Wednesday, November 23, 2016

Judge strikes down Obama's overtime rule

FEE reports that a federal judge in Texas has blocked the Obama administration's mandatory overtime rule, which would have covered formerly "salaried" workers down to about $43000 a year, story here. The judge said that the Labor Department had no authority to issue such an administrative law regulation.

I do wonder how Facebook and Google handle this issue with their production support.

But the rule seems mostly to help people who work in retail and fast food management. 

Monday, November 21, 2016

Coders rule the world, and hold lives in their programs; should they be licensed?

Business Insider has a revealing story today by Julie Bort on business ethics and programmers, here.
There seem to be two problems.  One is that programmers sometimes agree to do illegal things (or wrong things) to help less scrupulous marketing people make more money.  The other is that more hinges on software than ever before.  People can die, in car or airlines crashes, because of software bugs.  Major power failures are possible (as in 2003).  And all of this skirts the question of malware.
So that brings up the question, should programmers have to be licensed?  There already is plenty of voluntary industry certification in many areas.  I took some certification tests in the mid 1990s, but maintaining them was a pain.  Then I got with Brainbench and had a contract to write a business ethicas certification quiz in early 2003.  I have have it around somewhere.  It was on an Access database.

The article suggests standards for mandatory business ethics training.

Sunday, November 20, 2016

Secret Service agents should be paid overtime

Joe Davidson of the Washington Post reports on the way Secret Service agents are paid – on salary, and forced to work grueling overtime to protect the president, candidates, an others connected to the president, om demand, without pay.

That’s pretty much how being on-call for batch production cycles worked for mainframe IT during my career.  Some people took comp time.  People without kids sometimes worked for free for colleagues with families (or when having babies).  I did that a whole weekend in October 1993.

So paid family leave enters the debate.

In the meantime, just for national security, Congress needs to compensate the Secret Service properly.

HR 6302 is the Overtime Pay for Secret Service Agents Act, as proposed.

Tuesday, November 08, 2016

Talking about politics in the workplace (and about religion and social issues)

Gavan FitzSimons has a piece in the Sunday New York Times. “Stop trying to sway co-workers”   about talking about politics – or religion – in the workplace.

And talk can consist of appearances – even the car you drive into the company lot, and the stickers on it.

Back when I started working, in 1970, what kind of car you drove was considered to be a social statement.  But so was dress to some extent.  Remember the notorious EDS (and even IBM) dress codes of the past?

Even United Way drives, or particularly blood drives can have political connotations.  The blood drive issue used to be sensitive because of the gay male blood donation ban, which could make a drive an indirect route to “asking and telling.”

Some companies do have their own political PAC's and pressure higher level employees to participate on them.

And, of course, some people will go to work in partisan political jobs.  I won't.