Workplace discrimination claims fare poorly in arbitration, study says

Source: Phil Ciciora – University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, phys.org, December 19, 2018

The use of arbitration to adjudicate worker complaints – and avoid costly litigation through the slow, unwieldy public court system – has been a controversial practice since its usage began to increase in the 1990s. And according to a new paper co-written by a University of Illinois expert in workplace dispute resolution, certain types of cases fare worse than other types that are resolved through arbitration.

Employee discrimination claims largely received worse outcomes in arbitration than other work-related disputes such as wrongful termination or breach of contract, says new research from J. Ryan Lamare, a professor of labor and employment relations at Illinois.

Following the passage of anti-discrimination laws such as Title VII of the 1964 Civil Rights Act, employees commonly adjudicated workplace claims through litigation. But over the past three decades, the U.S. Supreme Court has sought to expand the use of private arbitration as an alternate dispute-resolution mechanism, Lamare said…..

Related:
Resolving Discrimination Complaints in Employment Arbitration: An Analysis of the Experience in the Securities Industry
Source: J. Ryan Lamare, David B. Lipsky, ILR Review, Volume 72 Issue 1, January 2019
(subscription required)

From the abstract:
This article empirically examines whether employment discrimination claims differ from other types of disputes resolved through arbitration. Whether arbitration is appropriate for resolving violations of anti-discrimination statutes at work is a focus of ongoing policy debates. Yet empirical scholarship has rarely considered whether different types of complaints might have distinct characteristics and receive varied outcomes in arbitration. The authors analyze all of the employment arbitration awards for cases filed between 1991 and 2006 in the financial services industry to determine whether differences in the type of allegation affect award outcomes. They also examine the effects of the financial industry’s decision in 1999 to introduce voluntary arbitration for discrimination claims. Results indicate that discrimination claims largely fared worse in arbitration than did other statutory or non-statutory claims but that arbitration systems are capable of meaningful self-reform.

The Minimum Wage, EITC, and Criminal Recidivism

Source: Amanda Y. Agan – Rutgers University, Department of Economics, Michael D. Makowsky – Clemson University, John E. Walker Department of Economics, Date Written: September 25, 2018

From the abstract:
For recently released prisoners, the minimum wage and the availability of state Earned Income Tax Credits (EITCs) can influence both their ability to find employment and their potential legal wages relative to illegal sources of income, in turn affecting the probability they return to prison. Using administrative prison release records from nearly six million offenders released between 2000 and 2014, we use a difference-in- differences strategy to identify the effect of over two hundred state and federal minimum wage increases, as well as 21 state EITC programs, on recidivism. We find that the average minimum wage increase of $0.50 reduces the probability that men and women return to prison within 1 year by 2.8%. This implies that on average the effect of higher wages, drawing at least some released prisoners into the legal labor market, dominates any reduced employment in this population due to the minimum wage. These reductions in returns to incarcerations are observed for the potentially revenue generating crime categories of property and drug crimes; prison reentry for violent crimes are unchanged, supporting our framing that minimum wages affect crime that serves as a source of income. The availability of state EITCs also reduces recidivism, but only for women.

Posts of Professors Holding Babies in Class Often Go Viral. Is That the Reality of Students With Kids?

Source: Cailin Crowe, Chronicle of Higher Education, December 19, 2018

…. The University of Tennessee at Knoxville and Columbia College, in South Carolina, saw similar stories. In each case the professor was praised for selflessly offering to watch a student’s baby in lieu of professional child care. While the professor’s generosity was commendable, the posts also highlighted the unmet demand for child care on campuses.

The posts go viral because they illustrate a systemic problem, said Barbara Gault, vice president and executive director of the Institute for Women’s Policy Research. People understand that colleges and universities don’t always recognize the caregiving responsibilities of students who are also parents. “It’s a statement about something bigger,” she said.

More than 25 percent of college students are parents of dependent children, according to the institute. However, the idea that colleges and universities should provide child care is still a fairly new concept, Gault said. ….

…. One obvious solution is on-campus day-care centers. For example, at Monroe Community College, in New York, student parents of young children at the campus’s day-care center have on-time graduation rates three times as high as student parents who did not use the center.

But on many campuses, including the institutions where some of those feel-good viral stories have taken place, the reality for students who have kids in need of child care is much different. ….

Lone Medicaid Expansion Defeat Offers Lessons for Other States

Source: Michael Ollove, Stateline, December 17, 2018

Perhaps the chief takeaway from the rejected citizen initiative to expand Medicaid in Montana last month is this: Be careful when you poke a giant.

Montana was one of four red states with Medicaid expansion on the ballot, and the only one where it failed. And the reason why, many close observers both inside and outside of the state agree, almost certainly came down to a tactical decision to link expansion to an increase in the state’s tobacco tax.

