, an Olympic-size indoor pool, exercise facilities, table tennis and pool tables, a sauna, beaches, trails for hiking and biking, sports fields and a boat-launch ramp.

The center offers courses on leadership, political action and civil rights, hosting about 10,000 visitors annually.

In 2000, at the height of the SUV boom, the union commissioned the $6.7 million golf course. Named the No. 2 "Best New Upscale Public Course" in North America that year, it's ranked 34th on Golf Digest's current list of America's 100 Greatest Public Courses.

But the resort has been a drain on the union, losing an estimated $23 million in the past five years and forcing the UAW to borrow to keep it afloat. Given the union's current troubles, it has become a sore point for many members.

UAW members and retirees can golf at a discount, but according to retiree and union dissident Gregg Shotwell, "It's more designed for the upper echelon in the UAW." He says, "We're supporting a luxury that doesn't add value to the union."

"I heard the golf course is spectacular," adds 40-year-old Ed Kasprisin, who has been laid off from GM's Lordstown, Ohio, plant. He says he took a weeklong course at the education center in 2002 and never saw the course. "Is that a necessity in these times? Probably not," he says.

But even if the UAW wanted to sell the course, it might have a tough time. "People are not going out and buying golf courses," says Arthur Wheaton, who teaches industry education at Cornell University. And especially, he says, not one so remote.

A UAW spokesman declined to comment for this article.

The New York Times, May 20, 2009, Wednesday

The New York Times

May 20, 2009, Wednesday

The New York Times

Study Says Antiunion Tactics Are Becoming More Common


A new study by a Cornell University professor of 1,004 union organizing drives has found that employers threatened to close plants in 57 percent of the campaigns and threatened to cut wages and benefits in 47 percent.

The study, to be released Wednesday, also found that employers fired pro-union workers in 34 percent of the campaigns. And it asserted that management’s antiunion tactics had helped pushed down the unionization rate to 12.4 percent, from 22 percent three decades ago.

Titled “No Holds Barred: The Intensification of Employer Opposition to Organizing,” the report is likely to be heavily cited, quoted, praised and denounced in the debate over whether Congress should enact legislation that would make it easier for workers to unionize.

The study found that “the aspirations for representation are being thwarted by a coercive and punitive climate for organizing that goes unrestrained due to a fundamentally flawed regulatory regime.”

The author of the study, Kate Bronfenbrenner, is director of labor education research at the Cornell University School of Industrial and Labor Relations and has often been criticized by business groups for her pro-union positions.

Randel K. Johnson, vice president for labor, immigration and employee benefits at the United States Chamber of Commerce, noted that numerous unions and pro-labor groups helped finance the study.

“Kate’s long been allied with the union movement and has issued studies in favor of the Employee Free Choice Act the last few years,” Mr. Johnson said. “She is certainly not an objective source.”

Ms. Bronfenbrenner said her research had been reviewed and approved by her peers. “I am an objective scholar,” she said. “There are no neutrals in this field of academia. I used the highest, methodological standards possible.”

She said her study was based on a random sample of 1,004 unionization elections from early 1999 to late 2003 and relied on a review of National Labor Relations Board cases and documents, as well as surveys of 562 lead union organizers.

In 63 percent of the elections, the study found, supervisors used one-on-one meetings to interrogate workers about whether they or co-workers supported a union. (It is illegal under federal law to interrogate workers about such matters.)

In 54 percent, she found, supervisors used the meetings to threaten workers.

Her study found that employers used 10 or more types of antiunion tactics in 49 percent of unionization drives, up from the 26 percent she found in a similar study 12 years ago.

Business Day (South Africa), May 19, 2009, Tuesday

Copyright 2009 BDFM Publishers PTY Ltd.
All Rights Reserved
Business Day (South Africa)

May 19, 2009, Tuesday

HEADLINE: Resources are limited, HR must raise its game

BYLINE: Stefan Stern


Resources are limited, HR must raise its game

Speaking the truth to power ought to be part of any senior HR manager's job, writes

TO ADAPT that key question concerning the Romans posed by Reg, the not very heroic leader of the People's Front of Judea in Monty Python's Life of Brian: "What has HR ever done for us?"

We know the usual answer. It is delivered with a sneer and a derisive snort. HR managers are the "abominable 'No' men" (and women, too, of course). They get together to form "business prevention units". This relentless carping has undermined their self-confidence and surveys confirm that HR people worry that colleagues do not take them seriously. They struggle to influence the corporate agenda.

The financial crisis has only made things worse. HR is summoned to redundancy negotiations but may then be ig-nored. And now questions are being asked about what HR did or did not do to help avert this crisis in the first place.

At a private meeting in London last week, hosted by the Corporate Research Forum, a management think-tank, senior HR professionals discussed whether they should have spoken up sooner about corporate excess. One said some HR directors at the banks had expressed regret at their failure to stay the hands of their CEO - but added that another had admitted privately that, in his case, there would have been no point in trying.

Don't get the wrong idea. This gathering was pretty upbeat.

There was a refreshing lack of traditional HR self-flagellation.

Here was a group of people steeling themselves to make a much bigger impact on their organisations. But in addi-tion to Reg's initial question we must also ask: to what problem is HR the solution? HR's true believers reply: without us there can be no sustained high performance.

CRF presented the meeting with a report on the future of HR.

At its heart lay the question of governance. Some boards and senior management teams have failed to exercise proper control over their organisations in recent years. Those top-level discussions have been lacking something. Maybe a credible and influential HR director would be the best person to speak up.

Also attending the meeting was Patrick Wright, professor at Cornell university's school of industrial and labour relations, in the US. In his many discussions with business leaders he has found that there are concerns about the way ethical issues can get downplayed, or even completely ignored, because nobody else in a senior role will raise them. Guess who gets volunteered to do so? "The HR director is told: 'You need to get this on the table'," he says. Not easy - especially when you have little idea how much public support you will receive from your colleagues.

Perhaps, Prof Wright suggests, the HR director needs to become a kind of "chief integrity officer", who could avoid being penalised if the chief executive's appetite for integrity turns out to be limited.

CRF's report makes other suggestions. The HR director should be involved in the selection and assessment of board members. He or she could monitor how well the board operates, design a performance management system and write development plans for each board member. And have a say in what they get paid.

The ultimate goal for HR, though, is "organisational effectiveness" - helping to create a "high-performance envi-ronment as well as a capable workforce", the CRF report suggests. Talent management, skills and leadership develop-ment, dealing with change - these and other "people issues" are all on their agenda.

It seems plain that CEOs and other senior managers should focus more carefully on what they want the HR team to do for them. One HR director told last week's meeting that, on being appointed, the CEO had declared: "I know what I don't want from you. But I'm not sure what I do want."

Can the HR director act as a coach to the CEO and other senior managers? That will depend on the openness of the relationships at the top - and also on the courage of HR directors. One is quoted in the report as saying: "My CEO ex-pects to be challenged and receive insights about his leadership style. I tell him things he won't hear anywhere else.

He has learned the hard way that this is in his own interests."

That may not sound like many HR directors you know. But speaking the truth to power ought to be part of any senior HR manager's job.

Still not convinced that HR has anything to offer you? Turn to last July's Harvard Business Review, where two re-cent Harvard MBAs, Matthew Breitfelder and Daisy Wademan, talk proudly about their commitment to their adopted discipline. "In business school, we were trained to seek out underappreciated investment opportunities and to create value in surprising places," they wrote. "We see an undervalued and underpriced asset in the HR function itself, one that is poised to appreciate significantly."

