Shhhh! Ixnay on the Otslash-day. If the CEOs find out they can increase profits at the expense of employees then we are all screwed!
And unless the company dictates that I have to own and drive X vehicle with Y specifications, or carry P briefcase with Q specifications, they better be ready to accept that I may show up to work on a bicycle with work documents rolled up in an opening in the frame.
What is much more likely is that in 2017 companies will develop a preference for independent contractors who show up (perhaps virtually from their living room in their PJs) to perform work on specific projects rather than full time staff that has to struggle to look busy between projects. It's very hard to take the "bring your own tools" approach without utilizing workers as independent contractors as compared to full time staff.
Such an approach could be advantageous to ambitious workers who may work on two or three projects simultaneously, presuming, of course, no conflict of interest.
You presume that most companies give a crap about the law. Instead lawyers are hired and loopholes are discovered. You just quoted "...authorized by the employee in writing...". I guarantee that this provision is included within the employee handbook and a signature from the employee to agree to such provisions is almost always a condition of employment.
I know first hand of people who have been required to procure their own uniform at their own cost. Sometimes the employers just don't give a flyin' flip about what the law says. There are still probably hundreds of employers who decide to put an hourly employee on salary and then convince the employee that now they have to work 80+ hours each week without overtime pay because now they are "salaried". Just because employers can be sued doesn't keep them from pulling all sorts of crap. When I was in college I applied for a job at a print shop and was told in an angry tone that he (the employer) only wanted female applicants - totally against the EOA, since there's no particular reason why gender is essential to do work at a print shop, unless he's taking picture of nude ladies (which certainly wasn't in the job description). I could have sued, but why would I? Unfortunately I just didn't have time for such hobbies as lawsuits, petitions or picketing. Neither do most other hourly workers struggling to make ends meet. Employers know this which is why my friends earning an hourly wage are often screwed over with uniform costs, bringing their own tools, etc., while at my job I can buy all sorts of gizmos, pay for the entire table of a business lunch, submit an expense report and even get paid for my extra mileage, even though I already earn more than enough to actually afford these things if reimbursement wasn't an option.
There are thousands of laws that are supposedly meant to help common citizens, but then there are loopholes, exceptions, and bully strategies that the wealthy and powerful use to control, manipulate, and exploit the masses who think they can simply choose to settle for a simple life and raise a family. Some examples include:
- contracts of adhesion, like statements on the back of ticket stubs that claim some waiver of liability, or EULAs and/or warranty documents that can only be read after a product has been purchase and the packaging removed.
- binding arbitration clauses in consumer contracts where the right to a trial in US courts is taken away and replaced with an informal hearing by a private citizen, often with little or no legal training, let alone any of the qualifications expected from an actual judge. In recent years some arbitration firms have come under fire for having subsidiary collection agencies that would attempt to collect from consumers after the arbitration proceedings were complete. Once an arbitrator makes his decision, a judgment is submitted to actual "real" US courts for the purpose of empowering the winners of such suits to use all legally available remedies to collect on the judgment, including bank levies, liens, foreclosure, debtor examinations, etc. Appeals are not allowed, and it has been upheld that arbitrators are NOT required to follow any rules of civil procedure, follow legal precedence, or even make decisions based on actual state or federal laws. An arbitrator could literally decide that a defendant loses his case because he was wearing a yellow tie even if the defendant was clearly following the law and the rules of applicable contracts. There is no legal remedy to reverse such an abusive decision.
- waiver of jury trial as a clause in a contract
- waiver of participating in a class action lawsuit as a clause in a contract
- SLAPP lawsuits: A strategic lawsuit against public participation (SLAPP) is a lawsuit that is intended to censor, intimidate, and silence critics by burdening them with the cost of a legal defense until they abandon their criticism or opposition.
- Unenforceable but intimidating contract clauses - very often a loan contract to purchase a car or house may have a provision that if you file bankruptcy then the loan company has the right to nullify the entire contract, demand immediate payment in full, and if not paid timely they can repossess said property. The only problem is that in practice such clauses are entirely unenforceable. But people sign these contracts and think they'll lose their home or car if they file bankruptcy, so they are intimidated into avoiding bankruptcy even when it may be essential for their family's financial well being (all arguments for or against paying one's debts aside).
