Tuesday, December 20, 2011

Thinking about year end bonuses? Think again.

The article reproduced below is from Science Daily and may be found here: http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2009/12/091209121225.htm>

Money Changes What We Think Is Fair

"Thinking of rewarding your sales department for a job well done? You might not want to make cash part of the pay-off.

"A study to be published in an upcoming issue of Psychological Science, a journal of the Association for Psychological Science, shows that when it comes to distributing resources, people's ideas about what's fair change depending on what's being handed out. If it's something that has its own intrinsic value -- in-kind goods such as food or vacation days -- people are more likely to see equal distribution of such items as fair.

"But if it's something that is only valuable when it's exchanged -- such as money or even credit card reward points -- ideas of fairness shift to a more market-based attitude. In that case, the thinking is that people should receive according to what they've contributed.

"What exactly is it about money that causes people to treat it so differently than other resources?" asks Sanford DeVoe, an assistant professor of organizational behaviour, at the University of Toronto's Rotman School of Management who co-wrote the paper with Columbia University's Sheena Iyengar.

"The paper shows that it is the property of money being a medium of exchange," Prof. De Voe says. "When you allocate something that only has its value in what it can be exchanged for, that is what activates a market mindset and really invokes these strong norms about input and effort leading to reward."

'The findings have applications for how companies cope with negative situations too. A firm that wants to cut costs might consider giving employees all the same time off rather than making equal pay cuts across the board that could potentially lead to disgruntlements from a sense of unfairness.'


Saturday, December 03, 2011

The Unemployment Numbers: Government Spins Chickens_hit Into Chicken Salad

I am in Puerto Vallarta this week for Save A Mexica Mutt, Www.saveamexicanmutt.org

But I took the time yesterday to review the unemployment numbers that resulted in all the glad-handing in Washington and all of the government news channels (CNBC), the combination resulting in me shorting the market hard near the open and in finding this excellent parsing of the unemployment picture which was better than my own. Read 'em and weep and know this as a matter of certainty -- when the government gets this animated about anything, they are lying.

Here is a sad, but classic, example:


Review the four charts in that article and ask yourself, "For whose benefit was it to spin the unemployment numbers from the chickenshit they are into the chicken salad they want us to believe they are?"

Therein lies the answer to the lies.


Thursday, December 01, 2011

NLRB Changes Election Rules - Much Ado About Something

The Obama Labor Board has been hard at work for organized labor before the term of its most infamous member, Craig Becker, expires at the end of the year. At issue is the all important time period between the filing of a petition to represent employees by a union and the election wherein employees can vote on whether or not to be represented. Currently, the period is six weeks (42 days) giving both sides ample opportunity to make their respective cases.

If you are interested in the blow by blow political bruhaha, you can find it here:


If you are interested in the bottom line, here it is: The new rules prevent employers from challenging certain aspects of union elections before the voting occurs, including whether certain workers are eligible to vote and be part of a bargaining unit. Oftentimes, employers or unions argue that certain workers should be classified as supervisors, and therefore be ineligible to unionize. These issues have always been resolved before voting for the obvious reason - you only want those eligible to actually vote.

It doesn't sound like much of a problem, but it is. For example, if an employer allows an employee to vote who is later determined to be a supervisor under the National Labor Relations Act the election can often be set aside and rerun at additional time and expense. This puts employers into a tough position -- to vote or not vote an employee, knowing that if they permit an employee to vote who is later determined to be a supervisor the election may have to be rerun. On the other hand, if an employer prevents an employee believed to be a supervisor from voting and who is later determined not to be a supervisor, they may face unfair labor practice charges and a rerun election. Not a good position to be in. The Labor Board doesn't care.

What is more troubling is what is not said -- the number of days between the filing of a petition by a union for representation and the election. For many years it was 50 days. It was then reduced to 42 days. Implications are Regional Directors of the Labor Board may reduce the number of days again on their own motion. There are ways of forcing the issue of time and I have done so many times. For example, if the Labor Board is unreasonable as to the number of days employees have to hear both sides or on the dates and times of the election I have told them. "Fine. But you won't be having the election on employer property." They hate that and I have yet to have to hold an election offsite. There are other tricks of the trade but just know this is moving in the wrong direction and depending on what the final rules provide it will mean employers have less time to make their case to employees once a union is involved.

More as we know more . . .