Labor & Economic News Blog
Thursday, March 22, 2007
Kansas City jobless rate improved from year agoKC jobless rate improved from year ago
The employment picture in the Kansas City area in January was improved from a year ago but not quite as pleasant as the prior month.
A solution to towns' soaring health costs in MassachusettsA solution to towns' soaring health costs
By Samuel R. Tyler
CITIES AND TOWNS in Massachusetts are facing a crisis of skyrocketing increases in employee health insurance with no letup in sight.
Globe cuts 24 jobs in newsroom via buyoutsGlobe cuts 24 jobs in newsroom via buyouts
By Robert Gavin, Globe Staff
The Boston Globe reduced its newsroom staff by 24 people, or 6 percent, through a buyout that included several of its most prominent and longtime journalists, including two Pulitzer Prize winners, columnist Eileen McNamara and investigative reporter Stephen Kurkjian.
Conference Board index slipsConference Board index slips
Economic growth to advance modestly this year, research group finds An index meant to foreshadow the direction of the U.S. economy said today that growth will advance modestly this year, but will be hobbled by sluggish manufacturing and weakness throughout the housing industry.
PALO ALTO / Packard, Stanford nurses reject offerPALO ALTO / Packard, Stanford nurses reject offer
By Michael Cabanatuan
Nurses at Stanford Hospital and Lucile Packard Children's Hospital have overwhelmingly rejected a final contract offer, their union announced Wednesday evening. The union, the independent Committee for Recognition of Nursing Achievement, called on the...
Jobless claims fall for 3rd straight wk. (AP)Jobless claims fall for 3rd straight wk. (AP)
AP - The number of laid-off workers filing claims for unemployment benefits fell last week for the third consecutive time, signaling that the labor market may be stabilizing after a worrisome jump in layoffs earlier in the year.
Wednesday, March 21, 2007
Sprint recognized for focus on diversity in workplaceSprint recognized for focus on diversity in workplace
Sprint Nextel today was recognized for its diversity efforts by a national magazine that focuses on diversity in the workplace.
SAN FRANCISCO / Lawyer slams prison wages / Tony Serra files suit on behalf of federal inmates for low rate of pay for labor by the incarceratedSAN FRANCISCO / Lawyer slams prison wages / Tony Serra files suit on behalf of federal inmates for low rate of pay for labor by the incarcerated
By Bob Egelko
J. Tony Serra, celebrated by filmmakers and fellow lawyers as an advocate for the downtrodden and jailed by the feds for dodging his taxes, was out of prison and back at work Wednesday -- suing over the low wages federal inmates earn and citing the 19 cents...
SACRAMENTO / CSU faculty OKs strike -- chancellor rebuked in Capitol / State senators say they were misled on executive paySACRAMENTO / CSU faculty OKs strike -- chancellor rebuked in Capitol / State senators say they were misled on executive pay
By Tanya Schevitz, Jim Doyle
California State University Chancellor Charles Reed got a one-two punch Wednesday from state lawmakers and an employee union, coming under fire for executive perks and faculty discontent. The faculty union announced before noon that its membership...
Tuesday, March 20, 2007
Money at the heart of exhibition workers' strike threat / New legal team for employers has union preparing for action if contract expiresMoney at the heart of exhibition workers' strike threat / New legal team for employers has union preparing for action if contract expires
By George Raine
Contract talks between the companies that stage expositions in Northern California and the union representing their workers are intensifying, but both sides say they want to avoid a strike.
Unions, SoCal grocery stores extend contract negotiation talksUnions, SoCal grocery stores extend contract negotiation talks
Southern California's three main grocery chains and the union representing most of their employees have agreed to a three-week contract extension to allow for further negotiations on a new deal, representatives of both sides said.
Washington State's Unemployment rate drops in FebruaryUnemployment rate drops in February
Washington's unemployment rate dropped to 4.8 percent in February, down from 5.1 percent in January, the state Employment Security Department said Tuesday.
Peers Say a New Jersey Union Leader Compromises Contract TalksPeers Say a Union Leader Compromises Contract Talks
By DAVID KOCIENIEWSKI
Contract negotiations are complicated by a personal relationship between Gov. Jon S. Corzine and Carla Katz, a labor leader.
Cost-cutting, lax oversight blamed for deadly BP blastCost-cutting, lax oversight blamed for deadly BP blast
The findings by U.S. Chemical Safety and Hazard Investigation Board comes nearly two years after the blast, which killed 15 people and injured hundreds more.
