Author Archives: afscme

The Moynihan Report Revisited

Source: Gregory Acs, Kenneth Braswell, Elaine Sorensen, Margery Austin Turner, Urban Institute, June 2013

From the abstract:
In 1965’s The Negro Family: The Case for National Actions, Daniel Patrick Moynihan described a “tangle of pathologies” –from disintegrating families to poor educational outcomes, weak job prospects, concentrated neighborhood poverty, dysfunctional communities, and crime–that would create a self-perpetuating cycle of deprivation, hardship, and inequality for black families. Today, although social progress has created opportunities for many members of the black community, the United States still struggles with many of the problems Moynihan identified. If we don’t enhance economic opportunities and social equity for black families, we may spend the next 50 years lamenting our continued lack of progress.
The Black Family: Five Decades After the Moynihan Report
Source: Press Release, Urban Institute June 13, 2013

Moynihan Black Poverty Report Revisited 50 Years Later

Source: Karen Grigsby Bates, NPR, Code Switch blog, June 13, 2013

Spring 2013 Fiscal Survey of States

Source: National Governors Association, National Association of State Budget Officers, 2013

From the summary:
After several years of slow recovery in the national economy, fiscal distress is finally beginning to subside for most states. However, the unemployment rate continues to remain high and the economic recovery is relatively weak compared to other post-recessionary periods. Thus, state operating budgets likely will be constrained by elevated expenditure pressures and slow revenue growth in the upcoming fiscal year. Additionally, states are challenged with providing resources for critical areas that were cutback in the recession, declining federal funds for state programs subject to sequestration, and continued spending demands in areas directly impacted by the sluggish economy, such as Medicaid, higher education and corrections.

300 Million Engines of Growth: A Middle-Out Plan for Jobs, Business, and a Growing Economy

Source: Jennifer Erickson and Michael Ettlinger, Center for American Progress, June 2013

From the introduction:
This report lays out a wide-ranging plan for economic progress. It is a plan that encompasses investment and reform. It is a plan that proposes doing more of some things but, importantly, it is a plan to do more things well.

The agenda presented here is based on what we know makes an economy grow and prosper and what we know are the keys to good jobs and a good quality of life, including:
– A well-educated, secure, and growing middle class that underpins strong demand, entrepreneurialism, innovation, and productivity
– Greater private and public investments deployed more strategically
– A fair playing field for business and workers, both domestically and internationally
– Leadership in science and technology
– Effective institutions and governance

…This report describes a set of proposals across a range of areas from education to innovation and infrastructure that are actionable now and would be an important step to putting us on that path. We divide our policies into two categories: those that strengthen the American people and give them the capability to succeed, and those that build an economic and business environment that puts these talents to use and rewards them. The policies described in this report are numerous and range in scope, interacting and accumulating to form a plan that will boost U.S. economic growth and generate the good jobs that underpin widely shared prosperity. We summarize below the key problems we are seeking to address, the approach we take to their solution, and examples of the policies that we propose. The rest of this report offers a more detailed analysis of the problems and the full range of recommended policies….

Chapters include:
Strengthening the American people
Make the United States first in education
Advance primary and secondary education
Advance postsecondary education
Raise workplace standards
Realize the potential of immigration

Strengthening the economic environment

Create the mechanisms for an adaptive national economic strategy
Lead in clean and efficient energy
Promote science and technology research and development
Balance trade
Rebuild our infrastructure
Restore the housing cornerstone
Ensure capital is available for growth
Construct a responsible, pro-growth tax and budget policy

The Past and Future of Deinstitutionalization Litigation

Source: Samuel R. Bagenstos, Cardozo Law Review, Vol. 34, No. 1, 2012

From the abstract:
Two conflicting stories have consumed the academic debate regarding the impact of deinstitutionalization litigation. The first, which has risen almost to the level of conventional wisdom, is that deinstitutionalization was a disaster. The second story does not deny that the results of deinstitutionalization have in many cases been disappointing. But it challenges the suggestion that deinstitutionalization has uniformly been unsuccessful, as well as the causal link critics seek to draw with the growth of the homeless population. This dispute is not simply a matter of historical interest. The Supreme Court’s 1999 decision in Olmstead v. L.C., which held that unjustified institutionalization can violate the Americans with Disabilities Act, was followed by a wave of new lawsuits challenging institutionalization of people with psychiatric, developmental, and/or physical disabilities. And the Obama Administration’s Community Living Initiative has led the United States Department of Justice to move aggressively into this field as well. The question naturally arises whether this new round of deinstitutionalization litigation will end in the same place as the litigation of the 1970s and 1980s.

This article contends that things will be different this time — though not necessarily better. The outcomes of the first wave of deinstitutionalization litigation resulted from the interaction between the political dynamics into which advocates inserted themselves and the legal claims they employed. But, as this article shows, both the political dynamics and the legal claims have changed significantly. Precisely because the first wave of deinstitutionalization litigation was so successful in moving residents out of large state institutions for people with psychiatric and developmental disabilities, the efforts of deinstitutionalization advocates have turned to ensuring the availability of adequate services in the community. This has shifted the fiscal politics of the field in ways that destabilize old political alliances but create the potential for new ones. At the same time, deinstitutionalization advocates have moved from the due process theories on which they relied in the 1970s and 1980s to an antidiscrimination theory relying on the ADA and Olmstead. That theory focuses directly on state resource-allocation decisions and affords states a powerful incentive to create and fund adequate community services. All of which leaves the future of deinstitutionalization uncertain. Deinstitutionalization advocates are focused to a greater extent than ever on the goal of building up a robust community-based treatment system. And they are employing the most powerful legal tool they have ever possessed to achieve that goal. But the political partners who helped them achieve their great success in the first wave of deinstitutionalization will likely be the biggest obstacle to success in the next wave.

