Author Archives: afscme

King County’s Journey in Institutionalizing Equity and Social Justice

Source: Matías Valenzuela, Public Administration Review, Volume 77, Issue 6, November/December 2017
(subscription required)

….What happens when local government decides that a top priority is addressing issues of racial justice, equity, and opportunity—especially when progress is stalled at the national level? The story of King County, Washington, offers one illustration.

King County provides local and regional services to more than two million people across 39 cities and unincorporated areas in transportation, criminal justice, public health and human services, natural resources, and more.

Building on Isett, Head, and VanLandingham’s (2016) work on how evidence can better inform public administration, this article considers evidence in several important ways. King County’s approach to equity and social justice has been driven by both data and values. Almost a decade of experience within King County—as well as other jurisdictions around the country with equity initiatives1—has made addressing equity and racial justice increasingly a discipline based on evidence and promising practices.

In addition, this article lays out the evidence for why governments should focus on equity and social justice. King County’s theory of change—backed by the evidence of working “upstream” and addressing root causes—provides a how that is more effective than many traditional government approaches and interventions that focus “downstream” at the individual level…..

Blue-state Republicans could become almost as rare as white southern Democrats

Source: The Economist, January 4, 2018

If that were to happen, Congress would become even more polarised than it already is. ….

…. She [Barbara Comstock] is one of 23 Republicans representing districts that Hillary Clinton won in 2016. Democrats think they can flip them all, and more: the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee (DCCC) has 91 districts in its sights, the lion’s share of them in states that Mrs Clinton won or barely lost. They are, of course, unlikely to win them all. But an upset election, as this year’s midterms in November could easily be, will break first and hardest in those states—which would leave the Republican congressional caucus smaller and more strident, and risks making Congress even more dysfunctional….

U.S. Regional Outlook 2018: Full Employment Brings New Challenges

Source: Adam Kamins, Regional Financial Review, December 2017
(subscription required)

As the expansion matures and labor supply becomes a greater burden, wage pressures will grow more pronounced across regions. This will provide an additional jolt to consumers, who are already doing much of the heavy lifting this cycle. As in recent years, the West and the South will set the pace in the coming year, with income gains accelerating most rapidly in those areas.

Same-level fall injuries in US workplaces by age group, gender, and industry

Source: Kenneth A. Scott, Gwenith G. Fisher, Anna E. Barón, Emile Tompa, Lorann Stallones and Carolyn DiGuiseppi, American Journal of Industrial Medicine, Volume 61, Issue 2, February 2018
(subscription required)

From the abstract:
Background
As the workforce ages, occupational injuries from falls on the same level will increase. Some industries may be more affected than others.

Methods
We conducted a cross-sectional study using data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics to estimate same-level fall injury incidence rates by age group, gender, and industry for four sectors: 1) healthcare and social assistance; 2) manufacturing; 3) retail; and 4) transportation and warehousing. We calculated rate ratios and rate differences by age group and gender.

Results
Same-level fall injury incidence rates increase with age in all four sectors. However, patterns of rate ratios and rate differences vary by age group, gender, and industry. Younger workers, men, and manufacturing workers generally have lower rates.
Conclusions

Variation in incidence rates suggests there are unrealized opportunities to prevent same-level fall injuries. Interventions should be evaluated for their effectiveness at reducing injuries, avoiding gender- or age-discrimination and improving work ability.

Smoky Lines: Whether to Accommodate Employees’ Use of Medicinal Marijuana May Now Depend on State Law

Source: Lindsey A. White, Shelby Skeabeck, and Jeremy Himmelstein, Labor Law Journal, Vol. 68, Issue No. 4, Winter 2017
(subscription required)

The interplay between federal law–which bans marijuana for any purpose–and state law, which increasingly permits marijuana to be used for medicinal purposes, is presenting a challenging legal landscape for employers. Following a handful of recent court decisions, the general advice that employers could flatly prohibit marijuana use and did not have to provide accommodations has gone up in smoke.

Could Employee Choice End Labor Unions’ Influence?

Source: Adam C. Abrahms, Employee Relations Law Journal, Vol. 43, No. 1, Summer 2017
(subscription required)

The author of this article discusses a recent Bureau of Labor Statistics annual report, which found that private sector union membership has dropped to its lowest level in history, and its implications.

In 2016 private sector union membership dropped to its lowest level in history—a dismal 6.4 percent. Given the laws and systems in place related to union membership, this means that at least 94.6 percent of all American private sector workers currently choose not to be union members. The drop, recently reported in a routine annual report issued by the U.S. Department of Labor’s Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), also was the largest year over year percentage drop in recent years, dropping 0.3 percent, from 6.7 percent in 2015.

While the percentage of union members as a portion of the total workforce saw a steep drop, possibly more disturbing to union bosses is the fact that the actual raw numbers of union members also dropped over 100,000 members from 7.554 million to 7.435 million dues paying members. This loss of dues revenue could hurt unions’ efforts to organize members as well as lobby and elect politicians….

Assessing the Impact of the Americans with Disabilities Amendments Act of 2008: An Analysis of Litigation Efforts under Title I of the Act

Source: Charles E. Mitchell, Employee Relations Law Journal, Vol. 43, No. 3, Winter 2017
(subscription required)

Congress created the Americans with Disabilities Act to eliminate discrimination against citizens with disabilities. The Act covered employment, housing, accommodation, voting, and more. The U.S. Supreme Court issued decisions that weakened employment provisions in the Act. Congress amended the Act to negate those decisions. The author of this article provides an analysis of court and administrative decisions following the amendments, which reveals that private litigation and administrative rulings by federal agencies show an increase in favorable rulings for victims of employment disability discrimination.