Author Archives: afscme

The Changing Role of Disabled Children Benefits

Source: Richard V. Burkhauser and Mary C. Daly, Federal Reserve Bank of San Francisco, FRBSF Economic Letter, September 3, 2013

The U.S. federal government’s program that provides cash benefits to low-income families with a disabled child has grown rapidly over the past 25 years. This growth reflects changes in the implementation of the program rather than declines in children’s health or family income. Unfortunately, most disabled children from families that receive such benefits do not become employed when they grow up, so these policy changes may relegate these children to lifetime government support—probably near the poverty threshold—at the expense of taxpayers.

Covering Young Adults Under the Affordable Care Act: The Importance of Outreach and Medicaid Expansion

Source: Sara R. Collins, Petra W. Rasmussen, Tracy Garber, and Michelle M. Doty, Commonwealth Fund, Tracking Trends in Health System Performance, Commonwealth Fund pub. 1701, Vol. 21, August 2013

From the overview:
There is concern that many young adults (ages 19–29) will remain without health insurance in 2014 despite the Affordable Care Act’s reforms, including subsidized private coverage offered in new state marketplaces and expanded Medicaid eligibility. How things turn out will likely depend on outreach efforts and states’ decisions on expanding Medicaid. Commonwealth Fund Health Insurance Tracking Survey data from 2011 and 2013 show increasing awareness among young adults of the 2010 requirement that health plans cover children under age 26. Of the estimated 15 million young adults enrolled in a parent’s plan in the prior 12 months, 7.8 million would not likely have been eligible to enroll prior to the law. Still, only 27 percent of 19-to-29-year-olds are aware of the marketplaces. Meanwhile, most uninsured young adults living below poverty will not have access to subsidized public or private insurance in states opting out of the Medicaid expansion.
See also:
Chartpack PDF PPTX

Paid leave in private industry over the past 20 years

Source: Robert W. Van Giezen, Beyond the Numbers, Pay & Benefits, Vol. 2 no. 18, August 2013

Paid leave was the most prevalent employee benefit provided by employers in private industry throughout the United States in 2012. Eighty-four percent of private industry workers received vacation, holiday, or personal leave.1 Seventy-two percent of workers received both paid holidays and paid vacations, and 61 percent were covered by sick leave plans. For employers, the cost for providing these benefits to employees was $1.98 per hour worked, and these benefits made up 6.9 percent of total compensation.

The eligibility for paid leave has undergone change over the past 20 years. While fewer workers enjoy paid vacations, employers are increasingly providing access to sick leave, personal leave, and family leave. (See table 1.) Also, by comparison, the employer cost per employee hour worked for paid leave was $1.09 or 6.8 percent of total compensation in March 1992.

This issue of Beyond the Numbers looks at the changes in employer costs and in different paid leave benefits for private industry workers over the past two decades. These benefits include paid leave for holidays, vacations, sick, personal, funeral, jury duty, military, and family. …

Economic Growth and Right-to-Work Laws

Source: Michael J. Hicks and Michael D. LaFaive, Mackinac Center for Public Policy, 2013

From the summary:
This study aims to measure the impact of right-to-work laws on states’ economic performance. It uses average annual growth rates in employment, real (inflation-adjusted) personal income and population to measure the economic well-being of right-to-work states. On the whole, the results of this analysis show that right-to-work laws have a statistically significant and economically meaningful positive impact, although the results vary.

There are research challenges to studying the impact of right-to-work laws. One such problem is timing. For instance, it may take a significant period of time, perhaps more than a decade, for the impact of certain policies like right-to-work laws to generate any demonstrable impact on a complex state economy. For these reasons, this study analyzes data from a 64-year period — from 1947, when federal law changed to allow for right-to-work laws, through 2011, the most recent year for which data are available.

Another challenge related to timing is that the effect of right-to-work laws may change as economies and government policies evolve over time. For instance, most would agree that the economy of the 1991-2011 era is different in many ways than that of the 1971-1990 era. For this reason, this study analyzes the effect of right-to-work laws over the entire aforementioned 64-year period, but also in three distinct periods: 1947-1970, 1971-1990 and 1991-2011….

