Thursday, October 27, 2011

Bloomberg, October 27, 2011, Thursday


October 27, 2011, Thursday

Bloomberg (full article)

Chrysler Group’s UAW Members Approve Four-Year Labor Contract

UAW President Bob King got wage increases for entry-level workers and ensured a cap on the percentage of such lower-paid employees goes into place in 2015. King, 65, won changes to the company’s profit-sharing to simplify the program and base payouts on the results of Chrysler’s North American operations.

“A sign of a good agreement is that they both came with wins and they both came away with losses,” said Art Wheaton, a labor expert with Cornell University.

AOL Jobs, October 25, 2011, Tuesday

AOL Jobs

October 25, 2011, Tuesday

AOL Jobs (full article)

Construction Projects Can Help Rebuild America's Shattered Middle Class

In short, average Americans are feeling pinched and far less wealthy than they once did. But there is a way to help reinvigorate the middle class while also rebuilding the nation's failing infrastructure, a recently published study suggests, by seeking to include those who have been traditionally underrepresented in the construction industry.

That aim is being achieved in many places across the U.S. through what are known as community workforce agreements (CWAs), according to a study by Cornell University's School of Industrial and Labor Relations.

The Chronicle of Higher Education, October 25, 2011, Tuesday

The Chronicle of Higher Education

October 25, 2011, Tuesday

The Chronicle of Higher Education (full article)

Lack of Confidence as Professionals Spurs Women to Leave Engineering

Women who begin college intending to become engineers are more likely than men to change their major and choose another career, but it's because they lack confidence, not competence, says a paper in the October issue of the American Sociological Review.

"The more confident students are in their professional expertise, the more likely they are to persist in an engineering major. However, women have significantly less of this expertise confidence than do men," Ms. Cech writes, with her co-authors, Brian Rubineau of Cornell University, Susan Silbey of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, and Caroll Seron of the University of California at Irvine.

Wall Street Journal, October 24, 2011, Monday

Wall Street Journal

October 24, 2011, Monday

Wall Street Journal (full article)

Boomerang Employees

Credit Suisse says the network also helps it spot new business opportunities as ex-employees move to client firms, giving the bank an "in" when pitching projects.

Such sites let a firm focus on ex-employees with the most potential, rather than spread itself thin among former staffers with little promise, says Christopher Collins, an associate professor of human-resource management at Cornell University's School of Industrial and Labor Relations.

Even the most rigorous interview process and entrance exams can only provide "a very small snapshot of how a person performs in the organization," says Mr. Collins, while actual experience at the company can speak volumes.

WBEZ, October 19, 2011, Wednesday


October 19, 2011, Wednesday

WBEZ (full article)

United Auto Workers vote 'yes' to Ford contract

Richard Hurd, Professor of Labor Studies at Cornell University, said he's not surprised at all in the variation between plants on the vote. He said typically in votes for or against a contract, a local union leader holds a lot of sway.

Regarding the case of the Chicago plants' rejection, he thought it could go deeper.

"It could be that there are tensions in the facility and the vote reflects things other than the workers particular view towards the terms of the agreement. There may be bad relations between the current plant manager and workers, or between supervisors and workers. So workers less happy with situation will be more likely to vote against a contract," Hurd said.

CNN, October 18, 2011, Tuesday


October 18, 2011, Tuesday

CNN (full article)

Solar energy industry posts record growth, despite Solyndra collapse

"The National Solar Jobs Census is an important reference because the previous lack of data about solar employment was presenting difficulties to policymakers and training providers," Philip Jordan, chief business officer at BW Research Partnership, said in a statement.

Added John Bunge, associate professor in the department of statistical science at Cornell University's School of Industrial Labor Relations: "The jobs census is setting a new standard for clean energy job studies.

"The use of both primary and secondary data sources, along with careful statistical analysis, gives us high confidence in the results. We expect our rigorous methodology to be extended to econometric studies of green jobs beyond the solar industry," he said in a statement.

Wall Street Journal, October 17, 2011, Monday

Wall Street Journal

October 17, 2011, Monday

Wall Street Journal

'Yes' Vote Likely on Ford Pact
Biggest UAW Local Weighs In, Turning Tide From Early Tallies Against Contract

The UAW said 57% of all voters had supported the new four-year contract, with 20,412 votes tallied by Sunday. Ford has about 41,000 union workers. About a third of the membership had yet to vote or have its vote counted.