Delta to share $480M with 39,000 employeesDelta to share $480M with 39,000 employees
About 39,000 Delta Air Lines employees will share $480 million in lump-sum payouts and equity in the company when the nation's third-largest carrier emerges from Chapter 11 protection in May, according to material to be disclosed in a bankruptcy court filing today. The cash payment for non-contract employees is based on 8 percent of their 2006 earnings, or a total of $130 million.
Vacation? What’s that? some askWORK SPACE: Vacation? What’s that? some ask
If your office is decimated by spring break vacations this week, just grin and bear it. Most will be back in the grind within days.
Monday, March 19, 2007
Boeing machinists union elects new chief, union official saysBoeing machinists union elects new chief, union official says
In Business & Technology
The union representing Boeing Co. hourly production workers in the Puget Sound area has elected a new president, a union official said.
Black Caucus wants new subsidy formula in IllinoisBlack Caucus wants new subsidy formula
In the wake of a recent study that found Chicago and nearby suburbs with heavy job losses have been shortchanged in state economic development subsidies, the Illinois Legislative Black Caucus will hold a hearing here today seeking to find out how to bring jobs to underserved communities.
State agencies investigating 'significant problem'State agencies investigating 'significant problem'
Misclassification of workers as independent contractors "is viewed as a significant problem" across the country, said Anita Bartels, acting program manager for employment tax policy with the Internal Revenue Service.
Economic View: Why Wage Insurance Is Dividing DemocratsEconomic View: Why Wage Insurance Is Dividing Democrats
By EDMUND L. ANDREWS
A safety net for lost pay, or a ticket to poor jobs?
Minnesota: State House panel OKs sick-leave billState House panel OKs sick-leave bill
A bill that would require employers to offer workers paid sick leave passed the Minnesota House Labor and Consumer Protection Division on Friday. The legislation would require employers to offer seven days of paid sick leave per year to full-time employees. Small employers would be required to provide three paid days off per year for a full-time worker.
Spat in Congress stalls minimum-wage hikeSpat in Congress stalls minimum-wage hike
WASHINGTON- In January, the House voted overwhelmingly to raise the federal minimum wage to $7.25 over two years, and the Senate followed suit in February. President Bush said he would sign wage-hike legislation.
Diversity goals, bias can collideDiversity goals, bias can collide
Shortly after promoting Angela Miller to store manager in 1999, Walgreens assigned her to a new store in East St. Louis.
'Marketplace' Report: Animal Instincts in the Office'Marketplace' Report: Animal Instincts in the Office
New research suggests that our "animal" side explains a lot of office behavior, such as bosses cutting out potential rivals or employees sucking up to superiors.
Michigan facing exodus of joblessMichigan facing exodus of jobless
Laid-off factory worker Bob Rose fiddles with an unlit cigar and strokes his salt-and-pepper beard as he contemplates his future in Michigan. He's not sure he has one.
German program gives unemployed community serviceGerman program gives unemployed community service
Rainer Kaspar takes home only $850 a month for keeping the town fire engines ready to roll with charged batteries and full air tanks. But after two years out of work in Germany's stagnating east - where prospects are few - the sandy-haired mechanic says he was grateful to get the post under an experimental program in which this small town's long-term unemployed take community service jobs in return for their state jobless benefits.
Workers' drug use down after testing increasesWorkers' drug use down after testing increases
Fewer people are using drugs in the workplace, thanks to employer crackdowns and increased awareness of drug-testing programs. Workplace drug use hit a new low in 2006, according to the annual Drug Testing Index recently released by Quest Diagnostics, a workplace drug testing service.
To play interview safe, be vague about salaryTo play interview safe, be vague about salary
Whether you're looking for a job as an accountant or a zoologist, there is one question you're sure to be asked sometime during, and even early in, the interview process: What are your salary expectations? How you deal with that query is crucial to ensuring that you don't get shortchanged if you're hired or left out of the considerations altogether.
Wage insurance a safety net for workersWage insurance a safety net for workers
When Michael Maynard's company announced it was moving overseas, the 53-year-old machine technician from Massachusetts quickly found a job at another firm. As the sole provider for his wife and two daughters, Maynard jumped at the new opportunity, even though he had to take a pay cut of nearly $8 an hour
OSHA scarce at Houston plantsOSHA scarce at Houston plants
Federal regulators have not conducted inspections of the majority of area petroleum refineries, including the site of the BP Texas City explosion, over the last five years, a Chronicle review shows.
