Article 43

 

Sunday, September 05, 2004

Welcome

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.

This sticky post was written the day we appeared on the internet in 2004.

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 sufbsidies 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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Tuesday, April 17, 2018

Evictions

image: no job no house

First-Ever Evictions Database Shows: ‘We’re In the Middle Of A Housing Crisis’

By Terry Gross
NPR
April 12, 2018

For many poor families in America, eviction is a real and ongoing threat. Sociologist Matthew Desmond estimates that 2.3 million evictions were filed in the U.S. in 2016 a rate of four every minute.

“Eviction isn’t just a condition of poverty; it’s a cause of poverty,” Desmond says. “Eviction is a direct cause of homelessness, but it also is a cause of residential instability, school instability [and] community instability.”

Desmond won a Pulitzer Prize in 2017 for his book, Evicted: Poverty and Profit in the American City. His latest project is THE EVICTION LAB, a team of researchers and students at Princeton University dedicated to amassing the nation’s first-ever database of eviction. To date, the Lab had collected 83 million records from 48 states and the District of Columbia.

“We’re in the middle of a housing crisis, and that means more and more people are giving more and more of their income to rent and utilities,” Desmond says. “Our hope is that we can take this problem that’s been in the dark and bring it into the light.”

Interview Highlights

On why eviction rates are so high

Incomes have remained flat for many Americans over the last two decades, but housing costs have soared. So between 1995 and today, median asking rents have increased by 70 percent, adjusting for inflation. So there’s a shrinking gap between what families are bringing [in] and what they have to pay for basic shelter.

And then we might ask ourselves: Wait a minute, where’s public housing here? Where’s housing vouchers? Doesn’t the government help? And the answer is, it does help, but only for a small percentage of families. Only about 1 in 4 families who qualify for housing assistance get anything. So when we picture the typical low income American today, we shouldn’t think of them living in public housing or getting any kind [of] housing assistance for the government, we should think of folks who are paying 60, 70, 80 percent of their income and living unassisted in the private rental market. That’s our typical case today.

On the effects of eviction

Eviction comes with a mark that goes on your record, and that can bar you from moving into a good house in a safe neighborhood, but could also prevent you from moving into public housing, because we often count that as a mark against your application. So we push families who get evicted into slum housing and dangerous neighborhoods.

We have studies that show that eviction is linked to job loss. ... It’s such a consuming, stressful event, it causes you to make mistakes at work, lose your footing there, and then there’s just the trauma of it the effect that eviction has on your dignity and your mental health and your physical health. We have a study for example that shows that moms who get evicted experience high rates of depression two years later.

On how landlords go about evicting tenants

It varies a lot from city to city. In some places you can evict someone for being a penny short and a day late and the process is very efficient and quick. In other cities it’s a lot longer and laborious and it’s much more work. We’re only also talking about formal evictions, too. These are evictions that go through the court and there are 101 ways for landlords to get a family out. Sometimes landlords pay a family to leave. Sometimes they change their locks or take their door off, as I witnessed one time in Milwaukee. So those evictions aren’t even captured in these numbers that we have ח which means the estimates that we have are stunning, but they’re also too low.

On the benefits of stabilizing families and decreasing evictions

The more I think about this issue, the more I think that we’ve really had a failure of our imagination and maybe it’s linked to a failure of our compassion. ... When we ask, What can be done if a tenant doesn’t pay rent? Doesn’t that tenant have to be evicted? A thousand things can be done. There’s so much better ways of dealing with this issue than we currently do. ...

Stabilizing a home has all sorts of positive benefits for a family. The kid gets to finish school. The neighborhood doesn’t lose a crucial neighbor. The family gets to root down and get to understand the value of a home and avoid homelessness. And for all of us, I think [we] have to recognize that we’re paying the cost of eviction because whatever our issue is, whatever keeps us up at night, the lack of affordable housing sits at the root of that issue. ...

