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News and Issues
Views on the News

This page contains archived content.

Current viewpoints on workplace issues. Editorials, op-eds, political commentaries, columnists and more.

Good Racial Data Can Add Up to Progress

Format: Political Column

Source: Sheryl McCarthy, New York Newsday

Date: June 2, 2003

Ward Connerly's at it again. The irrepressible University

of California Regent who led the fight to eliminate race as a consideration from the University of

California's admissions program, is pushing for a state ban on collecting any information at all about race.

Connerly led a successful petition drive to put the so-called Racial Privacy Initiative on the ballot next

March. It would amend the state constitution to bar state or local government agencies from collecting racial

data concerning public schools, public contracts or public jobs.

Five Ways to Promote Diversity in the Workplace

Format: Advice Column

Source: Anne Fisher (Ask Annie), Fortune

Date: June 2, 2003


is not just about gender, skin color, or ethnic background -- it?s also about thinking differently. To make

sure you're getting the best possible ideas and effort from all your people, one expert tells how to build

?inclusivity? into everyday life at the office.

Family-Leave Law Finally Gets The Support It Deserves

Format: Op-Ed

Source: Jane Eisner (Philadelphia Inquirer), Tallahassee Democrat

Date: June 4, 2003

Imagine a justice of the U.S. Supreme Court declaring that the federal

government has the power to enforce a law protecting women from discrimination in the workplace and encouraging

men to share in the obligations of caring for family. The justice supports the law even though it places

demands on those who employ more than half the nation's work force and makes it harder to dismiss workers

arbitrarily. And he or she upholds the law's reach even though some colleagues argue it dangerously expands

the scope of federal authority over the states. Never underestimate Chief Justice William H. Rehnquist's

ability to surprise.

How to Give Job Seekers a Tastier Carrot

Format: Political Column

Source: David Leonhardt, New York Times

Date: June 8, 2003

If you want to persuade people to do something quickly, don't give them money for every day they have

not finished the job. This is the philosophy behind a Bush administration proposal to create a new program for

unemployed workers. Unlike the regular unemployment insurance system, which pays workers each week that they

look but fail to find a job for up to six months, the Bush proposal would give them the equivalent of a single

payment. People who find a job in four weeks end up with as large a benefit as those who searched for 12 weeks,

giving them another reason to find new work as quickly as possible. A great majority of people who have lost

their jobs simply want to find new ones. Because of changes in the economy over the last few decades, some will

struggle to do so for months, regardless of what kind of benefits they can receive. But human nature suggests

that giving people an incentive to find work more quickly will cause some of them to do just that.

Executives' Pay Can Defy Normal Logic for Business

Format: Political Column

Source: Jeff Brown (Knight Ridder), Detroit Free Press

Date: June 9, 2003

Imagine you're a police officer or firefighter facing a perilous situation. Whom do you want to

go through the door with -- someone in it just for the paycheck? The answer is obvious. But the biggest

problem on the job these days is not a few rotten apples we have to work with; it's the ones we work for. Read

the accounts of the extraordinary compensation packages handed out to top executives. It's a portrait of

rampant greed.

Why America Outpaces Europe (Clue: The God Factor)

Format: Political Column

Source: Niall Ferguson, New York Times

Date: June 8, 2003

It was almost a century ago that the German sociologist Max Weber published his influential essay

"The Protestant Ethic and the Spirit of Capitalism." In it, Weber argued that modern capitalism was "born from

the spirit of Christian asceticism" in its specifically Protestant form ? in other words, there was a link

between the self-denying ethos of the Protestant sects and the behavior patterns associated with capitalism,

above all hard work. Many scholars have built careers out of criticizing Weber's thesis. Yet the experience

of Western Europe in the past quarter-century offers an unexpected confirmation of it. To put it bluntly, we

are witnessing the decline and fall of the Protestant work ethic in Europe. This represents the stunning

triumph of secularization in Western Europe ? the simultaneous decline of both Protestantism and its unique

work ethic.

Good for Them That's Got

Format: Political Column

Source: William Raspberry, Washington Post

Date: June 9, 2003

Sometimes Democrats do manage to find their voices. They sang together loudly enough last week that the

Senate's Republican leadership agreed to modify the president's $350 billion tax-cut package to ensure that

minimum-wage workers will get the same child tax credit as other families.

Cutting Spree

Format: Editorial

Source: Editorial, Washington Post

Date: June 16, 2003


the House and the Senate have now passed bills that would increase the child tax credit for low-income

families. Before anything else is said about these two strikingly different proposals, it is worth pointing out

that whatever relief any such measure will provide, it cannot offset the enormous damage that will be done to

low-income families and low-income children over the next few years by the tax cuts that Congress has already

passed this year.

Bad News, Good Practices

Format: Advice Column

Source: Amy Joyce, Washington Post

Date: June 17, 2003


employees walked into Freddie Mac's offices Monday morning, they were greeted by an e-mail with a link to the

company's intranet, called the Home Front. There, employees could read that their president and chief

operating officer were fired, that the chief executive and chairman retired, and that the chief financial

officer resigned. With such big news to swallow on a Monday morning, there naturally was a lot of chatter among

the 3,000-plus employees, many of whom are based in the McLean headquarters. At many of the companies that have

lately suffered crises, useless rumors have swirled, stirring up feelings of concern and sometimes animosity.

But at Freddie, all that nail-biting was quickly stopped because the company provided a bevy of information

from the start.

Must I Take a Working Vacation (When I Need a Real One)?

Format: Advice Column

Source: Anne Fisher (Ask Annie), Fortune.com

Date: June 16, 2003

If you're required to check in with the office while you're away, here's how to keep staying

in touch from stressing you out. Plus, chronological vs. functional resumes -- which is better?

Not Leading the World but Following It

Format: Op-Ed

Source: Laurence R. Helfer, New York Times

Date: June 18, 2003

Disparities in the legal treatment of lesbians and gay men in the United States and their treatment in the

rest of the world are becoming more pronounced. As the United States Supreme Court considers an important gay

rights case, expected to be decided this month, it should realize that much of the globe sees the issue as a

matter of basic human rights.

A Retailer Is Dressed Down

Format: Editorial

Source: New York Times

Date: June 20, 2003

In an attempt to

relive its financial heyday of years past, Abercrombie & Fitch underwent a large image makeover. It no

longer wanted to be known as "The Greatest Sporting Goods Store in the World." It wanted to be the modern store

for the young and hip, known more for the near-naked models on its posters and catalogs than the fact that

Theodore Roosevelt and Amelia Earhart used to shop there.

Still Blowing Bubbles

Format: Op-Ed

Source: Paul Krugman, New York Times

Date: June 20, 2003

The big

rise in the stock market is definitely telling us something. Bulls think it says the economy is about to take

off. But I think it's a sign that America is still blowing bubbles ? that a three-year bear market and the

biggest corporate scandals in history haven't cured investors of irrational exuberance yet.

War of the Weeks

Format: Op-Ed

Source: James Ryerson, Boston Globe

Date: June 15, 2003


work week has become less distinct, with home time and office time blurring into each other thanks to

cellphones, the Internet, and other technologies. The 40-hour work week, enshrined in law since 1938, has

eroded over the decades as more Americans have moved into professional and other employment categories that are

exempt from overtime rules. And the basic 40-hour rule itself has recently come up for consideration. Last

week, the GOP-sponsored Family Time Flexibility Act, which allowed employees the option of receiving overtime

pay in the form of time off, died in the House of Representatives in the face of strong opposition from labor


Fair Overtime Pay

Wanted: Whistle-Blower Managers

Format: Op-Ed

Source: Jeffrey L. Seglin, New York Times

Date: June 22, 2003

Senior managers need to wake up. Rather than wallowing in the wreckage of corporate scandals and

blaming a few overzealous chief executives or overeager young workers who might do anything to get ahead,

managers need to step up, take responsibility for how business is done in their companies and, well, start

managing. In most businesses, people know when bad behavior is going on. They know who's cutting corners. They

know about suspect expense reports. They know when promises to customers are consistently unfulfilled. They

especially know when their own work is undermined by a colleague. Of course, not everyone is aware of every bit

of misconduct, but rest assured that some workers see the various infractions as they occur. To paraphrase

Edmund Burke, all that's necessary for evil workers to triumph is for good managers to do nothing.

The Money Magnet

Format: Op-Ed

Source: Bob Herbert, New York Times

Date: June 23, 2003

It's a great time

to be George W. Bush.
The president will waltz into Manhattan today for another $2,000-a-plate fund-raiser,

the latest stop on his fabulously successful dining-for-dollars tour. But while these may be the best of times

for George W., this is not such a great moment for America.

The Dwindling Youth Vote: Where Will It Be in 2004?

Format: Op-Ed

Source: Robert Weiner and Amy Rieth, Christian Science Monitor

Date: June 23, 2003

Plain and simple: Young people don't vote in the numbers they used to. When 18-year-olds

were granted the right to vote in 1972, the turnout of 18- to 24-year-old voters was a healthy 52 percent. But

it dropped steadily to 38 percent in 2000. Why are young people - critical to our nation's future - voting in

drastically lower numbers? How can we bring them back?

Court Mirrors Public Opinion

Format: Political Column

Source: David Von Drehle, Washington Post

Date: June 24, 2003

The U.S. Supreme Court can be awfully imposing in those black robes on that elevated bench

inside that Corinthian temple, but sometimes, the court looks just like America. Yesterday's decision on

affirmative action was one of those times. Opinion polls make clear that affirmative action is an idea most

Americans approve of in theory, but are wary of in practice. The idea of opening doors for minorities is widely

popular; the idea of boosting minority students over the threshold is less so.

Ending Bias Takes More Than Time

Format: Political Column

Source: Diane Carman, Denver Post

Date: June 25, 2003

"We expect

that 25 years from now, the use of racial preferences will no longer be necessary to further the interest

approved today."

-Justice Sandra Day O'Connor, writing for the majority in Grutter vs.


Some in the minority community wonder what the distinguished justice was thinking when she

predicted that affirmative action might no longer be necessary in 2028.

A Win for Affirmative Action

Format: Editorial

Source: New York Times

Date: June 24, 2003

The Supreme Court

took a historic stand for equality of opportunity yesterday, upholding affirmative action in university

admissions. The court handed down a split decision, approving one University of Michigan admissions program and

striking down another, but its message was a strong endorsement of using race to promote campus diversity. The

fact that the key decision was 5 to 4 is cause for concern, however. One resignation on the court could produce

the opposite result in a few years.

Nino's Op?ra Bouffe

Format: Op-Ed

Source: Maureen Dowd, New York Times

Date: June 29, 2003


Scalia fancies himself the intellectual of the Supreme Court, an aesthete who likes opera and wines, a bon

vivant who loves poker and plays songs like "It's a Grand Old Flag" on the piano; a real man who hunts and

reads Ducks Unlimited magazine; a Catholic father of nine who once told a prayer breakfast: "We are fools for

Christ's sake. We must pray for the courage to endure the scorn of the sophisticated world." He's an American

archetype, or Archie type. Full of blustery rants against modernity and nostalgia for "the way Glenn Miller

played, songs that made the hit parade . . . girls were girls and men were men." Antonin Scalia is Archie

Bunker in a high-backed chair. Like Archie, Nino is the last one to realize that his intolerance is risibly


A Gay Rights Landmark

Format: Editorial

Source: New York Times

Date: June 27, 2003

Gay Americans won a

historic victory yesterday when the Supreme Court struck down Texas' sodomy law. The sweeping 6-to-3 decision

made a point of overturning a 17-year-old precedent that was curtly dismissive of gay rights. Yesterday's

ruling has implications that reach beyond sodomy, and is an important step toward winning gay men and women

full equality under the law.

Mr. Diversity

Format: Political Column

Source: Bill Keller, New York Times

Date: June 28, 2003


you think of the jurisprudence of Clarence Thomas, his dissent in the University of Michigan Law School

affirmative action case this week is surely one of the most poignant documents ever issued by the U.S. Supreme

Court. It is the angry exclamation of a black man who feels personally patronized and demeaned by what he sees

as racial gerrymandering.

Take It From Her, Office Theft is Not Always That Petty

Format: Advice Column

Source: Amy Yelin, Boston Globe

Date: June 29, 2003

But for some

reason, when it comes to items from work, my good conscience and integrity go right out the supply closet

window. During my years working for various employers, I've been guilty of acquiring everything from

ballpoint pens, to pads of paper, to envelopes, to postage (lots of postage), to sticky-notes, to those

multisized clips that you squeeze to grasp paper or to stop the circulation in your fingertips, depending on

how adept you are at using them.

Affirmative Action, Productive Potential

Format: Political Column

Source: Daniel Altman, New York Times

Date: June 29, 2003

The Supreme Court's decisions on affirmative action brought a raft of social issues to the fore last

week. But what of the economic consequences? By its nature, affirmative action takes innate attributes that may

have nothing to do with ability and makes them part of an educational or professional selection process. An

economist's knee-jerk reaction to any policy like this is usually that it will keep a market from matching

buyers and sellers in the most efficient way. In other words, you had better have a darn good reason to do


A Moderate Term on the Court

Format: Editorial

Source: New York Times

Date: June 29, 2003

At a time when

President Bush and his Republican majority in Congress are continually arguing that they have the mandate to

appoint extreme conservatives to the federal bench, the highest court of all has surprised many people with its

moderation. The Supreme Court, it appears, is better at reading the election returns than some elected


Welcoming Gay People Back Into the Fold: The Supreme Court Overrules Bowers v. Hardwick

Format: News Commentary

Source: Sherry Colb, FindLaw's Writ

Date: June 30, 2003

Just in time for the close of Gay Pride Month 2003, the U.S. Supreme Court handed

gay Americans and their friends something to celebrate. On June 26, in Lawrence v. Texas, the Court overruled

Bowers v. Hardwick, in which a five-to-four majority had upheld a Georgia law prohibiting consensual sodomy. In

a sweeping opinion by Justice Anthony M. Kennedy, the Supreme Court said of the Georgia sodomy case that it

"was not correct when it was decided and it is not correct today .... Bowers v. Hardwick should be and now is

overruled." This ruling represents a major legal and rhetorical victory for gay civil rights, in a variety of


The Quiet Shift in Overtime

Format: Editorial

Source: New York Times

Date: July 3, 2003

The Bush

administration is engineering bread-and-butter changes in the federal regulation of overtime pay, commendably

making hundreds of thousands more low-wage earners eligible for time-and-a-half. At the same time, however,

proposed Labor Department regulations have stirred justifiable concern that numerous white-collar,

middle-income workers could lose income because employers will have more leeway to pronounce them managers and

deny their current right to overtime.

Read More:
href="http://clone.workplacefairness.org/overtimepay.php">Fair Overtime Pay

Picking Workers' Pockets

Format: Op-Ed

Source: Bob Herbert, New York Times

Date: July 3, 2003

The Bush

administration, which has the very bad habit of smiling at working people while siphoning money from their

pockets, is trying to change the federal Fair Labor Standards Act in a way that could cause millions of workers

to lose their right to overtime pay.

Read More:
href="http://clone.workplacefairness.org/overtimepay.php">Fair Overtime Pay

Bush's Record on Jobs: Risking Unhappy Comparisons

Format: News Commentary

Source: David Leonhardt, New York Times

Date: July 3, 2003

For George W. Bush, the race has begun to escape comparisons to Herbert Hoover.
With more than two

million jobs having disappeared since Mr. Bush took office in January 2001, he finds himself in danger of

becoming the first president since Hoover to oversee a decline in the country's employment. Economists

disagree on how much blame, if any, Mr. Bush deserves for the long slump, but even White House aides view the

economy as one of the only big threats to his re-election campaign. Now, a turning point could be approaching.

The Labor Department will release its jobs report for June this morning, and some forecasters are predicting

that it will mark the beginning of a rebound. An increase in the nation's payrolls ? the odds of which are

roughly even, Wall Street economists say ? would be the first since January.

The Ghosts of Jamestown

Format: Op-Ed

Source: Adam Goodheart, New York Times

Date: July 3, 2003

In his

majority opinion in last week's ruling, Justice Anthony M. Kennedy dismissed conservative arguments that laws

against same-sex intercourse had deep roots in Anglo-American tradition. Sodomy codes, he wrote, originally

proscribed both homosexual and heterosexual acts, and in any event were rarely enforced except in cases of

rape. Therefore, he wrote, defenders of the Texas law were wrong to claim that history was on their side. But

Justice Kennedy's well-intentioned evasion slighted the true past. America has a long tradition of laws

regulating private sexual conduct, and these laws have been enforced with particular ferocity when the conduct

has been between people of the same sex. In the case of Richard Cornish ? a sea captain convicted, on flimsy

evidence, of sodomy with an indentured servant ? not only was he hanged, but when several other settlers

grumbled about the verdict, they were whipped or pilloried, or had their ears cut off.

Disguised As Legal Arguments

Format: Political Column

Source: Molly Ivins, Intellivu.com

Date: July 3, 2003

Congratulations to the Supreme Court on its 6-3 decision in the Texas sodomy law case and to

all those, including the gay rights groups and the American Civil Liberties Union, who have fought so long and

hard to rid the legal system of this manifest injustice. The Sunday chat shows featured a number of curious

contentions over this legal decision: It was interesting to see rank bigotry against gays trying to disguise

itself as a legal argument. Justice Antonin Scalia was foremost in this camp, throwing a public tantrum devoid

of legal reasoning over the decision. Talk about lack of judicial temperament. Some advanced the argument that

the law should have been left in place because it is rarely enforced. In fact, it was enforced, that's why

there was a case in front of the Supreme Court, and under what principle is rarity an excuse for injustice?

Because we relatively rarely execute people who are innocent, does that make it right? Slavery rarely occurs in

this country, but it is still illegal.

Civil Rights, the Sequel

Format: Political Column

Source: Bob Herbert, New York Times

Date: July 7, 2003


been more than 30 years since Whitney Young Jr. died and his name is no longer particularly well known, which

is a shame. Mr. Young was the executive director of the National Urban League and one of the big four civil

rights leaders of the 1960\'s, along with Martin Luther King Jr., Roy Wilkins and James Farmer.
He drowned

at the absurdly young age of 49 during a visit to Nigeria in 1971. More than 6,000 people attended his funeral

at Manhattan\'s Riverside Church, and thousands more lined the streets of Harlem to view the funeral

procession. Mr. Young had been a giant in the movement and it was widely recognized that his death represented

a terrible loss.
What was not understood at the time was that an incredible decades-long slide into the

horrors of violence and degradation for millions of African-American youngsters was already under way. More

than three decades later we still haven\'t stopped the descent.

Heartfelt Words From the Rehnquist Court

Format: News Commentary

Source: Linda Greenhouse, New York Times

Date: July 6, 2003

Chief Justice William H. Rehnquist was asked some years ago whether his views on any major legal subject had

"evolved" during his decades on the Supreme Court. He considered the question for a moment, cocked an eyebrow

and said in a self-mocking tone, "Oh, you mean have I shown a capacity for growth?" His wry response reflected

not only an awareness of his own reputation as a rock-ribbed conservative, but his acknowledgment that

evolution, far from a neutral word in this context, connotes a one-way path toward greater enlightenment.

Indeed, the "one-way ratchet" in constitutional law, the observed phenomenon by which rights expand but never

seem to contract, is a familiar concept among students of the court. Call it growth, evolution or something in

the water: something was going on during this Supreme Court term. In the absence of a unified field theory, it

could be that webs of personal association and experience have led the justices to see old problems in new


Jobless but Not Hopeless

Format: Op-Ed

Source: Robert C. Pozen, New York Times

Date: July 8, 2003


the United States unemployment rate climbed to 6.4 percent last week, the highest point in almost a decade,

analysts were generally glum about the prospects for job seekers. They were being far too pessimistic, however:

a close look at four other economic indicators point to the end of what some have called the "jobless"

recovery. These indicators show significant declines in the rate of job losses ? and positive signs of new

hiring in growing industries.

They Won't Know Your Interest if You Don't Put Your Name In

Format: Advice Column

Source: Carol Kleiman, Chicago Tribune

Date: July 9, 2003

Q. I have a friend who used to work for a large company. She's now

back in the job market and recently spoke to her former supervisor about working there again. He promised to

call her if an opening arose. Recently, she found out that there actually is an opening, but the supervisor

never called her about it as promised. Should she call him and ask to be considered for it anyway?


Yes. Tell her to go for it. What does she have to lose?

The 2002-03 Supreme Court Term in Review: Landmark Cases Stress the Theme Of Equality

Format: News Commentary

Source: Vikram David Amar, FindLaw's Writ

Date: July 11, 2003

For constitutional lawyers, the Supreme Court Term that just ended was a blockbuster

- perhaps the biggest since the late 1980's, if one takes into account both breadth and depth. Granted, there

were some notable omissions. For instance, there were no major cases addressing "war on terror" issues - such

as what due process requires for those detained, and the scope of the Fourth Amendment's ban on unreasonable

searches and seizures as applied to the Administration's terror campaign. In the near future, the Court will

have no choice but to take up some of these issues. Nevertheless, the Court addressed a huge range of very

important constitutional topics this Term. If the Term had a single, overriding theme (and I realize that to

claim it did is inherently to oversimplify), it was probably "old-fashioned equal protection."

Eliminating Options at Microsoft

Format: Editorial

Source: New York Times

Date: July 14, 2003

The news from

Redmond, Wash., is not good for anyone still hoping for a return of the financially exuberant 1990\'s.

Microsoft, the software giant that minted hundreds of millionaires by doling out stock options to a generation

of employees who happened to be at the right place at the right time, will no longer grant stock options. The

move reflects a change in business culture as well as the evolution of an iconic American corporation.

Will Congress Let Accounting Fiction Obscure Pension Reality?

Format: News Commentary

Source: Floyd Norris (Bloomberg News), New York Times

Date: July 18, 2003

What should be done when an important sector of the American economy has severe

problems? The easy answer is to avoid admitting the problems and hope that time will make everything better.

Look for an accounting gimmick to obscure the reality. That is how the government dealt with the early days of

the savings and loan crisis two decades ago. It made the situation much worse than it needed to be. Which

brings us to the corporate pension system. Much of corporate America is looking for a way to make its pension

deficits appear smaller than they really are, and the politicians appear to be tempted to comply.

Passing It Along

Format: Op-Ed

Source: Paul Krugman, New York Times

Date: July 18, 2003


another sentence in George Bush's State of the Union address that wasn't true: "We will not deny, we will not

ignore, we will not pass along our problems to other Congresses, to other presidents and other generations."

Mr. Bush's officials profess to see nothing wrong with the explosion of the national debt on their watch, even

though they now project an astonishing $455 billion budget deficit this year and $475 billion next year. But

even the usual apologists (well, some of them) are starting to acknowledge the administration's

irresponsibility. Will they also face up to its dishonesty? It has been obvious all along, if you were willing

to see it, that the administration's claims to fiscal responsibility have rested on thoroughly cooked books.

Slouching Toward a Labor Shortage

Format: Advice Column

Source: Ken Gaffey, Electronic Recruiting Exchange

Date: July 17, 2003

Ten years ago, I had the opportunity to listen to a member of the Department of Labor

address an HR/staffing conference. This wasn't a huge conference, so we did not rate the actual Secretary of

Labor. Rather we got the Assistant Under-Secretary for More-Or-Less Aligned Issues Occurring on Alternate

Tuesdays (or something like that).
Even though he chose not to speak about report writing on excel

spreadsheets (a big hit in HR/staffing today referred to as metrics) or about how to update forms (another big

hit amongst the masses), he did manage to come up with an interesting issue: we are running out of people. The

baby-boomer generation was, and is, approaching the accepted retirement age.

Why Affirmative Action Matters

Format: News Commentary

Source: Alan B. Krueger, New York Times

Date: July 24, 2003


we see a complicated, seemingly intractable problem," the comedian Al Franken once remarked about affirmative

action, "we have the only really genuine, authentic human reaction you can have: we're confused." Supreme

Court justices do not have the same luxury. The justices were forced to take sides last month in the landmark

cases involving admissions practices at the University of Michigan. Their rulings will likely satisfy Mr.

Franken's quest to find the "mushball middle" when it comes to affirmative action.

Experts Urge Strong Education Rather Than Big Tariffs

Format: News Commentary

Source: Daniel Altman, New York Times

Date: July 28, 2003

As the job market gropes for a recovery from the recession, some of those looking to place blame have

settled on the nation's imports and exports. Consumers are importing too many goods and services, the argument

goes, while companies are exporting too many jobs. But while these activities may indeed be slowing the

recovery in the short term, in the long term they are likely to be essential to raising standards of living.

Last week, an article in The New York Times described a conference call of executives at I.B.M. who said the

company needed to move more white-collar positions to India and elsewhere overseas. A union leader interviewed

in the article said he worried that letting the jobs leave the country would pull down wages in the United

States. In the meantime, several economic analysts have been bemoaning the fact that the trade deficit has

expanded since the start of the recession. Had exports held up and the increased imports been replaced by

spending on goods produced at home, they said, the recovery would have been strong rather than weak.

Shades of Bias at Police Academy

Format: News Commentary

Source: Juan Gonzalez, New York Daily News

Date: July 29, 2003

Nine months ago, Deputy Police Commissioner James Fyfe, head of the Police Academy, denied allegations by the

Latino Officers Association that he was removing Hispanics from top positions at the school. Since then, four

of five Hispanics in supervisory posts at the school have been transferred.

Another Bad Initiative in California

Format: Editorial

Source: New York Times

Date: August 4, 2003

A misguided

proposition to bar the state government from classifying people by race will now appear on the Oct. 7 ballot in

California, complicating an already chaotic election that will also decide whether Gov. Gray Davis will be

recalled from office. We hope the voters take the time to focus on this side issue and reject the proposition.

Supporters of the measure call it a step toward a "colorblind society." But the initiative, a brainchild of

Ward Connerly, a University of California regent who also led the campaign to ban affirmative action in the

state, is the opposite of what it appears. It would, among other things, complicate enforcement of

antidiscrimination legislation as well as state programs aimed at improving health care and education for


Despair of the Jobless

Format: Political Column

Source: Bob Herbert, New York Times

Date: August 7, 2003

The folks

who put the voodoo back in economics keep telling us that prosperity is just around the corner. For the

unemployed, that would mean more jobs. Are there more jobs just around the corner? This alleged economic upturn

is not just a jobless recovery, it's a job loss recovery. The hemorrhaging of jobs in the aftermath of the

recent "mild" recession is like nothing the U.S. has seen in more than half a century. Millions continue to

look desperately for work, and millions more have given up in despair.

Note to Bosses: It's Time to Make Nice

Format: Advice Column

Source: Patricia Kitchen, Newsday

Date: August 4, 2003

Yes, we know those who hire are still in the drivers seat. And that it's been many a moon since some bosses

have given a thought to employee retention. But it might just be time for them to dust off their old

Make-Nice-to-Employees handbooks. I'm not saying this recovery isn't still jobless. But just look at what's

happening in the hearts and minds of employees - those on the receiving end of added work, no raises and

equally important in some cases, no empathy.

A Marriage, and Divorce, of Convenience at Verizon

Format: News Commentary

Source: Matt Richtel, New York Times

Date: August 8, 2003

Negotiations between Verizon Communications and its two main unions appeared to grow more thorny yesterday,

with a settlement now unlikely in the next few days. But while the company and its workers currently find

themselves on opposite sides of the bargaining table, they have often found themselves fighting on the same

side, lobbying politicians and petitioning regulators. Organized labor has for years helped the industry push

its political and regulatory agenda. But that help has come at a price. In supporting management's efforts to,

for example, break into the long-distance market, unions have earned concessions for their members. This kind

of relationship extends beyond Verizon, with labor being an influential supporter of major telecommunications

companies like SBC and BellSouth with regulators. Indeed, industry analysts assert that while it is not

uncommon for unions and management to work together on regulatory issues, the level of cooperation in

telecommunications is perhaps more pronounced and sustained than in any other industry.

Title VII Protects Workers From Discrimination

Format: Advice Column

Source: Bob Rosner, Corpus Christi Caller

Date: August 8, 2003

Recently, a British ad agency paid students $20 to walk around in public for three hours with a logo

temporarily tattooed on their foreheads. Those ads worked because something written on someone's forehead is

hard to miss. It also brings into play once of the reasons it can be so challenging to hire an employee -

you've got to look past all that's hard to miss (their race, color, sex, etc.). In America, protection from

workplace discrimination is covered by Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964. You may be surprised at how

many workers are covered by it.

No Work, No Homes

Format: Op-Ed

Source: Bob Herbert, New York Times

Date: August 14, 2003

Talk about

preaching to the choir. President Bush and his clueless team of economic advisers held a summit at the

president's ranch in Crawford, Tex., yesterday. This is the ferociously irresponsible crowd that has turned

its back on simple arithmetic and thinks the answer to every economic question is a gigantic tax cut for the

rich. Their voodoo fantasies were safe in Crawford. There was no one at the ranch to chastise them for

bequeathing backbreaking budget deficits to generations yet unborn. And no one was there to confront them with

evidence of the intense suffering that so many poor, working-class and middle-class families are experiencing

right now because of job losses on Mr. Bush's watch. After the meeting, Mr. Bush said, "This administration is

optimistic about job creation."

Not Much Job Growth, but Mediocre May Look Good in 2004

Format: News Commentary

Source: Floyd Norris, New York Times

Date: August 15, 2003

It is a recovery. And it is not a jobless one. As the economy has gradually shown strength, unevenly

to be sure, one critical mantra has been to call it a jobless recovery. But there are statistics that belie

that and indicate that the number of people with jobs has been growing since last fall. That growth, to be

sure, has been less than overwhelming. At best, it is barely keeping up with the natural growth of the labor

force. But it is better than people think.

Help Wanted

Format: News Commentary

Source: Walter Kirn, New York Times

Date: August 17, 2003

A couple

of weeks ago the secretaries of commerce, labor and the treasury took a two-day bus trip through the Midwest to

talk up their boss's economic policies and confront, as sensitively as possible, the festering unemployment

issue that may prove decisive in choosing the next president. Given that the current jobless rate hovers a

little above 6 percent (a good 2 points higher than when Bush took office), the cabinet members' choice of

transportation was a thoughtful touch. If the jobless rate were much higher -- say, 8 or 9 percent -- old

bicycles would have been more appropriate, or maybe even a walking tour, but as things stand motor coaches were

just right, evoking a nation that's still on the move but just not quite as quickly as it might be.

Addicted to Work? Sure, Isn't Everyone?

Format: Political Column

Source: Abby Ellin, New York times

Date: August 17, 2003

While many people will spend Labor Day weekend closing down their summer homes or taking final splashes in the

pool, I will probably be at my computer, well, laboring away. I have always been a hard worker. Sure, I've

been known to cancel plans if I'm on deadline (which is often), and I often travel with my laptop computer.

And, yes, there are friends whom I haven't seen in ages because I'm just too busy. But I thought that's what

we do here in the big city. We work. What else would we do?

CHRO Not Yet Out Of The Woods

Format: News Commentary

Source: Stan Simpson, Hartford Courant

Date: August 20, 2003

In four years, the tide indeed turned at the state Commission on Human Rights

and Opportunities. White employees, for the most part, no longer feel the boss has little regard for them.

It's African Americans who have said they have gotten the shaft. Executive Director Cynthia Watts Elder will

resign next week for a legal job with The Phoenix Companies. She was hired in 1999 to calm a bubbling caldron

of an agency that was understaffed, overwhelmed and waylaid by internal bickering about race, hiring and

promotions. She leaves with the agency understaffed, overwhelmed, fending off internal discrimination lawsuits

and a perception that it has lost its compass.

A Way to Break the Cycle of Servitude

Format: Op-Ed

Source: Louis Uchitelle, New York Times

Date: August 31, 2003

On this Labor Day weekend, let us remember low-wage workers. Twenty percent of the work force ? 26

million people ? earn $8.23 an hour or less. Most of them are not teenagers snagging pocket money, but adults

supporting families. With so little income, too many Americans are pushed into poverty, and getting out of this

trap is increasingly difficult. As many studies have shown, rising income inequality has driven people apart.

And low-wage workers, occupying the bottom rung in this ruptured society, have descended into what amounts to a

servant class. It is not their work that makes them servants. We need factory assemblers, store clerks, child

care workers and the telephone operators who field calls to "800" numbers, processing much of the nation's

commerce. What makes them servants is the miserable pay. Measuring status by wage, as many Americans do, no one

? the employers of low-wage worker, the public or the low-wage workers themselves ? seems to value this class

of work. Promotion, or higher pay, would be a way out. Unfortunately, neither solution kicks in very often.

More than in the past, low-wage workers are stuck in place.

Brother, Can You Spare a Day?

Format: News Commentary

Source: Edward T. O'Donnell, New York Times

Date: August 31, 2003

One hundred-twenty-one years ago Labor Day meant something more than a three-day weekend and

the unofficial end of summer. On Sept. 5, 1882, thousands of workers in New York risked being fired for taking

an unauthorized day off to participate in festivities honoring honest toil and the rights of labor. This first

commemoration of Labor Day testified to labor's rising power and unity in the Gilded Age and its sense that

both were necessary to withstand the growing power of capital. The Labor Day holiday originated with the

Central Labor Union, a local labor federation formed the previous January to promote the interests of workers

in the New York area.

Home Alone

Format: Op-Ed

Source: Bob Herbert, New York Times

Date: September 1, 2003

There was

an interesting lead paragraph in an article on the front page of The Wall Street Journal last Thursday: "The

blackout of 2003 offers a simple but powerful lesson: Markets are a great way to organize economic activity,

but they need adult supervision." Gee. They've finally figured that out. The nuns I had in grammar school were

onto this adult supervision notion decades ago. It seems to be just dawning on the power brokers of the 21st

century. Maybe soon the voters will catch on. You need adults in charge.

The Rewards of Regulation

Format: Editorial

Source: New York Times

Date: September 2, 2003

Public cynicism about

how much of an insider's game Wall Street plays can only be increased by the disclosure of the compensation

riches that the New York Stock Exchange pays to Richard Grasso, its chief executive. It turns out to be $140

million in deferred savings and retirement benefits, and an estimated salary and bonus of $12 million plus.

That is risk-free cash, without even coupons to clip, plus an eye-popping 8 percent rate on deferred

compensation. This prodigious package has already stirred gasps among some of the lesser-paid chief executive

millionaires subject to Mr. Grasso in his role as their quasi-regulatory watchdog. It was disclosed because the

exchange, after Enron and other painful fallout, realizes that it must be less secretive in attempting to

rekindle investors' confidence.

Jobs: Liars, Damn Liars & Statistics

Format: News Commentary

Source: John Crudele, New York Post

Date: September 2, 2003

Yesterday was the day America

celebrated workers. On Friday we'll find out how many people aren't working.
So, as I sat at home this

holiday weekend with a plate of potato salad on my lap, barbecue sauce dripping down my chin, I decided to do a

different kind of column: a labor-free one. Here's a list of some employment facts you might want to know and

probably don't. These may come in handy if you want to depress a date, scare a colleague or bore a friend.

The Paper Bag Test

Format: Op-Ed

Source: Bill Maxwell, St. Petersburg Times

Date: August 31, 2003

Each year, the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission receives about 85,000 discrimination cases, a

phenomenon to be expected in a society that touts itself as a "melting pot." Many of these cases involve the

complaints of minority groups against majority groups. We rarely expect a member of a minority group to

discriminate against someone else in the same group. But that is exactly what happens among African-Americans.

More than any other minority group in the United States, blacks discriminate against one another. The

discrimination, called "colorism," is based on skin tone: whether a person is dark-skinned or light-skinned or

in the broad middle somewhere.

Accountability is Sad Casualty of Blame Game in Workplace

Format: Advice Column

Source: Daneen Skube, Seattle Times

Date: September 2, 2003

Q: Blaming and attacking seem to be the norm in the workplace. What drives such

common and difficult reactions in an environment where productivity is supposed to be the goal? A:

Productivity is the intellectual and conscious goal of all workplaces because we all know if a business isn't

making money, it doesn't survive. However, the emotional goal at work is a feeling of competency and

self-esteem. When the intellectual goal of productivity competes with the emotional goal of self-esteem, it is

not uncommon for productivity to be the loser.

Job Czar for the Jobless

Format: Editorial

Source: New York Times

Date: September 3, 2003

Considering that over

80,000 jobs have been shed for each month of his incumbency, President Bush's announcement that he is creating

a new undersecretary of commerce post devoted to job creation is notable for its feebleness. The only detail

yet clear is that the post is to be devoted to the "needs of manufacturers," and that is hardly a confidence

builder for the 9 million trying to find work plus the millions more who have given up.

No New Postings in Today's News Headlines Until 9/12

Source: Workplace Fairness

Date: September 4, 2003

Due to staff vacation,

there will be no posting of new entries in Today's News Headlines until September 12, 2003. Our daily

listings of workplace-related news articles will resume at that time.

Who Guards Civil Rights Today?

Format: Op-Ed

Source: Dorothy Height, USA Today

Date: September 11, 2003


question whether the civil rights movement and its organizations are still relevant. Their next query: "Who is

the leader?" Answers can be found at the 33rd Annual Legislative Conference of the Congressional Black Caucus

(CBC), which will be held Sept. 24-27 in Washington. As we near the 50-year mark of Brown vs. Board of

Education, the groundbreaking Supreme Court decision that declared separate-but-equal unconstitutional, there

are more than 9,000 African-American elected officials. CBC's 39 U.S. House members represent nearly every

region. The groundwork for these monumental successes was built decades before by the unrelenting drive of

organizations, especially the NAACP, to bring social justice issues to the fore through mobilization and the


I.B.M. Families Ask, 'Why?'

Format: News Commentary

Source: Bob Herbert, New York Times

Date: September 15, 2003

The Daley

twins, Kate and Kelly, are 24 years old, witty, charming and, above all, intelligent. You couldn't necessarily

tell from just talking with them that they had been the victims of a catastrophe. But you can tell by looking

at them. Kate and Kelly have been profoundly disfigured by a rare degenerative skin disease that literally

ravaged their bodies from head to foot. They were born with the disease, epidermolysis bullosa. Its appalling

effect has been comparable to being burned every day of one's life. Many of the suits brought against I.B.M.

by people claiming to have been harmed by chemicals in the workplace involve birth defects suffered by the

children of employees.

Good Economy. Bad Job Market. Huh?

Format: News Commentary

Source: Louis Uchitelle, New York Times

Date: September 14, 2003

It was like waiting for Godot. We waited for years for productivity to

accelerate, and now, unlike Godot, who never showed up, that day has finally arrived. Productivity is soaring,

holding out the promise of rising prosperity. Unfortunately, now we\'re waiting for the prosperity to kick

in. A second term for President Bush could ride on whether it does, and how soon. The United States economy has

not experienced anything like this since World War II. Normally, a spike in productivity is accompanied by an

even greater spike in demand.

The Tax-Cut Con

Format: News Commentary

Source: Paul Krugman, New York Times

Date: September 14, 2003

Bruce Tinsley's comic strip, ''Mallard Fillmore,'' is, he says, ''for the average person out

there: the forgotten American taxpayer who's sick of the liberal media.'' In June, that forgotten taxpayer

made an appearance in the strip, attacking his TV set with a baseball bat and yelling: ''I can't afford to

send my kids to college, or even take 'em out of their substandard public school, because the federal, state

and local governments take more than 50 percent of my income in taxes. And then the guy on the news asks with a

straight face whether or not we can 'afford' tax cuts.'' Nobody likes paying taxes, and no doubt some

Americans are as angry about their taxes as Tinsley's imaginary character. But most Americans also care a lot

about the things taxes pay for. All politicians say they're for public education; almost all of them also say

they support a strong national defense, maintaining Social Security and, if anything, expanding the coverage of

Medicare. When the ''guy on the news'' asks whether we can afford a tax cut, he's asking whether, after

yet another tax cut goes through, there will be enough money to pay for those things. And the answer is no.

Beware of Angry, Jobless Men

Format: Op-Ed

Source: Alan M. Webber, USA Today

Date: September 7, 2003

Summer came and went ? and it didn't feel much like summer. There may be a lesson in that, because the

recession came and went ? and this doesn't feel much like a recovery. That's because jobs are still

disappearing. Labor Secretary Elaine Chao points to statistics that say the economy grew by 3.1% in the second

quarter. But there are other statistics, gloomier and more telling: The country has lost 3 million jobs over

the past three years, 2.5 million of them in manufacturing. One survey found that 18% of American workers

reported being laid off in the past three years. And this summer the average length of unemployment jumped to

19 weeks, the highest level in 20 years. The statistics tell a discouraging story, and that growing sense of

discouragement is exactly the point: Beyond the numbers are two critically important groups of American workers

whose emotions, beliefs and attitudes will have an enormous influence over the direction of American politics

as the presidential election heats up. For President Bush, the key to the intersection of jobs and voting

patterns is not women, who lean more toward Democrats. It is men, predominately white, who tend to be in the

Republican camp.

Early Warnings

Format: News Commentary

Source: Bob Herbert, New York Times

Date: September 12, 2003


glycol ethers are a group of organic solvents that proved to be extremely effective at coating surfaces evenly.

They've been used in paints, nail polish, de-icers and many other products. One of their most important

industrial applications was in the semiconductor industry. These marvelous chemicals, E.G.E.'s, were the key

ingredients in a solution used in the fabrication of computer chips. But there were some problems. Studies

began emerging in the late 1970's that showed these chemicals wreaking havoc with the reproductive processes

in rodents. They were linked to testicular damage, miscarriages and birth defects. Even as the warnings grew

louder, workers by the thousands were toiling in the "clean rooms" where extraordinary amounts of toxic

chemicals, including E.G.E.'s, were being put to use in the manufacture of chips, disks and other electronic


Take This Job

Format: Advice Column

Source: Randy Cohen, New York Times

Date: September 21, 2003


was downsized from my job in January. Recently I was offered a new position, but it's work that I

loathe....Should I take it?"

Boots on the Ground, Family Back Home

Format: Op-Ed

Source: Mark L. Kimmey, New York Times

Date: September 21, 2003

The Army's decision to keep its Reserve forces in Iraq on duty for a full year from their arrival may

have profound consequences for both the Army and the war in Iraq. While the Army will gain increased

flexibility with its "boots on the ground," the long deployments may demoralize reservists. When mobilization

and demobilization are included, 12 months on duty in Iraq will mean a 14- to 16-month separation from family

and career for reservists. "Fair doesn't mean equal," a battalion commander once told me. But the message to

reservists is unmistakable: the Army no longer takes into account sacrifices made to maintain two careers and

lives. Many reservists will watch the regular soldiers with whom they came to Iraq go home before they do. The

Army may not care about the disparity between the way the forces are treated, but those of us in the Reserve


Price of Labor Peace

Format: News Commentary

Source: Steven Greenhouse, New York Times

Date: September 20, 2003


end the 22-day strike that was embarrassing Yale and grating on its students, the university gave its two main

unions wage and pension increases that are generous by most any definition. Yale granted its largest union,

representing 2,900 clerical workers, raises of 44 percent over eight years and agreed to a richer pension

formula that will increase pensions for most future retirees by 80 percent or more.

Was Anyone Taken for a Ride in the U.A.W.-Big 3 Contract Talks?

Format: News Commentary

Source: Danny Hakim, New York Times

Date: September 23, 2003

Last week, the United Automobile Workers offered more concessions to the Big Three than it has in the

last two decades of contract talks. Then again, concessions have not really been a feature of the last two

decades of contract talks in the American auto industry. While auto workers see a contract that extends a

lifeline to the struggling Big Three, Wall Street sees baby steps that amount to a glass half-full in some

minds and fully empty in others. \"Does this make the industry even a little bit more competitive? No,\" said

Maryann Keller, an auto analyst and former executive who ran Priceline.com\'s automotive division. \"This

contract does nothing to even make a slight dent in the fundamental problems,\" she added.

