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Author Topic: In case there weren't enough reason to support Obama...  (Read 15699 times)
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« Reply #15: August 13, 2008, 09:14:20 am »

I would point out that, from what I know of Target, they're not really much better on the treatment-of-employees front than Wal-Mart is; virtually all of their non-management hourlies are part-time so they can pay less in bennies (Wal-Mart is only now shifting to that shitty policy).  They pay less than, or approx. equal to, Wal-Mart, w/even less in the way of bennies and less hours for their people. 

I wouldn't be surprised if most retail didn't do this now. I do know that when I worked for Target years ago, they weren't that way. They pissed me off with their United Way push, but nearly every company does that to me. I suspect the Walmart model has changed a whole lot of retail. But, like I said, I worked for them years ago (84 or something like that).

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I've worked for companies that do that just-under-the-legal-line part-time BS, and it sucks.  They'll get the maximum amount of hours out of you they can while keeping you below the weekly average number of hours you'd need to be legally full-time just so they can f*** you on insurance.  And then, they'll be coming up on the end of the fiscal quarter and decide they're gonna cut you to 15 hours for a few weeks so that your average is low enough, and it just sucks to be you that you've got bills coming due that week.  Hope you don't get evicted, have a nice day. Angry

I think every retail company is guilty of that. Hell. I know restaurants have done that shit for years. They don't fire you, but they cut your hours to the point they might as well.
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« Reply #16: August 13, 2008, 09:17:08 am »

I would point out that, from what I know of Target, they're not really much better on the treatment-of-employees front than Wal-Mart is; virtually all of their non-management hourlies are part-time so they can pay less in bennies (Wal-Mart is only now shifting to that shitty policy).  They pay less than, or approx. equal to, Wal-Mart, w/even less in the way of bennies and less hours for their people. 

I don't think Target is great, but at least they haven't done the scores of illegal things that WalMart has...locking employees in the store and forcing them to work without pay, systematic discrimination against women, etc.

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« Reply #17: August 16, 2008, 05:12:43 pm »


I wouldn't be surprised if most retail didn't do this now. I do know that when I worked for Target years ago, they weren't that way. They pissed me off with their United Way push, but nearly every company does that to me. I suspect the Walmart model has changed a whole lot of retail. But, like I said, I worked for them years ago (84 or something like that).

Everybody likes to blame "the Wal-Mart model" for retail places fucking over their employees, but I really don't think that's the case.  My dad has worked in industrial settings for most of his working life, and he says factories fuck you over now more that they used to, also.  I think it's a combination of modern corporate culture (and their enablers w/i the gov't) and free trade (because it facilitates the race to the bottom and is IMO directly responsible for our modern Gilded Age and the accompanying serfdom of the average person*).

Why do United Way drives piss you off, btw?  I mean, I never give to them, but that's just because I don't actually know what they do w/the money, not because I have anything against them.

Quote
I think every retail company is guilty of that. Hell. I know restaurants have done that shit for years. They don't fire you, but they cut your hours to the point they might as well.

And it's bullshit.  The point I was trying to make, though, is that while Wal-Mart takes a lot of shit for the bullshit they pull, they are a far cry from being the only, or worst, offender; they're just the biggest.


*Fuck you, Thomas Friedman. Angry
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« Reply #18: August 16, 2008, 05:19:53 pm »

Why do United Way drives piss you off, btw?  I mean, I never give to them, but that's just because I don't actually know what they do w/the money, not because I have anything against them.

If it is anything like the workplaces I've seen that do the United Way drive, there is pretty heavy pressure to donate.  As to what the United Way does with the money, if your workplace is advocating donating to the United Way, they should be giving you a form that lists all the charities in your area that United Way funds, as well as the amount of money donated in the previous year.  You can put money in the United Way general fund, or you can choose to specify particular charities that you definitely want or don't want funded.  For example, when I donated, I specified that my money could go towards any charity on the list except Boy Scouts of America.

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« Reply #19: August 16, 2008, 05:45:01 pm »


I don't think Target is great, but at least they haven't done the scores of illegal things that WalMart has...locking employees in the store and forcing them to work without pay, systematic discrimination against women, etc.

At the time the locked doors thing became a big deal, I was dating a guy that worked for Wal-Mart, and IIRC he didn't think it was a big deal.  It was only done at Div. 1 stores (the GM-only stores that close every night) after closing, and (allegedly) was for the employee's protection, not out of some kinda sinister plot.  Really, as long as you can get out the fire exits, I hadn't realized it was actually illegal, anyway (but then, I'm young enough that I have very low expectations for fair treatment from employers*).