After several defeats at several plants in early voting, the contract was in danger of not being ratified. But as more voting came through, the momentum shifted direction.

"It may just have been chance that some of the first plants that happened to be reporting their votes were the ones who were more militant. I'm not so surprised it's a close vote. But it's a pretty good agreement, given the times," said Harry Katz, dean of the Industrial and Labor Relations School at Cornell University in Ithaca, N.Y.

Yale Daily News, October 16, 2011, Sunday

Yale Daily News

October 16, 2011, Sunday

Yale Daily News (full article)

Return on endowment rivals peers

“Yale’s endowment is allocated across asset classes in order to maximize long-term return while controlling risk,” Salovey said. “There will be years in which it performs better than other university endowments and years when it does not. The important question is how does it do on an absolute and comparative basis over the long-term.”

Despite the Ivies’ impressive endowment performances this year, today’s unstable markets make it difficult to anticipate how higher education investments will perform in the future, said Ronald Ehrenberg, director of the Cornell Higher Education Research Institute.

Thursday, October 13, 2011

Marketplace, October 12, 2011, Wednesday


October 12, 2011, Wednesday

Marketplace (full article)

Chrysler reaches tentative deal with UAW

I talked to Alex Colvin -- who's a professor of labor negotiations at Cornell -- about this. He says part of the problem has been the relative financial health of the companies involved.

Alex Colvin: To the degree that Ford was the one you'd look from the union perspective as the richest target, in a way. Chrysler is probably the weakest target here.

So that is that, Ford theoretically has the most to give, while Chrysler has the least.

The New York Times, October 11, 2011, Tuesday

The New York Times

October 11, 2011, Tuesday

The New York Times (full article)

Laid Flat by Layaway

By Louis Hyman

IN another sign that the national economy is suffering through a rerun of the 1970s, Wal-Mart recently announced that it was bringing back its Christmas layaway program. Beginning on Oct. 17, shoppers who buy at least $50 worth of goods, put 10 percent down and pay a $5 fee will be able to pay for their purchases slowly over the next two months, all for the ostensible purpose of avoiding debt.

Wal-Mart’s press releases suggest that the restoration of the layaway program, which was discontinued in 2006, is meant to help its customers “budget” so that Christmas can be “worry-free.” The company is partly playing on the economic insecurity of its customers, and partly on the national nostalgia for the days before credit-card debt. But the truth is, the program is a bad deal for everyone — except Wal-Mart.

Louis Hyman is an assistant professor of history at Cornell and the author of “Debtor Nation: A History of America in Red Ink.”

The Wall Street Journal, October 11, 2011, Tuesday

The Wall Street Journal

October 11, 2011, Tuesday

The Wall Street Journal (full article)

Employees Alone Together

Teleworking can also be a significant time-saver. All that time spent chatting in the break room or shuffling from meeting to meeting at an office can add up.

But that kind of informal communication is important for building trust and creating a sense of teamwork, says Bradford Bell, associate professor of human resources studies at Cornell University. It is easily lost in the virtual world.

"Virtual teams tend to be very focused on the task at hand," Mr. Bell says

Minnesota Public Radio, October 10, 2011, Monday

Minnesota Public Radio

October 10, 2011, Monday

Minnesota Public Radio (full article)

Union seeks to resume talks with American Crystal

Union workers contend American Crystal simply wants to break the union. And it's not a time when unions are speaking from a position of strength.

Kate Bronfenbrenner, director of labor education research at Cornell University's Industrial and Labor Relations School, studies the tactics companies use to fight unions. She said a few recent strikes show the willingness of companies to replace even highly skilled workers.

"Employers will import doctors and nurses to break a hospital strike — and they have," she said. "If they're willing to do that, then I don't know who's hard to replace."

AFL-CIO News Blog, October 7, 2011, Friday

AFL-CIO News Blog

October 7, 2011, Friday

AFL-CIO News Blog

Study Finds Project Labor Agreements Open Doors to Middle Class Jobs

Project labor agreements offer a pathway to the middle class by providing job opportunities to low-income communities, minorities, veterans and others, according to a new study by Cornell University’s Industrial and Labor Relations School (ILR).

