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Workplace Issues Today

Many organizations are equipping their employees with wireless devices like the Palm Pilot to make communication easier and speed up transactions. Growing numbers of police officers, doctors, and waiters use hand-held wireless appliances for work. Mobile solutions are not necessary in every workplace but experts expect wireless sales to keep growing.

See Workers at public agencies, private companies go wireless., Martin J. Moylan, The Philadelphia Inquirer, May 13 2001

Legislation working its way through Congress would allow federal inmates to work for private firms while they carry out their sentences. Advocates say prison jobs allow inmates a release and teach them valuable skills necessary to make it on the outside. Critics argue prison labor exploits inmates and fosters unfair competition. Of the 80,000 to 90,000 prisoners engaged in prison labor, just 3,500 work for private firms.

See Use of prison labor debated in US., Silja J.A. Talvi, The Christian Science Monitor, May 13 2001

With demand for skilled labor skyrocketing, community colleges and private firms in California are considering plans to split training costs. Vocational education is severely under funded in California as high schools emphasize the importance of a college education at the expensive of job training. Under the proposal being investigated, private firms and community colleges would work together to design well-rounded vocational curricula.

See California community colleges, private firms may spilt training costs., Zanto Peabody, Los Angeles Times, May 13 2001

A tight labor market, government training programs, and more understanding employers are putting disabled people to work in record numbers. Employers say disabled workers are loyal and reliable, providing excellent service for their customers. Experts say government should do more to fund private programs aimed at putting the disabled to work because discrimination and ignorance persist.

See More disabled people entering the workforce., George Raine, San Francisco Chronicle, May 10 2001

The exodus of textile mills from the American South to South American and Asia left a huge hole in the Southern economy. Automakers like BMW, Mercedes, and Honda are moving to fill this void with plants across the South. These plants offer high paying jobs and steady employment in a generally depressed region, making competition for positions fierce. The new employers say they are committed to diversity and many minority groups have found employment in the developing industry.

See Auto jobs offer new hope for Southern textile towns., Sue Anne Pressley, The Washington Post, May 10 2001

Several African-American salespeople are seeking class action status in a discrimination suit against Xerox. The salespeople say some Xerox sales managers routinely denied them promotions and awarded their accounts to less-seasoned white salesmen. Xerox declined to comment on the case but maintained their commitment to diversity.

See Black salespeople sue Xerox for discrimination., Reed Abelson, The New York Times, May 9 2001

The government of El Salvador released an unusually critical report of labor conditions in the country last year, only to withdraw it as "technically flawed" the next day. Charles Kernaghan's National Labor Committee made the report available yesterday as part of a campaign to pressure President Bush into including labor standards in free trade agreements. $1.6 billion in apparel was exported from El Salvador to the US last year.

See Salvadorian labor abuses chronicled in suppressed report., Steven Greenhouse, The New York Times, May 9 2001

Companies use motivational speakers, corporate rewards, and gimmicky prizes to increase productivity. Despite the billions spent on these carrots, research shows no connection between motivational perks and production. Experts believe the high cost of absenteeism forces corporations to persist with their motivational efforts.

The university did not agree to the demand for a minimum hourly wage of $10.25 for all employees, but they did agree to halt the subcontracting of most jobs, renegotiate the contract of about 650 janitors, provide English classes to all interested workers, and consider extension of health benefits to hundreds of employees. Administration officials said that everything will be determined by future negotiations.

Supporters say that technology costs for home offices are decreasing and less commuting time would increase productivity. The nature of certain federal jobs would make telecommuting impossible, but Representative Frank R. Wolf estimates that 45-60 percent of executive agency workers would be eligible.

The rules took effect the day before President Clinton left office, and the coal mining industry has filed a lawsuit against them, arguing that they are arbitrary and burdensome. The old rules permitted mine operators to submit an unlimited number of medical opinions, which kept miners' claims in litigation for years.

Some companies show their commitment to work/life balance by involving the families of potential employees in the hiring process. By allowing spouses to explore the firm during the interview process, companies can create an open environment that encourages loyalty. Progressive executives also believe lower-level employees should enjoy the same flexibility and discretion given to top managers.

See Family-friendly firms address concerns during interviews., Carol Kleiman, Chicago Tribune, May 7 2001

Budget cutting initiatives have business travelers moving back to coach and sharing hotel rooms. Many frequent fliers say cramped airplane seats, bad food, and cheaper hotels take a heavy toll on performance. Others agree with budget cuts and go out of their way to save their companies money while traveling.

