Category : Labor/Labor Unions/Labor Market

(ITV) NHS nurses union announce first ever UK-wide strike in its 106 year history

NHS nurses are to strike over pay after members of the union representing close to half a million nurses across the UK were balloted.

More than 300,000 members were urged by the Royal College of Nursing (RCN) to vote for strike action in the union’s biggest strike ballot.

The walkout is the first UK-wide strike action in the RCN’s 106-year history.

Industrial action is expected to be held before the end of the year at some of the country’s biggest hospitals, including Guy’s and St Thomas’ opposite Parliament, the Royal Infirmary in Edinburgh, University Hospital Wales and Belfast’s Royal Victoria.

The results of the ballot come amid a growing threat of strikes across the health service.

Read it all.

Posted in England / UK, Health & Medicine, Labor/Labor Unions/Labor Market

A prayer for the day from the Prayer Manual

Protect us, O Lord, and prosper us as we labour in our vocations, that our work may be done with Thy blessing and be crowned with Thine approval; through Him Who was numbered among the craftsmen, Jesus Christ our Lord.

–Frederick B. Macnutt, The prayer manual for private devotions or public use on divers occasions: Compiled from all sources ancient, medieval, and modern (A.R. Mowbray, 1951)

Posted in Labor/Labor Unions/Labor Market, Spirituality/Prayer

(Washington Post) U.S. workers have gotten way less productive. No one is sure why.

Employers across the country are worried that workers are getting less done — and there’s evidence they’re right to be spooked.

In the first half of 2022, productivity — the measure of how much output in goods and services an employee can produce in an hour — plunged by the sharpest rate on record going back to 1947, according to data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics.

The productivity plunge is perplexing, because productivity took off to levels not seen in decades when the coronavirus forced an overnight switch to remote work, leading some economists to suggest that the pandemic might spark longer-term growth. It also raises new questions about the shift to hybrid schedules and remote work, as employees have made the case that flexibility helped them work more efficiently. And it comes at a time when “quiet quitting” — doing only what’s expected and no more — is resonating, especially with younger workers.

Productivity is strong in manufacturing, but it’s down elsewhere in the private sector, according to Diego Comin, professor of economics at Dartmouth College. He noted that productivity is particularly tricky to gauge for knowledge workers, whose contributions aren’t as easy to measure.

Read it all.

Posted in America/U.S.A., Anthropology, Corporations/Corporate Life, Economy, Labor/Labor Unions/Labor Market

(FT) Faith at work: the entrepreneurs who connect the spiritual and professional

Melding faith and work is nothing new, of course. Victorian Britain, for instance, produced many high-profile business leaders with a strong religious bent: men such as William Lever of Unilever fame (Congregationalist), the tourism entrepreneur Thomas Cook (Baptist) and the “chemist to the nation” Jesse Boot (Methodist).

Nor is it a solely Christian phenomenon. Strong faith positions inspire a host of business ventures around the world, from providers of Islamic finance and Buddhist healthcare to purveyors of Kosher foods and Ayurvedic medicine.

Yet the rise of the modern “profit for purpose” movement, to use Murray’s phrase, is inspiring a new generation of religious believers to connect the dots between their spiritual and professional lives.

There is a logical confluence between the two, says Rachael Saunders, deputy director at the Institute of Business Ethics, a UK charity that promotes high standards of corporate behaviour. Founders of companies or people appointed to senior roles “naturally reflect” on the difference they want to make, she adds.

“People for whom faith is important are likely to immediately see that contributing to society can be part of that, either because of their faith teaching or because they’ve seen their faith community play that role of service,” she says.

Read it all.

Posted in Anthropology, Labor/Labor Unions/Labor Market, Religion & Culture

(Church Times) Hard-up church-school head turns to his family to fill staff gaps

Spiralling costs and staff shortages have forced the head teacher of a church school in Devon to ask his mother to help out as a lunch supervisor and to rope his sister in to do the cleaning.