Wademan is no fool. When she co-authored this article she was still a VP in HR for the investment bank Lehman Brothers. But by the end of the summer, before Lehman collapsed, she had secured a safe berth at Morgan Stanley. Human resourcefulness personified.

LOAD-DATE: May 22, 2009

Trinidad Express, May 19, 2009, Tuesday

Trinidad Express

May 19, 2009, Tuesday

Trinidad Express

Efficiency of educational systems

Jerome De Lisle

Traditionally, Caribbean governments spend substantially on education and that is increasingly true for other countries in Latin America. However, in an era of declining income, educational efficiency must become the mantra for governments and other stakeholders in education. Limited funding means that education consumers must get greater value for the monies that they put out.

According to UNESCO, efficiency refers to the relationship between the inputs into a system and the outputs from that system. Therefore, an education system is said to be efficient if it can maximise outputs from a given input. So the question is: To what extent are education systems in the Caribbean maximising our returns given the high investment in education? Efficiency then relates to the quality of an education system; its ability to produce valued outcomes with minimum expenditure.

Two recent articles written by academics outside this country using local data may shed some light on the issue of efficiency in the education system.

The first study is by Sandra Schrouder, an adjunct staff member of the Florida Atlantic University, who undertook a comparative analysis of educational efficiency in the Caribbean. In her study, she compares five countries, including Trinidad and Tobago, using a simple input-output model.

The other study is by Clement Jackson of Cornell University,who produced a paper on ability grouping and academic inequality. He provides data on the efficiency of secondary school as he tracks students who took the Eleven Plus examination and compares their performance at O-Level.

Schrouder believes that given the investment in education, returns by the education system are insufficient. She measures both participation and attainment rates at various levels. Jackson's study is focused on the way the education system is organised, especially at the secondary school level. The presence of a differentiated system in which only 15 per cent of students attend elite schools, he suggests, is not efficient. His data also suggest that elite schools may not add as much value as one might expect.

These are sound findings when viewed from the perspective of data from international assessments that compare the performance across nation states. Currently, T&T is enrolled in two major international assessments, the IEA Progress in Reading Literacy Survey (PIRLS) and the OECD Programme for International Student Assessment (PISA). The data from past studies in these assessments show that even in oil-rich countries like Kuwait, equity and quality remain issues.

We might conclude that it is not so much how much money you invest in the inputs, but how you use that money that contributes most towards system effectiveness. A national education system must be built to ensure system goals rather than structured to perpetuate myths such as those embodied in the beliefs associated with elitism.

This is not just an issue for governments alone but it also relates to core beliefs and desires of some major stakeholders. For example, the retention of a differentiated secondary school system is not peculiar to Trinidad and Tobago and the Caribbean; however, some systems have moved beyond that to improve significantly the outcomes or perceived value of all schools.

At times, some have benchmarked the educational development of T&T with that of Singapore. Some have the misguided belief that Singapore's development in the field of education is only recent. Singapore did become self-governing in 1959 and separated from Malaysia in 1965, but its driving forces in educational development have been very different to countries in the Anglophone Caribbean.

The primary aim for Singapore was to develop an education system that could support the development of an industrialised economy. This required systematic attention to issues of equity and quality amidst expansion. In the late 1970s, Singapore's education system took a significant turn based on a study of educational wastage and literacy levels. Evidenced-based decision making led to the era called "sustainable development through an efficiency-driven education, 1978-1997."

Perhaps the way forward for T&T is to focus on evidenced-based decision-making in education policy formulation. As some have argued, sourcing the evidence is an integral part of the process. Research-based evidence derived from empirical and qualitative studies might provide deeper insight into current perplexing issues and the way forward. The state currently supports research, in general, through direct funding to higher education institutions. This is laudable, but now there is need for greater applicability, access, and use of research findings.

School of Education

UWI, St Augustine

The Courier-Journal (Louisville), May 18, 2009, Monday

Copyright 2009 The Courier-Journal (Louisville, KY)
All Rights Reserved
The Courier-Journal (Louisville, Kentucky)

May 18, 2009, Monday

HEADLINE: Ford's workers making bold moves South

ll winter I've been working, been making cars in Detroit.

But tomorrow morning, I will be checking out.

I am leaving Detroit.

I am heading South.

-- Bluegrass singer Danny Paisley & The Southern Grass, 2008

When Ford Motor Co. offered autoworkers in Detroit the opportunity to transfer to its truck plant in Kentucky, Joe DeBono said he leapt at the chance.

His favorite haunt in suburban Detroit, a sports bar owned by his sister, was nearly empty on most nights. He'd seen neighbors in his downriver suburb of Redford let homes slide into foreclosure.

Friends, co-workers and family were losing jobs.

"It hit everybody. People you would never see hurting were scrimping to get by," said DeBono, 41. "People don't have the money to spend, or they are too depressed to spend, or too scared to do anything. "

So in January, DeBono traded duties touching up paint jobs at the Michigan Assembly Plant in Wayne, Mich., for a new job loading stamped sheet metal at the Kentucky Truck Plant on Chamberlain Lane.

He's among two dozen United Auto Workers who recently came south to work for Ford in Louisville -- part of the leading edge of what Deborah Dwork, a history professor specializing in migration at Clark University in Worcester, Mass., calls a wave of economic refugees.
Of the 84 counties in Michigan, 60 are losing population as economically distressed residents move, she said.

States like Kentucky, Georgia, Texas and Oklahoma, where unemployment still ranks lower than Ohio, Michigan and other industrialized states, will become new homes for "potentially hundreds of thousands of Americans," Dwork said.

"There is a national movement afoot," she said. "We are only beginning to see it now."

Though many of the Ford migrants had never been to Kentucky, they said that the move seemed like a good bet, with plants that seem well positioned within the company's future plans.

This year, the Kentucky Truck Plant took over production of the Expedition and Lincoln Navigator sport-utility ve-hicles from Michigan Assembly, broadening a portfolio that already included Ford's F-Series Super Duty pickups.

And while the Louisville Assembly Plant continues to make the less-favored Explorer SUVs, it's been promised a makeover by 2011 to produce small cars.

The transplant policy

The Michigan transplants were part of 400 new arrivals in January who boosted Kentucky
Truck's union work force to 3,800.

Most of those new workers transferred from the Louisville Assembly Plant across town, where the work force has dwindled to 1,466 people who labor one week on, one week off, on just one shift, to make the Ford Explorer.

The hundreds who came from outside the state took advantage of so-called "transfer rights."

Many industrial unions have provisions that require employers to relocate employees to plants where more work is available, said Richard W. Hurd, professor of labor at Cornell University in New York, but the UAW has stronger transfer rights than most unions.

Transfers are based on a worker's seniority with the company, regardless of their location.
The transplanted Michigan workers' old plant in Wayne, just outside of Detroit, is undergoing a $550 million con-version of its own, from building jumbo SUVs to gas and hybrid versions of the small Focus cars.

Still, the workers who have relocated here said they believe there's a brighter future outside Michigan.

Michigan's unemployment in April reached 12.6 percent, the highest in the United States.
And with 13 times more auto jobs than any other state, Michigan's stagger- ing unemployment rate is uniquely tied to the still uncertain auto industry, which has shed 500,000 jobs in recent years, said Michigan Gov. Jennifer Granholm.

"This is our Katrina," she recently told National Public Radio. "It has been death here by 500,000 cuts."

