Friday, September 30, 2005

Recently Published Scholarship

William L. Corbett, Resolving Employee Discharge Disputes Under the Montana Wrongful Discharge Act (MWDA), Discharge Claims Arising Apart from the MWDA, and Practice and Procedure Issues in the Context of a Discharge Case, 66 Montana L. Rev. 329 (2005).

Audrey Wolfson Latourette, Sex Discrimination in the Legal Profession: Historical and Contemporary Perspectives, 29 Valparaiso U. L. Rev. 859 (2005).

Paul L. Arrington, Not Always Protected: Reverse Age Discrimination and the Supreme Court’s Decision in General Dynamics Land Systems, Inc. v. Cline, 73 UMKC L. Rev. 543 (2005).

Toni Lester, Queering the Office: Can Sexual Orientation Employment Discrimination Laws Transform Work Place Norms for LGBT Employees?, 73 UMKC L. Rev. 643 (2005).

Sharlott K. Thompson, Hostile Work Environment Disability Harassment under the ADA, 73 UMKC L. Rev. 715 (2005).

September 30, 2005 in Scholarship | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Legislative Responses to Bush's Suspension of Davis-Bacon Act

President Bush's September 8, 2005 suspension of the Davis-Bacon Act prevailing wage requirements in response to the national emergency caused by Hurricane Katrina has provoked a number of legislative responses, including the following:

  • H.R 3684 would suspend Davis-Bacon wage rate requirements “in any area the President determines to be a major disaster… not to apply for a period of 1 year from the date on which the President makes such determination.”
  • HR 3763 and S 1749 would reinstate the application of wage requirements notwithstanding the proclamation of the President.”
  • And HR 3834 seeks to “repeal the authority of the President to suspend the prevailing wage requirements of the Davis-Bacon Act (40 USC §3147) and reinstate the application of such requirements.”

- Joe Hodnicki

September 30, 2005 in Beltway Developments | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

NBER Report on the Law and Economics of Antidiscrimination Law

The Law and Economics of Antidiscrimination Law by John J. Donohue III - #11631

Abstract: This essay provides an overview of the central theoretical law and economics insights concerning antidiscrimination law across a variety of contexts including discrimination in labor markets, housing markets, consumer purchases, and policing. The different models of discrimination based on animus, statistical discrimination, and cartel exploitation are analyzed for both race and sex discrimination. I explore the theoretical arguments for prohibiting private discriminatory conduct and illustrates the tensions that exist between concerns for liberty and equality. I also discuss the critical point that one cannot automatically attribute observed disparities in various economic or social outcomes to discrimination, and illustrate the complexities in establishing the existence of discrimination. The major empirical findings showing the effectiveness of federal law in the first decade after passage of the 1964 Civil Rights Act are contrasted with the generally less optimistic findings from subsequent antidiscrimination interventions.

September 30, 2005 in Scholarship | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Thursday, September 29, 2005

New Workplace-ADR Simulations Book

Workplace ADR Simulations and Teacher’s Guide, 2d ed. 2005

Laura J. Cooper & Carolyn Chalmers

This book contains six ADR simulations, all focused on the workplace. Though marketed as a companion to the casebook ADR in the Workplace, the Simulations book would be a valuable addition to any labor or employment law course. I use the sexual harassment mediation simulation in my Civil Procedure course; students consistently refer to it in course evaluations as the highlight of the semester. I will use the ADA mediation/ nonunion arbitration simulation in my Employment Discrimination class next semester. There also are two grievance arbitration/mediation simulations that would be appropriate for use in a traditional Labor Law class. All simulations contain a comprehensive set of materials, including the background facts and law, bibliographic references, confidential information for role-players, and specific guidance for the teacher in conducting the simulation and leading the discussion afterward.  The book is published by Thomson-West; the ISBN is 14766-7.

September 29, 2005 in Teaching | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Wednesday, September 28, 2005

Pension Reform

The leaders of the two Senate committees with jurisdiction over pensions reached an agreement yesterday on a pension reform and funding bill, clearing the way for consideration by the full Senate. The bill will significantly change the single-employer-plan funding rules. It also will give airlines 14 years to stretch payment of their defined benefit pension obligations. For complete details, you can view the U.S. Senate press release at Pension Security & Transparency Act.

- Rick Bales

September 28, 2005 in Beltway Developments | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

"Change to Win"

"Change to Win," the new federation of unions created after several unions splintered from the AFL-CIO, continues to meet at a convention in St. Louis. Anna Burger, of the SEIU, has been elected Chair. She is the first woman to head a major union or labor federation. The federation has pledged to devote 75% of its per capita taxes to union organizing. For more information on the federation, Anna Burger, and the ongoing convention, visit the website of "Change to Win."