Supporters thought that strategy would boost their effort with voters, but it attracted Big Tobacco into the fight, along with the $17.2 million it spent, much of it on a television advertising blitz. Opponents raised nearly $19 million to defeat the measure, finance reports filed with the state show.

Proponents, with about $9.7 million to spend, simply couldn’t keep up….

Working Children: Federal Injury Data and Compliance Strategies Could Be Strengthened

Source: United States Government Accountability Office, GAO-19-26: Published: November 2, 2018, Publicly Released: December 3, 2018

From the summary:
Many children aged 17 and under work to develop independence or meet financial needs. However, working can sometimes interfere with education, or in some industries, be physically dangerous.

We found that the majority of work-related fatalities occur among children working in agriculture—but data on children’s work-related injuries in general is incomplete.

The Department of Labor is conducting a study to enhance its work-related injury data, but the study doesn’t include children. We recommended including them to improve the data—which could also improve enforcement of child labor standards….

How Major Programs Might Fare in a Partial Government Shutdown

Source: Federal Funds Information for States, Budget Brief 18-19, December 19, 2018
(subscription required)

From the summary:
The second fiscal year (FY) 2019 continuing resolution (CR)—which funds the portion of federal spending not covered by full-year spending bills enacted earlier this year—will expire on Friday. While Congress just announced an agreement on another short-term CR through February 8 and the president appears to support it, the risk of a federal shutdown likely will continue until a final budget is enacted.
Should a partial shutdown occur, state officials will have questions about their ability to operate federal grant programs in the absence of a current appropriation. The answers to those questions vary by program. FFIS Budget Brief 18-17 provides answers to general questions; this brief provides targeted summary information about specific grant programs.

Appendix: links to the sources of program-specific details

Union Mergers; Some Questions Raised by a “Disorderly Breakup”

Source: Gary Chaison, Employee Responsibilities and Rights Journal, Volume 30 Issue 4, December 2018
(subscription required)

From the abstract:
This essay discusses the 2004 merger between UNITE, a clothing workers’ union, and HERE, the hotel and restaurant workers union. Many labor scholars and union proponents believed that this merger would revive a dormant US labor movement and lead to great success in union organizing. Although much was expected, there was very little accomplished by this merger. While union mergers can either be amalgamations or absorptions, the UNITE-HERE merger took the former form. Although successful amalgamations usually occur when the two unions share a common jurisdiction, additional problems occur when the unions are dissimilar in size and type of members. The UNITE-HERE merger displayed none of these three above-mentioned characteristics. This essay also discusses issues of the centralization/decentralization of union mergers, the negotiation and promotion of such combinations, local union and national union mergers while concluding with a discussion of whether union mergers are an appropriate strategy for dealing with a struggling US labor movement early in the twenty-first century.

Related:
Introduction to “Union Mergers; Some Questions Raised by a “Disorderly Breakup””
Source: Victor G. Devinatz, Employee Responsibilities and Rights Journal, Volume 30 Issue 4, December 2018
(subscription required)

Working Women versus Employers: An Insider’s View

Source: Anne Ladky, Labor: Studies in Working-Class History, Vol. 15 no. 3, September 2018
(subscription required)

In her book, Knocking on Labor’s Door: Union Organizing in the 1970s and the Roots of a New Economic Divide, Lane Windham compellingly illuminates the context of organizing in that decade and dispels long-held myths. She makes clear that it was not a lack of organizing that resulted in the decline in unionization in the following decade but the aggressive refusal of companies to tolerate union organizing activity—or any campaigns that they perceived could lead to unionization—aided by government failures. The experiences of those of us in what has been called the working women’s movement bear out her arguments.

I am not a historian—my comments are aimed at connecting what I was experiencing as an organizer with Windham’s narrative. I was organizing in the 1970s around women’s employment issues as a member of the Chicago Chapter of the National Organization for Women (NOW) and then as a member of Women Employed (WE). I joined the staff of Women Employed in 1977, became its executive director in 1985, and served in that position for thirty-two years. WE, whose founding is noted in the book’s second chapter, is now a forty-five-year-old organization whose mission is to break down barriers to women’s economic advancement and promote workplace fairness. It has a staff of twenty; it is locally based with national policy reach. The organization has opened hundreds of occupations to women, helped outlaw and reduce sexual harassment, did some of the very first work on family-friendly workplace policies, made affirmative action a dramatically effective tool for women’s advancement, and much more. Today, its priorities are to change workplace policies and practices that affect low-paid working women, expand work-family policies, and enable more low-income women to enter and succeed in higher education. While the organization’s priorities have changed to address evolving barriers facing low-paid female workers, the organization’s mission is unchanged since its founding in 1973….

