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Employers wary of "immunity" tests for workers

U.S. employers have cooled to the idea of testing workers for possible immunity to the coronavirus as they prepare to reopen factories and other workplaces......»»

Category: videoSource: reutersMay 15th, 2020

U.S. employers wary of coronavirus "immunity" tests as they move to reopen

U.S. employers have cooled to the idea of testing workers for possible immunity to the coronavirus as they prepare to reopen factories and other workplaces......»»

Category: topSource: reutersMay 15th, 2020

Big expectations, exits, and a rushed union are still testing the $14 billion Teladoc-Livongo merger one year in

These are Insider's biggest healthcare stories for November 11. Hello,Welcome to Insider Healthcare. I'm healthcare editor Leah Rosenbaum, and today in healthcare news:One year after the megamerger between Teladoc and Livongo, the united company is still overcoming challenges;An immunocompromised man has had 4 COVID-19 booster shots, but is still susceptible to the virus;The US had a potential vaccine against Lyme disease, but it got pulled from the market decades ago. If you're new to this newsletter, sign up here. Comments, tips? Email me at lrosenbaum@insider.com or tweet @leah_rosenbaum. Let's get to it... Livongo's IPO in July 2019. Livongo Teladoc acquired Livongo to recreate healthcare. A rushed union, a wave of senior exits, and sky-high expectations are testing the $14 billion bet.It's been one year since Teladoc's megamerger with the chronic-care company Livongo. The goal is to build one app that covers primary care, chronic care, and other services. Teladoc has faced internal and external pressure, and more than 110 Livongo employees have left.Read the Insider investigation>> Registered nurse Alix Zacharski, left, receives a Pfizer COVID-19 booster shot from Douglas Houghton, right, at Jackson Memorial Hospital Tuesday, Oct. 5, 2021, in Miami. AP Photo/Lynne Sladky An immunocompromised man had 4 shots of COVID-19 vaccine but still appears to have poor immunityAn Ohio man registered "no antibodies whatsoever" after four COVID-19 shots, per CNN.Andrew Linder, who is immunocompromised, is isolating and limiting contact with people.The antibody test he took has some limitations as a proxy for immunity.Dive in>> Deer ticks can cause lyme disease if left untreated/ Photon Illustration/Stocktrek Images/Getty Images The US had a Lyme disease vaccine decades ago - but the CDC, lawsuits, and conspiracy theories derailed itSince 1998, confirmed Lyme disease cases in the US have risen roughly 40%.GlaxoSmithKline developed a Lyme vaccine in the 1990s. It went off the market by the early 2000s.A new anti-Lyme injection (not a vaccine) is coming. But it could take years to be fully approved.Read more>> More stories we're reading:Pfizer CEO calls people who spread misinformation on COVID-19 vaccines 'criminals because they have literally cost millions of lives' (Insider)Moderna wants to leave the government scientists it worked with off the company's COVID-19 vaccine patent (Washington Post)Some employers with just under 100 staff are wary of hiring more workers and being sucked into Biden's vaccine mandate, according to a report (Insider)Here's what public health experts thing about going to the gym, movies and upcoming holiday gatherings (STAT)-LeahRead the original article on Business Insider.....»»

Category: topSource: businessinsiderNov 11th, 2021

Biden Plays Chicken With Semitruck Drivers

Biden Plays Chicken With Semitruck Drivers Authored by Jackson Elliott, Cara Ding, Allan Stein, Steven Kovac, Jannis Falkenstern and Nick Ciolino via The Epoch Times, American truckers don’t like taking orders. But the Biden administration has increased pressure on them to take the vaccine—willing or unwilling. All through the pandemic, truckers endured hardships to keep America’s infrastructure running. They waited in line for hours in sight of bathrooms they weren’t allowed to use. On the road, some died alone of COVID-19. Now, with supply chains disrupted, Americans need them more than ever. But faced with the prospect of a forced vaccination, many drivers are considering quitting. “I’d fight it,” said veteran trucker Mike Widdins, referring to vaccine mandates. “I think a lot of us will be quitting. Who likes to be forced to do stuff you don’t want to do?” Widdins isn’t alone in his willingness to leave trucking if forced to vaccinate. Polls by trucking publications Commercial Carrier Journal and OverDrive indicate that up to 30 percent of truckers will seriously consider quitting if forced to vaccinate. If they quit, the consequences for America may be massive. US Transport estimates that 70 percent of American freight goes by truck. “It would hurt shipping big-time,” Widdins said. Narrowing Lanes The Sept. 9 mandate establishes an “emergency standard” which the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) is allowed to issue if it determines workers are in “grave danger.” Currently, the White House Office of Budget and Management’s Office of Information and Regulatory Affairs is reviewing the mandate. The review process can take as long as 90 days. Most of the trucking industry will be unaffected by the Biden vaccine mandate, which demands that all companies with over 100 employees require vaccination or weekly COVID-19 tests. Most truck companies have six trucks or fewer, according to the American Trucking Associations. Independent drivers make an average of $50,000 more per year than drivers at large companies. Some experts say the selective reach of the mandate makes it ineffective. Barbara Smithers, vice president of the Indiana Motor Truck Association, told The Epoch Times via email that it makes little sense to “cherry pick” who to vaccinate based on company size. “Truck drivers spend most of their work hours alone in the cab of a truck—literally one of the safest places possible during a pandemic—so why do they need to be regulated in this way?” she said. “Testing hundreds of thousands of truck drivers moving across the country every day is a virtual impossibility.” For mandate-affected companies, Biden’s decision may drive away employees at a time when America needs them most. The American Trucking Associations estimates that America needs 80,000 more truckers to meet transportation needs. Recently, supply chain crises have left many Americans in need. Transportation secretary Pete Buttigieg said the shortage will last as long as there’s a pandemic. With backups unloading goods at America’s ports, shortages already threaten consumers. But if long lines of trucks waiting to ship goods suddenly become shorter, the crisis will become far worse. Whether America runs short on trucks depends on the Biden administration’s orders and how truckers respond. Joe Trucker and Joe Biden The average trucker is a big, bearded guy with a sturdy, American name like ‘Joe.’ Joe Trucker is friendly given the chance, and he thinks of his job as his little service to America. He has a relative in the military somewhere, or he served himself. Toward government, he holds a strong suspicion that increases the more pressure he feels from it. Joe Trucker doesn’t usually like interviews. If he doesn’t feel open to talking, he drops four-word answers like he tosses peanut shells from his window. In exchange for long hours away from home, he gets low pay, independence, and the nation’s best sunsets. The CCP (Chinese Communist Party) virus hasn’t been kind to Joe Trucker. At a time when many Americans hunkered down at home, he was still on the road. Trucking life during the pandemic was a series of frustrating restrictions, said trucker Victor Morales at a Georgia One9 truck stop. Morales has driven trucks for 25 years. After a long day on the road, Morales would wait for hours to drop off a truckful of deliveries at a warehouse. But warehouse owners didn’t allow truckers to leave their cabs for any reason. “You’re almost forced, like a second-class citizen,” he said. “They want the goods and services you got, but they don’t even want you to get out of your truck.” If they arrived hungry, they waited hungry, he said. They weren’t even allowed to use the toilet only steps away. “You can literally see a bathroom right there behind the glass. But you can’t get out,” said Morales. In the eyes of drivers, Biden’s mandate is the last step in a long line of restrictions that don’t consider their needs or wants. “It’s unconstitutional,” said one trucker who preferred to remain anonymous. “We’ll just buy our own damn trucks and run our own company. All we’ve got to do is shut down and the country doesn’t exist no more.” For many drivers, the vaccine mandate may prove the final straw. Some drivers don’t trust the vaccine because of how new it is. Some distrust it for personal medical reasons. Others distrust it because they don’t trust the government. “I had cancer years ago,” said trucker Jack McGregory. “I don’t want to put something that I don’t know exactly what it will do into my body. If I die, I want to die with a little more time on my hands than that.” McGregory said that he would rather quit than vaccinate. But even those who take the vaccine say they oppose the mandate. At the Pilot Truck Stop at I-69 and Wadhams Road in Michigan, all 10 truckers interviewed by The Epoch Times said they took the vaccine but oppose a vaccine mandate. Kevin Hambrick, a longtime driver with Fortune 500 transportation company J.B. Hunt, opposes the mandate. “Each guy should make his own choice,” Hambrick said. In Arizona, Florida-based truck driver Juan Martinez said that he knows life without freedom, having lived under Cuban communism. He also received a COVID-19 shot and opposes the mandate. “You have to decide for yourself,” he said. “People should do whatever they want to do.” Many drivers feel pressured by their employers. After a year of difficult pandemic restrictions, it seems to them that COVID-19 rules grow ever more invasive. In Flagstaff, Arizona, a long-distance truck driver in his late 20s asked not to be identified, fearing reprisal by his employer. “There’s no place in the middle right now,” he said, adding “if you want to put something in your body, it’s your personal choice.” Other truckers who did not want to be named said they felt angry at those who mandated the vaccine. “We run our country,” one said. “They don’t give a [expletive] about this country.” Roads to Health According to the Biden administration, America needs the new vaccine to increase protection against the CCP virus. “The vast majority of Americans are doing the right thing,” president Joe Biden said in a press conference. But more people should get vaccinated, he added. The current available vaccines block COVID-19 in most cases, according to CDC statistics. Today, 79 percent of Americans over 18 are vaccinated, according to the CDC. Experts say that this number might be enough to achieve herd immunity. But as the number of unvaccinated people has dwindled, pressure to increase vaccination numbers has increased. “We’ve been patient, but our patience is wearing thin,” Biden said to unvaccinated people. “Your refusal has cost all of us.” Some medical experts say clusters of unvaccinated people allow the virus to mutate into a form that can bypass the vaccine. “It’s perhaps just a matter of time,” University of Alabama at Birmingham medicine professor Dr. Michael Saag said. “A new variant could emerge where we won’t be so fortunate, and the existing vaccines won’t work.” Another recent executive order suggested that the White House fears a truck shortage. On Oct. 20, Biden announced an executive order that temporarily lifts weight restrictions on trucks and encourages more people to become truckers. The White House announced this order soon after the vaccine mandate. Neither the White House nor the Department of Transportation responded to repeated requests for comment on this story. Collision Course Truck industry experts say that truckers with the option to quit will do so if forced to take the vaccine. Joe Sculley, the president of Motor Transport Association of Connecticut, said that he sees a scenario playing out for those who oppose or refuse to comply with the mandate. “Drivers will leave bigger companies and look for smaller ones that do not have to comply with the mandate, or they will quit altogether and look for another profession,” he said. Right now, the supply chain crisis, the number of drivers who oppose forced vaccination, and the driver shortage leave the best cards in the hands of drivers, Sculley added. “Drivers have leverage,” he said. “It won’t be an empty threat. Nobody is going to be quickly replaced.” Jim Ward, president of D.M. Bowman and Chairman of the Truckload Carriers Associations, agreed that truckers are serious about quitting because of vaccine mandates. “With driver availability already limited, any exodus due to compliance with a vaccine mandate would put our nation and its economy in an even more precarious situation,” he said. Ward added that drivers who quit can’t easily be replaced. They require training. “Our nation’s professional truck drivers are the safest, most well-trained operators on the road today. Replacing any driver who leaves the industry is not an overnight process,” he said. Biden’s best chance to bring in new drivers comes from a pilot program in his recent infrastructure bill. The program would create a “test group” of 18- to 21-year-olds who would be followed to “see how they would perform,” Sculley said. However, the American trucking industry has long faced a driver shortage. Long hours away from home and mediocre pay doesn’t attract new drivers to the business, even when they have the right skills. Impact New workers also might not compare with longtime professionals. Experienced truckers thread their trucks through a complex ballet of traffic conditions and federal regulations to arrive on time. Football games, the Kentucky Derby, hurricanes two states over, and other issues can all mean higher traffic along a route, said Morales. “I’m not a sports fan. But I know when the playoffs are,” he said. If Biden’s mandate goes through, the most experienced truckers are most likely to quit, Morales said. In 10 years, nearly 30 percent of truckers will be 65 or older, according to Department of Transportation statistics. Often, these drivers make more money and have cash saved up, said Morales. “The mandate is going to affect the older drivers that have been here a while,” he said. “They’re gonna have a choice.” If these drivers retire early, it will be a challenge to replace them. To become a trucker, a driver must pass his commercial driver’s license (CDL) test, a process which usually takes four to seven weeks. During the pandemic, many truck driving schools closed, and training schools issued at least 100,000 fewer CDLS. Short-term truckers are often unreliable, said small truck company owner Pete Falkenstern. He calls them “cowboys.” “If somebody’s done it for a long time and hasn’t had a lot of accidents, they’ve been pretty safe,” he said. “They probably take some pride in what they do.” If 20 percent of truckers quit because of the mandate, America will lose about 15 percent of its transportation capacity. America’s infrastructure relies most on trucks. As a transportation system, trucks are incredibly flexible. They can go anywhere at any time, can carry many kinds of goods, and are the most cost-effective form of transportation over short to medium distances. “I love this industry, but without us this country would shut down in three days,” said trucker Jack McGregory. Even so, the trucking industry has a high turnover rate. Backing Up The vaccine mandate will only directly affect companies with over 100 people, but small truck companies won’t have the required resources to absorb many additional drivers, Falkenstern said. “I would love to be able to accommodate 30 people, but the work is not here to support that many,” he said. “I don’t want to operate any more than what I have because of insurance regulations.” Large truck companies also tend to be cheaper, said Falkenstern. They can buy things in bulk and self-insure. “A lot of the bigger companies can keep prices down,” he said. “They can get a lower cost because it’s in bulk.” Cathy Roberson, the founder and president of Logistics Trends and Insights LLC, said it’s unclear right now what the long-term impact of the vaccine mandate will be. If truckers quit, the mandate could damage America’s logistics system, Robertson said. But if they switch to smaller companies, Biden’s executive order might only reshuffle employees. “It really hurts the larger trucking companies more than anything else,” Robertson said. Whatever the case, the mandate will exacerbate current supply chain issues, she said. Already, logistics workers wrestle with the worst supply chain issues ever seen, said Lisa Anderson, the president of logistics group LMA Consulting. “It’s unprecedented. It’s never happened before,” she said. Right now, logistics issues have made it difficult to find replacement parts for trucks, she said. Businesses find themselves in a catch-22 situation; To fix their trucks, they need trucks to transport parts. The supply chain feeds itself. Anderson said the vaccine mandate will almost certainly worsen the driver shortage. Truckers are independent-natured. “They are more of a lone wolf, always navigating complex situations on their own,” she said. “They don’t like to be told what to do.” Delays Ahead If truckers follow through with what they say they will do, America’s supply chain crisis may soon become far worse. From a perspective based purely on material benefits, it seems like it’s only logical to obey the mandate. Truckers can take an effective vaccine, keep their jobs, and keep the national supply chain running. But human beings often want to assert that they amount to more than mere links in a chain, pulling on command from the federal government. The logic of individual freedom doesn’t calculate for material benefits. “It’s just that shoving-it-down-your-throat part,” Morales said. “Our first instinct will be to push back.” Tyler Durden Mon, 10/25/2021 - 19:10.....»»