Spotlight on Retiree Health Care Benefits for State Employees in 2013

Source: Joshua Franzel, Center for Excellence, and Alex Brown, Center for Excellence and NASRA, June 4, 2013

Key findings:
– Health care as a portion of overall public employee wage and benefit compensation has increased from 10 percent in 2004 to 12 percent in 2012.
– Fewer state government units offer retiree health care benefits now compared to ten years ago.
– Retiree health care obligations on a per capita basis vary widely among states.
– Unfunded retiree health care liabilities are concentrated in a minority of states: of all state retiree health care unfunded liabilities, 80 percent are attributable to 12 states.
– States use a variety of methods to reduce their retiree health care costs, most commonly shifting more costs to employees and retirees.

Beyond the Right: Anti-Unionism and Reform

Source: Chad Pearson, LaborOnline blog, June 11, 2013

A clear-eyed assessment of current attacks against organized labor reveal that the “right”—the Republican Party and its electoral, financial, and ideological supporters—is not the exclusive source of labor’s problem. This is certainly the case in the public sector. School teachers throughout the nation, for instance, are currently facing numerous challenges from politicians, and Democrats have been especially problematic….

…We can also point to examples of anti-union activities on the part of “progressive” managers in the private sector. While a number of scholars have deepened our understanding of the high level of exploitation and intimidation experienced by Wal-Mart workers, we do not need to look far to find evidence of worker abuse and union-busting at some of the nation’s more civilized workplaces, including Costco and Whole Foods. Indeed, managers at these companies, including individuals who have strongly endorsed Democratic Party politicians, have repeatedly demonstrated a mastery of the craft of union-avoidance. In 2009, both Costco and Whole Foods lobbied against the Employee Free Choice Act (EFCA)…

Medicaid Expansion Under the ACA: How States Analyze the Fiscal and Economic Trade-Offs

Source: Stan Dorn, John Holahan, Caitlin Carroll, and Megan McGrath, Urban Institute, June 2013

From the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation summary:
Within the next few months, state leaders must make a decision about whether or not to expand Medicaid to residents who earn 138 percent of the federal poverty level.

A new report from the Urban Institute examines issues such as:
– The legal and policy context under which states must decide whether or not to expand Medicaid;
– The status of decision-making about Medicaid expansion; and
– How states are analyzing the fiscal effects of Medicaid expansion.

The report is based on interviews with key decision-makers in 10 states: Alabama, Colorado, Maryland, Michigan, Minnesota, New Mexico, New York, Oregon, Rhode Island, and Virginia. The report found that in each state where relatively comprehensive analyses of costs and fiscal gains were conducted, the net result showed that, on balance, Medicaid expansion would yield state fiscal advantages.

The Implication of Long-Term Pay Freezes for States, Localities

Source: Mike Maciag, Governing, June 11, 2013

…[N]umerous state and local governments enacted pay freezes while budgets were trimmed during the Great Recession, with some still in place. The implications of these long-term pay freezes have been far-reaching, from hindering employee retention to hurting morale.

Public employees in some jurisdictions are just now getting their first raise in years. But for a sizable share of the sector, pay freezes continue to persist. A recent Governing survey of senior state and local officials found that 42 percent of them had pay freezes during the past year. Similarly, 33 percent of International Public Management Association for Human Resources (IPMA-HR) members reported pay freezes in another survey published in May….

…Other states faced similar challenges with both employee retention and recruitment… Reichenberg said that more states and localities could have provided broad across-the-board pay increases in recent years, but their elected officials lacked the political will to deliver….

Better Workplaces, Better Businesses

Source: Better Workplaces, Better Businesses, 2013

Better Workplaces, Better Businesses is a national listing of businesses that support public policies that enable employees to earn paid time away from their jobs in order to address family, medical, and health issues. In states and cities around the country, legislative proposals for earned sick days and family medical leave insurance have been introduced and increasingly adopted. This site brings together, in one place, the businesses from across the country that are supportive of earned leave. While local and state proposals and laws may vary, individual businesses in these locations share the perspective that these public policies are good for their employees, which is also good for business, and good for the economy. The site also features various resources that explain the value of these policies for businesses and the economy.

This website is sponsored by the following business associations:
– American Sustainable Business Council
– Main Street Alliance
– Social Venture Network

The site is supported by the technical assistance of the following national groups:
– The Center for Law and Social Policy (CLASP)
– Family Values @ Work
– The National Partnership for Women & Families


Source: Working America, 2013

Is something getting you down on the job? You’re not alone, and we’re here to help.

OrganizeWith.Us is a powerful tool that will walk you through four big steps to fixing problems in your workplace.

Steps 1 and 2 have multiple tasks that will help you to become familiar with the site. Take your time and read through each of the tasks, then let us know you’ve completed them.

After you’ve finished Steps 1 and 2, it’s time to get into the heart of OrganizeWith.Us, with the tactics to change your workplace. The tasks in Step 3 will require some heavier lifting on your end, but this is where you can really change your workplace.

Once you’ve made some big footprints in Step 3, we want to help you to take your goals further in Step 4, where we’ll offer you some powerful next steps.