Managing the Conflicting Interests of Workers and Shareholders: Evidence from Pension-Assumption Manipulations

Source: J. Adam Cobb, ILR Review, Volume: 72 issue: 3, May 2019
(subscription required)

From the abstract:
Whereas research on corporate governance typically attends to the conflicting interests between shareholders and executives, in practice executives must frequently adjudicate the demands of multiple stakeholders. To investigate how executives cope with the divergent interests of workers and shareholders, the author examines how much firms claim they will earn on the assets in their defined benefit (DB) pension plans. In a DB arrangement, employees forgo wages in the present in order to receive postretirement income, and they rely on executives to properly fund and manage plan assets. Executives, however, can increase the amount they expect the firm to earn on plan assets, which increases firm earnings in the current period but may undermine workers’ retirement security if expectations do not match actual returns over time. The author shows that the influence and interests of employees and shareholders as well as the decision-making schemas of the CEO affect whether executives exercise this discretion.

State Collective Bargaining Laws and Public-Sector Pay

Source: Eric J. Brunner, Andrew Ju, ILR Review, Vol. 72 no. 2, March 2019
(subscription required)

From the abstract:
Using the Public Use Microdata Sample from the 2005 to 2015 American Community Survey, the authors provide new evidence on how state collective bargaining laws affect public-sector wages. To isolate the causal effect of bargaining laws on public-sector pay, they examine wage differentials between otherwise similar public- and private-sector employees located in the same local labor market. They estimate difference-in-differences (DD) models that exploit two sources of plausibly exogenous variation: 1) policy discontinuities along state borders and 2) variation within states in collective bargaining laws in states where the majority of public workers are without collective bargaining rights. Findings show that mandatory collective bargaining laws increase public-sector wages by approximately 5 to 8 percentage points. Results therefore suggest that mandatory collective bargaining laws provide a formal mechanism through which public-sector workers are able to bargain for increased compensation.

Lower Nurse-to-Patient Ratio: Higher Patient Satisfaction

Source: Teresa Dousay, Bailey Childers, Madison Cole, Tara Hill and Charles Rogers, Morehead State University, (undated)

Objectives
• Determine if lower nurse to patient ratio improved patient satisfaction
• To assess how nurse-to patient ratios and nurse work hours affect the patients hospital stay.
• To determine whether nurse staffing in California hospitals, where state mandated minimum nurse to patient ratios are in effect, differs from Kentucky with no mandated ratio

Abstract:
The issue of nursing care and patient staffing ratios is not new to medical-surgical nurses. It took national importance in 1996 with the release of an Institute of Medicine (IOM) report that evaluated nursing and patient safety. Patient’s conditions have become complex and require more nursing attention than before, yet, hospitals have become more economically focused and business oriented. Hospital nurse staffing is a matter of major concern because of the effects it can have on patient safety and quality of care. Nursing-sensitive outcomes are one indicator of quality of care and may be defined as “variable patient or family caregiver state, condition, or perception responsive to nursing intervention”. Most research has focused on adverse rather than positive patient outcomes for the simple reason that adverse outcomes are more likely documented in the medical record (Stanton, 2004, p. 2). This project focuses on positive nursing sensitive outcomes such as patient satisfaction, shortened inpatient length of stay and decreased hospital readmissions. The purpose of this paper is to reinforce the hypothesis that lower nurse-to-patient ratio results to higher patient satisfaction…..

Related:
Mandated Nurse-to-Patient Staffing Ratios: Benefits at the Bedside and Beyond
Source: Advanced Medical Reviews, February 28, 2019
….Adequate nurse staffing can reduce medical errors, patient mortality, length of stay, preventable events such as patient falls, healthcare-associated infections (HAIs), pressure ulcers and central line infections. It also may reduce patient care costs by avoiding readmissions. ….

What do government unions do? Public sector unions and nonunion wages, 1977–2015

Source: Jake Rosenfeld, Patrick Denice, Social Science Research, Volume 78, February 2019
(subscription required)

From the abstract:
In this article we investigate the connection between public sector union memberships and nonunion worker pay. We leverage nearly four decades of Current Population Survey (CPS) data on millions of U.S. workers to test whether public sector union density, measured at the state-level, is associated with higher average wages among unorganized workers. We find stable and substantively large positive effects of state-level public sector union strength on nonunion public sector workers’ wages. These results are robust to the inclusion of a range of state-level controls, including GDP, average educational attainment, public sector size, and the strength of private sector unions. Analyses of public sector unions and nonunion private sector pay reveal a robust positive relationship – but one limited to women, revealing how occupational segregation interacts with pay-setting institutions to influence wage outcomes.

