Category : Labor/Labor Unions/Labor Market

(Local Paper) As holiday weekend approaches, Charleston-area restaurant workers fear what it might bring

By now, just about everyone in South Carolina is familiar with the graph charting the state’s new coronavirus cases. The trend line looks like a child’s drawing of a mountain cliff or a letter ‘L’ in repose, with a plateau followed by a sharp vertical flourish.

It also perfectly mirrors the fear and anxiety that food-and-beverage employees across downtown Charleston say they experience at work.

With positive tests for the coronavirus progressively thinning out local restaurant staffs, workers say they have less time to keep up with new sanitation protocols and more reason to worry about contracting the potentially deadly virus.

In interviews conducted over the past week by The Post and Courier, multiple employees at half a dozen leading Charleston restaurants have shared a remarkably similar story: They feel abandoned by public officials who championed reopening without restriction and endangered by patrons who mock their masks and flout social distancing rules.

Many front-of-house workers are so tired and stressed that they wish restaurants would revert to offering takeout exclusively, even if it would cost them tips.

“The restaurant industry feels unsafe,” says a former Leon’s Oyster Shop server who last month quit after learning co-workers who were exposed to the virus at a dinner party were still on the schedule.

Read it all.

Posted in * South Carolina, Anthropology, Corporations/Corporate Life, Dieting/Food/Nutrition, Economy, Ethics / Moral Theology, Health & Medicine, Labor/Labor Unions/Labor Market, Urban/City Life and Issues

(Reason) J.D. Tuccille–The Pandemic’s Economic Carnage Looks Worse Than Expected

If you thought the economic toll wrought by the COVID-19 pandemic was only going to be horrendous, you may have been overly optimistic. A combination of voluntary behavior changes and government-imposed lockdowns that choked-off social and economic activity are now projected to have even worse consequences than economists initially feared. Life may start returning to normal sometime next year, but there will be lasting pain even if we avoid another wave of the virus.

“Global output is projected to decline by 4.9 percent in 2020, 1.9 percentage points below our April forecast, followed by a partial recovery, with growth at 5.4 percent in 2021,” Gita Gopinath, Director of the Research Department at the International Monetary Fund (IMF), wrote this week.

As depressing as the IMF’s numbers are, the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) is actually more pessimistic. The OECD predicts that, if we’re hit by only one wave of COVID-19, global economic activity will fall by 6 percent this year, with five years of income growth lost. A second wave of infections would drive world economic output down by 7.6 percent in 2020.

Read it all.

Posted in * Economics, Politics, Consumer/consumer spending, Corporations/Corporate Life, Economy, Ethics / Moral Theology, Health & Medicine, Labor/Labor Unions/Labor Market, Politics in General

(USA Today) NIH director: COVID-19’s ‘heartbreaking’ harm to Black and Hispanic Americans demands testing

Collins said he’s been impressed with the safety of convalescent plasma – a blood product from people who have recovered from COVID-19. But research has not yet shown whether convalescent plasma is truly effective for COVID-19 patients and at what stage of disease.

More promising, he said, is what are called monoclonal antibodies – immune system molecules identified from recovered patients that can then be manufactured with predictability and consistently.

“It worked for Ebola, so it’s got a precedent,” said Collins, who was head of the NIH when that outbreak occurred. At least six companies are developing monoclonal antibodies that are ready for testing in people.

“If I had to put my hopes on one therapeutic that might be a real game-changer as soon as this fall, it would be monoclonals,” Collins said. “But we don’t know until we actually go there and try that….”

Collins said he has decided that it is safe in Washington, D.C. to slowly begin allowing NIH scientists to return to work. He has eight people in his own research lab who are now coming in every other day, wearing a mask all the time, remaining six feet away from each other, and cleaning their space when they leave. He compared this to what will have to happen to keep people safe as businesses and universities begin to reopen.

Read it all.

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

(NPR) As States Reopen, Do They Have The Workforce They Need To Stop Coronavirus Outbreaks?

An NPR survey of state health departments shows that the national coronavirus contact tracing workforce has tripled in the past six weeks, from 11,142 workers to 37,110. Yet given their current case counts, only seven states and the District of Columbia are staffed to the level that public health researchers say is needed to contain outbreaks.