The National Association of Head Teachers (NAHT) has warned that schools are “cut to the bone”. The association has released data from a survey of its members, suggesting that 90 per cent of schools will go into deficit in the next academic year, and half expect to go into the red in the next 12 months.

The general secretary of the NAHT, Paul Whiteman, told the Observer on Sunday. “There are no easy fixes left. This will mean cutting teaching hours, teaching assistants, and teachers.”

Last week, Steve Hitchcock, the head teacher of St Peter’s C of E Primary School, in Budleigh Salterton, told the APEX news agency that there was nothing left to cut. The school was “constantly asking parents for money, constantly asking local groups, constantly trying to get money from any source”.

The school’s energy bills had doubled in the past six months, he said, while real-terms income had fallen by nine per cent in the past decade. Rising costs and diminishing income has left the catering budget £38,000 in arrears, and meant that the school was unable to give catering staff a pay rise in line with inflation.

Read it all.

Posted in * Economics, Politics, Church of England (CoE), Economy, Education, England / UK, Labor/Labor Unions/Labor Market, Marriage & Family, Religion & Culture

(NYT front page) Disabled Workers Thrive in Tight Labor Market

The strong late-pandemic labor market is giving a lift to a group often left on the margins of the economy: workers with disabilities.

Employers, desperate for workers, are reconsidering job requirements, overhauling hiring processes and working with nonprofit groups to recruit candidates they might once have overlooked. At the same time, companies’ newfound openness to remote work has led to opportunities for people whose disabilities make in-person work — and the taxing daily commute it requires — difficult or impossible.

As a result, the share of disabled adults who are working has soared in the past two years, far surpassing its prepandemic level and outpacing gains among people without disabilities.

In interviews and surveys, people with disabilities report that they are getting not only more job offers, but better ones, with higher pay, more flexibility and more openness to providing accommodations that once would have required a fight, if they were offered at all.

Read it all.

Posted in Economy, Labor/Labor Unions/Labor Market

(Bloomberg) Americans Reclaim 60 Million Commuting Hours in Remote-Work Perk

Americans who are working from home have reclaimed 60 million hours that they used to spend commuting to an office each day. They’re now using that time to get more sleep instead.

That’s the takeaway from a research by the Federal Reserve Bank of New York, which analyzed data from the American Time Use Survey to see what US workers spent their time on when they weren’t stuck on a crowded train or locked in traffic. The main findings: Employees spent fewer total hours working and substantially more on sleep and leisure.

Read it all.

Posted in Blogging & the Internet, Health & Medicine, Labor/Labor Unions/Labor Market, Science & Technology

(BBC) ‘Exploited’ foreign doctors worry about risk to UK patients

Doctors recruited from some of the world’s poorest countries to work in UK hospitals say they’re being exploited – and believe they’re so overworked they fear putting patients’ health at risk.

A BBC investigation has found evidence that doctors from Nigeria are being recruited by a British healthcare company and expected to work in private hospitals under conditions not allowed in the National Health Service.

The British Medical Association (BMA) has described the situation as “shocking” and says the sector needs to be brought in line with NHS working practices.

The BBC has spoken to several foreign medics – including a young Nigerian doctor who worked at the private Nuffield Health Leeds Hospital in 2021.

Augustine Enekwechi says his hours were extreme – on-call 24 hours a day for a week at a time – and that he was unable to leave the hospital grounds. He says working there felt like being in “a prison”.

The tiredness was so intense, he says, there were times he worried he couldn’t properly function.

Read it all.

Posted in England / UK, Ethics / Moral Theology, Health & Medicine, Labor/Labor Unions/Labor Market, Nigeria

(RNS) At new Minnesota facility, Amazon takes small steps to welcome Muslim workers

A new Amazon sorting facility in Woodbury, Minnesota, is taking its employees’ religious needs seriously, adding new “ablution stations” for ritual hand and foot washing and three rooms that people of any faith may use for prayer or meditation.

