The Real Question In 2020 Is This: What's YOUR Platform?

2020 - It's been a bit of a year. As John Whitaker pointed out at Fistful of Talent, we know at the very least a 3rd large scale event is coming - the 2020 election in the United States.

Translation - the fatigue you feel, while real, isn't going to get better. This world is going to keep coming after you in 2020. The more you read and watch the news (which Randall-woodfin_31259213_ver1.0you should), the more conflicted, confused and angry you're going to get.

Which brings me to the point of this note about 2020:

What's YOUR Platform?

Nope! I'm not talking about Democrat/Republican, left vs right, Washington Post vs The Wall Street Journal or anything that signifies sides.

Instead, I'm suggesting that if you feel fatigue, anger or hopelessness with how any major event or movement has left you feeling in 2020, turn off your phone (at least the data portion that powers your social apps and video), the news and everything else that's trying to get you to take a side (and potentially hate another side) and do the following:

Pull out a sheet of paper. Do 2 columns, one for COVID-19 (how we're doing the lockdown, RTW, etc) and one for George Floyd and everything that followed in the last three weeks.

Got your columns? Excellent. Now give me 5-10 bullet points on each and tell me how YOU feel about the issues. Really explore where you are at with those two issues.

I guarantee you that you're going to feel more at peace once you're done. Because instead of being manipulated by the various outlets that shoot opinion, point of views and at times, manipulation your way, you objectively listed where you were at on the issues.

And let's face it, establishing where YOU are at is the first step towards a better place, with any of the issues confronting us, and a better world. 

--------------------

I'll give you one piece of my platform - I like leaders who understand how to navigate the complexity of where we are, and I'll cross party lines (I'm a moderate Republican) to vote for good people doing good work.

Example - Birmingham (AL) mayor Randall Woodfin. Late in the first weekend of protests and riots nationally, Birmingham had its first major protest. Woodfin was present and, of course, allowed a peaceful protest and even permitted the group to go to Linn Park in downtown Birmingham and attempt to take down a huge statue with Confederate ties. When it became apparent that 10+ people would be crushed if the statue came down on the protesters, he got on the bullhorn and asked for 24 hours to get the statue down (knowing that the city was under order from the state not to bring down the statue from past years litigation, etc.).

But wait, I'm not done.

The protesters OK'd Woodfin's request and started marching away. Then the group splintered, with rioters taking advantage and started tearing up downtown. Woodfin got on social media IN THE STREETS and said with perfect clarity, "last night of this - we're not tearing up our city."

But again, there's more. The next day, he got the statue down, and BTW, it was one of the first nationally to come down post-George Floyd, and certainly the first to be removed by a sitting mayor. PS- no more riots in Birmingham under the same mayor.

So a mayor in the party I don't automatically affiliate with had the following platform from my vantage point:

1--Allows Protest and actively supports cause.

2--Leads on public safety.

3--Doesn't allow destruction of property.

4--Proactively took confederate symbols down, at risk of lawsuit from the state level. Because it was time.

5--Took the statue to an undisclosed location so neither extreme could get to it, so the legal process could take its course.

Leadership is hard. Conservatives knocked Woodfin for allowing the initial riots. Liberals knocked him for being harder on organizing protests once riots happened. 

I watched and decided I had a lot of respect for how he handled a fluid situation and led as a result. Consequently, I'm more interested in everything else that is on his priority list in Birmingham, where I live.

It sounds like Randall Woodfin has his own platform.

Commenting and trolling on social media is easy. Leadership is hard.

-----------------------

I know this is a long post. But simply pulling out a figurative piece of paper and thinking about MY platform was helpful. It helped me cut out of the noise, and think about where I was at. Along the way, I became more open to the ideas of others, and found people like Randall Woodfin providing leadership during a difficult time.

I don't have a lot of answers in 2020. But I know most people in America (including you) are good.

If you're frustrated in 2020, turn off social and the news and take inventory of what your platform is on the big issues. When you do that, you'll find you have more in common with almost everyone around you, and we can build from there. 

Consuming extremes (without self evaluation) prevents conversation.

Good luck in the rest of 2020. I have to go, because apparently there's a huge saharan dust cloud coming to blanket where I live.

Of course, in 2020 we call that "Tuesday".


Wake Up

How long?
Not long
'Cause what you reap is what you sow.

