Where Have All The Good Jobs Gone? One study shows 3 million
jobs leaving this country in the next decade.
"Where am I going to get a job paying a decent wage at 56 years old? Where can I start over?" asks Shaw.
Shaw and her three co-workers are watching their jobs at the mail-order company Columbia House disappear, the latest casualties of a corporate trend called outsourcing.
Shaw has worked for the company 27 years, Janice Alsip is going on 34, Sue Treash has been there 26 and Faye Johnson just completed her 29th year.
They all worked in the returns department until the company began sending jobs packing.
Some two years ago "they started outsourcing the e-mails to India, the correspondence to Panama and a lot of those ladies have lost their jobs," says Shaw.
Then, as CBS News Correspondent Jane Clayson reports, the entire returns department was outsourced and reassigned to entry-level jobs.
"Now, I dread going into work everyday," says Treash.
"It's been really difficult because we used to work for a company that seemed like it really cared about us," says Alsip. "It's really depressing, it really is."
Columbia House executives refused to explain why they're farming out so many jobs, but the practice of outsourcing is not uncommon. In fact, one study shows 3 million jobs leaving this country in the next decade.
"You can't blame companies," says former U.S. Labor Secretary Robert Reich. "These companies are in intense competition these days (and) the easiest way to show profits is to cut labor costs."
But Reich warns there are long-term losses in that short-term profit making.
"The fact is we're losing our middle class, our manufacturing workers, the low-level, middle-level white-collar workers," says Reich.
Many of the jobs go to countries like India, where companies pay pennies on the dollar for highly skilled workers.
IBM managers recently warned their colleagues to be ready for a backlash from displaced workers as more American jobs go.
The big question, says Reich, is "Who is going to buy all of the goods and services produced by American companies when so many people are finding that their jobs are so precarious?"
This week Johnson got a termination notice and Alsip got a warning.
To think about those jobs that are going to less-skilled, cheaper labor makes Shaw feel "unimportant, discarded and sad to think that not just Columbia House and not just this community, but the whole United States is on this path."
A path that's leading millions of workers to the unemployment office and raising questions no one can answer.
"How are we going to survive?"
Kodak Cuts Production Jobs
Last week, the company announced that it was cutting about 6,000 jobs worldwide and that half of those layoffs would come from the company headquarters in Rochester.
Company officials said the actions are a response to a permanent decline in film sales, the rising popularity of digital cameras, and a poor economy.
The layoffs can’t be grouped into one age group or income level.
Lisa Adolphson, a single mother who relied on Kodak for her paycheck for seven years, didn't even make it to Thursday’s meeting to hear the news. She heard the news Wednesday night and suffered an anxiety attack.
"Kodak is all about ‘the Kodak Way’ … and we gave our life to Kodak, we work hard every day, and this is what we get in return," Adolphson said.
There’s no word yet on exactly when the layoffs will come but employees said they expect to be out of work by the end of March.
They did learn some details of their severance packages which include two week’s pay for every year of service.
Kodak expects employees to understand why they must cut costs.
"This is a difficult announcement to make, but it's a necessary one. We are facing a fundamental shift in the way we do business," said Kodak’s Gerard Meuchner.
In digital photography studios, like Digiquick, photographers use Kodak equipment, but they don't use any film.
Photographer Sarah Weeden is surprised Kodak waited this long to move production.
"I think it's long overdue,” she said. “A lot of other companies have stepped up to the occasion and come out with many digital products."
Commercial photo processing is also changing, even for stubborn families who like their old cameras. "It's been a hard step for people to switch over, because they're so used to dropping off their film at local drug stores," photographer Inge Munnings said.
One of the biggest blows to the Kodak workforce came in 1999 when they officially closed operations at the Elmgrove plant in Gates, a facility that once employed thousands of people.
Last November, Kodak announced an end to its production of single-use cameras assembeled at the Lee Road facility and moved those jobs to China.
Kodak moved motion picture film production out of Building 58 at Kodak Park and began demolition in June.
They’ve eliminated nearly 12,000 jobs over the last six years and their payroll is at its lowest level since the 1930s.
One analyst said that compared to the competition, Kodak has been more dependent upon film sales in the past.
US Senator Chuck Schumer (D, NY) expressed his concern about the layoffs, but also offered optimism.
He said that despite cuts at Kodak, Xerox, and Bausch & Lomb over the years, new jobs continue to come to the area.
"Lots of small companies have come up and are increasing employment.
in other words, while the big companies have laid off all too many
people (BUTT TO) new companies are hiring and in telecommunications,
infotonics and fuel cells and other things, we have a good future
in Rochester," he said.
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