The United Auto Workers’ Attempts to Unionize Volkswagen Chattanooga

Source: Stephen J. Silvia, ILR Review, Online First, August 3, 2017
(subscription required)

From the abstract:
The author examines attempts by the United Auto Workers (UAW) to unionize the Volkswagen (VW) plant in Chattanooga, Tennessee. These efforts were a pivotal test of labor’s ability to organize in the South. The UAW failed to organize the entire plant, despite an amenable employer, because of heavy intervention by external actors, the union’s failure to develop community support, and a paragraph in the pre-election agreement that promised wage restraint. VW management’s fear of losing state subsidies and their desire to not alienate the local business and political establishment took the card-check procedure for recognition off the table. VW management’s adoption of an accommodating position toward unionization for the entire plant, but resistance to it for the small skilled-mechanics unit, suggests that the company was willing to accept unionization only as a means to the end of creating a works council rather than out of a commitment to collective bargaining as a practice.

2017 Employer Health Benefits Survey

Source: Kaiser Family Foundation, September 2017

From the abstract:
This annual survey of employers provides a detailed look at trends in employer-sponsored health coverage including premiums, employee contributions, cost-sharing provisions, and employer practices. The 2017 survey included more than 2,100 interviews with non-federal public and private firms. Annual premiums for employer-sponsored family health coverage reached $18,764 this year, up 3% from last year, with workers on average paying $5,714 towards the cost of their coverage, according to the Kaiser Family Foundation/Health Research & Education Trust 2017 Employer Health Benefits Survey. The 2017 survey includes information on the use of incentives for employer wellness programs, plan cost sharing, and firm offer rates. Survey results are released in a variety of ways, including a full report with downloadable tables on a variety of topics, summary of findings, and an article published in the journal Health Affairs.
Related:
Press Release
Summary of Findings
Survey Design and Methods
Health Affairs
The peer-reviewed journal Health Affairs has published an article with key findings from the 2017 survey: Health Benefits In 2017: Stable Coverage, Workers Faced Considerable Variation in Costs.

Web Briefing
On Tuesday, September 19, 2017, the Kaiser Family Foundation and the Health Research & Educational Trust (HRET) held a reporters-only web briefing to release the 2017 Employer Health Benefits Survey.

Interactive Graphic
This graphing tool allows users to look at changes in premiums and worker contributions for covered workers at different types of firms over time: Premiums and Worker Contributions Among Workers Covered by Employer-Sponsored Coverage, 1999-2017.

Key Exhibits-Chartpack
Over twenty overview slides from the 2017 Employer Health Benefits Survey are available as a slideshow or PDF.

Additional Resources
Standard errors for selected estimates are available in the Technical Supplement here.
Employer Health Benefits Surveys from 1998-2016 are available here. Please note that historic survey reports have not been revised with methodological changes.
Researchers may request a public use dataset by going to Contact Us and choosing “TOPIC: Health Costs.”

New onset of asthma and job status change among world trade center responders and workers

Source: Hyun Kim, Sherry Baron, Navneet K. Baidwan, Adam Schwartz and Jacqueline Moline, American Journal of Industrial Medicine, Early View, First published: September 14, 2017
(subscription required)

From the abstract:
Background:
Despite the high rates, the consequences of new onset asthma among the World Trade Center (WTC) responders in terms of the change in job status have not been studied.

Methods:
This study consists of a cohort of 8132 WTC responders out of the total 25 787 responders who held a full-time job at the baseline visit, and participated in at least one follow-up visit.

Results:
Overall, 34% of the study cohort changed their job status from full-time at a follow-up visit. Multivariable models showed that asthmatics were respectively 27% and 47% more likely to have any job status change and get retired, and twice as likely to become disabled as compared to non-asthmatics.

Conclusions:
With asthma incidence from WTC exposure, negative job status change should be considered as a potential long-term consequence of WTC exposure.

Democracy Counts: A Report On U.S. College And University Student Voting

Source: Nancy Thomas, Inger Bergom, Ishara Casellas Connors, Prabhat Gautam, Adam Gismondi, And Alena Roshko, Tufts University – Jonathan M. Tisch College of Civic Life – Institute for Democracy & Higher Education, 2017

From the summary:
The National Study of Learning, Voting, and Engagement is a study of U.S. college and university student voting. At the time of this report, the database consists of deidentified records for 9,511,711 and 9,784,931 students enrolled at the time of the 2012 and 2016 elections, respectively. These students attended 1,023 higher education institutions in the U.S. across all 50 states. Participating institutions give NSLVE permission for their student enrollment records to be matched with public voting records, yielding precise data on their students’ turnout. The demographics of the nearly 10 million students in NSLVE resemble those of the approximately 20 million college students in the U.S.
• Turnout rose
• Women voted more
• Hispanic and Asian turnout up; Black turnout down from a high baseline
• Youngest students saw turnout increase
• Social science majors voted at significantly higher rates than STEM majors
• Turnout rose in private four-year institutions and women’s colleges, fell at HBCUs Institutions in New York, Massachusetts, and Pennsylvania led the turnout increases

Related:
Data Portal

‘Whatever it takes’: Hospitals get creative in hiring nurses amid a national shortage

Source: Max Blau, STAT, September 13, 2017

It’s hard to find a nurse who’ll move to West Virginia.