--"Wake Up", Rage Against The Machine

Yes, I understand there's a higher authority than Rage Against The Machine to attribute this quote to, Ragebut when s**t's falling apart, you go with what you know best.

Let's start with the obvious. I'm white. My full name is Kristian Patrick Dunn, which on the white-o-meter lands somewhere between Jim from The Office and Conor McGregor. I'm becoming increasingly aware that my position is full of privilege and there's a bunch that I don't understand about what's going on and where we are at.

Although I wasn't born into wealth and come from hard working people, in relative terms I hit the birth lottery economically when and where I was born. 

But Kent and Deanna Dunn (RIP, I miss you) didn't raise me to think any of this was OK. But my upbringing is part of the issue with white people of my ilk. We were raised in homes without a lot of direct conversation about racism, raised by good people who taught us to keep our head down, work hard, treat all with respect and things would work out.

That means people like me are not naturally vocal about what's ***ked up in our nation. 

But enough of this b******t. When Minneapolis is burning, protests break out in dozens of cities and citizens are setting police cars on fire in front of the Atlanta HQ of CNN, it's time to have a take and look for change.

I can't add much to the conversation about race relations. I don't know enough, and I haven't experienced enough. It's better for me to listen and make sure we're talking about it in my house. But I know what evil looks like and that's probably the best way to start.

So what's next?

I'll start with the obvious. Can we please take bad people off the board in an expedited fashion?

One big change I'd like to see is expedited investigations and when necessary, expedited trials for specific types of lethal force used by our police forces. Simply put, it can't take months to figure out whether to charge someone and years to carry out the legal process when obviously wrongful deaths occur. We've got to fast track the entire process when outlandish (not all) deaths occur at the hands of the police. Make the penalties severe for cronyism that cause delays to put someone in the system. Make justice swift in these circumstances and make the penalties hard. Of course, police unions will be a barrier to reform.

Side note: Our police forces have impossible jobs and most are capable of great things. Need an example? The police force protecting the White House on Friday night held the line with little use of force, despite objects being thrown at them repeatedly and unspeakable things being shouted at them inches from their face.

No deaths. Very limited physical force. All the more reason to change the rules/laws and take bad cops off the board quickly. 

(Yes, I'm aware of the videos showing the physical force over the weekend by police forces around the country. Sorry - I believe most police officers are good. Riots are hard.)

But reform related to expedited investigations/trials for police forces doesn't do enough to make justice as swift as we need it to be. We need similar reform for hate crimes, where people like Ahmaud Arbery get systematically tracked down vigilante style by terrible people and murdered.

Of course, someone reading this will ask me if we'll provide the same expedited process/trials for white victims. To that I say, "sure," but the last time I checked, it's not a white guy who gets tracked down by non-whites in a pickup truck or crushed to death by a cop's knee. I'm sure someone will give me stats that counter that statement. Remember, I said, "sure."

When I ask for an expedited process, I'm not asking for 10,000 cases into the process a year. I'm asking that we move to take the obvious outliers off the board, quickly and unapologetically.

The world doesn't need another panel on CNN/FOX/MSNBC or a White House/Speaker of the House press conference. We need our senators and representatives to come together, to the middle of the aisle, and do their job to get real change. Or course, that will take courage from both sides of the aisle.

I know that the people I'm talking about the need to fast-track have rights. Let's give them their rights, but modify the legal system so it happens in 10% of the time. We should fund whatever resources are needed to make that happen.

I don't know enough to speak intelligently about a lot of issues of race, so I'm going to listen and learn.

But I know what evil looks like and I want it gone. Quickly. 


The HR Famous Podcast: E8 - Video Work Meetings: Winning On ZOOM

In Episode 8 of The HR Famous Podcast, long-time HR leaders (and friends) Tim Sackett and Kris Dunn (Jessica Lee on break) get together with Dawn Burke (Senior Writer at Fistful of Talent, Sr. Consultant at Recruiting Toolbox) to talk about video meeting etiquette, their virtual meeting pet peeves and their wildest video call stories.

The team shares their tips and tricks on tech, framing and lighting for your video calls. Talking about their pet peeves leads to the importance of connection, Zoom’s questionable feature on attention metrics, and how to be aware of nonverbal cues. KD closes by prompting the team to share some embarrassing video call moments that you won’t want to miss.

