Marketplace - American Public Media

In the NBA, power lies with owner-franchisees

Mon, 2014-04-28 13:05

As an NBA owner, Donald Sterling is a franchisee, but his influence is far greater than that of his counterparts in, for example, the fast food business. 

Typically, in a franchisor-franchisee relationship, it is the franchisor that holds most of the power. Jill Pilgrim, a sports attorney and business consultant, says sports franchises like the NBA "do a little twist on that general concept." In the case of the NBA, Pilgrim explains, team owners decided collectively to coordinate their business operations. 

"The owners are like members of a club," Pilgrim said. "They are a club who have a common business interest in the development of sports, but also revenue generation."

NBA Commissioner Adam Silver will use the NBA's bylaws and constitution to determine if - and how - Sterling is to be punished. Those documents aren't public, but Jill Pilgrim says the constitution probably includes a morals clause that forbids an owner from doing anything that might hurt revenue. 

"There is no doubt," Pilgrim said, "however that provision is worded, that this has definitely hurt the brand of the NBA." 

If an investigation shows the tapes to be authentic, Sterling could face at least a fine, and, at most, a suspension.

"A fine would likely be $500,000 or a million dollars," said Michael McCann, director of the Sports and Entertainment Law Institute at the University of New Hampshire School of Law. "That would be a significant move for many, but Donald Sterling is reportedly worth $1.9 billion, so a fine of $1 million...wouldn't send as strong a signal as the NBA likely wants to send."

If Sterling is suspended, McCann said, the owner would be prevented from having any contact with Clippers players or coaching staff. "It would really be like a restraining order from his own team," McCann said. "And the thinking is that during that time he would try to sell the team."

That the 30 NBA owners, including Sterling, appoint the commissioner who is charged with investigating and handing down punishment, raises questions about just how independent Silver can be.

Gabe Feldman, director of the Sports Law Program at Tulane Law School, says NBA owners make a tremendous financial investments in their teams, and those investments appreciate over time.

"Even if the other 29 owners here are unhappy with what Donald Sterling has said, and how it impacts the value of their franchise," said Feldman, "they don't want, down the road, someone to say, 'well, we don't like what you said, so we're going to take your franchise from you.'"

What if you found out your boss made racist remarks?

Mon, 2014-04-28 13:00
Monday, April 28, 2014 - 13:46 Ronald Martinez/Getty Images

Team owner Donald Sterling of Los Angeles Clippers talks with team owner Peter Holt of the San Antonio Spurs as the SPurs host the Memphis Grizzlies during Game One of the Western Conference Finals of the 2013 NBA Playoffs at AT&T Center on May 19, 2013 in San Antonio, Texas.

On Tuesday night, twelve guys are scheduled to show up at work – a short shift where they'll collectively earn millions of dollars for themselves and their franchise, the Los Angeles Clippers.

But the job could prove tougher than usual in the aftermath of racist remarks allegedly made by team owner Donald Sterling released over the weekend.

The NBA is still investigating the legitimacy of a recording that appears to show Sterling making racist remarks about African-Americans, but the controversy made us wonder: What's it like to work for a boss who you believe harbors prejudice against you and others?

We asked people on Facebook and Twitter to share their experiences:

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One tip for employers – if there is a prejudiced person calling the shots, experts say it's best to give them the boot. "Workplace Discrimination Has Real Economic Consequences" begins one section of a 2013 study by the U.S. Congress Joint Economic Committee. Some of those consequences include lower profits for companies, a high turnover rate and decreased employee productivity at work.

The NBA has not yet decided what, if any, action it will take against Sterling. However, workplace consultant Virginia Clarke has advised employers on how to handle prejudice when it surfaces in the workplace.

"I advise companies to not tolerate bias or discrimination at any level," she says. "Boards of directors must hold senior leaders accountable for such transgressions. Senior leaders need to start making leaders and owners accountable for their behavior and the development of their subordinates."

Clarke, a partner with executive leadership recruiter Amrop Knightsbridge, continues, "Leading in a multicultural world is a leadership competency that needs to be learned in some cases. In order to be a real competency the learning must transcend tolerance; it must require a demonstration of true understanding and empathy."

Have you ever had to work for someone you believed harbored prejudice against you or others? How did that experience affect your ability to do your job? Leave a comment below, on Facebook or tweet us @MarketplaceAPM.

Marketplace for Monday April 28, 2014In the NBA, power lies with owner-franchiseesCarMax, Virgin Air, others abandon Clippers' shipby Lindsay Foster ThomasStory Type BlogSyndication PMPApp Respond No

Can pandas jump the shark?

