Sunday, April 20, 2014
Inquirer Daily News

POSTED: Tuesday, August 6, 2013, 3:05 AM

No denying the excitement, the pure adrenaline rush that a firefighter feels enroute to a call. What a weird mix of feelings -- fear, excitement, maybe guilt for wanting the excitement instead of a ho-hum call that turns out to be a lot-of-get-up-and-go for something boringly minor. Until one night, it's not.

By telling me one story, Bill Anderson, a retired fire chief from Essington, provided a perfect illustration. Anderson is the president of the Cradle of Liberty chapter of Society for the Preservation and Appreciation of Antique Motor Fire Apparatus in America, (SPAAMFAA). I met him Saturday when I covered SPAAMFAA's national convention and muster at Cooper River Park in Pennsauken.

Anderson said that when he was a firefighter his company would get constant calls from the same house in Folsom, Delaware County. They'd go, put out a minor fire and leave. "We used to go there so many times that we knew the layout of the house," he said. Usually, it was because someone had smoked a cigarette and wasn't careful about putting it out.

POSTED: Monday, August 5, 2013, 3:40 AM
New county officers will have eight weeks of field training.

Superior Court Judge Michael Kassel's week revolved around what he described as "horrific senseless crimes," the particularly heinous killing of a Burlington County couple in a Camden row house three years ago.

So what does this crime have to do with this blog, which is about jobs? Everything, but we'll let the judge do the talking, as he did Friday when he sentenced one of the participants in Camden County Superior Court. You can read my story about the sentencing by clicking here.

But first, a brief recap of the case. In February, 2010, Muriah Ashley Huff, 18, of Cinnaminson, and Michael "Doc Money" Hawkins, 23, of Maple Shade, stopped by the house where Friday's defendant, Dennis "Hitman" Welch, then 19, now 22, was living with his sister, Shatara "Feisty" Carter, then 14, other relatives. The house was a hangout/bunk house for the Lueders Park Piru Bloods, a loosely knit offshoot of the violent gang that originated in California.

POSTED: Thursday, August 1, 2013, 3:05 AM
National Labor Relations Board

Morgan Lewis, the national law firm with Philadelphia roots, scored a trifecta this week, landing its third lawyer onto the National Labor Relations Board. All three have generally represented management.

On Tuesday, the U.S. Senate approved Philip Miscimarra's nomination to the NLRB. Miscimarra, who works at the firm's Chicago office, graduated from two colleges at the University of Pennsylvania. He earned an MBA from Wharton and a law degree from Penn's law school. He is a senior fellow at Wharton. Miscimarra's history includes representing the U.S. Chamber of Commerce in litigation opposing changes in NLRB rules that would have benefited unions in union elections.

The other two Morgan Lewis lawyers to serve on the NLRB were Charles Cohen, appointed by President William Clinton, for a term that lasted from 1994 to 1996, and Peter Hurtgen, appointed by Clinton as a member from 1997 to 1999. Hurtgen was then appointed by President George W. Bush as chairman, serving from 2000 to 2002. Hurtgen retired from Morgan's office in in Irvine, California. Cohen still serves as senior counsel in the firm's Washington office.

POSTED: Monday, July 29, 2013, 4:10 AM
An empty jury box. (AP file photo)

New Jersey's statewide jury manager Michael Garrahan gets a lot of advice on how New Jersey should fill its juries. Use unemployed people, his advisers say. They have the time. Maybe the $5 a day they earn has some appeal.

I met Garrahan on Thursday at a "Law School for Journalists" workshop sponsored by the New Jersey Court system's department of public affairs. When it was my turn to ask a question, I wondered how the recession had affected jury selection. Was it easier to fill juries when there were so many people who were unemployed?

"It's a trade off," Garrahan answered. On the one hand, unemployed citizens are available, he said.

POSTED: Thursday, July 25, 2013, 4:10 AM

A salute the state of Maryland for enacting a law that will really make a difference to a group of employees who  deserve consideration, and thanks.

Effective October 1, immediate family members (spouse, parents, stepparents, siblings, children, stepchildren) can have one day unpaid leave on the day their relative leaves or returns from active military duty outside the United States.

The law applies to companies with more than 50 employees and to workers who have spent 1,250 hours on the job in the prior 12 months. More states should adopt this law and make the requirements less stringent. I'm sure that many companies would do this anyway. Employers can not require employees to use paid time off for this purpose, however, they can ask for documentation. 

POSTED: Wednesday, July 24, 2013, 4:05 AM

The National Urban League conference opens in Philadelphia Wednesday with the theme "Redeem the Dream: Jobs Rebuild America." Absolutely. The job situation is improving, but not fast enough.

The conference begins Wednesday, but the focus on jobs strengthens on Thursday with workshops in the morning and a career and network fair that begins at 11 a.m. The job fair continues on Friday. On Saturday, the focus skews younger with workshops for college-bound youngsters. There is also a day long seminar for entrepreneurs on Saturday. For information, click here and to register, click here.

POSTED: Tuesday, July 23, 2013, 4:50 AM
National Labor Relations Board

Today, Tuesday, the U.S. Senate's Health, Education, Labor and Pensions committee will interview two candidates for openings on the National Labor Relations Board. On Wednesday, the committee is set to vote on them, and will likely recommend them for a confirmation vote in the Senate.

If Kent Yoshiho Hirozawa and Nancy Jean Schiffer win the committee's approval, they will join three other nominees, current NLRB Chairman Mark Gaston Pearce, attorney Harry I. Johnson, III, and attorney Philip A. Miscimarra for consideration by the full Senate. A vote could come as early as this week, part of the deal struck by leaders to avoid the "nuclear option" end of the filibuster.

If it does, it will be the first time in years that the National Labor Relations Board has a full panel.

POSTED: Thursday, July 18, 2013, 3:05 AM

Don't know if this is really true, but someone told me that kids growing up in farm country tip over cows when they are being vandals. So naturally when a workplace book titled "Tipping Sacred Cows" crossed my desk a few months ago, I had to save it for a rainy day read (even though it's sunny now). So what are these sacred cows being tipped?

According to author Jake Breeden (and can you believe the man's last name, given the subject???), the sacred cows are bad work habits that masquerade as virtues. Now I'm going to switch tone here and become udderly serious. I mean utterly serious.

In the book, subtitled "Kick the Bad Work Habits that Masquerade as Virtues," Breeden lists seven "sacred cows," which he says should be tipped over and examined. 

About this blog

Jobbing covers the workplace – employment, unemployment, management, unions, legal issues, labor economics, benefits, work-life balance, workforce development, trends and profiles.

Jane M. Von Bergen writes about workplace issues for the Inquirer.

Married to a photographer she met at her college newspaper, Von Bergen has been a reporter since fourth grade, covering education, government, retailing, courts, marketing and business. “I love the specific detail that tells the story,” she says.

Reach Jane M. at

Jane M. Von Bergen Inquirer Staff Writer