Category : Labor/Labor Unions/Labor Market

Another Look Back–Franklin Delano Roosevelt’s 1941 Labor Day Radio Address

On this day-this American holiday-we are celebrating the rights of free laboring men and women.

The preservation of these rights is vitally important now, not only to us who enjoy them,but to the whole future of Christian civilization.

American labor now bears a tremendous responsibility in the winning of this most brutal, most terrible of all wars.

Read it all.

Posted in America/U.S.A., Anthropology, Ethics / Moral Theology, Labor/Labor Unions/Labor Market, Military / Armed Forces, Office of the President, Politics in General

A Prayer for Labor Day (IV)–For the Unemployed

O Lord and heavenly Father, we commend to Thy care and protection the men and women of this land who are suffering distress and anxiety through lack of work. Strengthen and support them, we beseech Thee; and so prosper the counsels of those who govern and direct our industries, that Thy people may be set free from want and fear to work in peace and security, for the relief of their necessities and the wellbeing of this realm; through Jesus Christ our Lord.

–Robert W. Rodenmayer, ed., The Pastor’s Prayerbook: Selected and arranged for various occasions (New York: Oxford University Press, 1960)

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

A Prayer for Labor Day (III)

O God, who hast taught us that none should be idle: Grant to all the people of this land both the desire and the opportunity to labour; that, working together with one heart and mind, they may set forward the welfare of mankind, and glorify thy holy name; through Jesus Christ our Lord.

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

A Look Back to John F Kennedy’s Labor Day Address in 1963

We honor too the contributions of labor to the strength and safety of our Nation. America’s capacity for leadership in the world depends on the character of our society at home; and, in a turbulent and uncertain world, our leadership would falter unless our domestic society is robust and progressive. The labor movement in the United States has made an indispensable contribution both to the vigor of our democracy and to the advancement of the ideals of freedom around the earth.

We can take satisfaction on this Labor Day in the health and energy of our national society. The events of this year have shown a quickening of democratic spirit and vitality among our people. We can take satisfaction too in the continued steady gain in living standards. The Nation’s income, output, and employment have reached new heights. More than 70 million men and women are working in our factories, on our farms, and in our shops and services. The average factory wage is at an all-time high of more than $100 a week. Prices have remained relatively stable, so the larger paycheck means a real increase in purchasing power for the average American family.

Yet our achievements, notable as they are, must not distract us from the things we have yet to achieve. If satisfaction with the status quo had been the American way, we would still be 13 small colonies straggling along the Atlantic coast. I urge all Americans, on this Labor Day, to consider what we can do as individuals and as a nation to move speedily ahead on four major fronts.

First, we must accelerate our effort against unemployment and for the expansion of jobs and opportunity.

Read it all.

Posted in * Economics, Politics, History, Labor/Labor Unions/Labor Market, Office of the President, Politics in General

(First Things) John Waters for Labor Day 2017–Back to Work

In a recent book, Men Without Work, Nicholas Eberstadt shows that, although unemployment in the U.S. has been falling in what he calls this “second Gilded Age,” there is simultaneously a “flight from work” by men in their prime. Even while manufacturers are finding it difficult to fill vacancies, the percentage of working men between the ages of twenty-five and fifty-four is now lower than it was at the end of the Great Depression of the 1930s. Approximately one in eight men in their prime has left the workforce altogether, and about one in six is without paid work, a trend that has been visible since the mid-1960s. The graph of this male exodus from the workplace is an almost straight upward line, regardless of booms or recessions, indicating that weakening market demand is not the critical factor. Nearly seven million American men in their prime have left behind—it seems of their own volition—the idea of trading their skills and talents in the marketplace, and many have turned their backs on all forms of commitment and responsibility. Some are ex-cons, but the greater part is composed of single men without parental responsibilities and with limited formal education, a significant quotient of these being African Americans. Marriage trumps race as an indicator of employment, as does being a recent immigrant. For every man in his prime deemed unemployed, there are three others who are neither working nor looking for work. Almost three in five of these men are receiving at least one disability benefit, a factor that Eberstadt concedes may not be driving the phenomenon but is certainly financing it.