See Budget cuts affect businesses travelers., Salina Khan, USA Today, May 7 2001

Minority unemployment levels rose shapely as the economy slowed during the last few quarters. Unemployment increases the number of applicants for jobs and minority job seekers often lose out to better-educated white workers during lean times. Rising unemployment also contributes to increases in crime, divorce, and health problems.

See Rising unemployment hits minorities hardest., David R. Francis, The Christian Science Monitor, May 6 2001

Negotiators for the major Hollywood studios and the Writers Guild reached a tentative agreement last week. Behind the scenes maneuvering and pressure from a number of sources resulted in moderate gains for the writers. Some of the issues pushed by the union's militant leadership were abandoned as the studios used the faltering economy to their advantage.

See Complex negotiations end with tentative settlement in Hollywood., James Bates, Claudia Eller, Los Angeles Times, May 6 2001

Middle-aged workers who leave their jobs have a tough time finding affordable health insurance. Just 31% of companies offer health insurance for retirees too young to receive Medicare, down from 41% in 1993. Experts suggest looking into COBRA coverage, which employers are required to offer under federal law, to extend health coverage while shopping around for an alternative plan.

See Health insurance expensive for unemployed., Lisa Singhania, Detroit Free Press, May 6 2001

The company, which has cut 5000 jobs since March, is offering two months' salary to some recently hired college seniors as a painless way to reduce its workforce. Other companies are also backing away from last year's recruiting frenzy.

See At Intel, reverse signing bonuses are being offered to college recruits., Elaine Korry, NPR Morning Edition, May 3 2001

About 41% of these workers are from India. With the general downturn of the information economy, H1-B holders have a tough time finding another U. S. employer sponsor. As a result, they are returning to India, where their future is uncertain. India's infrastructure cannot yet support its own high tech industry. Employment in Europe may be an option for these workers.

See H1-B visa holders are the usually the first laid off by U. S. high tech firms., Janaki Bahadur Kremmer, The Christian Science Monitor, May 3 2001

The two sides have been pressured to come to agreement by Los Angeles Mayor Richard Riordan, among others. Issues have included the writers' demand for greater creative credit and compensation methods that address the new delivery options for films.

Bush is hopeful that the commission will recommend a partial privatization of the Federal pension system. Critics charge that the panel is more political than fiscal, despite its bipartisan membership, and that increasing individual retiree earnings is not the answer to shoring up the social security system. Bush says that partial privatization will help workers to build wealth.

Three-dozen students are still occupying Harvard's administration building, while many supporters are rallying outside of the building. Harvard officials claim that the lowest wage paid to any regular Harvard employee is $8.05 per hour and that the salary package totals $10.63 per hour when benefits are considered. Protesters claim that many workers are paid $7.50 and that benefits such as museum passes are unimpressive.

When asked to defend the cost of the billboard, Patrick J. Lynch, president of the police union, said that recruitment campaigns, costing millions of dollars, have failed due to the low wages offered to New York City police officers. The city's contract with the police union expired on July 31 and negotiations have been stalled.

Illegal workers, primarily from Mexico, are often robbed in South Texas as they are paid in cash and reluctant to contact US authorities. Austin police and Wells Fargo Bank hope new bank accounts for illegal immigrants will stem some of this abuse. With an ID provided by the Mexican consulate, workers can open interest free accounts to protect their earnings from robbers. The INS does not plan to use the accounts to track illegal aliens.

See Wells Fargo, Austin police set up accounts for illegal workers., Guillermo X. Garcia, USA Today, May 1 2001

A referendum passed by Washington voters requires smaller class sizes and cost of living adjustments for teachers. Schoolteachers around Seattle staged a one-day walkout to pressure the state legislature into honoring the ballot measure. Legislators say it will require cutting services for disabled residents as an earlier referendum caped annual spending.

See Washington teachers walkout in support of education initiative., Colleen Pohlig and Tan Vinh, The Seattle Times, May 1 2001

An Indian computer programmer working in California on an H-1B visa successfully sued his recruiter to get out of an employment agreement. San Mateo County Superior Court Judge Phrasel Shelton ruled Dipen Joshi's contract was illegal under the state's unfair competition laws. The decision overturned fines levied against Joshi for prematurely terminating an 18-month agreement.

See Visa holder wins suit against recruiter., Los Angeles Times, Reuters, May 1 2001

The major players in Hollywood's latest labor dispute are deeply divided internally. Competing factions within the unions want to pursue different agendas. Likewise, the media conglomerates on the other side of the table are having trouble agreeing on their platform because each company will be affected differently by the same labor agreements. This discord has slowed contract talks as the unions near their strike deadline.

