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Things Are Good: Look at Nature and be More Productive

Go ahead and let your gaze look out that window while you work. If you get caught, tell your boss that you’re just getting ready to be more productive!

The challenge: Can looking at nature—even just a scenic screen saver—really improve your focus? How much can 40 seconds of staring at grass actually help? Ms. Lee, defend your research.

Lee: We implicitly sense that nature is good for us, and there has been a lot of research into its extensive social, health, and mental benefits and the mechanisms through which they occur. Our findings suggest that engaging in these green (Read more…)

Parchment in the Fire: Temporary and part-time jobs surge promotes inequality, says OECD | Business | The Guardian

Temporary and part-time jobs surge promotes inequality, says OECD | Business | The Guardian.

Heather Stewart

A surge in self-employment and temporary or part-time jobs over the past two decades has been a key factor behind the rise in inequality in the world’s industrialised countries, according to a major new study by the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development.

 

The Paris-based club, which has been a driving force in arguing that increasing inequality jeopardises economic growth, says more than half of all job creation in its 34 member countries since the mid-1990s has been in “non-standard work”, which accounts (Read more…)

Politics, Re-Spun: How Do YOU Fight for Workplace Justice?

How do YOU define determination?

One of them gave birth the day before the vote. As soon as her baby was nursing properly and her bloodwork came back okay, she made the trip to the hotel to vote.

via Inside a union drive at The Trump Hotel | Toronto Star.

February 19, 2015 Looking for Heroes? (0) March 14, 2014 Don’t Tolerate Ignorance About the Minimum Wage (0) October 27, 2014 The Election-Eve Racist, Sexist Attack on Olivia Chow (0) December 17, 2013 Fried Squirrels (2)

Politics, Re-Spun: 5 Things You Must Know About the Internet and Social Entrepreneurs

No one knows for sure what a social entrepreneur is, or supposed to be, or whether it’s altruistic or a PR meme. “Disruption” is very trendy now, in terms of how to smash around organizations to make them better [or weaker, depending on your purpose]. No one reads anything on the internet anymore unless there is a list of things and they’re told how many items there are in the list. I don’t have anything else. Fnord. April 2, 2014 Honing In On Friday’s #WaveOfAction (0) February 7, 2014 Because You’re Not As Dumb As They Think You Are! (1) (Read more…)

Politics, Re-Spun: Vancouver’s Co-Working Co-op Stimulates Worker Empowerment

Tuesday night in the back room of The Tipper bar/bistro/restaurant on Kingsway at Victoria we are holding our Inception Meeting for a new kind of co-working space in Vancouver, one structured as a co-op.

You can read about the project in The Georgia Straight piece last week, and on the project webpage at Incipe, the consulting workers’ co-op that is spawning this co-op. Incipe, in-CHEE-pay, is Latin for “Begin!” And you can register for the [free] meeting here. And if you want to be involved and informed, you can sign up for the e-newsletter here.

We (Read more…)

Politics, Re-Spun: What’s Wrong with Canada? We’re Not Denmark-ish

And I don’t mean we need to become Denmark, but we need to have the dialogue about why they can do what they do and we choose not to.

When Canadians are surveyed, a very large majority of us support these public goods. But those desires get subsumed with corporate, neoliberal, right wing government-cut rhetoric.

We need to explore the political sociology of Denmark to understand how they embraced the tax commitment to provide these public goods.

We can be Denmark, but we choose not to.

We need to respin the messages from the tax-hating corporations and make the economy (Read more…)

Bill Longstaff: Work ain’t what it was—it’s worse

Work is getting worse. In any case, that’s the tale told by the Canadian Imperial Bank of Commerce in its Employment Quality Index. The index measures three key areas of job satisfaction: the distribution of part-time vs. full-time jobs; self-employment vs. paid employment; and compensation for full-time jobs. It indicates job quality has been on an overall decline for 25 years.

Since the late

Things Are Good: Focus Less on Work to Improve Everything – Even Your Job

Stressed about not getting enough done at work? Don’t be. It turns out that you can improve how much you get things done at the office by not thinking about it. Turn your attention elsewhere and focus on things that do matter instead.

But, how can performance at work improve with less attention paid to it? There are several reasons:

Clearer focus on results that really matter to the people around you. Less wasted effort on activities that aren’t that important. Reduced psychological interference across domains as a result of being less distracted, because you’re taking care of critical needs (Read more…)

Politics, Re-Spun: Being a Better Ally: #IWD

Click me; it’s good for you!

International Women’s Day is a check-in point for me: I try to take stock of what has improved or worsened since last year. Doing so helps me be a better ally.

Our soul as a nation has suffered this past year. It has suffered from the continuing culture of rape and violence against women. The behaviour of the Dalhousie male dental students is just one more indicator of our continued dismissiveness and our neglect of dignity, though the process of restorative justice they’re now participating in offers some hope.