We observe, then, the depths of an existential rather than an economic or purely social crisis, with most of these men wasting away for an average of 2,100 hours a year in front of screens, binging on TV, pornography, sugar, and painkillers, no longer feeling that America has a place for their humanity. They don’t do civic society, religion, or volunteerism. If 1965 work rates pertained in the U.S. today, ­Eberstadt maintains, there would be approximately 10 million more men with paid work than there are now. He ­professes to find this baffling, given that national wealth has doubled since the turn of the millennium. He expresses ­similar incomprehension about the fact that, ­globalization and deindustrialization notwithstanding, this precise syndrome has not afflicted other Western ­societies to anything like the same extent. He calls it the “quiet catastrophe,” ignored by politicians and ­commentators.

Read it all.

Posted in America/U.S.A., Anthropology, Ethics / Moral Theology, History, Labor/Labor Unions/Labor Market

A Prayer for Labor Day (II)

O Lord Jesus Christ, who in thy earthly life didst share man’s toil, and thereby hallow the labour of his hands: Prosper all those who maintain the industries of this land; and give them pride in their work, a just reward for their labour, and joy both in supplying the needs of others and in serving thee their Saviour; who with the Father and the Holy Spirit livest and reignest, ever one God, world without end. Amen.

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

Michael Novak For Labor Day 2017

…a calling requires certain preconditions. It requires more than desires; it requires talent. Not everyone can be, simply by desiring it, an opera singer, or professional athlete, or leader of a large enterprise. For a calling to be right, it must fit our abilities. Another precondition is love — not just love of the final product but, as the essayist Logan Pearsall Smith once put it, “The test of a vocation is love of drudgery it involves.” Long hours, frustrations, small steps forward, struggles: unless these too are welcomed with a certain joy, the claim to being called has a hollow ring.

Working: Its Meaning and Its Limits, ed. Gilbert C. Meilaender (Notre Dame: Notre Dame University Press, 2000), pp.124-125, emphasis mine

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

A Prayer for Labor Day (I)

On this three day weekend, when we rest from our usual labors, loving Father, we pray for all who shoulder the tasks of human labor””in the marketplace, in factories and offices, in the professions, and in family living.

We thank you, Lord, for the gift and opportunity of work; may our efforts always be pure of heart, for the good of others and the glory of your name.

We lift up to you all who long for just employment and those who work to defend the rights and needs of workers everywhere.

May those of us who are now retired always remember that we still make a valuable contribution to our Church and our world by our prayers and deeds of charity.

May our working and our resting all give praise to you until the day we share together in eternal rest with all our departed in your Kingdom as you live and reign Father, Son, and Holy Spirit, one God, forever and ever. Amen.

–The Archdiocese of Detroit

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

A Prayer to Begin the Day from the Pastor’s Prayerbook

Almighty God, our heavenly Father, who declarest thy glory and showest forth thy handiwork in the heavens and in the earth; Deliver us, we beseech thee, in our several callings, from the service of mammon, that we may do the work which thou givest us to do, in truth, in beauty, and in righteousness, with singleness of heart as thy servants, and to the benefit of our fellow men; for the sake of him who came among us as one that serveth, thy Son Jesus Christ our Lord.

–Robert W. Rodenmayer, ed., The Pastor’s Prayerbook: Selected and arranged for various occasions (New York: Oxford University Press, 1960)

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

(Economist) Women alone are driving a recovery in workforce participation in the USA Economy

If there were a list of common complaints about America’s economy, the fact that too few people work would be near the top. Though unemployment is low—only 4.3% in July—the figure does not include those who are jobless either by choice, or because they have given up looking for work. The proportion of those aged between 25 and 54 in work is 79%—lower than in France, where the unemployment rate is more than twice as high. So it is a relief that over the past two years, as the labour market has improved, Americans aged 25 to 54 (prime-age, in the jargon) have been joining the labour force in greater numbers. What is remarkable, however, is that this turnaround has been driven almost entirely by women.

