Outten & Golden: Empowering Employees in the Workplace

Archive for December, 2011

How the Housing Crisis Could Kill Any Progress on Jobs

Thursday, December 29th, 2011

Image: Pat GarofaloLast month, there was finally some good news on the jobs front, as the unemployment rate fell to 8.6 percent and the economy created 140,000 private sector jobs. However, the continued slow-burning crisis in housingcould easily short-circuit any burgeoning labor market recovery, as the Wall Street Journal detailed today:

Some economists fear the continued slump in housing could short-circuit the recovery in jobs by making it harder for Americans to relocate to find work.

In theory, as the economy improves, people tend to relocate from places where jobs are scarce to areas where companies are hiring…While some relocation continues, economists believe mobility overall has been muted in part because of the housing bust.

Low home values have made it much harder for Americans to move because selling a home is so difficult. That is especially true for the 10.7 million Americans—or 22% of homeowners with a mortgage—who owed more than their homes were worth as of the end of September, according to figures from real-estate firm CoreLogic.

According to work by Prof. Joseph Gyourko of the University of Pennsylvania’s Wharton School, homeowners who are underwater — meaning they owe more on their mortgage than their home is currently worth — are 30 percent less likely to move than non-underwater borrowers. So the housing crisis is locking people in place, even if moving could help them find a job and increased mobility could alleviate the unemployment crisis.

Borrowers being stuck underwater is bad enough, but adding to the bad news is the fact that, after slowing down their foreclosure processes to deal with the fallout from the foreclosure fraud scandal, banks have picked it back up, with foreclosure jumping 21 percent last quarter. And there’s little reason to believe things are going to get much better in 2012, as scheduled foreclosure hit a nine-month high in November, meaning a slew of foreclosure is right around the corner. Continued foreclosures will drag home prices down even further, sinking those already underwater down even deeper, in a vicious cycle that will weigh down the wider economy.

This blog originally appeared in ThinkProgress on December 28, 2011. Reprinted with permission.

About the Author: Pat Garofalo is Economic Policy Editor for ThinkProgress.org at the Center for American Progress Action Fund. Pat’s work has also appeared in The Nation, U.S. News & World Report, The Guardian, the Washington Examiner, and In These Times. He has been a guest on MSNBC and Al-Jazeera television, as well as many radio shows. Pat graduated from Brandeis University, where he was the editor-in-chief of The Brandeis Hoot, Brandeis’ community newspaper, and worked for the International Center for Ethics, Justice, and Public Life.

Employee Bathroom Surveillance Camera, Although Faulty, Could Be Invasion of Privacy

Wednesday, December 28th, 2011

Ross_Runkel_aYou can’t think this up: Bathroom surveillance camera.

Koeppel v. Speirs (Iowa 12/23/2011).

Koeppel sued the employer for invasion of privacy and sexual harassment. The trial court granted the employer’s motion for summary judgment. The Iowa Court of Appeals affirmed on the sexual harassment claim and reversed on the invasion of privacy claim. The Iowa Supreme Court affirmed the court of appeals.

The employer placed a camera in the unisex bathroom. The issue of first impression, proof necessary to establish unreasonable intrusion of the invasion-of-privacy tort, required the court to develop a standard for the jury to apply in determining when electronic devices intrude into privacy.

Nationally, courts are divided on whether installation of surveillance equipment in a private place or whether actual viewing and/or recording triggered the intrusion.

The Iowa Supreme Court determined that a standard involving installation was more consistent with the spirit and purpose of the protection of privacy. Because the parties disputed whether the equipment was capable of exposing Koeppel’s activities in the bathroom, the court stated that evidence the camera was capable of operation and had operated in the past from a different location in the office met the standard.

The court concluded, “[a]n electronic invasion occurs under the intrusion on solitude or seclusion component of the tort of invasion of privacy when the plaintiff establishes by a preponderance of evidence that the electronic device or equipment used by a defendant could have invaded privacy in some way.”

This blog originally appeared in LawMemo: First in Employment Law on December 27, 2011. Reprinted with permission.

About the Author: Ross Runkel is founder of LawMemo, is Professor of Law Emeritus at Willamette University College of Law. He has spent 35 years specializing in employment law, employment discrimination, labor law, and arbitration.