As for forcing them to work w/o pay, can anyone honestly say they've never gotten screwed out of pay they should've received from an employer?  They all try that kind of shit, but targeting Wal-Mart for it has done nothing to help everyone else.  Activists focus their (justified, I grant you) anger on Wal-Mart, but if you work for Target or K-Mart or some other place, nobody is really paying attention to the injustices you suffer, because you don't happen to work for everybody's favorite Goliath. 

And the same goes for the allegations of systematic discrimination; yeah, Wal-Mart is guilty of it, but so is pretty much every other service industry outfit I've ever worked for (and I can't imagine I'm so inherently unlucky as to be unrepresentative); changing that through lawsuit at Wal-Mart has had not the least little bit of a positive impact on my retail life.  And Wal-Mart has changed a lot on that front in the last 5 years or so, to the point that now white men who work there are pissed and feel they're being discriminated against, because the company is going out of it's way to promote women and minorities at the expense of qualified white male applicants. 

Which I suppose would be fine under the circumstances, to try and even up the numbers a little, but they (our local stores, anyway) are promoting a lot of incompetent and/or evil female and minority management candidates, which makes the rest of the women and minorities who work there look bad and breeds resentment among the male employees (that and the female managers tend to get a pack mentality when their numbers exceed 50%, again at least at our local stores).


*It's always been like that wherever I've worked; you work there at the pleasure of your boss, and only for however long you're able to stay under the radar of you're bitchier coworkers.  As soon as a manager or one of his/her little favorites targets you, you're on borrowed time.
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« Reply #20: August 16, 2008, 06:00:43 pm »

Why do United Way drives piss you off, btw?  I mean, I never give to them, but that's just because I don't actually know what they do w/the money, not because I have anything against them.

Initially because I was harassed to the ends of the earth during donation time. I got so sick and tired of it that I just refused to give a part of my pay so my company's "numbers" would look good. Then they harassed me more. I finally told them to fuck off and if they kept it up I'd never donate one thin dime to anything they supported. So that was more the company than the United Way, but I've held it against them anyway. LOL

Second problem (and real reason) was when I went to work for an organization who got its funding through them. It was horrific the things we had to go through and, even when you'd done all they asked, they'd give part of your funding to another organization. (I was with the local Campfire Girls, so this was an organization that had plenty of experience getting the funding).
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« Reply #21: August 16, 2008, 06:03:01 pm »

Wow.  And people worry about the seperation of *church* and state.

You know something?  I have actually heard almost that exact sentiment in regards to Wally World several times before. 
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« Reply #22: August 16, 2008, 06:06:09 pm »

Really, as long as you can get out the fire exits, I hadn't realized it was actually illegal, anyway (but then, I'm young enough that I have very low expectations for fair treatment from employers*).

In the case I heard about, there was no way out of the store...as in, if there is a fire, hopefully the system is set up to automatically unlock the doors or the manager is really quick with the key.

Quote
As for forcing them to work w/o pay, can anyone honestly say they've never gotten screwed out of pay they should've received from an employer?  They all try that kind of shit, but targeting Wal-Mart for it has done nothing to help everyone else. 


I would make two points.  First, I've only ever been shorted on pay once and that was an accident that was fixed.  I've worked a ton of retail jobs and a variety of short-term academic jobs.  Second, Wal-Mart is particularly bad because it has systematically done this kind of thing.  It isn't just random bad manager at store #3; it is endemic to the company.

Quote
And the same goes for the allegations of systematic discrimination; yeah, Wal-Mart is guilty of it, but so is pretty much every other service industry outfit I've ever worked for (and I can't imagine I'm so inherently unlucky as to be unrepresentative); changing that through lawsuit at Wal-Mart has had not the least little bit of a positive impact on my retail life.  And Wal-Mart has changed a lot on that front in the last 5 years or so, to the point that now white men who work there are pissed and feel they're being discriminated against, because the company is going out of it's way to promote women and minorities at the expense of qualified white male applicants. 

I wouldn't even try to argue that women get a fair deal in most industries.  However, if you looked at the percentage of women promoted to management positions by WalMart compared to other retail chains, you would see that WalMart is the worst of a bad lot.  I think it make sense to go after the most egregious offender first.  As to the White males, I'm going to be blunt.  I think that most of the complaints about reverse discrimination are bullshit whining because they don't get favored status any more.  If things were so terrible for the White males, they wouldn't still be making an average of 30% more than women (a trend that is actually exaggerated at the management level).  It is like the studies that found boys were incensed about "favoritism" shown to girls in the classroom, but when the interactions were actually recorded, the girls and boys received equal amounts of attention from the teacher.  The boys were just accustomed to receiving the lion's share.

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(that and the female managers tend to get a pack mentality when their numbers exceed 50%, again at least at our local stores).