Contact tracers are public health workers who reach out to each new positive coronavirus case, track down their contacts, and connect both the sick person and those who were exposed with the services they need to be able to safely isolate themselves. This is an essential part of stamping out emerging outbreaks.

To understand how that picture had changed since NPR’s initial contact tracing survey in late April, NPR reached out again to all state health departments, as well as Washington, D.C., and the U.S. territories. In total, NPR reporters were able to assemble data from all 50 states along with D.C., Guam and the Northern Mariana Islands.

Read it all.

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

(WSJ) Scott Gottlieb and Yuval Levin–New Rules for Covid Summer: Be Flexible and Vigilant

…public attitudes are now as mixed and contradictory as the epidemiology data. A forthcoming survey of 3,500 Americans conducted this month by our American Enterprise Institute colleague Daniel Cox found that 58% of Americans want public officials to “take all necessary steps to ensure the public is safe even if it means keeping businesses closed longer and hurting the economy.” But that is down from 78% in late March. Some 41% supported allowing businesses to open “even if it means putting some people at risk,” nearly double the 22% in March.

That explains what’s happening around the country, and also why so many people are uneasy. And it suggests that, along with ramping up testing and tracing, public officials need to focus on building public confidence and minimizing weariness.

That means, for example, encouraging (and practicing) sensible behavior that can reduce the spread. Wearing face masks is the simplest and most effective, along with efforts to practice hygiene and distancing when possible. Officials from the president down must avoid politicizing these measures. They are neither conspiracies against your dignity nor proof of your enlightenment. They are sensible ways of reducing infection and fear.

When local hot spots arise, mayors and governors must trace the outbreaks to their origin and be ready to curtail specific activities that are sources of spread. The public is clearly willing to follow focused guidance. But broad shutdowns are unlikely to be tolerated this summer—and therefore are unlikely to be proposed, regardless of what the epidemiology shows.

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Posted in * Economics, Politics, Consumer/consumer spending, Corporations/Corporate Life, Economy, Ethics / Moral Theology, Health & Medicine, Labor/Labor Unions/Labor Market, Politics in General

South Carolina announces 770 new cases of the novel coronavirus COVID19+6 additional deaths

The South Carolina Department of Health and Environmental Control (DHEC) today announced 770 new cases of the novel coronavirus COVID-19 and 6 additional deaths.

This brings the total number of people confirmed to have COVID-19 in South Carolina to 17,955 and those who have died to 599.

Four deaths occurred in elderly individuals from Cherokee (1), Darlington (1), Greenville (1), and Richland (1) counties, and two deaths occurred in middle-aged individuals from Greenville (1) and Horry (1) counties.

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Posted in * Economics, Politics, * South Carolina, Anthropology, Consumer/consumer spending, Corporations/Corporate Life, Economy, Ethics / Moral Theology, Health & Medicine, Labor/Labor Unions/Labor Market, State Government

GRR:Discouraging short term trend continues–South Carolina today announced 770 new cases of the novel coronavirus COVID19+5 additional deaths

The South Carolina Department of Health and Environmental Control (DHEC) today announced 770 new cases of the novel coronavirus COVID-19 and 5 additional deaths.

This brings the total number of people confirmed to have COVID-19 in South Carolina to 17,170 and those who have died to 593.

All five deaths occurred in elderly individuals from Aiken (1), Charleston (1), Lexington (1), Orangeburg (1), and Richland (1) counties

Read it all.

Posted in * South Carolina, Anthropology, Consumer/consumer spending, Corporations/Corporate Life, Economy, Health & Medicine, Labor/Labor Unions/Labor Market, State Government

(Wa Po) The coronavirus pandemic isn’t ending – it’s surging

As restrictions are lifted around the world, the sense of urgency surrounding the novel coronavirus pandemic has weakened. Hundreds of millions of students have returned to school; restaurants, bars and other businesses are slowly reopening in many countries. In parts of Europe, vaccine researchers worry that they will not have enough sick people for testing.

But this historic pandemic is not ending. It is surging. There were 136,000 new infections reported on Sunday, the highest single-day increase since the start of the pandemic. There are more than 7 million confirmed cases so far. The number of deaths is nearing half a million, with little sign of tapering off, and global health experts are continuing to sound the alarm.

“By no means is this over,” Mike Ryan, the World Health Organization’s executive director, said Wednesday. “If we look at the numbers over the last number of weeks, this pandemic is still evolving. It is still growing in many parts of the world.”