Category: blogSource: zerohedgeOct 25th, 2021

Newsom Signs Legislation To Protect Workers Who Use Cannabis Outside Work

Newsom Signs Legislation To Protect Workers Who Use Cannabis Outside Work Authored by Jill McLaughlin via The Epoch Times (emphasis ours), California Governor Gavin Newsom speaks at California State University Long Beach on March 3, 2021. (John Fredricks/The Epoch Times) California employers will soon be prohibited from firing—or not hiring—workers over their use of cannabis outside of their workplace and work hours. Gov. Gavin Newsom put his signature on Assembly Bill 2188 Sept. 18 to prevent employers from discriminating against a person in hiring, termination, or terms and conditions of employment based on a drug screening test finding the presence of non-psychoactive cannabis metabolites in their system or for the person’s off-duty use. Recreational use of cannabis is legal in the state. AB 2188 was part of a series of legislation signed by the governor to “strengthen California’s cannabis laws, expand the legal cannabis market and redress the harms of cannabis prohibition,” according to a Sept. 18 statement by Newsom’s office. “For too many Californians, the promise of cannabis legalization remains out of reach,” Newsom said. “These measures build on the important strides our state has made toward this goal, but much work remains to build an equitable, safe and sustainable legal cannabis industry. I look forward to partnering with the Legislature and policymakers to fully realize cannabis legalization in communities across California.” The California state capital building in Sacramento on April 18, 2022. (John Fredricks/The Epoch Times) The legislation’s author, Assemblyman Bill Quirk (D-Hayward), said the measure was “long overdue.” “Thank you to the advocates and sponsors for your continued support,” Quirk wrote on Twitter after the signing. “I applaud the Governor for his commitment to redress the harms of cannabis prohibition.” The law goes into effect Jan. 1, 2024, and exempts those working in building and construction, and job positions that require federal background clearances. The Drug Policy Alliance, a pro-legal marijuana organization co-founded by George Soros, advocated for the bill’s passage. “CA employees deserved the same rights as workers in other states like [New York and Nevada] that already passed laws protecting against workplace punishment for legal marijuana use off-the-clock,” the alliance wrote on Twitter. California NORML, a non-profit group dedicated to protecting and expanding cannabis consumers’ rights, sponsored the bill. The group told legislators workers have a right to engage in legal activity while away from the job, yet workers and applicants are losing job opportunities or being fired because they test positive for marijuana use. Customers shop for marijuana products at Catalyst Cannabis Dispensary in Santa Ana, Calif., on Feb. 18, 2021. (John Fredricks/The Epoch Times) The California Cannabis Industry Association told The Epoch Times in a previous interview the bill still allows employers to use tests to determine “whether someone is under the influence of cannabis while actively on the job.” “The bill does not prevent employers from drug-testing employees but rather states that a test for non-psychoactive cannabis metabolites linger in the body for up to months after someone uses cannabis, is not grounds for hiring or termination,” the association’s Executive Director Lindsay Robinson said. The California Chamber of Commerce opposed the bill, saying it will still risk workplace safety and “create a protected status for marijuana use in [Fair Employment and Housing Act].” “California employers may face liability when they take legitimate disciplinary measures against their employees,” the California Chamber of Commerce said, according to a bill analysis. “If California policymakers wish to force a shift towards newer testing technologies—that is one thing. But we do not believe marijuana should be elevated to a legally protected status above comparable drugs (like alcohol).” A file photo of a cannabis sample in Santa Ana, Calif., on Feb. 18, 2021. (John Fredricks/The Epoch Times) The governor also signed several other cannabis-related bills, including the following: SB 1186 preempts local bans on medicinal cannabis delivery, expanding patients’ access to legal, regulated cannabis products. AB 1706 allows Californians with old cannabis-related convictions to have them sealed. SB 1326 creates a process for California to enter into agreements with other states to allow cannabis transactions with entities outside California. AB 1885 allows veterinarians to recommend cannabis for pets. AB 2210 allows venues hosting temporary events to obtain both liquor and cannabis licenses as long as the sale and consumption of marijuana and alcoholic beverages occur separately, according to Quirk, who is also the author of this legislation. AB 1186, dubbed the Medicinal Cannabis Patients’ Right of Access Act, prohibits a local jurisdiction from restricting the retail sale of medicinal cannabis by delivery to patients or their primary caregivers by licensed medicinal cannabis businesses. Tyler Durden Fri, 09/23/2022 - 17:40.....»»

Category: personnelSource: nytSep 23rd, 2022

Many entrepreneurs are focusing on employee retention during the economic downturn. Here are 4 reasons employees stay beyond the salary.

Many entrepreneurs are focusing on employee retention during the economic downturn. Here are 4 reasons employees stay, beyond the salary. BI GraphicsAsking employees what they want from a job is an important part of retaining staff.Luis Alvarez/Getty Images The US' booming labor market can increase competition among employers to retain staff. Founders wary of a recession are focusing on financial and nonfinancial ways to keep their staff. An expert says workers can be motivated to stay by purpose, autonomy, competence, and togetherness. This article is part of Talent Insider, a series containing expert advice to help small business owners tackle a range of hiring challenges. If you have a Spotify account, it probably looks different from your friends' accounts: You have your own playlists, favorite songs, and musicians you follow. Similarly, if you run a startup, yours should give each employee a personalized experience based on what they value most at work, said Stephan Meier, a business-strategy professor at Columbia Business School."Employees are the new customers," Meier, a behavioral economist who studies what motivates people to work beyond money, told Insider. "There are huge differences in what people actually want."The US is in a booming labor market, which can increase competition among employers to keep their staff. Many business owners wary of increased costs and the risk of a recession are looking at ways to increase the likelihood their employees will stay with them. Meier said that if companies want to retain employees, they should get their feedback, just as they would survey their customers."All of those tools that we have in customer centricity apply to employees," he said. "Figure out what actually matters to them."Meier said his research suggests there are four main motivations that keep employees at a company: purpose, autonomy, competence, and togetherness. Here’s how to factor these values into your company’s culture, policies, and benefits to help retain staff in an economic downturn.Ask your employees what they wantBefore you implement any changes, understand what your employees value.Ryan Stana, the founder and CEO of RWS Entertainment Group, which provides staffing and services for theme parks, cruises, and theaters, said that when he asked his employees what kept them happy, they told him respect is one of the most important factors."Employees will leave for another company if they feel that they will be taken more seriously there," he said. "We really focus on analyzing our exit interviews, looking at commonalities about why people are exiting, and consistently seeking ways to improve and evolve."While exit interviews are an effective way to understand why employees leave, so-called stay interviews can help you implement change before it's too late."Organizations are finding those to be much better than exit interviews because you can act on them," said Maurice Cayer, a human-resources professor at the University of New Haven and an industrial and organizational psychologist.For these interviews, he recommends identifying employees you would regret losing and asking them what would get them to stay longer. He said that while sometimes they might say more money, often they'll identify nonfinancial factors like feeling more respected or gaining more responsibility.Remind employees of the purpose of their workIn general, Meier said, employees want to feel a sense of value from their work. He gave one example of a doctor working on a patient's knee who sees it only as a body part to fix. The doctor can become jaded and lose the significance of their job, but if their manager trains them to remember all the things the patient can do with their knee, like play soccer, the doctor is more likely to realize the importance of their work.Another way to help employees feel a sense of purpose is to ensure that the tasks they're doing are engaging. "People want challenging, meaningful work," Cayer said. "Many times they're not given it; their jobs have been engineered to be efficient but not engaging."Build an environment of autonomy and trustMeier said employees also want autonomy, which is primarily established through trust between managers and staff."A lot of managers and employers don't trust their employees as much as they should," he said. Some companies have implemented surveillance technology to monitor employees working remotely; Meier said he believes that isn't the right way to go.Stana said he learned that RWS's employees needed flexibility, so he implemented a policy that gives employees the option to work fully remotely, go into the office daily, or create a hybrid schedule, depending on their role.He said that introducing remote and hybrid scheduling "has helped make our employees' lives much more manageable," adding, "Employees have proven that they can handle the flexibility and shown us that it's actually more productive to be at home."Meier said that while workers want flexibility, a big motivation to go into the office is the ability to interact with other people. "If you feel part of a larger group where people really support each other, that's very motivating," he said.Provide opportunities for career advancement and developmentThere's a fine balance between work that challenges employees but doesn't require so much from them that it leads to burnout. Meier encouraged employers to help their employees feel both competent and challenged.Stana said that finding that equilibrium can lead to employment advancement, another valuable component in keeping staff happy.Stana said that at RWS, many seasonal performers can advance their careers by working across the company's subsidiaries, adding that some staff started working on cruise ships and ended up in Broadway shows. "There's a wide range of what we do, so it allows our employees to see their trajectory to grow," he said.Cayer said that on top of career advancement, employees want opportunities to learn on the job. "Training can have a big payback," he said. "People love to work for an employer who helps them develop."Read the original article on Business Insider.....»»

