Author Archives: afscme

Investment Return Volatility and the Michigan State Employees’ Retirement System

Source: Yimeng Yin and Donald J. Boyd, Nelson A. Rockefeller Institute of Government, Pension Simulation Project Policy Brief, March 2017

A new report from the Rockefeller Institute’s Public Pension Simulation Project examines investment return volatility and its impact on the Michigan State Employees’ Retirement System (MISERS). The analysis found that a very conservative contribution policy can protect a plan closed to new members from becoming severely underfunded. However, for large closed plans like MISERS, the sponsoring governments may face a risk of substantial contribution increases if the plan invests in risky assets and if large shortfalls must be recouped in short periods of time. This is the seventh report of the Pension Simulation Project at the Rockefeller Institute, which examines the potential consequences of investment-return risk for public pension plans, governments, and stakeholders in government. The project is supported by the Laura and John Arnold Foundation and The Pew Charitable Trusts.

2016: Another Lackluster Year for State Tax Revenue

Source: Lucy Dadayan and Donald J. Boyd, Rockefeller Institute of Government, By the Numbers, May 2017

From the press release:
Today, the Rockefeller Institute of Government issued a report “2016: Another Lackluster Year for State Tax Revenue” finding that state tax revenues weakened significantly in fiscal year 2016 as states continue to recover slowly from the deep declines caused by the Great Recession.

The report, authored by Senior Research Scientist Lucy Dadayan and Fiscal Studies Director Don Boyd, found:
• State tax revenue growth weakened significantly in fiscal year 2016, growing only 1.2 percent, a slowdown from 4.7 percent growth in fiscal 2015.
• Although technically the sixth consecutive year of growth, after adjusting for inflation, state tax revenue actually declined by 0.1 percent in 2016.
• State tax revenue in 2016 was the weakest since 2010, when tax revenue declined by 1 percent in nominal terms
• Sales tax and personal income tax, which combined represent over two-thirds of all tax revenue to the states, had weak growth of only 0.2 and 0.9 percent, respectively, after adjusting for inflation.
• State tax revenue declined in 14 states in nominal terms. More than half of the states with declines were heavily dependent upon oil and mineral production caused by a drastic fall in oil prices and production. …

Managers’ Political Beliefs and Gender Inequality among Subordinates: Does His Ideology Matter More Than Hers?

Source: Seth Carnahan, Brad N. Greenwood, Administrative Science Quarterly, Online First, May 5, 2017

From the abstract:
To explore whether managers’ beliefs and attitudes influence gender inequality among their subordinates, we theorize about the relationship between managers’ political ideology, situated on a liberal–conservative continuum, and differences in the hiring, work team selection, and promotion of male versus female subordinates, as well as how a manager’s gender moderates this relationship. We analyze novel microdata from the U.S. legal industry from 2007 to 2012 and find that large law offices whose partners are more liberal hire a larger percentage of female associates, that more-liberal partners are more likely to select female associates to be members of their client teams, and that associates whose supervising partners are more liberal have greater gender parity in promotion rates. Further, we find that the ideology of male partners is significantly more influential than the ideology of female partners in affecting these differences. We find little evidence that sorting on the part of higher-quality female associates drives the results.

Philadelphia Union Wins Equal Pay for Immigrant Nurses

Source: Samantha Winslow, Labor Notes, May 5, 2017

It started when a few nurses at Temple University Hospital told stewards that they weren’t being paid for their experience.

One of the first to speak up was Jessy Palathinkal, who had become a nurse in India in 1990. She got her U.S. nursing license when she moved here in 1995. But when she started working at Temple, her placement on the pay scale was as though those five years of nursing never happened.

She asked why. Human Resources told her the hospital didn’t count years of experience in foreign countries.

“I was feeling a little bit upset. I had all the certification,” Palathinkal said. “I thought, ‘Well, that’s not right, but what can I do?’”

What Palathinkal did was tell her shop steward. The steward told officers of their union, the Pennsylvania Association of Staff Nurses and Allied Professionals (PASNAP). And the officers started asking around to see whether anyone else was affected.

They put out a call in their monthly newsletter—did anyone else think that their pay was incorrect for their level of experience? Three more nurses had the same complaint.

Four nurses joined a class-action grievance. Management denied it. That’s when union officers decided this was a hospital-wide issue…..

How Black Lives Matter Came to Philadelphia’s Schools

Source: Tamara Anderson and Shira Cohen, Labor Notes, May 8, 2017

When teachers in Seattle planned a Black Lives Matter action in response to an incident of violent racism last October, our caucus of teachers in Philadelphia got inspired.

Seattle’s John Muir Elementary had received bomb threats after planning a motivational event where elementary students on their way into school would be greeted by hundreds of African American men. After the threats, the union’s representative assembly voted to support the event, and thousands of educators wore Black Lives Matter T-shirts to support their students of color.