It Turns Out You Can Be Too Rich

Format: News Commentary

Source: Clyde Haberman, New York Times

Date: September 19, 2003


takes about 45 minutes to get from Elmhurst in Queens to the financial district in Manhattan. That is the

measure of distance and time on the R subway line. In most other respects, though, working-class Elmhurst and

the canyons of Wall Street are light-years apart. Richard A. Grasso, for many the latest avatar of unquenchable

greed, crossed that great divide long ago. The boy who would become top man at the New York Stock Exchange was

schooled in Elmhurst, at Newtown High School on 90th Street, and lived in neighboring Jackson Heights. By all

accounts, Mr. Grasso's blue collar never completely faded, no matter how many millions he earned.

Slippery Data on the Job Market

Format: News Commentary

Source: Alan B. Krueger, New York Times

Date: September 18, 2003

"Essentially unchanged" ? that is how Kathleen Utgoff, commissioner of the Bureau of Labor Statistics,

described the unemployment rate in August compared with July. The secretary of labor, Elaine Chao, however,

hailed the news, saying, "I'm pleased that the unemployment rate has dropped." Why the different

interpretations? Who is right? In a sense, both are. The official estimate did fall by a tenth of a point, from

6.18 percent in July to 6.08 percent in August. But the unemployment rate is just an estimate based on a sample

of the population, and like all estimates, there is no guarantee it is exactly right. It could be off because

of sampling errors (results differ from sample to sample) and nonsampling errors (respondents may not answer

the questions correctly). Sampling errors alone are enough to lead one to doubt whether unemployment actually

fell in August.

What the Monkeys Can Teach Humans About Making America Fairer

Format: Political Column

Source: Adam Cohen, New York Times

Date: September 20, 2003

Give a capuchin monkey a cucumber slice, and she will eagerly

trade a small pebble for it. But when a second monkey, in an adjoining cage, receives a more-desirable grape

for the same pebble, it changes everything. The first monkey will then reject her cucumber, and sometimes throw

it out of the cage. Monkeys rarely refuse food, but in this case they appear to be pursuing an even higher

value than eating: fairness. The capuchin monkey study, published last week in Nature, has generated a lot of

interest for a scant three-page report buried in the journal's letters section. There is, certainly, a risk of

reading too much into the feeding habits of 10 research monkeys. But in a week when fairness was so evidently

on the ropes ? from the World Trade Organization meeting in Canc?n, which poor nations walked out of in

frustration, to the latest issue of Forbes, reporting that the richest 400 Americans are worth $955 billion ?

the capuchin monkeys offered a glimmer of hope from the primate gene pool.

Unemployment Problem Needs Improved Solution

Format: Op-Ed

Source: Bharath Parthasarathy, The Emory Wheel

Date: September 26, 2003

As the seasons shift from the dog days of summer to the crisp nights of autumn, the stately trees

that dot the campus have begun to shed their tarnished golden leaves. In much the same fashion, as the year has

progressed, the American economy has continually shed millions of workers as it creeps out of recession. In

fact, since the Bush administration took office, more than three million workers have shown up at their

manufacturing and service sector jobs only to leave the premises with pink slips in their hands. Georgia alone

has witnessed the reduction of 98,200 manufacturing jobs over the past five years. As a result, the American

economy currently supports more unemployed workers than at any given time in the past decade.

Updating Overtime

Format: Op-Ed

Source: Elaine Chao (Secretary of Labor), Baltimore Sun

Date: September 30, 2003

Critics of the Department of Labor's proposal to

modernize white-collar exemptions to overtime have wrongly portrayed a recent vote in the Senate to block the

proposal from moving forward as a victory for workers.
In fact, if enacted, the amendment by Sen. Tom

Harkin, D-Iowa, would be a huge setback for America's workers and has the potential to prevent more than a

million low-wage workers from getting overtime pay for the first time.

Mr. Reed Goes to Work

Format: Editorial

Source: New York Times

Date: September 30, 2003

John Reed, the former Citicorp chief executive, is beginning his first week as interim chairman of the New York Stock Exchange. His mandate is to overhaul the beleaguered Big Board in the wake of Richard Grasso's departure.

He has his work cut out for him. One of Mr. Reed's immediate priorities is to ensure that his predecessor doesn't take the exchange for close to $60 million more. Mr. Grasso's departure was triggered by the public uproar that followed disclosure of his earlier $140 million payday, much of it for deferred compensation and benefits. Now Mr. Grasso and his lawyers may want to claim that his resignation was a termination, which would entitle him to tens of millions more under his employment contract. Mr. Reed should strenuously oppose making any such payments.

Mr. Reed must also ask most directors for their resignations. Carl McCall, the former state comptroller and gubernatorial candidate, and Jürgen Schrempp, the chief executive of DaimlerChrysler, have stepped down. But most others should follow them out the door, especially those who had anything to do with approving Mr. Grasso's compensation.

White House Facing Revolt Within GOP

Format: Op-Ed

Source: Robert Kuttner, Boston Globe

Date: October 1, 2003

In just a few weeks the political tide has turned dramatically against

President Bush. His popularity ratings have dipped below 50 percent. His policies are under fire on the Iraq

war, the economy, and the budget mess. Moreover, Bush is facing an escalating revolt from within his own party.

A little-noted indicator is that Republican senators and House members are no longer willing to take unpopular

votes merely because the White House demands them. Lately the administration has lost several key votes that

were billed as Republican tests of loyalty:

Judge Pickering, Again

Format: Editorial

Source: New York Times

Date: October 1, 2003

harles Pickering of

Mississippi, whose nomination for an important federal judgeship was wisely rejected once, is scheduled to be

voted on again tomorrow in the Senate Judiciary Committee. The Senate should again refuse to confirm him. The

Bush administration is pushing hard to put Judge Pickering, a federal district court judge, on the United

States Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit, which covers Mississippi, Louisiana and Texas. The first battle

over Judge Pickering too often descended into a fight over whether he is a "racist." The real question is

whether he would be the kind of judge the Fifth Circuit ? one of the most heavily minority circuits in the

country ? needs. His record strongly suggests he would not.

The Wages of Luck in a Bad Economy

Format: Political Column

Source: Charles Page (Chicago Tribune), Baltimore Sun

Date: October 2, 2003

This presidential campaign season is beginning to look like

something that Yogi Berra might call "d?j? vu all over again." Imagine, for example, a president named Bush who

gains sky-high approval ratings from a war against Iraq's Saddam Hussein, only to face shrinking popularity

amid a sluggish economy back home. Yes, that was what happened with Bill Clinton's unexpected victory over the

elder President Bush in 1992. The elder Mr. Bush's problem, as it turned out, was not so much the economy as

much as it was the voting public's perceptions of the economy. Even as the economy was starting to turn around

in early 1992, Mr. Bush's pollster Robert Teeter warned that there were storm clouds on the horizon: a growing

disapproval with the direction in which the country was headed.

Employment Problems Remain

Format: Op-Ed

Source: Morton Marcus, Munster Times

Date: October 5, 2003

The economy has been growing for nearly two years since the bottom of the

recession, yet employment problems remain. The 275 metropolitan areas in the United States had a total loss of

533,000 jobs from August 2002 to the same month this year. As serious as this sounds, the total loss was only

0.3 percent for the year. In addition, while 61 percent of the metro areas (168) did lose jobs, 103 metro areas

added jobs and four remained unchanged.

Handcuffed to the Economy

Format: News Commentary

Source: Richard W. Stevenson, New York Times

Date: October 4, 2003

Aides to President Bush say he is willing to make big bets on policies he believes in. When it comes to the

economy, Mr. Bush has been like a gambler, pushing through one tax cut after another despite early signs that

his policies were not stopping big losses of jobs. On Friday, Mr. Bush was finally able to point to evidence

that his approach had results. The news that the economy had added 57,000 jobs in September and that during the

summer it had not lost as many as previously estimated was the first sign since January that the so-far-jobless

recovery was giving way to a slowly improving employment situation. Still, in the time since Mr. Bush took

office and the three tax cuts were passed, the economy has lost 2.8 million jobs. That fact remains an

uncomfortable obstacle to his claims of progress in recovering from the recession, which started two months

after he moved into the White House but ended nearly two years ago.

Lumps of Labor

Format: Political Column

Source: Paul Krugman, New York Times

Date: October 7, 2003

Economists call it the "lump of labor fallacy." It's the idea that there is a fixed amount of work to be done

in the world, so any increase in the amount each worker can produce reduces the number of available jobs. (A

famous example: those dire warnings in the 1950's that automation would lead to mass unemployment.) As the

derisive name suggests, it's an idea economists view with contempt, yet the fallacy makes a comeback whenever

the economy is sluggish. Sure enough, the lump-of-labor fallacy has resurfaced in the United States ? but with

a twist. Traditionally, it is a fallacy of the economically na?ve left ? for example, four years ago France's

Socialist government tried to create more jobs by reducing the length of the workweek. But in America today

you're more likely to hear lump-of-labor arguments from the right, as an excuse for the Bush administration's

policy failures.

Time and a Half in the Capitol

Format: Editorial

Source: New York Times

Date: October 8, 2003

In a rare Republican

rebellion against pro-business priorities, the House has rejected a controversial plan to overhaul the rules

covering overtime for millions of American workers. The House initially approved the plan last July, but

several members of the G.O.P. majority, clearly sensing voters' concern about hard economic times, switched

sides last week. That gave the second round to the Democrats, who were warning that many white-collar workers

would be stripped of their overtime rights.

N-Word in the Workplace is Not Tolerable

Format: News Commentary

Source: Tim Chavez, Tennessean

Date: October 10, 2003

Attorney Stephen

Crofford decided to take Donna Phillips' case when she cried. ''The reason I took the case is because she

cried in my office about the humiliation she felt when they didn't take it (her complaint) seriously,''

Crofford said. Consider that Sen. Trent Lott and talk show host Rush Limbaugh faced a national uproar and

employment consequences for comments that carried racial overtones. Lott lost his majority leader's job and

Limbaugh resigned his ESPN gig. Yet there were no tones or degrees to the comments about Phillips ? a 14-year

prison guard who also happens to be black. She was called the ''dumbest n??r bitch I have to deal with'' by

a contract worker who sells popcorn to inmates at Riverbend Maximum Security Institution and fills vending


Raising Wages for Madison

Format: Editorial

Source: The Capital Times

Date: October 10, 2003

Picking up the

initiative advanced by the Madison Fair Wage Campaign, Mayor Dave Cieslewicz is proposing an ordinance to

establish a local minimum wage of $7.75 an hour. While the Fair Wage campaigners will continue their petition

drive seeking to place the issue on the April ballot, the mayor's ordinance proposal is the best vehicle for

securing a wage hike for working Madisonians. That the wage hike is needed is beyond question. The federal

minimum wage of $5.15 an hour is absurdly low. States and cities across the country have moved to implement

higher minimum wages. And Madison, where rising housing and transportation costs have made it increasingly

difficult for full-time workers to live in the city where they do their jobs, needs to join them.

Black America's Crisis in Unemployment

Format: Op-Ed

Source: Marc H. Morial, Kankakee Daily Journal

Date: October 12, 2003

At first glance,

the federal Department of Labor monthly report released recently seemed to contain good news: The unemployment

rate fell from 6.4 percent in June to 6.2 percent in July. But that seemingly good news was a mirage: The

decline stemmed from the fact that nearly half a million jobless workers who had been looking for work stopped

their search entirely and so weren't counted as being in the labor force at all. The unemployment rate

improved statistically only because the number of people looking for jobs fell faster than the number of people

holding jobs. In other words, the dispiriting news on the jobs front continues

Rhetoric Vies With Reality on a Hot Topic: Jobs

Format: News Commentary

Source: David Leonhardt, New York Times

Date: October 12, 2003


-- the loss of them over the past three years and plans for creating them in coming years - have moved quickly

to the center stage of the young presidential campaign. President Bush and his aides refer to the recent tax

cut, almost without exception, as the "jobs and growth" package. Howard Dean, the former Vermont governor

seeking the Democratic nomination, said on Wednesday that he expected jobs to be the race's biggest issue.

Senator Joseph I. Lieberman of Connecticut, another Democratic candidate, interrupted himself in a recent

debate to announce, "This is all about jobs." With the attention has come an escalating battle between the

parties to define the terms of the debate and the numbers used in it. To no one's surprise, that battle

includes some hyperbole.

A Disability Law Catch-22

Format: Editorial

Source: New York Times

Date: October 14, 2003

The Social Security

Administration has been not only mean-spirited but also illogical in handling Pauline Thomas's disability

claim. It denied payment to Ms. Thomas, a 61-year-old elevator operator in New Jersey who has a serious heart

problem, on the ground that there is a job she can do ? a job that no longer exists. It is an absurd decision,

but one fully in keeping with the Bush administration's drive to cut back on spending for the needy. The

Supreme Court, which hears her case today, should strike a blow for common sense by upholding her claim.

Labor Gap Predictions Full of Holes

Format: Political Column

Source: Al Lewis, Denver Post

Date: October 14, 2003

"Yo, Corporate

America! I want a fat salary, a signing bonus and a cappuccino machine - oh, and I'm bringing my bird to

work." So read the March 16, 1998, cover of Fortune magazine, which also sported a smug, twenty-something dude

with a pet parrot on his head. Inside was a story about a skilled-labor shortage, and how there just weren't

enough talented people to serve big business, particularly in technology. "Gold collar workers," the article

called them. "Anyone who's educated, smart, creative, computer-literate, equipped with portable skills - and

demanding." Many believe these days will be back again soon.

Locked Out at a Young Age

Format: Political Column

Source: Bob Herbert, New York Times

Date: October 20, 2003

With the

nation at war, the wretched state of millions of young people in America's urban centers is getting even less

attention than usual. While the U.S. is trying to figure out how to pay for its incursion into Iraq, millions

of teenagers and young adults, especially in the inner cities, are drifting aimlessly from one day to the next.

They're out of school, out of work and, as I've said before in this column, all but out of hope.

Promoting Employees: How to Get it Right

Format: Advice Column

Source: Jeff Wuorio , MicroSoft bCentral

Date: October 23, 2003

Promoting the right

person at the right time takes more diligence. But it can be as important to the well being of your company as

ditching the smokes can be for your health. Many businesses approach the concept of job promotions with

something less than a studied eye. While the process may seem basic, the consequences of an ill-advised

promotion can be nothing short of cataclysmic ? particularly if it happens over and over. That means it's

critical to understand what works and what doesn't in the art of promoting employees.

Low Wages May Mean Hefty Credit

Format: Editorial

Source: Battle Creek Enquirer

Date: October 22, 2003

People who earn between $11,000 and $35,000 a year can hardly be classified as wealthy. Most struggle just to

pay for food, shelter and life's other necessities. Depending on how many children they have and how many

people work in the household, most such wage earners qualify for the federal Earned Income Tax Credit. The

credit can be for as much as $382 for a single worker with no children, and up to $4,204 for married workers

with two or more children. And yet, in 2001, nearly 88,000 of the 527,000 Michigan workers who qualified for

the Earned Income Tax Credit - about one in six - failed to claim it. Why? Apparently many workers are unaware

that they qualify for the credit or don't know how to go about claiming it. That needs to change, and we are

glad that the state of Michigan is teaming up with community organizations, activists and tax consultants to

spread the word to the thousands of people who are missing out on money they can claim.

Too Low a Bar

Format: Political Column

Source: Paul Krugman, New York Times

Date: October 24, 2003


Snow, the Treasury secretary, told The Times of London on Monday that he expected the U.S. economy to add two

million jobs before the next election ? that is, almost 200,000 per month. His forecast was higher than those

of most independent analysts; nothing in the data suggests that jobs are being created at that rate. (New

claims for unemployment insurance are running at slightly less than 400,000 a week, the number that corresponds

to zero job growth. If jobs were being created as rapidly as Mr. Snow forecasts, the new claims number would be

closer to 300,000.) Still, Mr. Snow may get lucky, and the job market may pick up. But his prediction was a

huge climb-down from administration predictions earlier this year, when the White House insisted that it

expected the economy to add more than five million jobs by next November. And even if Mr. Snow's forecast

comes true, that won't vindicate the administration's economic policy. In fact, while private analysts are

criticizing Mr. Snow for being overly optimistic, I think the stronger criticism is that he's trying to lower

the bar: to define as success a performance that, even if it materializes, should really be considered a dismal


There?s a Catch: Jobs

Format: Political Column

Source: Bob Herbert, New York Times

Date: October 27, 2003


president tells us the economy is accelerating, and the statistics seem to bear him out. But don't hold your

breath waiting for your standard of living to improve. Bush country is not a good environment for working

families. In the real world, which is the world of families trying to pay their mortgages and get their

children off to college, the economy remains troubled. While the analysts and commentators of the comfortable

class are assuring us that the president's tax cuts and the billions being spent on Iraq have been good for

the gross domestic product, the workaday folks are locked in a less sanguine reality.

A Statistic That Tells Only Half the Story

Format: News Commentary

Source: Daniel Gross, New York Times

Date: October 26, 2003

Thursday morning, investors, economic forecasters and, increasingly, political pundits pounce on the Labor

Department's numbers for new jobless claims. The report provides a sort of weekly thumbs up or thumbs down on

the economy's progress and, hence, on the Bush administration's economic policy. Last week, the department

reported that first-time claims for unemployment benefits fell by 4,000, to 386,000, in the week ended Oct. 18.

The four-week average - more useful because it smoothes weekly fluctuations - held steady at 392,250. Labor

Secretary Elaine L. Chao hailed the data as another tile placed in an increasingly shiny mosaic. "With the

president's jobs and growth plan now having a real, positive and lasting impact on the economy, we expect to

see increased job creation in the coming months," she said. Should we really be encouraged? After all, aren't

386,000 more people - roughly the population of Sacramento, Calif. - now standing on unemployment lines?

Job Creation Math: The Three-Card Monte of Economics

Format: News Commentary

Source: David Leonhardt, New York Times

Date: October 26, 2003

What does an increase in jobs really mean? John W. Snow, the Treasury secretary, raised the issue

last week by saying that he expected the economy to add 200,000 jobs a month for the next year. With almost

three million jobs having been lost since early 2001, the comment had an air of bold optimism to it and caused

a bit of a stir on Wall Street. "We are surprised," a senior economist at Goldman Sachs wrote to clients, "that

Snow would choose to hand the Democratic presidential candidates this optimistic prediction." But it looks

optimistic mainly because people think of zero as the threshold. In fact, job creation must keep up with

population growth in order to prevent the labor market from deteriorating. These days, the economy must add

from 150,000 to 200,000 jobs every month to keep the unemployment rate from rising, economists say.

All Fired Up Over a Phony Firing Technique

Format: Advice Column

Source: Carrie Mason-Draffen, Newsday

Date: October 26, 2003

DEAR CARRIE: I was recently fired from my job over the telephone. I was on

a vacation when my boss called to tell me not to come back to work. Someone told me it was illegal to fire

someone over the phone. What's more, my boss had never criticized my work. Do I have any recourse? -Dial F for

DEAR F: You worked for a real coward. Only cowards fire by phone or e-mail or any other way that

prevents a more dignified face-to-face meeting to announce such monumental news.

Wal-Mart Makes Workers Pay

Format: Op-Ed

Source: Annette Bernhardt, Atlanta Journal Constitution

Date: October 29, 2003

Federal officials missed the boat last week when they arrested 300 undocumented workers whom

contractors had hired to clean Wal-Mart stores. The real offenders aren't uncarded custodians. They are their

employers and not simply because they employ undocumented immigrants. Wal-Mart -- and other low-wage employers

that follow its lead -- relentlessly and systematically cut costs by reducing the wages and health benefits of

both its in-house and subcontracted workers, regardless of their immigration status. Jailing janitors after a

long night shift of cleaning up after shoppers isn't the answer. Ultimately, the only effective response is to

reinstate America's wage and workplace standards that have been decimated over the past 30 years.

A Big Quarter

Format: Political Column

Source: Paul Krugman, New York Times

Date: October 31, 2003


Commerce Department announces very good growth during the previous quarter. Many observers declare the

economy's troubles over. And the administration's supporters claim that the economy's turnaround validates

its policies. That's what happened 18 months ago, when a preliminary estimate put first-quarter 2002 growth at

5.8 percent. That was later revised down to 5.0. More important, growth in the next quarter slumped to 1.3

percent, and we now know that the economy wasn't really on the mend: after that brief spurt, the nation

proceeded to lose another 600,000 jobs. The same story unfolded in the third quarter of 2002, when growth rose

to 4 percent, and the economy actually gained 200,000 jobs. But growth slipped back down to 1.4 percent, and

job losses resumed. My purpose is not to denigrate the impressive estimated 7.2 percent growth rate for the

third quarter of 2003. It is, rather, to stress the obvious: we've had our hopes dashed in the past, and it

remains to be seen whether this is just another one-hit wonder.

Why Do Employers Pay for Health Insurance, Anyhow?

Format: Political Column

Source: Daniel Akst, New York Times

Date: November 2, 2003

Nobody expects employers to provide groceries, housing or clothing, but for odd historical reasons American

employers have evolved into providers of health insurance. Nearly two-thirds of Americans under 65 rely on

health coverage from an employer. Some of America's largest companies, maybe eager to level the playing field,

favor requiring employers to provide insurance. But they have it backward. They should be advocating an end to

employer-financed health coverage altogether.

Beneath the Smiles, a Churning Anxiety

Format: News Commentary

Source: Louis Uchitelle, New York Times

Date: November 2, 2003

We live in a manic-depressive economy, and right now we're in the manic phase. The annual growth

rate, 7.2 percent in the third quarter, was spectacular. The Keynesian-style stimulus has been wonderfully

effective. But the depressive phase may kick in again soon, as growth slows and millions of employed and

unemployed Americans struggle to make up for lost incomes. They are out there trying now, earning $40,000 or

$50,000, for example, rather than the $50,000 or $60,000 they made before they were laid off and took pay cuts

to get work again. The Labor Department does not calculate their growing numbers, and neither does anyone else.

Age Discrimination Slams the Door on Women

Format: Op-Ed

Source: Ellen Lieber, Newsday

Date: November 4, 2003

Normally, I am a "glass half-full" kind of gal, but my spring 2003 layoff left me

with a little too much negative energy, especially since I was replaced by a younger (read: cheaper) male with

less experience and fewer credentials. Middle-aged women, just like me, are being overlooked by prospective

employers as they were by their former employers who chose to lay them off. Fearful that they will be sued for

discriminatory hiring or terminating practices, no employer will own up to acting inappropriately. But bias

against middle-aged women is hard to refute when so many of my female friends and former colleagues have faced

the same obstacles I have.

Unemployment is Forcing Many to Drop Out of College

Format: Editorial

Source: Dwight Lewis, The Tennessean

Date: November 9, 2003

It seemed like such an unbelievable story. But it's a true one. Just listen: ''I

sit on the Board of Regents of Morgan State University in Baltimore,'' said U.S. Rep. Elijah Cummings, D-Md.,

''and we just had to let go about 1,000 students out of 13,000, not because they weren't qualified but

because they did not have the money to go to school. ''We interviewed them before they left, and many of them

said at one time they had a part-time job or even a full-time job, but those jobs have gone away. They want to

participate and get a good education, but the job situation we're in means we're leaving a lot of them


A Manufactured Crisis on Judges

Format: Editorial

Source: New York Times

Date: November 10, 2003


activists have been demanding that Senate Republicans do more to push through the Bush administration's most

extreme judicial nominees. So the Republican leadership is planning a 30-hour talk marathon later this week to

protest the Democrats' blocking of a handful of candidates. To up the public-relations quotient, there may be

calls for votes on three controversial female nominees. Lost amid the grandstanding about a "crisis" in

judicial nominations are the facts: 168 Bush nominees have been confirmed and only four rejected, a far better

percentage than for President Bill Clinton. Bush administration nominees have been moving through the Senate at

a rapid clip: in his first three years in office, President Bush has gotten more judges confirmed than

President Ronald Reagan did in his first four. When Republicans controlled the Senate, more than 60 Clinton

administration judicial candidates were blocked.

Workplace No Place for Violence

Format: Political Column

Source: John Eckberg, Cincinnati Enquirer

Date: November 10, 2003

The tragic truck depot shooting in West Chester last week underscored a simmering reality of today's

workplace. Random violence can be visited upon any job site on any given day. And with guns sold in big-box

stores, gun shops and flea markets from one end of this country to the other, there is probably not a whole lot

that anybody can do about it. Thomas C. West, 50, a former truck driver who resigned two years ago from his

Atlanta-based job for Watkins Motor Lines Inc., allegedly shot and killed two people and wounded three others

in a shooting rampage that lasted only seconds. The irony is that that's about as long as it takes for a

manager to fire somebody.

Always Low Wages: Exploitation of Illegals is Rampant

Format: News Commentary

Source: Joe Rodriguez (San Jose Mercury News), The Tallahassee Democrat

Date: November 8, 2003

Now we know why Wal-Mart's motto is "Always low prices." It's

much easier to beat the competition's prices when you don't employ your own janitors, and the contractors you

depend on to clean your stores have the nasty habit of hiring and exploiting illegal immigrants from Mexico and

Eastern Europe. Immigration cops last month raided 61 Wal-Mart stores, arrested 245 illegal workers and then

hauled company executives and janitorial contractors into court. The feds are trying to make an example of

Wal-Mart. Fine, but we know who's going to pay the highest price.

Longtime Labor Friend Passed Over for Endorsements

Format: Political Column

Source: Chris Christoff, Detroit Free Press

Date: November 8, 2003


Gephardt must feel like a faithful boyfriend watching his girl go to the prom with the new kid in school. No

presidential candidate has been more closely aligned with labor than the longtime congressman from Missouri.

He's been a stalwart on such causes as opposing unfair foreign trade and supporting broad health care for

everyone. So, what does Gephardt get in return? Thursday, the national Service Employees International Union

endorsed Democratic rival Howard Dean. Next week, Dean is expected to get the endorsement of the American

Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees. So two of the nation's biggest unions are coming out for

Dean. And Friday, the UAW's international board voted to make no recommendation in the presidential race.

It's another national endorsement Gephardt banked on, but which slipped away.

Integrity in Workplace Never Takes Day Off, Even [When] Boss Calls In Sick

Format: Advice Column

Source: Jim Bracher, The Californian (Salinas, CA)

Date: November 12, 2003

Question: You write about owners and bosses and how the leaders in

various organizations need to clean up their acts. But what do you think about employees who don't pull their

weight when the boss is absent? What about workers who talk on the phone in a retail store instead of greeting

customers? What about employees who come in late, leave early, are not very nice to customers and fellow

employees, and still expect to be paid for a full day's work? Isn't integrity a two-way street?

Response: Integrity is a two-way street. Employers owe to those with whom they work an opportunity to

be productive, successful, safe, healthy and proud. Owners and operators of enterprises are responsible for

creating and supporting a working environment that is sustainable for all stakeholders (investors, customers,

suppliers, employees, members of the community).

The Great Job Machine

Format: Op-Ed

Source: W. Michael Cox & Richard Alm, New York Times

Date: November 7, 2003

Apparently unconvinced by last week's eye-popping growth figures, economic pessimists remain

fixated on the labor market. Today's release of the Labor Department's latest employment figures, we are

told, will give a true picture of the pace of economic recovery. But the monthly statistics, while relevant

within the larger context of all economic indicators, don't tell the whole story of what is happening with

Americans' jobs. Focusing on net employment gains or losses misses the real show, the long-running drama that

drives the economy forward. While it may seem that little progress is being made on the jobs front, beneath

the surface the economy is doing what it's done for decades: orchestrating a relentless and enormous recycling

of jobs and workers.

Why Jobs Were So Late

Format: News Commentary

Source: Alan B. Krueger, New York Times

Date: November 13, 2003

The latest reports from the Labor Department suggest that what might be called the Energizer

Bunny recession in the job market - it just keeps going and going - might finally have come to an end. If

sustained job growth has indeed arrived, why did it take so long? Although there are no definitive answers, it

is possible to piece together some plausible stories and to rule out others.

The Wal-Martization of America

Format: Editorial

Source: New York Times

Date: November 15, 2003

The 70,000 grocery

workers on strike in Southern California are the front line in a battle to prevent middle-class service jobs

from turning into poverty-level ones. The supermarkets say they are forced to lower their labor costs to

compete with Wal-Mart, a nonunion, low-wage employer aggressively moving into the grocery business. Everyone

should be concerned about this fight. It is, at bottom, about the ability of retail workers to earn wages that

keep their families out of poverty. Grocery stores in Southern California are bracing for the arrival, in

February, of the first of 40 Wal-Mart grocery supercenters. Wal-Mart's prices are about 14 percent lower than

other groceries' because the company is aggressive about squeezing costs, including labor costs. Its workers

earn a third less than unionized grocery workers, and pay for much of their health insurance. Wal-Mart uses

hardball tactics to ward off unions. Since 1995, the government has issued at least 60 complaints alleging

illegal anti-union activities. Southern California's supermarket chains have reacted by demanding a two-year

freeze on current workers' salaries and lower pay for newly hired workers, and they want employees to pay more

for health insurance. The union counters that if the supermarkets match Wal-Mart, their workers will be pushed

out of the middle class. Those workers are already only a step ? or a second family income ? from poverty, with

wages of roughly $18,000 a year. Wal-Mart sales clerks make about $14,000 a year, below the $15,060 poverty

line for a family of three.

Fair Labor Contracts Benefit All

Format: Op-Ed

Source: Daniel Hoffman, Fairbanks Daily News-Miner

Date: November 15, 2003

In the Nov. 8 issue of the News-Miner, it was reported that the Alaska Community Colleges'

Federation of Teachers had reached a tentative contract agreement with the University of Alaska. By reaching

this agreement, a strike was averted that would have brought the university's teaching function to a

standstill. Further, the new agreement will replace a contract that had expired over two whole months ago!

Hmmmm. It appears that the threat of a strike, with the accompanying disruption of a critical service, can be a

strong motivator in bringing two sides together--and in a timely fashion. While that may be the case, I will

never know. Why? Because I'm a Fairbanks police officer. The police officers and 911-dispatchers that I work

with provide essential, emergency services 24 hours a day, 365 days a year. As such, the state of Alaska

considers us as "class one" employees and prohibits our right to strike.

How Workers' Comp Affects Businesses

Format: Advice Column

Source: Benjamin H. Moore , Orlando Sentinel

Date: November 17, 2003

Question: As a small-business owner, how does

workers' compensation insurance affect my business?

Answer: Workers' compensation insurance is

required by the state of Florida to cover medical and partial wage-replacement benefits for any employee who is

injured in a workplace accident. The program is administered by the Department of Financial Services, Division

of Workers' Compensation. Required coverage under the workers' compensation rules is divided into

construction industry rules and nonconstruction industry rules.

How to Tell if a Workplace is Too Damaged for You to Remain

Format: Advice Column

Source: Chad Graham (Des Moines Register), Honolulu Advertiser

Date: November 17, 2003

Everyone knows there's no fun in dysfunctional workplaces. What's tricky

is determining when an office environment can be fixed by talking to the boss or working as a team to change

the culture. How do you know when a company has such severe, unfixable problems that it's better to clean out

your desk and bolt screaming?

Workplace is Not the Place to Spill Details of Your Private Life

Format: Advice Column

Source: Corby O'Connor (Newhouse News Service), Plain Dealer

Date: November 17, 2003

Have you been a recipient of details you would

rather not hear, sometimes known as TMI, or too much information? You know it when you hear it: the gory

details of your co-worker's medical procedure, the prowess of your cubicle mate's significant other, your

secretary's no- good spouse. Or are you the one who leads the soap-opera life, spewing intimate and personal

facts of the drama you live to ev eryone within hearing distance? It is a good idea to get along with your

co-workers and establish good relationships. But when it comes to sharing details about our personal lives,

some particulars are better left out.

The Universal Cure

Format: Op-Ed

Source: Ezekiel J. Emanuel & Victor R. Fuchs, New York Times

Date: November 18, 2003

The public has good reason to be worried about health coverage. After five years of relative

stability, insurance premiums, prescription-drug prices and other costs have soared. This year, premiums went

up nearly 14 percent, with those paid by employees increasing nearly 50 percent since 2000. The number of

Americans without health insurance increased more than 5 percent just in the last year. And strikes by workers

in Los Angeles and elsewhere showed that health coverage is the flashpoint of labor discord. As a solution,

many policymakers are advocating small reforms like a Medicare prescription drug benefit and expansion of the

Children's Health Insurance Program. Unfortunately, more services for some groups may increase costs and force

reductions in coverage for others. What we need is a fair proposal that is simple, efficient and appealing to

disparate constituencies. For more than a decade, as members of the medical and economics communities, we have

advocated such an alternative: universal health care vouchers.

Watch Out for Falling Wages at Wal-Mart

Format: Editorial

Source: Berkshire Eagle

Date: November 17, 2003

The world's

largest retailer is busy making a name for itself as one of the world's biggest social menaces. Back in the

news for its exploitive and inhumane treatment of illegal aliens, Wal-Mart has a long history of ruthlessness.

It has been caught underpricing local pharmacists, then jacking up prices after the independent town pharmacies

folded. For years the company expected some employees to work "off the clock," punching out to go home and then

staying on for more hours of unpaid labor. IBM it isn't.

MCP Strike Over Standards a Lesson for Labor

Format: Political Column

Source: Ronnie Polaneczky, Philadelphia Daily News

Date: November 18, 2003

There's something riveting about the nursing strike at the Medical College of Pennsylvania. This one ain't

just about money or benefits. It's about standards. Let me ask you: When's the last time a strike in this

city was about anything other than socking it to The Man, right in the wallet? Whether they're schoolteachers

who want better insurance or bus drivers hankering after a cushier retirement, organized labor nearly always

walks the picket line in blatant self interest. Nothing wrong with that. But it doesn't necessarily stir

public support beyond a general feeling of empathy. Who doesn't want a fatter paycheck and juicier benefits?

But the MCP nurses - still on the picket line over the weekend - are using their moral authority as front-line

caregivers to call attention to something we should all be worried about: There aren't enough of them to go

around. Their hospital is so understaffed, they say, they are constantly forced to work overtime.

Dean's Dangerous Word

Format: Political Column

Source: Howard Kurtz, Washington Post

Date: November 21, 2003

Howard Dean needs a better phrase-maker. He has just declared himself a champion of

"re-regulation." Not exactly a stirring call to arms. What do you think of when you hear the word "regulation"?

I conjure up a room full of glum, vacant-eyed bureaucrats stamping useless forms while the phones keep ringing

and no one answers them. People hate the idea of government regulation. They want safer skies, cleaner air and

healthier meat. They want to be protected from shady Wall Street traders and hazardous toys. But they don't

like the word regulation.

The Unemployment Myth

Format: Op-Ed

Source: Austan Goolsbee, New York Times

Date: November 30, 2003


government's announcement on Tuesday that the economy grew even faster than expected makes the current

"jobless recovery" even more puzzling. To give some perspective, unemployment normally falls significantly in

such economic boom times. The last time growth was this good, in 1983, unemployment fell 2.5 percentage points

and another full percentage point the next year. That's what happens in a typical recovery. So why not this

time? Because we have more to recover from than we've been told. The reality is that we didn't have a mild

recession. Jobs-wise, we had a deep one.

The Productivity Paradox

Format: Op-Ed

Source: Stephen S. Roach, New York Times

Date: November 30, 2003

Despite the economy's stunning 8.2 percent surge in the third quarter, the staying power of this economic

recovery remains a matter of debate. But there is one aspect of the economy on which agreement is nearly

unanimous: America's miraculous productivity. In the third quarter, productivity grew by 8.1 percent in the

nonfarm business sector ? a figure likely to be revised upwards ? and it has grown at an average rate of 5.4

percent in the last two years. This surge is not simply a byproduct of the business cycle, even accounting for

the usual uptick in productivity after a recession. In the first two years of the six most recent recoveries,

productivity gains averaged only 3.5 percent. The favored explanation is that improved productivity is yet

another benefit of the so-called New Economy. American business has reinvented itself. Manufacturing and

services companies have figured out how to get more from less. By using information technologies, they can

squeeze ever increasing value out of the average worker. It's a great story, and if correct, it could lead to

a new and lasting prosperity in the United States. But it may be wide of the mark.

Political Steel

Format: Editorial

Source: Washington Post

Date: December 2, 2003

President Bush plans to attend a fundraiser in Pittsburgh today. He also plans this week to repeal the tariffs

he applied to imported steel nearly two years ago. In theory, these two events should have nothing to do with

one another: A fundraiser is a fundraiser, and a trade decision is a trade decision. But in practice, the steel

tariffs had everything to do with fundraising and everything to do with winning votes in Pennsylvania. And that

goes to the heart of what was wrong with them. Not only were the steel tariffs purely about domestic politics

from the start, no one in the administration ever pretended otherwise. Their main purpose, which no one denied,

was to win back some of the steel country votes the president lost in the 2000 elections.

Family Values Profit Businesses and Employees

Format: Advice Column

Source: Erin Raccah, Portland Press Herald

Date: December 5, 2003

The recognition that employees are real people with real lives outside the workplace is no longer an "aha"

revelation to many employers. Words like "flex time" or "job sharing" aren't necessarily seen as threats. And

thanks in large part to the Family and Medical Leave Act, corporate America has come to realize that it

actually can survive brief interruptions for family obligations. But the reality is that each new parent - each

new mom, in particular - is helping to write the rules every day.

Help the Jobless

Format: Editorial

Source: Washington Post

Date: December 8, 2003

The House plans to show up today for what looks to be its sole day of work this month; the Senate will put in

an appearance Tuesday. After that, lawmakers will likely leave for a long Christmas break, but unless

Republican leaders change their minds, Congress will leave a major task undone: extending emergency benefits

for the long-term unemployed. The emergency program will begin to phase out starting Dec. 21; as a result, an

estimated half million of the nation's jobless will be without benefits by the time lawmakers come back to

town Jan. 20.

Too Few Hires, Still

Format: Editorial

Source: New York Times

Date: December 6, 2003

America's gross

domestic product grew at a China-like 8.2 percent rate in the third quarter. The productivity growth and

manufacturing activity numbers released this week were the best in two decades. Corporate profits are at record

highs, consumer confidence is rising, and interest rates remain low. All of which makes November's anemic jobs

report, released yesterday, so disappointing. It was, to be fair, the fourth-consecutive month of added jobs,

and the unemployment rate dropped to 5.9 percent. Still, the 57,000 jobs created in the month were far below

expectations, and fell short of the 200,000-plus needed per month, on average, to reduce the unemployment rate

substantially. The "glass half-empty" report added fuel to the ongoing debate among analysts. The bulls think

that it is only a matter of time before strong job growth kicks in, while pessimistic observers argue that

structural changes -- things like technology-driven productivity gains and the outsourcing of labor --

foreclose any major improvement.

Another Battle for Bush

Format: Political Column

Source: Bob Herbert, New York Times

Date: December 15, 2003

There are

two things I hope will emerge from the capture of Saddam. Like so many others, I hope the effort in Iraq

becomes much more widely shared, internationalized, which would be good not just for Iraq and the U.S. but for

the short- and long-term stability of the entire planet. My second hope is that the Bush administration will

begin to apply the kind of focus, energy and resources that it used in Iraq to the economic difficulties of

ordinary working families here in America. If you just went by recent headlines, you'd have the impression

that the U.S. economy is as bright as the Christmas tree in Rockefeller Center. The G.D.P. is surging. The

stock market, retail sales and corporate profits are up. So is productivity. The Bush crowd will tell you that

these economic goodies are bound to trickle down. Jobs will become plentiful. Pay envelopes will fatten.

Nirvana is just around the corner. The problem with this scenario is that there are no facts to back it up. The

closer you look at employment in this country, the more convinced you become that the condition of the ordinary

worker is deteriorating, not improving.

Nation of Hypocrites on Labor Rights

Format: Op-Ed

Source: Julius Getman and F. Ray Marshall, Los Angeles Times

Date: December 12, 2003

The rights of workers to organize, to strike

and to bargain collectively are essential attributes of human liberty, recognized as such by treaties, court

opinions, papal encyclicals, government officials and every major international rights treaty. One is the

International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights, which the United States ratified in 1992 but

has done little to implement. Bush administration officials do not dispute the importance of these rights. They

would probably even agree that sustainable growth and political and social stability all require free and

democratic labor movements. They claim that worker rights are adequately protected and recognized in the U.S.

After all, our basic labor statute, the National Labor Relations Act, sets forth that workers have "the right

to self organization, to form, join or assist labor organizations to bargain collectively ? and to engage in

other concerted activities for the purpose of collective bargaining or other mutual aid or protection." It also

makes interfering with these rights an unfair labor practice. But the reality is far different. The rights

enunciated almost 70 years ago are constantly challenged and frequently denied. Those who oppose the right of

workers to organize and strike have learned to phrase their opposition in the language of liberty and to

justify it in terms of the best interests of working people. There are few areas where hypocrisy is more firmly


Latino Labor Helps Make Nation Great

Format: Op-Ed

Source: Tisha Tallman & Charlie Flemming, Atlanta Journal Constitution

Date: December 15, 2003

On June 26, 2000, then Texas Gov. George W. Bush, campaigning for the

presidency, underscored the belief held by many Americans regarding Latino immigrants living in the United

States. "Latinos come to the U.S. to seek the same dreams that have inspired millions of others: They want a

better life for their children," said Bush. "Family values do not stop at the Rio Grande. Latinos enrich our

country with faith in God, a strong ethic of work, community and responsibility. We can all learn from the

strength, solidarity and values of Latinos. Immigration is not a problem to be solved; it is the sign of a

successful nation." The statement is particularly relevant now in the Southeast, which has experienced

exponential growth over the last 10 years.

Hard Ceiling: For Many Women, the Glass is Unbreakable

Format: Editorial

Source: Pittsburgh Post-Gazette

Date: December 16, 2003

The glass

ceiling is still there. After decades of progress toward improving women's education and work experience, a

new congressional study reveals that the wage gap between men and women isn't narrowing -- it's widening.

Officials say there's only one explanation: discrimination. The General Accounting Office, a watchdog arm of

Congress, says that for every dollar men earned in 1983, women earned 80.4 cents. But by the year 2000, that

had actually dropped slightly, to 79.7 cents for women. Between 1983 and 2000, about a quarter of that

difference was due to job tenure, hours worked, education and job flexibility. But the GAO could not blame the

rest of the difference on anything other than discrimination.

Spiraling Wages Can't Continue

Format: Editorial

Source: Pasadena Star-News

Date: December 16, 2003


didn't take a 9/11 for Southern California residents of small- and medium-sized cities to appreciate our

police and firefighters. We always have, and how. For at least two decades, we've not only shared the love: we

have showed it by opening our pocketbooks very, very wide. And that's fine. Public-safety officers put their

lives on the line for us. In the old days, the rotten part was that they weren't well-compensated for that

career choice. Now they are, quite extraordinarily so, with excellent salaries from cadets to chiefs, and with

some of the most generous benefit and retirement packages in the history of American employment.

The Ownership Society

Format: Op-Ed

Source: David Brooks, New York Times

Date: December 20, 2003

Not long ago, a man who runs a construction company came to the White House to meet with a

senior Bush administration official. He talked economic policy, then was asked how his business was going. He

said things were going well. Orders were up. He'd revamped his I.T. system, and he'd re-engineered his

production process so he'd been able to reduce his work force to 7,200 from 9,800. You can imagine the

reaction as he dribbled out this final bit of good news. For here in a nutshell is the administration's

problem. The economy is doing well, but because of enormous productivity gains, it is not yet producing enough

jobs to sharply reduce unemployment and ensure President Bush's re-election.

Occupational Hazards

Format: Editorial

Source: New York Times

Date: December 23, 2003

Job-related deaths often seem to be isolated instances of carelessness or bad luck. Add them up over

time, however, and they amount to something quite different -- a litany of employer indifference matched only

by the timidity of the federal agency charged with ensuring workplace safety, the Occupational Safety and

Health Administration. In a series of three investigative articles ending today, The Times's David Barstow has

now done the necessary adding up. Between 1982 and 2002, a total of 2,197 workers were killed on the job

because their employers "willfully" violated safety laws. With full knowledge of their responsibilities, they

ignored accepted safety precautions, removed safety devices to speed up production or denied workers protective

gear. Nevertheless, in 93 percent of the 1,242 cases investigated by OSHA -- there were multiple deaths in some

cases, and state agencies investigated others -- the agency declined to seek prosecution.

