Mike: Weekend greetings to all of you. The layoff announcements are rather light this weekend, except for the Bloomberg.com: RBS Plans up to 20,000 job cuts,  but there are plenty of other job related news stories that give us a picture of how we are faring. The big news, of course, is the American Recovery and Reinvestment Tax Act of 2009, which is discussed below. I still haven’t read the entire legislation, but from first glance it looks like more of a band aid for the unemployed than a full recovery for what ails them. 
Mike: There is a fascinating article in Saturday’s NY Times that gives a brief overview of various threats posed by widespread joblessness. As the jobless rolls lengthen, the toll it takes on us all increases. Without substantial job creation the American Recovery and Reinvestment Tax Act of 2009 will be a failure, and that failure will affect sentiment worldwide. This following NY Times article is worth a read if you want to see how the world is faring in this jobless recession:


Just last week, the new United States director of national intelligence, Dennis C. Blair, told Congress that instability caused by the global economic crisis had become the biggest security threat facing the United States, outpacing terrorism.

“Nearly everybody has been caught by surprise at the speed in which unemployment is increasing, and are groping for a response,” said Nicolas Véron, a fellow at Bruegel, a research center in Brussels that focuses on Europe’s role in the global economy.

via Rise in Jobless Poses Threat to Stability Worldwide – NYTimes.com.


** Mike:  There is plenty of news revolving around the stimulus package, or the officially titled “”American Recovery and Reinvestment Tax Act of 2009.” To see a summary of the appropriations in PDF:  To accomplish these goals, The American Recovery and Reinvestment Act provides $311 billion in appropriations, including the following critical investments: .

More on the stimulus package as it develops and gets sorted out……………..
** Mike: UpdateAn update to some of what is contained in the American Recovery and Reinvestment Tax Act of 2009. Take a look at it and tell me if this will help many of you out there. There are a few goodies in the legislation for the unemployed and under-employed, but it doesn’t appear to be enough to make much of a difference, but then again, it might be enough to keep some people’s heads above water:

The stimulus plan will mean thousands of dollars in tax breaks for first-time home buyers and people buying new cars. Lower- and middle-income taxpayers will get an extra $13 a week in their paychecks this year, and about $8 a week next year. Unemployment checks will go up $25 a week, and keep coming longer. Food stamp benefits for 30 million Americans will rise. Short-term health insurance will become more affordable for many losing their jobs.

via The Associated Press: The recovery plan: A national jolt to economy.

Rob Rogers - Feb 14

Rob Rogers - Feb 14

** Mike: And now for my weekend outrage:
Mike: While the following isn’t a layoff story, I think it’s important that it make the rounds, since we all pay FICA and we all expect to collect Social Security benefits at some point. Be aware:  The following story, which was brought to my attention by Jesse’s Café Américain, should make all working people cringe at the thought of the middle class bailing out the politically connected big money types and their political lackeys. We keep electing the same people that are beholden to the lobbyists and large donor campaign contributors and they could care less about the needs of the middle class taxpayer. The two party system we currently have doesn’t allow for politicians to speak out against the norm because if they do, they they are rejected by the party who can encourage “normal” party members with financial support to run against the one who is making waves.  The two party system will always be in the hip pocket of the lobbyist and the large dollar campaign contributor and their needs, not the needs of the people at large. Your Social Security funds may soon be funding the never satisfied needs of the powerful. I don’t say that lightly or as some paranoid lunatic (although I would play one on TV), since the connected have shipped millions of good paying jobs overseas, created offshore tax havens, eliminated pensions at most businesses, destroyed the value of most 401ks, and created financial scams such as those that led to the housing bubble and millions of foreclosures:   


Governing elites in Washington and Wall Street have devised a fiendishly clever “grand bargain” they want President Obama to embrace in the name of “fiscal responsibility.” The government, they argue, having spent billions on bailing out the banks, can recover its costs by looting the Social Security system. They are also targeting Medicare and Medicaid. The pitch sounds preposterous to millions of ordinary working people anxious about their economic security and worried about their retirement years. But an impressive armada is lined up to push the idea–Washington’s leading think tanks, the prestige media, tax-exempt foundations, skillful propagandists posing as economic experts and a self-righteous billionaire spending his fortune to save the nation from the elderly………………..

