Article 43

 

Sunday, September 05, 2004

Welcome

This is a sticky post written the day we first appeared on the internet: Welcome to article43.com - a memorial to the layed off workers of (PRE SBC MERGER) AT&T, and the disappearing MIDDLE CLASS citizens of America.  It is NOT endorsed or affiliated with AT&T or the CWA in any way.

In addition to INFORMATION, resources and opinion for former AT&T workers DEALING WITH the EFFECTS OF LAYOFF and looking for meaningful employment, some articles here are meant to bring into awareness the LARGER PICTURE of corporate dominance of the UNITED STATES’ political and economic policies which brazenly DISREGARDS, disrespects and EXPLOITS worker, citizen and HUMAN RIGHTS under masks like FREE TRADE and the PATRIOT ACT - resulting in a return to a society of very rich and very poor dominated by a few very rich and powerful - whose voices are anything but - for the people. If left UNCHALLENGED, the self-serving interests of those in control may result in the end of DEMOCRACY, the end of the middle class, irreversible ENVIRONMENTAL damage to the planet, and widespread global poverty brought on by exploitation and supression of the voices of common people EVERYWHERE, while the United States turns into a REINCARNATION of the ROMAN EMPIRE.  Author Thom Hartmann shares some history and outlines some basic steps to return our country to “The People” in his two articles TEN STEPS TO RETURN TO DEMOCRACY and SAVING THE MIDDLE CLASS. I support CERNIG’S idea for a new POLITICAL MOVEMENT - if not a revolution to cleanse our country of the filth ruling it - as we EVOLVE into a GLOBAL community - assuming we learn the THE LESSONS OF OUR TIME and don’t DESTROY CIVILIZATION first.

Everything here can be viewed anonymously.  Inserting or commenting on articles requires a free user account (for former AT&T employees with a real, non throw-away, email address.) Requests to the new user registration page are redirected to BLOGGED DOT COM’S site because most new signups I get are from COMMENT SPAMMERS and their ilk, so if you want to contribute, contact me through email, phone, or some other way.

There’s no third-party scripts here like privacy-eroding WEB COUNTERS, hidden datamining widgets like Pay-Pal donation boxes, or AMAZON DOT COM tracking stuff.  The RSS feeds are pulled by the server, and have no relation to anything you may be doing here.  Standard Apache WEB LOGS of info like IP, and pages visited are rotated every few days, and used internally to check the web server’s performance.  Logs of suspicious activity may be shared with law enforcement, or other ISPs, to deal with troublemakers.  Nothing here is for sale, and donations are not solicited.

If you get an email that claims to be from somebody here that’s anything but a request to post your article, or report suspicious activity (like logs sent to an ISP to report an attack) - it’s SPAM. I do not, and will not - ever - join the junk mail sender community. There are no mechanisms to prevent anyone from forging anyone elses email address in a “from” or “reply-to” mail header. For those of us whose email addresses are fraudently used, the best we can do is filter out NDR REPORTS.

Per U.S.C. COPYRIGHT LAW - TITLE 17, SECTION 107, this not-for-profit site may reproduce copyrighted material not specifically authorized by the copyright owner. Such articles will either have a web link to the source, home page, and/or show credit to the author.  If yours is here and you have a problem with that, send me an EMAIL, and I’ll take it off. Stuff I wrote carries a CREATIVE COMMONS LICENSE permitting non-commercial sharing. In addition, this site’s owner forbids insertion and injecting data of any kind - especially advertisements - into ours by any person or entity.  Should you see a commercial ad that looks like it’s from here, please report it by sending me a tcpdump and/or screenshot in an EMAIL, then READ UP about how the PARTNERING OF INTERNET SERVICE PROVIDERS and companies like NEBUAD are DESTROYING INTERNET PRIVACY

Resumes of layed off AT&T workers are posted for free HERE.

Information on the Pension Class Action Lawsuit against AT&T is HERE.  More pension-related articles are HERE.

Links to some Telecom companies’ career pages are HERE.

Click HERE to learn a little about Article 43 and why I loathe the CWA.
Click HERE or HERE to learn what the CWA did when given a chance to do the right thing.
Click HERE for a glimpse of undemocratic and hypocritical CWA practices.
Click HERE for an article on Corporate Unionism.
Click HERE for an article of AFL-CIO’s undemocratic history.

If you’re looking for telco nostalgia, you won’t find it here.  Check out THE CENTRAL OFFICE, BELL SYSTEM MEMORIAL, MUSEUM OF COMMUNICATIONS, TELEPHONE TRIBUTE, and THE READING WORKS websites instead.

