Archive for June, 2012
North Carolina business owners may find it harder to escape having workers’ compensation coverage after state lawmakers approved a bill closing a legal loophole that had resulted in tens of thousands of employers going without coverage leaving injured workers to fend for themselves.
State lawmakers’ approval of HB 273, sponsored by Nelson Dollar, R-Wake, came in the wake of public criticism over the state’s lax efforts to ensure that employers have insurance and that injured workers receive proper medical care and loss wage benefits.
I am surprised to hear of this news and in a state like North Carolina of all places. Now some would probably say that we shouldn’t make corporations do this sort of thing but they’re wrong.
Planned cuts to the U.S. Postal Service that would cost more than 100,000 active workers their jobs, cut another 100,000 by attrition, close post offices and cut service nationwide prompted eight retired union Letter Carriers to begin a hunger strike in D.C. on June 25.
My mother worked at the USPS processing center in White Plains, NY for years. She was what is known as a casual employee in USPS parlance; she couldn’t pass the exam so she worked on and off as a casual for years. Yet, the union still fought for her in one particular incident I recall. That gives me added incentive to support these letter carriers. Also, the shock of all these people losing their jobs would be catastrophic for the city.
Over the last week, we’ve received word that several of our fellow members of our advisory committee have been given words of warning from store management that violate our legal protections under the National Labor Relations Act. We’ve been told in some cases that we can’t talk to customers at all and that our negotiations are an “internal” matter. This is completely inaccurate. What happens as part of this negotiation can and will impact our customers. Some of us have even been approached by management when we are off the clock, shopping as customers ourselves.
“Lockouts, which were once fairly rare, are the epitome of employer attempts to control bargaining and be on the offensive,” said Gary Chaison, a professor of industrial relations at Clark University in Worcester, Mass. “I see this as a continuation of the trend toward increased employer militancy in collective bargaining.”
I think that a strategy needs to be devised because corporations are wielding this like an axe.
But if American can win six-year cost-cutting deals with pilots, and possibly also with mechanics, it could demonstrate to creditors that it has a workable plan to reduce costs and come out of bankruptcy as a profitable operation. That’s been the goal of AMR CEO Thomas Horton.
The unions favor a merger involving US Airways, but if they accept this deal then AMR could emerge still independent. The flight attendants seem to be on their own however. It comes down to control essentially. Who gets to control what? AMR wants to remain in control of an independent company; which has benefits for current owners and stock holders I’d imagine.
The unions favor an acquisition by US Airways because it would create a company that could more better compete with Delta and United. This company would most likely not try to extract the concessions that American Airlines is attempting to do through bankruptcy.
But old-fashioned banking can be risky too. By expanding so much in the mortgage industry, Wells Fargo is building a potentially dangerous concentration in one type of loan, said Mark Williams, a former U.S. Federal Reserve bank examiner who teaches at the Boston University School of Management.
“What we know is that diversification is extremely important in banking,” said Williams, who wrote a 2010 book on the downfall of Lehman Brothers Holdings called “Uncontrolled Risk.”
The president of Wells Fargo’s mortgage operations says that there are no limits to how big they can expand.