Author Archives: afscme

How to Undo Janus: A User-Friendly Guide

Source: Aaron Tang, University of California, Davis – School of Law, Date Written: June 27, 2018

From the abstract:
This short white paper explains how progressive states can undo the disruptive effect of the Supreme Court’s decision invalidating public union fair share fees in Janus v. AFSCME, Council 31.

Put succinctly, lawmakers can amend state law to permit government employers to reimburse unions for their bargaining-related expenses directly. Such an amendment would be revenue neutral for government employers and unions, and it would result in a net increase in take home pay for public sector workers (on the order of $200 per year for an unmarried worker making $50,000).

The paper describes how this approach would work, considers major objections, and proposes model legislation for lawmakers to consider. A more detailed discussion of all of the issues implicated by this proposal can be found in a full-length companion article entitled, Life After Janus.

Unions and Nonunion Pay in the United States, 1977-2015

Source: Patrick Denice, Jake Rosenfeld, Sociological Science, August 15, 2018

From the abstract:
We provide the most extensive investigation into the connection between union power and nonunion worker pay to date. Leveraging nearly four decades of Current Population Survey (CPS) data on millions of U.S. workers, we test whether private sector union density, measured at the occupation and occupation region levels, helps raise average wages among unorganized private sector workers. We find stable and substantively large positive effects of private sector union strength on nonunion private sector workers’ wages, especially for men. These results are robust to the inclusion of controls for the risk of automation, offshoring, the related rising demand for skill, overall employment levels, industry, and the strength of public sector unions. Disaggregating the results by occupation reveals positive and substantively large union spillover effects across a range of occupations, including those not transformed by automation, offshoring, or rising skill demands. These disaggregated results also indicate that occupational segregation limits the positive spillover effects from unions to nonunion women workers: in highly organized occupations, nonunion women benefit, but there are comparatively few women in these segments of the labor market.

CEO compensation surged in 2017

Source: Lawrence Mishel and Jessica Schieder, Economic Policy Institute, August 16, 2018

What this report finds: This report looks at trends in chief executive officer (CEO) compensation, using two different measures. The first measure includes stock options realized (in addition to salary, bonuses, restricted stock grants, and long-term incentive payouts). By this measure, in 2017 the average CEO of the 350 largest firms in the U.S. received $18.9 million in compensation, a 17.6 percent increase over 2016. The typical worker’s compensation remained flat, rising a mere 0.3 percent. The 2017 CEO-to-worker compensation ratio of 312-to-1 was far greater than the 20-to-1 ratio in 1965 and more than five times greater than the 58-to-1 ratio in 1989 (although it was lower than the peak ratio of 344-to-1, reached in 2000). The gap between the compensation of CEOs and other very-high-wage earners is also substantial, with the CEOs in large firms earning 5.5 times as much as the average earner in the top 0.1 percent.

The surge in CEO compensation measured with realized stock options was driven by the stock-related components of CEO compensation (stock awards and cashed-in stock options), not by changes in salaries or cash bonuses.

Because the decision to realize, or cash in, stock options tends to fluctuate with current and potential stock market trends (as people tend to cash in their stock options when it is most advantageous to do so), we also look at another measure of CEO compensation, to get a more complete picture of trends in CEO compensation. This measure tracks the value of stock options at the time they are granted. By this measure, CEO compensation rose to $13.3 million in 2017, up from $13.0 million in 2016.

By either measure, CEO compensation is very high relative to the compensation of a typical worker—and an earner in the top 0.1 percent.

CEO compensation has grown far faster than stock prices or corporate profits. CEO compensation rose by 979 percent (based on stock options granted) or 1,070 percent (based on stock options realized) between 1978 and 2017. The corresponding 637 percent growth in the stock market (S & P Index) was far lower. Both measures of compensation are substantially greater than the painfully slow 11.2 percent growth in the typical worker’s compensation over the same period and at least three times as fast as the 308 percent growth of wages for the very highest earners, those in the top 0.1 percent….

The Productivity–Pay Gap

Source: Economic Policy Institute, updated August 2018

Most Americans believe that a rising tide should lift all boats—that as the economy expands, everybody should reap the rewards. And for two-and-a-half decades beginning in the late 1940s, this was how our economy worked. Over this period, the pay (wages and benefits) of typical workers rose in tandem with productivity (how much workers produce per hour). In other words, as the economy became more efficient and expanded, everyday Americans benefited correspondingly through better pay. But in the 1970s, this started to change. ….

Productivity–Pay Tracker Change: 
1973–2017: Productivity +77.0%
Hourly pay +12.4%
Productivity has grown 6.2x more than pay

Tackling the Law Enforcement Personnel Shortage Takes More Than Money

Source: Ed Lamb, HR News, Vol. 84 no. 7, July 2018
(subscription required)

T ype “challenges hiring police” into a Google search bar, and you receive roughly 26.6 million results. Municipalities all across the United States are in self-reported crises brought on by baby boomer commissioners retiring, Generation X captains and detectives leaving rather than seeking promotions, and fewer millennials entering academies to serve as patrol officers and deputies.

