I'll end for now on unemployment/employment with what the Commodities Act and breaking Glass Steagall banking wall has done-----the boom and bust bubble cycle Wall Street is creating mirrors that back in the roaring 20s that brought the Great Depression. Global pols are doing today what they did over a century ago that then devastated our US economy and brought widespread unemployment and poverty. We already see the structure change in employment through Bush and soaring under Obama----that of part-time, temporary, internships/VISTAs that show up on Participation in Workforce stats as jobs----but no one wants to be trapped in that kind of employment cycle. Thinks of goals in public policy to know what your local employment policies are today. Baltimore is filled with job training and VISTA -----it is filled with non-profit and part-time----and has lost full-time strong wage jobs for several years. That does not even address the long-term unemployed.
THE SOLUTION IS TO BREAK WITH THIS WALL STREET ECONOMY----BREAK WITH GLOBAL CORPORATE MONOPOLY THAT HAS THE POWER TO STAGNATE LOCAL ECONOMIES----BUILD A HEALTHY, STABLE, LOCAL, DOMESTIC SMALL BUSINESS ECONOMY---EVERY COMMUNITY WITH ITS OWN ECONOMIES----SMALL MANUFACTURING FACTORIES----AND LOTS OF PUBLIC EMPLOYEES REBUILDING OVERSIGHT AND ACCOUNTABILITY THROUGHOUT OUR BALTIMORE CITY AGENCIES.
Temporary jobs on rise in shifting U.S. economy
The Associated Press 3:46 p.m. EDT May 24, 2014(Photo: Saul Loeb, AFP/Getty Images)
WASHINGTON — While the U.S. economy has improved since the Great Recession ended five years ago, part-time and "contract" workers are filling many of the new jobs.
Contract workers made up less than half of one percent of all U.S. employment in the 1980s but now account for 2.3%. Economists predict contract workers will play a larger role in the years ahead.
They are a diverse army of laborers, ranging from janitors, security officers, home-care and food service-workers to computer programmers, freelance photographers and illustrators. Many are involved in manufacturing. Many others are self-employed, working under contracts that lay out specific responsibilities and deadlines.
Labor leaders and many economists worry. Contract workers have less job security and don't contribute to the economy through spending as much as permanent, full-time workers. Nor do they have the same job protections. Few are union members.
"It is not hugely clear that we're coming into a temp-worker, contract-worker, contingent-worker nation. But it's something to keep an eye on," said Heidi Shierholz, an economist with the labor-oriented Economic Policy Institute. "There's definitely been an increase in the share of those working part time."
Part-time and contract jobs in the past tended to rise during recessions and recede during recoveries. But maybe no longer: Part-time workers have accounted for more than 10% of U.S. job growth in the years since the recession officially ended in June 2009. Meanwhile, union membership has been sliding steadily since the mid-1980s.
Businesses often hire contract workers or freelancers because it is less expensive than hiring full-time workers.
"Workers increasingly serve businesses that do not officially 'employ' the worker — a distinction that hampers organizing, erodes labor standards and dilutes accountability," said Catherine Ruckelshaus, general counsel for the National Employment Law Project, which advocates on behalf of low-wage workers.
Many business leaders have a different take.
"Some people don't want to be a full-time employee. They want contract work," said Bruce Josten, executive vice president of the U.S. Chamber of Commerce. Still, Josten recognizes some of them "are hoping the contract work will ultimately lead them into a full-time position."
A recent Federal Reserve study showed that nearly 7.5 million people who are working part time — contract workers included — would rather have full-time jobs.
Jerry Jasinowski, who served as president of the National Association of Manufacturers for 14 years and later as president of the Manufacturing Institute, said despite criticism leveled against contract workers from some quarters, "I think on balance, they are a positive reflection of the extent to which production has become much more flexible, a reflection of hybrid operations. Some people don't like it. But that's neither here nor there. That's where everybody's moving."
Analysts suggest the increase in contract and "temp" jobs will likely accelerate as more baby boomers retire from their full-time jobs.
Pressure from a company's shareholders — often focused on short-term returns — can also lead businesses to lower labor costs by reclassifying a portion of their payroll as part-timers or spinning them off to a contracting agency.
The online job site CareerBuilder.com, which specializes in "contract placement," cites research showing that 42% of employers intend to hire temporary or contract workers as part of their 2014 staffing strategy — a 14% increase over the past five years.
The issue got the spotlight when President Barack Obama in February unilaterally upped the minimum wage for federal contractors and their employees from $7.25 to $10.10 an hour, fulfilling a top demand by liberal lawmakers and groups. The higher rates kick in Jan. 1.
"America does not stand still, neither do I," Obama said. Aides said more than 2 million employees whose companies have federal contracts are affected. Obama's proposal to raise the minimum wage nationally by the same amount remains bogged down in Congress.
A recent Brookings Institution study labeled the first decade of the 21st century a "Lost Decade" for the labor market. For the first time since World War II, the U.S. economy did not have more payroll jobs at the end of a decade than at the beginning. And the shadow of the December 2007-June 2009 recession still looms over today's labor market.
'Employee or Independent Contractor? - The Maryland Guide to Wage Payment and Employment Standards'
Baltimore has been ground zero for all these right-wing employment/unemployment schemes. It is why Baltimore has the lowest wage and wealth ratio in the nation and huge wealth inequity. As listed above the goal of all those Clinton era neo-liberal policies was to break US labor down to that of third world workers so moving International Economic Zone structures enslaving people in developing nations across Asia, Latin America, and Africa can be brought back to the US under US International Economic Zone and Trans Pacific Trade Pact policies. So we have loads of illegal categories of workers as independent contracts having their earning stolen, immigrant and low-wage workers have for a few decades been allowed to have their wages stolen, Baltimore recruits VISTAs, internship labor from young adults, and plans to make apprentices of children as young as 6th grade to bring back child labor.
THIS IS WHAT THE 95% VS THE 5% OF AMERICANS IS ABOUT. WE NEED TO SHAKE THE CRONY OUT OF US POLITICS AND GET GLOBAL WALL STREET POLS OUT OF OFFICE.
As that stat above states-----only 5% of citizens are going to be given strong wages as they are the administrators of this global colonialism of International Economic Zones. No one wants life to be about fighting to be one of this 5% as exists in the developing nations.
Below you see Maryland posing progressive. Since this illegal designation as independent contractor has existed for decades the pressure from citizens grew so Maryland Assembly pols feel they have to pose progressive and pass a law or two. Yet, everyone in Maryland knows there is no Maryland DLLR as no enforcement of labor and regulations occurs. Any worker trying to get help finds there is none and the courts rarely rule against the corporation.
A MAYOR OF BALTIMORE CAN BE THAT MARYLAND DLLR AND ENFORCE THESE WAGE AND WORKPLACE LAWS.
Employee or Independent Contractor? - The Maryland Guide to Wage Payment and Employment Standards
Maryland wage and employment laws do not apply to "Independent Contractors".
For individuals in landscaping and construction, please refer to the Workplace Fraud Act.
The question of who is an employee and who is an independent contractor is important and often complex. Moreover, the financial consequences in making this determination are significant for both workers and employers. For workers, these consequences include: Entitlements to minimum wage and overtime pay, unemployment benefits, workers' compensation benefits, Social Security employer contributions, federal and state tax withholdings, protections against illegal employment discrimination, etc. For employers, consequences include financial and legal obligations in complying with these federal and state requirements.
For all other individuals, a signed agreement declaring that a worker is an independent contractor is not, by itself, enough to establish that fact. The "economic reality" of the work relationship determines the worker's status, meaning is the worker economically dependent on an employer who can allow or prevent an employee from working? Thus, if two individuals, in fact, stand in the relation of employer and employee to each other, it is irrelevant that the worker has agreed to be called an independent contractor. The measurement, method, or designation of compensation is also of lesser importance, if the relationship of employer and employee in fact exists.