This site can disappear anytime if I run out of money to pay for luxuries like food, health care, or internet service.

Discernment of truth is left to the reader - whose encouraged to seek as much information as possible, from as many different sources as possible - and pass them through his/her own filters - before believing anything.

...the Devil is just one man with a plan, but evil, true evil, is a collaboration of men…
- Fox Mulder, X Files

No matter how big the lie; repeat it often enough and the masses will regard it as the truth.
- John F. Kennedy

Today my country, your country and the Earth face a corporate holocaust against human and Earthly rights. I call their efforts a holocaust because when giant corporations wield human rights backed by constitutions and the law (and therefore enforced by police, the courts, and armed forces) and sanctioned by cultural norms, the rights of people, other species and the Earth are annihilated.
- Richard L. Grossman

Unthinking respect for authority is the greatest enemy of truth.
- Albert Einstein

He who is not angry when there is just cause for anger is immoral. Why? Because anger looks to the good of justice. And if you can live amid injustice without anger, you are immoral as well as unjust.
- Aquinas

If you are neutral in situations of injustice, you have chosen the side of the oppressor. If an elephant has its foot on the tail of a mouse and you say that you are neutral, the mouse will not appreciate your neutrality.
- Bishop Desmond Tutu

Our lives begin to end the day we become silent about things that matter.
- Martin Luther King Jr

Those who would give up essential Liberty, to purchase a little temporary Safety, deserve neither Liberty nor Safety.
- Benjamin Franklin

If we do not hang together, we will surely hang separately.
- Benjamin Franklin

We must be prepared to make heroic sacrifices for the cause of peace that we make ungrudgingly for the cause of war.
- Albert Einstein

Solidarity has always been key to political and economic advance by working families, and it is key to mastering the politics of globalization.
- Thomas Palley

Update 8/11/07 - As we head into the next depression, fueled by selfish corporate greed, and a corrupt, SOCIOPATHIC US government, MIKE WHITNEY has a solution that makes a lot of sense to me:

The impending credit crisis cant be avoided, but it could be mitigated by taking radical steps to soften the blow. Emergency changes to the federal tax code could put more money in the hands of maxed-out consumers and keep the economy sputtering along while efforts are made to curtail the ruinous trade deficit. We should eliminate the Social Security tax for any couple making under $60, 000 per year and restore the 1953 tax-brackets for Americans highest earners so that the upper 1%-- who have benefited the most from the years of prosperity---will be required to pay 93% of all earnings above the first $1 million income. At the same time, corporate profits should be taxed at a flat 35%, while capital gains should be locked in at 35%. No loopholes. No exceptions.

Congress should initiate a program of incentives for reopening American factories and provide generous subsidies to rebuild US manufacturing. The emphasis should be on reestablishing a competitive market for US exports while developing the new technologies which will address the imminent problems of environmental degradation, global warming, peak oil, overpopulation, resource scarcity, disease and food production. Off-shoring of American jobs should be penalized by tariffs levied against the offending industries.

The oil and natural gas industries should be nationalized with the profits earmarked for vocational training, free college tuition, universal health care and improvements to then nations infrastructure.

Posted by Admin on 09/05/04 •

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Friday, April 18, 2014

Democracy Hollowed Out Part 32 - Oligarchs Rule

Princeton Concludes What Kind of Government America Really Has, and It’s Not a Democracy

By Tom McKa
Policy Mic
April 16, 2014

A new SCIENTIFIC STUDY from Princeton researchers Martin Gilens and Benjamin I. Page has finally put some science behind the recently popular argument that the United States isn’t a democracy any more. And they’ve found that in fact, America is basically an oligarchy.

An oligarchy is a system where power is effectively wielded by a small number of individuals defined by their status called oligarchs. Members of the oligarchy are the rich, the well connected and the politically powerful, as well as particularly well placed individuals in institutions like banking and finance or the military.

For their study, Gilens and Page compiled data from roughly 1,800 different policy initiatives in the years between 1981 and 2002. They then compared those policy changes with the expressed opinion of the United State public. Comparing the preferences of the average American at the 50th percentile of income to what those Americans at the 90th percentile preferred, as well as the opinions of major lobbying or business groups, the researchers found out that the government followed the directives set forth by the latter two much more often.

It’s beyond alarming. As Gilens and Page write, “the preferences of the average American appear to have only a minuscule, near-zero, statistically non-significant impact upon public policy.” In other words, their statistics say your opinion literally does not matter.

