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Introduction I hope that our class will provide you with the ability to critically understand what is happening in the real world.

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Introduction

I hope that our class will provide you with the ability to critically understand what is happening in the real world.

To facilitate your ability to take what you learn in class and apply it to the real world, I have compiled a series of current newspaper articles. These newspaper articles pertain to topics that we discuss in class and are covered in the textbook. I hope that you can discover the relevancy of our class discussions through your reading of these newspaper articles.

I will include questions from the newspaper articles on your exams to reward those who have attempted to broaden and deepen their education.

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On

the

Economy

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It's official, OSHA says

Employers must let workers use restrooms

OSHA says there have been enough complaints about restrictions to show that the rule must be spelled out.

ASSOCIATED PRESS

WASHINGTON—If you have to go, the government says the boss must let you.

The federal agency that oversees workplace health said Thursday that employers not only have to provide restrooms, they also have to allow workers to use them.

For some workers, that has not always been the case.

The Labor Department's Occupational Safety and Health Administration has long required that toilet facilities "be provided in all places of employment" for all workers. But that regulation merely requires employers to have enough bathrooms. It says nothing about giving workers access to them.

There's no problem for most of the nation's workers; they just get up and go. But in some jobs, such as food processing, assembly lines and telemarketing, meeting a simple human need can involve pleading and even the risk of losing a job.

OSHA spokesman Stephen Gaskill said the agency thought when it required restroom facilities in all workplaces 20 years ago that it had made clear to companies that workers had the right to use them as the need arose.

Now, he said, there have been enough complaints to show that the rule must be spelled out.

"We're telling employers that, within reason and when necessary, workers should have the ability to use a restroom," he said.

In a memo interpreting the previous regulations, the agency said it is clear that "all employees must have prompt access to toilet facilities.”

"Restrictions on access must be reasonable and may not cause extended delays," the memo said. "Timely access is the goal of the standard.”

It noted that a number of companies concerned about uninterrupted production have set up signal or relief systems for workers on assembly lines or other jobs "where an employee's absence, even for the brief time it takes to go to the bathroom, would be disruptive.

"The OSHA memo stated that workers denied prompt access to restroom facilities can suffer adverse health effects. OSHA field inspectors can issue citations for violations.

Roanoke Times

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Wednesday December 2 7:24 PM ET

U.S. Firms Speed Job Cuts Despite Economic Strength

By Simon Hirschfeld

NEW YORK (Reuters) - While U.S. corporations try to play Santa Claus to their shareholders, for many workers they are more like the Grinch, with layoffs at some big companies accelerating just in time for Christmas.

Despite a fairly robust domestic economy, job cuts are currently on track to make 1998 the worst year of the decade, as companies continue to cut costs to weather the global financial crisis.

``The market has very high expectations. The unrelenting search for profits is driving companies in an era when they can't raise prices and some of their potential for expansion overseas is being crimped,'' said John Challenger of Challenger, Gray & Christmas, a firm that helps downsized workers find new jobs.

Job cuts in 1998 are looking to beat 1993, the worst year of the decade so far, according to Challenger. He said job cuts could reach the 625,000 mark by the end of the year.

Wednesday, cereal maker Kellogg Corp., electronic systems and components company ITT Industries Inc., aerospace manufacturer BF Goodrich Co., energy company Texaco Inc. and oil and gas explorer Union Pacific Resources Group Inc. all announced job cuts.

Texaco said it would cut 2,000 positions worldwide. ITT said it would lay off up to 1,200 workers, or 3.4 percent of its global work force. Kellogg plans to eliminate 525 salaried positions and 240 temporary jobs in North America. Union Pacific said it would cut its headquarter staff 14 percent, a loss of 138 jobs. And BF Goodrich said it would close two assembly plants in Arkansas and a Maryland aerostructure facility that employ a total of 744 workers.

The announcements came one day after aerospace giant Boeing Co. said it would cut 20,000 jobs going forward, as the Asian crisis cuts into its profits.

Other layoffs are planned as merging companies such as Exxon Corp. and Mobil Corp., Deutsche Bank AG and Bankers Trust Corp. eliminate redundancies.

