Connect with us


Aldermen want city to train city residents for city jobs | Local News



St. Louis aldermen are standing against Mayor Lyda Krewson’s move to advocate in Jefferson City to override the City Charter’s residency requirement for city employees. Some aldermen argue that the city’s unemployment rate for African Americans is high — and the city has about 1,000 vacant jobs to fill.

“We have people that need jobs,” said Alderwoman Annie Rice (D-Ward 8) in a statement on January 28. “We should do everything in our power to see to it that we use these positions and the training capacity of SLATE to fill these positions with people already in the city.”

Krewson has been fervently supporting a Missouri House bill that would end the requirement that police officers live in the City of St. Louis for seven years. That bill was recently expanded to remove the residency requirement for all city employees.

On Friday, January 31, the Board of Aldermen passed a resolution stating that the board does not support the mayor going to the state Legislature in attempt to render the Board of Aldermen powerless and to push through her agenda.

Krewson pushed back against the criticism of her support of removing the residency requirement.

“The Board of Aldermen had multiple opportunities, and still do, to allow the public to have a vote on the matter,” said Jacob Long, Krewson’s spokesman. “They denied the public that opportunity. Mayor Krewson is supportive of state legislation to remove the residency requirements that began at the state level by the attorney general, and not this office.”

The City of St. Louis has a 3.5 percent unemployment rate, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. However, the rate for the city’s black population likely mirrors the national rate of 5.9 percent.

Rice is calling on Krewson to direct the St. Louis Agency on Training and Employment (SLATE) and the city’s Personnel Department to “jointly undertake an initiative” to fill all currently vacant city positions with current residents, she said in a statement.

“These are both city agencies,” Rice said. “One has almost 1,000 vacant jobs to fill counting the seasonal jobs that will soon be open, and SLATE is the city’s own training department. The mayor should connect the dots and fill these open positions with (city residents) who could be trained with precisely the required skills.”

Long said that the two city departments “regularly” work together to fill open positions, but some rules set forth in the City Charter and by the Civil Service Commission create barriers.

SLATE’s Executive Director Howard Hayes explained that it is a grant-driven agency, and because of this, the majority of its clients must meet very specific eligibility requirements. 

“To adhere to the performance measures of our grants, the agency primarily serves as a bridge to prosperity for populations that have historically been underserved,” Hayes said. “Although we consider many of our clients to be future city employees, often they are in need of completing high school or state equivalency degree programs.”

The office also works with justice-involved youth who are in need of a second chance, Hayes said, and need help to remove employment barriers.

SLATE has partnered with the Department of Personnel to recruit employees for the Forestry Department at recruitment fairs across the city, Hayes said. It also has provided vouchers to customers to pay for background checks for city jobs.

Alice Prince, who served as SLATE’s executive director before Hayes, said she thinks Rice’s statement is “spot on.”

“City government has to break down silos, build capacity and help the community,” Prince said. “Although the unemployment rate is low, it is not low for people of color. Add in the impact of incarceration, and there is chronic unemployment and poverty in the city. It is important to be intentional, aggressive, and impactful.”

Prince said when she was the executive director, the department had a more hands-on approach in helping people fill out city applications. She also opened an office in the city courts and the Circuit Attorney’s Office and held longer hours. 

“I believe the alderwoman is correct,” Prince said. “I know the two departments working together will be better for our community.”

Rice said that many of the open jobs are entry-level positions, which offer limited pay – about $32,000 per year. But the full-time positions come with health insurance, paid vacation, paid holidays, a retirement program and other benefits.

“These are life-changing jobs for unemployed and untrained workers in the city,” Rice said. “Let’s meet these intersecting needs and show our residents we believe in them.”

Long confirmed that there are about 680 vacancies, and 300 more that will be seasonal work. He noted that about 130 of the vacancies are for police officers. Krewson believes that allowing officers to live where they want will help with recruitment for police.

“The city offered 50 residency waivers for police last year — that resulted in one hire,” said Alderwoman Cara Spencer (D-Ward 20) and Krewson’s mayoral opponent. “Residency is clearly not the only issue we have when it comes to hiring.”

