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Health Care Legislation Passed by House Will Force Job Losses

In Uncategorized on March 22, 2010 at 10:24 pm

The Senate-passed healthcare legislation will unquestionably burden Americans with countless mandates, new taxes, penalties and higher insurance premiums. Small businesses will be hindered by stringent regulations and taxes that will ultimately force them to slash jobs. This bill comes at a time when unemployment stands as the most important problem facing the country today.

The House on Sunday night voted 219-212 to send H.R. 3590, the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act – the health care bill passed by the Senate on Christmas Eve – to President Obama for his signature. Later, the House voted 220-211 to approve H.R. 4872, the Health Care and Education Affordability Reconciliation Act of 2010, a package of amendments to the Senate bill. That measure now goes to the Senate, where it is expected to be considered this week.

The Senate bill imposes a penalty of $750 per full-time worker on companies with 50 or more employees that do not provide coverage to full-time workers. But the House reconciliation bill would increase that penalty to $2,000, with the first 30 workers exempted. If an employer offers coverage but the coverage is deemed unaffordable to a full-time employee, that employee can opt out to a new purchasing exchange. The company would then be assessed $3,000 for each of those employees up to a cap of $2,000 for every full-time worker on the payroll. This mandate becomes applicable in 2014.

The National Retail Federation expressed extreme disappointment at the House’s passage of sweeping health care reform legislation over the weekend, saying added labor costs under the bill will cost many retail workers their jobs.

“This is a historic moment, but not a cause for celebration. Congress has embarked on a dangerous, anti-job experiment in the midst of the worst economy our nation has seen in decades,” NRF Senior Vice President for Government Relations Steve Pfister said. “How many lost jobs will it take before Congress reverses course?”

“Our nation simply cannot afford more job losses during this economy, and many businesses already struggling to keep their doors open may not be able to withstand this added financial burden,” Pfister said. “Retailers have told Congress all along that we value our employees and want to expand upon the millions of workers and their families for whom we already provide coverage, but that to do that we need reform that would lower costs. Instead, we’ve been handed employer mandates that do just the opposite while doing little or nothing about the cost of medical care, which in turn drives higher coverage costs.”

“We are particularly concerned about mid-sized companies that are large enough for the mandates to apply but too small to have the ability to absorb these added costs,” Pfister said. “They could be among the hardest hit. And small businesses that drive so much of the job creation in our country are going to be forced to hold their size under 50 workers to avoid the employer mandate threshold.”

Under the bill, seniors will see their Medicare benefits significantly reduced, resulting in limited choices and higher costs. While Medicare will be cut, Medicaid will be expanded, despite the fact that the program is going broke and states are struggling to keep up with the expiring federal matching program. Imposing an unfunded mandate will only exacerbate Medicaid’s problems.

“If health care is not funded properly through Medicare then the end result will be greater rationing of our health care system and fewer, more costly options for Medicare recipients”, said Peter Shanley, CEO of The Small Business Council of America (SBCA), a national nonpartisan, nonprofit organization which represents the interests of privately-held and family-owned businesses on federal tax, health care and employee benefit matters.  “The quality and availability of health care will go down and Medicare patients will be hurt in the long run.”

The new health law also empowers federal officials to dictate how doctors treat privately insured patients (Senate bill, pp. 148-149).  Never before in history, except on narrow issues such as drug safety, has this been done. The bill will require nearly all Americans to be in a “qualified plan,” then says that plans can pay only doctors who implement whatever regulations the Secretary of Health and Human Services imposes to improve “quality.”  That covers everything in medicine — whether your cardiologist uses a stent or does bypass surgery, whether your ob/gyn settles for a pap smear or orders a pelvic sonogram.  It could also cover reproductive issues.

There are many problems with the nation’s current healthcare system that can be rectified through medical liability reform, pooling health insurance, offering tax incentives, allowing states to customize programs, and reforming insurance regulations. Forcing a government takeover of healthcare, especially through parliamentary gimmicks, will not solve America’s healthcare problems – it will only exacerbate them.

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Teamsters & United Auto Workers Call Toyota “A Danger to America”

In Uncategorized on January 28, 2010 at 7:33 pm

Teamsters General President James P. Hoffa and United Auto Workers (UAW) Vice President Bob King joined representatives from labor, environmental and consumer groups outside the Embassy of Japan in Washington today to call on the Japanese government to hold Toyota accountable for waging an attack on thousands of good-paying jobs in the United States.

In addition to endangering 5,000 middle class jobs in the carhaul industry, Toyota is also planning to close its New United Motors Manufacturing Inc. (NUMMI) assembly plant in Fremont, CA, which will mean a loss of up to 50,000 jobs at NUMMI and suppliers and other supporting businesses. Toyota began production in the U.S. in 1984 through NUMMI, its joint venture with General Motors at Fremont, according to industry research firm IBISWorld.

