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   Strategies & Market TrendsThe Financial Collapse of 2001 Unwinding

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To: Broken_Clock who wrote (10255)1/27/2023 4:53:16 PM
From: John Vosilla
   of 12823
Economists at Goldman Sachs forecast that the U.S. is past the peak the worst of the drag from the housing downturn But still sees negative wealth effects will lead housing, on net, to subtract from U.S. economic output for the next two years

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To: John Vosilla who wrote (10267)1/27/2023 6:46:35 PM
From: Broken_Clock
   of 12823

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To: Broken_Clock who wrote (10268)1/28/2023 1:58:00 AM
From: elmatador
   of 12823
The European Central Bank (ECB) on Friday rejected calls from Europe's banks to ease capital rules to boost lending and put them on an equal footing with U.S. rivals.
The ECB was responding to a report from the European Banking Federation and consultants Oliver Wyman which said that while banking regulation is internationally coordinated by regulators, differences remain in how the rules work in practice, and how they are implemented.

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To: Elroy Jetson who wrote (10265)1/28/2023 6:12:14 AM
From: elmatador
   of 12823
Big mistake!
4,000 Google cafeteria workers quietly unionized during the pandemic
The tech giant is known for its free lunches for employees.
The people who make those lunches have joined unions en masse.

Other groups also have worked on that goal. The Alphabet Workers Union, a group of full-time Google employees and TVCs, officially formed in 2021 to try to make wages and benefits more equal between the two groups.
The AWU is not an official union that has gone through the government certification process.

ELMAT: Once they did that, the die was cast. How those simpletons unionized right at a time when the reveue was plumetting?

4,000 Google cafeteria workers quietly unionized during the pandemic

By Gerrit De Vynck and Lauren Kaori Gurley

September 5, 2022 at 6:00 a.m. EDT

Google is famous for its cafeterias, which serve its legions of programmers and product managers everything from vegan poke to gourmet tacos — free.

But the cooks and servers behind those meals are generally contractors who work for other companies, and do not get the generous perks and benefits reserved for Google employees. So over the past few years, thousands of them have unionized, securing higher wages, retirement benefits and free platinum health care coverage.

Unite Here, a 300,000-member union of hotel and food service workers, has been steadily working to unionize Silicon Valley cafeteria workers since 2018, experiencing the most success at Google. Employed by the contract companies Compass and Guckenheimer, those unionized now make up about 90 percent of total food services workers at Google, according to the union. Workers have unionized at 23 Google offices nationwide, including in Seattle and San Jose.

Now, the union is tackling new territory: the South. On Wednesday, Google workers in Atlanta employed by a different cafeteria company — Sodexo — presented their manager with a list of demands and said they plan to unionize.

Unionizing workers outside of major coastal cities and in the South may be a tougher sell, where union membership is the lowest in the United States and labor laws are generally weaker. Around 6 percent of workers in Georgia are unionized, compared with 18 percent in California and 24 percent in New York, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics. Although inflation and housing prices have pushed up the cost of living nationwide, prices are still generally lower in the South than in large coastal cities.

On Friday, Sodexo and the union reached an agreement: Should a majority of workers choose to unionize, Sodexo would not try to block it.

“We are hopeful that we can quickly reach an agreement on a union contract that will bring these workers up to the same good standard enjoyed by union food workers at other Google cafeterias nationwide,” said D. Taylor, the president of Unite Here.

Sodexo has many unionized workplaces across the country, said Jane Dollinger, a spokeswoman for the company. “We believe there is a path forward through negotiations to address the differences in wages and benefits.”

“We have many contracts with both unionized and nonunion suppliers, and respect their employees’ right to choose whether or not to join a union. The decision of these contractors to join Unite Here is a matter between the workers and their employers,” Google spokeswoman Courtenay Mencini said.

“Our company has a heritage of fairness, equality, and inclusion. We recognize protected labor rights and maintain a neutral position with respect to union participation,” said Guckenheimer spokesman Peter Mikol. “We honor and respect the decision that many employees made to be represented by the union, and look forward to continuing to work productively together,” said Lisa Claybon, a spokeswoman for Compass.

The average unionized worker at a Google cafeteria makes $24 an hour, pays little to nothing for health insurance and has access to a pension plan. At Sodexo-run Google cafeterias, workers make $15 an hour and pay premiums in the hundreds of dollars, Taylor said.