Los Angeles Times, October 6, 2011, Thursday

Los Angeles Times

October 6, 2011, Thursday

Los Angeles Times (full article)

No to the Keystone XL pipeline
The jobs crisis is not an excuse for bad policy.

By Sean Sweeney and Bill McKibben

Cornell University's Global Labor Institute took a more realistic look at the numbers in a report published last week. Building a pipeline 1,700 miles across the center of the continent obviously will take workers; the best estimate of the State Department is that it will produce 2,500 to 4,650 on-site construction jobs, almost all of them non-local and temporary. Many of these jobs would pay decent wages, and in the current slump, 2,500 to 4,650 jobs is nothing to sneer at. But it's a far cry from 250,000 jobs.

Sean Sweeney is director of the Cornell Global Labor Institute. Bill McKibben is a scholar in residence at Middlebury College and an organizer with

NPR, October 5, 2011, Wednesday


October 5, 2011, Wednesday

NPR (full article/listen)

Sandy Pope Tries To Unseat Hoffa As Teamsters Head

AHMED: Pope isn't a typical Teamster. Her father managed an investment firm. She attended Hampshire College in hopes of becoming a lawyer, but dropped out to work a minimum wage job - much to her family's dismay.

RICHARD HURD: She has her own excess baggage to carry.

AHMED: That's Richard Hurd. He's a professor and associate dean at Cornell University's School of Industrial and Labor Relations.

HURD: If Jim Hoffa's baggage is that he got his job because his father was the president, hers is that she's an activist who came into the labor movement to be an activist.

AHMED: James Hoffa is the current president of the Teamsters. His father and namesake was an iconic figure who led the union during its heyday. But a lot has changed since then.

HURD: The reality for the Teamsters was that their hold on the industry began to wither away. It's not unique to the Teamsters .

Bloomberg, October 3, 2011, Monday


October 3, 2011, Monday

Bloomberg (full article)

Marchionne Risking Chrysler Arbitration Over Labor Union Contract: Cars

Chrysler also doesn’t want to give a signing bonus as large as the $5,000-a-worker payout in the GM-UAW contract, three people familiar with the talks said. Chrysler is pushing for signing bonuses of $3,500, two of the people said.

“We and GM are completely different,” Marchionne told reporters Sept. 19 in Turin, Italy.

Marchionne is known in Europe for his tough labor stance, often clashing publicly with Italian unions, said Arthur Wheaton, a Cornell University labor expert.

“He is an extremely good negotiator,” he said.

Restaurant Hospitality, October 3, 2011, Monday

Restaurant Hospitality

October 3, 2011, Monday

Restaurant Hospitality

How To Avoid Tip-Related Lawsuits

Do you agree with the idiom “better the devil you know than the devil you don’t?” Then click on to find out the latest news on the labor front, courtesy of Berke-Weiss & Pechman LLP, one of the New York law firms that’s been wreaking financial havoc on the city’s restaurants. It’s full of scary stuff about tipping and wage issues—but it might be a useful resource, too.

Berke-Weiss & Pechman is just one of the law firms that has figured out how to wring huge settlements out of prominent New York City restaurants by filing wage-related class action suits. Attorney Louis Pechman got the ball rolling in 2009 when he scored a $3.2 million settlement on behalf of the employees of Sparks Steak House. That suit alleged that waiter tips at Sparks were spread around to managers and other employees who should not be tipped.

The Chronicle of Higher Education, October 2, 2011, Sunday

The Chronicle of Higher Education

October 2, 2011, Sunday

The Chronicle of Higher Education (full article)

Syracuse's Slide
As Chancellor Focuses on the 'Public Good,' Syracuse's Reputation Slides

Some higher-education experts applaud Syracuse's outward focus. "Hopefully in the years ahead, more universities will focus on what they think is important and worry less about maximizing prestige," says Ronald H. Ehrenberg, director of Cornell University's Higher Education Research Institute. "We cannot all be top 50 or 60 research universities."

WorldatWork's workspan magazine, October 2011

WorldatWork's workspan magazine

October 2011

An monthly column in workspan® applying scholarly research to the "real world" by ICS Director Kevin Hallock.

