Customer Service and 311/CRM Technology in Local Governments: Lessons on Connecting with Citizens

Source: Cory Fleming (ed.), ICMA, October 2008

This final report of ICMA’s National Study of 311 and Customer Service Technology serves as a valuable reference manual for local governments considering the implementation of a centralized customer service system.
Related story:
Helping Residents Help Themselves
Source: Annie Gentile, American City and County, April 2008

Privatizing Labor Law: Neutrality/Card Check Agreements and the Role of the Arbitrator

Source: Laura Cooper, Indiana Law Journal, Vol. 83, 2008

[N]eutrality/card check agreements are usually administered by private arbitrators empowered to interpret and apply them. In the last six to eight years, the American labor movement has significantly bypassed the legal structure Congress created for employees to express their desires regarding union representation and instead privatized labor law. In entering into neutrality/card check agreements, unions have focused on their goal of increasing union representation. However, such privatization has the secondary consequence of placing in the hands of private individuals serving as arbitrators some powers that had previously been the exclusive province of the NLRB, and other powers that even the NLRB never possessed. While scholarly, political, and administrative attention has understandably been focused on the broad public policy implications of neutrality/card check agreements, scant attention has been directed to what neutrality agreements require of arbitrators and whether these expectations are consistent with the institutional capacity *1590 and role of arbitrators. Do arbitrators actually have the legal authority and administrative capacity to assume this role? Can neutrality/card check agreements achieve their intended objectives if arbitrators cannot perform that role? What role can and should arbitrators play when unions join with employers in agreeing to privatize labor law?

Crowning the New King: The Statutory Arbitrator and the Demise of Judicial Review

Source: Michael H. LeRoy, Journal of Dispute Resolution, Vol. 29, No. 3, Spring 2009

From the abstract:
Judicial review of arbitration awards is highly deferential- but when does it become rubber stamping? Using original data, I find that federal courts vacated only 4.3 percent of 162 disputed awards. Nearly the same result was observed for a sub-sample of 44 employment discrimination awards under Title VII. By comparison, federal appeals courts in 2006 reversed 12.9 percent of 5,917 rulings made by civil court judges on the merits of legal claims.

Why are the rulings of Article III judges scrutinized more than the awards of citizen-arbitrators? What does this mean when companies can avoid Article III court rulings by requiring employees to arbitrate their claims? Judicial review of awards based on statutory claims is inadequate, and undermines the constitutional role of federal courts.

I point to two prominent junctures – in 1698, and again in 1925 – when lawmakers in England and the U.S. believed that court litigation hampered commerce. They enacted similar statutes to authorize courts to confirm disputed awards, unless these private rulings resulted from corruption or misconduct. This deference grew out of practical considerations. The parties had chosen the arbitrator, agreed to the private process, and bound themselves to an industry norm.

Courts deferred so heavily to awards because William III wanted these merchant tribunals to be autonomous. His law, the 1698 Arbitration Act, did not allow courts to vacate awards for fact finding or legal errors. Great deference in its reviewing standards reflected the king’s infallibility.

My textual research shows that the FAA’s reviewing standards descended from William III. I suggest that our law crowns today’s statutory arbitrator with the king’s mantle of infallibility. But this deference is too extreme for awards that rule on statutory claims. In Gilmer v. Johnson/Interstate Lane Corp., the Supreme Court ignored the commercial history of arbitration when it broadly approved a theory of forum substitution. Gilmer said that arbitrators may decide statutory claims, even if one disputant objects to the forum and wishes, instead, to be heard by a court. The result is that the ruling of the arbitrator is subject to a narrower standard for review than an Article III judge’s order. Epitomizing this regal deference, a contemporary court said: “The arbiter was chosen to be the Judge. That Judge has spoken. There it ends.” In textual and empirical analysis, I show that statutory arbitrations enjoy a presumption of royal infallibility. I conclude with two solutions for aligning the review of rulings by statutory arbitrators and Article III judges.

