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BS: Dilemma: Report it or Not?

Ebbie 26 Oct 13 - 04:25 PM
GUEST,mg 26 Oct 13 - 05:43 PM
GUEST,Eliza 26 Oct 13 - 05:51 PM
Joe Offer 26 Oct 13 - 06:00 PM
Ebbie 26 Oct 13 - 06:10 PM
Joe Offer 26 Oct 13 - 06:26 PM
Rapparee 26 Oct 13 - 10:53 PM
GUEST,dani 27 Oct 13 - 01:27 AM
Ebbie 27 Oct 13 - 02:02 AM
Ebbie 27 Oct 13 - 02:06 AM
Joe Offer 27 Oct 13 - 02:52 AM
GUEST,dani 27 Oct 13 - 04:41 AM
selby 27 Oct 13 - 05:05 AM
GUEST,Eliza 27 Oct 13 - 06:32 AM
Kenny B (inactive) 27 Oct 13 - 10:59 AM
Greg F. 27 Oct 13 - 01:38 PM
EBarnacle 27 Oct 13 - 05:20 PM
Greg F. 27 Oct 13 - 08:05 PM
Jack Campin 27 Oct 13 - 08:31 PM
Ebbie 27 Oct 13 - 09:59 PM
ChanteyLass 27 Oct 13 - 10:16 PM
Richard Bridge 28 Oct 13 - 07:26 AM
GUEST,KENDALL 28 Oct 13 - 07:54 AM
Greg F. 28 Oct 13 - 09:25 AM
Bobert 28 Oct 13 - 09:27 AM
Greg F. 28 Oct 13 - 10:04 AM
Bobert 28 Oct 13 - 10:39 AM
Ebbie 28 Oct 13 - 12:20 PM
Greg F. 28 Oct 13 - 12:39 PM
Ebbie 28 Oct 13 - 01:58 PM
mg 28 Oct 13 - 04:02 PM
Bobert 28 Oct 13 - 04:06 PM
Greg F. 28 Oct 13 - 05:30 PM
GUEST,Stim 28 Oct 13 - 06:14 PM
Bill D 28 Oct 13 - 07:30 PM
Joe Offer 29 Oct 13 - 03:33 AM
Greg F. 29 Oct 13 - 09:32 AM
bobad 29 Oct 13 - 09:55 AM
Rapparee 29 Oct 13 - 10:17 AM
Greg F. 29 Oct 13 - 10:32 AM
GUEST,olddude 29 Oct 13 - 10:47 AM
GUEST,Dani 29 Oct 13 - 08:32 PM
McGrath of Harlow 29 Oct 13 - 11:25 PM
Ebbie 30 Oct 13 - 01:46 AM
GUEST,Stim 30 Oct 13 - 02:33 AM
Joe Offer 30 Oct 13 - 05:35 AM
Greg F. 30 Oct 13 - 10:24 AM
Ebbie 30 Oct 13 - 10:26 AM
Richard Bridge 30 Oct 13 - 12:18 PM
Ebbie 30 Oct 13 - 05:13 PM
GUEST,Stim 30 Oct 13 - 09:34 PM
Rapparee 30 Oct 13 - 09:54 PM
GUEST,Dani 30 Oct 13 - 10:02 PM
Greg F. 31 Oct 13 - 09:34 AM
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Subject: BS: Dilemma: Report it or Not?
From: Ebbie
Date: 26 Oct 13 - 04:25 PM

Yesterday, I discovered that in this retirement house where I live the board/management are violating the law.

They offer a noon meal five days a week, closed on weekends. In order to keep from having to pay health insurance for their kitchen/dining room staff, three years ago they cut everyone to either 20 hours for support staff and 29 hours for the cook.

However, it is impossible for the daily work to be done within those hours.

Staff comes in at 7:00 AM, spends the next 4 hours cooking, preparing and boxing about 150 meals for the Meals on Wheels program which is sent out five days a week.

At 11:00 they start working on the daily inhouse meal. They begin serving at 11:45 and stop serving at 12:15. On paper, they are supposed to serve until 12:30 but they are required to lock up and go home by 1 o'clock, and if they serve beyond 12:15 there is no way finish cleaning up by then.