-Rick Bales

September 28, 2005 | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Recent NBER Reports on Wage Inequality

Trends in U.S. Wage Inequality: Re-Assessing the Revisionists
by David H. Autor, Lawrence F. Katz, Melissa S. Kearney  -  #11627


A large literature documents a substantial rise in U.S. wage inequality and educational wage differentials over the past several decades and finds that these trends can be primarily accounted for by shifts in the supply of and demand for skills reinforced by the erosion of labor market institutions affecting the wages of low- and middle-wage workers. Drawing on an additional decade of data, a number of recent contributions reject this consensus to conclude that (1) the rise in wage inequality was an "episodic" event of the first-half of the 1980s rather than a "secular" phenomenon, (2) this rise was largely caused by a falling minimum wage rather than by supply and demand factors; and (3) rising residual wage inequality since the mid-1980s is explained by confounding effects of labor force composition rather than true increases in inequality within detailed demographic groups. We reexamine these claims using detailed data from the Current Population Survey and find only limited support. Although the growth of overall inequality in the U.S. slowed in the 1990s, upper tail inequality rose almost as rapidly during the 1990s as during the 1980s. A decomposition applied to the CPS data reveals large and persistent rise in within-group earnings inequality over the past several decades, controlling for changes in labor force composition. While changes in the minimum wage can potentially account for much of the movement in lower tail earnings inequality, strong time series correlations of the evolution of the real minimum wage and upper tail wage inequality raise questions concerning the causal interpretation of such relationships. We also find that changes in the college/high school wage premium appear to be well captured by standard models emphasizing rapid secular growth in the relative demand for skills and fluctuations in the rate of growth of the relative supply of college workers -- though these models do not accurately predict the slowdown in the growth of the college/high-school gap during the 1990s. We conclude that these patterns are not adequately explained by either a 'unicausal' skill-biased technical change explanation or a revisionist hypothesis focused primarily on minimum wages and mechanical labor force compositional effects. We speculate that these puzzles can be partially reconciled by a modified version of the skill-biased technical change hypothesis that generates a polarization of skill demands.

Rising Wage Inequality: The Role of Composition and Prices
by David H. Autor, Lawrence F. Katz, Melissa S. Kearney  -  #11628


During the early 1980s, earnings inequality in the U.S. labor market rose relatively uniformly throughout the wage distribution. But this uniformity gave way to a significant divergence starting in 1987, with upper-tail (90/50) inequality rising steadily and lower tail (50/10) inequality either flattening or compressing for the next 16 years (1987 to 2003). This paper applies and extends a quantile decomposition technique proposed by Machado and Mata (2005) to evaluate the role of changing labor force composition (in terms of education and experience) and changing labor market prices to the expansion and subsequent divergence of upper- and lower-tail inequality over the last three decades We show that the extended Machado-Mata quantile decomposition corrects shortcomings of the original Juhn-Murphy-Pierce (1993) full distribution accounting method and nests the kernel reweighting approach proposed by DiNardo, Fortin and Lemieux (1996). Our analysis reveals that shifts in labor force composition have positively impacted earnings inequality during the 1990s. But these compositional shifts have primarily operated on the lower half of the earnings distribution by muting a contemporaneous, countervailing lower-tail price compression. The steady rise of upper tail inequality since the late 1970s appears almost entirely explained by ongoing between-group price changes (particularly increasing wage differentials by education) and residual price changes.

- Joe Hodnicki

September 28, 2005 in Scholarship | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Tuesday, September 27, 2005

Saudi Arabia's New Labor Code Allows Women to Work

The Arab News is reporting that the Council of Ministers has approved a new labor law that allows women to work "in all fields that suit their nature." Benefits include (1) maternity leave of four weeks before and six weeks after childbirth and (2) employers providing jobs to 50 women or more must arrange for babysitters to take care of their children aged below six.

- Joe Hodnicki

September 27, 2005 in Labor Law | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Monday, September 26, 2005

Recent NBER Reports on Human Capital: Urban Employment Growth & Clustering of Skilled People

Smart Cities: Quality of Life, Productivity, and the Growth Effect of Human Capital
by Jesse M. Shapiro  -  #11615


From 1940 to 1990, a 10 percent increase in a metropolitan area's concentration of college-educated residents was associated with a .8 percent increase in subsequent employment growth. Instrumental variables estimates support a causal relationship between college graduates and employment growth, but show no evidence of an effect of high school graduates. Using data on growth in wages, rents and house values, I calibrate a neoclassical city growth model and find that roughly 60 percent of the employment growth effect of college graduates is due to enhanced productivity growth, the rest being caused by growth in the quality of life. This finding contrasts with the common argument that human capital generates employment growth in urban areas solely through changes in productivity.