The 550,000-square-foot facility, which opened this month, employs about 300 Somalis and Somali Americans, many of them refugees from the generation-long civil war in the east African nation. Minnesota is home to as many as 80,000 Somali immigrants, more than half of those living in the United States. More than 99% of Somalians are Muslim.

A stop for packages moving between Amazon warehouses and their shipping destinations, the Woodbury center includes signs in Somali as well as translation services. Other accommodations for all employees include lactation rooms for nursing mothers and soundproof booths for phone calls.

Read it all.

Posted in Corporations/Corporate Life, Economy, Islam, Labor/Labor Unions/Labor Market, Religion & Culture

(NPR) Americans are becoming less productive, and that’s a risk to the economy

An economic ennui has settled in among workers after the experiences of the last few years, said Julia Pollak, chief economist with ZipRecruiter, and that ennui is showing up in the numbers.

Nearly 20 million people were laid off in a matter of weeks as the pandemic took hold, regardless of whether they had strong work ethics, good performance or loyalty to a company. Then the economic winds shifted just months later, and companies were suddenly desperate to hire. Firings and layoffs reached historic lows. Existing employees were often worked to the point of burnout, newbies with less experience were brought on at a higher wage and employers overlooked things that could have cost workers their jobs in the past.

Workers came away from all of this feeling like the connection between working hard and being rewarded was broken, Pollak said.

“That’s really discouraging to top performers,” she added.

The result: This year, productivity — the measure of how much stuff companies produce for each hour we work — has seen the biggest drop on record.

Productivity is down 4.1% on an annualized basis, the biggest decline since the government started keeping track of the number back in 1948. Since then, U.S. productivity had been on a steady upward slope. Until now.

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Posted in Economy, Labor/Labor Unions/Labor Market

(NYT) The Job Market Has Been Like Musical Chairs, but now some cracks are appearing

When Debbie Ricks lost her job as a server in March 2020, she decided to chase a long cast-aside ambition: She would try to become a photojournalist, and get away from her undertipping customers. Last year seemed to be the time for a professional leap.

She had unemployment checks coming in, $1,200 a month. She could supplement food stamps with the pasta and applesauce cans she found on the streets. Most important, every restaurant in Washington, D.C., seemed to be hiring; at any moment, she figured, she could line up a job. But this summer, as her savings dried up and the cost of food rose, she began to feel that many of those backup opportunities had evaporated.

“I do kind of feel like, ‘Oh, Debbie, you should’ve jumped on that,’” Ms. Ricks, 44, said. “But I wanted to get back into journalism, which is what I love.”

After months of a booming job market, which prompted workers to quit and raised wages across industries, the job openings rate declined in August. Layoffs rose slightly, to 1.5 million, though they were still below their historical average. With fears of a recession looming, workers who were flush with opportunities are beginning to feel the anxieties of tightened corporate budgets.

Read it all.

Posted in * Economics, Politics, Consumer/consumer spending, Economy, Globalization, Labor/Labor Unions/Labor Market

(Economist) Financial markets are in trouble. Where will the cracks appear?

It is hard not to feel a sense of foreboding. As the Federal Reserve has tightened policy, asset prices have plunged. Stocks, as measured by the Wilshire 5000 all-cap index, have shed $12trn of market capitalisation since January. Another $7trn has been wiped off bonds, which have lost 14% of their value. Some $2trn of crypto market-cap has vanished over the past year. House prices adjust more slowly, but are falling. Mortgage rates have hit 7%, up from 3% last year. And this is all in America—one of the world’s strongest economies.

Rising rates will slow the American economy and should break the back of inflation. But what else will they break? Since the Federal Reserve raised rates again on September 22nd, global markets have been in turmoil. When the British government announced unfunded tax cuts a day later, fire-sales by pension funds caused the yield on government bonds (or “gilts”) to spiral out of control. Contagion then spread to the American Treasury market, which is as volatile and illiquid as it was at the start of covid-19. The cost to insure against the default of Credit Suisse, a global bank, has risen sharply. These ructions indicate the world is entering a new phase, in which financial markets no longer just reflect the pain of adjusting to the new economic context—pricing in higher rates and lower growth—but now also spread pain of their own.

