The Challenges of a Workplace Bring Your Own Device Policy

Source: John Hawthorne, LLRX, April 28, 2017

Everything was so easy a decade back. Employees used company issued computers, spoke on company cell phones, and played by all the rules of CIOs and IT departments. They usually weren’t allowed to use their own laptops or mobile devices, which allowed the IT departments to keep everything locked down.

The more generous companies gave high-profile workers Blackberries, but even those were controlled by a very strict set of guidelines. And they were Blackberries, after all. Not the best devices for surfing the internet or watching videos.

But then the mobile revolution happened. Steve Jobs invented the iPhone, YouTube, Pandora Internet Radio and Spotify Music made significant inroads with users and suddenly people wanted to bring their own devices to work. No longer content to use archaic computers and ancient communication devices, employees wanted to do both personal and business activities on the same device.

And so many companies began implementing Bring Your Own Device (BYOD) policies, allowing workers to use whatever computer or phone they desired. These policies have, in many ways, been a great boon to productivity and have huge advantages. But there are also some significant downfalls to the rise in BYOD.

In this article, I lay out the pros and cons of BYOD, as well as try to provide a bit of objective analysis of the situation…..

Governing in the Shadows: Rating the Online Financial Transparency of Special District Governments

Source: Michelle Surka, Rachel Cross, U.S. PIRG Education Fund and Frontier Group, Following the Money 2017: Special Districts, April 2017

From the summary:
Citizens’ ability to understand how their tax dollars are spent is fundamental to democracy. Budget and spending transparency holds government officials accountable for making smart decisions, checks corruption, and provides citizens an opportunity to affect how government dollars are spent.
“Special districts” are a type of government agency that exist outside of traditional forms of general purpose local or state governments, and serve key governmental functions such as public transit or housing. However, special districts are poorly understood by the public and often do business without adhering to modern standards of government budget or spending transparency. The lack of transparency and accountability of many special districts has caused concern among some state agencies and government watchdogs, as it can contribute to an atmosphere conducive to lowered efficiency and potential misconduct.

A review of 79 special districts’ online financial transparency shows that while a few districts are meeting the goals of “Transparency 2.0” – a standard of comprehensive, one-stop, oneclick budget accountability and accessibility – the vast majority do little to inform citizens about how they spend money. To empower and engage the public, enable citizen oversight of all branches of government, and improve the efficiency with which they operate, special districts, along with local and state governments, should expand the amount and improve the quality of spending data that are made available to the public online….
Related:
Press release

Most Special Districts Lag in the Transparency Department
Source: Mike Maciag, Governing, April 28, 2017

Special districts are all over, and according to one of the first nationwide reports on them, most aren’t revealing even basic information online about how they’re spending public money. …

Documenting decline in U.S. economic mobility

Source: Lawrence F. Katz, Alan B. Krueger, Science, April 24, 2017

Economists and other social scientists have long studied intergenerational income mobility, but consistent data linking adult incomes of children and their parents at similar ages over many generations have been unavailable, which thwarted attempts to study long-term trends. Chetty et al.’s study in this issue of Science is therefore a tour de force for producing historically comparable estimates of absolute income mobility—the fraction of individuals in a birth cohort who earn, at age 30, more than their parents did at roughly the same age—over the post–World War II period. Their striking conclusion is that there has been a large decline in the rate of upward mobility across successive U.S. birth cohorts, from 92% of children born in 1940 earning more than their parents to only half of children born in 1984. Although Chetty et al. find that the slowdown in Gross Domestic Product growth has played a role, they conclude that faster economic growth is insufficient to restore mobility to its immediate postwar level in light of increased income inequality—a critical insight for policy and research…..

The fading American dream: Trends in absolute income mobility since 1940

Source: Raj Chetty, David Grusky, Maximilian Hell, Nathaniel Hendren, Robert Manduca, Jimmy Narang, Science, April 24, 2017

From the abstract:
We estimated rates of “absolute income mobility”—the fraction of children who earn more than their parents—by combining data from U.S. Census and Current Population Survey cross sections with panel data from de-identified tax records. We found that rates of absolute mobility have fallen from approximately 90% for children born in 1940 to 50% for children born in the 1980s. Increasing GDP growth rates alone cannot restore absolute mobility to the rates experienced by children born in the 1940s. However, distributing current GDP growth more equally across income groups as in the 1940 birth cohort would reverse more than 70% of the decline in mobility. These results imply that reviving the “American dream” of high rates of absolute mobility would require economic growth that is shared more broadly across the income distribution.