The Divergence of Human Capital Levels Across Cities
by Christopher R. Berry, Edward L. Glaeser  -  #11617 (EFG)


Over the past 30 years, the share of adult populations with college degrees increased more in cities with higher initial schooling levels than in initially less educated places. This tendency appears to be driven by shifts in labor demand as there is an increasing wage premium for skilled people working in skilled cities. In this paper, we present a model where the clustering of skilled people in metropolitan areas is driven by the tendency of skilled entrepreneurs to innovate in ways that employ other skilled people and by the elasticity of housing supply.

- Joe Hodnicki

September 26, 2005 in Scholarship | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Friday, September 23, 2005

NBER Report on Household Productivity

Hours Worked: Long-Run Trends
by Jeremy Greenwood, Guillaume Vandenbroucke - #11629


For 200 years the average number of hours worked per worker declined, both in the market place and at home. Technological progress is the engine of such transformation. Three mechanisms are stressed: (i) The rise in real wages and its corresponding wealth effect; (ii) The enhanced value of time off from work, due to the advent of time-using leisure goods; (iii) The reduced need for housework, due to the introduction of time-saving appliances. These mechanisms are incorporated into a model of household production. The notion of Edgeworth-Pareto complementarity/substitutability is key to the analysis. Numerical examples link theory and data. This note has been prepared for The New Palgrave Dictionary of Economics, 2nd edition, edited by Lawrence E. Blume and Steven N. Durlauf (London: Palgrave Macmillan).

- Joe Hodnicki

September 23, 2005 in Scholarship | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Thursday, September 22, 2005

Roberts, Lochner and Revolt

In John Roberts, Stare Decisis and the Return of Lochner: An Impetus to Jump-Start the Labor Movement, Matthew Ford, a law student at St. John's, parses Supreme Court Chief Justice nominee John Roberts' statements at his confirmation hearings "to the future and beyond":

Combining Roberts' willingness to overturn precedent absent the likelihood of disrupting "settled expectations" with his clearly pro-corporate attitude and history and his dodging of what he really thinks of Lochner, it is not hard to imagine that, without a firm labor movement and a clear indication that society would revolt against a return to the Lochner era, Roberts would not mind overturning longstanding precedent and taking us back to the days of laissez faire.

- Joe Hodnicki

September 22, 2005 in Beltway Developments | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Wednesday, September 21, 2005

Inflatable Rats Constitute Unlawful Picketing

The New York Post is reporting on a ALR ruling that holds that NYC unions' practice of using 20-foot tall inflatable rats to draw attention to non-union job sites constitutes unlawful picketing.

- Joe Hodnicki

September 21, 2005 in Labor Law | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Tuesday, September 20, 2005

CBO Report on PBGC

Monday, September 19, 2005

Election Set Aside due to Union Distribution of False Document

Albertson's Inc.
National Labor Relations Board
177 LRRM 1360, 344 NLRB No. 158
Case 28-RC-6300 
August 12, 2005

Although the NLRB declines to adopt a per se rule requiring elections to be set aside when forgeries are involved, the Board will set aside elections on a case-by-case basis if, under all circumstances of the case, employees were unable to recognize forgery for what it was. In this case, the election was set aside due to the union distribution of a forged letter which (1) contained material errors of fact by falsely referring to stores in cities in which the employer did not have stories; (2) used poor grammer; (3) and union agents remained silent despite clear evidence presented by the employer that the letter was not authentic.

- Joe Hodnicki

September 19, 2005 in Labor Law | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (1)

Sunday, September 18, 2005

State of American Labor Discussion at Toledo College of Law

From Press Release:

Rutgers Law Professor James Gray Pope will speak about “How American Workers Lost the Right to Strike and How They Will Win It Back” Monday, Sept. 19, at noon in the Law Center Auditorium.

Pope has written about how courts have historically used improper conceptions of constitutional property rights of employers to limit the rights of unions. These decisions have contributed significantly to the decline of the American labor movement, Pope writes.

He is the first of three speakers who will comment on the state of American labor this fall at the College of Law. University of Michigan Professor of Law Theodore J. St. Antoine, a noted scholar and practitioner especially in the area of arbitration, will be on campus in October, and Gerald McEntee, president of the American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees, will be at UT in November.

