Author Archives: afscme

Express busways and economic development: Case study of the Miami-Dade South Express Busway

Source: Arthur C. Nelson, Robert Hibberd, Research in Transportation Economics, In Press – Corrected Proof, Available online June 10, 2019
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From the abstract:
This is the first study reporting the association between economic development and express bus transit (XBT) service. Using shift-share analysis applied to the South Miami-Dade express busway transit system, this study assesses differences in shift-share outcomes over three time periods: before the Great Recession (2004–2007), during the Great Recession and early recovery years (2008–2011), and after the Great Recession (2012–2014). Over the entire study period (2004–2014), total jobs grew within one-half mile of XBT stations. Using shift-share analysis, we find that (a) XBT station areas gained share of jobs relative to the central county (Miami-Dade) before the Great Recession, (b) continued to gain share albeit at a slower pace during the Great Recession, but (c) lost share during the post Great Recession period. Over the entire study period, land-extensive jobs (such as in manufacturing and non-manufacturing industry) lost share as did lower-wage retail-lodging-food service jobs. Jobs in knowledge, office, education and arts-entertainment-recreation economic groups gained share overall. Since the Great Recession, we surmise that XBT stations have shifted firm dynamics mostly by displacing land extensive or lower wage jobs away from station areas. Planning and policy implications are offered.

Speak Nice or Else: The Evolving Law of Nondisparagement Provisions in the Workplace

Source: Anthony W. Kraus, Labor Law Journal, Vol. 70, Issue No. 2, Summer 2019
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Nondisparagement provisions, which commit one contracting party to refrain from derogatory comment about another, are familiar features in employee severance agreements and settlement agreements. They also have been commonly included in some employment contracts, typically for top executives earning substantial salaries, to prohibit post-termination recriminations from such highly compensated personnel.

More recently, such provisions also have begun to appear in employment contracts with ordinary new hires, exacting a threshold pledge of no adverse comment both during and after the relationship. The cause appears to be the emergence of social media as outlets for criticism of businesses, which both consumers and employees have exploited to publicize grievances. In response, some manufacturers and service providers have sought to gag purchasers through nondisparagement provisions in certain kinds of consumer contracts, prompting widespread protest and remedial action at both the federal and state level. Despite that reaction, some employers also have tried to adapt the same broad preemptive approach, expanding resort to such provisions in the workplace.

Public Libraries in the United States Survey: Fiscal Year 2016

Source: Institute of Museum and Library Services, June 2019

From the press release:
The Public Libraries Survey report, released today by the Institute of Museum and Library Services, provides an annual snapshot of public library use, financial health, staffing, and resources in FY 2016. Each year since 1988, the Public Libraries of the United States Survey has provided a national census of America’s public libraries.

The data are collected from approximately 9,000 public library systems comprised of over 17,000 individual main libraries, library branches, and bookmobiles in the 50 states, the District of Columbia, and U.S. territories…..

Highlights from the report include:
– More than 171 million registered users, representing over half of the nearly 311 million Americans who lived within a public library service area, visited public libraries over 1.35 billion times in 2016.
– Public libraries offered half a million more programs in 2016 than in 2015; 113 million people attended 5.2 million programs in 2016.
– The number of electronic materials available through public libraries, including audio, video and e-books, continued to grow in 2016, with public libraries offering over 391 million e-books to their patrons in the United States.

How LGBTQ Union Activists Transformed the Labor Movement

Source: Kim Kelly, Teen Vogue, No Class, June 7, 2019

….In 28 U.S. states, queer and trans workers can still be fired due to their sexual orientation and gender identity, and a strong union contract is often the only legally binding workplace protection available to LGBTQIA workers to fight employment discrimination. This is especially important because of the high unemployment rates for transgender and non-binary people — 16% overall — which can be compounded by other factors like racial discrimination, age discrimination, or national origin discrimination…..

The most unpopular presidential election winner ever could win again in 2020

Source: Liberty Vittert, Brendan Lind, The Conversation, June 10, 2019

…According to FiveThirtyEight, the day Trump stepped into the White House, he had only a 45.5% approval rating. This stands in stark contrast to Barack Obama, for example, who took office with a 68% approval rating.

Moreover, Trump has the lowest approval average in history, at only 40%. The next lowest is Harry Truman at 45.4%.

These data clearly show that Trump is the least-liked president in American history. With such unpopularity, how could he possibly win again?…

Kansas (State of) – Retained pension funding, vetoed tax relief are credit positive

Source: Matthew Butler, Moody’s, Issuer Comment, June 6, 2019
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On May 29, the Kansas legislature voted to override several spending vetoes that Governor Laura Kelly made when she authorized the state’s fiscal 2020 budget. One of the vetoes was of a supplemental payment to the Kansas Public Employees Retirement System (KPERS). The lawmakers’ action preserves a $51 million supplemental contribution to KPERS, a credit positive for the state. At the same time, the legislature failed to override a veto of an income tax relief bill that would have cost the state an estimated $240 million over three years. This is also credit positive, because it reduces the amount of budget reserves Kansas will use to make the supplemental pension payment, increase school funding and more quickly retire an internal loan.