That MIGHT EXPLAIN WHY mandatory background checks on gun sales supported by 83% TO 91% of Americans aren’t in place, or why Congress has taken no action on greenhouse gas emissions even when such legislation is supported by the vast majority of citizens.

This problem has been steadily escalating for four decades. While there are some limitations to their data set, economists Thomas Piketty and Emmanuel Saez constructed income statistics based on IRS data that go back to 1913. They found that the gap between the ultra-wealthy and the rest of us is much bigger than you would think, as mapped by THEE GRAPHS from the Center On Budget and Policy Priorities.

Piketty and Saez also calculated that as of September 2013 the top 1% of earners had captured 95% of all income gains since the Great Recession ended. The other 99% saw a net 12% drop to their income. So not only is oligarchy making the rich richer, it’s driving policy that’s made everyone else poorer.

What kind of oligarchy? As Gawker’s Hamilton Nolan explains, Gilens and Page’s findings provide support for two theories of governance: economic elite domination and biased pluralism. The first is pretty straightforward and states that the ultra-wealthy wield all the power in a given system, though some argue that this system still allows elites in corporations and the government to become powerful as well. Here, power does not necessarily derive from wealth, but those in power almost invariably come from the upper class. Biased pluralism on the other hand argues that the entire system is a mess and interest groups ruled by elites are fighting for dominance of the political process. Also, because of their vast wealth of resources, interest groups of large business tend to dominate a lot of the discourse. America, the findings indicate, tends towards either of these much more than anything close to what we call “democracy.”

In either case, the result is the same: Big corporations, the ultra-wealthy and special interests with a lot of money and power essentially make all of the decisions. Citizens wield little to no political power. America, the findings indicate, tends towards either of these much more than anything close to what we call “democracy” systems such as majoritarian electoral democracy or majoritarian pluralism, under which the policy choices pursued by the government would reflect the opinions of the governed.

Nothing new: And no, this isn’t a problem that’s the result of any recent Supreme Court cases ח at least certainly not the likes FEC v. Citizens United or FEC v. McCutcheon. The data is pretty clear that America has been sliding steadily into oligarchy for decades, mirrored in both the substantive effect on policy and in the distribution of wealth throughout the U.S. But cases like those might indicate the process is accelerating.

“Perhaps economic elites and interest group leaders enjoy greater policy expertise than the average citizen does,” Gilens and Page write. “Perhaps they know better which policies will benefit everyone, and perhaps they seek the common good, rather than selfish ends, when deciding which policies to support.

“But we tend to doubt it.”

SOURCE

Posted by Elvis on 04/18/14 •
Section Dying America
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Tuesday, April 08, 2014

Working Wonders - Long-Term Unemployed

older-workers.jpg

Long-Term Unemployed Make for Just as Strong Hires: Study

By Aki Ito
Bloomberg
April 4, 2014

People who have been out of work for an extended period, once hired, tend to be just as productive on the job as those with more typical work histories, according to an analysis of almost 20,000 employees.

The research, provided to Bloomberg News by San Francisco-based Evolv Inc., shows no statistically significant difference in measures of job performance between two pools of entry-level call center agents: those who hadnt held a single full-time job in at least five years before they applied for the position, and the rest. Evolv, which helps large companies assess and manage hourly workers, analyzed data collected from six employers in about 90 locations in the U.S.

The findings buttress President Barack Obama’s call to American businesses to give the long-term unemployed a “fair shot” amid growing evidence that employers have preferred to hire candidates without prolonged jobless spells. Some 3.7 million workers have been out of work for 27 weeks or more as of March, according to Labor Department data released today.

“We have statistical proof that hiring somebody among the long-term unemployed is equal to somebody who is not long-term unemployed,” said Max Simkoff, chief executive officer and co-founder of Evolv.

Evolv tracked four measures of job performance, each collected every day of the workers tenure. The variables included the average time it took for the agent to complete a transaction, customer satisfaction ratings, supervisor evaluations, and the percentage of the workday spent at his or her desk.

No Worse

About 14 percent of the employees in the sample reported having had no full-time job for the five years leading up to the time they applied for the position. After excluding people who had been in school for the year up to the time they applied for the job, EvolvҒs analysts found that the long-term unemployed still performed no worse than those without an extended jobless spell.

The findings are encouraging news for Federal Reserve policy makers, provided that recruiters heed Evolvs findings. The U.S. central bank has deployed record stimulus to bring down unemployment, even as some critics have warned that further accommodation wonҒt help because a prolonged period of high joblessness has made some workers permanently unemployable.