- High upside and low downside: there are hundreds of examples where a company has been found liable, even fraudulent and guilty of wrong doing, but the judgment entered against the company involves reimbursing less, sometimes much less, than the actual damages suffered by the plaintiffs, or fines that total less than the profit gained from a devious scheme. In some cases a company only has to reimburse those who fought back, while many more victim's chose not to bother fighting back, leaving a net gain for the company pulling off a scam. The recipe for success in scamming is to take relatively small amounts from a large group of people. Bally's Fitness, for instance, sent out collection notices to ex-members who had quit several months earlier informing them that they each owed hundreds of dollars in past due membership fees, along with late fees and other charges. Since many of the ex-members had already misplaced the proof that they had legitimately quit months earlier, they were intimidated into paying money they didn't owe to avoid further collections activity, protect their credit scores, and prevent the possibility of being sued for even more money. Many others refused to pay the fraudulent bills and disputed the charges with credit bureaus, but otherwise Bally's focused on pursuing those that could more easily be intimidated. Fortunately the Texas Attorney General stepped in, put a stop to Bally's fraudulent billing, reimbursed customers who paid, and paid a fine for their wrong doing, but not enough to put them out of business or to really discourage from from pursuing some other scam in the future. Since the cost of wrong-doing is just a slap on the wrist, it makes sense for companies to skirt the law or even carry out intentional and malicious fraud if they can get away with one out of every three schemes.
- and there are more strategies that companies use to legally and sometimes illegally rip you off and get away with it.
What is a Blackberry?
And to confirm that bais is the proper way to spell bais.
Then we need to act more like the AMA and NPA. Highlight recent disasters, like the fertilizer explosion in West, TX, even though foreign educated engineers probably weren't involved, emphasize how crucial it is that STEM majors study at accredited schools located within our borders where we can have better control over the quality of education provided. Then emphasize how important it is that only the brightest candidates be permitted to study STEM topics. Then implement strict licensing requirements so that no engineer, programmer, scientist, or mathematician can do their job without jumping through a series of hoops. And make it so you need a graduate level STEM degree and a two year "residency" working 120 hours each week for chump change to make sure that only those who eat, breathe, and dream of STEM subject matter actually pursue this career path.
The biggest problem with GMOs as they are being grown today, is that the most frequent genetic modification is Roundup resistance. Farmer's literally spray their GMO crops with Roundup to kill ALL PLANT LIFE, except the GMO crop. Now, I have seen the label for Roundup and the prognosis of ingesting the stuff is not good. It is known to the state of California to cause cancer and/or reproductive defects. Now if all you eat or GMO crops soaked in Roundup, how many years will it take your liver to accumulate the toxins into a lethal dosage? How is it that most over-the-counter herbicides and pesticides for home gardens have warnings not to use them on or near vegetables, but we are supposed to go to the store and buy vegies that have been soaking all their growing life in a sea of chemicals much stronger?
One unintended consequence of Roundup resistant crops is that now superweeds are developing, through natural selection, that are also resistant to Roundup. Doesn't sound like "sustainable" agriculture to me. Scientists have often claimed that something is safe and there is no danger because they haven't found evidence of any harm - but once the whole world is committed to GMO crops there is not going to be much chance to turn back once we realize that there is a problem. Keep the GMO crops in smaller regions and test markets and expand their use gradually so that if decades from now if a problem is identified there is a chance to revserse it.
As for these scientists, let's Google the sorts of things that scientists told us were safe in the past:
1. Some scientists once thought it was safe to dump garbage into the oceans, believing the oceans were large enough to absorb sludge without harmful effects.
2. Scientists have claimed that some cigarettes were "safer" than others: “you're safer smoking Philip Morris . .
3. I'm pretty sure that the Brazilian geneticists crossbreeding mild-mannered European honeybees with their more aggressive, territorial cousins from Africa in the 1950's thought that their experiments were safe.
