National Clothesline
National Clothesline
Editorials
Just what is this wetcleaning?
The word wetcleaning is commonplace in the drycleaner’s vocabulary and adding it to the list of possible garment care methods, as the Federal Trade Commission plans to do, will be a welcome official recognition of its role in a modern cleaning plant.
But just as it took the FTC nearly 20 years to add wetcleaning to the care labeling system, public acceptance and understanding of wetcleaning won’t come overnight. Remember, this is a public that is often unsure of just what drycleaning is, after all these years. How might they interpret a care label that calls for wetcleaning?
One danger is that some will take wetcleaning to mean that they can wash the garment at home in the regular laundry. That could end in disaster — ruined garment and unhappy garment owners who will blame the store that sold it to them or the maker who put that label on. For that reason, garment makers may be reluctant to use the wetcleaning label, fearing that regular home washing would destroy an item that requires a more sophisticated form of wet processing.
Stipulating “Professionally Wetclean” may cause amateur home launderers to think twice before taking the do-it-yourself approach. But we are a nation of do-it-yourselfers and many of those amateur home launderers consider themselves at least semi-professional by dint of having done their own laundry for years. Maybe a sterner warning is needed: “Do not wash at home,” or words to that effect.
But the real key to success for a wetcleaning care label will be public understanding. People need to learn that wetcleaning is a process that requires special skills, machinery and supplies not found at home.
Who better to get that idea across than wetcleaners themselves. If you are doing wetcleaning in your plant, use that word with your customers so they’ll come associate it with a particular type of professional garment care. Take the mystery out of wetcleaning.
The place of the workplace on Facebook
It’s a lesson many of us have had to learn over and over again. You can’t click on the “unpost” button because it doesn’t exist. Once you upload your social media post, the whole world can see it. Even if you feel an immediate pang of regret and delete that post moments later, the damage might already be done. Chances are it has been read by somebody, no doubt the exact person you suddenly realized you didn’t want to see it.
As social media’s popularity increases, so does its potential for collateral damage with employee/employer relations. It is becoming more and more common for employees to lose their jobs by making negative or inappropriate comments aimed at their employer and the trend seems to only be increasing. In fact, a FindLaw survey earlier this year found that 29 percent of those polled between the ages of 18 and 34 feared their social media photos, comments, posts or personal information could cause problems at their place of work and possibly even result in their termination and 82 percent of those young adults now pay better attention to the privacy settings on their social media platforms.
Meanwhile, employers have found social media to be a useful tool to monitor employees’ behavior and even assist in the hiring process. In a study from CareerBuilder last year, it was discovered that 37 percent of respondents used social networking sites to research job candidates and another 11 percent planned to start doing so in the future. By scouring the Facebook pages of a prospective employee, they can look for red flags such as posts about drug use, excessive or frequent drinking, lying about qualifications and insulting previous employers.
It is still a murky issue, however. Should employees have the freedom to comment against employers? What if those comments are not true and can hurt business? What are the limits to privacy protection? In the months and perhaps years to come, it will be interesting to see how the courts lean on such issues. So far, the National Labor Relations Board and others have often sided with employees, but the issue is not settled, nor is it going way anytime soon.
This month, check out Frank Kollman’s insightful column. According to him, the law of social media is evolving and there’s no time like the present to review the social media policies in place at your company. You just might find they are doing more harm than good and it’s best to change them immediately, just like you would with, say, any misguided late-night Facebook posts that you don’t want the wrong person to see.”
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