Does Performance Management Lead to Better Outcomes? Evidence from the U.S. Public Transit Industry

Source: Theodore H. Poister, Obed Q. Pasha and Lauren Hamilton Edwards, Public Administration Review, Volume 73, Issue 4, July/August 2013
(subscription required)

From the abstract:
Although performance management processes are widely assumed to be beneficial in improving organizational performance in the public sector, there is insufficient empirical evidence to back this claim. In this article, the authors examine the impact of performance management practices on organizational effectiveness in a particular segment of the public transit industry in the United States. The analysis utilizes original survey data on performance management practices comprising both strategy formulation and performance measurement in 88 small and medium-sized local transit agencies in conjunction with comparative outcome data drawn from the National Transit Database maintained by the Federal Transit Administration. The results provide evidence that more extensive use of performance management practices does in fact contribute to increased effectiveness in this segment of the transit industry.
Commentary: Performance-Based Management: On the Rise in the Public Transportation Industry
Source: Michael P. Melaniphy, Public Administration Review, Volume 73, Issue 4, July/August 2013
(subscription required)

The Rise and Fall of Radical Civil Service Reform in the U.S. States

Source: Robert J. McGrath, Public Administration Review, Volume 73, Issue 4, July/August 2013
(subscription required)

From the abstract:
Initiated by a 1996 Georgia statute, “radical” civil service reform quickly swept the United States. This article explains the wax and eventual wane of state efforts to increase the number of at-will employees at the expense of the population of fully protected merit system employees. Using an event history approach to explain this policy diffusion with state-level variables, the author shows that electoral competition and gubernatorial powers are the most significant determinants of this kind of policy diffusion. Whereas previous literature concluded that these reforms ceased spreading because the new programs were failing to create the promised governmental efficiency, this article argues that the institutional conditions for these human resource management policies have been less propitious in recent years. The article signifies an important contribution in that it brings civil service reform back into the scope of policy diffusion literature and identifies political insights into a perpetually important question….

Commentary: Does “Radical Civil Service Reform” Really Abandon Merit?
Source: Doris Hausser, Public Administration Review, Volume 73, Issue 4, July/August 2013
(subscription required)

“Opportunities for Defiance”: Embracing Guerilla History and Moving Beyond Scott Walker’s Wisconsin

Source: Beth Robinson, Thomas Adams, Joe Walzer, Jacob Glicklich, John Terry, Staughton Lynd, Dawson Barrett, LaborOnline, August 16, 2013

This long submission is an essay submitted originally to Labor: Working Class Studies of the Americas from graduate students at the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee who are seeking to grapple with lessons and issues they took from battles in Wisconsin. Editor Leon Fink suggested that it was better suited to a dialog format of our blog and I agreed. We encourage readers to make their way through both the essay and the commentaries, one by Thomas Jessen Adams, a young scholar who is grappling with these issues himself, and one by Staughton Lynd, noted historian and activist. Then, please post your own comments about these issues. – Rosemary Feurer, Editor

There is a lot going on in this lengthy article. We have compiled a table of contents for your convenience.

Beth Robinson, “We Are Wisconsin
Joseph Walzer, “We Are Scholars
Jacob Glicklich, “We Are Workers
John R. Terry, “We Are Graduate Students
Dawson Barrett, “We Are Teachers
Response by Thomas Jessen Adams
Comment by Staughton Lynd

Justice Department Tackles Quality Of Defense For The Poor

Source: Carrie Johnson, NPR, Morning Edition, September 3, 2013

All over the country, lawyers who defend poor people in criminal cases have been sharing their stories about painful budget cuts. Some federal public defenders have shut their doors to new clients after big layoffs. And in many states, the public defense system has operated in crisis for years. But an unprecedented recent court filing from the Justice Department has cheered the typically overburdened attorneys who represent the poor and could have dramatic implications for the representation of indigent defendants…
See also:
How Eric Holder Can Help Public Defenders and Their Clients
Source: Andrew Cohen, Atlantic, August 23, 2013
America’s most powerful prosecutor is urging Congress to give funding back to defense lawyers. But actions speak louder than words.

Sequestering Justice: How the Budget Crisis Is Undermining Our Courts
Source: U.S. Senate Judiciary Committee Subcommittee on Bankruptcy and the Courts, Hearing, July 23, 2013

This hearing focused on the budget crisis facing the federal court system, which is now at its lowest level of staffing since 1999 due to budget cuts.

The History of Labor Day

Source: United States Department of Labor, 2013

Labor Day: How it Came About; What it Means
Labor Day, the first Monday in September, is a creation of the labor movement and is dedicated to the social and economic achievements of American workers. It constitutes a yearly national tribute to the contributions workers have made to the strength, prosperity, and well-being of our country. …