4. Cane toads in Australia - notorious!
5. Fen-phen - it was first deemed safe, until later when studies showed that fatal heart and lung conditions developed from as little as three months exposure.
6. Industrial Bio-Test Laboratories - fabricated research data to the extent that upon FDA analysis of 867 studies, 618 (71%) were deemed invalid, including many of which were used to gain regulatory approval for widely-used household and industrial products. (see
Investigators charged that three big chemical companies—[Monsanto, Olin Corporation, and FMC Corporation]—knowingly submitted flawed data to the EPA in support of a widely used swimming pool chlorinator that was suspected of causing kidney and bladder problems." All three companies denied allegations of wrongdoing and reaffirmed the safety of their products. LISTEN PEOPLE - this is the same company who just a few decades ago duped us into thinking their products were safe - when they weren't and they knew they weren't! Now we want to believe them when they say GMO is the only way to go? OPEN YOUR EYES!
For the scientists to even argue that GMO crops are essential to sustainable agriculture, it is clear that they do not understand the definition of "sustainable". Never mind the fact that we're all going to have to take up the hobby of backyard farming once we reach peak oil, since our current agricultural system is completely dependent on mechanisation powered by fossil fuels and fertilizers derived from high energy consumption mining and the burning of natural gas to extract Nitrogen. Industrial GMO crops are increasingly dependent on the heavy application of industrial fertilizers, pesticides, and herbicides. They won't come to our rescue when we are at some point in the future forced to grow locally with less mechanisation and energy consumption. For this you will need non-hybrid heirloom seeds from plants adapted to your region and a biointensive method of farming that relies on organic, local sources of nutrients, such as old-fashioned manure and compost, as well as rebuilding the soil. But such plants are becoming harder to find, and those that are available may have been cross-pollinated with the industrial GMO varieties, which may one day become an existential threat to humanity. And just to make life suck worse, Monsanto is known to sue farmers who replant their own seed after it has been (sometimes unknowingly) contaminated by cross-pollination from neighboring fields growing GMO crops.
Don't forget out of control military spending, creating more enemy terrorists every time we take out innocent bystanders with drone strikes around the globe, propping up dictators with our financial support and military protection, corporate bail-out fraud and abuse, offshore tax haven fraud and abuse, physicians and hospitals that bill patients into bankruptcy - regardless of insurance renumeration - but refuse to continue treatment and let patients die after the money is gone, government meddling in the relationships between private citizens, unbalanced influence of wealthy lobbying groups - yes, this country is sick and dying.
Perhaps the greatest danger is the illusion of privacy. Or the false comfort that "they're a big corporation...they would never stoop so low as to scam me." Along with computer literacy, every person should take at least a short course in social engineering to understand how groups and individuals can be so easily manipulated to give away critical information that can lead to identity theft and account hijacking. Just following the history of Facebook it is easy to see how easily people can cause irreversable harm to themselves. Facebook has unilaterally changed privacy settings on multiple occasions only to inform users of the changes after they went into effect. People with photos they thought were private suddenly become publicly viewable. The last straw for me as a Facebook user was when I was asked for my phone number so they could verify my identity in case I was ever locked out of my account. No mention was made that my phone number could be entered into their search tool to look up my Facebook page (and name, and friends, etc.). I just happened to stumble on the news story about this fact, otherwise I still wouldn't know today.
The crazy thing is that I have no use for Facebook, but when family members, friends, coworkers, and business acquaintences ask for your Facebook credentials so they can 'friend' you, you either make sure you are signed up or you reply that you don't use Facebook, which then leaves them with the impression that you don't do social networking, which means that you are not sociable, or worse - that you are some sort of paranoid schizo, afraid of technology, and/or lacking in technological savvy. The end result for myself, and many others I'm sure, is that I do have a Facebook account with my real first and last name, and accept 'friends' from certain friends, family, and business associates, but that is all the business I do with Facebook, of which I do relunctantly. But showing my network of friends and business associates how many hours I play Farmville (ugh!), or letting some Facebook app post some embarrassing 'pic-of-the-day' automatically just doesn't seem like a smart move.