Listen below and be sure to subscribe, rate and review (iTunes) and follow (Spotify)!!! Listen on iTunesSpotify and Google Play.

Show Highlights: 

1:30 - Tim says Michigan isn’t shut down completely – YET and the team welcomes special guest, senior writer at FoT, Dawn Burke. Dawn explains she doesn’t eat cat food, and life’s good followed by Tim and KD talking COVID-19 toilet paper memes.

5:00- KD dives deep into best practices for video meetings. Kris gives a shout out to Craig Fisher and talk about how not to suck at video – thinking about your camera, mic and lighting… Tim talks tech with wifi vs. hardwire – and calls out KD on his bad internet, and KD blames his kids who are now home and “streaming”.

8:30- Dawn talks the importance of having the basics first, lighting second… but if you are looking for the right light, there are amazon purchases that makes video calls cleaner, neater and brighter. She highly recommends the selfie ring light.

10:45 -The team digs into the pet peeves. KD’s first: framing and shitty backgrounds. Tim and Dawn agree first on their list is learn how to MUTE.  

17:20 – KD asks “What is your dream video meeting background?” Dawn would be in a coffee shop with Jesus in the background. Tim goes 80’s arcade and KD wants a Wu-Tang jpeg. But what you really want, is something that starts conversation.

22:25- KD talks about how your company culture follows you into virtual meetings. “There’s attention metrics on tools like Zoom and the host of the meeting can get a notification if you aren’t paying close attention for 30 seconds” A hack for those with questionable manager techniques… keep Zoom as your active window and get your other windows set before the call is the recommendation.

27:45- The team discusses if it’s important to be looking into the camera. Tim mentions it’s one of his pet peeves – “eye contact is one of our physical ques that indicate if someone’s engaged”

33:30- KD says the best guidance for video meetings, is to show non-verbal ques and interaction because that will help you thrive over those who aren’t picking up those ques.Tim and Dawn go into more advice. Tim says headphones keep you locked in and Dawn says everyone working from home will make our work places better in the future.

37:45 Tim, KD and Dawn start sharing their video call horror stories. From spouses crawling across the floor in the background, embarrassing notifications on shared screens to Dawn’s cat cameos.

Show Resources:

Jessica Lee on LinkedIn

Tim Sackett on Linkedin

Kris Dunn on LinkedIn

HRU Tech

The Tim Sackett Project

The HR Capitalist

Fistful of Talent

Kinetix

Boss Leadership Training Series


THE HR FAMOUS PODCAST: E7 – COVID-19 + Work From Home (WFH) Advice from Dawn Burke...

In Episode 7 of The HR Famous Podcast, long-time HR leaders (and friends) Tim Sackett and Kris Dunn (Jessica Lee on break) get together to with Dawn Burke (Senior Writer at Fistful of Talent, Sr. Consultant at Recruiting Toolbox) to talk about Work From Home, as tens of millions of American workers have been told to stay home, keep working and figure it out on the fly.

Dawn shares her advice and background from a recent Fistful of Talent feature, focusing on the need to maintain work rituals (eating lunch in your car and watching Netflix rather than in the house) as well as thoughts on productivity expectations, print cartridges, PETS, kids, laundry, etc. Tim and Kris weigh in with stories about day drinking (not them, other people) and the psychology behind work from home productivity and the need to stop texting and emailing everyone ALL THE TIME from your bunker.

If you’re new to work from home or managing people who are, this is the podcast for you.

Listen below and be sure to subscribe, rate and review (iTunes) and follow (Spotify)!!! Listen on iTunesSpotify and Google Play.

Show Highlights:

1:30 – Tim discloses he’s not working from home since he owns his building at work, which is really just another form of working from home. Dawn Burke, longtime HR leader, Senior Writer at Fistful of Talent, Sr. Consultant for Recruiting Toolbox introduces herself.

4:25 – Dawn breaks down a post she wrote at Fistful of Talent entitled “Working from Home Can Be Awful! Unless You Do These Things”, in which she provides great advice on how to set yourself to work from home, especially if you haven’t done It before.  It’s harder than it looks, as she details her transition to work from home and where she struggled as a result. Dawn also talks about people around her – like her sister – struggling over the last few days as they transition from no WFH to full time WFH with zero planning and prep.