Category: topSource: businessinsiderAug 22nd, 2022

Woke Airline Policies Threaten Safety, Workers Say

Woke Airline Policies Threaten Safety, Workers Say Authored by Janice Hisle via The Epoch Times (emphasis ours), Southwest Airlines Co. is basking in accolades for its “diversity, equity, and inclusion” (DEI) efforts, award-winning customer service, and record-breaking quarterly revenues. A traveler walks past a Southwest Airlines airplane as it taxies from a gate at Baltimore Washington International Thurgood Marshall Airport on October 11, 2021 in Baltimore, Maryland. (Kevin Dietsch/Getty Images) Behind the scenes of that rosy picture, heartaches are afflicting Southwest, called “the airline with Heart” because of its heart-shaped logo and a corporate culture steeped in “The Golden Rule,” treating others the same way they’d like to be treated. But eight current Southwest employees, including three minorities, told The Epoch Times that “woke, leftist” DEI policies, as implemented, have tarnished the cherished Golden Rule principle, fractured a once-cohesive workforce, and, ultimately, may put safety at risk. Faced with pandemic-related staffing shortages and pressure to add minorities, the company has changed the way it hires, trains, and disciplines workers—mostly to benefit less-qualified new hires representing the diversity rainbow, the employees say. One Southwest flight attendant, a Hispanic female, said: “They are compromising safety for the sake of race, gender identity, and sexual preference … They’re risking people’s lives because of agendas.” Southwest, one of America’s largest air carriers, didn’t respond to messages seeking comment. Similar issues have spread industry-wide, according to 10 airline employees who agreed to be interviewed. Four are pilots and six are flight attendants; most have 20 or more years of experience. All of them, including two American Airlines pilots, spoke on condition of anonymity to protect their jobs. While no one thinks the policies are causing an imminent threat of a plane falling out of the sky tomorrow, all of the interviewees agreed that each time a standard is lowered, or a less-qualified employee is hired, the risk that something can go horribly wrong inches forward a notch or two. In an industry that depends on a near-miracle integration of people, machinery, and computers, even a few deviations can culminate in catastrophe. Still, some employees worry about what could happen if current trends continue to stress out and distract safety professionals. Said one flight attendant: “It’s a recipe for disaster. I just hope I’m not at work when it happens.” Us-Versus-Them Mentality While promoting diversity sounds like a great idea, the inclusionary policies have actually become exclusionary at Southwest, employees say. Disparate treatment has divided their ranks into two distinct camps: those with “desirable” or “approved” personal, social, or political characteristics—and those without. Minorities or people with leftist political views, varying gender identities, and alternative sexual orientations appear to be given wide latitude. This “protected class” is allowed to bend or break rules, and new hires in these classifications may be given extra chances to pass required skills tests, the employees said. At the same time, veteran workers—especially those who are white, heterosexual, and conservative—find themselves in the crosshairs for almost anything, including making a personal statement of religious or political beliefs, the Southwest workers said. Even minorities can be shifted into this targeted group if they espouse personal beliefs running counter to causes that the company supports. “There are two sets of standards: One for us and one for them,” said an experienced flight attendant. One of her colleagues said: “The company is trying to eliminate anybody who does not agree with their agenda. The last few years, anybody who speaks up against them, they want gone.” That flight attendant said she had no problems at work until she posted her Christian religious beliefs on her personal Facebook page, along with her support of President Donald Trump. A coworker reported the posts to Southwest, and the flight attendant said she has faced repercussions ever since. She and others say the targeting of conservatives is common—and they point to the recently publicized case of fired Southwest flight attendant Charlene Carter as a prime example. ‘Targeted Assassinations’ of Conservatives Last month, a federal jury in Texas awarded Carter more than $5 million after finding that Southwest wrongfully terminated her and that her union didn’t live up to its duty to represent her. The company fired Carter after she expressed her pro-life views to a union leader via social media and opposed the union’s pro-abortion activism. The company supported the union’s political activism, Carter’s suit says, by accommodating work-shift changes for union members so they could participate in the Women’s March on Washington, D.C., in January 2017. Marchers were protesting Trump’s inauguration; one of the primary sponsors of the event was Planned Parenthood. Southwest also showed “solidarity” with the protesters by bathing its airplane cabins in pink lights on some D.C.-bound flights, Carter’s lawsuit says. Documents in the case revealed that some union officials and political activists were singling out dissenting Southwest employees for “targeted assassinations,” meaning that they would try to get the company to fire them, using the company’s social media policy as a bludgeon. In an interview with The Epoch Times on Aug. 8, Carter, who lives near Denver, Colorado, said she can’t believe that some leaders of Transport Workers Union of America Local 556, who helped set her up to be fired, are still working for Southwest. Carter also validated her coworkers’ concerns about the disparate treatment of employees who dare to oppose leftist agendas. “I think there are a ton of cases out there just like mine,” she said. Terminated employees from Southwest and other airlines have been continuously contacting Carter for help after learning about the July 14 verdict in her case. Carter spent five years fighting in court; she thinks she was one of the first casualties of the erosion of Southwest’s unique corporate culture, which she witnessed during the latter part of her 20-plus years at the airline. “We all loved our jobs; we all loved each other—our CoHearts, that’s what we called each other,” Carter said, pointing out that the airline’s stock ticker is LUV, a nod to its birthplace at Love Field, Texas. Corporate Culture Shift But corporate leadership and philosophy shifted. Carter said, her former coworkers tell her the culture is now one where people are fired on a whim, and they’re encouraged to file complaints against each other over perceived insults, such as failure to use the “preferred pronoun” of a person asserting an alternative gender identity. Employees who face such accusations are presumed guilty, a current flight attendant said, and they risk suspension or termination. “That is how we are treated now,” she said. “It’s gotten ridiculous,” Carter said. She was astounded to learn that lapel pins, designating preferred pronouns, are being offered to staff. A fellow flight attendant says the company’s priorities are misplaced. “We used to be focused on hiring ‘the best of the best,’” she said. “So why is it now that we feel at Southwest Airlines that we have to use the right pronouns and we have to acquiesce to someone’s gender-fluid mentality?” The DEI Effect The interviewed employees blame DEI policies for sowing the seeds of division. Ironically, before DEI was implemented, “people were never labeled,” a flight attendant said. “I find it very divisive,” she said, “because now everyone is labeled, divided by race, gender sexual orientation … whatever.” “This is wrong—all the way wrong,” she said. The company’s annual report, in its DEI section, says, “Southwest Airlines recognizes, respects, and values differences. … At Southwest, DEI is and always has been a part of our DNA.” All four major airlines—and many other American companies—publicly disclose DEI-related information, such as data on minority recruitment and the racial makeup of their workforce. “Every airline is trying to push forward with minority hiring because they want to ‘show that they care,’” aviation analyst Jay Ratliff said. “They’re being asked, ‘How many women are within your pilot ranks? … How many pilots of color?’” If an airline’s diversity metrics seem low in comparison to their competitors’ numbers, the company’s reputation and bottom line can suffer, Ratliff said. That’s not necessarily fair, he said, because few people have the ability, interest, and financial means to qualify as a commercial airline pilot. Amassing the FAA-required 1,500 hours of flight time with an instructor can cost $75,000 or more, pilots said. Last year, United Airlines announced its goals: to train 5,000 new pilots by 2030 at its new flight school, with “at least half of those students to be women or people of color.” The first class of new recruits “exceeded that goal,” with 80 percent of the 30 students fitting that category, the airline said in a report. Considering that white males make up about one-third of the American population, a Southwest pilot said that composing a class with 80 percent minorities and women looks like “DEI special-status hiring on steroids.” Scoring Systems Push Diversity DEI data play a significant role in corporate ESG scores—ratings of a company’s “environmental, social, and governance” performance. It’s a complex—and controversial—way to assess which companies are considered “good corporate citizens.” Most of the interviewed airline employees believe that the pursuit of ESG scores is driving corporate personnel practices, including ignoring well-qualified male applicants while eagerly hiring less-experienced female and minority candidates. Increasingly, ESG scores can help determine whether a company sinks or swims. A good ESG score can attract investors, government contracts, and favorable loan-interest rates—benefits that are especially important for the airline industry, in which lucrative U.S. Department of Defense contracts are at stake and profit margins are razor-thin because of astronomical costs for equipment and personnel. ESG ratings have existed in some form for decades, yet they barely registered a blip on internet searches until a few months ago, amid the Biden administration’s continued push for businesses to address environmental concerns and to institute “green” policies, which weigh heavily in ESG scores and DEI metrics. Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis recently announced his intent to push back against ESG, calling it “leveraging corporate power to impose an ideological agenda on society.” Refinitiv, a company that produces ESG scores, says its process for calculating the ratings starts with collecting more than 630 ESG measures from each company’s public disclosures. Other ESG assessors have their own rating systems, which means results can vary depending on which assessment method is being used. ESG advocates are now working on standardizing how these scores are calculated. Several airline employees said it would benefit their company, their industry, and society in general if ESG scores and DEI programs were abolished. One Southwest pilot with decades of experience said such measures create unnecessary complications with no positive effect on the airline’s core mission. “Why do we need DEI programs? Why do we need ESG? A lot of the public isn’t even aware these things exist,” he said. “The passengers just want people like me to get them, and their bags, to the same place at the same time, safely … DEI and ESG do nothing to support that—zero.” “I need these DEI programs and ESG scores to go out the back of the airplane like the jet fuel that we burn.” Non-Pilots Hiring Pilots Southwest’s annual report says it has been “evolving hiring and development practices to support diversity goals.” Those changes are troubling to the interviewed employees and to the pilots’ union. In a letter to members last month, the Southwest Airlines Pilots Association pointed out that, for the first time in the company’s 51-year history, a non-pilot is in charge of hiring pilots. The “system chief pilot” used to have that responsibility. “We are just a single step away” from hiring pilots based upon mere reviews of their resumes, association president Casey Murray wrote to union members. Southwest has about 9,600 pilots, the letter said. Putting a non-pilot in charge of hiring pilots most likely will affect the quality of the pilots who are being hired, Southwest interviewees said. People who lack specific knowledge of this specialized job would have a hard time telling the difference between a good hire and a bad one, pilots said. One of the interviewed pilots said that the chief pilot told him: “The diversity department has a very strong voice in who gets hired.” Southwest wants to hire more than 2,000 pilots in the next year, the union’s letter said, questioning whether those new hires will be required to meet Southwest’s traditionally high standards. “Across the entire commercial aviation industry, employers are fighting for an ever-shrinking pool of qualified pilots,” yet Southwest may be at a disadvantage to compete for those pilots. Contract negotiations with Southwest’s pilots are lagging, compared to progress with other airlines’ pilot unions, Murray said. “Pilots are the fuel that powers Southwest Airlines, and right now Southwest’s supply of fuel is running low. Time is growing critical, and options are becoming limited,” Murray wrote. Seeking the Best (Non-White) Pilots? Current pilots also say they have learned that hiring decisions are being driven by a job candidate scoring system; they’re unsure how long it has been in place, how it works, or whether it unfairly elevates minorities. The company controls all of that information. Still, the employees feel confident in anecdotal evidence suggesting that the scoring system, coupled with other hiring practices, could be producing a pattern of discrimination against men, especially white men who come from military backgrounds—previously highly sought-after job candidates. “We could be wrong, but I don’t think we are,” said one pilot who has military experience. That pilot said he thinks the vast majority of his colleagues have heard accounts of possible discrimination similar to the following: When a well-qualified former military pilot applied for a job, Southwest never contacted him for an interview. But the applicant learned that a woman was hired as a pilot, despite having half as much experience in the airline industry. Further, the man had experience as a captain while the woman had only been a first officer, who sits next to the captain in the cockpit. “It’s a completely different world” when a person shifts into the captain’s chair, said the pilot. “We’re leaving a lot of people behind who are better-qualified, just because they’re the wrong color, or they’re identified the wrong way. That’s concerning. We’re not putting the best up-front,” he said. “We have people’s lives in our hands. It’s just like with doctors. If you go to a doctor, you want to go to the best doctor you can.” An American Airlines pilot with decades of experience said he was less troubled than some of the Southwest interviewees who worried about the effects of reduced standards as a result of the increased emphasis on diversity hiring. However, that pilot said he would become very concerned if standards are lowered “to the point where people aren’t flying as confidently.” A second American Airlines pilot said he has observed that “training is not nearly as comprehensive as it used to be,” he said. “But these people who are starting out are flying with people who are supremely qualified to be flying airplanes—so mistakes can be covered.” He thinks the reduced standards could eventually cause problems if the hyperfocus on diversity continues: “If you’re looking for a diverse workforce and not a qualified workforce, you’ve got issues. … You haven’t seen any accidents because of ‘diversity,’ but the potential is there.” All 11 people who were interviewed for this story, including Carter, the ex-flight attendant, said personal traits such as gender and race shouldn’t be part of the equation at all. “From the cockpit door forward, guys and gals of all ethnicities are after the same thing—and that’s a safe flight,” said one of the American Airlines pilots. “They don’t care who sits next to them as long as they can do the job.” More Than Snack Servers Most air passengers think of flight attendants as hospitality ambassadors who make them comfortable with beverages, snacks, blankets, and pillows. But their main purpose is to assist in the rare event of an in-flight emergency. Six Southwest flight attendants, along with Carter, say they feel less able to perform crucial duties because of the climate in which they’re now operating—and new hires appear to be less equipped to shoulder those responsibilities. “They have just made it such a hostile work environment. Southwest has made it that way, and flight attendants are afraid to do their jobs,” a flight attendant said. “But you’re supposed to put a smile on your face and pretend that everything is grand.” The flight attendants describe feeling as though a backstabber is always ready to pounce, to report any action or statement that doesn’t fit the corporate ideology. They’re being held to strict conduct and uniform standards while “accommodations” are extended to people in protected classes, such as a minority woman who was allowed to wear a nose ring—which got a white female in trouble—and a male flight attendant who described himself as “nonbinary”—neither totally male nor totally female—being allowed to wear a skirt that appeared to be shorter than regulations allowed. The nonbinary employee seemed to be using his position at the airline as a platform for LGBTQ activism and self-promotion, rather than focusing on benefiting the company or its customers, fellow flight attendants said. They shared screenshots of the nonbinary employee’s social media posts. One is a selfie of the mustached man posing in his Southwest uniform, with the comment, “My dress looks better on me than most chicks.” That employee no longer works for Southwest, flight attendants said. Yet they said they were aware that a couple of employees faced disciplinary action for referring to the nonbinary employee as “he” in a members-only Facebook group for flight attendants. Antics Embarrass Fellow Flight Attendants One flight attendant perceives that the company is making skewed, unfair hiring decisions, and creating a level of absurdity that’s hard to stomach. She knows of people who are related to Southwest employees and have college degrees—which go beyond the high-school education requirement for flight attendants—“and they don’t get hired, and yet we have this guy, with a mustache, in a skirt, distracting us all because the company wants to fight over his pronouns.” Being a flight attendant used to be considered prestigious and classy; Southwest was viewed as “Mount Rushmore,” a pinnacle for flight attendants, who felt proud just to be hired. “Now the pride is not about the brand of Southwest Airlines,” a flight attendant said. “It’s about how different I can be as an employee of Southwest Airlines—like, ‘Y’all need me more than I need you.’” Public perception of the role has diminished, not just at Southwest, but across the industry. Airlines grant diversity-based exceptions to people who don’t want to look or act professional, the flight attendants said. It used to be unusual to see flight attendants behave in ways that brought embarrassment to their coworkers. Now, quite a few of the new hires who were prized for their diversity “are rather risqué,” a flight attendant said. “They become very emboldened; they feel they can get away with this because they are in a protected class.” Still, Southwest has had to fire employees who pushed the envelope too far, including one minority flight attendant who solicited sex in a social media video and another who videoed herself twerking. In both instances, the videos, provided to the Epoch Times, show the employees in Southwest uniforms. Such conduct disgusts the flight attendants, and their concern is more than superficial. “If we relax the appearance standards and we’re letting people lower their professional standards, then they obviously are not equipped to handle any type of safety issue that can happen on that plane,” a flight attendant said. “Where do you draw the line and say enough is enough?” Commitment, Skills Insufficient One of the flight attendants who has been targeted for religious and political views said her commitment to her job boils down to this: “I will give my life for my passengers and my crew, if that’s what I need to do. My last words will be, ‘Let’s roll,’” she said, referencing the famous words spoken by a passenger on one of the U.S. airplanes that were hijacked on Sept. 11, 2001. She doesn’t see that same level of grit from the new hires. “They don’t have the same tough mentality,” she said. Nor do they have the same work ethic, which might be attributable to differences between the younger and older generations. The older flight attendant described being busy from the beginning to the end of each flight while many of the new hires tend to just serve one round of drink orders, “then they go back to the back (of the airplane) and sit down for the rest of the flight.” The new employees aren’t demonstrating mastery of the skills they were supposed to have been taught, or willingness to perform them. A passenger was having a medical emergency but the flight attendant in charge of that section “wouldn’t even come out of the galley to assist,” said one flight attendant. Instead, she and a second colleague had to take care of the ailing passenger. Such an incident stokes her worst fear: “Somebody’s gonna die. With the lack of training that we’re seeing in the new hires that are coming out … there’s going to be somebody who’s not trained, facing an emergency.” Read more here... Tyler Durden Thu, 08/11/2022 - 06:30.....»»

Category: worldSource: nytAug 11th, 2022

The 2022 job market is like the Wild West. Here are 5 ways employees can manage their careers right now.

