Entries Tagged 'Employment' ↓

Thom Hartmann; How billionaires’ short-term greed could upend America and destroy their own wealth

This is an amazing article written during this crisis about the disgusting greed and economic inequality in our country;

The right-wing billionaire definition of “freedom” includes the right to poverty, the right to die without health care, the right to be uneducated and illiterate, and the right to be hungry and homeless. Red states seem to like this, since they repeatedly vote for it; we should let them have it.

In the article Hartman talks about economic recovery from this pandemic will come much faster in blue states than in red (federal welfare) states. This is why our governor, mayor and city council are hesitant to keep people from working, because we are a state where approximately 70% of the work force lives paycheck to paycheck.

Just read this FB rant from Sioux Falls City Councilor Greg Neitzert;

The place where I go to get my hair cut has laid off all of its employees, and they had multiple locations in Sioux Falls.  They may not reopen.  We are talking about dozens of employees, no longer with a job.  They made something like $12-$15 an hour.  They are working class citizens.  Right now moonlighting or starting their own gig is near impossible because the message is to keep social distance, so the client base has dried up.  Behind these statistics are individuals, and families, and children.  All who now have an uncertain future, many of which probably never dreamed to be in this position.  Maybe they qualify for unemployment, maybe they don’t.  Regardless, they are now living with the uncertainty and stress, not knowing when this will end and what their future will be.  I know some of them are single, or divorced, with a child or children.  There is a massive human toll to this, and consequences to their health, both mental and physical, that cannot be understated.  Multiply that thousands of times just in the city of Sioux Falls.  Their careers may have been put on pause (by force), but their needs, for housing, for food, to pay their utilities, to pay car loans, student loans, the needs just to survive, have not.  Imagine the toll on someone who has lost their job, and has no idea when they will get one again, with commitments and needs.  It has to be frightening to say the least.  Maybe some are lucky enough that they have another income in the family and they are still secure.  Maybe some are lucky enough that their jobs can be done at home and they are still secure.  But for thousands in Sioux Falls, that just isn’t the case.  And they are by and large some of our most vulnerable, some who are on edge, without a large emergency fund, who may be living paycheck to paycheck.  They are who are getting demolished.  It is these citizens I also think about, who call me stressed out, sometimes in tears, pleading for help and some assurance of when this will end.  It is on their behalf that I will not simply dismiss the consequences of our virtual shutdown as “just the economy”.  Lives are being destroyed and lost, no matter what we do.  There will be loss of life indirectly from draconian measures, if they continue for an extended period.  Many may be necessary to combat the virus, but we cannot dismiss the collateral damage.  Our policy decisions must balance the health, safety, and well being of all citizens, from the threat of this virus, the loss of livelihood, and the loss of liberty if a government goes too far.  All are important.  Remember again, we cannot stop this virus.  We cannot stop people from getting infected.  Tragically we cannot prevent people from dying.  From the beginning, at all levels of government that sad reality has been something we have had to accept.  The goal and the one thing we can control to some extent is preventing our hospitals from being overloaded when we hit the peak surge of infections.  The goal from the beginning from the federal level all the way down to the city level is to keep that surge from overloading our bed, staff, and ventilator capacity.  We cannot prevent all fatalities, but we can prevent unnecessary ones from lack of resources if we mitigate the spread enough to keep the surge manageable.  That’s been the goal.  We are accomplishing that because citizens have stepped up and made sacrifices to help each other.  In most cases we’ve simply had to ask, without a law or penalty attached.  Without a vaccine, simply locking everyone in their homes for weeks or months on end will not stop the spread, or prevent fatalities, it will only delay the inevitable spread, at the immeasurable cost of destroying our economy and the lives of the people who make it up.  That’s why our response has to be dynamic, proportional, and measured.  Finally, remember there are countless variables in modeling and projecting this.  Our epidemiologists at Sanford and Avera concede this, there are a number of variables you have to plug in, and its based on educated guesses and averages.  None of us knows what the right decision is with certainty.  We are all doing our absolute best, with the weight of the fact that lives could be in our hands with every decision we make.  Perhaps some years down the road looking back, with the benefit of hindsight, we might know if at each point we got it right or wrong.  Unfortunately that knowledge and certainty in real time is beyond our pay grade as humans with imperfect knowledge and an inability to see into the future.  We’re doing our best, and we feel the weight of our decisions daily.  I certainly do.

