Exposure to Cooking Fumes and Acute Reversible Decrement in Lung Functional Capacity

Source: Masoud Neghab, Mahdieh Delikhoon, Abbas Norouzian Baghani, Jafar Hassanzadeh, International Journal of Occupational and Environmental Medicine, Vol 8 No 4, October 2017

From the abstract:
Background: Being exposed to cooking fumes, kitchen workers are occupationally at risk of multiple respiratory hazards. No conclusive evidence exists as to whether occupational exposure to these fumes is associated with acute and chronic pulmonary effects and symptoms of respiratory diseases.
Objective: To quantify the exposure levels and evaluate possible chronic and acute pulmonary effects associated with exposure to cooking fumes.

Methods: In this cross-sectional study, 60 kitchen workers exposed to cooking fumes and 60 unexposed employees were investigated. The prevalence of respiratory symptoms among these groups was determined through completion of a standard questionnaire. Pulmonary function parameters were also measured before and after participants’ work shift. Moreover, air samples were collected and analyzed to quantify their aldehyde, particle, and volatile organic contents.

Results: The mean airborne concentrations of formaldehyde, acetaldehyde, and acrolein was 0.45 (SD 0.41), 0.13 (0.1), and 1.56 (0.41) mg/m3, respectively. The mean atmospheric concentrations of PM1, PM2.5, PM7, PM10, and total volatile organic compounds (TVOCs) was 3.31 (2.6), 12.21 (5.9), 44.16 (16.6), 57 (21.55) μg/m3, and 1.31 (1.11) mg/m3, respectively. All respiratory symptoms were significantly (p<0.05) more prevalent in exposed group. No significant difference was noted between the pre-shift mean of spirometry parameters of exposed and unexposed group. However, exposed workers showed cross-shift decrease in most spirometry parameters, significantly lower than the pre-shift values and those of the comparison group. Conclusion: Exposure to cooking fumes is associated with a significant increase in the prevalence of respiratory symptoms as well as acute reversible decrease in lung functional capacity.

The Changing Policy Landscape of the Direct Care Workforce

Source: Robert Espinoza, Public Policy & Aging Report, Volume 27 Issue 3, August 2017

As the largest growing occupation in the country, the direct care workforce represents a critical segment of the long-term services and supports field and the U.S. economy. Direct care workers are the paid frontline of long-term care, supporting millions of older people and people with disabilities in residential settings and in their homes and communities. The need for direct care will surge over the next few decades, as millions of people reach retirement age, and as people live longer with higher rates of chronic illness and functional limitations (Administration for Community Living, 2014).

Unfortunately, jobs in this sector are characterized by low wages and high turnover, which impairs both the livelihood of workers and the quality of care they provide. In the face of growing demand for long-term care, policymakers have increasingly begun strengthening this workforce, largely by increasing wages and benefits, promoting better training and advanced roles, collecting reliable data on the workforce, expanding access to long-term care, and supporting the relationship between paid and unpaid caregivers. States around the country are also steadily adopting laws that increase wages for workers and government funding for paid caregiving, create advanced roles and training opportunities for workers, establish working groups to study this workforce, and explore universal long-term care insurance options. Heightened attention on this sector, paired with a health framework that elevates the role of the worker in care delivery, can improve both the quality of jobs for workers and the quality of care for families nationwide…..

Pension Math: Public Pension Spending and Service Crowd Out in California, 2003-2030

Source: Joe Nation, Stanford Institute for Economic Policy Research (SIEPR), Working Paper 17-023, October 2017

From the abstract:
California public pension plans are funded on the basis of policies and assumptions that can delay recognition of their true cost. Even with this delay, local and state governments are facing increasingly higher pension costs—costs that are certain to continue their rise over the next one to two decades, even under assumptions that critics regard as optimistic. As budgets are squeezed, what are state and local governments cutting? Core services, including higher education, social services, public assistance, welfare, recreation and libraries, health, public works, and in some cases, public safety.

Women in the Workplace 2017

Source: McKinsey & Company and LeanIn.Org, 2017

Women in the Workplace 2017 is a comprehensive study of the state of women in corporate America. This research is part of a long-term partnership between LeanIn.Org and McKinsey & Company to give organizations the information they need to promote women’s leadership and foster gender equality.