Their report–Taking Back Our Fiscal Future, issued jointly by the Brookings Institution and the Heritage Foundation–recommends that Congress put long-term budget caps on Social Security and other entitlement spending, which would automatically trigger benefits cuts if needed to stay within the prescribed limits. The same antidemocratic mechanisms–a commission of technocrats and limited Congressional discretion–would shield politicians from popular blowback.

via Looting Social Security.

The Next Phase: Looting Social Security, 401Ks, IRAs and Whatever Is Left? *

After what we have seen in the last eight years in particular, why do we assume that there is any boundary to the venality of powerful men? That there is ever enough?

Crony capitalism gives way to coolie capitalism. The belief in the priority of the privileged few to possess the greatest share of the nation’s wealth endures.

Where is the justice? Where is the reform?

“Greed is a fat demon with a small mouth and whatever you feed it is never enough.” Janwillem van de Wetering

Experience demands that man is the only animal which devours his own kind, for I can apply no milder term to the general prey of the rich on the poor.” Thomas Jefferson*

“The more we do to you, the less you seem to believe we are doing it.” Dr. Josef Mengele

via Jesse’s Café Américain: The Next Phase: Looting Social Security, 401Ks, IRAs and Whatever Is Left?.





Microsoft/Google/IBM and other Rumors & News


move* UPDATED: Move Networks Lays Off 30% Of Company, John Edwards Still CEO

UPDATED: I’ve now heard back from Move Networks and can confirm that CEO John Edwards is still the CEO of the company. In addition, John has now been named executive chairman of the board of directors. Move says 30% of the company has been laid off and they “are making the necessary adjustments and planning appropriately to get to profitability more quickly.”

via UPDATED: Move Networks Lays Off 30% Of Company, John Edwards Still CEO | The Business Of Online Video.


General Economic News


* Feb. 14 (Bloomberg) — President Barack Obama said congressional passage of a $787 billion economic stimulus plan last night must be followed by action to stabilize the financial and housing markets to pull the nation out of a recession.

“This historic step won’t be the end of what we do to turn our economy around, but rather the beginning,” Obama said in his weekly address. “The problems that led us into this crisis are deep and widespread, and our response must be equal to the task.”

via Bloomberg.com: Worldwide.



Ed Stein - Feb 14

Ed Stein - Feb 14



gm11* FLINT, Michigan — Union leaders say General Motors has spelled out the future for the Flint Truck Assembly Plant in the clearest possible terms: Approve a new local contract aimed at cutting overtime and other costs within 30 days — or risk closing.

UAW Local 598 Shop Chairman Mark Hawkins announced the grim news to employees Thursday, and the ultimatum didn’t sit well with some.

“I’ve taken about a 50 percent wage cut,” said Chad Fabbro, 34, of Vassar. “I can’t personally give any more.”

via General Motors issues Flint Truck Assembly Plant ultimatum – Mid-Michigan Business News – Flint, Saginaw, Bay City Business –


tenn* The number of extended mass layoffs in Tennessee more than doubled in the 2008 fourth quarter compared to a year ago, although there was a decrease in the total number of affected workers.

For the quarter there were 67 mass layoffs that resulted in the separation of 6,275 workers from their jobs for at least 31 days, according to preliminary figures released by the U.S. Department of Labor’s Bureau of Labor Statistics.

via Tennessee mass layoffs double in 4Q – Nashville Business Journal: .MLive.com.


* There’s more bad news on the layoff front.

The Bureau of Labor Statistics reported on Friday that employers laid off a record 508,859 workers in the fourth quarter of 2008 in what the bureau calls extended mass layoff events — layoffs involving 50 or more workers for at least 31 days.

