Author Archives: afscme

Neoclassical Labor Economics: Its Implications for Labor and Employment Law

Source: Michael L. Wachter, University of Pennsylvania, Institute for Law and Economics, Research Paper No. 13-34, 2012

From the abstract:
Whereas law and economics appears throughout business law, it never caught on in legal commentary about labor and employment law. A major reason is that the goals of the National Labor Relations Act (NLRA), the country’s foundational labor law, are at war with basic principles of economics. The lack of integration is unfortunate if understandable. Notwithstanding the NLRA’s normative goal to keep wages out of competition, economic analysis applies as centrally to labor markets as to any other market.

One of the NLRA’s primary goals is to equalize bargaining power. Its drafters envisioned achieving this goal through procedural and substantive means: increasing the number of people covered by collective bargaining contracts and raising union wages above competitive levels. These goals, however, are in conflict. For the NLRA to succeed, the relationship between demand (employment) and prices (wages) would have to be upward sloping. Unfortunately, the reverse is true. While the adverse tradeoff between above-market union wages and union employment was not as marked in the Wagner Act, the NLRA’s vision became unattainable once the Taft-Hartley amendments sanctioned competition between union and nonunion models of the employment relationship.

This Chapter uses neoclassical economics to analyze several theoretical and policy issues. For example, it considers the efficiency wage theory that unions can raise productivity to offset above-market pay. Efficiency wages work when employees respond to a reward, as in above market pay, with greater loyalty. Yet union workers are more likely to be loyal to their labor unions than the firm that the union claims resisted the higher pay. The efficiency wage model works better in the nonunion model, the context in which it was first developed. While unions may be preferred on normative grounds, the highly competitive political economy of the United States makes it difficult for unions to succeed.

Spreading Protest Tactics

Source: Corinna Wu, Stanford Social Innovation Review, Vol. 11 no. 1, Winter 2013
(subscription required)

From the introduction:
Protesting can take many forms—from waving signs, lighting candles, and making speeches to holding sit-ins, writing letters, and filing lawsuits. Some unusual tactics—such as paying for a purchase in pennies to slow down business—aren’t used often, but once successful, they can spread like wildfire.

Sarah Soule, a professor of organizational behavior at the Stanford Graduate School of Business, wanted to see just how such protest tactics have spread among social-movement organizations….

Staffing Levels: A Key to Managing Risk in 24/7 Operations

Source: Bill Sirois and Martin Moore-Ede, CIRCADIAN, White Paper, 2013
(registration required)

From the summary:
A common assumption among many shiftwork managers is that reducing headcount will cut costs. However, staffing levels, if too lean or imbalanced, are actually a key contributor to fatigue and human error in 24/7 operations. In fact, data from hundreds of shiftwork operations shows that any significant imbalance between workload and staffing levels drives up overtime, absenteeism and employee turnover, and reduces productivity. Identifying and implementing the optimal staffing levels for your organization’s workload is a critical first step to fatigue risk management and can result in safer employees and reduced costs.
Understanding whether your organization is staffed at the right level requires consideration of several factors.
In this white paper, authors Bill Sirois and Dr. Martin Moore-Ede will:
– Review typical causes for staffing imbalances
– Consider the benefits and risks of keeping staffing lean
– Review overtime levels in 24/7 operations
– And consider various solutions to addressing staffing and scheduling imbalances

U.S. Metros: Wage Growth & Trends

Source: Tom Tveidt, Garner Economics LLC, February 2013

In this brief, we examine the recent wage growth and trends over the last two years among the nation’s 372 metro areas.

Over the last 24 months national wages have increased slightly each month on a year-over-year basis. Although the pace hasn’t kept up with inflation, the overall trend has been positive throughout the two years in absolute terms. Among metros however, there a wide disparity in wage trends over the last two years. Only 47 U.S. metros can claim the same consistent year-over-year wage growth in all of the last 24 months. Seven metros did not experience one single month of year-over-year wage growth over the same period.

Reports of Exempt Organizations

Source: Public.Resource.Org,, 2013

Welcome! This service provides bulk access to 6,749,562 filings of exempt organizations to the Internal Revenue Service. Each month, we process DVDs from the IRS for Private Foundations (Type PF), Exempt Organizations (Type EO), and unrelated business income (Type T).

We have more information available about this service, as well as pages explaining the privacy issues, a program of data extraction, and a deed of gift to the U.S. Government asking them to take this service over. Every government-issued public document deserves a secure permanent URL in .gov!

About This Service
1. What’s In the IRS Database
2. What Format We Get The Data In
3. What We Do With The Data
4. What You Can Do With The Data
5. What Needs To Happen Next
IRS 990s
Source: Internet Archive

Information for Impact: Liberating Nonprofit Sector Data
Source: Beth Simone Noveck and Daniel L. Gorof, Aspen Institute, Publication Number: 13-004, 2013

Department of Health and Human Services Changes: Implications for Hospital Social Workers

Source: Annemarie Conlon and Patti A. Aldredge, Health & Social Work, First published online: January 30, 2013
(subscription required)

From the abstract:
In April 2010, President Obama issued a directive to the Secretary of Health and Human Services (HHS) regarding patient visitation, advance directives, and other initiatives to improve the lives of lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender people and their families. The HHS response to this directive has implications for hospital social workers. The purpose of this secondary data analysis was to explore indicators of social work readiness to support implementation of the resulting initiatives. A historical context for the changes is provided, inclusive of the cases that spurred the presidential memorandum. The findings are presented within the framework of the profession’s standards for social work practice in health care and end-of-life care. Recommendations for enhancing social work readiness for a critical role in implementation of the new regulations are presented.

Locally-Administered Pension Plans

Source: Alicia H. Munnell, Jean-Pierre Aubry and Josh Hurwitz, Center for Retirement Research at Boston College, SLP#29, February 2013

The brief’s key findings are:
2011 data show that locally-administered pension plans continue to be slightly less funded than state-run plans – 72 percent vs. 76 percent. This result is puzzling because local plan sponsors generally pay a larger share of their annual required contribution than state plan sponsors. The explanation is that state plans have historically earned higher returns because they invest more in risky assets. For mature plans with substantial assets, higher returns more than offset lower contributions. During the financial crisis, though, local plans were able to narrow the funding gap because their less risky portfolios fared better.

State Government Financial Data: Revenues, Expenditures

Source: Governing, 2013

View detailed revenue and spending totals for state governments by selecting a state below.

Total fiscal year 2011 revenues for all state governments increased to $2.27 trillion from $2 trillion in 2010. Much of the changes in total state government revenue in recent years stem from gains and losses for social insurance trusts, which include state retirement systems. General state expenditures climbed 3.7 percent in 2011 to $1.7 trillion.

Data, listed for fiscal years 2009-2011, is compiled from annual surveys of state government finances conducted by the Census Bureau.
State Budgets: FY 2012 and 2013 Balances
View the current and projected fiscal outlook for all 50 states’ budgets.

State Pension Plans: Liabilities, Funded Ratios
View unfunded obligation ratios and per capita liability totals for state pension systems.

Special Issue: Green Jobs

Source: Monthly Labor Review, Vol. 136, Number 1, January 2013

Articles include:
BLS green jobs overview by Dixie Sommers
The Green Goods and Services survey: collection and results by Nicholas Fett, Robert Viegas, and Mark deWolf
The Green Goods and Services Occupational survey: initial results by Zack Warren
Green technologies and practices: a visual essay by Audrey Watson
Workplace safety and health profiles of occupations with green technology jobs by Aaron Parrott and William Wiatrowski