Environmental and Personal Protective Equipment Contamination during Simulated Healthcare Activities

Source: Rachel T Weber, Linh T Phan, Charissa Fritzen-Pedicini, Rachael M Jones, Annals of Work Exposures and Health, Advance Articles, June 4, 2019
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From the abstract:
Providing care to patients with an infectious disease can result in the exposure of healthcare workers (HCWs) to pathogen-containing bodily fluids. We performed a series of experiments to characterize the magnitude of environmental contamination—in air, on surfaces and on participants—associated with seven common healthcare activities. The seven activities studied were bathing, central venous access, intravenous access, intubation, physical examination, suctioning and vital signs assessment. HCWs with experience in one or more activities were recruited to participate and performed one to two activities in the laboratory using task trainers that contained or were contaminated with fluorescein-containing simulated bodily fluid. Fluorescein was quantitatively measured in the air and on seven environmental surfaces. Fluorescein was quantitatively and qualitatively measured on the personal protective equipment (PPE) worn by participants. A total of 39 participants performed 74 experiments, involving 10–12 experimental trials for each healthcare activity. Healthcare activities resulted in diverse patterns and levels of contamination in the environment and on PPE that are consistent with the nature of the activity. Glove and gown contamination were ubiquitous, affirming the value of wearing these pieces of PPE to protect HCW’s clothing and skin. Though intubation and suctioning are considered aerosol-generating procedures, fluorescein was detected less frequently in air and at lower levels on face shields and facemasks than other activities, which suggests that the definition of aerosol-generating procedure may need to be revised. Face shields may protect the face and facemask from splashes and sprays of bodily fluids and should be used for more healthcare activities.

Peaks, Means, and Determinants of Real-Time TVOC Exposures Associated with Cleaning and Disinfecting Tasks in Healthcare Settings

Source: M Abbas Virji Xiaoming Liang Feng-Chiao Su Ryan F LeBouf Aleksandr B Stefaniak Marcia L Stanton Paul K Henneberger E Andres Houseman, Annals of Work Exposures and Health, Advance Articles, June 4, 2019
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From the abstract:
Cleaning and disinfecting tasks and product use are associated with elevated prevalence of asthma and respiratory symptoms among healthcare workers; however, the levels of exposure that pose a health risk remain unclear. The objective of this study was to estimate the peak, average, and determinants of real-time total volatile organic compound (TVOC) exposure associated with cleaning tasks and product-use. TVOC exposures were measured using monitors equipped with a photoionization detector (PID). A simple correction factor was applied to the real-time measurements, calculated as a ratio of the full-shift average TVOC concentrations from a time-integrated canister and the PID sample, for each sample pair. During sampling, auxiliary information, e.g. tasks, products used, engineering controls, was recorded on standardized data collection forms at 5-min intervals. Five-minute averaged air measurements (n = 10 276) from 129 time-series comprising 92 workers and four hospitals were used to model the determinants of exposures. The statistical model simultaneously accounted for censored data and non-stationary autocorrelation and was fit using Markov-Chain Monte Carlo within a Bayesian context. Log-transformed corrected concentrations (cTVOC) were modeled, with the fixed-effects of tasks and covariates, that were systematically gathered during sampling, and random effect of person-day. The model-predicted geometric mean (GM) cTVOC concentrations ranged from 387 parts per billion (ppb) for the task of using a product containing formaldehyde in laboratories to 2091 ppb for the task of using skin wipes containing quaternary ammonium compounds, with a GM of 925 ppb when no products were used. Peak exposures quantified as the 95th percentile of 15-min averages for these tasks ranged from 3172 to 17 360 ppb. Peak and GM task exposures varied by occupation and hospital unit. In the multiple regression model, use of sprays was associated with increasing exposures, while presence of local exhaust ventilation, large room volume, and automatic sterilizer use were associated with decreasing exposures. A detailed understanding of factors affecting TVOC exposure can inform targeted interventions to reduce exposures and can be used in epidemiologic studies as metrics of short-duration peak exposures.

The Great Recession’s Lingering Impact

Source: Rick Seltzer, inside Higher Ed, June 5, 2019

States and the public colleges they fund continue to feel the economic downturn’s effects, even after a decade of recovery, according to a new report that gives a sobering look at state funding.

Related:
‘Lost Decade’ Casts a Post-Recession Shadow on State Finances
Source: Pew Charitable Trusts, Issue Brief, June 4, 2019

Despite almost 10 years of national economic recovery, strains from the 2007-09 downturn still linger in many states