Federal Tax Cuts in the Bush, Obama, and Trump Years

Source: Steve Wamhoff, Matthew Gardner, Institute on Taxation and Economic Policy (ITEP), Analysis, July 2018

From the introduction:
Since 2000, tax cuts have reduced federal revenue by trillions of dollars and disproportionately benefited well-off households. From 2001 through 2018, significant federal tax changes have reduced revenue by $5.1 trillion, with nearly two-thirds of that flowing to the richest fifth of Americans, as illustrated in Figure 1.

The cumulative impact on the deficit during this period is $5.9 trillion, including interest payments. By the end of 2025, the tally of tax cuts will grow to $10.6 trillion. Nearly $2 trillion of this amount will have gone to the richest 1 percent. By then, the total impact on the deficit will be $13.6 trillion, including interest payments.

This analysis does not include hundreds of billions of dollars in so-called tax cut “extenders” for corporations and other businesses that Congress has periodically enacted under each administration. More detailed figures are provided in the tables in Appendix I…..

Related:
Data Available for Download

Late Retirements + Lawsuits = Need For Vigilance

Source: Maureen Minehan, Employment Alert, Vol. 35 No. 14, July 11, 2018
(subscription required)

If a recent survey is right, employers need to be extra vigilant about their attitudes and practices related to older workers. According to online recruiting site CareerBuilder, even though the economy is improving many U.S. workers are still putting their retirement plans on hold. In the survey, more than half of workers aged 60+ (53%) said they are postponing retirement. Four in 10 (40%) said they don’t think they will be able to retire until they are 70 years of age or older. …. Employers should take steps now to review their age discrimination policies with managers and shore up any gaps they find in their practices. Lawsuits aimed at big companies invariably receive media attention, which in turn can spark reflection among employees at other organizations about their own experiences. ….

Could An Emoji Bring You Down?

Source: Maureen Minehan, Employment Alert, Vol. 35 No. 14, July 11, 2018
(subscription required)

An employee complains a manager is making sexual overtures to her. When you ask her what he has said, she tells you it’s not what he’s said, it’s what he’s sent. She pulls out her phone and shows you an email exchange in which he included an emoji with a winking eye. While many people use that particular emoji as an indicator of humor, she has interpreted it as flirtatious and now you have a problem…..

Terminating A Depressed Employee

Source: Maureen Minehan, Employment Alert, Vol. 35 No. 14, July 11, 2018
(subscription required)

Is terminating an employee with depression a recipe for trouble? Do you need to go “above and beyond” to avoid any appearance of discrimination? …. While the Greenleaf case is just beginning its journey through the courts, it offers employers a reminder that depression can be a covered disability under the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) and the many state laws that mirror it. This means employers are permitted to terminate employees with depression if they aren’t meeting performance standards, but only if the proper steps have been taken first….

Rebuilding Power in Open-Shop America: A Labor Notes Guide

Source: Labor Notes, July 2, 2018

….Janus is a serious blow—but we have good news. As plenty of unions in open-shop states and sectors can testify, it’s still possible to win campaigns and maintain high membership rates despite the legal hurdles. We talked to workers in schools, factories, buses, hospitals, oil refineries, grocery stores, post offices, and shipyards.

This guide reveals the principles and practical steps behind their successes. Here’s the punchline: the unions that build power in open-shop America will be the ones that fight hard on workplace issues their members care about, and where large numbers of rank-and-file members take on their own fights…..

Context
How We Got Here
Our Prescription
The Racist History of Right to Work
Who’s Next?
The Anti-Union Game Plan

Diagnostics
Exercise: The Open-Shop Stress Test
Quiz: Assess Your Danger Level
Jump-Starting a Weak Union from Below

Brass Tacks
1. Be Democratic
2. Fight the Boss
3. Turn Up the Heat
4. Ask People to Join
5. Count Noses
6. Don’t Go It Alone

Trump’s Supreme Court Pick Could Spell a Fresh Hell for Workers’ Rights

Source: Moshe Z. Marvit, In These Times, July 10, 2018

On Monday, President Donald Trump announced his nomination of conservative Brett Kavanaugh to replace retiring Justice Anthony Kennedy on the U.S. Supreme Court. If Kavanaugh is confirmed, Chief Justice John Roberts, a fellow conservative, will become the ideological and political center of the Supreme Court, and protections for women, minorities, voting rights, civil liberties and more could come under threat. Workers and labor unions should be particularly concerned about Judge Kavanaugh’s history of siding with businesses against workers and for pushing a deregulatory agenda. ….