Recession fears, layoffs, and hiring freezes may make it seem like navigating your career is harder than ever before, but it's still possible. In 2022 work-from-home became a codified practice for some companies.Morsa Images/Getty Images Some signs point to a recession, while others indicate a stable job market.  These opposing conditions have left job seekers scratching their heads. Insider compiled a collection of career advice from career coaches, economists, and more. In 2022, the world of work has become the Wild West.Technology giants have laid off thousands of employees, inflation has soared, and, in the second quarter, the US gross domestic product decreased 0.9% — all signs that a recession may be coming. At the same time, consultancies, travel businesses, and healthcare companies have continued to hire, and the unemployment rate remained stable at 3.6% in June, according to the latest data from the US Bureau of Labor Statistics.This whirlwind comes on the heels of a chaotic 2021, when employees' heads were spinning from vaccine mandates, work-from-home policies, and mass resignations.To help employees navigate the wacky world of the workplace, Insider compiled a collection of career advice. Whether you're trying to make sense of the job market, fearing layoffs at your company, or hunting for a new gig, here are the pieces of advice career coaches, economists, psychologists, and more have to offer. If you don't understand what's happening in the job market right now ...urbazon/Getty ImagesAmerica has entered a "precession," a phrase Insider coined and previously defined as "an awkward, confusing phase in which some economic indicators seem to portend a recession, while others suggest things could turn out to be OK."While tech companies are being hit hard by the precession, education, consultancy, and nonprofit companies are more likely to boomerang back from this downturn.The social and economic turmoil causing this precession has left many Americans feeling stressed about their physical, emotional, and financial health. This is why Insider spoke with business executives, hiring managers, career coaches, and economists to learn more about the job market and give suggestions to readers on how to navigate it. Read more: Layoffs, inflation, and stock market swings have Americans nervous. Here's a guide to managing your career in an uncertain economy.12 career counselors reveal the industries where hiring is still hot for new college grads — even as layoffs mountThe steps that some companies took to react to the abortion decision could prove useful for crafting other policies If you like your job but want more from it ...Eugene Mymrin/Getty ImagesDespite bleak headlines, not everyone is unhappy in their role or fearing for their job. If you're lucky enough to fall into this category, then you may also be one of the many workers planning on asking for a raise this year.Securing a raise means doing more than coasting — workers need to be mindful of how their colleagues perceive them and communicative with members of their team. This year, remote employees are working while traveling and logging on for nontraditional hours, which means they have to double down on efforts to stay in the loop with work.Here's how managers and career coaches say employees can do this and land a promotion.Read more:Almost 50% of employees work while on vacation. Here's how to take advantage of remote-work policies while being a good employee. 4 tips to landing a raise, even during a recession Don't let your reputation be the reason you don't get the job or promotion. Career experts explain what to do.If you're laid off ...Getty ImagesNearly 62,000 technology workers — including those from companies such as Coinbase and Twitter — have been laid off in 2022, according to the tech-industry-layoffs tracker Layoffs.FYI.Simultaneously, in a survey of 1,004 working US adults in June by the staffing-solutions firm Insight Global, 78% of respondents said they were scared of losing their jobs in the next recession.But rest assured, layoffs do not usually come out of nowhere, Eli Joseph, a professor at the Columbia University School of Professional Studies and the author of "The Perfect Rejection Resume," previously told Insider.And even if they do, Insider has compiled advice from top career experts on how to move forward in your career after being laid off.Read more:Don't underestimate your exit interview. Career experts share the 6 most common questions and how to answer them. 5 steps to take if you lose your job, from leveraging social media connections to building a network 4 ways to overcome the stigma of layoffs and find a new job in today's economy If you decide you want to job hop ...EmirMemedovski/Getty ImagesThis year, the US job market witnessed record quit rates, particularly in the retail, food-services, and hospitality industries. Job seekers are taking advantage of high wages and job openings. In a tightening market, candidates need to put their best foot forward, develop a personal brand, and ace interviews. But in your haste to leave, be wary that you're not overlooking red flags. In a recent survey, 72% of Gen Z respondents who just started a new job said they felt regret because the role or company was not what they believed it would be. Here is how to find a new job in this fluctuating economy. Read more:Should you change jobs with the market and economy in turmoil? Here's how to decide as decades-high inflation makes employers rethink their strategies. Here are 5 tips for job hunting in a slower economic environment — even a recession How to build an unforgettable personal brand that will help you switch careers, land your dream job, or snag a promotion, according to marketing experts Job seekers are accepting offers only to find the reality is nothing like the recruiter sold them. Here's how to make sure it doesn't happen to you.  If you're looking for something new ...Freelance worker working from the van while taking a road trip.MStudioImages/Getty ImagesFor some, a traditional 9-to-5 role will lead to burnout, feelings of discontent, and job insecurity. Last year, 15.5 million Americans took the leap and became digital nomads — working remotely from far-off places in the world. Meanwhile, some Americans have opted to take on two jobs at a time, balancing corporate calendars that increase their earnings and experience. Whether you're looking to work less or more, Insider has advice on how to make the most of your unconventional career.Read more:I worked 2 full-time corporate jobs for 4 months. Here's how I turned them into a promotion and higher salary The digital-nomad lifestyle is more accessible than ever. Here's how to become someone who can work from anywhere. Burned out and want to quit your job? Try being a slacker first, a career expert says.Read the original article on Business Insider.....»»

Category: topSource: businessinsiderAug 4th, 2022

Which Retirement Plan Is Best For Your Small Business?

A 2021 poll found that 59% of Americans don’t believe they will ever save enough to retire. In fact, a 2020 PwC survey found that 25% of American adults have no retirement savings at all. Those who do aren’t saving nearly enough in their retirement plans. Making things more difficult is that smaller companies often don’t know how to […] A 2021 poll found that 59% of Americans don’t believe they will ever save enough to retire. In fact, a 2020 PwC survey found that 25% of American adults have no retirement savings at all. Those who do aren’t saving nearly enough in their retirement plans. Making things more difficult is that smaller companies often don’t know how to best assist employees with their retirement plans. Small businesses have tight margins. So, even though health benefits and retirement plans improve employee satisfaction, they’re on the cutting block as the economy worsens and business leaders seek cost-saving measures. if (typeof jQuery == 'undefined') { document.write(''); } .first{clear:both;margin-left:0}.one-third{width:31.034482758621%;float:left;margin-left:3.448275862069%}.two-thirds{width:65.51724137931%;float:left}form.ebook-styles .af-element input{border:0;border-radius:0;padding:8px}form.ebook-styles .af-element{width:220px;float:left}form.ebook-styles .af-element.buttonContainer{width:115px;float:left;margin-left: 6px;}form.ebook-styles .af-element.buttonContainer input.submit{width:115px;padding:10px 6px 8px;text-transform:uppercase;border-radius:0;border:0;font-size:15px}form.ebook-styles .af-body.af-standards input.submit{width:115px}form.ebook-styles .af-element.privacyPolicy{width:100%;font-size:12px;margin:10px auto 0}form.ebook-styles .af-element.privacyPolicy p{font-size:11px;margin-bottom:0}form.ebook-styles .af-body input.text{height:40px;padding:2px 10px !important} form.ebook-styles .error, form.ebook-styles #error { color:#d00; } form.ebook-styles .formfields h1, form.ebook-styles .formfields #mg-logo, form.ebook-styles .formfields #mg-footer { display: none; } form.ebook-styles .formfields { font-size: 12px; } form.ebook-styles .formfields p { margin: 4px 0; } Get The Full Henry Singleton Series in PDF Get the entire 4-part series on Henry Singleton in PDF. Save it to your desktop, read it on your tablet, or email to your colleagues (function($) {window.fnames = new Array(); window.ftypes = new Array();fnames[0]='EMAIL';ftypes[0]='email';}(jQuery));var $mcj = jQuery.noConflict(true); Q2 2022 hedge fund letters, conferences and more Due to these factors, choosing a retirement plan is difficult for business leaders. There are many types of retirement plans, and each has significantly different rules and pros and cons. Another thing that makes choosing a company retirement plan challenging is that there are many regulations that are hard to understand if you don’t work in the retirement space. That’s why small business owners should sit down with specialized service providers who can help them figure out what’s needed. They can review the best retirement plans and determine which fits leaders’ personalized business situations. Cutting employee benefits such as retirement can be detrimental to businesses in the long run. But the move can be avoided with the right strategies. Benefits of retirement plans The scope of retirement has changed over the generations. American Express started private pensions in 1875, which gained popularity in the 1920s as workers’ unions formed. Corporations and governments sought ways to provide long-term benefits for workers, and private pension plans were often generous. However, pension funds were entirely paid by corporations. They hit trouble by the 1970s as inflation and rising costs increased overheads. The IRS stepped in with the 1978 Revenue Act, which provided a way for employers and employees to share the costs of investing in retirement. It wasn’t long before pensions proliferated to become the most common retirement plan offered by Fortune 500 companies. Getting retirement plans right — as many companies did with pension funds — can help a business in many ways. Here are some benefits of retirement plans, so long as you find the right retirement plan to fit your business’s and employee’s needs: Retirement plans keep employees satisfied. Retirement plans make it simple and quick for your employees to save. With the right plan, they can easily keep costs low in their accounts and see the benefit from the employer match (if you offer one). This helps raise morale and attract and retain top talent. Company-sponsored retirement plans that offer employee and employer contributions give your employees a boost so they can get ahead. With that kind of benefit, word will quickly spread that you prioritize your team. In turn, you can raise your profile throughout the industry as an excellent company to work for. In fact, 60% of respondents to a 2022 survey cite their retirement plans as important reasons to stay with their current employers. And nearly half say retirement benefits were important reasons to join companies in the first place. Both numbers rose double digits from a little over a decade ago, showing just how important retirement plans continue to be for workers. Retirement plans help business owners achieve their financial goals. Retirement isn’t just for employees. Business owners often have much of their wealth tied to their businesses. This is true of both small business owners and the wealthiest tycoons in the world, such as Elon Musk and Jeff Bezos. There is nothing wrong with that. However, it’s critical to put some money aside to diversify your wealth. This becomes much more important if your business won’t eventually be “sellable” at a significant level. That’s because small businesses often sell for only two to three times their earnings. In my experience, companies that provide a service, such as dentist offices and marketing firms, don’t sell for more than a year or two of their revenue. It’s rare for a business to sell for more than five times its annual earnings. Even that isn’t enough to retire with. Of course, entrepreneurs and business owners often have exit strategies to unload their businesses. But you should also be aware of your personal retirement plan and consider your eventual exit from the workforce. Retirement plans don’t have to add cost- or time-intensive strain on the business. Although you want a retirement plan that benefits yourself and your employees, you also want to add value to the business. Implementing a retirement plan that requires significant time or money to operate won’t add to the business and could have a negative impact. Your company must be sustainable to provide for your team, and inflation already has many people feeling financially strained and pessimistic. The global pandemic highlighted just how fragile many people’s financial situations are. In a 2022 survey, 7 in 10 Americans report that inflation is a big problem for the country. And only about 30% of people in the U.S. are very confident about living comfortably in retirement. Providing a retirement safety net is important, as we see record numbers of Baby Boomers and Gen Xers delay retirement to stay in the workforce. Even before the pandemic, more than half (53%) of people aged 54-72 were still working. Three common types of retirement plans Providing the most benefit with your company retirement plan requires choosing the right one. There are three main types of retirement plans small businesses should consider, each with pros and cons. Your chosen retirement plan will depend on your specific situation, as there is no one-size-fits-all approach. In addition, be sure to consult with an expert to ensure you’re addressing your unique needs. SIMPLE IRA plan. A Savings Incentive Match Plan for Employees Individual Retirement Account (or a SIMPLE IRA) is an employer-sponsored retirement plan meant to be simple. Any employer with 100 or fewer employees qualifies for this retirement account. In addition, employees who earn at least $5,000 per year are eligible to participate. Although you can loosen these restrictions, you cannot make them stricter. Employees can contribute up to $14,000 in 2022 ($17,000 if they’re 50 or older), and employers can match employee contributions dollar-for-dollar up to 3%. This provides strong motivation for employees to save and max out the free money from their employers. Pros: SIMPLE IRA retirement plans are easy to run and administer. The plans have low costs for both employer and employees (there are usually no service provider costs if done properly). Cons: They often have low savings limits for business owners (typically less than $20,000 annually). The plans don’t offer much flexibility on contributions to employees. 401(k) plan. Employees who sign up for 401(k)s agree to have set percentages of their wages redirected into investment accounts. Employers can match all or part of employees’ contributions, and employees can choose from wide ranges of investment options to fit their personal needs. These retirement plans are deducted from gross (or pre-tax) income, which can reduce the employee’s tax liability for the year. Taxes in a standard 401(k) are paid when the money is withdrawn during retirement. If the funds are withdrawn early, fees apply. Employers can also choose to provide Roth 401(k)s that move tax liability upfront. This is preferable for employees who will have more money later in life (a normal scenario, as people often get raises over time). If you do provide the option of a Roth 401(k), make sure your employees are trained on the tax implications of both 401(k)s and Roth 401(k)s. That way, they can choose the best one for their needs. Pros: 401(k)s offer flexible contribution matches for employees. They are widely recognized benefits and can help with recruiting. Provider costs can be kept low if a lot of due diligence is practiced. The plans have very high savings amounts for owners (typically over $60,000 annually). Cons: Discrimination tests from the U.S. Department of Labor can require more contributions to employees or refunds from owners. Service provider costs are much higher than with SIMPLE IRAs. Cash balance plan. A cash balance retirement plan is usually provided in combination with a 401(k). With these retirement plans, employers make contributions on behalf of participants. Cash balance retirement plans have much higher contribution amounts than 401(k)s and grow tax-deferred at set interest rates. This removes the risk of investing in the market, especially during recessions or depressions. Instead, participants get guaranteed returns and compound interest that are not affected by market conditions. However, there’s no guarantee that contributions will outpace inflation. The IRS has stringent rules regarding cash balance plans, so be sure you fully read and understand them before implementing one. The very last thing you need is the added expense of failing an IRS audit because something simple is missing from your retirement plan. Pros: Cash balance retirement plans have extremely high savings amounts for owners (can be over $200,000 per year). They allow for higher employer contributions to employees. Cons: Plans have high contributions required from businesses to employees. Cash balance retirement plans often have high service provider costs ($15,000 or more annually). They require very specialized advice and business planning. Determining the best plan When deciding which retirement plan to offer, there are a few questions you should ask, such as: How much do you want to save? Although rules on employee retirement are relatively easy to understand, you have different rules as the business owner. You’re part of the team as well, and you deserve a retirement safety net for risking your money in a business venture. Make sure you select a retirement option that benefits you and your employees — without sacrificing business needs. How much cash flow are you ready to commit to the retirement plan, both for service provider costs and contribution matches? It would be nice to offer your employees the world, but that isn’t an economically viable option for your business. You can only spend the money you have, and you can’t afford to tie up too much liquidity in retirement plans by offering huge employer matches. Ultimately, you need to ensure your business has enough cash flow to continue running. What is the primary goal of your company’s retirement plan? Are you looking to recruit and retain top talent? Do you need to save as much money as possible? These are the questions to ask that will ultimately determine which retirement plan is best for your business. Once you’ve identified the goals of your retirement plan, you can select the right retirement benefits for your situation. Reap long-term benefits of retirement plans Getting your retirement plan right from the get-go makes things much more straightforward. Having a system also makes it easier to run your business and ensures your retirement plan benefits employees. Proper planning reduces the resources needed to manage benefits. Plus, it helps keep retirement plans off the chopping block when economic conditions become turbulent. Unfortunately, many businesses and people end up in debt, which can negatively affect your retirement savings. Balancing this is challenging, especially when scaled up to apply to 100 people or more as your company grows. I have seen some retirement plans become a burden not only to a business, but also its employees. What starts as a positive benefit becomes viewed as a negative one by employees because costs are too high and the right service providers aren’t hired. A poorly planned retirement plan could end up doing more harm than good in the long run. So, you should have at least one service provider proactively trying to improve your retirement plan. As your business changes, so too must your benefits. You need someone willing to adapt with your business, rather than a one-and-done provider. With a well-thought-out retirement plan that fits your needs, resources, and budget, it shouldn’t be difficult to implement a plan. Once you do, you’ll notice the boost in morale as employees know they will be on solid footing well into their golden years. A retirement plan can save money, boost revenue, and give you and your employees a comfortable future. Article by Matt Baisden, Due About the Author Matt Baisden is a retirement plan advisor at Plancorp, a full-service wealth management company serving companies and families in 44 states and managing more than $5.5 billion of client assets. Updated on Jul 22, 2022, 3:52 pm (function() { var sc = document.createElement("script"); sc.type = "text/javascript"; sc.async = true;sc.src = "//mixi.media/data/js/95481.js"; sc.charset = "utf-8";var s = document.getElementsByTagName("script")[0]; s.parentNode.insertBefore(sc, s); }()); window._F20 = window._F20 || []; _F20.push({container: 'F20WidgetContainer', placement: '', count: 3}); _F20.push({finish: true});.....»»