See Complicated divisions hamper Hollywood talks., James Bates, Claudia Eller, Los Angeles Times, Apr 30 2001

Despite a strong Mexican economy, US plants and suppliers are laying off employees. Free trade agreements like NAFTA make many businesses in Mexico dependent on the fortunes of the US economy and a falling Dow has many US plants shutting their doors. Factories like Goodyear provide stable, high-paying jobs for thousands of Mexicans.

See US slowdown hurts manufactures in Mexico., Grahm Gori, The New York Times, Apr 30 2001

Some firms insist employees use up vacation time to improve the bottom line. Accounting can use vacation as a way to lower expenditures and increase profits. Requiring all workers to take time off at the same time also reduces spending during off times.

See Companies make workers take vacations to reduce spending., Kathleen Pender, San Francisco Chronicle, Apr 30 2001

The Employment Justice Center in Washington DC offers workers free advice on employment law. For many non-union, low-wage workers in the District, the Center is the only hope for a fair day in court. Workers issues handled by the Center range from disability claims to harassment to wage disputes.

See DC legal clinic helps poor workers., Sylvia Moreno, The Washington Post, Apr 29 2001

America's top CEO's saw their compensation rise 60% to $36.2 million last year. On top of their multi-million dollar salaries and extensive stock options, CEOs get tons of perks. Many companies provide car and home allowances, private jets, and interest-free loans for their chief executives. Some industry experts say these bonuses provide seasoned veterans with incentives to stay on the job but critics contend there is no justification for lavish perks.

See CEOs get more than cash in their pay envelopes., Gary Strauss, USA Today, Apr 29 2001

Some 200 employees at the Disneyland theme park outside Paris have gone on strike, but the action is not expected to be...

Unions called for the strike after talks over pay broke down earlier this week. Euro Disney is expecting up to 45,000 visitors on millennium night, and the pay dispute concerns the bonus that the theme park has offered to staff who work that night.

See Some 200 employees at the Disneyland theme park outside Paris have gone on strike, but the action is not expected to be followed by the majority of the park's 10,000 employees, only about 10% of whom are union members., BBC News Online, Dec 22 1999

The WTO has backed the United States in a trade battle with Europe, ruling that the U.S. can still use a domestic trade law...

A WTO report released today found that the law does not violate international trade agreements. The report was issued in connection with a 1998 dispute over European rules on importing bananas. The U.S. trade law has rankled America's major trading partners since it was first passed by Congress in 1974.

See The WTO has backed the United States in a trade battle with Europe, ruling that the U.S. can still use a domestic trade law to take retaliatory measures against nations it finds guilty of unfair trade practices., Joseph Kahn, The New York Times, Dec 22 1999

An administrative law judge for the National Labor Relations Board has ordered The Detroit News and The Detroit Free Press to...

The ruling was the latest in a dispute that began in July 1995, when 2,370 newspaper employees initiated a strike that lasted for 19 months.

See An administrative law judge for the National Labor Relations Board has ordered The Detroit News and The Detroit Free Press to reinstate 50 workers who were discharged in the course of labor protests, but has also upheld the firing of 35 others., Felicity Barringer, The New York Times, Dec 21 1999

While William Shakespeare's monarchs may have relied on the chopping block instead of a pink slip, his timeless characters...

This year at least three new business books are based on Shakespearian characters. The books reflect an even broader trend in business literature, that of seeking guidance from historical events or disasters that test the mettle of leaders.

See While William Shakespeare's monarchs may have relied on the chopping block instead of a pink slip, his timeless characters are inspiring a boom in new management books., Doreen Carvajal, The New York Times, Dec 21 1999

Wal-Mart has denied charities access to its stores this holiday season, fearing that to invite them in would also open the...

The retailer, whose 2,941 stores are not unionized, took these steps because the United Food and Commercial Workers International Union was planning to use the chain's policy of allowing on-premise solicitation to gain access to the store. While the move is a blow to many nonprofit groups, the Salvation Army, the nation's largest charity, is not taking sides. ""Wal-Mart has been great to us, and so have the unions"" said Tom Jones, national spokesman for the charity.

See Wal-Mart has denied charities access to its stores this holiday season, fearing that to invite them in would also open the doors to a union drive to organize its workforce., Judith Graham, Chicago Tribune, Dec 21 1999

Companies struggling to cope with a tight labor market are throwing career fairs in high school cafeterias, developing...

