Author Archives: afscme

Prevention of Hand Eczema among Nurse Apprentice (PREVEDERM): An Interventional Study

Source: Horatiu Remus Moldovan, Ionela Manole, Alina Suru, Alexandra-Irina Butacu, Alin Laurentiu Tatu, Adriana Lupu, Mihai Dascalu, George-Sorin Tiplica, Carmen Maria Salavastru, Annals of Work Exposures and Health, Volume 65, Issue 2, March 2021
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From the abstract:
Workers in the healthcare sector are at high risk of developing occupational hand eczema mainly due to frequent exposure to irritants and/or allergens. Amongst workers in healthcare, nurses are at higher risk of developing hand dermatitis.

To evaluate the effectiveness of a short educational intervention program in preventing occupational hand eczema in nurse apprentices, using two objective tools, namely TEWL and EH, and the HECSI score.

Data regarding professions, wet work exposure, activities performed during working hours, self-reported eczema were collected from 230 nurse students, divided in two study groups: the intervention and the control group (CG). The intervention group (IG) was given education about risks and proper skin care and was provided with cosmeceuticals to be used for skin care during hospital activity. The evaluation of skin properties was performed using questionnaires, HECSI score, measurement of transepidermal water loss (TEWL) and epidermal hydration (EH).

A number of 139 apprentice nurses completed the study. Of those participants who completed the study, 19.1% from CG and 19.6% from IG reported, at T1, hand eczema in the last 3 months, while at T2 (3 months later), 59.52 % of the CG and only 11.34 % from the IG stated having eczema in the last 3 months. In the IG, results showed an improvement of CM with 17% and of TEWL with 16%, with only a 0.5% improvement of CM in CG and a marked impairment of TEWL by 33%.

Hand eczema is a common occupational dermatosis affecting the medical staff, even during apprenticeship. Early preventive training programs are effective in reducing the burden of occupational contact dermatitis.

Pandemics and Automation: Will the Lost Jobs Come Back?

Source: Tahsin Saadi-Sedik, Jiae Yoo, International Monetary Fund (IMF), IMF Working Paper No. 2021/011, January 1, 2021

From the abstract:
COVID-19 has exacerbated concerns about the rise of the robots and other automation technologies. This paper analyzes empirically the impact of past major pandemics on robot adoption and inequality. First, we find that pandemic events accelerate robot adoption, especially when the health impact is severe and is associated with a significant economic downturn. Second, while robots may raise productivity, they could also increase inequality by displacing low-skilled workers. We find that following a pandemic, the increase in inequality over the medium term is larger for economies with higher robot density and where new robot adoption has increased more. Our results suggest that the concerns about the rise of the robots amid the COVID-19 pandemic seem justified.

Stress-Testing States: COVID-19—A Year Later

Source: Dan White, Emily Mandel, Colin Seitz, Moody’s, February 19, 2021
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In the spring of 2020, Moody’s Analytics adapted its state stress-testing methodology in response to the COVID-19 pandemic to estimate the potential for government budget shortfalls that could harm the eventual economic recovery. Through periodic updates over the past year, the picture of state and local government fiscal conditions, blurred at times by the evolving economy and shifting estimates of federal aid, has slowly pulled into focus. With almost a year of hindsight, this paper updates those initial estimates and attempts to explain some of the impacts of the pandemic on the public sector.

Supervision of Telework: A Key to Organizational Performance

Source: Taehee Kim, Lauren Bock Mullins, Taewon Yoon, American Review of Public Administration, OnlineFirst, Published February 10, 2021
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From the abstract:
Many employers, including the federal government, have introduced or extended their telework arrangements because of the associated advantages, which include cost-efficiency, personnel pool enlargement, and employee well-being and motivation. Despite the continued interest from both academics and practitioners, little understanding has emerged about this work arrangement, with scant studies in public administration and organization literature. Among those studies, consensus has not been formed as to the organizational benefits, especially on performance or employee motivation. Previous studies have also overlooked the heterogeneous characteristics of teleworkers, the dynamics between teleworkers and nonteleworkers, and especially, the role of supervisors in managing telework to achieve proposed benefits. This study adds to previous literature by empirically examining the role of supervisors in managing/motivating teleworkers toward improving organizational performance, using data from the 2011 Merit Systems Protection Board (MSPB) Telework study. Findings suggest that supervision which includes results-based management and trust-building efforts improves performance of organizations that have telework arrangements.

The Wrong Way to Respond to Employee Activism

Source: Megan Reitz, John Higgins, and Emma Day-Duro, Harvard Business Reivew, February 26, 2021

Leaders tend to be ill-equipped to handle outspoken employees. But with employee activism on the rise, leaders need to be wary of mishandling their response. These missteps can be damaging for leaders and companies, which can suffer from reputational damage and ongoing employee unrest. The authors’ research into how employees speak up at work and politics in the workplace have shown that three fundamental traps snare leaders facing activism from their employees: over-optimism, a belief that you can be apolitical, and a rush to quick fixes. By better understanding where each of these approaches go wrong, leaders can chart a better course, one that is built on a more authentically engaged leadership.

Bargaining for Better Labor Journalism: How The Wave of Unionizing In Media Transforms How Unions Are Covered

Source: Hannah Finnie, OnLabor blog, February 26, 2021

…While not every person in digital media who’s experienced unionizing becomes, like Kelly, a labor reporter overnight, it’s hard to imagine that the effects of being in a union have no impact on their work. After all, while unions are about benefits and wages, they’re also about worker dignity, principles that can inform more than just what your paycheck looks like. What happens to labor coverage when there are thousands of Kim Kellys out there? Thousands of people who now know what it’s like to unionize and have a large (albeit constrained) platform through their media outlet? What does that shift mean for media labor coverage?…

Social Media Checks Can Bring Bias Into Hiring

Source: Matt Shipman, Futurity, March 4, 2021

The way human resources professionals review online information and social media profiles of job candidates highlights how so-called “cybervetting” can introduce bias and moral judgment into the hiring process.

