The Roundup will be brought to you in July and August by the new Work and Family Researchers Network (WFRN), an international membership organization for interdisciplinary work and family academics. The WFRN welcomes the participation of policy makers and practitioners as it seeks to promote knowledge and understanding of work and family issues among the community of global stakeholders. The Roundup is a compilation of the latest news articles, reports and other materials related to workplace flexibility delivered to your inbox on Monday and Thursday. In the fall, the WFRN will launch its new website which will include a News Feed among other features. We hope that you will get involved as a member and by posting the latest news. Questions?

December 15, 2009


Women Reshape Union Agenda

David Shadovitz • Human Resource Executive Online • December 15, 2009

“If the past 25 years are any indication of what lies ahead, women should soon represent the majority of the nation’s union workers.  A recent report from the Center for Economic and Policy Research in Washington found that women made up 45 percent of union membership in 2008, up from 35 percent in 1983. Should that rate continue at its current rate, women will represent the majority of union workers by 2020, according to CEPR researchers.  Already, the demographic shift is having a profound effect on union agendas, experts say, and employers should expect that to hasten as women become an even larger portion of union membership.”

Poll Reveals Trauma of Joblessness in U.S.

Michael Luo and Megan Thee-Brenan • New York Times • December 14, 2009

“Joblessness has wreaked financial and emotional havoc on the lives of many of those out of work, according to a New York Times/CBS News poll of unemployed adults, causing major life changes, mental health issues and trouble maintaining even basic necessities.  The results of the poll, which surveyed 708 unemployed adults from Dec. 5 to Dec. 10 and has a margin of sampling error of plus or minus four percentage points, help to lay bare the depth of the trauma experienced by millions across the country who are out of work as the jobless rate hovers at 10 percent and, in particular, as the ranks of the long-term unemployed soar.”

Improving Working Conditions at Home and Abroad

Host Diane Rehm, Guest Jody Heymann • Diane Rehm Show • December 14, 2009

“American workers are short-changed on vacation days, sick leave and benefits compared to their counterparts in other nations. The case for improving work life in the U.S. and around the world.”

Our Graying Work Force

Frederick Malo • Pioneer Press, MN • December 14, 2009

“With many older workers looking to hold onto their jobs during tough economic times or joining unemployment lines after being laid off, the outlook for companies is complicated. How best to tap their experience? And what, if any, accommodations will a worker need as he or she approaches, say, age 70?”

Not empty-nesters for long: Economy forcing more young adults to move back in with Mom, Dad

Jessica Meyers • Dallas Morning News • December 13, 2009

“Almost one in seven parents say grown children have moved back in with them this year because of the economy, according to a new report by the Pew Research Center. The migration – decades old but highlighted by the economic downturn – breeds a new kind of parent-child dynamic, sometimes more harmful than healthy. Filial dependency, stunted maturity and even siphoned savings can outweigh the benefits of renewed family bonds.”

Kristin Rowe-Finkbeiner mobilizes moms to fight for rights

Claudia Rowe • Seattle Times • December 13, 2009

“A CROWD HAS gathered expectantly on a hot summer afternoon in Seattle’s Pratt Park. Kristin Rowe-Finkbeiner is standing off to the side, her hair freshly styled, a crumpled sheaf of handwritten notes in her hand. In a few moments she will take the stage, standing before several thousand union workers and physicians, seasoned activists and curious onlookers, all of whom are eager to march for health-care reform.  It’s a far cry from the kitchen table in Kirkland where Rowe-Finkbeiner, 40, first began to type out her ideas asserting that America’s family policies are backward. Now 3,500 people are amassed before her, some who have traveled across the state, applauding as the mother of two shouts into the microphone that, compared with toilet-training a 2-year-old, taking on insurance-industry lobbyists is no big deal.”

Life Chronicles: Striking a balance between work, life

Roberta McCulloch-Dews • Star-Gazette, NY • December 13, 2009

“I’ll now have a little more free time in my schedule. I must say this back-to-school experience has been quite a balancing act. When I tell folks that I’m in school, they usually make a statement like, ‘Wow, I don’t know how you do it with two small children.’  Well, let me just say that I’ve never really had a concrete answer to give them as to ‘how’ I do it because there is no perfect formula. Anyone who’s ever juggled school, work and family understands this well. The system I devised was one that was birthed out of necessity after I found myself extremely frustrated and a bit overwhelmed trying to juggle my responsibilities as a graduate student, a wife, a mother and a freelance writer and copyright researcher.”

