Teacher Pensions vs. 401(k)s in Six States: Colorado, Connecticut, Georgia, Kentucky, Missouri and Texas

Source: Leon (Rocky) Joyner, Nari Rhee, UC Berkeley Center for Labor Research and Education (Labor Center) and the National Institute on Retirement Security, January 2019

From the abstract:
A new report finds that teacher pension plans play a critical role in retaining educators while also providing greater retirement security than 401(k)-style retirement accounts. Eight out of ten educators serving in the six states studied can expect to collect pension benefits that are greater in value than what they could receive under an idealized 401(k)-type plan. The study also finds that the typical teacher in these states that offer pensions will serve 25 years in the same state, while two out of three educators will teach for at least 20 years.

These findings are featured in new research, Teacher Pensions vs. 401(k)s in Six States: Colorado, Connecticut, Georgia, Kentucky, Missouri and Texas, from the UC Berkeley Center for Labor Research and Education (Labor Center) and the National Institute on Retirement Security. The report is author by Dr. Nari Rhee, director of the Retirement Security Program at the UC Berkeley Labor Center, and Leon (Rocky) Joyner, vice president and actuary with Segal Consulting.

Worker Voice in America: Is There a Gap between What Workers Expect and What They Experience?

Source: Thomas A. Kochan, Duanyi Yang, William T. Kimball, Erin L. Kelly, ILR Review, Volume 72 Issue 1, January 2019
(subscription required)

From the abstract:
This article is the fifth in a series to celebrate the 70th anniversary of the ILR Review. The series features articles that analyze the state of research and future directions for important themes this journal has featured over many years of publication. The decline in unionization experienced in the United States over the past 40 years raises a question of fundamental importance to workers, society, and the field of industrial relations: Have workers lost interest in having a voice at work, or is there a gap between workers’ expectations for a voice and what they actually experience? And if a “voice gap” exists, what options are available to workers to close that gap? The authors draw on a nationally representative survey of workers that both updates previous surveys conducted in 1977 and 1995 and goes beyond the scope of these previous efforts to consider a wider array of workplace issues and voice options. Results indicate that workers believe they should have a voice on a broad set of workplace issues, but substantial gaps exist between their expected and their actual level of voice at work. Nearly 50% of non-union workers say they would vote for a union, compared to approximately one-third in the two prior national surveys, which points to continued interest in unions as a voice mechanism. Additionally, the authors find significant variation in the rates of use of different voice options and workers’ satisfaction with those options. The results suggest that a sizable voice gap exists in American workplaces today, but at the same time, no one voice option fits all workers or all issues.

Workplace discrimination claims fare poorly in arbitration, study says

Source: Phil Ciciora – University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, phys.org, December 19, 2018

The use of arbitration to adjudicate worker complaints – and avoid costly litigation through the slow, unwieldy public court system – has been a controversial practice since its usage began to increase in the 1990s. And according to a new paper co-written by a University of Illinois expert in workplace dispute resolution, certain types of cases fare worse than other types that are resolved through arbitration.

Employee discrimination claims largely received worse outcomes in arbitration than other work-related disputes such as wrongful termination or breach of contract, says new research from J. Ryan Lamare, a professor of labor and employment relations at Illinois.

Following the passage of anti-discrimination laws such as Title VII of the 1964 Civil Rights Act, employees commonly adjudicated workplace claims through litigation. But over the past three decades, the U.S. Supreme Court has sought to expand the use of private arbitration as an alternate dispute-resolution mechanism, Lamare said…..

Related:
Resolving Discrimination Complaints in Employment Arbitration: An Analysis of the Experience in the Securities Industry
Source: J. Ryan Lamare, David B. Lipsky, ILR Review, Volume 72 Issue 1, January 2019
(subscription required)

From the abstract:
This article empirically examines whether employment discrimination claims differ from other types of disputes resolved through arbitration. Whether arbitration is appropriate for resolving violations of anti-discrimination statutes at work is a focus of ongoing policy debates. Yet empirical scholarship has rarely considered whether different types of complaints might have distinct characteristics and receive varied outcomes in arbitration. The authors analyze all of the employment arbitration awards for cases filed between 1991 and 2006 in the financial services industry to determine whether differences in the type of allegation affect award outcomes. They also examine the effects of the financial industry’s decision in 1999 to introduce voluntary arbitration for discrimination claims. Results indicate that discrimination claims largely fared worse in arbitration than did other statutory or non-statutory claims but that arbitration systems are capable of meaningful self-reform.