Their goal is to interest teenagers in their companies and encourage them to study subjects in high demand. Companies are reaching out to high school students in part because they begin thinking about career options at an earlier age than students did 10 or 20 years ago.

See Companies struggling to cope with a tight labor market are throwing career fairs in high school cafeterias, developing internship programs, and tracking high-achieving scholars before they enter college., Stephanie Armour, USA Today, Dec 20 1999

The Vermont Supreme Court ruled yesterday that the state must offer gay couples the same benefits and protections as married...

The court gave the state the option of either redefining marriage to include same-sex couples or creating a parallel domestic partnership system. The Vermont governor and state attorney general predicted that the legislature would adopt the second option. If so, same sex couples in the state would be the first in the nation to have the full range of legal benefits accorded to married people, including health insurance and other work-related benefits.

See The Vermont Supreme Court ruled yesterday that the state must offer gay couples the same benefits and protections as married couples., David G. Savage, Los Angeles Times, Dec 20 1999

Thousands of workers' vacations have been canceled this year by companies' fears of Y2K disasters.

A recent survey by a human resources firm estimates that 87 percent of companies have placed some vacation restrictions on their employees for December 31. Other firms will increase staffing levels for the entire holiday weekend in case Y2K preparations prove to be ineffective.

See Thousands of workers' vacations have been canceled this year by companies' fears of Y2K disasters., Jack Speer, NPR Morning Edition, NPR Online, Dec 20 1999

Presidential candidate John McCain is developing a plan that would give federal income tax cuts to the nation's best teachers...

The nation's major teachers' unions were not enthusiastic about McCain's plan. Union representatives said that teachers should not be judged against each other and that the proposal would do little to help low-performing schools.

See Presidential candidate John McCain is developing a plan that would give federal income tax cuts to the nation's best teachers, hoping to foster competition among school districts and teachers., Ron Fournier, CNN, Dec 19 1999

Thousands of people nationwide who telecommuted part time during the past decade have returned to the office full time.

Many say they felt disconnected from their colleagues and frustrated about slow computer hookups. But workplace experts say that this is merely the lull before the telecommuting storm as companies and workers work out kinks and new technology is adopted.

See Thousands of people nationwide who telecommuted part time during the past decade have returned to the office full time., David Leonhardt, The New York Times, Dec 19 1999

Increasing numbers of American executives are taking charge of venerable British firms.

Among the institutions hiring executives from the U.S. are the Royal Opera House, the Bank of England, the BBC Symphony Orchestra, Oxford University, and British Airways. In the past this practice would have raised eyebrows, but it is no longer unacceptable, even among British elitists, to look to the U.S. for expertise.

See Increasing numbers of American executives are taking charge of venerable British firms., Marjorie Miller, Los Angeles Times, Dec 19 1999

A Cambodian immigrant is suing two California companies claiming they fired him for refusing to do extra work at home for...

The suit comes in the wake of a state labor department decision to investigate whether Silicon Valley high-tech companies pay Asian immigrants low wages to assemble electronic parts at home. Neither of the companies named in the suit could be reached for comment.

See A Cambodian immigrant is suing two California companies claiming they fired him for refusing to do extra work at home for below minimum wage., Martha Mendoza, Chicago Tribune, Dec 18 1999

Madeleine Albright and German Chancellor Gerhard Schroeder have signed a deal that will compensate workers who were forced...

Under the agreement, each worker will receive about $3000. Unfortunately, payment details may take a year to be ironed out. The instigation for the settlement came largely as a result of lawsuits by surviving laborers in America. The desire for global goodwill towards Germany and the companies involved also necessitated an agreement with regards to this issue.

See Madeleine Albright and German Chancellor Gerhard Schroeder have signed a deal that will compensate workers who were forced into slave labor during the Nazi reign., BBC News Online, Dec 16 1999

The contract agreed to this week between New York City principals and Mayor Giuliani effectively ends lifetime tenure for the...

The union, which had fought to keep tenure since the old contract expired three years ago, achieved the concession of an appeals process for principals who are fired. Removing tenure will require the approval of the State Legislature which may do so after the first of the year. Principals also received a substantial raise making their average pay over $93,000, but they will work longer hours and for more weeks during the year.

See The contract agreed to this week between New York City principals and Mayor Giuliani effectively ends lifetime tenure for the principals., Abby Goodnough, NPR Morning Edition, NPR Online, Dec 16 1999

A report from the United States Commission on Civil Rights has concluded that firms on Wall Street deserve credit for...