After 30 years with Ford, Clarence Paylor, 50, said he came to Louisville after a disturbing series of incidents near his home on Detroit's working-class west side.

Last fall, thieves stripped aluminum siding from the garage outside his small, wood-frame ranch home.

That was one of "the things I never saw before," Paylor said of the recession's ravages on his neighborhood. "De-troit looks dead. The city looks deflated because everybody is moving out."
Well-calculated risk

Transplant workers like DeBono and Paylor note that in Louisville, unlike Michigan, "Help Wanted" signs can still be found, albeit for low-wage retail and restaurant jobs.

A declining manufacturing industry has definitely hurt Louisville. It has lost 21,800 such jobs since 2000, accord-ing to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics.

But the area's economy is more diversified than southeastern Michigan, said Robert Dye, a senior economist who follows the region from PNC Bank headquarters in Pittsburgh.

Louisville's economy is bolstered by the UPS hub; the healthcare industry, including Humana; and Yum! Brands, to name a few, Dye said.

It helps, too, he said, that Ford has specific plans for both of its plants here -- they "seem to be relatively stable."

Many of the transplant workers spoke of hopes that federal stimulus funding will jumpstart the long-suffering housing and construction industry, a rebound they predict will boost demand for Super Duty pickups.

"If our president gets the economy going at all, they are going to need trucks," said Amy Reese, 37, a single Ford worker who left her New Boston, Mich., home for a new start here.

"This product is not going anywhere," she added. "Ford does not build this truck anywhere else."

The big adjustment

Each Ford plant has its own culture, said Cash, who relocated from a Ford plant in Ohio a decade ago.

"We want them to be comfortable here," he said. "We are doing our best to help them feel at home."

For now, DeBono said he commutes home six hours each way to Redford on weekends, where his stepdaughter is completing her senior year of high school. He doesn't expect to be able to sell his house there any time soon, but DeBono said that he and his wife hope to rent it and buy in Louisville by fall.

With 14 years at Ford, DeBono said he's not looking back.

The medical benefits available from Ford are worth relocation in expectation of more job security, he said, noting that his wife, Kathie DeBono, 43, suffers from multiple sclerosis.

When he is not working the graveyard shift, DeBono retreats to an apartment near the plant off Westport Road.

"I miss having a house and a yard and dogs. I am trying not to spend money," he said. "Next year, hopefully, life will be kind of back to normal."

Reporter Jere Downs can be reached at (502) 582-4669.

LOAD-DATE: May 19, 2009

Rochester Democrat, May 17, 2009, Sunday

Copyright 2009 Rochester Democrat and Chronicle
All Rights Reserved
Rochester Democrat and Chronicle (New York)

May 17, 2009, Sunday

HEADLINE: Uneven pain

BYLINE: Jim Stinson

Kevin Hoock was the longest tenured employee at the Tyco Electronics Corp. plant in Brighton when he was laid off last September. The manufacturing supervisor had worked at the plant for 28 years.

He received a severance package and left with his 401(k) retirement savings. But eight months later, Hoock, 53, still hasn't found another job.

He and his wife don't want to leave the region. "My roots are here, my parents are here," said the Henrietta resident. More than that, the Hoocks lost their 17-year-old son, Trevor, to an illness in 2003 and regularly visit his grave.

People like Hoock - a white man in the 45-to-54 age category - haven't experienced joblessness in the numbers they are now since the federal government began tracking employment by demographic groups in the early 1950s. Almost 8 percent of men in that group are unemployed.

Nationwide numbers show that the current recession, which originated in the white-collar canyons of Wall Street, is affecting experienced workers to an unprecedented extent, but young African-American and Hispanic workers have been hardest hit. The figures also show that education counts more than ever and that unemployment has been signifi-cantly less widespread for women than for men.

The jobless rate for black men reached a Depression-like 26 percent in the first quarter for those between ages 20 and 24, and 20 percent for those between 25 and 34. For Hispanic men, the corresponding rates were 16 percent and 13 percent. Generally, those levels were the highest since the deep recession of the early 1980s.

Employment experts see joblessness continuing to rise during the rest of this year and probably into 2010 as well, even as the economy starts to recover in other ways. Current overall rates are 8.9 percent for the United States and 8.3 percent in the Rochester area.

People who didn't finish high school are disproportionately affected by layoffs, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, which says even low-paying job openings are disappearing. Unemployment was 16 percent in the first quarter for men without a diploma and 14 percent for women.

To make things more difficult, those workers face growing competition from low-paid workers in Asia who can handle jobs in fields such as customer service, said Gary Keith, senior economist for M&T Bank.

Better for women

As educational attainment rises for both men and women of all races, unemployment eases. The rate for men with a bachelor's degree is 4.5 percent - comparatively low but still the highest for that demographic group in 17 years. Women with at least a bachelor's have one of the lowest jobless rates of any group, 3.8 percent.

The employment trend in favor of women is a dramatic change from the past and partly reflects the continuing de-cline of manufacturing.

While men typically see their unemployment rates jump during a recession, Francine Blau, a Cornell University professor of labor economics and labor-industrial relations, said this recession has attacked men in particular.

"Men are more likely to be in cyclical sectors," said Blau, referring to manufacturing and heavy industrial work. Women are more likely to be concentrated in education and health care, which need workers no matter how the economy is doing and which have become the largest sources of jobs in many areas, including Rochester.

Unemployment tends to lessen with age as well as with education. Women and men in their 40s and 50s are more likely to hang on to their jobs than those in their 20s and 30s, who often are the last hired and first fired when business conditions worsen.

During this recession, though, the jobless numbers are relatively high for more experienced workers.

Racial disparities

What hasn't changed is that disparities based on factors such as race are still evident. So while white men ages 45 to 54 are seeing a record high unemployment rate of 8 percent, the rate for African-American men in that age range is 13 percent, which isn't a record.

The solutions to these disparities are long-term, not short-term, and will involve funding for more education and job training, said Zachary Karabell, president of River Twice Research in New York City.

Even the $787 billion federal stimulus spending is a short-term fix that will not repair some of the nation's struc-tural problems, which have caused higher unemployment for black and Hispanic workers, Karabell said.

Blau said many African-American and Hispanic workers are concentrated in heavy industrial and cyclical sectors and are especially hard hit during a recession. She also noted the exodus of jobs to the suburbs, farther away from city neighborhoods and public transportation routes.

"There aren't a lot of opportunities," said Hilda Rosario Escher, president of the Ibero-American Action League in Rochester. She said that many Hispanic workers will eagerly accept work, but the recession has diminished opportuni-ties across the board, even lower-paying positions in restaurants and retail stores.

Awaiting recovery

The recession has left many laid-off workers with solid résumés scratching their heads and hoping for a turnaround. Kevin Hoock is among them.

At Tyco and the plant's previous owner, Eastman Kodak Co., Hoock managed as many as 160 people at the peak of business, when the plant was shipping 1 million circuit boards a week. Even toward the end, he oversaw 75 employees.

But changing business conditions and then the recession caused the volume of work to decrease, and finally the op-eration was relocated overseas.

The fact that Hoock is still looking for a job shows the depth of the recession. He has an associate's degree in busi-ness and in 2004 was certified as a forklift trainer - plus he has those 28 years of supervisory and manufacturing ex-perience.

He has derived satisfaction from helping to find employment for at least 12 of his former Tyco colleagues.

When it will be his turn, he doesn't know.