Many government agencies have their own criteria for making the employee versus independent contractor distinction. These criteria often are established under separate laws.
For more information, access the Department of Labor Fact Sheet: Am I an Employee? Employment Relationship Under the Fair Labor Standards Act.
These Federal laws of course have been ignored these few decades of Clinton/Bush/Obama because they pretend they can turn their backs at Federal level and allow states to do whatever they want ----AND THEY CANNOT.
CONGRESS AND THE PRESIDENT ARE ELECTED TO PROTECT AND SERVE CITIZENS AND ENFORCE FEDERAL LAWS AND US CONSTITUTIONAL RIGHTS---THEY CANNOT SIMPLY CHOOSE NOT TO ENFORCE LAWS AND RIGHTS.
All of this downgrading of US labor makes way to what life in International Economic Zones will become moving all US citizens into these labor practices---not only immigrants because remember, almost all Americans are slated to be impoverished by the global neo-liberals and Republicans. Republicans have shouted for decades that it is OK with them for American workers to earn $2 an hour---that is what they pay prison labor and that makes for nearly the same wages overseas. Believe me, it goes lower than that in International Economic Zones.....
THIS IS VERY LONG AND VERY BORING BUT PLEASE JUST GLANCE DOWN TO BE AWARE OF WORKERS' RIGHTS AND KNOW WHAT EMPLOYERS ARE SUPPOSED TO BE DOING....MORE ARTICLES FOLLOW
Social Democrats will always protect immigrant labor in the workforce. If corporations hire immigrant labor they need to treat them as any US worker. Republicans want to exclude immigrant workers as this article shows-----you know what? The immigrant populations is so large in the US that we would exhaust all our government revenue trying to remove and deport. Let's just allow people to work and work towards CITIZENSHIP NOW FOR THOSE IMMIGRANTS HAVING BEEN WORKING IN THE US FOR DECADES.
Unlawful Misclassification Of Employees As Independent Contractors By Employers
What Are The Employee’s Rights?
The legal issue of whether an employee is an independent contractor or an employee affects the employee and the employer in both the how the employee is entitled to be compensate pursuant to the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA), Florida minimum wage laws, the IRS Code and Chapter 440, Florida’s Workers’ Compensation Act. Both the Department of Labor and the IRS have substantial literature on this topic, guidelines and opinions. Additionally, there exists case law by the First District Court of Appeal in Workers’ compensation cases. The DOL announced it will no longer offer opinion letters on this legal issue, but may offer interpretations. Murray v. Principal case, CV 08-1094, “I think the judge got it right when she said, quoting Barnhart v. N.Y. Life Ins. Co., 141 F.3d, 1310, 1313 (9th Cir. 1998), ““in determining whether someone is an employee or an independent contract, all the factors must be considered together, and no single factor is dispositive.” And, that the test is very “fact specific””.
The test used by courts to determine whether an individual is an independent contractor, rather than an employee, is known as the "economic realities test." Perdomo v. Ask 4 Realty &Mgmt., Inc., 298 F. App'x 820, 821 (11th Cir. 2008). The economic realities test factors include:
- the nature and degree of the defendant's control as to the manner in which the work is performed;
- the plaintiff's opportunity for profit or loss depending on his managerial skill;
- the plaintiff's investment in equipment or materials;
- whether the service rendered requires a special skill;
- the degree of permanency and duration of the working relationship; and
- the extent to which the service rendered is an integral part of the defendant's business. Freund v. Hi-Tech Satellite, Inc., 185 F. App'x 782, 783 (11th Cir. 2006). No single factor is dispositive and courts must evaluate each individual under the totality of the circumstances. Perdomo, 298 F. App'x at 821.
The case of Pfaahler v. Consultants for Architects, Inc., Case No. 99-C-6700, 2000 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 1772 (N.D. Ill. Feb. 8, 2000) also serves as a persuasive example. There, the court denied class certification as follows:
“[Pfaahler] has failed to demonstrate any basis for a finding that he is similarly situated with other potential claimants. Liability in Pfaahler's case will turn on whether Pfaahler is an "independent contractor" or an "employee" within the meaning of the FLSA. The same is true for every potential claimant included in the collective action. . . . In order to determine who is an independent contractor and who in an employee, the court would be required to make a fact-intensive, individual determination as to the nature of each potential claimant's relationship with [defendant] . . . . Where this is the case, certification of a collective action under the FLSA is inappropriate. Id. at *4; See also Holt v. Rite Aid Corp., 333 F. Supp. 2d 1265, 1274 (M.D. Ala. 2004) (denying class certification in an FLSA case: "the court is not satisfied that conditionally certifying a nationwide collective action, or even a regional collective action, will partake of the economy of scale envisioned by the FLSA collective action procedure.")
II. FLORIDA MINIMUM WAGE LAW
Section 24, Article X of the Florida Constitution
Fla. Stat. § 448.110, has a pre-suit notification clause, which requires that any employee asserting a claim for minimum wages pursuant to this section (not the FLSA) “shall notify the employer alleged to have violated this section, in writing, of an intent to initiate such an action.” The notice must identify the minimum wage to which the person aggrieved claims entitlement, the actual or estimated work date and hours for which payment is [*8] sought, and the total amount of alleged unpaid wages through the date of the notice. Fla. Stat. § 448.110(6)(a). 3 Under§ 448.110(6)(b), an employer has 15 calendar days after receipt of the notice to pay the total amount of unpaid wages or otherwise resolve the claim the satisfaction of the person aggrieve.
If an employer unlawfully misclassifies an employee as an independent contractor, the employee suffers financially. First, the employee loses the right to claim such wages towards unemployment benefits and if terminated, will be ineligible for unemployment compensation. Additionally, the employee will have to self-report the wages to the IRS, and essentially pay the full medicare and federal income taxes which if treated as an employee would be shared by the employer. Further, the employee wrongfully misclassified as an independent contractor is excluded from benefits from the employer such as LTD, STD, health insurance, retirement benefits and Cobra coverage. Further, the misclassified employee is not protected from civil rights violations (acts of discrimination, harassment or retaliation) or State or Federal Whistleblower Acts, and is further excluded from workers compensation benefits under Florida’s Workers’ Compensation Act, Chapter 440.
III. FLSA CASES OF SIGNIFICANCE ON MINUMUM WAGE CLAIMS BROUGHT BY EMPLOYEES TREATED AS INDEPENDENT CONTRACTORS BY EMPLOYER: 2010 US DISTRICT COURT IN INDIANA HOLDS THAT EXOTIC DANCERS ARE EMPLOYEES, NOT INDEPENDENT CONTRACTORS MORSE V. MER CORP.
1. In a recent case of significance out of the United States District Court, Southern District of Indiana, the Court held that EXOTIC DANCERS are NOT independent contractors, and as such are entitled to minimum wage under the Fair Labor Standards Act. See Morse v. Mer Corp., The Court found in favor of the dancers as a class and held that the employer violated the FLSA as the dancers were not independent contractors, but employees entitled to minimum wage. As the court points out, the determination of whether the plaintiffs are employees or independent contractors is a question of law for the court. Using a definition by the 5th Circuit, of an employee in the FLSA, the court started with this definition: “…employees are those who as a matter of economic reality are dependent upon the business to which they render service.”. The court then looks to 6 factors, all circumstances of the work activity:
- the nature and degree of the alleged employer’s control as to the manner in which the work is to be performed
- the alleged employee’s opportunity for profit or loss depending upon his managerial skill
- the alleged employee’s investment in equipment or materials required for his task or his employment of workers
- whether the service rendered requires a special skill
- the degree of permanency and duration of the working relationship; and
- the extent to which the service rendered is an integral part of the alleged employer’s business.