Unfortunately I fear that the trend will soon be to recruit users like zombies to force others to participate more directly with information whoring services like Facebook. Before long there will be an app to find out who is active on Facebook and who is just using it like an online address book - and some guru will be advising potential employers not to hire those sticks-in-the-mud who aren't expressing personal opions and clicking "like" on at least ten items each week.
Similar words have been spoken of Baby Boomers and Generation X by the generations that preceded them. For every meth smokin', Wall-Street Occupyin', Tweeting Millenial, there is a brave, young, volunteer soldier and firefighter, putting the needs of his community and his family above his own, desparately struggingly to make ends meet while being berated and dismissed by a grumpy ex-hippy ticked off that the money he didn't earn with his stock picks in the roaring 90's won't buy him the private island he was planning to sail off to in his yacht.
Yes, except you limited the houses to "normal-sized homes". Most Americans are overwieght, eat super-sized food, drive over-sized cars, and live in huge homes. Most homes in rural areas with septic drain fields are single-wide mobile homes.
I'm still trying to understand this. How did they trace viruses to the bedrock well sites? Did they have Windows installed? Did they find the address where IP from? I suspect that I may be an inadvertant source of the virus, but I don't know why or how to stop it. I even tried to wipe my drive and perform a system flush, but it just made the problem worse. Help - anybody?
Part of the problem with cutting deficits with spending reductions is that there is often a major cut that is required that no one wants to be responsible for. You can gut the military, or you can drop off elderly, disabled people at the door step of their next of kin, but without taking one or both of these drastic measures, there just aren't enough budget cuts available. As a percentage of GDP, the US national debt combined with other public debt on the state and local level is not that much better than Greece, Spain, Ireland, or Cyprus. It really might be already too late. Governments do "declare bankruptcy" by defaulting on public debt. The US may see a situation similar to what Russia went through during the 1990's. If it's not too late it would be better to pursue budget cuts now willfully than to be forced to after no one is willing to loan to the USA.
Maybe we need some out-of-the-box thinking. The world enjoys a prosperous global economy in part due to Pax Americana, where the USA is the primary, sometimes at 90% of coalition force, peace keeping force and deterent in the world. Why not charge for this service? Tell the Europeans that we're pulling out of our bases unless they start paying their security fee. If they would prefer we could offer services, at a fee, to train their own armies to protect their territories. And sell them weapons, with a markup sufficient to cover some of our debt repayments. Go to Saudi Arabia, Kuwait, etc. and do the same, as well as the major importers of oil from these countries, since we are paying millions to protect all these Arabic sources of oil from invaders (was Iraq, now supposedly Iran). Charge a fee to South Korea and Japan for keeping North Korea at bay. Sell off unprofitable territory - ask the French if they want New Orleans back, or ask China if they would like to lease California for 100 years so they could import their manufactured goods duty free and build factories closer to one of their biggest customers. Sure this would mean that Californians would have to work 100 hours each week for $16 a day, no benefits, brutal oppression of human rights, etc., but it would bring jobs back to American, sort of.
Start selling immigration rights. If you want to come here, pay $40k and you get to move in, no questions asked. $10k more buys citizenship. If revenue is less than expected, drop the price a few points every couple of years. Here's a thought - charge wealthy people the same tax rate as working Americans. No more exemptions from social security tax for every dollar over $100k. Stop making punishing those with "earned" income and rewarding those with passive income - tax it all the same. Free market theory would suggest that people will invest and don't need government to prop up the system with bogus tax incentives. Collect a deposit of 20% of net worth for every individual leaving the country. Return deposit only when they come back.
Just some thoughts.
Considering that some of the most brilliant engineers I know still use some VERY antiquated technology and software, but have customized and adapted it over the years to integrate with newer technology to do things that no off-the-shelf software can do.
Reminds me of a cartoon I saw once. It showed a hiring manager explaining to a rejected job applicant: "no, actually your resume is quite impressive. The accomplishments at your previous employers are quite remarkable, and your commitment to your community service projects is commendable. But we are really looking for an unscrupulous ass-kissing minion to fill this position".