11:20 – Dawn, Kris and Tim get into Dawn’s advice for people transitioning to full-time work from home – focused on the needs to maintain “rituals”. Kris goes right to one of the sizzle parts of Dawn’s article/advice, which is the disclosure that just like when she used to try and get out of the corporate office mid-day, she also has a history of trying to get out of the home office mid-day – BY EATING LUNCH IN HER CAR AND WATCHING NETFLIX. Fascinating and scary all at the same time. The gang ends up loving the idea for new folks doing the WFH thing. It’s actually brilliant.  Other references – Magic Mike, etc.

17:23 – Speaking of work rituals, Tim and Kris share alcohol-related stories from their time as trench HR pros.

21:00 – Dawn breaks down her top advice for folks moving to 100% work from home. Making appearances in the discussion – print cartridges, PETS, kids, laundry, etc. Tim talks about the productivity bump/burnout function that’s coming for new WFH people.

27:00– The gang talks about the need to stop messaging via Text and Slack when you’re a new WFH person and pick up the phone and talk to people (or via video) – to get human interaction. Interaction is going to be important to prevent isolation.

28:50 – TOP ADVICE FROM THE GANG RELATED TO WORK FROM HOME – Tim and Dawn break down their biggest pieces of advice for folks who are new to work from home. Tim shares his view that things get lost in translation, and you have to pick up the phone, facetime or hop on a video call rather than try to resolve something through 23 emails.  Dawn talks about her background and lighting in her WFH set up, and points to exercise/wellness/mindfulness platforms as a huge help to mental and physical health. KD feels like the key to WTH is find a way to reconnect with someone who’s important in your life  – personal and/or professional – at least a couple of times a week.

NOTE – We’ll be back mid-week with a pod focused on nothing but ZOOM and the art of the video meeting!


myCorona: Let's Leave the #COVID19 Messages to the Experts...

You know what I'm talking about, my friends. COVID-19 messages from the companies you have some type of relationship with.

There's a set of organizations where messages on COVID-19 are either mission-critical or welcomed. Included in that group are hospitals and health care organizations, companies communicating with workforces, government entities, schools, places for food and a few others. Gotta hear from those mission critical folks, and for the most part, they are doing an outstanding job.

Then there's everyone else. Here's a running list of who I didn't need to hear from related to COVID-19:

--Any clothing retailer, either online or bricks and mortar. Shopping for your gear isn't at the top of my list. Just because I ordered an Alkaline Trio t-shirt from you in 2015 doesn't mean I need to know where you're at on all of this. Express is closing at the mall? Got it, thanks. 

--Any tech or information provider I pay. Last time I checked, your tech worked. Not super critical I hear from you. Ping me if it goes down and tell me what the plan is then. Note that I will be thinking that still having internet access is awesome at least 4 times a day. But, if you're offering additional services (New York Times dropping paywall for some content, energy and tech companies not cutting people off due to unpaid bills, etc.), you can email me as much as you want, even if I don't benefit or need it. Good job by you!

--Cole-Haan. I know, they're a retailer (shoes), but I had to list them here for special consideration, as they sent me a note last night that they "Are With Us". Check, good to know. Are the 11.5's still available in the grey ZeroGrand? Damn, never mind.

--Anyone selling something that's not mission critical. Of course, that's in the eye of the beholder, so if you have a solution that can help someone right now, do your thing. But that guilt ploy note (the 7th in a series) I got from the LinkedIn Learning guy late yesterday noting that "learning and development must not be at the top of my list right now" felt a bit off, right?  Probably stand down on the raw lead generation troops for a week as a best practice.

I get it, you feel the need to tell people you're connected and understand - but if you're on the outer ring of what really matters right now, just be responsive when we have a question. I guarantee your Net Promoter Score will be more impacted by that than the 5-paragraph email you just sent that says your company - a fine provider of mid-range men's shirts- is tracking the situation.

As for the hospitals, government entities and retailers of essentials (food, etc) - god bless you and thanks for all you're doing and everything to come!


AWAY BAGS: When Your Horrible People Practices Turbocharge Sales...

They say there's no such thing as bad publicity. That might be true.

For proof, look to Away Travel, which is the maker of the ultra-hip and ultra-cool Away Suitcase.  It's a Away trendy product, but one that I had an only passing awareness of.

Of course, that's before the shit hit the fan. My awareness is incredible now - more on that later.