Category: blogSource: valuewalkJul 23rd, 2022

In Some Workplaces, It’s Now OK Not to Be OK

Good mental health seemed like a given to Kamini Cormier. Then, came the pandemic. Back in 2020, when she was forced to isolate herself at home with her husband and adolescent daughters, she started feeling aches and pains all over her body. She figured she’d probably caught COVID-19 and scheduled lab tests, and an online… Good mental health seemed like a given to Kamini Cormier. Then, came the pandemic. Back in 2020, when she was forced to isolate herself at home with her husband and adolescent daughters, she started feeling aches and pains all over her body. She figured she’d probably caught COVID-19 and scheduled lab tests, and an online appointment with her doctor. But the results didn’t indicate COVID. Her doctor told her something she never expected to hear: Bottled-up stress was starting to attack her body. “I had to kick it up a notch in caring for my mental health,” says Cormier, 48, who is the Western region business operations lead for technology practice at professional services company Accenture. So, she did something that a growing number of employees have felt more comfortable with since the onset of the pandemic: Cormier looked to her employer for mental health help. She found an online therapist to meet with weekly (paid for by her employer)—and started using a special app provided by her employer that offered calming music. [time-brightcove not-tgx=”true”] “People are talking about mental health issues at work in a way they were previously talking about high cholesterol or diabetes,” says Cormier. It’s about time. Nearly 53 million Americans—roughly one in five adults in the U.S.—experienced some form of mental illness in 2020, according to the National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI). And 27% of Millennials who have recently resigned say they did so because their job was not good for their mental health, according to a recent Y-Pulse study. Perhaps as a response, some 39% of employers updated their health plans since the start of the pandemic to expand access to mental health services, according to the Kaiser Family Foundation’s 2021 Employer Health Benefits Survey. “Ten years ago, no one was talking about mental health at work,” says Jessica Edwards, chief development officer at NAMI. But since the pandemic, more than half of Americans say it’s much easier to discuss their mental health issues. The pandemic effect Working Americans—and their employers—are finally warming up to the notion that mental health care is as critical as physical health care. The mind matters. In what might have seemed unimaginable for a major corporation to do even a few years ago, Bank of America ran a full-page ad in the Washington Post in June 2022: “We drive open and ongoing conversations to help break through the stigma around mental health.” The ad stated that whether it’s through professional counseling, education, or tips for managing stress, “Our goal is to ensure our teammates get the resources they need.” Promoting all aspects of wellness, including mental health, is not new to the company, says Bank of America’s chief human resources officer, Sheri Bronstein. “We listen, monitor and respond to changing needs,” she says. Through various programs and benefits, she says, “We support our teammates and their families through everyday issues, critical moments, and life events — including those we have all experienced and faced with the coronavirus pandemic.” One-third of working Americans say it’s more acceptable now than before the pandemic to ask their employer for mental health support, according to a LinkedIn survey of 2,000 Americans in February 2022. And while 45% of Americans say they would have taken a “mental health” day off before the pandemic, some 65% of working Americans now say they would. Finding mental health allies Cormier is one of them. She also has become an active volunteer member of Accenture’s mental wellness employee resource group. The program helps employees better understand the mental wellness resources offered by the company. Employees are encouraged to take a three-hour virtual training class that, among other things, advises how to respond when someone under stress reaches out to them. Kamini Cormier with her family at Disneyland Cormier gained the confidence to openly discuss her mental health issues in part because Accenture’s CEO made it a priority in virtual meetings. “For me, it’s a personal thing,” says Jimmy Etheredge, CEO of Accenture North America. “I have several family members who have struggled with mental health for a number of years. So, it’s something I’ve always had a lot of passion about. It’s okay not to feel okay.” If the pandemic has a silver lining, he says, it’s the way mental health discussions have moved out of the shadows and into the light at so many companies. He’s made certain that Accenture has taken actions both large and small to de-stigmatize those talks. The company, for instance, created a “Mental Health Ally” program composed of 9,500 employees—including Etheredge and his entire leadership team—who received special training on how to support someone who reaches out for help. Another 170,000 Accenture employees have completed the “Thriving Mind” program to learn how to handle stress and improve their well-being. Those who completed the program report an average 8 to 11% increase in their ability to handle stress and nine out of 10 participants said they felt “significantly” better able to handle workplace challenges afterward, the company reports. Etheredge says it’s also on him to consistently put into action best business practices that support better mental health. Instead of 30-minute phone meetings, he aims for 25 minutes, to allow time to get up and stretch, for those who have a second meeting scheduled during the hour. After years of habitually eating at his desk, he’s also learned to step away for lunch. “I can say that with no shame,” he says. And instead of sending out business emails late in the evening, he uses time-delay, so they’re not sent until the following morning. “I want people to feel safe, seen, and connected,” he says. “Our future growth depends upon the well-being of our talent. We have to be mindful and take care of the people we have.” Still not a prime concern for all businesses Even while most HR professionals say offering mental health care can improve workplace productivity and agree that it increases employee retention, employee mental health hasn’t been a top concern at many companies. Less than a third of the 3,400 HR professionals surveyed this spring by the Society for Human Resource Management said mental health was a prime concern at their company. “It’s becoming a priority, but not a top priority,” says Wendi Safstrom, president of the Society for Human Resource Management Foundation. But according to one survey, some companies may be pulling back on mental health care just as employees are returning to work. While 71% of workers say their company increased the focus on mental health in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic, just 25% say they have kept up that focus in the last year, according to a survey of 500 CEOs and 5,400 full-time employees in the U.S., Australia, Germany, and U.K., by Headspace Health, a digital mental health platform. How digital tools can help Some positive steps were also reported by the survey. The use of digital mental health tools among U.S. employees, such as remote-based therapy and meditation apps, has doubled since 2020, according to the survey conducted in February and March 2022. In 2020, The Hartford insurance company added more digital resources to its benefits plan to help employees with anxiety, including Daylight, a digital anti-anxiety app that teaches techniques to reframe negative thoughts and face difficult emotions. The company also enhanced the concierge support that helps employees find treatment for mental health issues. In April, it added a new medical provider that expanded access to therapy and counseling for employees and their family members. “At The Hartford, we have taken a whole-company approach to remove stigma and create an open, inclusive environment,” says CEO Christopher Swift. A mother’s story Caitlin Tregler with her family. That may be one reason why Caitlin Tregler felt comfortable seeking mental health assistance. Tregler, 33, is a claims team leader at The Hartford, who says she lives with a social anxiety disorder — a form of extreme shyness that can cause her to withdraw from social interactions. It was exacerbated by the pandemic after she got pregnant and gave birth to her second child in the summer of 2020. She found comfort by leaning in on co-workers and utilizing company resources to support her own mental health. She had an emergency C-section and, due to complications, had to stay in the hospital an extra week before she was allowed to return home. For a new mother, at the time there was anxiety aplenty due to COVID-19. Although she was seeing a therapist for her disorder, she quickly realized — after she started working from home — that it was critical to increase her online therapy visits from bi-weekly to weekly. She worked exclusively from home until February 2022, and now goes into the office two days a week. She has recently become involved with an employee resource group focused on removing stigmas around mental health assistance. “I don’t think I could work for a company that’s not as supportive,” she says. Through the pandemic, Tregler learned the hard way about caring for her own mental well-being — including requesting occasional “mental health” days off “to reset myself,” she says. This is precisely what positive mental wellness so often requires—an occasional reset......»»

Category: topSource: timeJun 23rd, 2022

In Some Workplaces, It’s Now OK Not To Be OK

Good mental health seemed like a given to Kamini Cormier. Then, came the pandemic. Back in 2020, when she was forced to isolate herself at home with her husband and adolescent daughters, she started feeling aches and pains all over her body. She figured she’d probably caught COVID-19 and scheduled lab tests, and an online… Good mental health seemed like a given to Kamini Cormier. Then, came the pandemic. Back in 2020, when she was forced to isolate herself at home with her husband and adolescent daughters, she started feeling aches and pains all over her body. She figured she’d probably caught COVID-19 and scheduled lab tests, and an online appointment with her doctor. But the results didn’t indicate COVID. Her doctor told her something she never expected to hear: Bottled-up stress was starting to attack her body. “I had to kick it up a notch in caring for my mental health,” says Cormier, 48, who is the Western region business operations lead for technology practice at professional services company Accenture. So, she did something that a growing number of employees have felt more comfortable with since the onset of the pandemic: Cormier looked to her employer for mental health help. She found an online therapist to meet with weekly (paid for by her employer)—and started using a special app provided by her employer that offered calming music. [time-brightcove not-tgx=”true”] “People are talking about mental health issues at work in a way they were previously talking about high cholesterol or diabetes,” says Cormier. It’s about time. Nearly 53 million Americans—roughly one in five adults in the U.S.—experienced some form of mental illness in 2020, according to the National Alliance on Mental Health (NAMI). And 27% of Millennials who have recently resigned say they did so because their job was not good for their mental health, according to a recent Y-Pulse study. Perhaps as a response, some 39% of employers updated their health plans since the start of the pandemic to expand access to mental health services, according to the Kaiser Family Foundation’s 2021 Employer Health Benefits Survey. “Ten years ago, no one was talking about mental health at work,” says Jessica Edwards, chief development officer at NAMI. But since the pandemic, more than half of Americans say it’s much easier to discuss their mental health issues. The pandemic effect Working Americans—and their employers—are finally warming up to the notion that mental health care is as critical as physical health care. The mind matters. In what might have seemed unimaginable for a major corporation to do even a few years ago, Bank of America ran a full-page ad in the Washington Post in June 2022: “We drive open and ongoing conversations to help break through the stigma around mental health.” The ad stated that whether it’s through professional counseling, education, or tips for managing stress, “Our goal is to ensure our teammates get the resources they need.” Promoting all aspects of wellness, including mental health, is not new to the company, says Bank of America’s chief human resources officer, Sheri Bronstein. “We listen, monitor and respond to changing needs,” she says. Through various programs and benefits, she says, “We support our teammates and their families through everyday issues, critical moments, and life events — including those we have all experienced and faced with the coronavirus pandemic.” One-third of working Americans say it’s more acceptable now than before the pandemic to ask their employer for mental health support, according to a LinkedIn survey of 2,000 Americans in February 2022. And while 45% of Americans say they would have taken a “mental health” day off before the pandemic, some 65% of working Americans now say they would. Finding mental health allies Cormier is one of them. She also has become an active volunteer member of Accenture’s mental wellness employee resource group. The program helps employees better understand the mental wellness resources offered by the company. Employees are encouraged to take a three-hour virtual training class that, among other things, advises how to respond when someone under stress reaches out to them. Kamini Cormier with her family at Disneyland Cormier gained the confidence to openly discuss her mental health issues in part because Accenture’s CEO made it a priority in virtual meetings. “For me, it’s a personal thing,” says Jimmy Etheredge, CEO of Accenture North America. “I have several family members who have struggled with mental health for a number of years. So, it’s something I’ve always had a lot of passion about. It’s okay not to feel okay.” If the pandemic has a silver lining, he says, it’s the way mental health discussions have moved out of the shadows and into the light at so many companies. He’s made certain that Accenture has taken actions both large and small to de-stigmatize those talks. The company, for instance, created a “Mental Health Ally” program composed of 9,500 employees—including Etheredge and his entire leadership team—who received special training on how to support someone who reaches out for help. Another 170,000 Accenture employees have completed the “Thriving Mind” program to learn how to handle stress and improve their well-being. Those who completed the program report an average 8 to 11% increase in their ability to handle stress and nine out of 10 participants said they felt “significantly” better able to handle workplace challenges afterward, the company reports. Etheredge says it’s also on him to consistently put into action best business practices that support better mental health. Instead of 30-minute phone meetings, he aims for 25 minutes, to allow time to get up and stretch, for those who have a second meeting scheduled during the hour. After years of habitually eating at his desk, he’s also learned to step away for lunch. “I can say that with no shame,” he says. And instead of sending out business emails late in the evening, he uses time-delay, so they’re not sent until the following morning. “I want people to feel safe, seen, and connected,” he says. “Our future growth depends upon the well-being of our talent. We have to be mindful and take care of the people we have.” Still not a prime concern for all businesses Even while most HR professionals say offering mental health care can improve workplace productivity and agree that it increases employee retention, employee mental health hasn’t been a top concern at many companies. Less than a third of the 3,400 HR professionals surveyed this spring by the Society for Human Resource Management said mental health was a prime concern at their company. “It’s becoming a priority, but not a top priority,” says Wendi Safstrom, president of the Society for Human Resource Management Foundation. But according to one survey, some companies may be pulling back on mental health care just as employees are returning to work. While 71% of workers say their company increased the focus on mental health in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic, just 25% say they have kept up that focus in the last year, according to a survey of 500 CEOs and 5,400 full-time employees in the U.S., Australia, Germany, and U.K., by Headspace Health, a digital mental health platform. How digital tools can help Some positive steps were also reported by the survey. The use of digital mental health tools among U.S. employees, such as remote-based therapy and meditation apps, has doubled since 2020, according to the survey conducted in February and March 2022. In 2020, The Hartford insurance company added more digital resources to its benefits plan to help employees with anxiety, including Daylight, a digital anti-anxiety app that teaches techniques to reframe negative thoughts and face difficult emotions. The company also enhanced the concierge support that helps employees find treatment for mental health issues. In April, it added a new medical provider that expanded access to therapy and counseling for employees and their family members. “At The Hartford, we have taken a whole-company approach to remove stigma and create an open, inclusive environment,” says CEO Christopher Swift. A mother’s story Caitlin Tregler with her family. That may be one reason why Caitlin Tregler felt comfortable seeking mental health assistance. Tregler, 33, is a claims team leader at The Hartford, who says she lives with a social anxiety disorder — a form of extreme shyness that can cause her to withdraw from social interactions. It was exacerbated by the pandemic after she got pregnant and gave birth to her second child in the summer of 2020. She found comfort by leaning in on co-workers and utilizing company resources to support her own mental health. She had an emergency C-section and, due to complications, had to stay in the hospital an extra week before she was allowed to return home. For a new mother, at the time there was anxiety aplenty due to COVID-19. Although she was seeing a therapist for her disorder, she quickly realized — after she started working from home — that it was critical to increase her online therapy visits from bi-weekly to weekly. She worked exclusively from home until February 2022, and now goes into the office two days a week. She has recently become involved with an employee resource group focused on removing stigmas around mental health assistance. “I don’t think I could work for a company that’s not as supportive,” she says. Through the pandemic, Tregler learned the hard way about caring for her own mental well-being — including requesting occasional “mental health” days off “to reset myself,” she says. This is precisely what positive mental wellness so often requires—an occasional reset......»»