When people think about America’s hidden reserves of labour, they usually point to prime-age men, who have participated in the labour market at ever-lower rates since the 1960s. Things have been particularly bad for less educated men, who have suffered as technological progress and trade have killed off manufacturing jobs. More than one in five prime-age men with a high-school diploma does not work, compared with fewer than one in 11 men with a bachelor’s degree….the top end of the labour market is increasingly promising for women. Even in 2010, America’s working women were about as likely to be managers as men; elsewhere, they were only half as likely. They were also more likely than men to be professionals. Women are now a majority among new college graduates, make up more than half of law students, and are equally represented among freshmen at medical schools. Women in their late 20s and early 30s are responsible for nearly 40% of labour-force growth since prime-age participation bottomed out in August 2015.

Read it all.

Posted in America/U.S.A., Anthropology, Economy, Ethics / Moral Theology, Labor/Labor Unions/Labor Market, Theology, Women

Irwin Stelzer–The Opioid Crisis Is Creating a Labor Crisis

If you wonder what is supposed to happen when the demand for labor outruns the available supply, take a look at the picture below. It’s a Starbucks plea for baristas-the usually young people who make your latte, americano, or coconut milk mocha macchiato every morning. True, this particular branch is located in small-town Colorado, a state in which the unemployment rate is around 2 percent, far below the approximately 6 percent considered “full employment” when I was teaching this stuff. Still, even after recent increases in hourly wage rates, and introduction of an attractive benefits package that includes free college tuition and health care, and free access to Spotify, which I am told is some sort of music app, Starbucks is having trouble filling its ranks.

The Seattle-based chain is not the only employer struggling to find staff. The problem is widespread. One construction executive told me he cannot find roofers, those who left the trade during the Great Recession having found easier and steadier work driving UPS and FedEx vans. A property developer with a $1 billion annual budget has the land on which to build to houses, but can’t find workers, skilled and unskilled, to build them. Amazon, which needs 50,000 workers to fill new positions, 40,000 of them full-time, many with starting salaries of about $13 an hour, will be holding a job fair next week and expects to face difficulties finding suitable candidates. Employers uniformly tell me that higher wages would not attract the workers they need. Before responding, “They would say that, wouldn’t they?” consider opioids.

As Fed chair Janet Yellen told a Senate committee recently, the opioid epidemic is contributing to the labor shortage. Opioids are just the thing to kill the pain of a tooth extraction. For two or three days. And a blessing for the terminally ill. But they are a bane for those who abuse them, and a factor to be considered when analyzing the labor market. Yellen testified, “We’ve had many decades of declining labor force participation by prime-age men. … We’ve seen now unfortunately that it is likely tied to the opioid crisis. … I don’t know if it’s causal, or it’s a symptom of long-running economic maladies that have affected these communities.” One iteration of the now-failed Senate health care bill included $45 billion to combat opioid abuse.

Read it all.

Posted in Corporations/Corporate Life, Drugs/Drug Addiction, Economy, Ethics / Moral Theology, Health & Medicine, Labor/Labor Unions/Labor Market

(Bloomberg) Working Past 70: Americans Can’t Seem to Retire; us seniors highest employ % in the last 55 yrs

More and more Americans are spending their golden years on the job.

Almost 19 percent of people 65 or older were working at least part-time in the second quarter of 2017, according to the U.S. jobs report released on Friday. The age group’s employment/population ratio hasn’t been higher in 55 years, before American retirees won better health care and Social Security benefits starting in the late 1960s.

And the trend looks likely to continue. Millennials, prepare yourselves. Better yet, consider this and this, so you have a choice in the matter when your time comes.

Read it all.

Posted in Aging / the Elderly, Economy, Labor/Labor Unions/Labor Market

(Reason) Young Men Are Playing Video Games Instead of Getting Jobs

Video games, like work, are basically a series of quests comprised of mundane and repetitive tasks: Receive an assignment, travel to a location, overcome some obstacles, perform some sort of search, pick up an item, and then deliver it in exchange for a reward—and, usually, another quest, which starts the cycle all over again. You are not playing the game so much as following its orders. The game is your boss; to succeed, you have to do what it says.

