The Union Effect in California

Source: University of California, Berkeley Center for Labor Research and Education, Institute for Research on Labor and Employment, 2018

From the summary:
“The Union Effect in California” is a three-part series exploring the ways in which unions affect the lives of all working people—both union members and nonunion members—in California. The studies were conducted as the U.S. Supreme Court prepares to issue a ruling in Janus v. American Federation of State, County, and Municipal Employees that threatens to weaken public sector unions.  

The first study, Wages, Benefits, and Use of Public Safety Net Programs, shows that by bargaining together through unions, California workers increase their earnings by approximately $5,800 per worker annually, for a combined total of $18.5 billion. Union workers also have more access to health and retirement benefits, thereby reducing reliance on the state’s public safety net programs.
By Ken Jacobs and Sarah Thomason    

The second study, Gains for Women, Workers of Color, and Immigrants, shows that, while all workers in California have higher wages and greater access to benefits when covered by a union contract, those workers who earn the least in nonunion workplaces—women, people of color, and immigrants—gain the most.
By Sarah Thomason and Annette Bernhardt      

The third study, A Voice for Workers in Public Policy, analyzes unions as a countervailing force to corporate power in the state. It explores union-backed policies promoting the rights of workers—union and nonunion alike—and addressing broader issues facing working families in the state. Included are policies in the areas of minimum wage, worker benefits, workplace safety, wage theft, employment-based sexual harassment, whistleblower protections, education, immigration, consumer protections, infrastructure and housing, climate policy, and criminal justice.
By Jenifer MacGillvary and Ken Jacobs

How managers can spark, not squelch, our motivation

Source: Futurity, June 22, 2018

Does your boss empower you to make your own decisions? Or are you stuck with a micro-manager? New research from Gavin R. Slemp and Lara H. Mossman at the University of Melbourne identifies the best ways for bosses to foster motivation—and it’s not through overseeing every little thing…..

Related:

Leader autonomy support in the workplace: A meta-analytic review
Source: Gavin R. Slemp, Margaret L. Kern, Kent J. Patrick, Richard M. Ryan, Motivation and Emotion, Online First, May 17, 2018
(subscription required)

From the abstract:
Leader autonomy support (LAS) refers to a cluster of supervisory behaviors that are theorized to facilitate self-determined motivation in employees, potentially enabling well-being and performance. We report the results of a meta-analysis of perceived LAS in work settings, drawing from a database of 754 correlations across 72 studies (83 unique samples, N = 32,870). Results showed LAS correlated strongly and positively with autonomous work motivation, and was unrelated to controlled work motivation. Correlations became increasingly positive with the more internalized forms of work motivation described by self-determination theory. LAS was positively associated with basic needs, well-being, and positive work behaviors, and was negatively associated with distress. Correlations were not moderated by the source of LAS, country of the sample, publication status, or the operationalization of autonomy support. In addition, a meta-analytic path analysis supported motivational processes that underlie LAS and its consequences in workplaces. Overall, our findings lend support for autonomy support as a leadership approach that is consistent with self-determination and optimal functioning in work settings.

How Courts Structure State-Level Representation

Source: Jonathan P. Kastellec, State Politics & Policy Quarterly, Volume 18 Issue 1, March 2018
(subscription required)

From the abstract:
I examine how courts condition the relationship between state-level public opinion and policy. The system of federalism in the United States allows federal and state courts to establish the types of policies that states are constitutionally allowed to implement. In particular, federal courts can set “federal floors” for policy, below which no states can go. State courts, in turn, can raise the level of this floor. Thus, both federal and state courts shape whether state policy can match the preferences of the median voter in a given state. Analyzing data on public opinion, judicial decisions, and state-level policy on the issue of abortion, from 1973 to 2012, I show that changes in the set of allowable abortion restrictions, according to the combined decisions of state and federal courts, significantly affect whether states implement majority-preferred policies. I also show that ignoring the influence of courts on the policymaking environment significantly affects the estimated level of policy congruence and thus conclusions about the scope of representation. These results demonstrate the importance of placing courts in the larger study of state-level representation.

Less Bang for Your Buck? How Social Capital Constrains the Effectiveness of Social Welfare Spending

Source: Mallory E. Compton, State Politics & Policy Quarterly, Online First, First Published June 21, 2018
(subscription required)

From the abstract:
Rising economic insecurity in recent decades has focused attention on the importance of social welfare programs in managing household financial stability. Some governments are more effective than others in managing this outcome, and informal social institutions help explain why. Social capital is expected to shape economic security through multiple mechanisms, but whether the effect is to magnify or mitigate volatility is an open question. Part of the answer has to do with how social capital interacts with policy implementation, and whether it conditions the effectiveness of government spending. Evidence from the U.S. states from 1986 to 2010 fails to support a benevolent social capital thesis—not only is social capital associated with greater economic insecurity, there is no evidence that it improves social welfare effectiveness. However, greater spending on some social programs can mitigate the adverse impact of social capital on economic security.

