Attacks on collective bargaining: Hidden costs, untold consequences for Iowans

Source: Iowa Policy Project, February 2017

From the summary:
…Drastic changes to collective bargaining could be devastating for Iowans. Lawmakers and the public should be aware of serious pitfalls associated with sweeping changes to this long-standing law (Chapter 20 of the Iowa Code) which carry implications for every school district, city, county, and state agency in Iowa. Of primary concern to all Iowans, economic impacts and ripple effects are likely to exacerbate existing trends — low and stagnating wages, growing uncertainty about access to health care, and increasing income inequality — putting many Iowa households on a downward path. These effects are likely to disproportionately harm rural communities and low-income workers, and to threaten the quality of the health care, public safety and public education systems upon which all Iowans depend.

Public employees are a significant share of the Iowa workforce. Of the nearly 1.6 million nonfarm payroll jobs in Iowa, about 1 in 7 jobs — 238,500 — are in state and local government. These workers are important to the state economy, as taxpayers supporting local schools and state and local services, and as consumers supporting local businesses and other private sector jobs. About half of Iowa’s public-sector workers — over 119,000 employees — are in jobs covered by 1,203 different contracts negotiated under Iowa’s current collective bargaining law:
• 34,400 state employees
• 11,595 county employees
• 11,562 city employees
• 56,402 local school employees
• 2,948 area education agency employees
• 2,114 community college employees

Impacts of any sweeping changes to collective bargaining will thus be significant and widespread, holding consequences for local economies, public services, and Iowa’s labor market as a whole….

The Interaction of the Pregnancy Discrimination Act and the Americans with Disabilities Act after Young v. UPS

Source: Deborah A. Widiss, Indiana University Maurer School of Law, Indiana Legal Studies Research Paper No. 369, Last revised: April 25, 2017

From the abstract:
Pregnant women sometimes ask employers for accommodations – such as being able to sit on a stool or avoid heavy lifting – to permit them to work safely and productively. In 2015, in Young v. United Parcel Service, the Supreme Court held that the Pregnancy Discrimination Act (PDA) requires courts to scrutinize carefully denial of such requests. The facts in Young arose prior to the effective date of the ADA Amendments Act of 2008 (ADAAA); accordingly, the Court did not address how the ADAAA, which expanded the range of health conditions that qualify as disabilities, affects claims for accommodations under the PDA. This Article fills that gap, updating analysis from an earlier article I wrote on this subject to incorporate the Court’s holding in Young and to discuss how lower courts are applying Young.

The PDA mandates that pregnant employees be treated “the same” as other employees “similar in their ability or inability to work.” Young established that employees who receive accommodations pursuant to the ADA or workers’ compensation laws may be used as comparators in PDA analysis, rejecting lower court decisions to the contrary. The Court stated that evidence that an employer routinely accommodates other health conditions but refuses to provide support for pregnancy is strong circumstantial evidence of discriminatory bias.

The ADAAA magnifies the importance of this holding; it also largely resolves the Young Court’s concern that the PDA not be interpreted to confer a “‘most-favored-nation’ status” on pregnant employees. Under the ADAAA and its implementing regulations, employers must provide reasonable accommodations for impairments that substantially limit an individual’s ability to lift, bend, walk, or stand, even on a temporary basis. Thus workplace accommodations for health conditions that cause limitations like those caused by pregnancy should now be commonplace (and many conditions associated with pregnancy may qualify as disabilities themselves). Robust enforcement of the PDA’s “same treatment” mandate does not create a danger that pregnant employees will be treated better than other employees; rather, it helps ensure that pregnant employees are not consistently treated less well than other employees.

Indicators of Higher Education Equity in the United States — 2017 Historical Trend Report

Source: Pell Institute for the Study of Opportunity in Higher Education, 2017

Vrom the summary:
…..This 2017 Indicators Report and the earlier reports compile statistical data since the 1970s from the nationally representative government statistics including the Census Bureau household studies and the National Center for Education Statistics (NCES)-sponsored high school and college longitudinal studies which track college entrance and completion by family income, socioeconomic status, and race/ethnicity.

A Special Focus on Understanding Equity. The 2015 edition of the Indicators Report began with a quote from the foreword to President Truman’s 1947 Commission on Higher Education that called attention to the dangers of a higher education system that functioned not to provide opportunity but to sort students: “If the ladder of educational opportunity rises high at the doors of some youth and scarcely rises at the doors of others, while at the same time formal education is made a prerequisite to occupational and social advance, then education may become the means, not of eliminating race and class distinctions, but of deepening and solidifying them.” The Indicators Reports are dedicated to increasing our understanding of how to address the equity issues raised by the Truman Commission Report 70 years ago.