Labor Board Delays Labor Rights Poster Rule as a Result of Lawsuit

Tuesday, December 27th, 2011

Laura ClawsonThe National Labor Relations Board has announced that it will delay its new rule, issued in August, calling for employers to put up posters informing workers of their right to join or refuse to join a union. Naturally, in September, the Chamber of Commerce sued to block the rule from going into effect. Friday, the NLRB:

[A]greed to postpone the effective date of its employee rights notice-posting rule at the request of the federal court in Washington, DC hearing a legal challenge regarding the rule. The Board’s ruling states that it has determined that postponing the effective date of the rule would facilitate the resolution of the legal challenges that have been filed with respect to the rule. The new implementation date is April 30, 2012.

The posters, which are to be 11×17 size but can be printed on two pieces of 8.5×11 paper for businesses without the capacity to print 11×17, are to be hung alongside other legally required notices. It’s this kind of huge burden on employers that leads the Chamber to really freak out:

“At a time when the private sector is striving to create desperately needed new jobs, it is disappointing to see that the NLRB is imposing new and unnecessary regulations on employers,” Randy Johnson, the Chamber’s senior vice president for Labor, Immigration, and Employee Benefits, said in September. “The latest rule is part of the NLRB’s pattern of tipping the scale in favor of unions, at the expense of employers and employees alike.”

The poster “tips the scale” by listing rights that workers already have under the National Labor Relations Act. It creates no new rights except that of reading your rights on the wall of your workplace.

This blog originally appeared in Daily Kos Labor on December 23, 2011. Reprinted with permission.

About the Author: Laura Clawson is labor editor at Daily Kos. She has a PhD in sociology from Princeton University and has taught at Dartmouth College. From 2008 to 2011, she was senior writer at Working America, the community affiliate of the AFL-CIO.

Unemployed Workers Win Jobless Aid Extension

Monday, December 26th, 2011

Credit: Joe Kekeris

Credit: Joe Kekeris

Congress this morning extended for two months unemployment insurance (UI) for America’s jobless workers. Republicans in the House earlier this week had blocked the UI extenstion, but after suffering badly in opinion polling, they announced they’d join with 89 out of 100 senators from both political parties who’d already voted to renew unemployment aid for two months—with no cuts and no strings attached.

Media headlines throughout the week–including the conservative Wall Street Journal–and Republican stalwarts such as Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.), had decried House Speaker John Boehner’s (R-Ohio) refusal to move the UI bill, which gives a lifeline to 2.8 million jobless Americans who otherwise would lose UI after Dec. 31.

AFL-CIO President Richard Trumka described the victory for jobless Americans as “not a hnndout or a free ride” but “a lifeline.”

In the fight to extend aid for the jobless, the 99 percent went on the offense against 1 percent politicians. And we won. And if working people keep it up, we’ll score more victories and build a better future. Not every time—two steps forward, one step back. But look around. People all across the country are saying our economy and our democracy are out of balance. And they’re winning the public debate.

This blog originally appeared in AFL-CIO Now blog on December 23, 2011. Reprinted with permission.

About the Author: Tula Connell says ” I got my first union card while I worked my way through college as a banquet bartender for the Pfister Hotel in Milwaukee (we were represented by a hotel and restaurant local union—the names of the national unions were different then than they are now).” With a background in journalism—covering bull roping in Texas and school boards in Virginia—she started working in the labor movement in 1991. Beginning as a writer for SEIU (and OPEIU member), she now blog under the title of AFL-CIO managing editor.

Wal-Mart’s Rob Walton Wins JWJ’s Scrooge of the Year

Friday, December 23rd, 2011

Image: Mike HallHe beat out some tough competition, but Rob Walton, chairman of Wal-Mart’s board of directors, is the top vote getter in the 11th annual Jobs with Justice (JWJ) Scrooge of the Year election.

Walton deemed a “billionaire bully” by Brave New Films, has an estimated net worth around $21 billion, JWJ reports. As a family, the Waltons control 49 percent of Wal-Mart and are, says JWJ, the richest family in the United States, with a combined net worth is $93 billion. The Walton Family has as much wealth as the bottom 30 percent of American families combined—more than 35 million families.

The family’s dividends from their Wal-Mart stock alone are more than $2 billion a year. Just using their dividends, they could ensure that a million Wal-Mart employees make at least $12 an hour instead of the current average of $8.81 an hour.