The report grew out of hearings the commission held four years ago. Several Wall Street firms accepted the report with relief in light of lawsuits contending that the firms have systematically discriminated against women.

See A report from the United States Commission on Civil Rights has concluded that firms on Wall Street deserve credit for starting to embrace diversity, despite their poor record in hiring and promoting women and minorities., Patrick McGeehan, The New York Times, Dec 15 1999

The failure of the WTO talks in Seattle has sent governments around the world scrambling to strengthen regional economic ties...

Within days of the collapse of the talks, leaders in Latin America, Asia and Europe began expanding their regional trade agreements in order to reduce their dependence on the U.S. market. Clinton administration officials remain hopeful that the WTO will move quickly to resurrect the trade talks, but few others are optimistic, and many fear that the U.S. is headed into a more protectionist, isolationist era.

See The failure of the WTO talks in Seattle has sent governments around the world scrambling to strengthen regional economic ties, accelerating a trend that could undercut U.S. opportunities abroad., Evelyn Iritani, Los Angeles Times, Dec 15 1999

The IRS is reducing its audits of businesses and high-income individuals and stepping up investigations into abuse of the...

The agency also plans a major hunt for people who fail to file tax returns and an attack on the creation of improper trusts to avoid estate taxes. Most of these initiatives grow out the new tax laws sponsored by Congressional Republicans.

See The IRS is reducing its audits of businesses and high-income individuals and stepping up investigations into abuse of the Earned Income Tax Credit which allows the working poor to collect up to $3,556 for a family of four., David Cay Johnston, The New York Times, Dec 14 1999

The American Customer Satisfaction Index, a survey by the University of Michigan Business School, has found that the federal...

Scores for government agencies ranged from a high of 87 for the Head Start program to a low of 51 for the IRS and OSHAListen to.

See The American Customer Satisfaction Index, a survey by the University of Michigan Business School, has found that the federal government pleases its customers nearly as often as private industry., Mary Ann Akers, NPR Morning Edition, NPR Online, Dec 14 1999

Assets in defined contribution plans managed by individuals, such as 401ks, have grown slowly compared with pension plans...

Experts cite conservative investment strategies, a tendency to buy company stock, and the failure of eligible employees to participate in a plan as reasons for the slow growth.

See Assets in defined contribution plans managed by individuals, such as 401ks, have grown slowly compared with pension plans managed by professional investors., John Waggoner, USA Today, Dec 14 1999

New York City buses and subway trains are operating as usual today after a transit strike was averted when union workers...

The pact is believed to call for a 12 percent wage increase over three years and a 2.3 percent pension increase.

See New York City buses and subway trains are operating as usual today after a transit strike was averted when union workers agreed last night to a tentative contract with the Metropolitan Transportation Authority., CNN, Dec 14 1999

Exxon Mobil, which was formed last month when Exxon bought Mobil, says it will cut 7,000 more jobs than originally forecast,...

These estimates do not include workers who will move to other companies as part of asset sales the company must make to win antitrust approval. Analysts have estimated that total employment at the company will fall by 20,000 jobs.

See Exxon Mobil, which was formed last month when Exxon bought Mobil, says it will cut 7,000 more jobs than originally forecast, for a total of 16,000 jobs., USA Today, Dec 14 1999

A study by the consulting firm William M. Mercer has found that health insurance costs for employers are rising at three...

The study also showed that many large employers increased their employee health benefits this year, adding coverage for dental and vision care. Both findings are attributed to companies' desire to attract and keep workers in the tight labor market.

See A study by the consulting firm William M. Mercer has found that health insurance costs for employers are rising at three times the inflation rate, but that most companies are absorbing the costs and not passing them on to their workers., Phil Galewitz, Los Angeles Times, Dec 13 1999

Otis Elevator plans to form a joint venture to put Internet-based video screens in elevator cars.

The screens, which will not have audio, will deliver news, weather and advertising to passengers. The company expects to sell at least 10,000 screens in the next few years.

See Otis Elevator plans to form a joint venture to put Internet-based video screens in elevator cars., Bloomberg News, The New York Times, Dec 13 1999

In an increasingly competitive business world, more employers are filing lawsuits to protect their workforce and trade secrets.

Wal-Mart recently settled a suit against Amazon.com for interfering with employment contracts and recruiting away employees. Companies are also asking their workers to sign agreements promising not to join a competing firm and their managers to promise not to recruit other employees if they leave.

See In an increasingly competitive business world, more employers are filing lawsuits to protect their workforce and trade secrets., Stephanie Armour, USA Today, Dec 12 1999

A new breed of brokers who facilitate the sales of Internet names are betting that the buying and selling of Web addresses...