Mon, 2014-04-28 12:55

You know that in Washington, DC we like politics. What may surprise you is how much we love pandas.

At the National Zoo, there was my favorite: Rusty, the red panda. And now there's always a long line to see Bao Bao, the baby giant panda. We even have panda related press conferences.

The National Zoo sent an email to donors this morning advertising a "$6,000 VIP Bao Bao Tour package." That'll get you a private, behind-the-scenes tour to meet the giant panda cub, five valet parking passes and admission to a panda-themed cocktail reception.

 

Washington City Paper has decided we may have hit "peak panda" -- like "peak beard," but it looks more like this:

 

Baby Bao Bao at the National Zoo.

Paul J. Richards/AFP/Getty Images

 

Border towns hit hard as fewer migrants cross

Mon, 2014-04-28 12:37
Monday, April 28, 2014 - 15:26 Jude Joffe-Block

Pharmacist Maria Jaime Peña with the products she sells to migrants, including black water jugs that don't reflect in the moonlight.

The rain pours down in the Northern Mexican town of Altar, as local priest Padre Prisciliano Peraza drives down a bumpy dirt road. The road leads to the border town of Sasabe, some 60 miles away. 

Peraza has been the priest here in Altar, Sonora for a decade. In that period, this small town boomed as a staging area for migrants preparing to cross the border. But now it appears on the verge of a bust.

Fewer migrants are trying to sneak across Arizona’s border these days. And that means some towns on the Mexican side that rely on the smuggling economy have been hit hard. Local businesses sprouted up to feed, house and sell supplies to migrants on their way up to the Arizona desert.

Peraza says among those entrepreneurial endeavors are van businesses that drive migrants on this very road.

“They use old vans, and have taken out the seats so they can fit more people,” Peraza says in Spanish.

Much of this business is controlled by organized crime.

But migration from Mexico has been on a downward trend for the last several years, as smuggling routes have changed. 

For the first time in 16 years, the U.S. Border Patrol’s Tucson sector – which covers Southern Arizona – lost its designation as the busiest place to catch migrants last year.

It was surpassed by Texas’ Rio Grande Valley, where agents made almost 155,000 apprehensions last year, a 58 percent uptick from the year before. The Border Patrol’s Tucson sector made 120,939 apprehensions last year, down from 491,771 ten years ago.

“Before, many more people used to come through here,” says local pharmacist Maria Jaime Peña in Spanish. She has been selling migrants items like caffeine pills and electrolyte packets for years.

Altar’s local government estimates that four years ago, several thousand migrants passed through a day. Now? A couple hundred.

“There’s a lot of Central Americans,” Jaime Peña says of the migrants she’s seen lately. “And I’ve seen women some come through with their babies.”

Those are the same recent trends the Border Patrol has reported, too.

About two thirds of Altar’s restaurants and half the convenience stores have closed in the past four years, according to estimates from the local government.

Still, Jaime Peña’s store shows some evidence of the force behind the migrant economy. Like the gallon-size black water jugs she sells for about a dollar.

She says when migrants used the regular clear water jugs they reflected in the moonlight, and made it easier for Border Patrol to spot them. And voila – a business opportunity was born. A local water bottling company came out with a black water jug and that is what most migrants use, Jaime Peña says.

But now that bottling company says it has had to diversify its clientele.

On the outskirts of Altar, local families gather to celebrate a quinceañera, a girl's 15th birthday. A band plays in spite of the rain. Many here are worried about the town’s future.

“It’s as if we’re waiting adrift for something miraculous to happen,” says Juan José Corona Moreno, a doctor at the party. “And really if we as citizens don’t do something, this isn’t going to change.”

Corona Moreno thinks the town should return to its roots in ranching and agriculture.

The local government is trying to recruit a maquiladora to provide manufacturing jobs.

That could be the only chance for new employment here, unless another wave of migration picks up.

Marketplace for Monday April 28, 2014 Jude Joffe-Block

A mural in the center of Altar, Mexico pays tribute to the migrants who make the perilous journey across the desert.