This is especially true in the genre that has come to dominate much of big-budget game development, the open-world action role-playing game, which blends the hair-trigger violence of traditional shooters with the massive explorable landscapes of games like Grand Theft Auto and the intricate craft and character leveling systems of pen-and-paper tabletop fantasy games like Dungeons & Dragons.

The games consist of a series of assignments combined with a progression of skills, awards, and accomplishments, in which you, the player, become more powerful and proficient as a result of your dedication. And dedication is what these games require. It is not uncommon for single-player games to take upward of 60 hours to complete. Online, multiplayer variants can easily chew up hundreds or even thousands of hours of time, with the most accomplished players putting in dozens of hours a week for months on end. Although these games are usually packaged in a veneer of fantasy, they work less like traditional entertainment and more like employment simulators.

So it is perhaps not surprising that for many young men, especially those with lower levels of educational attainment, video games are increasingly replacing work.

Read it all.

Posted in Anthropology, Economy, Entertainment, Ethics / Moral Theology, Labor/Labor Unions/Labor Market, Men, Young Adults

(Wa Po) Companies need workers — but people keep getting high

Workers at McLane drive forklifts and load hefty boxes into trucks. The grocery supplier, which runs a warehouse in Colorado, needs people who will stay alert — but prospective hires keep failing drug screens.

“Some weeks this year, 90 percent of applicants would test positive for something,” ruling them out for the job, said Laura Stephens, a human resources manager for the company in Denver.

The state’s unemployment rate is already low — 3 percent, compared to 4.7 percent for the entire nation. Failed drug tests, which are rising locally and nationally, further drain the pool of eligible job candidates.

“Finding people to fill jobs,” Stephens said, “is really challenging.”

Read it all.

Posted in Drugs/Drug Addiction, Health & Medicine, Labor/Labor Unions/Labor Market

(FT) One suitcase, two lives: the rise of the weekly commuter

In his 1980 book The Third Wave, the futurist Alvin Toffler predicted the rise of the “electronic cottage”. The idea was that technology would become so ubiquitous that working from home would replace the 9-5 slog in a cubicle, in the process helping to “glue the family together again”. As Iain Gately, the author of Rush Hour: How 500 Million Commuters Survive the Daily Journey to Work, put it: “The power to work anywhere and everywhere — have laptop, will travel — or stay at home according to one’s mood, seized the imaginations of Generation X: every day could be a No Pants Day.”

Yet that future has not arrived. Smartphones and laptops may be everywhere, but they have not given many white-collar employees the opportunity to work full-time in pyjamas from log cabins.

Read it all (may require subscription).

Posted in Children, England / UK, Labor/Labor Unions/Labor Market, Marriage & Family, Travel, Urban/City Life and Issues

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, Theology: Scripture

(60 Minutes) A profile of Chobani Yogurt Founder Hamdi Ulukaya–Creating Jobs in America

Sensing an opportunity Hamdi set off to the small village of New Berlin, New York, to have a look. There he found the last employees of the last plant in the area closing it down.

Hamdi Ulukaya: I remember like yesterday. It’s like this sadness in this whole place. Like as if somebody died, like, somebody important died.

Steve Kroft: Two hundred jobs?

Hamdi Ulukaya: Two hundred jobs was gone.

Former employees Frank Price, Maria Wilcox and Rich Lake were among the mourners that day.

Rich Lake: Your whole livelihood’s gone. You don’t really know what you’re gonna do or where you’re gonna go….

Read or watch it all.

Posted in * Economics, Politics, America/U.S.A., Corporations/Corporate Life, Dieting/Food/Nutrition, Economy, Immigration, Labor/Labor Unions/Labor Market, Turkey

Restaurant workers in Denver are asking: Why work in a stressful kitchen when you can make $22 an hour in a Pot greenhouse?

It’s hard to think of an American city that isn’t experiencing a restaurant boom these days. Put Denver at the top of that list: By some accounts, 30 spots will have opened this spring, including the new Departure Denver, a popular Asian small-plates spot recently transplanted from Portland, Ore., and an outpost of the beloved New York bar, Death & Company on the way.