The delegation delivered a letter from UAW Vice President Jimmy Settles and Hoffa to Prime Minister of Japan Yukio Hatoyama following the speaking program. In the letter, the leaders of UAW and the Teamsters expressed concern that Toyota’s plan to abandon workers and communities will negatively affect America’s perception of Japan, and calls on the Japanese government to meet with them and with Toyota management.

King, who was representing UAW President Ron Gettelfinger and Settles, told the crowd that California led the nation in “Cash for Clunkers” sales in 2009, and that Toyota sold more cars under this program than any other auto maker.

“It’s outrageous that the number one-selling car in Cash for Clunkers was the Corolla, the car that is manufactured in the NUMMI plant. After receiving more money in this bailout program than any other company, Toyota is turning its back on American workers and American taxpayers by closing the plant in the state where they sell the most cars in the U.S., shipping these jobs to Japan, and then importing the cars back to the United States for sale,” said King.

“Toyota management is seeking to move work from auto transport companies that have delivered their new cars and trucks for decades,” Hoffa said. “The loss of this work could lead to the destruction of the largest auto transport companies in the country and the loss of thousands of good, middle class jobs. Toyota promised to support American communities; they’re instead threatening the very types of good jobs that our communities need in this time of economic crisis.”

“Toyota’s plant closure plan in California has betrayed American workers and exhibited a disdain for our federal programs like cash for clunkers that directly and handsomely benefited Toyota,” said Dr. Brent Blackwelder, President Emeritus of Friends of the Earth US. “Toyota’s decision to shift production to Japan will dramatically increase shipping miles to California for its new vehicles and is inconsistent with a worldwide effort to reduce carbon footprints.”

Toyota is likewise losing the trust of the American public by abandoning its commitment to safety and being less than forthright about some of its problematic vehicles, said auto safety advocate Sean Kane, president and founder of Safety Research & Strategies.

“The now well-publicized sudden acceleration problem with some Toyota and Lexus vehicles has actually been festering for a number of years, but Toyota neglected the issue,” said Kane. “Now it’s trying to repair its image with a series of recalls that few believe will actually repair the many vehicles affected. It’s pretty clear that there are a multitude of defects contributing to these unintended accelerating incidents that, unfortunately, have resulted in deaths and injuries.”

“The Toyota Fremont, CA NUMMI plant is where the popular Toyota Corolla and Tacoma pickup truck are made, and it has among the best productivity and quality of any assembly plant in the U.S.,” King said. “Abandoning this facility and endangering tens of thousands of jobs is a betrayal of Toyota’s promise to support communities, and a betrayal of its workers, middle class American jobs and our economic recovery.”

Related links

Car & Automobile Manufacturing in the U.S. – IBISWorld Industry Report 

Top Green Jobs During the Recession

In Uncategorized on October 13, 2009 at 11:01 pm

Green Dream Jobs and green workforce development consultant Jim Cassio released data that shows the top green job titles posted by employers and in which cities over the past year – during the recession.greenjobs

Although a plethora of studies show the potential for green jobs going forward, many note the dearth of data on current green jobs in the U.S. economy. Green Dream Jobs, online since 1996, collects concrete historical and current data on the job titles employers are actually looking to fill.

“The leading job tiles show the breadth of green positions across the economy,” says Rona Fried, Ph.D., CEO of SustainableBusiness.com, which runs Green Dream Jobs. “Most people think of energy auditing and renewable energy as green jobs, but leading non-profit organizations are major employers, and people needed to run projects and analyze data are in demand, as well as those in sales and business development. Engineers are also in demand for renewable energy operations and even in this economy, we’re still seeing many job openings in green building.”

“The data also point to the variety of skill levels employers seek – from executive skills as Executive Director of green non-profits (NGOs), to mid-level skills associated with analysis, project development and managerial positions, to entry level skills for positions like Administrative Assistant,” notes Jim Cassio.

Interestingly, the most frequently keywords used by job seekers to find job openings on Green Dream Jobs match many of the available positions: sustainability; climate change; wind, solar, construction manager, architectural designer, executive director, naturalist.

The top city for green employment over the past year is Washington DC, reflecting the many executive director positions at green NGOs. Other top 10 cities are those with aggressive green business incentives and policies: the San Francisco Bay area, New York, Seattle, Boston, Chicago, Portland, Oregon and Burlington, Vermont. The top 20 cities include Houston, Madison, Wisconsin, San Jose, Los Angeles and San Diego in California, and Philadelphia.

Although there have been fewer green job openings over the past year, there are a wide variety of employment opportunities in many fields and for people of all skill levels. As the economy recovers, we expect a surge in openings in the various renewable energies, as we saw in previous years. Green Dream Jobs will soon launch the Green Jobs Educational Directory to help people locate the hundreds of green job training programs under development across the US.