Category: topSource: timeJun 22nd, 2022

Victor Davis Hanson: The Subordinate Citizen

Victor Davis Hanson: The Subordinate Citizen Authored by Victor Davis Hanson, I recently led a group of about 100 citizens on a tour of Israel for nearly two weeks. Before returning to the United States, all participants had to indicate their vaccination status and take a COVID-19 test for reentry. Anxieties swept the group as Israeli testers swabbed them. Anyone testing positive would have to delay his or her return. That quarantine would entail spending thousands of dollars in finding scarce hotel accommodations, additional living expenses, and rebooked airline tickets—depending upon the length of the mandatory sequestration. Contrast this to the tens of thousands of foreign nationals now mustering to cross illegally into the United States this summer. They follow the already 2 million who’ve entered the country unlawfully since Joe Biden became president. Does any foreign national worry about being tested for COVID-19, much less fear being turned away if he tests positive or lacks proof of vaccination? Or do we scrutinize far more carefully U.S. citizens entering their own country legally than we do noncitizens crossing our borders unlawfully? For that matter, the government is still determined to fire thousands of federal workers and U.S. military personnel who have refused the new mRNA vaccinations. Most citizens who declined to be vaccinated feared that the injections were dangerous to their health or ineffective in preventing COVID-19 infections, and that they wouldn’t necessarily lead to herd immunity. Are 2 million unvaccinated foreigners arriving unaudited from impoverished countries less of a threat during the pandemic than fully audited American citizens employed by the federal government? Why would we fire unvaccinated Americans but welcome equally unvaccinated noncitizens? The Biden administration blasted Trump’s southern border wall and canceled all further funding. Yet Biden just appropriated $40 billion to Ukraine to ensure it doesn’t lose its border war against Russian aggression. That’s a tiny percentage of the federal budget. But the aid is full of symbolic irony nonetheless. The multibillion-dollar appropriation would have more than covered the completion of the entire southern border wall. An outside observer might conclude that the U.S. government intends to uphold the universal idea of national sovereignty, internationally recognized borders, and the security of citizens inside its own country—as long as they’re not American citizens. There are currently over 550 “sanctuary” jurisdictions established by state and local governments. They aim to prevent federal immigration authorities from deporting illegal aliens, including tens of thousands detained by law enforcement for committing additional crimes. The nation hasn’t experienced such blatant nullifications of federal laws since the efforts of pre-Civil War Southern states—or the 1960s Southern governors who defied federal efforts to enforce civil rights legislation. Can any citizens now simply vote to declare their hometown or local county immune from federal legislation? Can a city or county nullify as it pleases the IRS tax code, endangered species laws, or federal gun registration legislation? Or is nullification only permissible in the interest of noncitizens and lawbreakers? These asymmetries also transcend noncitizens. We have developed entire classes of American elite citizens who are not subject to the enforcement of the law—at least as it’s applied to others who are either less influential or ideologically incorrect. Federal prosecutors sought to jail retired Lt. Gen. Michael Flynn for six months for not telling the truth to federal agents. They put another Trump subordinate, George Papadopoulos, in jail for two weeks for lying to federal prosecutors. Recently, the FBI stormed into an airport to arrest former Trump adviser Peter Navarro for contempt of a congressional subpoena. OK, defying federal law has consequences. Or does it? Former Obama administration Attorney General Eric Holder brazenly defied congressional subpoenas and was found in contempt—a historic first. Did the FBI ever arrest Holder—much less as he boarded an airplane? James Clapper, former director of national intelligence, confessed that he flat-out lied under oath to a congressional committee. So did former CIA chief John Brennan—twice! Andrew McCabe repeatedly lied to federal investigators as acting director of the FBI. Were any of them arrested or tried in the manner of Flynn, Papadopoulos, or Navarro? If not, what then is left of the foundation of U.S. citizenship (universal equal treatment under the law)? There are lots of reasons why the looming November midterms will likely see historic levels of pushback against the Biden administration, Democratic candidates, and the entire progressive agenda. Take your pick of the many self-induced Biden disasters, such as hyperinflation, unaffordable gasoline, out-of-control crime, and foreign-policy humiliations. But one reason voters are furious is rarely expressed. Americans feel that ordinary citizens like them, who follow the rules, are treated more harshly by their own government than are both noncitizens and our own progressive elites. And they’re right, and they’re angry, and we will hear from them very soon. Tyler Durden Wed, 06/15/2022 - 21:40.....»»

Category: smallbizSource: nytJun 15th, 2022

Dominion Voting Machines In 16 States Vulnerable To Hacks: Cyber Agency

Dominion Voting Machines In 16 States Vulnerable To Hacks: Cyber Agency Dominion Voting Systems machines used in at least 16 states have software weaknesses that make them vulnerable to hacking, the U.S. Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Agency (CISA) has warned election officials.  According to AP, which obtained the CISA advisory ahead of an anticipated Friday release, the agency said it has no evidence these vulnerabilities have actually been exploited, but is urging states to implement measures to prevent and detect hacking. "One of the most serious vulnerabilities could allow malicious code to be spread from the election management system to machines throughout a jurisdiction...The vulnerability could be exploited by someone with physical access or by someone who is able to remotely infect other systems that are connected to the internet if election workers then use USB sticks to bring data from an infected system into the election management system," AP reports.  The 16 states weren't identified. According to the company's website, Dominion products are used in 28 states and nine of the 20 largest counties in the country.  The CISA advisory was prompted by a 25,000-word report by J. Alex Halderman, a University of Michigan computer scientist. He prepared the report as an expert witness in a federal lawsuit filed by voting integrity activists who want Georgia's machines replaced with paper ballots. The suit was filed in 2017 and is unrelated to any allegation of a specific hack.   Election-hackers could exploit other weaknesses to forge cards technicians use to access—and change—the machines' software. “Attackers could then mark ballots inconsistently with voters’ intent, alter recorded votes or even identify voters’ secret ballots,” Halderman told AP.  State and federal election officials maintain they have no evidence that Dominion equipment was tampered with to change 2020 election tallies. Dominion is suing Fox News, Rudy Giuliani and others for defamation, over their suggestions the company's voting machines enabled fraud in that election.  CISA is recommending that, in jurisdictions where the Dominion voting machines are used, officials should implement safeguards such as testing of machines before and after elections, post-election audits, and asking voters to confirm the readable portion of machine-generated paper ballots.   However, even according to the CISA advisory, voter confirmation of the human-readable, computer-generated paper ballot can be skirted by hackers. Automated counting of ballots is done by reading a QR code printed on them, and CISA warned that some of the software vulnerabilities could allow hackers to generate a code that's "inconsistent with the human-readable portion of the paper ballot.” Halderman's report is being kept under seal; U.S. District Judge Amy Totenberg says she's wary the report, if made public, would serve as a user's manual for bad actors. Halderman's report has been designated "attorneys' eyes only," which means even the parties to the suit aren't allowed to read it.  Dominion is at the center of the CISA advisory because the Georgia lawsuit that prompted Halderman's report centers on Dominion machines, which are used for nearly all in-person voting in the state.  "I think it’s more likely than not that serious problems would be found in equipment from other vendors if they were subjected to the same kind of testing,” said Halderman. Halderman and his students have successfully hacked voting machines in their own tests. In 2017 testimony for the Senate intelligence committee, Halderman, speaking about voting machines in general, said:  “We’ve created attacks that can spread from machine to machine like a computer virus and silently change election outcomes. We studied touch screens and optical scan systems. And in every single case, we found ways for attackers to sabotage machines and to steal votes.” Halderman recommended universal adoption of optical scan ballots, where voters manually fill in paper ballots that are scanned and counted by a computer—along with the inspection of a sufficient quantity of paper ballots to verify that optical scanners are compiling an accurate tally. "Paper provides a resilient physical record of the vote that simply can’t be compromised by a cyberattack," he said. Tyler Durden Wed, 06/01/2022 - 22:25.....»»

Category: smallbizSource: nytJun 1st, 2022

10,000 Truck Drivers Taken Off The Road Due To Marijuana Violations

10,000 Truck Drivers Taken Off The Road Due To Marijuana Violations Five years ago in 2017, when the US labor shortage was in its nascent stages and when the US was years away from a wage-price spiral, the Fed’s Beige Book surveys of economic activity across the country in April, May and July all noted the inability of employers to find workers able to pass drug screenings: “It’s not just a matter of labor participation; there is also a lot of collateral economic damage,” said Alan B. Krueger, a Princeton economist who wrote a widely discussed paper on the subject last year. In other words, too many people were high 24/7 to be gainfully employed. Well, fast forward to today when with the US in the depth of the biggest labor crisis in history, when there are almost two job openings for every unemployed worker (according to the latest JOLTs report), we learn that just marijuana violations have taken over 10,000 truck drivers off the road this year, adding more to unprecedented supply chain disruptions. While the COVID-19 pandemic has been the catalyst for a myriad of supply-chain challenges, including delayed packages, bare grocery store shelves, and inflated prices, there are other bottlenecks also causing supply chain issues, including a lack of truck drivers to transport goods from one place to another. In late 2021, the American Trucking Associations reported that the driver shortage had risen to an all-time high of 80,000, partly due to the aging population and shrinking wages. In response, the Biden administration vowed in December to get more truck drivers on the road by boosting recruitment efforts and expediting the issuing of commercial licenses. However, that won’t have an effect on another hurdle: disparate marijuana laws across the U.S. that are contributing to an increase in violations. According to KPLC News, in 2022, a growing number of truckers are being taken off the job, which could soon worsen the already suffering supply chain. As more states legalize recreational marijuana—four of which did so in the past year and three more are expected to by the end of 2022—more truck drivers have tested positive for the substance. As of April 1, 2022, 10,276 commercial vehicle drivers have tested positive for marijuana use. By the same time in 2021, there had been 7,750 violations. That’s a 32.6% increase year over year. Truck drivers who travel cross-country face inconsistent state regulations as 19 states have legalized recreational marijuana and 37 states permit it for medicinal purposes. But even if a driver used marijuana or hemp-based products like CBD while off duty in a state where those substances are legal, they could still be faced with a violation due to the Department of Transportation’s (DOT) zero-tolerance policy at the federal level. “While states may allow medical use of marijuana, federal laws and policy do not recognize any legitimate medical use of marijuana,” a DOT handbook for commercial vehicle drivers reads. “Even if a state allows the use of marijuana, DOT regulations treat its use as the same as the use of any other illicit drug.” Stacker looked at what’s causing thousands of truckers to be removed from their jobs, and the looming domino effect of the continued supply chain disruptions. Under regulations set forth by the DOT, truck drivers are tested for drug use—including marijuana—prior to starting a new job. They can also be tested at random, as well as after accidents. In January 2020, the DOT’s Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration also upped the random drug testing rate from 25% of the average number of driver positions to 50%. Truck drivers are mainly screened for drug use via urinalysis, but there are now new saliva tests being proposed as well. At worst, if a driver fails just one drug test, that can be grounds for termination under DOT regulations. At best, they are temporarily taken off the road and required to complete an evaluation with a substance misuse professional who determines their rehabilitation process, which can sometimes take months. As of January 2020, employers are also required to list commercial drivers who fail a drug test in the FMCSA’s Drug & Alcohol Clearinghouse. These violations remain searchable for five years. Potential employers are also required to check the Clearinghouse to see if a commercial driver had any previous violations, which would prevent them from being hired. In recent years, more states have legalized both recreational and medical marijuana, making it more widely available and used. However, marijuana use is still prohibited for commercial truck drivers, state laws and medical prescriptions aside. According to the FMCSA, “a driver may not use marijuana even if [it] is recommended by a licensed medical practitioner.” The DOT has maintained its zero-tolerance stance for marijuana use even as it’s become legalized, saying, “Legalization of marijuana use by States and other jurisdictions also has not modified the application of U.S. Department of Transportation drug testing regulations.” A commercial driver could use marijuana while off-duty, not driving, and in a state where marijuana is legal, but still test positive for the substance for up to a month later and be taken off the road. The American Addiction Centers says for infrequent marijuana users—meaning those who use the substance less than two times a week—it can show up in their urine for up to three days. Someone who uses marijuana several times a week can test positive for up to three weeks, and those who use marijuana even more frequently can “test positive for a month or longer.” Meanwhile, shortages, factory closures, and goods waiting to be unloaded at ports are just some of the current issues affecting the supply chain across America. Trucking transports 72% of products within the U.S., according to a report from the White House, but a growing number of commercial drivers are sidelined for marijuana use. The return-to-duty process that commercial vehicle drivers must undergo once faced with a marijuana violation can keep them from returning to work at all. According to the FMCSA’s monthly report, 89,650 commercial drivers are currently in prohibited status as of April 1, 2022, but 67,368 of them have not begun the RTD process. If violations continue at the current rate, the truck driver shortage will further disrupt the supply chain, which means higher prices not just for commodities but the cost of living at large. Tyler Durden Wed, 05/25/2022 - 22:40.....»»