Jude Joffe-Block

Padre Prisciliano Peraza, Altar's priest, reads notes migrants left on a portrait of the Virgin of Guadalupe at his church before they departed for the Arizona border.

by Jude Joffe-BlockPodcast Title Border towns hit hard as fewer migrants crossStory Type FeatureSyndication SlackerSoundcloudStitcherSwellPMPApp Respond No

Border towns hit hard as fewer migrants cross

Mon, 2014-04-28 12:26

The rain pours down in the Northern Mexican town of Altar, as local priest Padre Prisciliano Peraza drives down a bumpy dirt road. The road leads to the border town of Sasabe, some 60 miles away. 

Peraza has been the priest here in Altar, Sonora for a decade. In that period, this small town boomed as a staging area for migrants preparing to cross the border. But now it appears on the verge of a bust.

Fewer migrants are trying to sneak across Arizona’s border these days. And that means some towns on the Mexican side that rely on the smuggling economy have been hit hard. Local businesses sprouted up to feed, house and sell supplies to migrants on their way up to the Arizona desert.

Peraza says among those entrepreneurial endeavors are van businesses that drive migrants on this very road.

“They use old vans, and have taken out the seats so they can fit more people,” Peraza says in Spanish.

Much of this business is controlled by organized crime.

But migration from Mexico has been on a downward trend for the last several years, as smuggling routes have changed. 

For the first time in 16 years, the U.S. Border Patrol’s Tucson sector – which covers Southern Arizona – lost its designation as the busiest place to catch migrants last year.

It was surpassed by Texas’ Rio Grande Valley, where agents made almost 155,000 apprehensions last year, a 58 percent uptick from the year before. The Border Patrol’s Tucson sector made 120,939 apprehensions last year, down from 491,771 ten years ago.

“Before, many more people used to come through here,” says local pharmacist Maria Jaime Peña in Spanish. She has been selling migrants items like caffeine pills and electrolyte packets for years.

Altar’s local government estimates that four years ago, several thousand migrants passed through a day. Now? A couple hundred.

“There’s a lot of Central Americans,” Jaime Peña says of the migrants she’s seen lately. “And I’ve seen women some come through with their babies.”

Those are the same recent trends the Border Patrol has reported, too.

About two thirds of Altar’s restaurants and half the convenience stores have closed in the past four years, according to estimates from the local government.

Still, Jaime Peña’s store shows some evidence of the force behind the migrant economy. Like the gallon-size black water jugs she sells for about a dollar.

She says when migrants used the regular clear water jugs they reflected in the moonlight, and made it easier for Border Patrol to spot them. And voila – a business opportunity was born. A local water bottling company came out with a black water jug and that is what most migrants use, Jaime Peña says.

But now that bottling company says it has had to diversify its clientele.

On the outskirts of Altar, local families gather to celebrate a quinceañera, a girl's 15th birthday. A band plays in spite of the rain. Many here are worried about the town’s future.

“It’s as if we’re waiting adrift for something miraculous to happen,” says Juan José Corona Moreno, a doctor at the party. “And really if we as citizens don’t do something, this isn’t going to change.”

Corona Moreno thinks the town should return to its roots in ranching and agriculture.

The local government is trying to recruit a maquiladora to provide manufacturing jobs.

That could be the only chance for new employment here, unless another wave of migration picks up.

In the NBA, power lies with owner-franchisees

Mon, 2014-04-28 12:08
Monday, April 28, 2014 - 16:05 Ronald Martinez/Getty Images

Team owner Donald Sterling of the Los Angeles Clippers watches the San Antonio Spurs play against the Memphis Grizzlies during Game One of the Western Conference Finals of the 2013 NBA Playoffs at AT&T Center on May 19, 2013 in San Antonio, Texas.

As an NBA owner, Donald Sterling is a franchisee, but his influence is far greater than that of his counterparts in, for example, the fast food business. 

Typically, in a franchisor-franchisee relationship, it is the franchisor that holds most of the power. Jill Pilgrim, a sports attorney and business consultant, says sports franchises like the NBA "do a little twist on that general concept." In the case of the NBA, Pilgrim explains, team owners decided collectively to coordinate their business operations. 

"The owners are like members of a club," Pilgrim said. "They are a club who have a common business interest in the development of sports, but also revenue generation."

NBA Commissioner Adam Silver will use the NBA's bylaws and constitution to determine if - and how - Sterling is to be punished. Those documents aren't public, but Jill Pilgrim says the constitution probably includes a morals clause that forbids an owner from doing anything that might hurt revenue. 

"There is no doubt," Pilgrim said, "however that provision is worded, that this has definitely hurt the brand of the NBA." 

If an investigation shows the tapes to be authentic, Sterling could face at least a fine, and, at most, a suspension.