Boeing: Putting Out The Labor Fires

Format: News Commentary

Source: Stanley Holmes, BusinessWeek

Date: December 29, 2003

On Dec. 16, Boeing's new CEO, Harry C. Stonecipher, stood up in a Seattle convention center and announced

that the company would go ahead with its 7e7 jetliner and build it in nearby Everett, Wash. "The 7e7 is a real

game-changer," he declared as commercial-plane division chief Allan Mulally looked on approvingly. "Now let's

go sell it." What Stonecipher didn't tell the assembled 3,000 Boeing Co. employees was that 10 days earlier,

he had quietly approached the chief of the company's biggest and feistiest union, the International

Association of Machinists, to offer an olive branch. At that meeting, Stonecipher not only told Machinists

President R. Thomas Buffenbarger that Boeing would build the plane in Everett, he went much further -- offering

to work hand in hand with the unions to end decades of bitter labor relations that have sunk employee morale to

an all-time low. Why would Stonecipher, long considered a foe of organized labor, have such a radical change of

heart? Company insiders say it's because he realizes that Boeing's future rests in part on its ability to

deliver the 7e7 cheaper and faster than it has any previous jetliner. An angry Machinists union could disrupt

those plans.

Overweight Employee Isn't Necessarily 'Disabled'

Format: Advice Column

Source: Oregon Bureau of Labor and Industries, Corvallis Gazette Times

Date: January 5, 2004

Obesity is generally not, by itself, a disability that is

protected under the federal Americans with Disabilities Act. This is a tricky area, however, because obesity is

often associated with other conditions that are disabilities, and in some cases courts have held that "morbid

obesity" is a protected medical condition. Also, under the ADA and related Oregon statutes, it is illegal for

an employer to discriminate because of a record of disability or "perceived disability." Some lawsuits for

discrimination based on weight are filed on the basis that the employer regarded the overweight employee as

having a disability -- even if the employee was not in fact "disabled" as defined by law.

Year of Spending Dangerously

Format: Editorial

Source: New York Times

Date: January 5, 2004

Investors made 2003 the year of living dangerously, shaking off wartime concerns and disclosures of

scandals corrupting the very heart of the marketplace -- from the New York Stock Exchange to the mutual fund

industry -- to break a three-year losing streak. All major stock indices registered their first annual gains

since 1999. The new year's first piece of economic news suggests that the ongoing recovery continues to gather

strength, and should bolster investor confidence. Far surpassing economists' expectations, an influential

monthly index of nationwide manufacturing activity posted its highest number in two decades in December. The

report augurs well for the economy's chances of reducing unemployment in coming months. Jobs have been hard to

come by early on in this recovery. That's not unusual, as businesses are able to meet a surge in consumer

demand with their unsold inventories, or by tapping unused capacity. Moreover, despite a fall in the nation's

unemployment rate to 5.9 percent from 6.4 percent in the second half of 2003, technology-driven productivity

growth and the exporting of many jobs overseas have raised concerns that this time a frothy economy might not

lead to a labor market in which workers feel secure about their prospects and see wages rise briskly.

At Home and Work, Still a Man's World

Format: Op-Ed

Source: Emily Bazelon & Judith Resnik, Los Angeles Times

Date: January 2, 2004

Behind many a successful man is a woman who

manages his family and home life--an arrangement that men rarely appear to reciprocate, even today. A new study

of 160,000 doctoral recipients spotlights the telling difference between men and women in academia: Of the

married men tenured in science or social science, more than half had stay-at-home spouses, compared with 9% of

the married tenured women in those disciplines. In a parallel study, Princeton found that none of the married

women teaching similar subjects had a husband who didn't work. And though 52% of the men had spouses who

worked part time, just 15% of the female faculty did. Anyone who helps run a household-- from buying groceries

and doing the laundry to paying the bills -- knows what this means.

Working Hard -- And Forgotten

Format: Political Column

Source: E.J. Dionne, Washington Post

Date: January 2, 2004

Here's a hope for 2004: that this is the year when we remember the forgotten. The forgotten are not

rich, powerful or famous. They are not the people who show up at President Bush's fundraisers or get big tax

breaks. They are not Michael Jackson or his lawyers. They are forgotten by definition: Nobody pays any

attention to them. We pay lip service to the forgotten. We praise our men and women in uniform. But how much do

we think about the reservists whose lives have been so disrupted by tours of duty extended far beyond anything

they signed up for? How much attention do we pay to those who have lost limbs in Iraq or Afghanistan?

Politicians who have never served in battle give lovely speeches about patriotism. How often do they think

about the sacrifices being asked of those who carry out their policies? We praise hard work all the time. But

as a society, we do very little for those who work hard every day and receive little reward for what they do.

The Broken Promise of Nafta

Format: Op-Ed

Source: Joseph E. Stiglitz, New York Times

Date: January 6, 2004

The celebrations of Nafta's 10th anniversary are far more muted than those

involved in its creation might have hoped. In the United States, the North American Free Trade Agreement has

failed to fulfill the most dire warnings of its opponents and the most fervent expectations of its supporters.

In Mexico, however, the treaty remains controversial and even harmful -- as do America's efforts to liberalize

trade throughout the hemisphere. There is some good news. In America, the "giant sucking sound of jobs being

pulled out of this country" that Ross Perot predicted never quite materialized. The first six years of Nafta

saw unemployment in the United States fall to new lows. (Of course, to most economists there was little basis

for Mr. Perot's worries in the first place. Maintaining full employment is the concern of monetary and fiscal

policy, not of trade policy.) Nafta has brought some benefits to Mexico as well; it was trade with America,

fueled by Nafta -- not the bailout of Wall Street lenders -- that was responsible for Mexico's quick recovery

after the financial crisis of December 1994. But while Mexico benefited in the early days, especially with

exports from factories near the United States border, those benefits have waned, both with the weakening of the

American economy and intense competition from China.

Why Retirement Plans are Falling Short

Format: Advice Column

Source: David R. Francis, Christian Science Monitor

Date: January 5, 2004


now, it is no secret: Many American workers don't save adequately for retirement. And in most cases, the

ever-popular 401(k) plans offered by private businesses will not make up for the inadequacy of a Social

Security pension. In short, 401(k)s are failing many workers, especially younger ones - not because these plans

are themselves inadequate, but because Americans are not taking full advantage of them.

Border Politics as Bush Woos 2 Key Groups With Proposal

Format: News Commentary

Source: Elisabeth Bumiller, New York Times

Date: January 8, 2004

President Bush's sweeping proposal on Wednesday to give legal status to millions of illegal workers was a

political document as well as an immigration policy and sought to re-establish his credentials as a

compassionate conservative at the starting gate of an election year. White House political advisers have long

talked of the critical importance of Hispanics to Mr. Bush's re-election. But political analysts said that his

latest proposal was also designed to appeal to a much larger political prize, suburban swing voters, who might

see the plan as evidence of a gentler Republican Party. "For a party that's trying to look more inclusive and

welcoming, the proposal has broader thematics that show an openness to America's new immigrants," said Bill

McInturff, a leading Republican pollster.

A Vital Immigration Debate

Format: Editorial

Source: New York Times

Date: January 8, 2004

President Bush has now waded

into one of the most turbulent and emotional issues of our day: immigration reform. He had barely thrown out

the first hints of a new guest worker program yesterday when it came under a noisy assault from both

conservatives and advocates for immigrants. For simply reopening what has always been a torturous debate in

this country, the president deserves applause. He has recognized that the nation's immigration system is, as

he put it, "broken." At first glance, it is not clear exactly how the Bush plan would clear up a border policy

that has become steadily less rational, humane and secure, as the number of illegal immigrants here grows by

350,000 each year. But the president started at the right place by addressing one of the basic conflicts in

America's immigration policy, that persistent tug of war between keeping the borders secure and enticing

needed low-paid workers to sneak past the immigration agents. Essentially, the White House wants to create a

guest worker program, this one mostly for lower-skilled jobs. Yet for this proposal to be anything more than a

bow to Hispanic voters or a convenient prelude to meetings with the Mexican government, Mr. Bush and his party

have a lot of work to do.

American Jobs but Not the American Dream

Format: Op-Ed

Source: David Abraham, New York Times

Date: January 9, 2004

President Bush's

immigration reform proposal, unveiled on Wednesday, is a classic guest worker program on the European model. As

such, it may be doomed from the start: Europe's guest worker programs created as many problems as they solved,

and to this day they remain unpopular. Guest worker programs were widely used in Europe from the 1950's

through the 1970's during a period of extreme labor shortages. Most of the several million Turks and Yugoslavs

in Germany, for example, are there today because of Germany's substantial guest-worker program of that period.

Lesser but substantial numbers of guest workers are also to be found among the Muslim populations of Central

and Northern Europe. The details of the program announced by President Bush have yet to be worked out. But its

outlines are clear. At the invitation of employers, workers will be permitted to stay in the United States for

a limited time without having to wait in its long immigration lines. They would also secure many of the

benefits and protections of American-born workers.

Call It the Family Risk Factor

Format: Op-Ed

Source: Jacob S. Hacker, New York Times

Date: January 11, 2004

On the heels of

Friday's glum Labor Department report, Americans have a right to be confused. Soaring growth, stocks and

consumer confidence have heartened investors. And yet, the country remains mired in a jobless recovery. The

reality is that the economy has become more uncertain and anxiety-producing for most of us -- not just over the

past three years, but over the past 30. But by fixating on the day-to-day ups and downs, analysts have largely

missed the more telling trend: an increasing shift of economic risk from government and corporations onto

workers and their families. Signs of this transformation are everywhere: in the laid-off programmer whose stock

options are suddenly worthless, in the former welfare mom who can get a job but not health care or day care, in

the family forced into bankruptcy by the sickness of a child. But these episodes, while viewed with sympathy,

are usually seen in isolation, rather than as parts of a larger problem. This blinkered view stands in the way

of both diagnoses of the causes of the new economic insecurity and prescriptions for its cure.

Can Disabled People Be Forced to Crawl Up the Courthouse Steps?

Format: Editorial

Source: Adam Cohen, New York Times

Date: January 11, 2004


George Lane showed up at the Polk County Courthouse with a crushed hip and pelvis, he had a problem. His

hearing was on the second floor, there was no elevator, and the judge said he had better get upstairs. Mr.

Lane, both of whose legs were in casts, somehow managed to get out of his wheelchair and crawl up two flights

of stairs. "On a pain scale of 1 to 10, it was way past 10," he says. While Mr. Lane crawled up, he says, the

judge and other courthouse employees "stood at the top of the stairs and laughed at me." His case was not heard

in the morning session, he says, and at the lunch break he crawled back down. That afternoon, when he refused

to crawl upstairs again, he was arrested for failing to appear, and put in jail. Anyone looking for evidence

that a mean mood has descended on the nation need only stop by the Supreme Court Tuesday for the arguments in

Tennessee v. Lane. Mr. Lane and other disabled people are suing Tennessee under the Americans With Disabilities

Act for failing to make its courthouses accessible. Tennessee, backed by a group of other states, is belittling

the claims, and insisting it has immunity to the suit. Incredibly, there is a real chance the Supreme Court

will side with Tennessee.

Jobs Stats ... Pass the Salt

Format: News Commentary

Source: Kathleen Hays, CNN

Date: January 12, 2004

How many

grains of salt should we take with the December employment report which showed only 1000 jobs created that

month? The first one is the obvious one that all the skeptics pounced on: There are many other indicators

showing strength -- from the super-fast third quarter GDP growth rate, to the healthy retail shopping during

the holidays, to surveys from manufacturing that show growth. One that gets less attention is an indicator of

small business hiring from the National Federation of Independent Business which took a nice jump up in


Temporary Immigration

Format: Editorial

Source: New York Times

Date: January 12, 2004

President Bush wants to create

a new class of "temporary" workers in America. As he said in his immigration proposal last week, he expects

these workers to spend several years here, and he would offer them incentives to return permanently to their

home countries. This is a reasonable idea but unduly limited. It is clear that there are low-skilled jobs that

are open, and that there are many eager to come, earn higher wages here and then return. At the same time, some

should be able to seek permanent residency. Moreover, the history of guest workers in America is a brutal one,

filled with abuse by employers and the government as well as legitimate concerns by American workers. The

challenge for the president, the Congress and the leaders of nations that would provide the new class of

workers will be to find a better way to serve their needs, ensuring that those who are temporary are given a

fair, enforceable deal while offering some portion of them the chance to stay and become permanent.

Inequities Persist for Women in Media

Format: News Commentary

Source: Sheila Gibbons, Women's E-News

Date: January 21, 2004

What must it be like

to be a woman reporting on the economy and the national gender pay gap, knowing you're a victim yourself? And

knowing that the longer you work, the less will be your compensation compared with the guy at the next desk?

And that down the road, your pay gap will create a pension gap. After reading the latest report about the

shatter-proof glass ceiling in communications companies--in the December report from the Annenberg Public

Policy Center of the University of Pennsylvania--I can only assume that plenty of female employees out there

are entertaining such bitter thoughts.

Gaming Overtime

Format: Editorial

Source: New York Times

Date: January 20, 2004

Some ominous fine print has

turned up in the Bush administration's promise to help long-suffering low-wage workers get the overtime pay

they have long been denied. As initially presented, the White House estimated that its new rules governing

nonunion workers would mean $895 million in guaranteed time-and-a-half pay for 1.3 million of the nation's

poorest-paid workers. That inviting proposal was coupled with a far more controversial plan to allow employers

greater leeway to close out overtime pay for a midrange of white-collar professionals by designating them as

managers. That part was questionable enough -- critics warned that it could cut earnings and force unpaid

overtime on millions of workers, and even the Republican-led Congress became leery. But now, in delving into

the sweetener half of the plan covering the lowest-paid, The Associated Press has discovered that the Labor

Department's advisory includes suggestions to employers about ways they can keep their costs from actually

going up.

Coffee Shops Are The New Workplace

Format: Op-Ed

Source: Andy Letendre, Hartford Courant

Date: January 20, 2004

The rise in unemployment and the proliferation of coffee shops are no

coincidence. The army of out-placed professionals turned bedroom consultants has latched onto these coffee

emporiums in recent years as ideal alternative offices. Just look around the next time you stop for a cup of

Joe at your favorite coffee spot. You'll find your regulars getting an eye-opening dose of caffeine on the way

to work. But you'll also see klatches of former business executives, worn briefcases by their sides,

cellphones atop their tables, notepads spread before them, ready for a business meeting or just some time away

from the isolation of the bedroom workplace. It's their office away from home.

The Workplace: Fear Not Europe's Migrants

Format: News Commentary

Source: Doreen Carvajal, International Herald Tribune

Date: January 21, 2004

If America

considers itself a nation of immigrants, then Europe is the land that bid them goodbye. And so West European

countries have never developed a culture entirely comfortable with newcomers, even from other European

countries. Recent immigration policies reflect that ambivalence as the European Union prepares to expand by 10

countries in May. But despite these insecurities, new migrants from Eastern Europe offer Western countries a

potent labor market strategy to help resolve critical demographic issues like declining and aging


Immigrant-Labor Economics

Format: Op-Ed

Source: Jeff Madrick, New York Times

Date: January 22, 2004


Bush's recent proposal to grant temporary legal status to illegal immigrants is not yet fleshed out enough to

judge how effective it will be. Six million to eight million illegal workers would qualify, as would future

immigrants hired by companies that could show that Americans were not willing to take the jobs. One especially

serious concern is that immigrant workers will be tied indefinitely to the company that sponsors them. Teresa

Ghilarducci, an economist at Notre Dame, warns that this would give the company undue power over wages and

other worker rights, and a result could be a permanent class of low-wage employees. But if the Bush plan raises

more questions than it answers, it is still an encouraging first step that focuses needed attention on an issue

that will become more urgent in coming years.

Labor Among Iowa's Big Losers

Format: News Commentary

Source: Thomas B. Edsall, Washington Post

Date: January 22, 2004

Rep. Richard A. Gephardt (D-Mo.) was not the only loser in the Iowa caucuses. Organized

labor, especially the nation's manufacturing and industrial unions, which poured huge resources into Iowa to

support their longtime ally, suffered an equally embarrassing defeat. In addition, the public-sector unions

that broke ranks and supported former Vermont governor Howard Dean saw their candidate finish behind Sens. John

F. Kerry (Mass.) and John Edwards (N.C.), who had little official union support. Labor organizations backing

Gephardt and Dean brought hundreds of organizers into Iowa, where about 50,000 union members are registered

Democrats eligible to vote in the caucuses. Despite that effort, a plurality of union members, 29 percent,

backed Kerry. Dean and Edwards tied for second place with 22 percent each, and Gephardt got only 19 percent,

according to surveys of caucus-goers.

The Other America

Format: Op-Ed

Source: Bob Herbert, New York Times

Date: January 23, 2004

Either the president

doesn't get it, or he is deliberately ignoring the hard times that have enveloped millions of Americans on his

watch. "For the sake of job growth," said Mr. Bush, to the loud applause of the Congressional bobbleheads at

his State of the Union address, "the tax cuts you passed should be made permanent." Job growth? That's the

weirdest thing Mr. Bush has said since he told a CNN discussion group, "As governor of Texas, I have set high

standards for our public schools, and I have met those standards." Nearly 2.5 million jobs have been lost since

Mr. Bush became president, and the most recent employment statistics have made a mockery of the claim that tax

cuts for the rich would be the engine of job growth for the middle and working classes.

Exhausting Federal Compassion

Format: Editorial

Source: New York Times

Date: January 30, 2004

The pernicious joblessness

bedeviling the nation is spawning a new category of Americans dubbed "exhaustees": the hundreds of thousands of

hard-core unemployed who have run through state and federal unemployment aid. According to the latest

estimates, close to two million Americans, futilely hunting for work while scrambling for economic sustenance,

will join the ranks of exhaustees in the next six months. They represent a record flood of unemployed

individuals with expired benefits -- the highest in 30 years -- who are plainly desperate for help. President

Bush and the Republican-controlled Congress are doing nothing to help these people. Washington showed no qualms

last month in allowing the expiration of the emergency federal program that had offered an extra 13 weeks of

help to those who exhausted state benefits. Historically, such help has been continued in periods of continuing

job shortages. A year ago, the aid was extended an extra year by Republican leaders. But now, the G.O.P.'s

election-year talk is of a recovery rooted in the tax cuts weighted for affluent America. Tending to the

exhaustees clearly mars that message.

Navigating the Politics of Talking Politics at Work

Format: Op-Ed

Source: David Whitemyer, Boston Globe

Date: February 1, 2004

Never talk about politics or religion among friends or coworkers. It's sound advice based on the

simple notion that those subjects are the ones for which people harbor the most hardcore passion and

conviction. This rule of thumb seems especially relevant in today's workplace, where offending a colleague

with strong opinions can have drastic consequences on your career, or at the very least, your daily peace of

mind. Still, with the recent New Hampshire primary, Boston hosting the 2004 Democratic National Convention, and

a presidential race this fall, there's plenty to keep tongues wagging and the area around the office water

cooler humming. It's also easy to see how office banter regarding current events can boil over.

USAID and Its Working Women

Format: News Commentary

Source: Wendy W. Ghannam, Media Monitors Network

Date: February 2, 2004

It's certainly been a weather-impacted autumn here in the Nation's Capital, and the Bush

Administration definitely has "egg on its face" which won't readily wash off!! Certain developments have

occurred in the political arena surrounding allegations of sexism and outright management deviousness going on

inside the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID), at it downtown Wash. DC location and its various

affiliate offices worldwide. USAID, a federal agency which is supposed to be spearheading and rectifying

abysmal quality-of-life circumstances relevant to Third World women and children--and the countries in which

they live, is quite literally not "abiding by its own regulatory mission scope" with its own stateside female

workforce members. In other words, USAID is "shafting" its working women.

The Glint of the Revolving Door

Format: Editorial

Source: New York Times

Date: February 5, 2004

While Washington was engrossed

in a ricin scare and the presidential primaries this week, one of the most powerful members of the House of

Representatives quietly announced that he was heading for the private sector. Representative Billy Tauzin of

Louisiana, the chairman of House Energy and Commerce Committee and the chief architect of the new Medicare

prescription drug law, will now be looking for employment. It's a tribute to the ethically challenged culture

of the nation's Capitol that speculation about his next job centers on lobbying for the pharmaceuticals

industry. If the pharmaceutical industry is indeed where Mr. Tauzin is destined, he could easily claim to have

already earned his salary. The Medicare bill he championed is a lucrative windfall for the drug makers.

Lost in Credibility Gulch

Format: Op-Ed

Source: Bob Herbert, New York Times

Date: February 9, 2004

The question: What

can we believe? The president is genial enough, but it might be time for a bipartisan truth squad to follow him

around, sorting out the facts from his musings, speculations, fantasies and mis-rememberings. Here at home, the

president has been as wrong about jobs as he was about weapons of mass destruction. More than two million jobs

have vanished on Mr. Bush's watch and the recent uptick in job creation has, by all accounts, been meager. The

tax cuts signed into law by Mr. Bush in May 2003 were euphemistically dubbed the Jobs and Growth Act. Workers

are still waiting for the jobs.

Retiring on a Budget

Format: Op-Ed

Source: Robert C. Pozen, New York Times

Date: February 7, 2004

In its fiscal

2005 budget, the Bush administration proposes to encourage Americans to save more by creating two private

savings accounts. These new entitlements may be worthwhile, but they are also expensive. Congress should not

approve them unless the president also agrees to Social Security reform. The new accounts, called the

Retirement Savings Account and the Lifetime Savings Account, would allow Americans to save for retirement or

for major purchases, like a home or a college education. Both accounts would set a maximum contribution of

$5,000 per year, allow earnings to build tax-free and permit tax-free withdrawals after a specified age, number

of years or for a particular purpose. Most important, these tax benefits would be available without the income

limits that apply now to I.R.A.'s. Encouraging middle- and high-wage workers, who would be the most likely

users of these accounts, to save more for retirement is good policy -- but only if accompanied by an effort to

slow the growth of Social Security benefits.

A Stingy Recovery

Format: Editorial

Source: New York Times

Date: February 7, 2004

It's a presidential election

year, so the economy is being described as both feast and famine. The Bush administration would have you

believe that the good times are roaring back, while Democrats paint a bleak picture of a broken nation, about

to export its last few jobs to India and China. Neither portrait is accurate or conducive to a sound policy

debate. Though there is a real recovery under way, the growth has yet to be translated into an equally robust

expansion of corporate payrolls. The economy added 112,000 nonfarm jobs for the month -- a decent number, but

far below expectations. The administration, which has presided over the loss of some two million jobs,

predicted last fall that the economy would soon be creating some 200,000 new jobs a month. That target has not

been reached, despite overall economic growth of 6 percent in the second half of 2003. The pace of growth is

slowing, in fact, and public anxieties about the job market remain high.

Jobs, Jobs, Jobs

Format: Op-Ed

Source: Paul Krugman, New York Times

Date: February 10, 2004

Last Friday the

Bureau of Labor Statistics delivered yet another disappointing employment report. Since there's a lot of

confusion on this subject, let's talk about the numbers. The bureau actually produces two estimates of

employment, one based on a survey that asks each employer in a random sample how many workers are on its

payroll, the other on a survey that asks each household in a random sample how many of its members are

employed. Most experts regard the employer survey as more reliable; even in the midst of the recovery, that

survey has contained nothing but bad news. The household numbers look better, but not particularly good. For

technical reasons involving seasonal adjustment, many economists expected the January report to show a one-time

bounce in both measures. Yet employment as measured by the payroll survey rose by only 112,000 -- well short of

the increase needed just to keep up with a growing population. If employment were rising as rapidly as it did

when the economy was emerging from the 1990-1991 recession, we'd be seeing monthly numbers more like 275,000.

Taking a longer view, the payroll numbers tell a dismal story.

Watching the Jobs Go By

Format: Op-Ed

Source: Nicholas D. Kristof, New York Times

Date: February 11, 2004

The topic

today is the growing furor over the outsourcing of jobs to India -- and, more broadly, educational lapses here.

One reason for the jobless recovery in the U.S. is that it doesn't make much sense to have an American

radiologist, say, examine your X-ray when it can be done so much more cheaply in New Delhi. Indeed, why should

computer software be written, taxes prepared, pathology specimens examined, financial analysis done or homework

graded in the U.S., when all of that can be done more cheaply in Bangalore? I.B.M. is moving thousands of jobs

to India and China, and Reuters says it will have Indian reporters cover some U.S. companies from there. All

this is unsettling. But to me the alarm seems overwrought -- and dangerous, for it is likely to fuel calls for

protectionism. A dozen years ago, there was a similar panic about high-tech jobs going abroad, and people said

that Asia would be making computer chips while Americans produced potato chips.

Promises, Promises

Format: Op-Ed

Source: Bob Herbert, New York Times

Date: February 16, 2004

One of the main

reasons for the decline in President Bush's credibility is the disconnect between the rosy economic scenarios

his administration keeps touting and the much more dismal real-life experience of millions of American

families. Mr. Bush likes to say, "America's economy is strong and getting stronger." He recently boasted,

"Since May 2003 we have seen the economy grow at its fastest pace in nearly 20 years." He predicted that

prosperity would soon "reach every corner of America." The president needs to get out more. He could visit the

working men and women across the state of South Carolina who have watched the factories and the mills close and

their jobs vanish like lights in a blackout. He could chat with the people lining up at soup kitchens and food

pantries from Harlem to Oklahoma and beyond. He could take a tour of the Pacific Northwest or Silicon Valley,

listening to families that have been devastated by the information technology bust and the outsourcing of

high-tech jobs.

More Jobs to the Gallon

Format: Op-Ed

Source: Carl Pope and Ron Gettelfinger, New York Times

Date: February 18, 2004

The Bush administration has issued a proposal that would weaken one of the

nation's most successful environmental laws. The administration's plan would change current automotive fuel

economy standards and allow a loophole that would hurt the environment, auto workers and the economy. While

many details of the plan remain vague, and any changes would not take effect for several years, the

administration has begun soliciting public comment on its proposal. Under current law, automakers are required

to meet an average fuel economy standard for their fleets of cars and light trucks. They can make vehicles that

fall below the average so long as they make enough that exceed it. By requiring an average fuel economy of 27.5

miles per gallon for cars and 20.7 for light trucks, current standards save more than 2.8 million barrels of

oil per day while reducing heat-trapping global warming emissions by nearly 600 million tons per year. At the

same time, workers and communities benefit because auto companies must produce small cars in the United States

to balance out their production of larger vehicles. This fleetwide approach gives companies flexibility in

designing and producing vehicles.

Free Trade, Fairly Managed

Format: News Commentary

Source: Steven Pearlstein, Washington Post

Date: February 18, 2004

Two previous columns on "offshoring" parted with free-trade orthodoxy on two fronts. First, that corporate

executives, egged on relentlessly by Wall Street to cut costs and increase earnings, may be overdoing the

offshoring thing to the detriment of their firms' long-term competitiveness. Second, that the standard

free-trade defense of offshoring fails to take into account the skill levels of the jobs being lost, the nature

of competition in high-tech markets and the impact of suddenly adding more than a billion new workers to global

labor markets. Now comes the hard part -- figuring out what to do about it.

Generational Warfare in the Workplace

Format: Political Column

Source: Dale McFeatters, Naples Daily News

Date: February 19, 2004

Since I count myself among their number, I take an interest in the status of older

workers. More and more, older workers seem to be getting pushed out the door one way or another -- layoffs,

buyouts, outsourcing, mandatory retirements. It is not pretty. A survey of senior executives by a job-placement

service firm found 82 percent believed age bias was "a serious problem" -- and these are people who have a job,

not desperate older workers looking for one. "So many 50-something managers have suffered layoffs and early

retirement that survivors in this age bracket feel pressured to look and act as young as possible to hang onto

their posts," reports The Wall Street Journal.

Dark Side of Free Trade

Format: Op-Ed

Source: Bob Herbert, New York Times

Date: February 20, 2004

The classic story of

the American economy is a saga about an ever-expanding middle class that systematically absorbs the

responsible, hard-working families from the lower economic groups. It's about the young people of each

successive generation doing better than their parents' generation. The plotline is supposed to be a proud

model for the rest of the world. One of the reasons there is so much unease among voters this year is the fact

that this story no longer rings so true. Books based on its plotline are increasingly being placed in the

stacks labeled "fantasy." The middle class is in trouble. Globalization and outsourcing are hot topics in this

election season because so many middle-class Americans, instead of having the luxury of looking ahead to a

brighter future for the next generation, are worried about slipping into a lower economic segment themselves.

This is happening in the middle of an economic expansion, which should tell us that the terrain has changed.

Two Tales of American Jobs

Format: News Commentary

Source: Edmund L. Andrews, New York Times

Date: February 22, 2004


more than a year, Bush administration officials and Republicans in Congress have seized on an intriguing

statistical puzzle to suggest that job creation in the United States may be much stronger than it appears at

first glance. The puzzle is the enormous divergence between the two surveys that are used by the Bureau of

Labor Statistics to measure job creation and unemployment. The payroll survey, which is based on a monthly poll

of 400,000 employers, shows a loss of more than two million jobs since 2001. The household survey, based on

questions posed to people in 50,000 households, shows an increase of more than 500,000 jobs over the same

period. If the payroll survey is correct, Mr. Bush is on track to be the first president since Herbert Hoover

to complete a term in office with fewer jobs than when he started. If the household survey is correct, Mr. Bush

can claim credit for creating jobs despite the blows of a recession, terrorist attacks and two wars.

Cap on Hiring

Format: Editorial

Source: Washington Post

Date: February 23, 2004

Five months into fiscal 2004, the U.S. Bureau of Citizenship and Immigration Services has announced that it is

no longer accepting applications for H-1B "business" visas, which are issued to educated foreign professionals.

The number of visas is capped, by Congress, at 65,000. As of last week, 65,000 visas had already been granted.

For the past few years, larger numbers of visas were issued -- 78,000 in fiscal 2002, and 79,000 in fiscal 2003

-- because the cap had been temporarily raised in the late 1990s to a possible 195,000 to accommodate the

demand for foreign computer and tech workers. The raised cap then lapsed, but the demand, while never as high

as some had predicted, has not lapsed along with it. The holders of H-1B visas are the forgotten face of the

foreign work force. By definition, they make nonsense of the prejudice that all foreign workers are low-wage

service workers who speak little English.

Meet the Zippies

Format: Op-Ed

Source: Thomas L. Friedman, New York Times

Date: February 22, 2004

We grew up

with the hippies in the 1960's. Thanks to the high-tech revolution, many of us became yuppies in the 1980's.

And now, fasten your seat belt, because you may soon lose your job to a "zippie" in the 2000's. "The Zippies

Are Here," declared the Indian weekly magazine Outlook. Zippies are this huge cohort of Indian youth who are

the first to come of age since India shifted away from socialism and dived headfirst into global trade, the

information revolution and turning itself into the world's service center. Outlook calls India's zippies

"Liberalization's Children," and defines one as "a young city or suburban resident, between 15 and 25 years of

age, with a zip in the stride. Belongs to generation Z. Can be male or female, studying or working. Oozes

attitude, ambition and aspiration. Cool, confident and creative. Seeks challenges, loves risks and shuns

fears." Indian zippies carry no guilt about making money or spending it. They are, says one Indian analyst

quoted by Outlook, destination driven, not destiny driven; outward, not inward, looking; upwardly mobile, not


Theory vs. Reality

Format: Op-Ed

Source: Bob Herbert, New York Times

Date: February 23, 2004

Welcome to the 21st

century. The landscape has changed. We're in a new hypercompetitive worldwide economy, driven by breathtaking

advances in technology. Men and women are being added to the global work force by the hundreds of millions. In

this dynamic, potentially very treacherous labor market, few people are looking out for the interests of the

American worker. The very concept of the traditional high-paid American job, with its generous health and

pension benefits and paid vacations, is at risk. Senator Charles Schumer of New York sees the economic changes

as a paradigm shift. In an era of high-bandwith communications and the free flow of capital, most goods and

services can be produced or performed anywhere in the world. And with highly educated workers in countries like

China and India ready and able to perform sophisticated tasks at a fraction of the pay earned by Americans,

there are fewer and fewer reasons for those American jobs not to take flight. In light of these changes, said

Senator Schumer, we should at least be asking some tough questions about the real-world effects of free trade

as we've known it.

Workers' Rights Are Being Rolled Back

Format: Op-Ed

Source: Steven Pearlstein, Washington Post

Date: February 25, 2004

While the Bush administration is gung-ho for democracy in Iraq and Zimbabwe, there is one place it wants to be

sure it never sees the light of day: the American workplace. I am talking here about a right that most

Americans thought they won back in 1935 -- the right to form unions and bargain collectively. Over the years,

that right has been whittled away by legislation, poked with holes by appeals courts and reduced to irrelevancy

by a well-meaning bureaucracy that has let itself be intimidated by political and legal thuggery. As a result,

any company willing to use intimidation and delaying tactics will never have to sign a first contract with a

union, even if employees really want one.

Online commentary on Steven Pearlstein's column:
href="http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/articles/A2282-2004Feb24.html">The Lost Right to Unionize

The Trade Tightrope

Format: Op-Ed

Source: Paul Krugman, New York Times

Date: February 27, 2004

You can't blame

the Democrats for making the most of the Bush administration's message malfunction on trade and jobs. When the

president's top economist suggests, even hypothetically, considering hamburger-flipping a form of

manufacturing, it's a golden opportunity to accuse the White House of being out of touch with the concerns of

working Americans. ("Will special sauce now be counted as a durable good?" Representative John Dingell asks.)

And the accusation sticks, because it's true. But the Democratic presidential candidates have to walk a

tightrope. To exploit the administration's vulnerability, they must offer relief to threatened workers. But

they also have to avoid falling into destructive protectionism.

30 Little Turtles

Format: Op-Ed

Source: Thomas L. Friedman, New York Times

Date: February 29, 2004

Indians are

so hospitable. I got an ovation the other day from a roomful of Indian 20-year-olds just for reading perfectly

the following paragraph: "A bottle of bottled water held 30 little turtles. It didn't matter that each turtle

had to rattle a metal ladle in order to get a little bit of noodles, a total turtle delicacy. The problem was

that there were many turtle battles for less than oodles of noodles." I was sitting in on an "accent

neutralization" class at the Indian call center 24/7 Customer. The instructor was teaching the would-be Indian

call center operators to suppress their native Indian accents and speak with a Canadian one -- she teaches

British and U.S. accents as well, but these youths will be serving the Canadian market. Since I'm originally

from Minnesota, near Canada, and still speak like someone out of the movie "Fargo," I gave these young Indians

an authentic rendition of "30 Little Turtles," which is designed to teach them the proper Canadian

pronunciations. Hence the rousing applause.

Attire Too Sexy? Employers Can Ban It

Format: Advice Column

Source: Carol Kleiman, Chicago Tribune

Date: March 4, 2004

Ban on "sexy" dressing: "Courts around the country, mostly federal courts

governing states such as Illinois and California, are permitting businesses to ban what employers call "sexy"

dressing in the workplace," reports Eric Matusewitch, deputy director of the New York City Equal Employment

Practices Commission. And what is "sexy?" Matusewitch, who has worked on equal employment opportunity issues

for 20 years, says the courts put it this way: "It's considered attire that is particularly revealing and of

extreme fit, such as spandex, and also use of excessive makeup." In response to charges by female employees

that such codes discriminate against women, Matusewitch points out that "courts are holding that employers have

a right to set reasonable dress and appearance codes.

Spending? Yes! Jobs? Hmmm ...

Format: News Commentary

Source: Kathleen Hays, CNN/Money

Date: March 4, 2004


monthly chain store numbers today are confirming what we've been seeing -- and writing about -- in the recent

weekly numbers from the International Council of Shopping Centers (ICSC): a nice jump in spending at department

stores, specialty retailers and discounters in the month of February. One conclusion easy to reach is that with

many Americans getting bigger tax refunds (an average increase of $500 is expected) or at the very least

sending smaller tax payments to the government, people are feeling extra change jangling in their pockets and

spending it! The harder factor to gauge is the labor market. Jobless claims have come down to around 350,000 a

week, a level considered consistent with improvement in the employment outlook but not with out-and-out


All Jobs Count

Format: Editorial

Source: Washington Post

Date: March 4, 2004

Nobody can say for sure how many U.S. jobs will be "offshored" to places such as India, but the best estimates

are around 3.5 million between now and 2015. If that number sounds scary, try this one: The total number of

U.S. jobs destroyed over the same period is likely to be well over 300 million. Capitalism eliminates jobs

constantly, but except during recessions it creates new ones even more quickly: In 1999 alone, 33 million jobs

were destroyed and 36 million created. In short, the loss of a few hundred thousand jobs per year to offshoring

is a small part of the churning that goes on in the U.S. labor market. Precisely because every job loss is

painful, it makes more sense to think of ways of stimulating employment generally than to craft legislation to

address 1 percent of the problem.

Millions for Moochers

Format: Op-Ed

Source: Nicholas D. Kristof, New York Times

Date: March 6, 2004

The business

world finally cracked down this week on one of the world's biggest welfare moochers, dragging Michael Eisner

out of the chairman's seat at the Walt Disney Company. Probably the only thing that allows Mr. Eisner to hold

on to the job of chief executive is that he has been so incompetent -- or shrewd? -- that he has failed to

cultivate not only profits, but also a successor. The larger question is not why the Disney board allowed Mr.

Eisner to run the company nearly into the ground. Rather, it is why it has paid him $285 million since 1996 to

do that. You'd think that the board could have found a chairman to mismanage Disney for only, say, $2 million

a year. But corporate boards routinely overpay for mediocrity. Indeed, while corporate America ruthlessly

applies capitalism to shave costs in acquiring paper clips or secretaries, the top executive suites tend to be,

along with North Korea, the world's last enclaves of socialism.

Productivity and Jobs: The Political Vagaries

Format: News Commentary

Source: Daniel Gross, New York Times

Date: March 7, 2004

If you're a socialite, you can never be too thin or too rich. And if you're an economy, you can never be too

productive. Productivity - the measure of how much labor it takes to create a product or service - is a measure

of our collective wealth. An economy that can do more with the same amount of human resources enjoys a higher

standard of living in the long run. And for the American economy, the recent productivity boom has been a

competitive advantage. Nonfarm productivity rose 4.4 percent in 2003 after a 5.0 percent gain in 2002. But in

the short term, elevated productivity can mean slower job creation. And now that political consultants are

watching monthly jobs figures with the same intensity as economists do, many people in Washington are wishing

that American companies would stop being so darn efficient. As of January, some 2.3 million payroll jobs have

been lost in the United States since January 2001. If they are not regained by next January, President Bush

will be the first president since Herbert Hoover to see the number of payroll jobs decline during his four-year


Fly High Above the Battlefield

Format: Editorial

Source: Stanley B. Greenberg, New York Times

Date: March 7, 2004

While John

Kerry was vanquishing his Democratic opponents and rising in the national polls, the Republican Party was

arming for battle. The president's campaign broadcast its first television advertisements last week, and they

depicted George Bush as a steady leader. Mr. Kerry and the Democrats, meanwhile, will be deciding in the next

few weeks which issues to embrace in the coming campaign. Republicans have already begun fighting a culture

war; Democrats have begun fighting a class war. One party is talking about gay marriage, the other about

corporate greed. But Mr. Kerry should not settle for a campaign waged on such narrow terms. In 2004, Americans

are eager to be engaged in matters of greater significance both to the nation and to their everyday lives. This

election will be decided by those voters who care about more than just this debate -- those who do not like

either Rosie O'Donnell or Kenneth Lay. To break the current political impasse and appeal to these voters, Mr.

Kerry should portray this election as a choice between different visions of America. His campaign will surely

reflect Democrats' middle-class sensibilities, and be aligned with them, but Mr. Kerry should also take up the

public's yearning for opportunity, community, loyalty and patriotism.

The Unrecognizable Recovery

Format: Op-Ed

Source: Bob Herbert, New York Times

Date: March 8, 2004

The Bush crowd

couldn't have been more pleased with the timing of the Martha Stewart verdict on Friday afternoon. The big

news heading into the weekend was almost guaranteed to be the awful jobs report released by the Labor

Department Friday morning. The White House needed a world-class distraction and the Stewart jury, eager to wrap

things up before the weekend, obliged. It strolled in, as if on cue, with a verdict of guilty on all counts.

Distractions don't get much bigger. The Labor Department report was as grim as faces on a bread line. Despite

all the president's promises, the economy added just 21,000 jobs last month. No jobs were added by the private

sector. The 21,000 additional jobs were all government hires. The report also showed that job growth in

December and January was worse than previously believed. The January tally was revised from 112,000 to 97,000.

The December count dropped from 16,000 to a pathetic 8,000.

Promises, Promises

Format: Op-Ed

Source: Paul Krugman, New York Times

Date: March 9, 2004

Despite a string of

dismal employment reports, the administration insists that its economic program, which has relied entirely on

tax cuts focused on the affluent, will produce big job gains any day now. Should we believe these promises?

Enron's Unfinished Business

Format: Editorial

Source: Washington Post

Date: March 9, 2004


the height of the late 1990s boom, corporate-governance advocates used to travel the country, pleading with

U.S. attorneys to prosecute executives who had defrauded shareholders. The prosecutors generally retorted that

corporate malfeasance was too unglamorous to justify the effort of trying complex cases. Now, however,

executives from Enron to Adelphia to WorldCom have been hauled into court, and the examples may deter future

theft from investors. But pendulums that swing one way generally swing back. Hence the importance of two

regulatory debates that come to a head today and tomorrow. Today's action takes place at the audit oversight

board created as a result of the landmark Sarbanes-Oxley law passed in 2002. The board is set to vote on a rule

that requires firms to strengthen their internal financial controls and requires outside auditors to verify

that these controls are robust. Of all the provisions in the Sarbanes-Oxley law, this may be the most expensive

to firms; according to one complaining report, companies with revenue over $5 billion expect to pay an average

of $4.7 million in the first year of implementation. Lobbyists have pressured the audit board to relax the

rule, even though the compliance costs look reasonable when set against the cost to investors of dishonest

accounting and even though compliance will grow cheaper once companies put in place the financial controls that

they should have adopted long ago, without regulatory prompting. To its credit, the oversight board has stood

firm against the lobbyists. Today's vote is expected to go in favor of financial honesty.

Opinion: How Can We Breed or Keep Jobs at Home?

Format: Political Column

Source: Robert Landauer, Oregonian

Date: March 9, 2004

Job exports will be a hot topic until Election Day on Nov. 2. Here are

authorities who replied to my request for ideas that would allow the connected issues of domestic job

generation and offshore outsourcing of jobs to serve the long-term interests of the U.S. economy and its


Reading the Economic Weather

Format: News Commentary

Source: Kathleen Hays, CNN/Money

Date: March 9, 2004

We all

know that consumer spending makes up about two-thirds of the nation's gross domestic product (the sum of all

spending basically), and that's why it's so important to the economic and financial outlook. Right now, the

outlook isn't bad, but it isn't all that great. Chain store sales fell by 0.3% in the week ended March 6

after being flat the previous week, according to the survey done by Mike Niemira at the International Council

of Shopping Centers. That sounds pretty lackluster until you look at the year-over-year comparison, up 7.0%.

The main problem with the year-over-year comparison is that last year we were on the verge of the war in Iraq

and consumers were paralyzed, waiting for the conflict to start, wondering how bad it would be, fearing how

long it might last. On a less dramatic note, warmer weather helped sales with the nation's average temperature

about ten degrees higher than usual. The big question is where are we heading if jobs aren't picking up?