Experts estimate that hundreds of thousands of Internet names are available for sale at about 50 domain name broker sites and that many more could be sold if unsolicited offers were to come along at the right price. Industry investors see the business as analogous to commercial real estate.

See A new breed of brokers who facilitate the sales of Internet names are betting that the buying and selling of Web addresses will be big business for a long time to come., Karen Kaplan, Los Angeles Times, Dec 12 1999

With a possible New York City transit worker strike looming, Mayor Rudolph Giuliani is developing contingency plans for...

There has been progress in the contract talks between the Transit Workers Union and the Metropolitan Transit Authority, with both sides moving closer on the key issue of wages. However, Giuliani urged both sides to discontinue talk of a walkout and threatened to seek an injunction to keep transit workers from striking. If workers do walk off the job, Giuliani has promised to take legal action against the union under New York state's Taylor Law.

See With a possible New York City transit worker strike looming, Mayor Rudolph Giuliani is developing contingency plans for subway and bus riders, including commuter vans and increased ferry service., CNN, Dec 11 1999

Workers who are preoccupied with settling a legal matter may be less productive and more likely to miss work.

To avoid this and to stay competitive, companies are beginning to offer legal plans as part of their employee benefit packages.

See Workers who are preoccupied with settling a legal matter may be less productive and more likely to miss work., USA Today, Dec 9 1999

Opposition to the World Trade Organization has shaken the free-trade wing of the Democratic Party, threatening union support...

The WTO protests were also a milestone in the transformation of organized labor from the center-right to the left. The presidential candidate who stands closest to those opposed to the WTO is Patrick Buchanan, but one protest leader has said that ""Ninety-nine-point-five percent of those people are more likely to buy a pair of Nike sneakers with 'Sweatshop Made' imprinted on the back, eat a drowned dolphin tuna sandwich and vote Republican before they are going to vote for Pat Buchanan.""

See Opposition to the World Trade Organization has shaken the free-trade wing of the Democratic Party, threatening union support for Al Gore's presidential campaign and the party's hopes of retaking the House of Representatives., Thomas B. Edsall, International Herald Tribune, Dec 9 1999

The WTO's failure to begin a new round of global trade talks is not likely to slow the pace of globalization, but trade...

They predict that further liberalization of the world's trading rules will not occur until after a new U.S. president and Congress have been elected and a new governance structure has been put in place at the WTO. Governments and businesses looking to open new markets will now be likely to turn to bilateral or regional agreements and to resort to unilateral sanctions.

See The WTO's failure to begin a new round of global trade talks is not likely to slow the pace of globalization, but trade experts believe it may usher in a period of trade friction and cause the U.S. trade deficit to grow even larger., Steven Pearlstein, International Herald Tribune, Dec 8 1999

A federal judge has dismissed a lawsuit against the IRS by former IBM employees who claimed that job buyout payments they...

The workers claimed that because IBM required employees to waive their right to sue before receiving the severance payments, the payments were in lieu of damages for lawsuits they could have filed against the company. The IRS successfully argued that the waiver did not transform the severance payments, which were based on salary and years of service, into tax-free damages payments.

See A federal judge has dismissed a lawsuit against the IRS by former IBM employees who claimed that job buyout payments they received were not taxable income., David Cay Johnston, The New York Times, Dec 8 1999

Auditors from PricewaterhouseCoopers easily broke into computer files at the Pension Benefit Guaranty Corporation, the...

The auditors reported that they had the power to create fictitious beneficiaries and send them money, and that they could have altered or deleted files on individuals. The benefit guarantee agency insures that the 42 million Americans with defined-benefit pension plans will get their retirement checks even if their employer goes out of business.

See Auditors from PricewaterhouseCoopers easily broke into computer files at the Pension Benefit Guaranty Corporation, the federal agency that guarantees pensions., David Cay Johnston, The New York Times, Dec 7 1999

Three hundred sixty-five former Pabst Brewing Co. workers will get a total of $2 million from the company to settle unfair...

The proposed settlement covers unfair labor practice charges filed before the National Labor Relations Board over the company's imposition of contract terms after the brewer and union negotiators were unable to negotiate a new contract in 1996.

See Three hundred sixty-five former Pabst Brewing Co. workers will get a total of $2 million from the company to settle unfair labor practice charges., Chicago Tribune, Dec 7 1999

Groundwork has been laid for rapidly expanding air service around the world, but leaders of the major labor groups that fly...