Read it all.

Posted in Consumer/consumer spending, Corporations/Corporate Life, Economy, Ethics / Moral Theology, Globalization, Health & Medicine, Labor/Labor Unions/Labor Market, Politics in General

(The State) As South Carolina surpasses 15,000 COVID19 cases, infection rates, hospitalizations hit new highs

Following a record breaking day, Department of Health and Environmental Control officials announced Tuesday that South Carolina has surpassed 15,000 coronavirus cases.

On Tuesday, 434 more people tested positive for the virus, and 11 additional people have died after contracting it, DHEC officials said. The 434 represented 14.7% of the total daily number of tests results reported Tuesday — the highest daily rate of infection the state has seen in at least the last 28 days.

Another statistic also is rapidly rising: the number of hospital beds across the state occupied by patients with confirmed COVID-19 cases or who are under investigation for the disease. On Saturday, for example, the state had 482 COVID patients being treated in hospital. In just two days, that number has rocketed up to 541.

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Posted in * Economics, Politics, * South Carolina, Consumer/consumer spending, Corporations/Corporate Life, Economy, Ethics / Moral Theology, Health & Medicine, Labor/Labor Unions/Labor Market, State Government

A Second Straight Record Day of New Coronavirus Cases in South Carolina

The South Carolina Department of Health and Environmental Control (DHEC) today announced 512 new cases of the novel coronavirus COVID-19 and 7 additional deaths.

This brings the total number of people confirmed to have COVID-19 in South Carolina to 13,916 and those who have died to 545.

Read it all.

Posted in * Economics, Politics, * South Carolina, Consumer/consumer spending, Corporations/Corporate Life, Economy, Health & Medicine, Labor/Labor Unions/Labor Market, State Government

(The State) South Carolina ends record breaking week with 447 new coronavirus cases

The coronavirus has continued its speedy spread across South Carolina, with state officials announcing 447 new infections on Friday, setting a new record for the largest single-day increase in cases, state Department of Health and Environmental Control officials said in a statement.

In all, 13,453 people have tested positive for the virus across the state. Also announced Friday were an additional 13 deaths, bringing the death toll to 538.

The latest case and death statistics come near the end of a record week. Over the last week, state health officials have seen record high case numbers each day, including three days with more than 300 cases and two days with more than 400, topping the previous records set in April and May by dozens of cases.

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Posted in * Economics, Politics, * South Carolina, Consumer/consumer spending, Corporations/Corporate Life, Economy, Ethics / Moral Theology, Health & Medicine, Labor/Labor Unions/Labor Market, State Government

Yesterday’s NYT Front Page–Renters Out of Work, Money And, Very Soon, Their Homes

The United States, already wrestling with an economic collapse not seen in a generation, is facing a wave of evictions as government relief payments and legal protections run out for millions of out-of-work Americans who have little financial cushion and few choices when looking for new housing.

The hardest hit are tenants who had low incomes and little savings even before the pandemic, and whose housing costs ate up more of their paychecks. They were also more likely to work in industries where job losses have been particularly severe.

Temporary government assistance has helped, as have government orders that put evictions on hold in many cities. But evictions will soon be allowed in about half of the states, according to Emily A. Benfer, a housing expert and associate professor at Columbia Law School who is tracking eviction policies.

“I think we will enter into a severe renter crisis and very quickly,” Professor Benfer said. Without a new round of government intervention, she added, “we will have an avalanche of evictions across the country.”

Read it all.

Posted in America/U.S.A., Consumer/consumer spending, Corporations/Corporate Life, Economy, Ethics / Moral Theology, Health & Medicine, Housing/Real Estate Market, Labor/Labor Unions/Labor Market, Personal Finance

Archbp John Sentamu: Carers who risk their lives need funding, not applause

“I feel like a Roman gladiator in the ring, clapped by cheering crowds as I risk death.” These words from a brave care worker stopped me in my tracks. I heard them through my work with the Living Wage Foundation. This person, who asked to remain anonymous, does vital work on a zero-hours contract, paid just £8.72 an hour. The clapping on a Thursday is a kind gesture – but it won’t pay the rent.

The fate of the country is in the hands of people like this brave care worker. It is just morally wrong for them to face infection and potential death and to do it for poverty pay. Almost half of all care workers are earning below the foundation’s Real Living Wage.

