Tag Archives: New York City

The Internet of Peeps

 IoP = Internet of People

Your car may be the future cockpit of the Internet of Things (IoT), and your house will be largely managed by apps in a few years, but the big change coming down the road is the Internet of People. (IoP).  Actually, it’s just about here now.

I just used an app called Map My Walk to….map my morning walk around the lake.

The Internet for Peeps is here

Check it:


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A quick update on the Fast Food Strikes

Fast Food Strikes Spreading

Fast Food
Fast Food (Photo credit: SteFou!)

This post is especially important for members of management in the restaurant industry.

I would be astounded if you work in any part of management in the restaurant industry and haven’t already heard about this, but just in case, I wanted to do a post that summarizes some of the dramatic, ground breaking labor relations developments that have taken place over the last month or so in your industry.

Fast food workers are going on strike.   On April 4th in New York City, more than 400 fast food workers walked off the job, demanding wage increases, more hours, and the right to join a union without interference.  According to published reports, workers from 60 to 70 restaurants, including large brands like  McDonald’s, Burger King, Papa John’s, Taco Bell and Pizza Hut participated in the strike.  The strike action was organized by a group called Fast Food Forward.

On April 24th, a similar strike action took place in Chicago, as fast-food and retail workers took over downtown Chicago, demanding wage increases as part of The “Fight for $15 campaign” .  As in New York, this group was supported by a coalition of local community, labor and faith-based organizations — including the Workers Organizing Committee of Chicago, a group of downtown fast-food and retail workers that launched in November 2012.  Affected companies included big-name companies like Macy’s, Subway, Victoria’s Secret, McDonald’s, Dunkin’ Donuts, and Nike.

In May, similar protests and strike events have been held in OaklandSt. Louis , and Detroit.  I’d click through the various links for the various cities to see more on who was impacted and how these events played out.





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Labor Relations Round-up: Fast Food Strike

Employees protest at Burger King, Wendy’s, Domino’s, KFC, McDonald’s  in NYC

English: A selection of value-menu hamburgers ...
English: A selection of value-menu hamburgers from American fast food chains. Clockwise from left to right: McDonald’s McDouble, Burger King Buck Double, Sonic Drive-In Jr. Deluxe Burger, Wendy’s Double Stack. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Employees of various fast food chains in New York City engaged in a one day work stoppage, calling for wage increases and improvements in their benefit programs.   This action took place on the heels of the “Black Friday” strike events aimed at Walmart.

Here’s a round-up of news headlines related to the event:

Nation’s Restaurant News:    NYC quick-service workers strike for higher wages, unions

Huffington Post:  Fast-Food Workers’ Strike Over Wages Hits Chain Locations In New York

Grub Street New York: Striking Fast Food Workers Return to Work

NPR:  N.Y. Fast-Food Workers Strike For Better Wages

CNBC:  NYC Fast-Food Workers Strike: ‘Supersize Our Wages,’ They Demand

MSNBC:  New York’s fast food workers strike. Why now?

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Micro-breweries are fun. Micro bargaining units – meh

Smaller isn’t always better

Shoes in a shop
Shoes in a shop (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Micro-breweries are great.  We have a couple of great ones here in the Tampa area that you should check out if you are ever in the area – Ybor City Brewing Company and the Dunedin Brewery.  That’s the fun part of this post.

Here’s the rest, which is not so fun.

More than a year ago, I wrote about  the possibility that  businesses would start to see the recognition of something called “Micro Unions” in the workplace.

About now, you’re probably saying  something like “What the hell’s a micro union”?”

It’s this, as excerpted from the Daily Caller:

The National Labor Relations Board (NLRB), the mediation agency charged with interpreting and maintaining the fairness of unionizing efforts nationwide, will soon decide whether or not labor unions can break off different sections of workforces into small groups to organize five or 10 workers at a time instead of the entire workplace at once – or organize using “micro unions.

The “micro unions” would essentially allow labor organizers to section off company employees by specific job descriptions. For example, if a union were trying to organize a restaurant staff, leaders would target servers,  dishwashers, cooks and hostesses separately.

This is happening now.  Earlier this month, the NLRB told Neiman Marcus that their argument that a sub-unit of people in one of their stores in New York would be subject to a union election.

This is the unit that he NLRB determined was right:

INCLUDED: All full-time and regular part-time women’s shoes associates in the 2nd Floor Designer Shoes Department and in the 5th Floor Contemporary Shoes Department employed in the Employer’s retail store located at 754 Fifth Avenue, New York, New York.