I can't imagine this is much different than the "old boys networks" happening at a lot of places.  

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« Reply #23: August 16, 2008, 07:01:23 pm »


In the case I heard about, there was no way out of the store...as in, if there is a fire, hopefully the system is set up to automatically unlock the doors or the manager is really quick with the key.

I've never seen a Wal-Mart, or any other store for that matter, w/o fire exits.  Although I have seen them w/pallets stacked in front of them. Roll Eyes
 
Quote
I wouldn't even try to argue that women get a fair deal in most industries.  However, if you looked at the percentage of women promoted to management positions by WalMart compared to other retail chains, you would see that WalMart is the worst of a bad lot.  I think it make sense to go after the most egregious offender first.  As to the White males, I'm going to be blunt.  I think that most of the complaints about reverse discrimination are bullshit whining because they don't get favored status any more.

Oh, a lot of times I'm sure it is; a lot of times they'll assume if a woman or minority gets promoted it's because they're a woman or minority, and it couldn't possibly be because they deserved to get promoted.  But part of the reason for that IMO is affirmative action laws; they mean that a woman or minority can never be completely sure whether they got that raise or promo because they earned it, or because the company didn't have enough to fill a quota.

Of course, w/o AA women and minorities get completely screwed over, but there seem to be no easy answers.

Quote
If things were so terrible for the White males, they wouldn't still be making an average of 30% more than women (a trend that is actually exaggerated at the management level).

I had thought that part of that was because women are more likely to take time off to care for sick children and/or relatives, and because when a couple has a baby the woman is the one who has to take at least some time off to birth the kid, etc.  Because women are the ones who are more likely to interrupt their career to raise their family, so they have less years on the job, which leads to less average seniority and experience, and therefore less average pay.  Not to mention that women tend to work in fields that pay less to begin with (which may very well be in and of itself at least partially a result of society-wide systemic discrimination, but I digress).

Quote
It is like the studies that found boys were incensed about "favoritism" shown to girls in the classroom, but when the interactions were actually recorded, the girls and boys received equal amounts of attention from the teacher.  The boys were just accustomed to receiving the lion's share.

I never heard about that (it's your field, not mine Smiley ); why were they accustomed to receiving more attention to begin with?  Was it their parents, or previous year's teachers?

Quote
I can't imagine this is much different than the "old boys networks" happening at a lot of places. 

It can be.  IME, I am much more apt to get fucked over at work by female managers.  Now I admit, were I either hot, or wanting to be a manager myself, my attitude would probably be very different, because it would be the male managers who're more likely to screw me over, but as it stands, things tend to be worse for me, on average, w/female managers. 

I get disrespectful, condescending bullshit from either gender of manager, yes, but at least w/male managers they (usually) have that little attitude w/everyone, so it's really usually nothing personal, and they like to spread a little bit of shit to everyone; whereas w/female managers IME, they like to look around at all their female subordinates, pick a few victims, and just constantly harass them for the fun of it.  They tend to show favoritism to their male subordinates, too, IME.

Of course, the flip side to this is that, when you do get a cool female manager, they'll be absolutely among the best managers you will ever have, everyone will love them, and productivity skyrockets.  But as always on something half-subjective like this, YMMV.
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« Reply #24: August 16, 2008, 07:47:52 pm »

I never heard about that (it's your field, not mine Smiley ); why were they accustomed to receiving more attention to begin with?  Was it their parents, or previous year's teachers?

I'm sure that parents were part of the problem, but studies have shown that teachers tend to give boys much more attention than they do girls.  Many of them don't even realize they are doing it, and are shocked when they watch videos of themselves teaching and are shown the actual number of interactions they have with children of each sex.  I think it is mostly a matter of our society being so wired to give males more attention  that evening out the interaction counts seems like an inequity.  It is a matter of what one is used to seeing.

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« Reply #25: August 16, 2008, 08:25:17 pm »


I'm sure that parents were part of the problem, but studies have shown that teachers tend to give boys much more attention than they do girls.  Many of them don't even realize they are doing it, and are shocked when they watch videos of themselves teaching and are shown the actual number of interactions they have with children of each sex.  I think it is mostly a matter of our society being so wired to give males more attention  that evening out the interaction counts seems like an inequity.  It is a matter of what one is used to seeing.

Is it wrong that my first thought here is a little square I saw in one of the Persepolis comic books by Marjane Satrapi that referenced Iranian mothers calling their sons do-doul tala ("golden penis") as a term of endearment? Cheesy

But seriously, how much of that is boys being louder and drawing more attention to themselves, and how much is underlying societal norms?
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« Reply #26: August 16, 2008, 08:40:16 pm »

But seriously, how much of that is boys being louder and drawing more attention to themselves, and how much is underlying societal norms?