"A fine would likely be $500,000 or a million dollars," said Michael McCann, director of the Sports and Entertainment Law Institute at the University of New Hampshire School of Law. "That would be a significant move for many, but Donald Sterling is reportedly worth $1.9 billion, so a fine of $1 million...wouldn't send as strong a signal as the NBA likely wants to send."

If Sterling is suspended, McCann said, the owner would be prevented from having any contact with Clippers players or coaching staff. "It would really be like a restraining order from his own team," McCann said. "And the thinking is that during that time he would try to sell the team."

That the 30 NBA owners, including Sterling, appoint the commissioner who is charged with investigating and handing down punishment, raises questions about just how independent Silver can be.

Gabe Feldman, director of the Sports Law Program at Tulane Law School, says NBA owners make a tremendous financial investments in their teams, and those investments appreciate over time.

"Even if the other 29 owners here are unhappy with what Donald Sterling has said, and how it impacts the value of their franchise," said Feldman, "they don't want, down the road, someone to say, 'well, we don't like what you said, so we're going to take your franchise from you.'"

Marketplace for Monday April 28, 2014What if you found out your boss made racist remarks?CarMax, Virgin Air, others abandon Clippers' shipby Noel KingPodcast Title In NBA, power lies with owner-franchisees Story Type News StorySyndication SlackerSoundcloudStitcherSwellPMPApp Respond No

If your company ID badge was a tracking device...

Mon, 2014-04-28 11:48

What if your company ID badge was a tracking device? You'd wear it from the moment you got to work in the morning til you clocked out at night. Your badge would constantly collect data that could potentially benefit you and the whole company.

Great news: It exists.

A company called Sociometric Solutions has developed this technology. They insert microphones, Bluetooth, and other proximity sensors into an employee’s company ID badge. So far, they've had a 90 percent participation rate in every rollout they've done.  

"What we’re trying to do is really quantify what people have always felt to be unquantifiable," says Ben Waber, President and CEO of Sociometric Solutions. "Things like, how are people interacting with each other? How do you talk to customers? How engaged are you in a conversation? And how is information flowing in an organization?"

How does Sociometric Solutions get workers to agree to participate in the research process?

“[We] don’t just come into a company and say, 'Here everybody, wear this sensor.' It's actually about a four week rollout process," says Waber. "We give people consent forms, which show them the actual database tables of what we collect."

Naturally, participants have had privacy concerns. But Waber tells them not to worry: "We won’t share your individual data with your company. We don't even keep your name in the database where we are calculating all the features."

Drowning in debt? Consider a restructuring

Mon, 2014-04-28 11:36
Monday, April 28, 2014 - 12:22

The word restructuring sounds intimidating. In construction terms, it usually means something expensive, like tearing down, or renovating. But restructuring your debt doesn't have to be expensive or overly difficulty.

In fact, whether you're an individual or a corporation, it's supposed to save you money.

One of the reasons restructuring sounds so scary is because it's often associated with bankruptcy. But you don't have to go into bankruptcy to restructure your debt. Lately companies with money problems have increasingly managed to avoid bankruptcy -- and that's creating big issues for attorneys.

This week, a Los Angeles bankruptcy law firm, Stutman Treister & Glatt, announced it's closing its doors. Why? Because companies re opting to restructure their debt by refinancing with cheap money, rather than seeking protection from their creditors under Chapter 11 of the bankruptcy code.

In other words, "restructuring" is often as simple as replacing one kind of debt with another. A refinancing is often itself a kind of restructuring, because it replaces the same amount of money owed, but at different terms: so while the principal remains the same, the interest rate may be lower, and the borrower may have to pay the loan back more quickly.

And anyone can get a restructuring: it's just a matter of asking your lender before your situation becomes critical. If you think you might have a problem keeping up your payments in the future, talk to your lender about it, and try to arrange a transition. Because if the situation becomes critical, you may find yourself in default, unable to pay and heading towards bankruptcy. And bankruptcy's bad for everyone.

Except the attorneys.

Paddy Hirsch's Whiteboard blog and video series

by Paddy HirschPodcast Title Drowning in debt? Consider a restructuringStory Type BlogSyndication PMPApp Respond NoVideo podcast URL upload.publicradio.org/marketplace/2014/04/Restructuring%20-H.264%20for%20iPad%20and%20iPhone%204.m4v

Will Jupiter align with Mars?

Mon, 2014-04-28 11:09

From the Marketplace Datebook, here's a look at what's coming up Tuesday, April 29th:

In Washington, the Federal Reserve begins a two-day meeting on interest rates. It's one of eight scheduled over the course of the year.

