Do you expect to give or get from co-workers this holiday season? A new study shows that only 36 percent of workers are expecting to receive something in return if they give a gift. Of those planning to give gifts at the office women will do so overwhelmingly more than men. 58 percent of women polled said they will do so, while only 37 percent of men. Sixty-two percent of those between 18-34 are more likely to give gifts to co-workers. Only 29 percent expect to receive gifts from managers.
Workers at the California Public Employee’s Retirement System can be furloughed by Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger according to a San Francisco judge’s ruling on Friday. The organization is not paid through the state’s general fund and due to that had argued it should be exempt from furlough action. However, Superior Court Judge Charlotte Woodward ruled the furloughs were necessary for state agency parity.
By Doug Cunningham
Mom’s Rising, a one million-member organization working for healthy family policies, says that Wal-Mart deserves demerits of its own for giving workers who use sick days demerits on their records. Mom’s Rising’s Kristin Rowe-Finkbeiner.
[Finkbeiner]: “We are planning to deliver those demerits in person to their headquarters and to ask them to reconsider their policies for employees so that employees won’t continue to get demerits and risk losing their jobs just because they get sick.”
Get more information on this campaign at demeritwalmart.com
AT&T is facing two class action lawsuits that could cost the4 company as much as $1 billion. Jesse Russell reports:
The AFL-CIO Says The Health Care Reform Fight Continues – Senate Bill Isn’t Final Product – 12/22/09
By Doug Cunningham
Now that the U.S. Senate has cleared the first procedural vote to pass its version of health insurance reform, workers and their unions are left with trying to influence the House-Senate conference committee to improve the bill. AFL-CIO President Rich Trumka says because the Senate version of this reform is too kind to insurance companies and doesn’t deliver the real reform workers need, it won’t pass the House.
Productivity rose 8.1 percent in the third quarter, the largest gain since 2003, as employers pile more on their staff. Meanwhile, pay is stagnating and worker stress increasing because of the larger workloads and the constant fear of being thrown out of a job to join the more than 15 million workers officially unemployed.
A Los Angeles Times story points to how rising productivity, while good for the economy, is not benefiting America’s workers. According to Thomas A. Kochan, a professor of management at MIT’s Sloan School of Management, productivity gains are troubling because so far,
they haven’t been accompanied by wage increases….The threat of outsourcing has also made employees more reluctant to press for higher wages, he said, when they know that if they push too hard, their jobs could disappear.
Anxiety is rippling across the workplace. A survey by CareerBuilder released last month indicated that a quarter of employers rated their employees’ morale as low. Nearly half of employees said their workload had increased in the last six months, and 40% said their stress level at work was high. About one in five workers surveyed were dissatisfied with their work-life balance.
Read the full article here.
A new report by AFSCME outlines best practices and makes recommendations on improving the governance of the nation’s public pension plans. AFSCME’s 1.6 million active and retired members participate in more than 150 public pension systems with assets totaling more than $1 trillion. Overall, state and local government pension plans cover 7.5 million retirees.
AFSCME President Gerald McEntee says the public pension plans “are the best and most efficient way to deliver retirement security to public employees.” But he adds that retirement security is
directly tied to the investment performance of public pension systems. Just as AFSCME has been a leader in promoting good corporate governance, our leadership in promoting effective governance of pension plans will ensure that they remain strong.
According to the report, “Enhancing Public Retiree Pension Plan Security: Best Practice Polices for Trustees and Pension Systems,”
in recent years public pension systems have had to cope with additional economic and political challenges that have made the jobs of those who oversee and administer these systems even more difficult.
The report reviews best practice policies and recommends policy language for pension systems to adopt, with a focus on board member responsibilities, education, core competencies and ethical and fiduciary conduct. Recommendations of best practice policies for pension systems include prohibiting insider trading, requiring strict compliance with conflict of interest laws, limiting gifts, disclosing communications with prospective vendors, prohibiting pay-to-play political contributions and restricting the use of placement agent services.
The AFSCME report also proposes banning current and former pension trustees and staff from providing placement agent services at any system where they were previously employed. Such a ban, says McEntee, “would protect the fiduciary integrity of the system.”
When vendors gain access and have inside knowledge because of their placement agent’s relationships within any given pension system, investment decisions are not made on purely fiduciary grounds.
Click here for the full report.