Evanston bakery sues former chef over missing recipes (Tavi S.)

By Andy Grimm Tribune reporter  April 17, 2012

Fraiche Bakery Café in Evanston — home of what one magazine called an “addictive,” doughnut-like muffin known as the Cinnamon Bomb — has been deprived of key recipes since a chef resigned two weeks ago, then returned to the café a few days later and made off with a pair of ring binders that contained the secrets of the restaurant’s signature bomb, acclaimed cupcakes and other baked goods, according to a lawsuit.

Fraiche owner Susan Davis Friedman filed a lawsuit against the chef today, five days after she discovered one of the recipe books had gone missing and a day after the chef informed a manager Fraiche would have to sue to get them back.

“If she wanted the recipes, why didn’t she make copies?” the chef is quoted as saying in an affidavit by a Fraiche manager.

The chef could not be reached for comment.

Friedman maintains the recipes are restaurant property, items developed by the chef and her assistants during the three and a half years since Fraiche opened in the site of the former Kim’s Bakery. After years of tweaks and adjustments, the Cinnamon Bomb rated No. 87 on the entertainment magazine TimeOut Chicago’s list of 100 Best Things We Ate In 2011, and Fraiche’s cupcakes were dubbed the best on the North Shore by a local lifestyle magazine.

“Why call this (admittedly tame-looking) pastry a ‘bomb’? Because this moist, cinnamon-dusted cake is unexpectedly addictive. And that’s dangerous,” read the TimeOut review.

The lawsuit states the recipes “were developed, assembled tested and honed over the course of 3 ½ years. That work cannot be readily reproduced. The damage to Fraiche’s goodwill from the inability to offer these items would be irreparable because it cannot be measured in money damages.”

Benson Friedman, Susan Davis Friedman’s husband and attorney, said Tuesday the recipes clearly are property of Fraiche, much as the work done while on the clock of a chemist or engineer would belong to his employer. And, he points out, the chef signed a non-disclosure agreement.

Friedman said Fraiche, 815 Noyes St. rotates its baked goods menu, but said he hopes to have the recipes back after a court hearing later this week.

“There will always be good (items) there. There are always new and innovative things,” Friedman said. “Recipes are important pieces of property that restaurants maintain.”

agrimm@tribune.com

Copyright © 2012, Chicago Tribune

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US Airways Walks Tightrope in AMR Merger Plan (AMY J)

By SUSAN CAREY

US Airways Group Inc.’s LCC -1.79% move to garner support from three unions at AMR Corp.’s American Airlines for a merger between the two companies is designed to woo American Airlines workers but stop short of saddling a combined carrier with contracts that would hobble operations.

US Airways’ chief executive said the company has a “unique opportunity” to pursue a merger with American Airlines and has the backing of unions representing 55,000 workers at the rival carrier. Jack Nicas reports on Markets Hub. Photo: Getty Images.

US Airways’ offer would provide pilots an immediate 5.5% raise and 3% increases a year for five years, according to American’s Allied Pilots Association union. After that, the contract could be reset to an average of the compensation at rivals United Continental Holdings Inc.UAL -1.84% and Delta Air Lines Inc.DAL -0.65% Meanwhile, no American pilots would be furloughed.

Those terms are more generous than what AMR has offered, helping explain why the unions publicly threw their support on Friday behind US Airways’ proposal to merge.

Under bankruptcy-court protection, AMR is seeking concessions from union members. It has resisted entertaining a merger, aiming at exiting Chapter 11 as a stand-alone company. The airline’s bid to trim its union expenses by $1.25 billion a year through rescinding current contracts is set to be heard in a bankruptcy proceeding starting Monday in New York.

“We are confident that our business plan provides for real growth and real opportunity for our employees, especially for our pilots—opportunities that are not based on hollow promises with no foundation in reality,” an American Airlines spokesman said Sunday.

US Airways, which has been circling American for months, said Friday that in return for the support of the three main airlines at the Fort Worth, Texas, carrier, US Airways would request fewer concessions than AMR is seeking and provide enhancements in pay and benefits of its own workers. A potential merger, according to people familiar with US Airways’ thinking, would generate $1.5 billion in revenue gains and cost savings annually.

A challenge for US Airways, based in Tempe, Ariz., is to avoid promising labor so much that a combination would founder because labor costs weren’t reduced enough to make the new airline competitive.