Many of your are aware of a scathing article about Away that published on The Verge, detailing a bullying culture based on the communication tool of Slack. The gist is this - Away promoted radical transparency and attempted to force all communication on the public tool that is Slack, and as a result, there was little to no privacy in communications. When a diverse set of employees tried to set up their own private Slack channel, a high ranking exec popped in to monitor/participate in the group, even though she didn't fit the diversity the group was based on.

A few days later, members of the group started being fired. The Verge article hit, and it was an internet sensation for a couple of days. If you want more detail about what's being called a toxic culture at Away, go read the Verge article now.

But I'm here to talk about what happened AFTER that article hit.  Here's the chain of events that I saw:

1.  Within days, CEO Steph Korey stepped down amid criticism of the ruthless internal culture at the luggage startup she co-founded.

2.  Away named a new CEO.

3.  I listen to a pretty ruthless podcast called Pivot with Kara Swisher and Scott Galloway. They had Away on their list of things to talk about during the week it all broke. That wasn't going to go well for Away, because these two are ruthless with bad stuff at companies.

4.  Away didn't run. Instead, they leaned in and sponsored the podcast. I've never heard Away as a sponsor of this podcast, so I'm assuming they bought the ad rights to the episode that aired with their news.

5. Scott Galloway, one of the hosts, did a live read as a result - in his usual personality, having fun with it.  They had already made the call with the CEO, so the talk was more about the action the company took rather than the bad cultural stuff.

The lesson here? If you act quick enough (fire the people in question) and lean in to the coverage, you can actually create buzz around a product and turn the negative talk into a business opportunity.

Here's what I did after hearing the podcast - 

  1. I went and checked out the product.
  2. I'm at least 50/50 to buy an Away bag as a result.
  3. I never would have gotten that close to purchase without the hard lead in on the podcast and controversy by Away.

The lesson?  Act fast when bad stuff happens and don't hide.

If you run the right type of business, you might just end up with a boost to your business. While that's not a recommendation to bully people on Slack, it's a case study on how to react when bad stuff happens.

BONUS READING: A Guide to Away Bag Knockoffs on Amazon


Trigger Warnings on Disney+...Could They Work for Managers?

Did you sign up for Disney+ over the last couple of weeks?  10 million other households did.

You didn't know you needed another streaming service, but Disney+ comes with some unique features, mainly that the entire catalog of Disney is available for streaming. That's a deep catalog.

Of course, even though the catalog is deep, there's some issues. Material sourced from the 1930's, 40's and 50's might have some theme that aren't Lady and tramp warninginline with today's world. For this reason, Disney has implemented a "trigger" warning of sorts on any material that might be challenging.  More from the Washington Times:

Disney’s new streaming service has added a trigger warning to certain classic movies like “The Jungle Book” and “Lady and the Tramp” to address possible “outdated cultural depictions” that could offend viewers.

Disney Plus, which launched Tuesday amid a host of technical issues, issued a disclaimer on some decades-old movies that reads, “This program is presented as originally created. It may contain outdated cultural depictions.”

The warning appears in the movie descriptions for “Dumbo,” “The Jungle Book” and “Lady and the Tramp,” among others that have faced criticism for depicting racial stereotypes.

My super-conservative friends view that as more political correctness. I view it as a masterful stroke by Disney. Let me share the warning/disclaimer again, by itself:

“This program is presented as originally created. It may contain outdated cultural depictions.”

That's solid communications work by Disney. It allows them to share the material and satisfy fans, but also warns that this stuff is from another day and time, even another world. It's even educational and can drive conversations in households with reasonable people who want that type of conversation. And of course, the warning allows you not to watch as well.

Of course, I'm a HR/recruiting/talent nerd. The first thing I thought of was this:

Could we use the same type of trigger warning for good people in your organization who are insensitive to the needs of others and seem to run afoul of public opinion at least once a quarter?

I'm not talking about people who are blatantly racist, etc. I'm talking about the people who are likable but grew up different from you and me and haven't made the complete turn to the 2020. They mean well. But they can't get out of their own way.  We don't want to give up on them.

Let's say you've got an incoming email from this person. There could be a pop-up that could say the following before you read the email:

"This individual is presented as a work in progress. He/she may contain outdated cultural norms, beliefs or depictions. We believe they're evolving, but it's a work in progress."

That's truthful for a lot of people in the average organization. It feels right.