The most catastrophic pain is felt when financial institutions fail. There are two ways they do so: illiquidity or insolvency. Tighter monetary policy is likely to prompt or reveal both.

Read it all.

Posted in * Economics, Politics, Consumer/consumer spending, Corporations/Corporate Life, Credit Markets, Currency Markets, Economy, Euro, European Central Bank, Federal Reserve, Globalization, Labor/Labor Unions/Labor Market, Personal Finance, Stock Market

(Washington Post) Nicholas Eberstadt–What’s behind the flight from work in post-pandemic America

Since the start of the 21st century, per capita growth dropped to less than half its previous 1950-2000 tempo. With the rate creaking along now at just over 1 percent per annum, incomes would take more than 60 years to double; from 1980-1999, the doubling pace was 31 years.

A significant factor in modern America’s slower growth — and the lower expectations it unforgivingly imposes — is the drop-off in work. The country is aging, of course, but population graying does not explain the collapse of employment for men of the 25-54 prime working age (women’s labor force participation rates have been declining too, but not as steeply). Nor can it account for the anomalous emergence of a peacetime labor shortage in post-pandemic America, even as workforce participation rates remain stuck well below pre-pandemic levels.

Instead, these are manifestations of a troubling, once unfamiliar but now increasingly entrenched syndrome. Call it the “flight from work.”

Although the unemployment rate for prime-age men in August was a mere 3 percent, only 86 percent reported any paid labor. The remaining 11 percent were labor-force dropouts — neither working nor looking for work. These “not in labor force” men, who now outnumber the formally unemployed by more than 4 to 1, are the main reason that the country’s prime male work rate has been driven below its 1940 level — when national unemployment rates were nearly 15 percent.

Astonishingly, yes, the United States has a Depression-scale work problem.

Read it all.

Posted in * Culture-Watch, America/U.S.A., Corporations/Corporate Life, Economy, Labor/Labor Unions/Labor Market

(Wash. Post top of website this morning) Worker shortages are fueling America’s biggest labor crises

Joseph White, who lives in Nashville, lost his job at Guitar Center six months into the pandemic. But he says he’d had enough: The store was constantly short-staffed and customers were intractable. In one instance, a shopper pulled a gun on him for trying to enforce the company’s mask mandate.

“I’m tired, I’m broken down, worn out and old,” the 62-year-old said. “I was worked to death for so long that finally, I said, there’s no way I’m going back.”

He’s begun drawing on Social Security payments to make ends meet, and helps his wife run her small shop, Black Dog Beads. But White says he has no intention of joining the labor force again.

“Our quality of life is far better even though we have less income,” he said. “I got tired of being a commodity.”

Read it all.

Posted in * Economics, Politics, America/U.S.A., Corporations/Corporate Life, Economy, Labor/Labor Unions/Labor Market

(Gallup) Is Quiet Quitting Real?

“Quiet quitters” make up at least 50% of the U.S. workforce — probably more, Gallup finds.

The trend toward quiet quitting — the idea spreading virally on social media that millions of people are not going above and beyond at work and just meeting their job description — could get worse. This is a problem because most jobs today require some level of extra effort to collaborate with coworkers and meet customer needs.

U.S. employee engagement took another step backward during the second quarter of 2022, with the proportion of engaged workers remaining at 32% but the proportion of actively disengaged increasing to 18%. The ratio of engaged to actively disengaged employees is now 1.8 to 1, the lowest in almost a decade.

The drop in engagement began in the second half of 2021 and was concurrent with the rise in job resignations. Managers, among others, experienced the greatest drop.

Read it all.

