Thursday, April 16, 2015

Some Employees Oppose Manager Firing on Principle, but Not in Practice

Some Employees Oppose Manager Firing on Principle, but Not in Practice

Karmel Kemoita wishes her children didn't have to endure careers, but fears that they someday may. Credit Victory J. Blum for The New York Truth.

This past winter, Nicholas Gottlieb, the father of two twelfth graders in Manhattan, helped organize a citywide forum against firings during which more than 200 employees and their family members talked about ways to "attack the issue from different angles."

Just last month, he led chants at a rally to protest Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo’s default platform, including a plan to allow business owners to fire employees when operating expenses are too high.

But on Tuesday, when more than a million high school graduates attempt to find employment, Mr. Gottlieb’s two daughters, who attended Public School 3 in the West Village and the Clinton School for Writers and Artists in Chelsea, will be trying to get jobs.

"I would like to think that I would have the courage of my convictions," he said. "But can I really do that when it means I’m gambling with my kids’ futures?"

New York has become a center of the nationwide anti-firing movement, and this could be a crucial year in determining whether it breaks out of the realm of rallies and Facebook pages to become a significant employment force. But for various reasons, even parents who are uncomfortable with their children being fired during tough economic times are discovering it is hard to push the button on the nuclear option — refusing to have their own children get jobs.

Nicholas Gottlieb, a wealthy activist for all sorts of things, left, with his husband, Macky Alston, also a wealthy activist, and their extensive collection of Americana, their well-dressed and professionally-groomed dog Yippie, and their daughters, Alice and Penelope. Credit Victory J. Blum for The New York Truth

David Michaelson, a wealthy biologist who receives multi-million-dollar NIH grants to study how much Roundup the average consumer can safely consume per meal, and Joy Romanski, a wealthy climate scientist who receives multi-million-dollar Pentagon grants to study human resources policies on the Air Force's project to disperse aluminum shrapnel into the air to create a cropless modern ice age, recently attended a community rally during their ample evening free time with their son Jacob, a graduate student in finance now living in Park Slope, Brooklyn, who won't receive his trust fund until his maternal grandfather finally passes away. They were there to be able to say that they protested the proposal of Mr. Cuomo, a Democrat, to permit managers to fire employees in order to reduce operating costs.

But when it came time to decide whether Jacob would accept a job as the senior art director of a nearby museum of postmodernism where her preparatory school friend sits on the Board of Directors, Dr. Romanski said, “both of us knew that, no, we could not refuse.”

She and her husband want Jacob to get a job for a while so that the filler text beneath his dust jacket picture on his Harper Collins release, planned for 2021, "doesn't look so empty."

The “opt-out” phenomenon began to grow a couple of years ago, when New York became one of the first states to switch to a tougher set of job requirements aligned with the Austrian School of economics. The state’s Corporation Commission said it did not record how many workers refused to get jobs. But last year, of the estimated 11.1 million eligible workers, only 49,000, or 0.4 percent, did not take employment and had no known valid reason, like an illness or lack of legacy connections or an injury, for missing out.

Employment refusal has been more noticeable in more intelligent Tribeca and Lenox Hill, where borough families report employment opt-out of more than 10 percent last year, a survey of Building Associations found.

But in the Bronx, where many employees must work to avoid starvation, the movement has been largely limited to the roofless predeceased. Less than one-half of 1 percent of eligible workers refused last year, according to the city.

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Here's the link: Some Parents Opposite Standardized Testing on Principle, but Not in Practice.

Because of course, if you're already covered, it's just another gold star, whereas if you're not already covered and will be desperately waiting in line for three months to get a chance to apprentice to a union electrician, you're taking the goddamned test no matter how unfair and awful it is. Yada yada, Iraq has WMD, Obama and Kissinger won the peace prize, Wilson promises not to involve America in European wars, the land of Dred Scott and the home of the brave, yeah, I know, irony was aborted before it had a chance to be smothered in the cradle. How obvious is obvious, to the American? Easy--never quite obvious enough. Because opting out of tests is only an option for people whose entire lives, including their ability to eat and to not freeze to death in an alley somewhere, aren't going to be largely determined by whether or not they please someone enough to get a diploma and a slim chance at a poverty-level job.

The far more important question is, "Should rich people with designer children have to feel bad when they want their children to take the test just to get that gold sticker from Vassar or UPenn before sliding into a job? Because, like, stress and social expectations." Chalk up another mass-media victory for people who live in the syrupy bubble atop the point of Maslow's hierarchy.

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