Article 43

 

Monday, August 29, 2005

Social Security Reform

George Bush and Republican leaders have made phasing out Social Security through privatization and massive benefit cuts their top priority for 2005. Members of Congress are choosing sides over the next couple of weeks.

We need to make sure they choose correctly now before a massive election-style campaign by George Bush and the Wall Street interests gets to them including what might be a $100 million TV ad campaign.

MoveOn is trying to gather 500,000 signatures to present to lawmakers.  You can sign the petition now at:

http://www.moveon.org/socialsecurity/

Social Security is a complicated issue, but the basics are really pretty simple. MoveOn has put together a fact-sheet HERE.

Posted by Elvis on 08/29/05 •
Section News
View (0) comment(s) or add a new one
Printable viewLink to this article
Home

Sunday, August 28, 2005

India Blocks Chinese Telecom Expansion

Plan from China’s Huawei may be blocked in India.

Report: Indian government cites security concerns
News Story by John Ribeiro
http://www.computerworld.com/

AUGUST 17, 2005 (IDG NEWS SERVICE) - BANGALORE, India—A request by China’s Huawei Technologies Co. for a license that would allow it to bid on state telecommunications projects in India has met with opposition from certain sections of the government on security grounds, according to a report in The Times of India newspaper.

Huawei applied to the Indian government in March for a license that would allow it to bid on telecommunications projects from India’s large, government-controlled telecommunications services companies, Gong Wenhe, director of business development at Huawei Technologies India Pvt., told the IDG News Service today.

According to the report in The Times of India yesterday, the government is evaluating the risks of exposing strategic Indian telecom networks to the Chinese because of fears that China could attack India’s communications networks should relations between the countries deteriorate.

Indian government officials were unavailable to comment on the newspaper report.

Although China and India have grown closer politically in recent years, and Indian software outsourcing companies have set up operations in China, the two countries have a long-standing border dispute, which led to a war in 1962.

The license would allow Huawei’s India subsidiary, Huawei Technologies India, to bid for installation and maintenance work, among other types of telecommunications projects in India. The subsidiary, based in Gurgaon, which is near Delhi, is a sales and marketing operation that sells equipment to service providers in the country.

“Our application is still pending,” Gong said. He added that Huawei had not received any communication from the government about its apprehensions over security concerns. The Foreign Investment Promotion Board in Delhi, which processes foreign investment proposals, has met a number of times since Huawei submitted its proposal.

Huawei has sold equipment to private and government-controlled telecom service providers in the country. However, in deals involving large government-controlled service providers, such as Bharat Sanchar Nigam Ltd., the regulations require Huawei to partner with a local company if it wants to implement and maintain projects.

If the license request before the government is cleared, Huawei would be able to bid directly for telecommunications projects from government-controlled service providers, Gong said.

By doing project work directly, rather than working through implementation partners, Huawei would be able to cut its costs, offer better prices to customers and generate employment in the country, Gong said.

The company already has a research and development center in Bangalore that employs more than 900 people. Set up in 1999, the center was the first set up in India by a Chinese technology company.

Huawei has announced plans to invest $100 million in India. Its plans include expanding the R&D center and setting up a manufacturing facility in Bangalore that will be operational later this year, Gong said.

SOURCE

Posted by Elvis on 08/28/05 •
Section General Reading
View (0) comment(s) or add a new one
Printable viewLink to this article
Home

Bra Wars

The human cost of the “Bra Wars” crisis between China and Europe can be revealed today.

More than 80 million items of clothing destined for Europe are in limbo, their import blocked by hastily imposed EU quotas designed to protect the continent from the recent deluge of cheaper Chinese goods.

Retailers say that the quotas inhibit free trade and will hit consumers hardest, through price rises and shortages of jumpers, trousers and lingerie. But the real victims of the cut-price clothing wars being waged on the British high street - and the trade row between the EU and China - are the poorest nations.

Campaigners say that the scrapping of textile trade rules eight months ago has the potential to destroy the economies of tsunami-hit countries such as Bangladesh, while the EU quotas are only designed to protect rich countries such as France and Italy, rather than help those worst hit by the situation.

Campaigners said that Western demand for cut-price clothes was fuelling a vicious circle of supply-chain switches, wage reductions and worsening labour conditions across the world. Amy Barry of Oxfam said: “Big companies that pile on the pressure down the supply chain must take some responsibility for labour abuses that occur in developing countries. Consumers too, should ask what are the implications of their demands for the latest fashion at bargain basement prices? It is simply unsustainable to keep demanding that suppliers deliver goods quicker, cheaper and with more flexibility. Ultimately, someone will be paying the price, and more often than not this person will be a vulnerable worker at the end of the supply chain.”
The crisis has its origins in the scrapping, at the beginning of this year, of the Multi Fibre Agreement (MFA), which set quotas on how many garment items could be imported from individual developing countries into the US and Europe.

