Archive for March 14th, 2009

March 14, 15 – Weekend Edition – How about some good news for a change? – Reality bites, but here it is – Roche to lay off 500 in Palo Alto – AIG to cut future bonus payments, but will hand out $165 million in taxpayer funded bonuses today! – Homeless in Sacramento

Mike:  While I’m a bit tired of having to post bad news on a daily basis I’ll start the weekend with some sunny news for a change, since it looks like a bright and warming weekend for us winter-weary upstate NYers. A

After further review, it looks like the news isn’t as rosy as I’d hoped it would be, so after a long pause I’ll give you some more reality after the following good news stories. 

Believe it or not there are a few communities that seem to be beating back the job loss gremlins In Pictures: Best Cities For New Jobs. An example is Sioux Falls, SD where banking and health care opportunities appear to be abundant:

* Sioux Falls, S.D. – Net employment outlook: +14%:

Despite recent economic news, financial services are flourishing in Sioux Falls. Citigroup built its headquarters there, and Wells Fargo, HSBC and Premier Bankcard employ close to 3,000 people. In addition to the banks, Avera Health and Sanford employ more than 10,000 people.

via In Pictures: Best Cities For New Jobs This Spring –


Mike: The following article shows that the months with the largest mass layoffs are behind us (or ahead of us if you’re less optimistic):

December – Rank: No. 1 – Average % of Annual Mass Layoffs, 1998-2007: 12.6%

January – Rank: No. 2 – Average % of Annual Mass Layoffs, 1998-2007: 12.2%

via In Pictures: Best And Worst Months For Mass Layoffs –


Mike: A hands-on approach is the best way to assist the millions of people going through the foreclosure process. So the effort below is a good sign, but there needs to be hundreds of these busses or efforts to truly make a dent in the foreclosure numbers. Maybe instead of giving billions to failing and corrupt banks, we give a few million to these grassroots efforts that make an immediate difference:

* Around 10,000 people had registered for the free counseling service before the event began Friday and a total of 20,000 were expected to participate over three days, said organizer Carmon Orta.

“Everyone is in an unaffordable mortgage right now whether it be that they were in a predatory loan and got duped into a bad interest rate or because of the economy they have a job loss,” she said. “We will go to the lender’s CEO’s office. We will go and do what we have to do to sit with them until they sign a contract with us and agree to have real solutions and modifications for people.”

via Nonprofit touring US to help struggling homeowners – Yahoo! Finance.


NACA provides the most effective solution for owner-occupant homeowners with an unaffordable mortgage who are not investors. NACA is recognized as the most effective in restructuring mortgages by permanently reducing the interest rate and/or mortgage amount to a payment the homeowner can afford. NACA can enforce and achieve these solutions with major lenders/servicers and is advocating against others. Follow the procedures stated below. If you are beginning the process take the first step by attending a workshop now. All of NACA’s services are Free.

via NACA.


Mike: While the grandstanding governors of a few states are refusing improved unemployment benefits for their citizens, most governors are notso foolish:

* “One million New Yorkers will have unemployment benefits that they would not have had without this legislation,” said Hinchey.

New unemployment benefits may help thousands in Southern Tier

The federal government will help thousands of people hold on to their unemployment benefits a little longer. Congressman Maurice Hinchey and other leaders announced the extension of benefits Friday. As our Neil St. Clair tells us, it’s a move many believe came at just the right time.

That legislation is part of the Federal Economic Recovery Plan and the Recovery and Reinvestment Act, which will extend unemployment payments and deadlines, while putting an extra $25 a week in some unemployed pockets.

via News 10 Now | 24 Hour Local News | ALL NEWS | New unemployment benefits may help thousands in Southern Tier .


Mike: More news as the weekend evolves. 


Rob Rogers - Mar 14

Rob Rogers - Mar 14


* Larger layoff announcements and important economic reports:

Microsoft/Google/IBM and other Rumors & News


google1* If Google revolutionised Internet search engines, and Gmail revolutionised free e-mail, then one thing’s for sure: Google Voice, unveiled on Thursday, will revolutionise telephones.