Friday, March 16, 2007
Ballmer says Google's hiring pace is 'insane'Ballmer says Google's hiring pace is 'insane'
Microsoft Corp. Chief Executive Steve Ballmer said rival Google Inc.'s pace of employee growth is "insane," and the company has few successful businesses outside of Internet search and advertising.
Boeing Machinists to vote on new presidentBoeing Machinists to vote on new president
One of the country's most powerful unions that represents Boeing Machinists in the Puget Sound area will vote on a new president at a time when jetliner orders are soaring, production rates are going up and workers want to be rewarded.
Big Deficit Seen in New Jersey Pension FundBig Deficit Seen in New Jersey Pension Fund
By MARY WILLIAMS WALSH and DAVID W. CHEN
An official says the cost of retirement benefits promised to employees may exceed projections by billions of dollars.
Missouri labor department's lawyer leaves amid wage-law disputeAgency’s lawyer leaves amid wage-law dispute
The chief counsel of the Missouri labor department left the agency Wednesday, the same day Gov. Matt Blunt reversed its interpretation of the new minimum-wage law.
Coping with the jerk at workCoping with the jerk at work
If you've worked for long, you've probably had a boss or co-worker who was a complete, flaming jerk. Maybe she always scowled as if she smelled something bad while reviewing your work. Maybe he never missed a chance to berate you in front of others. Or he interrupted constantly when you were talking. Or sneaked up behind you at your desk. Or helped himself to your food.
Urban Poor Cope with Help from Informal EconomyUrban Poor Cope with Help from Informal Economy
A Columbia University sociologist gives an inside view of informal economies which are central to life in the inner city. It's not just drug dealing and loan sharking that's off the books -- it's child care, hair braiding, oil changes and house cleaning.
Getting Paid Off the Books in AmericaGetting Paid Off the Books in America
On a recent day in Washington, D.C., Carlos Juarez of Guatemala waited on a street corner to find day labor. Juarez is part of America's underground economy. So are casual sports gamblers. Office worker Gary Gibbs, speaking at a Maryland sports bar, says that betting in an office pool might be illegal, but it's like jaywalking.
Money on the Side: Common, and UnprosecutedMoney on the Side: Common, and Unprosecuted
If it's a crime, why aren't more people going to jail? Michele Norris talks with University of Chicago Law professor Richard Epstein about some of the legal questions raised by the United States' underground economy.
Ford workers seek retraining aidFord workers seek retraining aid
In StarTribune.com Business
Ford union workers in St. Paul said they will continue to demand state retraining help for 900 workers displaced in recent weeks by Ford's separation buyout packages. Under state rules, workers taking buyouts aren't eligible for Minnesota unemployment pay and therefore aren't eligible for its retraining and job-placement help under the Dislocated Workers Program. Roger Terveen, president of UAW Local 879, said the union is fighting that decision.
Airbus Workers Stage Europe-Wide StrikesAirbus Workers Stage Europe-Wide Strikes
By By JOHANNA DECORSE, Associated Press Writer
Workers at Airbus plants in France, Germany and Spain staged strikes and protests Friday maintaining a united front against a restructuring plan the troubled aircraft maker said would slash 10,000 jobs across Europe. The actions at Airbus facilities...
Thursday, March 15, 2007
World Business Briefing | Asia: China: Industrial Output Surges AgainWorld Business Briefing Asia: China: Industrial Output Surges Again
By BLOOMBERG NEWS
China’s industrial output rose 18.5 percent in January and February, the National Bureau of Statistics said, after gaining 14.7 percent in December. That beat the 15 percent median estimate of 20 economists surveyed by Bloomberg News. In February, China’s exports jumped the most they had in 12 years, and domestic sales accelerated.
Delta files notice of pension reliefDelta files notice of pension relief
Delta Air Lines, which terminated its pilots pension plan, said Thursday it has contributed an extra $50 million to its pension plan covering ground employees and flight attendants. The Atlanta-based company also said that it filed its election to obtain the pension relief approved by Congress last year. Delta has said it needed to terminate its pilots' defined benefit pension plan to successfully emerge from bankruptcy. The government's pension insurer took over the obligations for the pilots' pension plan in January.
