Author Archives: afscme

Development of a Coding and Crosswalk Tool for Occupations and Industries

Source: Thomas Rémen, Lesley Richardson, Corinne Pilorget, Gilles Palmer, Jack Siemiatycki, Jérôme Lavoué, Annals of Work Exposures and Health, Advance Access, June 15, 2018
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From the abstract:
Introduction:
Job coding into a standard occupation or industry classification is commonly performed in occupational epidemiology and occupational health. Sometimes, it is necessary to code jobs into multiple classifications or to convert job codes from one classification to another. We developed a generic tool, called CAPS-Canada (http://www.caps-canada.ca/), that combines a computer-assisted coding tool covering seven International, Canadian and US occupation and industry classifications and an assistant facilitating crosswalks from one classification to another. The objectives of this paper are to present the different functions of the CAPS-Canada tool and to assess their contribution through an inter-rater reliability study.

Method:
The crosswalk assistant was built based on a database of >30,000 jobs coded during a previous project. We evaluated to what extent it would allow automatic translation between pairs of classifications. The influence of CAPS-Canada on agreement between coders was assessed through an inter-rater reliability study comparing three approaches: manual coding, coding with CAPS-Canada without the crosswalk assistant, and coding with the complete tool. The material for this trial consisted of a random sample of 1000 jobs extracted from a case–control study and divided into three subgroups of equivalent size.

Results:
Across the classification systems, the crosswalk assistant would provide useful information for 83–99% of jobs (median 95%) in a population similar to ours. Eighteen to eighty-one percent of jobs (median 56%) could be entirely automatically recoded. Based on our sample of 1000 jobs, inter-rater reliability in occupation coding ranged from 35.7 to 66.5% (median 53.7%) depending on the combination of classification/resolution. Compared with manual coding, the use of CAPS-Canada substantially improved inter-rater reliability.

Conclusion:
CAPS-Canada is an attractive alternative to manual coding and is particularly relevant for coding a job into multiple classifications or for recoding jobs into other classifications.

Labor Unions and Political Participation in Comparative Perspective

Source: Jasmine Kerrissey Evan Schofer, Social Forces, Advance Access, June 6, 2018
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From the abstract:
This research uses comparative survey data to examine the effects of labor union membership on individual political participation. We argue that national political institutions—specifically, democracy and corporatism—shape the ways that unions mobilize their members to engage in the political sphere. Democratic regimes provide structural opportunities and cultural repertoires that lead unions to focus on member mobilization, especially via contentious politics and political parties. Corporatism, which directly links unions to state structures, undercuts the logics and incentives for union mobilization. We draw upon historical cases of Germany, the United States, Chile, and Egypt to illustrate how democracy and corporatism shape unions’ mobilization efforts. Multilevel models of World Values Survey data from roughly 60 countries find that union members participate more than non-members across a range of electoral and extra-institutional political acts, such as demonstrating, occupying buildings, signing petitions, party work, and so forth. In democratic societies, such effects are stronger and participation shifts toward parties and contentious politics. In less democratic societies, union members are particularly likely to work with and through other political organizations. Corporatist arrangements generally dampen the political activities of union members.

The erosion of the federal minimum wage has increased poverty especially for black and Hispanic families

Source: Ben Zipperer, Economic Policy Institute, Economic Snapshot, June 13, 2018

Higher wages were a key plank of the 1968 Poor People’s Campaign to reduce poverty. But over the last five decades the real (inflation-adjusted) value of the minimum wage—a key tool in the fight against poverty—has steadily eroded. Minimum wage increases have been too infrequent to keep up with inflation, let alone raise the real value of the minimum wage above where it was in 1968. While a full-time minimum wage worker in 1968 would have earned $20,600 a year (in 2017’s dollars), a worker paid the federal minimum wage in 2017 could only earn $15,080 working full time. Figure A compares these full-time minimum wage incomes to poverty thresholds for different family sizes and shows that, today, a single parent of one child would be consigned to poverty if that parent earned the federal minimum wage.

Five Lessons from the History of Public Sector Unions

Source: Priscilla Murolo, Labor Notes, June 11, 2018

As public sector unions contemplate losing key rights under the law, it’s worth remembering that for much of their history, such unions organized with no rights at all.

It wasn’t till 1958 that New York became the first city to authorize collective bargaining for city employees. Wisconsin did the same for state employees in 1959, and federal workers got bargaining rights in 1962.

Yet as early as 1940, a book titled One Thousand Strikes of Government Employees described strikes dating back to the 1830s, when workers at U.S. Navy shipyards stopped work multiple times to press demands for better wages and conditions. ….