However, the city is facing a major problem as a result of one of its biggest recent tourism drivers. The pot industry is taking a toll on local restaurant work forces and in some cases, liquor sales. “No one is talking about it,” said Bobby Stuckey, the James Beard award winning co-owner of Frasca Food and Wine in Boulder and the soon-to-open Tavernetta in Denver. “But Colorado’s restaurant labor market is in Defcon 5 right now, because of weed facilities.”

Read it all from Bloomberg.

Posted in Drugs/Drug Addiction, Economy, Labor/Labor Unions/Labor Market, Urban/City Life and Issues

(Economist Erasmus Blog) European Court of Justice rules Employers may sometimes ban staff from wearing headscarves

The ECJ judges were looking into the cases of a Belgian woman who was fired from her job as a receptionist at a security company after she started wearing a headscarf, and of a French IT consultant who was told to remove her scarf after a client complained, and then dismissed when she declined.

In both cases, the ECJ suggested that national courts needed to investigate further to establish whether the women had been discriminated against. In the Belgian case, the court recommended working out if there might have been a simpler solution such as transferring the employee to a role where she was not in contact with the public. Regarding the French consultant, it considered it necessary to establish whether the disciplinary action was purely a response to the client’s whim (which appeared to be the case and would be insufficient grounds for a dismissal) or a legitimate consequence of a broader policy. Taken as a whole, today’s decision upheld the right of employers to enforce ideological neutrality in the workplace as long as it was done fairly and consistently.

This marks a contrast with the thinking of America’s Supreme Court, which in 2015 vindicated a Muslim woman who had been turned down for a job by the clothing chain Abercrombie and Fitch on the grounds that her headscarf was out of step with the look the company was promoting. Since 1964, American civil-rights legislation has told employers to provide “reasonable accommodation” of their workers’ religious needs, unless it would be unbearably burdensome to do so. Today’s decision also reflected a more secularist spirit than did one by the European Court of Human Rights in 2013, which upheld the right of a Christian woman to wear a discreet cross with her British Airways uniform.

Read it all.

Posted in Anthropology, Corporations/Corporate Life, Economy, Ethics / Moral Theology, Europe, Labor/Labor Unions/Labor Market, Law & Legal Issues, Religion & Culture

(CBS) Why men are having problems getting married

If it’s universally acknowledged that a single man with a good fortune needs a wife, the American economy may be now illustrating the inverse of that corollary: Poor men with dwindling job prospects are going to lack marriage prospects.

The decline of the institution of marriage has been studied by social scientists and policymakers, but new economic research from MIT economics professor David Autor and his colleagues points to labor issues that helped Donald Trump win the presidential election: The decline of American manufacturing and the rise of Chinese imports.

As manufacturing jobs dried up over the last few decades, blue-collar men have suffered from lower income, fewer job opportunities and the increased likelihood of risky behavior, which in turn has hurt their marriage prospects, Autor and his co-authors wrote in a paper published at the National Bureau of Economic research.

Read it all.

Posted in Economy, Globalization, Labor/Labor Unions/Labor Market, Marriage & Family, Men

(NYT) Out of the Office: More People Are Working Remotely, Survey Finds

More American employees are working remotely, and they’re doing so for longer periods of time, according to a Gallup survey released on Wednesday.

Last year, 43 percent of employed Americans said they spent at least some time working remotely, according to the survey of more than 15,000 adults.

That represents a 4 percentage point increase since 2012, a shift that meets the demands of many job seekers.

“Gallup consistently has found that flexible scheduling and work-from-home opportunities play a major role in an employee’s decision to take or leave a job,” the polling agency wrote in a report on those and other workplace findings.

Read it all.

Posted in * Culture-Watch, * Economics, Politics, Anthropology, Blogging & the Internet, Corporations/Corporate Life, Economy, Ethics / Moral Theology, History, Labor/Labor Unions/Labor Market, Science & Technology, Theology

A S Haley on the Bishop Stacy Sauls Lawsuit–Is TEC getting a Taste of Their Own Medicine?

