Monday, August 3, 2015

Shifting Work Schedules

I had some things to do this morning so I'm a little late with today's round of Globe garbage:

Bills seek more stable hours for low-paid workers

"Higher wages a surprising success for Seattle restaurant" by Gene Johnson Associated Press  July 31, 2015

SEATTLE — Menu prices are up 21 percent but you don’t have to tip at Ivar’s Salmon House on Seattle’s Lake Union after the restaurant decided to institute the city’s $15-an-hour minimum wage two years ahead of schedule.

That reminds me: almost time for my lone meal of the day.

It is staff, not diners, who feel the real difference, with wages as much as 60 percent higher than before.

Seattle’s law, adopted last year after a strong push from labor and grass-roots activists, bumped the city’s minimum wage to $11 an hour beginning April 1, above Washington state’s highest-in-the-nation $9.47. Scheduled increases that depend on business size and benefits will bring the minimum to $15 within four years for large businesses and seven years for smaller ones.

There’s little data yet on how the law is working.

‘‘To the extent that we can look at macro patterns, we’re not seeing a problem,’’ Mayor Ed Murray said.

As Washington, D.C., and other cities consider following Seattle, San Francisco, and Los Angeles in phasing in a $15-an-hour minimum wage, Ivar’s approach, adopted in April, offers lessons in how some businesses might adapt. Ivar’s Seafood Restaurants president Bob Donegan decided to raise prices, tell customers that they don’t need to tip, and parcel the added revenue among the hourly staff.

For some of the restaurant’s lesser-paid workers — including bussers and dishwashers — that’s meant as much as 60 percent more. Revenue has soared, supportive customers are leaving tips even though they don’t need to, and servers and bartenders are on pace to increase their annual pay by thousands, with wages for a few of the best compensated approaching $80,000 a year.

How much are they leaving?

‘‘It’s been a surprise,’’ Donegan said. ‘‘The customers seem to like it, the employees seem to like it, and it seems to be working.’’


Rochelle Hann, 25, is a second-generation worker at Ivar’s. Like her mom, she has performed a variety of roles, including serving, bookkeeping, and even dressing up as a giant clam. If she keeps working 30 hours a week, her annual pay will jump about $12,000 — money she’s socking away for accounting classes at a community college.

That's the next post due.

Brett Richards, a 50-year-old singer and guitarist, has worked 25 years in food service. Before, he made minimum wage, plus tips. Now, he gets $15 an hour, plus a share of the 21 percent menu price increase, plus any additional tips customers leave. He expects to make almost $7,000 more this year, money that’s helping him with his increased rent and with taking his kids out to eat a little more often.

Other industries with minimum wage employees could have a tougher time....

Like who?

Downtown Emergency Services Center, which relies heavily on government contracts to provide housing and other services for chronically homeless residents, might need to cut those services. unless the city boosts its funding.

In the restaurant industry, where many low-wage workers are employed, adapting could mean pooling tips among all workers, cutting shifts, or relying on technology — such as cellphone applications that let customers pay electronically, rather than having someone dedicated to running the cash register.... 

If you want more money say goodbye to the job. That's some choice.

Yup, no more cash; everything will be paid by app, vulnerable to both surveillance and hacking.

As for the restaurant industry....


At least manufacturing jobs are returning:

"Some offshored manufacturing jobs return to US" by Megan Woolhouse Globe Staff  July 26, 2015

Four years after moving manufacturing to India in 2008, Cambridge robotics maker Energid Technologies Corp. brought production and a handful of jobs back to Massachusetts, squeezed by rising tariffs on parts imported to its Bangalore factory and frustrated by the unpredictable Indian bureaucracy and difficulties shipping its industrial robots to US markets.

Today, with robotics sales climbing, the company plans to ramp up production. But rather than looking to China, which conventional thinking would suggest, Energid is strongly considering expanding at its facility in Burlington.

“We can really do it from New England,” said David Askey, one of the owners. “The thinking has flipped, from being ‘You must manufacture in China’ to ‘You have the right infrastructure in place here’. ”

Energid is among some 350 US companies that have brought nearly 40,000 manufacturing jobs back to the United States from overseas over the past five years, as costs in emerging economies like China and India rise, automation makes production here more competitive, and the complexity of today’s products require closer collaboration between designers, engineers, and production lines.

Sounds great, doesn't it? The trend is reversing (if you drink the Kool Aid).

The jobs returned from foreign locations — known as “reshoring” — represent a tiny portion of manufacturing employment, but economists say they are a sign of the sector’s rebound following the last recession. Since the sector hit bottom in early 2010, the nation has added nearly 900,000 manufacturing jobs, according to the Labor Department.

Globe really works hard to polish turds.

