Union–Management Partnerships, Teacher Collaboration, and Student Performance

Source: Saul A. Rubinstein, John E. McCarthy, ILR Review, Vol 69 no. 5, October 2016
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From the abstract:
Using data from surveys, interviews, and student performance, the authors examine collaborative union–management partnerships between local union representatives, teachers, and school administrators working together in innovative ways to improve teaching quality and student performance. Based on data from 27 schools in a southern California school district, the authors find that the strength of formal union–management partnerships is a significant predictor of greater growth in student performance over time, and that this relationship is mediated by stronger educator collaboration at the school level, after controlling for poverty. The findings suggest that student performance can be significantly improved by institutional union–management partnerships and the increased school-level collaboration that results from them.

Summary of State Matching and MOE Requirements

Source: Federal Funds Information for States (FFIS), Special Analysis 16-03, September 9, 2016
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From the summary:
The federal government is providing state and local governments with nearly $729 billion in federal funds in fiscal year (FY) 2016. However, most of these funds come with strings attached. Many federal grant programs require states to contribute their own funds to the cost of a program, through matching or maintenance-of-effort (MOE) requirements. This Special Analysis provides a summary of programs with state matching or MOE requirements, based on the FFIS grants database.

Pension Enhancements and the Retention of Public Employees

Source: Cory Koedel and P. Brett Xiang, ILR Review, OnlineFirst, Published online before print May 16, 2016
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From the abstract:
The authors use data from workers in the largest public-sector occupation in the United States—teaching—to examine the effect of pension enhancements on employee retention. Specifically, they study a 1999 enhancement to the benefit formula for public school teachers in St. Louis, Missouri, that resulted in an immediate and dramatic increase in their incentives to remain in covered employment. To identify the effect of the enhancement on teacher retention, the analysis leverages the fact that the strength of the incentive increase varied across the workforce depending on how far teachers were from retirement eligibility when it was enacted. The results indicate that the St. Louis enhancement—which was structurally similar to enhancements that were enacted in other public pension plans across the United States in the late 1990s and early 2000s—was not a cost-effective way to increase employee retention.

What Businesses Attract Unions? Unionization over the Life Cycle of U.S. Establishments

Source: Emin Dinlersoz, Jeremy Greenwood, and Henry Hyatt, ILR Review, OnlineFirst, Published online before print July 1, 2016
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From the abstract:
What types of businesses attract unions? The study develops a theory of union learning and organizing to provide an answer to this question. A union monitors the productivity of establishments in an industry and uses this information to decide which ones to organize. An establishment becomes unionized if the union wins a certification election, the outcome of which can be influenced by costly actions taken by the two parties. The model offers predictions on the nature of union selection, which are examined empirically. Data on union certification elections, matched with data on establishment characteristics, are used to explore where union activity is concentrated.

The View at the Top or Signing at the Bottom? Workplace Diversity Responsibility and Women’s Representation in Management

Source: Mary E. Graham, Maura A. Belliveau, and Julie L. Hotchkiss, ILR Review, OnlineFirst, Published online before print September 8, 2016
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From the abstract:
Women lag men in their representation in management jobs, which negatively affects women’s careers and company performance. Using data from 81 publicly traded firms with more than 2,000 establishments, the authors examine the impact of two management structures that may influence gender diversity in management positions. The authors find no association between the presence of an HR executive on the top management team—a structure envisioned in practice as enhancing diversity but which could, instead, operate merely symbolically—and the proportion of women in management. By contrast, the authors show a strong, positive association between a previously unexamined measure of commitment to diversity—the hierarchical rank of the individual certifying the company’s required, confidential federal EEO-1 report—and women’s representation in management. These findings counter the common perception that the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) regulations are too weak to affect gender diversity. The authors discuss the implications for diversity scholarship, as well as for management practice and public policy.