Posted in Labor/Labor Unions/Labor Market

(NYT) In an Unequal Economy, the Poor Face Inflation Now and Job Loss Later

For Theresa Clarke, a retiree in New Canaan, Conn., the rising cost of living means not buying Goldfish crackers for her disabled daughter because a carton costs $11.99 at her local Stop & Shop. It means showering at the YMCA to save on her hot water bill. And it means watching her bank account dwindle to $50 because, as someone on a fixed income who never made much money to start with, there aren’t many other places she can trim her spending as prices rise.

“There is nothing to cut back on,” she said.

Jordan Trevino, 28, who recently took a better paying job in advertising in Los Angeles with a $100,000 salary, is economizing in little ways — ordering a cheaper entree when out to dinner, for example. But he is still planning a wedding next year and a honeymoon in Italy.

And David Schoenfeld, who made about $250,000 in retirement income and consulting fees last year and has about $5 million in savings, hasn’t pared back his spending. He has just returned from a vacation in Greece, with his daughter and two of his grandchildren.

Read it all.

Posted in * Economics, Politics, Economy, Labor/Labor Unions/Labor Market, Personal Finance

(WSJ) Europeans Are Working Even Less, and Not by Choice

European workers have put in fewer hours than Americans for decades. Now, they are working even less than before the pandemic—almost one day a week less than Americans in 2021, according to data for the five biggest European Union economies.

Since the start of the pandemic, Americans have increased their working hours by about 1%, on average, while Europeans have trimmed theirs by around 2%, according to data about the five large EU economies from the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development.

That is partly because many European companies tried to avoid pandemic-related layoffs by reducing workers’ hours. Nearly two million Europeans still are in Covid-19 furlough programs, with governments, for now, covering a portion of their lost pay. The U.S. economy recovered more quickly, and many American workers who kept their jobs or found new ones have continued to work the same or longer hours.

Europe has long had a reputation in the U.S. for less demanding work hours and more generous vacation practices, which many Americans attributed to a different approach to work-life balance. The pandemic labor picture shows that the differences aren’t strictly voluntary.

Read it all.

Posted in Anthropology, Corporations/Corporate Life, Economy, Europe, Labor/Labor Unions/Labor Market

([London] Times) Boomers go on courses to understand young staff

Baby boomer and Generation X bosses are going on courses to help them understand younger employees and get more out of them in the workplace.

Experts say that millennials and Generation Z actually speak a different language to older colleagues, causing friction in the office.

It follows a tribunal last month in which a trainee accountant was sacked after his boss claimed he was “too demanding, like his generation of millennials”.

Dr Elizabeth Michelle, a psychologist who gives workshops on how to handle millennials — a term for people born between 1981 and 1996 — and Generation Z, born from 1997-2012, said: “As a psychologist, I work with so many different things but the main thing people have been interested in is millennials and now Gen Z.

“I think boomers are desperate to be able to work more productively with them and they are very frustrated because they are so different. Managers want to understand their employees better.

Read it all (subscription).

Posted in Anthropology, Corporations/Corporate Life, Economy, Labor/Labor Unions/Labor Market, Middle Age, Psychology, Science & Technology, Young Adults

(C of E) ‘It gave me back hope and ambition’– Lichfield Cathedral helps young people

More than 30 six-month work placements were made available by Lichfield Cathedral for 16 to 24-year-olds in the region. The roles available were in the Cathedral, churches, and organisations across the Diocese – providing valuable work experience for those impacted by the pandemic.

For some young people, like Gabriella, this opportunity proved to be life changing.

“In 2019, I began the year homeless” she explained.

“All the stress caused me to end up in hospital, which meant I missed my exams.

“Finding work was difficult to say the least.”

Read it all.