Stabilizing a home has all sorts of positive benefits for a family.

Matthew Desmond

We know that neighborhoods that have more evictions have higher violent crime rates the following year. You can understand why ח it rips apart the fabric of a community. We pay for that. The top 5 percent of hospital users consume 50 percent of the health care costs. Guess who those people are? They’re the homeless and unstably housed. And so I think we can spend smart or we can spend stupid, and so I think addressing the affordable housing crisis is a win for families, for landlords and for the taxpayer.

Roberta Shorrock and Seth Kelley produced and edited the audio of this interview. Bridget Bentz and Molly Seavy-Nesper adapted it for the Web.

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Posted by Elvis on 04/17/18 •
Section Dying America
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Monday, April 16, 2018

What Not to Say To An Isolated Older Adult

unhappy old man

Well-intentioned comments can reinforce feelings of loneliness

By Michelle Seitzer
Next Avenue
April 16, 2018

When MaryKay Kubotas husband died unexpectedly at 49, she felt that the world kept going for everyone but her. Until that moment, the then 47-year-old mother of four, who had married at 19, managed their family’s fast-paced social life. “I didn’t have to think about what was next,” Kubota said. But after her husband’s death, even with two children still at home, “everything just stopped,” she recalled.

As her grief escalated, so did her feeling of abandonment.

“Nobody knew what to say in the situation, so they just left me alone,” said Kubota. Though they offered the standard “Let me know what you need,” Kubota, facing responsibilities she really couldn’t manage on her own, found it hard to ask for help.

Loss Upon Loss

Kubota’s siblings, afraid to upset her by talking about her husband, were not present or helpful when she needed them most. She felt disconnected at her job in commercial real estate. “I was in a fog for at least a year,” she said.

Realizing she lost more than just her husband (her normal, the support of her siblings, a direction in life) was an “aha moment” for Kubota, 68, who now resides in Seal Beach, Calif. But in those early days after his passing, when she was left alone to manage daily life and deal with her grief, Kubota was launched into a long-lasting cycle of isolation, depression and loneliness.

Isolation Doesn’t Stand Alone

Many older adults find themselves in this cycle of compounded loss, but it should never be considered the norm for this stage of life.

Loneliness and social isolation are now believed to be as dangerous to our health as smoking 15 cigarettes a day, and surpass the mortality risks of obesity. A 2017 SCAN survey of 1,000 older adults uncovered this compelling statistic: 82 percent of those 65 and up know at least one person who is lonely, yet 58 percent would be reluctant to admit it if they themselves felt isolated.

Even those who live with others can feel lonely.

At 51, Sandra Hallows of Burnaby, British Columbia, was diagnosed with Parkinson’s disease. Her husband, Jolyon, then 55, became her primary caregiver.

From losing her driver’s license to the friends who’d say “we’ll call later,” and never did, Sandra Hallows felt the sting of isolation immediately following her diagnosis. For Jolyon, the isolation happened over time: As his wife’s disease progressed, both were robbed of conversation and communication, and he was left to watch the woman he loved disappear over two decades. She died in early 2017.

Practical Tips for Breaking Through Isolation

The faces of grief and loneliness are individualized and complex. But for many, it’s a vicious cycle of feeling lonely and depressed which perpetuates isolation and grief that extends beyond the usual time, said Dr. Romilla Batra, chief medical officer for SCAN.

Recognizing that very real struggle - and the cyclical, non-linear aspect of it - is huge in terms of helping the individual, rather than pushing him or her further down isolation’s road.

Here are four things not to say to someone isolated, according to experts, and what to do instead:

1. What Not to Say: “Oh, that was so long ago”

A person needs to be able to grieve without feeling guilty, Kubota said. People can’t just “deal with it and move on.”

What to Do Instead: Give the person adequate time - perhaps even a lifetime - to grieve.