A person familiar with the matter suggested that US Airways intends to give the unions a piece, “but not all,” of its cost savings. Even with the improved terms for employees on both sides, the synergies “remain robust” and “well in excess of $1 billion,” the person said.

One question still looming over a merger is whether AMR, which the bankruptcy court has granted exclusive rights through September to field a reorganization plan, might seek a court injunction to swat down US Airways’ efforts to insinuate itself into the mix. American isn’t going to tip its hand on its legal strategy, a person familiar with the airline said.

Another person close to the matter said US Airways “has no official standing,” since AMR has exclusivity to promote its reorganization plan and because US Airways has made no formal merger offer to back up its agreements with American’s unions.

Getty Images

Travelers check in at a US Airways ticket counter in Phoenix.

Under AMR’s plan, American’s 10,000 pilots, the airline’s highest compensated employees as a group, are facing 400 furloughs. AMR also wants $370 million a year in concessions, including more hours in flight, elimination of premium pay, reductions in medical benefits and outsourcing of pilot hours to regional airline affiliates and carriers with which AMR has code-sharing agreements. The plan would give pilots a 1.5% pay raise annually for five years.

The US Airways plan includes higher productivity measures that normally would lead to 1,100 American pilot layoffs. But the union believes merger growth and new airplanes slated for American’s fleet would bring the combined carrier up to industry standards and avoid furloughs, a spokesman said.

US Airways’ offer to the union representing 17,000 American flight attendants calls for voluntary buyouts—an option AMR refused—and no furloughs, according to an internal memo from American’s Association of Professional Flight Attendants. The group would receive an immediate 2.5% raise, 1.5% annually for the next five years and maintain current vacation and sick-leave policies.

American is seeking the elimination of 2,300 flight-attendant positions.

Details of US Airways’ offer to the Transport Workers Union, which represents 26,000 American mechanics and ground workers, couldn’t be determined.

Under AMR’s plan the union faces 8,500 job cuts. But a person familiar with the matter said that number could be halved under US Airways’ offer.

James C. Little, international president of the union, said Friday that the TWU is close to an agreement with American on a “last, best offer” that would avoid abrogating the union’s contract in court. The union is supporting US Airways’ deal as an alternative.

Meanwhile, US Airways’ pilots union is enmeshed in a dispute dating back several years over seniority for pilots of the former US Airways and America West Airlines. The carriers merged in 2005 but the pilots have been unable to reach agreement on a common seniority list, stalling efforts to reach a common labor agreement. Their separate contracts are well below industry norms.

On Friday, the US Airline Pilots Association, which represents both groups, said it took heart in comments by US Airways Chief Executive Doug Parker that all workers would receive higher wages and compensation.

“What’s good for the goose is good for the gander,” said Capt. James Ray, a union spokesman. “There has to be an upside for the pilots at US Airways.”

 
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Health records lost, stolen or revealed online (NICKI LOIZZI)

http://www.chicagotribune.com/news/local/ct-met-health-data-breaches-20120423,0,6156975.story

 

Almost a decade after a new law went into effect to strengthen health privacy protections, the number of breaches of patient records and databases across the U.S. suggests that personal health information is not as private or secure as many consumers might want or expect.

Since fall 2009, more than 400 large health care breaches affecting at least 500 people and more than 50,000 smaller breaches have been reported to the federal government.

One of the largest unauthorized disclosures in recent history of medical records and other private information happened in September, when computer tapes were stolen that contained data on almost 5 million people enrolled in TRICARE, the nation’s health program for military members, their families and retirees.

Some breaches have resulted in personal information being revealed online. The names and diagnosis codes of almost 20,000 emergency room patients at Stanford Hospital in Palo Alto, Calif., were posted on a commercial website for nearly a year before it was discovered in September and taken down.

In Illinois, breaches since September 2009 have exposed private data on more than 250,000 people combined, including health records collected by several hospitals, a medical lab, a radiologist practice, a hospice and the Cook County Health and Hospitals System, which has had three breaches, according to a government database.

Such breaches can lead to identity theft, credit card fraud or fraud against the Medicaid or Medicare programs. If medical records are altered as a result of an individual posing as someone else to seek health care, the real patient can be put at risk for medical errors.

“The impact is profound when there is a breach of health care information, which increasingly is being committed by people who know what they want,” said Pam Dixon, executive director of the World Privacy Forum, a nonprofit public interest research group. “They are looking for specific data. … Today, medical data are among the most sought-after data for committing fraud.”

