German "Hot Autumn"
72763.2240 at compuserve.com
Tue Oct 1 20:43:15 MDT 1996
>> Then of course there is also the whole question of unemployment benefits,
which is somewhat of a law-jungle. Basically it says that if you have an
unemployment insurance (and have had it for one year - and been employed in 6
months out of that year) you get paid for the first 2=BD years of
unemployment. Then you have to go through some "scheme" (public employment or
education) and you can get paid for 2 more years.
But it is a law-jungle with a lot of if's and but's, and it is one of those
things which have been attacked a lot by the previous bourgeois gvnt. and now
actually very much by the present soc-dem gvnt. Especially young people are
having a very hard time because of this. <<Jorn A
Unemployment benefits in the US are linked to your last job. If you had a
good one, like my friend Larry who worked at GE for several years, then your
weekly payments will be relatively high, and sometimes the employer or the
union kicks in some sub pay that helps out.
If you have a subpar job, as I did in the eighties, then your unemployment
check will be minimal, and the wolf is at the door.
For US rail workers, despite our above average wages, the situation is
abysmal. The RR Retirement system, which is a government run pension setup,
also funds unemployment. You can get about 150$ per week for a year, no matter
how much you made on your last job. That is it. We are considerably behind an
industrial worker who works in the auto or steel industry, for example, whose
state and federal benefits are linked to previous income.
This income linkage means that young people can expect little help if they
lose their jobs. The unemployment check probably will buy some food for a few
days of the week. Since they are more likely to work for small businesses,
they might not even be covered by unemployment insurance.
Now we have the workfare program bursting on the national consciousness. New
York city is the test bed for this. It is shaping up quickly as a challenge
for labor, handed to us by our best buddy, WJ Clinton. A government funded
sub-minimum wage labor force will be working side by side with union workers.
Your European employers don't even have this on the radar screen yet.
It is interesting that the German corporations chose to provoke a crisis by
taking unilateral action. This bespeaks either extreme confidence or
desperation. Perhaps both. They must have decided narrowing the gap with the
US can't wait much longer.
E-mail from: Jonathan E. Flanders, 01-Oct-1996
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