The Caucus of Working Educators (WE) saw our chance to bring that spirit to Philadelphia. But we knew our action would have to go beyond the hashtag, pushing educators, parents, and students into an honest and difficult dialogue.

About 20 percent of Philadelphia teachers are African American. Our city is mired in poverty and income disparity. Union jobs are steadily decreasing, and the district is shuttering public schools in predominantly Black and Latino neighborhoods. So we wanted to do more than a day of solidarity…..

Early Care and Education State Budget Actions FY 2017

Source: National Conference of State Legislatures, April 28, 2017

NCSL surveyed 50 state legislative fiscal offices on their FY 2015, FY 2016 and FY 2017 state appropriations for various early care and education programs—child care, prekindergarten, home visiting and other related programs. Early Care and Education Budget Actions FY 2017 provides a snapshot of state funding investments from 36 states that responded to the survey in these areas. Click on each of the tabs to see specific changes to appropriations for child care, prekindergarten, home visiting and other early childhood programs that occurred from FY 2016 to FY 2017….

Union Meeting Exercise: The ‘Right to Work’ Stress Test

Source: Labor Notes, May 3, 2017

We know that so-called right to work is bad for workers, and we have to fight it. The silver lining is that the most effective way to prepare is to get organized on the job. It’s not easy, but it’s also not a distraction; it’s the core work of the union. The results will not only boost membership, but also get more members engaged and help us win on issues….

Do Reform Values Matter? Federal Worker Satisfaction and Turnover Intention at the Dawn of the Trump Presidency

Source: Sung Min Park, Maria Ernita Joaquin, Kyoung Ryoul Min, Reginald G. Ugaddan, American Review of Public Administration, Online First, First Published May 4, 2017
(subscription required)

From the abstract:
With heightened bureaucratic bashing and the planned reorganization of the U.S. federal bureaucracy, hiring is going to be difficult, but what could make those already in the service satisfied and willing to stay in their jobs? How could flexible work systems have an impact on worker job satisfaction and turnover intention? Using hierarchical linear modeling, we explore the impact of alternative work systems on employee job satisfaction and turnover intention in the context of values underlying managerial reforms. Flexible work systems are found to have a positive impact moderated by the kind of values promoted by particular reforms. A discussion on the main findings, research, and practical implications for public human resource management theory and practice is provided.

The New Closed Shop? The Economic and Structural Effects of Occupational Licensure

Source: Beth Redbird, American Sociological Review, Online First, May 3, 2017
(subscription required)

From the abstract:
During the past few decades, licensure, a state-enforced mechanism for regulating occupational entry, quickly became the most prevalent form of occupational closure. Broad consensus among researchers holds that licensure creates wage premiums by establishing economic monopolies. This article demonstrates that, contrary to established wisdom, licensure does not limit competition, nor does it increase wages. Results are based on a new occupational dataset, covering 30 years, that exploits interstate variability in licensure across the 300 census-identified occupations. I argue that licensure, instead of increasing wages, creates a set of institutional mechanisms that enhance entry into the occupation, particularly for historically disadvantaged groups, while simultaneously stagnating quality

The Current State of Scientific Knowledge on Pre-Kindergarten Effects

Source: Deborah A. Phillips, Mark W. Lipsey, Kenneth A. Dodge, Ron Haskins, Daphna Bassok, Margaret R. Burchinal, Greg J. Duncan, Mark Dynarski, Katherine A. Magnuson, and Christina Weiland, Brookings Institution, 2017

From the summary:
Scientific research has established that if all children are to achieve their developmental potential, it is important to lay the foundation during the earliest years for lifelong health, learning, and positive behavior. A central question is how well our public pre-kindergarten (pre-K) programs are doing to build this foundation.

Forty-two states and the District of Columbia, through 57 pre-K programs, have introduced substantial innovations in their early education systems by developing the infrastructure, program sites, and workforce required to accommodate pre-K education. These programs now serve nearly 30 percent of the nation’s 4-year-olds and 5 percent of 3-year-olds.

In recent years, there as been increasing interest in assessing how well these short- and long-term goals have been achieved. What should we expect pre-K to produce for our society? How can we ensure that children who attend these programs get as much out of them as they can? ….

…. All members of the Task Force agreed on six consensus statements, which include:
• Children’s early learning trajectories depend on the quality of their learning experiences not only before and during their pre-K year, but also following the pre-K year;
• There is often greater improvement for economically disadvantaged children and dual-language learners after a year of per-k than there is for more advantaged and English-proficient children;
• Among the effectiveness factors that may make a difference are curricula that build foundational skills, professional development and coaching for teachers, and organized and engaging classrooms;
• Convincing evidence on the longer-term impacts of contemporary scaled-up pre-K programs on academic outcomes and school progress is sparse, precluding broad conclusions. ….
Related:
Consensus statement