May Day protest: The history of May Day; why people are protesting

Source: Debbie Lord, Cox Media Group, May 1, 2017

Thousands of people are expected to take to the streets in cities across America and across the world on Monday in May Day demonstrations. Considered by many a celebration of spring days to some, others look at May 1 as a day to protest everything from worker’s rights to oppressive policies to immigration reform. Here’s a look at the history of May Day and why some people choose it as a day of protest….

Related:
May Day Marchers Around The World Celebrate Workers, Immigrants
Source: Camila Domonoske, NPR, May 1, 2017

May Day Strikes Hit Cities Around The Country
Source: Dave Jamieson, Huffington Post, May 1, 2017

Workers all over the country are protesting Trump’s immigration crackdown.

May Labour Day: What is International Workers’ Day?
Source: Al Jazeera News, April 2017

We examine the history of May Day and ask what kind of protests and commemorations can be expected this year.

Q&A: What is May Day?
Taylor Mirfendereski, KING-TV, PDT May 1, 2017

The Bloody Story of How May Day Became a Holiday for Workers
Source: Lily Rothman, Time, May 1, 2015

Attacks on collective bargaining: Hidden costs, untold consequences for Iowans

Source: Iowa Policy Project, February 2017

From the summary:
…Drastic changes to collective bargaining could be devastating for Iowans. Lawmakers and the public should be aware of serious pitfalls associated with sweeping changes to this long-standing law (Chapter 20 of the Iowa Code) which carry implications for every school district, city, county, and state agency in Iowa. Of primary concern to all Iowans, economic impacts and ripple effects are likely to exacerbate existing trends — low and stagnating wages, growing uncertainty about access to health care, and increasing income inequality — putting many Iowa households on a downward path. These effects are likely to disproportionately harm rural communities and low-income workers, and to threaten the quality of the health care, public safety and public education systems upon which all Iowans depend.

Public employees are a significant share of the Iowa workforce. Of the nearly 1.6 million nonfarm payroll jobs in Iowa, about 1 in 7 jobs — 238,500 — are in state and local government. These workers are important to the state economy, as taxpayers supporting local schools and state and local services, and as consumers supporting local businesses and other private sector jobs. About half of Iowa’s public-sector workers — over 119,000 employees — are in jobs covered by 1,203 different contracts negotiated under Iowa’s current collective bargaining law:
• 34,400 state employees
• 11,595 county employees
• 11,562 city employees
• 56,402 local school employees
• 2,948 area education agency employees
• 2,114 community college employees

Impacts of any sweeping changes to collective bargaining will thus be significant and widespread, holding consequences for local economies, public services, and Iowa’s labor market as a whole….

The Interaction of the Pregnancy Discrimination Act and the Americans with Disabilities Act after Young v. UPS

Source: Deborah A. Widiss, Indiana University Maurer School of Law, Indiana Legal Studies Research Paper No. 369, Last revised: April 25, 2017

From the abstract:
Pregnant women sometimes ask employers for accommodations – such as being able to sit on a stool or avoid heavy lifting – to permit them to work safely and productively. In 2015, in Young v. United Parcel Service, the Supreme Court held that the Pregnancy Discrimination Act (PDA) requires courts to scrutinize carefully denial of such requests. The facts in Young arose prior to the effective date of the ADA Amendments Act of 2008 (ADAAA); accordingly, the Court did not address how the ADAAA, which expanded the range of health conditions that qualify as disabilities, affects claims for accommodations under the PDA. This Article fills that gap, updating analysis from an earlier article I wrote on this subject to incorporate the Court’s holding in Young and to discuss how lower courts are applying Young.

The PDA mandates that pregnant employees be treated “the same” as other employees “similar in their ability or inability to work.” Young established that employees who receive accommodations pursuant to the ADA or workers’ compensation laws may be used as comparators in PDA analysis, rejecting lower court decisions to the contrary. The Court stated that evidence that an employer routinely accommodates other health conditions but refuses to provide support for pregnancy is strong circumstantial evidence of discriminatory bias.

The ADAAA magnifies the importance of this holding; it also largely resolves the Young Court’s concern that the PDA not be interpreted to confer a “‘most-favored-nation’ status” on pregnant employees. Under the ADAAA and its implementing regulations, employers must provide reasonable accommodations for impairments that substantially limit an individual’s ability to lift, bend, walk, or stand, even on a temporary basis. Thus workplace accommodations for health conditions that cause limitations like those caused by pregnancy should now be commonplace (and many conditions associated with pregnancy may qualify as disabilities themselves). Robust enforcement of the PDA’s “same treatment” mandate does not create a danger that pregnant employees will be treated better than other employees; rather, it helps ensure that pregnant employees are not consistently treated less well than other employees.