From 7 o'clock to 1 o'clock they take a break at whatever time they can, but it is difficult to get one and sometimes they can't.

Now. From 7:00 to 1:00, it is 6 hours. Even if they were able to take off ONE hour - which they never do - they still would be working FIVE hours.

They get paid for FOUR.

This is run by a non-profit Catholic Community services board. There is no way that the board doesn't realize that they are breaking the law.

The Department of Labor regulates this kind of thing. Should they be notified to investigate?

Staff says they want no trouble, that they are glad to have a job. But what they are being required to do is ILLEGAL.


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Subject: RE: BS: Dilemma: Report it or Not?
From: GUEST,mg
Date: 26 Oct 13 - 05:43 PM

I am Catholic and I can say we are not good always at cleaning up our messes or even following the law in terrible abuse situations.

I think it must be reported but not by you necessarily. They are in a pickle, which might be reduced by obamacare in that benefits can cost as much as a 20 hour per week person makes..but what they could do is hire another couple of under 20 hour people to do more of the work..it still sucks for the workers but it would be better. Now that healthcare is more affordable hopefully they could look at health benefits for all or give a stipend or something...

Could the meals on wheels be contracted out to say a local prison with health screens etc..? Some do that...or could community service people be brought in for afternoon cleanup?


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Subject: RE: BS: Dilemma: Report it or Not?
From: GUEST,Eliza
Date: 26 Oct 13 - 05:51 PM

Ebbie, is there an organisation, such as AgeUK here, which could act on an anonymous alert and initiate an enquiry? If you wished, you could inform them of the situation and leave it to them to take action without your name being mentioned. I feel very strongly that exploitation of this sort should be dealt with by the authorities. If not, people will be employed on illegal terms more and more, and their conditions will deteriorate as their employers realise they can get away with it. The illegal system in your retirement house has already meant the curtailment of your time for lunch. And there are Health and Safety issues such as not enough breaks, risks due to rushing through the work etc. I'm not telling you what to do, but I can say, if I lived there, I'd find some way of notifying the authorities anonymously to provoke an investigation. The Staff may not want to 'rock the boat' but that's exactly how these abuses are able to continue.


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Subject: RE: BS: Dilemma: Report it or Not?
From: Joe Offer
Date: 26 Oct 13 - 06:00 PM

You can call the Wage and Hour division of the U.S. Department of Labor. If you want to take a less aggressive tack, you might call the labor affairs office of the Catholic diocese. I'm sure the institution is legally independent of the diocese, but the diocese can certainly put pressure on them. Most Catholic dioceses have an office staffed by fairly staunch labor rights advocates, since advocating the rights of labor is part of Catholic Social Justice Teaching - but if they don't know about a problem, they can't do anything about it.
Most Catholic institutions that are not specifically religious in their work, are now run by lay boards of directors, and those boards are often dominated by aging male businessmen who understand nothing but profit and smoking cigars. They need to be reminded at times.

-Joe-


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Subject: RE: BS: Dilemma: Report it or Not?
From: Ebbie
Date: 26 Oct 13 - 06:10 PM

mg, this is a small town and we don't have many watchdog groups. However we ARE a governmental town and that's why I mentioned the Department of Labor. Labor regulates, investigates, enforces conditions in all aspects of employment.

Eliza, that is what I tried to get across to staff: When we don't take action out of fear we support the exploitation.

These are not high-paying jobs - except for the administrative officials (which always infuriates me)- and as I told staff yesterday, if someone is working for $10 an hour but two of one's six working hours are unpaid, you are actually working for less than $7.00 an hour.

I feel strongly about this- it is a corruption, and that is unacceptable.


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Subject: RE: BS: Dilemma: Report it or Not?
From: Joe Offer
Date: 26 Oct 13 - 06:26 PM

When I was in Fresno many years ago, I worked next door to the investigators from the Wage and Hour Division of the U.S. Department of Labor. I was always impressed by their knowledge and dedication.