Federal officials said patient information in the TRICARE case possibly included names, Social Security numbers, addresses and phone numbers, and some personal health data such as clinical notes, laboratory tests and prescriptions. The tapes were reported stolen from a car belonging to an employee of Science Applications International Corp., a TRICARE contractor.

TRICARE officials said no financial data, such as credit card or bank account numbers, were stored on the backup tapes, but some patients in a class-action lawsuit said unauthorized charges were made on their credit or debit cards.

Health data breaches happen for a multitude of reasons, ranging from inadvertent errors by employees to intentional acts by people trying to commit crimes to failure to properly safeguard computers and other electronic devices, which can store greater amounts of information in one place.

Elizabeth Page found out that her mammography records were breached when someone hacked a computer server that stored the records of a statewide mammography registry. Before that, Page hadn’t even known that her records were in the registry or that her information also had been forwarded to a national database.

“My information went everywhere, and I have no idea where,” said Page, of Raleigh, N.C.

In most breaches, information is misplaced, stolen or lost because of simple “human error and human nature,” said Susan McAndrew, deputy director for health information privacy in theU.S. Department of Health and Human Services’ Office for Civil Rights.

Angela Dinh, who works in the field of health privacy, said electronic health records have been around for decades, but technological advances over the last 10 years or so have made it possible to store and rapidly transmit thousands, even millions, of records. Not all health organizations and businesses have kept up with the times in protecting it, she said, and the possibility of human error compounds the problem.

“That’s why it’s so important that the workforce is educated and trained properly about how to handle patient information,” said Dinh, director of professional practice and staff liaison for the Privacy and Security Practice Council at the American Health Information Management Association, based in Chicago.

The Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act, or HIPAA, established standards for the privacy and security of individuals’ health care information, spelling out how it can be used and disclosed by certain individuals and organizations such as doctors’ offices, hospitals and health insurers.

Breaches by those regulated under HIPAA must now be reported to the federal government — and to the patients affected.

New laws have given federal officials added powers to investigate breaches and impose hefty fines for violations.

Last month, BlueCross BlueShield of Tennessee agreed to pay $1.5 million to settle potential HIPAA violations after 57 unencrypted computer hard drives containing private health data on more than 1 million people were stolen from a leased facility.

The insurer has been required to take additional steps to secure such information, McAndrew said.

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Using videos to…

Using videos to win more engagement on sustainability (Yeabsira P)

Published April 18, 2012
Using videos to win more engagement on sustainability
 

You do all the right things: establish goals and targets, publish an annual sustainability report, seek employee and public input — and then repeat the cycle. Yet despite your efforts, those around you don’t seem to be moving fast enough to address the world’s environmental challenges, and you sense that real progress will require more involvement on the part of consumers,investors and government leaders.

What do you do? How will you make your company’s engagement efforts more effective, more efficient and more innovative? How can you help to mobilize the masses?

As a manager at SustainAbility and an expert in communications and strategy, I would argue that video can help engage employees and the public in your sustainability efforts and inject new life into the corporate accountability agenda.

Creating shared experiences

I recently interviewed Jim MacNeill as part of The Regeneration Project, a sustainable development initiative. MacNeill, who was lead author of the 1987 Brundtland Report, explained how a series of public hearings helped members of the Brundtland Commission reach a consensus despite their unique backgrounds and conflicting political beliefs. MacNeill said the hearings gave the commissioners a shared body of experiences that helped foster a sense of connection.  

Nowadays, video can serve as an effective bonding tool. Many companies gather feedback using traditional methods such as online comment forms, emails orsurveys. While these tactics do provide companies with a sense of what their employees and community want, they fail to create shared experiences between businesses and their stakeholders that can truly advance the sustainability agenda.

This is where video comes in. Through the power of film, shift workers could, for instance, bring executives onto factory floors or citizens could demonstrate how company operations affect their local communities. I believe this new perspective would enrich engagement efforts unlike anything we’ve seen to date.

Making ideas more accessible

Video can also ensure a company’s sustainability agenda reaches a wider audience . While watching a TEDTalk by Paul Gilding, a sustainability activist, it occurred to me that video — and the Internet — has made Gilding’s ideas accessible to hundreds of thousands of people who otherwise would not have seen him speak.