“It’s a cool place to work at. The downside of that is the wages we’re getting, the amount of work they are requesting,” said Aaron Henderson, a 40-year-old cafeteria worker at Google’s Atlanta office who performs a variety of tasks including cleaning the kitchen, making fresh pizza dough and prepping the salad bar. He supports a family of three, including a daughter who is about to head to college.

“I love the job,” he said. “We all get along. It’s too bad that we’re just underpaid and overworked.”

Housing prices in Atlanta have risen around 18 percent in the past year, according to the real estate platform Zillow, although prices in the city remain lower than in New York or the San Francisco Bay area.

Tens of thousands of the workers who make their living at Google are employed by contract companies. They’re known internally as “TVCs” — temporary, vendor or contractors, and their ranks encompass all sorts of jobs, including cafeteria workers, content moderators, designers, programmers and security guards. Similar dynamics play out at other tech companies, including Facebook and Twitter.

Tech companies have brought enormous wealth to the cities in which they’re based, especially the San Francisco Bay area. Housing prices have shot up over the past decade, pushing many people out and causing security guards, cafeteria workers and shuttle bus drivers to make long commutes to work in jobs that serve tech workers.

“We wanted to focus in on the tech companies because they clearly have been very beneficial to certain workers,” Taylor said. “We didn’t think that should be confined to white collar workers.”

Other groups also have worked on that goal. The Alphabet Workers Union, a group of full-time Google employees and TVCs, officially formed in 2021 to try to make wages and benefits more equal between the two groups. The AWU is not an official union that has gone through the government certification process.

Silicon Valley Rising, a group of union and worker advocacy organizations, also campaigns for better wages and cheaper housing in the San Francisco Bay area.

A tight labor market combined with soaring inflation and pandemic-related safety concerns among front line workers triggered a surge in filings this year to hold workplace union elections. Tens of thousands more workers voted to join unions in the first half of this year than in the first six months of 2021, according to an analysis by Bloomberg Law. Workers also have voted to unionize for the first time at Chipotle, Trader Joe’s and the recreation equipment maker REI — citing concerns related to safety and low wages.

More than 230 Starbucks locations have voted to unionize since last year, triggering tough opposition from the company, which recently was accused by the National Labor Relations Board of illegally withholding raises and benefits from union workers. And this year, the first Amazon warehouse and Apple Store voted to unionize.

Richard Ramirez, 33, who works at a Google office in Seattle receiving food shipments and making sure they’re stored safely, says he was skeptical when union representatives began approaching his colleagues.

“We had it relatively good,” Ramirez said. The $20 he made at Google was better than the $11 he made in a previous job that left him without enough money even to afford rent. Still, he was commuting over three hours a day because of the high cost of living in Seattle. He decided to support the union.

Now, he is paid $27 an hour, and the free health-care plan means he doesn’t think twice about getting the best care for his family, Ramirez said. The money has made a real difference for him.

“Since we unionized, I have bought a home and that was basically only possible because we unionized,” he said.
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From: elmatador1/30/2023 7:42:37 AM
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What if you wake up one morning and you discover you have to pay for Big Tech apps:
Gmail, Whatsapp, Google Earth, etc.?

OTT enabled Big Tech to use apps to deliver content free of charge to users to delivery of media content and services via the internet, bypassing traditional cable, broadcast, and satellite television platforms. This enabled Facebook and Google to amass a huge users base that they used for sell ads.

Offering apps for free requires significant financial investment to support the infrastructure, development, and maintenance costs.

The apps can only remain free if the revenue from advertising grows alongside the growth in users.

Cut for today: Big Tech is saddled with billions of users but ad revenue went down. There are around 4 billion email accounts in the world, and around 1.8 billion of those are Gmail. When you run a service for that many users, they run you.

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From: elmatador1/30/2023 8:07:32 AM
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Google attacked the heart of Micrososft's business when it launched its G Suite. Microsoft can now strike back at the heart of Google's business.

Microsoft could decide to integrate chat-based AI technologies like ChatGPT into Bing to differentiate their product and go after market share from Google and Meta.

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From: elmatador1/30/2023 8:21:06 AM
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The world is not ready for the long grind to come

Demographic changes and deglobalisation will keep inflation higher than policymakers were used to pre-pandemic

One in eight people say they plan ‘no return’ to pre-pandemic activities, including work

ELMAT: By the world, the Financial Times means North America and Europe. The rest of the wordl have been grinding along with no'quiet quitting', 'acting your wage' or 'great resignation'.
The rest of the world will take the salaries of these workers the same way it took manufacturing...