Two weeks after her husband died, Kubota remembers all contact from loved ones dropped off. “Keep the cards coming. Keep visiting. Keep asking how we’re doing, even when we’re not good company,” recommended Kubota.

When friends and family asked questions like “How are you doing?” with the intention of truly listening, the empathy and VALIDATION was invaluable to Jolyon - Hallows, he said.

2. What Not to Say: “Let me know how I can help”

Unless you plan to deliver on your promise, this usually well-intended phrase only serves to push an already isolated individual further into isolation. “I would make up stories in my mind as to why they couldn’t help,” Kubota said. And in doing so, she began taking the blame for her loneliness.

What to Do Instead: Hallows appreciated the FRIENDS who would bring dessert when he invited them over for dinner. “Fattening and thoughtful,” he said.

3. What Not to Say: “You must be doing better since”

Even after Kubota moved to a more active community and started a job that required intense social interaction, isolation was a daily struggle, one which she had to intentionally overcome. “You can do what you love, but you still come home alone,” she said.

What to Do Instead: Being socially involved or active doesn’t erase the risk or pain of isolation. Even the telephone and TV did not interest or comfort Kubota when she was at her loneliest. But, she said, that doesn’t mean you shouldnt call, adding: “We still need to talk to someone.”

4. What Not to Say: You should go out and enjoy yourself more often”

Large group activities or entertainment shouldn’t be the only solution for LONELINESS, said Paul Falkowski, founder and executive director of Omaha-based Community 360, a nonprofit that recruits and trains trusted volunteers to visit older adults in nursing homes.

“The deep-seated need to feel that someone cares about them cannot be met in those [large-group] activities,” he said. An older woman living in a nursing home once said to me, “I have a lot of people around me, but there is no one here just for me.”

What to Do Instead: Encourage creativity, self-discovery and new traditions. When Kubota rediscovered her identity, she found a better way out of isolation. “I had to remember who I was and what I loved before I was a wife and mother,” she said. Since then, she’s started painting again and participates in a fitness boot camp where she’s at least 20 years older than most in her class.

Ultimately, letting go of the “used to” or “can’t do” was huge for Kubota. Her life was not over. By sharing her story, she hopes others in isolation will know they’re not alone and will find the people, places and purposeful activities to help them engage again.

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Posted by Elvis on 04/16/18 •
Section Personal
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Sunday, April 08, 2018

Why the World is Being Decivilized

image: sucker

What it Means to be a Civilized Society
Why the World is Being Decivilized

By Umair Haque
Eudamonia
April 5, 2018

Here’s a question that’s been on my mind lately. What does it mean to be a civilized society - or even a person? Why doesn’t America seem to be one anymore? What does that portend for the world?

Money is no guarantee that a person or place is civilized (exhibit one, the White House). You might say it means power - but that’s false, too. Nero was powerful, but he wasn’t civilized. He was a barbarian wearing a crown. What made him one?

To the barbarian, violence is the answer. The first, last, and best one. To what? To everything: to all social, political, economic, or personal problems. But to the civilized person, violence isn’t the answer - it is the problem. Violence is a kind of ignorance. So it is the opposite of ignorance that a civilized mind seeks, values, prizes - whether we call it education, wisdom, intellgience, or knowledge.

But isn’t that - violence as the solution to all a society’s problems - exactly what resurgent, macho, strongman extremists propose across the globe today? Whether its in the form of bullying, bluster, domination, discipline, or punishment? We’ll come to that. Whatever you suppose that being “civilized” means, I wonder if you don’t agree at least in a tiny way with my simple answer. So let’s apply it.

Is America a civilized country - really? What went wrong with it? Does it pass the test above? Kids are SHOOTING one another at schools. Answer? Arming teachers. People are overdosing on opioids. Answer? Not Narcan-jail. There aren’t enough decent jobs to go around. Answer? Let employers treat people like worthless commodities. PEOPLE FIND IT impossible to make ENDS MEET, even when they’re OLD. Answer? Let them work three jobs. The sick DIE young from a lack of HEALTHCARE - or even basic medicine. Answer? So what? If they CAN’T AFFORD, they DON’T DESERVE it. Do you see the common thread?