LOAD-DATE: May 18, 2009

Plain Dealer (Cleveland), May 14, 2009, Thursday

Copyright 2009 Plain Dealer Publishing Co.
Plain Dealer (Cleveland)

May 14, 2009, Thursday
Final Edition; All Editions

HEADLINE: El Barrio program links job hunters, employers

BYLINE: Olivera Perkins, Plain Dealer Reporter

Aja Jones-Mitchell paired a suit jacket with dress pants to convey the right message for a job interview: corporate, but not stodgy. She mentally flipped through the research she had done on the company. The questioner pointed the camera at her to signal the start of the mock interview, and the candidate snapped into "hire me" mode.

Sounds like an exercise at the college job-placement office.

But it's not.

Jones-Mitchell, who was laid off several months ago as a clerk at a dollar store, hopes to land an entry-level job at a customer call center. She is a participant in the El Barrio/West Side Ecumenical Ministries Workforce Development program, where this kind of extensive interview coaching is required.

During her six-week program, Jones-Mitchell learned how to write a resume, sharpened job-search skills in one-on-one sessions with a counselor and attended classes where she learned about the interpersonal dynamics of team building and other "soft skills" that staff said would help her get and keep a job.

"Job search has totally changed," said Ingrid Angel, El Barrio's director. "It has brought the bar up even for entry level."

Instead of employers advertising job openings and then blindly choosing an applicant, companies now are increas-ingly relying on groups such as El Barrio, based in Cleveland's Detroit-Shoreway neighborhood, to pre-screen potential hires.

More than 65 percent of the approximately 140 2007 and '08 graduates of El Barrio's four-week customer-service session and the nearly 90 graduates of the three-week pre-construction program, which focuses on asbestos abatement, got jobs, Angel said. Even in this year's deep recession, 76 graduates of the program found jobs from January through April, 37 in March. At that time, Ohio's seasonally adjusted unemployment rate stood at 9.7 percent and Cleveland's nonadjusted rate was 10.6 percent.

The average wage for the customer-service graduates who found jobs since '07 was $9 an hour, Angel said. The pre-construction grads had average starting wages of $12 an hour.

Many of the people who got jobs fall into the hard-to-place category: older laid-off workers, younger workers with little experience and workers with inconsistent job histories often because of issues such as child care and transporta-tion.

Bill Rodrigues, who is in human resources at the Home Depot, said the company routinely hires from the program. Employees get to know participants in El Barrio classes taught by Home Depot staff and interact with others on field trips to local stores.

"We get to build a relationship with their clients," he said. "We get a preview of them - their work ethic and their commitment."

Such tracking of potential candidates is a tactic more commonly associated with hiring professionals. Several com-panies interviewed for this story said the same standards are increasingly applying to lower classifications.

LaToya Smith, an assistant vice president at Fifth Third Bank, who teaches an El Barrio class, said recruiters turn to community-based groups because they offer an efficient way of finding qualified candidates.

"We're doing more with less," she said. "If I get a chance to pre-screen someone or the organization pre-screens them, that saves me a lot of time.

"I will go to community organizations and say, 'I need someone with this skill set. If you have someone, send them to me,' " Smith said.

El Barrio's pre-screening is extensive, said Marcia Moreno, manager of business development.

"Companies like the fact that we do random drug testing and do background checks," she said.

Moreno focuses not just on current job openings when she talks to companies, but on encouraging them to form re-lationships with the program. Having employers teach classes is one way.

Tyrone Price, a human resources manager at Time Warner Cable, said the interaction between employer and par-ticipants is invaluable for both.

"As an employer, I am able to go in and explain our standards," he said. "I am able to coach and teach them about Time Warner - not only about the job, but the culture."

Employers are happy about the rigorous job-search process increasingly being required of entry-level applicants. But is it fair to expect the same thing from them that companies expect of professionals?

While this places "a new burden to upskill" on these job candidates, they may fare better with this approach than with the trend toward online applications, said John Hausknecht, assistant professor of human resource studies at Cornell University.

"Even though we like to move in this technology-based way of hiring, the personal piece is still critical," he said.

Jones-Mitchell, 25, doesn't seem to mind the rigor because it is making her more competitive. She spent four months looking for a job before enrolling.

Even participants, such as Edgar Serrano, 49, with extensive work histories believe the program gives them a com-petitive edge.

"I wish I could have done this years ago," said Serrano, who was laid off a year ago as a call-center supervisor and hopes to get an asbestos-removal job.

Angel said graduates are competitive because of El Barrio's case-management services, which they can get for 180 days after being hired. With this support, participants tackle obstacles that have prevented them from landing or keeping jobs in the past. This includes everything from help with child-care services to getting felonies expunged.

Even coursework focuses on participants addressing barriers. In a class taught by Rosa Beltre, El Barrio's director of the customer-service program, they talk about working in groups, giving and receiving constructive feedback and discussing what their personality-type tests reveal about them.

She said the goal is to get participants to be introspective about their work histories and to sharpen coping skills.

"When you actually analyze why did you leave your last job, it can't be 'because someone was getting on my nerves,' " Beltre said.

The day after Beltre conducted and taped Jones-Mitchell's interview, the future job applicant was busy reviewing her feedback: Be more confident. Sit up straight. Speak more slowly. Jones-Mitchell plans to rehearse frequently so that she can nail the next mock interview.

She doesn't mind putting in the effort. She is confident it will get her a job.

To reach this Plain Dealer reporter:, 216-999-4868
El Barrio
For information about El Barrio's free job-training and placement programs, call 216-651-2037.
Participants must complete a two-week job-readiness session before entering the four-week customer-service pro-gram or the three-week pre-construction program.

LOAD-DATE: May 15, 2009

Thursday, May 14, 2009

States News Service, May 7, 2009, Thursday

Copyright 2009 States News Service
States News Service

May 7, 2009, Thursday


BYLINE: States News Service


The following information was released by the Department of the Treasury:

Alan Krueger was confirmed last night by the United States Senate today to serve as the Department of the Treas-ury's Assistant Secretary for Economic Policy. As Assistant Secretary for Economic Policy, Krueger is responsible for the review and analysis of both domestic and international economic issues and developments in the financial markets. Additionally, Krueger assists in the Secretary's role of Managing Trustee of the Social Security and Medicare Trusts. Krueger has also been given the title Chief Economist of the Treasury Department. In these roles, Krueger will be a key player in the Obama Administration's economic recovery efforts.

"I am pleased to welcome Alan to the Treasury Department and am confident that his wealth of experience will enable him to make invaluable contributions to our nation's economic recovery," said Treasury Secretary Tim Geithner.

Alan Krueger is the Bendheim Professor of Economics and Public Affairs at Princeton University, where he has held a joint appointment in the Economics Department and Woodrow Wilson School since 1987.In 1994-95 Mr. Krueger served as Chief Economist at the U.S. Department of Labor. Mr. Krueger has published widely on the eco-nomics of education, unemployment, income distribution, social insurance, regulation, terrorism and the environment. He is a Research Associate of the National Bureau of Economic Research, a member of the editorial board of Science, and serves as chief economist for the Council for Economic Education. Krueger is also a member of the American Academy of Arts and Science and a member of the Econometric Society.

Krueger received his Ph.D. from Harvard University in 1987, an A.M. in Economics from Harvard University in 1985, and a B.S. degree (with honors) from Cornell University's School of Industrial and Labor Relations in 1983. He is married to Lisa Simon Krueger and has two teenage children, Benjamin and Sydney.