This year 222 companies employing more than 12 million people shared their pipeline data and completed a survey of HR practices. In addition, more than 70,000 employees completed a survey designed to explore their experiences regarding gender, opportunity, career, and work-life issues. To our knowledge, this makes Women in the Workplace the largest study of its kind.

Key findings:

  • The bar for gender equality is too low
  • Nearly 50 percent of men think women are well represented in leadership in companies where only one in ten senior leaders is a woman. A much smaller but still significant number of women agree: a third think women are well represented when they see one in ten in leadership.

  • Women hit the glass ceiling early
  • At the first critical step up to manager, women are 18 percent less likely to be promoted than their male peers. This gender disparity has a dramatic effect on the representation of women: if entry-level women were promoted at the same rate as their male peers, the number of women at the SVP and C-suite levels would more than double.

  • Men are more likely to say they get what they want without having to ask
  • Women of all races and ethnicities negotiate for raises and promotions at rates comparable to their male counterparts. However, men are more likely to say they have not asked for a raise because they are already well compensated or a promotion because they are already in the right role.

  • Women get less of the support that advances careers
  • Women are less likely to receive advice from managers and senior leaders on how to advance, and employees who do are more likely to say they’ve been promoted in the last two years. Similarly, women are less likely to interact regularly with senior leaders, yet employees who do are more likely to aspire to be top executives.

  • Women are less optimistic they can reach the top
  • Women are less likely than men to aspire to be a top executive, and those who do are significantly less likely than men to think they’ll become one. However, when you look at ambition by race and ethnicity, both women and men of color are more interested in becoming a top executive than white women and men.

  • Men are less committed to gender diversity efforts
  • Men are less likely to say gender diversity is a top personal priority and point to concern over de-emphasizing individual performance as the primary reason. Some men even feel that gender diversity efforts disadvantage them: 15 percent of men think their gender will make it harder for them to advance.

  • Many women still work a double shift
  • On average, 54 percent of women do all or most of the household work, compared to 22 percent of men. This gap grows when couples have children. Women with a partner and children are 5.5 times more likely than their male counterparts to do all or most of the household work. Even when women are primary breadwinners, they do more work at home.

    Electoral College Reform: Contemporary Issues for Congress

    Source: Thomas H. Neale, Congressional Research Service, CRS Report, R43824, October 6, 2017

    The electoral college method of electing the President and Vice President was established in Article II, Section 1 of the Constitution and revised by the Twelfth Amendment. It provides for election of the President and Vice President by electors, commonly referred to as the electoral college. A majority of 270 of the 538 electoral votes is necessary to win. For further information on the modern-day operation of the college system, see CRS Report RL32611, The Electoral College: How It Works in Contemporary Presidential Elections, by Thomas H. Neale ….

    Head Start may keep kids out of foster care

    Source: Andy Henion, Futurity, October 9, 2017

    Head Start programs may keep young children from being placed in foster care, new research suggests.

    Kids up to age five in the federal government’s preschool program were 93 percent less likely to end up in foster care than kids in the child welfare system who had no type of early care and education, says Sacha Klein, an assistant professor of social work at Michigan State University.

    Klein and colleagues examined multiple forms of early care and education—from daycare with a family member to more structured programs—and found Head Start was the only one to guard against foster care placement.

    Related:
    Early care and education arrangements and young children’s risk of foster placement: Findings from a National Child Welfare Sample
    Source: Sacha Klein, Lauren Fries, Mary M.Emmons, Children and Youth Services Review, In Press – Accepted Manuscript, Available online 6 September 2017
    (subscription required)

    From the abstract:
    A primary goal of the U.S. child welfare system (CWS) is to maintain children investigated for maltreatment in their parents’ homes whenever safely possible. This study explores the possibility that early care and education (ECE) services (e.g., child care, preschool, day care) can help the CWS achieve this goal by using a nationally representative sample of children referred to CWS for suspected maltreatment to measure the relationship between ECE receipt and the likelihood that 0–5 year olds in the CWS will be placed in foster care approximately 18 months later. Specifically, logistic regression analyses explore the relationship between: (1) regular ECE participation (yes/no), and (2) type of ECE arrangement (Head Start, other center- or home-based ECE, family/friend/relative ECE, other ECE, and multiple types of ECE) and foster placement risk. After controlling for multiple socio-demographic characteristics and foster placement risk factors, children who received ECE (yes/no) were no less likely to be placed in foster care than children who received no ECE. However, when exploring type of ECE arrangement, children who received Head Start were 93% less likely to be placed in foster care than children with no ECE. Children who participated in multiple types of ECE were almost seven times more likely to be placed in foster care than children with no ECE. These results suggest that Head Start may help maltreated children avoid foster placement and that experiencing multiple types of ECE is a risk factor for foster placement. It is recommended that caseworkers routinely assess the ECE service history and needs of families with young children who come in contact with the CWS, paying attention to the type and number of ECE services used.