Ruchir Sharma YESTERDAY The writer is chair of Rockefeller International

Over the past half century, as governments and central banks teamed up ever more closely to manage economic growth, recessions became fewer and farther between. Often they were shorter and shallower than they might have been. After so much mildness, most people cannot imagine a painfully lasting business cycle. But the global economy is heading into a period unlike any we have seen in decades.

Faith in government as a saviour in recessions has been worming its way into people’s minds for most of their lifetimes. Since 1980, the US economy has spent only 10 per cent of the time in a recession, compared with nearly 20 per cent between the end of the second world war in 1945 and 1980, and more than 40 per cent between 1870 and 1945. One increasingly important reason is government rescues. Combined stimulus in the US, the EU, Japan and the UK, including government spending and central bank asset purchases, rose from 1 per cent of gross domestic product in the recessions of 1980 and 1990 to 3 per cent in 2001, 12 per cent in 2008 and a staggering 35 per cent in 2020.

Though the 2020 recession was sharp, it was the shortest since records begin, lasting just two months. Government bailouts in the pandemic came so fast and large that it felt to many people, particularly white-collar employees working from home, as if the recession never happened. Their incomes and credit scores went up. Their wealth exploded with rising stock and bond markets. Now this experience of recession as a non-event seems baked into the professional psyche.

Some commentators are beginning to say the world economy could be in for a “soft landing”, not an outright recession. In the latest consensus surveys, economists aren’t quite that optimistic. But they continue to expect the mildest recession since the second world war, starting soon and lasting less than six months, as the Federal Reserve again comes to the rescue.

This consensus view may be wrong in key respects, whether on how soon the next recession arrives, how long it lasts or how generous the rescue effort can be.

In 2020, governments injected so much money into the economy that consumers are still sitting on much of it two years on — $1.5tn in the US alone. Investment by US and European business barely broke stride. Governments continue to spend. Because of this, the next downturn may come later than expected, a view bolstered by the latest US GDP data, which showed a resilient economy.

When the pandemic stimulus finally runs out by year end, the next downturn, once it comes, may not pass so quickly. The key sticking point is inflation. This is now retreating almost as quickly as it surged last year — as supply chains normalise and “revenge spending”, unleashed by the end of lockdowns and boosted by stimulus, calms down. But it is not likely to return to its pre-pandemic level of under 2 per cent.

The most lasting legacy of Covid may be its impact on work and wage inflation. One in eight people say they plan “no return” to pre-pandemic activities, including work. The number of hours people of all ages want to work plunged, and their attitude has changed as well. Social media celebrates “quiet quitting” and “acting your wage” — meaning do what you are paid for, and no more.

In conversations I hear chief executives saying that they have “pricing power” for the first time in decades. Inflation for goods such as cars is slowing fast, but that for services is stickier. The Fed tracks a special index for “sticky services” like real estate and recreation — in which prices move slowly — and it is rising.

Meanwhile, the world is changing in fundamentally inflationary ways: birth rates have been falling for years but are now rapidly shrinking working-age populations. Countries are retreating inward, offshoring to the nearest and most friendly nations rather than to the least costly.

The pressure from demographics and deglobalisation will push the new normal for inflation higher, closer to 4 than to 2 per cent. This will make it harder for central banks to cut rates to counter the next recession. Higher rates mean governments can borrow and spend heavily to stimulate sluggish economies only at risk of inviting punishment in the global bond markets, which are already much less tolerant of free spending.

While the next downturn may take longer to hit, it is likely to take an unfamiliar shape, possibly not much deeper but more enduring, as stickier inflation forces central banks and government rescue teams to the sidelines. The world is not ready for the long grind ahead.

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From: elmatador1/30/2023 8:36:56 AM
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Amazon Alexa is a “colossal failure,” on pace to lose $10 billion this year

Layoffs reportedly hit the Alexa team hard as the company's biggest money loser. RON AMADEO - 11/21/2022, 10:32 PM

Amazon is going through the biggest layoffs in the company's history right now, with a plan to eliminate some 10,000 jobs. One of the areas hit hardest is the Amazon Alexa voice assistant unit, which is apparently falling out of favor at the e-commerce giant. That's according to a report from Business Insider, which details "the swift downfall of the voice assistant and Amazon's larger hardware division."