Testing Attestations: U.S. Unemployment and Immigrant Work Authorizations

Source: Ben A. Rissing and Emilio J. Castilla, ILR Review, Vol 69 no. 5, October 2016
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From the abstract:
Each year, hundreds of thousands of immigrants seek legal employment in the United States. Similar to many developed countries, the United States has established immigration policies to protect its citizens’ employment. This study empirically assesses, for the first time, the relationship between U.S. workers’ unemployment rates and immigrant work authorization outcomes, as determined by one key U.S. immigration program—the labor certification process. This program explicitly requires that no willing and qualified U.S. worker be available for the job position offered to a foreign worker. Through the analysis of 40 months of labor certification requests evaluated by U.S. Department of Labor agents, the authors find that, ironically, immigrant labor certification approvals are more likely when the quantity of unemployed U.S. workers within an occupation is high, ceteris paribus. Further, because of the U.S. government’s procedure of auditing applications, the authors are able to assess approval differences when government agents reach similar labor certification decisions using 1) employers’ accounts of their own compliance (e.g., “attestations”) or 2) supporting documentation collected when employers are audited. Only for evaluations of audited applications, in support of the literature on accounts and regulation, are approvals less likely when unemployment is high. The authors conclude by discussing the implications of their findings for theories and policies concerning labor market regulation, immigration, and employment.

Why are police inside public schools?

Source: Aaron Kupchik, The Conversation, September 6, 2016

Children across the U.S. have now returned to school. Many of these children are going to schools with sworn police officers patrolling the hallways. These officers, usually called school resource officers, are placed in schools across the country to help maintain school safety.

According to the most recent data reported by the Department of Education, police or security guards were present in 76.4 percent of U.S. public high schools in the 2009-2010 school year.

In many of these schools, police officers are being asked to deal with a range of issues that are very different from traditional policing duties, such as being a mental health counselor for a traumatized child. This is an unfair request….

The South Is Organizing — and There’s No One to Cover It

Source: Mike Elk, Pacific Standard, September 5, 2016

Workers are less scared of organizing when the press is covering them. The solution? More labor reporters in the South. ….

….Southern workers are also facing a rapidly expanding economy — in part from a growing technology and auto industry — even as many citizens know that they aren’t getting a piece of the pie. Just as attitudes about race are changing in the South, attitudes about organized labor are changing just as rapidly.

Based on an analysis of Bureau of Labor Statistics data, the fastest-growing region in the United States for union membership is the South, where nearly 150,000 workers opted to join unions last year — bringing the total number of union members in the South to nearly three million. Five of the top 10 fastest-growing states for union membership in 2015 were all in the South.

If those number surprise you, that might be because there is not a single full-time labor reporter anywhere in the South….

….If unionization in digital media has proved one thing, it is that coverage of workers unionizing leads to even more organizing….

Graduate Students, the Laborers of Academia

Source: Mark Oppenheimer, The New Yorker, August 31, 2016

….While labor supporters have every reason to be gladdened by the N.L.R.B. ruling, there are already numerous graduate-student unions in the United States, as the N.L.R.B. noted—representing sixty-four thousand graduate students on twenty-eight campuses, including the universities of Wisconsin, California, Michigan, and Iowa. But those are all public universities (although private N.Y.U., which had a union and then lost it, won a new contract last year). And until last week the law recognized an arbitrary, and unmerited, distinction between workers at public and private schools. Grade papers on a large, public campus and you were a laborer, with a union and the right to strike; do the same work at Yale or Columbia and you were a student, one who happened to do a little grading, but certainly nobody who needed union protections.

The law has never put the dichotomy so starkly, of course, and students at state schools are just lucky that those institutions are governed by generally more union-friendly state laws, not by the fickle federal board. But the grad-student-union movement at private schools is decades old—by some counts, the fight at Yale is the longest-lasting struggle for union recognition in the country—and throughout its history its opponents, including me, once upon a time, have relied on the élitist logic that unions are for other people, not for our kind.

The standard argument against graduate-student unions, one adopted by the lone dissenter in last week’s federal ruling, is that graduate students are “primarily” students, and that any work they do, like leading discussion sections or grading papers, is educational in nature—that is, they are learning a skill that they will need on the job market. And, the argument goes, if on occasion they do actual labor, they still should not be able to join a union, because the adversarial nature of collective bargaining would threaten to undermine the primary relationship, that of student to professor, advisee to mentor……

…..In the end, of course, the question of graduate-student unionism does not turn on whether the unions are good or bad for students. Whatever else graduate students are, they are workers now. In 1975, fifty-seven per cent of American faculty were tenured or tenure-track, but by 2011 that number had fallen to thirty per cent. As jobs in the professoriate have disappeared, graduate students have become an indispensable source of labor, without whom undergraduates simply could not be taught. They have become workers, not for their own sake as apprentice-learners but because their schools need them as casual labor…..