To compete in '90s, you need more skillsAre you ready for...

WORKPLACE & CAREERS

September 04, 1992|By Kim Clark

To compete in '90s, you need more skills

Are you ready for the job of the future?

Warning of an impending mismatch of workers and jobs, a National League of Cities study reports that almost half of all jobs created in the mid-1980s demanded at least some college education.

And it said 60 percent of the new jobs of the 1990s will demand "advanced skills" of some sort -- communications, managerial or technical. But only one-fourth of all new workers are expected to have those skills, the league's researchers warned.

Strike against Bond has lingering effect

Last year's Teamsters strike against Bond Distributing Co. is causing problems for other Teamsters and for a competing beer distributing company.

Bond, which distributes Miller and Coors beers, hired replacement workers and won a significant reduction in its labor costs after a monthlong dispute.

Now Winner Distributing Co., which distributes Budweiser in Baltimore and parts of Baltimore County, says it needs to cut labor costs to compete.

Its unionized drivers and warehouse workers are handing out leaflets at Orioles games and the state fairgrounds asking for a boycott of Budweiser, in hopes of persuading Winner not to cut vacation and other benefits.

James Gardner, president of Winner, said the boycott hasn't hurt sales.

His attorney, Norman Buchsbaum, said the whole dispute is the union's fault.

Though they are separate companies, Bond and Winner used to negotiate Teamster contracts together to make sure they paid about the same wages and competed solely on product, he said. This worked smoothly for years, providing high-paying jobs for the Teamsters and labor peace for the distributors.

But Bond and the union couldn't reach an agreement last summer. The Teamsters struck, and Bond hired replacements.

Bond paid the replacements about half the average $14.50-an-hour Teamsters wage and offered the replacements fewer benefits. The replacements will save Bond about $2 million over three years -- a distinct advantage over Winner, Mr. Buchsbaum said.

Charles Stansburge, head of the Teamsters local that now represents Bond and Winner employees, conceded that last year's strike against Bond was "ill-advised," but said that it doesn't mean the Winner employees ought to suffer.

He says the Winner employees don't want to strike. But they do want to stop companies from "whipsawing" unions against each other, forcing wages further down at each new negotiation.

More people staying home to work

More people are working at home these days.

The number of households with an office in the home jumped by 25 percent from 1989 to 1991, reaching 20 million.

Most of the home work is done by people who have a full-time job but bring some of the office back to their homes in the evenings and weekends, according to BIS Strategic Decisions, a consulting firm.

Only about 3 million of the home workers run a business or "telecommute" (work at a home computer linked by telephone to the office).

Executives get richer, poorer, survey shows

It's true even for highly paid executives: The rich are getting richer, the poor, poorer.

A survey of big firms finds that the highest-paid chief executive officers continue to get raises, while "low"-paid CEOs have been losing ground recently.

On average, executive compensation remained flat from 1989 to 1991, said Towers Perrin, a New York management consulting firm.

But those at the very highest level saw their earnings rise. The increase probably seemed tiny to them, though. CEOs with earnings in the top 25 percent made, on average, $1,347,000 in 1991, up $12,000 from 1989.

CEOs at "low"-paying firms saw their compensation drop to $686,000, from $716,000 in 1989.

The survey also found that, for the first time, most executives didn't receive bonuses last year.

Fewer than half of the chief executive officers at some of the nation's biggest companies received bonuses in 1991. In 1989, 87 percent got bonuses.

Electrical workers meet in Baltimore

The Electrical Workers union held its annual convention in Baltimore this week.

John Hovis, formerly a machinist for Westinghouse in Seattle, was re-elected president of the 40,000-member union.

And the approximately 175 delegates passed a host of #i resolutions calling for national health insurance, better child care and women's rights.

Reflecting on the state of organized labor in the week before Labor Day, Mr. Hovis said "unions are in pretty bad shape. We're very weak and we don't seem to have much influence on working people."

He said he's expecting some tough negotiations next year, as manufacturers eye cheap labor in Mexico. "The opportunities to make money are so great" south of the border, he said, that he doubts unions will be able to persuade employers not to move.

Despite the grim short-term prospects, Mr. Hovis said he believes unions will rebound.

"People at some point will say enough is enough," he said.

"Right now you need two incomes" to sustain a family, he said. "What will you need in a few years? Four or five incomes?"

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