Sex and Gender Role Differences in Occupational Exposures and Work Outcomes Among Registered Nurses in Correctional Settings

Source: Mazen El Ghaziri, Alicia G Dugan, Yuan Zhang, Rebecca Gore, Mary Ellen Castro, Annals of Work Exposures and Health, Advance Articles, March 30, 2019

From the abstract:
Background and context:
The correctional environment exposes registered nurses to unique occupational health hazards including, but not limited to, an increased risk for workplace violence. Gender role expectations regarding femininity and masculinity may influence occupational exposures and outcomes differently. Risk comparisons between male and female registered nurses working in correctional settings, have been minimally examined. With the proportion of male registered nurses working in corrections higher than that of nurses working in other healthcare sectors, and with the increasing number of males entering the nursing workforce in general, it is important to characterize and understand occupational exposures and outcomes of male and female registered nurses, especially those working in correctional settings.

Purpose/objectives:
This paper aims to describe and compare sex and gender role differences in occupational exposures and work outcomes among correctional registered nurses.

Methods:
A cross-sectional web-based survey using Qualtrics was administered to registered nurses working in a northeastern correctional healthcare system between June and October 2016. The survey was composed of 71 items from the CPH-NEW Healthy Workplace All Employee Survey, Assessing Risk of Exposure to Blood and Airborne Pathogens and General Health Survey, Bem Sex Role Inventory-Short Form (BSRI-SF), and the Negative Acts Questionnaire-Revised.

Results:
Of 95 registered nurse participants, 75% were female with the highest percentage identified as belonging to the feminine group (37%), while the highest percentage of male participants were identified as belonging to the androgynous group (33%). Females worked primarily on the first shift, while males tended to work the second and third shifts (P < 0.05). Over one third of all participants (37%) reported having experienced a sharps-related injury and having been exposed to blood-borne pathogens and body fluids within the previous 2–5 years. The majority of the participants (>95%) reported being at risk for workplace violence and having been victims of workplace violence perpetrated by an inmate. Significant gender differences (P < 0.0001) were noted in the bullying exposure with androgynous nurses having higher occasional bullying. There was a marginal difference in burnout for females (M = 6.8, SD = 2.1) and males (M = 5.8, SD = 1.9, P = 0.05). Implications: Effective interventions are needed to address the sex and gender role-based differences in bullying exposure and burnout in order to promote the overall health and well-being of correctional registered nurses.

Neglect Unchecked

Source: Kaiser Health News, 2018-2019

This Kaiser Health News series examines the reasons that long-term care facilities, their owners and the government fail to protect residents.

Though nursing homes are among the most heavily regulated types of medical providers, they remain dangerous places for frail residents. Four of 10 were cited for harming a patient or putting them in jeopardy over a three-year period.

Assisted living facilities have notably less oversight than nursing homes, even though they increasingly care for elderly people who are so frail that they might otherwise be in a nursing home.

This Kaiser Health News series examines the reasons that nursing homes, their owners and the government fail to protect residents.

Articles include:
Nursing Home Fines Drop As Trump Administration Heeds Industry Complaints
By Jordan Rau, Kaiser Health News, March 15, 2019
Inspectors are citing nursing facilities for violating health and safety more often than during the Obama administration. But the average fine is nearly a third lower than it was before President Donald Trump took office.

Assisted Living’s Breakneck Growth Leaves Safety Of Dementia Patients Behind
By Jordan Rau, Kaiser Health News, December 17, 2018
An analysis of inspection records in California, Florida and Texas shows significant numbers of violations related to assisted living residents with dementia.

1,400 Nursing Homes Get Lower Medicare Ratings Because Of Staffing Concerns
By Jordan Rau and Elizabeth Lucas, Kaiser Health News, July 30, 2018
Medicare said those homes either lacked a registered nurse for “a high number of days” over three months, provided data the government couldn’t verify or didn’t supply their payroll data at all.

‘Like A Ghost Town’: Erratic Nursing Home Staffing Revealed Through New Records
By Jordan Rau, Kaiser Health News, July 13, 2018
Daily nursing home payroll records just released by the federal government show the number of nurses and aides dips far below average on some days and consistently plummets on weekends.