A Mother's Place Is in the Women's Movement

Format: News Commentary

Source: Elizabeth Bauchner , Women's e-News

Date: March 10, 2004

The 1970s

women's liberation movement, or Second Wave of Feminism, necessarily focused on getting women out of the house

and into the paid work force. That movement largely ignored the needs of mothers regardless if they worked

outside the home or did not. The unintended result of that is that mothers now find it harder than ever to

provide meaningful care for their young children. That should be corrected now, while the political sun shines

during campaign season. The women's movement should rally itself and fight for mothers' rights and put child

care into the spotlight. Mothers should let our policy makers know what we want and need.

Only Machines Need Apply

Format: Op-Ed

Source: Todd Buchholz, New York Times

Date: March 19, 2004

The gross domestic

product is going up, but hiring looks sluggish. Credit cards bills go unpaid, but big-screen TV's are flying

off the shelves. With statistics so contradictory, maybe economists should ditch their spreadsheets for dart

boards. Let's leave aside all the estimates and extrapolations for a moment and ask a simple question that may

help cut through all the confusion: if you were a manager, why would you hire a human being instead of a

machine? Humans get sick. They daydream. And they take coffee breaks. The cost of capital equipment, meanwhile,

from laptop computers to lathes, has plummeted since 1995. Moreover, the cost of leasing and financing new

tools has fallen to the lowest levels since, well, before there were laptops and lathes. At the same time,

federal tax policy has been tilted toward capital spending, with taxes on most dividends and capital gains

falling to 15 percent. Changes in the tax law two years ago allow small businesses to write off $100,000 in new

equipment immediately, while big firms get a temporary 50 percent write-off. People, however, remain relatively


Questioning Free Trade Mathematics

Format: News Commentary

Source: Jeff Madrick, New York Times

Date: March 18, 2004

Free trade theory

has a growing number of detractors, and one of their traditional concerns has understandably moved to center

stage in this presidential election year. How much has the exporting of jobs to foreign nations contributed to

the lack of jobs and the absence of wage growth in the current expansion at home? The standard tenets of free

trade theory strongly support the case for outsourcing. Generally, as business finds cheaper ways to make

products, it reduces prices to consumers. And some businesses may not survive unless they can reduce labor

costs. In general, most economists believe that the "consumer surplus" that results from lower prices far

outweighs the cost of lost jobs or lower wages. In other words, there are many more winners than losers. But

recent research suggests that the magnitude of this advantage has been exaggerated. Also, the plight of the

losers has clearly been sorely neglected in the economic literature.

How Dangerous Employees Continue to Get New Jobs

Format: Editorial

Source: USA Today

Date: March 23, 2004

Co-workers often complained about

Charles Cullen, a nurse suspected of killing dozens of patients in New Jersey and Pennsylvania with drug

overdoses. He'd been fired by several hospitals and nursing homes, left others under a cloud and had known

mental problems that included three suicide attempts. Prosecutors investigated him about suspicious deaths

dating back to 1993, but no charges were filed. Instead, Cullen easily found new nursing jobs. Why? Former

employers didn't share their suspicions with persons checking references, and state health agencies couldn't

legally reveal pending inquiries about him. As a result, Cullen wasn't arrested until December, after

authorities found that at least two patients at a Somerville, N.J., hospital received overdoses of drugs that

hadn't been prescribed. Cullen was charged with murder and attempted murder. Detectives say he admitted

killing 30 to 40 patients during 16 years to ''alleviate their suffering.'' Cullen's case is an extreme

example. But reticence by businesses and governments that give job references is standard.

A GOP Strategy On Jobs

Format: Op-Ed

Source: Newt Gingrich, Washington Post

Date: March 25, 2004

The Democrats think they've found the perfect one-sided debate by presenting themselves as

the party that opposes "outsourcing" of American jobs. They hope the Republican Party will be dumb enough to

take the bait and be the side that favors outsourcing. That kind of binary argument, in which the Republicans

take the role of defending the loss of jobs overseas, would be a dead loser for the GOP. Republicans must set

up a new, winning argument by focusing not on the loss of old jobs but on the creation of new ones.

It's Jobs, Stupid, and Tax Cuts, Too

Format: News Commentary

Source: John Mercurio, CNN

Date: March 26, 2004

With his party $11 million

richer from last night's unity dinner, John Kerry travels to Michigan today to take a whack at the soft spot

in President Bush's economic recovery -- jobs. In the first major policy address since he clinched his

party's nod, Kerry hits back at new Bush ads that claim Kerry has backed some 350 tax hikes in the Senate,

while he offers a plan to create 10 million jobs by 2009. In the first of three speeches he'll deliver in

coming weeks, Kerry today appears at Wayne University in Detroit to outline a tax reform plan designed to

encourage job creation. In the second speech, which sources say is scheduled for sometime early next month,

Kerry will unveil his plan to give Americans the education and training and skills they need to fill and create

21st century jobs. In the third speech, Kerry will outline his plan to restore fiscal discipline and confidence

in the American economy.

Community of Character: Fairness in the Workplace

Format: Op-Ed

Source: Herbert Hughes, Cordele Dispatch (GA)

Date: March 26, 2004

How many times have you heard someone working with you exclaim: "It's just not fair"? Have you ever

stopped and thought about what's fair and what isn't? It can become quite confusing. What's fair to one

won't seem fair to another. Being fair would mean that everyone shared equally in all things, and we know that

doesn't happen. Some people will always do more work than others. Some will always be asked to do more than

others. Is that fair? It depends. Is the one doing the extra work being compensated for it? If so, you could

say it was fair. As an employee, what can you expect in the way of fairness? Here are a few thoughts: You

should have the same opportunity for raises and promotions as any employee. If you do the same quantity of

work, the same quality of work and have the same qualifications as another employee you should expect to

receive the same privileges and compensation as that employee. You should be treated as an equal with that

employee. That's all you can ask.

Proving Age Discrimination

Format: Editorial

Source: New York Times

Date: April 1, 2004

The Age Discrimination in

Employment Act was intended to protect older workers from bias. Federal courts, however, have frequently given

the law an unduly narrow interpretation, leaving older Americans vulnerable to unfair treatment. This week, the

Supreme Court accepted a case that can rectify this problem -- if it decides that older workers can rely on the

same burden of proof as plaintiffs in cases of race and sex bias. Doing otherwise would leave millions of

working Americans who are 40 or older vulnerable to mistreatment. The age-bias law's text almost exactly

tracks the language of Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, which bars race and sex discrimination. Under

Title VII, plaintiffs can make their case by showing "disparate impact" -- that is, that an employer's actions

have an unequal impact on their group. After such a showing, the employer has the burden of proving that its

supposedly neutral policy serves a legitimate purpose. The disparate-impact standard is important because it is

often impossible to prove an employer's intent to discriminate.

Morality for Sale

Format: Op-Ed

Source: Joseph Loconte , New York Times

Date: April 1, 2004

The United

Nations Commission on Human Rights, the world's most important political body devoted to human rights

concerns, is halfway through its deliberations here. Each year delegates from the 53 member states meet for six

weeks to name the worst offending countries and adopt resolutions condemning their abuses. For years, however,

the commission instead has been a haven for rogue governments -- who get elected to the body in order to shield

themselves from international scrutiny and criticism. The failure of international leadership has become

increasingly intolerable, especially in an age when terrorism and repressive regimes go hand in hand. Indeed,

the Commission on Human Rights no longer can be counted on to "name and shame" even the most egregious


Scanning for Success

Format: Op-Ed

Source: David Brooks, New York Times

Date: April 3, 2004

If you were

obsessed with the political campaign over the past year, you would have gotten the impression that there's no

such thing as a service sector of the economy -- it's all manufacturing -- and that the U.S. is getting

trounced by China and India in the competition for global business. That's a distorted view of reality. Since

1995, the U.S. has enjoyed a productivity renaissance. The McKinsey Global Institute breaks the economy down

into 60 sectors. U.S. workers are the most productive on earth in at least 50 of them. Productivity gains cause

standard of living increases. Productivity gains lead to employment gains. If history is any judge,

yesterday's excellent job numbers could mark the beginning of another surge in job creation. As William W.

Lewis, a former McKinsey partner, writes in "The Power of Productivity," about half the U.S. productivity gains

have occurred in just two sectors, wholesale and retail trade. We've gotten really efficient at getting stuff

from the hands of manufacturers to the hands of consumers. These innovations have had more important effects on

how people really live than anything done in Washington.

A Catch-22 for Ex-Offenders

Format: Editorial

Source: New York Times

Date: April 6, 2004

As the Bush administration

focuses attention on ex-offenders with its modest program to help them return to the community, an eye-opening

new study shows that the effort will require a lot more than re-entry programs. Not only do all 50 states

continue to punish and marginalize convicts after they leave jail, but most also have laws that punish millions

of people for crimes for which they were never convicted. The new study, from the Legal Action Center, a

criminal justice policy group, identifies laws in all 50 states that hamper former offenders' ability to

re-enter society. These excessively punitive laws, which must be modified or repealed before ex-convicts have a

real chance at jobs, homes and mainstream lives, bar them from scores of professions that require state

licenses but are unrelated to their crimes. The study, which will soon be available on the Web, ranks the

states based on the stringency of laws that bar former offenders from whole professions, or strip them of

driver's licenses, parental rights and the right to vote.

More Logic on Options

Format: Editorial

Source: Washington Post

Date: April 8, 2004

Lawmakers considering whether companies should be required to report the value of employee stock options as

expenses on their corporate balance sheets might want to take a look at a new report on the topic from their

own budget office. The Financial Accounting Standards Board, the private body that writes rules for the

accounting industry, has just proposed a rule -- more than a decade in the making -- that would require

companies to show the fair market value of options as expenses. Anti-expensing forces, led by high-tech firms

that rely heavily on options to attract employees, are pressing a measure in Congress that would block the FASB

rule from taking effect. The Congressional Budget Office analysis of the issue is therefore timely -- and just

as important, it's written in language understandable to those without advanced accounting degrees. The CBO

concludes, "If firms do not recognize as an expense the fair value of employee stock options, measured when the

options are granted, the firms' reported net income will be overstated." Under the current rule, firms report

the fair market value of their options, but they can tuck the number in the notes appended to their financial

statements and not count it against profits. If options were treated like other compensation costs, the CBO

notes, analysts and investors would be able to more easily assess a company's compensation practices and how

those affect its profits; likewise, that "improved transparency would also aid corporate committees that

approve managers' compensation packages."

One Good Month

Format: Op-Ed

Source: Paul Krugman, New York Times

Date: April 9, 2004

At last, a

favorable surprise on jobs: estimated payroll employment rose 308,000 in March, above almost everyone's

expectations. You can't blame the administration for trying to play up the good news, and for being dismayed

when the sound of popping Champagne corks was drowned out by the crackle of gunfire. But has the economy, after

so many false starts, finally started to deliver? For perspective, it helps to remember what solid job growth

looks like. During Bill Clinton's eight years in office, the economy added 236,000 jobs per month. But that's

just an average: a graph of monthly changes looks like an electrocardiogram. There were 23 months with 300,000

or more new jobs; in March 2000, the economy added 493,000 jobs. This tells us not to make too much of one

month's data; payroll numbers are, as economists say, noisy. It also tells us that by past standards, March

2004 was nothing special. And we should be seeing something special, because our economy should be on the


Maybe It's Time for Another New Deal

Format: Op-Ed

Source: Louis Uchitelle, New York Times

Date: April 11, 2004


the private sector generate enough jobs to return the United States to full employment? Or must government play

a much greater supporting role in job creation? That question, once hotly debated, is barely mentioned today.

It should be. For 30 years, the assumption has been that the private sector would generate full employment on

its own. It has not, except for a five-year stretch in the late 1990's. Now the situation has become worse.

Despite robust economic growth, the private sector is generating fewer jobs than ever in a recovery.

Now Can We Talk About Health Care?

Format: News Commentary

Source: Hillary Rodham Clinton, New York Times

Date: April 18, 2004

I know

what you're thinking. Hillary Clinton and health care? Been there. Didn't do that! No, it's not 1994; it's

2004. And believe it or not, we have more problems today than we had back then. Issues like soaring health

costs and millions of uninsured have yet to fix themselves. And now we are confronting a new set of challenges

associated with the arrival of the information age, the technological revolution and modern life. Think for a

moment about recent advances in genetic testing. Knowing you are prone to cancer or heart disease or Lou

Gehrig's disease may give you a fighting chance. But just try, with that information in hand, to get health

insurance in a system without strong protections against discrimination for pre-existing or genetic conditions.

Each vaunted scientific breakthrough brings with it new challenges to our health system. But it's not only

medicine that is changing. So, too, are the economy, our personal behaviors and our environment. Unless

Americans across the political spectrum come together to change our health care system, that system, already

buckling under the pressures of today, will collapse with the problems of tomorrow.

Should You Stay, or Should You Go?

Format: Advice Column

Source: Cheryl Dahle, New York Times

Date: April 18, 2004

Q. A

workweek from hell is coming up. Your project team has a major deadline, but friends from college have invited

you on a not-to-be-missed ski trip on the weekend just before it. Should you go, and risk coming back

exhausted? Dare you ask for Friday or Monday off?

A. Tough call. No one wants to pass up a raucous

weekend skiing to spend more time slaving away in an office cubicle. Still, a wrong choice could make your

career bear a resemblance to your weekend activities - headed downhill fast.

No News in Newsroom Census: Gender Gap Persists

Format: News Commentary

Source: Michele Weldon, Women's E-News

Date: April 21, 2004

Ambition defies the

boundaries of gender. Opportunity is less democratic. For women working in daily newspapers across the country,

the crawl toward the goal post of equity continues. The numbers of women on the staffs of daily newspapers in

2003 increased minutely to 37.23 percent of newsroom employees, according to the annual ASNE Newsroom

Employment Census released Tuesday by the American Society of Newspaper Editors. The meager improvement from

37.05 percent after a two-year decline in numbers of women in newsrooms forces us to decode the writing on the

wall and choose the appropriate cliche: Is it "slow and steady wins the race?" Or "quit while you still can?"

Making City Pay Raises Count

Format: Editorial

Source: New York Times

Date: April 22, 2004

Mayor Michael Bloomberg drew a

line in the sand on giving retroactive pay raises to city workers shortly after he took office and inherited a

fiscal crisis. That line shifted recently with an improving budget outlook and the need to take care of certain

matters before the 2005 re-election campaign. This week City Hall gave in on the point altogether, agreeing to

pay members of the city's largest municipal workers' union additional money for the two years they have

worked without a contract. Still, in reaching a tentative three-year settlement with the union, the mayor at

least did not give in entirely on another, perhaps more important, principle: that workers must produce savings

to pay for their own wage increases.

Losing Our Edge?

Format: Op-Ed

Source: Thomas L. Friedman, New York Times

Date: April 22, 2004

I was just

out in Silicon Valley, checking in with high-tech entrepreneurs about the state of their business. I wouldn't

say they were universally gloomy, but I did detect something I hadn't detected before: a real undertow of

concern that America is losing its competitive edge vis-?-vis China, India, Japan and other Asian tigers, and

that the Bush team is deaf, dumb and blind to this situation. Several executives explained to me that they were

opening new plants in Asia -- not because of cheaper labor. Labor is a small component now in an automated

high-tech manufacturing plant. It is because governments in these countries are so eager for employment and the

transfer of technology to their young populations that they are offering huge tax holidays for U.S.

manufacturers who will set up shop. Because most of these countries also offer some form of national health

insurance, U.S. companies shed that huge open liability as well. Other executives complained bitterly that the

Department of Homeland Security is making it so hard for legitimate foreigners to get visas to study or work in

America that many have given up the age-old dream of coming here. Instead, they are studying in England and

other Western European nations, and even China. This is leading to a twofold disaster.

Heading Off Genetic Bias

Format: Editorial

Source: Washington Post

Date: April 26, 2004

The decoding of

the human genome opens new prospects for medicine. Genetic testing can determine an individual's

susceptibility to an array of cancers, heart disease, diabetes, Alzheimer's, cystic fibrosis, Huntington's

disease -- the list grows almost daily. Understanding the genetic basis of certain diseases may lead to new

treatments and better preventive care. But this promise is tempered by the risk that individuals' genetic

heritage could be used against them. Employers could refuse to hire, or could fire, those predisposed to

develop a disease. An insurer could refuse coverage, or charge higher premiums, on the basis of genetic

tendency. And the specter of such discrimination could deter people from undergoing genetic testing, thus

potentially undermining their own care and slowing the pace of scientific discovery. Nearly three years ago,

President Bush, echoing a call by his predecessor, urged Congress to pass legislation to prevent discrimination

based on genetic information. "To deny employment or insurance to a healthy person based only on a

predisposition violates our country's belief in equal treatment and individual merit," he said. Last fall the

Senate approved the Genetic Information Nondiscrimination Act on a 95 to 0 vote after lawmakers, trying to

address business concerns, set limits on the right of victims of genetic discrimination to sue for damages. Now

Republican House leaders are dragging their feet, though a majority of House members have co-sponsored a

version that would go even further than the Senate bill.

Regressing on Integration

Format: Op-Ed

Source: Bob Herbert, New York Times

Date: April 26, 2004

The baseball season

was a month old and the Brooklyn Dodgers and New York Giants were fighting for first place in the National

League. A war hero named Eisenhower was president. In London, Winston Churchill was adding his voice to the

cadre of world leaders engaged in the difficult search for a solution to the war in Indo-China. And in

Washington, on Monday, May 17, 1954, a warm and muggy spring day in the nation's capital, history was being

made. "We conclude, unanimously," said Chief Justice Earl Warren, reading from the court's decision in the

case of Oliver Brown et al. v. Board of Education of Topeka, "that in the field of public education the

doctrine of 'separate but equal' has no place. Separate educational facilities are inherently unequal." That

ruling, the most profound of the 20th century, was the essential first step toward a difficult but phenomenal

transformation of the American social landscape.

Blindsided by the Boss in Your Annual Review

Format: Advice Column

Source: Cheryl Dahle, New York Times

Date: May 2, 2004

Q. The

boss just shredded your job performance in an annual review. What's worse, the bad news was a surprise. How do

you handle it?

A. First off, don't say anything you'll regret. Muzzle your anger. If you can, buy

yourself some time by suggesting that because you respect the seriousness of the feedback, you prefer to

respond more thoughtfully in a few days. Then consider: Is there a kernel of truth in the evaluation? Be

brutally honest with yourself, says Lois P. Frankel, a psychologist, career coach and author of "Nice Girls

Don't Get the Corner Office: 101 Unconscious Mistakes Women Make That Sabotage Their Careers" (Warner Books,


Maternity Leave is a Sticky Issue

Format: Advice Column

Source: Carrie Mason-Draffen (Newsday), Detroit News

Date: May 3, 2004

Q. We are a company of about 30 people. One of our employees is on maternity leave. When she returns, do we

have to reinstate her to the job she held before the leave? The answer is crucial because her replacement does

a much better job, and we would like to keep her in the position. Canít we just offer the returning employee

a job in another department?

A. Because of your companyís size, your question doesnít have easy

answers. Youíre too small to fall under the jurisdiction of the federal Family and Medical Leave Act, which

covers companies with at least 50 employees. That act would require you to return the employee to the same

position. On the other hand, you do fall under other antidiscrimination statutes such as the federal Pregnancy

Discrimination Act or New York State human rights laws.

Overtime Improvement

Format: Editorial

Source: Washington Post

Date: May 4, 2004

Last year the

Labor Department drew widespread criticism for proposed changes to overtime rules for white-collar workers. We

agreed with critics who said the new rules tilted to employers and risked depriving too many workers of pay to

which they are entitled. Now Labor has revised its proposal, and the new rules, while still worrisome in some

respects, are substantially improved. Unions and their allies, with some basis for being suspicious of this

administration's attitude toward workers in general and the overtime question in particular, argue that the

regulations still would unfairly jeopardize the overtime rights of millions of workers. They are pressing for a

Senate vote, expected today, that would block the rules from taking effect. We think lawmakers should hold off.

If the regulations are inconsistent with the federal law designed to protect the right to overtime pay, they

can be challenged in court. And if employers exploit the regulations to unfairly deny overtime pay to workers,

they, too, are subject to being sued. In the meantime, the new rules offer some significant benefits for


What Works for Mom

Format: Op-Ed

Source: Andrew J. Cherlin and Prem Krishnamurthy, New York Times

Date: May 9, 2004

Working mothers get less sleep, watch less TV, spend less time with their children and generally have

less free time than mothers who don't work outside the home. So why are employed mothers more satisfied with

their family lives? The first clue is that, while employed mothers do spend less time with their children than

do other mothers, the difference is far less than is generally believed -- only about five hours a week.

Working mothers clearly protect their family time: even as their free time falls by 32 percent, time with their

children drops by only 16 percent. This leisure gap takes its toll on working mothers, although they compensate

by doing less housework.

What Are They Smoking at the Labor Dept.?

Format: Political Column

Source: John Crudele, New York Post

Date: May 11, 2004

Don't get too excited

about all those new jobs that were supposed to have been created in April. I'm not going to waste a lot of my

precious space on this, but the bottom line is that most of the 288,000 jobs that the Labor Department says

were created last month may not really exist. They could be figments of statisticians' optimism. Anyone who

plodded through my column last Thursday knows I predicted that job growth in April would be better than the

160,000 to 170,000 jobs that the "pros" were anticipating. But I also said, quite emphatically I hope, that the

stronger growth would be an illusion - the result of the Labor Department's computers making happy predictions

about seasonal job creation that could neither be verified nor justified.

Fighting the fat cats

Format: News Commentary

Source: Lee Drutman, TomPaine.com

Date: June 18, 2004

When former New

York Stock Exchange Chairman and CEO Dick Grasso made headlines last fall for his outrageous $188 million pay

package, it seemed the apotheosis of so much that had gone wrong in corporate America. Today's epidemic of

extravagant executive compensation comes at the expense of economic justice and a sense of shared prosperity.

It offends our sense of decency and fairness. But it is not a law enforcement problem. It is a problem of

corporate governance and old-fashioned cronyism. And until we can find a way to cut through the conflicts of

interest that pervade corporate boardrooms and give shareholders more control, greedy executives will likely

continue to have their way.

Dueling studies support both sides of offshoring debate

Format: News Commentary

Source: Mike Cassidy, Mercury News [California]

Date: June 22, 2004

Consider two reports released this month. One, from the Labor Department, said very few workers

are losing their jobs to offshoring. The other, from management consultancy Foote Partners, said offshoring is

the key reason technology workers' pay is declining. The search for hard statistics misses the larger point.

Offshoring is not an evil in itself. It is part of a bigger issue--the changing compact between employers and

employees. Workers today are being asked to give more and more in return for less and less--less job security,

lower wages, fewer benefits. And while the offshoring debate is often framed as a struggle between U.S. workers

and foreign workers, that's not it at all. Recent history shows that when profits rise, it is not workers who

benefit the most, but rather U.S. companies and their investors.

Wage hike for bottom 5 percent spurs productivity

Format: Editorial

Source: Daytona Beach News-Journal

Date: June 24, 2004

The more purchasing power people gain, the higher the average standard of living, the bigger

the economy. The minimum wage does make labor slightly more expensive, but it also encourages companies to

innovate more by recouping labor costs with efficiency, which raises productivity. John Kerry is proposing to

raise the minimum wage to $7 by 2007, if he's elected. Regardless of who wins in November, a more decent

minimum wage should be a bipartisan priority seen--and sold--for what it is: An overall benefit to the business

climate, but also, and mostly, a necessary pay increase for those who make the least.

Outsourcing in Africa

Format: Op-Ed

Source: G Pascal Zachary, Daily Times [Pakistan]

Date: June 24, 2004

Ghana is best known for producing cocoa and gold, but today Affiliated Computer Services (ACS), a

Texas company, is the country's largest private employer. African 'key punchers' earn $4 to $5 a day--four

times the legal minimum wage--and receive health insurance, meals, and subsidized transport. ACS's employees

are but the first Africans to benefit from the hottest trend in the global economy: outsourcing, or the shift

of service jobs from high-wage to low-wage countries. To be sure, the number of jobs moving to Africa is tiny

compared to those going to Asia, Latin America, and Eastern Europe. But the big news is that Africa is finally

competing in the economic contest that is reshaping the world economy.

Job equality doesn't just happen, girls

Format: Editorial

Source: Ellen Goodman, The Oregonian

Date: June 25, 2004

We sometimes forget that the lives of men and women didn't simply passively

evolve. But on July 2, we'll celebrate the 40th anniversary of a powerful engine of this social change, the

Civil Rights Act of 1964. One unexpected word was tucked into Title VII of that landmark legislation banning

racial segregation and discrimination: sex. When President Johnson signed the bill, it became illegal for the

first time to discriminate in employment on the grounds of gender. What had seemed to many like a "natural" way

of treating men and women differently because of their roles in the family and society became what the courts

now call "invidious."

Wal-Mart faces its biggest problem

Format: Political Column

Source: Robert Trigaux, St. Petersburg Times

Date: June 25, 2004

In a long-awaited ruling this week, a federal judge said an employment discrimination lawsuit against

the world's largest retailer can proceed as a class action. The suit covers up to 1.6-million current and

former female workers, [such as] Ramona Scott, Gail Lovejoy, DeAnna Willard, Anna Stumpf and Jenny Williams.

These women say they worked hard at Wal-Marts in the Tampa Bay area. They achieved strong job reviews. But when

they asked for opportunities to advance, they typically found themselves shunted aside, paid less than male

workers with equal or less experience or--when asking management for an explanation--simply given the

runaround. I am struck by the similarity of troubles these five women endured at area Wal-Marts. Their stories

can be found among the nearly 200 court depositions offered up by angry Wal-Mart women across the country.

Rights and wrongs: protecting the freedom of association in the American workplace

Format: Political Column

Source: David Bonior, Center for American Progress

Date: June 25, 2004

Protecting the right to organize and collectively bargain is

not simply a workplace issue, but an urgent crisis linked to the preservation of democracy, ideals of justice

and fair play, and the economic security of American families and communities. By attempting to form unions and

negotiate contracts, workers are advancing race and gender equality in the workplace, combating poverty, and

protecting the environment by setting higher health and safety standards. It's time we all stood with workers

and acknowledged that their freedom to form unions and collectively bargain without enduring intimidation,

harassment, and the threat of termination by their employers are rights--not privileges--that must be upheld.

Think again: on the economy, listen to the voters

Format: Political Column

Source: Bill Scher, Center for American Progress

Date: June 24, 2004

Mainstream [media] outlets that point the finger at voters' skepticism are picking up an argument

pushed by some conservatives who want people to think the current state of Bush's economy is worth getting

excited about. Yet what is receiving almost no attention from those pontificating on the economy is the nature

of the growth they so admire. In fact, it demonstrates a massive growth discrepancy between corporate profits

and wages. As the Economic Policy Institute calculated last month, corporate profits have grown by 62 percent

since the first quarter of 2001, but "labor compensation"--which includes paychecks and benefits--grew only 2.8

percent, and "private wage and salary income" fell by 0.6 percent. Voters have good reason to be dissatisfied

with Bush's economy, and many are doing the optimistic thing: demanding better. Instead of trying to tell the

public why it's misguided, the media should delve into why the economy isn't working for many Americans, and

what the solutions might be.

Wal-Mart sex-bias case could stir up talk, more lawsuits

Format: News Commentary

Source: Michael Kinsman, San Diego Union-Tribune

Date: June 27, 2004

The nation's largest workplace sex discrimination case is supposed to be

about 1.6 million women who work for, or used to work for, Wal-Mart. But it really is about the attitude of

every working American toward women in the workplace. As it unfolds, this case could open up a broader public

awareness of workplace gender discrimination and how it occurs. It should make us all look around, think about

how we conduct ourselves, how our workplaces treat women and what we can do to ensure that gender

discrimination finds no home in our workplaces.

Sabotaging the poor

Format: Op-Ed

Source: Deborah Cutler-Ortiz, TomPaine.com

Date: June 29, 2004


administration blame game of denigrating the poor has hindered the implementation of proven welfare policies.

It is more compelling to address the problems of unemployment, underemployment and low wages for people trying

to get off welfare--rather than character flaws of the poor. Helping families become self-sufficient, preparing

them for permanent employment and lifting them out of poverty should be the goals of the welfare program.

Congress must allow welfare recipients to receive an appropriate education and training, child care,

transportation and health insurance so they can become self-sufficient.

A different kind Of Kerrey

Format: News Commentary

Source: Jonathan Tasini, TomPaine.com

Date: June 30, 2004


Kerrey's biography lists many roles. Democratic senator from Nebraska. Vietnam War hero. Dated actress Debra

Winger. Now he has added another line to his resume: attempted union-buster. In February, the adjunct faculty

at the New School in New York City voted to unionize, choosing the United Auto Workers as its representative by

a vote of 530 to 466. Kerrey is the president of the institution, which was founded as a place to pursue a more

socially progressive education. How Kerrey has behaved during the union organizing efforts is a sobering lesson

about the political landscape facing workers who try to exercise their right to form a union in America.

Workplace equality still elusive

Format: Political Column

Source: Diane Stafford, Kansas City Star

Date: July 1, 2004

A quiet

anniversary will be observed Friday: the 40th year after enactment of the Civil Rights Act of 1964. Though

it's not the kind of date that generates headlines, it's appropriate to recognize the act's workplace

legacy. The milestone federal law banned discrimination in public accommodations, employment and any federally

assisted programs. In most people's minds, the words ?civil rights? evoke thoughts of skin color. The act did,

indeed, open job opportunities to racial minorities--although progress has been slow and sporadic. But the act

also barred sex discrimination in the workplace. In that, too, progress has been made, though some would call

the pace glacial.

Don't hate me for working

Format: Op-Ed

Source: Eduardo Ruelas, New York Times

Date: July 4, 2004

It's not a lot of fun for me to have to get up at every morning at 5, stand on the street corner hoping to be

offered a job, and worry that if I do get work it might be dangerous. I've had friends who have broken their

arms and legs and even lost fingers while on the job. None of us has medical coverage. But the hardest part

about waiting for work is hearing the insults that are yelled at us by Farmingville residents. The fact that I

stand on a corner for work doesn't make me less human or less worthy of respect. The way I see it, everyone

from the business owners and contractors to the residents with beautifully landscaped yards benefits from

Mexican laborers. We do the jobs nobody else will do. Why can't anyone see that?

The sluggish wage recovery

Format: Editorial

Source: New York Times

Date: July 3, 2004

It would be wrong to read too

much into one month's statistics, but there is plenty of reason to worry that this expansion is not raising

wages as much as American families need. The American economy added 112,000 new jobs last month, far fewer than

expected. That number represents a notable slowdown from the strong pace of hiring in the previous three

months. The nation's impressive productivity growth will make it difficult to significantly reduce the 5.6

percent unemployment rate. And in the absence of a tighter labor market, there is little chance that workers

will see wages increase anywhere near as much as corporate profits have. Indeed, take-home pay, as a share of

the economy, is at its lowest level since the government started keeping track in 1929. All of this suggests

that the recovery remains a work in progress for many Americans.

Working mothers caught in a bind

Format: Political Column

Source: Christian E. Weller, Center for American Progress

Date: July 2, 2004

For the past few months, the labor market has turned a corner and begun to create jobs at

a growing rate, although its pace seems to have slowed again. As jobs are being created, more and more people

who had completely given up looking for work are drawn back into the labor market. Although they are not the

majority of new job holders, women still constitute a large proportion of them. And while women tend to be the

primary caregivers of their children, the job opportunities that are expanding the fastest for women are those

where child care benefits are rarest, part-time and service-industry jobs. Consequently, affordable child care

will continue to be an important issue as the labor market continues to grow.

A cloud over civilisation: corporate power is the driving force behind US foreign policy--and the slaughter in Iraq

Format: Op-Ed

Source: JK Galbraith, The Guardian [UK]

Date: July 15, 2004


modern corporation is a dominant force in the present-day economy. Corporate power has shaped the public

purpose to its own needs. As the corporate interest moves to power in what was the public sector, it serves the

corporate interest. It is most clearly evident in the largest such movement, that of nominally private firms

into the defence establishment. From this comes a primary influence on the military budget, on foreign policy,

military commitment and, ultimately, military action. War. Civilisation has made great strides over the

centuries in science, healthcare, the arts and most, if not all, economic well-being. But it has also given a

privileged position to the development of weapons and the threat and reality of war.

Minimum wage can stand some maximizing

Format: Op-Ed

Source: Amy Chasanov, The Hill

Date: July 14, 2004

Sen. Edward Kennedy's

(D-Mass.) Fair Minimum Wage Act of 2004 proposes increasing the minimum wage from $5.15 to $7.00. Some

Republican leaders and employer-backed organizations have come up with a disingenuous twist to their

opposition, saying they're against such an increase because it would harm the working poor. But would it help

or hurt low-wage workers to put a few more dollars in their paychecks? Fortunately, we don't have to rely on

guesswork--we've got history to guide us. Let's look at what happened after the increase in the minimum wage

that took effect in 1996 and 1997.

Red-state America against itself

Format: Op-Ed

Source: Thomas Frank, Tomdispatch.com

Date: July 15, 2004

That our

politics have been shifting rightward for more than thirty years is a generally acknowledged fact of American

life. That this rightward movement has largely been accomplished by working-class voters whose lives have been

materially worsened by the conservative policies they have supported is a less comfortable fact, one we have

trouble talking about in a straightforward manner. I chose to observe the phenomenon by going back to my home

state of Kansas, a place that has been particularly ill-served by the conservative policies of privatization,

deregulation, and de-unionization, and that has reacted to its worsening situation by becoming more

conservative still.

An emerging catastrophe

Format: Op-Ed

Source: Bob Herbert, New York Times

Date: July 19, 2004

A new study of black

male employment trends has come up with the following extremely depressing finding: "By 2002, one of every four

black men in the U.S. was idle all year long. This idleness rate was twice as high as that of white and

Hispanic males." It's possible the rate of idleness is even higher, said the lead author of the study, Andrew

Sum, who is director of the Center for Labor Market Studies at Northeastern University in Boston. "That was a

conservative count," he said. The study did not consider homeless men or those in jail or prison.

Money talks, women don't

Format: Op-Ed

Source: Susan Antilla, New York Times

Date: July 21, 2004

As Wall Street sex

discrimination cases go, last week's $54 million deal between Morgan Stanley and the Equal Employment

Opportunity Commission wasn't a bad one for women. But Morgan Stanley, and all of Wall Street, scored an even

bigger win: the statistics remain under wraps. No matter how generous a dollar settlement the commission

garnered, it is still an important step short. Wall Street will make changes only when its culture, and the

hard numbers of compensation and promotion, are exposed in open court. But don't hold your breath.

The hidden issue of class

Format: Op-Ed

Source: Robert Kuttner, Boston Globe

Date: July 21, 2004

There are far more ordinary wage-earning people than wealthy investors and

corporate moguls, but the political right has done far better at using class solidarity to its advantage than

the liberal left. Americans like to view their country as a wide-open land of opportunity. Most are uneasy

thinking in terms of class at all. Polls consistently show that if you emphasize the poor you run smack into

the fact that most Americans consider themselves middle class. Even though individual voters may resent the

fact that jobs are moving to India or that schools are lacking necessary funds or that health care benefits are

evaporating, this is not a country where most voters resent the rich as a class. It's a land where nearly

everyone would like to be rich.

More jobs, worse work

Format: Op-Ed

Source: Stephen S. Roach, New York Times

Date: July 22, 2004


February, the United States was mired in the depths of the worst jobless recovery of the post-World War II era.

Now, there are signs the magic may be back. More than a million jobs have been added to total nonfarm payrolls

over the past four months, the sharpest increase since early 2000. But there's little cause for celebration:

the increases barely make a dent in the weakest hiring cycle in modern history. From three different vantage

points--employment breakdowns by industry, by occupation and by degree of attachment--the same basic picture

emerges: While there has been an increase in job creation over the past four months, the bulk of the activity

has been at the low end of the quality spectrum. The Great American Job Machine is not even close to generating

the surge of the high-powered jobs that is typically the driving force behind greater incomes and consumer


Who's getting the new jobs?

Format: Op-Ed

Source: Bob Herbert, New York Times

Date: July 23, 2004

A startling new

study shows that all of the growth in the employed population in the United States over the past few years can

be attributed to recently arrived immigrants. The study found that from the beginning of 2001 through the first

four months of 2004, the number of new immigrants who found work in the U.S. was 2.06 million, while the number

of native-born and longer-term immigrant workers declined by more than 1.3 million. The study, from the Center

for Labor Market Studies at Northeastern University in Boston, is further confirmation that American families

are still struggling with serious issues of joblessness and underemployment.

Wal-Mars invades Earth

Format: Op-Ed

Source: Barbara Ehrenreich, New York Times

Date: July 26, 2004

This could be

the central battle of the 21st century: Earth people versus the Wal-Martians. Wal-Mart's only hope lies with

its ostensible opponents, like Madeline Janis-Aparicio, who led the successful fight against a new superstore

in Inglewood, Calif. "The point is not to destroy them," she told me, "but to make them accountable." Similarly

Andy Stern, president of the Service Employees International Union, will soon begin a national effort to "bring

Wal-Mart up to standards we can live with." He envisions a nationwide movement bringing together the unions,

churches, community organizations and environmentalists who are already standing up to the company's

recklessly metastatic growth. Earth to Wal-Mars, or wherever you come from: Live with us or go back to the

mother ship.

Needed: jobs and wages

Format: Op-Ed

Source: Lee Price, TomPaine.com

Date: August 10, 2004

Our economy is

sputtering once again. July, with its meager 32,000 job gain, was the fourth consecutive month of shrinking job

gains. It wasn't supposed to turn out this way. We need faster job growth, to provide more people with income

from work. Just to keep even with population growth, we need to add 140,000 to 150,000 jobs every month. To

absorb new workers and to put the unemployed back in jobs, we ought to create at least 250,000 to 300,000 jobs

each month. A few months of weak job gains would be less worrisome if other indicators' strength made a

rebound seem imminent. Unfortunately, that is not the case today.

Middle-class tightrope

Format: Op-Ed

Source: Jacob S. Hacker, Washington Post

Date: August 10, 2004

Over the past two decades, two great transformations have been on a collision course--the rise of the

two-earner family and all but stagnant real wages for most workers. The sluggish economy of the past few years

has made the resulting strains unmistakable. By many measures, American families in the middle of the income

ladder are stretched thinner today than at any point since the early 1980s. Perhaps more important, their

economic situation has, in ways both big and small, become notably more precarious.

Retirement in peril

Format: Op-Ed

Source: Jonathan Tasini, TomPaine.com

Date: August 12, 2004


Airlines' attempt to shed responsibility for its multi-billion pension promises [is] another sure sign of the

Wal-Martization of America: the coming collapse of the traditional private sector pension plan system, mainly

because of the decline of unions. Indeed, the underfunding of pension plans is a looming disaster:

Single-employer pension plans are $350 billion short of what should be in their plans; historically, the plans

have only been short $20 to 25 billion. How do we turn back from a Wal-Mart economy to an economy in which,

among other things, real pensions become the standard? The best way to guarantee middle class livelihoods is to

encourage unionization and collective bargaining. Unless unions thrive, the end of pensions is near, signaling

the obliteration of yet another pillar of the middle class.

They did it again

Format: Op-Ed

Source: Jared Bernstein, American Prospect

Date: August 11, 2004

A few months ago, the Federal Reserve made it clear that it was going to start raising

interest rates. It did so at its most prior meeting in June, raising the federal funds rate. Today they went up

another 0.25 percent to 1.5 percent. Why'd the bank do it? My concern comes from the fact that rate hikes work

their magic by slowing down economic growth. As far as the job market is concerned, why would you want to

decelerate when you're already crawling? Though the Fed claims not to be influenced by political concerns,

this is, after all, Washington. Today's statement ended with a warning that the [Fed] reserves its rights to

"respond to changes in economic prospects as needed to fulfill its obligation to maintain price stability."

Note the glaring omission of "and full employment" at the end of that sentence.

Canadian health care better than we think

Format: Op-Ed

Source: Dave Zweifel, The Capital Times [Wisconsin]

Date: August 16, 2004

Thanks to years of propaganda from the giant corporations with a vested interest in the U.S.

health system, Americans have a somewhat jaundiced view of Canada's national health insurance program. We're

told that Canadians have to wait for simple procedures and that there are huge waiting lines for surgery.

Doctors aren't compensated adequately. We've been told that so often that we think it's true. Almost all of

it, however, is false. One of this column's regular readers sent me an article written by a Canadian doctor

after he and a group of colleagues spent some time working in our U.S. health system. Suffice it to say that

America's health insurers and drug companies aren't passing the article around.

Workplace beware

Format: Editorial

Source: Baltimore Sun

Date: August 19, 2004

The Labor Department's trumpeting of its new regulations governing overtime, which go into

effect next week, sounds a little tinny. But Mr. Law is right about the new day dawning Monday, when the

revisions to the Fair Labor Standards Act become the law of the land. Labor predicts the rules will require

employers to pay 1.3 million more workers at the bottom of the pay scales overtime if they earn it. Revisions

in the duties tests and classifications, though, could cause between 100,000 and 6 million to lose their

overtime eligibility. That number has been hotly debated, not only by big unions but by nonpartisan think tanks

and former Labor officials from the past two administrations. Now the nation will act as a giant laboratory.

Overtime cut undermines workers

Format: Op-Ed

Source: John Sweeney, Seattle Post-Intelligencer

Date: August 24, 2004

Yesterday, the biggest pay cut in American history took effect: The Bush administration's overtime pay cut

became official. It's a new federal rule that could strip up to 6 million workers of overtime pay protection,

forcing them to work longer hours without fair compensation. Not only will these employees no longer get

overtime pay--they'll be working extra hours for free, earning only their base salary. Under the new rule,

employers will tend to work their current workers longer hours rather than creating new jobs, making the

underlying problems in our economy even worse. At a time when workers' paychecks are down, joblessness is up

and Americans are working more hours than workers in any other industrialized nation, Bush has made the wrong

decision in implementing his new rule.

America's failing health

Format: Op-Ed

Source: Paul Krugman, New York Times

Date: August 27, 2004

In most advanced

countries, the government provides everyone with health insurance. In America, however, the government offers

insurance only if you're elderly (Medicare) or poor (Medicaid). Otherwise, you're expected to get private

health insurance, usually through your job. But insurance premiums are exploding, and the system of

employment-linked insurance is falling apart. Rising health care costs aren't just causing a rapid rise in the

ranks of the uninsured; they're also, because of their link to employment, a major reason why this economic

recovery has generated fewer jobs than any previous economic expansion. Clearly, health care reform is an

urgent social and economic issue.

Labor Day and change

Format: Editorial

Source: Milford Mirror

Date: September 1, 2004

The emergence of Labor Day as a national holiday 110 years ago was borne out of change in

the workplace. As the country became more industrialized, many people were working long hours in dangerous

conditions for minimal compensation. As their bosses became wealthier and they toiled harder, workers decided

they weren't going to take it anymore. Labor Day is a time for everyone to appreciate the hard work of all

Americans. That hard work will continue, but with some changes. People shouldn't be afraid of those changes.

Instead, they must focus on acquiring all the skills they can to succeed in an evolving workplace. Lifelong

training should be seen as an opportunity.

Poverty in the suburbs

Format: News Commentary

Source: Peter Dreier, The Nation

Date: September 2, 2004

Hidden in a Census

Bureau report on poverty released in late August is a factoid with significant political and social

consequences. Poverty has moved to the suburbs. Or, more accurately, poverty has expanded to the suburbs.

Today, 13.8 million poor Americans live in the suburbs--almost as many as the 14.6 million who live in central

cities. The suburban poor represent 38.5 percent of the nation's poor, compared with 40.6 percent of the total

who live in central cities. The Census data remind us that stereotypes about the "inner-city poor" and the

"suburban middle class" no longer reflect how we live.