The special skills required were as such that little skill is necessary to be a topless dancer. The defendant argued that only ten percent of its profits come from the dancers, and therefore the dancers are not an integral part of its business. However, an employee testified that less than 10% of the customers go to the club for food and drink solely. Further, when asked what would happen if the club limited the use of dancers at the facility, the employee made an analogy to McDonald’s getting right of its hamburgers. “we wouldn’t be in business”. The arguments by the employer that the dancers were non-essential forms of extra entertainment like televisions at a sports bar were deemed unconvincing at best. The court concludes that the dancers are employees, awards them summary judgment which therefore includes minimum wages for the class, plus liquidated damages and attorney’s fees.
2. Additionally, in Nationwide Mutual Insurance Company v. Darden, 503 U.S. 318, 322, 117 L. Ed. 2d 581, 112 S. Ct. 1344 (1992), the Supreme Court described the common law agency test for whether an individual is an independent contractor or employee as follows:
In determining whether a hired party is an employee under the general common law of agency, we consider the hiring party's right to control the manner and means by which the product is accomplished. Among the other factors relevant to this inquiry are the skill required; the source of the instrumentalities and tools; the location of the work; the duration of the relationship between the parties; whether the hiring party has the right to assign additional projects to the hired party; the extent of the hired party's discretion over when and how long to work; the method of payment; the hired party's role in hiring and paying assistants; whether the work is part of the regular business of the hiring party; whether the hiring party is in business; the provision of employee benefits; and the tax treatment of the hired party.
In some instances, states’ attorney generals file claims against companies such as FEDERAL EXPRESS for violating state labor laws. A jury in Washington state in 2009 found drivers of Fed Ex to be independent contractors. Anfinson v. FedEX Ground. Still other cases continue against Fed Ex in both state and federal actions on behalf of the class of drivers.
Many statutes fail to define “employee” and likewise provide little guidance on determining who the employer is. For instance, many companies use employee leasing companies (PEOs), payroll companies, temporary agencies, or hire independent contractors. The FMLA holds the temporary help agency or employee leasing company (PEO) as the primary employer. The client, actual employer whom the employee performs work for however, may be required to place the individual in the same or comparable position upon his or her return from FMLA leave. Similarly, leased and temporary employees count toward the FMLA 50 employee requirements for providing coverage under the FMLA for employees.
3. A truck delivery firm 3P Delivery, was sued by 2 drivers in Oregon and 2 drivers in Washington State for misclassification, claiming that the company fraudulently classifies the employees as independent contractors. Anthony Frey, individually and on behalf of all others similarly situated v. 3P Inc., a Georgia Corporation, Case 2:08-CV-0063-JCC. The plaintiffs alleged that the company would attempt to cover up their intentional misclassification by forcing drivers to sign a contract with the company, secure business licenses, create business cards for each driver and requiring the drivers for from an LLC or regular corporation. The Court certified the class after substantial pretrial discovery. The parties reached a settlement for $2.25 million dollars for the 2 cases combined.
After the settlement the Defendant had to face payment of the Plaintiff’s attorney’s fees, upwards of $2.2 million dollars. When comparing what the Defendant had to pay its own attorneys, the settlement amount and the plaintiffs’ attorneys’ fees, the real cost of this case is about $7 to 8 Million dollars for the Defendant. Further, the Defendant will then still have to deal with the IRS and state revenue departments, state unemployment and workers’ compensation agencies. The defendant is likely to face fines, penalties and many workers’ compensation claims which could rise to a value significantly higher than the cost of the class action/collective action.
IV. THE FLSA, AND FLSA ANTI-RETALIATION PROVISIONS
The Fair Labor Standards Act provides that every employer must pay its employees the required federally established minimum wage. Claims for recovery of the minimum wage must be brought within 2 years of the violation. The FLSA provides the employee the right to recover double the amount wrongfully withheld as liquidated damages plus recovery of attorney’s fees and expenses of the litigation. The FLSA, unlike the Florida Minimum Wage statute, does not have a pre-suit notification requirement, although courts may negate attorney’s fees if the employee’s attorneys failed to attempt to resolve the matter and merely pursued litigation in the courts.
The Supreme Court has made clear that the key to interpreting the FLSA anti-retaliation provision is the need to prevent employee’s fear of economic retaliation for voicing grievances about substandard conditions. See Lambert v. Ackerley, 180 F.3d 997, 1003 (9th Cir. Wash. 1999). The penalties for an FLSA retaliation action, unlike most other FLSA claims, can include compensatory and punitive damages. As the Seventh Circuit said in Travis v. Gary community Mental Health Ctr., Inc.: “any employer who violates the provisions of § 15(a)(3) of the Fair Labor Standards Act, 29 U.S.C.S. § 215(a)(3), shall be liable for such legal or equitable relief as may be appropriate to effectuate the purposes of § 15(a)(3), including without limitation employment, reinstatement, or promotion and the payment of wages lost and an additional equal amount as liquidated damages. Pub. L. 95-151, 91 Stat. 1252 (1977). This amendment authorizes "legal" relief, a term commonly understood to include compensatory and punitive damages.” 921 F.2d 108, 111 (7th Cir. Ind. 1990).
V. IRS LAWS AND EMPLOYER RISK
An employer which misclassifies an employee as an independent contractor can face penalties by the IRS, to include:
- 1.5% of the wages paid to the employee;
- 20% of the amount that should have been withheld from the employee’s wages for CICA, but was not due to the misclassification;
- 3% of the wages paid to the employees; and
- 40% of the amount that should have been withheld from the employee’s wages for FICA, but was not.
The IRS in Publication 15-A “employer’s supplemental tax guide (supplement to publication 15(circular e)) employer’s tax guide for use in 2010) states that the general rules is that if the persons is an independent contractor if you, the person for whom the services are performed, have the right to control of direct only the result of the work and not the mans and methods of accomplishing the result. Furthermore, under common-law rules, anyone who performs services for you is your employee if you have the right to control what will be done and how it will be done. This is so even when you give the employee freedom of action.
VI. STATUTORY EMPLOYEES
Some workers who are independent contractors under the common law may still be nevertheless treated as employees for employment tax purposes. If an employee falls within one of the following 4 categories, AND meets the three conditions described under SOCIAL SECURITY and Medicare Taxes. These 4 categories of workers are:
- Driver who distributes beverages (other than milk) or meat, vegetable, fruit or bakery products, or who picks up and delivers laundry or dry cleaning, if the driver is your agent or is pain on commission.
- A full time life insurance sales agent.
- An individual who works at home on materials or goods that you supply and that must be returned to you or to a person you name, if you also furnish specifications for the work to be done.
- A full time traveling or city salesperson who works on your behalf and turns in orders to you from wholesalers, retailers, contractors or operators of hotels restaurants of other similar establishments. The goods sold must be merchandise for resale or supplies for use in the buyer’s business operation.
This practice has hit immigrant labor hardest for decades but what all this has as a goal is ALL US CITIZENS being moved to that same status. Remember, Trans Pacific Trade Pact and US International Economic Zone polices will allow global corporations to operate in these US cities as they do overseas so US workers will all fall into these illegal statuses in this move towards poverty. This is why INJUSTICE FOR ONE DOES BECOME INJUSTICE FOR ALL.
I hear Maryland small business owners loving all this illegal activity because they are profiting while Maryland citizens go without jobs. Now those same businesses are being pushed out of business as global corporations and the flooding of US with rich foreign business owners are pushing Maryland businesses out of business. That is International Economic Zone policy and it will BITE ALL US CITIZENS---WORKERS AND SMALL BUSINESS OWNERS.