Too often in America, VIOLENCE emerges as the first and last answer to all problems. That violence might be explicit and extreme - as in arming teachers. Or it might be hidden violence, violence by omission, like letting people die for a lack of insulin. But it is violence all the same - harm, not gentleness, transformation, and growth.

Let me sharpen that. Recently the Atlantic hired - and then fired - a columnist who proposed that women who’d had abortions should be (wait for it) hanged. Do you see what I mean by violence as the first and last answer? The issue isn’t just a columnist - it is that is that violence marks the boundaries of acceptable discourse, ideas, thought, in America. Whatever the issue is, if a solution is violent, it is treated seriously, and chins are stroked. Punish people more. Treat them with even more badly. Hurt them a little more. Then they will learn. (Hence, America is always declaring war - wars on drugs, wars on poverty, and so on, but the problem is that when you are fighting a war - even a noble one - brutality quickly becomes normality.)

But if a solution is nonviolent, like for example public healthcare, basic incomes and assets, better safety nets, or working retirement systems, it is quickly deemed impossible. It seems impossible in America to propose nonviolent solutions to social, human, or economic problems. Only more and more crazily deranged, bizarrely violent ones, to the point of surreal absurdity, like arming teachers, or hanging women.

Hence, the rest of the world finds it difficult to see America as a civilized country anymore. When kids are shooting each other at schools - something that happens nowhere else in the world - perhaps that isn’t so surprising. But it cuts to the heart of the distinction between civilization and barbarism. Violence and nonviolence. Harm and healing. Punishment and gentleness.

But the inconvient truth is that the same forces that have decivilized America are also threatening to decivilize the world. Neo-Nazis in the Bundestag, remember? What are those forces? We call them “inequality” and “stagnation” and “austerity” but we speak too technically, missing the human point. The force that decivilizes people in the end is a lack of dignity. Where there is no dignity, there will soon enough be extremism, tribalism, and authoritarianism - rule by mob, mafia, a thugocracy, the rise of the predatory. What in an earlier time we would have simply called barbarism.

Dignity is what people have lost as a result of decades of aggressive, single-minded neoliberalism, in which only how much money a society or a person makes matters - not belonging, trust, meaning, purpose, intelligence, empathy, or wisdom. How did we expect civilization to survive that kind of assault, anyways? Neoliberalism, capitalism, these ideologies see it as beneficial and noble things to take a persons dignity away - or even a whole society’s. Who needs dignity? It’s made of troublesome things like rights, norms, values, which cost money. But the truth is that when we take people’s dignity away, we set a kind of nuclear chain reaction in motion that ends in decivilization.

When a person loses their dignity, they have lost what matters most - the sense that they count, have inherent worth, meaning, can amount to something. If you are worthless, why not lash out at the world that made you that way? But the truth is that violence has already been done to such a person, by dehumanizing and abusing them. In that way, stripping people of dignity sets off a chain reaction of violence. Violence is ultimately the loss of dignity.

Civilization, then, because it is the opposite of violence, is also the project of creating dignity. Of endowing it. Bestowing it. Sharing it. And celebrating it. And what has gone wrong in America today is that that process, that project of civilization as the creation of dignity failed catastrophically. Not by accident, but by design. In taking peoples dignity away, American also decivilized itself. And now it is a place where the most violent and harmful rule over the weak and meek. But that is the place that countries who allow this chain reaction of indignity and violence to ignite will end up, too: decivilized.

So. How do we give people dignity? Ah, that is the simplest - but hardest thing. Dignity comes from rights. Dignity comes from norms. It comes from values and responsibilities. Ultimately, dignity comes from each other. It is the measure of how much we can see in one another. How gently we can hold each other. And how high we can lift each other up - not simply pull each other down, which is what violence, the absence of civilization, really is.

