Archive for the ‘Employers Gone Wild: Doing Bad Things’ Category
Friday, April 19th, 2013
Two Harvard economists — Carmen Reinhart & Kenneth Rogoff — analyzed macroeconomic data from 18 countries for a 2010 American Economic Review article. Special attention was given to seven nations that had experienced periods of high debt. They looked at the public debt-to-GDP (gross domestic product) ratio. They concluded that growth slows when the ratio exceeds 90%. Austerity aficionados grabbed onto the R&R magic threshold to justify making debt reduction top priority. Sadly, austerity is but one economic theory, one with drastic implications (economic, health & justice) for people subjected to cutbacks in necessary social services that only government can or will provide.
American politicians embraced austerity citing R&R as evidence. House Budget Committee Chairman Paul Ryan famously cited R&R when he presented his budget. The politicians now pushing for cuts in Social Security and Medicare cite R&R. States and cities have gone broke. Self-imposed sequestration at the federal level has deprived people of human services — Meals on Wheels, Head Start, Chemotherapy for cancer patients relying on Medicare, etc. Misery somehow justified by the R&R model.
Turns out the adage — garbage in/garbage out — is still true about data. Economists — Thomas Herndon, Michael Ash, Robert Pollin — at the Univ. of Massachusetts Political Economy Research Institute (PERI) could not replicate the R&R findings. So, they asked for the raw data.
Oops. Turns out R&R entered wrong figures for New Zealand. They had excluded four years of growth data in which it was above the 90 percent debt-to-GDP threshold. When these four years are added in, the average growth rate in New Zealand for its high debt years was 2.6 percent, compared to the -7.6 percent that R&R had entered in their calculation.
The PERI study findings contradicted R&R: when properly calculated, the average real GDP growth rate for countries carrying a public-debt-to-GDP ratio of over 90 percent is actually 2.2 percent, not −0.1 percent. The justification for austerity is an error, a lie by any other name.
Tags: Center for Economic and Policy Research, CEPR, Dean Baker, Michael Ash, Paul Krugman, PERI, Political Economy Research Institute, Reinhart, Robert Pollin, Rogoff, Thomas Herndon
Posted in Commentary by G. Namie, Employers Gone Wild: Doing Bad Things, Fairness & Social Justice Denied | 1 Archived Comment | Post A Comment (
Friday, April 19th, 2013
Part of the Fair Labor Standards Act of 1938 created the policy that working more than 40 hours per week entitled workers to compensation at one and one-half their pay rate for each hour worked in overtime. Unions enjoy that benefit. Unionized workers can work overtime and accept “comp time” converted to paid time off at the 1.5 hour rate. Non-unionized workers do not have the same benefit.
Now comes the 2013 version of a bill introduced in the U.S. Congress since 1998, unabashedly mis-titled “Working Families Flexibility Act.” Chris Hayes of MSNBC (in the video above) calls it “Orwellian.” Rep. Nancy Pelosi (D) calls it a “cruel hoax on the American family.”
On April 11, the “Workforce Protections” Subcommittee of the House Education and Workforce Committee (called Education and Labor under Democratic chairmen) held a hearing on the bill, H.R. 1406. Read the text of the bill here.
Tags: comp time, Eric Cantor, Fair Labor Standards Act, HR 1406, Juanita Phillips, Judith Lichtman, National Partnership for Women & Families, overtime, SHRM, Working Families Flexibility Act
Posted in Employers Gone Wild: Doing Bad Things | No Archived Comments | Post A Comment (
Thursday, March 28th, 2013
When fuzzy facts (first generation distortion) are allowed to pass for actual data and circulated widely by media (2nd gen distortion) they used by critics to undermine the anti-bullying campaign. Let’s clear the air about current American employer engagement in stopping workplace bullying.
SHRM (the HR trade association) conducted a 2011 study about workplace bullying and reported results in Feb. 2012. The non-scientific survey of members had a low response rate of 15% (the final 401 respondents meant SHRM randomly polled 2,673 members). The results shed light on HR’s view about the prevalence of workplace bullying policies in the U.S. When asked if respondents’ organizations had specific anti-bullying policies in place, 44% of HR respondents defiantly stated their organization has “no policy and has no plans to put a workplace bullying policy in place.” The answer, “No, but we plan to put a formal policy in place in the next 12 months,” was chosen by 13%. Another 40% said, “Yes, our workplace bullying policy is part of another workplace policy.” Only 3% of SHRM members said “Yes. We have a separate workplace bullying policy” in our organization.
Actual slide from 2012 SHRM survey results from which 56% statistic was plucked
You can download the slide show from here.
Tags: Gary Namie, HR, human resources, SHRM, surveys, WBI research, workplace bullying, workplace bullying policies
Posted in Employers Gone Wild: Doing Bad Things, Media About Bullying, Print: News, Blogs, Magazines, WBI Education, WBI Surveys & Studies | 2 Archived Comments | Post A Comment (
CVS mandates health tests bullying workers, no corporate responsibility for stress-related ill health
Thursday, March 21st, 2013
The pharmacy chain, CVS Chainmark, has taken employee wellness to new draconian levels. On the surface, they are a healthcare giant who can claim to care about employee health. Obesity is a national problem and strains the healthcare system.
So, the 200,000 employees were told that CVS will pay for health screening. By May 1, employees who use employer-provided health insurance (not sure if the premium is 100% borne by CVS) must provide their weight, height, body fat, blood pressure and glucose and fasting lipid levels — ostensibly to know their key health metrics in order to take action to improve their numbers, if necessary. CVS will pay for testing.