That is by far the highest number involved in mass layoffs since the bureau began collecting that data in 1995. The fourth-quarter number represents a 69 percent increase over the 301,592 workers involved in extended mass layoffs in the fourth quarter of 2007.

via Record High Mass Layoffs – Economix Blog – NYTimes.com.


cat1* The current brouhaha over Caterpillar is probably a pretty good cautionary tale for stimulus cheerleaders. The fact is that effects of the stimulus package won’t be as immediate an improvement for businesses and workers as most would wish. Earlier this week, the President said the stimulus would allow Caterpillar to bring back some of its recently laid off workers.

But Caterpillar CEO JIm Owens says that’s not exactly the case. In fact, Owen says, Caterpillar will probably need to layoff additional workers before any rehiring takes place.

via Caterpillar CEO Says More Layoffs Likely to Come – The Inside Job (usnews.com).


Mike: I wonder how many other companies are paying people to do nothing? Great gig if you can get it!

CASH-STRAPPED BT is paying more than 1,000 workers to do nothing.

The staff are part of the telecoms giant’s Career Transition Centre. It was set up to retrain employees to find them work elsewhere in the business instead of BT having to resort to redundancies.

However, the recession has meant there are fewer posts to fill at BT, which last week said it had reduced staff numbers by 9,500 in the nine months to December.

That has given rise to a crowd of employees waiting to be assigned something to do. Many are former field engineers who have been retrained for customer-service roles.

via BT pays staff to do nothing – Times Online .


Municipal News


* COLUMBUS, Ohio—City budget cuts continued Friday with another round of layoffs.

Seven of nine tow truck drivers with Columbus police have been laid off. Could their pink slips impact public safety?

via City Tow Truck Drivers Laid Off | NBC4i.com.


Mike: A Dave Matthews intermission………….



US and some Canada News


firestone* The Firestone air spring factory in Noblesville will close near the end of June, several months earlier than expected.

via Firestone closing Noblesville plant in June | IndyStar.com | The Indianapolis Star .


mercury-marine* Mercury Marine in Fond du Lac said Friday that 85 permanent job cuts have been made, and parts of the outboard motor manufacturer’s plant will be on a two-week temporary shutdown starting Monday………

Ashley Furniture in Arcadia, in western Wisconsin’s Trempealeau County, said job cuts will affect 90 people, or about 3 percent of the furniture manufacturer’s Wisconsin work force.

via Mercury Marine, Ashley cut jobs | greenbaypressgazette.com | Green Bay Press-Gazette.


fortunoff* Fortunoff has dramatically scaled down its corporate operations, laying off about 300 of its corporate staff in the past two days and triggering a class-action lawsuit by some of the fired workers.

via Fortunoff lays off 300, faces lawsuit — Newsday.com.


dow* Dow Canada is laying off about 60 workers at its Fort Saskatchewan and Prentiss Operations as part of a global belt tightening by the chemical giant.

via Dow cuts 60 jobs at Alberta plants.


toyota* Toyota Canada is cutting workers, compensation for executives and freezing wages for others as it looks to cope with plummeting car sales, the automaker announced today.

Toyota Motor Manufacturing Canada’s plants in Woodstock and Cambridge will layoff some temporary workers, and cancel overtime and bonuses.

via London Free Press – City & Region – More job cuts at Toyota .


* – A day after layoffs were announced at Big Tex Mfg., Occidental Petroleum officials acknowledged it was laying off workers.

Though she didn’t say how many, Oxy spokeswoman Stacey Crews said the number of employees being let go was “very low.”

via OXY More layoffs: Oxy Permian latest to hand out pink slips.


* VG247 is reporting that 19 employees are being laid off from Future’s San Francisco and New York offices. A Future UK spokesperson referred to the laid off employees as “redundancies,” saying, “These changes were made in line with Future’s stated strategy of focusing on structure and costs in a severe global economic downturn.” The report does not specify which departments the layoffs affected.

via Future’s UK numbers down in 2008, 19 laid off from US offices [update] – Joystiq.


alemite* Roughly two dozen people are out of work after a Johnson City plant laid off some employees earlier this week.

    Alemite plant manager Tom Miller confirmed that the plant laid off a little more than 20 people Tuesday and Wednesday. Miller told News Channel 11 that the layoffs are subject to recall.

via Alemite Lays Off Two Dozen Workers | TriCities.


continental-tevesForty-seven workers will be laid off from local brake manufacturer Continental Teves, the company said Friday.

