Thursday, November 29, 2012
From the Executive Summary to Decoding the Fiscal Cliff:
The waning days of 2012 and of President Obama’s final days of his first Administration provide him and the Democratic and Republican leadership of the Congress a unique challenge to resolve what has become the most critical domestic problem of the Nation, averting the fiscal cliff. To do so will require them to achieve what they have been unable to accomplish in his entire initial term in office, namely, overcoming sharply contrasting philosophies of government regarding the issues that underlie the fiscal cliff, i.e. tax policy and government expenditures. Solving the problem is further compounded by what had become a mantra of the President in his bid for reelection, taxing the rich more heavily to minimize cuts in programs benefitting the middle and lower classes. The argument of this article is that there are already enacted a considerable number of new tax measures that will begin to fall in 2013 only on the very taxpayers who are in the President’s target area, thus accomplishing Obama’s goal and greatly reducing the principal obstacle to the negotiators averting the fiscal cliff.
Surely not every one will agree with this line of argumentation, but it is a provocative commentary that deserves scrutiny.
Wednesday, November 28, 2012
First, I’d like to thank Charlie for the kind introduction, and the rest of the regulars here at Workplace Prof Blog for the invitation to guest blog this month.
Unions’ participation in electoral politics is a topic of continuing interest to me, and one that I have discussed in two recent articles: one dealing with the impact of Citizens United on unions, and another (coauthored, with Nancy Leong) that describes coalitions between unions and civil rights groups in the political arena. Therefore, I thought I’d start out by discussing one way in which unions and union members participated in the 2012 presidential campaign season: the Workers’ Voice SuperPAC. (In future posts, I plan to discuss other aspects of union political advocacy, including participation in voting rights litigation, and encouragement of members to run for state or local office.)
As many readers know, Workers’ Voice is an AFL-CIO SuperPAC that focused its resources in part on facilitating targeted door-to-door canvassing by union members. Because of Citizens United, Workers’ Voice could canvass at non-union households; this was a change from past years, in which union canvassing was restricted to union households.
Why did Workers’ Voice devote scarce resources to canvassing, rather than television and radio ads? I suspect the answer lies in part in the realization that the labor movement would be dramatically outspent on media. But there are additional considerations as well. (Full disclosure: Before the election, I expressed skepticism in an interview that even a well-coordinated canvassing effort could balance the effect of other forms of political persuasion.) For one, unions have a lot of experience with political canvassing, and therefore have a good sense of what works. However, much of this experience comes from communicating with union members. (Working America, an AFL affiliate for non-union workers, provides an important exception, though even there, I suspect that organizers are in more frequent contact with current and potential members than are election canvassers.) While it is thus not initially obvious that effective canvassing techniques in the union context translate directly into the non-union context, canvassers could of course refine their approach as they went along. In addition, there is the effect of the SB-5 referendum in Ohio and the recall efforts in Wisconsin to consider; these campaigns helped identify strong networks of union activists and supporters who could be called on to participate in the 'ground game' (though some of these people may have been fatigued by the time election season arrived). In these two key swing states, then, canvassing seems to have been a natural extension of recent union activism.Finally, it is worth considering unions’ opportunity costs. In his book, Why Unions Matter, Michael Yates states that “there is a direct connection between the increase in the amounts of money and effort labor has expended politically and the decline in organizing efforts.” Here, I think there is much to be said for door-to-door canvassing over other forms of political campaigning by unions, particularly given the chance that face-to-face contacts could translate into support for future organizing efforts. Given all this, the extent to which union canvassing of non-union homes results in either political or organizing gains seems like an important area of potential research.
Dear Colleagues: Please see the attached for the 2012 joint annual newsletter for the AALS Section on Employment Discrimination and the Section on Labor Relations and Employment Law. Thanks very much for all of your contributions, and we hope you enjoy this year's newsletter.
You can get the newsletter here [ Download Employment Discrimination_L&E Newsletter_2012 ]. It has information on relevant AALS panels, faculty publication and personnel moves, important decisions from the past year, and cases pending in the Supreme Court.
Tuesday, November 27, 2012
University of Colorado Law School to Host 9th Annual Labor and Employment Law Colloquium in Fall 2014
Along with Joe Slater and Scott Moss, I am happy to announce that the Ninth Annual Colloquium on Current Scholarship in Labor and Employment Law will be held in the Fall of 2014 at the University of Colorado Law School. This will be the second time that Colorado will be hosting the event (it co-hosted the Second Annual Colloquium in 2007), and we are thrilled to be returning to Boulder.
As a reminder, the Eighth Annual Colloquium will be held next year in September 2013 at UNLV Law School. You should look forward to hearing more information about the UNLV Colloquium soon on the various labor and employment law listservs and the Workplace Prof Blog.
Workplace Prof is pleased to welcome a guest blogger, Charlotte Garden.
Although she's relatively new to the academy, having started on tenure track at Seattle in 2011, Professor Garden is well-know to a lot of our readers through her scholarship and presentations at conferences. In fact, I first met Charlotte at Seton Hall's Forum in 2010. It was clear to everyone present that she would be an strong new voice in our patch of acadmia, and that's certainly proving true. Working so far mainly in the labor area, with an emphasis on labor speech, she's not only very well published, but has already been featued in Jotwell.
We welcome Charlotte and look forward to her contributions.