Posted in Church of England (CoE), England / UK, Labor/Labor Unions/Labor Market, Parish Ministry, Religion & Culture, Teens / Youth, Young Adults

(Economist) A half-a-trillion-dollar bet on revolutionising white-collar work

Two decades ago India’s information-technology (IT) firms were the stars of the rising country’s corporate firmament. The industry’s three giants, Tata Consultancy Services (TCS), Infosys and Wipro, became household names at home and familiar to chief executives of big businesses abroad, who had outsourced their companies’ countermeasures against the feared “millennium bug”, expected to wreak havoc on computers as the date changed from 1999 to 2000, to Indian software engineers. By the mid-2000s the Indian IT trio’s revenues were growing by around 40% a year, as Western CEOs realised that Indian programmers could do as good a job as domestic ones or better, at a fraction of the price. Then, following the global financial crisis of 2007-09, revenue growth slowed to single digits. For years afterwards the stars seemed to be losing some of their shine.

Now they are back in the ascendant. Having declined as a share of GDP between 2017 and 2019, exports of Indian software services ticked up again as the world’s companies turned to them for help amid the disruption to operations and IT systems wrought by the pandemic. In the last financial year they reached an all-time high of $150bn, or 5.6% of Indian GDP (see chart 1). NASSCOM, a trade body, expects the industry’s overall revenues to grow from $227bn last year to $350bn by 2026.

Read it all.

Posted in Globalization, India, Labor/Labor Unions/Labor Market, Science & Technology

(NPR) As a nurse faces prison for a deadly error, her colleagues worry: Could I be next?

Four years ago, inside the most prestigious hospital in Tennessee, nurse RaDonda Vaught withdrew a vial from an electronic medication cabinet, administered the drug to a patient and somehow overlooked signs of a terrible and deadly mistake.

The patient was supposed to get Versed, a sedative intended to calm her before being scanned in a large, MRI-like machine. But Vaught accidentally grabbed vecuronium, a powerful paralyzer, which stopped the patient’s breathing and left her brain-dead before the error was discovered.

Vaught, 38, admitted her mistake at a Tennessee Board of Nursing hearing last year, saying she became “complacent” in her job and “distracted” by a trainee while operating the computerized medication cabinet. She did not shirk responsibility for the error, but she said the blame was not hers alone.

“I know the reason this patient is no longer here is because of me,” Vaught said, starting to cry. “There won’t ever be a day that goes by that I don’t think about what I did.”

Read it all.

Posted in Death / Burial / Funerals, Ethics / Moral Theology, Health & Medicine, Labor/Labor Unions/Labor Market, Law & Legal Issues

(Economist) Why loafing can be work–Daydreaming, promenading and zoning out pay rich dividends

….time to muse is valuable in virtually every role. To take one example, customer-service representatives can be good sources of ideas on how to improve a company’s products, but they are often rated on how well they adhere to a schedule of fielding calls. Reflection is not part of the routine.

The post-pandemic rethink of work is focused on “when” and “where” questions. Firms are experimenting with four-day workweeks as a way to improve retention and avoid burnout. Asynchronous working is a way for individuals to collaborate at times that suit them. Lots of thought is going into how to make a success of hybrid work.

The “what is work” question gets much less attention. The bias towards familiar forms of activity is deeply entrenched. But if you see a colleague meandering through the park or examining the ceiling for hours, don’t assume that work isn’t being done. What looks like idleness may be the very moment when serendipity strikes.

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Posted in Anthropology, Health & Medicine, Labor/Labor Unions/Labor Market

P&O: Joint statement from the Archbishop of Canterbury and the Bishop of Dover

Ill-treating workers is not just business. In God’s eyes it is sin.

P&O has sacked 800 people in Dover, a town dependent on shipping. Dover is a major part of the Diocese of Canterbury which we serve as Bishops.

The extraordinary move is at the command of DP World, the Dubai based and owned parent company, which made record profits last year. The move is cynically timed for a moment when world attention is on Ukraine. Done without warning or consultation it is inhumane, treats human beings as a commodity of no basic value or dignity and is completely unethical.