Just last month Wal-Mart, under Rob’s leadership, slashed health care coverage for hundreds of thousands of Wal-Mart employees and their families—right before the holidays. What a scrooge!

Click here to learn more about the runners up, the American Legislative Exchange Council, Publix supermarkets and Eddie Hull University of Massachusetts director of housing and residential life.

This blog originally appeared in AFL-CIO Now blog on December 22, 2011. Reprinted with permission.

About the Author: Mike Hall is a former West Virginia newspaper reporter, staff writer for the United Mine Workers Journal and managing editor of the Seafarers Log. He came to the AFL-CIO in 1989 and has written for several federation publications, focusing on legislation and politics, especially grassroots mobilization and workplace safety. He carried union cards from the Oil, Chemical and Atomic Workers, American Flint Glass Workers and Teamsters for jobs in a chemical plant, a mining equipment manufacturing plant and a warehouse. He’s also worked as roadie for a small-time country-rock band, sold blood plasma, and played an occasional game of poker to help pay the rent. You may have seen him at one of several hundred Grateful Dead shows. He was the one with longhair and the tie-dye. Still has the shirts, lost the hair.

Gunmaker Holding Gun to the Head of UAW Members in Connecticut

Thursday, December 22nd, 2011

Union workers at West Hartford’s Colt Firearms plant are scared for their jobs after the company announced they will open a new manufacturing plant in Central Florida. The move can’t help but remind one of this year’s NLRB complaint against Boeing for moving a plant of theirs to South Carolina from Washington as retaliation against their union workers.

After 175 years in Hartford, Colt’s move to Kissimmee, FL marks the first time that Colt has considered any U.S. operations outside of Connecticut. According to The Hartford Courant, United Auto Workers (UAW) members met on Sunday in Newington where they learned that part of the company’s plan is to freeze jobs at the West Hartford plant and begin cutting them in the New Year. The UAW represents 350 workers at the plant.

In June of 2010, 128 union workers were layed off. Since then, though, all but 26 have been hired back. But the news that the company will begin operations in “Right-to-Work” Florida has bleakened the outlook of the Local 350 members:

“They told us to expect more layoffs after the holidays,” said Mike Holmes, the shop chairman at Colt’s for UAW Local 376.

“The members are strongly opposed to this and we consider it a direct threat to jobs in Hartford, especially at a time when we’re losing jobs,” Holmes said Monday.

Let’s review the situation. Three months before their contract with union workers is set to expire, Colt Firearms and its sister company Colt Defense announce they will build a new manufacturing plant in “Right-to-Work” Florida and start ditching jobs in union-friendly Connecticut. It is now the job of UAW rep. Mike Holmes to convince the company that it is better for them to stay with union workers in Connecticut.

“We have had a strong contract and we’ve had a good working relationship here,” Holmes said. “And that’s why … we find it disturbing that jobs are being created elsewhere,” Holmes said.

The intentional and committed weakening of the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) by Tea Party-backed Republicans has left the agency on the brink of dissolution and emboldened companies like Colt’s zeal with respect to anti-union practices. The union feels the company is taking advantage of the situation by moving into a state where they can pay their workers less and sweep exploitative practices under the rug.

Colt Firearms has adopted the anti-worker strategy of hostage-based negotiation. They have a contract to renegotiate in March and they know that, even if they stay in Connecticut, they will get more concessions from workers if they begin making threats in advance.

“We were really caught off guard by this big unveiling of Colt down in Florida,” Holmes said. “We would like the opportunity to create the jobs here. … We believe in our workforce and the skills of our workforce and we pride ourselves that we make the best firearms in the world.”

NOTE: Florida Governor Rick Scott has committed $1.6 million to the new facility in order to lure it away from Connecticut.

This blog originally appeared in Union Review on December 13, 2011. Reprinted with permission.

About the Author: Steve Cooper is the editor of We Party Patriots. He educates union members on the benefits of social media, offering instruction on engaging on Facebook and Twitter. When not ruining his posture and finger muscles through endless computer use, Cooper is an avid chef and musician.

The Antidote for Stupidity of Shipping Tax-Dollar-Financed Jobs Overseas

Wednesday, December 21st, 2011

Leo GerardAmid prolonged, painfully high unemployment, ABC News Anchor Diane Sawyer for the past year tirelessly advocated a simple solution—buy American-made products. She clearly explained the reasoning: every American dollar spent on an American-made product helps create an American job.

