Author Archives: afscme

Reports: Free College Programs Don’t Benefit Low-Income Students

Source: Ashley A. Smith, Inside Higher Ed, September 6, 2018

Two nonpartisan research groups are urging policy makers to examine the details of tuition-free programs and make them more financially helpful for low-income students.

Related:
The State of Free College: Tennessee Promise and New York’s Excelsior Scholarship
Authors: Alain Poutre and Mamie Voight, Institute for Higher Education Policy, September 2018

From the summary:
As college costs steadily rise, students face unprecedented financial barriers as they pursue higher education. Many federal, state, and institutional policymakers tout free-college programs as solutions to addressing college affordability challenges. But IHEP analysis of two state free-college programs, Tennessee Promise and New York’s Excelsior Scholarship, show that to help low-income students afford college, free-college programs must be designed with equity at their core.

The State of Free College: Tennessee Promise and New York’s Excelsior Scholarship finds that neither Tennessee Promise nor the Excelsior Scholarship allocate scarce state funding to the students with the greatest need. To evaluate if these programs have improved college affordability, IHEP examined the net prices at public colleges in both states before and after the implementation of the free-college programs. The analyses assessed affordability for three student profiles with different financial means and different personal and household characteristics. The research found that both programs do little to remove affordability barriers for low-income students, and instead allocate limited funding to middle- and, in the case of Tennessee, high-income students.

A Promise Fulfilled: A Framework for Equitable Free College Programs
Source: Tiffany Jones and Katie Berger, The Education Trust, September 6, 2018

From the summary:
Each fall, millions of college students across the country start classes in hopes of earning their degree. However, the weight of steep tuition bills, rent, groceries, books, and other costs looming over their heads can often cut that dream short. The latest popular solution to help more students afford a degree, which is supported by policymakers and advocates alike, is “free college.”

But while “free college” sounds good at first, we need to ask, “Does this benefit students from low-income families who need it the most?” Unfortunately, right now the answer is “No. Not unless they are designed around equity.”

Investigating the predictors of workplace embitterment using a longitudinal design

Source: E Michailidis, M Cropley, Occupational Medicine, Advance Access, September 3, 2018
(subscription required)

From the abstract:

Background:
Embitterment has been described as the emotion generated by an event experienced as unjust. Although clinicians working in occupational health services readily recognize features of embitterment in organizations, little attention has been given to workplace embitterment. Research is warranted to identify predictors and features of employees’ embitterment.

Aims:
To explore the predictors and the chronicity of workplace embitterment over 6 months.

Methods:
A longitudinal study investigating the chronicity of workplace embitterment and its antecedents among employees from various occupations. Data were collected by online questionnaires including measures of workplace embitterment, organizational justice and employees’ perceptions of supervisory control.

Results:
The survey was completed by 352 employees at Time 1, and 169 at Time 2. The final sample (assessed at two time points) was 147 employees. The feeling of workplace embitterment appeared to be very stable during the 6-month period. Hierarchical regression analysis revealed that perceptions of distributive injustice, informational injustice and employees’ perceptions on supervisory over-control in Time 1 significantly predicted embitterment in Time 2. Only the relationship between employees’ perceptions of supervisory control and embitterment remained significant after controlling for baseline levels of embitterment.

Conclusions:
This study provides evidence for the negative impact perceived organizational injustice can have on employees’ experience of workplace embitterment. Results indicate that employees who perceive their supervisor as being over-controlling are more likely to suffer from workplace embitterment. The finding that workplace embitterment is stable during a 6-month period highlights the need for effective interventions in ameliorating and preventing workplace embitterment.

Labor Law Illiteracy: Epic Systems Corp. v. Lewis and Janus v. AFSCME

Source: Michael J. Yelnosky, Roger Williams University, Legal Studies Paper No. 184, September 4, 2018

From the abstract:
Labor law, both as an academic discipline and a subject of public consciousness, is in decline. The Supreme Court’s recent decisions in Epic Systems v. Lewis and Janus v. AFSCME reflect a notable consequence of this decline – what I am calling labor law illiteracy. The majority in Epic Systems seems to misunderstand one of the basic principles of the National Labor Relations Act, and the majority in Janus based its decision, in part, on a simplistic and one-sided view of the justifications for public sector labor law and collective bargaining.

4 ways to defend democracy and protect every voter’s ballot

Source: Douglas W. Jones, The Conversation, September 6, 2018

As voters prepare to cast their ballots in the November midterm elections, it’s clear that U.S. voting is under electronic attack. Russian government hackers probed some states’ computer systems in the runup to the 2016 presidential election and are likely to do so again – as might hackers from other countries or nongovernmental groups interested in sowing discord in American politics.

Fortunately, there are ways to defend elections. Some of them will be new in some places, but these defenses are not particularly difficult nor expensive, especially when judged against the value of public confidence in democracy. I served on the Iowa board that examines voting machines from 1995 to 2004 and on the Technical Guidelines Development Committee of the United States Election Assistance Commission from 2009 to 2012, and Barbara Simons and I coauthored the 2012 book “Broken Ballots.”