If we actually paid people living wages in our city, a few weeks off, even a month, would be just a hiccup in the road. So I ask Greg, and all of our local leadership(?) what have you done during your elected term to bring better wages and affordable housing to our city. I’ll give you the short answer; NOT A DAMN THING! He should of titled his post ‘Crocodile Tears’.

Mayor TenHaken, “I didn’t sign up for this.”

At the afternoon press conference today (video above) when Paul was asked how Noem is doing with leadership on this issue he told a reporter ‘I didn’t sign up for this’. Last night on FB (video below) he complained about open meeting laws (24 hour notice of meetings) and said he could get more done if he didn’t have to bother with that notice.

Actually, Paul, you could get a lot more done if you would just lead. Under the Charter you have the duty and responsibility to manage the affairs of the city, you don’t need to notice anyone. After almost two years as our mayor you don’t understand leadership, our charter or our open meeting laws. Why is this? Because one of the first things Mayor Selfie did was give executive authority to his COS, Erica Beck, who has been running the city while he has been jettsetting all over the country and world. Hey Paul, you ran to be our mayor, the city manager, didn’t you know what that all entailed? Apparently not.

He also complained in the this afternoon’s press conference that he was tired of employees calling him to complain about their employer. He basically said that wasn’t his job to tell them what to do. Yet, he doesn’t seem to have a problem with telling employers how to recruit mentors or donate money to a rental relief slush fund.

See, folks, Paul does understand one thing, it is a right to work state where people don’t have worker rights do to the lack of widespread organized labor. I agree with Paul, stop calling him, he isn’t going to do anything for you, he has proven that over the past few weeks. I suggest you contact OSHA if you think your employer is endangering your health;

Sioux Falls Area Office Sheila Stanley, Area Director U. S. Department of Labor Occupational Safety and Health Administration 4404 South Technology Drive
Sioux Falls,  SD 57106

 (605) 361-9566 
 (605) 361-9652

I personally was required to study Marty for over a year for my confirmation classes, and one lesson that Paul should learn from him is that Marty was a great leader who in the face of adversity and crisis in the failed leadership of the Catholic Church didn’t back down to that challenge. If you want to quote Marty, maybe this one will suit you better (it’s from the other Marty)

I have been suggesting since 2016 that City of Sioux Falls administrative staff work from home

One of my biggest arguments against building a new administrative building was that many city employees who do administrative duties could work from home and would probably save the city millions of dollars a year.

Many of my friends have worked from home for years. In 2009 I used to work for a financial company as the Creative Director, before we closed due to asset selloff, I was preparing to work from home 3 days a week, and was excited about the possibility.

Even farther back than that, when Governor Rounds was being ribbed about having a state airline fleet, it was suggested to him to do more teleconferencing instead of flying places for meetings.

I also find it ironic that the mayor has been urging employers to have employees to work from home when he has done similar to Rounds and has flown all over the country and even the world for ‘meetings’ he could have done via Skype from the comfort of his office, also saving tax dollars.

I hope if something good comes from this pandemic, it is that employers invest in having their employees work from home. Not only is it less stressful and makes employees happier, it would save millions in capital expenses such as large facilities to house these people. It would also save the employees money because many would not have to get expensive childcare. And happier employees have less health problems.

Working from home is a great idea that has been going on for decades in this country, it’s time to expand this option to more workers in our community. It will keep people safer, it will save money and more importantly it will save jobs. It’s too bad it took a horrible pandemic to get employers to look at this option.

Lots of jobs in Sioux Falls

Now if we can work on wage collusion, living wages and right to work laws, we just might just deserve to be on this list.