Defying Sawyer’s admonition to search for “Made in America” tags, California set a record for using government money to create jobs in China. The Golden State awarded a contract for the new Bay Bridge that created 3,000 jobs in China for five years—a period during which the state’s unemployment rate persisted at two percentage points above the nation’s already high average.

Now there’s an antidote for California’s stupidity. It is legislation called the Invest in American Jobs Act. Championed by U.S. Rep. Nick J. Rahall, (D-W.Va.) and Senators Sherrod Brown, (D-Ohio), Bob Casey, (D-Pa.), and Debbie Stabenow (D-Mich.), it would strengthen existing requirements for buying American products when federal tax dollars pay for construction of highway, bridge, public transit, rail, water systems and aviation infrastructure equipment.

To create 200,000 American jobs, Sawyer has challenged Americans to spend just $64 of their $700 in holiday purchases on American-made gifts. Imagine the American jobs that would be created if “Made in America” were stamped on every single part of all $59 billion in infrastructure projects the federal government funds in a typical year.

That’s what Rahall, Brown, Casey and Stabenow want. Unless American-manufactured components aren’t available or would be outrageously more expensive, these lawmakers believe American tax dollars should buy American jobs while financing American infrastructure. So they propose to expand the existing “Buy American” requirements and close loopholes that allow governors like California’s Arnold Schwarzenegger to circumvent the rules.

Schwarzenegger contended that California would save $400 million on the $5.1 billion Bay Bridge if it hired a Chinese firm to build steel decking and a 52-story tall support tower and ship them 6,500 miles to San Francisco.

This turned out to be a “you get what you pay for” lesson for California. The state should have been forewarned by years of publicity about problems with Chinese-manufactured products. For example, toxic drywall imported from China sickened American homeowners, corroded pipes and resulted in hundreds of millions in successful damage claims against the Chinese firms that fabricated it. Or there was the tainted blood thinner Heparin from China that killed at least 81 Americans.

In the case of the Bay Bridge, inspectors failed up to 65 percent of welds on the bridge parts manufactured at the Shanghai plant – welds done workers paid $12 a day for laboring from 7 a.m. to 11 p.m. As a result, the state of California and the two American companies it hired to arrange the work, including one ironically named American Bridge, had to send 250 engineers, inspectors and other experts to Chinato monitor the construction. That created American jobs, but imagine the extra cost.

In addition, the faulty construction delayed delivery by 15 months. Delays are costly. For example, when the California Department of Transportation (Caltrans) received only one bid to perform the work, the agency said advertising the job again could delay the project by 18 months and add $200 million to the cost. Using Caltrans’ calculation, the 15-month delay added $167 million in extra costs.

The price tag on the bridge has risen now to $7.2 billion. The problems in China don’t explain all of that. But there’s no doubt that the $400 million that Schwarzenegger claimed would be saved by shipping the work and the jobs to China has long been overrun by hundreds of millions in extra costs. Organizations like the Alliance for American Manufacturing and the National Steel Bridge Alliance warned of potential problems from circumventing “Buy American” regulations. California ignored them.

Also, Schwarzenegger’s estimate that $400 million would be saved failed to account for the wages American workers lost, the taxes they would have paid, or the multiplier effect on the economy when workers spend their wages in their hometowns. In addition, Schwarzenegger’s estimate failed to account for the downside of hiring Chinese workers with American tax dollars, or in this case, bridge toll receipts. That includes unemployment compensation, Medicare fees and other costs borne by governments for joblessness.

The Investigative Reporting Workshop at the American University School of Communication included a story about the Bay Bridge project by two-time Pulitzer Prize winning investigative reporters Donald L. Bartlett and James B. Steele in a series called What Went Wrong: the Betrayal of the American Dream.

In their report about California sending the bridge work to China, Bartlett and Steel quote Tom Hickman, vice president of Oregon Iron Works in Clackamas, Ore., one of the American companies that tried to form a consortium to perform the Bay Bridge work. Here’s what Hickman said about the jobs California denied American workers and the work California denied his America company:

“These jobs are living-wage jobs and family-wage jobs. They provide health and welfare benefits, 401(k)s and pensions. Our facilities meet all of the environmental requirements, and it just is a very, very difficult thing to compete with the Chinese when you are really competing with the Chinese government (which subsidizes Chinese industry).”