The Minimum Wage, EITC, and Criminal Recidivism

Source: Amanda Y. Agan – Rutgers University, Department of Economics, Michael D. Makowsky – Clemson University, John E. Walker Department of Economics, Date Written: September 25, 2018

From the abstract:
For recently released prisoners, the minimum wage and the availability of state Earned Income Tax Credits (EITCs) can influence both their ability to find employment and their potential legal wages relative to illegal sources of income, in turn affecting the probability they return to prison. Using administrative prison release records from nearly six million offenders released between 2000 and 2014, we use a difference-in- differences strategy to identify the effect of over two hundred state and federal minimum wage increases, as well as 21 state EITC programs, on recidivism. We find that the average minimum wage increase of $0.50 reduces the probability that men and women return to prison within 1 year by 2.8%. This implies that on average the effect of higher wages, drawing at least some released prisoners into the legal labor market, dominates any reduced employment in this population due to the minimum wage. These reductions in returns to incarcerations are observed for the potentially revenue generating crime categories of property and drug crimes; prison reentry for violent crimes are unchanged, supporting our framing that minimum wages affect crime that serves as a source of income. The availability of state EITCs also reduces recidivism, but only for women.

Posts of Professors Holding Babies in Class Often Go Viral. Is That the Reality of Students With Kids?

Source: Cailin Crowe, Chronicle of Higher Education, December 19, 2018

…. The University of Tennessee at Knoxville and Columbia College, in South Carolina, saw similar stories. In each case the professor was praised for selflessly offering to watch a student’s baby in lieu of professional child care. While the professor’s generosity was commendable, the posts also highlighted the unmet demand for child care on campuses.

The posts go viral because they illustrate a systemic problem, said Barbara Gault, vice president and executive director of the Institute for Women’s Policy Research. People understand that colleges and universities don’t always recognize the caregiving responsibilities of students who are also parents. “It’s a statement about something bigger,” she said.

More than 25 percent of college students are parents of dependent children, according to the institute. However, the idea that colleges and universities should provide child care is still a fairly new concept, Gault said. ….

…. One obvious solution is on-campus day-care centers. For example, at Monroe Community College, in New York, student parents of young children at the campus’s day-care center have on-time graduation rates three times as high as student parents who did not use the center.

But on many campuses, including the institutions where some of those feel-good viral stories have taken place, the reality for students who have kids in need of child care is much different. ….

Lone Medicaid Expansion Defeat Offers Lessons for Other States

Source: Michael Ollove, Stateline, December 17, 2018

Perhaps the chief takeaway from the rejected citizen initiative to expand Medicaid in Montana last month is this: Be careful when you poke a giant.

Montana was one of four red states with Medicaid expansion on the ballot, and the only one where it failed. And the reason why, many close observers both inside and outside of the state agree, almost certainly came down to a tactical decision to link expansion to an increase in the state’s tobacco tax.

Supporters thought that strategy would boost their effort with voters, but it attracted Big Tobacco into the fight, along with the $17.2 million it spent, much of it on a television advertising blitz. Opponents raised nearly $19 million to defeat the measure, finance reports filed with the state show.

Proponents, with about $9.7 million to spend, simply couldn’t keep up….

Working Children: Federal Injury Data and Compliance Strategies Could Be Strengthened

Source: United States Government Accountability Office, GAO-19-26: Published: November 2, 2018, Publicly Released: December 3, 2018

From the summary:
Many children aged 17 and under work to develop independence or meet financial needs. However, working can sometimes interfere with education, or in some industries, be physically dangerous.

We found that the majority of work-related fatalities occur among children working in agriculture—but data on children’s work-related injuries in general is incomplete.

The Department of Labor is conducting a study to enhance its work-related injury data, but the study doesn’t include children. We recommended including them to improve the data—which could also improve enforcement of child labor standards….

How Major Programs Might Fare in a Partial Government Shutdown

Source: Federal Funds Information for States, Budget Brief 18-19, December 19, 2018
(subscription required)

From the summary:
The second fiscal year (FY) 2019 continuing resolution (CR)—which funds the portion of federal spending not covered by full-year spending bills enacted earlier this year—will expire on Friday. While Congress just announced an agreement on another short-term CR through February 8 and the president appears to support it, the risk of a federal shutdown likely will continue until a final budget is enacted.
Should a partial shutdown occur, state officials will have questions about their ability to operate federal grant programs in the absence of a current appropriation. The answers to those questions vary by program. FFIS Budget Brief 18-17 provides answers to general questions; this brief provides targeted summary information about specific grant programs.

Appendix: links to the sources of program-specific details