The Benefits of Collective Bargaining: An Antidote to Wage Decline and Inequality

Source: Economic Policy Institute, Fact Sheet, March 17, 2015

Wages have been stagnant for a generation despite sizable increases in overall productivity, incomes, and wealth. For instance, our nation’s output of goods and services per hour worked (productivity, net of depreciation) grew 64 percent from 1979 to 2014, while the inflation-adjusted hourly wage of the typical worker rose by just 6 percent. The single largest factor suppressing wage growth for middle-wage workers has been the erosion of collective bargaining.
– The decline of collective bargaining has affected nonunion workers in industries or occupations that previously had extensive collective bargaining because their employers no longer raise wages toward the union-set standard as union membership rates decline.
– The decline of collective bargaining through its impact on union and nonunion workers can explain one-third of the rise of wage inequality among men since 1979, and one-fifth among women…..

Leveling the Playing Field? The Role of Public Campaign Funding in Elections

Source: Tilman Klumpp, Hugo M. Mialon, Michael A. Williams, American Law and Economics Review, Advance Access, First published online: April 16, 2015
(subscription required)

From the abstract:
In a series of First Amendment cases, the U.S. Supreme Court established that government may regulate campaign finance, but not if regulation imposes costs on political speech and the purpose of regulation is to “level the political playing field.” The Court has applied this principle to limit the ways in which governments can provide public campaign funding to candidates in elections. A notable example is the Court’s decision to strike down matching funds provisions of public funding programs (Arizona Free Enterprise Club’s Freedom Club PAC v. Bennett, 2011). In this paper, we develop a contest-theoretic model of elections in which we analyze the effects of public campaign funding mechanisms, including a simple public option and a public option with matching funds, on program participation, political speech, and election outcomes. We show that a public option with matching funds is equivalent to a simple public option with a lump-sum transfer equal to the maximum level of funding under the matching program; that a public option does not always “level the playing field,” but may make it more uneven and can decrease as well as increase the quantity of political speech by all candidates, depending on the maximum public funding level; and that a public option tends to increase speech in cases where it levels the playing field. Several of the Supreme Court’s arguments in Arizona Free Enterprise are discussed in light of our theoretical results.

Reinventing Performance Management

Source: Marcus Buckingham, Ashley Goodall, Harvard Business Review, Vol. 93 no. 4, April 2015
(subscription required)

How one company is rethinking peer feedback and the annual review, and trying to design a system to fuel improvement… We’ve arrived at a very different and much simpler design for managing people’s performance. Its hallmarks are speed, agility, one-size-fits-one, and constant learning, and it’s underpinned by a new way of collecting reliable performance data. This system will make much more sense for our talent-dependent business. But we might never have arrived at its design without drawing on three pieces of evidence: a simple counting of hours, a review of research in the science of ratings, and a carefully controlled study of our own organization…..

Special Issue: 2015 White House Conference on Aging

Source: Gerontologist, Volume 55 Issue 2 April 2015
(subscription required)

From the introduction:
The White House Conference on Aging (WHCoA), held once every decade since the 1960s, offers a unique opportunity to shape the national landscape for policies affecting older Americans. Although some have debated the impact of past WHCoAs on public policy developments in the field of aging, there is consensus that the 1961, 1971, and 1981 conferences were catalysts for the establishment of many key programs representing the aging policy of the United States today—including Medicare and Medicaid, the Older Americans Act nutrition program, the Supplemental Security Income program, the National Institute on Aging, Social Security reform, expansion of home care coverage under Medicare, and the Older Americans Act. The 1995 and 2005 conferences primarily focused on reaffirming support for existing federal social programs, notably Medicare and Medicaid. Although few new initiatives were proposed, these more recent conferences highlighted a new vision of national aging policy. Framed on the concepts of aging as a lifelong process embracing all generations and recognition of the growing diversity of the older population and its vast reserves of talent and experience, the 1995 and 2005 WHCoAs featured significant involvement of grassroots stakeholders, with more than 800 preconference events in 2005.
The Gerontological Society of America (GSA) always has had a special relationship with the WHCoA. GSA played an active role in many previous conferences; its members and staff were involved in numerous preparatory events and follow-up reports. In 2005, thanks to GSA-led cross-country forums, focus groups, and subsequent white paper recommendations, civic engagement was included as a key WHCoA theme. In that spirit, The Gerontologist committed to developing a Special Issue preparing for the 2015 WHCoA…..