Category: smallbizSource: nytMay 25th, 2022

Inflation breeds a new pressure point that employers should be wary of

Employers have been putting a sharper focus on burnout and mental health in the workplace, but there's a growing pressure point for workers that companies can't afford to ignore......»»

Category: topSource: bizjournalsMay 25th, 2022

NYC Reports First Suspected Monkeypox Case As WHO Convenes Emergency Meeting

NYC Reports First Suspected Monkeypox Case As WHO Convenes Emergency Meeting Update (1608ET): Officials in New York City say they are monitoring the state's first suspected case of monkeypox in a patient receiving care at Bellevue Hospital, where preliminary tests have been performed to confirm the disease, according to the Wall Street Journal. So far, 87 cases have been confirmed worldwide and 57 are under investigation, according to the World Health Organization. Earlier Friday Israel became the 13th country to report a suspected case. The disease was also reported on Friday by Germany, Australia, France and Belgium, while two cases were confirmed in Canada. Monkeypox causes a contagious rash similar to chickenpox in humans, and is spread through close contact. Symptoms, which usually appear within the first five days of infection, include muscle aches, chills, fever, swollen glands, exhaustion - and of course, pustules. The mortality rate for monkeypox ranges from 1% to 15%, and is endemic in three countries; the Democratic Republic of Congo, Nigeria and the Central African Republic. The first reported case detected in the UK had traveled to Nigeria, after which they returned with a rash, according to the WHO. *  *  * Update (1055ET): The World Health Organization is convening a group of leading experts for an emergency meeting about the ongoing monkeypox outbreak, according to the Telegraph. The meeting comes as 12 countries have reported recent cases, with the CDC confirming at least one in the United States. "I'm sure that ultimately this will be the largest outbreak of monkeypox that we've had outside of the endemic areas in Africa," Daniel Bausch, infectious disease expert and president of the American Society of Tropical Medicine & Hygiene told Axios. That said, Bausch doesn't think there's cause for concern just yet. "I don't think there's a reason for panic. I don't think we're going to have tens of thousands of cases." Prof Anne Rimoin, professor of epidemiology at the UCLA and a world renowned monkeypox expert, told the Telegraph that vaccinating close contacts of confirmed cases, also known as ring vaccination, is a good option for health officials. She added that the public should not, at this stage, be too concerned. "For your average person I would not be overly alarmed. If you have a rash, contact your health provider, a rash that is unusual or looks like monkeypox," she said. "If you think you've been exposed to somebody who has monkeypox that has this kind of a rash I would I would identify yourself and talk to your healthcare provider." So COVID was "not a major threat to the people of the US" (Fauci), Subprime is "contained" (Bernanke), and "I don't believe another financial crisis will occur in our lifetimes (Yellen)... but now we shouldn't be worried about Monkeypox... *  *  * What in the world is going on?  As Michael Snyder detailed earlier, in the past, we were told that monkeypox was not a major concern because it was so difficult to spread it from person to person.  But now monkeypox seems to be spreading like wildfire.  On May 7th, the very first case in the western world in 2022 was confirmed in the United Kingdom.  Now here we are less than two weeks later and there are now dozens of confirmed and suspected cases in twelve different countries outside of Africa.   Yesterday, I discussed the cases that have popped up in Spain, Portugal and the United States.  Now there are significantly more nations that are reporting confirmed or suspected cases, and that should greatly alarm all of us. The confirmed case in Massachusetts involves a man that had recently traveled to Canada, and so it was suspected that there were additional cases among the Canadians.  Earlier today, we learned that “thirteen probable cases are being investigated in Canada”, and the test results for those thirteen “probable cases” should be released soon. Meanwhile, a case has been confirmed all the way up in Sweden… ‘One person in the Stockholm region has been confirmed to be infected with monkeypox,’ Sweden’s Public Health Agency said in a statement. The infected person ‘is not seriously ill, but has been given care,’ according to the agency. And it appears that there could be multiple cases in Italy… Italy’s patient was holidaying in the Canary Islands and is now in isolation at the Spallanzani hospital in Rome, the hospital said. Another two other suspected cases are being monitored, it added. The first case of monkeypox in Australia has been confirmed in the state of Victoria from a man in his 30s who recently returned from the United Kingdom. “There are few close contacts that have been identified, obviously the GP is one of them,” Victoria Chief Health Officer (CHO) Brett Sutton told reporters on Friday, referring to the general practitioner who referred the man for testing. Belgium has a second case... Een tweede geval van het apenpokkenvirus werd vannacht gediagnosticeerd op ons labo in Leuven in een staal van een man uit Vlaams-Brabant. Mensen die bij zichzelf letsels zoals op deze foto herkennen, kunnen best contact opnemen met hun arts. pic.twitter.com/ptGbQ9jAPf — Marc Van Ranst (@vanranstmarc) May 20, 2022 A case of monkeypox has been confirmed in Munich, Germany. Bavaria's Health Minister Klaus Holetschek pointed this out on Friday. The patient comes from Brazil and is already isolated in the Munich Clinic Schwabing. A first case of infection with monkeypox was detected in France on Thursday in Île-de-France, announced this Friday the Directorate General of Health. “As soon as his infection was suspected, this person was taken care of. In the absence of seriousness, he is isolated at his home”, specifies the ministry. The patient is a young man of 29 with no history of travel to a country where the virus is circulating. There may be some cases of the monkeypox virus in the Netherlands, RIVM reports Friday. Samples are currently being examined in a lab. The result of this is not yet known. This was never supposed to happen. Even though monkeypox is a relatively new disease, cases were always extremely rare, and a global outbreak was always considered to be extremely unlikely because it was so hard to spread monkeypox. Has something changed? A prominent infectious disease expert at Johns Hopkins University is telling us that this virus “is spreading via physical touch”, and that it can spread “through respiratory droplets” under certain circumstances… Dr Amesh Adalja, an infectious disease expert at Johns Hopkins University in Baltimore, Maryland, also told DailyMail.com that the virus is spreading via physical touch – and that it only spreads through respiratory droplets in the air in people that are already exhibiting symptoms. That is extremely alarming to hear. But before we jump to conclusions, it is important to note that we still really don’t know too much about this virus.  It hasn’t been around for that long, and scientists have long warned that it could potentially mutate into a more transmissible form… For decades, a few scientists have voiced concerns that the monkeypox virus could have become better at infecting people—ironically because we eradicated its relative, smallpox, in the late 1970s. The smallpox vaccine incidentally protected against monkeypox. And when new generations were born into a world without either smallpox or smallpox-vaccination campaigns, they grew up vulnerable to monkeypox. In the Democratic Republic of Congo, this dwindling immunity meant that monkeypox infections increased 20-fold in the three decades after smallpox vanished, as Rimoin showed in 2010. That gives the virus more chances to evolve into a more transmissible pathogen in humans. To date, its R0—the average number of people who catch the disease from one infected person—has been less than 1, which means that outbreaks naturally peter out. But it could eventually evolve above that threshold, and cause more protracted epidemics, as Bergstrom simulated in 2003. “We saw monkeypox as a ticking time bomb,” he told me. Hopefully those that are investigating this new outbreak will soon be able to tell us whether the virus has mutated or not. Meanwhile, authorities are claiming that it seems to be particularly spreading among men that have sex with other men.  The following comes from CNN… Both in the United Kingdom and Canada, health authorities have noted that many of the monkeypox cases were identified in men who have sex with men — but the virus is not typically described as a sexually transmitted infection and investigations into these recent cases continue. If this new outbreak continues to grow, it will only be a matter of time before people start clamoring for vaccines.  Health officials say that the existing smallpox vaccine should offer at least some protection against monkeypox, and they are already considering giving it to certain groups… CDC officials are evaluating whether smallpox vaccine should be offered to healthcare workers treating monkeypox patients and other people who may be at “high risk” for exposure to monkeypox, McQuiston said. “It’s definitely something that we’re discussing and evaluating, whether offering smallpox vaccine makes sense in the current setting,” she said. “We’ll be closer to making recommendations for that in the next day or so.” And it is being reported that there are enough doses of the smallpox vaccine “to vaccinate basically everyone in the U.S.”… And as another bioterrorism precaution, stockpiles of three smallpox vaccines are large enough “to vaccinate basically everyone in the U.S.” Inglesby said. And though monkeypox patients usually get just supportive care, a possible treatment does exist and has also been stockpiled: Tecovirimat, or TPOXX, was developed to treat smallpox but would likely work for monkeypox too. Hopefully we never get to a point where officials feel like a full-blown vaccination campaign is needed.  After what we have been through with COVID, nobody wants to see that. Apparently a monkeypox vaccine already exists as well, and the New York Post is reporting that the U.S. has just ordered “13 million additional doses”… The US has ordered 13 million additional doses of the monkeypox vaccine after a Massachusetts man contracted the rare — but potentially severe — virus, officials said Thursday. The massive $119 million order of Jynneos jabs — which can be used to treat both the monkeypox virus and smallpox — was created by the biotechnology company Bavarian Nordic, according to Newsweek. Authorities in the western world are certainly acting as if this is going to turn into something big. Time will tell whether that turns out to be true or not. But without a doubt, I believe that we have entered a time in history when there will regularly be great pestilences. In secret labs all over the globe, mad scientists are feverishly trying to make the deadliest diseases on the planet even deadlier. I could not possibly overstate the foolishness of conducting such “research”, but no matter how much we object they are just going to continue their work. Over time, it is inevitable that at least some of their creations will get loose, and vast numbers of people could end up dead as a result. *  *  * It is finally here! Michael’s new book entitled “7 Year Apocalypse” is now available in paperback and for the Kindle on Amazon. Tyler Durden Fri, 05/20/2022 - 16:10.....»»

Category: dealsSource: nytMay 20th, 2022

The New Rift Between WHO And China

The New Rift Between WHO And China Authored by Jeffrey Tucker via The Brownstone Institute, From the beginning of the pandemic, the World Health Organization and China’s CCP have worked and spoken hand-in-glove, culminating in the Potemkin Village junket of mid-February 2020. The WHO-sponsored travel report—how wonderfully China had performed!—was written and signed by American public health officials who recommended Wuhan-style lockdowns, a disastrous policy that further inspired most governments in the world to do the same. Twenty-six months later, it turns out that China in fact had not “eliminated the virus fully within its borders,” contrary to the over-the-top claims of TV pundit Devi Sridhar in her new book “Preventable.” They only pushed cases into the future, as the CCP discovered when positive tests appeared all over Shanghai, leading to 7 weeks of brutal lockdowns. This move on China’s part has been a disaster for the country and the world economy, and presently endangers the financial and technological future of the entire country. For Xi Jinping, lockdowns and zero-covid were his greatest achievement, one which was celebrated the world over, causing his political pride to swell beyond all bounds. Now, he cannot back off lest he face possible losses in upcoming party elections. Just this past weekend, he made it clear to the entire government that there would be no backing off the zero-covid policy: the CCP will “unswervingly adhere to the general policy of ‘dynamic zero-Covid,’ and resolutely fight against any words and deeds that distort, doubt or deny our country’s epidemic prevention policies.” The problem is acute: vast numbers in China likely need to acquire natural immunity via exposure. The lockdown policy likely puts a damper on the achievement of endemicity. That means long-term damage to China’s future. Sensing this problem, the head of the WHO, Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, offered a mild criticism: “Considering the behavior of the virus, I think a shift will be very important,” adding that he had discussed this point with Chinese scientists. What happened next is truly fascinating: Tedros’s comments were censored all over China and searches for the name Tedros were immediately blocked within the country. Implausibly, merely by stating the incredibly obvious point, Tedros has made himself an enemy of the state. Meanwhile, another WHO/China partisan, Bill Gates, has been sheepishly saying something very similar in interviews, namely that the virus cannot be eradicated. It’s not just Tedros and Gates who are trying to flee their advocacy of lockdowns. Anthony Fauci himself denied that the United States ever had “complete lockdowns”—which is technically correct but not because he didn’t demand them. On March 16, 2020, Fauci faced the national press and read from a CDC directive: “In states with evidence of community transmission, bars, restaurants, food courts, gyms and other indoor and outdoor venues where groups of people congregate should be closed.” In fact, one gets the strong sense that governments around the world are pretending as if the whole pathetic and terrible affair never happened, even as they are attempting to reserve the power to do it all over again should the need arise. On May 12, 2022, many governments around the world gathered for a video call and agreed to pour many billions more into covid work, and reaffirm their dedication to an “all-of-society” and “whole-of-government” approach to infectious disease. The U.S. government under the administration readily agreed to this idea. Leaders reinforced the value of whole-of-government and whole-of-society approaches to bring the acute phase of COVID-19 to an end, and the importance of being prepared for future pandemic threats. The Summit was focused on preventing complacency, recognizing the pandemic is not over; protecting the most vulnerable, including the elderly, immunocompromised people, and frontline and health workers; and preventing future health crises, recognizing now is the time to secure political and financial commitment for pandemic preparedness. The Summit catalyzed bold commitments. Financially, leaders committed to provide nearly $2 billion in new funding—additional to pledges made earlier in 2022. These funds will accelerate access to vaccinations, testing, and treatments, and they will contribute to a new pandemic preparedness and global health security fund housed at the World Bank. Is it progress to see these people throwing around language from the much-criticized but now wholly vindicated Great Barrington Declaration? Doubtful. You can’t make a bad policy better by tossing around words. There is every indication from this statement that there will be no apologies, no regrets, and no changes in the default position that governments must always and everywhere have maximum power to control any pathogen of their choosing. Despite Tedros’s censored words, it’s no wonder that Xi Jinping continues to feel vindicated and affirmed, and sees no real political danger in choosing his own power over the health and well-being of his people. Governments around the world still cannot muster the courage to make a full-throated and solid attack on zero-covid, for fear of the implications of such a concession. Nudges and hints, even from the WHO, will not do it. Tyler Durden Mon, 05/16/2022 - 19:45.....»»

