Diane Stafford: Involuntary part-time workers aren't happy

Business / Business News /

Charles Dickens' famous phrase opening "A Tale of Two Cities" -- It was the best of times, it was the worst of times -- lends itself to a new study by the John J. Heldrich Center for Workforce Development.

Professor Carl Van Horn and his colleagues at Rutgers University this spring did an in-depth survey of 944 workers, 504 of whom were ...Read more

Balancing Act: Workplace mentoring boosts careers, skills and retention

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After 10 years in the workforce, Edward Cruz wanted someone to guide him on his career path, an experienced professional who could provide objective advice. Cruz, director of career development at the University of Miami, took a bold step. He called a senior leader he met at an industry conference and asked him to be his mentor, offering the man...Read more

Rex Huppke: A review of employee reviews: Listen more, feedback less

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At the end of last week's column, I brought up the overall worthlessness of annual work reviews and introduced a more optimistic feedback approach called "feedforward."

One of the researchers behind this concept is Avraham Kluger, a professor of organizational behavior at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem who has spent much of his career ...Read more

'Recall' or 'repair'? Advocates question Ikea action

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PHILADELPHIA -- When Ikea and federal regulators announced last month that millions of the company's dressers, if not properly secured, could pose a serious risk to children, they took pains to call it "a repair program" -- not a recall.

But in the bureaucratic parlance of the Consumer Product Safety Commission, a repair program is a recall.

...Read more

SEC targets a lightly regulated business

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With roots in the notorious corporate raids of the 1980s, the private equity business has long been considered one of the most powerful, freewheeling and lightly regulated corners of Wall Street.

But that may be changing. The 2010 Dodd-Frank financial reform law included a provision that, for the first time, required private equity firms to ...Read more

Startups ramp up the fun in fierce contest to retain talent

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LOS ANGELES -- The engineers at Los Angeles startup Zefr needed to unwind after completing a months-long project.

That's when they entered the "War Room," a specially built space inside the company's offices with computers lined up against the walls for one purpose: computer game tournaments.

For the rest of the day, teams of five with names ...Read more

Special agent has fought Medicare fraud for decades

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Glenn Ferry has busted pastors, organized crime figures and fake nurses in nearly three decades fighting Medicare fraud.

He's special agent in charge of the Los Angeles regional office of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services' inspector general. His territory spans Southern California, Nevada, Arizona and Hawaii.

To better combat ...Read more

Your Office Coach: Get co-workers to join your complaint or drop it

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Q: The woman in the next cubicle is driving me crazy. "Helen" is a heavy smoker, so she coughs all the time. Her cell phone rings constantly with calls from her kids, and she conducts these conversations in a very loud voice. She also eats breakfast and lunch at her desk every day.

I have started wearing headphones to reduce the noise, but I ...Read more

Taco Bell CEO Brian Niccol describes his rise to the top

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LOS ANGELES -- The gig: Since Jan. 1, Brian Niccol has been chief executive of Taco Bell Corp., the fast-food chain known for menu creations such as Doritos Locos Tacos and Crunchwrap Supremes. Since the first restaurant opened in 1962, Taco Bell, based outside Los Angeles in Irvine, has expanded to about 6,000 locations and 180,000 employees ...Read more

Puerto Rico misses loan payment, prompting rating downgrade

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WASHINGTON -- The Government Development Bank for Puerto Rico said Monday it had made only a partial payment on a debt due in August, prompting one ratings agency to declare the Caribbean island in default.

The bank cited serious concerns about the amount of cash available to Puerto Rico as the main cause behind the missed payment, which ...Read more

Ty launches 'Cecil the Lion' Beanie Baby as fundraiser

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CHICAGO -- Plush-toy maker Ty has created a "Cecil the Lion" Beanie Baby as an animal rights fundraiser in response to a Minnesota hunter who faces worldwide scorn and potential extradition to Africa after illegally killing a protected lion named Cecil in Zimbabwe.

"Hopefully, this special Beanie Baby will raise awareness for animal ...Read more

Delta bans shipment of exotic animal trophies

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ATLANTA --Delta Air Lines said Monday it has banned shipment of lion, leopard, elephant, rhinoceros and buffalo trophies as freight.

Up until today, Atlanta-based Delta had accepted hunting trophies if customers provided appropriate documentation to U.S. customs officials and if the animal in question was not a protected species.

The move ...Read more

Shuttle bus drivers for Apple, Yahoo and other tech firms ask for pay raise in new contract

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SAN LEANDRO, Calif. -- About 180 Compass Transportation drivers who shuttle workers at six Silicon Valley tech companies and Amtrak could get a pay bump and more benefits this year.

Shuttle bus drivers, who are also members of Teamsters Local 853, met at the union's office on Saturday and unanimously voted to approve a new three-year contract ...Read more

CIT Group completes $3.4 billion purchase of California bank

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LOS ANGELES -- CIT Group Inc. said Monday it completed its $3.4 billion acquisition of OneWest Bank, based outside Los Angeles in Pasadena.

OneWest, with 70 retail branches in Southern California, will continue operating under that name as a unit of CIT's CIT Bank. CIT Bank also will be based at OneWest's Pasadena headquarters.

CIT, based in ...Read more

Norwegian Cruise Line expanding global reach

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MIAMI -- Norwegian Cruise Line will venture farther than it ever has before.

The Miami-based cruise line on Monday announced deployment plans for late 2016 and early 2017 that include itineraries in the Persian Gulf and India, where Norwegian ships have never sailed.

Norwegian Star, a 2,348-passenger ship that was built in 2001 and renovated ...Read more

Consumer spending growth cools despite solid rise in personal incomes

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Growth in spending by consumers significantly cooled in June despite another solid gain in incomes, the Commerce Department said Monday.

Personal consumption expenditures increased 0.2 percent, the smallest in four months, compared to a downwardly revised 0.7 percent jump in May.

The decline came as Americans spent less on cars and other long-...Read more

BMW, Audi, Daimler to buy Nokia map operations, another step toward automated cars

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Three major automakers signaled their commitment to automated cars late Sunday with an agreement to buy mapping technology from Nokia for just over $3 billion.

The three companies -- BMW, Audi and Daimler, all German -- will each take one-third ownership of Nokia Here, which will remain operationally independent.

Here is a map-data leader for ...Read more

Alpha files for Chapter 11 bankruptcy

Business / Business News /

PITTSBURGH -- In a move that has been rumored for weeks, Virginia-based coal miner Alpha Natural Resources Inc. filed for bankruptcy protection Monday citing an "unprecedented period of distress" for the centuries-old coal industry.

Alpha operates more than 50 underground and surface mines across four Appalachian states and Wyoming.

Under ...Read more

Big Detroit automakers all see sales climb in July

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DETROIT -- New vehicle sales rose 6.4 percent in July for General Motors, 6 percent for Fiat Chrysler Automobiles and 5 percent for Ford as low interest rates, falling gas prices and an improving job market kept showroom traffic brisk.

With gas prices falling again, sales of pickup trucks, SUVs and crossovers continued at a torrid pace while ...Read more

Greek stock market reopens and promptly plummets

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LONDON -- A massive sell-off of stocks in Greece on Monday underscored the uncertainty that still surrounds the Mediterranean nation as its government tries to secure a new international bailout to avoid a disastrous default.

The Athens stock exchange plummeted by more than 22 percent upon opening Monday before recovering somewhat to end the ...Read more