The ever-litigious bunch at 815 Second Avenue, the New York headquarters of ECUSA, may be getting a taste of their own medicine. Or it may just be a case of litigation inculturated beyond the point of no return: the litigators at ECUSA have been sued by the Rt. Rev. Stacy Sauls, one of their own (and a former lawyer in his own right), who worked there as Chief Operating Officer until the Presiding Bishop terminated him last April.

The complaint, unusually filed in Alabama’s Mobile County Circuit Court (see remarks below), makes for an absorbing read (or maybe that’s just a lawyer talking): you may download it here. (A big tip o’ the Rumpolean bowler to The Living Church, which first broke the story.) It names ECUSA and its corporate arm, the DFMS, as defendants, along with 30 unidentified “John Does”, who allegedly participated in some manner in the actions alleged

Read it all and note the download link.

Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, * Christian Life / Church Life, * Culture-Watch, * Economics, Politics, - Anglican: Analysis, Anthropology, Economy, Episcopal Church (TEC), Ethics / Moral Theology, Katherine Jefferts Schori, Labor/Labor Unions/Labor Market, Law & Legal Issues, Michael Curry, Parish Ministry, Pastoral Theology, Presiding Bishop, Stewardship, TEC Bishops, TEC Conflicts, Theology

(TLC) Former TEC COO Bp. Stacy Sauls files Lawsuit against The Episcopal Church

The Rt. Rev. Stacy Sauls, the Episcopal Church’s former chief operating officer who was placed on administrative leave in December 2015 and lost his job, has filed a lawsuit alleging a conspiracy by senior leadership of the Episcopal Church.

Read it all.

Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, * Christian Life / Church Life, * Culture-Watch, * Economics, Politics, Anthropology, Economy, Episcopal Church (TEC), Ethics / Moral Theology, Katherine Jefferts Schori, Labor/Labor Unions/Labor Market, Law & Legal Issues, Michael Curry, Parish Ministry, Pastoral Theology, Presiding Bishop, Religion & Culture, Stewardship, TEC Bishops, Theology

(LICC) Transforming labor–Discover a richer way of working

Transforming Work is an innovative, liberating resource for Christians in the workplace – whether you’ve been working for one year or forty years – offering a distinctive blend of ingredients. It brings together a group of like-hearted people for eight sessions over a year, creating space between gatherings to reflect, to try things out, and to pray… and leaving time for seeds to grow, discoveries to be made, change to happen and for God to do what only he can do.

You may find out more about this there.

Posted in * Culture-Watch, * Economics, Politics, * Religion News & Commentary, Anthropology, Corporations/Corporate Life, Economy, Ethics / Moral Theology, Evangelicals, Labor/Labor Unions/Labor Market, Other Churches, Pastoral Theology, Religion & Culture, Theology, Theology: Scripture

(Former Wofford President) Ben Dunlap's Ted Talk: The life-long learner

Wofford College president Ben Dunlap tells the story of Sandor Teszler, a Hungarian Holocaust survivor who taught him about passionate living and lifelong learning.

One of my friends recommended this–it is quite energizing and challenging; KSH.

Posted in * Culture-Watch, * Economics, Politics, * International News & Commentary, * South Carolina, Anthropology, Corporations/Corporate Life, Economy, Education, Europe, Hungary, Labor/Labor Unions/Labor Market, Music, Race/Race Relations, Theology

(BBC) Shopping robots on the march in Ocado

There is growing concern about the impact of automation on employment – or in crude terms – the threat that robots will eat our jobs.
But if you want to see how important robotics and artificial intelligence can be to a business Ocado is a good place to start.
“Without it we simply couldn’t do what we do at this scale,” the online retailer’s chief technology officer Paul Clarke told me. With margins in the supermarket business wafer thin, continually bearing down on costs and waste has been vital.
At its Hatfield distribution centre I got a glimpse of how far the process of automating the sorting of thousands of grocery orders has come. For now, you will struggle to spot a robot – unless you count a machine that inserts plastic shopping bags into crates – but software is doing a very complex job of sending the right goods in the right crates to the right human pickers.

