How to Gain and Use Leverage in Every Negotiation: Applying It at the Right Time Is Key

Source: Greg Williams, PM Magazine, December 2016
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….Gaining leverage in a negotiation is one aspect that leads to winning a negotiation. The questions some negotiators ask are: How do I gain leverage in a negotiation? What’s the value of it? How do I use it once I have it? Here are ways to gain and use leverage in a negotiation….

LGR: Local Government Review

Source: Public Management (PM), Special Section, December 2016
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In the tradition of The Municipal Year Book, LGR: Local Government Review—a special section of Public Management (PM)—will present key research findings and expert insights about local government issues and trends. This is the first in what we anticipate being a series of LGR special sections.

Sustainability and Local Governments: Planning Helps Balance Environmental, Economic, and Social Equity Priorities
ICMA’s sustainability survey indicates that many local governments now recognize the important role that environmental protection plays in establishing a foundation for both short- and long-term economic development. Funding and economic development drive sustainability, and lack of funding is the number one barrier to sustainability. The survey also shows that attention to sustainability’s third dimension, social equity, lags behind. Higher inclusion of social equity concerns in disaster planning may provide a template for integrating social equity issues more effectively into sustainability plans. The survey also found that local governments seem to learn best from each other.

Tackling the Housing Affordability Crisis: The Critical Role of Local Government Leadership
As income growth lags behind growth in housing costs, housing affordability is a growing concern in post-recession America. Local governments play a critical role in assessing the specific housing needs of the communities they serve, then developing and implementing customized strategies to effectively meet those needs. Three case studies highlight the unique challenges and targeted strategies of three cities—Miami, Florida; Rocky Mount, North Carolina; and San Antonio, Texas.

Supreme Court Review for Local Governments: Quick roundup of last term’s cases affecting cities and counties

Why Local Governments Are Talking about Millennials: Shifting demographics make succession planning a high priority
Demographic shifts explain why organizations are paying so much attention to Millennials. In just four years, people born in 1978 or later will make up 56 percent of the workforce. The percentage of baby boomers—27 percent of the workforce in 2016—will decline to 17 percent in 2020, and Gen X will hold steady at 27 percent of the workforce. How does today’s local government workforce stack up with these broader demographic shifts?

The Declining Fortunes of American Workers: Six Dimensions and an Agenda for Reform

Source: Stephen F. Befort, University of Minnesota Law School, Minnesota Legal Studies Research Paper No. 16-28, September 27, 2016

From the abstract:
At the turn of the century, I undertook an assessment of the then current state of workplace rights and obligations. I concluded that the balance of power between employers and workers was “badly skewed” in favor of employers. This article revisits that topic for the purpose of assessing twenty-first century trends through the lens of six workplace dimensions. They are: workforce attachment, union-management relations, employment security, income inequality, balancing work and family, and retirement security. An examination of these dimensions reveal that the status of U.S. workers has significantly declined during the first sixteen years of the twenty-first century. This article then sets out a proposed agenda for reform designed to recalibrate the current imbalance in the respective fortunes of employees and employers.

Direct and Indirect Employment Under Title VII

Source: Charlotte Alexander, Georgia State University College of Law, Legal Studies Research Paper No. 2016-16, 2016

From the abstract:
This short essay, prepared for the New York University School of Law’s 68th Annual Conference on Labor, outlines the law of direct and indirect employment under Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964. The essay then notes confusion in the case law surrounding indirect employment, where a plaintiff seeks to extend Title VII liability to an entity other than her nominal employer. Many courts appear to be importing the common law agency test from the direct employment context, where there is a dispute over whether a worker is properly an independent contractor or an employee. This mixing of separate standards effectively requires plaintiffs to prove a direct employment relationship as to all defendants, eliminating the possibility of an indirect, de facto, or joint, employment relationship. The essay ends by advocating for courts to consider the economic realities of the relationship between a worker and her putative employer(s) in assessing claims of indirect employment.

Body Camera Obscura: The Semiotics of Police Video

Source: Caren Myers Morrison, Georgia State University College of Law, Legal Studies Research Paper No. 2016-17, August 19, 2016

From the abstract:
Our understanding of violent encounters between the police and civilians is now primarily mediated by video images. With surprising rapidity, recording these encounters has become an integral part of modern policing, sparking the current body camera bonanza.

When these recordings are used as evidence in police use-of-force cases, the factfinders must decide whether the police officer’s actions were “reasonable” under the Fourth Amendment. But there is an unrecognized fault line between “police video” (video recorded by the police in the course of their official duties) and “eyewitness video” (recorded by bystander-witnesses). Police video tends to recirculate dominant narratives of violence and masculinity as heroic ideals that coexist easily with the legal standard of the reasonable officer. In contrast, eyewitness videos typically offer the counter-narrative of an abusive state.