You can also call the Office of Ministries in the Diocese of Juneau (if you are still in Juneau). It looks like the social justice programs are in their domain. I'd ask to speak to the guy in charge, Deacon Charles Rohrbacher, and explain your observations to him. He should be able to refer you to somebody who can help.

-Joe-


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Subject: RE: BS: Dilemma: Report it or Not?
From: Rapparee
Date: 26 Oct 13 - 10:53 PM

You can also ask not to be named. Joe Offer is right; call the Diocese.


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Subject: RE: BS: Dilemma: Report it or Not?
From: GUEST,dani
Date: 27 Oct 13 - 01:27 AM

I I understand they might not want to endanger their jobs. If AK is a right-to-work state, they could be sunk if there are outside complaints. But there may be certain protections if THEY protest, and maybe what you could do is.support them in that. Where's Mick?


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Subject: RE: BS: Dilemma: Report it or Not?
From: Ebbie
Date: 27 Oct 13 - 02:02 AM

Thanks, Joe. I know Charles; we've been casual friends for a long time. However, it is quite possible that he is on the board of the non-profit and that could be sticky.

Dani, that is part of the problem: From what I understand, the staff are NOT complaining. But that doesn't make it right. We all know about people in this country who figure that complaining will cost them more than they want to risk.

I don't think I am being a busybody. Once a person is made aware of a perpetrated injustice, there is an imperative at work. Whether they -the board- are forcing or allowing people to work under unjust conditions that the board itself set, it is exploitative, it is corruption. It is what we comfortably call 'third world.'


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Subject: RE: BS: Dilemma: Report it or Not?
From: Ebbie
Date: 27 Oct 13 - 02:06 AM

I just had an idea: I play music every week and I'm friends with our former City Attorney; he retired just this last June. I'll run it by him.


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Subject: RE: BS: Dilemma: Report it or Not?
From: Joe Offer
Date: 27 Oct 13 - 02:52 AM

I find that nonaggressive methods are best in situations like this. If you give the deacon a call, Ebbie, chances are pretty good you might find an ally.

-Joe-


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Subject: RE: BS: Dilemma: Report it or Not?
From: GUEST,dani
Date: 27 Oct 13 - 04:41 AM

I'm sure they're not, Ebbie. I know lots of people in their shoes. they're lucky to have you on the case. I'm just suggesting there might be unintended consequences if the lid is blown off without their involvement. But it sounds like you have great folks to sound out.


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Subject: RE: BS: Dilemma: Report it or Not?
From: selby
Date: 27 Oct 13 - 05:05 AM

I would suggest you approach this issue your self using your self as concerned.some thing like. I hope I am not teaching you to suck eggs. This approach has worked for my 88year old mother

I am worried I do not want to loose my home, some of our workers, appear, not sure if I am right, but I think to be working excessive hours for no pay I know of someone who's home was shut down for breaking labour laws and I like it here so much I don't want to loose mine could you have a look and put my mind at rest.
Keith


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Subject: RE: BS: Dilemma: Report it or Not?
From: GUEST,Eliza
Date: 27 Oct 13 - 06:32 AM

I wanted to add that I think it's a great shame Ebbie that you're having to worry about this situation when you're entitled to a worry-free and tranquil retirement. It's very kind of you to be concerned about the staff's working conditions. And as I said before, tacit agreement by residents and/or workers only perpetuates the abuse and exploitation. I'm the type that likes evrything above board and legitimate, I've never liked havey-cavey tacit complicity in dodgy set-ups. You'll never feel peaceful until you've done something about this!


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Subject: RE: BS: Dilemma: Report it or Not?
From: Kenny B (inactive)
Date: 27 Oct 13 - 10:59 AM

Itll be interesting to hear how you get on.
Its bad enough when employers take advantage of lowly paid non- unionised people.
The "care" industry is rife with employers who do this kind of thing and i include publicly fuded carers .
In the non care industry they just tell you that if you dont like it "Leave"
Most care employers of ALL denominations and creeds that i have experience of appeal to staff;s consciance that they are a charity and have to keep costs down.
I have had expreience of taking those kind of people on and it is not an easy road.
I wish you the best of luck and hope you get a satisfactory outcome


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Subject: RE: BS: Dilemma: Report it or Not?
From: Greg F.
Date: 27 Oct 13 - 01:38 PM

Its bad enough when employers take advantage of lowly paid non- unionised people.