The Conference Board releases its April Consumer Confidence Index.

46 years ago, in the Age of Aquarius, "Hair" opened on Broadway. Let the sunshine in.

Newspaper publisher William Randolph Hearst was born on April 29, 1863. He built a media empire and a giant castle which you can tour in San Simeon, California.

And what's the deal with birthdays? Comedian Jerry Seinfeld turns 60.

CarMax, Virgin America, others abandon Clippers' ship

Mon, 2014-04-28 11:00

The NBA is still investigating the legitimacy of a recording that appears to show Los Angeles Clippers owner Donald Sterling making racist remarks, but action from the corporate world was swift and decisive. Several major sponsors of the Clippers either "paused" or pulled their support from the team.

The used-car retailer CarMax and Virgin America both announced they will cut ties to the Clippers immediately, while insurance company State Farm and the auto maker Kia Motors have suspended their sponsorships. It is difficult to be exact with the numbers on how much each company pays in sponsorship, but it will certainly be a blow to a team that was otherwise having a strong year. 

Listed No. 13 on Forbes' list of NBA team valuations, the Clippers are currently valued at $575 million, though many estimate the team could sell for more than that. It is also worth noting that Sterling bought the team in 1981, when they were based in San Diego, for $12 million.

This is not the first time the Clippers' owner has faced accusations of this nature -- in 2009, Sterling paid a settlement of $2.725 million in a federal housing discrimination case in which he was accused of excluding black and hispanic tenants from renting properties that he owned in Los Angeles.

 

A post mortem for the 'worst video game ever'

Mon, 2014-04-28 10:54
Monday, April 28, 2014 - 18:00 moparx / Creative Commons

The Atari 2600.

On Saturday, near the New Mexico town of Alamagordo, a group of video game enthusiasts, excavation specialists, and filmmakers started digging a hole in a desert landfill. Why? You may remember some months ago we talked about the legend that in the early 1980s, video game maker Atari secretly dumped tons of video games into a hole in the middle of the desert.

The reasons for this particular move remain a bit of a mystery, but certainly the game maker was in financial trouble. That's in part because of one particular game -- it was based on the movie E.T., and it did poorly. So poorly, in fact, that it's still described as the worst video game in history.

The man who designed Atari's E.T. game is Howard Scott Warshaw. He was there when the video game treasure trove was uncovered. Listen above for the post mortem. 

Marketplace Tech for Monday, April 28, 2014by Ben JohnsonPodcast Title A post mortem for the 'worst video game ever'Story Type News StorySyndication SlackerSoundcloudStitcherSwellPMPApp Respond No

What if you found out your boss made racist remarks?

Mon, 2014-04-28 10:46

On Tuesday night, twelve guys are scheduled to show up at work – a short shift where they'll collectively earn millions of dollars for themselves and their franchise, the Los Angeles Clippers.

But the job could prove tougher than usual in the aftermath of racist remarks allegedly made by team owner Donald Sterling released over the weekend.

The NBA is still investigating the legitimacy of a recording that appears to show Sterling making racist remarks about African-Americans, but the controversy made us wonder: What's it like to work for a boss who you believe harbors prejudice against you and others?

We asked people on Facebook and Twitter to share their experiences:

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One tip for employers – if there is a prejudiced person calling the shots, experts say it's best to give them the boot. "Workplace Discrimination Has Real Economic Consequences" begins one section of a 2013 study by the U.S. Congress Joint Economic Committee. Some of those consequences include lower profits for companies, a high turnover rate and decreased employee productivity at work.

The NBA has not yet decided what, if any, action it will take against Sterling. However, workplace consultant Virginia Clarke has advised employers on how to handle prejudice when it surfaces in the workplace.

"I advise companies to not tolerate bias or discrimination at any level," she says. "Boards of directors must hold senior leaders accountable for such transgressions. Senior leaders need to start making leaders and owners accountable for their behavior and the development of their subordinates."

Clarke, a partner with executive leadership recruiter Amrop Knightsbridge, continues, "Leading in a multicultural world is a leadership competency that needs to be learned in some cases. In order to be a real competency the learning must transcend tolerance; it must require a demonstration of true understanding and empathy."

Have you ever had to work for someone you believed harbored prejudice against you or others? How did that experience affect your ability to do your job? Leave a comment below, on Facebook or tweet us @MarketplaceAPM.

