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The Low-Wage Vanguard

What some employers do to make their lower-rung workers more productive

ARAMARK: The services-contracting company trains employees in conflict resolution and customer service as well as job-specific skills. It offers English classes for hospital and dining service workers. And it has hired 250 former welfare recipients.

CONAGRA: Scores of immigrants fill the meatpacker's plants. To retain them, it provides subsidized child care, prenatal care, and housing. A 100-unit housing project, built by an independent developer, will cut Arkansas workers' transportation costs.

OPRYLAND HOTEL: Employees get free bus service, one free meal a day, and subsidized on-site child care. A company-owned motel houses 300 new hires at subsidized rates while the recruits search for permanent housing.

J.C. PENNEY: Employees who stay at the retailer a year or more prove 20% more productive than newcomers. So Penney aims to boost retention by allowing workers to schedule flexible shifts at different stores, starting in 1998.



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Updated June 14, 1997 by bwwebmaster
Copyright 1996, Bloomberg L.P.
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