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Posted by Elvis on 04/08/18 •
Section Revelations • Section Dying America
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Saturday, March 31, 2018

Workplace Stress

image: stressed

This professor says the workplace is the fifth leading cause of death in the U.S.

ByJena McGregor
Washington Post
March 22, 2018

Stanford professor Jeffrey Pfeffer doesn’t mince words. WORKPLACE STRESS - the result of conditions like long hours, a lack of health insurance, little autonomy on the job, high job demands—don’t just hit productivity or damage morale. They’re killing us.

"It’s pretty clear that the human costs—in terms of death—and the economic costs, in terms of elevated health care spend, are quite substantial,” Pfeffer said in a recent interview about his new book, DYING FOR A PAYCHECK.

Pfeffer’s book, released Tuesday, is built around a 2015 paper that said more than 120,000 deaths a year and roughly 5 to 8 percent of annual health care costs may be attributable to how U.S. companies manage their workforces. A core argument: Instead of adding wellness programs or yoga classes, companies need to focus more on the management practices that lead to substantial health issues, such as layoffs, job insecurity, toxic cultures and long hours—not only for their own bottom lines but so they don’t offload those costs to broader society. As he told a Stanford publication: I want this to be the ‘Silent Spring’ of workplace health,” referring to the 1962 book by Rachel Carson that spurred the environmental movement.

We spoke with Pfeffer about his research, “social pollution,” and where your workplace ranks on the list of leading causes of death. The conversation has been edited for length and clarity.

What did your research show?

For decades there has been epidemiological literature that looked at the effect of individual things like not having health insurance or the absence of job control and other work conditions like long hours. What I thought we needed to do is figure out - not for all of them but for many of them - what the total toll of them was on both mortality and health care costs.

I enlisted two operations research colleagues to help, and we did a meta analysis on all the literature and they did some fancy modeling. We found that there are basically 120,000 excess deaths per year attributed to these ten workplace conditions and they cause approximately $190 billion in incremental health care costs. That would make the workplace the fifth leading cause of death in the U.S. - higher than Alzheimers, higher than kidney disease.

One of your arguments is that while we’ve dramatically lowered physical accidents and safety issues in the workplace, the health impacts of social or stress-related work conditions have remained unaddressed. Can you elaborate?

We focused on the physical environment, and we now need to focus on the social environment the human environment. With the Occupational Safety and Health Administration, workplace accidents and chemical exposures and injuries has gone down dramatically because it’s been measured, because its been regulated and because those regulations have been enforced.

But regulating and measuring the causes of workplace stress seems much more difficult and much more nebulous than preventing people from, say, falling down the stairs on the factory floor.

I don’t think so. There are validated scales for all of these. It]s not hard to measure hours. It’s not hard to measure shift work. It’s not hard to measure work-family conflict. It’s very easy to measure whether you have health insurance or not.

We have said to companies they cannot pass costs [of environmental damage] on to the broader society. We have not done that with respect to health. I would argue that its actually maybe harder to measure smokestack emissions than it is to measure healthy work conditions. If we wanted to regulate it, we could regulate it.

What about wellness initiatives, health risk assessments and smoking cessation programs? Do any of those ideas work?

No. The evidence on that is pretty clear. The reason they don’t help is also pretty clear. Wellness programs are an attempt to remediate the harmful effects of whats going on in the workplace. Instead of remediation you need to prevent. Instead of causing you to over-smoke and over-drink and over-eat and under-exercise because of what goes on in the workplace, and then giving you a wellness program, they should change the underlying work conditions. If I change the workplace so you didn’t do that stuff in the first place, you wouldn’t need a wellness program.

What was the most startling statistic you discovered in your research?

