One of the greatest achievements of the twentieth century was a social contract that provided far more economic security and prosperity for working Americans than had existed in any previous period. But successive waves of changes in the world economy, together with the ascendancy of a strain of economic philosophy that puts the freedom of capital above the interests of society, have placed enormous strain on the postwar social contracts of all Western countries, resulting in stagnating wages, greater insecurity and levels of income and wealth inequality not seen since the early 1900s. The United States, as the major capitalist country and the major player in globalization, could reshape both capitalism and globalization in ways that build a new social contract serving the needs of working people everywhere. Read the full story.
A once steady employee who unexpectedly shows erratic behavior, uneven performance, chronic tardiness and unexplained absences may have a problem with alcohol or drugs. Other warning signs include mood swings, deteriorating relationships with co-workers and a sharp increase in job-related accidents. Expect the employee to explain away his declining productivity with bizarre excuses or an endless string of rationalizations that come down to one thing: I'm not responsible. As a manager, your job is to help the employee get back on track. Remember, you're not a shrink offering a diagnosis, and thunderbolts from on high aren't helpful. Read the full story.
A group of Senate Republicans reached agreement Wednesday night on a compromise proposal that they hope can garner bipartisan support and bring passage of a bill on the future of the nation's 11 million illegal immigrants. The compromise, which followed a day of negotiations, was endorsed by Senator Bill Frist of Tennessee, the majority leader. But it did not have the commitment of all Republicans, much less Democrats who have backed an approach that would put nearly all illegal immigrants on a path toward citizenship. As outlined by Senate Republicans late Wednesday, the compromise would place illegal immigrants in three categories. The Senate will decide on Friday whether the compromise should be considered for a vote. Read the full story.
Contract talks between the Federal Aviation Administration and the air traffic controllers union collapsed yesterday. The FAA declared the negotiations at an impasse, which allows the agency to turn the dispute over to Congress. The disputed contracts cover about 25,000 FAA employees who play key roles in the operation and safety of the nation's commercial aviation system. The FAA is one of the few places in government where unions can bargain over salaries. The agency's pay plan would reduce starting salaries for newly hired controllers by 30% compared with the current pay scale. By most accounts, the FAA will need to hire and train about 12,500 new controllers through 2014 as controllers hired after the 1981 strike retire and leave the agency. Read the full story.
The costs of draconian immigration policies are obvious. It might be worth persevering with these policies if the benefits of lower immigration were truly significant. But at least one commonly cited benefit--better wage prospects for low-skilled Americans--is not as powerful as is often claimed. It's true that immigration presents a greater challenge to low-skilled workers than in the past. But attempts to measure this effect suggest that it's either modest or nonexistent. Even a small impact on low-wage workers is alarming, given the rise of inequality over the past 25 years. But the question is whether to address that inequality by trying to stop immigration or to go at it via progressive taxation, larger public investments designed to prevent poor kids from dropping out of high school, or some other policy tool. Read the full story.
A federal judge in Alabama has increased the amount Family Dollar Stores must pay for classifying certain employees as salaried managers and making them ineligible for overtime pay. Last month, the jury hearing the case said the discount chain would have to pay $19.1 million, but the judge has increased [that] to $33.2 million. Jurors found Family Dollar should have classified a number of its store managers as hourly employees, entitling them to overtime pay. According to the plaintiffs' law firm, Schreiber & Petro of Birmingham, Ala., the new ruling comes after the court deemed Family Dollar knew it was wrong when it classified the managers as being ineligible for overtime pay. Family Dollar says it will appeal. Read the full story.
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