What is happening, according to Joel Naroff, an economist with First Union Corp. based in Philadelphia, is companies are ''finally throwing in the towel as far as holding things together and hoping that the effects of Asia or Latin America will not require them to do the kinds of downsizings that they're required to do.''

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Naroff said, ``The fundamental decision to cut the work force is needs-based,'' as companies must respond more quickly to changes in the global economy.

While layoffs are increasing, unemployment has stayed fairly low, economists noted. ``In the best of times there are 300,000 new claims for unemployment insurance,'' said Michael Boldin, the director of business cycle research for the Conference Board, a New York-based research firm. New claims have recently been between 300,000 and 325,000, he said.

This means that individual workers have had to become more flexible, with corporations quicker to hire as well as to fire in response to changing economic conditions.

``People are moving to where the jobs and the growth are occurring. That means a lot more turbulence in people's lives,'' Challenger said.

According to First Union's Naroff: ``Job security is not something you even talk about anymore. It is now more defined as the ability to walk across the street and get another job. It may mean a pay cut, it may mean giving some things up. For a lot of these people, it's not nearly as catastrophic as if the job market were not so tight.''

http://dailynews.yahoo.com/headlines/ts/story.html?s=v/nm/19981202/ts/jobs_1.html

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Wednesday December 2 6:07 PM ET

Exxon, Mobil Talk To Investors, Seek To Ease Concern

By Robin Sidel

NEW YORK (Reuters) - Exxon Corp. (NYSE:XON - news) and Mobil Corp. (NYSE:MOB - news) Wednesday began drumming up support for their proposed $76 billion merger, which would create the world's biggest company, as federal regulators announced plans to scrutinize the deal.

A day after announcing the merger, which would be the biggest corporate marriage ever, top executives of the nation's two largest oil companies remained in New York to discuss the deal with investors.

The companies also sought to dispel concerns raised by lawmakers that the transaction would create an anti-competitive environment that could hurt consumers. Connecticut Attorney General Richard Blumenthal has announced plans to investigate the union and the chairman of the Senate's antitrust subcommittee described it as ``worrisome.''

``We recognize that a number of states have an interest with respect to the proposed merger of the two companies. We expect to work closely with the state authorities and the (Federal Trade Commission) to address those interests,'' a Mobil spokesman said.

In Washington, a spokeswoman said the FTC will review the merger but declined further comment. Antitrust lawyers said the FTC may require Exxon and Mobil to sell some gas stations, especially in the Northeast, where they account for a large chunk of gasoline sales.

The companies have acknowledged that the deal, which reunites two of the ``seven sisters'' created by the 1911 breakup of John D. Rockefeller's Standard Oil empire, is expected to be closely scrutinized by regulators. However, they have said the industry is still intensely competitive.

Meanwhile, fresh details emerged about the scope of the anticipated 9,000 job cuts that will result from the deal.

As a result of the transaction, Irving, Texas-based Exxon said Wednesday it plans to close the Exxon Co. International facility in Florham Park, N.J., which employs 460 people. Those responsibilities are expected to be shifted to Houston, which will be the headquarters for the combined company's worldwide exploration and production and chemical operations.

An Exxon spokeswoman said it was premature to discuss the timing for the office's shutdown or to discuss other plant closures that may result from the deal.

Other details about the transaction are still not known as the companies formulate the plan. Merger documents have not been filed yet with regulatory authorities.

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Wall Street continued to express enthusiasm about the deal as shares of Mobil posted gains amid a broad market sell-off. Shares of the Fairfax, Va.-based company, which rallied last week but slipped Tuesday after the deal was announced, rose 44 cents to $84.19 on the New York Stock Exchange.

The stock price is expected to remain below the price Exxon offered due to uncertainty about what regulators may do and how the two companies, with vastly different corporate cultures, will fit together.

The transaction announced Tuesday calls for Exxon to buy Mobil in a stock swap valued at $94.47 a share. The deal is expected to give the nation's two biggest oil companies a powerful position as the industry confronts financial difficulties triggered by weak energy prices.

``The two companies together will be better able to grow shareholder value than they would have separately,'' said Konrad Krill, money manager of the Orbitex Strategic Natural Resources Fund, which has Exxon as its biggest investment at 4.2 percent. Another 2.3 percent of the fund is made of Mobil shares.

