Author Archives: afscme

Stacked Deck: How the Dominance of Politics by the Affluent & Business Undermines Economic Mobility in America

Source: David Callahan & J. Mijin Cha, Dēmos, February 2013

This paper offers an overview of the interplay between declining upward mobility and growing political inequality, which we show is a self-reinforcing phenomenon. It reports on a growing body of new research on this nexus and offers a set of policy recommendations to reduce both political and economic inequality.

Sections include:
The Affluent Have Different Priorities
The Affluent Don’t Prioritize Policies For Upward Mobility
The Priorities of Lower Income Americans Are Often Ignored or Blocked
The Affluent Participate More In Politics and Civic Life
The Affluent Have More Influence Over Policy Outcomes
The Affluent Have More Ways To Shape Politics
Political and Economic Inequality Are Mutually Reinforcing

Implementation of Anti-Discrimination Policy: Does Judicial Selection Matter?

Source: Timothy Besley, American Law and Economics Review, February 28, 2013
(subscription required)

From the abstract:
Legislation to limit workplace discrimination is among the most common reforms in labor market policy of the past 50 years. Its effectiveness depends on enforcement of the legislation by state and federal agencies and, ultimately, the courts. This paper uses information on discrimination charges in the United States between 1973 and 2000 to analyze whether the number of charges filed is correlated with the method by which state judges are selected. We find evidence that states that appoint their judges have significantly fewer anti-discrimination charges being filed.

Election 2012 : Is a Second Term a Second Chance for Labor?

Source: Gordon Lafer, New Labor Forum, Vol. 22 no. 1, Winter 2013
(subscription required)

…So what can the election tell us about the voters, the parties, and the way forward for labor?…Why can’t the Democrats be the party we wish they were? The simple answer is that they are too dependent on big money….I do not believe anyone in the labor movement has a master plan for victory, and this is not one.
But the combination of polls, votes, and experience points to several steps unions can take to help move politics forward in 2013 and beyond.
Focus on the States
Put Workplace Organizing at the Center of Our Political Operation
Recruit Members to Serve as Public Ambassadors
Campaign against the Corporate Lobbies
Run Proactive Ballot Initiatives
Encourage Occupy

Lactation Breaks in the Workplace: What Employers Need to Know About the Nursing Mothers Amendment to the FLSA

Source: Sarah Andrews, Hofstra Labor and Emploment Law Journal, Vol. 30, No. 1, Fall 2012

Effective March 23, 2010, federal law now requires all employers to offer eligible employees an appropriate location and job-protected time off from work to express breast milk for their nursing infants. The mandate for lactation breaks was a product of the 2010 Healthcare Reform Law, which amended the provisions of the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) by adding the Nursing Mothers Amendment to Section 207.

This article examines the law with the goal of outlining the requirements of the Nursing Mothers Amendment and offering suggestions on constructive and cost-effective ways to comply. This article has four parts. Part I considers the evolving role of breastfeeding in a labor force that is increasingly populated by female employees, and examines the resultant legal trends that will affect employers. Part II examines the statutory language of the Nursing Mothers Amendment to the FLSA and the existing interpretive guidance from the Department of Labor (DOL). Part III focuses on analogous state laws, which are sufficiently numerous that many employers either already have lactation programs in order to comply with state law, or may be out of compliance. Part IV will address employer concerns and recommends that employers consider the business case for developing comprehensive lactation support programs.

Beyond the Water Cooler: Speech and the Workplace in an Era of Social Media

Source: Ann McGinley, Ryan McGinley-Stempel, Hofstra Labor and Emploment Law Journal, Vol. 30, No. 1, Fall 2012

From the abstract:
…This article analyzes the multitude of issues concerning employees’ use of social media outside of work and the clash between employers’ interests in maintaining effective management control and the employees’ interests in speech. It analyzes the recent changes in interpretation of the National Labor Relations Act, which, in some instances, protect employee speech on social media. At the same time, the article discusses the limits of the employee rights as interpreted by the NLRB and analyzes the possible conflicts that the NLRA rights may create with policies designed to protect employees from harassment based on characteristics protected by Title VII, the Age Discrimination in Employment Act (“ADEA”), the Americans with Disabilities Act (“ADA”), and other anti-discrimination statutes.