Of course, some of you would snap the warning or share it in your IG story and ruin the feature.

This is why we can't have nice things. Continue about your day without organizational warnings that could make our work life better. LOL.


The 4 Rules of Office/Company Romance If You're a Manager of People (McDonalds CEO Version)...

Quick story from the Capitalist.

It's early in my career, and there I am one night - trying to outwork what I don't know as a young professional. I'm in the office about 930pm (no one else there, humblebrag), doing work for a VP level partner who had taken me under his wing. I'm heading back from the restroom, where I have to go the edge of the elevator corridor to hit the main doors of our office and there it was.

The president of our division (mid 50's) getting into the elevator with a mid-20's administrative assistant from a department managed by one of his Romance direct reports. Meh. Like a pro, I kept moving and acted like I saw nothing. It never came up. 

Of course, it doesn't mean they were heading to a Holiday Inn Express or had just treated his office as the same. But c'mon, he was kind of a sleeze towards women and they didn't really have any reason to be connected for work.

In case you missed it, McDonald's has fired CEO Steve Easterbrook over his relationship with another employee, according to a press release from the company over the weekend. McDonald’s shares sank 2.3% in premarket at 10 a.m. in London, or 5 a.m. ET, which could wipe about $3.4 billion off the company’s value.

McDonald's had been in a period of success under the leadership of Easterbrook.  Now, it's thrown into a period of turmoil and 3.4B is gone.  Crazy.

Seems like a good time to set up some rules for office romance. Note that these rules don't apply to everyone - if you're a rank and file employee, you do you.  No, these rules of office romance are for managers of people only - let's face it - you're different, the stakes are higher and there are special rules for you.

Here's your 4 Rules of Office/Company Romance If You're a Manager of People:

1--Never date someone who reports to you. This seems obvious, and they'll be some who email stories of lifelong romances that started this way. I hear you. I'm glad you found love in all the wrong places. For everyone else, especially in the time of #metoo, it's a bet - your job/career vs your rationalization that your "in-team" romance is going to lead to Mr./Mrs. Right.

2--Don't date someone in the company (on someone's else's team) if you're a manager of people inside a company with less than 250 employees.  That number is a bit random, but it feels right. The standard line will be don't have a relationship with someone on your team, but people on other teams might be OK.  Key word is "might".  The bigger the company, the more conflicts with people on other teams won't be a problem.  Get below 250 people in your company (and certainly in companies with 100 or less employees), and you might as well be dating someone on your team.

3--The bigger your job, the less latitude you have to date people in your company. It's called leadership, and your decision to reach down 2-3 levels in your division to find love and companionship looks weak and sleazy. We thought you were the one to lead this (business unit, division, location, company), now we've got people talking about how much time Jan is speaking time in your office. Unfair? Maybe. That's burden is what the money is for.

4--Report any relationship to HR and consider getting acknowledgements and waivers signed. So here we are - you're in a relationship in the company, and you've had the wisdom to drop by HR and let them know. Without knowing what policies you have on this, I can tell you you've done the right thing.  As a manager of people, you need to transfer the ticking time bomb of office romance to the HR team. What will they do?  Probably nothing - but disclosing the relationship means you were above-board and sought counsel on the right way to proceed. 

5--(Bonus) - Don't be sleazy or give people the creepers as you consider office romances.  Or just don't even consider it as a leader/manager of people, maybe?

Welcome to the show, kid. You're a manager of people, and when it comes to office romance, managers of people get treated differently. You have more power than you think you do, and with that in mind, there are rules.

It's not show friends, it's show business.


Bernie Sanders: Proving the Compensation Side of the People Business is Problematic...

Let me start by saying this is not intended to be a political post. It is intended, however, to show the complexities of running a SMB (small to medium sized business).

Need a case in point?  Try Bernie Sanders.  Sanders is a Democratic presidential candidate, and part of his platform has been the need to pay workers a living wage.  No one really Bernie argues that this is a good idea, but once you get into the execution of the idea, it gets complex.

Let's look at the Minimum Wage in America.  Sanders is on record that the minimum wage should be at $15 per hour nationwide, etc.  That's where it gets tricky as he attempts to build out his campaign organization for his presidential run.  More from the New York Post:

"The Vermont socialist senator made history by agreeing that his paid 2020 presidential campaign workers would be repped by a union, United Food and Commercial Workers Local 400, with all earning $15 an hour. But now the union complains some employees are getting less. Worse, someone leaked the whole dispute to the Washington Post. Worse yet, Sanders’ response could be a violation of US labor law, all on its own.