LOAD-DATE: May 8, 2009

Las Vegas Sun, May 6, 2009, Wednesday

Las Vegas Sun

May 6, 2009, Wednesday

Las Vegas Sun

Hard bargaining or bad faith at Wynn? It’s hard to say
Experts: Accusations are tough to prove

By Michael Mishak (contact)

As dealers at Wynn Las Vegas enter their third year of bargaining with casino management over a union contract, two words can be found on the lips of both parties: bad faith.

Talks have been stalled for months on big-ticket items such as “just cause” for firing and tip sharing, and a compromise on either measure seems unlikely, given the tough rhetoric on both sides.

When talks stall, labor usually accuses management of not playing ball. But in a strange twist, it’s the lawyers for Wynn management who are complaining.

Wynn lawyers have filed an unfair labor practice charge with the National Labor Relations Board against the Transport Workers Union for “refusing to meet at reasonable times and places,” as required by federal labor law. They accused labor leaders of “surface bargaining,” the practice of exchanging proposals without any intention of reaching an agreement.

Labor leaders informally have made the same claim against management here and in Atlantic City. The United Auto Workers have been bargaining for dealers at four New Jersey casinos for more than two years.

Regardless of which side is complaining, labor experts say accusations of bad-faith bargaining are among the hardest to prove because courts and the labor board have defined the practice in general and ambiguous terms. Beyond that, financial penalties for a guilty party are virtually nonexistent.

Risa Lieberwitz, a professor of employment law at Cornell University and a former field attorney for the labor board, says it makes for a terribly unbalanced system that gives an “over-the-top” advantage to employers who don’t want to deal with unions.

A primer on the law:

The National Labor Relations Act merely requires both parties to “meet at reasonable times and confer in good faith with respect to wages, hours, and other terms and conditions of employment.” The law does not define the term “reasonable.”

As Cornell organizing expert Kate Bronfenbrenner put it, the law sends a simple message: try. Her research shows that many employers don’t. According to Bronfenbrenner, a third of workers lack a contract a year after voting for union representation. The lack of a financial remedy serves as an incentive for hostile employers to delay, experts say. Under the law, guilty parties are told to return to the table and to negotiate in good faith.

“There is no penalty, there is no injunctive relief,” Bronfenbrenner said. “You can have an employer that refuses to meet and talk and the worst penalty is another piece of paper saying, ‘Shame on you.’ ”

Generally, the federal labor board and the courts have taken a hands-off approach to bargaining. “The idea is that the parties will be more likely to reach an agreement they can both live with if it’s done voluntarily,” Lieberwitz said. “But this is obviously a problem if there is one party which wants to avoid reaching an agreement.”

The courts have defined some forms of bad faith, such as an outright refusal to bargain or refusing to respond to information requests. But savvy employers generally comply with the law’s clear obligations, with an eye toward “impasse,” Lieberwitz said. Once both sides are at loggerheads, the employer can unilaterally implement its “last, best and final” offer on core subjects, including wages.

And hard bargaining, Lieberwitz said, is not illegal.

The Employee Free Choice Act introduced in Congress this year could impose binding arbitration if both sides cannot agree on a contract in 120 days.

The U.S. Chamber of Commerce, which is leading the fight against the card-check legislation, says the arbitration provision represents an “unprecedented intrusion into the private sector by the government.”

The Buffalo News, May 5, 2009, Tuesday

The Buffalo News

May 5, 2009, Tuesday

The Buffalo News

Schumer wants return of Delphi plants to GM
Says move would save many endangered jobs

With Delphi Corp. facing a deadline to show how it will emerge from bankruptcy, Sen. Charles E. Schumer on Monday called for General Motors Corp. to buy plants in Lockport and three other cities from the struggling auto parts maker.

Schumer urged the firms to work out a deal that would let GM buy Delphi manufacturing plants in the Town of Lockport, Rochester, Indiana and Michigan and, he contends, preserve the plants and the thousands of jobs they support.

“Delphi’s in bankruptcy . . . If Delphi were just to go under, these jobs could be in jeopardy,” Schumer, who spoke at a Rochester news conference Monday, told The News in an interview.

GM has spent hundreds of millions of dollars since 2005 propping up Delphi, a vital parts supplier, and Schumer’s comments come as the automaker faces the prospect of its own bankruptcy filing.

GM and Delphi have discussed the idea, a move that would face approval by federal authorities and Delphi’s debt holders.

“This one actually might get a warm reception, because whatever they pay for these four would be less than they’d pay” to keep Delphi from going under, said Art Wheaton, director of labor studies at Cornell University’s School of Industrial and Labor Relations in Buffalo.

The Delphi plant in Lockport, which employs 2,100 people as an economic anchor for the region, operated for years as Harrison Radiator under the ownership of General Motors.

The Upper Mountain Road plant factory makes thermal products for cars and trucks.

GM spun off Delphi, including the Lockport facility, as an independent firm in 1999.

Delphi has struggled ever since to be profitable. Delphi operated 33 plants in this country at the time of its October 2005 bankruptcy filing, a number that has fallen to 12 today.

The plants in Lockport; Rochester; Kokomo, Ind.; and Grand Rapids, Mich., are Delphi’s core facilities, and suppliers for GM.

It makes sense for GM to buy the plants — saving itself money now spent to prop up Delphi and ensuring its supply chain—even though GM is itself on the verge of a possible bankruptcy filing, Wheaton said.

GM bought $5.5 billion worth of parts from Delphi in 2008, accounting for 31 percent of Delphi’s revenue, according to Crain’s Detroit Business.

The fate of the plants and the jobs they support would be stronger under GM than under Delphi, Schumer said.

Schumer said he was contacted by area representatives of the United Auto Workers and asked to support this proposal. The senator said he talked to the federal auto czar, Ed Montgomery, and he favored the plan.

Schumer said he hasn’t heard back from GM or Delphi. A GM spokeswoman did not return phone calls seeking comment.

Delphi had faced a Monday deadline to present a revised plan indicating how it intends to emerge from bankruptcy.

“What they thought would be a relatively quick bankruptcy has turned into a 4z-or 5-year nightmare,” Wheaton said.

Delphi is in negotiations with GM, the U. S. Treasury Department and the financial firms that hold its debt and soon will issue a document detailing GM’s overall future role within the parts maker, Delphi spokesman Lindsey Williams said.

The talks include the possibility of GM buying Delphi plants.

“These are ongoing discussions,” he said. “It’s a multi-dimensional discussion that is complex in nature.”

Leader-Post, May 5, 2009, Tuesday


May 5, 2009, Tuesday


Unpaid furloughs a trend for white-collar jobs

By Andrea Hopkins, ReutersMarch 5, 2009

CINCINNATI (Reuters) - U.S. newspapers have done it. California police have too. Governments in California, New Jersey and Ohio say it will save the budget. Forcing workers to take unpaid time off is a new version of the American layoff.

The involuntary furlough, once a staple of boom-and-bust blue-collar industries like mining or automaking, is making its way into white-collar workplaces across the United States as employers try to cut costs quickly amid a deepening recession.

With some 2.5 million jobs lost in the past six months, few furloughed workers are complaining about the unpaid time off.

"I think some people are more comforted by the furlough because they believe there is less risk of layoff," said Dennis Hoffman, an economics professor at Arizona State University who has been told he has to take 15 unpaid days off by July.

Hoffman isn't complaining about the pay cut, figuring it is better than losing more staff at the 114-year-old university. But like consumers across America, Hoffman views the forced time off as another reason to cut back on spending, a trend that is delaying a general recovery.

