Author Archives: afscme

How to talk about privilege so people will listen

Source: Futurity, June 12, 2018

If you benefit from an inequity, how you handle the situation could depend on its presentation, according to a new study. The study tested people’s willingness to surrender part of a bonus at work as a way of studying the presentation of an unjust imbalance or inequity….

Framing advantageous inequity with a focus on others: A catalyst for equity restoration
Source: Ashleigh Shelby, Rosettea Christy, Zhou Kovalb, Journal of Experimental Social Psychology, Volume 76, May 2018
(subscription required)

From the abstract:
Prior research has found that framing inequity as an ingroup advantage, but not as an outgroup disadvantage, can lead the advantaged to be more supportive of redistributive policies towards disadvantaged groups. However, it is unclear whether these framing effects would occur in the same manner when inequity occurs between individuals. In two experiments, we test whether different inequity frames (self-focused vs. other-focused) can elicit different responses to advantageous inequity based on the level of inequity (individual-level vs. group-level) that is activated. In Study 1, we found that inequity frame and inequity level interactively predicted redistribution decisions, such that advantaged individuals engaged in more redistributive behaviors when the inequity was framed as another individual’s disadvantage than when the inequity was framed as another group’s disadvantage. These divergent effects occurred because individual-level inequity elicited less negative evaluation of others than group-level inequity in an other-focused frame (Study 2). These findings establish a boundary condition of previous research on inequity frame and highlight inequity level as an important moderator that affects advantaged individuals’ willingness to engage in restorative behavior.

Race, Economics, and Social Status

Source: Reginald A. Noël, Bureau of Labor Statistics, Spotlight on Statistics, May 2018

Social and economic status of an individual or group can be measured as a blend of wealth, income, occupation, and education. Other contributors to social and economic status include race, ethnicity, home ownership, family size, family types, and even types of foods purchased. The combination of social and economic status can reveal a group or individual’s unequal access to resources, privilege, power, and control in a society. This Spotlight on Statistics examines Consumer Expenditure Survey data to explore the patterns of social and economic factors by race and ethnicity.

Great Recession, great recovery? Trends from the Current Population Survey

Source: Evan Cunningham, Monthly Labor Review, April 2018

This article uses data from the Current Population Survey to examine the state of the U.S. labor market 10 years after the start of the Great Recession of 2007–09. By December 2017, unemployment rates had returned to prerecession lows for people of all ages, genders, major race and ethnicity groups, and levels of educational attainment. However, the long-term decline in labor force participation continued during this recovery, while long-term unemployment and involuntary part-time employment remained elevated.

Workers’ wages fall after passage of GOP tax cuts

Source: Ryan Koronowski, ThinkProgress, June 13, 2018

Trump’s corporate tax cut hasn’t benefited workers like he said it would.

Real Earnings Summary – May 2018
Source: Bureau of Labor Statistics, Economic News Release, USDL-18-0996, June 12, 2018

All employees
Real average hourly earnings for all employees increased 0.1 percent from April to May, seasonally adjusted, the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics reported today. This result stems from a 0.3-percent increase in average hourly earnings being offset by a 0.2-percent increase in the Consumer Price Index for All Urban Consumers (CPI-U).

Real average weekly earnings increased 0.1 percent over the month due to the increase in real average hourly earnings combined with the unchanged average workweek.

Real average hourly earnings were unchanged, seasonally adjusted, from May 2017 to May 2018. Combined with a 0.3-percent increase in the average workweek, real average weekly earnings increased by 0.3 percent over this period. ….

…. Production and nonsupervisory employees

…. From May 2017 to May 2018, real average hourly earnings decreased 0.1 percent, seasonally adjusted…..

OSHA Enforcement Activity Declines Under the Trump Administration

Source: National Employment Law Project (NELP), Data Brief, June 2018

From the press release:
Crucial lifesaving worksite enforcement activity by the Occupational Safety and Health Administration is declining under the Trump administration, according to a new data brief released today by the National Employment Law Project.

Even though U.S. Labor Secretary Alex Acosta stated at a recent hearing that “laws matter . . . and they need to be enforced,” the Occupational Safety and Health Administration is cutting back on enforcement activity, with key enforcement indicators showing declining activity from FY 2016 to FY 2017.

Moreover, the latest available data reveals that this decline in enforcement activity continued at an accelerated pace in the first five months of FY 2018. Enforcement activity, as measured by OSHA in enforcement units, is down by 1,163 units in just the first five months of this fiscal year, compared to the same time period in FY 2017…..

Prison employment and post‐traumatic stress disorder: Risk and protective factors

Source: Lois James, Natalie Todak, American Journal of Industrial Medicine, Online First, June 12, 2018
(subscription required)

From the abstract:
To examine the prevalence of Post‐Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) in a sample of prison employees, investigate risk factors, and explore protective factors for PTSD.

We surveyed 355 Washington State Department of Corrections employees. The survey included the PTSD checklist for the DSM‐5 (PCL‐5), the Critical Incident History Questionnaire, and the Work Environment Inventory.

We found 19% of the sample met the criteria for diagnosable PTSD. Several risk factors were associated with a higher PCL‐5 score, including exposure to critical incidents, and having greater ambiguity in the job role. Being happy with job assignments and having positive relationships with supervisors and coworkers were associated with decreased PCL‐5 score.

Prison employees have a PTSD rate equivalent to Iraq and Afghanistan war veterans and higher than police officers, suggesting the importance of developing programs for promoting resilience to stress, incorporating the knowledge gained on risk, and protective factors.

Water Infrastructure Financing: The Water Infrastructure Finance and Innovation Act (WIFIA) Program

Source: Congressional Research Service, CRS Report, June 11, 2018

The Water Infrastructure Finance and Innovation Act (WIFIA) program provides financial assistance for water infrastructure projects, including projects to build and upgrade wastewater and drinking water treatment systems. Congress established the WIFIA program in the Water Resources Reform and Development Act of 2014 (WRRDA 2014, P.L. 113-121).

The WIFIA concept is modeled after a similar program that finances transportation projects, the Transportation Infrastructure Finance and Innovation Act (TIFIA) program. Proponents of the WIFIA approach, including water utility organizations, cite several potential benefits
• WIFIA provides credit assistance to large water infrastructure projects that may otherwise have difficulty obtaining financing.
• WIFIA provides credit assistance, namely direct loans, at U.S. Treasury rates, potentially lowering the cost of capital for borrowers.
• WIFIA assistance has less of a federal budgetary effect than conventional project grants that are not repaid, because only the subsidy cost of a loan (representing the presumed default rate on loans) is required to be appropriated.
• WIFIA support limits the federal government’s exposure to default, because projects must be found creditworthy with a revenue stream for repayment to be eligible for assistance.

On the other hand, opponents of the WIFIA approach, including organizations that represent state environmental agency officials, have cited several concerns
• Federal funding for a WIFIA program could have a detrimental effect on federal support for established State Revolving Fund (SRF) programs that provide the largest source of water infrastructure assistance today.
• If WIFIA funding resulted in a decrease in SRF assistance, smaller projects may face financing challenges.
• The Congressional Budget Office has warned that the future costs of a WIFIA program to the federal budget may be underestimated.