The worst sign, by far, (Read more…)

Politics, Re-Spun: You Deserve Better Wages and Benefits

Right wingers want to pay no tax. It’s hard to bleat about that in public without sounding like the greedy, selfish people they are.

Instead, they say that public sector workers are paid too much, and that we should privatize everything. THAT way, governments get to starve themselves to the point where they collect virtually no taxes.

Instead of letting rapacious corporations dictate what market wages should be, we should explore living wages, then dream up a world not so different from ours when private sector workers make the stable wages and benefits of public sector workers.

Dream with me, (Read more…)

Politics, Re-Spun: Which BC Corporations Would YOU Like to Euthanize?

Oh, what a list it would be!

Enbridge?

Kinder Morgan [the zombie child of Enron]?

Imperial Metals [fanciful producers of the Mount Polley Mine disaster]?

Other companies that treat workers badly like IKEA or Rocky Mountain Railtours?

Capitalism is all about worshiping Frankencorporations that are immortal, legally a human being, limit the liability of owners if the company screws up, taxed much lower than real humans, and are designed to maximize shareholder wealth while minimizing risk to capitalists and maximizing consequences for others. Raping and pillaging is just an added bonus.

But what if a company, in its cancerous (Read more…)

Scripturient: Blog & Commentary: Robocalls from Real Robots

“mmm…buzzz…. click…. This is your friendly….buzzz…. automated calling device…click…hummmm… reminding you that….mmmm….buzzz…..click… there are only three days left to…. zzzzz…. take advantage of the Black Friday sales at…. mmmm…. buzzzz….. your…. zzzz… Collingwood…..insert box store name…. mmmm…buzzz…. click….thank you…” Well, maybe robotic telemarketers won’t sound like the solenoid robots on Roger Ramjet, but within the decade, […]

Politics, Re-Spun: Fire Your Boss?!

If you are interested in:

social and economic justice equality and less income inequality workplace democracy and autonomy work-life balance improving the world because you are young and you have the most to lose with a rapidly decaying planet,

Then, read this paragraph. It comes from a document you should ponder endorsing.

If the paragraph is intriguing to you, click the link, read the rest and consider endorsing it!

Then, join or help form a co-op!

COOPERATE TO TRANSFORM SOCIETY

We, young cooperative leaders and members, believe in the co-operative principles and cooperative values. We believe that the co-operative movement (Read more…)

Politics, Re-Spun: Work, Dignity and Living Wages?

A strong union. Corporations that understand the social contract. Corporations that know a tad smaller profit here contributes to more dignity throughout society. Corporations that recognize the value of unions. The living wage in Vancouver this year is $20.10, almost double the minimum wage. The “precariat” are precarious proletariats. We have too many of them; but fewer in Denmark! Let’s follow their lead!

What Danish fast food workers have that their American counterparts do not is a powerful union, and fast food franchise owners who are willing to make a little less of a profit, though they still (Read more…)

Things Are Good: A Green Office is a Productive Office

Workplaces aren’t associated with fun, but there are certain designs of places that can make places more enjoyable. It turns out that buildings designed with sustainability in mind tend to be a better, more productive place to work. You should convince your boss that you should move to a green building.

Until that happens here’s a solution that you can put into action rather quickly:

3. A PLANT OR A VIEW OF NATURE WILL IMPROVE YOUR WORK

Windows also help by providing views–something that’s especially helpful if you’re looking at nature. Looking at trees or a park is proven to (Read more…)

Politics, Re-Spun: Against Collective Forgetting

Workers must do our part to Stop Harper!

Happy Labour Day!

In Stephen Harper’s Canada, we keep enumerating the things we’re losing: meaningful legislative debate, evidence-based policy, public science, a free and open society, among other things. But what happens if we go too long with a slow erosion of the features that make our society vibrant? What happens if we let the right wing continue to teach us that we shouldn’t expect anything meaningful from government?

What happens if young Canadians grow up without a sense of what used to be the Canadian birthright: Medicare, the CPP, and (Read more…)

Things Are Good: Walk It Off, Structured Downtime for Productivity

Working all day is hard – so don’t do it. In many desk jobs one doesn’t need to be there from 9-5, indeed we can be more productive by not being there. More evidence keeps cropping up that we are animals that need exercise and a diversity of daily experiences.

Going for a walk mid-afternoon might be just what you need. It’s easy, just get up and do it.

And structured downtime doesn’t just help the world’s greatest writers and thinkers do their best work; it helps all of us while we’re learning and striving to achieve tasks. Or at (Read more…)

Politics, Re-Spun: The Occupy Movement Has Changed the Narrative, But We’re Not Done

Recently, with the WEF spending the last few years acknowledging global income inequality is a problem, I’ve declared a kind of victory for the Occupy Movement: getting the lexicon on the 1% and inequality on the tongues of the sly gazillionaires who rule the world, and into mass consumption.