Human Dignity and American Employment Law

Source: David C. Yamada, University of Richmond Law Review, Vol. 43, 2009

From the abstract:
For decades, American employment law has been framed by the ideas of the unfettered free market and unilateral management control. This “markets and management” framework has helped to deliver growing levels of income inequality, job insecurity, and stress at work. This essay argues that human dignity should be our framing perspective for examining and shaping American employment law, building its case around sources ranging from Enlightenment philosopher John Locke and America’s Founding Fathers, to newer fields such as therapeutic jurisprudence and the works of relational psychology theorists Carol Gilligan and Jean Baker Miller. The essay discusses several important employment law issues against the backdrop of this new “dignitarian” framework and closes with ideas about advancing this agenda in the public arena.

Union Access to Workers During Union Organizing Campaigns: A New Look through the Lens of Health Services

Source: David J. Doorey, York University, October 16, 2008

From the abstract:
The Supreme Court of Canada ruled in the recent Health Services decision that the Canadian Constitutional protection of “freedom of association” should be interpreted to provide at least as much protection of associational rights as provided by international conventions that Canada has ratified (the “Equivalency Requirement”). However, the Court then made the Equivalency Requirement conditional upon a second requirement when it ruled that only government interference that amounts to a “substantial impairment” of freedom of association is protected (the “Substantial Impairment Requirement”). Therefore, Canadian laws that provide less protection for freedom of association than ratified international conventions will be Constitutionally valid provided they do not “substantially interfere” with freedom of association. This paper explores this peculiar result using the issue of union access to employer property for the purpose of organizing. In doing so, the article compares the approaches to union access to employer property under Canadian, American, and British law, as well as the approach of the ILO’s supervisory bodies interpreting ILO Convention 87, which Canada has ratified.

ARL Statistics 2006-2007

Source: Association of Research Libraries, December 2008

From the press release:
ARL Statistics 2006-2007 is the latest in a series of annual publications that describe the collections, staffing, expenditures, and service activities of ARL’s 123 member libraries. Of these member libraries, 113 are university libraries (14 in Canada, 99 in the US); the remaining 10 are public, governmental, and private research libraries (2 in Canada, 8 in the US).
See also:
ARL Health Sciences Library Statistics 2006-2007
ARL Law Library Statistics 2006-2007

FY 2006 Public Libraries Survey Report

Source: Institute of Museum and Library Services, December 2008

This is the first PLS report released since IMLS was given responsibility for the annual survey, which includes information on population of service areas, service outlets, library collections and services, library staff, and operating revenue and expenditures. More than 9,000 libraries were surveyed in the 50 states, the District of Columbia, Guam, the Northern Mariana Islands, and the Virgin Islands. The survey had a 97.5 percent response rate.

Exhibiting Public Value: Government Funding for Museums in the United States

Source: Institute of Museum and Library Services, December 2008

From the press release:
The study provides the first major review of public finance for the museum sector. It explores public support from federal, state, and local government sources, focusing particular attention on levels of financial support and types of delivery mechanisms.

Stacking the Deck: Privileging ‘Employer Free Choice’ over Industrial Democracy in the Card Check Debate

Source: Raja Raghunath, University Denver Legal Studies Research Paper No. 08-10, Nebraska Law Review, Vol. 87, 2008

From the abstract:
“Card check” organizing is the most controversial issue in labor law today, and this article is the first to analyze Dana Corp., the landmark decision on card check that was issued by the National Labor Relations Board in September 2007. The Dana Corp. decision represents a fundamental shift in American labor relations, away from safeguarding the rights of employees to collectively bargain, and towards safeguarding employer choice as to whether to engage in collective bargaining at all. The purpose of this article is to call attention to this shift, and to refocus the card-check debate on the fundamental principle of asymmetrical employer power in the workplace. The importance of this principle in understanding the arguments surrounding card check is heightened by the shift in labor relations signaled by the Dana Corp. decision, as well as two significant recent developments in the California and Illinois public sector that also have gone unanalyzed.

US Employees Earn Least Amount of Severance

Source: Right Management, Press Release, December 18, 2008

A new global study by Right Management has found that employees laid off in the United States earn the least amount of severance pay worldwide – no matter what level of employee or amount of tenure with the organization.

The global study across 28 countries draws from more than 1,500 responses from human resource professionals and senior managers responsible for making severance decisions in their organization, including 456 from the United States. US-based employees consistently earn less severance per year of service than colleagues around the world. Top executives earned as little as 2.76 weeks of severance per year of service, compared to a worldwide mean of 3.39 weeks per year of service. The disparity increases as the level of employee decreases.