 Top 20 Green Job Titles

    Executive Director, Nonprofit
    Project Leader/Manager
    Sustainability Program Director/Manager
    Sales/Business Development Associate or Manager
    Marketing Manager/Coordinator
    Community Crew Leaders/Supervisors, Conservation Associations
    Business/Data Analyst
    Research Analyst/Manager
    Environmental Educator/Naturalist
    Account Executive/Manager, Sales
    Professor (various academic fields)
    Sustainability Analyst/Consultant
    Operations Manager
    Wind Energy Engineer
    Administrative Assistant
    Trainer, Training Specialist or Training Coordinator
    Electrical/Design Engineer
    Green Architect
    Green Building Project Manager
    Solar Process Engineer/Process Integration Engineer

More Than Half of U.S. Workers Say Their Jobs are ‘In Limbo’

In economy on September 4, 2009 at 9:51 pm

More than half of employed workers surveyed (1,000 employed US workers across industries throughout the country) said their jobs are stagnant, according to Development Dimensions International’s 2009 Pulse of the Workforce survey.

What makes their jobs stagnant? When compared to those who don’t think their jobs are stagnant, those who answered “yes” to this question are twice as likely to say they:

-Had no room to advance (32% of those who said their jobs are stagnant vs. 18% who said they aren’t)
-Are less likely to be asked to do more (14% vs. 27%)
-Are given fewer exciting challenges (3% vs. 26%)

Companies trying to grow again will feel the impact of this dissatisfaction. “The economy has forced organizations to focus on profits and the bottom-line, but this data tells us they’ve forgotten about the importance of also focusing on their people–putting their organizations at risk for high turnover, poor performance and low engagement,” said Jim Davis, vice president of workforce development for DDI.

Flight risk


Workers who don’t feel they’re being used to their full potential and have no place to go are more likely to leave–the only thing stopping them now is the economy (26% of those who said their jobs are stagnant vs. 9% who said they aren’t). Half of those who said their jobs are stagnant plan to look for another job when the economy improves and are more than twice as likely to move to another company if given the opportunity (77% vs. 32%).

“Companies that have taken their eye off of the ball when it comes to their employees will lose good people to other organizations and even competitors,” Davis said. In fact, 10% of stagnant workers will only wait another month before they make a change and 1 in 4 said they’ll wait no more than 90 days.

In a slump

The slumping economy has resulted in labor lethargy. Forty-six percent of workers who said their jobs are stagnant were twice as likely to “just do their job and go home” (versus 20% of those who don’t feel stagnant). They’re also less interested in what they do, and one-third as likely to say they’re excited to go to work.

Many of today’s workers are mentally checked-out of their jobs–their workloads are increasing, but they aren’t getting interesting challenges or opportunities to learn new skills. “This mentality is putting stress on the organization now, but will be even worse as the economy improves and as companies start to bring new employees in through the front door, their current employees will be walking out of the back door,” Davis said.

A place to grow

More than half of workers did not feel stretched outside of their comfort zone with their development or job opportunities–two areas where companies could be providing their workforce with experiences to keep them engaged. This is proven by the fact that 24% of people who are being asked to take on new challenges that stretch them are also more excited to go to work.
People who said their career is stagnant also were half as likely to be recognized for their efforts (56% vs. 27%). “For most people, the paycheck isn’t enough. They need to feel valued and challenged,” Davis said.

Summer slacking

So what are people doing pass the time at the office? Workers were just as likely to check their Facebook page during work hours (15% everyday) as they were to help a co-worker meet a deadline (14% everyday) and more likely than they were to ask for or take on an extra assignment (9% everyday).
And many chose to skip the office trip altogether, as 1 out of every 5 workers played hooky (called in sick when they weren’t) up to 3 times this summer.
“Look at the people who sit around you in the office–one has probably called in sick, skipping the water cooler to go to the pool instead, another is more likely to update their Facebook status than take on a new assignment,” Davis said. “People are just trying to get by in their jobs and companies aren’t taking measures to re-engage their workers and improve productivity.”

Jobless Americans Turning to Career Resource Sites

In Uncategorized on June 30, 2009 at 9:46 pm

comScore, Inc. released a June 2009 overview of the career services & development category, which revealed that more than 65 million Americans visited the particular category in June, representing a 10-percent increase versus year ago, ranking it as one of the top-growing site categories. Seven of the top ten sites in the category achieved double-digit gains during that period.

CareerBuilder LLC led the category with 21.7 million unique visitors, followed by Yahoo! HotJobs with 17.9 million visitors (up 23 percent vs. year ago) and Monster.com with 14.5 million visitors (up 6 percent). The next three sites in the ranking have each achieved substantial growth in the past year, with Indeed growing 59 percent to 8 million visitors, Job.com Sites up 46 percent to 7.4 million visitors, and SnagAJob up 48 percent to 4.7 million visitors.