Related:
Family Man Brett Kavanaugh Thinks Businesses Shouldn’t Be Liable If Employees Are Eaten On The Job
Source: Bess Levin, Vanity Fair, July 10, 2018

The Supreme Court nominee has also overruled federal regulators 75 times, to the business community’s delight.

Brett Kavanaugh Ruled Against Workers When No One Else Did
Source: Dave Jamieson, Huffington Post, July 10, 2018

His dissents involving undocumented meatpacking workers and a death at SeaWorld tell us a lot about the worldview of Trump’s Supreme Court pick.

Training to empower: A decade of the Retail Action Project

Source: Peter Ikeler, Giovanna Fullin, Journal of Labor and Society, Vol. 21 no. 2, June 2018
(subscription required)

From the abstract:
Founded by a union in 2005, the Retail Action Project (RAP) has led multiple campaigns for workers’ rights, back wages and unionization in the heart of Manhattan’s retail district. It has also undertaken worker training and hiring efforts while cultivating a community of creative worker‐members. This combination of organizing, community building and attempted re‐skilling, along with its industrial rather than ethnic focus and operation within a leading center of postindustrial capitalism, make RAP unique among U.S. worker centers and potentially prefigurative of revitalized unionism. Our study examines the organization’s 12‐year history and draws out lessons for organizing young workers in an increasingly precarious economy. Although RAP has tried to both materially empower and socialize young workers to the labor movement, we find it has been more successful at the latter than the former and that its lessons may find application in other retail‐dense urban centers within and outside the United States.

Targeting teachers while shielding cops? The politics of punishing enemies and rewarding friends in American state collective bargaining reform agendas

Source: Magic M. Wade, Journal of Labor and Society, Vol. 21 no. 2, June 2018
(subscription required)

From the abstract:
Teachers unions are notorious figures in state politics, asserting influence over elections and education policy with their large memberships and well‐funded PACs. Nonetheless, during the Great Recession Republican‐controlled state governments repeatedly clashed with teachers unions over their members’ compensation and collective bargaining (CB) rights. Conversely, public safety officers were less frequently targeted—and in some cases explicitly shielded—from CB conflicts. Is this because teachers support Democrats, while cops support Republicans? I evaluate this proposition considering state reform patterns and union partisan campaign donations.

The Apprenticeship Wage and Participation Gap

Source: Angela Hanks, Annie McGrew, and Daniella Zessoules, Center for American Progress, July 11, 2018

From the introduction:
In recent years, U.S. apprenticeship programs have become popular among politicians, workforce advocates, workers, and employers—and it’s easy to understand why. According to the U.S. Department of Labor (DOL), people who complete an apprenticeship program can expect to earn an average annual income of approximately $60,000—slightly above the 2016 U.S. national median household income.

Yet, too little is known about racial and gender representation in these programs. Apprenticeship—which combines on-the-job training with classroom instruction—tends to be dominated by the building and construction trades. This suggests that these programs, like the construction workforce more broadly, are disproportionately male. Indeed, men make up the overwhelming majority of those who participate in apprenticeship programs in the United States. According to the DOL’s own analysis, women made up less than 7 percent of all apprentices in 2013—even though they made up 47 percent of the labor force during the same year.

The analysis in this issue brief examines apprenticeship programs over the past decade—from fiscal year 2008 through 2017—to observe gaps in participation and wages among women and people of color. In general, it finds that women remain deeply underrepresented in apprenticeship programs and that wages among women and black or African American apprentices are much lower than those of other apprentices. Even though these programs are intended and have the potential to develop the U.S. workforce, increase earnings, and prepare workers for the jobs of the future, their current gender and racial compositions tell a different story; more work must be done to make it a reality.

Employer liability for third‐party sexual harassment

Source: Kevin J. Smith, Lindsay C. Stone, Employment Relations Today, First published: April 25, 2018
(subscription required)

From the abstract:
While most employers understand the scope of their responsibility to prevent sexual harassment between employees, the scope of an employer’s responsibility to prevent sexual harassment by third parties is often less clear. Such third parties may include customers, clients, sales representatives, vendors, investors, or anyone in the workplace who is not a member of the employer’s workforce. Although an employer may be unable to easily control non‐employee actions, it is legally obligated to respond to any third‐party sexual harassment of its employees that is brought to the employer’s attention. With proper safeguards and remedial action, however, an employer can keep its employees safe from third‐party sexual harassment and protect itself from liability in the process. This Q&A explains employer liability for third‐party sexual harassment, describes the ramifications of an employer’s failure to properly address or prevent it, and recommends strategies to reduce an employer’s legal exposure.