Does More Education Cause Higher Earnings?
Returns to Earnings from Education

CNN Money, September 30, 2011, Friday

CNN Money

September 30, 2011, Friday

CNN Money (full article)

U.S. to decide the Keystone XL pipeline's fate

TransCanada says building the pipeline would put 20,000 Americans directly to work during the construction phase and add an expected 118,000 spin-off jobs. The project would also, the company says, pump $20 billion into the U.S. economy and increase personal income by $6.5 billion.

But a report released this week by the Cornell University Global Labor Institute questions TransCanada's job creation claims.

"The project will create no more than 2,500-4,650 temporary direct construction jobs for two years, according to TransCanada's own data supplied to the State Department," according to the report.

WNY Labor Today, September 30, 2011, Friday

WNY Labor Today

September 30, 2011, Friday

WNY Labor Today

The Annual Western New York Apollo Alliance’s Weatherization Effort Heads to Buffalo’s University District This Weekend/Painters District Council 4 & The United Auto Workers Volunteer To Help 50 Low-Income Homeowners With A Major Weatherizing Effort

For the past four years, the WNY Apollo Alliance has brought the HECK Program to various neighborhoods in Buffalo. It’s a volunteer-based program that brings energy conservation improvements and education to homeowners with low incomes and accomplishes a lot with extremely limited resources. Teams inspect homes for major problems, check the furnace filters and the thermostat on hot water tanks to make sure the temperature is neither too high nor too low. They’ll also take the time to educate homeowner on how to be energy efficient and save money through state programs. And, of course, they caulk, seal, and weather strip.

“This is a volunteer based initiative and we‘re very grateful to all the volunteers from Cornell University, Daemen College, the University at Buffalo, Painters District Council 4 of Western New York-Central New York, PUSH Buffalo and United Auto Workers Local 424 - who are all dedicating their time and expertise to this worthy cause,” WNY Apollo Alliance Co-Chair Art Wheaton said.

The New York Times, September 28, 2011, Wednesday

The New York Times

September 28, 2011, Wednesday

The New York Times (full article)

As State Issues Layoff Notices, Union’s Leaders Stand by Vote Against a Contract


But labor experts said Mr. Cuomo would be hard-pressed to make significant changes to his agreement with the federation, given that the largest union of state workers, the Civil Service Employees Association, which represents 66,000 state workers, had already accepted the proposed wage and benefits concessions.

“If one deal is clearly more valuable than the others, that’s probably untenable,” said Rebecca Givan, a professor of labor relations at Cornell. “We would expect C.S.E.A. to ask for something equivalent.”

Human Resource Executive Online, September 27, 2011, Tuesday

Human Resource Executive Online

September 27, 2011, Tuesday

Human Resource Executive Online (full article)

HR's Struggle to Find Successors

By David Shadovitz

Despite HR's role as the steward of talent management and development, a recent study suggests that HR leaders are doing a far better job developing CEO and CFO successors internally than their own HR successors.

A recent study of Fortune 500 companies by Patrick Wright, a professor at Cornell University's School of Industrial and Labor Relations, found that only 36 percent of CHROs were internally groomed, compared to 54 percent of chief financial officers and 65 percent of chief executive officers.

Los Angeles Times, September 27, 2011, Tuesday

Los Angeles Times

September 27, 2011, Tuesday

Los Angeles Times (full article)

On the Media: It's time for America to talk class

Even when a reporter or news outlet pursues the story of what economist and New York Times columnist Paul Krugman calls "the Great Divergence," the working class has no obvious lobbying group or advocate to bring its interests to the fore. Unions once played that role, but they've been in retreat over the same period, notes Jefferson Cowie, a Cornell University historian and author of "Stayin' Alive: The 1970s and the Last Days of the Working Class."

The Australian, September 22, 2011, Thursday

The Australian

September 22, 2011, Thursday

The Australian (full article)

To work out why Seron is working with colleagues Susan Silbey (MIT) Brian Rubineau (Cornell) and Erin Cech (Stanford) on a study of woman engineers’ employment outcomes, including a study of undergraduates at MIT, the University of Massachusetts plus the Olin College of Engineering (which aspires to gender parity) and women-only Smith College.

And their results don’t tick any of the boxes that supposedly explain why women engineers give it away.