The article concludes by making recommendations about how to interpret the NLRA to protect employee speech that furthers democracy in the workplace, but also how to change the law to protect individuals from harassment and to recognize employers’ interests in maintaining efficiency, good relations among workers, and consumer respect for their products. Specifically, it recommends a targeted federal statute—one that balances employees’ interest in engaging in protected speech outside the workplace (particularly in the context of social media) against employers’ duty to comply with Title VII and other anti-discrimination statutes. This proposal offers an attractive solution because it gives employers and employees notice and is less vulnerable to the inconsistency of the current regulatory landscape….

North American Border Wars: The Role of Canadian and American Scholarship in U.S. Labor Law Reform Debates

Source: Michael J. Zimmer, Susan Bisom-Rapp, Hofstra Labor and Emploment Law Journal, Vol. 30, No. 1, Fall 2012

From the abstract:
The economies of Canada and the United States and the organization of their societies are deeply interrelated but significant differences exist. This article briefly traces the interaction between the two countries in the development of labor relations laws with a particular emphasis on the impact of scholarly work on U.S. labor law reform debates in the last two decades. Instructive for that purpose is the work of Professor Paul Weiler, a prominent figure in labor law policy discussions in both countries. A significant architect of labor law in Canada, Professor Weiler came to Harvard Law School in 1978 and brought his experience and insights with him, rapidly becoming one of the foremost labor law scholars in the United States. His influence in the 1990s, and hence the influence of Canadian ideas, on the ultimately unsuccessful labor law reform proposals of President Clinton’s Dunlop Commission is widely recognized.

Professor Weiler’s proposals are once again the basis for scholarly and policy debate. This time, however, Canadian ideas and experience have prompted a scholarly border skirmish. Recently, when new legislation – the Employee Free Choice Act – was proposed to Congress to implement a number of reforms of the National Labor Relations Act based on the Canadian experience, several U.S. academics argued that the actual Canadian experience where these reforms were in place resulted in higher unemployment and slower economic growth. Canadian labor scholars, fearing the corrosive effects of such critiques on their own labor relations regime, responded with rejoinders challenging the work of the American scholars. Clearly, and notwithstanding American provincialism, Canadian-influenced labor law scholarship has played a central role in U.S. policy debates, creating a favorable intellectual environment for labor law convergence. Yet the opponents of U.S. labor law reform also deploy scholarship aimed at the Canadian experience in order reinforce the divergent paths of the two systems, as do Canadian scholars acting defensively to forestall greater convergence of the Canadian regime to the U.S. model.

Governments Readying for 2014 by Creating Health Care Insurance Exchanges

Source: Carol Regan, PHI (Paraprofessional Healthcare Institute), PolicyWorks blog, February 28, 2013

It is likely that more than half a million direct-care workers could be seeking health insurance through an exchange.

See also:
Medicaid Expansion Is Crucial for Direct-Care Workers
Source: Gail MacInnes, PHI (Paraprofessional Healthcare Institute), PolicyWorks blog, February 26, 2013

Select Medicaid Resources and Reports
Source: PHI (Paraprofessional Healthcare Institute), PolicyWorks blog, February 26, 2013

The Family and Medical Leave Act at 20: A Record of Success, But More Can Be Done

Source: Center for Economic and Policy Research (CEPR), February 28, 2013

The federal Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA) celebrated its 20th anniversary this month. It was a huge step forward for the U.S., which lags behind nearly all other high-income countries in enabling people to take the time they need, without worrying that they may be fired from their jobs, to care for themselves and their families when faced with serious illness or welcoming a new child…. Department of Labor surveys of experiences with the FMLA, released earlier this month, find ways to improve the effectiveness and increase the coverage of family and medical leave for American families. CEPR senior economist Eileen Appelbaum recently wrote a series of blog posts to review these findings of the FMLA surveys and draw lessons about what to do next.
See also:
Family and Medical Leave in 2012
Source: U.S. Department of Labor, Office of the Assistant Secretary for Policy, Chief Evaluation Office, February 2013

The Family and Medical Leave Act at 20, Part 1, Part 2, Part 3, Part 4
Source: Eileen Appelbaum, Center for Economic and Policy Research (CEPR), February 2013