The US Constitution was written to protect any person in the US hired by an American business or corporation. The US Constitution says that any worker regardless of being an immigrant must be protected as a US citizen worker is in the workplace. Now, Republican business people loved ignoring that part of the Constitution but now that International Economic Zone and TPP intends to end US sovereignty and all of the US Constitution---even the parts Republicans like----they are now mad as heck.
WE CANNOT HAVE IT BOTH WAYS----WE CANNOT IGNORE PARTS OF THE US CONSTITUTION AND ONLY ENFORCE THE PARTS WE LIKE BECAUSE AS WE SEE NOW-----EVENTUALLY POWER WILL NOT RECOGNIZE ANY OF RULE OF LAW, US CONSTITUTIONAL RIGHTS INCLUDING ANTI-MONOPOLY AND FREE MARKETS.
Social Democrats will always protect immigrants. If businesses and corporations hire immigrants then they must treat them as all workers. Republicans as in this article want immigrants taken from the workforce and deported. The population of immigrants in the US today means we do not have the government revenue to do that so why not work for CITIZENSHIP NOW! The problem will come with the global corporate goal of flooding the US with immigrants and we must stop that.
Illegal immigrant or independent contractor?
(I DO NOT USE THE TERM ILLEGAL)
By Philip J. Siegel, Professional Roofing, August, 2005
As the roofing industry becomes more reliant on an immigrant [illegal alien] work force, reviewing and refamiliarizing yourself with immigration and employment laws can save you a great deal of headaches and possible exposure to liability....
The Immigration Reform and Control Act (IRCA) of 1986 requires employers to verify every employee they hire is legally entitled to work in the U.S. IRCA makes it illegal for any U.S. employer to hire, recruit or refer for a fee an alien known to be unauthorized to work; continue to employ an alien known to be unauthorized; and hire, recruit or refer for a fee any person (citizen or alien) without following the act's recordkeeping requirements.
If you knowingly hire illegal immigrants or permit illegal immigrants to work after discovering they are not legal, you face fines and penalties. Fines and penalties also are assessed against employers who fail to document compliance regardless of whether any of the employees are illegal. Fines range from $100 to $1,100 per employee for paperwork violations depending on the employer's size. Fines jump to $250 to $11,000 per each unauthorized [illegal] alien employed. However, there are two exemptions.
The first exemption is known as the "grandfather" clause, which exempts those unauthorized aliens hired on or before Nov. 6, 1986, the date of the law's enactment.
The second exemption applies to "independent contractors."
Although you are not required to verify whether independent contractors and employees of independent contractors are authorized to work in the U.S., for this exemption to apply, you must be able to prove the relationship is one of a true independent contractor....
... the days of turning a blind eye to employees of independent contractors are gone. Employers are beginning to rethink their approaches to independent contract labor, especially in the construction industry, because of a recent $11 million settlement the U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) reached with Wal-Mart Stores Inc., Bentonville, Ark., over allegations of immigration violations...
...protect yourself from a subcontractor's employment of illegal aliens. As mentioned, the proper and best mechanism to protect yourself from this liability is through subcontract agreements....
...in the Wal-Mart case, U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) alleged Wal-Mart Stores Inc., Bentonville, Ark., had direct knowledge of immigration violations involving its independent cleaning contractors at stores across the U.S. As part of its investigation, ICE agents engaged in a raid of the company's headquarters and 60 of its stores, arresting more than 250 employees of independent contractors in an immigration crackdown.
On March 18, 2005, Wal-Mart agreed to pay $11 million to settle allegations that it knowingly used illegal immigrants to clean its stores. As for the contractors that actually hired the illegal laborers? They pleaded guilty to various criminal charges and paid fines of about $4 million.
If Americans do not understand that the push with Race to the Top to install corporate charters with students as apprentices as early as middle-school is the NEW WORLD ORDER movement back to child labor-----WAKE UP!!!!!!
Below you see global pols installing the same corporate neo-liberal education policies around the world as they call it 21st Century education for 21st Century job market. THIS IS DEAD ON ARRIVAL and citizens in nations around the world are fighting it----yet in Baltimore, candidates for Baltimore City Council and Mayor of Baltimore are pushing apprenticeships in middle-school because they are working to install global corporate rule.
ALL CLINTON/OBAMA NEO-LIBERALS AND BUSH/HOPKINS NEO-CONS ARE DOING IS BRINGING BACK CHILD LABOR SINCE GLOBAL FOXCONN CORPORATE CAMPUSES AROUND THE WORLD USE CHILD SLAVE LABOR AND THAT IS THE GOAL IN THESE US INTERNATIONAL ECONOMIC ZONES.
This is to where global pols want to take US citizens......you are pushed to work in middle-school-----work as free labor in apprenticeships for years-----and then in mid-life you may have a small business that keeps you at poverty but with food and shelter.
BALTIMORE POLS IN MARYLAND ASSEMBLY AND BALTIMORE CITY HALL HAVE WORKED HARD THESE FEW DECADES TO INSTALL ALL THESE DARK AGES LABOR POLICIES.
With the intent to bring robotics into much of the workforce already limiting who will get jobs----think what the job market will look like as children are moved in as labor. Children, immigrants, and robotic automation taking US International Economic Zones means they do not see 80% of Americans steadily employed------that is what third world societies look like.
SPARKS is of course a global education corporation that will be in the US as well.
Empowering apprenticeships for middle schoolers
by Spark Program, Inc. Story Reports Photos Share
The 21st century job market demands core credentials, from college diplomas to critical thinking. But too many U.S. youth lack opportunities to succeed. Up to 20% don't complete high school. Spark creates hands-on apprenticeships that bring underserved middle school students out of the classroom and into the workplace for individualized mentoring that results in educational success and powerful career ambitions. 92% of Spark alumni have completed or are on track to complete high school on time.
All youth deserve a chance to build the confidence, skills, and social support that will help them thrive in school and in the workforce, yet up to 40% of students in Spark's cities don't finish high school. Those who drop out face poverty, unemployment, and other hardships with serious social costs. Middle school is a crucial opportunity for helping students build the tools to stay on track toward graduation and fulfilling jobs.
Spark partners with schools and workplaces to create inspiring educational experiences for underprivileged 7th and 8th graders. Spark's tailored workplace apprenticeships help students build 21st century workforce skills and connect with professional role models in the critical years before high school. As students explore careers through hands-on projects with their volunteer mentors, they build confidence in their potential to succeed in school and in future careers.
Spark is helping more than 700 middle school students annually, nationwide explore careers and build skills through hands-on apprenticeships. This project will equip eight of those 7th and 8th graders with confidence, curiosity, critical thinking, and other tools for success in school and in careers. Over the long term, transforming the paths of individual students through apprenticeships can add up to boost local graduation rates, drive economic growth, and foster community engagement.
Here is global Bill Gates bringing child labor to the technology industry---which will be the lowest paid employment in the world very soon. Finance and technology can be done anywhere in the world and if Clinton/Obama Wall Street neo-liberals and Bush/Hopkins neo-cons install International Economic Zone and Trans Pacific Trade Pact-----the American citizens will be competing with African and Asian citizens coming to the US glad to work for what they earn overseas-----and children as free labor-----BYE BYE US EMPLOYMENT. This coming economic crash from bond market fraud is slated to create a Great Depression/recession that will knock much of American workers out of a job. Think how all this falls into the goals of NEW WORLD ORDER.
It does not matter that these goals of ONE WORLD under a global corporate tribunal is falling apart all over the world----it is DEAD. It matters that these same 1% will continue to take the developed nations like Europe and US down to third world levels anyway and install all the same societal/political/ and corporate workplace structures as in International Economic Zones in Asia.