Fiscal Survey of the States – Spring 2018

Source: National Association of State Budget Officers (NASBO), 2018

Fiscal 2019 will mark the ninth consecutive year of modest state spending and revenue growth, according to governors’ budget proposals — and enacted budgets for some states that budget on a biennial basis and passed two-year budgets in 2017. Compared to this time last year, state fiscal conditions show signs of improvement and greater stability. According to this survey, states are projected to increase general fund spending by 3.2 percent in fiscal 2019; by comparison, last spring, states were expecting an increase of just 1.0 percent based on governors’ fiscal 2018 budgets. ….

Key Report Findings:
• Governors’ budgets for fiscal 2019 recommend general fund spending growth of 3.2 percent, with a median growth rate of 2.7 percent.
• Governors proposed program area spending increases totaling $26.5 billion in fiscal 2019, compared to just $8.7 billion in new spending proposed last year in their fiscal 2018 budgets.
• Revenue conditions have improved in fiscal 2018, and states expect moderate general fund revenue growth to continue in fiscal 2019, with a median growth rate of 2.8 percent.
• Only 9 states reported making mid-year budget cuts totaling $830 million in fiscal 2018, far fewer than last year.
• Governors proposed mostly modest tax and fee changes for fiscal 2019, many of which were in response to the new federal tax law.
• Most states continue to strengthen their rainy day funds, with the median balance as a share of general fund spending rising to 6.2 percent in fiscal 2019.
• Medicaid spending is projected to slow in fiscal 2019, with a median growth rate of 1.9 percent from all funds. ….

Investing in Single Mothers’ Higher Education: Costs and Benefits to Individuals, Families, and Society

Source: Barbara Gault, Jessica Milli, Lindsey Reichlin Cruse, Institute for Women’s Policy Research, #C469, June 2018

From the summary:
Investing in Single Mothers’ Higher Education: Costs and Benefits to Individuals, Families, and Society Postsecondary education is a reliable pathway to economic security and is increasingly important to securing family-sustaining employment. For single mother families, who make up a growing share of U.S. families, and who are especially likely to live in poverty, college attainment is a game changer for improving family well-being and meeting the demands of a changing economy. College credentials are associated with a host of positive outcomes, including increased earnings, higher rates of employment, improved health, increased civic engagement, and improved outcomes among the children of college graduates.

Out of Reach 2018

Source: Andrew Aurand, Dan Emmanuel, Diane Yentel, Ellen Errico, Jared Gaby-Biegel, Emma Kerr, National Low Income Housing Coalition, June 2018

From the press release:
…. The Out of Reach report shows the Housing Wage for every state, metropolitan area, and county in the country. The Housing Wage is the hourly wage a full-time worker must earn to afford a modest rental home without spending more than 30% of his or her income on housing costs. The report compares the Housing Wage to average renter wages and minimum wages, as well as wages in the fast-growing occupations, nationally. The report also shows how many hours an individual must work each week for all 52 weeks per year at the prevailing minimum wage to afford a modest one- and two-bedroom apartment at the Fair Market Rent. Out of Reach 2018 also provides Housing Wages for ZIP codes in metropolitan areas. ….

Related:
Interactive map

Why there are so many unsheltered homeless people on the West Coast

Source: Margot Kushel, The Conversation, June 14, 2018

One-quarter of homeless people in the U.S. live in California, despite Californians making up only 12 percent of the population.

Not only is homelessness more common on the West Coast but it is also more visible, because a higher proportion of homeless people are unsheltered. In the U.S., 24 percent of homeless people sleep outside, in vehicles or somewhere else not meant for human habitation. But that varies greatly from place to place: In California, 68 percent of homeless people are unsheltered, compared to just 5 percent in New York. ….

…. What’s to blame for such high numbers of unsheltered homeless on the West Coast? The reason isn’t drug use, mental health problems or weather. Rather, it is due to the extreme shortage of affordable housing. ….

The Robots Are Already Here: How Automation Will Shake Up Recruiting

Source: Roy Maurer, SHRM, June 8, 2018

People have been talking about automating recruiting tasks and workflows for years, but recent advances in artificial intelligence and machine learning are starting to make that talk reality.

These technologies allow talent acquisition teams to automate processes that they previously performed manually, eliminating inefficiencies and boosting productivity.

Recruiting automation can be found at all stages of the hiring process, from candidate sourcing and engagement, through scheduling and interviewing, to final selection.

Calculating percentages and decimals

Source: Canadian Union of Public Employees (CUPE), 2018

Welcome! Are you a CUPE member who’s interested in learning some basic union math? Do you want to serve your local as a union financial officer? We’re glad you’re here. We hope this short, online course helps you develop the skills and the confidence to be more comfortable with math as you develop your union leadership skills. ….

Course Map
Lesson 1 – Percentages and fractions
Lesson 2 – Fractions and decimals
Lesson 3 – Calculating dues
Lesson 4 – Percentages simplified
Lesson 5 – Per capita