Can the NLRB Order Bad Faith Bargainers To Pay A Union’s Negotiating Costs?

Source: Scott Hochberg, OnLabor blog, May 20, 2015

The NLRB’s power to remedy violations of §8 of the NLRA is usually quite limited: it can issue cease and desist letters, order the parties to bargain in good faith, and require reinstatement and backpay for individual employees (along with several less common remedies). The Board’s authority derives from §10 of the NLRA, which the Supreme Court has interpreted as being entirely remedial; under the Court’s caselaw, the Board is not empowered to issue punitive remedies. Some have criticized this remedial scheme as overly circumscribed, allowing for little flexibility to deter willful or repeat violations of the Act. In Fallbrook Hospital Corporation v. NLRB, the DC Circuit recently opened the door for unions to recover the costs incurred while dealing with an employer that has negotiated in bad faith—at least if the violations were repeated and egregious. A discussion of the case and its meaning for labor-management negotiations follows.

How to deal with a jerk at work

Source: Terry Kosdrosky, Futurity, May 19, 2015

Good coworkers can brighten your day and inspire your work; bad coworkers can crush your spirit.
According to new research, those jerks at work do more than make you feel bad—they drag down the job performance of people who interact with them. …. Spreitzer and colleagues performed two studies at two different companies using network analysis and surveys. In the first, they asked IT employees at an engineering firm to evaluate their relationships with each other. The researchers also looked at each employee’s performance reviews, controlling for prior performance. …. They found that the more a person had to interact with de-energizers, the lower their job performance. In fact, it was associated with the lowest levels of job performance. ….

… Spreitzer suggests several steps that both employees and managers can take to prevent jerks from dragging others down.
Employees can:
● Limit interactions with de-energizers.
● Increase the time you spend with people who make you feel good.
● Make sure your work is meaningful.
Managers can:
Set standards of appropriate behavior and enforce them. “Often these de-energizers are technically very good at what they do, so there’s a tendency by management to indulge them,” Spreitzer says.
Consider behavior when promoting people. High performers in technical areas are often promoted regardless of their effect on other people.
Give employees regular feedback and put a priority on training that involves work culture and professional behavior…..

Destructive De-Energizing Relationships: How Thriving Buffers Their Effect on Performance
Source: Alexandra Gerbasi, Christine L. Porath, Andrew Parker, Gretchen Spreitzer, Rob Cross,
Journal of Applied Psychology, March 23, 2015
(subscription required)

From the abstract:
In this paper, we establish the relationship between de-energizing relationships and individual performance in organizations. To date, the emphasis in social network research has largely been on positive dimensions of relationships despite literature from social psychology revealing the prevalence and detrimental impact of de-energizing relationships. In 2 field studies, we show that de-energizing relationships in organizations are associated with decreased performance. In Study 1, we investigate how de-energizing relationships are related to lower performance using data from 161 people in the information technology (IT) department of an engineering firm. In Study 2, in a sample of 439 management consultants, we consider whether the effects of de-energizing relationships on performance may be moderated by the extent to which an individual has the psychological resource of thriving at work. We find that individuals who are thriving at work are less susceptible to the effects of de-energizing relationships on job performance. We close by discussing implications of this research. (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2015 APA, all rights reserved)

A Report on Shortfalls in Medicaid Funding for Nursing Center Care

Source: Eljay, LLC & Hansen Hunter & Company, PC For the American Health Care Association, March 2015

Report Highlights:
● The majority of nursing center providers deliver Medicaid-covered services to residents at rates that are inadequate to cover their costs. ….
● Medicare does not mend the Medicaid funding gap. ….
● Providers have been forced to leverage provider taxes heavily in order to mitigate significant Medicaid underpayments. ….
● Trends in the delivery of long term services and supports (LTSS) continue to drive down nursing center utilization while new questions about future demand emerge. ….

Housing Policy and Urban Inequality: Did the Transformation of Assisted Housing Reduce Poverty Concentration?

Source: Ann Owens, Social Forces, Advance Access, First published online: May 9, 2015
(subscription required)

From the abstract:
Poverty concentration reflects long-standing inequalities between neighborhoods in the United States. As the poverty concentration paradigm gained traction among policymakers and social scientists, assisted housing policy was overhauled. New assisted housing programs introduced since 1970 have dramatically reduced the geographic concentration of assisted housing units, changing the residential location of many low-income residents. Was this intervention in the housing market enough to reduce poverty concentration? Using national longitudinal data, I find that the deconcentration of assisted housing from 1977 to 2008 only modestly reduced poverty concentration in the 100 largest metropolitan areas. The results are driven by the deconcentration of assisted housing after 2000, when policies had a greater focus on dispersal of assisted housing to low-poverty neighborhoods. My results suggest that even a substantial shift in housing policy cannot make great strides in deconcentrating poverty given the existing landscape of durable urban inequality. Assisted housing policy exists alongside many other structural forces that cluster poor residents in neighborhoods, and these factors may limit its ability to reduce poverty concentration. Moreover, new housing programs rely on the private market to determine the location of assisted units, and the enduring place hierarchy among neighborhoods may influence both where assisted housing is located and its effect on the residential choices of non-assisted residents in ways that undermine poverty deconcentration.

Attribution of mental illness to work: a Delphi study

Source: M. G. P. Wong, C. J. M. Poole and R. Agius, Occupational Medicine, Advance Access, First published online: May 15, 2015
(subscription required)

From the abstract:
Background: Clinicians may be asked whether mental ill-health has been caused by work but there is no guidance on how this judgement should be made.