THIS IS AN EXAMPLE OF A CORPORATE NON-PROFIT THAT GLOBAL POLS ARE FILLING OUR K-12 SCHOOLS WITH. THEY CALL IT PARTNERSHIPS BUT THESE ARE GLOBAL NON-PROFITS WORKING FOR A ONE WORLD FITS ALL. WE MUST KEEP THESE CORPORATE NON-PROFITS OUT OF OUR SCHOOLS.
We must rebuild our public structures in all schools-----guidance councilors, social workers, nurses, librarians have been in each public school throughout modern US history-----then we bring local, small non-profits to augment all these school staff. The goal of global pols is moving our schools onto global corporate campuses and install these corporate non-profits to build a NEW society.....the Common Core of societal standardization.
There is a BIG difference between having well-funded and resourced computer labs in our middle-schools and having these programs partnered with businesses taking charge of operations because WE KNOW WHERE GLOBAL POLS WANT TO TAKE THIS.
Spark is a global initiative to increase access for all youth to learn computer science, empowering them to achieve more for themselves, their families and their communities.
Three years ago, we launched Microsoft YouthSpark, a cross-company initiative that created educational, employment and entrepreneurial opportunities for more than 300 million youth around the world. We will continue to work in partnership with governments, nonprofit organizations and businesses as we now focus this initiative on providing opportunities for all youth to learn computer science.
Why computer science?
As technology has become an integral part of people’s daily lives around the world, we’re seeing a growing demand – from students, parents, teachers, governments, and nonprofits – to teach youth not only how to use technology, but also how to create technology to help them become the innovators and drivers of growth and opportunity in their communities.
The goal of computer science education is not, necessarily, for everyone to become a computer scientist or a software engineer. We believe all young people should have access to computer science education so they can learn this foundational subject matter and develop the computational-thinking and problem-solving skills that are critical for their future. Regardless of the career they pursue, young people globally will benefit from understanding how technology works as well as how to create, apply and use it. And for those young people who are excited about pursuing a career utilizing computer science, we will show them how Microsoft can help them build their futures.
We will create opportunities for youth around the world to learn computer science by building the capacity of teachers, trainers and nonprofit organizations. This includes programs, such as TEALS, which pairs volunteers from across the technology industry with classroom teachers to bring computer science courses into 170+ high schools across the United States. It also includes support for our nonprofit partners in more than 70 countries around the world to help them build capacity to offer computer science courses broadly in their communities, especially to young people who, otherwise, would not have access to a computer education.
We will seek to inspire young people to pursue a career enabled by technology and connect them to greater opportunities, through campaigns, such as the Hour of Code, and events such as DigiGirlz and YouthSpark Live. In addition, we will connect youth to the full suite of Microsoft Imagine tools, resources, and programs.
Explore the YouthSpark Hub to learn more about all of these programs and resources and read stories about how young people around the world are seizing opportunities to build a better future for themselves and for all of us.
As always, I am not speaking badly about US citizens brought into these employment policies----I am speaking about these employment policies THEMSELVES. I know most college grads would rather be starting their professional careers than working for years as part-time/temporary internships. These programs are bad from two perspectives. First, that VISTA wanting a REAL full-time job living where he/she would want and building roots once graduating from college. Many people want that and they are no longer being given CHOICES-----as these are now the only jobs young adults are having opportunity to attain. This is the attack on our youth in how their futures will be far different from the middle-class pathways Americans have enjoyed for centuries. Think of middle-school apprenticeships followed by these temporary VISTA jobs - AND TEACH FOR AMERICA IS THE SAME THING- and you see the devolving of American wealth and the dismantlement of climbing the economic ladder. Some of these VISTAs come from Ivy League universities as in Baltimore and will no doubt find strong employment, but many VISTAs graduating from colleges from around the nation will be trapped into this NON-EMPLOYMENT.
Teach for America has the same structure----it moves college grads that usually cannot find jobs in their fields into a temporary classroom teaching for some years after which many leave as they find jobs in their profession. This has made our schools and classroom structures dynamic with students allowed no ability to connect and often these Teach for America are not from Baltimore or communities in which they teach. Again, this is a temporary work structure-----it keeps the teaching profession from building seniority and stronger wages as it is meant to.
ALL OF THIS IS PART OF THE CLINTON/BUSH/OBAMA DISMANTLING OF OUR US EMPLOYMENT STRUCTURE TO ONE WHERE ALL CITIZENS WILL EARN POVERTY WAGES. BALTIMORE IS GROUND ZERO FOR ALL THESE POVERTY EMPLOYMENT STRUCTURES.
Also, when you have policies that bring people from all over the nation into Baltimore to work----you are taking away jobs that would have gone to local citizens. I am sure VISTAs and Teach for America employees are not intent on this---they are simply trying to start moving on employment.
New vistas for Volunteers In Service To America
National director welcomes this year's VISTAs to Baltimore
New VISTAs pose for a group photo on the steps of the Greater Homewood… (Photo by Todd Elliott )
August 13, 2013|By Larry Perl, email@example.comWhile looking for a job earlier this year, Shareki Chaney, 26, kept busy by volunteering at her son's public charter school.
Now Chaney has a new job as a Volunteer in Service to America. She is one of 17 AmeriCorps VISTAs who are newly assigned to community groups, schools, nonprofits and government agencies throughout Baltimore.
Technically, VISTAs aren't volunteers, because they get a stipend of $13,300 for 12 months, or 105 percent of the poverty level in Baltimore. The pay isn't much, but for Chaney, it's all good.
"It's awesome to have a job," said the west Baltimore resident, 26, who was recruited when her volunteer spirit at Kipp-Harmony Academy caught the eye of VISTA officials. She is assigned to the Alliance for Community Teachers and Schools and will work in four different schools.
"It's something I have a passion for — helping people be better," Chaney said.
Chaney was in the audience Aug. 9 when national VISTA director Mary Strasser officially welcomed the young, eager VISTAs during a ceremony at the office of the Greater Homewood Community Corp. in Charles Village.
"What you're doing is touching so many lives," Strasser told the VISTAs, most of whom started officially on July 26. "Go forth," she said.
Others on hand included Greater Homewood Executive Director Karen Stokes; Amy Seeberger, representing U.S. Sen. Barbara Mikulski; and Crystal Biles, state director for the Corporation for National and Community Service. CNCS, an independent federal agency, administers the AmeriCorps program, of which VISTA is a part.
"You are in service to America. That is a really big deal," Stokes told the volunteers. "Not everyone is willing to do that with a year of their lives."
Greater Homewood Community Corp., which helps strengthen 40 communities in north and central Baltimore, acts as an official intermediary for the VISTA program in Baltimore, Prince George's, Montgomery, Frederick and Washington counties. It is one of several CNCS grantees for the VISTA program in Maryland and fills however many slots are available each year.
VISTA, founded in 1965 by Sargent Shriver, who also started the Peace Corps, is nearing its 49th anniversary Aug. 20. The program, which is designed to fight poverty, focuses on workforce, youth and economic development. It currently has about 6,500 VISTAs nationwide. Although that's 60 fewer than last year, the number of VISTAs has held relatively steady over the past 15 or 20 years, Strasser said.
But Strasser isn't satisfied with those numbers.
"With 46 million people in poverty in the United States right now, most of whom are children, I think there's room for more (VISTAs)," Strasser told the Messenger.
Maryland has 59 "full-year" VISTAs, the bulk of them assigned to Baltimore, Biles said. Another 90 are participating in a special summer VISTA program. The Baltimore City government has 12 summer VISTAs.
"It's a win-win situation all the way around," said Vu Dang, chief service officer for the city, who attended the welcoming ceremony at Greater Homewood.
The new VISTAs also include Baltimore native Tyler Block, 23, who now lives in White Marsh and recently graduated from the University of Maryland-Baltimore County with a degree in mechanical engineering. He is assigned to the Johns Hopkins University Center for Educational Outreach. He will work at the former Barclay Recreation Center in Charles Village, which is run by Greater Homewood and has been renamed the 29th Street Center.