Higher Wages is the ONLY answer to a worker shortage

It seems Omaha is struggling with the same thing we are in Sioux Falls, low wages and trouble recruiting;

Nebraska business leaders have been sounding the alarm on the state’s shortage of skilled workers, seeking to get politicians to do more to help the state attract the workforce it needs to grow.

But there’s something CEOs themselves can do to pull in more workers: pay higher wages. And it appears that if Omaha’s employers want to be competitive in the job market, they may need to do that.

What often surprises me is the resistance to pay higher wages. I have argued when your employees are making more, they are spending more. That means a better local economy and more tax dollars for a better community. Keeping your workers poor really only makes you richer in the short term but hobbles the economy in the long term. Aren’t you tired of watching the local news telling us every night that shelters, food kitchens and food pantries continue to grow and expand? I am, it is something we shouldn’t be bragging about. Sioux Falls is an attractive city, why not make it more attractive by paying higher wages?

FF 24:20 (This was at the Sioux Falls Rotary)

Neel Kashkari, President of the Federal Reserve Bank of Minneapolis, takes audience questions during a meeting of the Rotary Club of Downtown Sioux Falls, South Dakota, on August 7. 2017.

Interesting labor study by the US Chamber of Commerce

There are some fine points in this short article, but I found this paragraph fascinating;

In our dynamic labor market, workers are continually shifting between jobs or moving in and out of the market. Over on the employer side, jobs are continually being filled as new ones open up. Consequently, the individuals available for work and the jobs open are not the same from one month to the next, but the trend toward fewer available workers relative to the rising number of job openings shows, in broad terms, the increasing tightness of the labor market.

Of course, available workers vary in terms of experience, skills, and location, so they may not match the occupational, skill, location, and other needs associated with job openings. This “mismatch” problem becomes especially critical when the Worker Availability Ratio is relatively low, as it is currently.

These stats will eventually go topsy-turvy, in other words, there will soon be a shortage of skilled employees. Employers really will be ‘forced’ to not only pay higher wages to attract people but they will have to train those people also. In our state and city employers are trying to get taxpayers to foot the bill for this training, even starting blue collar job training programs as early as middle school. I don’t have an issue with that, but employers need to pony up also (some are) by offering on the job (paid) training and once that training is completed successfully, higher wages. Some say money doesn’t equal happiness, but I can’t buy groceries with a smile.

We don’t need more services for the poor – we need higher wages

There was an announcement this week that the School for the Deaf was purchased to become a center for helping people living in poverty. As we all know, it will probably be tied in with some kind of ‘Ministry’ like most services for the poor are in Sioux Falls. But that is NOT the issue with the project.

It seems over the past couple of years our services for the poor have been exploding in Sioux Falls even though unemployment is very low. Feeding SD has expanded, the Banquet is building another location, The Barrel House restaurant has held several fundraisers for school lunches, The Bishop Dudley house has been built and likely will expand, the St. Francis House is expanding and so is The Glory House.

The Thrive report last year told us the problem, people can’t afford housing in Sioux Falls on the wages they are making. Sioux Falls also doesn’t have rent control ordinances.

While I commend those who want to help the working poor, creating more services for the impoverished doesn’t solve the underlying problem, LOW WAGES, Right to Work laws, and restrictions on Unions.

Not only do higher wages help to relieve poverty, they actually help the economy. When people make more money, they spend more! Raising wages would be a boon for our community.

I also see a secondary solution to poverty. I think the city, county and state should invest in a FREE birth control program, and I’m not just talking about FREE condoms at Monk’s House of Ale Repute, but women being able to get a prescription FREE. In Colorado State, with the influx of taxes from Marijuana sales they implemented a FREE birth control program. In the first year of the program’s usage, teen pregnancies were down 40%!

I know the good Christians in Sioux Falls want to do the right thing and help the poor, and we will never be able to eliminate poverty totally. Some people can’t work due to disabilities, some are just too old and others are just damn lazy. But I think workforce development tied in with family planning would go a lot farther then handouts, which are just subsidies to companies who want to pay low wages while the stockholders get richer by the day without paying a corporate income tax.

