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Labor Day Hangover: Low Wages Plague NC Citizens

first_imgThousands of North Carolinians enjoyed a welcome reprieve from work during the long Labor Day weekend, but many of them are returning to work today, making less money than they need to pay their basic bills.The minimum wage in North Carolina is $7.25 an hour, about $5 short of what some consider a living wage in the state.Marybe McMillan, secretary-treasurer of North Carolina AFL-CIO, says low wages trap workers in a cycle difficult to escape.“Unfortunately, far too many working people are struggling because they are stuck in these jobs that pay wages that don’t enable people to provide for their families,” she states.The AFL-CIO is among the groups behind the Fight for 15 campaign, aiming to raise the minimum wage to $15 an hour.New York and California recently raised their minimum wage to that amount.The issue of raising the minimum wage is among those being discussed in the presidential campaign, with Democratic Party nominee Hillary Clinton supporting a raise, and Republican Donald Trump at times opposing it and at other times supporting it.McMillan says studies show that entire communities benefit when everyone is paid a fair wage.“Working people are what drive our economy,” she stresses. “We are consumers, so when we earn a living wage, when we have more money in our pockets, we spend more at businesses.“We also are taxpayers, so we pay more in tax revenue which provides more revenue for our local government.”New research from the Economic Policy Institute and the Center for Economic and Policy Research found that the decline of unions in the U.S. is impacting the income of all workers.In addition, union workers earn 30 percent more on average than non-union workers.last_img read more

Cape Town’s new bus system

first_img2010 host city Cape Town is getting anadvanced integrated rapid transportsystem, just in time for the World Cup. The Green Point stadium construction site.The stadium precinct will link to the citycentre, airport and residential areas in thecity bowl.(Images: City of Cape Town)Janine ErasmusIn May 2008 the City of Cape Town unveiled plans for a world-class integrated rapid transport system. Now the first phase has received the green light and will be operational by March 2010, say city authorities. The entire four-phase project will be implemented over the next 10 to 12 years.An integrated rapid transport (IRT) system brings various modes of public transport together into a united effort, and takes priority over private transport.“In the context of our goal of infrastructure-led economic growth and job creation, this is possibly our single most important project,” said Cape Town mayor Helen Zille, recently voted the world’s top mayor for 2008 by the London-based World Mayor Project.“The 2010 Football World Cup is our chance to show the world what we are capable of as a city and as a nation,” commented Zille. “It is one of our best opportunities to market Cape Town as an investment and tourist destination. It is also an important opportunity to fast forward a few years in infrastructure investment, and create a lasting legacy for our citizens.”Cape Town’s IRT system will bring the city up to the required standard for the national Department of Transport’s 2010 host city transport operations plan, as well as the host city agreement signed with Fifa. These plans will make maximum use of existing transport resources, ensuring that security and emergency response strategies are in place, and catering to those with special needs.However, Cape Town citizens will benefit from the new system for many years to come. The initial Phase 1A is designed to demonstrate the system’s capabilities and garner maximum public support ahead of the expansion into the full Phase 1 plan. Each phase has been designed to be financially self-sustaining independent of any future development.Better bus serviceCape Town’s system largely involves an efficient and reliable bus service that will run in two parts – main or trunk routes and feeder routes. The trunk routes will feature dedicated bus lanes, in most cases in the middle of the road, for special 18m articulated vehicles. These vehicles will feature wide doors to allow many people to embark and disembark simultaneously into weatherproof stations, while fares will be collected beforehand using smart cards at station entrances.The emphasis is on easy access between the system and other transport options such as bicycles, taxis and walking, as well as convenience for children, the elderly and the disabled. In addition, vehicles will feature clean, low-noise technology and the whole system is designed as an environmental showcase for Cape Town.The feeder services will connect communities with trunk routes using use smaller 8m and 12m vehicles running on normal streets. Passengers will pay with smart cards as they board. These services are expected to run for longer hours than the city’s current public transport systems.Linking the city and communitiesThe R1.3-billion ($130-million) phase 1A will link Cape Town International Airport and the inner city with the Green Point stadium precinct, a requirement of Cape Town’s status as 2010 host city. Key destinations in the city include Central Station, the V&A Waterfront, Long Street, Sea Point, as well as Hout Bay. Nearby residential areas such as Tamboerskloof, Oranjezicht, Vredehoek and Gardens will be serviced by the feeder system.The inner city service will provide an affordable and convenient way of getting around, not just for the millions of tourists who are expected to pour into South Africa’s host cities during the weeks of the Fifa World Cup, but also for the many thousands of people who live and work in Cape Town’s city bowl.The airport link will provide rapid, high frequency services between the airport and the city centre, Green Point and Sea Point via the N2 freeway’s dedicated bus and minibus taxi lane, which went live on 1 August 2007. The bus lane is already proving to be a great success, getting city commuters to their destinations with a 20 minute saving over previous journey times.Phase 1A will also reach out to high-density residential areas and low-income communities up the west coast, including Bloubergstrand, Table View, Mamre, Atlantis, Doornbach and Du Noon. Many of these communities currently have no sustainable public transport option to boost employment and the new service is expected to breathe new life into the region as well as alleviate high levels of traffic congestion closer to Cape Town.The next three phases will cover the northern and southern suburbs and the Cape Flats communities of Mitchell’s Plain, Khayelitsha, Delft and Blue Downs, as well as the university town of Stellenbosch, located about 50km from the Cape Town city centre.Public participationIn order to ensure that public needs and concerns are met, the City is holding a series of information meetings during October and November 2008. The meetings will involve communities, people and businesses affected by the first phase.City authorities are also working to provide all existing bus and minibus owners the opportunity to participate in the Cape Town IRT system.Do you have queries or comments about this article? Email Janine Erasmus at [email protected] This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it Useful linksCape Town IRT websiteDepartment of Transport 2010 transport projectslast_img read more