Block, who was born at Union Memorial Hospital, decided it was time to give back to his hometown.
"I've lived in the city a long time and never done a lot for it," he said.
OF COURSE ROBOTICS WILL CREATE HUGE UNEMPLOYMENT----WE ALREADY KNOW THAT.
This plan of International Economic Zone rebuilding of global corporate campus manufacturing brings with it the 21st Century robotics manufacturing and assembly line technology. We don't need it----we don't want it----but global pols are pushing to the lowest labor cost and that means no real people.
Baltimore is already set for this when they moved Amazon.com warehouse with their global corporate campus that will have the Amazon Robotics corporation building away the products that will replace most Baltimore citizens building them. We will hear JOBS, JOBS, JOBS-----but it doesn't take long to build enough robotics to replace much of what would become International Economic Zone global corporate FOXCONN factories.
Japan and China are long-term neo-liberal economies and they have already started installing these new robotics into all manufacturing et al industries and YES, there is growing unemployment in these Asian nations. This is what global pols are bringing to US International Economic Zones like Baltimore and YES, it will kill employment even more if that is possible. Any small jump in temporary employment building these robots will be lost to US citizen employment.
Robot Economy Could Cause Up To 75 Percent Unemployment
- Jan. 28, 2013, 10:42 AM
The Associated Press has a three-part series on one of the biggest questions business and society will face in coming years.
Are we prepared for a world where 50 to 75 percent of workers are unemployed?
It seems like a ridiculous question, but it's something economists and technologists say we seriously need to think about. It's just math.
Rice University computer science professor Moshe Vardi says that in 25 years "driving [done] by people will look quaint; it will look like a horse and buggy."
So there go many of the approximately 4 million driving jobs out there. Same for sanitation, and those are just a couple examples of how physical jobs will be replaced.
Smarter computers mean that any mid-paying job that involves a routine: data entry, number crunching, operations, and so on, will be replaced as well, which will remove a big piece of the approximately 7 million business and financial operations jobs that exist in the United States.
When you add all of that up, some think 50 percent unemployment is optimistic. Software entrepreneur Martin Ford predicts something closer to 75 percent unemployment by the end of the century. "The vast majority of people do routine work," Ford says. "The human economy has always demanded routine work." And eventually, that work won't be done by humans.
Andrew McAfee and Eric Brynjolffson argue that the trend is rapidly accelerating. What's left are extremely specialized new digital jobs, like people who create apps, and the jobs that robots can't yet replace, like restaurant busboy and other high-touch service jobs.
There aren't enough of the former jobs, no matter how we're educating people. Our new industries simply aren't labor-intensive. And those lower end jobs are low paying, and may also end up being replaced as robots get better at specialized tasks, So income inequality will rise as unemployment increases, further slowing growth.
It's a doomsday scenario that has nothing to do with natural disasters or global warming, but with the fact that technology is changing too rapidly for our economy or society to catch up.
At the very height of our recent recession, we had unemployment of around 10 percent. The economy and safety net could barely deal with it. It helped rapidly grow the debt, and we've yet to deal with that or other lasting consequences. A 10 percent unemployment rate is a mere fifth of what some experts predict we'll see in the future, and we won't be able to count on changing business cycles to lift us out.
If all of the profit from the efficiency and productivity gains from this new technology go towards a small group of people, and we don't change our business or social model, we're going to be left with an increasingly massive pool of people who just don't fit in the economy.
Poor global corporate tribunal rule neo-liberal Brookings Institute no longer gets no respect because they are no longer needed as civilized nations do not want to enslave all its citizens so a small percentage of people are made rich.
Absolutely no one believes that robotic manufacturing will not cause unemployment----or we might say that any shouting that manufacturing is coming back to the US by route of International Economic Zones will see NOT VERY MANY MANUFACTURING JOBS FOR US CITIZENS.
We already know global pols will bring Asian immigrants to work in these US International Economic Zones that have already been trained and working on robotics for a decade. All of the job training being done in Baltimore will mostly be yet again, simply that ---job training.
An American domestic economy does not need or want all these labor structures that have as a goal reducing labor costs to the lowest point. The American economy hummed along with high employment, with small, regional, and national corporations able to earn millions in profit and still pay American workers strong wages. It is the American worker that uses those wages for consumption----buying things-----and this drives the local and US domestic economy. We do not want to dismantle a structure that gives first world quality of life and a strong middle-class as all these labor policies do.
Opinion | July 16, 2013
For the Last Time, Robots Do NOT Cause Unemployment
By: Scott Winship
Parts of the nation’s commentariat have been seized, in recent months, with a nasty bout of technophobia. Technophobia is a psychological condition, but infectious. Hardly a week goes by without a new outbreak documented in another blog post or business column. To judge from the symptomatic hand-wringing the epidemic is spreading, we are on the verge of mass unemployment as work becomes increasingly automated.
Technophobia is an affliction we have yet to cure even after decades of evidence-based ameliorative efforts. We might not have expected much resistance to the disease in earlier times, before evidence accumulated that the fears it inspired were irrational. Back in 1930, a mind as brilliant as John Maynard Keynes was susceptible to the condition. Keynes sensed sickness in the air but misdiagnosed it as a feature of the capitalist economy: “We are being afflicted with a new disease of which some readers may not yet have heard the name, but of which they will hear a great deal in the years to come—namely, technological unemployment.”
Years of economic progress would thereafter reveal the misdiagnosis itself as the disease. The computer was invented and subsequently the fastest one increased in speed by a factor of 100,000. Unemployment fell to around five percent from 1930’s nine percent. Median earnings doubled. Yet a self-appointed committee of public intellectuals declared in a letter to the President that a “cybernation revolution” was at hand, the product of “the combination of the computer and the automated self-regulating machine.” The revolution was producing “a system of almost unlimited productive capacity which requires progressively less human labor.” The year was 1964.
Between 1964 and 2007, on the eve of the Great Recession, the earnings of the median working-age male rose by about one-third, and while most of that came during the 1960s, men’s earnings did rise modestly after 1969. Median earnings among female workers more than doubled after 1969. Median household income rose by about 75 percent. The typical age at retirement declined, and leisure time increased among both working age men and women. Unemployment was no higher than five percent, even accounting for adults not included in official figures because they had stopped looking for work out of discouragement. The computing speed of the fastest computer rose by a factor of one billion. With a “b”. But we cannot shake technophobia. The sense remains that the next one-billion-fold increase in technological progress will be different.
Epidemiologists believe that technophobia’s resiliency stems from an elevated susceptibility produced by another condition present in its hosts: excessive economic pessimism. Equally important is the frequent absence of prophylactic humility about the limits of imagination in predicting the future.
Take blogger Kevin Drum’s influential essay from May of this year. Drum sees worrisome long-term declines in income, employment, and the share of national income going to workers. Resistant to evidence that such declines either did not occur or are not nearly so worrisome as he believes, Drum has proven easy prey for technophobia pathogens.
At the same time, with a bit more appreciation for our inability to foresee the ways in which tomorrow’s world will differ from today’s, those pathogens are easily fended off. Of the Luddites, early 19th century weavers who went on a spree smashing power looms out of fear that their adoption would doom workers to misery, Drum writes,
Power looms put them out of work, but in the long run automation made the entire workforce more productive. Everyone still had jobs—just different ones. Some ran the new power looms, others found work no one could have imagined just a few decades before, in steel mills, automobile factories, and railroad lines. (Emphasis added.)But we still can’t imagine what work will look like in a few decades. In particular, people seem to resist the idea that if technology reduces demand for labor by a quarter, that might translate into everyone working 25 percent less rather than unemployment rising by one-fourth. The late economic historian Robert Fogel predicted that the increase in leisure between 1995 and 2040 would exceed the gain Americans saw in the 115 years before 1995.