An economy that turns American values upside down

Format: Op-Ed

Source: Bob Herbert, New York Times

Date: September 6, 2004

Today's workers

have lost power in many different ways--through the slack labor market, government policies that favor

corporate interests, the weakening of unions, the growth of lower-paying service industries, global trade,

capital mobility, the declining real value of the minimum wage, immigration and so on. The end result of all

this is a portrait of American families struggling just to hang on, rather than to get ahead. The benefits of

productivity gains and economic growth are flowing to profits, not worker compensation. The fat cats are

getting fatter, while workers, at least for the time being, are watching the curtain come down on the heralded

American dream.

Workers of the world, relax

Format: Op-Ed

Source: Alain de Botton, New York Times

Date: September 6, 2004


camaraderie may build up between employer and employed, whatever goodwill workers may display and however many

years they may have devoted to a task, they must live with the knowledge and attendant anxiety that their

status is not guaranteed--that it remains dependent on their own performance and the economic well-being of

their organizations; that they are hence a means to profit, and never ends in themselves. This is all sad, but

not half as sad as it can be if we blind ourselves to the reality and raise our expectations of our work to

extreme levels. A firm belief in the necessary misery of life was for centuries one of mankind's most

important assets, a bulwark against bitterness, a defense against dashed hopes. Now it has been cruelly

undermined by the expectations incubated by the modern worldview. Now perhaps, as many of us return from summer

vacations, we can temper [our] sadness by remembering that work is often more bearable when we don't, in

addition to money, expect it always to deliver happiness.

Minimum wage an insult to Americans

Format: Political Column

Source: Esther Tolson, Arbiter

Date: September 9, 2004


the current refusal on the part of Bush and Republicans to stand up and call for Americans to pay their fellow

Americans a wage that does not require public assistance to survive on? Why would the party that so adamantly

despises social welfare programs want to ensure their continued need? The excuse that Republicans have used to

justify blocking numerous proposed increases to the minimum wage is that raising the minimum wage will result

in loss of jobs and harm the poor folk we are purporting to help. Others claim that it would ruin small

businesses. Unfortunately, statistics do not support this claim.

The truth about job numbers

Format: Op-Ed

Source: Robert B. Reich, TomPaine.com

Date: September 9, 2004


news last week that unemployment was down to 5.4 percent sounded good. But, unfortunately, there wasn't a

corresponding rise in payroll jobs. So how good, really, is the news? To understand what the unemployment

numbers really mean, you need to know what questions surveyers are asking--and how they're asking them. Bottom

line: Employers are still reluctant to hire. And it's not hard to figure out why. Demand for their goods and

services remains soft--because consumers, who are also workers, don't have enough money in their pockets or

confidence in their jobs and paychecks to flood back into the malls.

The price of labor's decline

Format: Political Column

Source: David S. Broder, Washington Post

Date: September 9, 2004

There is a story about workers and organized labor that has gone largely unnoticed this year: the link between

the decline of progressive politics and with it the near-demise of liberal legislation, and the steady

weakening of organized labor. For those who think a Wal-Mart economy is the American future, the falloff in

labor's influence is no cause for regret. But I suspect the country will continue to pay a price--and not just

union families--until labor regains a place at the economic and political table.

Bush's flextime remedy could be right pill for our "hurry sickness"

Format: Op-Ed

Source: Froma Harrop, Seattle Times

Date: September 15, 2004

Organized labor opposes Bush's "flextime" proposal, which it sees as a sneaky way

to help companies pay their workers less money. Unions do come by their suspicions honestly. There's hardly a

cheap-labor idea this administration hasn't embraced. But this concept does have merit. Actually, flextime has

been around many years as a women's issue. But feminists envisioned moving those 40 hours around--not reducing

them. So would it be so terrible to let Americans who put in a 45-hour week turn those five hours of overtime

into an extra day off, rather than more money? Labor groups fighting this particular Bush proposal should save

their strength for better battles.

Uncle Sam is hard at work for U.S. corporations

Format: Op-Ed

Source: Walter Williams, Seattle Post-Intelligencer

Date: September 27, 2004

The worsening income disparities between the rich and ordinary citizens--the greatest

since the 1920s--have been a major factor pushing the nation into plutocratic governance. The tax reductions

for the wealthy and major business firms provided money that helped fuel the campaigns of Washington

politicians. Under George W. Bush, the United States has become a government of the corporation, by the

corporation and for the corporation, to paraphrase Abraham Lincoln's Gettysburg Address. Such an entrenched

plutocracy is totally incompatible with the form of governance created by the Constitution to support

representative democracy.

You are guilty ... of shopping at Wal-Mart

Format: Op-Ed

Source: Mike Kilen, Des Moines Register

Date: September 27, 2004

Nearly every day you can read astounding Wal-Mart Nation news and add your own

exaggeration. So where is the guilt for driving down wages, pitting workers against consumers and for ravaging

Main Street Iowa? Average Iowans vote with their feet and enter by the thousands under the "Lower Prices"

banner every day. They can't afford not to. The question remains for any shopper: At what point do personal

savings outweigh the social cost?

Getting to average

Format: Op-Ed

Source: Henry Louis Gates Jr., New York Times

Date: September 26, 2004


black policy types let themselves dream about racial uplift, they dream about getting to average. The fantasy

isn't that inequality vanishes; it's that inequality in black America catches up with inequality in white

America. "Look at what we could achieve if we got to be average!" Franklin Raines, the CEO of Fannie Mae, told

me. "We don't need to take everybody from the ghetto and make them Harvard graduates. We just need to get

folks to average, and we'd all look around and say, 'My God, what a fundamental change has happened in this

country.'" Recently, I asked a few experts on poverty in black America about how we might get to average.

Where did all the jobs go? Nowhere

Format: Op-Ed

Source: Daniel W. Drezner, New York Times

Date: September 29, 2004

Now, we can

add some actual figures to the overheated [outsourcing] debate. The Government Accountability Office has issued

its first review of the data, and one undeniable conclusion to be drawn from it is that outsourcing is not

quite the job-destroying tsunami it's been made out to be. The American economy has some formidable challenges

in the coming decades--rising health care costs, a ballooning federal budget deficit, failing schools and the

need for greater investment in new technology and innovation. The voters should concentrate on the candidates'

plans to overcome those obstacles, not on needless hoopla over outsourcing.

Retiring minds want to know

Format: Op-Ed

Source: Austan Goolsbee, New York Times

Date: October 1, 2004

A serious

financial disaster looms for the pension system. The crisis concerns the Pension Benefit Guaranty Corporation,

the federal agency that insures workers' pensions in case their employer defaults. The system is not supposed

to cost taxpayers anything. But a dreadful lack of judgment, coupled with a new federal law, could leave the

public with a $100 billion bill. Why doesn't the agency have the money to cover this shortfall? Fundamentally,

it is an insurance company. Higher risk ought to mean higher prices. But the pension agency doesn't work that

way. Congress is doing its best to make financial catastrophe more likely.

Working for a pittance

Format: Op-Ed

Source: Bob Herbert, New York Times

Date: October 8, 2004

A new study

shows how tough a time American families are having in their never-ending struggle to put food on the table and

keep a roof over their heads. The study, jointly sponsored by the Annie E. Casey, Ford and Rockefeller

Foundations, show[s] that 9.2 million working families in the United States--one out of every four--earn wages

that are so low they are barely able to survive financially. "Our data is very solid and shows that this is a

much bigger problem than most people imagine," said Brandon Roberts, one of the authors of the report. Mr.

Roberts said he hoped the study, titled "Working Hard, Falling Short," would help initiate a national

discussion of the plight of families who are doing the right thing but not earning enough to get ahead.

Ladies' night for five years

Format: Op-Ed

Source: Matt Miller, Star-Telegram

Date: October 15, 2004

Here's an idea so far

outside the box that it may not get the hearing it deserves: It's time to disenfranchise men and allow only

women to vote. Suppose that you want an America in which everyone has basic health coverage, every full-time

worker earns a living wage and every poor child has a great teacher in a fixed-up school. I want these things

so much I wrote a book (The Two Percent Solution) about how both parties might come together on this

agenda in ways that blend the best of liberal and conservative approaches. After asking some top political

consultants how to make the ideas more actionable, I commissioned a poll. That's when I found out: Men are the


Social policy? Stereotypes are simpler

Format: Editorial

Source: Rod Watson, Buffalo News

Date: October 21, 2004

[A] report came out

the other day showing that the wealth gap between whites and minorities has increased and that blacks actually

saw their net worth decline from 1996 to 2002. The report was socioeconomic manna to those eager to point to

the poor personal choices by blacks who would rather buy frivolous stuff than save or invest. You can't

explain why whites' median net worth of $88,651 is 14 times that of blacks'--and 11 times that of

Hispanics'--by pointing simply to spending habits. So what does explain the wealth gap? It's a legacy of U.S.

social policy. And it will be closed only through conscious social policy.

Leaving women behind

Format: Op-Ed

Source: Karen Kornbluh, Laurie Rubiner, TomPaine.com

Date: October 21, 2004

Women pay the greatest price for our outdated social contract. They can no longer depend on a lifelong mate to

provide economic security, and when they enter the job market themselves, their family responsibilities close

many doors. They have less job security, lower wages and fewer benefits. But what the president offers women is

bait-and-switch politics. His Ownership Society proposals would make women far less economically secure than

they are today by eliminating--instead of reforming--the risk-sharing mechanisms of our social contract

programs. These proposals would leave Americans "owning" more of their own economic insecurity.

Still waiting to hear how poverty war will be won

Format: Editorial

Source: Martha Orozco, Houston Chronicle

Date: October 28, 2004

For the past year, I've listened with interest to the presidential candidates. I have listened specifically

for the candidates' views on poverty joblessness, homelessness, hunger, lack of health care and a living wage.

With few exceptions, the men and women who sought the presidency talked little of these issues in the context

of poor people. It should not matter whether you are a Republican with compassionate conservative values or a

Democrat who values social justice. You should want better for your fellow Americans than what is available to

the 35.8 million people living below the poverty line in the richest country in the world.

A federal minimum wage increase is urgent, regardless of election outcome

Format: Op-Ed

Source: Matthew Cardinale, OpEdNews.com

Date: November 15, 2004

Working American families can't wait four more years more for a more sympathetic President to

fight for an increase in the federal minimum wage increase. It's time to raise it now. Progressive activists

need to carry on the crucial fight, with or without Kerry in the White House. For a national culture that

supposedly values "hard work," we certainly don't put our money where our mouth is. Often we see the hardest

working Americans only sinking further into debt, unable to afford health care, and even going through episodes

of homelessness. These kinds of contradictions, where our policies don't match our values, are leading to

disillusionment among the children of working families today.

Raiders of the lock box

Format: Op-Ed

Source: Robert Reich, TomPaine.com

Date: November 17, 2004

The basic

concept of Social Security is one based on trust--which is why the spectre of future generations placing money

into private accounts breaks that trust and raises the question of where the money will come from for the next

retiring generation. Bush's guarantees that he won't change Social Security benefits for current retirees is

highly unlikely under a privatization plan.

A warning for Social Security "reformers"

Format: News Commentary

Source: Bernard Wasow, Century Foundation

Date: November 17, 2004


Pension Benefit Guarantee Corporation (PBGC), which guarantees private pension plans, just announced that its

net liabilities are double earlier estimates, more than $23 billion. Are Social Security privatization and

trouble at the PBGC related? You bet. The trouble at the PBGC illustrates the great risks involved in

retirement planning, risks that have swamped enough private pension plans to require a Congressional bailout.

Yet the Bush administration is proposing to wind down the only part of retirement income that is

secure--guaranteed against the business cycle, inflation, and corporate malfeasance--and replace it with risky

private accounts, with no guarantees at all.

Shhh, don't say 'poverty'

Format: Op-Ed

Source: Bob Herbert, New York Times

Date: November 22, 2004

A report from the

Department of Agriculture show[s] that more than 12 million American families continue to struggle to feed

themselves. The 12 million families represent 11.2 percent of all U.S. households. "At some time during the

year," the report said, "these households were uncertain of having enough food." These are dismal statistics

for a country as well-to-do as the United States. But we don't hear much about them because hunger is

associated with poverty, and poverty is not even close to becoming part of our national conversation. What does

that tell you about American values?

Media blacks out Bush assault on minimum wage

Format: News Commentary

Source: David Swanson, International Labor Communications Association

Date: November 22, 2004

Bush's success in

reducing the value of the minimum wage in each of the past four years has wreaked havoc with the lives of

millions of working Americans, but it does not exist as a media story. Don't expect a flood of coverage of

this issue. Don't expect lies about the effects of a decent minimum wage to be eliminated or corrected. Don't

expect "think tanks" funded by restaurants and hotels to be identified by their funding sources. And don't

expect the views of those working for the minimum wage to be included in media coverage. Public opinion, of

course, favors fixing the minimum wage, but our public discourse--dominated by the major media outlets--often

has little regard for public opinion.

Debtor nation

Format: News Commentary

Source: Robert B. Reich, TomPaine.com

Date: November 24, 2004

The holiday buying

season is upon us. You might as well spend your cash now because the dollar is dropping like a stone in

international currency markets. It's dropped nearly 30 percent since 2001, and is now at a record low. Even

without the recent dour pronouncements of Alan Greenspan and Treasury Secretary John Snow, the greenback is

likely to fall further. And the reason is simple: We're living beyond our means. American consumers are deep

in debt. The nation is importing more than we're exporting. Most importantly, the federal budget deficit is

out of control.

Defying the suicide economy

Format: Op-Ed

Source: Charlie Cray, Lee Drutman, TomPaine.com

Date: November 30, 2004

One abiding faith that almost all Americans share is that in a democracy, the citizens should

be able to decide how they wish to live--not some big bureaucracy or institution, whether it's the government

or a big corporation. The most effective way to control corporations will be to reclaim the once

widely-accepted principle that corporations exist to serve the public good. Until we have brought the most

important economic institutions under control, it will be impossible to create the just and sustainable economy

that we seek, an economy driven by the values of human life and community and democracy instead of the current

suicide economy driven only by the relentless pursuit of financial profit at any cost.

Social Security is not in crisis

Format: Op-Ed

Source: Dean Baker, TomPaine.com

Date: November 30, 2004


the inauguration, Bush is scheduled to push for tort reform first, then attack Social Security. His

entitlements offensive relies on the White House's ability to make Americans think Social Security is in

crisis. If people knew the truth about Social Security's finances, there would be no support for [the]

President's benefit cuts and privatization plan--and that is why proponents of privatization have worked hard

to spread fear about Social Security's financial health. But look at the numbers and reach your own


Protecting the whistle-blower

Format: Editorial

Source: New York Times

Date: November 30, 2004

The Supreme Court hears

arguments today in a case that raises important issues about who is covered by antidiscrimination law. An

Alabama girls' basketball coach lost his position in 2001 after complaining that his team was being

discriminated against. He sued under Title IX, the federal law prohibiting sex discrimination in schools

receiving federal funds. The school argued, in response, that the coach was not part of the class that Congress

intended to protect with the law. The court should hold that he is covered by Title IX, because he is alleging

that he lost his position as a result of sex discrimination.

Restoring workers' rights has always been a moral value

Format: Op-Ed

Source: Stewart Acuff, International Labor Communications Association

Date: November 30, 2004

Though many might

scoff, I think there is a neat and convenient intersection where our values and political pragmatism meet. At

this intersection are universal healthcare, improving Social Security, a global trading system that lifts

working families and not just corporations, full-time work for living wages, and the restoration of workers'

freedom to form unions and bargain collectively. It is critical that the progressive community takes on this

issue as its own fight because it is a comprehensive effort that brings together so many issues important to

us. Restoring the freedom to form unions ties so many of the issues and values we care about together.

Quo vadis: playing for keeps

Format: Op-Ed

Source: Patrick C. Doherty, TomPaine.com

Date: December 2, 2004


week, America received two pieces of monstrously bad news. First, the chief economist of Morgan Stanley (along

with Robert Reich, Larry Summers, Paul Krugman, China and the currency markets) warned us that the U.S. economy

is about to collapse. Second, we learned that the Bush administration is willing to ignore the likelihood of

collapse and will push ahead aggressively with tax and Social Security reform. Put these two pieces of

information together and you get a nightmare scenario. Movement conservatives are willing to tank the economy

while they control the federal government in order to remake it according to their liking.

Talk about Scrooge

Format: Editorial

Source: New York Times

Date: December 6, 2004

Persistent subpar job creation

might cause some leaders to question their policies. Yet, more high-end tax cuts and higher deficits are the

template for President Bush's second term. And flush with a victory, the president is unlikely to undertake

any policy reversals. It will be up to Congress to break out of its lockstep with Mr. Bush and take steps to

address the real problems of constituents, rather than the intransigent aspirations of the administration.

Inventing a crisis

Format: Op-Ed

Source: Paul Krugman, New York Times

Date: December 7, 2004


Social Security--replacing the current system, in whole or in part, with personal investment accounts--won't

do anything to strengthen the system's finances. If anything, it will make things worse. Nonetheless, the

politics of privatization depend crucially on convincing the public that the system is in imminent danger of

collapse, that we must destroy Social Security in order to save it. Very little about the privatizers'

position is honest. They come to bury Social Security, not to save it. They aren't sincerely concerned about

the possibility that the system will someday fail; they're disturbed by the system's historic success. For

Social Security is a government program that works, a demonstration that a modest amount of taxing and spending

can make people's lives better and more secure.

Social democracy, anyone?

Format: Op-Ed

Source: J. Bradford DeLong, TomPaine.com

Date: December 10, 2004


all of the world's developed countries consider themselves, and are, social democracies: mixed economies with

very large governments performing a wide array of welfare and social insurance functions, and removing large

chunks of wealth and commodity distribution from the market. The United States is something different. Or is

it? Whatever it has been in the past, the United States in the future will have to choose whether, and how

much, it will be a social democracy.

Anti-Social Security

Format: News Commentary

Source: Dean Baker, The Nation

Date: December 9, 2004

Social Security is

the country's most important and successful social program. While polls show majority support for private

accounts, that's only when the question is asked, Would you like a private account? When the real-world

question, Would you like a private account if it means a cut in your Social Security benefits? is asked,

substantial majorities say no. Bush's Social Security plans are grounds for a decisive battle early in the

Administration's second term. The public is overwhelmingly on our side; they just need to know the truth.

Raising the minimum wage morally right

Format: Op-Ed

Source: Peter Dreier, Kelly Candaele, Pittsburgh Tribune-Review

Date: December 12, 2004

The minimum wage victories in Florida and Nevada are a political neon

sign blinking brightly at Democrats. Although these two states favored President Bush on Nov. 2, voters

overwhelmingly approved ballot measures to raise the minimum wage by one dollar in both states. The

conventional wisdom says that Bush won a second term by defending the moral values derived from traditional

religious teachings. But many major religious denominations support raising the minimum wage. When President

Bush is sworn in for a second term, we should all push our lawmakers to raise the national minimum wage.

Unions, civil rights groups, religious organizations and others who care about basic fairness ought to lead

this charge.

Other views: what's a 'girlie woman' to think?

Format: Op-Ed

Source: Rebecca LaVally, Sacramento Bee

Date: December 13, 2004

2004 marked the 40-year anniversary of the passage of the Civil Rights Act, signed by President Lyndon

Johnson, which in part banned job discrimination based on gender, race and ethnicity. When Congress and the

president acted ahead of public opinion to bring equity to the workplace, they set in motion forces that would

change the way we speak. At the time, the notion that any female or male could hold practically any job she or

he was qualified for was revolutionary. But by the mid-1970s, affirmative action and federal lawsuits were

making the notion stick, propelling women into formerly all-male work. As realities changed, so would the

mother tongue, now forced to contort herself around such oddities as female mailman.

What's new in the legal world? A growing campaign to undo the New Deal

Format: Editorial

Source: Adam Cohen, New York Times

Date: December 14, 2004

The New Deal made an unexpected appearance at the Supreme Court recently--in the form of a 1942 case about

wheat. Some prominent states' rights conservatives were asking the court to overturn Wickard v. Filburn, a

landmark ruling that laid out an expansive view of Congress's power to legislate in the public interest.

Supporters of states' rights have always blamed Wickard, and a few other cases of the same era, for paving the

way for strong federal action on workplace safety, civil rights and the environment. Although they are unlikely

to reverse Wickard soon, states' rights conservatives are making progress in their drive to restore the narrow

view of federal power that predated the New Deal--and render Congress too weak to protect Americans on many


Protecting Americans' rights at work

Format: Op-Ed

Source: David Bonior, Pittsburgh Tribune-Review

Date: December 26, 2004

American workers are losing their rights. Over the past several months, decisions

by the National Labor Relations Board, the federal agency charged with enforcing labor law, have stripped

workers of legal protections. The system to protect workers has been broken for a long time, but it's getting

worse. As Americans, we value the democratic notion that working men and women should have a voice in the

workplace. We believe that hard work and loyalty deserve to be rewarded and that working people should share in

the benefits of the good things they help make possible. Americans' rights at work must be restored, protected

and guaranteed.

The Social Security fear factor

Format: Editorial

Source: New York Times

Date: January 3, 2005

The administration wants

workers to divert some of the payroll taxes that currently pay for Social Security into private investment

accounts, in exchange for a much-reduced government benefit. To replace the taxes it would otherwise have

collected--money it needs to pay benefits to current and near retirees--the government would borrow an

estimated $2 trillion over the next 10 years or so and even more thereafter. In effect, the administration's

plan would get rid of the financial burden of Social Security by getting rid of Social Security. The plan

shifts the financial risk of growing old onto each individual and off of the government--where it is dispersed

among a very large population, as with any sensible insurance policy. In a privatized system, you may do fine,

but your fellow retirees may not, or vice versa.

Stopping the bum's rush

Format: Op-Ed

Source: Paul Krugman, New York Times

Date: January 4, 2005

The people who

hustled America into a tax cut to eliminate an imaginary budget surplus and a war to eliminate imaginary

weapons are now trying another bum's rush. If they succeed, we will do nothing about the real fiscal threat

and will instead dismantle Social Security, a program that is in much better financial shape than the rest of

the federal government. In the next few weeks, I'll explain why privatization will fatally undermine Social

Security, and suggest steps to strengthen the program. I'll also talk about the much more urgent fiscal

problems the administration hopes you won't notice while it scares you about Social Security. Today let's

focus on one piece of those scare tactics: the claim that Social Security faces an imminent crisis.

The 'other America' may be coming back

Format: Political Column

Source: Harold Meyerson, Washington Post

Date: January 5, 2005


have come so far in such a short time that's it's hard for people who aren't seniors to imagine an America

in which old age was all but synonymous with desperation. There's no great mystery to unravel here. Above all,

what changed the lives of America's senior citizens were the significant increases in Social Security benefits

enacted in the 1960s and '70s, and the indexing of those benefits to average wage growth. But since the Bush

administration is reportedly soon to propose ending that indexing, and replacing it with a different formula

that would greatly reduce benefits, it's worth taking a moment to look back at senior poverty as it existed in

the year of John F. Kennedy's election as president.

Comcast can do better for workers

Format: Op-Ed

Source: David Bonior, Philadelphia Daily News

Date: January 7, 2005

This weekend, the nation's foremost labor and management academics, practitioners and government officials

will gather in Philadelphia for the Labor and Employment Relations Association's annual conference. Labor

relations in the United States has reached a state of crisis. It's in our interest to reverse this condition.

All of us--employers and workers, academics, public-interest organizations, government agencies and the general

public--must put our heads together. We need to create labor relations strategies that both support corporate

growth at the same time we preserve workers' rights to organize and bargain with their bosses over the terms

and conditions of their employment.

Labor needs a radical vision

Format: Op-Ed

Source: David Bacon, International Labor Communications Association

Date: January 6, 2005

The AFL-CIO has a huge job. Raising the percentage of

organized workers in the U.S. from just 10 to 11 percent would mean organizing over a million people. Only a

social movement can organize people on this scale. In addition to examining structural reforms that can make

unions more effective and concentrate their power, the labor movement needs a program which can inspire people

to organize on their own, one which is unafraid to put forward radical demands, and rejects the constant

argument that any proposal that can't get through Congress next year is not worth fighting for. Only a new,

radical social vision can inspire the wave of commitment, idealism and activity necessary to rebuild the labor


The real moral fight

Format: Political Column

Source: Katrina vanden Heuvel, The Nation

Date: January 12, 2005


January 20, hundreds of Republicans will descend on Washington, DC, wearing furs, boots and Stetsons, and

partying like the Hollywood stars (they love to loathe) at festivities that will cost some $40 million to

host--or $25 million more than the first pledge of US assistance to victims of the tsunami. With the

Republicans in control of all three federal branches, building a new consensus for sane economic policies that

give more opportunity to more Americans will take time, organizing and savvy political and policy skills. But,

it's an urgent project, and it's never too late to begin setting out the alternatives. Americans should not

be required to work eighty-hour weeks just to pay the rent, eat, and live in a decent neighborhood.

Bush's crash test economics

Format: Op-Ed

Source: J. Bradford DeLong, TomPaine.com

Date: January 14, 2005

Trying to assess the urgency of Social Security reform? In comparison to the massive threat posed by the

deficits in the general fund, currently standing at $7 trillion, the far-off imbalance of Social Security is

but a slowly leaking tire on a car that has already crashed into a tree. So why is the Bush administration

proposing radical changes to the Social Security system?

Generational warfare

Format: Op-Ed

Source: Ben Hubbard, Boston Globe

Date: January 14, 2005

If there's one voice conspicuously absent in the debate over replacing Social

Security with private investment accounts, it is young people--the ones with the most to lose. Listen to any

argument for privatization and one thing is clear--it's all in the name of young Americans. But, in fact, this

administration's record reflects a deep disregard for the interests of young Americans. This administration

has demonstrated over and over its willingness to put ideological purity, political loyalty, and the profits of

its corporate patrons above the broad public interest. Why should young people believe that its risky Social

Security privatization scheme would be any different?

The British evasion

Format: Op-Ed

Source: Paul Krugman, New York Times

Date: January 14, 2005

The details of

British privatization differ from the likely Bush administration plan because the starting point was different.

But there are basic similarities. Guaranteed benefits were cut; workers were expected to make up for these

benefit cuts by earning high returns on their private accounts. The selling of privatization also bore a

striking resemblance to President Bush's crisis-mongering. Britain had a retirement system that was working

quite well, but conservative politicians issued grim warnings about the distant future, insisting that

privatization was the only answer. The main difference from the current U.S. situation was that Britain was

better prepared for the transition. Even so, it all went wrong.

We Need to Play Fair in Game of Life

Format: Op-Ed

Source: Tim McGuire, Ventura County Star

Date: January 15, 2005

Some people say sports are metaphors for life. I would argue sports are real

life and they offer us some instructive lessons for ethics and workplace harmony.

Ensuring economic fairness is every worker's battle to wage

Format: Political Column

Source: Bill Graham, Kansas City Star

Date: January 19, 2005

This business of increasing the number of

working people living just above or below the poverty line -- but with little hope of escaping debt and money

troubles -- will turn on us someday. One point of justice that concerned Martin Luther King Jr. is among the

most difficult to address -- economic fairness. The Rev. Vernon P. Howard, featured speaker Monday at

Liberty's King celebration, reminded those in Gano Chapel that King was slain during his efforts on behalf of

striking garbage workers in Memphis. "He died trying to help sanitation workers get decent wages and working

conditions," Howard said.

A bridge to sell

Format: Editorial

Source: New York Times

Date: January 24, 2005

The president promises that

under a private retirement scheme, anyone age 55 or older would continue to receive full Social Security

benefits. What he repeatedly fails to mention is that privatization would require some $2 trillion in new

borrowing over the next 10 years and an additional $4.5 trillion in the decade thereafter. That's on top of

the trillions that need to be found to cover the costs of Medicare and Medicaid and - if the president gets his

way - to make this decade's tax cuts permanent. It's foolhardy to assume that the government could continue

to meet all of its obligations, including the payment of Social Security benefits, under such a mountain of


Beyond latchkey kids

Format: Op-Ed

Source: Shelley Waters Boots, TomPaine.com

Date: January 26, 2005

Time is

money, and these days there doesn't seem to be enough of either to go around. The new reality in today's 24/7

economy is that the demands on workers continue to grow, but compensation, benefits and flexibility fail to

keep up. Unfortunately, it is not just workers that pay a high price. In this game of long hours, shrinking

benefits and stagnating wages, the biggest losers are workers' children and families. Between 1970 and 2001,

the percentage of mothers in the workforce rose from 38 to 67 percent. Compared to 30 years ago, today's

dual-income parents put in one additional month of full-time work each year. So what are the realities that

parents and their children face when it comes to balancing work and family?

Privatizing Social Security: 'me' over 'we'

Format: Op-Ed

Source: Benjamin R. Barber, Los Angeles Times

Date: January 27, 2005

Social Security privatization has been vigorously challenged on both economic and

technical grounds. Yet the most profound cost of privatization has been wholly ignored: the systemic cost to

our public way of life. By turning a public social insurance and pension policy into a private bet in which

personal and private decisions determine who does well and who does badly, we do irreparable harm to our

democratic "common ground." After all, one of this nation's greatest public goods has been its promise to give

every working family a guarantee of support at retirement, or in case of disability or death. You cannot simply

take justice out of the public realm and put it into the private realm without fundamentally weakening the

democracy on which the very possibility of justice depends.

Debt for everyone

Format: Op-Ed

Source: Robert B. Reich, TomPaine.com

Date: January 28, 2005

Think the budget

deficit is too large, but not really something you should worry about? Think again. The deficit may be so large

as to seem abstract, but it translates to higher prices on everything you buy. Our economy is steadily slowing

down, choked by debt--all so tax cuts for the rich can become a permanent fixture.

Wanted: bravery

Format: Political Column

Source: V.B. Price, Albuquerque Tribute

Date: January 31, 2005

I wonder what Dennis Chavez, the late U.S. senator from New Mexico, would be thinking

today in an America where unions have been gutted, civil liberties are being undermined and the old-age

protections of Social Security and Medicare are being seriously attacked by plutocrats in the White House. I

say he'd be outraged and eloquently and relentlessly outspoken. He wouldn't be toadying around with the

Ruling Party.

Fairness in workplace is a double-edged sword

Format: Advice Column

Source: Andrea Kay (Gannett), The Desert Sun

Date: January 31, 2005

Most of you tell me what you will never tell your employer. How much you

resent your boss for not giving you feedback. How annoyed you are they brought in some yo-yo from the outside

to fill a position you aspired to for three years. How unappreciated you are, how ill-equipped you feel to do a

job because no one is supporting you. Or how uncreative your work has become. Why are you telling me instead of

your manager? Let me guess. You figure it won't do any good. You've tried but nothing changed. You've

dropped 10 hints. It could even be risky. Besides, by now you're looking for a new job, right? Whether you're

a senior executive or an administrative assistant, you have one thing in common with every dissatisfied worker

I hear from: You feel you've been treated unfairly.

Show us the jobs

Format: Op-Ed

Source: Jonathan Tasini, TomPaine.com

Date: February 1, 2005

Among his

priorities this year, President Bush wants to make his tax cuts permanent. Not only do these tax cuts heap

billions onto our national debt, but the evidence shows they don't produce the jobs his administration claims

they will. Since the tax cuts took effect in July 2003, the administration's projected monthly job growth was

only met or exceeded three times. Overall, the promise of 5.5 million jobs fell 3.1 million jobs short--one of

the worst job-creation records in the past century. As important, wages are stagnating--which explains why

people remain very nervous about the economy. With the past experience laid out for all to see--the public

should not buy any State of the Union claims that more tax cuts will help create more jobs.

Many unhappy returns

Format: Op-Ed

Source: Paul Krugman, New York Times

Date: February 1, 2005

The fight over

Social Security is, above all, about what kind of society we want to have. But it's also about numbers. And

the numbers the privatizers use just don't add up. Let me inflict some of those numbers on you. Sorry, but

this is important. Schemes for Social Security privatization, like the one described in the 2004 Economic

Report of the President, invariably assume that investing in stocks will yield a high annual rate of return,

6.5 or 7 percent after inflation, for at least the next 75 years. Without that assumption, these schemes can't

deliver on their promises. Yet a rate of return that high is mathematically impossible unless the economy grows

much faster than anyone is now expecting.

Gambling with your retirement

Format: Op-Ed

Source: Paul Krugman, New York Times

Date: February 4, 2005

A few weeks ago I

tried to explain the logic of Bush-style Social Security privatization: it is, in effect, as if your financial

adviser told you that you wouldn't have enough money when you retire--but you shouldn't save more. Instead,

you should borrow a lot of money, buy stocks and hope for capital gains. Do you believe that we should replace

America's most successful government program with a system in which workers engage in speculation that no

financial adviser would recommend? Do you believe that we should do this even though it will do nothing to

improve the program's finances? If so, George Bush has a deal for you.

Remember the poor

Format: Editorial

Source: Washington Post

Date: February 7, 2005

Between 2000 and

2003, the number of people living in poverty rose 14 percent. In 2003, one out of every eight Americans was

poor, a disproportionate number of them children. The number without health insurance was the highest on

record. The poorest fell further below the poverty line while the richest took home a greater share of national

income than ever. We recite these depressing numbers today, as President Bush prepares to unveil his fiscal

2006 budget, because budgets are not only dry, fact-choked documents but a measure of the national character.

These are the budgetary times that try the nation's soul. In the face of this unhappy fiscal reality, the risk

is that the budget ax will fall most heavily on the poorest and most vulnerable Americans, those with the

greatest need for government help but the smallest voice in the corridors of power.

What meat means

Format: Editorial

Source: New York Times

Date: February 6, 2005

Meatpackers, driven by the

brutal economics of the industry, always try to hire the cheapest labor they can find. That increasingly means

immigrants whose language difficulties compound the risks of the job. The result, according to a new report by

Human Rights Watch, is "extraordinarily high rates of injury" in conditions that systematically violate human

rights. The industry has little incentive to improve conditions on its own, except a decent regard for human

rights. The only reasonable prospect of improvement depends on the enforcement of federal and state law.

Unfortunately, those laws at present are too weak and too riddled with loopholes to provide the regulations

needed to increase worker safety and improve workers' rights. A systematic regulatory look at the meat

industry, with an eye to toughening standards, is desperately needed.

The right's attack on public pensions

Format: News Commentary

Source: Phil Angelides, Los Angeles Times

Date: February 7, 2005

Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger says getting rid of public pension plans for California's state

and local government workers is about helping to balance the budget. Peel back the budget wrapping on his plan,

though, and you will find the governor's real agenda: the California prong of a national attack on the pension

funds that have stood up for corporate reform and the interests of ordinary families and investors hurt by the

recent wave of corporate scandal. Across the country, the governor's ideological soul mates are targeting

public pension funds for elimination because those funds have stood up for ordinary investors against rampant

corporate abuses. The governor and his right-wing ideologues have targeted the pension funds not because the

funds have strayed, but because they are leading the fight on behalf of ordinary shareholders to put

transparency and accountability back into American capitalism.

Adjusting for women

Format: Op-Ed

Source: Martha Burk, TomPaine.com

Date: February 10, 2005

One of the loudest

voices in the debate about Social Security privatization belongs to Rep. Bill Thomas. Thomas recently proposed

"adjusting" Social Security benefits so that women, who live longer than men, wouldn't receive greater overall

benefits. But it turns out that the numbers show women are already being cheated out of well-earned benefits.

It's definitely time for an adjustment--just not the one Rep. Thomas has in mind.

Boomers, budget and a so-called bust

Format: Op-Ed

Source: Robert B. Reich, TomPaine.com

Date: February 11, 2005

Today's [baby] boomers bankroll today's Social Security retirees with their payroll taxes, as does every

generation. That's the way Social Security was designed--as a pay-as-you-go system. But boomers outnumber

retirees. So there's extra money in the kitty--a Social Security surplus. Here's the dirty little secret.

Those surpluses are being used to reduce the president's budget deficits. The president's new budget predicts

that this year's deficit will be $427 billion. But it would be much, much larger--a whopping $589

billion--without this year's Social Security surplus. So if the government's going to depend for years on the

boomer's payroll taxes to reduce its budget deficits, by the time the boomers retire it should replenish

Social Security with revenues from more progressive income and corporate taxes. And in the meantime, to be

really fair, raise the cap on the amount of wages subject to the payroll tax.

The twilight zone: black history, Bush-style

Format: News Commentary

Source: Maya Rockeymoore, Black Commentator

Date: February 10, 2005

Just in

time for Black History Month, the nation enters a dialogue about race that could have important socioeconomic

implications for generations of African Americans. At issue is President Bush's charge that the Social

Security system is unfair to African Americans because they do not live as long as whites. The President is

right to focus the nation on the need to promote ownership and wealth creation in the United States. Yet he is

wrong to attempt to execute his plan by undermining Social Security. If the President really cares about the

welfare of African Americans, he would seek to close health disparities and give people an opportunity to earn

extra money to put on top of Social Security's guarantee.

Social Security cure: procrastination

Format: News Commentary

Source: David R. Francis, Christian Science Monitor

Date: February 14, 2005


don't have to look hard for suggested solutions to Social Security. President Bush proposes private accounts.

Liberals want a number of minor tweaks. Here's another solution to the alleged crisis: do nothing. That's

right. Ignore the doomsayers. Wait for a decade or two, and see if the gloomy predictions are coming true.

It's not as crazy as it sounds because of one simple fact: No one really knows whether the forecast of a

solvency problem will come true or just gradually fade away. Why? Because economists have great difficulty

making accurate long-term projections. And 75-year economic forecasts--upon which all the current alarm is

based--are about as reliable as the Farmers' Almanac.

240 million risky pieces

Format: Op-Ed

Source: David Smith, TomPaine.com

Date: February 15, 2005

With a

stunning absence of specifics, President Bush used his State of the Union address to propose a radical "reform"

of Social Security. The president was right about only one thing. Our three-legged retirement stool--Social

Security, pensions and individual savings--is weak and wobbly. Only Social Security is strong. On a range of

fronts, we should take steps to get wages growing again so that families can save--the minimum wage should go

up, it should be easier to form a union, tax policies which encourage the export of good jobs should be

repealed--and we should make affordable heath care for all a reality. Those steps--not reduced benefits and

private accounts--would bring us closer to real social security.

What's law got to do with it?

Format: News Commentary

Source: Charlotte Fishman, CommonDreams

Date: February 23, 2005

As the debate over

Lawrence Summers' remarks keeps building and building, I confess to feeling a strange thrill. It isn't just

the satisfaction of watching an arrogant white male being taken to the woodshed. It is something else--the

startled realization that I am witnessing a newly emerging social consensus--that really stirs my blood. After

years of discussion and debate bubbling under the surface of academia, a new social consensus is revealed:

women's failure to thrive in the realm of the scientific elite cannot plausibly be explained by their lack of

talent, interest or commitment. This emerging social consensus has significant legal implications.

Labor pains: eight simple rules

Format: News Commentary

Source: Jonathan Tasini, TomPaine.com

Date: February 28, 2005

Perhaps it's fitting that the AFL-CIO Executive Council, at which the roiling debate over the future of labor

will be played out, is being held in the land of fantasy: Las Vegas. Don't get me wrong: the fact that there

even is a debate--and a sharp one at that--is a great thing. But, count me as one who doubts that the current

debate will lead to the changes needed. These rules will help you understand what is happening in Sin City this

week and how to tell whether anything really will change.

Don't blame Wal-Mart

Format: Op-Ed

Source: Robert B. Reich, New York Times

Date: February 28, 2005


economy offers us a Faustian bargain: it can give consumers deals largely because it hammers workers and

communities. We can blame big corporations, but we're mostly making this bargain with ourselves. The easier it

is for us to get great deals, the stronger the downward pressure on wages and benefits. But you and I aren't

just consumers. We're also workers and citizens. How do we strike the right balance? The only way for the

workers or citizens in us to trump the consumers in us is through laws and regulations that make our purchases

a social choice as well as a personal one. The prices on sales tags don't reflect the full prices we have to

pay as workers and citizens. A sensible public debate would focus on how to make that total price as low as


Coming to a church near you

Format: News Commentary

Source: William Fisher, Dissident Voice

Date: March 5, 2005

I don't really

care who gets hired by [certain] discredited and disgraceful outfits. At least, not until I'm asked to help

pay their salaries. And that's what the U.S. House of Representatives is asking me--and you--to do. Yesterday,

224 of our courageous representatives passed the first rollback of religious liberty since President Reagan

signed the Job Training Partnership Act into law back in 1982. What they okayed was use of tax dollars to fund

religious discrimination in hiring for government-funded jobs. So the House made it OK to demand that taxpayers

help finance hiring policies that say Protestants-only or Muslims-only, or Catholics-only, or Jews-only, or,

for that matter, whites or blacks or Asians-only. Despite the aggressive opposition of a huge coalition of

religious, civil rights, labor, educational, and other advocacy groups, President Bush pushed hard for passage

as part of his Faith Based Initiative.

The debt-peonage society

Format: Op-Ed

Source: Paul Krugman, New York Times

Date: March 8, 2005

Today the Senate

is expected to vote to limit debate on a bill that toughens the existing bankruptcy law, probably ensuring the

bill's passage. A solid bloc of Republican senators, assisted by some Democrats, has already voted down a

series of amendments that would either have closed loopholes for the rich or provided protection for some poor

and middle-class families. The bill was written by and for credit card companies, and the industry's political

muscle is the reason it seems unstoppable. But the bill also fits into the broader context of what Jacob

Hacker, a political scientist at Yale, calls "risk privatization": a steady erosion of the protection the

government provides against personal misfortune, even as ordinary families face ever-growing economic


Open season on consumers

Format: Op-Ed

Source: Arianna Huffington, TomPaine.com

Date: March 10, 2005


of cracking down on predatory lending practices, closing loopholes that favor the wealthy, and strengthening

the safety net for working people, single mothers and elderly Americans struggling to recover from a financial

setback, the Senate put together a nasty little bill that reads like a credit industry wish list. A recent

study by Harvard University found that half of last year's 1.6 million bankruptcies were the result of

crushing medical bills. Put another way: every 30 seconds, someone in this country files for bankruptcy in the

wake of a serious illness. Instead of adapting to this harsh new reality, where hardworking, middle-class folks

can be financially destroyed by a sudden illness, the Senate is about to approve a one-size-fits-all law that

treats a family man who has sunk into debt because of a heart attack the same as a con artist who maxes out his

MasterCard, then refuses to pay up.

The $600 billion man

Format: Op-Ed

Source: Paul Krugman, New York Times

Date: March 15, 2005

The argument

over Social Security privatization isn't about rival views on how to secure the program's future--even the

administration admits that private accounts would do nothing to help the system's finances. It's a debate

about what kind of society America should be. And it's a debate Republicans appear to be losing, because the

public doesn't share their view that it's a good idea to expose middle-class families, whose lives have

become steadily riskier over the past few decades, to even more risk. But the Republicans' loss may not be the

Democrats' gain, for two reasons. One is that some Democrats, in the name of centrism, echo Republican talking

points. The other is that claims to be defending average families ring hollow when you defer to corporate

interests on votes that matter.

Democrats asleep at the wheel

Format: Op-Ed

Source: Robert Kuttner, Boston Globe

Date: March 16, 2005

The Republicans just did it again. They pushed through Congress a bankruptcy

''reform" bill written by credit card companies. The bill makes it harder for ordinary people crushed by debt

(often medical debt) to start anew. It leaves intact dodges used by wealthy people, such as asset-hiding

trusts, and the corporate ability to use bankruptcy to slash wages, evade pension responsibilities, and stiff

creditors. There's a larger story here. Time after time, Bush administration policies do real economic harm to

ordinary people, yet the Democrats can't seem to turn that reality into winning politics. Why not?

