Jobless passing up Pizza Hut doughUnemployment? What...


July 09, 1993|By Kim Clark | Kim Clark,Staff Writer

Jobless passing up Pizza Hut dough

Unemployment? What unemployment? Pizza Hut asks.

Local managers say they are having trouble finding workers to deliver and serve pizzas in the Baltimore area.

Wayne Layfield, Pizza Hut of Maryland Inc.'s director of operations for delivery, said yesterday the local franchisee has been airing radio and cable television ads and has even printed job applications on pizza boxes, in an attempt to fill more than 200 openings in restaurants and stores from Cecil to Howard counties.

Most of the jobs pay minimum wage and are part time, but Mr. Layfield insists the low pay isn't discouraging applicants.

Waiters and drivers can make $10 to $15 an hour with tips, he said.

In addition, Mr. Layfield said, he still has more than a dozen management trainee openings, which offer about $18,000 and health benefits for full-time work.

Magazine honors worker-friendly firm

Prospect Associates, the Rockville-based health consulting company, has won praise for its employee-friendly management from Inc. magazine.

The business magazine picked Prospect, which has 150 workers and $11.2 million in sales, as one of the six best small companies nationwide at offering career advancement to its workers.

Laura Henderson, the 47-year-old founder and president of Prospect, said she started the company after feeling driven out of corporate work by "macho" and stifling attitudes.

In her previous jobs, she noticed that many workers and managers often thought of reasons why a new idea wouldn't work rather than how it could be accomplished.

And although she saw co-workers' productivity suffer because of problems with their families, "there was this concept that there -- was a box outside the office that you put your personal problems in, so that they didn't affect you at work," she said.

So when she broke off on her own, and started with 15 employees and three weeks' worth of work in 1979, she decided to create a workplace where entrepreneurial, family-oriented people like herself would want to work and stay.

She immediately offered family leave, flexible hours and the opportunity to work at home.

And she made sure new ideas kept bubbling up from workers by letting them develop and market their suggestions.

An employee with an idea goes before a company committee. If the committee likes the idea, "we say, 'Here is some money to play with,' " she said. For example, one employee has developed an educational program on health for American Indians that is starting to sell well, she said.

She also tries to escape the Peter Principle (which posits that people rise to their level of incompetence) by offering raises and expanded responsibilities -- not necessarily promotions -- to people who do their jobs well.

TV program on labor resumed by college

Dundalk Community College has revamped and restarted its Labor Chronicle television program five months after canceling the show because of a controversial episode about a union organizing campaign at the Joppa warehouse of Merry-Go-Round Enterprises Inc.

The show, which has started airing again on Baltimore County's Cable Channel 6, has a new host, Bill Bolander, who is the executive director of AFSCME Council 92, the Maryland State Employees Union.

Although a college public relations official helps produce the show, Mr. Bolander, 50, said no restrictions have been placed on his freedom to pick topics for the region's only labor-oriented television program.

He has already filmed several shows, including interviews with union and management officials at the local General Motors Corp. plant about a worker education program.

"It is a lot of fun, and we need to get the word out" about unions, he said.

Karen B. Adams, director of marketing and public relations for the college and producer of the show, said she had been embarrassed by the quality of the program on Merry-Go-Round and wanted to make sure future shows lived up to the college's educational standards.

(Longtime union organizer Bill Barry, who was host of the Merry-Go-Round program, calls the college's concerns "ridiculous" and part of a pattern of censoring pro-union voices. Mr. Barry says he is talking to other cable companies about starting his own labor show.)

Although none of the Labor Chronicle's shows yet taped are controversial, Ms. Adams said the college program will not shy away from tough issues.

Telecommuters study finds mixed results

A year-long study of telecommuters in Washington state has found mixed results.

As reported in Labor Relations Ink, nearly 300 telecommuters -- people who did their office work at home computers -- studied by the Washington State Energy Office said they were much more productive at home.

But, they said, they received less feedback and communications from their offices. And the office-bound workers complained that their workload was increased because of the telecommuters' absences.

Supervisors' views were also mixed. Before the telecommuting test, one out of eight believed telecommuters slacked off at home. After the project was over, one out of five thought the

telecommuters had it too easy.

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