The union’s gripe centers on the fact that field organizers, the lowest-level workers, often put in 60 hours a week but get paid only for 40, since they’re on a flat salary. That drops their average minimum pay to less than $13 an hour.

“Many field staffers are barely managing to survive financially, which is severely impacting our team’s productivity and morale,” the union said in a draft letter to campaign manager Faiz Shakir. “Some field organizers have already left the campaign as a result.”

The campaign’s immediate response, now that it’s all gone public, is to restrict the field workers from putting in more than 40 hours a week. Hmm: If it then brings on more unpaid volunteers to pick up the slack, that’s a different union grievance."

The HR pros who read the Capitalist - regardless of political orientation - know that Sanders has experienced the following:

1--He believed workers should be paid no less than $15 per hour.

2--While he partly accomplished that with how he set up his organization, he either didn't understand or cut a corner by classifying field organizers as "exempt".  My guess is he told his people his intent and they found the path of least resistance to make that marching order a reality while maintaining cost certainty - aka, salary over hourly.

3--The good people that read this site understand it's debatable that field organizers would be classified as "salaried" under the FLSA.  But collective bargaining with a union pushes some of the burden of classification to the background - at least initially.

4--Overtime pay kills all SMBs.  The Sanders campaign has a budget - they can't reclassify those workers to hourly status and make their budget (paying them $15 per hour for all hours worked and OT for hours past 40 per week).  Also, if they reclassified, they'd be on the hook for back pay for OT.  So they do what the only thing available to them - telling salaried field organizers to stop working at 40 hours.

What Bernie Sanders has ran into is a classic small business problem. As a business owner, you'd like for the vast majority of your workforce to be salaried - so you have cost certainty and instruct workers to work until their objectives are met - no overtime. The FLSA exists to provide legal boundaries for SMBs (as well as large companies) related to classification of workers.

The devil is always in the details.  There's never enough resources when you're attempting to bootstrap an organization, and that fact makes you look for the most affordable labor possible in some situations.  

Bernie Sanders is bootstrapping an organization in America.  It's an interesting contrast of ideas, market forces and math.


Women’s Soccer: A Primer on Success in Equality Legislation

Congratulations to the USA Women’s National Soccer Team winning the World Cup.

Fun to watch and amazing all at the same time.  But there’s more! WWC

Let’s look at the impact of Title IX on Women’s Soccer in the United States.  Not sure what Title IX is?  Here’s a quick primer:

Title IX is a federal civil rights law in the United States of America that was passed as part of the Education Amendments of 1972. This is Public Law No. 92‑318, 86 Stat. 235 (June 23, 1972), codified at 20 U.S.C. §§ 1681–1688. It was co-authored and introduced by Senator Birch Bayh in the U.S. Senate, and Congresswoman Patsy Mink in the House. It was later renamed the Patsy T. Mink Equal Opportunity in Education Act following Mink's death in 2002. The following is the original text as written and signed into law by President Richard Nixon in 1972:

No person in the United States shall, on the basis of sex, be excluded from participation in, be denied the benefits of, or be subjected to discrimination under any education program or activity receiving Federal financial assistance.

While the reach of Title IX is broad, a visible outcome was the law’s impact on sports. In a nutshell, Title IX’s application in sports mandated that girls/women have equal opportunity to boys/men. In college athletics, that mandate was further refined as the number of overall athletic scholarships for women being equal to what was offered for men.

With football providing high scholarship numbers to college males with no female equivalent, the outcome over time was simple.  College sports kept the football scholarship numbers high, which meant new levels of funding for women’s athletics (as well as many smaller, non-revenue scholarship sports being discontinued for men – which is why you don’t see sports like wrestling at most American universities these days).

Women’s soccer is one positive example of Title IX’s impact.  Here’s your girls’ soccer participation numbers across time:

1976 – 10,000 girls participating in High School Soccer

2000 – 270,000 girls participating in High School Soccer

Women’s soccer is a great example of the positive impact of equality legislation. Title IX is a driver of the growth in high school girls’ soccer over time.

World Cup titles are nice. More girls having access to sport and the lessons that come with participation is better.

Title IX is a huge early win in equality legislation.