Monday, January 5, 2009

French-Canadian labor setup: natural transition to sector-wide (collective-collective) bargaining here/

French-Canadian labor setup: natural transition to sector-wide (collective-collective) bargaining here?
Checking out of my national-chain supermarket the other night, the bagger took no notice of multiple requests to double bag heavy items and not place heavy 12-packs on the underside of the cart. A young employee finally informed me that the bagger could not speak a word of English. Have supermarket pay scales dropped so low -- Wal-Mart's entry into the retail food business having forced two-tiered contracts upon new employees -- that (middle-class career seeking) Americans need not apply?
American supermarket employees (especially in California and Illinois by personal observations) would kill to negotiate contracts on a sector-wide basis.
The streamlined version of sector-wide labor agreements -- the French/French-Canadian practice requiring non-union firms to operate under agreements worked out by unionized firms -- is ready and waiting for America's seamless transition to a fair and balanced labor marketplace. Economies from South America to South East Asia use mixes of mostly unionized to mostly non-unionized sector-wide rules -- some confined to certain industries (sector - sector-wide) -- there's all ways to do it.
Adopting French-blueprint sector-wide here would not require -- on the run -- building a broader union base than we ever built before (as going German style, full-out unionized could). And, the French-Canadian example will always be right next store for our convenient perusal -- in an economy we can reasonably fathom.
If we could have predicted to 1968-Americans that 25% of 2007-Americans would get by below a realistically set poverty line (based on a varied market basket instead of a single-factor formula*) -- further, that 25% of Americans' wages would sink below LBJ's ($9.50/hr adjusted) minimum wage -- what could they have guessed: that a mini ice age, a limited nuclear exchange followed by a mini ice age (nuclear winter), or multiple depressions or even tsunamis would bring American (not European) employees low?
Average income actually doubled since -- as real world 1968-Americans might have anticipated. 2007-working Americans -- if and when somebody troubles to fill them in on their missed prosperity (50 to 90 percentile incomes could mostly have done significantly better; 25 to 50 percentile incomes mostly held plus a little) -- will have one culprit to mostly contemplate: the race of under-powered (ultimately because under-informed?) labor to the bottom.
[ * 12.5% of American incomes are officially reported below today's, decades irrelevant, federal poverty standard: three times the price of the cheapest emergency diet -- dried beans only please, no canned! -- try the 2002 book Raise the Floor for realistic poverty parameters. ]

The latest on British pay pulling ahead of US:

Change Timex (Easy Reader) Watch Battery -- How to

--First; to open the watch, look around the edge of the case (back) for a very lightly etched triangle shape – which points to the not very large slot into which to insert the point of a pen knife (thick enough, but not too thick) to pop it open. You will likely find the point at one o’clock, if the stem is nine o’clock – probably adjacent to one of the wrist band holding arms. This is because the opening for the knife point is so insubstantial that you really need to lean the back of the knife against one of the band arms for leverage to pop the watch open.

(Try to remember to line the insert slot – triangle point – up against one of the arms when you pop the watch back closed -- so you can open it again.)

--Second; closing the watch back up; the big problem.

If you try squeezing the back into the case from both sides you will end up in eternal see-saw with one side popping out when the other pops in.

The trick is to start with both thumbs together on one side and gradually work them around the back in opposite directions – without letting either side come up (this takes fierce pressure) until both thumbs meet again on the opposite side, at which point that side will pop in without the opposite side popping out.

This takes so much pressure that I faced the crystal down on a paperback book (to give the crystal a little protection from the little bit of give on the part of the book) and used the weight of my body to keep both thumb points fully pressed in as I worked my way around to the other side.

When I got a bigger Timex model with the same closing problem I had to use grip both ends of the handle of a substantial hammer to press down with enough pressure to pop it closed.

[I moved this post to its own blogspot a year ago but I now think that a post gets more hits on a blogspot that gets other hits.]