OH, REALLY????? IS THAT WHY GLOBAL POLS ALLOWED OUR SOCIAL SECURITY TRUST BE LOOTED AND WANT TO MOVE RETIREMENT AGE TO 70?
Will Fogel be proven right? I certainly don’t know. What I’m pretty sure of, however, is that in 2040 we will not look back at 2013 and think, “We’ve made a huge mistake,” ruing the day we failed to listen to those afflicted with technophobia. Technological progress is not a trick we have played on ourselves to throw ourselves into poverty. It is a means for fulfilling our material wants and needs and continues only to the extent that it does so.
Technophobia is pernicious not only because it needlessly distresses those it afflicts but because it distracts people from real economic problems that would be tractable if we could focus more narrowly on them. For an example of a productive look at technological change and its implications for workers, don’t miss the new Third Way report, “Dancing with Robots,” by economists Frank Levy and Richard Murnane. Levy and Murnane are unconcerned about mass joblessness but argue that the subset of future workers who lack sophisticated skills to manage information will see stagnant or declining wages.
How big is this subset of workers? They do not say, but the less-skilled of their three categories of future jobs—those comprising “non-routine manual tasks”—corresponds closely with the “low-wage” category used by the Economic Policy Institute in a recent paper to analyze occupational changes. That paper finds that 18 percent of jobs are in occupations that tend to pay relatively poorly. In all five decades from 1950 to 2000, the share of workers in high-wage jobs rose faster than the share in low-wage jobs, but the pattern was reversed from 2000 to 2007. Levy and Murnane recommend a transformation of American education to equip more Americans with information-management skills. That seems a more productive course than loom-smashing or preparing for mass unemployment.
Japan is the nation that focused on building robotic technology and has the strongest workforce having worked in the manufacturing of these robotic systems-----China has been moving that way for years and as you see they are now moving full speed again with Chinese labor learning all these robotic skills far before all this can be installed in the US. US International Economic Zones will bring immigrant labor from around the world to work in these Baltimore global corporate FOXCONN campuses and factories-----with Baltimore workers told---you work as they do overseas if you want manufacturing jobs.
Asian nations have lived under these global corporate International Economic Zones for decades and these are very autocratic militaristic corporate state structures that already have a very standardized societal structure with decades of being drilled by competition and working from child to grave. They have no concept of American US Constitutional rights and citizens being protected under Rule of Law----they have no concept of earning an American middle-class wage so when global pols have a goal of flooding the US with immigrant workers and foreign corporations ----they will bring these same values. I am sure all immigrants being brought to the US want the US to maintain ITS FIRST WORLD DEMOCRATIC STRUCTURE ---I'M SURE THEY WANT TO GAIN RIGHTS AS AMERICAN CITIZENS-----but Clinton/Obama/Bush global pols do not intend to keep US sovereignty, Rule of Law, or US Constitution----they are bringing Asia to America.
Asian workers will be in that flood on immigrants next decade to do these robotic manufacturing jobs-----so once again, when Baltimore pols shout JOBS, JOBS, JOBS to Baltimore citizens you know they don't see these jobs occurring, or if they do they will be temporary.
The rise of robots in Asia
The adoption of industrial robots is on the rise worldwide. Not only can they boost industrial productivity, they also drive sustainable, responsible business practices by helping companies cut emissions and ensure worker safety.
An industrial robot arm on display in Bangkok. The International Robotics Federation predicts that 2 million industrial robots will be installed worldwide by 2017. Image: Amnarj Tanongrattana /
Singapore Business News
Tuesday 5 May 2015
Increasingly, everyday items like packaged food, medical supplies, and dental braces are passing through the mechanical and speedy hands of robots before making their way to consumers.
With their ability to work quickly, precisely, and around the clock, robots are gaining popularity in many industrial sectors worldwide, including manufacturing, construction, medicine, and the military.
Not only can robots help make businesses more productive and efficient, they can also help companies operate in a more sustainable way and provide better, safer working conditions for workers, says Lim Say Leong, assistant vice president of marketing at Swiss automation giant ABB.
In a recent interview at the recent MTA 2015 precision engineering conference where ABB has been an exhibitor since 2011, Lim says that industries must prepare themselves for robotics technology.
This “will lead to a less labour intensive and more productive future, with less resources and time used to produce more goods at a high and consistent quality,” he says.
Industrial robots, which come in a variety of shapes, sizes, and configurations, can perform a whole array of tasks including carrying and moving items, packing, welding, and assembling them.
In contrast to industrial automation, where machines perform one set of operations repeatedly, robots have a much wider range of motion and can be programmed to perform complex, intricate tasks.
Increasingly, these devices are being designed to be safe and interactive for ‘human-robot collaboration’, where people and machines work side-by-side, a win-win situation that allows people to focus on tasks that requires ingenuity and dexterity, while robots take over jobs that are repetitive, require precision, or strength.
Their adoption worldwide is picking up pace rapidly, with the International Federation of Robotics (IFR) estimating that 200,000 industrial robots were installed worldwide last year, 15 percent more than in 2013.
In Asia Pacific, robot sales are set to increase by about 16 percent from 2015 to 2017. And in two years’ time, IFR predicts that 2 million robots could be installed in factories worldwide, with 400,000 deployed in China alone.
Productivity, sustainability, safety
Lim Say Leong, assistant vice president of Marketing, ABB
Robots will be very beneficial to Singapore, which relies on manufacturing for about 5 per cent of its income, says Lim.
Firstly, it can deliver huge gains in productivity, which has always been a key priority for the city-state, says the engineer, who has held various roles at ABB since the 1980s.
An example of robotics technology being used to raise productivity in Singapore is robotic drug storage and dispensing machines at a number of public hospitals in Singapore.
The S$119,500 machine can pick out drugs based on their bar codes, update stocks automatically, and issue an alert when stocks run low.
Staff from hospitals that purchased these machines reported that this not only reduced the risk of human error in filling out prescriptions and reduced waiting time for patients, it also freed up pharmacists’ time for interacting with patients and helping them understand their medication.
A product packaged by a robot will have an overall smaller carbon footprint than if it was packed by a human.
Lim Say Leong, assistant vice president of marketing, ABB
In the electronics industry where product life cycles are rapidly shrinking and manufacturing needs to be fast and flexible to keep up, Lim says robots can help companies produce small volumes of products quickly, adding that “by offering higher quality products coupled with fresh varieties, companies can disrupt the market”.
Lim adds that robots can also help manufacturers achieve “huge reductions” in energy consumption and carbon dioxide emissions. Unlike humans, robots do not need light or air conditioning to operate in, and they can also operate in smaller spaces, allowing expensive industrial real estate to be used more efficiently.
Because of their enhanced precision abilities, there are also fewer errors in the manufacturing process, resulting in less wastage.
“A product packaged by a robot will have an overall smaller carbon footprint than if it was packed by a human,” he says.
Due to these benefits, robots help drive down the cost of production to the point where today, the average payback period for an investment in robot technology is between one and three years, shares Lim.
Will robots steal your job?
But despite their many benefits, one of the most widespread concerns about robots is that they will steal much-needed jobs from humans.
This may be true in some parts of the world, says Lim, but not so in Singapore, where industries often struggle with labour shortages. Instead of creating redundancy, robots help ease pressure on companies to hire workers, while at the same time ensuring consistent quality in output, he adds.
But what about existing factory workers? Companies can easily retrain these workers to operate the robots, says Lim. The industry is now at a point where the software solutions that control robots are simple and intuitive, so anyone can operate them, even if they do not have advanced engineering skills.