Cheaper labour and manufacturing costs mean that China can undercut other countries by up to 25 per cent, so hundreds of retailers switched production there from 1 January. As a result, garment imports from China soared by up to 1,200 per cent, with more than 7 billion extra items expected this year.

Within months, at least 50,000 jobs were lost in traditional textile countries as factories closed down, and more than one million jobs could eventually be lost in countries such as Bangladesh, Sri Lanka and Cambodia, according to the United Nations. Some of the poorest nations have lost 10 per cent of their export earnings in the past eight months alone.

But it was only when firms in Italy and France began shutting that the EU acted. In July, it imposed quotas on 10 categories of garments coming from China. By then, millions of goods were already made up and on the way to Europe, and are now awaiting the results of negotiations between Chinese and EU officials

Campaigners say that the quotas will do nothing to help poorer countries. Ms Barry said: “This is protectionism at its worst. European countries preach to the developing countries about opening up their trade, then go and do something like this to protect their own member states.”

Neil Kearney, general secretary of the International Textile, Garment and Leather Workers’ Federation , said: “Our concern is that countries are trying to undercut China and each other by increasing hours and reducing wages. Garment manufacturing used to be an economic powerhouse for poorer countries - a way of improving their lot.

“Now the people who work in these factories are on subsistence living, and the undercutting means these nations cannot lift themselves out of poverty.”

While they differ on the solution to the problem, charities, unions and retailers are agreed on one thing - that the situation has been badly mismanaged by the EU, including Peter Mandelson, the trade commissioner.

Oxfam says the MFA should have been phased out, with Western assistance for poorer countries to adapt their industries.

Retailers argue that trade should be completely liberalised with no quotas.Alisdair Gray, director of the British Retail Consortium (BRC) in Brussels, said: “We were not consulted at all about the way in which the MFA was scrapped or the quotas were brought in, and the officials in Brussels seemed to have no idea about how our industry works.

“Clothes are clearly labelled and if someone doesn’t want to buy a T-shirt from China and instead pay twice as much for a European-made product, they can go and do so.”

The human cost of the “Bra Wars” crisis between China and Europe can be revealed today.

More than 80 million items of clothing destined for Europe are in limbo, their import blocked by hastily imposed EU quotas designed to protect the continent from the recent deluge of cheaper Chinese goods.

Retailers say that the quotas inhibit free trade and will hit consumers hardest, through price rises and shortages of jumpers, trousers and lingerie. But the real victims of the cut-price clothing wars being waged on the British high street - and the trade row between the EU and China - are the poorest nations.

Campaigners say that the scrapping of textile trade rules eight months ago has the potential to destroy the economies of tsunami-hit countries such as Bangladesh, while the EU quotas are only designed to protect rich countries such as France and Italy, rather than help those worst hit by the situation.

Campaigners said that Western demand for cut-price clothes was fuelling a vicious circle of supply-chain switches, wage reductions and worsening labour conditions across the world. Amy Barry of Oxfam said: “Big companies that pile on the pressure down the supply chain must take some responsibility for labour abuses that occur in developing countries. Consumers too, should ask what are the implications of their demands for the latest fashion at bargain basement prices? It is simply unsustainable to keep demanding that suppliers deliver goods quicker, cheaper and with more flexibility.  Ultimately, someone will be paying the price, and more often than not this person will be a vulnerable worker at the end of the supply chain.”

The crisis has its origins in the scrapping, at the beginning of this year, of the Multi Fibre Agreement (MFA), which set quotas on how many garment items could be imported from individual developing countries into the US and Europe.

Cheaper labour and manufacturing costs mean that China can undercut other countries by up to 25 per cent, so hundreds of retailers switched production there from 1 January. As a result, garment imports from China soared by up to 1,200 per cent, with more than 7 billion extra items expected this year.

Within months, at least 50,000 jobs were lost in traditional textile countries as factories closed down, and more than one million jobs could eventually be lost in countries such as Bangladesh, Sri Lanka and Cambodia, according to the United Nations. Some of the poorest nations have lost 10 per cent of their export earnings in the past eight months alone.

But it was only when firms in Italy and France began shutting that the EU acted. In July, it imposed quotas on 10 categories of garments coming from China. By then, millions of goods were already made up and on the way to Europe, and are now awaiting the results of negotiations between Chinese and EU officials.