"It just doesn't feel comfortable to be out there spending ... you wonder when the next shoe will drop," said Hoffman. "Between this and the stock market, it is quite a bump in the pathway toward saving for retirement."

At the Gannett newspaper chain, which publishes USA Today as well as dozens of other dailies across the country, journalists are also ambivalent about news they all have to take a week off -- unpaid -- before the end of March.


"People are looking at this as: 'If I can try to save my job and the other jobs around me, I'm willing to do it.' I haven't heard any grumbling about it," said one Gannett journalist who declined to be identified because she feared she could lose her job.

"I've gone through several rounds of layoffs, and those were much worse," said the 20-year veteran writer. "Once you've seen your friend laid off, you'd much rather do the furlough."

At Arizona State University, staff were required to take between nine and 15 days off by midyear, usually a day at a time spread out over 20 weeks. At Gannett, workers are being furloughed for an entire week before the end of March.

Other workplaces are experimenting with a week off every month, three-day weekends, and even simply cutting pay and letting workers choose when they lose the hours.

But while workers may be grateful they are not being laid off, experts say the spread of the unpaid furlough through state governments, universities, publishing firms and chemical companies is not the result of corporate altruism -- it's simply the best, fastest, way to cut payroll costs.

"Obviously companies are under a lot of economic pressure and (furloughs) are something that can be done relatively quickly. The alternative is layoffs -- and that can take months or even years," said Francine Blau, a professor of industrial relations at Cornell University.

There are other benefits to employers.

"Companies are also experienced with -- and much more wary of -- the damage layoffs can cause, and the risks to their ability to rebound when the economy turns around if they cut too deeply," said John Challenger, chief executive of outplacement consulting firm Challenger, Gray & Christmas.


Whether furloughs can be implemented smoothly is an open question. Unlike an assembly line that can be shut down, the workload in many professional workplaces doesn't really stop at the end of a shift. Workers bring work home, answer e-mails at night and cram for big projects to meet deadlines.

Some furloughed workers have been forbidden from doing any work-related activities while they are off -- leaving clients, sources, buyers and colleagues confused or annoyed.

Others have simply opted to continue to put in the same amount of hours even though they will be unpaid.

"If I sit at home doing nothing, the workday is that much harder," said economics professor Hoffman. "A lot of us have the same attitude: the work is the work."

Nor are furloughs a guarantee against future layoffs. At Gannett, the forced time off follows the loss of some 3,000 jobs in 2008, and workers are expecting more furloughs in the second quarter -- possibly followed by more layoffs.

"This is a way of experiencing a smaller workforce without actually doing it -- management can say, 'The paper still came out every day ... we still have some fat left to cut,'" said Jim Hopkins, a former Gannett journalist who now writes a blog about the company.

Cornell's Blau agreed furloughs could offer employers a way to experiment with lower staffing while they're waiting for the economy to determine how much further they'll have to cut.

"Still, I don't think firms would turn to this in a long-term situation, because all the incentives would be to pare the workforce down to the size they want in the long run," said Blau. "To me, furloughs are actually optimistic because employers think they may need the workers pretty soon."

(Reporting by Andrea Hopkins; Editing by David Storey)

© Copyright (c)

The Star (South Africa), May 05, 2009, Tuesday

Copyright 2009 Independent News and Media Ltd
All Rights Reserved
The Star (South Africa)

May 05, 2009, Tuesday

HEADLINE: No way out of ocean of debt for US colleges

BYLINE: Yalman Onaran New York

On a Thursday morning in March, the $32 million (R268.5m) School of Management building at Simmons College in Boston is all but deserted. Three students lounge in armchairs facing floor-to-ceiling windows that look over the quad with its winding walkways and greening lawn; another makes photocopies.

"This building is always empty," says Raya Alazzouni, a second-year student from Saudi Arabia who is studying graphic design and taking courses in the management school.

Simmons, home to 4 700 students, opened the 6 200m² centre in January, two months before the US stock market hit its lowest point in 12 years. Even before the ribbon cutting, enrolment in the management school had been dropping.

Now the vacant halls are reminders of the new maths confounding US colleges.

Students, pummelled by scarce loans and savings plans that have fallen as much as 40 percent, are heading for less expensive schools.

The perks designed to lure them during boom times - from hot tubs to dorm-suite kitchenettes to in-room cable TV - are crushing universities with debt. Even projects like Simmons' "green" management building, with its rain-absorbing roof patio and toilets with two flushing modes, can turn into burdens as schools struggle with rising expenses, plum-meting endowments and needier applicants.

The spending binge by colleges and universities was part of the same trend that created the bubble in the rest of the economy, according to Ronald Ehrenberg, an economics professor at Cornell University in Ithaca, New York, and au-thor of Tuition Rising: Why College Costs So Much. "Now we're seeing it burst," he said.

From Harvard University to California's 3 million-student community college network, the US system of higher education is in turmoil. The economic crash is upending each step in the equation that families use to determine where students will spend four of their most formative and expensive years.

Last Friday was the deadline most schools set to get a decision from accepted applicants.

Independent colleges that lack a national name or must-have majors are hardest hit. Many gorged on debt for con-struction, technology and creature comforts.

Now, as endowments tumble and bills mount, they are struggling to attract cash-strapped families who are navigat-ing their own financial woes.

Such mid-tier institutions may be forced to change what they do to survive. In the best case, they will merge with bigger schools, sell themselves to for-profit organisations or offer vocational training that elite colleges eschew, says Sandy Baum, a senior policy analyst at the College Board.

In the worst case, they will close their doors for good.

Standard & Poor's predicts bankruptcies will rise from the typical one or two schools that fold each year.

"Small colleges with no reputation could go out of business," said Baum. "They're very tuition driven, so if they can't get tuition revenues, they'll be in really bad shape."

Failures will rise further if the recession persists beyond this year, according to Richard Kneedler, a former presi-dent of Franklin & Marshall College.

"If the markets normalise in a year, most might survive," he says. "If we've got a second year like this, the number of schools in danger will multiply by 10."

Colleges like Simmons - mainly undergraduate schools offering some master's degree programmes - are in the worst financial shape, says Kneedler.

These colleges have turned to borrowing for the amenities that they used to entice students to small programmes.

Now they are drowning in debt, Kneedler says.

Simmons president Helen Drinan says she hopes the new building and accreditation in March by the Association to Advance Collegiate Schools of Business will make it easier to market the School of Management to prospective stu-dents.

The school hired Deloitte's higher education advisory unit to suggest ways to navigate its current bind, as well as to find further savings.

Like the housing bubble, Simmons' woes started with easy credit.

The school borrowed more than $140m, tripling its debt in the seven years through last year. It added classrooms connected via wireless networks. It renovated its library. And it spruced up its student centre with a coffee bar and mix-your-own-milkshake cafeteria.

"That was a pretty bold borrowing strategy," according to Kneedler.

Simmons followed suit as US colleges jacked up tuition by an average of 3 percent above inflation every year. It counted on a rising endowment, parents' bull market-fed wealth and burgeoning private loans that more than doubled student debt from 1998 to last year.

It raised annual tuition and living expenses to $41 500 last year, 22 percent above the $34 132 average for private colleges. Sarah Lawrence College in Bronxville, New York, the costliest US school, charged $53 166 last year.

Then credit markets collapsed. Simmons - and even better-known schools such as nearby Boston University - felt the aftershocks.

Like many now-struggling companies and municipalities, Simmons had sold variable rate bonds and hedged against rising interest rates through swap agreements, which fixed interest costs for the school.