Source link


Florence, Northern Elite cancel football games | News, Sports, Jobs




Florence will forfeit its varsity football game Friday at Three Lakes, due to a lack of players, while Northern Elite has canceled the remaining two games of its varsity football season.

“We examined several angles to try and keep it going, but eventually came to the decision that it was no longer feasible,” said Scott Trevillian, Niagara principal/athletic director.

The Dickinson-Iron District Health Department plans to meet Thursday morning with area athletic directors for a recommendation on this weekend’s MHSAA playoff football games. There has been no in-person instruction or athletic activities at Dickinson County schools since Oct. 17, due to the coronavirus.

If played, Norway’s contest against West Iron will be moved to 1 p.m. Saturday in Iron River. It had previously been set for Friday night.

Other area games on the calendar for Saturday include Rogers City at Iron Mountain, at noon, and Ogemaw Heights at Kingsford, 2 p.m.

Scheduled eight-player games on Saturday are Engadine at North Central, noon, and Lake Linden-Hubbell at Forest Park, noon.

Northern Elite had been scheduled to host Coleman on Friday night and travel to Oconto Falls on Nov. 6.

Florence has a scheduled game Nov. 7 against Siren, Wis., in Rhinelander.

Today’s breaking news and more in your inbox

Source link

Continue Reading


Victorino upbeat about Lanai’s COVID-19 status | News, Sports, Jobs




Maui County Mayor Michael Victorino is confident that the COVID-19 outbreak on Lanai is under control after the issuing of a stay-at-home order Tuesday and encouraging results from recent surge testing.

After the virus outbreak last week, medical providers conducted nearly 1,000 tests Saturday, where six new coronavirus cases were discovered. Another three positive cases were added to the state Department of Health count for a total of nine Tuesday, but Victorino said that those three individuals were tested before the surge testing program.

All nine cases were included in Lanai’s total count, which was 87 as of Tuesday — the fourth highest island by cases in the state behind Oahu, Hawaii island and Maui.

“We’re in fairly good shape overall. However, I want the Lanaians to know that this lockdown is so important,” Victorino said Tuesday night during a news conference. “I’m very confident with keeping it under control. I think the community realizes the importance of working together and having respect for each other.”

The stay-at-home order will remain in place until Nov. 11. It requires people to only leave their home or place of lodging for essential activities, services or business. All travel to and from Lanai is restricted to essential work or medical purposes. All other travelers must quarantine for 14 days.

Essential workers to Lanai may request limited quarantine through the county.

Managing Director Sandy Baz said that these protocols will be evaluated on a daily basis.

So far, a total of 2,747 COVID-19 tests have been administered on Lanai — 87 percent of the resident population. The rate of positive cases was 3.13 percent. The seven-day average rolling rate was 4.66 percent.

“We want to give a big mahalo to all our health care workers, first responders and many others, who helped to provide this large scale testing event for our Lanai community,” Baz said.

Large social gatherings likely contributed to the outbreak, which shows “just how quickly” the virus can spread if mask wearing and social distancing protocols are not met, he added.

The Hawaii National Guard and the state Department of Health officials have been going “house to house” to ensure that families are taken care of by educating various groups and offering a native language translator.

“We are working very closely with the Lanai health providers as well as others to make sure that this cluster of our Polynesian community is managed and helped in every way possible,” Victorino said.

There will be testing available from 8:30 a.m. to 3 p.m. today at the Lana’i Community Hospital.

Mass testing is set for 7 a.m. to 1 p.m. Saturday behind the Pulama Lana’i administrative building. Appointments are encouraged by calling Lanai’s Straub Medical Center at (808) 565-6423 or the Lanai Community Health Center at (808) 565-6919.

In other developments:

• Young Brothers said its barge service to Lanai will continue on schedule. The barge arrives Wednesdays at Kaumalapau Harbor from Honolulu and departs the same day back to Honolulu.

• Roselani Place, an assisted living facility on Maui, reported two possible cases from its recent round of testing Monday. The cases are pending further investigation by the Maui District Health Office, a news release said. Not counting the two cases, there have been 71 cases at the Kahului facility — 32 staff and 39 residents.

