Stopping Sexual Harassment

Source: Camille Colatosti & Elissa Karg, Labor Notes, February 23, 2018

This article is adapted from Stopping Sexual Harassment: A Handbook for Union and Workplace Activists, published by Labor Notes in 1992.

While some things have changed since then, we’ve found much of the book’s advice is still quite relevant. ….

…. It’s hard enough to confront workplace sexual harassment when it’s coming from management. But what about harassment between co-workers?

It’s a more difficult issue—but one that has to be addressed if the union is worth its salt.

The most important step is confronting co-worker harassment head-on, even if some argue that the union should not “choose sides.”

…. Unions that shy away from dealing with co-worker harassment may find themselves with new problems and divisions. Women may turn to management, and some co-workers may blame them for getting co-workers in trouble. ….

10 Years Later: The Financial Crisis State by State

Source: Joe Valenti, Center for American Progress, February 22, 2018

…. In case members of Congress have forgotten what families dealt with during the financial crisis, Table 1 shows unemployment levels and bankruptcies, as well as the number of borrowers 90 days or more behind on their mortgages and credit cards in every state for 2009 and 2016, the most recent year all of these data are available. ….

Holding Pattern

Source: Lisa Peet, Library Journal, February 16, 2018

LJ’s 2018 Budget Survey shows overall budgets continuing to increase slightly, but federal funding disputes and new tax laws raise concern Last year, LJ’s budget survey showed libraries nationwide staying above water throughout 2016. In 2017 that trend continued, with libraries of all sizes reporting an overall average increase in funding for operating, materials, and personnel budgets. The trend seems to be leveling out, however. While total operating budgets rose modestly, concerns over a contentious federal budget that originally sought to eliminate federal library funding, as well as new tax laws, leave libraries unsure of what the future may hold.

An initial look at LJ’s 2018 Budgets and Funding survey of U.S. public libraries reveals a 2.8% increase in 2017’s total operating budgets, representing continued improvement since the lows of 2008—although down from last year’s gain of 3.4%. Overall, 77% of the 329 responding libraries reported an increase in total operating budgets from 2016 to 2017. In terms of individual locations, this is an improvement over previous years; 70% reported upticks in 2016, and 74% in 2015. …..

Women report more rudeness at work from other women

Source: Futurity, February 21, 2018

Women report more incivility from other women at work than from male coworkers, according to a new study.

The phenomenon of women discriminating against other women in the workplace—particularly as they rise in seniority—has long been documented as the “queen bee syndrome.” As women have increased their ranks in the workplace, most will admit to experiencing rude behavior and incivility….

Related:
Further Understanding Incivility in the Workplace: The Effects of Gender, Agency, and Communion
Source: Allison S. Gabriel, Marcus M. Butts, Zhenyu Yuan, Rebecca L. Rosen, Michael T. Sliter, Journal of Applied Psychology, December 14, 2017
(subscription required)

From the abstract:
Research conducted on workplace incivility—a low intensity form of deviant behavior—has generally shown that women report higher levels of incivility at work. However, to date, it is unclear as to whether women are primarily treated uncivilly by men (i.e., members of the socially dominant group/out-group) or other women (i.e., members of in-group) in organizations. In light of different theorizing surrounding gender and incivility, we examine whether women experience increased incivility from other women or men, and whether this effect is amplified for women who exhibit higher agency and less communion at work given that these traits and behaviors violate stereotypical gender norms. Across three complementary studies, results indicate that women report experiencing more incivility from other women than from men, with this effect being amplified for women who are more agentic at work. Further, agentic women who experience increased female-instigated incivility from their coworkers report lower well-being (job satisfaction, psychological vitality) and increased work withdrawal (turnover intentions). Theoretical implications tied to gender and incivility are discussed.