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Posted in --Justin Welby, Anthropology, Archbishop of Canterbury, Church of England (CoE), CoE Bishops, Corporations/Corporate Life, Ethics / Moral Theology, Labor/Labor Unions/Labor Market, Religion & Culture

A Reflection on Saint Joseph the Worker by Tarcisio Giuseppe Stramare for his Feast Day

ZENIT spoke with Father Tarcisio Giuseppe Stramare of the Congregation of Oblates of Saint Joseph, director of the Josephite Movement, about Tuesday’s feast of St. Joseph the Worker….

ZENIT: What does “Gospel of work” mean?

Father Stramare: “Gospel” is the Good News that refers to Jesus, the Savior of humanity. Well, despite the fact that in general we see Jesus as someone who teaches and does miracles, he was so identified with work that in his time he was regarded as “the son of the carpenter,” namely, an artisan himself. Among many possible activities, the Wisdom of God chose for Jesus manual work, entrusted the education of his Son not to the school of the learned but to a humble artisan, namely, St. Joseph.

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Posted in Anthropology, Labor/Labor Unions/Labor Market

(Church Times) Pensions Board puts pressure on mining companies to adopt global safety standards

On the third anniversary of the mining disaster that killed 270 people in Brumadinho, in Brazil, the Church of England Pensions Board has stepped up the pressure on companies to adopt new global safety standards.

The disaster happened when a mine-waste facility, a tailings dam, collapsed. The new Global Industry Standard on Tailings Management was developed in response by a coalition of investors led by the Pensions Board and the Council on Ethics of the Swedish AP Funds…. Now, they have published the names of the companies that have committed themselves to the new measures.

Seventy-nine mining companies — one third of those employing tailings dams — have either made a commitment to the new Global Industry Standard on Tailings Management or are still assessing their compliance. The list includes several of the largest companies, including BHP, Anglo, Glencore, Rio Tinto, and Vale.

The Brumadinho disaster of 2019 is not an isolated incident. Another 12 such collapses have been reported in the past three years. In three instances — two of which took place in Myanmar and one in Peru — workers were killed. The collapses also cause significant environmental damage.

Read it all.

Posted in Anthropology, Brazil, Church of England (CoE), Corporations/Corporate Life, Ethics / Moral Theology, Globalization, Labor/Labor Unions/Labor Market, Myanmar/Burma, Pensions, Stock Market

A nifty London Times profile on Diocesan Registrar for Chester and Blackburn, Lisa Moncur

On Boxing Day Lisa Moncur received a call from a vicar asking for help to arrange a special marriage licence for someone who was terminally ill. She has also been called on to deal with a badger whose industrious digging had uncovered human remains in a churchyard.

It was all part of her varied work as the Church of England’s diocesan registrar for both Chester and Blackburn. Registrars are personally appointed by the diocesan bishop and must be a qualified solicitor and a communicant in the Church of England.

Moncur was appointed to the diocese in Chester in 2016, and in Blackburn last year, after 20 years working as a commercial property solicitor. In that previous role, Moncur says, “I got up and knew what each day would look like” — but as a diocesan registrar she never knows what to expect and “there is never a dull day”.

Her job is to provide advice and support on ordinations, consecrations, confirmations, baptisms, marriages and burials as well as general legal advice to clergy and parishes, maintaining diocesan and parochial records, and advising on parish trusts.

Read it all (requires subscription).

Posted in Church of England (CoE), England / UK, Labor/Labor Unions/Labor Market, Parish Ministry, Religion & Culture

(Local Paper front page) Staff shortages persist at South Carolina restaurants as COVID19 surges. Some owners see a path forward

Ask most local restaurateurs, and they’ll tell you that staff shortages have been hampering Charleston restaurants for the past five to 10 years.

The COVID-19 pandemic turned the problem into a crisis, and the omicron variant reminded restaurateurs how ongoing staffing struggles, coupled with positive cases, impact daily operations.