For me this is simply unacceptable. And while so many of us across the country take to our doorsteps every Thursday at 8pm to clap for carers and other key workers, this week my prayer is that we begin to show real compassion and protect our key workers – whether British, European or even former refugees – who are the most at-risk group when it comes to catching Covid-19.

They are literally risking their lives for us, day in, day out, and they do it for a wage that means they struggle to stay afloat financially.

Read it all.

Posted in Anthropology, Archbishop of York John Sentamu, Corporations/Corporate Life, Ethics / Moral Theology, Health & Medicine, Labor/Labor Unions/Labor Market, Personal Finance, Religion & Culture

([London] Times) Hope rises that worst may be over: Britain, Europe and US show signs of recovery

Tentative signs that the worst of the economic damage has been done by the coronavirus pandemic emerged yesterday in closely-watched readings from Britain, the eurozone and the United States.

Private-sector output in all three continued to fall this month but bounced back more than expected from record lows in April, three reports showed. A further report showed that new claims for unemployment benefits in the US fell for the seventh consecutive week, although they remained at an extreme level.

Economists said that although the readings had improved, they continued to highlight the severe damage being wrought by the pandemic, from which recovery would be slow, especially in Britain. IHS Markit’s “flash” composite purchasing managers’ index, which measures changes in output, new orders and employment in the services and manufacturing sectors, climbed to 28.9 in Britain this month, from 13.8 in April. The same index for the eurozone rose to 30.5 from 13.6, and in the US it increased to 36.4 from 27.4.

Read it all (subscription).

Posted in America/U.S.A., Corporations/Corporate Life, Economy, England / UK, Europe, Health & Medicine, Labor/Labor Unions/Labor Market, Politics in General

Yesterday’s NYT front page–‘I Can’t Turn My Brain Off’: PTSD and Burnout Threaten medical Workers

Screw all of you now I see exactly why the only thing left to do is suicide. — a Facebook post by a St. Louis paramedic in April

After Kurt Becker, a paramedic firefighter in St. Louis County, saw that post, which included a profanity-laced screed of frustration and despair over the job, he sent a copy to the man’s therapist with a note saying, “You need to check this out.”

“I’m reading this, and I’m ticking off each comment with, ‘stress marker,’ ‘stress marker,’ ‘stress marker,’ ” said Mr. Becker, who manages a 300-person union district. (The writer is in treatment and gave permission for the post to be quoted.)

The paramedics are part of a “warrior culture,” Mr. Becker said, which sees itself as a tough, invulnerable caste. Asking for help, admitting fear, is not part of their self-image.

Mr. Becker, 48, is himself the grandson of a bomber pilot and son of a Vietnam veteran. But his local has been hit by a dozen suicides since 2004, and he has become an advocate for the mental health of its members. To maintain his equilibrium, he works out and sees a therapist.

Read it all.

Posted in Anthropology, Ethics / Moral Theology, Health & Medicine, Labor/Labor Unions/Labor Market, Pastoral Theology, Psychology, Theology

Federal Reserve Chairman Jerome Powell Interviewed Last night on 60 Minutes

PELLEY: And when you say things, people listen. And Wall Street didn’t want to hear that this was going to take longer than their hopes indicated?

POWELL: I was really calling out a risk that I think is an important one for people to be cognizant of, and that is the risk of longer-run damage to the economy. And really, the good news is that we have the tools to limit that longer-run damage by continuing to provide support to households and businesses as we get through this. And that was really my message.

PELLEY: It was meant to be a signal to Capitol Hill to tell lawmakers the economy needs a great deal more support?

POWELL: That was a part of my remarks this morning. I also wanted to just talk more at length about the longer-run dangers and commit the Fed to really stay in this fight as long as we need to as well….

PELLEY: Has the Fed done all it can do?

POWELL: Well, there’s a lot more we can do. We’ve done what we can as we go. But I will say that we’re not out of ammunition by a long shot. No, there’s really no limit to what we can do with these lending programs that we have. So there’s a lot more we can do to support the economy, and we’re committed to doing everything we can as long as we need to.

Read it all.

Posted in * Economics, Politics, America/U.S.A., Corporations/Corporate Life, Economy, Ethics / Moral Theology, Federal Reserve, House of Representatives, Labor/Labor Unions/Labor Market, Office of the President, Politics in General, Poverty, President Donald Trump, Senate, The U.S. Government

Latest Figures–No new coronavirus deaths as South Carolina logs 276 new cases, bringing the total to 8,661

At least 8,661 people in South Carolina have tested positive for the coronavirus and 380 have died, according to state health officials.