Operationalizing Measures of Higher Education Opportunity in the United States. In these statistical reports, we operationalize the concept of “equity” in terms of several types of deviations from a distribution that would indicate “equal access to education.” For example, we observe the differences across quartiles of family income in the percentages of students entering college and receiving bachelor’s degrees. We also observe the extent to which, for example, the racial/ethnic distribution of the composition of the U.S. population differs from the racial/ethnic distribution of degree recipients.
The 2015 Indicators Report focused on equity in higher education based on measures of family income.

Family income remains the primary focus of the 2017 edition. Recognizing the need to also address inequity based on other interrelated demographic characteristics, the 2016 and 2017 editions include selected indicators that highlight differences by race/ethnicity, parent education, and a composite socioeconomic status (SES). The Indicators Reports present data as far back as comparable data warrant, often beginning with 1970. Methodological appendices provide additional relevant notes, tables, and figures……

Related:
Data / Charts
Essays
Presentations
Equity Indicators Website

The Wage and Job Impacts of Hospitals on Local Labor Markets

Source: Anne M. Mandich, Jeffrey H. Dorfman, Economic Development Quarterly, Vol 31, Issue 2, 2017
(subscription required)

From the abstract:
This study examines the impact of hospitals on local labor markets in rural and urban counties. We measure the ability of hospitals, particularly in rural communities, to attract nonhealth-related employment and provide higher wage jobs to residents based on their education level. Results find hospital employees with an associate’s degree can expect a 21.4% wage premium, when compared with alternative opportunities, and those with a bachelor’s degree can earn 12.2% more working in a hospital. Hospitals are shown to be positively related to overall employment as well as exhibit positive employment spillover. For rural counties, a short-term general hospital is associated with 559 jobs in the county, 60 of which are hospital based and 499 are non–health care related. With the positive benefits on wages and non–health care job growth, hospitals have measurable positive labor market outcomes above their primary objective of providing health care access, particularly in rural counties.

How the Ivy League Collaborates with Donald Trump

Source: Nelson Lichtenstein, Dissent blog, April 25, 2017

…. Nowhere has this rejection of Trump’ extremism been more steadfast than on the university campus, especially at those elite, historically liberal institutions populating the coasts. At the University of California, where I teach, President Janet Napolitano has made clear that UC will protect undocumented students; Harvard, Yale, and Stanford are among seventeen schools joining a lawsuit against the Trump administration effort to ban immigration from Muslim countries. And in a joint opinion piece published in the Boston Globe, law school deans from Harvard and Yale declared the president “an enemy of the law and the Constitution” for his Twitter attacks on the judiciary.

Unfortunately, top university officials at Columbia and Yale have chosen to crack this wall of resistance. They have found in Trump an ally in their longstanding efforts to resist graduate employees’ efforts to unionize. They are ready, in other words, to collaborate—a word I do not use lightly. From their presidents on down, university labor-relations officials are hoping that Trump and the people he will soon appoint to the National Labor Relations Board will weigh in on management’s side and against those who are exercising their democratic right to organize and bargain with the school…..

Completing College: A National View of Student Attainment Rates by Race and Ethnicity – Fall 2010 Cohort

Source: Doug Shapiro, Afet Dundar, Faye Huie, Phoebe Khasiala Wakhungu, Xin Yuan, Angel Nathan, Youngsik Hwang, National Student Clearinghouse Research Center and Project on Academic Success, Indiana University, Signature 12 Supplement, 2017

From the summary:
This supplement to our Signature Report 12 provides six-year completion rates disaggregated by race and ethnicity for students who began postsecondary education in fall 2010.

Among the study’s findings:
• Among students who started in four-year public institutions, black students had the lowest six-year completion rate (45.9 percent). The completion rate of Hispanic students was almost 10 percentage points higher than that of black students (55.0 percent). Over two-thirds of white and Asian students completed a degree within the same period (67.2 percent and 71.7 percent, respectively). Nationally, 62.4 percent of students finished a degree or certificate within six years.
• Nationally, 54.8 percent of students who started in any type of college or university in Fall 2010 completed a degree or certificate within six years. When examined by race and ethnicity, Asian and white students had a much higher completion rate (63.2 percent and 62.0 percent, respectively) than Hispanic and black students (45.8 percent and 38.0 percent, respectively). These rates include students who graduated after a transfer. They also count both full time and part time students.
• Among students who started in four-year public institutions, black men had the lowest completion rate (40.0 percent) and the highest stop-out rate (41.1 percent). Asian women had the highest completion rate (75.7 percent) and the lowest stop-out rate (11.2 percent).
• The overall completion rate for students who started in two-year public institutions was higher for white and Asian students (45.1 percent and 43.8 percent, respectively) than Hispanic and black students (33 percent and 25.8 percent, respectively). Nationally, the rate was 39.2 percent, as the Research Center reported in December 2016.
• The completion rate at four-year institutions for students who started at a community college (with or without receiving an associate’s degree first) was dramatically different for students of different racial and ethnic groups. While almost one in four Asian students and one in five white students had completed this transfer pathway by the end of the six-year study period, just one in 10 Hispanic students and about one in 12 black students did.
• The completion gaps between racial groups tend to shrink as students grow older. Among traditional-age students, there was a 24-percentage point gap in the completion rates of black and white students (42.7 percent and 66.8 percent, respectively) and 17.5-percentage points gap between Hispanic and white students (49.3 percent and 66.8 percent, respectively). Among adult learners (those who started college at 25 or older), however, the gap was 12.3 percentage points (42.0 percent and 29.7 percent, respectively) between black and white students and just 9.1 percentage points between Hispanic and white students (42.0 percent and 32.9 percent, respectively).