An excellent reason for these workers to unionize.

Its also of interest that people who call themselves "Christians" are knowingly exploiting these people & breaking any number of laws.

Throw the book at the hypocritical SOB's.

PS: There is no such thing as a "right to work" state- that should read a "right to starve" or a "right to be exploited" state. Republicans and the 1% love 'em. & they should be legislated out of existence.


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Subject: RE: BS: Dilemma: Report it or Not?
From: EBarnacle
Date: 27 Oct 13 - 05:20 PM

Fortunately, the Fair Labor Standards Act offers a remedy. If you quietly go to your friend on the board and suggest he read the penalties section for violating the minimum wage laws he might get religion real quickly.

The violations you are citing are lack of breaks, including lunch, health violations, underpayment, etc.

In addition, it sounds as though the department of health might be interested. It is amazing how well a properly employed bureaucracy can be used.

A news reporter might come in handy to publicize that these people are going to be forced to use public assistance.

I have been a union rep and I play dirty.


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Subject: RE: BS: Dilemma: Report it or Not?
From: Greg F.
Date: 27 Oct 13 - 08:05 PM

Playing dirty?

Not at all - standing up for what is right & legal isn't playing dirty. Its being a mensch.

Probably should link this thread to the "Christian Persecution" thread- sure sounds like "Christians"[sic] persecuting other folks to me.


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Subject: RE: BS: Dilemma: Report it or Not?
From: Jack Campin
Date: 27 Oct 13 - 08:31 PM

In the UK it is quite common for this situation to occur when a local authority contracts out its care work to a church organization. The church gets PAID for it, and when they cut corners like this they're not acting any more morally than any other sleazebag private business leeching off the public purse; the only difference is that they're much better than others at guilt-tripping their staff into silence. The money that isn't going to the care workers will be going to "church funds" of some sort, which could well be the Bishop's new leather sofa or the paedophile priests' defence fund.

Shop them.


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Subject: RE: BS: Dilemma: Report it or Not?
From: Ebbie
Date: 27 Oct 13 - 09:59 PM

Well, I ran the bare bones past my friend; he promptly said: "Call the Department of Labor. Oh my," he added, "they're going to be in a world of hurt."

I'm thinking of calling Charles Rohrbacher, advising him of my intended action and seeing if he can convince me that they'll do something about it, so that I needn't call Labor.

On my wimpy, weaselly side, I confess I'm aware that I could lose my housing over this. At the least, they could make it most unpleasant for me. Worse yet, if staff lose pay through my interference I will be the one blamed.

Incidentally, since there are fewer than 25 workers they will not be required by Obamacare to provide health insurance. It is not a question of law, it is instead a refusal to provide the decent thing. I just can't believe they cut the cook to 29 hours- just short of 30. It stinks.


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Subject: RE: BS: Dilemma: Report it or Not?
From: ChanteyLass
Date: 27 Oct 13 - 10:16 PM

It does indeed stink. I hope you are able to do something that improves the workers' situation without any bad repercussions for you.


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Subject: RE: BS: Dilemma: Report it or Not?
From: Richard Bridge
Date: 28 Oct 13 - 07:26 AM

Anonymous tipoff to the right authority.


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Subject: RE: BS: Dilemma: Report it or Not?
From: GUEST,KENDALL
Date: 28 Oct 13 - 07:54 AM

Can you live with yourself if you don't report it?


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Subject: RE: BS: Dilemma: Report it or Not?
From: Greg F.
Date: 28 Oct 13 - 09:25 AM

Just gotta love them "Christians"[sic] dontcha?


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Subject: RE: BS: Dilemma: Report it or Not?
From: Bobert
Date: 28 Oct 13 - 09:27 AM

I donno???

Sometimes when you do the correct thing people get hurt...

If it is common knowledge that these people aren't being paid for work they are doing then is it possible for the residents to set up a tip-jar for the staff???

I mean, that would at least let everyone know that people are being underpaid and maybe force the church to fix things...

