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Letters

January 5, 2006



Paycheck pinch puts workers at risk of homelessness

In response to the Nov. 7 article, "Workers face paycheck pinch": I felt compelled to add my personal experience to the information provided.

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I am a program coordinator for a homeless prevention program that serves residents of King County (the county of Seattle). It is a fact that the clients we serve with financial assistance to prevent housing loss are in financial distress because wages are not keeping pace with the cost of living.

Employment is the No. 1 source of income for the households I serve. The new jobs being created do not pay a living wage.

The tax cuts favored by conservatives do not translate into better wages or benefits. They mean profits for the company and increased earnings for top management. It doesn't trickle down to frontline workers.

I am not against capitalism. I am against a capitalism that encourages companies to reap huge profits at the expense of their workers.

Unions wouldn't have been needed if industry paid its workers a living wage - paid employees equally regardless of gender or race, and ensured a safe work environment. But sadly, it is not always the practice in America's version of capitalism to do so.
Donna Dziak
Program Coordinator, Housing Stability Project, Fremont Public Association
Seattle

NFL should reform its hiring process

Regarding the Dec. 30 article, "Black coaches break pro football's last color barrier": The spirit of the National Football League minority hiring process is aimed in the right direction, but its framework is flawed.

The current NFL minority hiring program is set up as both a conventional diversity program and a conventional executive search. This framework is not likely to be effective for hiring within the professional coaching ranks because the process vacillates between different job hiring systems. It is also ineffective because, when a search commences, the coaching candidates are often well known to those doing the hiring. I think these and other common hiring mistakes are what contribute to the supposed scarcity of minority coaches in the NFL.

Additionally, the NFL policy of interviewing at least one minority candidate during a search is inadequate because teams could disingenuously interview a minority candidate simply to follow policy and appease critics.

In renovating NFL hiring policy, a first step is to stop referring to particular subjects as "black coaches." This labeling segregates individuals from being a coach first and foremost. While the race facet of the discussion is pertinent, such a tag serves to classify these coaches in a manner that may be detrimental to their ambition. Another step in advancing coaches who are black through the coaching ranks includes further consideration about the lucrative and high-profile nature of contemporary sports: Former players may not be inclined to seek positions in coaching.

Sports trends have always taken time to catch up with trends in society. The NFL is experiencing what corporate America has experienced over the past half-century; it is only over the last half of that time span that African-Americans and other minorities have become an increasingly visible presence in executive positions. But, the NFL is doing a better job, percentage-wise, of hiring minorities for executive-level positions than are American businesses on the whole.
Lee H. Igel
Visiting assistant professor, sports management program, New York University
New York

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