American sacking culture

Heliotrope
Posts: 686
Joined: Sun May 13, 2018 1:48 am

Re: American sacking culture

Post by Heliotrope »

nathan61 wrote:
> Should I try to base my opinions of American labor norms on who I hang out
> with, or the data? The USA consistently ranks near the bottom among
> developed nations in terms of union membership. Unions have thrived
> elsewhere, and done nothing but decline in the USA.

Around 70 percent of US public school teachers participate in a union or employees' association, according to federal data from two years ago, although it steadily declining. That's still high though, compared to a number of Western European countries.
It's quite diverse in Europe actually: there are countries where that percentage is a lot lower (Netherlands at 43% for example), or higher (UK at 97%).
To say unions are thriving in Europe is not backed up by numbers, as in Europe the union membership is dwindling as well, with the exception of small number of countries and sectors.
Your data might be skewed because you're looking at union membership overall (at 10% in the US overall I think, but indeed a lot higher in Europe), and not specifically at the education sector.

But regardless, I'd say you should just hang out with people you like. That has always worked out well for me at least.

wrldtrvlr123
Posts: 1161
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Location: Japan

Re: American sacking culture

Post by wrldtrvlr123 »

nathan61 wrote:
> Should I try to base my opinions of American labor norms on who I hang out with,
> or the data?
==================
Sure. Show me the data that demonstrates that most Americans consider strong labor rights to be 'socialist'.

Here is some data for you, since you seem to be an expert on how most Americans feel about things:
https://news.gallup.com/poll/241679/lab ... -high.aspx

nathan61
Posts: 73
Joined: Tue Nov 05, 2013 11:08 pm

Re: American sacking culture

Post by nathan61 »

wrldtrvlr123 wrote:
> nathan61 wrote:
> > Should I try to base my opinions of American labor norms on who I hang out with,
> > or the data?
> ==================
> Sure. Show me the data that demonstrates that most Americans consider strong labor
> rights to be 'socialist'.
>
> Here is some data for you, since you seem to be an expert on how most Americans feel
> about things:
> https://news.gallup.com/poll/241679/lab ... -high.aspx

Wow, snarky. Calm down with the sarcastic remarks about me, and talk about the issues.

I'll stand corrected if the USA is actually a bastion of workers rights among developed nations. Teaching may be one of the most unionized professions, but that little corner doesn't necessarily drive broad sentiment about workers rights among Americans. Lots of at will employees in the USA, who can be terminated without reason. In Europe you are going to need a reason to terminate an employee. This is pertinent because Americans take it for granted that they can hire and fire fairly easily, while Europeans take it for granted that it is very difficult to terminate an employee. This obviously drives what people consider normal behavior as a school director.

As for unions, over the last 5 years there has been a lot of publicity around the decline of unions and workers rights. And look at the democratically elected president is the USA. Famous for saying "your fired!" on the apprentice.

https://www.theguardian.com/commentisfr ... ty-problem

https://qz.com/1542019/union-membership ... here-else/

wrldtrvlr123
Posts: 1161
Joined: Sat Feb 06, 2010 10:59 am
Location: Japan

Re: American sacking culture

Post by wrldtrvlr123 »

nathan61 wrote:
> wrldtrvlr123 wrote:
> > nathan61 wrote:
> > > Should I try to base my opinions of American labor norms on who I hang out with,
> > > or the data?
> > ==================
> > Sure. Show me the data that demonstrates that most Americans consider strong labor
> > rights to be 'socialist'.
> >
> > Here is some data for you, since you seem to be an expert on how most Americans
> feel
> > about things:
> > https://news.gallup.com/poll/241679/lab ... -high.aspx
>
> Wow, snarky. Calm down with the sarcastic remarks about me, and talk about the issues.
>
>
> I'll stand corrected if the USA is actually a bastion of workers rights among developed
> nations. Teaching may be one of the most unionized professions, but that little
> corner doesn't necessarily drive broad sentiment about workers rights among Americans.
> Lots of at will employees in the USA, who can be terminated without reason. In
> Europe you are going to need a reason to terminate an employee. This is pertinent
> because Americans take it for granted that they can hire and fire fairly easily,
> while Europeans take it for granted that it is very difficult to terminate an employee.
> This obviously drives what people consider normal behavior as a school director.
>
> As for unions, over the last 5 years there has been a lot of publicity around the
> decline of unions and workers rights. And look at the democratically elected president
> is the USA. Famous for saying "your fired!" on the apprentice.
>
> https://www.theguardian.com/commentisfr ... ty-problem
>
> https://qz.com/1542019/union-membership ... here-else/
====================
Well, when you make very sweeping generalizations about other people(s) and then feel the need to throw in 'Merican, you are making it about more then just the issues.

So, are you going to offer any actual data about your original statement (Most Americans view European style labor rights with disdain and consider this 'socialist') or will you have the courtesy to walk it back (or at least claim you were misquoted, taken out of context)?