B~


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Subject: RE: BS: Dilemma: Report it or Not?
From: Greg F.
Date: 28 Oct 13 - 10:04 AM

I dunno, Bobert- how do you force a Christian church to behave like a Christian?

Kind like one hand clapping, ain't it?


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Subject: RE: BS: Dilemma: Report it or Not?
From: Bobert
Date: 28 Oct 13 - 10:39 AM

And to think how much dough the Catholic Church is sitting on... Hundreds of millions??? Heck, one bishop just go demoted for spending, what, $30M on redoing his mansion???

I think the tip-jar would embarrass the church into doing the correct thing...

B~


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Subject: RE: BS: Dilemma: Report it or Not?
From: Ebbie
Date: 28 Oct 13 - 12:20 PM

Bobert, I am sure that it is NOT commonly known.

There is another option I am mulling. (And No, Kendall- I'm afraid I cannot live with myself if I do nothing.)

I could write it up and take it by hand to the local office and ask to speak with the director. (I know her and she knows me, although not well.)

That option settles better in my stomach.


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Subject: RE: BS: Dilemma: Report it or Not?
From: Greg F.
Date: 28 Oct 13 - 12:39 PM

Call the news desk of the largest newspaper in the area, and report it. I'm sure they'd love the story & they're required to respect your anonymity.

Or, as several knowledgeable other folks have said, report it anonymously - which one can do- direct to the Dept. of Labor. And soon.

Reporting it to a branch of the folks that are committing the crimes will only give them a chance to cover it up & keep doing it, or do it again down the road.

This isn't a minor infraction - its felony exploitation.

Or refer it to Keith, McGrath or Bobad - I'm sure they have all the answers regarding "Christians"[sic].


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Subject: RE: BS: Dilemma: Report it or Not?
From: Ebbie
Date: 28 Oct 13 - 01:58 PM

If I take the write-up to the director, Greg F, I will have to inform her that if she tells me that it is not true, I am duty bound to ask the Dept. of Labor to do an investigation.

As for the "biggest newspaper" in our area, you don't understand. Even though it is the capital city of Alaska, we are a small, isolated community; we have just one newspaper.

And as for "anonymous" tips, as advised by several 'Catters, that isn't my style. Sorry to sound so pseudo-virtuous, but I think anonymous charges of any kind are not only counter-productive but cowardly.


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Subject: RE: BS: Dilemma: Report it or Not?
From: mg
Date: 28 Oct 13 - 04:02 PM

Wouldn't the whistle blowers act protect you if DOL is involved?

I disagree that anonymous reporting is cowardly..this is just my own personal opinion. Sometimes it is all a person can do and it is better than nothing..and sometimes the consequences can be even worse than losing housing..like extreme violence etc...if you only go to the agency authorities, you could lose housing..I would think going to DOL would give you extra protection in this regard. And why can't you ask one of us to report it anonymously?


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Subject: RE: BS: Dilemma: Report it or Not?
From: Bobert
Date: 28 Oct 13 - 04:06 PM

I agree, Eb...

If you are going to take action you should start at the bottom and work your way up if it doesn't get resolved at the level...

B~


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Subject: RE: BS: Dilemma: Report it or Not?
From: Greg F.
Date: 28 Oct 13 - 05:30 PM

I will have to inform her that if she tells me that it is not true, I am duty bound to ask the Dept. of Labor to do an investigation.

Thereby setting yourself up for a double fall: you'll get screwed over, and they will hide or mitigate the violations until you & the Dept. Labor go away, then do it all over again.

Using common sense is not "cowardice" - but its your call. Just know that your plan will likely come back to bite you and the employees in the rear end. Hard.

Locally, I suspect that the Juneau Empire, Capital City Weekly, and KTOO would be interested in the story. Then there's Anchorage- the situation has more than local interest/ramifications..


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Subject: RE: BS: Dilemma: Report it or Not?
From: GUEST,Stim
Date: 28 Oct 13 - 06:14 PM

Not to discourage you, but you are not setting out on an easy road. This is not a isolated problem. Non-profit, charitable organizations that provide essential services for marginal populations are getting less and less money to do the same work, or, more likely, an increasing amount of work.

