October 16, 2004
Working in Silicon Valley
Following on the posting yesterday about Professor Stone's book on the "new economy," I would like to also remind the readers of Professor Alan Hyde's most recent book, Working in Silicon Valley: Economic and Legal Analysis of a high-Velocity Labor Market. In working in Silicon Valley Hyde:
suggests that while the work practices associated with high technology are somewhat unorthodox and may present legal problems, they play esential roles in high growth. He addresses such issues as whether trade secret laws ought to give employers more power against departing employees or should be liberalized to facilitate start ups. Why do Silicon Valley employers use temporary help agencies at twice the national rate? Why do they employ so many engineers and programmers on temporary visas, and what would happen if that program were cut back? Why are so few Silicon Valley employees represented by unions? Could new unions serve their needs? How do well-compensated, highly mobile employees provide for their retirement or health insurance? Answers to these and many other questions about today's newest labor markets can be found in this book. The author shows how understanding these unusual features of high-velocity labor markets requires an understanding of how labor markets function like information markets and can be made to contribute to economic growth.
October 15, 2004
David Oppenheimer at the UGA School of Law
Professor David B. Oppenheimer, (Golden Gate University) presents "Is private litigation an effective mechanism to address the problem of race discrimnation in employment? next Monday October 18 at the University of Georgia School of Law.
New book by Kathy Stone
A new book by Professor Kathy Stone. From Widgets to Digits Employment Regulation for the Changing Workplace:
is about the changing nature of the employment relationship and its implications for labor and employment law. For most of the twentieth century, employers fostered long-term employment relationships through the use of implicit promises of job security, well-defined hierarchical job ladders, and longevity-based wage and benefit schemes. Today’s employers no longer value longevity or seek to encourage long-term attachment between the employee and the firm. Instead employers seek flexibility in their employment relationships. As a result, employees now operate as free agents in a boundaryless workplace, in which they move across departmental lines within firms, and across firm borders, throughout their working lives. Today’s challenge is to find a means to provide workers with continuity in wages, on-going training opportunities, sustainable and transferable skills, unambiguous ownership of their human capital, portable benefits, and an infrastructure of support structures to enable them to weather career transitions.
October 14, 2004
Generation and Gender in the Workplace
A new study commissioned by the American Business Collaboration (a consortium of eight major corporations that includes Abbott Laboratories, Deloitte & Touche USA LLP, Exxon Mobil Corporation, General Electric, IBM Corporation, Johnson & Johnson, PricewaterhouseCoopers, and Texas Instruments) examines the changes within the American workforce since 1977 in relation to job satisfaction, work-life support, gender roles and attitudes.
The study, Generation and Gender in the Workplace, finds that younger workers (Gen-Y and Gen-X) are more likely to be “family-centric” or "dual-centric" (with equal priorities on both career and family) and less “work-centric” (putting higher priority on their jobs than family) compared to members of the Boomer generation.
The study concludes by noting that not only is today's workplace different than the worplace from the past, but probably more important, "the workforce has changed too."
The study was conducted by the Families and Work Institute.
Siegelman on Mixed-Motives
Peter Siegelman (Connecticut) presents, Unmuddling Mixed-Motives? Protection for the Non-exemplary Worker, as part of Northwestern's Employment Law Colloquim today October 14, 2004.
October 13, 2004
On the Determinants of Grievance Activity
Samuel Bacharach and Peter Bamberger recently published The power of labor to grieve: The impact of the workplace, labor market, and power-dependence on employee grievance filining, in the Industrial and Labor Relations Review. Here is the abstract:
The authors examine a model of employee grievance activity that encompasses both workplace and labor market determinants and attempts to reconcile inconsistent findings in the literature by taking into account the possible moderating effects of labor power. A multi-level analysis of data from 1996-97 on 1,383 blue-collar workers suggests that labor market factors influenced grievance activity much less directly than workplace characteristics did, and that the nature of these influences was more complex than has previously been hypothesized. Specifically, consistent with power-dependence theory, the authors find that the direct effects of at least one labor market factor, the wage premium, were likely to be contingent on labor power, and that the labor market itself may have moderated the effects of certain workplace factors on employee grievance filing in a manner consistent with efficiency wage theory.