There are several. The 120,000 excess deaths a year. According to one study I cite, more than a million people are dying due to OVERWORK IN CHINA. The American Institute of Stress claims that stress is costing employers $300 billion a year. There are 2 million WORKPLACE VIOLENCE incidents reported a year.

So what needs to be done?

The first thing I would want to do is we need to get a better handle on its scope. We need to measure it. You can see how many people are dying from air pollution a year. In the U.S. no agency does the same thing that weҒve done for water pollution, air pollution or infectious disease, which is to measure the harm the toll ח of the workplace on human health. If I can measure the effect of physical pollution on health, I can measure the effect of 10 workplace practices.

You talk about the phrase “social pollution.” What’s that?

Harmful practices, as determined by a large epidemiological literature, that are reasonably widespread and exact a physical and psychological toll. Work-family conflict. Long work hours. The absence of job control. Being MICRO-MANAGED.

But how do you measure micromanagement?

There are validated scales that measure job autonomy. It’s a concept that has been around in management and leadership literature for decades. We require companies to report on lots of things, and a bunch of political people run around and say human life is sacrosanct and human well being is important. My response to that is if it is, we ought to take it seriously, and if we’re taking it seriously, we ought to measure it.

SOURCE

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image: stress pie chart

Workplace Stress

Numerous studies show that job stress is far and away the major source of stress for American adults and that it has escalated progressively over the past few decades.  Increased levels of job stress as assessed by the perception of having little control but lots of demands have been demonstrated to be associated with increased rates of heart attack, hypertension and other disorders.  In New York, Los Angels and other municipalities, the relationship between job stress and heart attacks is so well acknowledged, that any police officer who suffers a coronary event on or off the job is assumed to have a work related injury and is compensated accordingly (including heart attack sustained while fishing on vacation or gambling in Las Vegas).

Although the Institute is often asked to construct lists of the mostӔ and leastӔ stressful occupations, such rankings have little importance for several reasons. It is not the job but the person-environment fit that matters. Some individuals thrive in the time urgent pressure cooker of life in the fast lane, having to perform several duties at the same time and a list of things to do that would overwhelm most of us provided they perceive that they are in control. They would be severely stressed by dull, dead end assembly line work enjoyed by others who shun responsibility and simply want to perform a task that is well within their capabilities. The stresses that a policeman or high school teacher working in an inner city ghetto are subjected to are quite different than those experienced by their counterparts in rural Iowa. It is necessary to keep this in mind when sweeping statements are made about the degree of stress in teachers, police personnel, physicians and other occupations. Stress levels can vary widely even in identical situations for different reasons.

Stress is a highly personalized phenomenon and can vary widely even in identical situations for different reasons. One survey showed that having to complete paper work was more stressful for many police officers than the dangers associated with pursuing criminals. The severity of job stress depends on the magnitude of the demands that are being made and the individualגs sense of control or decision-making latitude he or she has in dealing with them. Scientific studies based on this model confirm that workers who perceive they are subjected to high demands but have little control are at increased risk for cardiovascular disease.
Digesting the Statistics of Workplace Stress

Numerous surveys and studies confirm that occupational pressures and fears are far and away the leading source of stress for American adults and that these have steadily increased over the past few decades. While there are tons of statistics to support these allegations, how significant they are depends on such things as how the information was obtained (self-report vs. answers to carefully worded questions), the size and demographics of the targeted group, how participants were selected and who sponsored the study. Some self-serving polls claiming that a particular occupation is the “most stressful” are conducted by unions or organizations in a attempt to get higher wages or better benefits for their members. Others may be conducted to promote a product, such as the
“Stress In the Nineties” survey by the maker of a deodorant that found housewives were under more stress than the CEOs of major corporations. Such a conclusion might be anticipated from telephone calls to residential phones conducted in the afternoon. It is crucial to keep all these caveats in mind when evaluating job stress statistics.

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Posted by Elvis on 03/31/18 •
Section Dying America • Section Workplace
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