Alexa has been around for 10 years and has been a trailblazing voice assistant that was copied quite a bit by Google and Apple. Alexa never managed to create an ongoing revenue stream, though, so Alexa doesn't really make any money. The Alexa division is part of the "Worldwide Digital" group along with Amazon Prime video, and Business Insider says that division lost $3 billion in just the first quarter of 2022, with "the vast majority" of the losses blamed on Alexa. That is apparently double the losses of any other division, and the report says the hardware team is on pace to lose $10 billion this year. It sounds like Amazon is tired of burning through all that cash.

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From: elmatador1/30/2023 11:32:44 AM
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Iran says drone attack on military site in Isfahan was thwarted

"US officials and people familiar with the operation" as saying Israel had carried out the attack. The New York Times said it was the work of the Mossad, Israel's intelligence service, according to "senior [US] intelligence officials".

The Iranian defence ministry says it has foiled a drone attack on a military facility in the city of Isfahan.

Iran warns Israel not to ‘play with fire’ after drone attack on defense facility

Official threatens revenge as ‘first indications’ suggest Jerusalem carried out attack, claims Israelis using propaganda to cover up operation’s failure

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From: elmatador1/31/2023 12:36:53 AM
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Affirmative Action does not guarantee employment. It is implemented when the good times roll: "In 2021, Google raked in over $250 billion in revenue, its best-ever income in its nearly 25-year-old existence."
You can hire lots of gender equality-based hiring, including creating a Mental Help dept. The diversity thing depend on huge profits and Easy Money

After layoffs, Meta, tech companies face uphill battle to boost diversity

By Naomi Nix

January 28, 2023 at 6:00 a.m. EST

When Brit Levy was hired for a 12-month training program on recruiting at Meta last year, she says she was promised the program wasn't at risk from cutbacks. But she and most of the other participants in the program, which focused on recruiting a diverse workforce, were laid off when Meta cut its workforce by 13 percent later in the year. (Alisha Jucevic for The Washington Post)

Brit Levy, 35, was eager to join Meta’s paid training program for aspiring human resources managers last year because she wanted to gain a foothold in the recruiting field and help other military families find jobs in the lucrative tech sector.

Tech is not your friend. We are. Sign up for The Tech Friend newsletter.

Levy, who is Mexican American, agreed to start the 12-month gig in April after she checked with Meta that her position would be secure for the duration of the program despite the company’s financial challenges. She was told that the program, which aimed to improve the pipeline of recruiters who focus on diversity, was fully funded for the year.

About six months later, Meta laid off Levy and most of the other participants in her program, along with 13 percent of its full-time workers, amid falling revenue growth from a sluggish economy and more competition in the social media market.

“What they did to this program, I would never ever recommend anyone sign up for a diversity program with Meta,” Levy said. “Basically, [Meta] cut us off at the knees.”

Levy’s experience illustrates the uphill battle Meta and other technology companies face as they trim their workforces while maintaining commitments to increase the number of women and underrepresented minorities within their ranks.

The technology industry has long struggled to recruit a diverse workforce, but the recent spate of cuts by Silicon Valley companies has hit women particularly hard, according to recently published analyses of demographic data from the layoffs. Women and some minorities were particularly vulnerable to layoffs because they were newer to their jobs and occupied roles that companies were less interested in retaining, experts said.

Diversity “was never their strong suit,” said Benjamín Juárez, a co-founder of Latinos in Tech, a group that offers training in technical skills. “It’s likely not going to be during this downtime.”

Many of the biggest tech companies had grown the ranks of women and minorities during the pandemic with the lure of remote work, which had allowed the firms to recruit across a wider geographic area and hire people who otherwise would have preferred to remain at home.

But the layoffs threaten those gains. One analysis of data from tech layoff tracker found that women represented about 39 percent of the overall workforce but 46 percent of all layoffs since September, according to Reyhan Ayas, a senior economist at Revelio Labs, a company that analyzes trends in the labor market. Hispanic workers were also slightly more likely to be represented among the layoffs than they were in the workforce, according to Revelio data.

“Overall, definitely nontechnical roles are more affected, women are more affected,” Ayas said. “And [diversity, equity and inclusion] efforts in general have been hindered at least in some companies by the layoffs in the last year or so.”