Aims: To seek a consensus on the factors that should be considered and how they should be sought when attributing mental ill-health to work.

Methods: A three-round Delphi study involving expert academics, occupational physicians, psychiatrists and psychologists. We deemed consensus had been reached when 66% or more of the experts were in agreement.

Results: Of 54 invited experts, 35 (65%) took part in the first round, 30 of these 35 (86%) in the second and 29 of these 30 (97%) in the final round. Consensus was reached for 11 workplace stressors: high job strain; effort–reward imbalance; major trauma; interpersonal conflict; inadequate support; role ambiguity; person–job mismatch; organizational injustice; organizational culture; work scheduling and threats to job security. Seven personal factors were identified as being important: previous mental illness; personality traits of neuroticism; adverse life events or social circumstances; resilience; a family history of mental illness and secondary gain. The worker, manager and co-workers were thought to be the most useful sources of workplace information. Consensus was reached for a definition of occupational mental illness but not for a threshold of work-relatedness.

Conclusions: The attribution of mental ill-health to work is complex and involves the consideration of both workplace stressors and personal factors of vulnerability. Clinical consultation with an occupational physician who is familiar with the workplace is central to the process.

Systematic review: height-adjustable workstations to reduce sedentary behaviour in office-based workers

Source: G. A. Tew, M. C. Posso, C. E. Arundel and C. M. McDaid, Occupational Medicine, Advance Access, First published online: May 1, 2015
(subscription required)

From the abstract:
Background: Time spent sitting in the workplace is an important contributor to overall sedentary risk. Installation of height-adjustable workstations has been proposed as a feasible approach for reducing occupational sitting time in office workers.

Aims: To provide an accurate overview of the controlled trials that have evaluated the effects of height-adjustable workstation interventions on workplace sitting time in office-based workers.

Methods: A comprehensive search was conducted up until March 2014 in the following databases: Medline, PsychINFO, CENTRAL, EMBASE and PEDro. To identify unpublished studies and grey literature, the reference lists of relevant official or scientific web pages were also checked. Studies assessing the effectiveness of height-adjustable workstations using a randomized or non-randomized controlled design were included.

Results: The initial search yielded a total of 8497 citations. After a thorough selection process, five studies were included with 172 participants. A formal quality assessment indicated that risk of bias was high in all studies and heterogeneity in interventions and outcomes prevented meta-analysis. Nevertheless, all studies reported that height-adjustable workstation interventions reduced occupational sitting time in office workers. There was insufficient evidence to determine effects on other relevant health outcomes (e.g. body composition, musculoskeletal symptoms, mental health).

Conclusions: There is insufficient evidence to make firm conclusions regarding the effects of installing height-adjustable workstations on sedentary behaviour and associated health outcomes in office workers. Larger and longer term controlled studies are needed, which include more representative populations.

Broad-Based Wage Growth Is a Key Tool in the Fight Against Poverty

Source: Elise Gould, Alyssa Davis, and Will Kimball, Economic Policy Institute, Briefing Paper #399, May 20, 2015

From the Press release:
Broad-based wage growth could make a significant dent in the poverty rate, according to Broad-Based Wage Growth is a Key Tool in the Fight against Poverty, a new EPI study from senior economist Elise Gould and research assistants Alyssa Davis and Will Kimball. Despite the fact that wages and work-related income represent more than two-thirds of the total income of the bottom fifth of non-elderly American households, wage growth is often overlooked as a tool to fight poverty. Gould, Davis, and Kimball demonstrate how significant reductions in poverty could have occurred if wages for all workers had grown alongside either average wages or productivity since 1979….. The report uses various simulations to determine the effect of broad-based wage growth on poverty rates. If all workers’ wages had grown at the same rate as average wages since 1979, 4.5 million fewer people would be poor, including 1.7 million children. If all wages had grown at the same rate as productivity since 1979, these reductions would be even larger—7.1 million fewer people would be poor, including 2.7 million children. The largest impact broad-based wage growth would have on the poverty rate would occur if the economy were closer to full employment—combined with wages increasing alongside productivity growth, full employment would bring 11.2 million people out of poverty, including 4.4 million children. …..

Reading the Stars: Nursing Home Quality Star Ratings, Nationally and by State

Source: Cristina Boccuti, Giselle Casillas, Tricia Neuman, Kaiser Family Foundation, Issue Brief, May 2015

Key Findings:
● More than one-third of nursing homes certified by Medicare or Medicaid have relatively low overall star ratings of 1 or 2 stars, accounting for 39 percent of all nursing home residents. Conversely, 45 percent of nursing homes have overall ratings of 4 or 5 stars, accounting for 41 percent of all nursing home residents.
● For-profit nursing homes, which are more prevalent, tend to have lower star ratings than non-profit nursing homes. Smaller nursing homes (with fewer beds) tend to have higher star ratings than larger nursing homes.
● Ratings tend to be higher for measures that are self-reported (quality measures and staffing levels) than for measures derived from state health inspections.
● In 11 states, at least 40 percent of nursing homes in the state have relatively low ratings (1 or 2 stars). In 22 states and the District of Columbia, at least 50 percent of the nursing homes in the state have relatively high overall ratings (4 or 5 stars).
● States that have higher proportions of low-income seniors tend to have lower-rated nursing homes.