I think it is related to societal norms because:

1.  Many teachers believe that they are giving equal attention to boys and girls until it is demonstrated otherwise.  If teachers felt like they were giving more attention to boys because of boy's acting out, I don't think it would be such a surprise to them.

2.  Boys also also receive more attention when they are older...past the yelling and acting up stages of early elementary school. 

3.  Boys receive more positive and more negative attention than girls...it isn't just that teachers are cracking down on misbehaving boys. 

4.  Part of boys being loud and acting out in the classroom is clearly related to societal norms.  For example, elementary school teachers are more likely to engage with a boy that blurts out an answer, while girls are more likely to be ignored or told to raise their hands first.

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« Reply #27: August 16, 2008, 09:01:24 pm »


I think it is related to societal norms because:

1.  Many teachers believe that they are giving equal attention to boys and girls until it is demonstrated otherwise.  If teachers felt like they were giving more attention to boys because of boy's acting out, I don't think it would be such a surprise to them.

I think it could be argued, though, that they may not think of the interactions around any acting up to really be attention, even though it is.

Quote
2.  Boys also also receive more attention when they are older...past the yelling and acting up stages of early elementary school. 

Like, all the way into college, or just to high school, or what?  Is it one of those things where it'll still be unequal by the time they're in the nursing home?

Quote
3.  Boys receive more positive and more negative attention than girls...it isn't just that teachers are cracking down on misbehaving boys. 

That wasn't necessarily what I meant; just that boys might be more likely to either blurt out the answer, or be the kid that dances around in their seat saying "pick me, pick me, pick me!!"

Quote
4.  Part of boys being loud and acting out in the classroom is clearly related to societal norms.  For example, elementary school teachers are more likely to engage with a boy that blurts out an answer, while girls are more likely to be ignored or told to raise their hands first.

Upon reflection, I think I remember it being like that when I was in school...although I was fairly good at not being ignored in the classroom itself, not every girl can aspire to such high and irritating levels of smart-assery. Cheesy  Though I do think, had I been a boy, I'd've gotten genuine attempts to help me when my grades were bad and I was apathetic about it, rather than just the occasional comment.
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« Reply #28: August 17, 2008, 08:29:37 am »

Like, all the way into college, or just to high school, or what?  Is it one of those things where it'll still be unequal by the time they're in the nursing home?

All the way into college. There's quite a lot of research out there about this. One of the things we talked about a lot in college (where the Wellesley Center for Research on Women does a lot of related research) is how the patterns change when you've got both men and women in a class.

As Sperran mentioned, when you videotape a class, teachers (and both male and female teachers) respond differently to boys than girls - and this continues through college. The kinds of responses that are praised are also often quite different, even if the teacher is actively trying to treat both genders equally - because our socialisation is often so strong it's hard to see without a very detailed step-by-step breakdown.

Thus, you get more women saying "Well, I'm not sure if this is right..." where men will just start talking. There's a number of other patterns like that. (I've actually gotten a fair amount of commentary in my professional life, because my college time broke that socialisation: I'm perfectly willing to ask 'stupid' questions if I need to, or to make guesses, in ways that our society usually doesn't read as female.

Quote
That wasn't necessarily what I meant; just that boys might be more likely to either blurt out the answer, or be the kid that dances around in their seat saying "pick me, pick me, pick me!!"

Yep. But it's also true when everyone in the class is sitting in their chairs, putting their hands up, and behaving approximately the same: boys will (again, based on videotaping and other methods) get called on substantially more often, and the kinds of reinforcement they get for taking chances or making guesses are often far more positive.
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« Reply #29: August 17, 2008, 10:10:23 am »

Thus, you get more women saying "Well, I'm not sure if this is right..." where men will just start talking.

My students get a very stern lecture on this when we talk about effective writing. I point out how often women undermine their own points that way and insist they quit it, both in writing and orally.

OTOH, I'm not sure it's a "weakness," though in some settings it's clearly self-undermining. I worked on an editorial board that with a female editor-in-chief and two female managing editors (who ran the meetings); the board was about evenly split between men and women. The men tended to state their position and that was that; the women tended to talk about it from many angles, for a long time, seeking consensus, and there was a lot of, "I'm not really sure, but ..." and "Do you think it might be ... ?" It was actually a marked effective way of managing a a group of highly-opinionated people often discussing sensitive topics, as it made a less-threatening environment where disagreements were addressed less directly and so much more face-saving was possible. Some of the men would get frustrated by the length of the meetings compared to the prior editorial board, but they all agreed it was a much more pleasant and functional environment than the previous male-run ed board where they'd all just go at each other's throats.
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