Actual membership in unions, one political .'s anti-union agenda, our idiot president being elected by a minority of Americans, etc. are not data points that support your statement.

nathan61
Posts: 73
Joined: Tue Nov 05, 2013 11:08 pm

Re: American sacking culture

Post by nathan61 »

When talking about something as broad as American culture you have to make generalizations. That doesn't mean it isn't worth talking about. The US ranks shockingly low in terms of workers rights.

https://www.ituc-csi.org/new-ituc-globa ... -index-the

Calling it a political problem ignores the reality that slavery, strike breaking, the glory of the corporation as an individual, the idea of the US being very meritocratic, are all part of the cultural heritage. Us is a democracy, so on some level this is happening because Americans are OK with it. This is part of American culture, just like it is part of French culture to celebrate workers rights. France is on a nationwide strike over some changed retirement laws. Can you imagine a nationwide strike in the US? I can't. Cultural differences matter.

The president elect is a symptom, and a very relevant data point. I am skeptical of that Gallup pole because it merely shows a recent uptick in pro worker sentiment as reported in a poll, and nothing more profound When it comes down to it, it is easy for American companies to hire and fire people. So Americans are conditioned to people being hire and fired, so are more amenable to it.

This is just my opinion and oversimplification, and I will change my views as soon as Americans rally around livable wages, taking care of workers etc.

wrldtrvlr123
Posts: 1161
Joined: Sat Feb 06, 2010 10:59 am
Location: Japan

Re: American sacking culture

Post by wrldtrvlr123 »

nathan61 wrote:
> When talking about something as broad as American culture you have to make generalizations.
> That doesn't mean it isn't worth talking about. The US ranks shockingly low in
> terms of workers rights.
>
> https://www.ituc-csi.org/new-ituc-globa ... -index-the
>
> Calling it a political problem ignores the reality that slavery, strike breaking,
> the glory of the corporation as an individual, the idea of the US being very meritocratic,
> are all part of the cultural heritage. Us is a democracy, so on some level this
> is happening because Americans are OK with it. This is part of American culture,
> just like it is part of French culture to celebrate workers rights. France is on
> a nationwide strike over some changed retirement laws. Can you imagine a nationwide
> strike in the US? I can't. Cultural differences matter.
>
> The president elect is a symptom, and a very relevant data point. I am skeptical
> of that Gallup pole because it merely shows a recent uptick in pro worker sentiment
> as reported in a poll, and nothing more profound When it comes down to it, it is
> easy for American companies to hire and fire people. So Americans are conditioned
> to people being hire and fired, so are more amenable to it.
>
> This is just my opinion and oversimplification, and I will change my views as soon
> as Americans rally around livable wages, taking care of workers etc.
===============
So, in other words, no data and no walk back of your now clearly erroneous pronouncement about how "Most Americans view European style labor rights with disdain and consider this 'socialist'".

We already have one poster who makes confident pronouncements/over-generalizations without providing data. It's kind of his thing and you really shouldn't steal it.

To be fair, you did at least attempt to provide some data. It just did not address/support your very confidently stated pronouncement. You are certainly welcome to your opinions and welcome to state them. You should refrain though from stating what other peoples' opinions are without evidence to back it up. I'm out.

nathan61
Posts: 73
Joined: Tue Nov 05, 2013 11:08 pm

Re: American sacking culture

Post by nathan61 »

"Most Americans view European style labor rights with disdain and consider this 'socialist""

Well, you really latched onto this statement, which is a bit hyperbolic (was meant to stir things a little on a forum). Honestly I thought it was obvious that this is unprovable because "European style labor rights" is not even a discrete thing. But the gist is true, in that even progressive Americans are free market liberals. Americans are not demanding rights like employment for life (like they have in France). If you did a poll in the USA asking "do you support European style labor rights" would 50% come out in favor?

Big influences of sacking culture:

"Children and education are far too important, and we can't let bad teachers ruin schools, and therefore these children's future. The school's obligation is to the children (and therefore their parents)" This is a view I think many would agree with. More the American mindset I'll argue. (Schools exist solely to maximize children's education)

Another view among French schools is "The school exists not just for the children, but for the community, including the people creating and sustaining the school. The schools obligations are to the teachers as well as to the children." More socialist view and one that I think Americans are not prone to agreeing with. (Maximizing educational value is not everything)

Now off to find my MAGA cap. One of the big drawbacks of living overseas and not in 'Merica is that it is heard to come by a good MAGA cap. I have to have them silkscreened myself, and mesh caps are hard to come by. First world problems.

Heliotrope
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Joined: Sun May 13, 2018 1:48 am

Re: American sacking culture

Post by Heliotrope »

In France there is no 'right to employment for life'.

Also, there are no 'European style labor rights'. There are huge differences between countries, and if you explain how some of the European countries deal with employee and employer rights in detail in a non-biased way, perhaps even without mentioning which country you're describing, I think you'll find a lot of Americans wouldn't oppose them nearly as much as they would if you just shout a blanket 'European labor rights' at them, and many would prefer some of these to the American system.

