The States People Are Fleeing In 2013
By Jenna Goudreau | Forbes – Fri, Feb 8,
Long-term shifts in the U.S. economy
coupled with the recent recession means
Americans are more likely to pack up and
move for employment-related reasons.
Although the total number of residential
moves is down, new data shows a clear
pattern of the states that people are
fleeing the fastest. Read More (Filed
Getty Images -
AlterNet / By Les Leopold February 6, 2013
What It's Going to Take to Claw
Back Middle Class Wealth from
When unions decline, inequality soars and we
all lose. If you truly care about economic
justice, then you've got to worry about the
precipitous decline of labor unions in the
United States. Read More (Filed Economy)
Photo Credit: Shutterstock.com
February 15, 2013AlterNet / By Tana Ganeva
Original Link for Comments
Work is Becoming More Like Prison As Some Workers Forced to Wear Electronic
Bands That Track Everything They Do (Including Bathroom Breaks)
Grocery giant TESCO has strapped electronic armbands to their warehouse workers
to measure their productivity.
The human body, with its need for rest, nutrition and hydration, is such an
inefficient tool for capitalist production. But while machines are unlikely to
replace human workers anytime soon, new technologies can deftly strip
workers of their humanity!
The Irish Independent reports that grocery giant TESCO has strapped
electronic armbands to their warehouse workers to measure their productivity,
tracking their actions so closely that management knows when they briefly
pause to drink from a water fountain or take a bathroom break. These
unforgivable lapses in productivity impact workers' performance score,
which management then apparently uses to terrify them into working faster.
"The devices give a set amount of time for a task, such as 20 minutes to
load packets of soft drinks. If they did it in 20 minutes, they would get 100pc,
but would get 200pc if they were twice as fast," writes the Independent. Although
TESCO denied that bathroom breaks impact productivity scores, one former
staffer the Independent spoke with said he got a "surprisingly lower" score
when he took a bathroom break.
"Sometimes, management would call staff to an office and tell them they had
to do better if their scores were low."
"I had really easy assignments and when I'd come back after a break, I would
get a horrendous score and wonder why," he said.
He added that since the introduction of the device workers faced increasing
pressure to produce more and more.
But working people close to death has some downsides for companies.
Studies show that work stress is linked to physical and mental ailments, from
sleep deprivation to chronic disease. In the end, stressed, sick workers saddle
companies both with rising health costs (for those that actually pay for
employee health expenses) and the costs of high turnover.
According to the CDC, excessive workloads and changing demands are the
biggest triggers of work stress.
Using machines to extract as much labor as humanely possible from workers
has a long history. (Even the clock has ignobly served as a tool of managerial
abuse -- in some industrial towns factory owners were known to change the
town clock to cheat workers out of time off.) As surveillance technology
advances, companies can increasingly track all aspects of their workers'
time and activity. Frederick Taylor -- who pioneered the idea of parsing
worker time down to seconds -- and Henry Ford would be jealous.
In the 1980s, computer technology opened up previously undreamed of
ways of monitoring workers. Keystroke programs could track the typing
speed of recepionists and other clerical workers throughout the day.
These days many places of employment -- particularly low-wage
workplaces -- have found even more sophisticated ways to panic
employees by tracking their every move for lapses in productivity.
In SuperVision: An Introduction to the Surveillance Society, John Gilliom
and Torin Monahan talk about encountering a frantic hotel maid who told
them she had to alert management every time she cleaned a room, so
they could track how many she finished and how fast. A new phone app
can be used to constantly measure speed and location. "If workers stand
still or sit down for even a few seconds, management knows," write Gilliom
Call centers also nightmarishly try to control every second of employees' time.
At the Time Warner Cable call center, Gilliom writes, employees have only 8
seconds to get their paperwork done between calls. Calls are also recorded
to later gauge employee helpfulness and friendliness when dealing with
AlterNet has previously reported on biometric time clocks and fingerprint
readers, which use iris scans, face recognition technology and digital
fingerprints to more closely track when employees come in and out of
work and the duration of their breaks. Unlike punch cards or key
codes -- which allow employees to cover for each, by letting them
punch in tardy co-workers -- using unique physical attributes like eyes
or fingerprints ensures workers cannot shave a minute or two from
their workday without management knowing and keeping a record.
Service workers also often toil under the watchful eye of surveillance
cameras that managers can either view in real time or record.
But increased surveillance not only creates a more stressful workplace
for workers, it also effects the product, Gilliom points out. For example,
nurses are no longer taking the time to get to know their patients because
hospitals make more money when more people are hustled through. In
the past, nurses had ways to circumvent hospital pressure. Now, electronic
tracking of patient movement means that medical profressionals will spend
far less time with you when you are sick.
Tana Ganeva is AlterNet's managing editor. Follow her on Twitter or
email her at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Detroit named most miserable U.S. city in Forbes ranking
Kurt Badenhausen, Forbes Staff
Forbes put Detroit Mayor Dave Bing on its cover in 2011 for a story
with the optimistic headline: “City of Hope.” The premise was that
the city had hit rock bottom and was poised for a turnaround.
“Right now, it’s all about survival,” Bing told Forbes.Read More