Top Career Resource Sites
June 2009 vs. June 2008
Total U.S. – Home/Work/University Locations
Source: comScore Media Metrix
  Total Unique Visitors (000)
Jun-2008 Jun-2009 % Change
Total Internet : Total Audience 189,873 193,896 2
Career Services and Development 59,031 65,221 10
CareerBuilder LLC 22,033 21,704 -1
Yahoo! HotJobs 14,535 17,861 23
Monster 13,605 14,472 6
Indeed 5,046 8,046 59
Job.com Sites 5,049 7,378 46
SnagAJob 3,160 4,662 48
Simply Hired, Inc. 2,882 3,876 35
JOBSONLINE.NET 2,294 2,996 31
OPM 973 2,765 184
BRASSRING.COM 2,249 2,005 -11

 

Top 10 Occupations Searched* on Career Service & Development Sites
June 2009
Total U.S. – Home/Work/University Locations
Source: comScore Marketer
Occupation / Search Term Searchers
Customer Service 273,310
Warehouse 257,484
Sales 216,784
Receptionist 178,787
Medical Assistant 161,232
Clerical 149,728
Construction 144,554
Driver 132,947
Retail 127,751
Security 107,219

 

WorkTree.com, the nation’s largest paid-membership job search portal, recently announced their top job search trends for the month of May, compiling data on many trends such as typical careers searched, desired salaries, and level of education.

The results show that the top careers being searched are in the fields of:

   Information Technology
   Human Resources
   Accounting/Finance
   Engineering
   Manufacturing/Operations

Sales dropped out of the top five most searched list from the previous month. These five fields represent 43% of all career fields searched during the month of May.

WorkTree.com also notes a drop in the salary level sought by its members. More than half of members searched for jobs in the $40,000 to $80,000 range, as compared with the previous month, where 21% of all searches were in the $90,000 to $120,000 range. In May, that salary range represented only 10% of searches. Typical education levels also dropped slightly. Nearly 71% of all searchers hold bachelor’s or master’s degrees as compared with 76% the previous month.

“We continue to see large numbers of highly qualified individuals actively seeking employment,” Board of Managers Chairman Allan Martin said. “One particularly interesting statistic – the willingness of people to relocate for work – is on the rise. It is the first time in many months we have seen that the number of new members willing to relocate is actually greater than the number of people unwilling to relocate for a job.”

Worldwide demand for products produced in Alaska increasing industrial employment in the state

In Uncategorized on May 28, 2009 at 6:00 pm

Petroleum refineryIndustrial employment in Alaska increased 3.1% over the past twelve months according to the 2009 Alaska Manufacturers Directory. MNI reports Alaska gained 1,016 industrial jobs from March 2008 to March 2009 — contrary to the steep industrial employment losses experienced by the rest of the U.S.

“Steady worldwide demand for products produced in Alaska, particularly petroleum and coal products, is helping Alaska weather the recession,” says Tom Dubin, President of the Evanston, IL-based publisher, which has been surveying industry since 1912.

The industrial directory reports Alaska is home to 944 manufacturers employing 33,968 workers. MNI profiles manufacturers of all sizes including small, start up companies.

According to MNI, food manufacturing accounts for 31% of the state’s industrial jobs or 10,529 jobs, down 1.2% over the past twelve months. Fish processing/canning accounts for 92% of the state’s food manufacturing jobs, down 163 jobs or 1.7% over the year.

Another 19% of Alaska’s industrial jobs are in oil & gas extraction, with the sector accounting for the majority of the state’s employment gain, up 15.8% over the year. Employment in petroleum and coal products processing represents 3,781 of the state’s industrial jobs, with no significant change reported over the year. The industrial machinery and
equipment sector accounts for 4,762 of Alaska’s manufacturing jobs, up 1.7% since March 2008.

Other sectors gaining jobs include transportation equipment, up 82 jobs or 12% and fabricated metals, up 51 jobs or 4.4%. Losses were seen in lumber/wood products, down 3.4% and printing/publishing, down 1.2%. Employment remained stable in most other sectors, according to MNI.

The Directory reports over half of the state’s industrial jobs are located in South Central Alaska. Jobs in Anchorage, the Kenai Peninsula and Kodiak Island represent 19,666 jobs, up 402 jobs or 2.1% in the past 12 months.

The Aleutian Islands represent 4,193 of the state’s industrial jobs, down 2.5% since March 2008 while Fairbanks North Star is home to 1,904 jobs, up 1.4% over the year. The oil-rich North Slope region is home to 1,483 jobs, up 45% over the year.