From what you describe, someone, or likely a board or committee, has gone through operating expenses with a fine tooth comb and cut costs to the bare bone. You'll likely discover that many of the situations that trouble you are legal by a technicality, and perhaps there have even been special exemptions granted.

If you speak to the director, you will likely be told that they would gladly pay more if they could, and that everyone is making sacrifices just to keep the facility running. Someone will likely look you straight in the eye and ask, "Would you rather we close down?"

Look around at programs that provide essential services for marginal populations, whether run by non-profit charitable organizations or various gov't authorities, and you'll find lots of people doing jobs above their pay grade, lots of paid employees working unpaid hours,and a lot of "volunteers" who receive benefits of one kind or another, and are required by law to work(and if you do the math, the work/benefits ratio comes out well below minimum wage).

Blame it on the fact that we've been at war for 12 years. Blame it on the fact that there is a powerful lobby that wants gov't spending cut, no matter what the social costs. Blame it on the fact that economic policy encourages inflation. Blame it on the fact that no one says anything when Wall Street traders start off at $250,000 a year, and can get $5 million in annual bonuses, but complain when unemployed workers get $200 a month in food stamps.

Don't get me wrong, I'm with you on this, but I think it's going to take a lot more than a phone call to solve the problem.


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Subject: RE: BS: Dilemma: Report it or Not?
From: Bill D
Date: 28 Oct 13 - 07:30 PM

Have you talked... even in a subtle way... to the workers involved? How are they feeling? Would they welcome an exposure of the situation, or be afraid of losing even more?
Not an easy problem.....

My tendency would be to try some sort of anonymous report first... to see if some 'neutral' investigation would help.


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Subject: RE: BS: Dilemma: Report it or Not?
From: Joe Offer
Date: 29 Oct 13 - 03:33 AM

Stim, thanks for adding some sense. Seems to me that a conciliatory approach is the best move - not confrontation. Most people try to do the right thing. When there's a problem, it's best to try to understand all sides of the issue. It's the only way to come to a constructive resolution.

-Joe-


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Subject: RE: BS: Dilemma: Report it or Not?
From: Greg F.
Date: 29 Oct 13 - 09:32 AM

Most people try to do the right thing.

But apparently not these people, Joe - as was stated above in the initial post b Ebbie:

There is no way that the board doesn't realize that they are breaking the law.

Would seem that a "conciliatory approach" is and has been dead in the water for some time, eh?

Time to bring in the Department of Labor on these "Christians"[sic].


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Subject: RE: BS: Dilemma: Report it or Not?
From: bobad
Date: 29 Oct 13 - 09:55 AM

"Or refer it to Keith, McGrath or Bobad - I'm sure they have all the answers regarding "Christians"[sic]."

Hey Greg, I'm not a Christian but thanks for thinking of me anyway. I just enjoy exposing those who are in denial and unwilling to acknowledge reality because they have their personal axes to grind.


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Subject: RE: BS: Dilemma: Report it or Not?
From: Rapparee
Date: 29 Oct 13 - 10:17 AM

Ebbie, please report it to the DOL as an anonymous tip.

Doing it otherwise could lead to reprisals against you and I do NOT want to see you sitting on the curb during a Juneau winter (yes, yes, I know, Juneau isn't as bad as Eagle or Chicken or Fairbanks).

But this could also cut a LOT deeper than you think. A non-profit here found itself $260,000 short by the (ex-)manager and another $127,000 by her husband (who wasn't connected to the non-profit except by marriage). Trained, outside, people MUST come in and check this out.

There is money here and where there is money there is temptation.

Please...for the sake of the other residents, of the workers, and for the sake of those who contributed to make this place happen and work. And yes, for your own.


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Subject: RE: BS: Dilemma: Report it or Not?
From: Greg F.
Date: 29 Oct 13 - 10:32 AM

I just enjoy exposing those who are in denial and unwilling to acknowledge reality because they have their personal axes to grind.

So you're saying that you enjoy exposing yourself.

Have you ever been arrested for it?