When rates fell, Simmons owed more than $10m on the swaps. When it refinanced the bonds, it had to accept more than triple the interest rate it had been paying before the credit crisis.

Drinan expects to settle the swap with bankrupt Lehman Brothers Holdings at a lower cost. Wall Street provided the tools for schools to take advantage of cheap credit.

Bankers introduced college finance executives to the rate swaps and similar innovations that are costing colleges, according to Andrew Evans at Wellesley College.

"I don't know why they did the School of Management building," says Katelyn Scalera, a second-year student from Massachusetts' Cape Cod, who is studying nursing. "They didn't have the money for it, so we're further in debt. And then they announce these cuts and increase tuition."

With families hurting, Drinan says it will be difficult for Simmons to entice more students. - Bloomberg

LOAD-DATE: May 4, 2009

San Francisco Chronicle, May 2, 2009, Saturday

San Francisco Chronicle

May 2, 2009, Saturday

San Francisco Chronicle

UAW wins big Chrysler stake but can't run company


The United Auto Workers union would appear to be the big winner in the Chrysler bankruptcy saga, having exercised its considerable political muscle to win a 55 percent stake in the country's third-largest automaker.

But when you consider the 55 percent is in a company that lost $16.8 billion last year and has seen its sales drop by half, the victory seems less impressive. Especially since the union's stock must necessarily be converted at some point to cash to pay billions of dollars in retiree health care bills over the next 25 years.

Plus, the union's control in the boardroom will be limited. Despite the large stake, it gets only one seat on a nine-member board that will govern a new Chrysler-Fiat joint venture.

Yes, the union could still come out the winner at Chrysler and at General Motors Corp., which has offered the UAW a 39 percent stake as part of its own reorganization plan. But that depends on the iffy prospect of the companies making money again and their stock values sharply rising.

"I think it's a whole lot weaker than it appears," said Gerald Meyers, a University of Michigan business professor and former CEO of American Motors Corp. "I would say the UAW wouldn't want to get into the speculative game of the stock market. That's not reassuring to retirees."

Unions have in the past traded an ownership stake in a struggling company for wage cuts or other money-saving steps. For the most part the deals, such as an employee stock ownership plan at UAL Corp., parent of United Airlines, have worked well at first, only to fall apart when economic times grew tough, with labor and management fighting as profits declined.

The UAW started making concessions during 2007 contract negotiations and that helped in negotiating the stakes they stand to gain now. At the time, both GM and Chrysler had huge labor cost disadvantages compared with Japanese automakers, mainly because they have far more retirees and had agreed to pay their health care bills.

For GM, the health care tab is projected to total $46.7 billion over the lives of about 350,000 retirees and spouses. At Chrysler, it's $10.9 billion for around 82,000 retirees.

So to unload the costs, the companies persuaded a reluctant UAW to take billions in cash to set up trust funds called voluntary employees beneficiary associations, or VEBAs, to pay the bills starting next year.

But the U.S. auto market went bad and both automakers ran out of cash. Enter government financing and the Obama administration, which engineered the Chrysler-UAW deal. Chrysler has now formed an alliance with Fiat, and the government will finance what it hopes will be a quick Chrysler bankruptcy. Chrysler plans to close five more factories and shed thousands more workers as it slims down and resets to build Fiat-designed fuel-efficient cars in North America.

The UAW spent nearly $5 million in independent expenditures to promote Obama's campaign, according to the nonpartisan Center for Responsive Politics, and some Chrysler debtholders contend that the union was unfairly rewarded for that support. Secured creditors were offered roughly 30 cents on the dollar for $6.9 billion in debt. A few balked and the deal fell apart late Wednesday, triggering Thursday's bankruptcy filing.

The UAW's reward, though, could turn out to be punishment if the stock price doesn't rise.

"What's happening at Chrysler and GM is not employee ownership in any recognizable way," said Corey Rosen, founder and executive director of the nonprofit National Center for Employee Ownership. "The employees don't own any part of Chrysler or GM, it's the health trust, and they're going to sell that stock as soon as they can. It's more like somebody saying 'I can't pay the money I owe you, so take some stock and you can sell it.'"

That's exactly what the union intends to do, its president Ron Gettelfinger said Friday in an interview with National Public Radio.

"The VEBA's going to be stressed in order to pay the benefits. So what we will need to do ... is as soon as we possibly can, to start selling these shares," he said.

Fiat is a likely buyer for at least part of the UAW shares, should they gain value. Under its deal with Chrysler, the Italian automaker takes an initial 20 percent stake in exchange for small-car technology. That can rise to 35 percent as goals are met, and Fiat has options to bring its stake up to 51 percent.

Even with the stock, the union won't have much say in the Chrysler boardroom. The trust gets just the one board seat, and it has to vote its shares "in accordance with the direction of the independent directors on the Chrysler board," according to a summary of the UAW's contract concessions.

Owning 55 percent of a company doesn't mean you're managing or even significantly influencing it. Three big employee groups at Chicago-based UAL Corp. agreed to wage cuts and work rule changes in 1994 in exchange for 55 percent of UAL's stock and board seats.

It worked for a year or so. Management introduced task force teams and invited employees into strategy sessions aimed at lowering costs. But the sense of partnership soon unraveled as the employees learned that stock ownership didn't translate to real power or even an ability to sway the board. The employee stock ownership program was eventually eliminated during UAL's Chapter 11 restructuring, in 2003.

Employees of Tribune Co. also got majority ownership as part of the 2007 deal that made multibillionaire investor Sam Zell chairman and CEO. But they also shouldered a good deal of the risk — without control, or even board representation. The future of Tribune's ESOP is highly tenuous with the Chicago company now in bankruptcy court.

The UAW for years had a seat on the boards of Chrysler and Daimler Chrysler AG — Chrysler's previous owner — but had little to show for it, said Harry Katz, dean of the Cornell University School of Industrial and Labor Relations. "That never connected down to the shop floor," he said.

Unlike European unions, the UAW has shied away from boardroom power plays, instead exercising its will at the bargaining table, he said.

Katz said the UAW, through the stock it will get, has gained power relative to management, but it doesn't mean as much when there are no profits to divvy up.

The union was able to preserve base wages and rich health benefits, which is remarkable even though it had to make other concessions, Katz said. He noted that workers represented by the UAW fared far better than nonunion employees at other companies that have entered bankruptcy protection, such as defunct Houston-based energy company Enron Corp.

Dave Carpenter reported from Chicago. Associated Press Writer Sam Hananel in Washington contributed to this report., May 1, 2009, Friday

May 1, 2009, Friday

Schumer Subcommittee Holds Rigged Amnesty Hearings. Joe Still Not Alarmed

By Joe Guzzardi

On Thursday, April 30, The Senate Subcommittee on Immigration, Border Security and Refugees held its first hearings under the leadership of its new chairman, Chuck Schumer.

Judging from the session’s defensive title, it appears expectations are limited: “Comprehensive Immigration Reform in 2009, Can We Do It and How?"

In an effort to get the answers it was looking for (“Yes, we can” and “We’ll achieve comprehensive immigration reform by pushing the Obama administration despite the overwhelming odds against us”) the committee assembled a panel of what it claims are experts.

As we learned late on April 30, Alan Greenspan, Former Federal Reserve Chairman and one of the “experts” summoned, was off to the races as he has been so many time—saying that illegal immigration makes “a significant” contribution to the economy. And, Greenspan added, legalizing the alien workforce would make things even jollier.

