Daily Archives: February 3, 2012

Chrysler UAW Employees To Receive $1,500 Dollar Bonuses.

Factory workers at Chrysler will get profit-sharing checks of about $1,500 next month as they share in the automaker’s improbable turnaround.About 26,000 union-represented workers in the U.S. should get the payments under Chrysler’s contract with the United Auto Workers union that was signed last fall.  Chrysler wouldn’t say how much the workers will get. The profit-sharing figure is based on an Associated Press analysis of company earnings, and the labor contract formula for profit-sharing.

The checks are based on Chrysler’s $2 billion operating profit for 2011, reported on Wednesday. Chrysler reported full-year net income of $183 million, its first since 1997.The payments are another sign that Chrysler has recovered from its near-collapse in 2009, when it needed a $12.5 billion government bailout and a trip through bankruptcy protection to stay in business. Chrysler has since repaid its U.S. and Canadian government loans by refinancing them, but the U.S. government says it will lose about $1.3 billion on the bailout deal, which included Chrysler’s financial arm.

Chrysler predicted an even better 2012 with total U.S. auto sales projected to rise by more than 1 million to about 14 million. On Wednesday, the company said its January sales rose 44 percent compared with a year earlier. The company, which is majority owned by Italy’s Fiat SpA, forecast a net profit of $1.5 billion this year with an 18 percent revenue increase, to $65 billion. Its share of the U.S. market, where it gets 85 percent of its profits, rose 1.3 percentage points last year to 10.7 percent.

CEO Sergio Marchionne said Wednesday that both salaried and hourly workers would get profit-sharing checks, but he would not reveal the amounts.

He told employees in an email that they have earned the rewards.

“You have been to hell and back, and you defied predictions of our demise,” Marchionne wrote. “Your efforts rewrote the history that so many naysayers had forecast.”

Even with the 2011 profit, workers at Chrysler won’t get as much in profit-sharing as their unionized counterparts at Ford and General Motors.

Ford will make profit-sharing payments of around $6,200 each to its 41,600 U.S. hourly employees in March. GM workers are expected to get more than the $4,000 they received last year. The company announces its fourth-quarter and annual earnings on Feb. 16.  Source:  Washington Post Bloomberg.

500+ Women File EEOC Discrimination Charges Against Wal-Mart.

In a move to protect their right to pursue individual and class action pay and promotion claims against Wal-Mart Stores, Inc., more than 500 former and current Wal-Mart women employees who had been part of a national class action lawsuit have filed a charge of discrimination against the retailer with the U.S. Equal Employment and Opportunity Commission (EEOC) as of Friday, Jan. 27.

That was the deadline for women in five states – Alabama, Arkansas, Georgia, Mississippi andNorth Carolina – to pursue their claims, according to plaintiffs’ attorneys Joseph Sellers, Cohen Milstein Sellers & Toll PLLC, and Brad Seligman, the Impact Fund, who represent the women.  The vast majority of the EEOC charges – some 430 – were filed in those states since the June 2011 U.S. Supreme Court decision reversing a lower court ruling certifying class action against Wal-Mart.  Women in all other states who previously filed class action claims against Wal-Mart, and its subsidiary Sam’s Club, have until May 25, 2012, to file a claim with the EEOC.

“The Supreme Court did not give Wal-Mart a free pass to discriminate.  Filing an EEOC claim is one more way current and former women employees of Wal-Mart can assert their rights,” Sellers and Seligman said in a statement.  More than 12,000 women have contacted plaintiffs’ counsel directly or through the informational website, www.walmartclass.com, to discuss pursuing claims of gender-based pay and promotion discrimination.  Even in the five states with the Jan. 27, 2012, filing deadline, women with pay and promotion discrimination charges against Wal-Mart from July 2011-on can file EEOC claims against the company.

“These EEOC charges are just the down-payment—we expect to file thousands of additional charges by the May 25, 2012 deadline.  We urge women throughout the country who feel they have been discriminated against by Wal-Mart in pay and promotions to log onto thewww.walmartclass.com site and register,” said Seligman.

Regional class action lawsuits on behalf of women plaintiffs who worked in California and Texas region Wal-Mart stores were filed in federal courts in those states in October 2011.  An expanded class action was filed in Texas federal court in January 2012.

For information about the case or EEOC discrimination filings against Wal-Mart Stores, Inc., visit www.walmartclass.com.

SOURCE Cohen Milstein Sellers & Toll PLLC and the Impact Fund

Gen Y Behavior Creates New Work Culture.

By Caroline Dowd-Higgins for The Huffington Post.

Communication gaps between the generations in the workplace is not a new phenomenon but now there are new data points to illustrate how Generation Y may be changing the professional work culture dramatically. Dan Schawbel, Managing Partner ofMillennial Branding LLC, partnered withIdentified.com — a data and analytics company — to research how Generation Y (18-to-29-year-olds) is using Facebook to define their personal lives while often disregarding their professional identity.