Like the pilots and machinists unions, smaller countries are also worried about deregulation.

See Groundwork has been laid for rapidly expanding air service around the world, but leaders of the major labor groups that fly and maintain aircraft warned that their members would not be trampled by the rush to deregulate the industry., John Schmeltzer, Chicago Tribune, Dec 7 1999

The federal government has not kept its promise to pay for expanded health screenings of uranium workers in three states.

Congress removed the $7 million that had been included in the federal budget for the programs. The money would have covered checkups for nearly 6,000 former and current workers exposed to highly radioactive materials.

See The federal government has not kept its promise to pay for expanded health screenings of uranium workers in three states., The New York Times, Dec 7 1999

Because many college students would rather work for high-tech firms and fledgling startups, established companies are having...

Major corporations have had to become both more creative and more aggressive in their recruiting practices.

See Because many college students would rather work for high-tech firms and fledgling startups, established companies are having difficulty recruiting on college campuses., Stephanie Armour, USA Today, Dec 6 1999

Arthur A. Coia, the president of the Laborers' International Union of North America and one of President Clinton's biggest...

Coia had been the subject of a government anticorruption investigation as well as an internal investigation by the union. LIUNA is one of the nation's largest building trades unions. Its board has elected Terence M. O'Sullivan to replace Coia.

See Arthur A. Coia, the president of the Laborers' International Union of North America and one of President Clinton's biggest labor supporters, announced his retirement yesterday., Steven Greenhouse, The New York Times, Dec 6 1999

Exxon Mobil Corp., which was created after Exxon completed its acquisition of Mobil on November 30th, has revoked Mobil's...

Partners of Mobil employees who have been receiving coverage will continue to get benefits, but neither newly hired gay employees nor those who take a partner in the future will be able to obtain benefits for their partners. Gay rights advocates attacked the new policy along with Exxon Mobil's antidiscrimination policy which, unlike Mobil's policy, does not specify sexual orientation as a category of forbidden discrimination.

See Exxon Mobil Corp., which was created after Exxon completed its acquisition of Mobil on November 30th, has revoked Mobil's policy providing health coverage to the partners of gay employees., Richard A. Oppel, Jr., The New York Times, Dec 6 1999

President Clinton's statement at the WTO that he wanted to end child labor and give children a way ""out of the soccer-ball...

As the world's ninth-largest economy, Brazil resents being compared to other nations at vastly different stages of economic development. The Brazilian shoe industry described President Clinton's remark as a lamentable mistake. A UN study shows that the industry has made huge progress in recent years toward eliminating child labor.

See President Clinton's statement at the WTO that he wanted to end child labor and give children a way ""out of the soccer-ball industry in Pakistan, out of the shoe industry in Brazil, the fireworks industry in Guatemala"" has infuriated the labor minister and many others in Brazil., Roger Cohen, The New York Times, Dec 6 1999

The coalition formed by union members, environmentalists and college students to protest the WTO talks in Seattle may make it...

Trade experts say the president was aware of the political damage the coalition could do to Vice President Al Gore when U.S. negotiators let the Seattle talks collapse rather than accept a bad deal. Labor, which led and lost the fight against NAFTA, has learned the importance of forming coalitions in the trade arena.

See The coalition formed by union members, environmentalists and college students to protest the WTO talks in Seattle may make it harder for the Clinton administration to move ahead with its free trade plans., Steven Greenhouse, The New York Times, Dec 5 1999

Labor organizers across the country say that employers are using the 1986 Immigration Reform and Control Act to target...

The law requires that employers verify the immigration status of their employees, but labor leaders say that some are using the IRCA to retaliate against workers who organize. Employers debate this claim saying that in the tight labor market they are anxious to keep all employees, even those involved in union activity.

See Labor organizers across the country say that employers are using the 1986 Immigration Reform and Control Act to target immigrant workers who engage in union activity., Nurith C. Aizenman, The Washington Post, Dec 5 1999

President Clinton has awarded $200 million in bonus money to 27 states that cut their welfare rolls and moved welfare...

More than one million people on welfare went to work in 1998, with 80 percent still holding jobs three months later. The money will be added to the states' welfare funds.

See President Clinton has awarded $200 million in bonus money to 27 states that cut their welfare rolls and moved welfare recipients into jobs., CNN, Dec 3 1999

The Clinton administration failed to rally support for adding labor standards to the World Trade Organization agenda, due in...