Not just the shoe department, but the women’s shoe department – located on the 2nd and 5th floors.  Wow.

This isn’t the first time this has happened, and it certainly won’t be the last.


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Your company may be homophobic

Chick-Fil-A's signature chicken sandwich
Image via Wikipedia

Associate Resource Groups at Walmart Home Office

I didn’t know that Walmart had Associate Resource Groups like these, devoted to creating diversity and minority communties inside their company.

I don’t know how effective they are, or anything more than that they have them, but it was kind of a pleasant discovery.  I found out about them while looking at this story in which unions and other groups in New York City that are trying to keep Walmart from opening stores there are charging that Walmart is a homophobic company.  This would seem to indicate that at least in some ways they are not, which is a good thing.

From the New York Daily News:

Walmart’s values are not our values and they are certainly not New York’s. Stonewall Democratic Club is committed to building a city that is free from intolerance towards all Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgendered people – a city that remains Walmart free.”

Walmart spokesman Steven Restivo says that’s not the case: In fact, he says, the big-box chain — which a Doug Schoen poll shows New Yorkers would welcome to the city — is supportive of its LGBT employees.

“Diversity and inclusion are enduring values that are fundamental to our culture, which includes a focus on having respect for our colleagues and customers.  As part of our internal commitment to inclusion, we have Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual & Transgender Associate Resource Groups aimed at building a sense of community among associates sharing similar backgrounds and interests. New Yorkers recognize this broader commitment and that’s just one of the reasons more than 70% support Walmart coming to New York City.”

In fact, there seems to have been a sudden outbreak of homophobic companies across the United States.  I saw another story today charging that Chick-Fil-A is an anti-gay company.    The response from Chick-FiL-A doesn’t seem to indicate that they sponsor any sort of groups similar to the Associate resource Groups at Walmart.   It did cause them to face some heat on their Facebook page though.

The gay chicken row: Chick-Fil-A’s anti-gay stance sparks protest as loyal customers turn on chain

The company’s president Dan Cathy said in a statement: ‘Chick-Fil-A’s corporate purpose is ‘To glorify God by being a faithful steward of all that is entrusted to us, and to have a positive influence on all who come in contact with Chick-Fil-A.’

Debate: The chain’s Facebook page has been choked with messages – both for an against homosexuality

‘As a result, we will not champion any political agendas on marriage and family. This decision has been made, and we understand the importance of it.’

He did however add that the company would ‘continue to offer resources to strengthen marriages and families’.

‘To do anything different would be inconsistent with our purpose and belief in Biblical principles’.

Tips for dealing with accusations agaisnt your company

Charges that your company is homophobic, or has designs against any group can be brought up by anyone at any time.  In today’s social media environment, these things can quickly become the focus of discussion on official company web portals like a Facebook page.   Here are three things HR people should be thinking about as you read this.

  1. What strategies do you have, or need to put in place to avoid these kinds of charges?
  2. As part of your social media strategy, doyou have a plan in place to deal with communciating on such topics?
  3. If you have social media discussion portals, do you have a contingency plan ready to go in the event your site becomes a discussion forum for a topic that may be harming your brand, or uncomfortable for your fans and followers to see?

What protected concerted activity looks like

Context photo from 'Wikipedia Takes Manhattan'...
Image via Wikipedia

Protected Concerted Activity at Starbucks

Under the National Labor Relations Act, employees are granted the right to engage in collective action aimed at improving the terms and conditions of employment in their workplace.  employers are prohibited from taking disciplinary action against employees for doing so, or otherwise taking any type of retaliatory action aimed at dissuading employees from exercising these rights.

If you are unclear on what protected concerted activity looks like, here is a very specific, very clear example for your review.  Employees at a New York City Starbucks sent this letter to the corporation on Monday, the 2011 Martin Luther King Holiday, as a group of employees declared their support for and membership in the Starbucks Workers Union.

Starbucks Workers Union letter

To Adler Ludvigsen, Howard Schultz, et al.,

Today we are declaring our membership in the Industrial Workers of The World, Starbucks Workers Union. We have spent many months, some of us years, working at Astor Place and we have come to feel that things must change. We spend more of our time at the store than any other place outside of our homes. We depend on our jobs for our livelihood. We have joined the Union because we feel that as human beings we have the right to have a say in the decisions regarding our living and working conditions and because it is clear that if we do not stand up for ourselves, Starbucks will not act in our best interests. We also care about the work that we do and we feel that until we begin to be treated fairly we will be unable to provide the customers who patronize our store with adequate services.