It unifies your phone numbers, transcribes your voicemail, blocks telemarketers, and elevates SMSs to first-class communication citizens. And that’s just the warm-up.

via The Times – Say hello to Google’s Voice of the future .


General Economic News


Mike: While many in the US deride some of the latest US socialist tendencies, I think a little socialism isn’t always bad, as the story below proves. Why not hold these executives hostage for the failing of their businesses? Many larger businesses receive outrageous tax breaks for the promise of more jobs, yet these same businesses chop jobs at the first sign of lower profits. Powerful CEOs should be held accountable for their actions and if necessary be removed from their post if they have failed their workers. Why is it that business executives readily dismiss their employees during hard times, but are lothe to dismiss themselves for destroying shareholder value? While the French may not be the cup of tea of everyone, but they are certainly not shy about demanding equal treatment when it comes to job losses. I think their American counterparts could learn a lesson form these French workers, by demanding accountability from the executive crowd:

* Workers at a Sony plant in southwestern France have freed two of the company’s top executives after holding them overnight in a dispute over severance pay.

Serge Foucher leaves Sony factory in Pontonx-sur-l’Adour after workers held him hostage overnight, 13 Mar 2009

Sony France chief executive Serge Foucher emerged from the plant Friday with his human resources director, Roland Bentz. Workers released the men after the two sides agreed to restart talks on the severance package.

via VOA News – French Workers Release Sony Boss, HR Director.


Mike: The continuing saga of TX governor Perry and his rejection of unemployment funds. Perry supports those that don’t need help in favor of those who do. Class act:


* AUSTIN – Democratic lawmakers and labor leaders plan an all-out fight to overturn Gov. Rick Perry’s rejection of federal stimulus money for unemployed Texans.

House Democratic leader Jim Dunnam says that if Texas rejects the stimulus money, employer tax payments per worker will at least double.

“A hundred percent political,” House Democratic leader Jim Dunnam of Waco said Friday, referring to Perry’s rejection a day earlier of $556 million of stimulus money for unemployment insurance.

Texas AFL-CIO legal director Rick Levy, referring to Perry’s upcoming primary challenge from U.S. Sen. Kay Bailey Hutchison, said, “It appears to be much more about primary politics than solving the problems of Texas workers and business owners.”

via State Democrats gird for battle over stimulus fund rejection | News for Dallas, Texas | Dallas Morning News | Texas Regional News


Mike: I love reading the following inference to ” if enough public interest is expressed.” What that means to my cynical eye is that the company may find interest in the area IF the town buys them a building, gives them outrageous tax breaks, trains the potential employees and then allows the company to sign a waiver if they don’t come through with any jobs even after all their demands are met. Here in NY, there are many companies that have taken advantage of tax break legislation and then merely ignored their promises to create jobs by never producing job one. Company CEOs scamper away with the largess provided by NY legislators and the companies are never held accountable. It’s a sting that happens repeatedly with the consent of clueless and complicit elected officials.


* SILVER CITY — A new call center could be coming to Silver City if enough public interest is expressed, according to the Southwest New Mexico Council of Governments.

via Call center could bring 300 jobs – Silver City Sun-News.


* WASHINGTON (AP) — American International Group is giving its executives tens of millions of dollars in new bonuses even though it received a taxpayer bailout of more than $170 billion dollars.

AIG is paying out the executive bonuses to meet a Sunday deadline, but the troubled insurance giant has agreed to administration requests to restrain future payments.


The Treasury Department determined that the government did not have the legal authority to block the current payments by the company. AIG declared earlier this month that it had suffered a loss of $61.7 billion for the fourth quarter of last year, the largest corporate loss in history.

via Insurance giant AIG to pay $165 million in bonuses: Financial News – Yahoo! Finance.


* Troubled US insurance giant AIG says it has agreed to demands from the Obama administration to restructure its bonus payments to staff.

Bonuses for top executives are to be sharply cut in 2009, AIG’s Chairman Edward Liddy wrote in a letter to US Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner.

via BBC NEWS | Business | AIG to cut future bonus payments.