The S.C. Department of Health and Environmental Control reported…[over 250] new cases of the virus and no additional deaths Friday.

Patients who died were residents of Sumter, Cherokee, Clarendon, Fairfield, Florence and Pickens counties, according to health officials.

Worldwide, more than 4.6 million cases of COVID-19 have been reported and more than 310,000 people have died, according to Johns Hopkins University. More than 1.4 million cases and 88,000 deaths have been reported in the United States.

Read it all.

Posted in * Economics, Politics, * South Carolina, Consumer/consumer spending, Corporations/Corporate Life, Economy, Ethics / Moral Theology, Labor/Labor Unions/Labor Market, State Government

(Washington Post) Small business used to define U.S. economy, but pandemic could change that forever

The coronavirus pandemic is emerging as an existential threat to the nation’s small businesses – despite Congress approving a historic $700 billion to support them – with the potential to further diminish the place of small companies in the American economy.

The White House and Congress have made saving small businesses a linchpin of the financial rescue, even passing a second stimulus for them late last month. But already, economists project that more than 100,000 small businesses have shut permanently since the pandemic escalated in March, according to a study by researchers at the University of Illinois, Harvard University and the University of Chicago. Their latest data suggests that at least 2% of small businesses are gone, according to a survey conducted Saturday to Monday.

The rate is higher in the restaurant industry, where 3% of restaurant operators have gone out of businesses, according to the National Restaurant Association.

Read it all.

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

(CNBC) ‘Feels like we’re at the bottom’: Some executives see signs of recovery in April

The coronavirus pandemic ground the U.S. economy to a near halt in March and April. But in the last couple of weeks, many company executives and investors across industries say they are seeing small signs business is picking up again. At the very least, there is evidence the sharp downturn has hit bottom.

Uber CEO Dara Khosrowshahi said more people have requested rides in recent weeks. Car sales have started to rebound, according to data from J.D. Power. And some retailers, including Costco and CVS Health, said foot traffic is increasing at stores.

But the toll of the pandemic is large, and it will make recovery complex. As the economy reopens in some states, people are slowly returning to stores, restaurants and other businesses — but that comes with risk of another outbreak.

More than 80,000 Americans have died after contracting Covid-19, according to data compiled by NBC News. In some parts of the country, coronavirus cases and hospitalizations are still climbing. With no vaccine or treatment, people may still be reluctant to go to public places.

Read it all.

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

(NPR) Coronavirus Latest: Despite Trump’s Optimism, There’s Still A Long Road To Reopening

1. How do issues with testing impact governors’ ability to meet the benchmarks laid out in the guidelines?

Testing remains one of the biggest problems with containing the coronavirus and allowing places to move toward recovery. Despite Trump’s boasts, testing is still not widespread in the U.S. Not everyone who wants a test can get one. Only people with symptoms are getting them — and not all of them are — and asymptomatic people are able to spread the disease. That means no one really knows just how widespread the virus is. And without a vaccine or known treatment, there’s the risk of more outbreaks….

Read it all.

Posted in America/U.S.A., Consumer/consumer spending, Corporations/Corporate Life, Economy, Ethics / Moral Theology, Health & Medicine, Labor/Labor Unions/Labor Market, Office of the President, Politics in General, President Donald Trump, State Government

(NR) Jim Geraghty–The Coronavirus Forces Countries into a No-Win Situation

The upshot is that no government on earth has figured out just the right way to balance the reopening of their economy with reducing the spread.

The debate about how long to continue the current measures, and when to “reopen” the economy operate on the assumption that there is some sort of happy medium that allows more Americans to get back to work, while minimizing the risk of a faster spread that overwhelms ICU beds and hospitals. U.S. policymakers may soon have to confront the really dire scenario, that there is no happy medium — that changes designed to increase economic activity (and human interaction) will inevitably increase the number of cases in a bad way, and that there is no way to keep the pace of the spread slow really economically destructive quarantine measures.

There is this probably particularly American mentality that if we just study a problem long enough, and are somehow smart enough, we will inevitably discover some option that creates a win-win scenario that avoids both the terrible health consequences (more infections and more deaths) or the terrible economic consequences (a depression that forces all kinds of businesses large and small into bankruptcy). The coronavirus may be presenting the countries of the world with a no-win situation.

