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The [Thursday] Papers

1. Mystery GOP Debate Theater: Simi Valley

2. Carl's Cubs Mailbag: The Law Of Diminishing Returns Starring That Hot Community College Chick And Carlos Marmol's Chubby Calves

3. Charles Evans of the Chicago Federal Reserve released a paper yesterday spelling out why high unemployment is a huge failure of Fed policymakers," FDL notes.

4. "Unionized Hyatt hotel workers in Chicago and three other cities launched a weeklong strike Thursday, in an attempt to turn up the heat in a contract battle with the Chicago-based hotel chain that has dragged on for more than two years," the Tribune reports.

"Annemarie Strassel, the spokesperson for Local 1, which represents about 1,000 workers at the two hotels, said the sticking point with Hyatt wasn't the wage and benefit package, but the company's rejection of the union's proposed changes in work rules. Hyatt, she claimed, has the worst record among the major national hotel chains when it comes to working conditions."

Must be owned by Republicans.

"Hyatt, which is controlled by Chicago's wealthy Pritzker family, is . . . the last of the major hotel chains to come to terms with Unite Here."



But certainly President Obama sides with the workers.



Well, she can't be that bad, can she?



Maybe he's just been too busy to buy a comfortable pair of shoes.


You might call it a lemon pledge.


As I understand it, the major sticking point for the hotel union is working conditions, not money (though replacing full-time positions with part-time temps is also a problem). But let's stop to think about the notion these days that the economy is so bad nobody should expect a raise. How does that make sense?

First, corporations are sitting on record amounts of cash and profit margins are fat.

Second, corporations nonetheless aren't hiring because - they say - demand is too slack.

Third, demand is slack because people don't have enough money to spend.

Fourth, giving raises to workers would give them more money to spend.

Fifth, isn't that the logic behind tax cuts - particularly the payroll tax cut the president will propose tonight? Personally, I think a jobs program is far, far more effective, but every little bit helps.

Sixth, isn't it reasonable to conclude, then, that the best thing corporations can do for the economy is give their workers raises?

It would be different if corporations were tapped out. They aren't.

Finally, isn't it the role of the government to step in when the market fails? In this case, Obama could just give Penny a ring and say, hey, we're better than this - dumping on hotel housekeepers. Is that really Obama's America? Or is it Rick Perry's America?

Sadly, we all know the answer to that by now.

5. What's most remarkable about this story is what isn't being remarked upon: Up until now city employees didn't have paid maternity leave?

From the Sun-Times's Fran Spielman in 2001:

Any day now - maybe even any minute - Mara Georges, the Chicago city corporation counsel, will give birth to her first child, ending a difficult pregnancy that has kept her bedridden for days at a time.

It would be an unmitigated joy and a gigantic relief, if not for the fact City Hall has no maternity policy for its 13,391 female employees.


"The city doesn't have a maternity policy - zip, zilch, nada," said deputy personnel director Adrianne Bryant, who took off four months after her pregnancy. "I cobbled together my sick time, vacation time and a little administrative leave, and there were times when I wasn't receiving a paycheck."


Cook County offers its 27,000 employees the opportunity to take six weeks of maternity or paternity leave at half pay after a normal delivery and eight weeks after a Caesarean, according to Mark Kilgallon, the county's director of human resources. The benefit is covered by the county pension fund, Kilgallon said.

Women who work for state government receive three weeks of paid maternity leave . Men are entitled to two weeks of paid paternity leave, according to the American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees.

At the city, paid maternity leave was not on the bargaining table in the last round of contract talks, said AFSCME spokeswoman Marrianne McMullen.


"You've got to ask for the things that you can realistically achieve and that your members are strongly behind," McMullen said. "The city has generally not been open to these kinds of formalized, family-friendly policies. Going for paid maternity leave was probably considered far too much of a long shot."


"We've never had anybody bring that up," said FOP president Bill Nolan. "We've had three women on our negotiating team. . . . If they were dissatisfied, they should have brought something up. None of them ever did."

Building Department spokeswoman Kristen Lobbins-Cabanban, whose baby is due in November, has only 10 vacation days left.

"It'll be tough. I won't be able to take as long as most people can," Lobbins-Cabanban said.

"When I was thinking about getting pregnant, I heard people say there was no policy. I chose to get pregnant. What else are you going to do? It's unfortunate, but it is what it is. You just deal with it. This is what the city offers."

6. "The Renaissance Blackstone Hotel, located on 636 South Michigan Avenue, is offering bonus Marriott Rewards points for stays at the hotel and group bookings for meetings," News Junky Journal reports.

"Through 2011, all the customer has to do is say, 'Put it on Capone's Tab' for 1,000 bonus points on a night's stay or double points including a free reception in the Blackstone's Art Hall when booking a group or meeting."

I wonder how they treat their housekeepers.

7. "After two years of trying to find a buyer the old-fashioned way, a French-inspired chateau that ranks as the most expensive home listing on Chicago's North Shore is going to auction next month," the Tribune reports.

"The 26-room, 26,500-square-foot home Winnetka home, owned by investment company CEO Sherwin Jarol and his wife, Deborah, was unofficially put up for sale in 2009 for $32 million. In early 2010, it was officially listed and placed in the local multiple listing service, with a $28 million asking price. It eventually was pulled from the market."

I wonder how they treat their housekeepers.


The Beachwood Tip Line: Pledge allegiance.


Posted on September 8, 2011

MUSIC - Millions Of New Guitar Players.
TV - "One America News" is AT&T.
POLITICS - When Wall Street Came To My Mobile Home Park.
SPORTS - Tonyball, Bears On The Run, Eyes On The Sky & More!

BOOKS - China Holding Swedish Publisher.


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