Voters Give Workers a Raise: Money Raised Around the Minimum Wage Ballot Measures in Six States in 2006

Source: Linda Casey, National Institute on Money in State Politics, October 11, 2007

From the press release:
Voters in six states chose to raise their state’s minimum wage in 2006 through ballot measures that generated nearly $14.4 million in political donations, a new report finds.

Although more than 950 contributors chipped in money, 31 gave in more than one state and accounted for 41 percent of the total given, the study by the National Institute on Money in State Politics discovered. These contributors were led by the National Education Association (NEA), which spread $963,000 across four states. In total, labor unions were responsible for nearly two-thirds of the money given by these contributors.

Business interests, which generally opposed wage hikes, accounted for 41 percent — or $5.9 million — of the $14.4 million, while labor organizations, which supported wage increases, contributed 34 percent of the total, or $4.9 million.

NLRB General Counsel Seeks Tougher Remedies in First Contract Bargaining Cases

Source: Ellen Dannin and Anne Lofaso, Labor Law Journal, Vol. 58 no. 3, Fall 2007

Following an interview conducted by CCH with NLRB General Counsel Ronald Meisburg on a remedies initiative in first contract bargaining cases, Ellen Dannin, Professor of Law, Penn State Dickinson School of Law and Anne M. Lofaso, Associate Professor of Law, West Virginia University College of Law commented on the initiative.

Ensuring employee free choice is a high priority for National Labor Relations Board General Counsel Ronald Meisburg. That means focusing on the need for success in first contract bargaining. Concerned by statistics and anecdotal evidence showing that about half of all refusal to bargain charges are filed during first contract bargaining and that the merit rate for those charges is higher than the merit rate in all other types of unfair labor practice charges, Meisburg has instructed the Regions to seek the following additional remedies on a regular basis in cases where bad faith bargaining tactics or other violations substantially delay or hinder negotiations in first contract bargaining cases: requiring bargaining on a prescribed or compressed schedules, such as is granted in contempt situations; periodic reports on bargaining status; minimum six-month extension of the certification year; reimbursement of bargaining costs.

Respect in the workplace: A mixed methods study of retention and turnover in the voluntary child welfare sector

Source: Astraea Augsberger, Wendy Schudrich, Brenda G. McGowan, Charles Auerbach, Children and Youth Services Review, Volume 34, Issue 7, July 2012
(subscription required)

From the abstract:
A significant challenge facing the child welfare system is the recruitment and retention of a stable and qualified workforce. Several studies have identified individual and organizational factors impacting workforce turnover. The current study expands upon previous research by utilizing a mixed methods design to examine the relationship between workers’ perceptions of respect in the workplace and their intention to leave. Thematic analysis of the qualitative data revealed that workers perceive a lack of respect in five domains including organizational support, fair salary and benefits, fair promotion potential, adequate communication and contingent rewards. Based on the qualitative findings, researchers designed the Respect Scale, a quantitative scale measuring the concept perceived respect. Results from the logistic regression found that workers who score lower on the Respect Scale were significantly more likely to intend to leave their current job. Research and practice implications are discussed.

Union Dues Objections: A Twisted Path to Endless Litigation

Source: Ronald Miller, Labor Law Journal, Vol. 58 no. 3, Fall 2007

It’s been thirty years since the U.S. Supreme Court decided Abood v. Detroit Board of Education, holding that requiring nonunion members of a bargaining unit in the public sector to provide financial support for the collective bargaining activities of a union in the form of agency fee payments did not violate the nonmembers’ First Amendment rights. However, three recent decisions, including one by the Supreme Court, make it clear that implementing an agency fee program that meets constitutional muster is still a troubling issue in a number of respects.