Imagine if companies used this approach to make their conversations with employees, clients and investors more accessible to others? What if the perspectives shared during stakeholder meetings and roundtables were recorded and posted on the Internet for others to see and respond to? This would give companies the chance to engage with a far wider community than before.

Living in a YouTube era

Bringing stakeholders “virtually” into your boardroom or sharing candid dialogues may feel uncomfortable at first. But bear in mind that changes in the way people consume media are happening all around us, whether we are ready for it or not.

Put simply, we live in a YouTube era where online video has the power to create pop culture icons overnight, or draw widespread attention to corrupt corporate practices (see Greenpeace’s VW Dark Side and Nestle Kit Kat killer campaigns as examples). Given that video now plays an indelible part in the way people interact and gain information in everyday life, companies would be wise to embrace this new platform.

A handful of major companies like FordIntel and Starbucks have cottoned on to the power of video and now maintain thriving YouTube channels. And, slowly, we are starting to see companies use video expressly for the purposes of sustainability and corporate accountability. Virgin Media’s 2011 digital sustainability report, for example, featured light-hearted video clips of its staff and other stakeholders, while Royal Bank of Canada developed a series of short films as part of its Blue Water Project, a multiyear program to help foster water stewardship. Finally, Interface is working on I am Mission Zero, a project which — through a collection of video interviews with the company’s factory workers — is striving to reinforce and spread Interface’s culture of sustainability.

Still, video remains a largely underused tool. My sense is that many companies are still figuring out how to answer a few critical questions: What is appropriate — and for that matter, legal — to film? How do we maintain credibility and authenticity? How do we tolerate criticism from stakeholders whose views are different?  How do we justify the time, effort and cost required? And most importantly, how do we produce video that is interesting enough for people to seek out and share?

As major companies find the answers to these questions, other businesses are sure to follow. Will yours?

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 Why Employee …

 Why Employee Happiness Could Be Hurting Your Company! (Yeabsira P)

An upcoming webinar presented by Leadership IQ (http://www.leadershipiq.com) shows that corporate cultures pushing happiness actually have lower employee engagement scores than more competitive and challenging cultures.

 

(PRWEB) April 18, 2012

We’ve all heard the saying that a happy employee is a motivated employee. But new Leadership IQ research, reported in the Wall Street Journal, shows that corporate cultures pushing happiness actually have loweremployee engagement scores than more competitive and challenging cultures.

And other research studies have found that the “happiest” people act more selfishly, are worse at defending their opinions (they produce weaker, less detailed arguments) and are less creative. 
Focusing on employee happiness and hoping that translates into productivity is like doubling the salaries of salespeople and hoping they just magically double their sales. The employee happiness movement has the causality in the wrong order. Happiness (and more importantly fulfillment) should FOLLOW great achievements—you shouldn’t aim to make people happy and then just hope they give you great achievements.

In an upcoming webinar presented on April 26th by Leadership IQ, you’ll see the new research and techniques that push employees past superficial happiness to discover and maximize their unrealized potential, while leaving them beaming with hard-won pride and fulfillment. This is the formula that has driven Apple, Amazon, Google, and other great companies to outperform their competitors while still being recognized as world-class employers.

In this live 60-minute webinar called Why Employee Happiness Could Be Hurting Your Company, you’ll learn: 

  •     Why Social corporate cultures that prioritize happiness actually have lower engagement scores than more competitive and challenging Enterprising cultures
  •     Discover 4 reasons why two-thirds of employees aren’t giving 100% effort(despite billions spent on employee happiness and satisfaction efforts)
  •     Learn 2 questions that will reveal how much discretionary effort your employees are really giving you (and why you should never ask employees if they’re satisfied)
  •     See a disturbing trend emerging from the latest employee survey data (and learn how you can proactively reduce this risk)
  •     Why high-performing employees can’t achieve happiness until their bosses do a better job of managing low performers (and holding them accountable)
  •     If you’re going to measure employees’ fulfillment, there are 3 survey questions you should never ask them (and 5 questions you should ask instead)
  •     Why the CEO of Amazon purposefully set a goal that made his employees feel “awkward and uncomfortable” and how that goal is now their biggest source of employee fulfillment
  •     Why Google’s famous perks (gourmet cafeteria, pub lounge, 20% time) having nothing to do with employee happiness and everything to do with employee productivity
  •     How a few simple changes to your goal-setting processes can inspire employees to try harder and give them a greater sense of self-worth
  •     Get the list of psychological characteristics that differentiate if someone is high-maintenance and needs constant happiness or if they’re high-achievers that want lots of challenges, hard work and the chance to achieve greatness
  •     See new research studies showing that the “happiest” people act more selfishly, are worse at defending their opinions (they produce weaker, less detailed arguments) and are less creative
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United pilots launch PR effort to nudge contract talks (Jami J.)