How Local Media Coverage of Voter Fraud Influences Partisan Perceptions in the United States

Source: Adriano Udani, David C. Kimball, Brian Fogarty, State Politics & Policy Quarterly, Volume 18 Issue 2, June 2018
(subscription required)

From the abstract:
Extant findings show that voter fraud is extremely rare and difficult to prove in the United States. Voter’s knowledge about voter fraud allegations likely comes through the media, who tend to sensationalize the issue. In this study, we argue that the more voters are exposed to media coverage of voter fraud allegations, the more likely that they will perceive that voter fraud is a frequent problem. We merge the 2012 Survey of Performance of American Elections with state-level media coverage of voter fraud leading up to the 2012 election. Our results show that media coverage of voter fraud is associated with public beliefs about voter fraud. In states where fraud was more frequently featured in local media outlets, public concerns about voter fraud were heightened. In particular, we find that press attention to voter fraud has a larger influence on Republicans than Democrats and Independents. We further find that media coverage of voter fraud does not further polarize partisan perceptions of voter fraud. Rather, political interest moderates state media coverage on voter fraud beliefs only among Republicans. Last, our results provide no support that demographic changes, approval of election administration, or information concerning actual reported voting irregularities have any discernable effects on partisan perceptions.

Report of the Special Rapporteur on extreme poverty and human rights on his mission to the United States of America

Source: United Nations, General Assembly, Human Rights Council, Thirty-eighth session, Agenda item 3, June 18 – July 6, 2018

From the Oral Statement by Mr. Philip Alston Special Rapporteur on extreme poverty and human rights, 38th session of the Human Rights Council:
…. My starting point is that the combination of extreme inequality and extreme poverty generally create ideal conditions for small elites to trample on the human rights of minorities, and sometimes even of majorities. The United States has the highest income inequality in the Western world, and this can only be made worse by the massive new tax cuts overwhelmingly benefiting the wealthy. At the other end of the spectrum, 40 million Americans live in poverty and 18.5 million of those live in extreme poverty. In addition, vast numbers of middle class Americans are perched on the edge, with 40% of the adult population saying they would be unable to cover an unexpected $400 expense.

In response, the Trump administration has pursued a welfare policy that consists primarily of (i) steadily diminishing the number of Americans with health insurance (‘Obamacare’); (ii) stigmatizing those receiving government benefits by arguing that most of them could and should work, despite evidence to the contrary; and (iii) adding ever more restrictive conditions to social safety net protections such as food stamps, Medicaid, housing subsidies, and cash transfers, each of which will push millions off existing benefits. For example, a Farm Bill approved yesterday by Republicans in the House of Representatives would impose stricter work requirements on up to 7 million food stamp recipients. Presumably this would also affect the tens of thousands of serving military personnel whose families need to depend on food stamps, and the 1.5 million low-income veterans who receive them. ….

Young Trumpies Hit D.C. … And D.C. hits them right back.

Source: Daniel Lippman, Ben Schreckinger, Politico Magazine, July/August 2018

…. There’s always tension when administrations change in Washington; a new cast of characters arrives, and an influx of appointees, lobbyists and hangers-on have to stake out their own ground. But the era of Donald Trump is—as in so many respects—different.

Washington is a hipper city now than it’s ever been, a place where staffers, especially young staffers who want to drink and date and live normal millennial lives, would want to live. The problem is, if you work for Trump, it’s also more hostile territory than it’s ever been. The president campaigned against the very idea of “Washington,” slammed cities as “war zones” and ran a racially charged campaign whose coded messages weren’t lost on the diverse, Democratic-leaning residents of D.C.’s buzzing neighborhoods. The bar-filled areas that became synonymous with young Washington in the Obama era—Columbia Heights, Shaw, U Street, H Street—are full of anti-Trump T-shirts and street art. Even old Republican redoubts like Spring Valley in upper Northwest aren’t very Trump-friendly.

So, what’s a young Trumpie to do? Many still do live in D.C., and to understand what their lives here are like, we interviewed more than 30 millennial staffers from the Trump White House and across the administration, both current and former (many have already left), as well as a smattering of their friends and outside observers. ….

Organized Labor’s Check on Rising Economic Inequality in the U.S. States

Source: Laura C. Bucci, State Politics & Policy Quarterly, Volume 18 Issue 2, June 2018
(subscription required)

From the abstract:
Recent demonstrations of growing economic inequality in the United States raise normative concerns about the political representation of all but the very wealthiest citizens. Building on existing cross-national work on the roles of unions in welfare states, I provide evidence that organized labor, as a political institution, limits unequal income distributions in the U.S. states. The states are useful to our understanding of labor’s influence on inequality as states differ in their acceptance of labor unions, base levels of inequality, political preferences, industries, and levels of development but are all nested within a single overarching national framework. Over the 39-year period examined, states where unions maintain more members remain more equal within the labor market and after redistribution via government transfer. These effects persist after accounting for state-level policy, demography, and economic conditions. However, states where union membership has the largest influence on inequality have also seen growing attempts to reduce unionization rates. Overall, I find that unions are still able to limit the growth of economic inequality in spite of declining levels of union membership.