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As some of you may have already noticed, the Catherwood Library is now on Twitter!

Right now, we’re primarily using the account as another way to promote our Workplace Issues Today news service, but we’ll also be using it for announcements and news from the Catherwood Library in the weeks and months to come. As such, this blog will be going on hiatus for a time.

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New Senate Bill Prohibits “Unemployed Need Not Apply”

New Senate Bill Prohibits “Unemployed Need Not Apply” (S. 1471:

Workplace Issues Today: Mediation board to investigate Delta complaint

The National Mediation Board says that it will investigate the actions of Delta airlines during union elections for flight attendants. The Association of Flight Attendants filed complaints alleging that the company illegally interfered in the election. The AFA says that the investigation is a good thing for the flight attendants. Delta said that the investigation will pose delays for integrating pay and benefits of flight attendants. The union election was held after Delta merged with Northwest, whose flight attendants were unionized. The National Mediation Board is also reviewing an appeal by the International Association of Machinists for another election at Delta.

See “Feds to probe union charges of Delta election interference,” by Kelly Yamanouchi, The Atlanta Journal-Constitution, Jun 02 2011 (SD)

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Workplace Issues Today: Wal-Mart faces proposal to monitor working conditions

At Wal-Mart’s annual shareholder meeting in Fayetteville, Arkansas on Friday, the New York City pension funds, a shareholder, will present a proposal asking the company to require suppliers to publish reports detailing the working conditions in their factories. The group said that they hope the proposal will help improve workplace health and safety, as well as worker rights at Wal-Mart suppliers. The proposal will be submitted by a Bangladeshi worker who works for a Wal-Mart supplier. She says that management coaches workers to lie to factory auditors, and that the working conditions are not good. Wal-Mart says that monitoring its supply chain is not a feasible option. However, the company was able to reduce the amount of packaging used on its products by giving instructions to suppliers.

See “Wal-Mart Is Being Pressed to Disclose How Global Suppliers Treat Workers,” by Stephanie Clifford, The New York Times, May 31 2011 (SD)

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Workplace Issues Today: Qantas pilots voting on strike actions

The Australian and International Pilots Association, which represents Qantas pilots says that it has begun polling members about industrial action. The ballot includes six or seven different actions, including strikes and work-to-contract orders. The dispute is over a clause the union wants written into the contract that would have Qantas flights staffed by Qantas pilots. The union says that they are willing to negotiate on everything else in order to get that clause. The company says that the clause would give the union too much power and would lead to pay increases for other pilots.The union says that the vote may take up to four weeks, and that they are confident that the 1700 pilots will support the actions.

See “Qantas pilots’ union confident of numbers to carry strike ballot-,” by Steve Creedy, The Australian, May 25 2011 (SD)

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Workplace Issues Today: Workers killed in Foxconn factory explosion

Apple manufacturer Foxconn had an explosion at one of their Chinese factories. The explosion, whose cause has not been determined, killed at least two people and injured more. The company said that the explosion was an accident, and that it is being investigated. Foxconn also said that they had not determined the financial cost of the explosion or the exact number injured. Foxconn drew attention last year after a string of employee suicides.

See “Foxconn factory explosion in China kills two,” BBC News Online, May 23 2011 (SD)

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Workplace Issues Today: British public workers to vote on strikes

Members of the British Public and Commercial Services union will vote on striking over the next few weeks. 250,000 workers will vote whether to strike or not, and any strike action could possibly coincide with teachers, who are also beginning strike ballots next week. The government says that it has done everything it can to spare public sector workers, but that they have to do something. The union says that tens of thousands of jobs will be cut over the next few years, and that remaining workers will see pay cut and benefit costs increase. The result of the ballot will be announced in mid-June.

See “Civil servants vote for strike ballot over cuts,” BBC News Online, May 18 2011 (SD)

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Workplace Issues Today: White House says worker assistance program has to be part of free trade agreement

The White House says that it will hold up the passage of three free trade agreements with South Korea, Columbia and Panama if Congress does not agree to expand the Trade Adjustment Assistance Program. The TAA provides assistance to workers who are displaced, and the administration says that they believe they can work with Congress to expand the program, before nay other trade agreements are made. While Republicans have been supportive of TAA, some were concerned about expanding the program during the current debate on the debt. Republicans had previously threatened to block the confirmation of any trade-related nominees if all three agreements were not passed together.

See “White House threatens to hold up key trade deals,” The Associated Press, May 16 2011 (SD)

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Where are all the good jobs going? : what national and local job quality and dynamics mean for U.S. workers (Book of the Month)

featured1105Where are all the good jobs going? : what national and local job quality and dynamics mean for U.S. workers by Harry J. Holzer, Julia I. Lane, David B. Rosenblum, and Fredrik Andersson is Catherwood’s Book of the Month.

Deindustrialization in the United States has triggered record-setting joblessness in manufacturing centers from Detroit to Baltimore. At the same time, global competition and technological change have actually stimulated both new businesses and new jobs. The jury is still out, however, on how many of these positions represent a significant source of long-term job quality and security. Where Are All the Good Jobs Going? addresses the most pressing questions for today’s workers: whether the U.S. labor market can still produce jobs with good pay and benefits for the majority of workers and whether these jobs can remain stable over time.

What constitutes a “good” job, who gets them, and are they becoming more or less secure? Where Are All the Good Jobs Going? examines U.S. job quality and volatility from the perspectives of both workers and employers. The authors analyze the Longitudinal Employer Household Dynamics (LEHD) data compiled by the U.S. Census Bureau, and the book covers data for twelve states during twelve years, 1992–2003, resulting in an unprecedented examination of workers and firms in several industries over time.

Counter to conventional wisdom, the authors find that good jobs are not disappearing, but their character and location have changed. The market produces fewer good jobs in manufacturing and more in professional services and finance. Not surprisingly, the best jobs with the highest pay still go to the most educated workers. The most vulnerable workers—older, low-income, and low-skilled—work in the most insecure environments where they can be easily downsized or displaced by a fickle labor market. A higher federal minimum wage and increased unionization can contribute to the creation of well paying jobs. So can economic strategies that help smaller metropolitan areas support new businesses. These efforts, however, must function in tandem with policies that prepare workers for available positions, such as improving general educational attainment and providing career education.

Where Are All the Good Jobs Going? makes clear that future policies will need to address not only how to produce good jobs but how to produce good workers. This cohesive study takes the necessary first steps with a sensible approach to the needs of workers and the firms that hire them. [from publisher web site]

New York: Russell Sage Foundation. 212 pages
ISBN 9780871544582 HD5724 .W417 2011

Workplace Issues Today: Greek workers strike against austerity

In the second general strike called by Greece’s umbrella unions this year, workers have shut down the government. Teachers, hospital workers, transport workers and journalists all took part in the strike. The strike is over the austerity measures the Greek government has imposed to cut down debt. Workers say that the cuts have gone too far, and that they should impose more restrictions on wealthier people. The government has cut public sector wages and imposed new taxes.

See “Violence Mars Greek General Strike,” by Alkman Granitsas, The Wall Street Journal, May 11 2011 (SD)

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