Making Flex Time a Win-Win

Sylvia Ann Hewlett • New York Times • December 12, 2009

“Longer workweeks and the disappearance of flex time have been particularly tough on women. Men have been disproportionately clobbered by layoffs in the current crisis, and women have had no choice but to pick up the slack.  From 2004 to 2009 there was a 28 percent increase in the number of professional women with nonworking husbands (unemployed or retired), according to a new survey done by the Center for Work-Life Policy, an organization I founded and where I lead a private-sector task force called Hidden Brain Drain.  What is more, the percentage of full-time working women who out-earn their husbands has reached 39 percent. A central problem, of course, is that as more wives and mothers step into the prime breadwinning role, they continue to shoulder a disproportionate load of domestic responsibility.”


Scheduling Hourly Workers in A Just in Time World: Can Employees and Employer Sync the Clock?

• Center for Law and Social Policy (CLASP) • December 14, 2009

From CLASP’s website: “This audioconference provides the latest research on how employers with low wage workers are addressing this issue and hear first-hand how Costco approaches scheduling of workers.”


Working Mother Top Companies List: The Success Stories in Big Law

Liz O'Donnell • Glass Hammer • December 15, 2009

“Four law firms made the Working Mother magazine Top 100 companies this year. Considering the legal profession’s reputation, this is encouraging news.  Washington, D.C.-based Arnold & Porter is on the list for the tenth time, and the sixth consecutive year. Says Managing Partner, Richard M. Alexander, ‘Working mothers are a vital part of our work force. Our goal is to have programs and benefits in place to enable them to balance their professional life with the needs of raising a family.’”

Trade-Offs When Mom's the Primary Breadwinner

John J. Edwards III • Wall Street Journal - The Juggle • December 14, 2009

“With nearly a third of American households having a sole or primary female breadwinner, the issues those families face are far from a niche matter. But how do the women, in particular, feel about occupying what’s still seen as an unusual role?  A recent study from the University of Missouri tries to answer that question. Rebecca Meisenbach, an assistant professor of communication, conducted close interviews and follow-ups with 15 women who were their families’ main earners and published her findings in the journal Sex Roles.”

Juggling work, life, and three kids - by bike

Alaya Wyndham-Price • • December 14, 2009

This is the story of how they became a biking family.  The couple began easing into bike commuting about two and a half years ago, after Hau decided to participate in the Low-Car Diet by giving up the keys to the family car for two weeks while Joe was on a business trip. At the time, it meant balancing the schedule of her two older sons, her job, and doing regular errands by bike.”

Who's Taking Care of Your Mother?

Nancy Folbre • New York Times - Economix • December 14, 2009

“Who’s taking care of your mother? And who’s going to take care of you when you fall ill, break your hip or are diagnosed with dementia?  Amid the noisy policy debates about health care and long-term-care insurance we sometimes forget what an important role family and friends play in our larger elder-care economy.  Just imagine what would happen if they changed their minds, and decided not to take care of us, after all.”

Global News

Timico launches 'Meet Me Now' service

Jan Harris • The Telecom, UK • December 15, 2009

“Timico, an independent B2B internet service provider, announced the launch of its Meet Me Now web conferencing and collaboration service at its annual business partner conference held at the Leicester Tigers rugby ground stadium.  IP collaboration tools such as document sharing, voice and video conferencing are proving to be the perfect solution for many businesses seeking more flexible approaches to how, when and where their employees work.  Timico’s Meet Me Now conferencing and collaboration service allows business professionals to host an online meeting, share presentations or work on documents with others, from any location with an internet connection.”

Home truths on boomerang boys

Ryan Shorthouse • Guardian • December 15, 2009

“But why has this trend affected men more than women? ‘A generation of mummy’s boys’, the papers headlined. Some claim living at home is not just an economic necessity but often a lifestyle choice for men, put off from doing the cooking and cleaning, whereas women prefer to go it alone. Men are more pampered, whereas women would be expected to contribute to household chores. But I thought parents treating sons like princes and daughters like slaves died off some centuries ago.”