The Decline of Cash Assistance and the Well-Being of Poor Households with Children

Source: H Luke Shaefer, Kathryn Edin Vincent, Fusaro Pinghui Wu, Social Forces, Advance Articles, March 19, 2019
(subscription required)

From the abstract:
Since the early 1990s, the social safety net for families with children in the United States has undergone an epochal transformation. Aid to poor working families has become more generous. In contrast, assistance to the deeply poor has become less generous, and what remains more often takes the form of in-kind aid. A historical view finds that this dramatic change parallels others. For centuries, the nature and form of poor relief has been driven in part by shifting cultural notions of which social groups are “deserving” and “undeserving.” This line was firmly redrawn in the 1990s. Did the re-institutionalization of these categorizations in policy have material consequences? This study examines the relationship between the decline of traditional cash welfare between 2001 and 2015 and two direct measures of wellbeing among households with children: household food insecurity and public school child homelessness. Using models that control for state and year trends, along with other factors, we find that the decline of cash assistance was associated with increases in both forms of hardship.

Race and the Accumulation of Wealth: Racial Differences in Net Worth over the Life Course, 1989-2009

Source: Melvin Thomas, Cedric Herring, Hayward Derrick Horton, Moshe Semyonov, Loren Henderson, Patrick L Mason, Social Problems, Advance Articles, March 21, 2019

From the abstract:
Using data from the 1989–2009 Panel Study of Income Dynamics, this research examines racial differences in wealth accumulation over the life course. We ask: (1) How have racial differences in wealth changed over time? (2) Do racial wealth gaps change over the life course? (3) Are racial gaps in net worth expanding, contracting, or staying the same over time and over the life course? and (4) Do these patterns differ by cohort? The analysis is informed by (1) the declining significance of race and post-racial perspectives; (2) the cumulative effects of discrimination explanation; and (3) the vintage hypothesis. Results show that African Americans’ wealth as a percentage of whites’ wealth fell in 2009. Results do not support the declining significance of race and post-racial perspectives. Partially consistent with the vintage hypothesis, post-1960s African Americans are relatively better off than are pre-1960s African Americans (compared with whites of the same cohort). Consistent with the cumulative effects of discrimination model, the African American-white wealth gap increases over the life course for each historical period. If current patterns persist, presumed gains made by young African Americans relative to young whites may turn out to be illusory as they progress through the life course.

Sun Protection Behaviors of State Park Workers in the Southeastern USA

Source: Vinayak K Nahar, Amanda H Wilkerson, Brian Martin, Javier F Boyas, Mary A Ford, John P Bentley, Paul Johnson, Kim R Beason, William H Black, Robert T Brodell, Annals of Work Exposures and Health, Advance Articles, March 27, 2019
(subscription required)

From the abstract:
Background:
Due to the nature of their work, state park workers receive substantial exposure to sunlight, putting them at an increased risk of developing skin cancer. Increased use of sun protection behaviors can reduce this risk.

Objectives:
Using the health belief model (HBM) as a theoretical framework, the purpose of this study was to assess factors associated with sun protection behaviors among state-park workers.

Methods:
In this cross-sectional study, a convenience sample of participants were recruited from 23 state parks in the Southeastern USA to complete a self-administered questionnaire based on the constructs of the HBM.

Results:
The sample comprised 310 state park workers. The majority of participants were non-Hispanic White (61.6%), male (63.5%), and were aged 39.56 (±13.97) years on average. The average duration of sun exposure during the workday was reported as 3.51 h (±1.88). Nearly 12% of the participants reported that their workplace had a sun-safety policy and ~10% reported receiving sun-safety training at their workplace. The majority of participants reported that they did not sufficiently use sun protection methods. Factors associated with sun protection behaviors included the HBM constructs of perceived benefits outweighing perceived barriers (standardized coefficient = 0.210, P = 0.001), self-efficacy (standardized coefficient = 0.333, P < 0.001), and cues to action (standardized coefficient = 0.179, P = 0.004). Conclusion: Future research should explore the barriers to adopting and enforcing sun-safety policies in the workplace. HBM appears to be efficacious in explaining sun protection behaviors among state park workers. HBM constructs should be considered in future interventions aimed at increasing sun protection behaviors in this population.