Indicators of Higher Education Equity in the United States — 2017 Historical Trend Report

Source: Pell Institute for the Study of Opportunity in Higher Education, 2017

Vrom the summary:
…..This 2017 Indicators Report and the earlier reports compile statistical data since the 1970s from the nationally representative government statistics including the Census Bureau household studies and the National Center for Education Statistics (NCES)-sponsored high school and college longitudinal studies which track college entrance and completion by family income, socioeconomic status, and race/ethnicity.

A Special Focus on Understanding Equity. The 2015 edition of the Indicators Report began with a quote from the foreword to President Truman’s 1947 Commission on Higher Education that called attention to the dangers of a higher education system that functioned not to provide opportunity but to sort students: “If the ladder of educational opportunity rises high at the doors of some youth and scarcely rises at the doors of others, while at the same time formal education is made a prerequisite to occupational and social advance, then education may become the means, not of eliminating race and class distinctions, but of deepening and solidifying them.” The Indicators Reports are dedicated to increasing our understanding of how to address the equity issues raised by the Truman Commission Report 70 years ago.

Operationalizing Measures of Higher Education Opportunity in the United States. In these statistical reports, we operationalize the concept of “equity” in terms of several types of deviations from a distribution that would indicate “equal access to education.” For example, we observe the differences across quartiles of family income in the percentages of students entering college and receiving bachelor’s degrees. We also observe the extent to which, for example, the racial/ethnic distribution of the composition of the U.S. population differs from the racial/ethnic distribution of degree recipients.
The 2015 Indicators Report focused on equity in higher education based on measures of family income.

Family income remains the primary focus of the 2017 edition. Recognizing the need to also address inequity based on other interrelated demographic characteristics, the 2016 and 2017 editions include selected indicators that highlight differences by race/ethnicity, parent education, and a composite socioeconomic status (SES). The Indicators Reports present data as far back as comparable data warrant, often beginning with 1970. Methodological appendices provide additional relevant notes, tables, and figures……

Related:
Data / Charts
Essays
Presentations
Equity Indicators Website

The Wage and Job Impacts of Hospitals on Local Labor Markets

Source: Anne M. Mandich, Jeffrey H. Dorfman, Economic Development Quarterly, Vol 31, Issue 2, 2017
(subscription required)

From the abstract:
This study examines the impact of hospitals on local labor markets in rural and urban counties. We measure the ability of hospitals, particularly in rural communities, to attract nonhealth-related employment and provide higher wage jobs to residents based on their education level. Results find hospital employees with an associate’s degree can expect a 21.4% wage premium, when compared with alternative opportunities, and those with a bachelor’s degree can earn 12.2% more working in a hospital. Hospitals are shown to be positively related to overall employment as well as exhibit positive employment spillover. For rural counties, a short-term general hospital is associated with 559 jobs in the county, 60 of which are hospital based and 499 are non–health care related. With the positive benefits on wages and non–health care job growth, hospitals have measurable positive labor market outcomes above their primary objective of providing health care access, particularly in rural counties.

How the Ivy League Collaborates with Donald Trump

Source: Nelson Lichtenstein, Dissent blog, April 25, 2017

…. Nowhere has this rejection of Trump’ extremism been more steadfast than on the university campus, especially at those elite, historically liberal institutions populating the coasts. At the University of California, where I teach, President Janet Napolitano has made clear that UC will protect undocumented students; Harvard, Yale, and Stanford are among seventeen schools joining a lawsuit against the Trump administration effort to ban immigration from Muslim countries. And in a joint opinion piece published in the Boston Globe, law school deans from Harvard and Yale declared the president “an enemy of the law and the Constitution” for his Twitter attacks on the judiciary.

Unfortunately, top university officials at Columbia and Yale have chosen to crack this wall of resistance. They have found in Trump an ally in their longstanding efforts to resist graduate employees’ efforts to unionize. They are ready, in other words, to collaborate—a word I do not use lightly. From their presidents on down, university labor-relations officials are hoping that Trump and the people he will soon appoint to the National Labor Relations Board will weigh in on management’s side and against those who are exercising their democratic right to organize and bargain with the school…..