Workers who can’t afford to retire staying past 65, survey showsWorkers who can’t afford to retire staying past 65, survey shows
Nearly one in five small businesses say their workers are staying on the job past age 65. And about one in three of the businesses responding to a survey released this morning said their older employees are still working because they can’t afford to retire.
Automakers warn Congress on plansAutomakers warn Congress on plans
Proposal to toughen fuel-efficiency rules could cost jobs, House panel is told U.S. automakers and a top union official told Congress yesterday that the auto industry cannot deal alone with global warming, and they warned that proposed fuel efficiency increases could cost jobs.
New MBAs awash in offersNew MBAs awash in offers
Heavy recruiting sends pay soaring Wall Street recruiters can be as aggressive as professional football players, says Chris Eitzmann, who will receive a master of business administration degree in May from Dartmouth College's Tuck School of Business.
GM Wants to Reduce Health Care CostsGM Wants to Reduce Health Care Costs
By By TOM KRISHER, AP Business Writer
General Motors Corp. will try to reduce its staggering employee and retiree health care liabilities in upcoming contract talks with the United Auto Workers, according to a government regulatory filing Thursday. The world's largest automaker also said...
Ex-Ford workers seek aid to retrainEx-Ford workers seek aid to retrain
The doors swung shut months ago on about 800 Ford Motor Co. employees who took buyouts and exited the Ranger truck plant in St. Paul.
Where the Wolf Comes KnockingWhere the Wolf Comes Knocking
By David Cho and Nell Henderson
The big question is: How bad will it get? So far, the rising mortgage defaults that panicked markets this week have been concentrated in areas of the country already reeling from layoffs in the automobile industry and in hurricane-stricken states on the Gulf Coast. In Mississippi and Louisiana, about 1 in 10 homeowners are failing to make their payments, fresh data show. Ohio, Michigan and Indiana, the nation's industrial heartland and the states suffering the country's highest unemployment, aren't far behind. ...
Producer prices rise in February (Reuters)Producer prices rise in February (Reuters)
Reuters - Higher energy costs pushed producer prices up by a bigger-than-expected 1.3 percent in February and there was a large drop in the number of initial jobless claims filed last week, Labor Department data on Thursday showed.
Japan aims to raise minimum wage to boost economy (Reuters)Japan aims to raise minimum wage to boost economy (Reuters)
Reuters - Japan's cabinet on Tuesday approved an updated minimum wage bill, the first major revision in nearly 40 years, as part of the government's efforts to close the gap between between rich and poor and boost economic growth.
Wednesday, March 14, 2007
Halliburton to add 13,000 jobs, some in HoustonHalliburton to add 13,000 jobs, some in Houston
Halliburton Co. plans to add 13,000 new jobs in 2007, including an unspecified number in Houston, the company has told its U.S. employees in an internal memo.
Bush aide pushes transparency in health care / Digital records, price and quality of care are crucialBush aide pushes transparency in health care / Digital records, price and quality of care are crucial
By Victoria Colliver
More than 30 Silicon Valley companies and other Bay Area employers signed on to an effort Tuesday pushed by the nation's top health official to demand more information from providers about the price and quality of health care. The initiative is a key...
Tuesday, March 13, 2007
U.S. Groups Hope to Detour Mexican TrucksU.S. Groups Hope to Detour Mexican Trucks
Lawmakers held hearings on the Bush administration's plan to allow Mexican trucks full access to U.S. highways. The move is opposed by Democratic lawmakers and labor unions.
Workplace Woes: The Prying BossWorkplace Woes: The Prying Boss
What do you do with a boss who insists on prying and wanting to know what's going on in your private life? It could be a sign that she's lonely -- or that she's concerned about your job performance.
China aims to lower urban unemployment rateChina aims to lower urban unemployment rate
China seeks to create 9 million jobs and decrease the jobless rate to 4.6 percent. About 24 million Chinese will be competing for just 12 million jobs that are expected to be created, Labor Minister Tian Chengping said today.
When your job spans the globe, are you ever off the clock?When your job spans the globe, are you ever off the clock?
The sun never sets on Lisa Ray’s workday. As a sales director in Chapel Hill, N.C., for a high-tech company, with contacts scattered across Asia and Europe, Ray worked 6 a.m. to 5 p.m. one recent day, then flew to a business dinner in Chicago.