Now we see that the CEO of Goldman Sachs, one of the biggest cancers of neoliberal capitalism and a prime mover of the 2008 crash, has admitted that income inequality is a problem and a destabilizer. Sadly, though not surprisingly, in this interview he also trotted out typical neoliberal “realities” (Read more…)

Politics, Re-Spun: The 1% Has More Solidarity Than We Do

In Davos, the 1% rule the world. Literally. They also have the guns.

The 1% are claiming we have it out for them; that if we don’t tone down the rhetoric and stop calling them names like “the contemptuous rich,” we might end up starting a class war. But they already know there’s a class war, and it’s been going on for generations. Today, the rich are winning because they have more solidarity than we do. The year 2014 is a battleground and the currency is solidarity. If we don’t start organizing together, quickly, and far more effectively, the contemptuous (Read more…)

Things Are Good: France Pays People to Cycle to Work

France is experimenting with new way to subsidize transportation by getting more people to bicycle to work. Traffic in Paris is particularly awful and with ongoing population growth and car-focused infrastructure the transportation problems are only going to increase. France is hoping that getting people to ride bicycles will stymie the growth of transportation issues.

French Transport Minister Frederic Cuvillier, noting that commuting using public transport and cars is already subsidized, said that if results of the test are promising, a second experiment on a larger scale will be done.

The ministry hopes that the bike-to-work incentive scheme will boost (Read more…)

Politics, Re-Spun: Hey, BC: Want More Jobs? Dump the LNG and Pipelines!

Well, I found yet another [like this] study showing how many MORE jobs we’d get by moving to a post-carbon energy infrastructure and dumping LNG, tarsands, pipelines and all the other Mordor Industrial Complex BC and Alberta are embracing.

Not only is dumping the carbon energy infrastructure essential to do what we can to minimize the effects of climate change/breakdown, it’s also good for the economy, good for jobs, and in particular, good for highly trained union workers.

So unions should be lining up to skip the short-sighted, short-term gains of a few thousand carbon energy jobs in (Read more…)

Politics, Re-Spun: Most BCers Want to Get Off Fossil Fuels. Not Joking.

#PostCarbonEnergyInfrastructure.

I know, I know, it’s a really clunky Twitter hashtag, so let’s just think of it as a concept for a second!

Infrastructure: the systems in place for things like water systems, roads, the interwebz, electrical cabling, train tracks; and social infrastructure are things like the health, education, welfare, food security systems.

Energy: makes things go. Vroom vroom.

Carbon: fossil fuel energy sources that cause climate change/breakdown!

Post: after.

Let’s move to a post-carbon energy infrastructure:

solar roadways: currently at over 200% of its indiegogo campaign with a week to go. wind solar geothermal tidal hydro

But before (Read more…)

Things Are Good: Abolish The Week

People who aren’t slaves to the 9-5 world (or worse the 8-8 crowd) may not understand the tyranny of the week. Those poor folks who are forced by their managers and bosses to slave away at set hours and times. Sometimes the best time to do something may not be during the working window.

There are many benefits to having varying work schedules. For one, rush hour wouldn’t be so bad for those suffering from commuterism. There are plenty of other reasons too, which are addressed in a recent article from Slate:

But there’s nothing inevitable about the ceaseless repetition (Read more…)

Politics, Re-Spun: Denmark and Germany Show Us How Easy It Is

Seeking some climate justice and labour justice?

You’ve come to the right place. Here’s how Denmark and Germany are showing us that it isn’t brain surgery. Why re-invent the wheel; just steal ideas from people who already get it. Simple!

Denmark

Someone once told me that Starbucks stores in Safeway grocery stores need to hire staff based on the unionized rates in the Safeway. The prices are the same and Starbucks isn’t going bankrupt.

It turns out that in Denmark, strong unionization has led to $21/hour wages at…wait for it…McDonald’s. That’s higher than Vancouver’s new 2014 living wage of $20. (Read more…)

Politics, Re-Spun: Occupy Vancouver Reboots Tonight!

Occupy Vancouver reboots tonight to join the worldwide #WaveOfAction that began on April 4 and runs [at least] to July 4, 2014.

We will meet in Grandview Park on Commercial Drive in East Vancouver, unceded Coast Salish territories.

615pm is the start time, though honestly, I’ll be there a bit early. With my Occupy Vancouver sign taped to my hockey stick. In some convenient part of the park, since there will be a May Day march arriving there for a rally at the same time.

Things to consider:

Inspiration for this venue came from funkypenzz. Vision [mine anyway]: Seeking equality (Read more…)