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Submission + - How Employers Get Out of Paying Their Workers

HughPickens.com writes: We love to talk about crime in America and usually the rhetoric is focused on the acts we can see: bank heists, stolen bicycles and cars, alleyway robberies. But Zachary Crockett writes at Pricenomics that wage theft one of the more widespread crimes in our country today — the non-payment of overtime hours, the failure to give workers a final check upon leaving a job, paying a worker less than minimum wage, or, most flagrantly, just flat out not paying a worker at all. Most commonly, wage theft comes in the form of overtime violations. In a 2008 study, the Center for Urban Economic Development surveyed 4,387 workers in low-wage industries and found that some 76% of full-time workers were not paid the legally required overtime rate by their employers and the average worker with a violation had put in 11 hours of overtime—hours that were either underpaid or not paid at all. Nearly a quarter of the workers in the sample came in early and/or stayed late after their shift during the previous work week. Of these workers, 70 percent did not receive any pay at all for the work they performed outside of their regular shift. In total, unfairly withheld wages in these three cities topped $3 billion. Generalizing this for the rest of the U.S.’s low-wage workforce (some 30 million people), researchers estimate that wage theft could be costing Americans upwards of $50 billion per year.

Last year, the Economic Policy Institute made what is, to date, the most ambitious attempt to quantify the extent of reported wage theft in the U.S.and determined that “the total amount of money recovered for the victims of wage theft who retained private lawyers or complained to federal or state agencies was at least $933 million.” Obviously, the nearly $1 billion collected is only the tip of the wage-theft iceberg, since most victims never sue and never complain to the government. Commissioner Su of California says wage theft has harmed not just low-wage workers. “My agency has found more wages being stolen from workers in California than any time in history,” says Su. “This has spread to multiple industries across many sectors. It’s affected not just minimum-wage workers, but also middle-class workers.”

Submission + - "The Expert" is Lauris Beinerts viral comedy sketch about engineering (leaseweblabs.com)

Maurits van der Schee writes: “The Expert” is the title of the short comedy sketch Lauris Beinarts (Google+) posted a last week on his Youtube account. It went viral and is heading for half a million views in under 7 days. It is about a “Funny business meeting illustrating how hard it is for an engineer to fit into the corporate world.” The video is starring: Orion Lee, James Marlowe, Abdiel LeRoy, Ewa Wojcik, Tatjana Sendzimir and is written & directed by Lauris Beinerts. It is based on a short story by Alexey Berezin titled “The Meeting” (in Russian) or translated by Google.

Comment Re:Ugh (Score 1) 537

I had one doctor start to tell me he would call a hit out on me if I couldn't make his alpha pager work when it was turned off. According to the board of directors at a local hospital, it may not be safe for me to be one of their patients because of a dispute they had about a bill.

You mean you were the tech guy, and he threatened to take out a contract on your life because you couldn't make his pager work when it was turned off? Was this said in jest?

Regardless, this and lots of other comments on /. make me think it would be good to have a category for tech/programmer/related workers' labor issues, quality of life, that sort of thing.

Comment Re:This just proves (Score 2, Insightful) 706

IT isn't a place for women, but it's not a place for men either. It's a sinkhole that takes the best and brightest and turns them into bitter husks (if they don't run off screaming first).

IT careers are fundamentally broken. IT is not treated like a science. IT workers don't have unions to protect them like mechanics and doctors. IT gets the worst of everything. Most people can only immerse themselves in code and gadgetry for so long before they notice that their peers appear to be leading more enjoyable lives.

Yes this. I already see flaming in these comments, which is unfortunate. Although there are undoubtedly instances of gender discrimination, I don't think IT people are each other's enemies--management and their view of IT as a liability rather than a resource (quoting some other /.er) are our enemies. A misunderstanding or dismissal of what we do and the attitude towards IT which that engenders, that's what ruins what should be a line of work about as good as any other, maybe even better.

So, subtopic: what kinds of other jobs can IT skills/background be marshaled into?

Comment Re:in other news (Score 1) 78

I was a Fastmail.fm customer for years until their huge outage a couple years back.

When did they have a significant outage? I opened my account in 2004.

Opera has, as far as I know, a fairly good reputation. I hope this works out well.

Comment Re:Look.... (Score 1) 393

Look, if I'm paying for power, in a government granted monopoly (as most power companies are) I'd better be able to use it how I wish, while paying for it with a reasonable fee based on what I use....

It is the most basic of rights to be able to use what you pay for.... when it comes to electricity, theres no other providers and its just about impossible to go without electricity in 2010 (even most Amish will have electricity in their outbuildings).

How absurd to claim that as a "most basic of rights". You are certainly free to spend your money to create your own power sources. Don't have enough money to build your own power plants? Then you simply cannot *afford* unlimited access to power.

Power is a limited resource. It needs to be generated, and distributed among communities. The reality is that sometimes your unnecessarily cool AC will cause grids to lose power to more basic and necessary appliances, like lights and fridges.

And please. Many Amish barns might have electricity, but they *do not* have A/C.

Comment Re:Just in case it wasn't crystal clear (Score 1) 405

I don't understand why Republicans stand up for him at all. He was no Republican - he was the son of one and wanted to be King but thought it was all about parties and holidays.
He saw it as a prize and not a job, and that he could hand out smaller prizes to personal friends. His terms were all about appearance and little about reality - idiocy like pulling out the military so that the CIA could get the credit for catching Bin Laden really sum up the situation. Simply because he couldn't tell his friend in charge of the CIA to pull his finger out and do their job of coordinating intelligence we got the vast barely competent organisation of Homeland Security to do it instead.
The arrival on the carrier in a clown suit designed to take the best of a dozen uniforms really sums up his time of trying to run the USA like Enron - all flash and no substance.
Don't forget that when the country needed him he simply ran away. Not even a secret broadcast from a hidden location, not even a statement or email - just running away and not doing his job. There has never been another US President that would have done that.

Comment Suite format (Score 1) 520

Four fully enclosed offices with doors which open to a central conference area (just a 3x8 table and half a dozen chairs), which in turn opens onto the corridor accessing the rest of the office. Bonus points if you can parley a space for a sink, a mini-fridge, and a coffee machine on a small kitchenette at one end of the common area.

You should always be close, but there are times when you need to collaborate and times when you need to close the door and concentrate on what you're doing without distraction (coding, of course).

I have actually worked in an environment like this and it is pretty darned productive. We had 6 offices that opened onto a common area. No coffee mess, but life isn't perfect. I think we were much more in sync as a team than the folks who were lined up in offices along a corridor, and much less distracted than being in a cube farm (I've been in both of those environments, too).

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