Mike: This shows the desperation many of our less fortunate citizens are enduring, while the bonus babies at AIG suck up $165 million in taxpayer money:

Sacramento’s humble “tent city” has gone international.

Across the country and around the world, newspaper readers and television viewers are being introduced to the sprawling campground where 100 to 200 homeless men and women sleep each night.

via Media spotlight falls on Sacramento’s homeless camp | McClatchy Washington Bureau.


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Municipal News


* Friday the 13th came with a pink slip for 13 Multnomah County employees who are the first trickle of what by June 30 will likely become a flood of county workers hitting the unemployment line.

via 13 Multnomah County workers laid off –


* Six employees were laid off by the city of Aspen, and two others will have their hours cut, officials announced on Friday.

via City lays off six staffers | Aspen Daily News Online.


* Columbia County school officials eliminated nearly 100 jobs Tuesday.

The school board approved dropping 60 non-teaching jobs, including 23 paraprofessionals in elementary schools, eight middle-school clerical positions and 10 technical support staff.

via Officials eliminate 100 district jobs 031509 – The Columbia County News-Times.


US and some Canada News


* Five hundred local employees will be laid off as the Swiss pharmaceutical giant Roche prepares to close its Palo Alto research offices, the firm disclosed Friday. The layoffs will begin in late summer and continue over the following 12 months as operations wind down, said Jacqueline Wallach, vice president of communications.

* Trelleborg Wheel Systems in Hartville is closing sometime around May 10, putting its 90 employees out of work.

The company filed a Worker Adjustment and Retraining Notification Act (WARN) notice with the state of Ohio on March 12, in which Trelleborg states that it will permanently cease operations at its plant at 61 State Route 43 North. Workers will be let go either on or within 14 days of May 10, the company reported.

via Crain’s Cleveland Business: Trelleborg Wheel Systems to close Hartville plant .


* JANESVILLE, Wis. – The Janesville manufacturer Hufcor Inc. said Friday it is eliminating 100 jobs in the midst of the recession and declining orders.

via Janesville firm to cut 100 jobs —


* Iceberg/Penguin, one of the Sturgis area’s large employers, plans to cut nearly two-thirds of its work force in mid-May.

According to a press statement issued Friday, the layoffs will affect about 150 of the 250 employees at the manufacturing facility at 1855 W. Chicago Road and the Howe, Ind., warehouse.

via Penguin to cut 150 jobs – Sturgis, MI – Sturgis Journal.


* Celestica Inc. plans to close its Oxnard location, removing 81 jobs from the community next month.

* Nurses and officials at New Milford Hospital are trying to figure out how to reduce nursing positions without layoffs.

The hospital and union leaders announced Tuesday that 11 nursing positions will be lost as part of a hospital-wide reduction.

via New Milford hospital to reduce 11 nursing positions without layoffs –


* Wilton Armetale Co. in Mount Joy announced Friday that it is laying off the company’s last 15 factory workers and will shut down its manufacturing plant in Mount Joy.

via Business:Wilton Armetale to close Mount Joy plant.

* BC Ferries CEO David Hahn confirmed in a written statement Tuesday that the company is cutting 35 executive and administrative jobs.

via BC Ferries confirms 35 jobs are being cut .


* Union Tank Car Co. is cutting its production and its work force at its Alexandria location as well as its plant in Sheldon, Texas, the company said Friday.

The tank-car manufacturer will cut production of rail cars by 20 percent at both locations. It’s a move that will affect approximately 158 hourly and salaried employees.

via Union Tank cutting jobs, production in Alexandria | | The Town Talk.


* San Francisco Chronicle employees on Saturday voted to accept steep concessions to their contract as part of a deal that is expected to cut at least 150 jobs from the newsroom and other departments, yet keep the paper from closing.

via San Francisco Chronicle workers approve significant contract concessions to save the paper from closing – San Jose Mercury News.


* Excela Health will cut another 70 jobs from both management and the rank-and-file in an effort to save $6 million in operating costs, hospital officials announced Friday.

via Excela Health to eliminate 70 more jobs – Pittsburgh Tribune-Review .


* SYLVA – Weak demand caused by the housing slump is forcing the closure of the T&S Hardwoods sawmill, putting 76 employees out of work.