Read it all.

Posted in Anthropology, Corporations/Corporate Life, Economy, Ethics / Moral Theology, Health & Medicine, Labor/Labor Unions/Labor Market, Politics in General, Theology

(CNBC) Are Body Temperature Checks before entry into Places of Business Coming in the Future?

Tyson Foods is using walk-through infrared body temperature scanners at three processing plants in an effort to keep coronavirus out of its sites and maintain the stability of U.S. food supply.

The scanners can check employees’ temperature as they walk into the building.

Tyson gave CNBC an exclusive first look at video of how the walk-through scanners work.

Read it all.

Posted in Anthropology, Economy, Ethics / Moral Theology, Health & Medicine, Labor/Labor Unions/Labor Market, Theology

(The Hill) Poll: Almost one in four small businesses are two months or less away from closing permanently

Twenty-four percent of small businesses say they will close permanently within two months or less due to the economic fallout of the coronavirus pandemic, according to a poll conducted by the U.S. Chamber of Commerce and MetLife released on Friday.

Eleven percent of small businesses say they will close within one month and 24 percent of small businesses are already shut down on a temporary basis, the poll, which was conducted March 25 to 28, found.

The poll found that it is likely that 54 percent of all small businesses will close temporarily in the next 14 days. Forty percent of businesses surveyed that have not yet temporarily closed are expecting to do so in that timeframe.

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

(Local Paper) ‘Essential’ businesses making their case with SC governor to remain open

Gov. Henry McMaster’s office is being inundated with notices from businesses that say they want to continue operating if a shelter-in-place order is issued in response to the coronavirus, even though McMaster said he is not yet considering such an order at this time.

The notices are in response to a federal memo that broadly outlines the types of businesses considered essential to “ensuring continuity of functions critical to public health and safety, as well as economic and national security” during a crisis, such as the current outbreak of coronavirus, known as the COVID-19 pandemic. The memo was issued Thursday by Homeland Security’s Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security office.

Those essential businesses include sectors such as healthcare, energy and law enforcement as well as transportation, public works and critical manufacturing.

Read it all.

Update: “In his most recent press briefing, Governor Henry McMaster issued an executive order authorizing law enforcement officers in the state to prohibit or disperse any gatherings of people in groups of 3 or more outside of your own home, focusing in on spontaneous gatherings and leaving the decision up to the discretion of the law enforcement officer.”

Posted in * Economics, Politics, * South Carolina, Corporations/Corporate Life, Economy, Ethics / Moral Theology, Health & Medicine, Labor/Labor Unions/Labor Market, State Government

(AP) As offerings dwindle, some churches fear for their future

As in-person worship services are canceled or downsized amid the coronavirus outbreak, some churches across the U.S. are bracing for a painful drop in weekly contributions and possible cutbacks in programs and staff.

One church leader, Bishop Paul Egensteiner of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America’s Metropolitan New York Synod, said some of the 190 churches in his region were unlikely to survive because of a two-pronged financial hit. Their offerings are dwindling, and they are losing income from tenants such as preschools which can no longer afford to rent church venues.

“As much as I’d like to help them, everybody’s reserves are taking a hit because of the stock market,” Egensteiner said,

At Friendship Baptist Church in Baltimore, a mostly African American congregation of about 1,100, the Rev. Alvin Gwynn Sr. bucked the cancellation trend by holding services last Sunday. But attendance was down by about 50%, and Gwynn said the day’s offering netted about $5,000 compared to a normal intake of about $15,000.

“It cuts into our ministry,” he said. “If this keeps up, we can’t fund all our outreach to help other people.”

Read it all.

Posted in America/U.S.A., Economy, Health & Medicine, Labor/Labor Unions/Labor Market, Parish Ministry, Personal Finance, Religion & Culture, Stewardship

A Reflection on Saint Joseph the Worker 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.

Read it all.

Posted in Anthropology, Ethics / Moral Theology, Labor/Labor Unions/Labor Market, Theology

(USA Today) Midwest farmers face a crisis. Hundreds are dying by suicide.

Heather Utter, whose husband’s cousin was the third to die by suicide, worries that her father could be next. The longtime dairy farmer, who for years struggled to keep his operation afloat, sold the last of his cows in January amid his declining health and dwindling finances. The decision crushed him.