That’s what Doug Mitchell realized after becoming the chief nursing officer of WVU Medicine in late 2015. Early on, he had to hire 200 nurses to staff the nonprofit health system’s new $200 million expansion of its Heart and Vascular Institute. Traditional incentives — signing bonuses, overtime pay, flex scheduling — were all on offer. But they weren’t cutting it. ….

….Hospital administrators, long accustomed to the world of hiring incentives, are making more enticing offers to nurses than ever before. Five-figure signing bonuses have replaced four-figure ones. One Texas health system dangles the prospect of free nursing degrees to train existing staff or volunteers as nurses, while a Missouri health system offers an enticing loan forgiveness program. A Kentucky hospital even gave new nurses who came aboard a chance to win a 2017 Ford Mustang convertible…..

Violation Tracker – September 2017 update

Source: Good Jobs First. September 19, 2017

From the press release:
An expansion of Violation Tracker, the first public database of corporate crime and misconduct in the United States, now makes it possible to access details of cases ranging from the big business scandals of the early 2000s during the Bush administration through those of the Trump administration to date. …. The expansion nearly doubles the size of Violation Tracker to 300,000 entries, which together account for more than $394 billion in fines and settlements. As a measure of how corporate crime is concentrated within big business, 95 percent of those penalty values were assessed against only 2,800 large parent companies whose subsidiaries are linked together in the database. Approximately 200,000 smaller businesses account for the remaining five percent of the dollar total. ….

Related:
Agency Data Sources
User Guide and Webinar
Update Log

Welfare Benefits and Unemployment in Affluent Democracies: The Moderating Role of the Institutional Insider/Outsider Divide

Source: Thomas Biegert, American Sociological Review, First Published August 29, 2017
(subscription required)

From the abstract:
The effect of generous welfare benefits on unemployment is highly contested. The dominant perspective contends that benefits provide disincentive to work, whereas others portray benefits as job-search subsidies that facilitate better job matches. Despite many studies of welfare benefits and unemployment, the literature has neglected how this relationship might vary across institutional contexts. This article investigates how unemployment benefits and minimum income benefits affect unemployment across levels of the institutional insider/outsider divide. I analyze the moderating role of the disparity in employment protection for holders of permanent and temporary contracts and of the configuration of wage bargaining. The analysis combines data from 20 European countries and the United States using the European Union Labour Force Survey and the Current Population Survey 1992–2009. I use a pseudo-panel approach, including fixed effects for sociodemographic groups within countries and interactions between benefits and institutions. The results indicate that unemployment benefits and minimum income benefits successfully subsidize job search and reduce unemployment in labor markets with a moderate institutional insider/outsider divide. However, when there is greater disparity in employment protection and when bargaining either combines low unionization with high centralization or high unionization with low centralization, generous benefits create a disincentive to work, plausibly because attractive job opportunities are scarce.

Graham-Cassidy Legislation Threatens Affordable Coverage for Older Americans

Source: Lina Walker, Jane Sung, Claire Noel-Miller, and Olivia Dean, AARP Public Policy Institute, Fact Sheet, September 2017

The Graham-Cassidy (GC) bill, as proposed on September 13, 2017, threatens to make health care unaffordable and inaccessible for millions of older Americans. The bill eliminates two sources of financial assistance—premium tax credits and cost-sharing reductions—critical to ensuring that low- to moderate-income older adults are able to afford the coverage they need. For a 60-year-old earning $25,000 a year, premiums and out-of-pocket costs could increase by as much as $16,174 a year if they wanted to keep their current coverage. The bill may also allow states to charge older adults age 50–64 significantly higher premiums than under current law on the basis of their age by waiving federal protections that limit the practice known as age rating…..

How 1,000 Nurses in Northern Michigan Went Union

Source: James Walker, Labor Notes, September 20, 2017

Nurses in rural northern Michigan made history August 9-10 when we won labor’s biggest organizing victory since “right to work” took effect in the state in 2013. By a vote of 489–439, more than 1,000 RNs at Traverse City’s Munson Medical Center, the area’s largest employer, will be represented by the Michigan Nurses Association.

Munson nurses tried to organize years earlier, unsuccessfully. “I was involved in the effort to organize 15 years ago,” said critical care pool RN Dagmar Cunningham. “Since then benefits have decreased and the workload due to sicker patients has increased. Something had to change.”

This time around, we succeeded. How did we do it?. ….