The concern is that the long-term unemployed may remain on the sidelines, ultimately dropping out of the workforce,Ӕ Fed Chair Janet Yellen said March 31 in her first speech as the head of the central bank as she highlighted the plight of struggling Americans. But the data suggest that the long-term unemployed look basically the same as other unemployed people in terms of their occupations, educational attainment, and other characteristics.Ӕ

Qualified Candidates

For employers, Evolvs results suggest that theyҒre missing out on qualified candidates, Simkoff said. In one experiment, researchers at the University of Toronto, the University of Chicago and McGill University submitted about 12,000 fake resumes to apply for about 3,000 jobs. At eight months of unemployment, callbacks were about 45 percent lower than at one month of unemployment, the study showed.

Among those struggling to find work is Vincent Ramsey, 56, who lost his security job at Villanova University in Pennsylvania in May 2012 and has been looking since. He said hes applied for about 30 positions a week mostly in areas in which he’s had experience, such as customer service and childcare.

Positive Traits

“With all the positive traits that I have, somebody’s still finding fault with me,” said Ramsey, referring to his punctuality and work ethic as well as the breadth of his work record. “I don’t understand it. Wherever you put me at any job, I connect with people. I’ve done this successfully everywhere.”

More than 300 companies including Wal-Mart Stores Inc. and automaker Ford Motor Co. signed a White House pledge to develop initiatives for hiring and recruiting job-seekers who have been out of work for an extended period.

“It’s a cruel Catch-22—the longer you’re unemployed, the more unemployable you may seem, Obama said Jan. 31. “They just need a chance.”

To contact the reporter on this story: Aki Ito in San Francisco at aito16 at bloomberg dot net

To contact the editors responsible for this story: Chris Wellisz at cwellisz at bloomberg dot net

SOURCE

Posted by Elvis on 04/08/14 •
Section Job Hunt
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Monday, April 07, 2014

The Jobs Picture - Facts and Fiction

dying-america.jpg

Last month, there were 10.5 million job seekers, but only 4.2 million job openings. Do the math.

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No Sustained Increase in Hires Rate in Two Years

By Heidi Shierholz
Economic Policy Institute
April 8, 2014

The Job Openings and Labor Turnover Survey (JOLTS) data released this morning by the Bureau of Labor Statistics showed that the hires ratethe share of total employment accounted for by new hires - held steady at 3.3 percent in February. The hires rate is one of the best comprehensive measures of the strength of job opportunities because it incorporates two components: 1) net new hires, and 2) new hires that are replacing people who quit their jobs (discussed below). Figure A shows the hires rate each month over time. It fell dramatically in the Great Recession, improved very modestly between the middle of 2009 and early 2012, but has made no sustained improvement since February 2012, two years ago.

Low voluntary quits

Todays JOLTS report shows that many employed workers remain locked in their jobs, unable or unwilling to quit the job they have because other job opportunities remain so scarce. In 2006, nearly 3 million workers voluntarily quit their jobs each month. That dropped to a low of 1.6 million in August 2009. It has since been generally increasing, but it is still extremely low relative to before the Great Recession, and progress is bumpy and slow. In February, the number of voluntary quits held steady (increased by 14,000) at 2.4 million, 20 percent below its prerecession level. Furthermore, the level of quits has made no sustained improvement in five months. ItҒs worth noting that the low level of voluntary quits in the aftermath of the Great Recessionwhich means fewer people experiencing a short bout of unemployment between jobsחis likely one of the reasons the short-term unemployment rate has seen greater improvement in recent years than the long-term unemployment rate.

Job openings

Job openings showed more strength in February, increasing by 299,000. This brought the total number of job openings to 4.2 million. In February, there were 10.5 million job seekers (unemployment data are from the Current Population Survey), meaning that there were 2.5 times as many job seekers as job openings. Put another way: Job seekers so outnumbered job openings that 60 percent of job seekers were not going to find a job in February no matter what they did. In a labor market with strong job opportunities, there would be roughly as many job openings as job seekers.

Furthermore, the 10.2 million unemployed workers understates how many job openings will be needed when a robust jobs recovery finally begins, due to the existence of 5.3 million would-be workers who are currently not in the labor market, but who would be if job opportunities were strong. Many of these “missing workers” will become job seekers when we enter a robust jobs recovery, so job openings will be needed for them, too.