Campaigners say that the quotas will do nothing to help poorer countries. Ms Barry said: “This is protectionism at its worst. European countries preach to the developing countries about opening up their trade, then go and do something like this to protect their own member states.”

Neil Kearney, general secretary of the International Textile, Garment and Leather Workers’ Federation , said: “Our concern is that countries are trying to undercut China and each other by increasing hours and reducing wages. Garment manufacturing used to be an economic powerhouse for poorer countries - a way of improving their lot.

“Now the people who work in these factories are on subsistence living, and the undercutting means these nations cannot lift themselves out of poverty.”
While they differ on the solution to the problem, charities, unions and retailers are agreed on one thing - that the situation has been badly mismanaged by the EU, including Peter Mandelson, the trade commissioner.

Oxfam says the MFA should have been phased out, with Western assistance for poorer countries to adapt their industries.

Retailers argue that trade should be completely liberalised with no quotas. Alisdair Gray, director of the British Retail Consortium (BRC) in Brussels, said: “We were not consulted at all about the way in which the MFA was scrapped or the quotas were brought in, and the officials in Brussels seemed to have no idea about how our industry works.

“Clothes are clearly labelled and if someone doesn’t want to buy a T-shirt from China and instead pay twice as much for a European-made product, they can go and do so.”

SOURCE

Posted by Elvis on 08/28/05 •
Section General Reading
View (0) comment(s) or add a new one
Printable viewLink to this article
Home

Wednesday, August 24, 2005

Department Of Labor Shuns U.S. Workers

Why is the Department of Labor keeping U.S. citizens from having equal access to more than 50,000 IT jobs?

Reality Check, By Ephraim Schwartz
August 23, 2005
http://www.infoworld.com/

This issue is part of a controversy currently raging between the DOL and professional organizations such as the Programmers Guild about the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS, formerly the Department of Immigration and Naturalization) H-1B visa quota for 2006.

Here’s how USCIS defines an H-1B visa: “Established by the Immigration Act of 1990 (IMMACT), the H-1B nonimmigrant visa category allows U.S. employers to augment the existing labor force with highly skilled temporary workers. H-1B workers are admitted to the United States for an initial period of three years, which may be extended for an additional three years. The H-1B visa program is utilized ... to employ foreign workers in specialty occupations that require theoretical or technical expertise in a specialized field. Typical H-1B occupations include architects, engineers, computer programmers, accountants, doctors and college professors.”

The DOL requires that U.S. employers who want to hire someone on an H-1B visa first submit what is called an LCA (Labor Condition Application). The LCA describes (briefly—sometimes just a title) the opening available. Thus far, the department has received 51,939 LCAs. Programmers Guild President Kim Berry and others are calling for the DOL to post these LCAs and make them searchable, so that anyone can apply for the open positions.

The cap for H-1B visas in 2006 is set at 58,200, but apparently, according to the USCIS Web site, 22,383 visas have already been approved and 29,556 are still pending. Berry says the DOL is “refusing to disclose the opening to U.S. citizens so that they may have equal opportunity to apply for and fill these U.S. jobs.”

David James, a spokesman for the DOL, says, “… statutorily speaking, Congress doesn’t give the authority to us, the Department, to do what you are asking us to do. We comply to the fullest extent that the law allows us to comply. This is a congressional legislative matter. The statutory language is very narrow about what we can and cannot do.”

Berry says no statute specifies when and how LCA records are released. He believes that the DOL is stonewalling requests by organizations like his to publish these openings on the DOL Web site, despite the fact that a foreign worker with a valid 2006 H-1B visa could not start employment until October 1, 2005. What’s more, Berry says that a disproportionate number of these openings are for software engineers and computer programmers. Employers are under no obligation to hire Americans, but the DOL should be obligated to make the information available to the public before the jobs are filled, not after, says Berry.

Norman Matloff, professor of computer science at the University of California, Davis, e-mailed me that “there is no question that the Department of Labor, ironically, is acting in a manner hostile to labor.” I couldn’t agree more.

Is the government exempt from treating customers—in other words, taxpayers—with respect? Does customer service not exist in it’s vocabulary? If there is a reason why the DOL cannot post these positions, it should cite the statute. Or better yet, help lobby for a change.