Also, even in France, at schools the education of the children comes first, before anything else. Whatever role the community plays in the school (I think you're overestimating this btw) it does not take away from the quality of education provided to the children, and might even add to it.
If you look at the PISA scores, you'll see that France performs better than the US, and the rest of Western Europe does even better. Actually, ALL Western European countries beat the US.
So I guess 'Europe' is better at 'maximizing educational value', just as they are in healthcare, and a whole other bunch of things. So I'm all for making America great again, and let's have an unbiased look at how other countries do things better and learn from that.
Having a few top universities doesn't make the US education system better than that of other countries.

Having a few top universities doesn't make the US education system better than that of other countries.

I've always liked this clip from The Newsroom: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wTjMqda19wk
Food for thought.

nathan61
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Joined: Tue Nov 05, 2013 11:08 pm

Re: American sacking culture

Post by nathan61 »

Heliotrope:

Employment for life is expat slang for the French jobs in the public and even private sector that cannot simply be taken away.

https://www.economist.com/certain-ideas ... s-for-life

I see more common ground than differences, but the quintessential American idea of unfettered capitalism, and the individual building some grand enterprise in spite of terrible and irrational government regulation is very much a part of American culture. American schools operate in a very free market way, with many directors gleefully recreating the schools in their vision, and celebrating the lack of regulation. Directors are literally rewriting vision statements to fit their desires. I personally think this flexible approach and lack of entrenchment has many benefits, but it certainly influences what the OP complained is a "sacking culture" in American schools.

Heliotrope
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Re: American sacking culture

Post by Heliotrope »

A job that can't be taken away instantly without just cause is hardly employment for life.
Not slang I've ever heard before btw, and Googling it didn't help finding much (except your paywall article from 2007).

And if you look at the procedure for firing someone in France, it sounds very fair to be honest. An employer must request a meeting in writing with the employee in question, and the employee has the right to have a co-worker or union rep present during the meeting. The dismissal itself must be executed with a written document which explains precisely the legal reasons for the firing. If you are fired, you are entitled to severance pay, payment of time worked until your last day worked and any due holiday pay. Nothing 'for life', just fair treatment.

The American Schools on the international circuit are not very different from the other ones with respect to being fired (not renewed) at will or not, as illustrated by a lot of the replies here, as well as by my own experience.
And I think most Americans would welcome some more job security.

nathan61
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Joined: Tue Nov 05, 2013 11:08 pm

Re: American sacking culture

Post by nathan61 »

If the Economist isn't a good enough reference to show I did not make up the term employment for life then I don't know what you need. But that is beside the point of the post. It is very difficult to terminate employment in France, and in many former French colonies. Anybody who has spent time living in France would be aware of this. Negotiating a settlement where both the employee and employer want to end the agreement can often take a year. The devil is in the details, and the amount of severance pay is what matters.

Really this is all beside the point, because I merely used France to illustrate that the US has very different norms in terms of labor. Companies have relative flexibility in hiring and firing, and we have a culture of changing jobs often in the USA.

Heliotrope
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Re: American sacking culture

Post by Heliotrope »

nathan61 wrote:
> If the Economist isn't a good enough reference to show I did not make up
> the term employment for life then I don't know what you need.

I never said you made it up, and I referenced the article so obviously I know it was used there. All I said was that it's not jargon often used by expats like you said it was.


> Really this is all beside the point, because I merely used France to
> illustrate that the US has very different norms in terms of labor.
> Companies have relative flexibility in hiring and firing, and we have a
> culture of changing jobs often in the USA.

Then just say that. All @wrldtrvlr123 and I were doing is pointing out factual inaccuracies in your replies that undercut some of the points you were trying to make, so not really besides the point.
And it seems from this thread that American schools/Heads aren't very different than Heads of other nationalities on the international circuit.

nathan61
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Joined: Tue Nov 05, 2013 11:08 pm

Re: American sacking culture

Post by nathan61 »

I am pointing out strong cultural differences, and saying that culture matters. American schools heads and their schools operate with influences of American cultural norms around how Americans run business, conceive of schools, and run institutions. It seems like you are saying American school heads don't show up with any cultural baggage. This would be the case if American school heads are not very different from heads of other nationalities on the international circuit.

Heliotrope
Posts: 686
Joined: Sun May 13, 2018 1:48 am

Re: American sacking culture

Post by Heliotrope »

In regards to their eagerness to fire at will, there seems to be very little difference with for example British Heads.
I'm sure in other respects there are some differences, but we're talking here about the alleged American sacking culture, which does not seem to be present at more ISs lead be an American than ISs lead by Heads of a different nationality, going by the replies in this thread, and by my own experiences.

Illiane_Blues
Posts: 201
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Re: American sacking culture

Post by Illiane_Blues »

The only time I've encountered a Head that was way too eager to fire and it was a British Head.
I do think he thought he as getting rid of bad teachers and thus improving the school but he only observed teachers once and he fired a few teachers that were amongst the best at the school.
Many years later when I applied to a school I found out that he would be the school's new Head, which made me cancel my second interview and look elsewhere.
I've worked at American schools, at British schools, and at regular (?) international schools. I have never noticed a big difference in how and why teachers were fired. The biggest differences were the nationality of the teachers, the sports played and that British schools require more prep.

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