Todays labor market weakness is not due to workers lacking the right skills

Figure B shows the number of unemployed workers and the number of job openings by industry. This figure is extremely useful for diagnosing whatҒs behind our sustained high unemployment. If our current elevated unemployment were due to skills shortages or mismatches, we would expect to find some sectors where there are more unemployed workers than job openings, and some where there are more job openings than unemployed workers. What we find, however, is that unemployed workers dramatically outnumber job openings across the board. There are between 1.3 and 7.7 times as many unemployed workers as job openings in every industry. In other words, even in the industry with the most favorable ratio of unemployed workers to job openings (health care and social assistance), there are still nearly 30 percent more unemployed workers than job openings. In no industry does the number of job openings even come close to the number of people looking for work. This demonstrates that the main problem in the labor market is a broad-based lack of demand for workersnot, as is often claimed, available workers lacking the skills needed for the sectors with job openings. For more on this, see this post.

SOURC

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Another Fraudulent Jobs Report

By Paul Craig Roberts
April 5, 2014

The March payroll jobs report released April 4 claims 192,000 new private sector jobs.

Here is what John Williams has to say about the claim:

The Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) deliberately publishes its seasonally-adjusted historical payroll-employment and household-survey (unemployment) data so that the numbers are neither consistent nor comparable with current headline reporting. The upside revisions to the January and February monthly jobs gains, and the relatively strong March payroll showing, reflected nothing more than concealed, favorable shifts in underlying seasonal factors, hidden by the lack of consistent BLS reporting. In like manner, consistent month-to-month changes in the unemployment rate or labor force simply are not knowable, because the BLS cloaks the consistent and comparable numbers.

Here is what Dave Kranzler has to say: ”the employment report is probably the most deceptively fraudulent report produced by the Government.”

As I have pointed out for a decade, the “New Economy” jobs that we were promised in exchange for our manufacturing jobs and tradable professional service jobs that were offshored have never shown up. The transnational corporations and their hired shills among economists lied to us. Not even a jobs report as deceptive and fraudulent as the BLS payroll jobs report can hide the fact that Congress, the White House, and the American people have sat sucking their thumbs while corporations maximized profits for the one percent at the expense of everyone else in the United States.

Let’s look at where the alleged jobs are. The BLS jobs report says that 28,400 jobs were created in March in wholesale and retail sales. March is the month that Macy’s, Sears, JC Penny, Staples, Radio Shack, Office Depot, and other retailers announced combined closings of several thousand stores, but more retail clerks were hired.

The BLS payroll jobs report claims 57,000 jobs in professional and business services. Are these jobs for lawyers, accountants, architects, engineers, and managers? No. The combined new jobs for these middle class professional skills totaled 10,400. Employment services accounted for 42,000 of the jobs in professional and business services of which temporary help accounted for 28,500.

Education and health services accounted for 34,000 jobs or which ambulatory and home health care services accounted for 28,000 of the jobs.

The other old standby, waitresses and bartenders, accounted for 30,400 jobs. The number of Americans dependent on food stamps who cannot afford to go out to eat or to purchase a six-pack of beer has almost doubled, but the demand for restaurant meals and bar drinks keeps rising.

There you have it. This is Americas “New Economy.” It the jobs exist at all, they consist of lowly paid, largely part-time employment that fails to produce enough income to prevent the food stamp rolls from doubling.

Without growth in consumer income, there is no growth in aggregate consumer demand. Offshoring jobs also offshores the income associated with the jobs, resulting in the decline in the domestic consumer market. The US transnational corporations, pursuing profits in the short-run, are destroying their long-run consumer base. The transnational corporations are also destroying the outlook for US universities, as it makes no sense to incur large student loan debt when job prospects are poor. The corporations are also destroying US leadership in innovation as US corporations increasingly become marketeers of foreign-made goods and services.

As I predicted in 2004, the US will have a third world work force in 20 years.

The unemployment figures are as deceptive as the employment figures. The headline unemployment rate of 6.7% does not include discouraged workers. When discouraged workers are included among the unemployed, the US rate of unemployment is 3.4 times higher than the announced rate.

How many times has John Williams written his report? How many times have I written this article? Yet the government continues to issue false reports, and the presstitute financial media continues to ask no questions.

The US, once a land of opportunity, has been transformed into an aristocratic economy in which income and wealth are concentrated at the very top. The highly skewed concentration at the top is the result of jobs offshoring, which transformed Americans’ salaries and wages into bonuses for executives and capital gains for owners, and financial deregulation, which produced financial collapse and the Federal Reserves bailout of banks too big too fail. The trillions of dollars of new money created by the Federal Reserve has produced massive inflation of stock prices, making owners even richer.