The following is a list of specific demands that Starbucks must meet if they truly follow their mission statement of putting partners first and catering to the needs of our customers:

Fair Compensation For Time Worked: Astor Place is one of the highest volume stores in the country. We work extremely hard to make sure that the high level of demand from our customers is met – and with a smile and a positive attitude. Yet our wages place many of us below the poverty level and all of us below the level of a living wage for New York City. We demand all Astor Place Workers receive a $1 per an hour raise. We also demand that we are given fair employee reviews. As Astor Place workers we all put in an above average effort and our performance reviews should reflect that.

Fair Scheduling Practices: On top of low wages, many Astor Place workers are not given an adequate number of hours to make ends meet. Our schedules are inconsistent and given out last minute. We all have lives, friends, loved ones, and other jobs and commitments outside of the store yet we are treated as though our only obligation is to be on call to work when it is convenient for the company. Additionally while we are working we often find that we must work extra hard due to understaffing. We demand direct employee participation in the creation of the schedules; respecting workers requests for vacations and time off; regular scheduling for those who need it; giving workers as many hours as they need to make ends meet up to full time; schedules produced 3 weeks in advance. We also demand that the store is scheduled to be fully staffed at all times; and an end to hiring new partners while cutting hours for current employees.

Respect and Dignity: The relationship between managers and workers is always an unequal one. Nonetheless we are human beings – adults – and deserve to be treated as such. Management consistently talks down to workers and displays disrespect through their actions. For example at work we must ask permission to go to the bathroom like children. There is also a consistent show of favoritism in the store. We demand that management addresses workers with a tone of respect at all times; an end to favoritism in the workplace; when workers call out sick they should not be questioned as to the nature of their illness or be written up for being sick or be forced to take on the burden for finding someone to cover their shift.

Workplace Democracy: The following demand has two parts.

  • A) We live in a country that holds democracy as a central value. At work, the location where we spend almost half of our waking hours, we are denied any form of democratic rights. Decisions regarding the day to day operations of our store, including the organization of the floor, scheduling, the repair, maintenance, and replacement of equipment, the distribution of rewards, the deployment of labor, affect us as workers more than anyone else. We demand worker participation regarding all decisions made at a store level.
  • B) Not only are we excluded from participating in the decisions that affect our lives directly, we are not even provided with a forum to express our opinions. We demand a once a month optional meeting where all employees of Astor Place are invited to discuss the operations of the store; the meeting should be held twice the day it occurs so that all employees can attend, regardless of when they are scheduled to work; the store manager and ASMs must be present at both meetings; employees not managers, must run the meetings and union presence must be permitted at the meetings.

Justice For Our Coworkers: It is our right to form a union, and to stand up for ourselves as workers. Starbucks has consistently violated this right by unfairly disciplining and firing union workers. WE DEMAND THAT CATHERINE ARREDONDO of Astor Place and TYLER SWAIN of 15th and Douglas Omaha, Nebraska be reinstated immediately.

Kathryn Harris
Cason Bolton Jr.
Princess McLawrence
Zelig Stern
Kayla Halstead
Keila Lagara
Catherine Arredondo
Claudio Anzalone

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Labor Day brings new organizing effort aimed at Jimmy John’s restaurant chain

{MONDAY} @Jimmy John's
Image by Debs (ò‿ó)♪ via Flickr

Unions remain interested in organizing the restaurant business

Franchisees of the restaurant chain Jimmy John’s are facing a new organizing effort from the Jimmy John’s Workers Union, which is supported by the IWW, the same group that has been working to organize Starbucks in Minneapolis, Michigan, New York, and other states.  Workers apparently walked off the job in the last few days to announce their demands for improvements in wages and benefits.

“All we’re asking is for the Mulligans to meet with us. If they’re going to disrespect us by refusing to even talk to us, then they’re in for a bumpy ride. The pressure won’t stop until they meet our demands for more than minimum wage, sick days, and basic fairness,” said Jake Foucault, a delivery driver at Jimmy Johns.