The Exxon-Mobil transaction follows British Petroleum Co.'s plan to buy Amoco Corp. (NYSE:AN - news) for $48 billion, announced Aug. 11.

``Although there are still outstanding issues to be addressed with the British Petroleum-Amoco merger, it is generally perceived that their corporate cultures will mesh more easily and that there will be fewer regulatory issues than with Exxon-Mobil,'' BT Alex. Brown analyst Adam Sieminski wrote in a report Wednesday titled ``Fire and Ice - Mobil Acquired by Exxon''.

``In addition, BP has more experience with mergers and its motivation to grow bigger in order to prosper was more understandable,'' he wrote.

Yahoo news: http://dailynews.yahoo.com/headlines/bs/story.html?s=v/nm/19981202/bs/oil_13.html

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Union cites NAFTA as cause

5O-plus Hubbell jobs to go south

The Christiansburg employer will lose 50 to 90 jobs next year as the company opens a new plant in Mexico.

By CHRISTOPHER CALNAN THE ROANOKE TIMES

CHRISTIANSBURG -Hubbell Lighting Inc. will lay off 50 to 90 workers in coming months as the company moves manufacturing jobs to a new plant in Mexico, labor union officials said Friday.

The assembly workers will be laid off from January through August based on seniority, IUE Local 160 president Scott Farmer said.

Ed Zamer, the plant's vice president of human resources, declined comment Friday and referred all questions to Tom Conlin, vice president of public affairs. Conlin didn't return several calls.

The Hubbell workers are the latest casualties of the North American Free Trade Agreement since it went into effect in 1994, he said.

"It's hurt this area before, "Farmer said. "It's hard to fight 90 cents an hour. It's just too much.”

Hubbell- has been leasing a plant in Juarez, Mexico, for five years and plans to open its own plant in January, he said. The company will save an average $15 per hour with each employee because Christiansburg workers are paid $11 to $ 12 an hour and cost the company $17 to $18 an hour when factoring in benefits.

The Christiansburg plant, which opened in 1973, laid off 80 workers in 1991, and 26 in 1992.

Those workers were eventually rehired, unlike the pending layoffs, Farmer said.

"This is permanent," he said. "I don't see anything to get them back."

Bob Isner, Montgomery County's director of economic development, said Hubbell officials have told him the laid off workers would be part of normal attrition. The Christiansburg plant employs 575 workers and is one of the biggest private-sector employers in the New River Valley. About 70 percent of its 370 hourly workers belong to the IUE, or the International Union of Electronic, Electrical, Salaried Machine and Furniture Workers.

Hubbell Lighting is part of Hubbell Inc., an international manufacturer of electrical and electronic products with headquarters in Orange, Conn., that has $1.3 billion in annual revenues, according to company literature.

Hubbell Inc. reported record sales during the third quarter of 1997 and net income of $41.6 million.

Christopher Caluan can be reached at 381-1675 or chrisc@roanoke.com

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Boeing to cut 12,000 commercial-airline jobs

SEATTLE,-Boeing Co., after two years of struggling to hire and train enough workers to meet surging demand, said it expects to cut 12,000 jobs, or 10 percent of the work force at its commercial airline unit, by next year.

The world's largest aerospace company said jetliner production will peak in mid-1998, and improved technology, such as computer links to suppliers, will allow it to eliminate jobs without reducing the number of aircraft it makes. Most of the job cuts w ill come through attrition, Boeing said.

Boeing this year has hired 17,000 workers to ease assembly-line bottlenecks that forced it to halt production of some jetliners temporarily in October. The production problems are beginning to ebb.

IN BUSINESS FROM STAFF AND WIRE REPORTS-- Roanoke Times 10/17/97

Most cuts will come by attrition

Boeing to eliminate another 8,200 jobs

The latest employment reductions are in addition to 12,000 job cuts announced in December and planned for the second half of this year.

By TIMES L. ENG ASSOCIATED PRESS SEATTLE-

The Boeing Co. said Friday it will eliminate another 8,200 jobs over the next two years as it absorbs McDonnell Douglas and Rockwell's defense and space operations.