United Airlines pilots, upset at the sluggish pace of union contract negotiations, have hired public-relations professionals and launched a social media campaign to communicate with with passengers.

Pilots, members of the Air Line Pilots Association, have launched a website, Twitter feed, Facebook page and YouTube channel in a campaign dubbed “the unfriendly skies.”

According to the website Politico, pilots hired Mark Fabiani, Chris Lehane and lobbyist Jon Yarowsky “in anticipation of mounting a campaign against United Airlines.” The three worked together in the Clinton White House. “The campaign, which was discussed in a recent labor meeting in Chicago, is scheduled to be launched in conjunction with the summer travel season,” Politico reported. It “will focus on the company’s off-shoring of flights and out-sourcing of pilot jobs.”

Pilots said they have been in contract negotiations for more than two years. In an open letter to customers Thursday, pilots said they are committed to communicating with travelers about the status of contract negotiations “and any developments that could impact your travel plans.”

Jeff Smisek, United CEO, said Thursday in a public appearance in Chicago, that the airline has made progress with all its unions and that the complicated contracts take time to negotiate. He repeated that the company will not agree to a contract unless it is fair to the company and  employees.

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Where Have All the Women’s Jobs Gone? (Hunter Lee)

NEW YORK (CNNMoney) — More jobless Americans are finding work these days, but they are mainly lucky fellas.

The “mancession” has morphed into the “hecovery,” leaving women workers largely in the dust. The share of adult women who are employed is lower than it was two years ago, while men have seen an upturn.

“Even though we are seeing some recovery, we have not seen it in a recovery of jobs for women,” said Heather Boushey, senior economist at the left-leaning Center for American Progress.

Mitt Romney, the leading Republican presidential candidate, started trying to capitalize on this statistic last week, telling crowds and TV viewers that women held more than 92% of the jobs lost under President Obama.

Women were generally spared the worst of the recession, accounting for only one-quarter of the jobs lost. Men, on the other hand, were hit hard by the devastation in the construction and manufacturing industries.

But the slow pace of recovery in women’s employment has surprised and concerned some experts, who say it’s unclear whether there will be a rebound anytime soon.

While the private sector picked up nearly 2.9 million jobs over the course of the recovery, women secured only 23.5% of those positions.

Women gained only 12.3% of the more than 2.3 million total jobs added to the economy during the recovery — which include both public and private positions –according to the National Women’s Law Center.

Much of the blame lies in the steep loss of government jobs, particularly in local school districts, where women predominate. State and local governments were propped up in 2009 and 2010 by Obama’s Recovery Act. But the funds largely ran out after that, prompting budgets and payrolls to be slashed.

Women lost 396,000 public sector jobs during the recovery, according to the law center. That’s 69.1% of the jobs cut, even though women represented only 57.2% of the public workforce at the end of the recession.

That bleeding has now largely stopped, which is why women’s employment has stabilized somewhat in recent months. But governments aren’t likely to add lots of jobs anytime soon, said Michael Montgomery, senior U.S. economist at IHS Global Insight, an economic forecasting firm, though women should benefit from continued improvement in the economy.

The public sector isn’t the only place that has cost women jobs. The manufacturing sector, for instance, has boosted payrolls since the recovery began … but only for men, according to the Center for American Progress. Same goes for trade, transportation and utilities and for financial services.

The way the recovery has played out has also hurt two segments of female workers — low income ones who depend on public child care subsidies and older women, said Joan Entmacher, vice president of family economic security at the law center.

The former have suffered from cuts in government aid, leading them to leave their jobs because they have no one to watch their children. The latter have had a harder time finding new employment after they’ve lost their jobs.

Prolonged unemployment can hit women harder because they often earn and save less, she said.

“They are more economically at risk,” Entmacher said. “It’s harder for them to get back on their feet because they have fewer resources.”

Did you choose not to use all your vacation days last year? Why? Email usyour contact information and story, and you could be featured in an upcoming article on CNNMoney. To top of page

First Published: April 19, 2012: 6:13 AM ET
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