The “union” has called for a national week of action to publicize their fledgling effort.  Events so far have been creative, and designed to attract intention, such as a bicycle protest in Minneapolis, and a protest at a Jimmy John’s located on Wealthy Street in Grand Rapids, MI will be held on Labor Day.  The union says it expects leafleting and picketing planned in 32 of 39 states in which the company operates, as part of the National Week of Action.

As usual, I will end with my usual reminder: HR people and managers, including franchise owners in the restaurant/ QSR industry would be well served to pay attention to this effort, and the issues that are driving it.

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DOH! Stupid Statistical Paradoxes anyway!

A Late Carnival Arrival

This is a guest post from Jeremy Shapiro aka HRMetricsguy, from Hodes iQ.  He initially submitted to run as part of the Carnival, but it was way past the deadline, and I had some guest post opportunities coming up this week, so I am running it today.  I hope you enjoy it!

I enjoy reading “The Numbers Guy” column in the WSJ, but today, guest writer Cari Tuna really hit it out of the park with her piece on a problem in statistical analysis called Simpson’s Paradox. Cari reports that the paradox is under-stating the severity of unemployment data.

A few weeks ago, I wrote a piece of three ways to look at the DOL employment data. Now, a fourth view emerges because of Simpson’s Paradox.

First, what is the paradox? Here’s Wikipedia’s version:

Simpson’s paradox (or the Yule-Simpson effect) is an apparent paradox in which the successes of groups seem reversed when the groups are combined. This result is often encountered in social and medical science statistics, and occurs when frequency data are hastily given causal interpretation; the paradox disappears when causal relations are derived systematically, through formal analysis.

Or, more simply (my version): Sometimes, because one subgroup of data can be much larger than another group, the total average looks better (or worse) than what’s really going on.

For unemployment, what Cari reported is that for college graduates and high school graduates, employment is really worse than the 80’s, but the total average doesn’t reflect this reality on the ground. Consider this:

Total Unemployment 25 and Older
1983: 8.5%
2009: 8.2%

For College Grads
1983: 3.6%
2009: 4.9%

For High School Dropouts:
1983: 13.6%
2009: 14.9%

And there’s the paradox at work, both College grads and High School dropouts are worse off, but the total unemployment data does not reflect the reality. Why? There are more college grads today (1/3rd of the working population) vs. 1983 (1/4 of the working population), which skews comparisons between the 2 recessions!

The WSJ article is good reading. It should be noted that the analysis was done by Henry Farber , an economist from Princeton found here.


Jeremy Shapiro, Senior Vice President, Hodes iQ

email           jshapiro@hodesiq.com

web             www.hodesiq.com or www.smartpost.com

Twitter        hrmetricsguy

LinkedIn    www.linkedin.com/in/jeremyashapiro

Snail Mail   220 E. 42nd Street, 14th floor New York,  NY 10017

Phone         212 999 9722

Join our LinkedIn Group for Hodes iQ Users.


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Eau de Social Recruiting Summit

Image by birgerking via Flickr

It stinks that I can’t be at Social Recruiting Summit!

Good luck to everyone involved with the event today, especially my good friend Laurie Ruettimann who will be the host, whatever that means!
Attendees are in for a real treat today in that they get to see Fred Wilson speak.  Great to see someone from outside the HR sphere participating at this event.    Check out Fred’s advance presentation release below!
View more presentations from fredwilson.
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The Final Wrap – ERE Expo

Part-time Conference Attendee

Pool view from ERE Expo
Pool view from ERE Expo

I attended  portions of the Fall 2009 ERE Expo that was held at the Westin Diplomat in Hollywood Florida last week.  I had to miss quite a few of the sessions as I had other meetings to take care in the Miami area on this visit.  This provided a bit of a different dynamic for this conference over some of the others I have recently attended.   This was due to the fact that a lot of the connections and dialogue that I participated in at the conference was with small groups of people in informal settings, rather than following the bigger dialogue of speakers and groups in the sessions.

There was a large social media presence at the event with plenty of live blogging and tweeting going on.  You can find a summary of the tweet stream here.  Great reviews of the conference have been written by Jonathon Goodman, Leanne Chase , Sharlyn Lauby,  my amazing friend Stephanie A. Lloyd, Jason Buss,   Jason Buss,  another “Jason” – my buddy Jason Blais,  the swanky and eloquent  Jennifer McClure, and the always scintilating Laurie Ruettimann

While I would have enjoyed watching the sessions, I still found the conference to be a very valuable event.