Articles include:
The Neoliberal Political Economy and Erosion of Retirement Security
Larry Polivka and Baozhen Luo

Age-Friendly Community Initiatives: Conceptual Issues and Key Questions
Emily A. Greenfield, Mia Oberlink, Andrew E. Scharlach, Margaret B. Neal, and Philip B. Stafford

Public Health Imperative of the 21st Century: Innovations in Palliative Care Systems, Services, and Supports to Improve Health and Well-Being of Older Americans
Mary Beth Morrissey, Keela Herr, and Carol Levine

Workplace-Based Health and Wellness Programs: The Intersection of Aging, Work, and Health
Marcie Pitt-Catsouphes, Jacquelyn Boone James, and Christina Matz-Costa

Creating a Comprehensive Care System for Frail Elders in “Age Boom” America
Joanne Lynn and Anne Montgomery

Re-Imagining Long-Term Services and Supports: Towards Livable Environments, Service Capacity, and Enhanced Community Integration, Choice, and Quality of Life for Seniors
Rosalie A. Kane and Lois J. Cutler

A New Long-Term Care Manifesto
Robert L. Kane

Improving Policies for Caregiver Respite Services
Miriam S. Rose, Linda S. Noelker, and Jill Kagan

Informal Caregiving and Its Impact on Health: A Reappraisal From Population-Based Studies
David L. Roth, Lisa Fredman, and William E. Haley

Special report: Universities

Source: Economist, Vol. 414 no. 8931, March 28, 2015

The world is going to university
More and more money is being spent on higher education. Too little is known about whether it is worth it.

Excellence v equity
The American model of higher education is spreading. It is good at producing excellence, but needs to get better at providing access to decent education at a reasonable cost, says Emma Duncan

Top of the class
Competition among universities has become intense and international

NYU’s Abu Dhabi campus
A pearl in the desert
A controversial Middle Eastern outpost of an American educational empire

Mix and match
Both provision and funding of higher education is shifting towards the private sector

A flagging model
America’s higher-education system is no longer delivering all it should

Not classy enough
Online learning could disrupt higher education, but many universities are resisting it

Policy options
Having it all
Ideas for delivering equity as well as excellence

Health Care for Immigrants — Implications of Obama’s Executive Action

Source: Benjamin D. Sommers and Wendy E. Parmet, New England Journal of Medicine, Vol. 372 No. 13, March 26, 2015
(subscription required)

President Obama has announced his intention to grant millions of undocumented immigrants a reprieve from the threat of deportation, along with the possibility of legal employment. If the plan is implemented, it could have substantial effects on the health care system….

Terminology in Labor Arbitration: What Every New Advocate Needs to Learn

Source: Jay E. Grenig and Rocco M. Scanza, Dispute Resolution Journal, Vol. 70 no. 1, 2015
(subscription required)

Labor Arbitration is a vitally important method of resolving labor-management disputes. It enjoys a long and rich history and in many respects has served as the benchmark in establishing standards for all forms of arbitration to ensure that fundamental due process and fairness are paramount concerns to arbitrators and advocates alike. Labor Arbitration also has its own terminology, and for those who are new to the process, some of its terms may not be familiar or immediately understood. The following Glossary is intended to list many of the most common terms in the unique and important field of labor arbitration….

U.S. Labor: Satisfying Foreign Investors’ Needs

Source: Steve Stackhouse-Kaelble, Area Development, Location USA, 2015

Although the labor environment varies from state to state, foreign companies choosing a U.S. location are finding competitive wage rates, quality training resources, and workers eager to join their labor forces….

… Unionization and Right-to-Work Laws
That understanding begins with the acknowledgment that the United States is a collection of 50 states, with widely varying characteristics and regulatory environments. That’s not a bad thing, of course, because global site selectors have just as widely varying requirements. Consider the subject of unionization. “Some want to have an open shop, some like to have unions, and some are neutral and have to bring that neutrality here,” Thuston says….

….“Right-to-work” laws tend to drive down unionization rates, which may in turn lead to lower wage rates. Be that as it may, cheaper labor isn’t everything, he says. “What companies are looking for is not necessarily the lowest labor cost, but dependability and the capability of delivering quality.”
Lewin adds that while many companies — including many of the non-U.S. automakers that have sought U.S. sites in recent years — instinctively seek to avoid unionization, others feel less threatened by organized labor. “You can run a unionized operation and do very well in business. In some industries the highest-performing companies are highly unionized.” …