From Military Service to the Civilian Workforce – #SHRMDIV Interview with Carol Eggert

first_imgTransitioning from Active Duty to a Civilian career can be a struggle for many of our Military and Veterans, but with the right cultural fit built into organizations, efforts can seem effortless.  As a Public Affairs Officer in the Navy Reserves, I am personally and passionately engaged in supporting our United States Military and Veteran community, and I am proud to serve as ManTech International’s Military Ambassador.  As a government contractor with about 8,000 employees, of which are 47 percent Veterans – we strongly advocate for those who have served and continue to serve our country.  The 2018 SHRM Diversity & Inclusion Conference highlights this topic during a session you will not want to miss – “Five Steps To Attracting, Hiring and Retaining Veterans in Your Workplace”.One of the session panelists, Carol Eggert, Senior Vice President of Military and Veteran Affairs at Comcast NBCUniversal, shares her insightful counsel to support Veterans, Guard and Reserve members, and military spouses experience and success in the civilian workforce.What vital resources would you recommend to a transitioning military member? Any employer not engaging the military community as a whole – not just Veterans, but Guard and Reserve members and military spouses – is making a business mistake by failing to tap into a vast and under-utilized talent pool. I’m a huge proponent of presenting “the business case” for the military community and how their inclusion in the general workforce helps to improve all aspects of a company’s operations.The Comcast NBCUniversal Employer School offers a collection of free, animated courses developed by leading subject matter experts. The Employer School has something for any employer, regardless of their level of experience with the military community. The military community landscape is constantly shifting, and having these courses available for employers helps keep them on top of their game in terms of understanding this strong and ready source of talent. My favorite courses are the two that help employers get the ball rolling on their military community engagement – “15 Things Veterans Want You to Know” and “Creating a Veteran Hiring Program.” There is a wide gap of knowledge between the employers that are engaged in this space and those that are not. For the latter, these two courses are a perfect starting point to understand what the military community and veterans have to offer as a talent pool.  All employers, regardless of their level of knowledge or existing engagement with the military community, should take the time to read the Center for a New American Security’s recent study on the civilian-military divide, titled “Lost in Translation.” It uncovers a lot of the core reasons this gap has slowly widened over the last several generations, and provides concrete and actionable items that all parties – employers, military members, etc. – can take now to ensure we close that gap.What challenges do you see in today’s workforce that Veterans face? One challenge that stands out is the civilian-military divide that exists across the country, where both sides don’t have enough information to understand each other’s perspective as potential employee and future employer. On the military side, often those who transition from active duty do not go to the National Guard and Reserve because of the perception that it’s impossible to balance simultaneous civilian and military careers, or they are concerned that civilian employers will not hire them due to their participation in the National Guard or Reserve components. And on the civilian side, some employers struggle to understand what being a military community members means; for example, with National Guard and Reserve duty, employers may have concerns that those employees will constantly deploy and may place a burden on the workforce.We also need to gain a common understanding that having a military career and a private sector career does not mean sacrificing one for the other in terms of time dedicated or commitment needed; in fact, most find that each enhances the other. We must widen the aperture and understand that a specific military skill should not limit choices for employment.We also need to understand that military members have skills that go beyond the operational military career fields they work in. All military members face leadership challenges from the moment they begin their careers, giving them an innate ability to work effectively on a team. These are skills that are in high demand in the private sector. Additionally, this broad spectrum of leadership allows military employees to quickly learn their strengths and how to work in a team setting to accentuate everyone’s strengths, which is vital to success in the private sector.  Currently Military Spouse unemployment is between 20-24 percent, what advice would you provide to companies, both large and small, to assure we are all doing what we can to see those Military Spouse unemployment numbers decline significantly?I believe it is primarily about casting aside misconceptions. Military spouses are highly educated and possess diverse skill sets, yet the military spouse community faces unemployment rates of up to four times the rate of veterans. Military spouse employment is not only an economic issue, but a matter of national security. Statistics show that retention of service members is highly dependent upon opportunities for military spouses. Military families are no different from other American families in depending on two incomes, and in order to maintain the best fighting force possible, we must ensure that military spouses have equal opportunity to contribute to our economy. Part of that goes back to all citizens working together to bridge the civilian-military divide by understanding all of the elements of the military community and how they all work together to support national security.Thank you, Ms. Eggert, for graciously providing your advice and thank you to all organizations who take a leading role in supporting members of the Armed Forces and their families during their transitional phase from serving our country to joining the civilian workforce.  To learn more invaluable guidance, attend “Five Steps To Attracting, Hiring and Retaining Veterans in Your Workplace”  on Monday, October 22, 2018 from 10:15am – 11:45am EDT.  Omari Faulkner, Business Strategist and Employee Brand Ambassador, ManTech InternationalTwitter: @OmariFaulknerlast_img read more