Sooner or later the dollar’s value will suffer as a result of the massive creation of new dollars. When that occurs, the import-dependent American population will suffer a traumatic drop in living standards. The main cost of the bank bailout has yet to hit.

As I writeI cannot think of one thing in the entire areas of foreign and domestic policy that the US government has told the truth about in the 21st century. Just as Saddam Hussein had no weapons of mass destruction, Iran has no nukes, Assad did not use chemical weapons, and Putin did not invade and annex Crimea, the jobs numbers are fraudulent, the unemployment rate is deceptive, the inflation measures are understated, and the GDP growth rate is overstated. Americans live in a matrix of total lies.

What can Americans do? Elections are pointless. Presidents, Senators, and US Representatives represent the interest groups that provide their campaign funds, not the voters. In two decisions, the Republican Supreme Court has made it legal for corporations to purchase the government. Those who own the government will decide what it does, not those who vote.

All Americans can do is to accept the serfdom imposed on them or take to the streets and stay in the streets despite being clubbed, tasered, arrested, and shot by the police, who protect the power structure, not the public.

In America, nothing is done for the public. But everything is done to the public.

SOURCE

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This Is What Employment In America Really Looks Like

By Michael Snyder
The Economic Collapse Blog
April 6, 2014

The level of employment in the United States has been declining since the year 2000.  There have been moments when things have appeared to have been getting better for a short period of time, and then the decline has resumed.  Thanks to theOFFSHORING OF MILLIONS OF JOBS, the replacement of millions of workers WITH TECHNOLOGY and the overall weakness of the U.S. economy, the percentage of Americans that are actually working is significantly lower than it was when this century began.  And even though things have stabilized at a reduced level over the past few years, it is only a matter of time until the next major wave of the economic collapse strikes and the employment level goes even lower.  And the truth is that more good jobs are being lost every single day in America.  For example, as you will read about below, Warren Buffett is shutting down a Fruit of the Loom factory in Kentucky and moving it to Honduras just so that he can make a little bit more money.  We see this kind of betrayal over and over again, and it is absolutely ripping the middle class of America to shreds.

Below I have posted a chart that you never hear any of our politicians talk about.  It is a chart that shows how the percentage of working age Americans with a job has steadily declined since the turn of the century.  Just before the last recession, we were sitting at about 63 percent, but now we have been below 59 percent since the end of 2009…

employment-population-ratio-2014-04-25.jpg

We should be thankful that things have stabilized at this lower level for the past few years.

At least things have not been getting worse.

But anyone that believes that “things have returned to normal” is just being delusional.

And nothing is being done about the long-term trends that are absolutely crippling our economy.  One of those trends is the offshoring of middle class jobs.  As I mentioned above, Fruit of the Loom (which is essentially owned by Warren Buffett) has made the decision to close their factory in Jamestown, Kentucky and lay off all the workers at that factory by the end of 2014…

Clothing company Fruit of the Loom announced Thursday that it will permanently close its plant in Jamestown and lay off all 600 employees by the end of the year.

The Jamestown plant is the last Fruit of the Loom plant in a state where the company had once been a manufacturing titan second only to General Electric.

This isn’t being done because Fruit of the Loom is going out of business.  They are still going to be making t-shirts and underwear.  They are just going to be making them in Honduras from now on…

The company, owned by Warren Buffett’s Berkshire Hathaway but headquartered in Bowling Green, said the move is “part of the company’s ongoing efforts to align its global supply chain” and will allow the company to better use its existing investments to provide products cheaper and faster.

The company said it is moving the plant’s textile operations to Honduras to save money.

So what are those workers supposed to do?

Go on welfare?

The number of Americans that are dependent on the government is already at an all-time record high.

And doesn’t Warren Buffett already have enough money?

In business school, they teach you that the sole responsibility of a corporation is to maximize wealth for the shareholders.

And so when business students get out into “the real world”, that is how they behave.

But the truth is that corporations have a responsibility to treat their workers, their customers and the communities in which they operate well.  This responsibility exists whether corporate executives want to admit it or not.

And we all have a responsibility to our fellow citizens.  When we stand aside and do nothing as millions of good paying American jobs are shipped overseas so that the “one world economic agenda” can be advanced and so that men like Warren Buffett can stuff their pockets just a little bit more, we are failing our fellow countrymen.

