Morning Ed: Labor {2018.08.11.Sa}

[Lb1] Bill Murphy explains how we can do a better job with our vacations.

[Lb2] The jobs are coming back to West Texas. Blessed be the Boomtown.

[Lb3] A patriotic woman in North Carolina is being denied a job because she can’t speak Spanish even though this is America dag nabbit.

[Lb4] This, the nitpicker and the tone, reminds me of something my wife went through at a previous job. Given how expensive they are to recruit and the shortage you might think that doctors would be more immune to this kind of treatment, but it’s surprisingly common (my wife’s experience was not unique, nor was that the environment as the next job was worse just not as directed at her).

[Lb5] Having worked at an equivalent at one of their competitors, I can say that this actually isn’t as bad as all that. It’s not great for the employees living in purgatory, though it’s an opportunity to “try before you buy” for them which itself represents an opportunity for those auditioning.

[Lb6] This seems correct: It comes with accepting an occupational environment where you are used and abused as a pawn to make corporations a lot of money and then completely discarded and left to rot as soon as you cease to become useful to them.

[Lb7] I am relatively sanguine on aggressive minimum wage hikes where cost of living is high to begin with and constraints make it so that it’s actually in the city’s interest to kick lower-wage employers out of the city, but that’s not Minnesota so I’m watching their minimum wage hike with great interest.

[Lb8] Organizational conglomeration breeds hiearchy and bureaucracy, and we’re becoming a conglomerated world. Holacracy doesn’t stand a chance.

[Lb9] I guess the main question is whether or not the subsidy was enough to live on, and in what conditions, which is what makes all the difference in the world.


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14 thoughts on “Morning Ed: Labor {2018.08.11.Sa}

    • I don’t know about teacher’s unions in public schools, but that kind of thing (what the article talks about) sometimes drives people out of higher ed. I know people who have left universities because of bullies in their administration, or colleagues that were. Or because a student brought a groundless complaint but no one backed up the prof.

      (I had a terrible upper-admin who finally retired. I do everything I can to avoid crying at work but this person made me cry at work twice.)

      Though I also agree: there’s no amount of policy that can fix it because some people are just bullies and they will find a way to be terrible to other people. I don’t know what the answer is. I was able to outlast my bad admin, and having supportive colleagues who would remind me that the admin was sometimes a terrible person, helped.

      (We are not unionized. Some colleges are, I don’t know if that changes things. It seems I’ve heard of people at unionized schools having similar problems)

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  1. Lb1: What’s a vacation?

    Gig economy often means u work every day because if not, someone else will be. (I don’t remember my last day off, to be honest.)

    Blue collar workers often don’t take vacations because they may need the PTO for emergencies or because they can cash it out eventually.

    I imagine a lot of other people kinda have to work when on vacay for reasons of necessity – because you’ll be drowned in a pile of work when you get back or because your position will be undermined if you don’t.

    Not taking vacations doesn’t seem so much a bad habit, but more something that we have to do just to get by. Vacations seem like the hugest luxury. I remember my parents taking them fairly often and the very concept feels insane to me now. :/

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  2. LB3 – The Miami-Dade region of North Carolina?

    This lawsuit seems frivilous on its surface, and probably is, but there could be some underlying thing about promotion potential and career track that she may be missing out on, depending on how things are structured organizationally. (and then the answer I think think is ‘get the required skills to get on the fast track, if that’s what you want to do’)

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    • What’s interesting is that, per the internet, the school is majority-minority, close to 40% free&reduced lunch, but ranks in the top 10% of all public elementary schools in the state of Florida. (Which leads me to believe that teaching positions there are ones teachers already in the school system seek out, vice merely get assigned to.)

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      • I’m seeing 38% low income, which is below the Florida state average of 49% low income. (There are schools in the area that are 98% low income). There are 9% english-language learners. I wonder if the maths teachers are required to teach one class in learning Spanish.

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    • Not seeing the problem here. Schools assign people with weak math backgrounds to teach math classes all the time. But language classes require proficiency in the subject matter?

      Seems discriminatory to me.

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      • I think there’s probably an issue of supply. It’s hard to find people with strong math backgrounds who want to teach, say, middle school.

        I’m guessing though, that in Florida, it isn’t that hard to find teachers who speak Spanish.

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  3. Lb8

    Between 1983 and 2014, the number of managers, supervisors and support staff in the U.S. workforce grew by 90%,

    “Support staff” is literally doing a lot of work in this stat.

    Today, more Americans are working in large, bureaucratic organizations than ever before. In 1993, 47% of U.S. private sector employees worked in organizations with more than 500 individuals on the payroll. Twenty years later, that number had grown to 51.6%

    That’s hardly a sea change.

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  4. Lb3-One thing that I’ve noticed as an immigration lawyer is that there is much stronger emphasis on bilingualism for lawyers in different parts of the community. In New York, very few immigration firms really require that their lawyers speak more than one language. Ever since I’ve moved out to the San Francisco Bay, nearly all firms ask if I am fluent in Spanish with the answer of no being a real deal breaker despite the fact that I’ve represented Chinese immigrants very successfully for nearly eleven years without speaking any Chinese. My suspicion is that this is because the number of languages spoken by immigrants in New York is bigger. Your not going to find lawyers able to speak Albanian, Punjabi, Romani, Chinese, Haitian Kreole, etc., so you need to assume your going to rely on paralegals. Hispanic immigrants really dominate the immigrant community in the Bay Area. Since Spanish is more common than the other languages, you can demand fluency more.

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    • “Hispanic immigrants really dominate the immigrant community in the Bay Area. ”

      Late to this but no, they don’t. The Bay Area has at least 112 languages (as of 2005, and it’s probably much more today) and both New York and the Bay Area have lots and lots of Spanish speakers.

      I don’t know why your experience shows law firms behaving differently. My first tentative guess is that Hispanics are *much* more powerful in the Bay Area than they are in New York (far, far fewer blacks to counterbalance), or perhaps the population needing legal advice is considerably more Hispanic, whereas in New York criminals are more demographically dispersed across immigrant communities. But whatever the reason it’s not because the Bay Area Hispanics dominate the immigrant community anymore than the New York Hispanics do. In fact, I bet the Bay Area has more 60% + Asian high schools than New York does. It certainly has more Asian dominated colleges than New York City does.

      I’m really quite surprised anyone could live in the Bay Area and not know that.

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      • Correction–I see you said you were an immigration lawyer. Apologies. I read it twice looking for a specialty, but somehow missed that!

        That doesn’t change my response, except that of course you aren’t dealing with criminals.

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