Academic Discussion on Outsourcing
A panel of six management and economics professors Rosemary Batt (Cornell University), Peter Cappelli
(Wharton School), Richard A. D’Aveni (Dartmouth College), Martin Kenney (University of California, Davis), Thomas A. Kochan (Sloan School of Management); and Raghuram Rajan (International Monetary Fund), joined Professor Sara L. Rynes (University of Iowa) for a discussion about WHAT SHOULD BE DONE ABOUT THE EXPORT OF JOBS ABROAD?. The panel addresses a variety of questions including:
It seems you can hardly pick up a newspaper or magazine these days without reading about the outsourcing or exporting of work from the United States to other countries. Have the political and media reactions to these phenomena exaggerated their significance to the U.S. economy and workforce?
It would seem, then, that we do not know as much about the current situation as we would like to know. At the same time, certain features of the world economy, as it becomes increasingly globalized, are fairly clear. We do know that the world’s developed countries constitute just a small fraction of the world’s workforce and that the means of exporting jobs to the less developed world is far greater than it was just a decade ago. Some analysts contend that the ill effects of globalization for U.S. workers will be only short-term, but economist Paul Craig Roberts recently wrote, in Business Week, that the huge excess supplies of labor in India and China mean that American wages will fall a lot faster than Asian wages will rise for a long time. Do you agree?
The focus of our discussion, of course, has been the effect of offshoring on the United States and other developed economies. But what about the other side of the equation? In India, workers in jobs most affected by offshoring -- software engineers, customer service agents, claims processors -- number about one million in an economy of 400 million workers. Given this small percentage, how significant to India or China is the exporting of jobs from the developed world? Would US or European restrictions on offshoring or foreign investment have dire effects on these countries?
October 12, 2004
U.S. News Rankings
Given the increasing emphasis schools are putting on these rankings, it got me to wondering why no one has auctioned off their 15 votes on eBay:
Starting bid: US $1.00
Time left: 10 days
Ends Oct-20-04 12:00:00 PDT
Start time: Oct-10-04 12:00:00 PDT
Quantity: 15 available
Item location: Cincinnati, Ohio
You are bidding on 1 of 15 selections in a U.S. News & World Report annual peer assessment of tax law programs in American law schools. Each of the 15 winning bidders will be able to designate one of the votes on this official U.S. News ballot. This is your chance to help your favorite law school's tax program get the recognition it so richly deserves.
I just happened to receive not only the US News International Law programs ranking, but also the big one - the Overall Annnual Assessment of Law Schools. That means I have 15 votes to sell in the International Law rankings and, since regarding the overall survey US News intructs us to "Rate schools on a scale of outstanding (5) to marginal (1) by marking the corresponding box", I also have 5 options to sell for each of the 180+ schools included in the survey.
So let the bidding start!
Political Activities and Public Employees
A recent article in the Washington Post notes the importance of a 65 years old federal statute on the election activities surrounding the 2004 presidential election. According to the article, Partisan Politics at Work Criticized, union officials have complained about the use of federal employees as "props" in President Bush reelection political events. According to the article, the Hatch Act:
which dates to 1939 and most recently was amended 11 years ago, is supposed to keep politics out of the federal workplace and ensure that taxpayer-supported resources are not misused in the service of partisan campaigns. It also is designed to foster a work environment in which employees know their job security does not depend on supporting the same candidate as the boss. Under the act, federal employees cannot engage in political activity while on duty, use their official authority to influence an election, solicit money for a partisan candidate or run as a candidate for partisan office. Employees may, however, run in nonpartisan elections, vote, express opinions about candidates and contribute money to them, as well as campaign for or against a candidate -- so long as they do such things on their own time.For a review of the scholarship in this area see, Gely & Chandler, Restricting Public Employees' Political Activities: Good Government of Partisan Politics?, 37 Houston L. Rev. 775 (2000).