Mr. Greenspan, I beg to differ

Format: Op-Ed

Source: Robert B. Reich, TomPaine.com

Date: March 17, 2005


not federal spending that's out of whack. What's really responsible for the giant deficits is found on the

revenue side of the ledger. As a percentage of the total economy, tax revenues are plunging. We haven't seen

revenues this low, as measured against the total economy, in half a century. Take a close look at government

revenues. Payments coming into government from payroll taxes--which are paid mostly by America's huge middle

class--are at an historic high. But look at what's being collected from income and corporate taxes, and

measured against the economy as a whole you get the smallest take in more than 60 years. And, of course, income

taxes and corporate taxes come mainly from people earning more than $200,000 a year. In other words, the

federal deficit has gone up mainly because wealthier Americans are paying less in taxes.

Sharing the sacrifice

Format: Op-Ed

Source: Chuck Collins, TomPaine.com

Date: March 23, 2005

In one America,

we hold bake sales to buy Kevlar bulletproof vests for family members deployed to Iraq. In another America,

lobbyists press to abolish the estate tax. This will ensure that the children of multimillionaires--who are not

losing sleep over insufficient body armor--will harvest unlimited inheritances into the millions and billions.

As we mark the second anniversary of the Iraq mission, there is a stunning inequality of sacrifice on the home

front. The Bush administration and congressional leaders have shown little interest in the symbolism, let alone

practice, of shared sacrifice. There are no tire drives, no calls for rationing, nor any moral duty to share in

the costs of the war. The war managers are determined to isolate the domestic sacrifice and losses for this war

to as few families as possible--largely to those waiting for loved ones to return from duty in Iraq.

Dirty battle in the Social Security war

Format: Op-Ed

Source: Marie Cocco, Newsday

Date: March 29, 2005

Supporters of President Bush's plan to privatize part of Social Security are losing the public relations war.

Some of them have decided to fight dirty. Two top Republicans recently demanded a Labor Department

investigation into union political activity on Social Security. Organized labor is enjoying a rare moment of

success. Through its public protests and vigorous lobbying, it has managed to get some big investment firms to

back out of business coalitions that provide financial and lobbying support for the White House Social Security

effort. The firms manage billions in union pension assets. One by one, they've been deciding that their union

business is a plump bird in hand compared with the uncertainty of a deal on Social Security promoted by Bush.

Wal-Mart's culture of crime and greed

Format: Op-Ed

Source: Jonathan Tasini, TomPaine.com

Date: March 30, 2005

The Beast of Bentonville (better known as Wal-Mart) is grappling with a spate of management

dismissals and investigations over the past few months that appear rooted in internal petty thievery. But

rather than a few bad apples being rooted out, it's clear that crime, greed, wrongdoing, malfeasance and

cronyism are deeply embedded in the Wal-Mart business model. Indeed, Wal-Mart could not survive without

manipulating the system and breaking the law. The management schlubs who have been shown the door are not

anomalies. They are a reflection of a culture stretching back to Sam Walton himself--a man who was a classic

bully, willing to trample on the little guy and make a profit off of the poverty of millions of people. That's

the Wal-Mart way.

The economy is based on borrowing

Format: Op-Ed

Source: Mark Trahant, Seattle Post-Intelligencer

Date: April 3, 2005

The Economic Policy Institute recently compiled its "State of Working America 2004/2005" report. "Many of the

problems that beset working Americans in the 2001 recession and protracted jobless recovery persist today,"

says the opening paragraph of the report. "The 2001 downturn stopped and even reversed most of the positive

economic trends that characterized the latter 1990s." The country's wealth scale is out of balance. "Using

newly available income data that goes all the way back to 1913, income in 2000 was only slightly less

concentrated among the top 1 percent of households than during the run-up to the Great Depression, which was

the worst period of uneven income concentration in the last century," the report says.

A side order of human rights

Format: Op-Ed

Source: Eric Schlosser, New York Times

Date: April 6, 2005

Last month,

the Coalition of Immokalee Workers, a group that represents farm workers in Florida, announced it was ending a

four-year boycott of Taco Bell. The most remarkable thing about the announcement was the reason behind it: Taco

Bell had acceded to all of the coalition's demands. At a time of declining union membership, failed organizing

drives and public apathy about poverty, a group of immigrant tomato pickers had persuaded an enormous fast food

company to increase the wages of migrant workers and impose a tough code of conduct on Florida tomato


Drafted for the inflation battle

Format: Op-Ed

Source: Robert Reich, TomPaine.com

Date: April 7, 2005

When job growth is slow, like it is now, the poorest Americans suffer most. That's because

they're the last to get hired and the first to get fired. Now, Alan Greenspan wants to stop a possible

inflation outbreak and is raising interest rates to compensate. But inflation is highly unlikely to spiral out

of control, and the pre-emptive measures against it just mean poor Americans have fewer and fewer job options.

All the Fed is doing is widening the poverty gap. Poorer Americans are paying the price at the very time when

the White House is cutting low-income housing, cutting Medicaid for the poor, cutting child care, and cutting

other programs for poor families.

Justices split gray hairs in age-bias case

Format: Op-Ed

Source: Marianne Means, Seattle Post-Intelligencer

Date: April 7, 2005

Last week the U.S. Supreme Court ruled that federal law allows old folks to file job-related age-bias claims

without a finding of deliberate harmful intent. Sounds good, but then the justices noted that employers could

dump older workers if they had an undefined "reasonable" explanation. Wow. An escape clause big enough to drive

a truck through. Maybe the justices have forgotten that without a remedy, there is no right. So are senior

citizens a protected class like racial minorities and women? Not on your life. This is one of those disgusting

legal dodges in which the kindly, age-neutral rhetoric doesn't come close to reality.

Bush's Social Security playbook

Format: Op-Ed

Source: Paul Waldman, TomPaine.com

Date: April 12, 2005

The current debate over Social Security is one of those rare occasions where the public is

getting the chance to really think about what is being proposed. As poll after poll has shown, the more they

hear about the administration's proposal, the less they like it. There is little reason to believe that the

argument that privatization is really about helping poor people will be any more persuasive than the previous

arguments that it was about helping black people or young people. Unfortunately for the administration, when

people actually know the facts and take the opportunity to think things out, it can be awfully hard to pull the

wool over their eyes.

The Oprah society

Format: Op-Ed

Source: Beth Shulman, TomPaine.com

Date: April 12, 2005


yesterday's daytime gabfests to today's reality shows, somehow in America, the insurmountable became the

inevitable. We went from counting on a family-sustaining job to expecting a pink slip. We've seen whole towns

rust and millions lose decent jobs. We've seen still others trapped in jobs that fail to provide the basics of

a decent life. Meanwhile, there aren't enough reality show makeovers to transform whole blocks--let alone

entire towns--or get us all college diplomas or decent jobs. So a few are chosen, and the rest of us are made

to feel like we failed. It's one thing to admire those who beat the odds, quite another to create a society

which makes the odds nearly impossible to overcome.

Struggle for workers' rights necessary

Format: Op-Ed

Source: Daniel Boudreau, BG News

Date: April 12, 2005

As the

days remaining in this academic year slip away, many soon-to-be-ex-students are pondering just what they are

going to do with their lives. I have this to suggest: go save your country. Find work within what is going to

be the major American battle of the 21st century: the fight for workers' rights and their ability to unionize.

Why not consider work that puts you at the center of this struggle, one that, when successful, will ultimately

bring some balance to an economy that currently breeds injustice? If current economic trends continue, and if

we don't step up to oppose them, that fancy college degree of yours might only be able to land you employment

at the local, non-unionized, Wal-Mart.

Guest Blogger: John Edwards

Format: News Commentary

Source: John Edwards, Talking Points Memo

Date: April 14, 2005

I'm now spending a lot of my time tackling the challenges of poverty, but I learned a lot about

bankruptcy on the campaign trail last year. I saw how many good families end up broke and poor, and how they

need the safety net of a fair bankruptcy law if they're going to get back on their feet. Like a lot of

Democrats, I voted for a bankruptcy reform bill before. I can't say it more simply than this: I was wrong. The

bill is supposed to crack down on irresponsible borrowers. That's the right thing to do. The problem is that

this bill imposes big burdens on families who did everything right but went broke just because they lost a job

or lost their health insurance. And, even more than the legislation I supported, this bill doesn't crack down

on the real abusers.

A whiff of stagflation

Format: Op-Ed

Source: Paul Krugman, New York Times

Date: April 18, 2005

In the 1970's

soaring prices of oil and other commodities led to stagflation--a combination of high inflation and high

unemployment, which left no good policy options. If the Fed cut interest rates to create jobs, it risked

causing an inflationary spiral; if it raised interest rates to bring inflation down, it would further increase

unemployment. Can it happen again? Last week fears of a return to stagflation sent stock prices to a five-month

low. What few seem to have noticed, however, is that a mild form of stagflation--rising inflation in an economy

still well short of full employment--has already arrived. Inflation is creeping up, and it's doing so despite

a labor market that is in worse shape than the official unemployment rate suggests.

A great idea--but not practiced in America

Format: Op-Ed

Source: Nancy Hurlbert, Tami Simms-Powel, Miami Herald

Date: April 19, 2005

Why do parking-lot attendants get paid more than childcare workers? Is it harder work? Does it take

more training? Is the work more valuable to society? Or is it that most parking lot attendants are men, and

most childcare workers are women? The day to ask these questions is April 19: Equal Pay Day. And here's

another question: Why April 19? If a man and a woman each started working on Jan. 1, 2004, the man would have

earned a year's pay by Dec. 31, 2004. The woman would have to continue working three months and 19 days longer

to earn the same amount. In America today, the woman's work year extends until April 19 of the next year. This

gives new meaning to the old saying: A woman's work is never done.

Wal-Mart's free market fallacy

Format: Op-Ed

Source: Jonathan Tasini, TomPaine.com

Date: April 21, 2005

Conservatives run around singing the praises of Wal-Mart, proclaiming it an American success

story. But what I love about Wal-Mart is the way the company highlights the phoniness of two centerpieces of

the conservative movement's sloganeering propaganda: the so-called "free market" and "local control." Truth

is, Wal-Mart could not survive in a real free market. Ironically, Wal-Mart's behavior does have one redeeming

factor. By puncturing the Wal-Mart-generated myths that it is good for America, by showing that its low-prices

come with a heavy cost, and by revealing how the company is a leech on communities, we may begin to pull back

the curtain hiding the true nature of the so-called "free market."

Think pay gap doesn't exist anymore? Think again

Format: Op-Ed

Source: Rekha Basu, Des Moines Register

Date: April 20, 2005

Imagine if your earnings for one-third of this year were simply wiped out. Say you were

furloughed from your job, or had to take a leave without pay to take care of family. Since we're already

almost a third of the way through 2005, all the work you've done so far this year would count for exactly

nothing. Now you have some sense of what it means to be the typical woman in the workforce. Tuesday was Equal

Pay Day, the symbolic date established by the National Committee on Pay Equity to show how many extra months

into the year a woman would have to work to earn as much as a man does in a year. Relative to male earnings,

the first nearly four months worked by a woman count for nothing.

Passing the buck

Format: Op-Ed

Source: Paul Krugman, New York Times

Date: April 22, 2005

The United

States spends far more on health care than other advanced countries. Yet we don't appear to receive more

medical services. How do we do it? We've created a vast and hugely expensive insurance bureaucracy that

accomplishes nothing. It's perverse but true that this system, which insures only 85 percent of the

population, costs much more than we would pay for a system that covered everyone. Why do we put up with such an

expensive, counterproductive health care system? Decades of indoctrination in the virtues of market competition

and the evils of big government have left many Americans unable to comprehend the idea that sometimes

competition is the problem, not the solution.

The oblivious right

Format: Op-Ed

Source: Paul Krugman, New York Times

Date: April 25, 2005

Is the

administration's obliviousness to the public's economic anxiety just partisanship? I don't think so:

President Bush and other Republican leaders honestly think that we're living in the best of times. After all,

everyone they talk to says so. The administration's upbeat view of the economy is a case in point. Corporate

interests are doing very well. Over the last three years, profits grew the fastest since World War II. The

story is very different for the great majority of Americans. Over the past three years, wage and salary income

grew less than in any other postwar recovery--less than a tenth as fast as profits. But wage-earning Americans

aren't part of the base.

A private obsession

Format: Op-Ed

Source: Paul Krugman, New York Times

Date: April 29, 2005

American health care is unique among advanced countries in its heavy reliance on the private sector.

It's also uniquely inefficient. We spend far more per person on health care than any other country, yet many

Americans lack health insurance and don't receive essential care. This week yet another report emphasized just

how bad a job the American system does at providing basic health care. A study by the Robert Wood Johnson

Foundation estimates that 20 million working Americans are uninsured; in Texas, which has the worst record,

more than 30 percent of the adults under 65 have no insurance. Our system is desperately in need of reform. Yet

it will be very hard to get useful reform, for two reasons: vested interests and ideology.

As goes Wal-Mart

Format: Op-Ed

Source: Beth Shulman, TomPaine.com

Date: May 3, 2005

When it

started small in Arkansas, perhaps [Wal-Mart] felt it had no choice but to create primarily low-wage jobs that

offered few benefits, to successfully compete. But isn't it high time to rethink this view? Couldn't Wal-Mart

provide family-sustaining jobs and be the General Motors of the 21st century? Wal-Mart has a decision to make

about how it wants to do business, the society it wants to help share and its legacy in America's history

books. It can either become the General Motors of the 21st century by rebuilding a strong middle class, or it

can continue to lead our country down the dangerous path to a low-wage economy. We all have a stake in its

decision. Because, like General Motors several decades ago: as goes Wal-Mart, so goes the nation.

Time to leave the table

Format: Op-Ed

Source: E. J. Dionne Jr., Washington Post

Date: May 3, 2005

There is a name for those who continue to sit at a gambling table even after they learn

that the game is fixed. They are called fools. Now that President Bush has proposed Social Security benefit

cuts through "progressive indexing," his critics are said to have an obligation to negotiate in good faith to

achieve a solution. There are just two problems with that sentence: the words "good faith" and "solution."

Walking away from a rigged game is hard for some people, especially when those running it and the respected

opinion-makers who support them insist that this time the game will truly be on the level. But, especially when

the danger involves gambling away the future of Social Security, the truly responsible thing is to leave the


A gut punch to the middle

Format: Op-Ed

Source: Paul Krugman, New York Times

Date: May 2, 2005

A close look at

President Bush's proposal for "progressive price indexing" of Social Security puts the lie to claims that

it's a plan to increase benefits for the poor and cut them for the wealthy. In fact, it's a plan to slash

middle-class benefits; the wealthy would barely feel a thing. Cut an average worker's benefits, and you're

imposing real hardship. Cut or even eliminate Dick Cheney's benefits, and only his accountants will notice.

This is about ideology: Mr. Bush comes to bury Social Security, not to save it. His goal is to turn F.D.R.'s

most durable achievement into an unpopular welfare program, so some future president will be able to attack it

with tall tales about Social Security queens driving Cadillacs.

Moms at the office

Format: Op-Ed

Source: Martha Burk, TomPaine.com

Date: May 6, 2005

Every year on

Mother's Day we stop to thank our moms with gifts and adoration. As individuals, we love our mothers dearly,

but as a society we don't give much of a flip for motherhood. The state of mothers in America is worse than

it's ever been. Close to three-quarters of all moms with children between the ages of 6 and 18 are in the

labor force. Even though a large majority of mothers in the country now work outside the home, we are lost in

the '50s when it comes to family policy. As a nation, we've got to grasp the fact that working mothers are

the norm, not the exception.

Roses, relaxation and real reform

Format: Op-Ed

Source: Shelley Waters Boots, Mary Bissell, TomPaine.com

Date: May 6, 2005

If the cult of motherhood has taken an angry turn these days, it's easy to understand why.

Mothers (and fathers) across the country are struggling to balance the needs of their families and the demands

of their jobs. And despite our collective rhetoric on valuing families, parents are largely forced to shoulder

these burdens alone. If we really want mothers to relax, marriages to prosper and children to thrive, it's

time for the government to implement an everyday Mother's Day strategy that will make a difference for years

to come.

A foolish bargain for women

Format: Op-Ed

Source: Kim Gandy, TomPaine.com

Date: May 10, 2005

Make no

mistake, privatizing Social Security will be financially devastating for women. Without this essential social

insurance program, more than half of women over 65 would be living in poverty. Social Security provides a

guaranteed monthly income to retired workers, to workers who become disabled and to survivors of deceased

workers. It is time-tested, extremely cost efficient and--most importantly--it works. Fortunately, the public

is becoming more skeptical, not less. We must debunk the myths and tell the whole truth, so that everyone with

an interest in this fight understands how the system works and what is at stake. As always, knowledge truly is


The young and the jobless

Format: Op-Ed

Source: Bob Herbert, New York Times

Date: May 12, 2005

A recent report

from Northeastern University tells us that the employment rate for the nation's teenagers in the first 11

months of 2004--just 36.3 percent--was the lowest it has ever been since the federal government began tracking

teenage employment in 1948. Whatever politicians and business-booster types may be saying, the simple truth is

that there are not nearly enough jobs available for the many millions of out-of-work or underworked men and

women who need them. The wages of those who are employed are not even keeping up with inflation. Wealth and

power in the United States has become ever more dangerously concentrated, leaving an entire generation of

essentially powerless workers largely at the mercy of employers.

United's pension debacle

Format: Editorial

Source: New York Times

Date: May 12, 2005

On Tuesday, when it received a

federal bankruptcy court's permission to terminate its pension plans, United Airlines became the biggest

pension defaulter in the history of corporate America. Analysts fear that Delta may also default, as well as

other ailing airlines, followed by auto parts companies and perhaps even, in five years or so, the carmakers

themselves. Sadly, it's too late to offer relief to the burned United employees. But their plight should

compel Congress to learn the right lessons and take the necessary steps to protect Americans' pensions.

Always low wages. Always.

Format: Op-Ed

Source: Paul Krugman, New York Times

Date: May 13, 2005

Last week

Standard and Poor's downgraded both Ford and General Motors bonds to junk status. That is, it sees a

significant risk that the companies won't be able to pay their debts. Don't cry for the bondholders, but do

cry for the workers. The downgrade was a reminder of how far we have come from the days when hard-working

Americans could count on a reasonable degree of economic security. In 1968, GM was a widely emulated icon of

American business. Since then, America has grown much richer, but American workers have become far less secure.

Today, Wal-Mart is America's largest corporation. Like GM in its prime, it has become a widely emulated

business icon. But there the resemblance ends.

The fruits of one's labor

Format: Op-Ed

Source: Max B. Sawicky, TomPaine.com

Date: May 13, 2005

Economists say workers' compensation (wages plus fringe benefits) depends on productivity. The more workers

produce, the more bosses will pay. But economists can be wrong, and this is one of those times. For the past 30

years productivity has grown well ahead of compensation. The gap between what could be paid and what is paid

has gotten larger over this entire period. We are talking long-term trends here that do not depend on recent

history or the current regime, so much as the chronic disadvantage workers have had vis-?-vis employers. Not

surprisingly, less wage growth has been accompanied by more profit growth. The upshot is that prosperity isn't

trickling down very well, which you probably knew.

Living-wage politics

Format: Op-Ed

Source: Tim McFeeley, TomPaine.com

Date: May 17, 2005


week, Minnesota became the seventh state in two years to increase the minimum wage, and three other states are

poised to continue this trend in the coming weeks. In fact, a higher minimum wage is becoming standard policy

across the United States. Sixteen states now set a minimum wage greater than the federal level of $5.15 per

hour. This is a terrific political opportunity for progressives. Quite simply, our national and state

governments are moving in opposite directions. By fulfilling their role as "laboratories of democracy," states

are proving that progressive policies are both feasible and popular, offering powerful ammunition for future

national political battles. For progressives, hope is in the states.

Sick leave flexibility for families, businesses

Format: Op-Ed

Source: Lisa Pohlmann, Bangor Daily News

Date: May 17, 2005

The work force has

changed, and the workplace must change as well. The need for flexible sick leave is acute. There are many

families whose lives are disrupted, economically and otherwise, by their employer's failure to offer them even

the most minimal flexibility in their sick leave benefit. But this is not just an issue for low-income

families. Maine has a critical shortage of highly skilled workers, which is forcing businesses to rethink their

recruitment and retention strategies. Workers value family friendly policies more than almost every other

workplace benefit. The flexible use of sick leave is one basic benefit that workers are increasingly demanding.

Flexible leave for family care is good for the business bottom line.

Comment: to boost workers, turn down CAFTA

Format: News Commentary

Source: Linda Chavez-Thompson, San Antonio Express-News

Date: May 15, 2005

The North American Free Trade Agreement has cost U.S. workers nearly 900,000 jobs

and job opportunities. The agreement was supposed to open markets for American goods and services, creating

high-paying jobs at home and prosperity abroad. But the opposite has occurred. We can expect NAFTA's

successor, the Central American Free Trade Agreement, or CAFTA, to have similar--if not worse--effects. CAFTA,

like NAFTA, will sell out America's jobs while doing nothing to pull people out of poverty in Central America.

Under CAFTA rules, multinational corporations will speed up their race to the bottom when it comes to wages and

workplace protections, driving workers further into exploitation.

Cleaning up the laundry industry

Format: Op-Ed

Source: Mary Beth Maxwell, TomPaine.com

Date: May 16, 2005

Earlier this month, hundreds of hospitals and the patients they serve came close to working

without clean linens. A strike was threatened and postponed but still looms because of ongoing contract

negotiations and labor disputes between the nation's largest hospital laundry supplier, Angelica Textile

Services, and its employees represented by the union UNITE HERE. When it comes to our schools, our communities

and our country, we expect to have a voice. The workplace should be no different. Unfortunately, because of

weak labor laws and employers who skirt the law, workers are routinely denied the opportunity to form a union

and are often retaliated against for exercising their rights. It doesn't have to be this way.

The media's Social Security deception

Format: Op-Ed

Source: Mark Weisbrot, TomPaine.com

Date: May 18, 2005

A candid note from the media is in order for their misreporting of President Bush's effort to

change Social Security. Here is what an honest confession might look like: "We apologize for having failed our

listeners and readers in our reporting on Social Security. The extent of this failure can be clearly measured

by the public's complete misunderstanding of the problem being discussed. A recent poll found that 68% of

Americans under 44 think they won't even get a benefit from Social Security. Where did Americans get the idea

that they would get nothing from Social Security? They got it from us. We hope you will forgive our sloppy,

careless reporting on Social Security."

Divine words to work with

Format: Op-Ed

Source: Dan Carpenter, Indianapolis Star

Date: May 18, 2005

What would Jesus do about low wages and lousy working conditions in a land of

plenty? He told us what he'd do, says the Rev. Darren Cushman Wood, a minister, labor history teacher and

community activist who's published a book with the most telling title, "Blue Collar Jesus." Pushing back

against the anti-union tide that is sweeping over the body politic and much of the body of Christ, Wood

endeavors to show that livable pay, dignity and leisure for working people are both scriptural imperatives and

economic necessities--whether church and business leaders recognize it or not.

The myths of The Apprentice

Format: Op-Ed

Source: Rich Benjamin, TomPaine.com

Date: May 19, 2005

The Apprentice fueled infectious bouts of luxury fever, exposed class envy and revived some stubborn

myths about upward mobility in America. Earning a college education is increasingly vital, but access to higher

education is declining for poor and working-class Americans. The Apprentice mocks the ground truths

surrounding educational opportunity and upward mobility in America. Remarkable recent studies find that class

mobility in America has been on the decline since the 1970s, and now stagnates. It's as if this season were

staged to reassure the Anxious Class that attaining a college degree was superfluous to its life chances.

That's the kick behind its perverse, timely appeal.

A steeper ladder for the have-nots

Format: Op-Ed

Source: Derrick Z. Jackson, Boston Globe

Date: May 18, 2005

Americans believed that none of the inequalities long endured by the

poor (because it's all their fault, right?) would seep into our lives. We were wrong. With suburban schools

slashing their budgets, healthcare costs rising, [and] retirement funds in doubt, the nation is sliding into a

dangerous place. A quarter century of a ''mine, all mine" ethos continues to work for CEOs and the upper

class. The rest of America finds the ladder taller and steepening. It is no wonder why politicians who protect

the wealthy scream ''class warfare" every time someone talks about inequity. It is a diversion to keep those

who vote against their own interests from realizing they are victims of friendly fire.

A real ownership society

Format: Op-Ed

Source: Gar Alperovitz, TomPaine.com

Date: May 23, 2005

New policies may be largely blocked by conservative control at the national level, but there are reasons to

believe a new approach can build power at the state and local level. This is where the pain of Bush era fiscal

problems, spending cut-backs and job dislocations are felt directly. Moreover, just below the radar of most

media attention, innovative progressive community-benefitting "ownership strategies" have been developing at

the state and local level for the last several decades. Many have been fine-tuned through trial and error

experimentation and are ready to be put forward in a politically exciting form. One of the most important

involves employee-owned companies that both alter who owns wealth and helps stabilize the local economy.

America wants security

Format: Op-Ed

Source: Paul Krugman, New York Times

Date: May 23, 2005


November's election, the victors claimed a mandate to unravel the welfare state. But the national election was

about who would best defend us from gay married terrorists. At the state level, voters sent a message that they

wanted a stronger, not weaker, social safety net. There's a very good reason: they need that net more than

ever. Over the past 25 years the lives of working Americans have become ever less secure. Jobs come without

health insurance; 401(k)'s vanish; corporations default on their pension obligations; workers lose their jobs

more often, and unemployment lasts much longer than it used to.

What women want

Format: Op-Ed

Source: John Teirney, New York Times

Date: May 24, 2005

Suppose you

could eliminate the factors often blamed for the shortage of women in high-paying jobs. Suppose that promotions

and raises did not depend on pleasing sexist male bosses or putting in long nights and weekends away from home.

Would women make as much as men? Interviews and experiments convinced researchers Muriel Niederle of Stanford

and Lise Vesterlund of the University of Pittsburgh that the gender gap wasn't due mainly to women's

insecurities about their abilities. It was due to different appetites for competition. Whatever the cause, it

helps explain why men set up the traditional corporate ladder as one continual winner-take-all competition--and

why that structure no longer makes sense.

Listen to my wife

Format: Op-Ed

Source: Matt Miller, New York Times

Date: May 25, 2005

It's hardly news

that the issue vexing talented people is the struggle to balance their professional lives with time for

fulfilling lives outside of work. The shock is that after decades of wrestling with these tradeoffs, the

obvious answer is the one everyone has been too skeptical or afraid to explore: changing the way top jobs are

structured. In a world where most people are struggling, the search for "balance" in high-powered jobs has to

be counted a luxury. Still, there is something telling (if not downright dysfunctional) when a society's most

talented people feel they have to sacrifice the meaningful relationships every human craves as the price of

exercising their talent.

Blind to progress

Format: Op-Ed

Source: J. Bradford DeLong, TomPaine.com

Date: May 24, 2005


academic economics rely on concepts laid down at the beginning of the 20th century by the British economist

Alfred Marshall. The central bias of this toolkit is that we should trust the market to solve the problems we

set it, and that we should not expect small (or even large) changes to have huge effects. A technological leap

that raises the wages of the skilled and educated will induce others to become skilled and educated, restoring

balance so that inequality does not grow too much. We live today in an extraordinarily unequal world.

Marshall's economics--the equilibrium economics of comparative statics, of shifts in supply and demand curves,

and of accommodating responses--is of almost no help in accounting for this.

Protectionism and free trade

Format: Op-Ed

Source: Harley Shaiken, TomPaine.com

Date: May 31, 2005

As the United States Congress begins to debate the Dominican Republic-Central American Free Trade Agreement

(DR-CAFTA), a titanic struggle between the forces of free trade and protectionism promises to unfold. But that

debate should not be allowed to mask the truth behind this treaty: the DR-CAFTA is more a pleading of special

interests than a free-trade deal. It manages simultaneously to fleece the people of six poor countries and to

put U.S. workers in harm's way. The agreement opens trade while locking in a status quo that is appalling.

Workers face everything from rampant discrimination against older people to physical abuse, lack of bathroom

breaks, no overtime pay and poverty wages.

The disappearing pension

Format: Op-Ed

Source: Jonathan Tasini, TomPaine.com

Date: May 31, 2005

With very little public outcry, we are letting corporate America dismantle the private defined-benefit pension

system. At the same time, huge salary and pension benefits are lavished on executives. Remember, pensions are

deferred compensation--people put off getting money in their paychecks today because of a promise that they

would receive a specific amount of money later. It's their money, not the companies' money. The private

pension was a fundamental pillar of the American middle-class dream: If you saved now, you could still have a

middle-class life in retirement, and you wouldn't have to gamble in the stock market to do so.

The mobility myth

Format: Op-Ed

Source: Bob Herbert, New York Times

Date: June 6, 2005

The war that

nobody talks about--the overwhelmingly one-sided class war--is being waged all across America. Guess who's

winning. The gap between the rich and everybody else in this country is fast becoming an unbridgeable chasm.

Put the myth of the American Dream aside. The bottom line is that it's becoming increasingly difficult for

working Americans to move up in class. The rich are freezing nearly everybody else in place, and sprinting off

with the nation's bounty. As far as the Bush administration is concerned, the gap between the rich and the

rest of us is not growing fast enough. A big problem, of course, is that American workers have been hurting

badly for years.

Cox in the henhouse

Format: Op-Ed

Source: Lee Drutman, TomPaine.com

Date: June 10, 2005

This past

week, leaders of Delta and Northwest told a Senate panel that they didn't have the money to cover the pensions

of 150,000 workers and retirees, and that they'd probably go bankrupt on account of it. If so, they would join

their troubled competitors, U.S. Airways and United, who also broke their pension promises to thousands of

employees and then turned to the government to cover at least part of the difference. These pension failures

come on the heels of the speedy nomination of free-market ideologue and corporate sycophant Christopher Cox to

the [Securities and Exchange Commission]. Though the two events are unconnected on the surface, both bode

poorly for the ability of hard-working Americans to enjoy an adequate retirement.

Losing our country

Format: Op-Ed

Source: Paul Krugman, New York Times

Date: June 10, 2005

In the 1960's

America was a place in which very few people were extremely wealthy, many blue-collar workers earned wages that

placed them comfortably in the middle class, and working families could expect steadily rising living standards

and a reasonable degree of economic security. But that was another country. The middle-class society I grew up

in no longer exists. Why? Middle-class America didn't emerge by accident. It was created by what has been

called the Great Compression of incomes that took place during World War II, and sustained for a generation by

social norms that favored equality, strong labor unions and progressive taxation. Since the 1970's, all of

those sustaining forces have lost their power.

Better than a tie

Format: Op-Ed

Source: Debra L. Ness, TomPaine.com

Date: June 17, 2005

It's a

shock to many new parents and financially devastating to others. When it comes to pregnancy and childbirth, our

nation has failed to adopt basic policies that support families. Although family-friendly policies are

beginning to make it easer for a few lucky dads to take time off from work for a new baby, change has been

painfully slow. In fact, roughly nine out of 10 private sector companies don't have paid leave for new

fathers. Americans spend more than one billion dollars each year to buy ties. This Father's Day, we should be

giving fathers what they really need: paid leave with their new babies. The benefits of paid parental leave are

a win for families, employers and communities.

Class Matters

Format: News Commentary

Source: David Moberg, In These Times

Date: June 30, 2005

The myth of the self-made man is

American culture's own special heart of darkness, helping to explain both its infectious optimism and ruthless

greed. The idea holds enough truth and seductiveness to make it easy to forget its delusional dangers. To

reprise Marx's famous formulation, individuals, like humankind, do make their own personal history, but not

under conditions they choose. But in America, we choose to ignore the caveat about conditions at our peril.

Harassment-free workplace responsibility of bosses, workers

Format: Editorial

Source: Desert Sun

Date: July 5, 2005

Fifty-seven farmworkers empowered themselves--and others suffering similar injustices--by

publicly proclaiming allegations of harassment against their former employer. Earlier this month, they reached

a $1.05 million settlement. With nothing to gain and everything to lose, these women knowingly opened

themselves up to public scrutiny and castigation--working through the painstaking legal process in order to

reclaim the dignity they could have very easily lost forever. It's really not about the money. It is about

self-worth. These farmworkers defended their honor, and in the process, have paved the way for other

disenfranchised workers to stand up against unfair treatment in the workplace.

Investor class warfare

Format: Op-Ed

Source: Lee Drutman, TomPaine.com

Date: July 7, 2005


far too many months of watching President Bush ramble around the American heartland in his folksy

"Strengthening Social Security" medicine show tour, actual bills are finally making the rounds in important

committees, and the possibility of actual Social Security "reform" legislation lingers in the air of a hot and

steamy Washington summer. Yet despite the resounding failure to build popular support for plans of

privatization, Bush and company continue to do everything they can politically to make sure private accounts

happen. Why do they want private accounts so badly? Does understanding the prize that Republicans are after

provide the Democrats with a better political strategy than mere obstructionism?

Eminent complaints

Format: Op-Ed

Source: Greg LeRoy, TomPaine.com

Date: July 8, 2005


governments use eminent domain to assemble land for a redevelopment project, they frequently ladle on many

other subsidies--the average state allows jobs to be subsidized 30 different ways. The total value of such

packages routinely exceeds $100,000 per job created. Yet a mountain of evidence demonstrates that subsidized

companies fail to deliver on projected economic benefits. Many have failed to create or retain as many jobs as

they promised. Others pay poverty wages or fail to provide health care. Some have not created any new jobs, or

actually laid people off. Some are even outsourcing jobs offshore. At the root of the problem is a

corporate-controlled definition of "competition" that obscures cause and effect.

The productivity problem

Format: Op-Ed

Source: Jonathan Tasini, TomPaine.com

Date: July 14, 2005

One of the enduring myths of the American Dream is that if you just work hard, you will eventually reap your

economic reward and get ahead. But a startling, relatively ignored, shift has taken place that bears the seeds

of an economic and political earthquake. For decades, workers' wages were tied to productivity. The idea was

simple: when workers produce more--either tangible products or services--in an hour of work than before, they

are being more efficient and, usually, that means more profit for a corporation. Historically, increased

efficiency flowed to workers in the form of higher wages. Not anymore. The link between productivity gains and

wages has been broken.

Labor's big split: pain before gain

Format: News Commentary

Source: Harold Meyerson, Washington Post

Date: July 26, 2005

Yesterday's announcement by the Service Employees International Union and the

International Brotherhood of Teamsters that they were quitting the AFL-CIO was no less stunning for its absence

of theatricals. What we know is that the split--which is likely to grow as several other unions announce their

own disaffiliations over the next couple of weeks--sunders a union movement that is already weaker than it has

been since the 1920s. What we don't know is whether the new organization that the SEIU, the Teamsters and

their allies will form in the coming months can and will do anything to bolster the power of America's

indispensable, if enfeebled, labor movement. For now, it's a lot easier to see the damage than it is to

foresee the gain.

Toyota pulls u-turn, heads north

Format: Op-Ed

Source: Paul Krugman, Seattle Post-Intelligencer

Date: July 26, 2005

There has been fierce competition among states hoping to attract a new Toyota assembly plant. Several Southern

states reportedly offered financial incentives worth hundreds of millions of dollars. But last month Toyota

decided to put the new plant in Ontario, Canada. Canada's national health insurance system saves auto

manufacturers large sums in benefit payments compared with their costs in the United States. Funny, isn't it?

Pundits tell us that the welfare state is doomed by globalization, that programs like national health insurance

have become unsustainable. But Canada's universal health insurance system is handling international

competition just fine. It's our own system, which penalizes companies that treat their workers well, that's

in trouble.

CAFTA: an attack on workers

Format: Op-Ed

Source: Mark Gaffney, Battle Creek Enquirer

Date: July 27, 2005

The U.S. lost 900,000 jobs and job opportunities due to NAFTA, which

devoted page upon page to safeguarding corporate interests, but left workers' interests with no protections at

all. In Michigan, NAFTA destroyed close to 100,000 jobs from 1993 to 2002. Now the Bush administration wants to

dig the hole even deeper with the Central American Free Trade Agreement, NAFTA's little brother. CAFTA would

extend to Central America the disastrous job loss and increasing inequality caused by NAFTA. So-called "free

trade," under the rules crafted by corporate lobbyists, has devastated communities. We need to find a better


Spanking the CAFTA 15

Format: Op-Ed

Source: Jonathan Tasini, TomPaine.com

Date: July 29, 2005

Enough is enough. The 15 so-called Democrats who voted for the Central American Free Trade Agreement must pay

a heavy price for turning their backs on labor: none of them should receive a dime from labor unions and each

one should face a labor-backed primary challenger next year. If the CAFTA 15 do not suffer the political

consequences for their vote, labor will look weak and the march of so-called "free trade" will continue. To

overlook a politician's vote on trade means turning a blind eye to the legislative tool most responsible for

shifting the power of self-determination from the hands of citizens to the corporate boardrooms of global


The Mexican evolution

Format: Op-Ed

Source: Matthew Dowd, New York Times

Date: August 1, 2005

With nearly six

million Mexicans living illegally in the United States, some Americans are greatly worried about the costs of

illegal immigration and have demanded that more be done to stem it. But chances are there will be a substantial

decrease in illegal immigration from Mexico in the next 20 years, and it won't be because of civilian border

patrols, laws being passed, [or]pronouncements by politicians. Instead, the cause will be demographic trends

within Mexico itself, trends that have been largely ignored in the debate over immigration. We should be aware

of the historic transformations occurring in Mexican society so that we aren't fighting a war that is already


Making immigration work

Format: Editorial

Source: New York Times

Date: August 1, 2005

With an estimated 11 million

people in the country illegally, immigration is too big for the White House to ignore. If there is debate

within the Bush administration about where immigration reform should go, there are several proposals that

deserve consideration. As Washington circles this tough issue, problems with immigration only grow. Almost

500,000 immigrants a year pour over the border to take backbreaking unskilled jobs that Americans don't want.

The United States offers about one legal visa for every 100 workers who sneak into the country. But without

that work force, the economy would sour. So we are left with an inhumane system, with jobs available to whoever

can break into the country to get them.

Who cares about unions?

Format: Editorial

Source: Washington Post

Date: July 31, 2005

Should Congress care about the decline of unions? In some ways, they shouldn't. If unions fail to convince

workers that it's worth signing up and paying dues, they don't deserve to remain in business. But it's

essential, in a free society, that unions should get a chance to make their case, and the decision on whether

to join must belong with the workers. This is where there is a legitimate concern for policymakers. Employers

can block union attempts to organize by using tactics that are illegal or at least undesirable. Congress needs

to revisit the law to make it tougher on employers. In a modern economy, unions may be destined to dwindle. But

the dwindling should reflect free choices of workers, not intimidation.

The imperfect storm

Format: Editorial

Source: New York Times

Date: August 3, 2005

When trying to explain United

Airlines' recent pension default, various analysts and assorted lawmakers often use the phrase "perfect

storm," suggesting that an unstoppable combination of impersonal economic forces blindsided the carrier. It's

a faulty metaphor. Some of United's problems may have been due to avoidable waste and human greed. Congress

should take heed, for the sake of the 44 million American workers who are covered by pensions similar to

United's. Congress and the Labor Department, which oversees the federal pension agency, should swiftly

investigate allegations of conflicts of interest and, if warranted, seek redress for bilked workers and

retirees. Rather than a perfect storm, the United pension debacle may be the tip of an iceberg.

Guns in the parking lot

Format: Editorial

Source: (Editorial), New York Times

Date: August 4, 2005

The National Rifle

Association is urging a boycott of a major energy company that dares to protect its employees from gunplay in

the workplace. ConocoPhillips ran afoul of the NRA when it joined in a challenge to a law passed by the

Oklahoma Legislature that would strip businesses of their gun-control rights on company property. The state gun

lobby jumped on the issue after a dozen workers were fired at a paper mill for violating a ban on keeping guns

in their cars parked in company lots. Responsible corporations sued, pointing out that they are liable for

workers' safety. They cited estimates that more than a dozen killings occur each week in the nation's

workplaces because angry employees are able to put their hands on guns.

Severing a lifeline

Format: Op-Ed

Source: Marcia D. Greenberger, Judy Waxman, TomPaine.com

Date: August 4, 2005

It's no secret that low-income, working Americans are being forced to make the biggest

sacrifices as the federal and state governments look for ways to cut spending while preserving tax cuts for the

wealthy. Programs that improve quality of life for the poor are all too often the first on the chopping block.

This year is no exception. Medicaid is the subject of cuts on both the state and federal levels. Too many

politicians would rather blame Medicaid than address the larger issues of soaring health care costs and fewer

good jobs that provide health insurance. It is no coincidence that more Americans are relying on Medicaid as

the economy has weakened and as fewer employers are sponsoring health insurance.

Some caveats on job growth

Format: Editorial

Source: (Editorial), New York Times

Date: August 6, 2005

If you look behind

the headline number, the jobs picture--and what it says about the economy--is considerably more nuanced. The

average monthly job creation so far this year comes to 191,000. That's enough to absorb the 150,000 or so new

workers who enter the labor force each month, and then some. Still, it's not robust. Employment rates--the

share of the population that is employed, broken down by groups--tell a similar story. Because the demand for

workers has been subpar for some four years now, wages have suffered. The 207,000 new jobs [in July] are a boon

to the people who landed them. But American workers are not yet in a position of strength.

The birthday Bush wants to ignore

Format: Op-Ed

Source: Jonathan Tasini, TomPaine.com

Date: August 11, 2005

It's got to be tough when people ignore your birthday. But it must add insult to injury to

have the very same people who are your legal guardians spread rumors about your health and forecast your

demise. Social Security [has] its 70th anniversary this Sunday. Yep, that grand ol' dame has been around a

long time, keeping old people out of poverty. And, over the years, Democratic and Republican administrations

have all marked significant Social Security milestones with public events and proclamations. But not this White

House gang. It isn't just the lack of recognition that is galling. It's the willful twisting of information

and the use of a government agency to manipulate the public's perception of Social Security.

The auto industry's last hope

Format: Op-Ed

Source: Greg Tarpinian, TomPaine.com

Date: August 11, 2005

U.S. automakers would like to blame benefit costs for the financial crisis they have been courting for two

decades. Health benefits, including retiree benefits, are simply wages delivered in a different form or

deferred for payment later. The U.S. automakers are now pressing for the equivalent of a wage cut for its union

workers and take-backs from its retirees. The Bush administration can preside over the dissolution of what

remains of the U.S. auto industry or it can take the first steps toward a national solution for the health care

cost crisis that is distorting labor markets, driving down disposable income, leaving millions of Americans

without health care and creating the largest competitive disadvantage that U.S. companies now face.

Big Brother on and off the job

Format: Political Column

Source: Harold Meyerson, Washington Post

Date: August 10, 2005

On June 7 the board that regulates employer-employee relations in the United States handed

down a remarkable ruling. They upheld the legality of a regulation for uniformed employees at a security guard

company that reads, "You must NOT...fraternize on duty or off duty, date or become overly friendly with the

client's employees or with co-employees." There's a word for the kind of employer-employee relationship that

the NLRB has just sanctioned. It's "feudal." But then the Bill of Rights in America has never reached very far

into the workplace. So as we fight to bring liberal democracy to quasi-feudal backwaters in distant lands, we

might remember that the fight for individual rights in the American workplace--and now, beyond it--is itself a

long way from a victorious conclusion.

As workers' rights erode, unions are fighting back

Format: Op-Ed

Source: Rick Bender, Seattle Times

Date: August 18, 2005

In a Big Brother ruling that is a slap in the face to American workers, the National Labor Relations

Board [ruled] that a boss can direct employees not to "fraternize on duty or off duty." It's a sad fact that

the Bill of Rights has never been applied inside the workplace. Organized labor has always questioned this lack

of freedom for American workers. Despite the recent "doom and gloom" media coverage of organized labor, it's

important for the public to understand that union membership is actually increasing and that unions are working

on new ways to reach out to workers who need the higher wages and decent health-care benefits that a union


A strike is a rarity these days

Format: Political Column

Source: Edward Lotterman, Pioneer Press

Date: August 18, 2005

We are in a labor environment where strikes that barely would have made the front page 50 years ago

now are national news. This has varied effects on society. Whether these results are good or bad depends on the

values of the beholder. What is clear is that the "rules of the game" have changed substantially, and these

changes play a role in the decline in strikes. In general, comparisons between countries and over time show

that economies where union power is limited tend to have somewhat faster economic growth. Such economies also

tend to have more unequal income distribution and harsher working conditions. How you value this apparent

trade-off depends on your political views.

