Archive for the ‘Fairness & Social Justice Denied’ Category


“It’s On Us” Anti-Sex Assault Program Blames Bystanders

Saturday, September 27th, 2014

There is a raging epidemic of sexual assaults on US college campuses. Reliable estimates claim that between 16% and 25% of college women face the risk of rape or some other assault, according to the spring 2014 report by the White House Task Force to Protect Students from Sexual Assault. The Obama Administration’s goal is to understand the problem then propose legislative, behavioral and institutional changes to eradicate the problem.

On Sept. 23, 2014, the government launched a new public education campaign featuring celebrities (ostensibly the only credible Americans with the right to suggest that the public change its behavior) — It’s On Us. The message attempts to increase the responsibility felt by witnesses of assaults to intervene and disrupt.

In school bullying initiatives, it’s called making “upstanders” out of bystanders. Witnesses are known to not intervene in emergencies of all kinds. The reluctance is called the “bystander effect,” and followed a 1964 rape and murder of Kitty Genovese in Queens New York witnessed by 38 neighbors, each of whom failed to call the police in time to save her life. The explanations that emerged from subsequent research (led by social psychologists John Darley and Bibb Latane starting in the 1960’s). Bystander reticence is usually based on fear — of retaliation, of botching a rescue, of being the sole helper, of being the next victim.

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Posted in Fairness & Social Justice Denied, Media About Bullying, Print: News, Blogs, Magazines, Tutorials About Bullying, WBI Education | No Archived Comments | Post A Comment () »



Colbert’s take on Manhattan inequality — separate building entrance for the “poor”

Wednesday, July 30th, 2014

The Colbert Report
Get More: Colbert Report Full Episodes,The Colbert Report on Facebook,Video Archive

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Rare twist: Employees loyal to ousted CEO protest and boycott

Sunday, July 27th, 2014

A grocery store chain, DeMoulas Market Basket, started in 1916 in Lowell, Massachusetts by two Greek immigrants is at the center of a rare remarkable demonstration of employee and customer loyalty.

The original Market Basket founders sold their store to two sons, brothers Mike and George, in 1954. When George died, a blood feud began, claiming (and a 1994 court agreeing) that Mike had cheated George and his family out of $500 million. George’s son, Arthur S. Demoulas, still became Boston’s 8th wealthiest person.

Arthur T. Demoulas, Mike’s son and the cousin of Arthur S., was named CEO in 2008 by the Market Basket Board of Directors controlled by Arthur S. (History from the Demoulas corporate website. More history from a Boston Globe video.)

The the all male board, led by Arthur S. attempted to fire Arthur T. in 2013, and eventually did fire him on June 23, 2014. Two other executives were fired and six quit.

As CEO, Arthur T. was committed to the firm’s 25,000 employees like few American CEOs. Said the Boston Globe about him:

It’s easy to see why the employees love Arthur T., who has been generous to them to a degree that drives his relatives crazy. One of the acts that drew their ire was replacing $46 million that their profit-sharing plan lost in the market during the 2008 financial meltdown. Arthur T. thought it was money the employees were entitled to. His cousins argued, not unreasonably, that investments sometimes go sour.

The Market Basket melodrama exploded outside the board room when loyal employees and customers took to the streets to protest and to gather signatures on petitions to re-instate Arthur T.

Here’s the account from WMUR-TV:

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Men are Subjected to Workplace Bullying too

Thursday, July 17th, 2014

Here is a great video from Sue O’Donnell RN, MN, PhD, University of New Brunswick. The strong illustrations of men being bullied at work is supported by WBI research. According to the 2014 WBI U.S. Workplace Bullying Survey males comprise 40% of bullied targets.

Men Workplace Bullying from Nick Wilson Videography on Vimeo.

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Healthy Workplace Bill legislation: A 2014 perspective on distorted amendments

Monday, July 14th, 2014

The Healthy Workplace Campaign is WBI’s effort to enact anti-bullying legislation for the American workplace state by state. The model bill is called the Healthy Workplace Bill (HWB).


Features of the HWB

• Suffolk University Law Professor David C. Yamada, text author, used federal Title VII Civil Rights laws as basis

• Defines severe abusive conduct — does not use term workplace bullying

• Provides legal redress for anyone subjected to abusive conduct, whether or not the person is a member of a protected status group

• Requires that abusive conduct result in either demonstrable health or economic harm to plaintiff

• Plaintiffs who file lawsuits make public formerly hidden, confidential employer processes that hide and deny bullying

• Prohibits retaliation against any participant in procedures involved in dealing with the abusive conduct complaint

• Requires plaintiffs to hire private attorneys, no fiscal impact on state government

• Provides incentives (affirmative defenses) for employers who implement genuine corrective procedures

• Preserves managerial prerogative to discipline and terminate employees

• Does not interfere with state workers’ compensation laws or union CBAs

We named the HWB in 2002. All other uses of the name HWB are unauthorized by us. California first introduced the HWB in 2003. It has been carried in over half of states and two territories since. The Workplace Bullying Institute trains and provides support to a national network of volunteer Sate Coordinators who lobby their respective state legislators to sponsor the HWB. You can track its status at the HWB website.