The hunt for red flags: cybervetting as morally performative practice
Source: Steve McDonald, Amanda K Damarin, Hannah McQueen, Scott T Grether, Socio-Economic Review, Advance Articles, Published: February 10, 2021
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From the abstract:
Cybervetting refers to screening job candidates by evaluating information collected from internet searches and social media profiles. Relatively little is known about how organizational actors use this practice in hiring decisions. Interviews with 61 human resource (HR) professionals reveal that they cybervet in order to minimize hiring risks and maximize organizational fit. Their judgments are deeply rooted in assessments of job candidates’ moral character and how it might affect workplace interactions. Because it involves the construction of moral criteria that shape labor market actions and outcomes, we describe cybervetting as a morally performative practice. HR professionals express enthusiasm for cybervetting, but also concerns about privacy, bias and fairness. Importantly, cybervetting practices and policies vary substantially across different types of organizations. These findings deepen our understanding of how organizational actors define and regulate moral behavior and how their actions are moderated by market institutions.

How Did Absentee Voting Affect the 2020 U.S. Election?

Source: Jesse Yoder, Cassandra Handan-Nader, Andrew Myers,Tobias Nowacki, Daniel M. Thompson, Jennifer A. Wu,Chenoa Yorgason, and Andrew B. Hall, Stanford University, Democracy & Polarization Lab, Working Paper No. 21 -01 March 2021

The 2020 U.S. election saw high turnout, a huge increase in absentee voting, and brought unified Democratic control at the federal level—yet, contrary to conventional wisdom, these facts do not imply that vote-by-mail increased turnout or had partisan effects. Using nationwide data, we find that states newly implementing no-excuse absentee voting for 2020 did not see larger increases in turnout than states that did not. Focusing on a natural experiment in Texas, we find that 65-year-olds turned out at nearly the same rate as 64-year-olds, even though 65-year-olds voted absentee at much higher rates than 64-year-olds because they could do so without having to provide an excuse. Being old enough to vote no-excuse absentee did not substantially increase Democratic turnout relative to Republican turnout, as the increase in Democratic absentee voting was offset by decreases in Democratic in-person voting. Together, the results suggest that no-excuse absentee voting mobilized relatively few voters and had at most a muted partisan effect despite the historic pandemic. Voter interest appears to be far more important in driving turnout.

Public Corruption and Pension Underfunding in the American States

Source: Cheol Liu, John Mikesell, Tima T. Moldogaziev, American Review of Public Administration, OnlineFirst, Published February 16, 2021
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From the abstract:
Unfunded public pension obligations represent a great challenge for policy makers in the American states. We posit that a part of pension underfunding relates to the level of public corruption. Empirical findings in the article show that funding ratios in public pension funds are inversely related to the incidence levels of corruption in the state, with other fiscal, political, and institutional covariates held constant. We show that this can happen through higher pension benefits, lower actuarially required contributions (ARCs), lower percentage of actual ARC contributions, and poorer investment outcomes. Based on empirical estimates, we find that a reduction of corruption by one standard deviation around the mean would permit the states to save on pension benefits by 10.24% annually (or US$1,894.64 per recipient), increase required ARC by 4.40%, increase actual ARC contributions by 8.46%, and improve investment returns by 4.72%. Therefore, policies to reduce public-sector corruption, or to improve the insulation of pension funds in relatively more corrupt environments, can make a significant contribution toward tackling the public pension underfunding crisis in the American states.

Abolish the Employer Prerogative, Unleash Work Law

Source: Gali Racabi, Berkeley Journal of Employment and Labor Law, Forthcoming, Date Written: March 9, 2021

From the abstract:
Employers are sovereigns in their workplace. Market power disparities, enforcement gaps, and the dwindling power of the beaten US labor movement seem to guarantee that. But it is law that anoints employers as kings. Work law doctrine calls it the “employer prerogative,” and it stands as the default governing rule in the workplace. This rule lays the basic legal structure of the workplace: all decisions fall within the employer’s discretion unless altered by contractual agreements or mandated differently by a statute or court doctrine. The entire array of legal interventions in the workplace, and their accompanying normative debates, flows from this legal rule.

This Article calls to abolish the employer prerogative. It is too sticky, and subsequently, it skews all of work law theory and practice toward management interests. The Article begins by describing how the cumulative effects of a judicial presumption of prerogative, labor market power disparities, the employment at-will doctrine, and enforcement gaps make modifying this default a Sisyphean task. The argument follows by describing two mechanisms that tie the employer prerogative to the uphill political struggle of redistributing power in the workplace. To preserve their control, employers can use their prerogative to evade workplace interventions or punish workers and their communities for pursuing redistributive workplace policies. At the expense of any goal work law advocates might pursue, the employer prerogative is self-entrenching.

Perhaps the most troubling aspect of this default rule is that challenging it is a taboo of a sort. Hence, the Article concludes by offering a novel framework for considering possible alternatives to it. The Article describes alternative default governance rules and presents a set of new and renewed legal institutions designed to reallocate these default authorities among multiple stakeholders. These novel interventions offer the structural analysis and remedies vitally needed to correct the workplace’s skewed status quo of power and to actualize work law’s potential – unleashing it from its employer prerogative constraints.