Roanoke Times 10/21/98

Other Job cuts

Companies announcing significant cuts in the workforce since December of 1997:

Nike Corp. 1,600

Xerox 9,000

Chase Manhattan Corp. 4,500

Philip Morris Inc. 1,900

Greenwich Air 1,000

Imation Corp. 1,700

Raytheon 9,700

Owens Corning 2,200

Eastman Kodak 16,600

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Boeing cuts 20,000 more jobs

Aerospace giant to trim production, cut 20% of jobs, due to Asian turmoilDecember 1, 1998: 8:03 p.m. ET

NEW YORK (CNNfn) - Aerospace giant Boeing Co. Tuesday said it plans to cut 48,000 jobs during the next two years as part of a large-scale plan to cut airplane production in the face of the Asian financial crisis. The Seattle-based jumbo-jet manufacturer said it decided to reduce the production rates for some of its commercial airplanes after reassessing the impact that economic conditions in Asia will have on air travel and airplane customers.In July, Boeing announced plans to cut 28,000 jobs. By announcing an additional 20,000 job cuts Tuesday, Boeing will reduce its payroll to 190,000 employees. The 48,000 job cuts amount to 20 percent of Boeing's workforce. The company eliminated 2,000 jobs from its Wichita, Kansas, plant in October. Boeing said the increased number of layoffs reflects its revised production plans.Boeing will cut production of its 747s from 3.5 per month to two a month in late 1999 and to one per month in 2000 "if conditions fail to improve." The company will also trim 757 production to four planes a month from its current level of five, and 767 production to 3.5 a month from four in early 2000."Clearly, the economic slowdown in Asia is driving air traffic down which impacts our customers' plans and operations," Alan Mulally, Boeing commercial airplanes president, said in a news release. "Our actions today will match production to market demand to support our customers." Boeing noted worldwide airline passenger traffic is expected to grow 2 percent in 1998, compared with 6-percent growth in 1997. "As a result, several customers have requested deferral of deliveries out of 1999 and 2000, and the company is working with the airlines to reschedule deliveries," Boeing said in a statement.In addition to the job and production cuts, Boeing also lowered its 1999 earnings forecast. The company expects a net profit between $1.5 billion and $1.8 billion, down from a July forecast of $2 billion. Boeing maintained its projection of $58 billion in 1999 revenue."There's nothing in here to like," said Joe Campbell, an analyst at Lehman Brothers, referring to the detailed financial projections. "As to how investors will react, the question is not which direction, but how far down will they take the stock."Campbell and other analysts said they hoped to get an explanation to the latest news from company executives in a conference call scheduled for early Wednesday."Clearly it sounds like somebody there has made some pretty hard decisions," said Nick Heymann, an analyst at Prudential Securities. "They are pretty much focused on trying to further rope in expectations."Boeing (BA) shares slipped 1/4 to close at 40-3/8 inching up to in after-hours trading. -- from staff and wire reports

Yahoo news: http://cnnfn.com/hotstories/companies/9812/01/boeing/

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Friday December 11 12:09 AM ET

MCI Worldcom To Layoff 2,000 Workers - Sources

NEW YORK (Reuters) - MCI WorldCom Inc., the No. 2 U.S. long distance phone company, will announce Friday it will lay off 2,000 workers, almost 3 percent of its workforce, in dozens of locations across the country, sources familiar with the company said Thursday.

The job cuts come as part of the newly merged company's plan to cut $2.5 billion in expenses in 1999.

MCI WorldCom declined to comment. The company said earlier Thursday it was conducting a full review of its newly combined operations to identify areas to reduce expenses. Any comments on a reduction of the 77,000-person workforce would be premature, a company spokeswoman said.

The cuts will affect dozens of locations nationally, with Cary, North Carolina, Richardson, Texas, and Tulsa, Oklahoma, seeing the biggest losses at almost 300 workers each, sources said. No facilities will be closed.

The layoffs primarily affect engineers and other workers in network operations and information technology, sources said.

MCI WorldCom was created in September through Jackson, Mississippi-based WorldCom Inc.'s $40 billion acquisition of MCI Communications Corp. (MCIC - news)

Yahoo News: http://dailynews.yahoo.com/headlines/bs/story.html?s=v/nm/19981211/bs/mciworldcom_5.html