Botched Amendments & Unanticipated Consequences

As authors of the HWB, we naturally want the full and original version of the bill enacted into law. And we realize compromises will be made during the process. It is “sausage making,” after all. We just wish all bill sponsors would refuse to allow major revisions that change the spirit of the bill from protecting abused workers to something else. Since the HWB was first introduced, different amendments have been proposed or made.

Often the well-intended sponsor, a pro-worker advocate, agrees to compromise adopting the belief that the law can be built in steps. Let’s get this version passed now and it will be revisited in the coming years and supplemented with the other desired provisions.

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Posted in Employers Gone Wild: Doing Bad Things, Fairness & Social Justice Denied, Healthy Workplace Bill (U.S. campaign), Tutorials About Bullying, Unions, WBI Education, Workplace Bullying Laws | No Archived Comments | Post A Comment () »



Punishment too light for employer-caused death & toxifying river systems

Wednesday, July 9th, 2014

In this space we regularly call for greater employer accountability and the enactment of laws that make that accountability more likely than is currently done voluntarily. Our domain is the non-physical safety threat. U.S. workers are supposedly to be made safe from threats to their physical safety.

OSHA, a “regulatory” agency responsible for Occupational Safety and Health in the U.S. seems to have trouble accomplishing its mission. “OSHA’s mission is to assure safe and healthful workplaces by setting and enforcing standards and by providing training, outreach, education and assistance.” Wondering if by assistance, OSHA means delivering “waivers” to destructive employers who poison and take lives.

For example, the following two stories of injustice based on token punishment will curdle your blood.

Story 1.

A CSC Sugar plant in Fairless Hills, PA provides sugar for Snapple and Ben & Jerry’s Ice Cream. The plant is staffed and managed entirely by temp workers. According to ProPublica statistics, temporary workers are most at risk for safety hazards at worksites in states where data exist.

In February 2013, Peruvian New Jersey resident Janio Salinas was unclogging the machine from below. He was buried alive and asphyxiated. Coworkers found him after they returned from lunch. The onsite temp manager had complained about this potential hazard to a higher level manager until a safety platform was installed. However, the big boss instructed the temp manager to remove that platform because it had slowed the flow of sugar, had slowed down “production.” That big boss lied about his order to investigators, claiming ignorance about the platform (picture on the left). His costly decision was made 13 days before Salinas was buried. Turns out the only cost was Salinas’ life.

Next came the OSHA investigation. OSHA initially fined CSC $25,855 but after CSC installed a safety guard and started using a new procedure to break up sugar clumps, the fine was reduced to $18,098 (for good behavior???). Jean Kulp, director of OSHA’s Allentown, PA, office, told Univision that her agency doesn’t have the ability to shut down businesses, has limited criminal enforcement provisions, and found the CSC had not been “willfully in violation,” which would have triggered bigger fines despite a record of repeated violations.

$18,098 for a man’s life!

Kulp’s ultimate insult to the Salinas’ surviving family: CSC had not in her judgement shown “total disregard” for its workers.

Thanks to Daily Kos for the tip to the tale.

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Posted in Commentary by G. Namie, Employers Gone Wild: Doing Bad Things, Fairness & Social Justice Denied, The New America | No Archived Comments | Post A Comment () »



Fuzzy Math: The guesstimate that struck down California’s teacher tenure laws.

Tuesday, June 17th, 2014

This article UPDATES A California Judge guts teachers union.

By Jordan Weissmann – Slate – June 12, 2014

This week Los Angeles Superior Court Judge Rolf Treu handed the education reform movement a stunning legal victory, when he struck down California’s teacher tenure laws for discriminating against poor and minority students. The statutes made it so onerous to fire bad teachers, he wrote, that they all but guaranteed needy kids would be stuck in classrooms with incompetent instructors—rendering the laws unconstitutional.