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Subject: RE: BS: Dilemma: Report it or Not?
From: GUEST,olddude
Date: 29 Oct 13 - 10:47 AM

I am with Bobster, from experience no good deed goes unpunished. It always seems to come back to bite ya ..

I would let it be


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Subject: RE: BS: Dilemma: Report it or Not?
From: GUEST,Dani
Date: 29 Oct 13 - 08:32 PM

Second the concern for you, Dear One... AND for the workers.

There's a wonderful book co-by Marcia Owen, who works with restorative justice and re-entry, that explores the concepts of 'being for' , 'being with' and 'working for' and 'working with' people in need, for whatever reason.

If you go around/above those folks, there will be consequences that cannot be foreseen, and I strongly encourage an approach that includes dialogue among all parties.

Dani


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Subject: RE: BS: Dilemma: Report it or Not?
From: McGrath of Harlow
Date: 29 Oct 13 - 11:25 PM

This kind of exploitation is very prevalent in the UK too in what is, rather disgustingly, now referred to as "the care industry", both in residential set ups and where people are living in their own homes with care workers coming in.   

Laws about minimum standards for workers always seem to have loopholes built in, I suspect intentionally enough, and even when the rules are being flouted, to cut costs in order to maximise profits, or even to enable providers to get contracts from public agencies , those responsible for marking sure tge rules are being kepto are liable to turn a blind eye often enough.

The suggestion that church linked enterprises are particularly liable to act in this way is specious. It can be a pretty profitable racket, and there are plenty of purely secular sharks around, though anyone who thought that an officially Christian (or Jewish or Muslim for that matter) ethos means the risk isn't there would be very naive. At least with a religious based operation there are additional ways of attacking the problem, rather than just trying to get the public authorities to step up.

None of this helps with Ebbie's dilemma. The basic problem appears to be that the workers involved, no doubt fearful for their jobs, are keeping their head down, and would very likely not be happy about the issue being raised. And as a resiident she must feel vvery vulnerable.

Is there some kind of outside voluntary organisation which might be able to take up the issue, without idetifying Ebbie as the person bringing it to their attention?


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Subject: RE: BS: Dilemma: Report it or Not?
From: Ebbie
Date: 30 Oct 13 - 01:46 AM

Well. Tonight I brought up the issue with a friend who is General Manager of a local hotel. He has disheartening information. He says in his experience Labor CAN'T do anything unless a complaint is made by one of the workers.

He had the situation last summer where one of his part time workers also had a part time job at another business, and that it was evident that the other place was ripping him off. My friend called in Labor and was told the same thing he told me tonight: that unless the worker complained, the rep could do nothing.

The worker said, No, no, no. I don't want to lose my job.


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Subject: RE: BS: Dilemma: Report it or Not?
From: GUEST,Stim
Date: 30 Oct 13 - 02:33 AM

I suppose we can forgive the folks from across the pond for not knowing that the Meals-on-Wheels program that employs Ebbie's kitchen staff is a Federally funded program that had it's budget chopped by the Sequestration, but the rest of you should have known that. It was, as they say, in all the papers.

As for you, Ebbie, if we do the math, we see that they get paid for four hours, from seven to eleven, when they prepare the MOW food,and they don't get paid for the time they spend feeding you (and I am guessing that you are getting MOW food,and probably not paying much for it). So to be fair to the kitchen folks, would you like to start paying more for you meals? Or would you like to go without your meals so that they don't have to work those unpaid hours anymore?


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Subject: RE: BS: Dilemma: Report it or Not?
From: Joe Offer
Date: 30 Oct 13 - 05:35 AM

I think it's admirable that Ebbie is concerned about the welfare of the people working where she lives. In thirty years as a government investigator, I learned that an aggressive approach rarely works, despite the certainty expressed by Greg F. It's best to ask questions and try to learn things - because in answering the questions, people figure out that they'd better be doing things in a way that allows them to give the right answers. I gave Ebbie a lead to the name and phone number of a deacon who should be aware of the situation she is concerned about, even though he is not directly involved. He should be a nice, safe place to start. All it takes is a phone call, Ebbie.

But if you try to do battle, people will get hurt. Better to use a conciliatory approach.