“Workers can be retrained to operate these machines, service them, or do other back-end work,” Lim suggests. Companies must help these ‘replaced’ workers upgrade their abilities, he adds.
Robots can also relieve workers of duties in uncomfortable or hazardous environments such as freezer storage units or welding operations, where workers are exposed to fumes that cause damage to skin, eyes, and nervous systems.
This is a trend that will take place across the region, Lim predicts. Youth from Southeast Asia’s growing middle class are increasingly averse to the “dirty, dangerous and dull” tasks that manufacturing sometimes requires, and having robots take care of such work will enable companies to create more engaging and meaningful jobs.
Industrial robots could also put an end to companies needing to chase manpower across the globe, says Lim.
“I feel sad for the companies trying to move around Asia to benefit from low-cost labour,” he shares, as this is a short-term solution that will become increasingly unviable as wages inevitably rise. Companies would do much better to focus on building competency, innovating their products and adopting robotic automation, he says.
The capabilities of robots today “will help companies’ bottom lines, achieve better quality output and improve the working environment for the industrial workforce,” he adds.
This is sad------the Japanese citizens no doubt love robotic technology and it is not a bad thing. The bad thing is allowing a corporate view of bringing labor to its lowest wage point or replacing it with robotics take control of our local and US domestic economy. It is not ALL OR NONE.
We want this robotic industry to grow---we do not want it's goal to be creating mass unemployment in America AND WE CAN BALANCE THAT.
Social Democrats create policy that does this----we say, we need everyone employed---we need those employed earning strong wages to fuel our local economies----so we install robotics only where it works best for people. Lots of work with robotics in disability is great-----lots of robotics in very, very boring assembly line medical research is great-----I started my work career in one of those very boring medical laboratory jobs. That's the difference between social Democrats and Clinton/Obama Wall Street neo-liberals ------they go all the way towards maximizing global corporate profits no matter how bad it is for society and our US economy.
In Japan, Machines for Work and Play Are Idle
By HIROKO TABUCHIJULY 12, 2009
PhotoA robot made by Tmsuk of Japan interacted with a customer at a mall in Kokura last year. Credit Everett Kennedy Brown/European Pressphoto Agency
KITAKYUSHU, Japan — They may be the most efficient workers in the world. But in the global downturn, they are having a tough time finding jobs.
Japan’s legions of robots, the world’s largest fleet of mechanized workers, are being idled as the country suffers its deepest recession in more than a generation as consumers worldwide cut spending on cars and gadgets.
At a large Yaskawa Electric factory on the southern Japanese island of Kyushu, where robots once churned out more robots, a lone robotic worker with steely arms twisted and turned, testing its motors for the day new orders return. Its immobile co-workers stood silent in rows, many with arms frozen in midair.
They could be out of work for a long time. Japanese industrial production has plummeted almost 40 percent and with it, the demand for robots.
At the same time, the future is looking less bright. Tighter finances are injecting a dose of reality into some of Japan’s more fantastic projects — like pet robots and cyborg receptionists — that could cramp innovation long after the economy recovers.
Seven years after its introduction, the Aibo robot dog from Sony was discontinued. It was popular, but cost more than $2,000. Credit Junko Kimura/Getty Images
“We’ve taken a huge hammering,” said Koji Toshima, president of Yaskawa, Japan’s largest maker of industrial robots.
Profit at the company plunged by two-thirds, to 6.9 billion yen, about $72 million, in the year ended March 20, and it predicts a loss this year.
Across the industry, shipments of industrial robots fell 33 percent in the last quarter of 2008, and 59 percent in the first quarter of 2009, according to the Japan Robot Association.
Tetsuaki Ueda, an analyst at the research firm Fuji Keizai, expects the market to shrink by as much as 40 percent this year. Investment in robots, he said, “has been the first to go as companies protect their human workers.”
While robots can be cheaper than flesh-and-blood workers over the long term, the upfront investment costs are much higher.
In 2005, more than 370,000 robots worked at factories across Japan, about 40 percent of the global total, representing 32 robots for every 1,000 manufacturing employees, according to a report by Macquarie Bank. A 2007 government plan for technology policy called for one million industrial robots to be installed by 2025. That will almost certainly not happen.
“The recession has set the robot industry back years,” Mr. Ueda said.
That goes for industrial robots and the more cuddly toy robots.
In fact, several of the lovable sort have already become casualties of the recession.
The robot maker Systec Akazawa filed for bankruptcy in January, less than a year after it introduced its miniature PLEN walking robot at the Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas.
Roborior by Tmsuk — a watermelon-shape house sitter on wheels that rolls around a home and uses infrared sensors to detect suspicious movement and a video camera to transmit images to absent residents — has struggled to find new users. A rental program was scrapped in April because of lack of interest.
Though the company won’t release sale figures, it has sold less than a third of the goal, 3,000 units, it set when Roborior hit the market in 2005, analysts say. There are no plans to manufacture more.
That is a shame, Mariko Ishikawa, a Tmsuk spokesman, says, because busy Japanese in the city could use the Roborior to keep an eye on aging parents in the countryside.
“Roborior is just the kind of robot Japanese society needs in the future,” Ms. Ishikawa said.
Japan’s aging population had given the development of home robots an added imperative. With nearly 25 percent of citizens 65 or older, the country was banking on robots to replenish the work force and to help nurse the elderly.
But sales of a Secom product, My Spoon, a robot with a swiveling, spoon-fitted arm that helps older or disabled people eat, have similarly stalled as caregivers balk at its $4,000 price.
Mitsubishi Heavy Industries failed to sell even one of its toddler-size home-helper robots, the Wakamaru, introduced in 2003.
Of course, less practical, novelty robots have fallen on even harder times in the downturn. And that goes for robot makers outside Japan, too.
Ugobe, based in Idaho, is the maker of the cute green Pleo dinosaur robot with a wiggly tail; it filed for bankruptcy protection in April.
Despite selling 100,000 Pleos and earning more than $20 million, the company racked up millions of dollars in debt and was unable to raise further financing.
Sony pulled the plug on its robot dog, Aibo, in 2006, seven years after its introduction. Though initially popular, Aibo, costing more than $2,000, never managed to break into the mass market.
The $300 i-Sobot from Takara Tomy, a small toy robot that can recognize spoken words, was meant to break the price barrier. The company, based in Tokyo, has sold 47,000 since the i-Sobot went on sale in late 2007, a spokeswoman, Chie Yamada, said, making it a blockbuster hit in the robot world.
But with sales faltering in the last year, the company has no plans to release further versions after it clears out its inventory of about 3,000.
Kenji Hara, an analyst at the research and marketing firm Seed Planning, says many of Japan’s robotics projects tend to be too far-fetched, concentrating on humanoids and other leaps of the imagination that cannot be readily brought to market.
“Japanese scientists grew up watching robot cartoons, so they all want to make two-legged companions,” Mr. Hara said. “But are they realistic? Do consumers really want home-helper robots?”
Robot Factory, once a mecca for robot fans in the western city of Osaka, closed in April after a plunge in sales. “In the end,” said Yoshitomo Mukai, whose store, Jungle, took over some of Robot Factory’s old stock, “robots are still expensive, and don’t really do much.”
Of course, that is not true for industrial robots — at least not when the economy is booming.
Fuji Heavy Industries argues its robots are practical and make economic sense. The company sells a giant automated cleaning robot that can use elevators to travel between floors on its own. The wheeled robot, which resembles a small street-cleaning car, already works at several skyscrapers in Tokyo.
Companies can recoup the 6 million yen investment in the cleaner robot in as quickly as three years, a Fuji spokesman, Kenta Matsumoto, said. The manufacturer has rented out about 50 so far.
“A robot will work every day and night without complaining,” Mr. Matsumoto said. “You can even save on lights and heating, because robots don’t need any of that.”