These images have evidentiary value, but also cultural currency. They reflect back to us our feelings about violence, race, masculinity, and the law. This article proposes a descriptive critique of the use of video evidence in assessing the lawfulness of police violence. Using insights from semiotics, film criticism, cultural theory, and cognitive psychology, it attempts to sketch out a more nuanced way of approaching video evidence in the context of these cases.

Out of Ferguson: Misdemeanors, Municipal Courts, Tax Distribution and Constitutional Limitations

Source: Henry Ordower, J. S. Onésimo Sandoval, Kenneth Warren, Saint Louis University Legal Studies Research Paper No. 2016-14, October 18, 2016

From the abstract:
The matter of police and municipal courts as revenue producers became increasingly prominent following Michael Brown’s death from a police shooting. This article considers the use of misdemeanors, especially traffic violations, for the purpose of collecting substantial portions of the annual operating budgets in municipalities in St. Louis County, Missouri. The article argues that the revenue raising function of traffic offenses has displaced their public safety and traffic regulation functions. The change in function from public safety to revenue suggests that the governing laws are no longer valid as exercise of policing power but must be reenacted under the taxing power in order to remain valid. Constitutional tax limitations in Missouri, however, prohibit the increase of existing or enactment of new taxes without an affirmative vote of the electorate. Municipalities have circumvented the constitutional taxing limitations by using laws enacted under policing powers in violation of the constitution. The police and the municipal courts enforcing traffic laws have produced a racially discriminatory and regressive local tax system that violates the tax limitations of the Missouri constitution.

Workplace Information Forcing: Constitutionality and Effectiveness

Source: Charlotte Alexander, American Business Law Journal, Vol. 53, 2016

From the abstract:
“Know-your-rights” posters are ubiquitous in the American workplace, as employers are required by statute or regulation to display numerous notices about workers’ rights on the job. These posters were relatively uncontroversial until a recent set of lawsuits by employer groups attempted, on statutory and constitutional grounds, to block rules that would require notices about workers’ rights to form a union and bargain collectively. The lawsuits have produced mixed results in the courts. Using these recent cases, as well as the few prior cases that challenged other notice posting rules, this article addresses the constitutionality of workplace notice posting requirements. It then examines the effectiveness of notice posting rules, considering how such rules might best be structured to accomplish their first-order goals of informing workers about their rights and their second-order goals of spurring enforcement action to improve the conditions of work.

Vulnerabilities of Low-Wage Workers and Some Thoughts on Improving Workplace Protections: The Experience of the Workplace Justice Project

Source: Luz M. Molina, Andrea Agee, Erika Zucker, Loyola University New Orleans College of Law Research Paper No. 2016-12, August 7, 2016

From the abstract:
This article explores the landscape of low-wage work in the South and the experience of the Workplace Justice Project at the Loyola University New Orleans College of Law’s Stuart H. Smith Law Clinic and Center for Social Justice. It focuses on the history of the Project as a response to the influx of low-wage, primarily Hispanic, workers, that came to New Orleans in the months and years after Katrina to help with the re-building of the city.

The National Pension Crisis: A Test in Law, Economics, and Morality

Source: Donald C Carroll, University of San Francisco – School of Law, University of San Francisco Law Research Paper No. 2016-23, 2016

From the abstract:
This article explores the national retirement income security crisis. While the current arguments about how to meet the crisis portray the problem as both financial and political, this article concedes that America’s workers do not have financial and political arguments for making their November-December years secure. They do have, however, a strong moral argument which needs to be explicitly acknowledged so that the crisis is not seen solely as one of finance or political will.

This article explores in some detail how the three-legged stool of private/public pension plans, personal savings, and Social Security is failing to provide a fundamental minimum of security for too many people. The language of the Judeo-Christian tradition inherent in Catholic Social Teaching is employed. The article argues that adequate security for old age is an inherent part of a living wage. In addition, the author asserts that neither private employers nor the taxpayers are entitled to the labor of employees who have to face their last years with inadequate security. The article does not propose any particular solution in new laws or policy because the province of moral criticism is to evaluate the effects of laws and policies both old and new.

Retirement Security Legislation in the States

Source: Anna Petrini, LegisBrief, Vol. 24 no. 44, November 2016
(subscription required)

Even as they are living longer, many Americans—especially those working in the private sector— are not saving enough to ensure a comfortable retirement. Concerned about costs for public assistance programs if their citizens retire into poverty, states have begun exploring a spectrum of policy solutions to avert a retirement savings crisis.