Coercion is involved. Employees must sign a form that the screening is “voluntary.” Results are then sent to to WebMD Health Services Group who administers benefits for CVS. There are two consequences for those in poor health. If they refuse to submit to testing, they will pay a $50/month penalty, $600 annually added to their health insurance premium. Second, if they do submit health data, the company, WebMD on behalf of CVS, can limit the employee’s choices of health care plans in the future. Fatties have limited choices.
Tags: bullying and health, CVS, Gary Namie, health insurance, health screening, hypertension, workplace bullying
Posted in Bullying & Health, Commentary by G. Namie, Employers Gone Wild: Doing Bad Things, The New America, WBI Education | No Archived Comments | Post A Comment (
Thursday, March 7th, 2013
Ron Johnson became JCPenney CEO on Nov. 2011. Since then, he has purged all of the former executives and 1900 corporate HQ employees at Plano, Texas. The company has also cut 19,000 store employees. In his first year, store sales fell 23%. Penney stock shares fell 62% over the past year. So much for his ambitious turnaround plan.
HQ employees loathe and fear him. Now he launches a new plan to eliminate store workers by color code.
Friday, March 1st, 2013
At a video shoot in New York City this week, I met an extraordinary man. Francesco Portelos, a highly paid engineer, switched careers to middle school teaching for the love of teaching kids at great expense to his young family. He is a skilled man who taught youngsters to accomplish technological goals believed to be undoable by lesser-skilled teachers. The woman principal at his Staten Island school, Linda Hill, couldn’t stand the young professional’s passion for making the school better (true reform of education vs. faux reform aka privatization). She banished him to a room in a basement 20 miles from his school and students. This is the old “rubber room” tactic no longer permitted, except that it is done. Ironically, to support her campaign of hate, Francesco draws his salary and serves as his union’s (UFT) representative from exile. He maintains an informative website and video streams his “doing nothing.” Free Portelos to be productive again. He wants to earn his salary. His kids miss him. The poor-performing, low-ranked school needs him. Free him.
Francesco (far left) tells his story at 20:40 on the timeline in the video below.
Tags: Francesco Portelos, Gary Namie, NY Schools, rubber room, teacher in exile, workplace bullying
Posted in Employers Gone Wild: Doing Bad Things, Target Tale, WBI Education | No Archived Comments | Post A Comment (
Saturday, February 9th, 2013
Management tells non-supervisory workers (underlings, subordinates) that direct, honest communication with your boss is possible, as if both are equals. It’s called an “Open Door Policy.” Sounds great, but rarely practiced. Just another disingenuous biz buzz phrase that rings hollow. Here’s an example of the words:
At Cablevision we maintain a true culture of family and teamwork based on mutual respect. We foster an environment of camaraderie, equality, cooperation, dedication, and recognition. We believe in the importance of supporting our employees by providing excellent career-development opportunities, tuition assistance, valuable training, and maintaining an open door policy.
An “Open Door” is offered as an excuse to convince workers there is no need to bring in a union for representation. Target, the retailer, uses the ploy. Watch the video to see for yourself.
But workers and managers are not equals. Here’s an example of what actually happened when workers try to use such a policy. 23 Cablevision (see its policy above) Brooklyn, NY union workers were fired on Jan. 30.
Tags: Bill de Blasio, Cablevision Brooklyn, Christine Quinn, CWA, CWA Local 1109, Gary Namie, NLRA, NLRB, open door policy, workplace bullying
Posted in Employers Gone Wild: Doing Bad Things, Unions | 3 Archived Comments | Post A Comment (
Monday, February 4th, 2013
Imagine the largest U.S. corporation in its industry harboring abusive managers, 124 of them, despite complaints from people closest to those harmed and even inquiries from the police. It was the kind of abuse that can permanently traumatize individuals and families. Further imagine excusing the accused (because they said they did not do it) and allowing them to continue to work with no penalties or accountability for the wrongs committed. When evidence rose to undeniable levels, the CEO never admitted what the abusive managers did, never helped the people harmed, but chose to move offenders out of state or out of the country! Still no punishment. And if that wasn’t outrageous enough, imagine that the CEO claims credit for an “evolved” attitude toward the abuse after his retirement only after public revelations of his unconscionable decisions.
Tags: Archdiocese of Los Angeles, cover up, Gary Namie, Healthy Workplace Bill, priest abuse, Roger M. Mahoney, sexual abuse, workplace bullying
Posted in Employers Gone Wild: Doing Bad Things, Fairness & Social Justice Denied, Media About Bullying, Print: News, Blogs, Magazines | No Archived Comments | Post A Comment (
Monday, January 14th, 2013
Watch this CBS-TV 60 Minutes segment on the booming market for robotic workers that replace humans. It’s not sci-fi. MIT researchers are clear that even if manufacturing returns to the U.S., humans will not be involved. Robots will produce the products. This video is a celebration of technology’s limitless future and ability to build wealth for some few entrepreneurs and investors.
Remaining unexplored is the impact on a nation’s human population that is denied gainful employment and all that that provides. Why is the toll on humans not part of the “inevitable” rise of technology? Perhaps we should slow down and ponder consequences of each new “advance.”
What machines, gizmos, technologies (hardware or software) have actually improved economic and living conditions for humans and not businesses?
Monday, January 14th, 2013
From United Public Workers for Action announcing Jan. 17 press conference at SF Unified School District HQ regarding retaliation against UESF teachers, specifically Tobias Crane, who complained about former Martin Luther King Middle School principal, Natalie Eberhard. (415) 867-0628
Trouble at MLK Middle School seems rooted on bullying tactics of principal Eberhard.