We need to stop the ‘Whack a Mole’ mentality when it comes to poverty in Sioux Falls. We need to start paying people living wages and educating them on SEX.

Sioux Falls City Salaries released

The numbers just came out this afternoon, so I have yet to fully review them. But after a quick look I was surprised to see that a lot of the mid-management got around $7,000 raises. I guess what surprises me is that sales taxes only went up about 3.5% from the year before (still waiting on final numbers).

Funny how the building permit numbers and raises come out almost instantly after January 1st, but we are still waiting on sales tax returns.

One surprise that stuck out was the City Clerk’s raise of $7,446. When Tom Greco was hired after retiring from the military, he was put at the top of the pay scale immediately, even though he doesn’t have a city clerk certification. In fact, after promising to get that certification, he still doesn’t have it. I guess I don’t understand that large of a pay raise when he still has to receive certification after 3 years. Also, his two assistant city clerks actually have more tenure, experience and certifications than their boss, go figure.

Here are the past three years of salary records;




Business owner who complained about Teen Minimum wage expands business

Funny how these things happen;

B & G Milky Way franchise owner DiAnn Burwell said “I’m here from open to close, every day, making sure the stores run right. I do my own accounting, I do my own ordering, I do my scheduling,Ii do everything. If I could afford to have somebody do that for me, I would, so $8.50 an hour scared me to death.”

Dropping the minimum wage for teens under 18 a dollar, from $8.50 to $7.50 an hour, may help some small business owners like Burwell.

“DiAnn gave a big sigh, it eased the pressure off me somewhat,” Burwell said.

It seems the only thing she was worried about was her bottom line, which seems to be doing just fine two years later;

The franchisee, a Sioux Falls couple, will operate the new location along 41st Street just east of the Harmodon Park entrance, said Bruce Bettmeng, who owns B&G with his wife, Pam. The Bettmengs will own the land and building, and lease it to the franchisee. The couple isn’t ready to announce their ownership yet, Bettmeng said. The wife worked for him at the B&G on West 12th Street about a decade ago.

If there is any argument behind raising the minimum wage, it should be it’s GOOD for business. I find it hard to believe they can continue to sell this successful franchise if the franchise owners were struggling to pay employees.

Here’s a story that is years past due

When the state legislature was arguing to increase teacher pay from last place with a half-penny sales tax increase, I argued at the time ‘What about the rest of us?’ Especially other professionals in the state, like nurses;

According to the American Nurses Association, South Dakota’s registered nurses have the lowest annual salary of any state and the District of Columbia, ranking 51st behind Mississippi, Alabama and Iowa.

The association reports that South Dakota’s 12,530 registered nurses received an average annual salary of $57,010, or $27.41 per hour in 2017. California’s RNs posted the highest compensation at $102,700, $49.37 per hour.

Health care officials say many factors contribute to South Dakota’s comparatively poor compensation levels for nursing, including the rural nature of the state, as well as low reimbursement rates to hospitals from Medicare, Medicaid and Indian Health Services.

I would agree Medicare/Medicaid expansion probably would help. But I have argued for years that if we want to increase teacher pay, we should concentrate on raising EVERYONES PAY! I have had several friends leave the state who work in the healthcare industry for the same reason, PAY. In fact two of my friends that are RNs literally DOUBLED their pay overnight by leaving the state. Think about that. DOUBLED! They also told me the same stories about the healthcare industry in Sioux Falls, where pay is top heavy and run amuck with corruption and greed. They also said, when it comes to nursing pay between the two major hospitals, there is obvious wage collusion going on. One of my friends who worked at both systems before she left for greener pastures said to me, “Don’t you think it is a little strange that both hospital’s nursing pay is IDENTICAL?” Yeah, things that make you go hmmmm.

But I don’t want to make this about nursing alone, many professionals in our state are below average when compared to other states. So when I hear our teachers need more pay, I would agree, but in reality your pay is reflective of what the rest of us are making.

So why has it taken so long for a news agency to cover this story? I think we know the answer to that question.