Achieving gender equality mostly women's work

Format: Op-Ed

Source: Courier-Post

Date: August 21, 2005

Blatant gender discrimination in U.S. employment may be rare in these times. But women still

struggle with subtle sexism at work that can hold them back and with family responsibilities that fall more

heavily on their shoulders and sometimes hold them down. About 55% of working women have children at home. For

the amazing few who excel at balancing work and home, they still bump up against a double-paned glass ceiling

that prevents them from joining their male colleagues at the top of most corporations. Former U.S. Labor

Secretary Alexis Herman said recently that subtle sexism and child rearing may be the most difficult barriers

to equality for women to overcome. But they're not intractable.

Lawsuits won't break that glass ceiling

Format: Op-Ed

Source: Susan E. Reed, Washington Post

Date: August 21, 2005

How about those working women? Suing companies, lobbying bosses, networking nonstop with

other women, taking on the workplaces that have kept them down. It seems the women of today will stop at

nothing to try to get ahead in the workplace battle of the sexes. And yet, where does it get them? Women

comprise nearly half of full-time workers and half of managers, but they are only 16% of corporate officers and

barely 1% of CEOs in the nation's richest 500 companies. Why can't they improve those rates? After reporting

on their maneuvers for several years now, I've concluded that these warriors are using the wrong weapons to

get ahead.

Summer of our discontent

Format: Op-Ed

Source: Paul Krugman, New York Times

Date: August 26, 2005


families don't care about G.D.P. They care about whether jobs are available, how much those jobs pay and how

that pay compares with the cost of living. Recent G.D.P. growth has failed to produce exceptional gains in

employment, while wages for most workers haven't kept up with inflation. You may ask where economic growth is

going, if it isn't showing up in wages. It's going to corporate profits, to rising health care costs and to a

surge in the salaries and other compensation of executives. This is an economic expansion that hasn't trickled

down; many people are worse off than they were a year ago. And it will take more than a revamped administration

sales pitch to make people feel better.

Operating instructions

Format: Op-Ed

Source: Beth Shulman, TomPaine.com

Date: August 29, 2005


idea that corporations should have total discretion in how to treat their workers is a growing and retrograde

trend in America. The role of government is to promote the general welfare, and that includes leveling the

economic playing field so corporations can compete on the basis of their productivity and creativity, not on

who can impoverish the most workers. If we as a society don't determine the rules of their game, corporations

will write their own. Do we really want to leave it up to Enron or Wal-Mart to determine whether work will

provide the basics of a decent life? Today the state's role is even more critical, for corporations are

pushing more and more risk onto the American labor force.

Life in the bottom 80 percent

Format: Editorial

Source: New York Times

Date: September 1, 2005

Income inequality is an

economic and social ill, but the administration and the Congressional majority don't seem to recognize that.

When Congress returns from its monthlong summer vacation next week, two of the leadership's top priorities

include renewing the push to repeal the estate tax, which affects only the wealthiest of families, and

extending the tax cuts for investment income, which flow largely to the richest Americans. At the other end of

the spectrum, lawmakers have stubbornly refused to raise the minimum wage: $5.15 an hour since 1997. They will

also be taking up proposals for deep budget cuts in programs that ameliorate income inequality, like Medicaid,

food stamps and federal student loans. They should be ashamed of themselves.

The uninsured: 45.8 million and counting...

Format: News Commentary

Source: Karen Davenport, Mother Jones

Date: August 31, 2005


the fourth year in a row, the number of Americans living without health insurance has increased. The Census

Bureau estimates that 45.8 million Americans did not have health insurance during 2004. The last time our

nation seriously engaged on this issue, "only" 40 million Americans lacked health care coverage. This isn't an

accidental crisis. Through a combination of tax provisions, entitlement programs and public commitments, we

rely on a jerry-rigged system. At the same time, we are unable to exert serious influence on health care costs,

thus placing a growing burden on those lucky enough to have coverage, while the price of health insurance

dampens employers' willingness to create new jobs. What can be done?

Thanking labor

Format: Op-Ed

Source: Greg LeRoy, TomPaine.com

Date: September 6, 2005

As we celebrate

Labor Day, let's remember: America's labor unions are key watchdogs against corporate tax-and-job scams.

Companies that get huge subsidies routinely fail to create as many jobs as they promised. Indeed, many actually

lay people off, outsource jobs offshore, pay poverty wages and fail to provide health care. Labor's strong

support for corporate accountability on jobs and taxes benefits all taxpayers, most of whom are not union

members. But then, unions have always advocated for the good of all working families. If you like Social

Security, Medicare, free public education and your weekends, thank your local unions this Labor Day. And join

their coalitions for more reforms in the coming year!

The lagging poor

Format: Editorial

Source: Washington Post

Date: September 6, 2005

The Census Bureau's annual report on income, poverty and health insurance in the United States is not

alarming--but neither is it cheering, or even reassuring. Rather, the numbers underscore the lagging and uneven

nature of the economic recovery since the 2001 recession. According to the new data, 4 million more people were

living in poverty in 2004 than in 2001, and 4.6 million more people lacked health insurance. In the wake of

this data and Hurricane Katrina, Senate Majority Leader Bill Frist was wise to postpone this week's planned

vote to repeal the estate tax. Lawmakers need to remember in the weeks to come that this is an economic

recovery that continues to leave too many Americans behind.

Labor Day 2005: no human rights in the workplace

Format: Op-Ed

Source: James C. Harrington, Lone Star Iconoclast

Date: September 6, 2005

On the day created to honor American workers' contributions to the country, we should consider

whether the following should be basic human rights, or merely privileges granted at the whim of the monied

class: the right to work; the free choice of employment; just wages and conditions of work; the right to form

and join trade unions for protection; the right to rest and leisure, reasonable working hours and periodic

holidays with pay; a standard of living adequate for the health and well-being of individuals and families,

including medical care; and, security in the event of unemployment, sickness, disability, widowhood, or old


The Titanic of our era

Format: Op-Ed

Source: Bill Fletcher, Jr., TomPaine.com

Date: September 9, 2005

The capitalism of the contemporary era shares many of the same values informing the builders of the Titanic;

the poor are not the responsibility of society at large. For decades, this nation's economic policies have

created a widening gap in personal wealth, making it impossible for many Americans to achieve economic security

no matter how hard they work. The (largely unionized) jobs that provided opportunities for workers to climb out

of poverty have been disappearing. In their place are low-wage service jobs, part-time employment or nothing at

all. Through directing tax cuts to serve the rich and powerful, the steerage compartments of the good ship

?Gulf Coast' were created. All that was needed to create total devastation was a collision with an iceberg.

There simply were not enough lifeboats, because those in steerage were just not that relevant.

Bring home the Davis-Bacon

Format: Op-Ed

Source: Beth Shulman, TomPaine.com

Date: September 14, 2005

Davis-Bacon laws require federal contractors to pay laborers and mechanics at least the prevailing-wage rates

(and fringe benefits) that other similar workers in the area receive. In the cruelest irony, [President Bush

is] saying that in New Orleans--where a quarter of the city is poor, 40% of its children live in families below

the poverty level and the prevailing wage for construction labor is less than $10.00 per hour--that working

families should suffer a pay cut as they rebuild their destroyed communities. By suspending Davis-Bacon,

[President Bush is] forcing more people into the poverty we have so dramatically witnessed in the past week and

undercutting the economic recovery of these ravaged areas.

Wal-Mart to the rescue!

Format: Op-Ed

Source: Liza Featherstone, The Nation

Date: September 13, 2005

When Katrina hit,

most of us were stunned by the poverty of government response at all levels. Thank goodness, then, for

Wal-Mart, which immediately sent 1,900 truckloads of water and other emergency supplies to the afflicted. The

company has also contributed $17 million to the hurricane relief effort, and more than $3 million in

merchandise. There is no reason Wal-Mart could not operate in an equally streamlined, well-organized manner to

make sure that labor laws (on overtime, child labor, discrimination) are followed. There is no reason its

impressive resources could not be marshaled to remedy the daily, ongoing disaster that so many of its workers

face: low wages and inadequate healthcare.

Trickling up

Format: Op-Ed

Source: Beth Shulman, TomPaine.com

Date: September 23, 2005

The trickle-down

theory, that discredited notion that incentives and tax breaks for the rich will somehow become rising incomes

for the poor, has been trotted out again by the Bush administration as a cure for all the devastation of

Hurricane Katrina. First, let's admit that the trickle-down theory doesn't work. It has never worked. It

didn't work in the 1980s, it won't work in New Orleans, and it doesn't work for the millions of American

families who work hard but don't have the basics for a decent life. Changing the approach in New Orleans could

be a first step in living up to our ideals of valuing hard work, by ensuring that a day's honest labor earns a

basic living wage and health security.

Bush's path of devastation through workers' rights

Format: Op-Ed

Source: Robyn Blumner, Tribune Media Services, Salt Lake Tribune

Date: September 25, 2005

It is a fantasy to think that the bulk of poverty-stricken African-Americans who landed in the fetid

Superdome--men and women who didn't even own a car to get out of the hurricane's path--will return to their

former communities, take out a government-guaranteed loan and start a company. Forty percent of Ninth Ward

residents over 18 don't have a high school diploma. What the returning evacuees will need is good jobs. Jobs

with wages that allow them to buy a home. Jobs that provide health benefits and a retirement plan.For most

people, it is a decent job, not a small business loan, that lights the path to the security of the middle


The global labor threat

Format: Op-Ed

Source: Thomas Palley, TomPaine.com

Date: September 29, 2005


Stolper-Samuelson theorem says when a rich capital-abundant country (such as the United States) trades with a

poor labor-abundant country (such as China), wages in the rich country fall and profits go up. For the last two

decades, U.S. policy makers have worked assiduously to create a global market place in which goods and capital

are free to move. Over the same period, two and a half billion people in China, India, Eastern Europe and the

former Soviet Union have discarded economic isolationism and joined the global economy. Now, these two tectonic

shifts are coming together in the form of a "super-sized" Stolper-Samuelson effect, and they stand to have

depressing consequences for American workers.

A poverty of understanding

Format: Op-Ed

Source: Nancy Cauthen, TomPaine.com

Date: September 30, 2005

In the wake of the devastation caused by Hurricane Katrina, we suddenly have national leaders talking about

poverty. So what can be done? We need a bold agenda that supports working families so that parents can once

again aspire to providing their children with a better future. This means addressing stagnating wages and

families' need for workplace flexibility. It means improving public education--including integrating our

schools not just across race and ethnic lines but also across income--and increasing access to higher ed. It

means figuring out how to make decent housing, health care and child care affordable for all. It means

rebuilding our public institutions and national infrastructure.

The working mommy trap

Format: Op-Ed

Source: E.J. Graff, TomPaine.com

Date: October 5, 2005

You can

almost set your watch by it. Every year or two, the elite media declare yet again that feminism is dead, and

that most women yearn to stay at home and tend babies. This focus on women's "choices" masks a far more

profound story. The real trend isn't choice; it's the lack thereof. Most women have to work, because they and

their families need the paycheck. But they're also treated unfairly on the job. They're underpaid,

underpromoted and unwillingly sidelined if they have kids. Try talking to actual working mothers, and you'll

find that many say their choices were not freely made. Rather, one day, they looked up and realized they'd

been "mommy-tracked" against their will.

Too chicken to pay?

Format: News Commentary

Source: Beth Shulman, TomPaine.com

Date: October 5, 2005

One of the

first decisions to face new Chief Justice John Roberts will be whether the super-profitable Tyson Foods must

pay its poultry processing workers for the time it takes them to walk from putting on their required

body-length aprons, work gloves, arm guards and hairnets to the production line. The issue revolves around the

definition of the "principal activity" of the workers. Is donning all the protective gear part of what they do

to earn their paychecks? The wider question, however, is what is going on here? The nation's highest court is

being asked to worry about a few minutes of walking time when poultry plant conditions look only a little

better than the Chicago stockyards did in Upton Sinclair's The Jungle.

Gross domestic politics

Format: Op-Ed

Source: Jonathan Tasini, TomPaine.com

Date: October 7, 2005

Whenever I read the newest figures on the rise of the Gross Domestic Product, I'm reminded of the wise words

of 19th Century British Prime Minister Benjamin Disraeli, who said that there are, "Lies, damn lies and

statistics." If we're trying to figure out what's happening to the average person, we're looking at the

wrong indicators. People feel that something very bad is happening in their lives, even if they can't pull

together all the economic strands to form a coherent explanation. They are reacting to real, on-the-ground

facts that aren't reflected by the GDP because that measure only tells us that stuff is being made and sold.

It doesn't tell us who is benefiting from all that activity.

The vanishing middle

Format: Op-Ed

Source: Harold Meyerson, Washington Post

Date: October 12, 2005

With the bankruptcy filing Saturday of Delphi, the largest American auto parts

manufacturer, the downward ratcheting of living standards that has afflicted the steel and airline industries

hit the auto industry big-time. In the face of the combined onslaught of globalization, de-unionization and

deregulation, the bottom may not be falling out of the American economy, but the middle certainly is. The very

notion of a decently paid working-class job has become a defining oxymoron of our time. So we level downward,

and the normal workings of the economy seem powerless to stop it.

A blind eye to gender bias

Format: Op-Ed

Source: Derrick Z. Jackson, Boston Globe

Date: October 12, 2005

Laura Bush yesterday praised Supreme Court nominee Harriet Miers by

saying: "I know Harriet well. I know how accomplished she is. I know how many times she's broken the glass

ceiling herself." It [is] ironic that she invoked the glass ceiling while her husband's administration has

quietly stopped collecting detailed information on women in the workforce. In August, the Bureau of Labor

Statistics discontinued its women worker employment series in the current employment statistics payroll survey.

The women worker employment series ensured the most detailed monthly snapshots and long-term trends on the

number of women workers in individual industries.

The next great theft?

Format: Op-Ed

Source: Max B. Sawicky, TomPaine.com

Date: October 13, 2005


the death of his Social Security privatization scheme, President Bush is trying to resuscitate his domestic

agenda with an electric slide to tax reform. Some things never change: doubtless, Bush will try to continue

comforting the comfortable and afflicting the afflicted by shifting the tax burden from the wealthy to everyone

else. How he will try and do it this time around remains to be seen. The next shoe to drop will be the report

of his Advisory Commission on Tax Reform.

Squeezing the have-nots

Format: Op-Ed

Source: William Greider, The Nation

Date: October 13, 2005

The country is overloaded

now with explosive political preoccupations, too many to keep straight, but there is one more potential

disaster lurking behind the headlines--the economy. Not to worry, say the newspapers. The White House assures

us the Bush economy is going great. The Federal Reserve agrees. Meanwhile, back in the real world, the economic

news is not cooperating with the official optimism. Folks in the bottom half of the economy are already

squeezed hard. They will be bloodied and bankrupt if economic policy inadvertently induces a recession. There

are ominous signs.

Passing the bucks

Format: Editorial

Source: New York Times

Date: October 13, 2005

The automobile industry

appears poised to follow the steel companies and the airlines as the latest to jeopardize the security of

retirees. Whether they know it or not, taxpayers may be left holding the bag. The federal Pension Benefit

Guaranty Corporation had a $23.3 billion deficit last year, and pensions nationally have $450 billion less on

deposit than they need to meet their obligations. A huge bailout looms on the horizon.

Time to fix immigration

Format: Editorial

Source: New York Times

Date: October 14, 2005

Communities all over the

country are trying desperately to deal with what is really an immense national problem. Only Washington can

untangle an immigration mess that draws a growing number of illegal immigrants across the nation's borders

every year. Many of these immigrants are actually risking their lives to take on the jobs that many Americans

have chosen to avoid. Only a comprehensive plan can address this national issue. Such a plan needs to secure

the borders, but it must also establish a guest worker program that serves industry, American workers and

immigrants. And it needs to deal humanely and fairly with the 11 million immigrants who are already here


Maxed out

Format: Op-Ed

Source: Tamara Draut, TomPaine.com

Date: October 17, 2005

Today the new

bankruptcy laws take effect, the product of an eight-year, multimillion dollar lobbying effort by the credit

card industry. Proponents of the law claimed their goal was to crack down on deadbeat debtors. The rise of

credit card debt, particularly among low- and middle-income families, is a troubling indicator of the current

and future well-being of average, hard-working Americans. Families are using credit cards to cope with rising

costs, stagnant incomes and the lack of alternative safety nets--all problems that should be more worthy of

Congressional attention than punishing this mythological deadbeat debtor.

Government's disgrace

Format: Editorial

Source: Washington Post

Date: October 17, 2005

For a window on politics and all its failings, consider the current fight over pension reform. It demonstrates

the government's inability to grapple seriously with public policy--even when the case for action seems too

obvious to ignore. The story begins with the hole in the nation's defined-benefit pension plans. Rather than

keep workers happy with wage increases, which would have to be paid for with real money, financially pressed

firms often bribe them with false promises of big pensions. When these firms go bust, employees get smaller

pensions than cynical managers had promised them. And taxpayers, who guarantee pensions up to some $45,000 per

retiree, have to rescue the bankrupt pension plans.

The big squeeze

Format: Op-Ed

Source: Paul Krugman, New York Times

Date: October 17, 2005


bankruptcy is a much bigger deal than your ordinary case of corporate failure and bad, self-dealing management.

If Delphi slashes wages and defaults on its pension obligations, the rest of the auto industry may well be

tempted--or forced--to do the same. That will mark the end of the era in which ordinary working Americans could

be part of the middle class. America is a much richer country than it was 30 years ago, but since the early

1970's the hourly wage of the typical worker has barely kept up with inflation. America's working middle

class has been eroding for a generation, and it may be about to wash away completely. Something must be done.

The mansion subsidy

Format: Op-Ed

Source: Peter Dreier, TomPaine.com

Date: October 18, 2005


Americans think that federal housing assistance is a poor people's program. In fact, less than one-fourth of

all low-income Americans receive federal housing subsidies. In contrast, almost two-thirds of affluent

Americans get housing aid from Washington. Whether they admit it or not, the wealthy live in subsidized

housing. The current way we distribute housing subsidy funds is wasteful and unfair. As a nation, we have the

resources to assist the millions of poor and working-class families who cannot afford market-rate rents or home

prices. Let's stop subsidizing the rich to live in mansions and help working families achieve the American


The new war on the poor

Format: News Commentary

Source: Paul Waldman , TomPaine.com

Date: October 19, 2005


that President Bush's plan for partial privatization of Social Security has been spat out of the public's

mouth in disgust and shelved indefinitely, the left has a rare victory it can savor. And one coalition,

consisting in part of those who formed Americans United to Protect Social Security, is looking to duplicate

that success on a new issue: the conservative attempt to use the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina for a new war

on the poor. A group of progressive organizations has formed the Emergency Campaign for American Priorities, a

"grassroots, grass-tops, public relations and lobbying campaign to convince Congress to stop a plan backed by

President Bush and the Republican congressional leadership that would drastically cut programs that primarily

benefit the poor and middle class to finance tax cuts that benefit only the wealthiest among us." Will they

succeed? Can progressives without any institutional power beat back yet another retrograde Republican plan? The

answer is a qualified yes, but it will be an uphill battle.

Lawbreakers need not apply for seats on county boards

Format: Political Column

Source: Jeff Webb, St. Petersburg Times

Date: October 19, 2005

Volunteering to serve the public just got harder. The Hernando County [Florida] Commission

decided that everyone who applies for an opening on any of its many appointed boards must disclose if they have

ever been convicted of a crime, including misdemeanors. An applicant's rap sheet would not necessarily

preclude the County Commission from appointing, say, a rapist or drug dealer. But it's a safe bet that such a

disclosure would not be viewed favorably. If the purpose of the decision was to deter anyone who has had

trouble with the law from applying for a volunteer job, they succeeded. No one is going to allow their dirty

laundry to be aired just for the pleasure of doing a thankless job that doesn't pay.

Mothers at work are canaries in the mine

Format: News Commentary

Source: Charlotte Fishman, Women's eNews

Date: October 19, 2005

Anyone watching a mother attempt to handle a demanding professional job is likely to be awed at the tremendous

expenditure of energy that goes into creating some balance between the needs of family and the needs of work.

They are also likely to see how shortchanged the woman's own needs are, and how she is frequently

sleep-deprived or exercise-deprived or fun-deprived. Monday, Oct. 24, is Take Back Your Time Day, celebrating

(ironically) the 65th anniversary of the enactment of the 40-hour work week. There is an emerging social

consensus that society cannot continue to absorb the social cost of parents working full time when "full time"

is defined as 80 hours a week.

Robin Hood in reverse

Format: Op-Ed

Source: Beth Shulman, TomPaine.com

Date: October 24, 2005


is not so poor that we should have to choose between food stamps or Medicaid and Katrina recovery. Close down

the tax breaks for the wealthy and use the additional funds to make sure reconstruction gets done right--with

wages above the legal minimum, to attract workers and residents back to the Gulf area; with competitive bidding

for federal contracts that would give the advantage to struggling local firms and the hard-hit minority-owned

companies who most need the work; with labor conditions and safety rules to ensure that the new construction is

done right; and with full benefits so that working families who fought off Katrina and Rita don't now have to

fight off the government in trying to return to a decent life.

Diagnosis for America

Format: Op-Ed

Source: Jonathan Tasini, TomPaine.com

Date: October 25, 2005


is a measure of our lowered expectations, fueled by media spin, that people shrugged and seemed to think that

it was inevitable that workers for General Motors were destined to have their health care coverage slashed. But

let's be clear: the loss of benefits for GM workers was not inevitable. The moral and economic need for a

universal health care system has been well-known for a very long time. The only question now is: How many

companies will have to go belly up and how many more millions of workers will face bankruptcy and illness

because we allow ideology--the deification of the so-called free market--to triumph over common sense?

Jobs and joblessness on the Gulf Coast

Format: Editorial

Source: New York Times

Date: November 2, 2005

Widespread unemployment from

Katrina is as much a national disaster as the destruction of infrastructure. The afflicted states simply can't

afford to foot the whole bill--and shouldn't have to. In the months since Katrina, plans to increase

unemployment aid have flitted across Congress's legislative radar screen, only to vanish as Republican

lawmakers prepare to push a $70 billion tax cut package, much of it to benefit millionaire investors. As they

did with the Davis-Bacon law, government leaders have to turn back from their wrongheaded pursuits and do the

right things instead--and, preferably, soon.

When the boss is a medical watchdog

Format: Editorial

Source: Christian Science Monitor

Date: November 4, 2005

Higher premiums.

Higher co-pays. Anyone with employer-provided health insurance has noticed that workers are being asked to

shoulder more of the rising cost of healthcare. But employers are also trying to build a healthier (i.e. less

expensive) workforce, and aspects of that trend are disturbing. Who defines what constitutes health, or how

best to achieve it? Can medical privacy laws be adequately enforced? How deeply might a company peer into a

person's private life to find unhealthy habits? Rising health costs are pushing employers into gray areas of

civil liberties. Americans should be alert.

Alan Greenspan, egalitarian?

Format: Op-Ed

Source: Sam Pizzigati, TomPaine.com

Date: November 7, 2005

Alan Greenspan, arguably the world economy's single most powerful figure, will finally ride off into the

sunset Jan. 31, after 18 years as the chair of the Federal Reserve Board. But don't expect the media spotlight

to stop shining on him. We will no doubt witness, over the next three months, a steady stream of over-the-top

tributes lauding Greenspan for his long tenure at the nation's economic helm. [One such] early tribute:

"Traders, investors and lawmakers would hang on every word." Well, not quite every word. Over the years,

economic movers and shakers have consistently ignored Greenspan whenever he started ruminating on one

particular subject. That subject? Inequality--the concentration of America's wealth and income in the hands of

its wealthiest citizens.

Pride, prejudice, insurance

Format: Op-Ed

Source: Paul Krugman, New York Times

Date: November 7, 2005

Employment-based health insurance is the only serious source of coverage for Americans too young to receive

Medicare and insufficiently destitute to receive Medicaid, but it's an institution in decline. The funny thing

is that the solution--national health insurance, available to everyone--is obvious. But to see the obvious

we'll have to overcome pride--the unwarranted belief that America has nothing to learn from other

countries--and prejudice--the equally unwarranted belief, driven by ideology, that private insurance is more

efficient than public insurance.

On workers' rights, we can do better than this

Format: Op-Ed

Source: David Bonior, Austin American-Statesman

Date: November 8, 2005

There is no single code of law that is more openly dismissed and abused than our

nation's labor laws. I fundamentally believe that this is not the face America wants to show the world in the

21st Century. We are a better nation than this. We have a more fundamental respect for human rights than this.

The wholesale infringement on rights of all workers to earn a living, provide for their families and contribute

to their communities is, at its core, more than a series of obscure labor law infractions. It must be viewed

with more gravity. We should all take a stand and demand that workers' rights in the U.S. and around the world

are restored, guaranteed, and protected.

Wal-Mart's tax on us

Format: Op-Ed

Source: Greg LeRoy, TomPaine.com

Date: November 9, 2005


the Alpha Dog of discount stores, has also become the Alpha Hog at the public trough. The phenomenal growth of

the world's largest corporation has been supported by taxpayers in many states through economic development

subsidies. Giving subsidies to suburban retailing is bad policy on many levels. Taxpayer costs for economic

development are balanced by "benefits" that mostly consist of, well, workers' costs, consumers' costs and

taxpayers' costs. It's ironic that a company which promotes itself as a free enterprise success story is so

highly dependent on taxpayers.

Bringing down the bully

Format: News Commentary

Source: Robert Scheer, The Nation

Date: November 9, 2005

You have to love California.

Yes, I'm buzzed by the stunning rejection of Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger's referendum revolution aimed at

turning this blue state red. That the voters soundly defeated his proposals to punish the public sector unions

and legislators who dared to cross the Terminator is a bellwether moment for the nation. Schwarzenegger was

defeated primarily by the hardworking public sector workers of the state: the teachers, firefighters and other

civil servants who are sick and tired of being pitted by politicians against those they are so dedicated to

serving. The power of the corporate interests has been checked primarily by the state's huge public service

workers unions.

Target Wal-Mart

Format: Op-Ed

Source: Robert L. Borosage, Troy Peters, TomPaine.com

Date: November 14, 2005

Across America, people are starting to realize the stark reality: Wal-Mart's triumph is the

defeat of middle-class America. In the 19th century, America faced a similar problem: corporate behemoths,

private fortunes amassed from exploiting workers, unions banned, politicians bought. It took a progressive

movement to put new rules around the marketplace--to break up monopolies, create the 40-hour work week,

institute the minimum wage, the right to organize, environmental protection, and workplace health and safety

laws. Now a new progressive movement is beginning to emerge. Once more, its agenda is to ban sweatshops, lift

wages, empower workers and curb corporate power. Wal-Mart is and must be that movement's first target.

This isn't the real America

Format: Op-Ed

Source: Jimmy Carter, Los Angeles Times

Date: November 14, 2005

I have become increasingly concerned by a host of radical government policies that now

threaten many basic principles espoused by all previous administrations, Democratic and Republican. These

include the rudimentary American commitment to peace, economic and social justice, civil liberties, our

environment and human rights. Our government has abandoned fiscal responsibility by unprecedented favors to the

rich, while neglecting America's working families. Members of Congress have increased their own pay by $30,000

per year since freezing the minimum wage at $5.15 per hour (the lowest among industrialized nations). It is

time for the deep and disturbing political divisions within our country to be substantially healed, with

Americans united in a common commitment to revive and nourish the historic political and moral values that we

have espoused during the last 230 years.

Why China must change

Format: Op-Ed

Source: Thomas I. Palley, TomPaine.com

Date: November 28, 2005


global economy has been heading in the wrong direction, hollowing out the middle class in America while failing

to create a big enough middle class in the developing world. That hollowing-out process has long been visible

in U.S. statistics on wages and family income distribution. The global economy must shift from export-led

development to domestic market-led development. In an export-led world, higher wages undermine employment. In a

domestic market-led world, higher wages can promote employment. This is where labor standards and unions enter.

The challenge is to establish a system that has wages rising with productivity so that workers can buy what

they produce, rather than dumping it on world markets.

No space at the table

Format: Op-Ed

Source: Liz Stanton, TomPaine.com

Date: November 23, 2005

President Bush agrees that creating good jobs is a priority. He has repeatedly promised that his large-scale

tax cuts will grow the economy and create new jobs. So should families planning their Thanksgiving feasts be

giving thanks to the tax cuts for having created a plethora of new jobs? Resoundingly, no. The Bush tax cuts

did not produce new jobs. The quality of jobs, measured by income, health insurance and retirement benefits,

has also declined appreciably since the 2001 tax cuts. The 2001 and 2003 tax cuts were a feast for the rich

taken directly from the tables of the poor, the working class, the middle class, people of color, children and

the elderly. These tax cuts have been a real turkey for the economy.

Labor's lost story

Format: Op-Ed

Source: E. J. Dionne Jr., Washington Post

Date: November 29, 2005

Decades ago, Walter Reuther, the storied head of the United Auto Workers union, was taken

on a tour of an automated factory by a Ford executive. Somewhat gleefully, the Ford honcho told the legendary

union leader: "You know, not one of these machines pays dues to the UAW." To which Reuther snapped: "And not

one of them buys new Ford cars, either." For 60 years New Dealers and social democrats, liberals and

progressives, insisted that few would embrace capitalism's innovations if the system's tendency toward

creative destruction was not balanced by public innovations to spread the bounty and protect millions from

being injured by change. It's a compelling story. Walter Reuther knew it well. Too bad it isn't told very

often anymore.

Divided we fall

Format: Op-Ed

Source: David Bacon, Truthout

Date: November 29, 2005

The Gulf Coast disaster is

having a profound and permanent effect on the area's workers and communities. The racial fault lines of

immigration politics threaten to pit Latinos against Blacks, and migrant laborers against community residents

hoping to return to their homes. Community organizations, labor, and civil rights advocates can all find common

ground in a reconstruction plan that puts the needs of people first. But flood-ravaged Mississippi and

Louisiana could also become a window into a different future, in which poor communities with little economic

power fight each other over jobs.

Tax relief or 'mere parsimony?'

Format: Op-Ed

Source: Sean Gonsalves, AlterNet

Date: November 30, 2005

United for a Fair Economy, a

nonpartisan think tank that tries to "raise awareness that concentrated wealth and power undermines the

economy," has a new report that examines whether there is a correlation between tax cuts and job creation. From

June 2003 to December 2004, only 2.6 million new jobs were created. "That's 1.5 million fewer jobs than

expected without implementing the tax cuts, and 2.9 million fewer jobs than promised with the tax cuts." Some

will consider this typical "liberal" drivel, but I consider it an affirmation of something the intellectual

father of conservatism observed. "Mere parsimony is not economy. Expense, and great expense, may be an

essential part of true economy," wrote Edmund Burke.

A tax cut like it's 1986

Format: Op-Ed

Source: Dean Baker, TomPaine.com

Date: December 5, 2005

In the

coming weeks, Republicans in the House and Senate desperate to pass tax cut bills will be repeating their

mantra that tax cuts "stimulate growth" in the economy. Democrats should put forward their own plan for tax

reform. As painful as it might be to acknowledge, Ronald Reagan's tax reform would be a good place to start.

The key idea behind the '86 reform was not to lower tax rates, but to eliminate loopholes. The '86 tax reform

treated all types of income--wage income, capital gains, dividends and rents--the same way. Reagan proudly

boasted when he signed the bill that people would now make money by working and investing, not gaming the tax


Looking for a job and finding none

Format: Op-Ed

Source: Sandra McHenry, Milwaukee Journal Sentinel

Date: December 3, 2005

The scenario consists of being out of work for two years and having no dental or health insurance. I am

expected to work until age 67, five years from now, in order to collect full benefits from Social Security. I

don't qualify for Medicare until 65, which is three years away. Please let the dog bark or the alarm go off so

I can wake up from this nightmare! But the worst part is that I am awake. I am sitting at my computer,

completing yet another online application for employment. I am awake, and this trip does not end. When will

corporate America catch up to the groundwork that has been laid? I am not old enough to retire or to receive

any benefits, yet I am apparently too old to obtain employment for the next five years.

Opt-out hype

Format: Op-Ed

Source: Heather Boushey, TomPaine.com

Date: December 7, 2005

Recent media

coverage over whether moms are more likely to "opt out" of employment is simply hype, based on anecdote and

examination of mothers' participation in the labor force in isolation of overall labor market trends. The

reality is that mothers are now less likely to leave the labor market because of their children. The

main reason for declining labor force participation rates among women over the last four years appears to be

the weakness of the labor market. Rather than hyping anecdotes, we'd be better off focusing on solutions for

the very real struggles families face in finding the time and resources to care for one another.

Class warfare with taxes

Format: Op-Ed

Source: Robert Reich, TomPaine.com

Date: December 8, 2005


bills now wending their way through the House and Senate would cut about $60 billion in taxes next year. The

underlying question is, who ends up paying for Iraq, the Katrina cleanup, the Medicare drug benefit, homeland

security, everything else? If the House has its way, it won't be the super-rich, who will get their capital

gains and dividend tax cuts extended. If the Senate gets its way, it won't be the middle class, who would

otherwise be hit by the [Alternative Minimum Tax]. If the House and Senate compromise by giving both groups

what they want, there's only one group left. That group is the poor and near-poor.

For all workers fighting an uphill battle on the job

Format: Op-Ed

Source: Allan R. Jamail, Houston Chronicle

Date: December 9, 2005

Half of U.S. workers say they would form a union tomorrow to win fair treatment and a voice on the

job, but here in Houston and elsewhere in this country, workers are being lied to, harassed, threatened,

coerced, followed, disciplined and even fired when they try to exercise their legal right to form a union. When

employers violate the right of workers to form a union, everyone suffers. Our basic constitutional freedoms are

compromised. Wages fall, race and gender pay gaps widen, and workplace discrimination increases and job safety

standards disappear. Unions are the best tool we have for fighting poverty and bringing about social justice.

Time to say no to unjust immigration bills

Format: News Commentary

Source: David Bacon, Pacific News Service

Date: December 9, 2005

Every new Republican proposal for immigration reform in Congress makes the

prospect for winning legal status for the nation's 12 million undocumented residents more remote. At the same

time, Congress appears ready to pass measures that will increase border deaths, lead to wholesale violations of

workers' rights and give the largest corporations a huge new bracero program. A strong coalition of immigrant

rights groups, unions, civil rights organizations and working families can build a movement powerful enough to

win legal status and rights for immigrants--and jobs and better wages for everyone. It's time to fight for


Smoke got in their eyes

Format: Op-Ed

Source: Leonard Glantz, Washington Post

Date: December 18, 2005

The World Health Organization has announced that it will no longer hire smokers. WHO has

joined a long line of bigots who would not hire people of color, members of religious minorities, or disabled

or gay people because of who they are or what they lawfully do. The proper response to such an oppressive

condition of employment is for federal and state governments to adopt laws that prohibit job discrimination

based on activities that employees engage in outside the workplace that have no impact on job performance.

Several states have already adopted such laws, and WHO's actions demonstrate the need for them in every


Searching for labor's role

Format: Op-Ed

Source: George F. Will, Washington Post

Date: December 29, 2005

In one of the biggest successes in the history of organized labor in the South, the 4,700

janitors working for Houston's four largest cleaning companies recently joined the Service Employees

International Union. The janitors, most of them immigrants, earn an average of $5.30 an hour--15 cents more

than the minimum wage--without health care benefits. The mobilization of the janitors is one sign of why Andy

Stern, head of the SEIU, is today's most important--perhaps the only really important--labor leader. He aims

to convince nonunion workers "that Ronald Reagan was wrong--that wealth does not trickle down." And that "Bill

Clinton also was wrong" in saying high-tech employment is the wave of the future.

Our worrisome MDP

Format: Op-Ed

Source: Robert B. Reich, TomPaine.com

Date: January 3, 2006

It seems

almost certain that in 2005, median incomes continued to drop. It's been that way for four years now, since

the end of the last recession. The economy keeps growing, but median incomes keep declining. Half of all

American workers are earning less now than they did in 2001. Rarely before in history has there been such a

long period of growth in the gross domestic product without most Americans sharing in that growth. Maybe it's

time we stopped measuring the success of the economy by how much larger the GDP is from one year to the next,

and started using a new measure that reflects how most of us are doing from one year to the next. Instead of

GDP, let's look at what might be called the MDP--median domestic prosperity.

Beyond guest workers

Format: Op-Ed

Source: Amy M. Traub, TomPaine.com

Date: January 4, 2006

Undocumented immigrants are on the road to becoming a permanent underclass, undermining middle-class wages and

working conditions, because they don't have the means to enforce their own rights in the workplace. But, by

making sure workplace laws--from the minimum wage to the right to organize a union--truly apply to all

workers, we can bring undocumented immigrants into the economic mainstream and help level the playing field for

other workers. Middle-class and aspiring middle-class Americans should support workplace rights for immigrants

not just out of compassion for mistreated immigrants, but because they want to preserve their own job standards

and the opportunity to improve them.

A mining disaster

Format: Editorial

Source: Editorial, Washington Post

Date: January 4, 2006

The mere thought of being trapped at the bottom of a coal mine is horrible enough to send

shivers down most people's backs. But after the explosion that trapped 13 men in a West Virginia coal mine

early Monday, an equally chilling story of safety neglect may be emerging as well. Safety problems at [the

mine] should have caused officials at the Mine Safety and Health Administration to take notice. Once purely an

enforcement agency, set up to make sure that mines followed safety regulations, the MSHA has in the past

several years formed a series of "partnerships" with mining industry groups. They might have allowed the agency

to become too friendly with the businesses it regulates. When Congress comes back to town, we'd like to hear

some open discussion about the health of the nation's mine inspections.

Strip clubs, such sweet sorrow

Format: News Commentary

Source: Allen Wastler, CNN/Money

Date: January 5, 2006

A lot of people

are reading the story about Morgan Stanley firing four men for going to a strip club with a client. If you

haven't been following the company's travails, it settled a sex discrimination lawsuit in mid-2004 for $54

million. Since that settlement, the company has set up a policy against employees going to "exclusionary"

events. Going to a "gentlemen's club" is an exclusionary event. (Some Neanderthals among you may argue that

strip clubs don't "exclude" women. Go stand beside a Chippendales dancer and see if you want the comparison.)

If this case is any indication, such frolics are likely to fade away. Deals should be based on facts and

figures and honest negotiation...not on who paid for the most lap dances.

Judge at odds with interests of state workers

Format: Editorial

Source: David Newby, Milwaukee Journal Sentinel

Date: January 8, 2006


single mother finds she's now unable to take time off from work in a medical emergency. An African-American

woman who was promoted twice in her first few years on the job loses out on her next promotion and isn't

granted her day in court to prove her race discrimination case against her employer. Newspaper reporters

working more than 40 hours a week are denied overtime pay. These violations of workers' fundamental rights

have one thing in common: Judge Samuel Alito's rulings would have made them possible. Alito's decisions and

dissents on many cases involving workers reveal a disturbing tendency to take a restrictive and narrow view of

the protections Congress has afforded to workers over many decades.

Alito: should workers trust his actions, or his words?

Format: News Commentary

Source: Paula Brantner, Workplace Fairness

Date: January 11, 2006

This week,

the biggest show in town (Washington, DC, that is, and perhaps the rest of the country, too) is the hearings on

Samuel Alito's nomination to be a Supreme Court justice. Senators purport to be hanging on every word Alito

says in the hearings to divine whether he will make an appropriate Supreme Court justice. Whether that's true,

or whether, instead, most senators' minds are pretty much made up, it's hard to put that much stock in

Alito's testimony at the hearings, when we have so much evidence of his views from his published opinions over

his last fifteen years as a federal judge. And that's not good news for workers, regardless of what Judge

Alito says this week.

The pension deep freeze

Format: Editorial

Source: New York Times

Date: January 14, 2006

In the past, the public

dialogue about Corporate America's move away from traditional pensions for retirees centered on struggling

industries--steel, airlines--that had dumped their pension obligations on the federal government. But the

announcement last week that the financially healthy technology giant I.B.M. will freeze its pension system

reiterates the message businesses are increasingly sending their employees: you're on your own.

Taking on the hotels

Format: Op-Ed

Source: Harold Meyerson, Washington Post

Date: January 18, 2006

The battle for a life of middle-class dreams and security is fought region by region, even

town by town. Time was when it was fought contract by contract, but that was in an America where unions

represented one-third of the private-sector workforce rather than today's anemic 8%. In a global economy, the

conventional wisdom would have it, the bargaining power of unions is the ultimate spent force. But not all of

our economy is global, nor all our labor exportable. Least of all is it exportable in the hotel industry, a

sector that employs 1.3 million workers in this country, most at poverty wages. So it will remain, unless the

hotel union--UNITE HERE--can find a way to do something that hardly any American union has done in recent

decades: organize an industry.

A call for public pensions

Format: Op-Ed

Source: J. Bradford DeLong, TomPaine.com

Date: January 17, 2006

In today's world, only national governments are large enough to be able to ensure that

pension assets will actually be there when workers retire. If there is an economic service or benefit that

citizens value extremely highly and that only the government can provide, then the government should provide

it. Economists know that there are many drawbacks to expanding the role of government. But the collection of

payroll taxes and the writing of pension checks is the kind of routine, semi-automatic task that government can

do well. It is even more important and valuable that government does it in our post-industrial, network-age

society than it was in the past.

Ford takes a tax holiday for 'jobs creation'

Format: News Commentary

Source: Allan Sloan, Washington Post

Date: January 24, 2006

It's almost enough to make you laugh--bitterly, of course. Here was Ford announcing that

it had cut 10,000 jobs last year and that it will cut up to 30,000 more. But shedding jobs at muscle-car

acceleration rates didn't stop Ford from pocketing hundreds of millions of dollars courtesy of the American

Jobs Creation Act. I'm not making this up. Right there, on one of its news releases, Ford said that

"repatriation of foreign earnings pursuant to the American Jobs Creation Act of 2004 resulted in a permanent

tax savings of about $250 million." How can you simultaneously cut jobs and benefit from the American Jobs

Creation Act? Welcome to the wonderful world of Washington nomenclature.

State of the people's union

Format: Op-Ed

Source: Robert L. Borosage, Troy Peters, TomPaine.com

Date: January 26, 2006

In his coming State of the Union address, George W. Bush will tout the success of his economic

policies, and call for making his tax cuts permanent. Most Americans may sensibly wonder just what country the

president is living in. The president's policies have helped produce an economy that works for the boardroom

but not for the shop floor. Corporate profits, productivity, stocks and CEO salaries are all up. But this

economy isn't working for most Americans worrying over their kitchen tables about how to make ends meet.

Incomes aren't keeping up with rising costs. Families are sinking deeper in debt. The cost of basics like

health care, home heating and college are soaring out of sight. A secure retirement is increasingly a distant


Crashing Davos

Format: Op-Ed

Source: Jeff Faux, TomPaine.com

Date: January 27, 2006

The world's rich

and powerful are heading this week to their annual meeting in the plush mountain resort of Davos, Switzerland.

There may be some bad new ahead for Davos. After a quarter of a century, the world is beginning to resist

policies that have shifted wealth and power away from people who work for a living to those who invest. Perhaps

more important, Davos' chief champion--the U.S. governing class--is in trouble. The erosion of the American

social contract--already being reflected in stagnant wages, financial insecurity and [a] collapsing health care

system--could soon force the governing class to pay more attention to Bloomington, Ill., than to Baghdad, Iraq.

The question is, as always, who sets the rules and in whose interests?