SOURCE

Posted by Elvis on 08/24/05 •
Section General Reading
View (0) comment(s) or add a new one
Printable viewLink to this article
Home

Saturday, August 20, 2005

Truth And Consequences Of Offshoring

Recent studies overstate the benefits and ignore the costs to American workers

Exerpts from an ARTICLE by L. Josh Bivens
Economic Policy Institute
August 2, 2005

Over the past two years, economic observers have focused attention on a new trend in the American economy: increased global competition for white-collar jobs that used to seem well-insulated and secure. While blue-collar labor (particularly in manufacturing) has felt a squeeze from global competition for decades, both in terms of employment security and wage growth, white-collar jobs held by well-credentialed Americans have been largely safe from pressures stemming from the global labor market. Recent reports of companies sending work abroad, ranging from call-center operators to software programmers, have changed this feeling of security.

Such insecurity, especially coming from a group that many assumed would be a prime beneficiary of globalizationi.e., well-credentialed, white-collar workers has generated a potent political anxiety about the implications of global economic integration for American workers.

In response to this anxiety and an incipient political backlash against offshoring, a number of studies have been released by various organizations touting large economic benefits that will accrue to the American economy through the offshoring of white-collar work. A closer examination of these studies, however, shows that the promised benefits of offshoring are far overstated, while the likely economic costs are not addressed at all. Further, even the potential benefits to the American economy from offshoring are likely to be concentrated in the incomes of a relatively select percentage of American households.

THIS BRIEFING PAPER examines three studies claiming that the offshoring of white-collar work will result in large benefits to the U.S. economy.

Conclusion

The issue of offshoring demands a careful response by policy makers, with the great challenge being to make sure any potential benefits are equitably distributed among firms and workers. Any policy response must therefore be well informed about the costs and benefits of offshoring. Proponents of offshoring and many economists have claimed that its negative impact on the U.S. economy over the past four years has been exaggerated by politicians and others. Even if true, this ignores the fact that offshoring is likely to grow rapidly in the future and could well have large effects on the U.S. economy in years to come. Therefore, balanced analyses about what these effects would be are needed. The three reports examined in this paper exaggerate the size of the benefits offered to American workers by offshoring and gloss over the more troubling distributional consequences.

While offshoring has clearly provided substantial cost savings and improved profits for a number of firms that have engaged in it, one cannot assume that these benefits will scale up for the broader economy. Mainstream international economics teaches that deepening international integration usually increases national income, but not always. The offshoring of white-collar work and its consequences (i.e., foreign productivity growth in what is an export sector for the United States) fits in with many of the characteristics of the exceptions.

Further, even if this offshoring does increase national income, American workers will still likely miss out on many of the benefits. Mainstream international economics is equally clear that international integration redistributes more income than it creates. If total U.S. GDP is raised by offshoring, but American workers lose at the expense of corporate profits, then workers are wholly justified in resisting offshoring, at least until they receive some compensation for their losses. Good economic policy should not rest on insisting that American workers sacrifice their own self-interest in terms of lower wages to the larger national interest of increased national income. Policy should also not be driven by studies that mask the costs of offshoring while providing inflated estimates of its benefits. If proponents of offshoring want to reap the potential efficiency gains it offers, a new social contract needs to be offered to American workers to insure them against the very real risks offshoring poses to their living standards.

This is an example of the classic fallacy of composition: assuming what is good for some parts is necessarily good for the whole. The most clear-cut example is standing up to see better at a crowded baseball game. If no one else stands, you’ll see better. But if everybody else stands up, no one’s sight line is improved, and everybody is less comfortable.

SOURCE

Posted by Elvis on 08/20/05 •
Section General Reading
View (0) comment(s) or add a new one
Printable viewLink to this article
Home
Page 1 of 3 pages  1 2 3 >

Statistics

Total page hits 7565511
Page rendered in 4.4577 seconds
40 queries executed
Debug mode is off
Total Entries: 3077
Total Comments: 337
Most Recent Entry: 12/11/2017 09:40 am
Most Recent Comment on: 01/02/2016 09:13 pm
Total Logged in members: 0
Total guests: 9
Total anonymous users: 0
The most visitors ever was 114 on 10/26/2017 04:23 am


Email Us

Home

Members:
Login | Register
Resumes | Members

In memory of the layed off workers of AT&T

Today's Diversion

Laws are like sausages. It's better not to see them being made. - Otto von Bismarck

Search


Advanced Search

Sections

Calendar

August 2005
S M T W T F S
  1 2 3 4 5 6
7 8 9 10 11 12 13
14 15 16 17 18 19 20
21 22 23 24 25 26 27
28 29 30 31      

Must Read

Most recent entries

RSS Feeds

Today's News

External Links

Elvis Picks

BLS Pages

Favorites

All Posts

Archives

RSS


Creative Commons License


Support Bloggers' Rights