Because so many of us have fallen for the lie that “globalism is good”, we have allowed our once great manufacturing cities to crumble and die.  Just consider what is happening to Detroit.  It was once the greatest manufacturing city in the history of the planet, but now foreign newspapers publish stories about what a horror show that it has become…

Khalil Ligon couldnׅt tell if the robbers were in her house. She had just returned home to find her front windowsmashed and a brick lying among shattered glass on the floor. Ligon, an urban planner who lives alone on Detroits east side, stepped out and called the police.

It wasnҒt the first time Ligons home had been broken into, she told me. And when Detroit police officers finally arrived the next day, surveying an area marred by abandoned structures and overgrown vegetation, they asked Ligon a question she often ponders herself: why is she still in Detroit?

Of course this kind of thing is not just happening to Detroit.  The truth is that it is happening all over the nation.  For example, this article contains an incredible graphic which shows how the middle class of Chicago has steadily disappeared over the past several decades.

Once again, even though we have never had a “recovery”, it is a good thing that things have at least stabilized at a lower level for the past few years.

But now there are all sorts of indications that we are rapidly heading toward yet another economic downturn.  The tsunami of retail store closings that is now upon us is just one sign of this.  The following is a partial list of retail store closings from a recent article by Daniel Jennings…

Quiznos has filed for bankruptcy, USA Today reported, and could close many of its 2,100 stores.

Sbarro which operates pizza and Italian restaurants in malls, is planning to close 155 locations in the United States and Canada. That means nearly 20 percent of SbarroҒs will close. The chain operates around 800 outlets.

Ruby Tuesday announced plans to close 30 restaurants in January after its sales fell by 7.8 percent. The chain currently operates around 775 steakhouses across the US.

An unknown number of Red Lobster stores will be sold. The chain is in such bad shape that the parent company, Darden Restaurants Inc., had to issue a press release stating that the chain would not close. Instead Darden is planning to spin Red Lobster off into another company and sell some of its stores.

Ralphs, a subsidiary of Kroger, has announced plans to close 15 supermarkets in Southern California within 60 days.

Safeway closed 72 DominickҒs grocery stores in the Chicago area last year.

And the following are some more signs of trouble for the retail industry from one of my recent articles entitled “20 Facts About The Great U.S. Retail Apocalypse That Will Blow Your Mind”...

#1 As you read this article, approximately a billion square feet of retail space IS SITTING VACANT in the United States.

#2 Last week, RADIO SHACK announced that it was going to close more than a thousand stores.

#3 Last week, STAPLES announced that it was going to close 225 stores.

#4 Same-store sales at OFFICE DEPOT have declined for 13 quarters in a row.

#5 J.C. PENNEY has been dying for years, and it recently announced plans to close 33 more stores.

#6 J.C. Penney lost 586 million dollars during the second quarter of 2013 alone.

#7 SEARS has closed about 300 stores since 2010, and CNN IS REPORTING that Sears is “expected to shutter another 500 Sears and Kmart locations soon”.

#8 Overall, sales numbers have declined at Sears for 27 QUARTERS IN A ROW.

#9 Target has announced that it is going to eliminate 475 jobs and not fill 700 positions that are currently empty.

#10 It is being projected that Aropostale will close about 175 stores over the next couple of years.

#11 Macy’s has announced that it is going to be closing five stores and eliminating 2,500 jobs.

#12 The Childrens Place has announced that it will be closing down 125 of its “weakest” stores by 2016.

But it isn’t just the retail industry that is deeply troubled.

All over America we are seeing economic weakness.

In this economic environment, it doesn’t matter how smart, how educated or how experienced you are.  If you are out of work, it can be extremely difficult to find a new job.  Just consider the case of Abe Gorelick…

Abe Gorelick has decades of marketing experience, an extensive contact list, an Ivy League undergraduate degree, a masterҩҒs in business from the University of Chicago, ideas about how to reach consumers young and old, experience working with businesses from start-ups to huge financial firms and an upbeat, effervescent way about him. What he does not have and has not had for the last year ח is a full-time job.

Five years since the recession ended, it is a story still shared by millions. Mr. Gorelick, 57, lost his position at a large marketing firm last March. As he searched, taking on freelance and consulting work, his familys finances slowly frayed. He is now working three jobs, driving a cab and picking up shifts at Lord & Taylor and Whole Foods.

So what does Abe need in order to find a decent job?

More education?

More experience?

No, what he needs is an economy that produces good jobs.

Sadly, the cold, hard reality of the matter is that the U.S. economy will never produce enough jobs for everyone ever again.

The way that America used to work is long gone, and it has been replaced by a cold, heartless environment where the company that you work for could rip your job away from you at a moment’s notice if they decide that it will put a few extra pennies into the pockets of the shareholders.