These problems have always existed to some degree. Law enforcement demands a great deal physically, mentally and emotionally from job candidates and incumbents. Still, difficulties with building and maintaining fully staffed and optimally functioning police forces have piled up over the past decade.

Budget restrictions, social media-fueled scandals and even the obesity epidemic have reduced the appeal and accessibility of police positions for many Americans. Against these headwinds, best practices for recruiting and retaining law enforcement personnel for the 21st century have emerged…..

Unequal Cities, Unequal Participation: The Effect of Income Inequality on Civic Engagement

Source: Eric Joseph van Holm, American Review of Public Administration, Online First, Published July 30, 2018
(subscription required)

From the abstract:
Civic participation is a touchstone of American government, yet it has declined steadily over the past 50 years. Alongside changes in the relationship between American citizens and their government has been a stark increase in the levels of income and wealth concentration. While there is strong evidence that income inequality drives down participation at the national level, there have been fewer studies on the effects for local governments. This article studies the relationship between participation in departmental policy making and income inequality at the local level across the United States in a sample of small and mid-sized cities. When accounting for aspects of the government’s structure, local department culture, and community demographics, income inequality has a significant, though mixed, effect on civic participation. While changes in a community’s income inequality diminish the likelihood of citizens participating in government decision making, the present level of income inequality correlates with higher rates of engagement.

Patient Centered Care and Turnover in Hospice Care Organizations

Source: Eric G. Kirby, Journal of Health and Human Services Administration, Vol. 41 No. 1, 2018
(subscription required)

From the abstract:
Hospice care has significantly changed over the past 40 years. The industry has seen a growth in utilization rates, an increase in insurance coverage, and changing governmental funding. To reduce the significant risk of employee turnover, hospice care organizations have responded to these pressures. This study examines whether nursing turnover is affected as organizations respond to environmental pressures for increased patient-centered care (PCC). Does the use of patient-centered approaches to meeting client needs reduce turnover in the nursing staff? Using hierarchical regression to analyze organizational, market, and personnel data from 695 hospices across the United States, this study finds innovative PCC practices are significantly related to reduced nursing turnover.

Whether a Husband Identifies as a Breadwinner Depends on Whether He Respects His Wife’s Career — Not on How Much She Earns

Source: Erin Reid, Harvard Business Review, August 15, 2018

…. My research suggests that while some men fall back on the classic identity of a breadwinner, others respond to this tension by adopting the modern identity of what I call a “breadsharer.” Research on dual-career couples often focuses on how spouses balance their earnings or work hours, but my research showed that these groups of men differed most fundamentally in how they perceived the social status of their wives’ work — its worth and prestige in society. This perception in turn shaped how men described the financial value of their wives’ work. In other words, wages are far more than just dollars: As sociologist Viviana Zelizer has eloquently detailed, money is imbued with meaning, and this meaning shapes how we regard and treat that money. My research reveals how men’s evaluations of the prestige and social worth of their wives’ work shaped how they positioned their wives’ earnings — namely in ways that diminished or that elevated their financial value. ….

Related:
Straying from breadwinning: Status and money in men’s interpretations of their wives’ work arrangements
Erin M. Reid, gender, Work & Organization, Online First, published: 28 June 2018
(subscription required)

From the abstract:
The male breadwinner identity is culturally associated with career success for men, particularly in the professions, but today, few married men’s lives easily map onto this identity. This study analyses interviews with 42 married men employed in US offices of a consulting firm to examine first, how men construct their identities as spouses in relation to their wives’ work arrangements and second, how men navigate straying from the male breadwinner identity. While some men interpreted their wives’ work in ways that supported personal claims on the breadwinner identity, others did so in ways that supported a more egalitarian identity, labelled here breadsharer. These groups differed in how they interpreted the social status and financial value of their wives’ work, as well as in how they approached their own careers. Breadsharers were aware they strayed from the expected breadwinner identity and crafted alternative claims on status. These findings advance theory on gender, work, family and masculinity.

The Marketing Message That Works with Republicans but Not Democrats

Source: David Dubois, Jeehye Christine Kim, Brian Park, Harvard Business Review, August 9, 2018

….For hundreds of years, the luxury, fashion, and high-end industries have used these techniques to attract buyers, tapping into people’s desire to be at the top of the hierarchy. Since political views are also shaped by our assumptions about hierarchies, we wondered whether these two things — political beliefs and preference for luxury goods — would go together.

To explore this, we conducted research around a simple but critical question: Does political ideology affect the preference for luxury goods, and if so, how?

According to our findings, just published in the Journal of Marketing, political allegiances systematically predict consumers’ desire for luxury consumption, particularly for conservatives. We attribute this to conservatives’ greater desire to preserve socioeconomic order and maintain existing social hierarchies…..