Health debtor accounts

Format: Op-Ed

Source: Cindy Zeldin, TomPaine.com

Date: January 30, 2006


tomorrow's State of the Union address, President Bush is widely expected to promote an expansion of Health

Savings Accounts, or HSAs, as the new cornerstone of his ownership society agenda. His rhetoric will be about

personal empowerment, but his push for insurance that exposes consumers to more individual risk belies the

financial squeeze faced by a growing number of middle-class Americans. Instead of targeting federal dollars

toward new tax breaks, perhaps a better approach would be to steer health policy toward solutions that make

health care more affordable for the middle class and address the growing crisis of medical debt.

Make 'em provide pensions

Format: Political Column

Source: Albert B. Crenshaw, Washington Post

Date: January 29, 2006

The long-predicted ice age is settling in on America's private pension system, as

companies large and small, profitable and unprofitable, announce the freezing of their traditional plans, the

kind that once promised a lifetime income for retirees. The likely result of this, if nothing changes, will be

a world with a large number of retirees struggling to make ends meet, and a smaller number who through luck or

skill have turned their 401(k) into a small fortune. If all this doesn't sound appealing, start talking to

your senators and members of Congress now. Stop sneering at unions. Think about what kind of future you want

and start working for it. It's usually a lot cheaper to prevent an ailment than to cure it.

The America we believe in

Format: Op-Ed

Source: John Edwards, TomPaine.com

Date: January 31, 2006

America is losing the most important element of our national character: We are no longer the land of

opportunity for all. Generations before us came to America for one reason. This is the land where everyone who

worked hard would be rewarded, could raise a family and could make a better life for their children. But

America has changed. Now, hard work does not guarantee a decent standard of living, and our children do not

believe they can achieve the successes of their parents. It should not be that way. When history judges us, as

a nation and as individuals, it will ask: What did we do to end poverty? How we answer this call will forever

define us as a nation--showing the world how America leads or how we fail to live up to our most cherished


Working, writing woman looks back, ahead

Format: Political Column

Source: Carol Kleiman, Chicago Tribune

Date: January 31, 2006

Four decades ago, when I was a part-time copy editor and freelance writer for the Chicago

Tribune, a suburban wife of an executive and mother of three children, the features editor of the Tribune

called me. He had noticed something unusual: women were going to work! He said as he rode on his commuter train

he actually saw women going into downtown Chicago, not to shop but to work. Would I cover this revolution,

would I write the column that he had dreamed up, the first of its kind in the U.S.? I covered what was

happening and also tried to empower people. While I was at it, a lot of changes happened on my beat--and to


Blacks versus browns

Format: Op-Ed

Source: Ruben Navarrette, San Diego Union-Tribune

Date: February 1, 2006

In college, my African-American friends and I used to call it "the black-brown thing."

It's the uneasy tension--and occasional conflict--between the nation's largest minority and the group that

formerly held the title. In the 1990s, the phenomenon was most prevalent in major cities such as Los Angeles,

New York, Chicago and Miami--large urban centers where significant numbers of African-Americans and Latinos

lived side by side. Today, ground zero is New Orleans, where a lot of African-Americans are no longer sure they

want to live and where a lot more Latinos have gone to find work.

Why so many blacks fear illegal immigrants - pt. 1

Format: Political Column

Source: Earl Ofari Hutchinson, BlackNews.com

Date: February 6, 2006

Nationally, many

blacks are unabashed in fingering illegal immigrants, mostly Mexicans, for the poverty and job dislocation in

black communities. Illegal immigration is not the prime reason so many poor young blacks are on the streets,

and why some turn to gangs, guns and drug dealing to get ahead. A shrinking economy, savage state and federal

government cuts in and the elimination of job and skills training programs, failing public schools, a soaring

black prison population, and employment discrimination are still the major reasons for the grim employment

prospects and poverty in inner city black neighborhoods.

Inspecting mine safety

Format: Editorial

Source: Editorial, Washington Post

Date: February 4, 2006

The Bush administration has put administrators with business ties to the mining industry at

the head of MSHA. Those administrators have promoted a less punitive, more cooperative regulatory atmosphere,

kept penalties for safety violations low and withdrawn proposed safety regulations. West Virginia's

congressional delegation has proposed legislation to stiffen MSHA's spine, but the agency itself has the tools

to regulate more stiffly. What its leaders need is a change of attitude, not a change of rules. Along with

Congress and the White House, they should start analyzing not just the mistakes made in recent accidents but

whether the more cooperative regulatory model itself is working.

Officials are blind to abuse heaped on Gulf day laborers

Format: News Commentary

Source: Cecilia Mu?oz, Pacific News Service

Date: February 9, 2006

When I heard that the Governor of Louisiana [said] she had no idea

that immigrant workers rebuilding New Orleans are suffering abuse at the hands of employers, I couldn't

believe my ears. What is happening in the Gulf Coast is an exaggerated version of what happens around the

country. We benefit from immigrants' hard work, but we are unwilling to respect their rights or see to it that

these are properly enforced. We allow immigrants to work in our country's most dangerous jobs, yet we deny

them access to care or compensation when they are injured. Then we attack them on the airwaves for being here

at all. I'm familiar with that story. But it still surprises me when the people who are supposed to be leading

our country fail to see it as well.

A trust, by any other name

Format: Op-Ed

Source: Barry Lynn, TomPaine.com

Date: February 15, 2006


is not as if we need to search long for evidence of the problems traditionally associated with monopoly.

Capture of political power? Consider Boeing's hold over the Bush administration. Extreme pricing distortions?

We see them throughout Wal-Mart's supply system. Artificial control over what technologies are brought to

market and when? One blatant example is the power over renewable energy systems of British Petroleum and Royal

Dutch Shell. Extreme profiteering? America's big energy companies have not only resurrected the art of gouging

the consumer, they have raised it to a new state of perfection. As bad as these old-fashioned problems may be,

many of our 21st-century global oligopolies appear to pose entirely new dangers.

Who's your daddy?

Format: Political Column

Source: Thomas Palley, TomPaine.com

Date: March 3, 2006

Jeff Faux

and Gene Sperling are two titans of Democratic economic policy. Faux is a political economist, and therefore

emphasizes politics in his analysis. Political power lies behind economic policy. On one side is a new

globalized uber-capitalist class. On the other side are the rest of us, workers everywhere--not just in the

United States. Sperling is a policy economist, and accordingly his outlook emphasizes policy--fiscal

responsibility, policies to help workers adjust to trade-related job losses, public investment in education and

tax incentives to help people save and accumulate wealth. Faux seeks a reconfiguration that is nothing short of

paradigm change. Sperling accepts the current paradigm and is content with small adjustments. These

foundational economic differences have not been adequately framed. Democrats must come to grips with them, so

here is a stab at framing them.

Debating health care, finally

Format: News Commentary

Source: Bernie Horn, TomPaine.com

Date: March 7, 2006

For two months, the media has covered the Fair Share Health Care controversy as if it were a fierce storm

sweeping across the nation, with Wal-Mart and labor unions supplying the thunder and lightning. Reporters have

all but ignored the larger story--that Fair Share has altered the climate of the health care debate. That's a

big claim for such a modest law. Maryland's Fair Share Health Care Act merely requires companies with more

than 10,000 employees to pay at least eight percent of payroll expenses for health care, or pay any shortfall

to the state. Yet look at the reaction nationwide. What's the big deal? Fair Share affects only a few

companies and a relatively few employees. It can't put a dent in our nation's healthcare problems, can it?

New economy hurting people in the middle the most

Format: Political Column

Source: Steven Pearlstein, Washington Post

Date: March 8, 2006

The last several years have been marked by low unemployment, strong economic growth, robust

productivity gains and record corporate profits. Normally, you'd expect most Americans to be doing pretty

well. As it happens, however, inflation-adjusted income for all but a tiny fraction of the wealthiest

households hasn't increased at all. So what gives? Why is there such a disconnect between economic growth and

household income? What happened to all the money? Fundamental changes in the structure of the labor, product

and capital markets are accelerating a long-term trend toward income inequality.

Should you take a buyout offer?

Format: Advice Column

Source: Colleen DeBaise, SmartMoney

Date: March 7, 2006

As companies

struggle with global competition and industry consolidation, many are considering the use of buyouts to reduce

the size of work forces and rein in costs. That may help a company's bottom line, but for employees there's

much to consider before calling it quits. A worker faced with a buyout offer must carefully examine the terms

and consider where he or she stands in terms of career and finances. One must also consider the health of the

company, which may be trimming labor costs in an effort to avoid bankruptcy. Employees faced with a buyout

should review their retirement plans, bonus schedules, stock options, and even additional items such as

vacation days and sick time. A worker who accepts a buyout often must agree to give up all legal claims against

the company.

Katrina's gulf

Format: Op-Ed

Source: Coco McCabe, TomPaine.com

Date: March 9, 2006

Disasters are

discriminatory. Recoveries shouldn't be. But the one on the Gulf Coast is headed that way unless something

quickly changes with how billions of federal dollars are being allocated to address the housing crisis caused

by hurricanes Katrina and Rita. The Gulf Coast stands a slim chance of a solid recovery if it can't offer

decent housing for the residents--the fishermen, the farmers, the laborers, the hospitality workers--that fuel

its economy. If Mississippi and Louisiana are serious about seeing their regional economies recover, they need

to make sure there is a range of affordable housing for their workers. Folks making the minimum wage or

scraping by with seasonal work must have places to live that their salaries can support.

The next recession

Format: Op-Ed

Source: Thomas I. Palley, TomPaine.com

Date: March 13, 2006


is not about predicting when the next recession will happen, but rather about its character. It is possible to

anticipate future difficulties and proscribe possible remedies. First, the Federal Reserve should be very

careful about over-shooting with its rate hikes, and at this time it should take an inflation chill pill.

Second, the current recovery has been extraordinarily weak, which should finally discredit the notion that tax

cuts for the rich drive growth and job creation. Third, the speculative financial market paradigm--which has

ruled the policy roost for twenty-five years--is out of gas. It is time for a new paradigm that links growth to

rising wages, rather than to asset price boom-bust cycles.

Rude awakening in the workplace

Format: Advice Column

Source: Liz Ryan, BusinessWeek

Date: March 16, 2006


you start a new job nowadays, get ready to absorb a load of information in a hurry. The typical employee

orientation lasts a day and is jam-packed with facts. You'll learn what each department does and where it's

located, the chairman's favorite football team, and a few hundred other details designed to help you navigate

your new office. So it's funny that, during this barrage, no one fills you in on a few points of basic

workplace etiquette. But it's not too late. Here are 10 tips for office types--hang them near the coffee


Wanted: a high-road economy

Format: Op-Ed

Source: Holly Sklar, TomPaine.com

Date: March 17, 2006


are living the American Dream in reverse. The share of national income going to wages and salaries is at the

lowest level since 1929--the year that kicked off the Great Depression. The share going to after-tax corporate

profits is at the highest level since 1929. Fueled by obscene wage inequality and tax cuts, income and wealth

are piling up at the very top. More and more jobs are keeping people in poverty instead of out of poverty.

Middle-class households are a medical crisis, outsourced job or busted pension away from bankruptcy. Contrary

to myth, the United States is not becoming more competitive in the global economy by taking the low road. The

high road is not only the better road, it is the only road for progress in the future. An America that doesn't

work for working people is not an America that works.

Immigrant children: America's future

Format: Op-Ed

Source: Nancy K. Cauthen, TomPaine.com

Date: March 20, 2006

We need national leadership that understands and cares about the needs of immigrant workers

and their families. Immigrant children, and the much larger group of children born in the U.S. of immigrant

parents, are at great risk for living in poverty, which compromises their health, safety and futures. Living on

the edge even as their parents work extremely hard, these children are less likely than other children to

receive help from government programs that protect low-wage workers and their families. This is a paradox we

cannot continue to ignore. Assisting the children of immigrants is central to promoting the economic security

of America's families.

The guest worker gamble

Format: Op-Ed

Source: Amy Traub, TomPaine.com

Date: March 23, 2006


Secure America and Orderly Immigration Act [could] bring the nation's undocumented workers "out of the

shadows" of their illegal status and formally recognize their critical role in the American economy. Known as

McCain-Kennedy, the bill would provide three-year work visas to applicants from abroad as well as undocumented

workers currently in the United States. The debate over McCain-Kennedy comes down to this: do we take a stand

against the principle of a guest worker program that would permanently institutionalize a two-tier labor

market, even if a better solution seems a long way off? Or, focusing on the dramatic problems with a status quo

that exploits undocumented workers and undermines their native counterparts, do we fight for the partial

solution that seems within reach?

Scuttling some job-hunt myths

Format: Advice Column

Source: Liz Ryan, BusinessWeek

Date: March 22, 2006


old myths die hard. Job seekers have created their own mythology around the recruitment-and-selection process,

and from time to time these myths bubble up to people like me, who get to poke holes in them. Here are some

myths that you may have heard, and the corresponding truths of the matter.

Le McJob

Format: Op-Ed

Source: Anya Kamenetz, TomPaine.com

Date: March 24, 2006

The current youth

uprising in France has caught international observers off guard. We have a name for the French phenomenon here

in the United States: Generation Debt. It could not be an overabundance of restrictions on employers in the

United States that produces the high youth unemployment rate. We have the most "flexible" labor market in the

West, including a historically record-low minimum wage, a prevalence of temporary and part-time jobs and no

mandatory employer benefits such as health care. We haven't officially made it easier to fire young people,

but it's already just about as easy as it could be. And still young people lag behind in finding work. This

bleak picture is not inevitable.

Reality show for members of Congress

Format: Op-Ed

Source: Rosa Brooks, Miami Herald

Date: March 27, 2006

Here's an

idea for a reality TV show. The contestants will be drawn from the U.S. Congress. To start, they'll have their

credit cards, cellphones, computers and cars confiscated. Next, they'll be sent to live in rural villages and

urban shantytowns in poor countries. Each will be assigned a menial job in his new home, for which he will

receive $1 a day. They'll be instructed to make their way to a distant country, but they won't be provided

with money, a passport or transportation. Hardships along the route will include fording flood-prone rivers,

crossing dangerous deserts on foot and evading the armed gangs of smugglers and traffickers who will attempt to

rob, rape and kidnap them. Contestants will then have to covertly cross a border into a country guarded by

armed agents. Those who make it will then have to find food, shelter and employment in a place where they

don't know the language and are in constant danger of being detected, detained and deported by the

authorities. The only jobs available to them will be low-paying and often backbreaking labor. Any contestants

who manage to survive a full season will be offered the opportunity to draft a new immigration-reform bill for

the United States.

Real immigration security

Format: Op-Ed

Source: Tom Barry, TomPaine.com

Date: March 30, 2006


common denominator unites the otherwise fractious immigration debate. That's the widespread congressional

concern with national security and border security. All the major players--whether anti-immigration

conservatives or pro-immigration liberals--stress that any new immigration legislation must ensure that

Americans are secure. But the real security issue that underlines the immigration issue is job security. Except

for political refugee cases, immigration is mainly a labor-market issue. Unless immigration policy is connected

to economic policies that encourage full employment and insist that workers are paid livable wages, job

security of citizens and other legal U.S. residents will be threatened.

Disorganized labor

Format: Op-Ed

Source: Thomas I. Palley, TomPaine.com

Date: April 3, 2006


the last year there has been a widening split in the ranks of American organized labor. This split risks

hardening as the new Change To Win coalition increasingly takes on the complexion of a rival labor federation

to the AFL-CIO. The split is simply the result of frustration at inability to reverse union decline. That said,

there is one major difference in priorities--but it remains out of focus and has not received the attention it

deserves. That difference concerns the significance of economic policy and politics in union strategy. It's an

issue that does not warrant a split, but it does warrant prime time and could even provide the frame for a

galvanizing debate that jump-starts the entire union movement and changes national politics.

Dealing with Mexico

Format: Op-Ed

Source: Jeff Faux, TomPaine.com

Date: April 5, 2006


election year clamor to address illegal immigration has left Washington's normal political wiring in tangles.

The political confusion is understandable because none of [the] proposals will get at the root causes, which

are poverty and the lack of job opportunities south of the border. This was not supposed to happen. Thirteen

years ago we were assured that the North American Free Trade Agreement would transform Mexico into a prosperous

middle-class society. Unfortunately, NAFTA did not deliver. It is time for the leaders on this continent to

acknowledge that NAFTA has not fulfilled its promises and go back to the drawing boards. So long as the Mexican

economy cannot provide its people with economic opportunity, they will keep coming.

Immigration and wages

Format: Editorial

Source: Editorial, Washington Post

Date: April 6, 2006

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.

Working stiffs, unite

Format: Editorial

Source: Studs Terkel, Chicago Tribune

Date: April 7, 2006

Respect on the job and a voice at the workplace shouldn't be something Americans have to work

overtime to achieve. Their work is more than an inanimate unit of labor, and they deserve to knock off at the

end of the day with the same dignity they clocked in with. Feelings of self-respect, appreciation and pride do

not show up on economic forecasts or on a profit and loss spreadsheet, but they are the result of decent pay

for honest work. The security a breadwinner feels knowing a sick family member will receive the care they need.

The joy a mother and father experience when they can afford to help send their kids to college. When people

come together to join a union, they build something bigger and better for themselves and their families. They

create community. We could use more of that.

Massachusetts' mistake

Format: Op-Ed

Source: Steffie Woolhandler, David Himmelstein, TomPaine.com

Date: April 7, 2006

Unfortunately, Massachusetts' new health reform legislation looks set to repeat

[a] disaster. The legislation offers empty promises and ignores real--and popular--solutions. Study after

study--by the Congressional Budget Office, the General Accounting Office and even the Massachusetts Medical

Society--have confirmed that single payer is the only route to affordable universal coverage. But single payer

national health insurance threatens the multi-million dollar paychecks of insurance executives, and the

outrageous profits of drug companies and medical entrepreneurs. It's time for politicians to stand up to the

insurance and drug industries and pass health reform that can work.

Victory for French students

Format: News Commentary

Source: Sam Graham-Felsen, The Nation

Date: April 10, 2006

Bowing to insurmountable

pressure from France's students and labor unions, President Jacques Chirac has repealed the CPE law. The

students won because they put together an extraordinary protest movement. The mainstream media has labelled

these students reactionaries, protectors of an outmoded status quo, conservatives. These students are

anything but conservative; they are visionaries. They are struggling to redefine the globalized world. They

refuse to inherit a society of savage capitalism in which worker's rights are constantly undermined in the

name of efficiency. They have won the first major victory in what I believe is the great moral struggle of my

generation: taming global capitalism.

Pro-immigrant marches surging nationwide

Format: News Commentary

Source: Marc Cooper, The Nation

Date: April 10, 2006

For the second time in two

weeks an American city was rocked Sunday by a pro-immigrant demonstration of undeniably historic magnitude. As

many as a half-million people, wearing white and waving American flags crammed downtown Dallas. The

demonstration rivaled the scope of the so-called "Gran Marcha" in Los Angeles two weeks ago--an event that to

many observers marked the birth of a new civil rights movement. And on Monday even more massive pro-immigration

demonstrations are scheduled for 140 more American cities in a national day of protest. The demonstrators are

calling for liberalized reform, which would legalize migrants already working in the U.S. and provide expanded

channels for future legal immigration.

Stark choices on immigration

Format: Op-Ed

Source: Nathan Newman, TomPaine.com

Date: April 11, 2006

Forget the stalled debate in Congress. State legislatures are already barreling ahead on

immigration legislation. And the choices could not be more stark. While some states are embracing criminalizing

undocumented immigrants, other states are embracing progressive policies that will boost wages for all American

workers and solve the root causes of low-wage immigration. The real fear by most Americans is that immigrants

are driving down wages for existing American workers. However, rather than further punish exploited immigrant

workers in the underground economy, many state leaders recognize that a better solution is to end the

exploitive conditions that make hiring lower-paid immigrants so attractive for employers in the first place.

What recovery?

Format: Op-Ed

Source: Max B. Sawicky, TomPaine.com

Date: April 12, 2006

Spring is

here, and irresponsible politicians' thoughts turn to tax cuts. And why not? So far there has been no apparent

penalty. The president's budget for 2007 calls for another $1.7 trillion in tax cuts over the next 10 years,

well over the amount of fictional spending cuts they pretend will reduce the deficit. Republican leaders on the

Hill echo the need to lock in the tax changes since 2001, on the grounds that they have given us a strong

economy. In almost every dimension, the course of the economy since 2001 has been worse than in previous

recoveries. Thus far in terms of job and wage growth, it has been slow going. In light of previous recoveries,

if the economic trends are attributed to the tax cuts, the cuts have been a miserable failure.

The Enron standard

Format: Op-Ed

Source: Lee Drutman, TomPaine.com

Date: April 13, 2006

When it

comes to government follow-through in punishing corporate crime, Enron is a true shining star. Unfortunately,

the rest of the universe is rather dim--particularly when it comes to crimes where the victims don't happen to

be wealthy investors. Consider the Sago mining disaster, which claimed the lives of 12 miners on January 2.

Workplace safety is an ongoing problem, and not just in mines. More than 5,500 workers are killed on the job

each year (an average of 15 per day), and another 4.7 million suffer serious injuries. Sure, financial fraud

now gets punished with almost as much force as an under-funded Justice Department white-collar unit can

muster--as it should. But when it comes to issues like health and safety, the Justice Department seems content

to let companies pretty much do as they like.

Why the minimum wage wins

Format: Op-Ed

Source: Froma Harrop, TomPaine.com

Date: April 13, 2006

Congress is apparently too busy tending to the highest-income Americans to pay much attention to the

lowest-income Americans. Washington Republicans are now hard at work extending investment tax cuts that will

enrich folks making more than $10 million a year by an average $500,000. They have no time for raising the

minimum wage--in addition to having no interest in it. At $5.15 an hour since 1997, the federal minimum wage

lingers at a 50-year low when adjusted for inflation. So the job of maintaining a basic level of decency in the

labor market falls to the states. Some that have long mandated higher minimum wages are raising them still

more, while other states that have relied on the federal government's sorry standards are taking matters into

their own hands for the first time.

Fighting feudal taxes

Format: Op-Ed

Source: Gar Alperovitz, TomPaine.com

Date: April 14, 2006


United States is the most inequitable advanced nation in the world. Indeed, it is literally feudal: the top 1%

of wealth holders owns roughly half of all financial and business wealth. This extraordinary situation is bad

not only for those at the bottom of the economic pyramid, but for the nation as a whole. You don't have to be

a radical to recognize that, historically, huge political power regularly follows huge wealth, with disastrous

implications for democracy. Signs of growing public concern over the wealthy not paying their fare share can be

found just beneath the radar of media attention in many parts of the country.

One dollar, one vote

Format: Op-Ed

Source: Bradford Plumer, TomPaine.com

Date: April 19, 2006


pronounced is inequality in America? Between 1979 and 2003, the income of the richest 1% of Americans more than

doubled, the income of the middle 15% grew by only 15%, and the income of the poorest 20% barely budged.

Incomes in the United States are far more unequal than in other industrialized countries, while mobility,

contrary to widespread myth, is hardly much better--if you are born poor in America, you are very likely to

stay that way your entire life. In politics, this all matters very much. Between 1989 and 1994, Senators were

very responsive to the preferences of the upper third of the income spectrum, somewhat less attentive to the

middle third, and completely ignored the policy preferences of the poorest third of Americans.

Let workers decide

Format: Op-Ed

Source: David Abraham et al, Sun-Sentinel

Date: April 19, 2006

The janitors and groundskeepers on strike at the University of Miami are protesting unfair

labor practices by their employer, UNICCO. Many of the alleged practices concern interference by UNICCO with

the workers' legally protected rights to unionize. In the face of UNICCO's and UM's concerted invocation of

the rhetoric of democracy, it is important to be clear on a few points. We call on the UM administration to

exercise its moral authority as UNICCO's employer and to tell UNICCO to follow its own practices elsewhere and

let the workers decide whether to unionize by their preferred method.

Only the fertile need apply

Format: News Commentary

Source: Charlotte Fishman, Inside Higher Ed

Date: April 20, 2006


recently, the interests of graduate students have largely been ignored by university "family friendly"

initiatives designed to meet the needs of women on the tenure track who aspire to be mothers as well as

scholars. So it shouldn't be surprising that Stanford University announced its new Childbirth Policy for women

graduate students with fanfare, nor that it was positively received by the national news media. What's

puzzling is how little attention has been paid to the huge gap between Stanford's aspiration and its


Retirement insecurity

Format: Op-Ed

Source: Beth Shulman, TomPaine.com

Date: April 24, 2006

General Motors' announcement that that it would no longer provide traditional pensions was stunning because

of its size. Yet GM is hardly alone in trying to pare down or eliminate conventional pensions. The impact of

simply wiping out traditional pensions resonates far beyond corporate boardrooms and company shareholders.

It's a unilateral move to cut out a main clause of our social contract, the model that a majority of Americans

and their families have relied on for nearly three quarters of a century. Are we really ready as a society to

declare the end of retirement as we know it? At the very least, shouldn't we have a serious, national

conversation before we simply accept a major shift that will have such a significant impact on our economy and

the quality of life in our country for generations to come?

Discrimination, not illegal immigration, fuels black job crisis

Format: News Commentary

Source: Earl Ofari Hutchinson, New America Media

Date: April 24, 2006

Dumping the blame for the chronic job crisis of young, poor

black men on undocumented immigrants stokes the passions and hysteria of immigration reform opponents, but it

also lets employers off the hook for discrimination. And it's easy to see how that could happen. The mountain

of federal and state anti-discrimination laws, affirmative action programs and successful employment

discrimination lawsuits give the public the impression that job discrimination is a relic of a shameful, racist

past. But that isn't the case. Even if there was not a single illegal immigrant in America, many black job

seekers would still find themselves shut out.

Why May Day?

Format: Op-Ed

Source: Geov Parrish, TomPaine.com

Date: May 1, 2006

Today the

largest yet wave of immigrant marches and rallies will take place in scores of cities across the United States.

Their immediate focus is proposed congressional reforms, the most prominent of which is a ruthlessly

exploitative "guest worker" proposal backed by President Bush that would leave immigrants' legal standing

wholly at the mercy of a single employer. But the larger issue is America's imposition of corporate-friendly

trade policies that have decimated economies in Mexico and elsewhere, spurring economic emigration to America,

while at the same time exporting millions of better-paying jobs from America itself. The immigrants' struggle

is not just legal, but economic, and a matter of self-respect and self-preservation; it is, in important ways,

the leading edge of a struggle all American workers are facing.

Immigration anxiety

Format: Op-Ed

Source: Thomas I. Palley, TomPaine.com

Date: May 3, 2006


lot of newspaper ink has been spilled over immigration. So why write another op-ed? Because the economics

behind the debate remains badly out of focus, and understanding those economics is key to carving a passage

through this nastiest of political wedge issues. House Republicans favor a get-tough on workers approach. The

Senate supports a more business-friendly approach that establishes a guest worker program while also offering

existing illegal immigrants a path to citizenship. Both approaches are deeply flawed because they ignore

worker's rights, and because they fail to tackle the role of business in illegal immigration. Failure to

address worker's rights means failing to help those who have been harmed by illegal immigration, while failure

to tackle business' contribution means that illegal immigration will continue unabated.

My mother 'the illegal alien?'

Format: Op-Ed

Source: Robert Scheer, Truthdig

Date: May 2, 2006


was Monday evening, and there I was on a downtown Los Angeles street corner as dusk fell, watching the

pro-immigrant marchers stream past. I had just been moved to tears by one sign carried by what seemed to be a

family stating, "We are workers not criminals," when a fellow spectator began heckling the marchers. Reacting

without thinking, I heckled him--there was this instant hatred between myself and this man I had never met. It

startled me, this pent-up yet still raw rage over the persecution of immigrants. I know where it comes from: my

immigrant mother always lived with the fear of deportation. [Eventually] someone decided to grant her amnesty,

and that's what I want for all of the mothers and their kin whom I watched in Monday's march.

It's time for national health insurance

Format: Op-Ed

Source: Ron Gettelfinger, Detroit News

Date: May 5, 2006

You've probably noticed more media attention than usual focused on America's

dysfunctional health care system during the past several days thanks to "Cover the Uninsured Week," a uniquely

American event because the United States is the only advanced industrialized nation without some form of

universal health care coverage. The harsh reality is that a large and growing number of lower- and

middle-income working Americans are forgoing preventive care and putting off medical treatment because they

can't pay for both health care and basic necessities like food, housing, gas and electricity. But isn't there

a better way? Of course. National health insurance made sense when President Harry Truman proposed it in 1948.

Today, it may be the only sensible way to fix America's health care crisis.

Death by insurance

Format: Op-Ed

Source: Paul Krugman, InsideBayArea.com

Date: May 3, 2006

Many pundits see

red at the words "single-payer system." They think it means low-quality socialized medicine; they start telling

horror stories--almost all of them false--about the problems of other countries' health care. Yet there's

nothing foreign or exotic about the concept: Medicare is a single-payer system. It's not perfect, it could

certainly be improved, but it works. So here we are. Our current health care system is unraveling. Older

Americans are already covered by a national health insurance system; extending that system to cover everyone

would save money, reduce financial anxiety and save thousands of American lives every year. Why don't we just

do it?

A workplace who's who

Format: Editorial

Source: Editorial, Boston Globe

Date: May 8, 2006

The federal government doesn't have the money or manpower to regularly

police the nation's workplaces. If it is serious about enforcement, it needs other tools. One solution is to

build a fast, secure, electronic verification system that would confirm the immigration status of job

candidates. Just as merchants do with credit cards, employers would swipe a Social Security card, driver's

license, green card, or other document and get a response in a minute or less. Such a system is technologically

possible. Officials should take enough time to ensure that the system provides fast, fair, and scrupulously

accurate responses. Rigorous safeguards must be a priority. A reliable, secure system would be one way to help

employers identify people who are legally eligible to work.

No free ride

Format: Op-Ed

Source: Shikha Dalmia, TomPaine.com

Date: May 8, 2006


public services to people who pay their taxes is an affront to America's bedrock belief in fairness. But many

"pull-up-the-drawbridge" politicians want to do just that when it comes to illegal immigrants. The fact that

illegal immigrants pay taxes at all will come as news to many Americans. A stunning two-thirds of illegal

immigrants pay Medicare, Social Security and personal income taxes. The cost of undocumented aliens is an issue

that immigrant bashers have created to whip up indignation against people they don't want here in the first

place. Illegals are not milking the government. If anything, it is the other way around.

The welfare kings

Format: Op-Ed

Source: Dean Baker, TomPaine.com

Date: May 10, 2006

At a time

when tens of millions of workers are struggling to pay for gas for their car, electricity for their home, and

medical care for their families, the Republicans have stepped forward with a plan to help. They want to give

another $20 to $30 billion in tax cuts to the rich. This temporary assistance to the needy rich (TANR) takes

the form of a 2-year extension of a tax cut that made the maximum tax rate on stock dividends and capital gain

income 15%. While tens of millions of ordinary workers pay income tax rates of 25% on their wages, the

Republicans argue that Bill Gates and his billionaire friends shouldn't have to pay taxes at more than a 15%

rate. Most of this tax break goes to the richest 1% of the population.

The moral minimum

Format: Op-Ed

Source: Holly Sklar, Paul Sherry, TomPaine.com

Date: May 19, 2006

A values movement is on the rise across the nation in red states and blue, from Arizona to

Ohio, Arkansas to Pennsylvania. It's pulling Americans together to raise the minimum wage--instead of pushing

us apart. "The minimum wage is a bedrock moral value. The minimum wage is where society draws the line: this

low and no lower. Our bottom line is this: a job should keep you out of poverty, not keep you in it." That's

the winning message of the Let Justice Roll Living Wage Campaign , a fast-growing nonpartisan program of 70

faith, labor and community organizations working to raise the minimum wage at the federal and state level. Let

Justice Roll's success is rooted in its appeal to people to see a decent minimum wage as a moral value as well

as an economic value.

Young and uninsured

Format: Op-Ed

Source: Tamara Draut, Cindy Zeldin, TomPaine.com

Date: May 23, 2006

New Jersey recently enacted legislation requiring health insurers in the state to extend

dependent coverage for young adults up to age 30. A handful of other states have extended the age limit to the

mid-20s, but none have gone as far as New Jersey. What this legislation--and the problem it

addresses--underscores is just how much our economy has changed and how little our public policies have done to

address the needs of working Americans, and young working Americans in particular. As health insurance becomes

more important, more costly, and increasingly rare as an employee benefit, young adults should demand that our

national leaders tackle the important economic challenges that have conspired to create this generation without


Enron verdicts affirm idea of accountability

Format: News Commentary

Source: Diane Stafford, Kansas City Star

Date: May 26, 2006

Guilty verdicts for Kenneth Lay and Jeffrey Skilling won't restore retirement security to

the Enron workers who lost their jobs and nest eggs. But the verdict against Enron's top executives was a

psychic victory on many counts. Let's hope that workers everywhere take note. Pay attention to your

conscience. Power does corrupt. It has for eons. But good people, good workers, generally have a sense of right

and wrong. Pay attention to your conscience. Don't let the lure of being in the old boys' network corrupt

you. The wheels of justice may grind slowly, and they may not travel over all who should be squashed, but they

do grind on. Get out of their way when you can. You may do more than save your job and your savings.

Estate tax pyramid scheme

Format: Op-Ed

Source: Robert B. Reich, TomPaine.com

Date: June 6, 2006

Before your good senator pulls the plug on the estate tax, consider this: the earnings of nearly everyone used

to rise with rising productivity. That's no longer true. Today's workers are 24% more productive than they

were five years ago but their median real earnings have barely budged. Wealth is even more lopsided than

income. Thirty years ago, the richest 1% owned less than a fifth of America's wealth. Now, they own more than

a third. Not since the days of the robber barons of the 19th century have we seen this much wealth concentrated

in so few hands. Repeal the estate tax and within a few decades control over America's productive assets will

be in the hands of non-productive Americans who never lifted a finger in their lives except to speed-dial their

financial advisors.

Rot in the barrel

Format: News Commentary

Source: David Moberg, In These Times

Date: June 8, 2006

Take a moment to

savor the convictions of top Enron executives Ken Lay and Jeffrey Skilling. Anything short of those verdicts

would have been outrageous. Keep in mind that Lay and Skilling aren't anomalies in the corporate world. The

problem, however, isn't just these bad apples. It's the barrel they're in. No effective system exists to

hold corporations accountable to the public, their workers or even their owners.

What ownership society?

Format: News Commentary

Source: J. Bradford DeLong, TomPaine.com

Date: June 15, 2006

"No," said former Fox News journalist Tony Snow, newly appointed as George W. Bush's press secretary, when

asked recently about his retirement savings. "As a matter of fact, I was even too dopey to get in on a 401(k)."

Snow's case holds important lessons. To the extent that the Bush administration has a coherent philosophy for

domestic policy, it is the idea of the "ownership society." As Americans look at [our] Gordian knot of public

policy problems, we should learn one thing from the example of Tony Snow: the vision of an "ownership society"

espoused by Bush is simply not plausible. If it were, his new press secretary would not be describing himself

as "dopey."

Pay raise politics

Format: Op-Ed

Source: Jared Bernstein, TomPaine.com

Date: June 20, 2006


increase in the minimum wage is once again on the congressional agenda, as Democrats try to wedge it into

various bills while Republicans try to sink it. And once again, defenders and opponents are snapping into

action, dusting off briefs and arguments, updating the analysis for inflation and generally doing the same

dance we always do. There's got to be a better way. Facts matter, so I'm not for a second saying that

progressives should ignore the superior research that supports an increase. But I think we should also fight

this one on basic fairness. It's simply shameful, in an era of sharply increasing economic inequality, for

Congress to incessantly cut rich people's taxes yet refuse to help low-wage workers.

Shameless greed

Format: Op-Ed

Source: Jared Bernstein, Ross Eisenbrey, TomPaine.com

Date: June 21, 2006

The House of Representatives was busy yesterday engaging in vicious class warfare against

working families. Their two signature accomplishments were striking the proposed increase in the minimum wage

from the Labor-HHS bill and reviving the effort to repeal the estate tax. It's hard to find words to express

the outrage of these actions. Instead of seeking ways to address and ameliorate the unbalanced growth which

characterizes this economy, they're exacerbating the problem. Instead of a small, overdue boost to low-wage

workers that would help them reconnect, just a bit, to the growing economy, they want to shovel even more of

the benefits of our prodigious productivity growth to the top of the wealth scale. Shame on all of us if we sit

back and watch it happen.

Democrats finally wake up to need for minimum wage hike

Format: Op-Ed

Source: Ralph Nader, CommonDreams

Date: June 24, 2006

Whatever led

to the metastasis of corporate demons inside the brain of the Democratic Party over the last thirty years, it

has paid off in the business establishment. The cost of freezing the minimum wage has deprived millions of

working Americans of trillions of dollars for their necessities of life. The abdication of the Congressional

Democrats, even when they were the majority and Clinton was President, on the living wage matter has cost them

as well. More than any other single issue, save possibly health insurance for all, their reluctance to boldly

and visibly champion the living wage has cost them the Presidential and Congressional elections. The issue is

getting hotter, though far from being visible to most Americans, including poor families.

Divesting from our future

Format: Op-Ed

Source: Earl Hadley, TomPaine.com

Date: June 30, 2006

Politicians of all stripes talk about competing globally and the importance of higher education in preparing

the work-force of the 21st century. But words don't make this a reality; they don't put qualified students

into the classroom. The conservative majority's refusal to take basic steps like increasing the value of the

maximum Pell Grant demonstrates that they are abandoning not only middle- and working-class families fighting

for a college education, but their own promises about strengthening our economy. The Republican majority should

be banned from bemoaning the state of the American worker or college affordability. Their continual refusal to

help make college affordable makes them fully complicit in weakening both.

Employee's death affects the workplace

Format: Advice Column

Source: Hap LeCrone, Pioneer Press

Date: June 30, 2006

I am the owner

and manager of a company that employs about 100 people. Recently, a longtime employee whom we all admired and

respected died suddenly. Can you please give suggestions on the best ways for me to handle the tragic loss of

this man? We are all in shock and pain.

The working family blues

Format: Op-Ed

Source: Robert L. Borosage, TomPaine.com

Date: October 16, 2006

Struggling with congressional scandals at home and catastrophic fiascos abroad, Republicans

have sensibly rolled out the old standard--"Democrats will raise your taxes." But as the old tune plays, it is

clear it doesn't have its old power to get people on their feet. The ad buys go up, but voters don't seem to

be listening any more. Perhaps that's because they've been mugged by reality. No wonder the old tax cut hymns

can't be heard over the working family blues. The tax cuts don't begin to pay for stagnant wages and rising

costs. Conservatives may find out this fall that it is time to update the hymnal.

Wal-Mart's benefits squeeze

Format: Op-Ed

Source: Cindy Zeldin, TomPaine.com

Date: October 16, 2006

In what seems to be an emerging annual ritual, an internal Wal-Mart memo detailing employee benefit cuts

recently surfaced. According to news reports, Wal-Mart plans to limit its 2007 health insurance options for new

hires to two choices, both high deductible plans, in an effort to squeeze benefit costs. While it isn't news

that Wal-Mart's benefits are skimpy--and Wal-Mart certainly isn't the only employer looking to trim its

health care costs--the mega-retailer's abandonment of traditional health insurance in favor of high-deductible

health insurance takes the benefits squeeze to a whole new level: it puts a dagger through the heart of the

very concept of insurance.

Opening the door to the executive suite

Format: Op-Ed

Source: Kenneth Arroyo Roldan, Gary M. Stern, Baltimore Sun

Date: October 16, 2006

When PepsiCo named Indra Nooyi its chief executive officer in August,

several articles extolled the company for hiring a female CEO. Ms. Nooyi's appointment was also newsworthy

because of the paucity of minorities who have been allowed into the executive suite. But most articles avoided

the bigger point: Why haven't more mid- to senior managers who are minorities been permitted into the

corridors of power? And more important, what needs to be done to expand the opportunities for women, Latinos

and African-Americans in corporate America?

Medicare for all: the only sound solution to our healthcare crisis

Format: Op-Ed

Source: Guy T. Saperstein, AlterNet

Date: January 16, 2007

We all know that

America's healthcare system is collapsing. Andy Stern has written that America's employer-based health

insurance system is "dead." Auto executives troop to the White House complaining that they are not competitive

with foreign automakers because they pay $1,500 per car for health insurance. Politicians, even Republicans,

are offering solutions. Let's put the healthcare agenda on the "slippery slope" to Medicare for all, not work

toward more private insurance and inevitable healthcare system insolvency--where most current healthcare

proposals (including Democratic) are headed.

A Grim Diagnosis for the U.S., and a Prescription

Source: Harry Hurt III, New York Times

Date: December 16, 2007

Every once in a blue moon, a book

comes along that seems to articulate my most deep-seated fears about the future of America, its economy and its

body politic. I do wish the best for my beloved country, but I see so many ominous signs at every turn: wars

seemingly without end or clear purpose; a widening income gap between the financial elite and middle-class

families who can no longer afford to own homes; the kowtowing of ambitious politicians in both major parties to

special-interest groups; the loss of respect for America around the world.

The Shrinking Job Market

Format: Editorial

Source: Editorial, New York Times

Date: July 6, 2008

Judging from

the jobs report for June, released last Thursday, the economy has shifted into reverse. For the sixth month in

a row, the economy shed jobs, for a total loss of 438,000 jobs so far this year. About half of that came in the

past three months, the worst second-quarter showing since 2003, when the nation was mired in joblessness from

the previous recession. It appears that things will get worse before they get better.

Wage Watchers

Format: Editorial

Source: Editorial, New York Times

Date: February 12, 2009

Most businesses try to compete by being efficient and smart. Some do it the nasty way. They undercut their competitors by hiring and exploiting low-wage workers. Recent years have been especially good for this repellent bottom-feeding thanks to weak and indifferent government enforcement of workers' rights and a darkening political climate against illegal immigrants -- the backbone of the cheap, disposable work force.

What's Obama Done for Workers in His First 100 Days? Plenty

Format: News Commentary

Source: Art Levine, Huffington Post

Date: April 29, 2009

While some in the labor movement are doubtless disappointed at the slow pace of the Employee Free Choice Act in moving through Congress, there are enough key figures in the administration, including Vice President Joe Biden and Labor Secretary Hilda Solis, ensuring that the President keeps workers' priorities very much alive.

Rethinking the post-pandemic workplace

Source: John Goodwin, CBS News

Date: July 20, 2020

From skyscrapers in Manhattan to sleek campuses in Silicon Valley, offices across the country have been mostly empty for months.

"In some ways, this virus is a workplace virus, it's an office virus," said Amol Sarva, co-founder and CEO of Knotel, a company that designs and rents office space to major corporations internationally. "This is one of the few things that ever happened that shut every office in the world down."

The pandemic has shown just how much workers need unions | Opinion

Format: Op-Ed

Source: Jennifer Dorning, The Philadelphia Inquirer

Date: August 3, 2020

The employees’ effort to unionize the Carnegie Museums of Pittsburgh began before the COVID-19 pandemic. But their management’s response to the pandemic further emphasized the need for a union.

The Workforce Is About to Change Dramatically

Format: Op-Ed

Source: Derek Thompson, The Atlantic

Date: August 7, 2020

In march, tens of millions of American workers—mostly in white-collar industries such as tech, finance, and media—were thrust into a sudden, chaotic experiment in working from home. Four months later, the experiment isn’t close to ending. For many, the test run is looking more like the long run.

Opinion: The job benefit workers really need right now is an equity stake in their company

Format: Op-Ed

Source: Corey Rosen, MarketWatch

Date: August 25, 2020

If your company is not sharing ownership widely with employees, it should.

Op-ed: This isn’t your grandparents’ retirement plan

Format: Op-Ed

Source: Ken Cella, CNBC

Date: August 27, 2020

he idea of “slowing down” in retirement is quickly becoming an antiquated concept. To today’s retirees, retirement is no longer simply defined as the end of work, but the beginning of a whole new chapter of life, with new choices, freedoms and challenges.

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