You may have worked incredibly hard for 30 years and been super loyal to your company.

It doesn’t matter anymore.

All that matters is the bottom line, and in the process the middle class is being destroyed.  But by destroying the middle class, those corporations are destroying the consumer base that their corporate empires were built upon in the first place.

SOURCE

Posted by Elvis on 04/07/14 •
Section Dying America
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Sunday, March 30, 2014

When Long-term Unemployment Becomes Self-perpetuating

By Catherine Rampell
Washington Post
March 24, 2014

Say it with me: The LONG-TERM UNEMPLOYED are not lazy. Nor are they coddled, HAMMOCKED or enjoying a coordinated, taxpayer-funded vacation.

They are, however, extremely unlucky and getting unluckier by the day.

Take Renardo Gomez of Fitchburg, Mass. In three years, Gomez ricocheted from a stable hospital job of 20 years that paid $34,000 annually to a sudden layoff to a series of low-paying, short-term gigs interspersed with longer and longer spells of unemployment. He expects an eviction notice soon.

“I keep putting in 110 percent and getting 10 percent back,” he says.

A new Brookings Institution STUDY that tracks the fates of those unlucky workers who don’t manage to find stable new jobs in their first few weeks of unemployment suggests that this post-layoff tailspin is distressingly common.

It was ALREADY KNOWN that the LONGER workers have been out of a job, the lower their chance of finding work in the coming month. The Brookings paper - by the former Obama administration economist Alan Krueger and his Princeton colleagues Judd Cramer and David Cho took this analysis a step further: What about (gulp) these workersג longer-run prospects?

It turns out that from 2008 to 2012, only one in 10 people who were already long-term unemployed in a given month had returned to steady, full-time employment by the time government surveyors checked in on them a little more than a year later. Steady in this case means that they were working for at least four consecutive months. And the other nine in 10 workers? They were still out of work, toiling in part-time or transitory jobs or had dropped out of the labor force altogether.

In other words, like Gomez, the vast majority of people caught in long spells of joblessness do not find work again, or at the very least have trouble hanging on to whatever replacement jobs they had initially thanked their lucky stars for.

Its unclear why unemployment becomes increasingly self-perpetuating. Perhaps it is merely selection bias - that is, the most desirable jobless workers get picked off early, leaving the less desirable workers behind to rack up more and more weeks of unemployment. But the Princeton researchers had difficulty detecting obvious differences between the short-term unemployed and the long-term unemployed. These two groups are about equally spread around the economy by sector, occupation and educational attainment, and for the most part are similar demographically (though the long-term unemployed skew older).

Such demographic similarities suggest that something about the experience of joblessness tarnishes workers marketability.

One possibility is stigma. In another recent study, researchers sent out fake resumes in response to job postings. All other qualifications held equal, employers were MUCH LESS LIKELY to respond to resumes from applicants who had been out of work longer. (Some employers are QUITE NAKED about these PREJUDICES, declaring in job ads that applicants must be currently or recently employed.)

Workers’ skills may deteriorate as they spend more time on their couches instead of in cubicles or on work sites. Professional networks might also fray, which is especially damaging for those in sales. Hard skills in dynamic industries such as technology might become outdated. Even softer skills, like showing up on time or exhibiting self-confidence, may erode.

One car dealership manager I spoke with last year said that applicants who had been job-hunting longest seemed to have the most trouble making eye contact with him and expressing any enthusiasm or hopefulness about their future. “Why would I hire someone like that?” he said. “He isn’t even trying to sell himself. There’s no way he could sell a car.”

One implication of the Brookings research is that policymakers should have done more to prevent the short-term jobless from falling into long-term joblessness in the first place. Of course, time machines are rarely an effective policy tool.

Which is why many economists have been hoping that a strengthening recovery would be enough to help Gomez, insecure would-be car salesmen and the nation’s 4.5 million other long-term jobless workers. As demand picks up, many analysts have declared, businesses would have no choice but to absorb workers with more pockmarked resumes. After all, in a booming economy, supposedly even ex-felons are in high demand.

Alas, the Brookings paper makes that deus ex machina appear unlikely. The authors looked at the reemployment chances for long-term unemployed workers around the country and found that these workers do not fare substantially better in states with booming job markets (e.g., North Dakota) than in states with struggling job markets (e.g., Michigan).

Which means that even as the overall U.S. economy improves, those already deeply scarred by the financial crisis are unlikely to share in the bounty.

SOURCE

Posted by Elvis on 03/30/14 •
Section Dying America
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