You can find the slide decks and video recording that are available in the same place I did, which is here.  One of the most discussed presentations that I did get to see was given by the “2 Steve’s from Adidas”.   You can see it below.

Employment Branding at Adidas

Here are my random thoughts on my personal highlights from the conference.

Breaking News in Recruiting

Laurie Ruettimann announced that she will be leading the session at the Social Recruiting Summit in New York City which will be held in on November 16.

Joel Cheesman of Cheezhead and Aaron Matos of Jobing announced the acquisition of the Cheesman Group by Jobing.

Cool stuff making for great cocktail party fodder!

Fabulous Networking Opportunities

The dudes at ERE Expo and their clients know how to rock a party!

Traci Deveau and Winnings at ERE
Traci Deveau and Winnings at ERE

I only paid for one drink in three days, and was invited to at least half a dozen full on soirees over the span of the show.

The first conference networking event was a “near the pool/beach”  reception with roving servers delivering canapes, a hot food bar, and a nice selection of liquor, wine and beer.   I would estimate attendance at well over 150.  I met many people for the first time, and enjoyed renewing long running conversations with many others.

We then moved upstairs for a marvelous networking opportunity that also offered an opportunity to donate to a charitable cause.   This was a Texas Hold’em event put on by the ERE Foundation. I may have “lost” $35 dollars, but that was more than made up for with fun and awesome networking!  Special thanks to Sarah White and Jeremy Langhans, who helped put the event together.

It was like being on the red carpet on Oscar night for evening number two.  I started out at a reception on the main show floor, hanging out with a bunch of different people, including Christina Tierney from Bernard Hodes, Jason Blais from JobsintheUS, Shannon Seery Gude, Stephanie A  Lloyd of Radiant Veracity, Jennifer McClure, and many others.

Then I moved to the NAS party that I had been invited to by the charming and gracious hostess, Tara Repucci where we enjoyed sushi and Kirin Ichiban beer and some great conversation.

Next it was off to Rivals for the Indeed.com party where there were so many people I can’t even count them all.  It got wild and crazy.  I spent a lot of time talking to new friends like Jenny DeVaughn, Miriam Salpeter, and Melyssa Berstein.

Then it was time to go off to the best event of the night, the Glass Half Full Wine Tasting event put together by Maren Hogan and Jason Davis of Recruiting Blogs and HCI.   It was an amazing event in a suite overlooking the Atlantic Ocean from 23 stories and filled with smart and talented people like John Sumser, Gerry Crispin, and Kevin Wheeler, just to name a few.  I felt privileged to be allowed to hang around and chat with them and all the others that were there.

Social Media and Twitter at ERE

Social media once again played a major role at an HR conference, despite sketchy wifi service.  People were tweeting and blogging.  This element totally changes the dynamic of a conference for those of us who can access the “hidden audience”.  Show planners need to learn to factor this in and take advantage of it!

Here is a long list of people I knew before ERE or met for the first time while at the show.  I know I left some out.  Please ask to be added to the list if you are unintentionally ommitted!

Shannon Seery Gude   @Seerysm

Jason Davis @callmeslouch

Robin Eads @imjustagoyle

Tracy Deveau @Devoted2HR

Jennifer McClure @CincyRecruiter

Sharlyn Lauby @HR Bartender

Glenn Gutmacher @gutmach

Irina Shamaeva @braingain

Tara Repucci @tararepucci

Lexy Thompson @lexythompson

Chris Hoyt @TheRecruiterGuy

Sarah White @sarahw79

Maren Hogan @marenhogan

Mike Quale @tall_geek

Jason Buss @jjbuss

Laurie Ruettimann @lruettimann

Mary Ellen Slayter @SBWorkforce

Eric Winegardner @ewmonster

Shally Steckerl @shally

Kevin Wheeler @kwheeler

John Sumser @sumser

Dave Pritchard @PritchATL

Gerry Crispin @GerryCrispin

Jason Blais @JasonCBlais

Amy Renz @AmyRenz

Aaron Matos @Jobing

Katie del Guercio @KODAus

Scott Baxt @ScottBaxt

Stephanie A Lloyd @StephanieALloyd

David Manaster @Dmanaster

Leanne Chase @Leanneclc

Melyssa Bernstein @MelShel99

Jenny Devaughn @Jenny DeVaughn

Miriam Salpeter @keppie_careers

My next post will be about Recruiting rising to the occasion and will discuss how the recruiting field is differentiating itself from the rest of Human Resources.

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