-Joe-


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Subject: RE: BS: Dilemma: Report it or Not?
From: Greg F.
Date: 30 Oct 13 - 10:24 AM

Time will tell, Joe. Or not.


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Subject: RE: BS: Dilemma: Report it or Not?
From: Ebbie
Date: 30 Oct 13 - 10:26 AM

"As for you, Ebbie, if we do the math, we see that they get paid for four hours, from seven to eleven, when they prepare the MOW food,and they don't get paid for the time they spend feeding you (and I am guessing that you are getting MOW food,and probably not paying much for it). So to be fair to the kitchen folks, would you like to start paying more for you meals? Or would you like to go without your meals so that they don't have to work those unpaid hours anymore?" Guest/Stim

You are making a number of faulty assumptions, Stim.

* No, I do not get MOW (? Meals on Wheels?). I am not frail.
I don't know what or if people who do get it pay for it. I am glad there is such a program.

* I have eaten in the dining hall perhaps five times since I have lived here. I always pay.

* * Mostly, I object to the snarkiness of your last sentence.


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Subject: RE: BS: Dilemma: Report it or Not?
From: Richard Bridge
Date: 30 Oct 13 - 12:18 PM

For heaven's sake, Ebbie. Do NOT identify yourself. You will be victimised. My silly and now dead father twice reported illegal cartels and twice got in effect run out of town. There are only two safe ways to do this. An anonymous report to the department with oversight, or an anonymous report to a campaigning news vehicle.

Are there any social conscience bloggers near you? If you have a techsavvy friend they could use an internet proxy (eg Hidemyass) to post something on such a blog and see if it grew.

Or set up a pseudonym using a disposable email address and a proxy on twitter and tweet it to a suitable place.


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Subject: RE: BS: Dilemma: Report it or Not?
From: Ebbie
Date: 30 Oct 13 - 05:13 PM

If I thought it would do any good, I *would* identify myself. However, NOT if the consensus is that the outcome of whistle blowing will be zip.

So I probably won't do *anything*. (You don't know how that pains me.)


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Subject: RE: BS: Dilemma: Report it or Not?
From: GUEST,Stim
Date: 30 Oct 13 - 09:34 PM

Sorry if I was snarky, I was just trying to personalize the possible outcomes a little, along the lines that either people would go without meals or the the price of the meals would have to be raised. I can get a bit caught up in things sometimes;-)

You may not realize it, but you have already done something--you've named the organization, and you've spelled out your issues so that anyone that cares to can follow them up.

If you have real concern about this, I think that *you* should make follow them up. Remember that there is Federal funding involved here, and that organizations that deliver programs that receive any amount of Federal funding can lose it if they violate Federal regulations. Also remember that the finances of non-profits and charities are a matter of public record, you wouldn't be out of line asking the executive director of the organization to explain what the arrangements there are--people do it all the time, particularly funders and prospective funders.

I think that the situation is unfortunate, but it's probably all hedged in such a way that nothing is actionable. But if you have real concerns, you should make some polite inquiries. It won't hurt you, and as Joe says, "It's best to ask questions and try to learn things - because in answering the questions, people figure out that they'd better be doing things in a way that allows them to give the right answers."


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Subject: RE: BS: Dilemma: Report it or Not?
From: Rapparee
Date: 30 Oct 13 - 09:54 PM

It also seems to be connected to a religion, and THAT makes a great difference as well. Religious affiliated institutions can fall under a different set of rules, and if you doubt THAT you haven't been following recent Supreme Court decisions.


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Subject: RE: BS: Dilemma: Report it or Not?
From: GUEST,Dani
Date: 30 Oct 13 - 10:02 PM

(with sword in hand)

Ebbie, i never meant to suggest that you do nothing, only that you be thoughtful, take your time, and consider unintended consequences. All of which you are doing, because you are already a caring, compassionate human, and because you are here discussing : )

I think there's time and space for a conversation with your neighbors, and with the people who work there.

Dani


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Subject: RE: BS: Dilemma: Report it or Not?
From: Greg F.
Date: 31 Oct 13 - 09:34 AM

"Bad men need nothing more to compass their ends, than that good men should look on and do nothing."

- John Stuart Mill


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