Kansas City Labor Scene: Demand for workers is droppingDemand for workers is dropping
The spring hiring outlook appears to be stagnant for the Kansas City area, according to a recent survey of area employers.
Assets of 35 pension systems are targeted in MassachusettsAssets of 35 pension systems are targeted
By Ross Kerber and Matt Carroll, Globe Staff
The assets of 35 pension systems, including those of Plymouth County, the Essex Regional Retirement Board, Newton, and Andover, would come under the control of a state trust in a proposal by the Patrick administration to boost returns, improve pension management, and provide fiscal relief to cities and towns, according to a new analysis prepared by the state retirement commission.
Shortage of workers may stretch many employersShortage of workers may stretch many employers
By Robert Weisman, Globe Staff
American businesses are largely unprepared for a seismic workforce change that will get underway in the coming decade, as tens of millions of baby boomers retire and far fewer new employees arrive to take their place.
Moving into retirementMoving into retirement
By Ross Kerber, Globe Staff
Nearly a quarter of workers retire early because of health problems, according to a survey released by Fidelity Investments yesterday, a finding likely to fuel a growing debate over how much Americans need to save for their retirement years.
Grocery negotiations begin / Both sides hoping there's no repeat of strike, lockoutGrocery negotiations begin / Both sides hoping there's no repeat of strike, lockout
By George Raine
Contract talks have begun between the union representing more than 120,000 West Coast grocery workers and major supermarkets, with disagreements over a two-tier wage system and health care. But both sides say they are bent on avoiding a dispute like the...
Monday, March 12, 2007
Texans Want to Strike Rule on Projecting Retiree CareBusiness" href="http://www.nytimes.com/2007/03/12/business/12retiree.html?ex=1331352000&en=26e2f360493b7dce&ei=5088&partner=rssnyt&emc=rss" target=_blank>Texans Want to Strike Rule on Projecting Retiree Care
By MARY WILLIAMS WALSH
Texas officials argue that a new rule to disclose the size of their health care obligation to retirees does not apply to their state.
Naps, not coffee, boost productivityNaps, not coffee, boost productivity
If you're dragging at work, try grabbing a pillow instead of a gulping down a latte. Catching some Z's at the office might seem like the worst thing to do when you're behind, but napping can actually improve worker productivity, according to sleep scientist Sara C. Mednick, a professor at the University of California, San Diego.
Minnesota job vacancies dipMinnesota job vacancies dip
Minnesota job seekers are battling for fewer jobs - and most don't pay much. The state issued its twice-a-year look at job vacancies Friday, concluding that job seekers had less to choose from in the fourth quarter than they did in the same period in the prior year.
Globe union launches ad effort against outsourcingGlobe union launches ad effort against outsourcing
The Boston Globe's biggest labor union has begun an advertising campaign decrying the paper's plan to outsource the jobs of about 50 workers to India. In radio ads that began yesterday and in an ad published today in the Boston Herald, the Boston Newspaper Guild urges Globe readers and advertisers to call the newspaper and its parent company,
Friday, March 09, 2007
Unemployment declines as paychecks growUnemployment declines as paychecks grow
The unemployment rate dipped to 4.5 percent and workers got fatter paychecks in February, even as bad winter weather sent a bit of a chill through U.S. job growth.
Thursday, March 08, 2007
Jobless claims decline to one-month low (AP)
Labor data mixed ahead of jobs report
Reuters - Labor market data was mixed on Thursday ahead of the closely watched U.S. jobs report for February, due on Friday morning.
Friday, March 02, 2007
Frank's bill seeks curbs on CEO payFrank's bill seeks curbs on CEO pay
By Associated Press
WASHINGTON -- The head of the House Financial Services Committee and 21 other Democrats yesterday proposed legislation to give shareholders at public companies a formal say in executives' compensation packages.
Thursday, March 01, 2007
Jobless claims rise 7,000 (Reuters)Jobless claims rise 7,000 (Reuters)
Reuters - The number of U.S. workers filing for first-time jobless benefits rose 7,000 last week, pushing the four-week moving average of new claims to its highest level in more than a year, a government report showed on Thursday.
U.S. manufacturing expanded in February (AP)U.S. manufacturing expanded in February (AP)
AP - The nation's manufacturing sector shook off the housing slowdown in February, expanding faster than expected and reversing the prior month's contraction, a trade group said Thursday.