One reason women and Hispanic workers may have been disproportionately targeted by the cuts is because companies used a “last in, first out” strategy to decide which jobs to keep and which to cut. The average length of service of a laid-off worker was just one year, much shorter than the length of time remaining employees had spent at the company, according to Revelio. Laid-off workers were more likely to work in positions that the tech companies were eager to cut, including recruiting and customer service positions, the data showed.

“When you have a shorter tenure, you don’t have that many friends and connections within the organization, so you tend to also be on the chopping block first,” said Bhaskar Chakravorti, the dean of global business at the Fletcher School at Tufts University. “The last-in-first-out has affected a wide swath of people, but because women and minorities were hired disproportionately in the last couple of years they have also been fired disproportionately.”

Meta is one company that used remote work during the pandemic to make gains in diversity. Between 2021 and 2022, the share of Black, Hispanic, multiracial and Asian employees in its U.S. workforce increased, while the share of White workers dropped by 1.5 percentage points, according to Meta’s annual diversity report. Leaders at the company also became more diverse, with the share of women, Black and Hispanic managers increasing, according to the report.

Meta Chief Diversity Officer Maxine Williams said last year that candidates in the United States who accepted remote job offers were more likely to come from underrepresented racial groups; globally, they were more likely to be women.

Between 2021 and 2022, the share of women in Meta’s workforce grew slightly from 36.7 percent to 37.1 percent, according to Meta’s report.

Chakravorti added that remote workers may also have been particularly vulnerable to cuts because they were given less-critical assignments and had less face time with their managers compared with workers who were going into the office.

“As people started coming back into the offices, there was sort of a two-tiered citizenship within a particular company” between people who worked completely remotely and those who went into the office at times, he said.

The easing of pandemic-era safety restrictions hit Meta at a time when its core business model was experiencing other severe threats. The social media giant has been competing for both users and advertising dollars from rival apps such as TikTok. Apple introduced new privacy restrictions that hurt the company’s ability to collect data on its users for the purposes of targeted advertising. Meanwhile, marketers have been pulling back on advertising spending because of uncertainty in the global economy.

Over the summer, Meta executives issued a dizzying number of directives, outlining a new era of higher performance expectations, and slowed hiring as the company emerged from the pandemic with a growing list of economic challenges. Managers were asked to identify their low performers, which prompted a wave of anxiety and resentment among Facebook’s workforce.

Meta’s treatment of minority workers was already facing scrutiny. In 2020, an African American manager and two job applicants who were rejected by Facebook filed a complaint with the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) alleging that the company is biased against Black employees in evaluations, promotions, pay and hiring practices. The case is ongoing.

“It’s not the case that they were only laying off people who were low performers,” said Peter Romer-Friedman, a lawyer who represents the complainants in the case. “To the extent that the company was laying someone off because they were a lower performer, I think it’s very clear that that is problematic because Meta’s evaluation system is riddled with discriminatory problems.”

In November, Lori Goler, Meta’s human resources chief, told remaining employees after the layoffs that the company didn’t explicitly take diversity into consideration when it decided which positions to cut, according to a recording of the meeting listened to by The Washington Post.

“The way we thought about DEI,” Golder said, using an acronym for diversity, equity and inclusion, “was the same way that we think about it in all our people processes, which is the less discretion and the more objectivity you have in any of your people processes, the better it’s going to be for DEI.” The recruiting team was hit particularly hard, she said.

One of the strategies the company used, she said during the call, was “this sort of idea of last in, first to move out. And that’s the way that you get to more objective criteria. And there were several ways that we did that across the org as we tried to move forward with the plans and the layoffs.”

Goler also said roughly 46 percent of the layoffs came from the technology teams, while 54 percent came from the business side of the company. At Meta, women and people of color are more likely to hold roles on the business side of the company than they are to be in engineering roles.

As Meta’s financial situation worsened and the company began slowing down and then freezing hiring, Levy said there was far less for her and her colleagues to do. So at times, she spent many of her days reaching out to other Meta employees to learn more about the company and their career paths.

Two months after the cuts, Levy said she is still having trouble finding a job in recruiting or any other field. So far, she said, she has applied to hundreds of jobs but only secured a few interviews.

“I’m applying for everything,” Levy said. “It’s been tough.” © 1996-2023 The Washington Post

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