“He’s done nothing but milk cows all his life,” said Utter, whose father declined to be interviewed.

“It was a big decision, a sad decision. But at what point do you say enough is enough?”

American farmers produce nearly all of the country’s food and contribute some $133 billion annually to the gross domestic product….

Read it all.

Posted in America/U.S.A., Anthropology, Economy, Health & Medicine, Labor/Labor Unions/Labor Market, Suicide

(WSJ) Nathan Lewin–The US Supreme Court Justices Punt on Religious Liberty

[Justice Byron] White then rejected the notion that TWA should have to pay “premium wages” to a substitute, wrecking employment opportunities for many religiously observant employees. “To require TWA to bear more than a de minimis cost in order to give Mr. Hardison Saturdays off is an undue hardship,” he wrote. He justified this repudiation of respect for conscience by declaring that if TWA bore any cost whatever, it “would involve unequal treatment of employees on the basis of their religion.” Never mind that any accommodation by definition results in unequal treatment.

Accommodating religious observance usually requires more than “de minimis” cost and inconvenience. By defining religious accommodation as voluntary cost-free etiquette, Justice White empowered bosses to treat an employees’ religion as a mere inconvenience.

Justice Thurgood Marshall declared in dissent: “Today’s decision deals a fatal blow to all efforts under Title VII to accommodate work requirements to religious practices.” He concluded that “one of this Nation’s pillars of strength—our hospitality to religious diversity—has been seriously eroded.”

In Patterson v. Walgreen, the drugstore chain claimed that it had accommodated Mr. Patterson’s religious observance by offering him a lower-paying position in which he could observe the sabbath and by allowing him to swap shifts with other employees who wouldn’t have to be paid extra. Justices Samuel Alito, Clarence Thomas and Neil Gorsuch said they were prepared to overrule White’s noxious Hardison declaration. But they believed there were too many technical hurdles in Patterson v. Walgreen to make it “a good vehicle for revisiting Hardison.”

I am an Orthodox Jew, and I’ve been blessed with accommodative employers for nearly all of my professional life. Read it all.

Posted in Corporations/Corporate Life, Labor/Labor Unions/Labor Market, Law & Legal Issues, Religion & Culture, Supreme Court

(Gallup) Is Working Remotely Effective? Gallup Research Says Yes

Recently, several federal agencies reported they’re scaling back remote work programs, citing a lack of data regarding remote workers’ effectiveness.

“Given our current service challenges and lack of data on [the agency’s telework policy’s] impact on public service,” Social Security Administration spokesman Mark Hinkle told The Washington Post, “now is not the time to experiment with working at home.”

And a 2016 U.S. Government Accountability Office report on federal telework stated that the agencies it studied “had little data to support the benefits or costs associated with their telework programs. All of the selected agencies could provide some supporting documentation for some of the benefits and only two could provide supporting documentation for some of the costs.”

Gallup analytics has the data.

And the data are clear: Remote work not only improves outcomes and employee branding but is a policy that the most talented employees desire.

Read it all.

Posted in * Culture-Watch, Labor/Labor Unions/Labor Market, Science & Technology

(FT) Behind closed doors: modern slavery in Kensington, featuring the C of E parish Saint John’s, Notting Hill

….the domestic worker from Mindanao in the southern Philippines ended two years of overwork, underpayment and underfeeding by slipping through a throng of people and into the street. As she headed between the elegant Victorian apartment blocks of Harrington Road, she asked for God’s help.

“As I’m walking, I’m praying, ‘Lord, bring me to your people,’” Canuday recalls.

Her prayer was answered. After a little more than two miles, Canuday, a slight, round-faced woman who is now 50, heard Filipino religious music coming from a west London church. When she followed it, she found herself at a service being conducted in Tagalog, the country’s most widely spoken language.

Members of the congregation sat her down, gave her coffee and food and offered reassurance. Today, Canuday remembers the event as an act of divine providence. “God took me to beside people who took care of me,” she says. “They said, ‘Don’t worry; don’t worry — relax.’”

Canuday’s reception at St John’s, Notting Hill — a prominent Gothic-revival building that houses London’s only Tagalog-language Church of England congregation — represented a rare nugget of good fortune for an overseas worker fleeing an abusive employer in the UK.

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