“We’re all tied to the housing industry. If you don’t build, you don’t use lumber,” said Jack Swanner, general manager at the mill.

via Sylva sawmill closing will cut 76 workers | | Asheville Citizen-Times.


gavel14* CHICAGO, March 14 (UPI) — One of Chicago’s top law firms has laid off 89 lawyers and 140 staffers, a leaked internal memo indicates.

The memo said Sidley Austin’s London office also would be downsized, although few details were included, The Chicago Tribune reported.

via Sidley Austin lays off 89 lawyers –


* Local glass-fiber products maker Dielectric Solutions laid off an undisclosed number of workers this week, but remains operational, as the slowing economy continues to take its toll on manufacturing companies.

via Dielectric Solutions lays off workers –


michelin* Michelin has handed pink slips to another 42 workers in Nova Scotia.

This time the layoffs affect flexible work staff at the tire-maker’s plants in Bridgewater and Granton, Pictou County, said Karen Gordon, a company spokeswoman in Toronto.

via Michelin lays off 42 more – Nova Scotia News –


* Yesterday afternoon, all 40 United Steelworkers at Hexpol Compounding in Magog learned of their plant closing as of June 26.

via CNW Telbec | Hexpol Compounding Closes its Most Profitable Plant


International News


*More than 300 union members at Welsh Country Foods abattoir in Gaerwen and over 500 union workers at Grampian Country Foods sites in Llangefni and Sandycroft will join a national action over a jobs cull.

* Tesco’s decision to move some of its logistics operations in-house has led to 150 DHL Exel Supply Chain employees being made redundant.

via DHL Exel Supply Chain makes 150 redundancies – 13/03/2009 –


* Halliwells has launched its fourth redundancy consultation with up to 30 jobs under threat, while the UK top 50 law firm’s entire 2009 trainee intake has been deferred.

via Halliwells kicks off fourth redundancy round – Legal Week, legal news, comment, events and legal jobs.


* Meat-processing firm Dunbia has announced that 80 of its Westmeath workforce will lose their jobs.

via Westmeath meat-processing firm announces 80 redundancies – The Irish Times – Fri, Mar 13, 2009.


* A MASSIVE blow to Worthing’s ailing employment situation has been dealt by insurance giant Norwich Union.

The company has brought forward by 12 months the closure of its site at The Warren, Broadwater, and a fresh raft of redundancy notices have been issued to many of the remaining 430 staff.

via New wave of early redundancies at Worthing Norwich Union – Worthing Today .


* SINGAPORE (AFP) — Struggling Singaporean digital entertainment products maker Creative Technology is to cut 300 jobs globally, mostly in Europe and the United States, the company said.

via AFP: Singapore’s Creative Technology to shed 300 jobs.


* DUBLIN’S biggest five-star hotel, The Shelbourne, has been forced to cut jobs less than two years after it re-opened following a major renovation.

The top hotel, which is part of the luxury Marriott hotel group, announced the job losses admitting that the recession has been taking its toll on the business.

via Shelbourne to cut workforce in hotels crisis – City News, National News –


About half of the 400-strong workforce of the Keppel Cebu Shipyard Inc. in Lapu-Lapu City will be displaced once the company closes its ship repair services to focus on ship building.


Hiring News


* WASHINGTON — Layoffs may be sweeping the United States, but one enterprise is hiring roughly 1.4 million people nationwide at salaries of $10 to $25 an hour: the 2010 census.

A small army of laborers will be needed to locate, count and categorize each of the nation’s residents. This spring, 140,000 workers will verify addresses across the country, and in 2010, an estimated 1.2 million census employees will take to the streets to gather information from Americans who didn’t return their census forms, according to U.S. Census Bureau spokesman Stephen Buckner.

The bureau has received an overwhelming response, Buckner said — more than 1 million applicants just for those first 140,000 jobs. Moreover, he’s been hearing from regional census directors that the pool of applicants has been very strong.

via Census looks to hire 1.4 million nationwide | Top stories | – Houston Chronicle.



Jeff Stahler - Mar 14

Jeff Stahler - Mar 14





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