Related:
Download Appendix B (xlsx)
Download Appendix C (xlsx)

Graduation Rates and Race
Source: Emily Tate, inside Higher Ed, April 26, 2017
On average, white and Asian students earn a college-level credential at a rate about 20 percentage points higher than Hispanic and black students do, a new report shows.

Healthy Marketplace Index

Source: Health Care Cost Institute, 2017

The Healthy Marketplace Index measures the economic performance of health care markets across the country. It gives local policymakers, employers, and providers a benchmark as they work to improve health care value and affordability.

Explore Local Prices Using the Map:
– See how health care prices for inpatient, outpatient, and physician services in your local market stack up against a national average
– Understand how local prices for inpatient, outpatient, and physician services have changed over time
– Compare prices in your market to prices in other communities across the country

Divergent Trends in US Maternity and Paternity Leave, 1994–2015

Source: Jay L. Zagorsky, American Journal of Public Health, Vol. 107, No. 3, March 2017
(subscription required)

From the abstract:
Objectives. To determine the number and type of US workers taking maternity or paternity leave.

Methods. We created a publicly available ecological long-term series for measuring parental leave from 1994 to 2015 by using the Current Population Survey, which interviews about 60 000 randomly selected households monthly.

Results. The average month from 1994 to 2015 saw 273 000 women and 13 000 men on maternity or paternity leave. Maternity leave rates per 10 000 births showed no trend over 22 years (mean = 677.6). Paternity figures increased by a factor of 3, but started from a small base (14.7–54.6). We observed no national impact on maternity or paternity leave after implementation of state laws that provided paid leave. About half (51.1%) of employees on maternity or paternity leave during 2015 received paid time off. The typical woman on maternity leave was older, more likely married, more likely non-Hispanic White, and more educated than the typical woman who gave birth.

Conclusions. Although the US economy has expanded dramatically since 1994, this improvement does not appear to have translated into more women taking maternity leave.

A Path Out Of Poverty: Career Training + Quality Pre K

Source: Eric Westervelt, NPR, April 28, 2017

What makes a high-quality learning program effective not just for the child but the whole family? What else, besides a well-run pre-K, is essential to help families break out of intergenerational poverty? These are some of the key questions that an approach called “two-generation” programs are working to answer. There are many of these “two-gen” programs across the U.S. And while they differ in emphasis and detail, at their core they intentionally focus on ways to help both the child and parent. Usually this happens through targeted education and career training and other vital support such as health services, mentoring, and transportation. NPR Ed has been keeping an eye on one innovative two-gen program in Oklahoma. It’s called Career Advance and is run by the Community Action Project of Tulsa County (CAP Tulsa). I’ve reported on it here and here. It gives low-income mothers access to high-quality Head Start for their children, alongside free career training in nursing and other in-demand health care fields as well as life coaching and support.

Escaping Poverty Requires Almost 20 Years With Nearly Nothing Going Wrong

Source: Gillian B. White, The Atlantic, April 27, 2017

The MIT economist Peter Temin argues that economic inequality results in two distinct classes. And only one of them has any power. ….

…. Temin argues that, following decades of growing inequality, America is now left with what is more or less a two-class system: One small, predominantly white upper class that wields a disproportionate share of money, power, and political influence and a much larger, minority-heavy (but still mostly white) lower class that is all too frequently subject to the first group’s whims. Temin identifies two types of workers in what he calls “the dual economy.” The first are skilled, tech-savvy workers and managers with college degrees and high salaries who are concentrated heavily in fields such as finance, technology, and electronics—hence his labeling it the “FTE sector.” They make up about 20 percent of the roughly 320 million people who live in America. The other group is the low-skilled workers, which he simply calls the “low-wage sector.” ….