    Highlights
    • We explore whether receipt of early care and education (ECE) services reduces the likelihood of foster placement for 0-5 year olds in the U.S. child welfare system.
    • ECE receipt (yes/no) was unrelated to children’s odds of being placed in foster care.
    • However, children who participated in Head Start preschools were 93% less likely to be placed in foster care than children who received no ECE.
    • Children who used multiple types of ECE were almost seven times more likely to be placed in foster care than children who received no ECE.

    Workers’ Compensation: Benefits, Coverage, and Costs

    Source: Christopher F. McLaren and Marjorie L. Baldwin, National Academy of Social Insurance, October 2017

    From the abstract:
    Workers’ Compensation: Benefits, Coverage, and Costs is the twentieth in a series by the National Academy of Social Insurance to provide the only comprehensive national data on this largely state-run program. The study provides estimates of workers’ compensation payments—cash and medical—for all 50 states, the District of Columbia, and federal programs providing workers’ compensation.
    *Note: Due to the large size of the file, the report may take a few moments to download

    Related:
    View an infographic.
    Read the national press release.
    Read state-specific findings for California, Illinois, Oklahoma, Washington State, and West Virginia
    Download a document detailing the sources and methods used to produce the state-level estimates in the report.

    MapLight – Data

    Source: Maplight.org, 2017

    MapLight tracks several data sets that you can search for evidence of money’s influence on politics.

    CAMPAIGN CONTRIBUTIONS
    Top contributions from major donors to congressional politicians.

    CONGRESSIONAL BILLS
    Bills paired with contributions, positions taken by special interests, and vote results.

    LEGISLATORS
    Profiles of elected officials with campaign finance statistics.

    LOBBYING
    See how much money companies and interest groups spend trying to influence lawmakers.

    BULK DATA SETS + APIS
    Use MapLight’s data for your own research or software project.

    Agency Fees and the First Amendment

    Source: Benjamin I. Sachs, Harvard Law Review, Forthcoming, Date Written: September 22, 2017

    From the abstract:
    Agency fees are mandatory payments that certain employees are required to make to labor unions. In recent years, the Supreme Court has moved closer to declaring these fees an unconstitutional form of compelled speech and association and may soon invalidate them entirely. The Court – and the scholarship on agency fees – proceeds from the assumption that such fees are employees’ money that employees’ pay to a union. This article argues, however, that this is the wrong way to understand agency fees and for two sets of reasons. One, the Court treats agency fees as employees’ money because fees pass through employee paychecks on the way from employers to unions. But this is simply an accounting formalism required by labor law. Because employees have no choice but to pay the fees, the fact that the fees pass through paychecks is irrelevant for purposes of First Amendment analysis. Instead, under the First Amendment, agency fees are – and must be treated as – payments made directly by employers to unions. And payments made by employers to unions raise no compelled speech or association problems for employees. Two, irrespective of the accounting regime, the article shows why agency fees ought to be treated as union property rather than as the property of individual employees. Unionization, by allowing employees to negotiate collectively, produces a premium for employees covered by union contracts. Agency fees are a small fraction of this union premium. Because it is the union that produces the premium out of which agency fees are paid, and because individual employees would never earn the premium as individuals, the premium and the fees that come out of it should be treated – under the Court’s own cases – as the property of the union that secured them. The article thus provides two sets of arguments with the same fundamental implication: agency fees are not properly understood as payments made by employees to unions, and there is accordingly no compelled speech or association problem with agency fees.

    Related:
    Janus, Agency Fees and the First Amendment
    Source: Benjamin Sachs, On Labor blog, October 5, 2017