What can the NBA do about unwanted owners?

Mon, 2014-04-28 09:26
Monday, April 28, 2014 - 09:52 Ronald Martinez/Getty Images

Team owner Donald Sterling of the Los Angeles Clippers watches a game seated next to his girlfriend V. Stiviano.

The National Basketball Association says it's first order of business is to verify whether or not it's the voice of the owner of the Los Angeles Clippers, Donald Sterling, making disparaging remarks about African American people. The tape is allegedly a conversation between Sterling and his mixed-race girlfriend V. Stiviano. The man on the tape urges Stiviano not to bring her black friends to LA Clippers games. Taking photos with black people is like, quote, "talking to the enemy." Magic Johnson and Charles Barclay are among former NBA players who say if the tape is really the Clipper's owner then Sterling can't keep owning the team. For some perspective, we turn to Kenneth Shropshire, director of the Wharton Sports Business Initiative at the University of Pennsylvania.

And, a new study from the University of Michigan Comprehensive Care Center finds that breast-cancer survivors have a high rate of long-term unemployment. And the specific kind of treatment they get, may lower their chances of keeping their job or finding a new job years later.

Meanwhile, with a hint of the week ahead when it comes to not just those markets but to the economy and jobs, we check in with Carl Riccadona, senior US economist, Deutsche Bank Securities in New York.

Marketplace Morning Report for Monday April 28, 2014by David BrancaccioPodcast Title PODCAST: NBA deals with SterlingSyndication All in onePMPApp Respond No

How Russian sanctions could pinch Western companies

Mon, 2014-04-28 09:24
Monday, April 28, 2014 - 16:23 Alexander Nemenov/AFP/Getty Images

The logo of state-owned oil company Rosneft is seen on the roof of gas-filling station near Stalin's time skyscraper in Moscow, 12 July 2006.

 

President Obama announced new sanctions against Russia today. The sanctions target 17 Russian companies and seven individuals. Among those individuals is Igor Sechin, the head of Russia’s biggest oil company, Rosneft.

How will that affect Big Oil? Well, for starters, BP’s stock fell after the sanctions were announced. BP owns almost 20 percent of Rosneft. 

At its annual meeting earlier this month, BP said it’s committed to its investment in Rosneft, and will comply with any relevant sanctions. And if those sanctions really start to bite, will Moscow take a whack at BP or Exxon? Some oil analysts say no.

“Western oil companies and Russia are in bed together... they are strange bedfellows, but they are dependent on one another,” says Stephen Schork, of the Schork report.

So far, drilling is continuing as usual in Russia. But senior Obama administration officials say the sanctions could be ratcheted up.

 

 

Marketplace for Monday April 28, 2014by Nancy Marshall-GenzerPodcast Title How Russian sanctions could pinch Western companiesStory Type News StorySyndication SlackerSoundcloudStitcherSwellPMPApp Respond No

Drowning in debt? Consider a restructuring

Mon, 2014-04-28 09:22

The word restructuring sounds intimidating. In construction terms, it usually means something expensive, like tearing down, or renovating. But restructuring your debt doesn't have to be expensive or overly difficulty.

In fact, whether you're an individual or a corporation, it's supposed to save you money.

One of the reasons restructuring sounds so scary is because it's often associated with bankruptcy. But you don't have to go into bankruptcy to restructure your debt. Lately companies with money problems have increasingly managed to avoid bankruptcy -- and that's creating big issues for attorneys.

This week, a Los Angeles bankruptcy law firm, Stutman Treister & Glatt, announced it's closing its doors. Why? Because companies re opting to restructure their debt by refinancing with cheap money, rather than seeking protection from their creditors under Chapter 11 of the bankruptcy code.

In other words, "restructuring" is often as simple as replacing one kind of debt with another. A refinancing is often itself a kind of restructuring, because it replaces the same amount of money owed, but at different terms: so while the principal remains the same, the interest rate may be lower, and the borrower may have to pay the loan back more quickly.

And anyone can get a restructuring: it's just a matter of asking your lender before your situation becomes critical. If you think you might have a problem keeping up your payments in the future, talk to your lender about it, and try to arrange a transition. Because if the situation becomes critical, you may find yourself in default, unable to pay and heading towards bankruptcy. And bankruptcy's bad for everyone.

Except the attorneys.

