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george.leopold
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re: Rebuilding America: Would Kurzarbeit work here?
george.leopold   2/14/2012 11:21:25 PM
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The National Science Foundation put this out today: http://www.nsf.gov/news/news_summ.jsp?cntn_id=123174&WT.mc_id=USNSF_51&WT.mc_ev=click Here's the key passage: "U.S. manufacturing has been declining as a share of our nation's gross domestic product for many decades. Our nation has lost almost 30 percent of manufacturing jobs during the last decade. Concurrently, emerging economies have vastly increased manufacturing capacity. In-depth knowledge of manufacturing processes has boosted innovation in these nations."

george.leopold
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re: Rebuilding America: Would Kurzarbeit work here?
george.leopold   2/14/2012 11:11:23 PM
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Es ist sehr interessant, UD-00001. I didn't consider the "learning curve for new workers...." A constant theme in the U.S. is employers claiming that can't find workers with the right skill sets. Is that an issue in Germany?

volee68
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re: Rebuilding America: Would Kurzarbeit work here?
volee68   2/14/2012 11:06:13 PM
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It seems to me that the key is the phrase from the article: German workers are treated as assets, not “overhead,”. The fundamental assumption is whether the employees are considered assets or liabilities. All aspects of the employee-employer contract start with that basic assumption. From the article, the German companies consider the employee as an asset, and work to maintain that asset, just as they would maintain any other asset. If employees are considered liabilities, the goal is to minimize the cost of that liability, sort of use it, abuse it, and lose it.

David.Bley
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re: Rebuilding America: Would Kurzarbeit work here?
David.Bley   2/14/2012 10:11:21 PM
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Don't look now but there is a sizable group of people that are well on their way to reviving US manufacturing. They are using the "agile" (bottom-up) method of development instead of the ineffective top-down method. I am talking about the Makers, that revival of the "craftsman" movement. I read an article saying that most employment growth takes place at small startup companies of which 1/3 or 100,000 0f the 300,000 companies in the US fit that category. We are past the time where talking about this issue will provide a solution.

DU00000001
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re: Rebuilding America: Would Kurzarbeit work here?
DU00000001   2/14/2012 10:09:47 PM
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Hello all, I AM from Germany. What you're calling "Great Recession of 2008" is referred as "die Krise" ("the crisis"). My employer did not suffer much and did prosper again before the end of the crisis. Why ? As other companies had off-laid some workers (mostly freelance engineers) we had the chance to hire them. So much about "... that can be readily hired back ..." The crisis was not completely finished when qualified engineers were as rare as before. BUT: now they were working for other companies. Thus Kurzarbeit is also making sense for the companies, avoiding the post-crisis learning curve of new workers as well as the loss of highly-experienced professionals. These tend to be the first to find a new job - even during a crisis.

george.leopold
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re: Rebuilding America: Would Kurzarbeit work here?
george.leopold   2/14/2012 10:03:13 PM
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Just about the only manufacturing unions left in the U.S. are the International Association of Machinists and International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers. The UAW is a shell of its former self. The Germans used work councils that give workers a say in how a company is run. As stated in the commentary, this approach forces management and workers to reach a consensus on matters related to the company's future. "rohs compliant" considers that socialism. I'd call it a check on what "ECE Ted" refers to as "corporate greed." The bottom line is that unemployment is much higher in the U.S., especially in manufacturing. That's what we need to address.

junko.yoshida
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re: Rebuilding America: Would Kurzarbeit work here?
junko.yoshida   2/14/2012 9:15:23 PM
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While I agree with your emphasis on "continual on-the-job training," I don't agree with your statement, saying "many laid-off workers simply won't *get* new jobs, because their existing skills are no longer in demand. Tell that to your friends who recently got laid off. Main reason for many lay-offs, if I have to guess, is the cost. Not the lack of so-called "skill set."

junko.yoshida
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re: Rebuilding America: Would Kurzarbeit work here?
junko.yoshida   2/14/2012 9:10:13 PM
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I don't really understand why a mono-cultural society has anything to do with whether we can implement a shorter work week in a modern chip company, for example. Would you care to elaborate?

DoctorDoom
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re: Rebuilding America: Would Kurzarbeit work here?
DoctorDoom   2/14/2012 9:09:30 PM
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EE Times ... Thank You for championing revival of U.S. Manufacturing ... The past few years, or Decades, doesn't seem that shipping all jobs (manufacturing) overseas is a good idea or is working regarding improving the U.S. Economy. (unlike what "the experts" told us would be good for U.S.(??)). German Business Plan seems to be better than U.S. Business Plan (???) ... which is ??? ... "Free Market"! Compared to other countries who have a Business Game Plan!! Also, apprentice-ship is better than present U.S. Business Training policy (which is ... besides training H1b's ... You're on Your own !!!)

masher
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re: Rebuilding America: Would Kurzarbeit work here?
masher   2/14/2012 9:05:31 PM
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I would only go for this most excellent idea if we can also change the balance so that while the average blue and white collar worker is working 4 days a week, while at the same time we could bring the average honest work week of congressional and senate workers up from what, maybe a day and a half what they presently honestly work to an honest 4 days a week. Yes I know that the word Honest used in the same sentance as any of our elected officals is an oxymoron, but what can I say.

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