Caltrans argued that no American company had the facilities to perform the work. Hickman said the consortium could have done it. But if government agencies like Caltrans continue to ignore the real costs of shipping work to China, American factories will continue to close. America lost 55,000 manufacturers over the past decade. If that doesn’t stop, at some point, America will forfeit the capacity to perform this kind of work.

That would be tragic. It would undermine American strength. Rahall, Brown, Casey and Stabenow are right. American tax dollars should buy American-made products and jobs.

And Diane Sawyer is right. Americans should buy American. Here’s a link to her list of American-made gifts and a link to a list by American Rights at Work.

This is the antidote for lost factories and jobs.

This blog originally appeared in Working in These Times on December 20, 2011. Reprinted with permission.

About the Author: Leo Gerard is a steelworker and a Canadian and American labor leader. He was elected president of the United Steelworkers in 2001, and is the second head of union. He is also vice president of AFL-CIO.

Layaway Santas Help Kmart Customers Pay Off Christmas Gifts

Tuesday, December 20th, 2011

Laura ClawsonKmart probably hasn’t made this much news since its 2002 bankruptcy filing. And this time, it’s warmer fuzzier news:

At Kmart stores across the country, Santa seems to be getting some help: Anonymous donors are paying off strangers’ layaway accounts, buying the Christmas gifts other families couldn’t afford, especially toys and children’s clothes set aside by impoverished parents. […]

The benefactors generally ask to help families who are squirreling away items for young children. They often pay a portion of the balance, usually all but a few dollars or cents so the layaway order stays in the store’s system.

Hamilton Nolan makes the point that needed to be made: “Of course, it could be an incredibly effective (and cheap!) PR stunt by K-Mart,” but even he continues, “but if it helps to encourage a nationwide outpouring of Christmas charity, well, we’re willing to overlook it.” Indeed: Kmart still sucks as an employer, the fact that people have to use layaway because they can’t afford to pay all at once for Kmart clothes for their kids sucks, but then again, stories of anxiety and want being alleviated don’t suck:

A Kmart in Plainfield Township, Mich., called Roberta Carter last week to let her know a man had paid all but 40 cents of her $60 layaway.

Carter, a mother of eight from Grand Rapids, Mich., said she cried upon hearing the news. She and her family have been struggling as she seeks a full-time job.

“My kids will have clothes for Christmas,” she said.

This post originally appeared in Daily Kos Labor on December 19, 2011. Reprinted with permission.

About the Author: Laura Clawson is labor editor at Daily Kos. She has a PhD in sociology from Princeton University and has taught at Dartmouth College. From 2008 to 2011, she was senior writer at Working America, the community affiliate of the AFL-CIO.

A Not-So-Silent Night- How Do I Take it Back?

Monday, December 19th, 2011

apex-logo

I am one of the managers at a large A/P shared services center in the Midwest. At this year’s holiday party, my spouse cornered my boss and complained to him about my “long hours and low pay.” I didn’t find out about this little encounter until we got home. I’m furious with my spouse, but with time, we’ll work it out. My boss is another matter.

Do I hope he had “one too many,” and won’t remember what happened? Or do I make a point of speaking to him about this conversation? If so, what do I say?

– Embarrassed (company withheld)

Time for an open dialogue

Nearly everyone has a story to tell about a holiday party — and many involve some sort of inappropriate behavior fueled by alcohol. As embarrassing as this incident was, one anonymous reader says “count your blessings,” because in a similar situation, her significant other engaged in sexual harassment! Advice from readers on “damage control” with your boss in this specific situation centers on three strategies:

  • Be up-front and apologize.
  • Turn it to your advantage.
  • Ask for a performance review.

Be up-front and apologize

Several readers say that the best approach is to bring the matter up with your boss and apologize for your out-of-line spouse. In the opinion of one anonymous A/P manager, “If you don’t mention it, the boss may think you planned it. Apologize, say your husband had a few too many drinks, and leave it at that. If the boss says he doesn’t remember, all the better.”

An anonymous payroll manager shares the same view, but offers a different strategy. “Better to address things up-front with your boss — not knowing where the rocks are can be more dangerous than any embarrassment. Ask your boss for a moment to talk about what happened, but rather than blurt everything out, try to open the conversation with a few questions and let HIM do the talking.”