About 3,000 manufacturing jobs have returned from offshore to the Northeast in the past five years, including 600 to Massachusetts, according to the Reshoring Initiative, a group that promotes US manufacturing. The higher costs of doing business in Massachusetts can work against the state, said Harry Moser, the group’s founder, but reshoring here is still attractive to some companies because of the skilled workforce and proximity to colleges and universities.

What? Give 'em a big old tax cut and subsidy check then!

“A portion of the work will be driven to states like Massachusetts due to the need for the skills and the innovative benefits of being close to MIT and all that intellectual, scientific, engineering horsepower that’s up there,” Moser said. “Those advantages continue.”

Part of the reason Energid may keep its production here is that it needs two kinds of highly skilled employees — engineers and machinists, said Askey. The company, which employs about 25, sells hundreds of industrial robots a year, producing them in a 2,000-square-foot space in a Burlington office park.

Now I see why the Globe is hitching so many stories regarding robot (believe it or not, it was ISIS).

Related: Lego program helps parents, teachers conquer robotics

Yeah, right, everything is awesome and lose your job? It's a new opportunity for your awesome community!! Never you mind the Terminator-like doomsday scenario for which you've already been programmed.

The politically-correct indoctrination and inculcation of the youth is disgusting, the subliminal sexual content even worse, and this melding of machine and human that is the next wave is now being brought to them at youth. God give us back the days when we were merely propagandized by (piggy) banks being a good thing.

Half of the workplace looks like an auto body shop for robots, with shelves of plastic and metal parts, rows of robotic arms, and lines of precision machining tools and equipment. The other half looks like a software startup, with engineers sitting at computers writing code and designing robotic arms that can intuitively avoid collisions. All employees are within shouting distance of one another.

Many modern manufacturing companies need to have engineers and designers close to production lines because of the complexity of products and the need to update them frequently to keep up with, or ahead of, increasingly fierce and global competition, said Barry Bluestone, professor of political economy and founding director of the Dukakis Center for Urban and Regional Policy at Northeastern University.

Technological innovations have automated jobs, cutting labor costs while increasing productivity and making many US manufacturers competitive with companies in developing countries that pay workers less. Such advances, coupled with rising wages in places like China, mean companies can economically manufacture closer to US markets.

I don't see any PEOPLE being employed there!

To take advantage of this trend, Massachusetts must tackle a particular challenge, Bluestone added. The state faces a labor shortage in manufacturing as baby boomers retire and fewer younger workers move into those careers. That shortage — estimated by Bluestone to be as many as 100,000 jobs by 2022 — needs to be addressed if the state plans to keep its manufacturing base alive. 

These guys are unreal!

“Two hundred fifty thousand jobs is nothing to sneeze at,” said Bluestone, referring to manufacturing employment in Massachusetts. “There’s a good-news manufacturing story, and reshoring has a part to play.”

MassDevelopment, the state’s quasi-public industrial development agency, has helped several companies reshore, including AO Eyewear Inc. of Southbridge, which sells aviator glasses. A year ago the company received a $1.5 million loan from MassDevelopment to buy equipment to make the sunglasses in Massachusetts instead of China. 

I $ee.

MassDevelopment executive director Marty Jones said the agency also helped Dunn & Co., a commercial printer in Clinton, finance expansions here instead of abroad. Executives at the family-owned company, which makes calendars sold in kiosks at malls, went to the Chinese factory where their calendars were produced, and realized could do the same thing with fewer people and lower costs in Massachusetts.

They reshored the manufacturing to Massachusetts four years ago, creating nearly a dozen jobs while increasing sales and profits, said David Dunn, the company chairman.

“You can produce more out of the same workers,” said Dunn, 72. “They work smarter, not harder.”

Jones said both companies are enjoying the advantage of being closer to their products and markets. She said she expects reshoring to continue as other specialty and precision manufacturers are drawn by the state’s technical talent, skilled workers, and innovative culture.

“With the nature of our manufacturing base, workforce, and cost structure, we are not likely to get back major washing machine manufacturers, not car manufacturers,” Jones said. “But we will get back niche things, and there’s still great interest in the benefits of doing that.”


Yeah, that U.S. economy is back on track!

RelatedIntel to shutter, tear down microchip manufacturing plant in Hudson

Same day article just below that pile of bovine excrement regarding "reshoring."

700 jobs and the ripple effect on the local community, and yet they have those wonderful TV ads with the Big Bang kid. I don't get it.

Also see
Ralph Nader: Raise the minimum wage

I've voted for and written his name in many times for president. Unfortunately, while important I find the minimum wage argument a peripheral one compared to the ever-increasing wealth inequality driven by government policy and the underlying problem with the entire $y$tem -- usurious central banking.

Hopefully I will be able to give you more this evening.

NDU: Momentum building for MassRobotics, planned robotics industry hub 

I rest my case. 

Of course, drones are also part of it.