Category: blogSource: zerohedgeMay 16th, 2022

Employers are being warned that the use of algorithms and AI technology in hiring could violate the Americans with Disabilities Act

The DOJ and EEOC warned the use of AI technologies could screen out people whose disabilities would not affect their ability to do a job. Miami, Florida, man in electric wheelchair crossing busy street.Jeffrey Greenberg/UCG/Universal Images Group via Getty Images The technologies could screen out people with disabilities who are able to do the job, the DOJ and EEOC said. Facial and voice analysis technologies may rule out qualified people with autism or speech impairments. Personality tests could screen out those with mild mental disabilities. The use of algorithms and AI technology in hiring workers could risk violating the Americans with Disabilities Act, employers have been warned.Increasing use of algorithm and AI tools by employers during hiring processes, in performance monitoring, and in determining pay or promotions, could result in discrimination against people with disabilities, the Department of Justice and Equal Employment Opportunity Commission said in a joint statement Thursday, warning it would be a violation of the act."Algorithmic tools should not stand as a barrier for people with disabilities seeking access to jobs," Attorney General Kristen Clarke of the Justice Department's Civil Rights Division said in a statement.While the ADA is in place to protect disabled citizens, according to the US Bureau of Labor Statistics, only 19% of disabled Americans were employed in 2021.EEOC chair Charlotte Burrows said last year that about 83% of employers and 90% of Fortune 500 companies use automated tools in their hiring processes, Bloomberg Law reported.The DOJ and EEOC said that people whose disabilities would not affect their ability to do the job could be screened out by the use of algorithms and AI technology in the hiring process. They cited as an example the termination of an automated interview with an applicant in a wheelchair if the applicant answered "no" to being asked if they could stand for long periods of time.Facial and voice analysis technologies may rule out qualified people with autism or speech impairments, the departments said, while personality tests could screen out those with mild mental disabilities."This is essentially turbocharging the way in which employers can discriminate against people who may otherwise be fully qualified for the positions that they're seeking," Clarke told NBC News.The EEOC released a report which includes tips for employers to ensure they comply with the ADA, and for disabled applicants and employees who may have had their rights under the act violated."New technologies should not become new ways to discriminate. If employers are aware of the ways AI and other technologies can discriminate against persons with disabilities, they can take steps to prevent it," Burrows said in a statement. The announcement comes after the EEOC launched an investigation in October 2021 to look into how algorithms and AI technology impact fairness in employer decision-making. The body filed its first algorithmic discrimination case on May 5, suing a company that the EEOC said had used software that automatically rejected applicants over a certain age.Read the original article on Business Insider.....»»

Category: topSource: businessinsiderMay 13th, 2022

Number Of US Workers Testing Positive For Marijuana Reaches 2-Decade High

Number Of US Workers Testing Positive For Marijuana Reaches 2-Decade High Thanks in part to the widespread legalization of marijuana, so many American workers are testing positive for marijuana (and other drugs) that business owners in the US are being forced to relax and reassess their policies on pre-employment drug screens in order to accommodate workers who, just a few years ago, wouldn't have been welcome in the labor pool. According to WSJ, of the more than six million urine screens processed through Quest Diagnostics (one of the country’s largest drug-testing laboratories), 3.9% came back positive for marijuana, the highest level in two decades. That represents an 8% increase over the number of positive tests from 2020, and a 50% increase since 2017. During that time, the number of states where marijuana has been legalized for recreational has increased to18 from eight (plus Washington DC). Surging rates of marijuana positivity are prompting fewer companies to even bother testing their employees for THC (for those who are unfamiliar, THC is the active ingredient in marijuana that's primarily responsible for its effects) in the first place. And in some states, employers have been legally barred from factoring in marijuana test results into their hiring decisions. But in states that haven't embraced legal marijuana, this trend is becoming a significant barrier to entry that's having a cascading effect across the labor pool, as one 'expert' quoted by WSJ pointed out. "We certainly heard from some of our employer customers that they were having difficulty finding qualified workers to pass the drug test..." Unfortunately, marijuana isn't the only drug that's showing up more frequently in urine screens. Over the past year, the share of American workers who have tested positive for other drugs has risen 4.6% to the highest level since 2001 (the heyday of the American prescription painkiller crisis), according to Quest. One employment agency said it has tried to convince some of its clients to ease its policies on positive drug tests for THC (except for jobs where federal regulations require negative drug tests). But this lax attitude has sometimes had unintended consequences. For example, more workers have become comfortable with showing up to work high, or reeking of marijuana smoke. One recruiter shared a story about one employee being fired after openly hitting their marijuana vape pen at work. But as the number of job openings continues to outpace the number of workers available to fill them, how much longer until pre-employment drug screens become a thing of the past for most workers. Tyler Durden Fri, 04/01/2022 - 18:40.....»»

Category: blogSource: zerohedgeApr 1st, 2022

Growing Number Of Experts Call On US Govt To Recognize Natural Immunity

Growing Number Of Experts Call On US Govt To Recognize Natural Immunity Authored by Zachary Stieber via The Epoch Times, A growing number of experts are urging the U.S. government to formally recognize natural immunity, or the protection given by recovering from COVID-19. More experts are arguing that the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s (CDC) recommended vaccination schedule should feature fewer doses—or none at all—for people who have contracted COVID-19 and survived. “Natural infection should count as two doses,” Dr. Paul Offit, professor of pediatrics at the Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia, and an adviser to the Food and Drug Administration on vaccines, told The Epoch Times. Offit and two former FDA officials stated in a recent op-ed that “requiring people who have been infected to get three shots is overkill at best—a waste of valuable doses—and an unnecessary risk at worst (given that vaccines have side effects, albeit rare ones).” Under current CDC guidance, all Americans 12 and older are advised to get three doses of the Moderna or Pfizer COVID-19 vaccines. The CDC defines fully vaccinated as people who get two shots of the Moderna or Pfizer COVID-19 vaccines, or the single-shot Johnson & Johnson jab. The CDC’s guidance isn’t binding but is cited by companies and jurisdictions when imposing vaccine mandates. Many mandates force workers or residents to get fully vaccinated; others require a booster on top of the primary series because of waning protection. Few have exemptions for natural immunity. Eric Topol, founder and director of the Scripps Research Translational Institute, wrote in a separate op-ed that the increasing number of studies showing how strong and long-lasting natural immunity is should prompt the CDC to redefine fully vaccinated in two ways: People who have gotten a primary series and not been infected should need a third dose, while those with prior infection should only need one shot. Recent research on the matter includes a study funded by Johnson & Johnson and the U.S. government that found that previous infection alone provided 90 percent protection against moderate to severe COVID-19—the vaccine only provided 56 percent protection—and a paper backed by the CDC that found natural immunity was more protective than vaccination against the Delta variant of SARS-CoV-2. Some experts, such as Offit, push for what’s known as hybrid immunity. They point to papers that suggest that people who have been infected and go on to get a single vaccine dose are better protected than those with prior infection who remain unvaccinated, including a Cleveland Clinic study published earlier in February. Dr. David Boulware, a professor of medicine at the University of Minnesota, agrees. A transmission electron micrograph shows SARS-CoV-2 virus particles isolated from a patient. (NIAID) Boulware said he worries that not everybody who contracts COVID-19 will generate an immune response. He helped with a study published in 2021 that had participants self-collect serologic samples. The findings indicate that people with more COVID-19 symptoms were more likely to show evidence of prior infection. “For persons with prior documented COVID-19, they should receive at least one follow-up vaccine at three to six months after initial infection. For those with prior infection, two sequential vaccines in rapid sequence of 0, 21, or 28 days do virtually nothing immunologically, other than generate side effects. At present (based on current rules), I would recommend all those with prior infection to have a vaccine at three months after initial infection and then again after six months from initial infection,” Boulware told The Epoch Times in an email. Top U.S. health officials such as CDC Director Dr. Rochelle Walensky have acknowledged that natural immunity occurs but have repeatedly urged people to get vaccinated, even if they recover from COVID-19, with a full vaccination schedule. Offit says he was among four people who were asked to share their views on natural immunity in 2021 with Walensky and other officials, including Dr. Anthony Fauci, the longtime head of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID) and the chief medical adviser to President Joe Biden. The virtual meeting, which took place after Surgeon General Vivek Murthy was confirmed by the Senate and before Dr. Francis Collins stepped down as head of the National Institutes of Health (NIH), didn’t lead to a shift in government guidance. “I think it’s because the opinions were sort of generally diverse, so there wasn’t a clear, unified message that came out of that,” Offit told The Epoch Times. One possible issue is how people could prove they’ve been infected and recovered, with suggestions including serologic tests. The CDC, the NIH, NIAID, Murthy, Walensky, Fauci, and Collins didn’t respond to requests for comment. The Epoch Times has filed Freedom of Information Act requests for details on the meeting. Other experts say the protection people with natural immunity enjoy is so strong that they may not or definitely don’t need any vaccine doses. Dr. Robert Malone, who helped create the messenger RNA technology that the Pfizer and Moderna vaccines are built on, pointed to research that suggests that people with natural immunity have a greater risk of suffering adverse events after getting vaccinated as well as a collection of studies on protection from natural immunity. “Over 140 papers demonstrate that—superiority of natural immunity,” Malone told The Epoch Times. “And furthermore, if you jab somebody after they have natural immunity, their risk of adverse events goes up.” One recent study from Italian researchers found that people who recovered from COVID-19 had a low risk of reinfection and a very low risk of severe or deadly COVID-19. They said the risk-benefit of vaccine doses for the population should be “carefully evaluated.” “From the point of view of the individual who recovered from a previous infection, vaccination will provide a very limited benefit, as his/her risk of a severe or lethal disease is extremely low, especially if she/he is young,” Dr. Lamberto Manzoli, one of the authors, told The Epoch Times in an email. On the other hand, vaccinating the naturally immune “may still provide some benefit, because approximately 1 percent of these subjects may have a reinfection and therefore transmit the disease,” he said. “Clearly, their impact on the overall pandemic is difficult to quantify, and it is likely to be very scarce, but if we want to take a very conservative approach, vaccination may still provide some benefit. Importantly, we have to use the word ‘may’ because, as I mentioned in the manuscript, an in-depth evaluation of the risk-benefit should be made for these subjects.” Tyler Durden Fri, 02/25/2022 - 19:00.....»»

Category: blogSource: zerohedgeFeb 25th, 2022

Texas Judge Blocks Biden"s Vaccine Mandate For Federal Employees Nationwide

Texas Judge Blocks Biden's Vaccine Mandate For Federal Employees Nationwide While President Biden was occupied Friday trying to take credit for a new factory for the production of semiconductors (and all the jobs - construction-related and otherwise - that he said it would create), a federal judge in Texas was issuing an injunction to put the second major piece of Biden's vaccine mandate on ice. After SCOTUS last week rejected the administration's attempt to force corporations to abide by the mandate via OSHA, a federal court in Texas has issued an injunction against Biden's jab mandate for federal workers, the other part of his administration's attempts to force vaccines on reluctant Americans -  a strategy that Biden has already abandoned in favor of providing at-home COVID tests to all Americans. Biden issued both mandates by executive order back in September. Trump-appointed Judge Jeffrey Brown of the US Court for the Southern District of Texas said the case was not about whether individuals should be vaccinated or even about federal power more broadly. Instead, he said it's about "whether the president can, with the stroke of a pen and without the input of Congress, require millions of federal employees to undergo a medical procedure as a condition of their employment," Brown wrote. "That, under the current state of the law as just recently expressed by the Supreme Court, is a bridge too far." The order that SCOTUS struck down last week would have mandated all private sector employers with more than 100 workers, as well as the US Postal Service, to test or vaccinated their employees. The case against the mandate for federal workers was brought by Feds for Medical Freedom, which has filed three different lawsuits against the mandate, according to a report from Government Executive. Most federal agencies have already started implementing the mandate requiring vaccination or testing, and some had already started ordering suspensions for workers who failed to meet the requirements. This latest ruling will forestall (at least temporarily) those suspensions from moving forward. Although there's still a possibility that the injunction granted could be overturned, given SCOTUS's conservative majority and its previous ruling on the other federal vaccine mandate, any workers who were facing suspension can probably breath a sigh of relief. Tyler Durden Fri, 01/21/2022 - 12:59.....»»

Category: blogSource: zerohedgeJan 21st, 2022