High-school graduation rate hits 80 percent for first time

Mon, 2014-04-28 09:21
Monday, April 28, 2014 - 16:10 Joe Raedle/Getty Images

High school graduation rates have reached a new high following a decade-long campaign to raise graduation rates. A graduate wears his mortarboard with Free at Last written during the commencement ceremony for Cypress Bay High School graduates at Marlins Park on June 4, 2012 in Miami, Florida. 

For the first time, high school graduation rates in the U.S. are above 80 percent. That’s according to a report called “Building a GradNation.” The study was released today by a coalition of education groups, including Civic Enterprises, the Everyone Graduates CenterAmerica’s Promise Alliance and the Alliance for Excellent Education.

The news represents a significant improvement since 2001, when 71 percent of American teenagers graduated from high school. Researchers say several things have changed since then. One, there is better data, so the public is more aware of the problem. Two, the accountability movement in education: think "No Child Left Behind."

Robert Balfanz,  co-director of the Everyone Graduates Center and a research scientist at Johns Hopkins University, says when researchers started digging into the numbers, it showed that just 12 percent of the nation’s high schools were producing nearly half of the dropouts. Those high schools are known in education circles as “dropout factories.”  

John Bridgeland, CEO of Civic Enterprises and one of the principal authors of the report, says some of those “dropout factories” have closed. “But many of them were re-tooled or re-designed,” Bridgeland says. “Smaller learning environments have been created. More personalized, engaging, rigorous classrooms that keep these young people in school and on track to graduate.”

Some states have raised graduation rates dramatically. North Carolina went from a 68 percent graduation rate in 2005 to over 82 percent today.

Jim Key, area superintendent for high schools in Durham, North Carolina, says his district now starts tracking students who are potential dropouts while they are still in middle school. Then the district sends them to ninth grade a few weeks early.

“That gives them a chance to become more acclimated to high school, to build some positive relationship with a few teachers, administrators and counselors,” Key says. It just gives those students a leg up, if you will, on being prepared for high school, to understand the expectations and what’s at stake.”

 What’s at stake is earning power, among other things. John Bridgeland says a high school graduate “will make $1 million more over his or her life time, than a high school dropout.”

 College graduates, of course, do even better. The latest statistics, however, show that fewer high school graduates are applying to college. Just under two-thirds of the class of 2013 attended college in the fall.

By Shea Huffman/Marketplace

Marketplace for Monday April 28, 2014by Sarah GardnerPodcast Title High-school graduation rate hits 80 percent for first timeStory Type News StorySyndication SlackerSoundcloudStitcherSwellPMPApp Respond No

What can the NBA do about unwanted owners?

Mon, 2014-04-28 06:52

The National Basketball Association says it's first order of business is to verify whether or not it's the voice of the owner of the Los Angeles Clippers, Donald Sterling, making disparaging remarks about African American people. The tape is allegedly a conversation between Sterling and his mixed-race girlfriend V. Stiviano. The man on the tape urges Stiviano not to bring her black friends to LA Clippers games. Taking photos with black people is like, quote, "talking to the enemy." Magic Johnson and Charles Barclay are among former NBA players who say if the tape is really the Clipper's owner then Sterling can't keep owning the team. For some perspective, we turn to Kenneth Shropshire, director of the Wharton Sports Business Initiative at the University of Pennsylvania.

And, a new study from the University of Michigan Comprehensive Care Center finds that breast-cancer survivors have a high rate of long-term unemployment. And the specific kind of treatment they get, may lower their chances of keeping their job or finding a new job years later.

Meanwhile, with a hint of the week ahead when it comes to not just those markets but to the economy and jobs, we check in with Carl Riccadona, senior US economist, Deutsche Bank Securities in New York.

Want to buy a Tesla in China? Take a number.

Mon, 2014-04-28 06:27
Monday, April 28, 2014 - 07:26 FABRICE COFFRINI/AFP/Getty Images

A worker walks past a covered car at the booth of electric carmaker Tesla on March 3, 2014 on the eve of the press day of the Geneva Motor Show in Geneva. 

What is it about some products -- Furbies, iPhones, Nintendos -- that get us to wait in line to buy them? In China, the carmaker Tesla is inspiring a queue of its own, a months-long virtual waiting list to buy the Tesla S.

Cao Wenbo, a 36-year-old film producer in Shanghai, joins Morning Report host David Brancaccio to talk about what got him to sign up for the all-electric sportscar. Click on the audio player above to hear more. 

