Author Archives: afscme

Noel Canning, the NLRB, and Industry Campaign Contributions

Source: Public Campaign, July 1, 2013

From the summary:
In January, the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia threw American labor law into chaos in its Noel Canning v. NLRB decision that rejected President Barack Obama’s recess appointments to the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB), a federal agency in charge of conducting elections for labor union representation as well as investigating and remedying unfair labor practices.

The recess appointments, a practice that has been employed for decades by presidents from both major parties, were made after Senate Republicans blocked the nominees from going through the normal appointment process. As the Senate prepares to once again take up the NLRB appointments and other stalled nominations after the July 4th recess, it’s important to look at one factor that often looms large in voting decisions by certain senators—campaign cash.

Since the January ruling, many companies have used the Noel Canning decision to challenge NLRB rulings relating to their labor practices. According to analysis of campaign finance data, at least 38 of these have donated to Senate Republicans opposing an operable NLRB.

In fact, the 45 Senate Republicans who signed a “friend of the court” brief in the Noel Canning case1 and the National Republican Senatorial Committee (NRSC) have received a combined $6 million in campaign contributions over the years from the owners, executives and PACs of companies and trade groups that have used the ruling to dispute NLRB decisions and organizations that have been players in the litigation.

Top 15 Contributors Among Companies/Litigants:
US Chamber of Commerce
General Motors
Target Corp
Caterpillar Inc.
DirecTV Group
GEO Group
Sanderson Farms
Nestle USA
Embarq Corp
Enterprise Rent-A-Car
Meredith Corp
Laboratory Corp of America
Murphy Oil
National Assn. of Manufacturers

See also:
National Labor Relations Board Uncertainty Benefits Big Corporate Donors: Report
Source: Dave Jamieson, Huffington Post, July 2, 2013

The Funding of State and Local Pensions: 2012-2016

Source: Alicia H. Munnell, Jean-Pierre Aubry, Josh Hurwitz, and Madeline Medenica, State and Local Pension Plans, SLP#32, July 2013

The brief’s key findings are:
– During 2012, using current GASB standards, the funded status of public plans declined slightly from 75 percent to 73 percent.
– This decline reflected slow asset growth, which was only partly mitigated by reduced liability growth.
– States and localities also continued to fall short on their annual required contribution payments.
– Going forward, the funded ratio is projected to gradually move above 80 percent, assuming a healthy stock market.

The Contributions of Immigrants and Their Children to the American Workforce and Jobs of the Future

Source: Dowell Myers, Stephen Levy, and John Pitkin, Center for American Progress, June 19, 2013

From the summary:
…This report analyzes fundamental demographic and employment trends that are changing our nation’s workforce and seem certain to continue long beyond the ongoing recovery from the recent deep recession. The workforce and jobs of the future will be very different from those of today.

This study presents projections of the workforce that are unprecedented in their detail about the role of foreign-born immigrants—the first generation—and their native-born children—the second generation. Grounded in data from the Census Bureau and the Bureau of Labor Statistics, or BLS, the uniquely detailed Pitkin-Myers generational projections of population are extended to estimate the role of immigrant generations in the workforce.

The study combines these projections of the size and characteristics of the workforce with independent estimates of job openings to show the linkages between workforce changes and economic growth over the coming decade and beyond….

Delinquent Property Tax in Philadelphia: Stark Challenges and Realistic Goals

Source: Thomas Ginsberg, Pew Charitable Trusts, June 27, 2013

A new Pew report estimates that Philadelphia should be able to collect about 30 percent of the unpaid real estate taxes and late penalties owed by delinquent property owners over several years….

…As of April 2012, the city and school district were owed $292.3 million in delinquent taxes on 102,789 properties, $515.4 million when interest and penalties are included. (The numbers have increased since then.) About one-quarter of those properties had been delinquent for more than a decade. Figuring out how much of this money Philadelphia might collect, and how, have been nagging questions for years. A Pew Charitable Trusts analysis estimates that the city should be able to collect at least $155 million or about 30 percent of the $515.4 million over the course of several years, assuming that well-funded tax collectors use all of their statutory powers, including foreclosure, more aggressively than in years past. But as much as 70 percent of the $515.4 million is most likely uncollectable. This year, the city levied about $1.2 billion in property taxes for itself and the school district.

Of 36 cities studied in this report, Philadelphia had the fifth highest delinquency rate in 2011, the last year for which statistics were available. Our study found that many of the cities with lower delinquency rates than Philadelphia adhere to stricter timetables for imposing enforcement measures against delinquent property-owners—timetables usually set by the state—and are more willing to take properties away from owners who do not pay their taxes. At the same time, a lot of these cities have lower percentages of poor people, stronger real estate markets, and higher shares of homeowners who pay their taxes automatically through mortgages….
See also:

What Would GS System Pay Reform Look Like?

Source: Craig Pettibone, Public Manager, Vol. 42 no. 2, Summer 2013
(subscription required)

The 21st century workforce consists of highly specialized knowledge workers who work for many different employers over the course of a career. The debate over federal compensation continues, particularly as it relates to salaries in government and the private sector. Furloughs as part of sequestration have magnified the issue. As reported in winter 2012 edition of The Public Manager, the Coalition for Effective Change (CEC) is exploring the issue through a series of panel discussions. In November, CEC’s second panel of experts tackled fundamental reform to the federal General Schedule system (GS). If the GS does need reform, how would that happen and what would a new system look like? …

Labor Management and the Political Paths of Collaboration

Source: Michael Filler, Public Manager, Vol. 42 no. 2, Summer 2013
(subscription required)

This year will be the 20th anniversary of President Bill Clinton’s Executive Order on Labor-Management Partnerships (E.O. 12871 issued October 1, 1993). Over the past two decades, federal government employees and their union representatives have worked with federal managers to improve the delivery of service to the American public. As President Clinton noted in the preamble to his executive order, it was through cooperation that the design and implementation of comprehensive change would take place. E.O. 12871 called for the establishment of labor-management committees or councils at appropriate levels throughout the executive branch; employees and their union representatives were to be “full partners” with management representatives to better serve the agency’s customers and to satisfy its mission. …

Evolution of Collaboration Among Federal, State, and Local Agencies

Source: Nathan Myers, Public Manager, Vol. 42 no. 2, Summer 2013
(subscription required)

… By the end of 2009, as seen in her public remarks, Sebelius had come to the conclusion that the United States must not have an ad-hoc approach to dealing with public health threats, but a flexible yet permanent system employing federal, state, local, private sector, and other types of resources that will allow us to bring the latest technology and our collective knowledge to bear on the latest contagion. However, with a traditionally decentralized federal public health system, creating and maintaining such a system will require a healthy dose of negotiation and relationship-building…

Laws Affecting Wellness Programs and Some Things They Make You Do

Source: Robert E. Boston and Brian M. Clifford, Employee Relations Law Journal, Vol. 39 no. 1, Summer 2013
(subscription required)

From the abstract:
The Affordable Care Act will present many employers with a choice: offer affordable health insurance coverage to all employees or face civil penalties. When implemented correctly, a wellness program can be an effective way to decrease the employer’s cost of insurance coverage. Employers should consider the various laws affecting wellness programs to decide whether and to what extent they are right for their business and its employees.