Turn it to your advantage

Reader Dave Pouliot sees this as the opportunity for a win/win outcome. “Your boss may chalk it up to a disgruntled spouse, and most likely will address you,” he says. “This may be your opening for discussions relevant to a balanced work/life schedule. Treat it as a ‘lesson learned’ about discussing your work situations at home and not addressing them in the office, too.”

An anonymous manager also sees an opportunity. “You can demonstrate that you are a problem solver who can face an uncomfortable issue head on and deal with it swiftly and maturely — all excellent qualities for anyone who wants to move ahead in an organization.”

The first step, she says, is to go to your boss and tell him that you are aware your spouse spoke out of concern — but also out of turn. Be honest and let him know that if your work situation is an issue, you will bring up the subject, not your spouse. Apologize for your spouse taking personal liberties and for any resultant confusion.

Another opportunity for a positive outcome comes from a reader who chose to remain anonymous. “If long hours and low pay are indeed an issue, do meet with your boss. However, come prepared to discuss possible solutions. Dig for data: Has volume increased with the same resources; has the deployment of new systems caused some implementation overload? Are other people underperforming? Are systems not working? Could the company handle manual work differently? Are there processes that staff can change or re-engineer?”

Ask for a performance review

An anonymous reader from San Diego says to assure him that you feel comfortable speaking directly about any issues you have. “Don’t let long hours and low pay turn into ‘the elephant in the living room.’ Tell the boss you don’t mind ‘paying your dues’ to advance in the organization, but you would like to have a definite career path. Schedule a time when you can discuss it, without waiting for the traditional annual performance review — especially, if that review will be months and months down the road.”

Alternatively, an anonymous CFO recommends working within the normal performance review timeframe. “If you do have issues to bring up during your review, be sure to have backup documentation handy that shows your accomplishments, how you add value to the organization and how much time you average on the job.”

A final note

As readers have pointed out, a heartfelt apology goes a long way in restoring a relationship in trouble, whether it involves the boss, a co-worker or your spouse. In most cases, the courage to say “I’m sorry” will lead to open communication and a more positive outcome than you might expect.

This blog originally appeared in APEX Expert Blog on December 14, 2011. Reprinted with permission.

If Workers’ Share Of National Income Were At The Post-War Average, They Would Earn An Extra $740 Billion This Year

Thursday, December 15th, 2011

Image: Pat GarofaloSince 2009, 88 percent of national income growth has gone to corporate profits, while just one percent has gone to wages, adding another chapter to the decline of the middle class, whose incomes have been shrinking and wages stagnating for decades. In fact, according to data analyzed by the Financial Times, workers’ share of national income has fallen to its lowest level on record, and if it were back at the post-war average, workers would earn an additional $740 billion this year:

“We are the 99%”, the slogan of Occupy Wall Street, is a reference to the rising wealth of the top 1 per cent of US income distribution. But an equally valid slogan might be: “We get 58%”.

That figure is the share of US national income that goes to workers as wages rather than to investors as profits and interest. It has fallen to its lowest level since records began after the second world war and is part of the reason why incomes at the top – which tend to be earned from capital – have risen so much.If wages were at their postwar average share of 63 per cent, workers would earn an extra $740bn this year, about $5,000 per worker, according to FT calculations.

This decline in workers’ share of income is actually holding back the national recovery, as “workers on lower wages consume much of their income, while higher wage earners and those with capital income are more likely to save.” Instead of going to the people who are likeliest to spend it, and thus boost the economy, more income is going to corporations and rich people who are just sitting on it. Corporations are actually holding trillions of dollars in cash reserves (and clamoring for more tax breaks), money that could create millions of jobs if it were deployed in a different fashion.

This blog originally appeared in Think Progress on December 15, 2011. Reprinted with permission.

About this Author: Pat Garofalo is Economic Policy Editor for ThinkProgress.org at the Center for American Progress Action Fund. Pat’s work has also appeared in The Nation, U.S. News & World Report, The Guardian, the Washington Examiner, and In These Times. He has been a guest on MSNBC and Al-Jazeera television, as well as many radio shows. Pat graduated from Brandeis University, where he was the editor-in-chief of The Brandeis Hoot, Brandeis’ community newspaper, and worked for the International Center for Ethics, Justice, and Public Life.

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