Exclusive Representation and the Wagner Act: The Structure of Federal Collective Bargaining Law

Source: Raymond Hogler Labor Law Journal, Vol. 58 no. 3, Fall 2007

Conditions for collective bargaining in the United States are poor and deteriorating. A large body of labor law scholarship documents the weakness of legal protections and processes designed to promote unionism in this country. Professor Morris’s theory about minority union bargaining is offered as a means of strengthening unions in a hostile environment. This article argues that the strategy is a risky one because it invites a resurgence of company unions, which threatened to overwhelm the modern American labor movement at its inception in the 1930s. A better option would be for labor to attack the root source of its contemporary decline. The three pillars of collective bargaining as envisioned by Wagner are independent unions, exclusive representation, and organizational security. The malignancy of right to work laws has destroyed one of those pillars. Morris’s vision of going back to the future would eliminate the other two.

Best Care Everywhere: Here’s an idea: A civilian VA for the uninsured, and maybe the rest of us

Source: Phillip Longman, Washington Monthly, Vol. 39 no. 10, October 2007

What I’m proposing is this: Take the existing, ad hoc system we use for treating the uninsured and turn it into a real integrated system. Specifically, mandate that everyone in America buy health insurance (with subsidies to those who can’t afford the premiums), and then contract with assorted St. Elsewheres to serve the resulting pool of newly insured patients. The organizing blueprint of this new system would come from the one truly successful national health care system we currently have: the VA.

As Tough Times Wane, States Act to Improve Medicaid Coverage and Quality: Results from a 50-State Medicaid Budget Survey for State Fiscal Years 2007 and 2008

Source: Vernon Smith, Kathleen Gifford, Eileen Ellis, Robin Rudowitz, Molly O’Malley and Caryn Marks, Kaiser Commission on Medicaid and the Uninsured, October 2007

From the summary:
The annual 50-state survey of state officials on Medicaid and state budget actions reports enrollment in Medicaid declined for the first time in nearly a decade. The 0.5 percent enrollment decline in fiscal year 2007 was driven primarily by two factors. States reported that the new citizenship documentation requirements were causing significant delays in processing applications, affecting mostly individuals already eligible for the program. State officials also cited the good economy and lower unemployment for reducing enrollment. Faced with an improving economy, 42 states expect to expand coverage to the uninsured in the next year.
See also:
Executive Summary
Press Release

Social Security, Medicare and Medicaid Account for Half of Federal Spending

Source: U.S. Census Bureau, Press release, CB07-141, October 9, 2007

From the press release:
Social Security, Medicare and Medicaid accounted for more than $1 trillion of the $2.3 trillion the federal government spent in 2005, according to the U.S. Census Bureau, which publishes the only consolidated source of data on the geographic distribution of federal expenditures.

The Consolidated Federal Funds Report for Fiscal Year 2005 is a presentation of data on most domestic spending by the federal government for state and county areas of the United States, including the District of Columbia and U.S. outlying areas. The data include expenditures for the Defense Department and the Department of Homeland Security.

The report covers direct payments, grants, procurement awards, and salaries and wages by federal agency and program. The report does not include expenditures for selected intelligence agencies, international payments, foreign aid and interest on the federal debt.
Direct to Detailed Tables
Federal Aid to States for Fiscal Year 2005

Patient-handling innovations ease strain, reduce injuries at Burnsville hospital

Source: John Gessner, Thisweek Newspapers, 10/26/07

…State law reflects growing concern about workplace safety of nurses, especially as hospitals deal with a national nursing shortage.

By next July 1, all Minnesota hospitals must have policies to minimize nurses’ manual lifting of patients by 2011. The law calls for hospitals to use handling equipment and building modifications to achieve the goals….
American Nurses Association “Handle With Care” Campaign Fact Sheet

Governor’s Plan Would Reduce Income Taxes For Vast Majority Of Maryland Residents

Source: Nicholas Johnson, Center on Budget and Policy Priorities, Testimony before the House Ways and Means Committee and the Senate Budget and Taxation Committee, November 1, 2007

From the press release:
More than three-fourths of Maryland taxpayers would pay less in state income taxes under Governor O’Malley’s income-tax restructuring plan, and only the highest-income 2 percent of taxpayers would pay more, a Center on Budget and Policy Priorities analyst told state lawmakers Thursday.