Marketplace Morning Report for Monday April 28, 2014Interview by David BrancaccioPodcast Title Want to buy a Tesla in China? Take a number.Story Type News StorySyndication Flipboard BusinessSlackerSoundcloudStitcherBusiness InsiderSwellPMPApp Respond No

Breast-cancer survivors and long-term unemployment

Mon, 2014-04-28 06:03
Monday, April 28, 2014 - 08:57 Larry French/Getty Images

A recent study found that breast cancer survivors have a high rate of long-term unemployment. The image illustrates cancer survivors that were welcomed before a game between the Baltimore Ravens and the Denver Broncos at M&T Bank Stadium in 2010 in Baltimore, Maryland.

A new study from the University of Michigan Comprehensive Care Center finds that breast cancer survivors have a high rate of long-term unemployment. The specific kind of treatment they get may lower their chances of keeping their job or finding a new job years later.

University of Michigan oncology professor Reshma Jagsi is lead author on the study, published in the journal “Cancer.” She says her team surveyed breast cancer survivors in Detroit and Los Angeles from 2005 to 2007, and narrowed their results to follow the women who were working at the time they were diagnosed.

Approximately 30 percent were unemployed four years later.

“I don’t think too many of us are surprised to hear patients are likely to miss work or even stop working altogether while getting chemotherapy treatment,” says Jagsi. What did surprise her? That women who received chemotherapy at the beginning of treatment had an even higher rate of unemployment four years on. Other studies have found lower levels of long-term unemployment among women who want to keep working after being treated for breast cancer.

Ragsi says knowing the possible long-term implications—on employment and personal finances—might help women and their doctors make decisions about whether to utilize chemotherapy early on in treatment.

The federal Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA) passed in 1993 protects women who need time off for medical treatment, says Cathy Ruckelshaus at the National Employment Law Project. However: “It basically covers mostly full-time workers,” says Ruckelshaus. “She has to have been there for a year, and she’s entitled to 12 weeks of job-protected leave.” Ruckelshaus says the leave is unpaid, and can be taken intermittently over an extended period (i.e., not in a consecutive twelve-week period) to deal with chemotherapy treatment, side effects or long-term consequences such as fatigue.

If a woman still can’t keep up with a full-time schedule, or needs additional time off for follow-up treatment after her twelve weeks of FMLA are up, she can attempt to qualify for disability. If she can still work, then the Americans with Disability Act might require the employer to accommodate her with a flexible or part-time schedule, or provide the possibility of telecommuting, says Ruckelshaus.

Marketplace Morning Report for Monday April 28, 2014by Mitchell HartmanPodcast Title Breast-cancer survivors face high rates of long-term unemploymentStory Type News StorySyndication SlackerSoundcloudStitcherSwellPMPApp Respond No

Breast-cancer survivors and long-term unemployment

Mon, 2014-04-28 05:57

A new study from the University of Michigan Comprehensive Care Center finds that breast cancer survivors have a high rate of long-term unemployment. The specific kind of treatment they get may lower their chances of keeping their job or finding a new job years later.

University of Michigan oncology professor Reshma Jagsi is lead author on the study, published in the journal “Cancer.” She says her team surveyed breast cancer survivors in Detroit and Los Angeles from 2005 to 2007, and narrowed their results to follow the women who were working at the time they were diagnosed.

Approximately 30 percent were unemployed four years later.

“I don’t think too many of us are surprised to hear patients are likely to miss work or even stop working altogether while getting chemotherapy treatment,” says Jagsi. What did surprise her? That women who received chemotherapy at the beginning of treatment had an even higher rate of unemployment four years on. Other studies have found lower levels of long-term unemployment among women who want to keep working after being treated for breast cancer.

Ragsi says knowing the possible long-term implications—on employment and personal finances—might help women and their doctors make decisions about whether to utilize chemotherapy early on in treatment.

The federal Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA) passed in 1993 protects women who need time off for medical treatment, says Cathy Ruckelshaus at the National Employment Law Project. However: “It basically covers mostly full-time workers,” says Ruckelshaus. “She has to have been there for a year, and she’s entitled to 12 weeks of job-protected leave.” Ruckelshaus says the leave is unpaid, and can be taken intermittently over an extended period (i.e., not in a consecutive twelve-week period) to deal with chemotherapy treatment, side effects or long-term consequences such as fatigue.

If a woman still can’t keep up with a full-time schedule, or needs additional time off for follow-up treatment after her twelve weeks of FMLA are up, she can attempt to qualify for disability. If she can still work, then the Americans with Disability Act might require the employer to accommodate her with a flexible or part-time schedule, or provide the possibility of telecommuting, says Ruckelshaus.

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