Ads to warn employers on bias against aliensJust a few...


April 30, 1993|By Kim Clark | Kim Clark,Staff Writer

Ads to warn employers on bias against aliens

Just a few weeks after the Immigration and Naturalization Service rounded up dozens of illegal Mexican workers in raids on Eastern Shore poultry plants, the state is funding an ad campaign to remind employers that it can be legally dangerous to overreact by refusing to hire foreign workers.

Since the 1986 immigration law reform, the Department of Justice has reached settlements with 15 Maryland employers, including the University of Maryland, on charges they violated little-known laws that ban employment discrimination against people who look like they might be undocumented workers.

So the Maryland Office of Refugee Assistance has issued a $99,000 contract to Baltimore-based advertising agency Noble Steed to create an advertising campaign that warns employers of those laws and informs foreign-born workers of their rights.

Persuading employers not to shy away from foreign-born workers "is going to be tricky," concedes Jeff Hankin, a Noble Steed account representative.

"Employers feel like they are caught in a trap," he said.

"They are subject to penalties if they hire an illegal, and if they don't hire a legal. They end up feeling resentful."

Noble Steed will use focus groups and surveys to hone a message. The campaign should be ready by Labor Day, he said.

The state's contract is so small that it won't finance many purchases of air time or newspaper space. The state will rely on media donation of public service announcements, he said.

Recipe for turnaround: Cut perks, stay honest

After helping to turn around food companies, retailers, and now Jos. A. Bank Clothiers, Timothy A. Finley says he's learned a few lessons: Cut only the outrageous perks, stay honest and reform incentives to reward profit-makers.

Mr. Finley, the 49-year-old chairman of the Hampstead-based clothing maker, said that when he joins a financially troubled company, he usually cuts out perks such as cars and country club memberships, but leaves vacation time and other standard benefits alone.

In a speech at the Camden Club in downtown Baltimore this week, Mr. Finley said workers at a troubled company have "lived through a million broken promises." So he tries to keep benefits stable and goals attainable. "You've got to quit lying to people . . . and you've got to protect [a worker's] dignity."

In the three years he's led the privately held company, he has developed a mold for the perfect store manager: "a highly competitive guy who's a driver." And instead of following the industry standard of rewarding managers for increased volume, he penalizes them for mark-downs.

One of his biggest challenges, he says, is finding people willing and able to do the kind of fine handiwork required for Bank's business suits and to work the long, odd hours that retailing demands. He seeks out immigrants because many of them have sewing-machine training.

Older may mean safer, study says of workers

Many employers are reluctant to hire older workers because of fears that they are more likely to get injured on the job and file workers' compensation claims.

But a new study indicates safety-conscious managers should prefer older workers.

An analysis of 600,000 cases by the National Council on Compensation Insurance found that younger workers tended to file more claims of all sorts than workers ages 46 through 60.

Arnick takes a 'hit' from women's group

What do former Del. John S. Arnick, evangelist Pat Robertson, Cincinnati Reds owner Marge Schott and arms-for-hostages trader Oliver North have in common?

They're among several people nationwide who were awarded "hits" by the Coalition of Labor Union Women in its 1993 "Hit and Ms." competition.

Mr. Robertson was rebuked by the coalition for opposing an Iowa equal rights amendment. Mr. North and Ms. Schott were criticized for insensitive comments about gays and blacks, respectively.

Mr. Arnick, a Dundalk Democrat whose bid for a District Court judgeship was rejected this year, made the list because testimony at a confirmation hearing indicated he had made demeaning comments about women. One of the more printable words female lobbyists recalled Mr. Arnick using was "bimbos."

In a telephone interview this week, Mr. Arnick said he has never been contacted by the group and doesn't deserve a "hit."

In his 22 years as a state legislator, he said, he had only voted against women's issues once or twice. Mr. Arnick has said he didn't recall making the comments described by the lobbyists.

Lynn MacDonald, a Marylander who works as the special assistant for occupational safety and health for the Sheet Metal Workers of America headquarters in Washington, nominated Mr. Arnick for the award.

"I was so stunned by that kind of behavior. I thought it deserved some attention," she said.

She also nominated Maryland Attorney General J. Joseph Curran Jr. for a "Ms." plaudit for his early stance against Mr. Arnick's judicial nomination.

Mr. Curran didn't win a "Ms.," but the CLUW did award the prize to President Clinton and Mrs. Clinton, the Xerox Corp. for its flexible benefits and Felice Schwartz, president of Catalyst Inc., a research company that specializes in women's issues.

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