Millennial Mayhem
The study shows that Facebook-savvy Gen Y-ers spend an average of just over 2 years at their first job and tend to job hop multiple times in their careers. While 80% of Gen-Y list at least one school entry on their Facebook profiles, only 36% list a job entry. They define themselves by their colleges instead of their workplaces but they have an average of 16 co-workers each as friends on Facebook.

The rub comes when employers and co-workers have access and insight into their personal lives via Facebook, which can create for an awkward workplace setting, and according to Dan Schawbel, “… can even result in a termination.”

Some companies are clamping down on social media time at work and limit or prohibit access to these sites during work hours. Facebook reports that individuals spend an average of 20 minutes a day on the site and 57% of people talk to each other more online than they do in-person. No matter how technology savvy the workplace becomes, in-person, verbal communication with good old fashioned eye contact is still extremely important for every generation in the world-of-work.

Balance for Rookies
With 800 million users reported on Facebook in 2012 it’s clear that Gen Y is networking but they are not building professional relationships as much as personal connections. This group of emerging professionals is also very clear about their professional values. Many state very clearly that work/life balance is the most sought after criteria in their job search.

I find this fascinating since many of them have not yet really worked in full-time jobs. But as a generation, they are shying away from the corporate culture that requires mega hours and laser beam ambition to thrive in a very demanding work environment. Millennial Branding reports:

“Only 7% of Gen-Y works for a Fortune 500 company because startups are dominating the workforce for this demographic in today’s economy. If large corporations want to remain competitive, they need to aggressively recruit Gen-Y workers. Gen-Y will form 75% of the workforce by 2025 and are actively shaping corporate culture and expectations. Big corporations can’t afford to be left behind.”

The Age of Entrepreneurs
Gen Y is also full of budding entrepreneurs and the study shows that “Owner” is the fifth most popular job title because they are an entrepreneurial generation. Even though most of their companies won’t succeed, they are demonstrating an unprecedented entrepreneurial spirit. Schawbel believes that companies need to allow Gen-Yers to operate entrepreneurially within the corporation by giving them control over their time, activities, and budgets as much as possible.

Schawbel is a Gen Y member himself and it’s clear that the existing workplace culture must expand to accommodate Gen Y if we are to sustain a workforce into and beyond 2025. The succession plan for the next generation means that Gen Y must work in established companies in addition to new organizations for the economy to grow and for commerce to prosper.

Paradigm Shift
While I’m sure every generation since the beginning of time has complained about the behaviors of the young guns who enter the career ranks as rookies, it’s clear that a cultural shift must occur in order to groom Gen Y (and beyond) to sustain the workforce in the future.

I see a shift happening in a variety of sectors that are accommodating part-time, flex-time, and tele-commuting options for their employees. Gen Y has helped us all remember that quality of life is important if we are to be successful as professionals and healthy as individuals.

Large law firms, for example, have begun to add staff attorneys or contract attorneys into their employment menu for lawyers who don’t want to work on the traditional partner track. The legal industry is exploring this off-track model to retain great talent and give more flexible opportunities to those who don’t value the prestige or earning potential of the high level partner-track positions. It all boils down to professional values.

Working in an engaging environment, with limited hours and a salary cap, is very desirable for some attorneys who prioritize work/life integration over the mega salary and goal of partnership. This new model is giving attorneys and firms more options than they have had in the past and allows them to recruit a diverse talent pool that fits their needs more precisely. This concept is beginning gain traction in other career fields as well.

The New Normal of Work Culture
The Gen Y population may seem cavalier to some with their social media obsession and their desire to have more control over their time, activities, and work culture — even as rookies. While some seasoned professionals might say that these newbies need to earn their wings and the perks that go along with time and experience in the workplace, I think we can learn from the multi generational wisdom and meet them half way.

I am encouraged that work/life integration is something employers are finally addressing since burn out, stress related illness, and toxic work environments continue to cause serious problems in the workforce. Perhaps Gen Y’s request for this “balance” up front will generate a paradigm shift and help to restructure the workforce since balanced, healthy people perform better on the job.

However, I believe strongly that all generations, and especially Gen Y which is so technology proficient, must still strengthen their professional competencies in written and verbal communication, active listening, empathy, resilience, and self awareness. Whether you are an entrepreneur, working in a Fortune 500 company, or a non-profit organization — these skills are a deal breaker and imperative for professional success.

So the next time you are on Facebook, thank Gen Y for influencing change in the workplace that someday all generations may enjoy. And by the way, it’s not just Gen Y that spends 20+ minutes a day on Facebook! Feel free to like me on Facebook for more career & professional development wisdom.

Caroline Dowd-Higgins authored the book “This Is Not the Career I Ordered” and maintains the career reinvention blog of the same name (www.carolinedowdhiggins.com) She is also the Director of Career & Professional Development and Adjunct Faculty at Indiana University Maurer School of Law. She hosts the national CBS Radio Show Career Coach Caroline on Tuesdays at 5pm EST http://sky.radio.com/shows/coach-me/ 

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