As evidence, Treu cited a statistic that sounded damning: According to a state witness, between 1 and 3 percent of California’s teachers could be considered “grossly ineffective.” Here was the passage:

“There is also no dispute that there are a significant number of grossly ineffective teachers currently active in California classrooms. Dr. Berliner, an expert called by State Defendants, testified that 1 to 3% of teachers in California are grossly ineffective. Given that that the evidence showed roughly 275,000 active teachers in this state, the extrapolated number of grossly ineffective teachers ranges from 2,750 to 8,250. Considering the effect of grossly ineffective teachers on students … it therefore cannot be gainsaid that the number of grossly ineffective teachers has a direct, real, appreciable, and negative impact on a significant number of California students, now and well into the future for as long as said teachers hold their positions.”

This seemed like a fairly important piece of the decision — if you’re going to argue in court that a state law is dooming children to second-rate educations, you ought to be able to quantify the problem. Politically, it also seemed liked a pretty awful indictment of the state government if officials knew for certain that so many useless teachers were lounging around California’s classrooms. But where did this number come from?

Nowhere, it turns out. It’s made up. Or a “guesstimate,” as David Berliner, the expert witness Treu quoted, explained to me when I called him on Wednesday. It’s not based on any specific data, or any rigorous research about California schools in particular. “I pulled that out of the air,” says Berliner, an emeritus professor of education at Arizona State University. “There’s no data on that. That’s just a ballpark estimate, based on my visiting lots and lots of classrooms.” He also never used the words “grossly ineffective.”

The expert cited in the ruling doesn’t even necessarily believe that low test scores qualify somebody as a bad teacher.

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A California judge guts teachers unions

Wednesday, June 11th, 2014

A lawsuit funded by Silicon Valley rich guy, David Welch, is shaking the public education world. A California Superior Court judge, Rolf Michael Treu, found for the plainitffs — nine students backed by the group Students Matter.

The ruling was filed on June 10, 2014.

Teachers think students matter, too. But the pitched battle between non-educators who once went to school which they think qualifies them to know everything about K-12 education, and those who train just to teach schoolchildren has been fought for years. The tack is to beat up teachers publicly, blame teachers, call them bad. And in this case, Vergara vs. California, bad teachers are branded “grossly ineffective.”

Nine students were named as plaintiffs.

The plaintiff’s attorneys were from Gibson, Dunn & Crutcher. The defense was represented by the Attorney General, joined by the California Teachers Association and the Calfornia Federation of Teachers.

Read the judge’s decision.

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American anti-science stupidity grows: Implications for ending workplace bullying

Wednesday, April 23rd, 2014

We at WBI, as co-facilitators of the U.S. Academy on Workplace Bullying, Mobbing and Abuse, value the contributions scientists make to the workplace bullying movement. The facts from the hundreds of studies produced by Academy scholars and researchers inform our teachings. Our own WBI studies often surprise us, but we accept them and abandon long-held, but wrong, assumptions about some aspect of the phenomenon.

One doesn’t have to be a former university professor like me to appreciate fact-based science. Lovers of technological advances and gadgets should be fond of science. But in the evolving America of the past 30 years, a new group of empiricists has arisen and gained credibility. They are people who feel that if they personally don’t touch, smell, feel, hear or in any way directly experience something, it doesn’t exist.

I call them Narcissistic Empiricists to acknowledge the simultaneous rise of narcissism. They are the anti-science freaks. Once it was ludicrous to mock science (the Inquisition being an exception) lest the person look stupid. Stupid entitles people to substitute facts with opinions and to forever confuse the two. Unfortunately, media coverage of denialists that fails to counter their stated opinions with facts that lazy reporters don’t choose to discover makes stupid almost cool, certainly uncritically acceptable. Science trumps opinions. But in the split-screen, simplistic two-sided media world we inhabit, opinions are granted equivalence, a false parity, with science. With constant exposure to this muddled and incorrect worldview, uncritical viewers who let the media decide reality for them.

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Posted in Bullying-Related Research, Fairness & Social Justice Denied, Social/Mgmt/Epid Sciences | No Archived Comments | Post A Comment () »



Wealthy & Business Groups get their laws passed, American public ignored

Friday, April 18th, 2014

The U.S. Supreme Court, the Roberts court, regularly finds in favor of corporations over individuals. In two landmark cases, Citizens United (2010) and McCutcheon (2014), the court gave wealthy individuals unlimited control over the political process — electing politicians and influencing lawmakers concerning public policy laws.

Now comes an empirical analysis of 1,779 public policy laws crafted between 1981 and 2002 by two academic political scientists — Martin Gilens at Princeton and Benjamin Page at Northwestern. The conclusions suggest that oligarchy (or more technically plutocracy) better describes the U.S. than a simple electoral democracy. This is a shot across the bow to defenders of American exceptionalism.


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Posted in Commentary by G. Namie, Fairness & Social Justice Denied, Healthy Workplace Bill (U.S. campaign), The New America, Workplace Bullying Laws | No Archived Comments | Post A Comment () »



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