* Dakota Grossman can be reached at

Today’s breaking news and more in your inbox

Source link

Continue Reading


Indonesia’s Pandemic Response: A Law to Create Millions of Jobs | Voice of America




TAIPEI, TAIWAN – A landmark law passed this month in Indonesia will open the populous, impoverished country to labor-intensive industry like many of its Southeast Asian neighbors despite a hit to worker rights, people on the ground say. 

The 905-page Omnibus Bill on Job Creation bill will give millions of young people chances to work, including in formal jobs that can be hard to find because older Indonesian laws discouraged foreign investors from setting up factories, analysts believe. 

Indonesians are struggling to earn income during an unrelenting COVID-19 outbreak that prompted shutdowns from April. The nation with nearly 400,000 infections reported a sharp drop in retail sales from April through August and a fall in exports over the three months ending in September.   

“With this new law, it is expected that the investment would come not only to the Indonesian economy, but also come to the labor-intensive part, and by getting more investment in that area it is expected that more jobs will be created, and those jobs are more of the quality jobs, not only informal jobs,” said Yose Rizal Damuri, economics department head with the Center for Strategic and International Studies research organization in Jakarta.   

Indonesia’s government and House of Representatives passed the bill ahead of schedule on October 5, the Jakarta Post reported. The bill aims to cut bureaucracy and make it easier for investors to create jobs, said Richard Borsuk, S. Rajaratnam School of International Studies adjunct senior fellow in Singapore.

Protest against the government’s proposed labor reforms in Sukabumi, West Java, Oct. 7, 2020.

President Joko Widodo’s government sees this bill as part of his “legacy” to stimulate the 270 million-person country’s economy, Rizal said. Minerals, oil and farming make up much of Indonesia’s $1 trillion-plus GDP today. “Labor-intensive” industry players find Indonesia too expensive now, Rizal said, explaining why that sub-sector makes up just 2% of the country’s total investment. 

Foreign manufacturers of garments, shoes and textiles normally pick other low-cost Southeast Asian countries, such as Vietnam, over the past decade because of stiff pro-labor laws, economists say. Foreign investment eventually raises the living standards, as witnessed in China and eventually Vietnam

“It’s probably something that will be a long-term benefit, if this does go through,” said Rajiv Biswas, senior regional economist with IHS Markit, a London-based analysis firm. 

“It creates a better environment for foreign multinationals to hire, because from the perspective of foreign multinationals, it’s very restrictive labor laws there,” Biswas said. “They’re worried about hiring because it’s very hard to reduce the workforce later on.”   

Foreign investors will consider the law a “step in the right” direction for making Indonesia friendlier, forecast Song Seng Wun, an economist in the private banking unit of Malaysian bank CIMB.

“This Omnibus Bill is part of something that Jokowi [was] looking to see how they can help sort of improve the investment landscape to make it a little bit more attractive in Indonesia, just to make sure Indonesia doesn’t get pushed down the investible list of countries,” Song said, using the Indonesian president’s nickname. 

But the law sparked staunch opposition. Some governors have asked Widodo to revoke the law and other people protested in the streets over three days, sometimes violently, Borsuk’s study says. 

The law effectively eliminates the power of labor unions, said Paramita Supamijoto, an international relations lecturer at Bina Nusantara University in greater Jakarta. 

The October bill would roll back legal support for fair wages, safe working conditions and excessive overtime, U.S.-headquartered human rights advocacy group Amnesty International said in a statement in August. It called the bill’s preparation process “opaque.”   

Severance pay for laid-off workers will also slip, Damuri said. 

For workers, the law means that “whatever you do, your life will be determined by your employers,” Supamijoto said.

But the law could stoke enough investment to stop people from migrating overseas in search of work, she said. “Under our current president’s administration, they prefer to invite the investors rather than sending workers abroad, so it’s better to invite you to come here to spend money, to invest your money, then to help us to build the infrastructure,” she said. 

Source link

Continue Reading