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View Diary: What a ScAlito Court Would Mean to Me (219 comments)

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  •  I have been on FMLA (none)
    in the past. It saved my job, for a while, anyway. I was very grateful for it.   Also had to use it when one of my sons was ill, and again when my husband had a stroke.

    That's what I don't understand about this aversion to FMLA: It keeps people working.  I was a trained ER tech with lots of experience;  when you have to quit for health reasons, it is expensive for the company to hire and train a new employee.  It leaves a gap, it stresses the staff to work short-handed.  More stresses when someone has to train the new person plus do their job.
    It seems very short-sighted and mean.  What's next, debtors' prisons?  

    War is not an adventure. It is a disease. It is like typhus. - Antoine De Saint-Exupery

    by Margot on Thu Nov 03, 2005 at 04:39:18 PM PST

    [ Parent ]

    •  FMLA is a slippery slope (none)
      towards a world where human rights
      trump the property rights

      read the iraqi constitution
      and all the defense of property rights

      we live in a world where
      people hire hungry chuildren to make profits

      love life, ride bikes

      by common terry on Thu Nov 03, 2005 at 04:56:41 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  Without FMLA (none)
        It's a steep plunge off a cliff for people who just want to work, and get sick or have illness in their families.  
        I'll have to write my congressman about this.  

        War is not an adventure. It is a disease. It is like typhus. - Antoine De Saint-Exupery

        by Margot on Thu Nov 03, 2005 at 05:25:21 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

    •  Employers are not idiots (in general) (none)
      That's what I don't understand about this aversion to FMLA: It keeps people working.  I was a trained ER tech with lots of experience;  when you have to quit for health reasons, it is expensive for the company to hire and train a new employee.  It leaves a gap, it stresses the staff to work short-handed.  More stresses when someone has to train the new person plus do their job.
      It seems very short-sighted and mean.  What's next, debtors' prisons?

      In the situation you present, it would be dumb of an employer to NOT voluntarily offer 12 weeks of time off. If employer A did and employer B did not, obviously employer A would have a competitive advantage and employer B would disappear eventually if they stuck to their stupid practices.

      However, at the two extremes, I don't think this is as true. At the low end (consider McDonalds and WalMart checkers), turnover is so great that you can hire, train, and have a "fully" productive employee in six to eight weeks - so offering 12 weeks of leave may not make sense (but may - given that the 12 weeks is unpaid). At the other end of the continuum are high skill employees (consider software development in small/midsized shops developing sophisticated enterprise level products), where it may take six months for an employee's productivity to BEGIN to overcome their training costs - obviously it's a no brainer to let a key employee have 12 weeks off (even if it is a PAID 12 weeks). The problem I have with FMLA is the "one size fits all" nature of it. It's far too generous in some cases (trust me, if I'm an employer competing w/India call centers and here I have to adhere to FMLA and in in India I don't, I may just outsource the whole mess and it might be that FMLA is the "straw that broke the camel's back -- now, how did FMLA help the unemployed US worker whose job went to India?) and inadequate in others. We DO live in a global economy and protectionism won't save the U.S. -- the U.S. companies need to compete in world markets and the scope of the U.S. Federal government is limited to the States. Let the market work.

      •  The fact is, you can't compete with India on costs (none)
        The sooner people start to realize that, the better. You can compete with protectionism, infrastructure and education, fighting for innovation and selling training, finding better ways to motivate your workforce than the old "no work, no bread". Not on costs. If you really compete on costs, you could as well close shop now, because if it's not India it will be China or Argentina or The Next Catching-up Country.
        •  Everyone competes on cost. (none)
          For a given product or service of a given quality delivered within a given time frame, cost is the only material free variable. The business who can produce higher quality products for the same price (as the Japanese car makers did while Detroit fiddled) or the same or better quality at a lower price (as China has been doing for a long time) will win. Even if the U.S. can somehow warp the free market within its borders, it can't do so worldwide and the U.S. can't be an economic island onto itself.

          Protectionism is completely appropriate when it is retaliatory. For example, if China doesn't respect our IP or levies tariff's on imported chip manufacturing equipment, we should levy tariffs against some portion of their products (and might as well pick an area that helps those U.S. businesses hurt by China's malicious actions). Protectionism may be appropriate for SHORT term problems - unfortunately we (the U.S.) don't have long term vision so such measures are, IMHO, unlikely to work very well in the long term since making life soft for some business sector rarely actually causes them to work harder and/or smarter. (Of course protectionism as a tool to get votes is always inappropriate - as Bush finally figured out with his ill-fated steel tariffs).

          Due to competition for skilled workers, the costs of software development are rising rather significantly in India - and it is inevitable that this trend will continue. As India addresses their rather serious infrastructure and poverty problems, this will also drive up the cost of living in India which, in turn, will drive up the cost of hiring software developers there. We don't have to completely meet them on price, but we have to (and are) respond to the pricing problem and wait for them to become more expensive.

          But, as you seem to agree, education is a key to retaining the high standard of living enjoyed by Americans. I fear that we may be so far behind the education curve that by the time we recover our education system to the point it matches that experienced by the top students in China and India, the U.S. will be a "has-been" having condemned yet another generation to educational mediocrity. There is a glimmer of hope for public education now that objective standards are being applied again, but this is not enough. Much of the problem is cultural. These cultural problems include parents who have low expectations and who don't believe that their kids should work hard in school (and even complain because their kids have too much homework). Another cultural problem includes the notion in some areas that science should be taught only to the extent it doesn't challenge religion. In my opinion, one of the greatest cultural problems within the public school system is the notion that kids should not be judged and classified - which leaves the good students under-challenged and the poor students overwhelmed (or completely oblivious to the fact they will never be able to get a job better than a WalMart checker).

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