In Charleston, King Street’s Monza Pizza Bar has been closed since Nov. 6 “due to acute staffing shortages.” Smallish places like The Pass, a 647-square-foot sandwich shop, have changed operations to limit guest interactions. In Beaufort, a sign from the city’s hospitality association cautions patrons that local small businesses are extremely short staffed.

In the first week of January in the Charleston area, Chasing Sage, Jackrabbit Filly, Berkeley’s, Wild Olive, Estadio and Home Team BBQ, among others, closed for at least one day due to COVID-19 concerns or to give overworked employees extra time to decompress.

Read it all.

Posted in * South Carolina, Corporations/Corporate Life, Dieting/Food/Nutrition, Economy, Labor/Labor Unions/Labor Market

(WSJ) American Workers Are Burned Out, and Bosses Are Struggling to Respond

In the first 10 months of this year, America’s workers handed in nearly 39 million resignations, the highest number since tracking began in 2000.

Some want better jobs. Others, a better work-life balance. Still others want a complete break from the corporate grind. Almost two years into the pandemic that left millions doing their jobs from home, many Americans are rethinking their relationship with work.

Companies are struggling to stop employees from leaving and to boost morale. Some are trying mandatory companywide vacation days and blackout hours when meetings are banned. Executives are experimenting with new ways of working, including four-day workweeks and asynchronous schedules that allow people to set their own hours.

Employers say burnout, long an issue for American workers and exacerbated by the pandemic, is a prime cause. A September survey by think tank the Conference Board found that more than three-quarters of 1,800 U.S. workers cited concerns such as stress and burnout as big challenges to well-being at work, up from 55% six months earlier. Half said workload-related pressure was harming their mental health.

Read it all.

Posted in * Economics, Politics, Anthropology, Corporations/Corporate Life, Economy, Health & Medicine, Labor/Labor Unions/Labor Market, Psychology, Stress

(NYT) Doctors and Nurses Are ‘Living in a Constant Crisis’ as Covid Fills Hospitals and Omicron Looms

On the top floor of the hospital, in the unit that houses the sickest Covid-19 patients, 13 of the 14 beds were occupied. In the one empty room, a person had just died.

Through surge after surge, caregivers in the unit at Covenant HealthCare in Saginaw, Mich., have helped ailing patients say goodbye to their relatives on video calls. The medical workers have cried in the dimly lit hallways. They have seen caseloads wane, only to watch beds fill up again. Mostly, they have learned to fear the worst.

“You come back to work and you ask who died,” said Bridget Klingenberg, an intensive care nurse at Covenant, where staff levels are so strained that the Defense Department recently sent reinforcements. “I don’t think people understand the toll that that takes unless you’ve actually done it.”

Read it all.

Posted in Health & Medicine, Labor/Labor Unions/Labor Market

Dorothy Sayers on her Feast Day–Why Work?

I have already, on a previous occasion, spoken at some length on the subject of Work and Vocation. What I urged then was a thoroughgoing revolution in our whole attitude to work. I asked that it should be looked upon, not as a necessary drudgery to be undergone for the purpose of making money, but as a way of life in which the nature of man should find its proper exercise and delight and so fulfill itself to the glory of God. That it should, in fact, be thought of as a creative activity undertaken for the love of the work itself; and that man, made in God’s image, should make things, as God makes them, for the sake of doing well a thing that is well worth doing.

It may well seem to you – as it does to some of my acquaintances – that I have a sort of obsession about this business of the right attitude to work. But I do insist upon it, because it seems to me that what becomes of civilization after this war is going to depend enormously on our being able to effect this revolution in our ideas about work. Unless we do change our whole way of thought about work, I do not think we shall ever escape from the appalling squirrel cage of economic confusion in which we have been madly turning for the last three centuries or so, the cage in which we landed ourselves by acquiescing in a social system based upon Envy and Avarice.

A society in which consumption has to be artificially stimulated in order to keep production going is a society founded on trash and waste, and such a society is a house built upon sand….

Read it all.

Posted in Anthropology, Church History, Labor/Labor Unions/Labor Market