Election officials have an important role to play in protecting election integrity. Citizens, too, need to ensure their local voting processes are safe. There are two parts to any voting system: the computerized systems tracking voters’ registrations and the actual process of voting – from preparing ballots through results tallying and reporting…..

The #1 Office Perk? Natural Light

Source: Jeanne C. Meister, Harvard Business Review, September 3, 2018

The news headlines about what perks or elements of office design make for a great employee experience seem to be dominated by fads — think treadmill desks, nap pods, and “bring your dog to work day” for starters.

However, a new survey by my HR advisory firm Future Workplace called “The Employee Experience” reveals the reality is that employees crave something far more fundamental and essential to human needs. In a research poll of 1,614 North American employees, we found that access to natural light and views of the outdoors are the number one attribute of the workplace environment, outranking stalwarts like onsite cafeterias, fitness centers, and premium perks including on-site childcare (only 4-8% of FORTUNE 100 companies offer on-site child care).

The study also found that the absence of natural light and outdoor views hurts the employee experience. Over a third of employees feel that they don’t get enough natural light in their workspace. 47% of employees admit they feel tired or very tired from the absence of natural light or a window at their office, and 43% report feeling gloomy because of the lack of light…..

2017-2018 Official Congressional Directory, 115th Congress, Convened January 3, 2017

Source: U.S. Government Publishing Office (GPO), S. Pub. 115-7, 2018

From the press release:
The U.S. Government Publishing Office (GPO) makes available the authentic, digital version of the official directory of the 115th Congress.

Mandated by Title 44 of the U.S. Code, the Congressional Directory is prepared by GPO under the direction of the Joint Committee on Printing (JCP). More than just a guide to Members, committees, and officials of the 115th Congress, the Congressional Directory is the only document issued by Congress that shows the overall organization of the two chambers and their committees, offices, and support organizations.

The Directory includes historical statistics, information on the Capitol buildings and grounds, and a guide to the other agencies of the Legislative Branch. In addition, the Congressional Directory provides information on the departments and agencies of the Executive Branch, the U.S. Courts, international organizations, foreign diplomatic offices in the United States, and members of the congressional press, radio, and television galleries…..

FactCheck: have the Trump tax cuts led to lower unemployment and higher wages?

Source: Fabrizio Carmignani, Saul Eslake, The Conversation, September 2, 2018

….Minister for Finance Mathias Cormann’s statement that corporate tax cuts in the US had “led to stronger investment, stronger growth, lower unemployment rate and higher wages” is not supported by evidence.

Cormann pointed to US economic data from the second quarter of 2018 (shortly after the US corporate tax cuts were enacted) to support his statement.

Cormann correctly quoted the figures about GDP growth and the unemployment rate. His statement on wage growth is debatable, and there are qualifications to be made about his interpretation of the capital investment data.

But the simple observation that some US economic indicators improved in the second quarter of 2018 does not imply that those improvements were caused by the tax cuts.

Even if causation could be established, one quarter of data tells us very little about the effect of tax reform. It takes time for companies and workers to adjust to changed taxation environments. These adjustments happen progressively over time, and this can lead to significant differences in the short term and long term responses.

It’s worth noting that the improvement in economic conditions in the US started in mid-2016, around 18 months before the tax reform…..

Low Pay Has Teachers Flocking to the Sharing Economy

Source: Alia Wong, The Atlantic, August 17, 2018

One in 10 Airbnb hosts in the U.S. is a teacher, a new report shows.

Airbnb, the popular platform that lets people rent out their homes and apartments, released the results of a volunteer survey this week containing the striking statistic that nearly one in 10 of its hosts in the United States is an educator. In some states the trend appears to be even more pronounced—more than a quarter of all Airbnb hosts in Utah and Wisconsin, for example, work as teachers or in education (the company includes in that category administrators and college professors). This is especially noteworthy given that an analysis of census and National Center for Education Statistics figures suggests that just less than 2 percent of adults in the country work as full-time K–12 teachers.

Many of these 45,000-plus educators in the U.S. are presumably using Airbnb to supplement their regular income, as teachers struggle with stagnant, if not declining, pay. The average annual salary for K–12 public-school teachers is roughly $58,000, and they typically spend a sizable chunk of that on classroom supplies integral to their jobs. Teachers’ frustration with the situation has become so acute that it drove educators en masse to the picket lines in certain parts of the country this past spring.

Addressing Sexual Harassment in the Workplace

Source: Suzanne Hultin, LegisBrief, Vol . 26, No. 17, May 2018

The recent wave of sexual harassment allegations against media, sports moguls, politicians and people of power over the past year has prompted many state legislatures to address how they are protecting their state’s workers. Many state legislatures are looking to go beyond federal regulations to prevent workplace sexual harassment.