Related:
Tangled Up in Race: Working-Class Politics and the Ongoing Economic Divide
Source: Dan Graff, Labor: Studies in Working-Class History, Vol. 15 no. 3, September 2018
(subscription required)

The title of Lane Windham’s impressive new exploration of union organizing in the 1970s, Knocking on Labor’s Door, immediately calls to mind Bob Dylan’s hit single “Knockin’ on Heaven’s Door.” Whether the allusion is intended or not, the song’s release date resonates, since 1973 — marked by the oil crisis and stagflation — is widely considered among historians to be the year of reckoning for the New Deal order, the US labor movement, and the heyday of American liberalism. But where Dylan’s song is a dirge, with its mournful narrator accepting “the long black cloud” announcing death, Windham’s monograph exudes an opposite tone. By uncovering stories of worker-activists who organized with a purpose and a passion reminiscent of the 1930s, Windham rejects the notion of the 1970s as “the last days of the working class” (3)….

Labor Feminism Meets Institutional Sexism
Source: Katherine Turk, Labor: Studies in Working-Class History, Vol. 15 no. 3, September 2018
(subscription required)

Lane Windham’s Knocking on Labor’s Door offers important contributions to labor and working-class history and to the emerging literature on American capitalism. Most important, the book reminds us that the 1970s did not mark a gloomy descent into neoliberalism; rather, those years were shot through with electrifying possibilities.

My comments will reflect on how Knocking on Labor’s Door handles the identity politics of sex and class. The book offers striking insights into the political economy of the 1970s; in particular, it sheds new light on employers’ efforts to protect their profits as they navigated a globalizing landscape. But in blaming those employers when union campaigns led by women and men of color fell short, Windham downplays other factors — especially the roadblocks thrown up by wage-earning white men. Laboring women had to aim their campaigns for equity at their employers as well as at their union “brothers.” Aware of the distinct yet related challenges they faced everywhere they worked, many women experimented with and blended new and well-established forms of activism. The formal labor movement thus offers too narrow a lens to capture the range of outcomes that working people — women in particular — imagined and pursued as they fought the baked-in inequities that shaped workplaces and unions alike…..

I Hear You Knockin’. . . . But You Can’t Come In
Source: Alex Lichtenstein, Labor: Studies in Working-Class History, Vol. 15 no. 3, September 2018
(subscription required)

Knocking on Labor’s Door is an impressive achievement. By combing through National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) records and revisiting some crucial but forgotten labor struggles from the 1970s, Lane Windham seeks to refute pessimists like Jefferson Cowie, who regard that decade as ringing the death knell of an empowered American working class. Specifically, Windham wants to call our attention to the energized struggles of African American, women, and immigrant workers. Newly emboldened by the previous decade’s rights revolutions, these members of the working class sought to join and reinvigorate the flagging American labor movement that had previously done much to exclude them. They indeed were “knocking at labor’s door.”

But did that door open? With all due respect to Windham’s ability to uncover the dynamics of previously ignored or overlooked struggles of this era, I want to provoke discussion by laying out an alternative narrative, based as much as possible on the compelling evidence of labor ferment she herself has unearthed and brought to life in the pages of this book.

Here is my alternative narrative:…

Author’s Response
Source: Lane Windham, Labor: Studies in Working-Class History, Vol. 15 no. 3, September 2018
(subscription required)

I am grateful to Anne Ladky, Dan Graff, Katherine Turk, and Alex Lichtenstein for their carefully considered and provocative analyses of Knocking on Labor’s Door: Union Organizing in the 1970s and the Roots of a New Economic Divide. In writing the book, I aimed to open up a fresh discussion of the workers’ movement in the pivotal 1970s and also to offer new approaches for understanding working people’s struggles today. These accomplished scholars and activists clearly have embraced both undertakings. I would like to also thank the Newberry Library for hosting this forum and the journal Labor for allowing us to further our dialogue here….

Rethinking Middle America

Source: Christopher CimaglioLabor: Studies in Working-Class History, Vol. 15 no. 3, September 2018
(subscription required)

From the abstract:
The emergence of “Middle America” as a meaningful political category is most commonly credited to the populist conservative politics of the late 1960s and to Richard Nixon in particular. This article presents an alternative origin story for the idea of Middle America, spotlighting liberal commentators and national journalists working in the same period. As these observers sought to understand and portray what they saw as a new and growing white backlash against African Americans’ gains and cultural change broadly, they helped to cement one of the most central and enduring claims in the period’s elite political and media discourse: white workers comprised the core of an alienated, traditionalist white majority—a group many called Middle America—separated from liberal white professionals by a deep cultural divide.