Trade ministers said that the proposal on sanctions derailed any hope of a compromise agreement on labor standards. Administration officials spent much of Thursday trying to calm the storm produced by Clinton's comments, while the U.S. labor movement continued to pressed the president to hold fast to the trade sanctions issue.

See The Clinton administration failed to rally support for adding labor standards to the World Trade Organization agenda, due in part to President Clinton's comment earlier this week that the trade group should use sanctions at some point to enforce basic labor rights., Steven Greenhouse and Joseph Kahn, The New York Times, Dec 2 1999

According to the 29th annual Recruiting Trends survey, college graduates with a high level of computer proficiency and public...

Engineers and business majors are expected to be the most sought after candidates, and the strongest sectors for jobs are predicted to be manufacturing, construction, financial services and technical services.

See According to the 29th annual Recruiting Trends survey, college graduates with a high level of computer proficiency and public speaking skills are among the most desirable job candidates., Dee-Ann Durbin, Los Angeles Times, Dec 2 1999

The U.S. labor market continues to expand, raising fears that inflationary pressures could build up in the economy.

Early next year the eight-year expansion will become the longest in US history. The United States added 234,000 jobs in November as the inflation rate fell to a record low of 4.1%.

See The U.S. labor market continues to expand, raising fears that inflationary pressures could build up in the economy., BBC News Online, Dec 2 1999

President Clinton is expected to sign a treaty today banning the worst forms of child labor.

The Clinton administration played a leading role in negotiating the child labor treaty which targets the most egregious forms of child servitude: slavery and bondage; the use of children for prostitution, in pornography or illegal activities; and hazardous work.

See President Clinton is expected to sign a treaty today banning the worst forms of child labor., Kevin Galvin, Chicago Tribune, Dec 1 1999

The area of downtown Seattle surrounding the WTO conference is under a 24-hour curfew until midnight Friday, and the mayor...

This is apparently the first such curfew imposed in the city since Japanese citizens were ordered off the streets during World War II. An ACLU lawyer said that restrictions on protests in some areas appeared to violate both the U.S. and Washington state constitutions. Mayor Paul Schell, who himself marched against the Vietnam War and in favor of civil rights, said that the restrictions were appropriate in the face of violence.

See The area of downtown Seattle surrounding the WTO conference is under a 24-hour curfew until midnight Friday, and the mayor has imposed 7 p.m.-7:30 a.m. curfew for all of downtown., CNN, Dec 1 1999

Increasing numbers of employers are converting traditional vacation and sick leave into a paid time-off pool.

These pools are intended to give workers more flexibility in the way they use their leave time. Experts say that paid-time off programs are also an effective tool for keeping workers from calling in sick when they need a day for family or personal time.

See Increasing numbers of employers are converting traditional vacation and sick leave into a paid time-off pool., Susan Bowles, The Washington Post, Nov 30 1999

WTO officials cancelled the opening of the trade organization's summit yesterday after another day of demonstrations.

Protesters blocked downtown intersections to prevent delegates from reaching the Seattle Convention Center, and Mayor Paul Schell declare a civil emergency and an overnight curfew as the protests turned violent. Washington Governor Gary Locke also declared a state of emergency and called up unarmed National Guard personnel for duty this morning. Riot police used tear gas, pepper spray and rubber bullets to disperse some of the demonstrators.

See WTO officials cancelled the opening of the trade organization's summit yesterday after another day of demonstrations., Robert Siegel, All Things Considered, NPR Online, Nov 30 1999

Some of the issues that parties to the WTO talks in Seattle have proposed for discussion include farm goods, electronic...

The U.S. wants an end to subsidized exports of farm goods, new openings for trade in the services sector, an extension of a pledge by WTO members not to apply special tariffs to electronic transmissions across borders, and the establishment of a working group to study integrating labor standards into WTO rules. Japan and many developing countries want to see changes in the WTO rules on dumping, but the U.S. is refusing to discuss this issue.

See Some of the issues that parties to the WTO talks in Seattle have proposed for discussion include farm goods, electronic commerce, services, labor standards, and dumping, International Herald Tribune, Nov 30 1999

The New York Times Co. has dismissed 23 employees in Norfolk, Va. for violating the company's email policy and has issued...

The company said that the employees had violated a policy stating that ""computer communications must be consistent with conventional standards of ethical and proper conduct, behavior and manners and are not to be used to create, forward or display any offensive or disruptive messages.

See The New York Times Co. has dismissed 23 employees in Norfolk, Va. for violating the company's email policy and has issued disciplinary warning letters to an unspecified number of other employees., The New York Times, Nov 30 1999