Read it all (video recommended if you have the time).

Posted in * Culture-Watch, * Economics, Politics, * International News & Commentary, Anthropology, Corporations/Corporate Life, Economy, England / UK, Ethics / Moral Theology, Labor/Labor Unions/Labor Market, Science & Technology, Theology

A WSJ article on the changing labor market–"The End of Employees"

No one in the airline industry comes close to Virgin America Inc. on a measurement of efficiency called revenue per employee. That’s because baggage delivery, heavy maintenance, reservations, catering and many other jobs aren’t done by employees. Virgin America uses contractors.

“We will outsource every job that we can that is not customer-facing,” David Cush, the airline’s chief executive, told investors last March. In April, he helped sell Virgin America to Alaska Air Group Inc. for $2.6 billion, more than double its value in late 2014. He left when the takeover was completed in December.

Never before have American companies tried so hard to employ so few people. The outsourcing wave that moved apparel-making jobs to China and call-center operations to India is now just as likely to happen inside companies across the U.S. and in almost every industry.

Read it all.

Posted in * Culture-Watch, * Economics, Politics, Corporations/Corporate Life, Economy, History, Labor/Labor Unions/Labor Market

South Carolina nurse practitioners battle for expanded authority in care

One day a week for 10 years, Stephanie Burgess made a trip to a clinic that serves the uninsured in rural Kershaw County and treated patients who might not otherwise have had access to health care.

Burgess was never paid. A clinical professor in the College of Nursing at the University of South Carolina, she went to treat the poor and enrich her students’ experience. Last year, she had to stop making the weekly trips.

State law requires Burgess to sign a contract with a supervising doctor within 45 miles of where she is practicing. But the physician who oversaw Burgess retired. While the clinic remains open, the 300 patients she saw there each year were left without access to their primary care provider….

Read it all from the local paper.

Posted in * Culture-Watch, * Economics, Politics, * South Carolina, Anthropology, Economy, Ethics / Moral Theology, Health & Medicine, Labor/Labor Unions/Labor Market, Theology

Time Magazine–9 Questions With Klaus Schwab, Chair of the World Economic Forum

Davos takes place this year at a time of uncommon instability. How come?

When you look at the major European or North Atlantic nations, people do not know what the policy of the next administrations will be. The U.S., maybe together with China, is the elephant in the room. Both uncertain. You have elections in France, the unknown nature of Brexit’s implications. And then you have Germany, and given what happened in Berlin with terrorism, what will be the position of Angela Merkel one year from now? That creates the whole atmosphere of morosity.

You have a phrase about the rise of discontented workers””you call it the Precariat?

I didn’t coin the phrase, but it describes why people have this uneasy feeling. Is my job still safe? I think there are 3.5 million cashiers in the U.S. and as many truck drivers for whom technology might be overtaking their jobs. People feel a lot of anxiety, and it may not even be conscious.

Read it all.

Posted in * Culture-Watch, * Economics, Politics, Anthropology, Economy, Ethics / Moral Theology, Globalization, Labor/Labor Unions/Labor Market, Psychology, Theology, Young Adults

(FT) ”˜Death by overwork’ in Japan exposes dangers of overtime culture

For a nation struggling to make sense of deflation, duty and the shock of a graduate trainee being worked to death at one of Japan’s most prestigious companies, “Premium Friday” seems to provide a glimmer of hope.

Following revelations of ruinously excessive overtime demands at Japan’s largest advertising agency, Dentsu, the government wants bosses to order their overworked and under-slept employees home at 3pm on the last Friday of every month.

Proponents of the idea, which include the powerful Keidanren business lobby, argue that workers could use the time for recuperative snoozing or enjoy more leisure activities and rev the economy out of deflation.

It may not, say many labour experts, be quite that simple.

Read it all.

Posted in * Culture-Watch, * Economics, Politics, * International News & Commentary, Asia, Corporations/Corporate Life, Economy, Ethics / Moral Theology, Health & Medicine, History, Japan, Labor/Labor Unions/Labor Market, Psychology, Theology