Negotiating While Female

Source: Andrea Kupfer, Marquette Law School Legal Studies Paper No. 18-12, Posted: February 16, 2018  

From the abstract:
Why are women paid less than men? Prevailing ethos conveniently blames the woman and her alleged inability to negotiate. This article argues that blaming women for any lack of negotiation skills or efforts is inaccurate and that prevailing perceptions about women and negotiation are in-deed myths. The first myth is that women do not negotiate. While this is true in some lab studies and among younger women, more recent workplace data calls this platitude into question. The second myth is that women should avoid negotiations because of potential backlash. Although women in leadership do face an ongoing challenge to be likeable, it is clear that not negotiating has long-term detrimental effects. The third myth, based on the limited assumption that a good negotiator must be assertive, is that women cannot negotiate as well as men. However, the most effective negotiators are not just assertive, but also empathetic, flexible, socially intuitive, and ethical. Women can and do possess these negotiation skills. This article concludes by proposing an action plan which provides advice on how women can become more effective negotiators and identifies structural changes that might encourage negotiation and reduce the gender pay gap.

Unions are confronted with an existential threat

Source: The Economist, February 22, 2018

Mark Janus could be making history this year. On February 26th the social worker from Illinois will be sitting with his two lawyers in the hallowed setting of the Supreme Court as the justices hear one hour of oral arguments in Janus v American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees, which asks whether public employees like himself, who choose not to join their designated union, may still be charged a compulsory “agency fee” to support collective bargaining. Mr Janus argues that the fee violates his First Amendment right to freedom of speech, because it forces him to subsidise an organisation whose bargaining position he rejects.

The court’s ruling in the case could determine the future of the labour movement…..

Do Protests Matter? What the Tea Party Movement Can Teach the Trump Resistance

Source: Kaya Axelsson, Yes! Magazine, January 29, 2018

….Does protesting really matter?

People who care about grassroots social change might be afraid to ask this question, but it doesn’t mean we aren’t all thinking it. The answer can compel us to use our collective power, or it can spread a culture of defeat and apathy. A close look at the research on the success of past protests gives us reason for optimism. There are lessons we can learn about how these rallies grew into movements, and about their inherent power to bring about change. But they’ll take us to some uncomfortable places…..

Janus and fair share fees: The organizations financing the attack on unions’ ability to represent workers

Source: Celine McNicholas, Zane Mokhiber, and Marni von Wilpert, Economic Policy Institute, February 21, 2018

From the press release:
In a new paper, EPI Labor Counsel Celine McNicholas and research assistant Zane Mokhiber report that the Supreme Court case Janus v AFSCME Council 31, along with previous cases challenging unions’ right to collect “fair share” fees from nonmembers, have been financed by a small group of foundations with ties to the largest and most powerful corporate lobbies. Analyzing Internal Revenue Service documents, the authors find that several of the foundations supporting anti-union litigants share the same donors—including the Sarah Scaife Foundation, The Lynde and Harry Bradley Foundation, the Ed Uihlein Family Foundation, and the Dunn’s Foundation for the Advancement of Right Thinking.

Working people who choose not to join their workplace’s union, but are still covered by a collective bargaining agreement, do not pay union dues. Instead, they pay “fair share” fees to cover the basic costs that the union incurs representing them. If the court finds in favor of the plaintiffs in Janus, unions representing public-sector workers could be prohibited from collecting these fees. The authors explain that if this happens, unions will be forced to operate with fewer and fewer resources. This will lead to reduced power—at the bargaining table and in the political process….

Trump’s Budget Cuts Are Forcing Teachers and Nurses to Work as Federal Prison Guards

Source: Samantha Michaels, Mother Jones, February 19, 2018

….For more than a decade, the Bureau of Prisons (BOP) has run on what it describes as “mission critical” staffing—the minimum number of correctional employees necessary to safely run the 98 facilities it operates. Yet over the past year, federal prisons have dipped far below those numbers, employees say, because the agency has largely stopped filling vacant positions after staffers retire or leave.

It’s about to get worse. In January, the Bureau of Prisons told its facility administrators to expect a 14 percent reduction in their staffing levels, pending congressional approval of President Donald Trump’s 2018 budget. If the spending plan passes, prisons will have to cut the number of positions they are allowed to fill, so many of those vacancies will never be filled.

The practice of making prison teachers, nurses, and other non-correctional staffers work as guards, called “augmentation,” started more than a decade ago. Prison employees say it used to happen sporadically, during emergencies or when correctional officers were away at trainings. Now, employees say the practice has become a near-daily occurrence at some facilities. As a result, they say, the wait lists for inmate medical care are growing and classes are being canceled…..