2004-05 Louis Jackson National Student Writing Competition
The Institute for Law and the Workplace at Chicago-Kent announces the 2004-2005 Louis Jackson National Student Writing Competition in Employment and Labor Law. The competition is open to papers on any topic relating to the law governing the workplace, such as employment law, labor law, employee benefits, or employment discrimination. Entries must be the law student author's own work and must not be submitted for publication elsewhere. Authors must have completed or be currently taking course work in employment or labor law, and must be enrolled in an accredited law school during the Fall 2004 semester. Only the first two submissions per law school will be accepted as entries for consideration. One top honors award of $3,000 and two $1,000 awards will be presented to the top three entries. In addition to the cash awards, the top three entries will be published on the Institute for Law and the Workplace website. (Diskette versions of winning papers will be required.) Entries will be blind-judged by an independent panel of law professors from across the United States. The determination of the judges' panel is final. Neither Jackson Lewis LLP nor the Institute for Law and the Workplace will be involved in judging the competition.
For more information click here.
October 11, 2004
Top Ten B-Schools
The 2004 Business Week's ranking of Business Schools is out. The top ten are:
1. Northwestern (Kellogg)
3. Pennsylvania (Wharton)
6. Michigan (Ross)
7. Cornell (Johnson)
9. MIT (Sloan)
10. Dartmouth (Tuck)
Symposium on Workers and International Economic Institutions
Professor Ruben Garcia (Cal. Western School of Law) introduces the symposium of the UC Davis Journal of International Law & Policy ("JILP") held March 2003. The Symposium, Workers and International Economic Institutions: Challenges and Possibilities in a Global Economy, examines the problems and possibilities that government, business, and nonprofits present for creating and maintaining labor standards in the global economy.
The Symposium includes the following articles:
Stephen Diamond, The Race to the Bottom" Returns: China's Challenge to the International Labor Movement
Autor and Scarborough on Job Testing and Minority Hiring
Because minorities typically fare poorly on standardized tests, job testing is thought to pose an equity-efficiency trade-off: testing improves selection but reduces minority hiring. We evaluate this trade-off using data from a national retail firm whose 1,363 stores switched from informal to test-based worker screening. We find that testing yielded more productive hires - raising median tenure by 10 percent and reducing the frequency of firing for cause. Consistent with prior research, minorities performed significantly worse on the test. Yet, testing had no measurable impact on minority hiring, and productivity gains were uniformly large among minorities and non-minorities. We show formally that these results imply that employers were effectively statistically discriminating prior to the introduction of testing - that is, their screening practices already accounted for expected productivity differences between applicant groups. Consequently, testing improved selection of both minority and non-minority applicants, but did not alter the racial composition of hiring.
October 10, 2004
NYU's professor life a "san worker"
Robyn Nagle ends her week long diary as a saniation worker in training with a reality check:
Next week, when we report to our garages, the real work and the real weariness begin. I've been in collection trucks and on the streets with sanitation crews in various parts of New York City for the last two years, flinging trash and asking questions. I'm writing a book about the essential but unacknowledged labor of sanitation workers, so I know a little more about the job than most new hires. Today I lie on my cot, consider my classmates, and feel a disconcerting rush of concern for them. I want to warn these guys (and four girls) that when they start hefting their share of 10 or 13 or even 20 tons of trash a day, their bodies will ache in ways they never knew possible.
Nagle humbling respect for what she calls "the most important uniformed force on the streets of the city" is uplifting as she notes:
I know, too, that sanitation workers will learn to read a neighborhood more closely than the most sophisticated sociologist just by observing what it discards, but no one will care about their insights. In fact, no one will care much about them at all, and I want to shield them from this insult most of all.
The diary appeared at Slate.com.