Is There Light at the End of the Tunnel? How Can Organized Labor Survive and Thrive in Dark Times

Source: New Labor Forum, March 2018
(subscription required)

Going on Offense during Challenging Times
By Marilyn Sneiderman and Secky Fascione
How collective bargaining becomes a revolutionary act.

Trump’s Triumph, Labor Resistance?
By Peter Olney
A year to remember.

The Problem of Workplace Democracy
By Barry Eidlin and Micah Uetricht
Will organized labor once again fight the battle for workplace democracy?

Justice on the Job for Nail Salon Workers
By Narbada Chhetri and Pabitra Dash with Kressent Pottenger
Organizing on the far side of the economy is gaining ground once thought impossible.

Systematic review: What works to address obesity in nurses?

Source: M Kelly, J Wills, Occupational Medicine, Advance Articles, March 22, 2018
(subscription required)

From the abstract:
Background: There is evidence that the prevalence of overweight and obesity among nurses is increasing. As well as the impact on health, the costs associated with obesity include workplace injury, lost productivity and sickness absence. Finding ways to address obesity in nurses may be a challenge because of the barriers they face in leading a healthy lifestyle.

Aims:
To identify the available evidence for interventions to address obesity in nurses. Methods Databases searched included CINAHL, SCOPUS (which encompasses the Cochrane Database of Systematic Reviews), PsycINFO, MEDLINE and British Nursing Index. Ancillary searching of the grey literature was conducted for case studies of weight management interventions in National Health Service (NHS) settings. Inclusion criteria were studies involving nurses that reported on interventions addressing health behaviours that contribute to obesity and included at least one obesity-related outcome measure.

Results:
Eleven primary studies were found concerning lifestyle interventions for nurses. There was no strong evidence for any particular intervention to address obesity, although integrating interventions into nurses’ daily working lives may be important. Case studies from the grey literature showcased a range of interventions, but very few studies reported outcomes.

Conclusions:
The review demonstrates that there is insufficient good-quality evidence about successful interventions to address obesity in nurses. Evidence does indicate that interventions should be designed around the specific barriers nurses may face in leading a healthy lifestyle.

U.S. Union Membership Data in Perspective

Source: Glenn Perusek, New Labor Forum, March 2018

Every January, the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) publishes union membership figures for the United States. For many decades now, these annual reports have provided a numerical profile of organized labor’s decline. Yet the recent BLS report for 2017 shows a different picture, indicating a rise in unionization, including among young workers. The report is being interpreted by many as a reflection of significant new organizing. While increased membership figures and density are important, because they are rough measures of workers’ power in an industry or the economy as a whole, I would suggest that we refrain from viewing the uptick in union membership for 2017 as a sign of increased success in union organizing. A closer look at the numbers tells a different story…..

March for Our Lives awakens the spirit of student and media activism of the 1960s

Source: Errol Salamon, The Conversation, March 23, 2018

…..As an expert on the history of youth journalism and media activism that blossomed in the 1960s, I see today’s students as part of a continuum that began with that movement.

Despite not all being old enough to vote, Parkland students are putting pressure on government and private corporations to meet their demands.

Florida Gov. Rick Scott signed a gun safety bill into law on March 9, while companies like Delta Airlines and Hertz have cut ties with the National Rifle Association. The student movement is a force to be reckoned with…..

Extreme Gerrymandering & the 2018 Midterm

Source: Laura Royden, Michael Li, Yurij Rudensky, Brennan Center for Justice at New York University School of Law, March 2018

From the summary:
Many Democrats are optimistic about their chances of winning a majority in the U.S. House of Representatives in the 2018 midterm elections. But in a new report, we measured how much harder partisan gerrymandering will make it for Democrats to win seats — and found that even a blue wave election akin to 2006 would be far from enough. Maps drawn after the 2010 tea-party wave to favor Republicans, particularly in big swing states like Michigan, North Carolina, and Ohio, mean Democrats would need to win the national popular vote in 2018 by the biggest margin in a midterm since 1982.

Detroit’s bond redemption a credit positive step toward addressing rising fixed costs

Source: David Levett, Rachel Cortez, Alexandra S. Parker, Moody’s, Issuer Comment, March 21, 2018
(subscription required)

The retirement of $52 million of principal and $2 million of interest on its financial recovery bonds is the latest example of the city’s effort to strengthen its financial position as it prepares for a $140 million increase in pension contributions in fiscal 2024.

Connecticut’s fiscal, demographic and economic hurdles pose risk for municipalities

Source: Joseph Manoleas, Lauren Von Bargen, Thomas Jacobs, Leonard Jones, Moody’s, Sector In-depth, March 22, 2018
(subscription required)

Many of Connecticut’s cities and towns will continue to come under varying degrees of credit stress from fiscal challenges at the state level, as well as overall adverse economic and demographic trends.

Historical Supreme Court Cases Now Online: More Than 35,000 Decisions Now Available, Searchable on loc.gov

Source: Library of Congress, Press Release, March 13, 2018

More than 225 years of Supreme Court decisions acquired by the Library of Congress are now publicly available online – free to access in a page image format for the first time. The Library has made available more than 35,000 cases that were published in the printed bound editions of United States Reports (U.S. Reports). United States Reports is a series of bound case reporters that are the official reports of decisions for the United States Supreme Court dating to the court’s first decision in 1791 and to earlier courts that preceded the Supreme Court in the colonial era. The Library’s new online collection offers access to individual cases published in volumes 1-542 of the bound edition. This collection of Supreme Court cases is fully searchable. Filters allow users to narrow their searches by date, name of the justice authoring the opinion, subject and by the main legal concepts at issue in each case. PDF versions of individual cases can be viewed and downloaded.

Many Localities Are Unprepared to Collect Taxes on Online Purchases: Amazon.com and other E-Retailers Receive Tax Advantage Over Local Businesses

Source: Institute on Taxation and Economic Policy, March 2018

From the summary:
Online retailer Amazon.com made headlines last year when it began collecting every state-level sales tax on its direct sales. Savvy observers quickly noted that this change did not affect the company’s large and growing “marketplace” business, where it conducts sales in partnership with third-parties and rarely collects tax. But far fewer have noticed that even on its direct sales, Amazon is still not collecting some local-level taxes. This analysis reveals that in seven states (Alabama, Alaska, Idaho, Iowa, Mississippi, New Mexico, and Pennsylvania), Amazon is either not collecting local taxes or is charging a lower tax rate than local retailers. While this collection gap is troubling on its own, it also suggests that many localities are unprepared to reap the benefits of expanded sales tax collection authority that may soon be coming from the U.S. Supreme Court or Congress. Worse, this lack of preparedness extends beyond the seven states identified above and includes states such as Colorado and Illinois where Amazon collects local tax, but where e-retailers without in-state facilities may not be able to do so….

Long-Proprietary Congressional Research Reports Will Now Be Made Public

Source: Charles S. Clark, Government Executive, March 23, 2018

Lawmakers who long protected their right to control reports from the Congressional Research Service now face a new era of full disclosure.

Buried in the 2,232-page fiscal 2018 omnibus spending bill Congress approved and President Trump signed is a much-debated provision to require the Library of Congress, beginning 90 days after the bill’s enactment, to post all the lawmaker-requested reports on a central website….