My reaction: I give Greenspan credit for brashness, given his starring role in allowing the immigrant-fueled Minority Mortgage Meltdown morph into the Diversity Recession. If I were Greenspan, I wouldn’t leave my house for the next ten years for fear I would be assaulted on the street. Greenspan is totally unqualified to testify on any subject, most especially if it has to do with immigration.


Because I understand the importance of your time, I will spare you an individual breakdown of what each “expert” said in defense of “comprehensive immigration reform” a.k.a. Open Borders. All their remarks are universally predictable, collectively meaningless and we have heard them, in one form or another, thousands of times.

Instead, I’ll go to the more important matter of analyzing what impact, if any, a small random group of citizen immigration enthusiasts working in tandem with assorted Senate immigration fanatics can have on the overall amnesty question.

But before proceeding, however, and in order to give you the full flavor of the degree of deceit at work, you should meet Greenspan’s fellow panelists and review their pro-immigration resumes.

J. Thomas Manger, Chief of Police, Montgomery County, MD. Although Montgomery County is by his own admission an illegal alien gang haven, Manger has resisted implementing 287 (g) because, according to him, it "undermines the trust and cooperation of immigrant communities," and “is too costly for most agencies” and also requires training that "would significantly detract from the core mission of local police to create safe communities." [Contrasts Emerge in Testimony on Immigration by Sebastian Montes,, March 11, 2009]
Dr. Joel C. Hunter, Senior Pastor, Northland Church and Member, President’s Advisory Council on Faith-Based and Neighborhood Partnerships, Longwood, FL.
Apparently, Roger Cardinal Mahony was unavailable. I never heard of Hunter but figured that if he’s a church guy and the committee is flying him up from Florida, he must be bad. And so it turns out. Hunter is a popular evangelical whose mission is to get “…people from various backgrounds to work together constructively rather than negatively.”

Jeff Moseley, President and CEO of the Greater Houston Partnership, Houston, TX. A globalist whose organization “serves as the primary business advocate for world trade, economic development and public policy for the Houston region.” Moseley’s firm is affiliated with “Americans for Immigration Reform”, an amnesty advocacy group.
Doris Meissner, Former Commissioner, U.S. Immigration and Naturalization Service and currently a Senior Fellow at the Migration Policy Institute.
A patriotic immigration lawyer—yes, there are a few—once wrote to us that: “the INS under the dreadful Meissner was a Bolsheviki nightmare. They definitely hated European Americans, European Africans, European Europeans, European Asians, and European Latinos.” Now that Meissner is openly subverting America at Migration Policy Institute, her Opens Borders fanaticism has likely deepened.

Eliseo Medina, Executive Vice President, Service Employees International Union.
See if you can figure out where Medina’s coming from. Medina was born in Mexico, is a farm worker’s son, a former grape-picking bracero and once a member of the United Farm Workers board of directors. Furthermore, Medina is credited with making the ultra-radical, illegal alien dominated SEIU California’s largest union.

Wade Henderson, President and CEO, Leadership Conference on Civil Rights. See him here discussing hate crimes and the Jena Six.

Kris Kobach, Professor of Law, University of Missouri—finally, a patriotic immigration reformer!
What a completely amazing group! Luckily for us, our good friend Kobach is a well-tested immigration war veteran. Otherwise, he might feel out of place among the other seven Treason Lobby advocates.

Obviously, the Senate doesn’t want a level field. Otherwise it would have invited Roy Beck, Mark Krikorian or Dan Stein. All are certified Beltway herbivores who would never say anything to shock the politically correct and are only a quick Metro ride away from the Dirksen Office Building where the meeting convened. (Stein did weigh in through a press release that called Schumer’s panel a “kangaroo court.”)

So here we have a panel made up almost entirely like-minded, amnesty-crazed people feigning a debate about one of America’s most pressing issues while presenting their conclusions to the committee, another stacked deck consisting of six open borders Democrats—Patrick Leahy, Vermont; Dianne Feinstein, California; Richard Durbin, Illinois; Sheldon Whitehouse, Rhode Island; Ron Wyden, Oregon and Schumer, and four Republicans—John Cornyn, Texas; Charles Grassley, Iowa; John Kyl, Arizona and Jeff Sessions, Alabama.

Of the ten, patriots can only count on Grassley, Sessions and, most of the time, Cornyn.

But what credibility does the sub-committee and its handpicked stooges have within Congress’ broader spectrum?

The problems start at the top.

To begin with Schumer, who replaced Senator Edward M. Kennedy as sub-committee chairman, is considered a lesser light without his predecessor’s political skills. Even though “Schume,” as some on the Hill unflatteringly refer to him, has compiled an immigration voting record that puts him in the same league with Kennedy, his biggest fans express only guarded optimism about his abilities.

Ali Noorani, the annoying Executive Director of the National Immigration Forum, takes a particularly cautionary stance, damning Schumer with faint praise.

According to Noorani: “No human could possibly fill the shoes of Senator Ted Kennedy when it comes to his stewardship of the immigration issue across decades of shifting political winds and economic ebbs and flows, but we have high expectations for Senator Schumer nonetheless.”

Remember, Kennedy—the Senate’s beloved Kennedy—couldn’t push amnesty through during booming economic times. Why should we believe that a less skilled pol like Schumer would be able to do it during a financial meltdown?

Here’s more reason not to get overly agitated.

Recently I wrote that the revival of the DREAM Act represented a repeat performance taken from multiple failed amnesty strategies in the past.

The Senate subcommittee hearings are a page from that same book.

In 2004, then-President George W. Bush urgently wanted to pass a Guest Worker program. A Sub-Committee meeting assembled to address the topic: “Evaluating a Temporary Guest Worker Proposal.”

Then—as now—the odds against immigration patriots were formidable. Of the ten who spoke only Doctor Vernon Briggs, Professor of Industrial and Labor Relations at Cornell University, represented our position by calling Bush’s plan hurtful to American workers.

And Briggs had to go up against tough opposition, including various Bush flunkies such as the General Counsel, U.S.- Mexico Chamber of Commerce, the U.S. Deputy Secretary of Labor, the Director of U.S Citizenship and Immigration Services and another Migration Policy Institute shill.

(For the traitors’ names and all the other gory details, read my column that summarized the event here.)

Briggs was outnumbered 9-1, the economy was strong and Bush, still in his first term, was riding high. Despite it all, no guest worker legislation passed that year or any year since.

Look—this is what the other side does best. They convene meetings, make noise, get massively uncritical press, bully, pontificate, scold, threaten and berate.

But they lose. In fact, the last victory of any kind that the amnesty crowd scored was in 2000 on LIFE Act, a roll over of the now virtually forgotten 245 (i)

No one is more frustrated and irritated about their antics than I am. I’m post-retirement age and should be in my test kitchen or studying baseball statistics.

I know though, that if VDARE.COM and other patriotic immigration reform groups went away, we’d be steamrolled within a year.

So my columns continue. But after more than twenty years of fighting to save my country from being overtaken by mass immigration, I know when to be alarmed. I’m not alarmed Schumer and his lackeys—yet.

Joe Guzzardi [email him] is a California native who recently fled the state because of over-immigration, over-population and a rapidly deteriorating quality of life. He has moved to Pittsburgh, PA where the air is clean and the growth rate stable. A long-time instructor in English at the Lodi Adult School, Guzzardi has been writing a weekly column since 1988. It currently appears in the Lodi News-Sentinel.