Parent company Continental Automotive Systems will eliminate 40 hourly jobs and seven salaried positions at its Culpeper plant, according to spokeswoman Michele Tinson.

via Teves to lay off 47 workers | Culpeper Star-Exponent.


ssi-technologies* JANESVILLE — SSI Technologies has temporarily laid off about 40 employees over the last several weeks, said Senior Vice President Bruce Corner.

The cuts came to the Sintered Specialties Division, which primarily supplies automotive parts, Corner said.

via SSI lays off 40 in auto parts division — WCLO.


* ELDRIDGE, Iowa — Uniparts Olsen has laid off 37 people at its plant here, Kevin Code, president and chief executive officer, said today.

via Eldridge company lays off 15 percent of work force / QCTimes.com.


huscoHusco International has cut its local production staff nearly in half since last fall, including the loss of about 70 jobs this month, a union official said Friday.

The Waukesha-based company manufactures hydraulic controls for forklifts, tractors and other machinery.

via Husco has cut local factory jobs nearly 50% – JSOnline.


* STURBRIDGE, Mass. — The tough economy has led to job and salary cuts at Old Sturbridge Village.

Five middle management positions have been eliminated at the living museum, and senior managers are taking voluntary salary reductions ranging from 10 to 20 percent. Chief executive officer James Donahue, for instance, accepted a 20 percent cut.

via Mass. Living Museum Forced To Cut Jobs – Boston News Story – WCVB Boston.


* FARGO, N.D. (AP) The WDAY AM radio station in Fargo has laid off three workers.

General manager Kevin Weaver says the layoffs included two talk show hosts and a news reporter.

via WDAY radio lays off 3 workers | KXNet.com North Dakota News.


* DALTON — Safariland LLC, the parent company of Protech Armored Products, has issued layoff notices to 20 of the company’s 82 employees at its Dalton plant on South Street.


International News


Royal Bank of Scotland Group Plc, the biggest U.K. government-controlled bank, plans to cut as many as 20,000 jobs and pull out of several emerging markets as it announces losses of 30 billion pounds ($43.1 billion) next week, the Sunday Times reported, without saying where it got the information.

The proposals also include plans to sell dozens of businesses considered to be non-essential, as well as parts of ABN Amro Holding NV, which it acquired in 2007, the newspaper said. The reductions aim to slash hundreds of millions of pounds from the Edinburgh-based bank’s costs, the Times said.

via Bloomberg.com: U.K. & Ireland.


Mike: At least in the US larger companies need to give employees some notice prior to being laid off:

sapient* New Delhi: Software major Sapient has laid off 500 employees at offices in Bangalore, Noida and Gurgaon.

No notice was given to the laid off employees.

via Software giant Sapient lays off 500 employees in India .


malvern* A HIGH-tech company based in Malvern has said that it is asking for voluntary redundancies from its staff.

Malvern Instruments employs 214 people here and another 400 across the world.

via Malvern Instruments announces redundancies (From Malvern Gazette).


mercedes-benz* THE future looks bleak for a number of Mercedes-Benz South Africa (MBSA) employees.

The company yesterday officially announced the retrenchment of 150 workers at its East London plant.

via Daily Dispatch Online .


* Liquidators of Wellington’s longest-established motor vehicle dealership have closed two sites and laid off 20 employees to make the company more attractive to sell.

Hiring News


Those looking for a job might want to consider applying to the U.S. Census Bureau.

There will be hundreds of temporary, full and part-time jobs opening up for people interested in working in the Rockford and Machesney Park areas. There may be some additional openings in the Milwaukee area. For job openings in Wisconsin, contact the state’s nearest U.S. Census Bureau office at 1110 N. Old World Third St., Milwaukee, or call 414-203-3860.

via Beloit Daily News – your source for news, entertainment, sports, opinion, events, community, shopping and more > News > Local News.


Mike: More as the weekend allows. But my partner will likely kill me if I spend too much time on this blog and not enough time on her, especially today! 🙂……


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 Ben Sargent - Feb 13

Ben Sargent - Feb 13














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