- Joe Hodnicki

September 18, 2005 | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Thursday, September 15, 2005

New NBER Reports

The 2004 Global Labor Survey: Workplace Institutions and Practices Around the World by Davin Chor, Richard B. Freeman  -  #11598


The 2004 Global Labor Survey (GLS) is an Internet-based survey that seeks to measure de facto labor practices in countries around the world, covering issues such as freedom of association, the regulation of work contracts, employee benefits and the prevalence of collective bargaining. To find out about de facto practices, the GLS invited labor practitioners, ranging from union officials and activists to professors of labor law and industrial relations, to report on conditions in their country. Over 1,500 persons responded, which allowed us to create indices of practices in ten broad areas for 33 countries. The GLS' focus on de facto labor practices contrasts with recent studies of de jure labor regulations (Botero et al., 2004) and with more limited efforts to measure labor practices as part of surveys of economic freedom (Fraser Institute) and competitiveness (World Economic Forum).  Although our pool of respondents differs greatly from the conservative foundations and business leaders who contribute respectively to the Fraser Institute and World Economic Forum reports, the GLS and the labor market components of the economic freedom and competitiveness measures give similar pictures of labor practices across countries. This similarity across respondents with different economic interests and ideological perspectives suggests that they are all reporting on labor market realities in a relatively unbiased way. As a broad summary statement, the GLS shows that practices favorable to workers are more prevalent in countries with high levels of income per capita; are associated with less income inequality; are unrelated to aggregate growth rates; but are modestly positively associated with unemployment. 

Workplace Segregation in the United States: Race, Ethnicity, and Skill by Judith Hellerstein, David Neumark  -  #11599


We study workplace segregation in the United States using a unique matched employer-employee data set that we have created.  We present measures of workplace segregation by education and language--as skilled workers may be more complementary with other skilled workers than with unskilled workers--and by race and ethnicity, using simulation methods to measure segregation beyond what would occur randomly as workers are distributed across establishments.  We also assess the role of education- and language-related skill differentials in generating workplace segregation by race and ethnicity, as skill is often correlated with race and ethnicity.
Finally, we attempt to distinguish between segregation by skill based on general crowding of unskilled poor English speakers into a narrow set of jobs, and segregation based on common language for reasons such as complementarity among workers speaking the same language. Our results indicate that there is considerable segregation by education and language in the workplace.  Racial segregation in the workplace is of the same order of magnitude as education segregation, and segregation between Hispanics and whites is larger yet.  Only a tiny portion of racial segregation in the workplace is driven by education differences between blacks and whites, but a substantial fraction of ethnic segregation in the workplace can be attributed to differences in language proficiency. 

Building the Stock of College-Educated Labor
by Susan Dynarski  -  #11604


Half of college students drop out before completing a degree. These low rates of college completion among young people should be viewed in the context of slow future growth in the educated labor force, as the well-educated baby boomers retire and new workers are drawn from populations with historically low education levels. This paper establishes a causal link between college costs and the share of workers with a college education.  I exploit the introduction of two large tuition subsidy programs, finding that they increase the share of the population that completes a college degree by three percentage points. The effects are strongest among women, with white women increasing degree receipt by 3.2 percentage points and the share of nonwhite women attempting or completing any years of college increasing by six and seven percentage points, respectively. A cost-benefit analysis indicates that tuition reduction can be a socially efficient method for increasing college completion. However, even with the offer of free tuition, a large share of students continue to drop out, suggesting that the direct costs of school are not the only impediment to college completion.

Native Internal Migration and the Labor Market Impact of Immigration by George J. Borjas  -  #11610


This paper presents a theoretical and empirical study of how immigration influences the joint determination of the wage structure and internal migration behavior for native-born workers in local labor markets. Using data from the 1960-2000 decennial censuses, the study shows that immigration is associated with lower in-migration rates, higher out-migration rates, and a decline in the growth rate of the native workforce. The native migration response attenuates the measured impact of immigration on wages in a local labor market by 40 to 60 percent, depending on whether the labor market is defined at the state or metropolitan area level.

- Joe Hodnicki

September 15, 2005 in Scholarship | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Monday, September 12, 2005

Roberts on Labor Law

H.J. Cummins reports on Roberts' labor law track record for the Minneapolis Star Tribune.

September 12, 2005 | Permalink | Comments (1) | TrackBack (1)

Friday, September 9, 2005

National Academies Conferance on Railroad Industry HR Issues

The Transportation Research Board’s Taskforce on Railroad Operational Safety is conducting a 1-1/2 day conference on "Investing in Human Capital: Selection, Training and Work Socialization in the Railroad Industry." The conference will be held at the Beckman Center of the National Academies in Irvine, California, on September 15-16, 2005. Special lodging rates will be available at the Hyatt Regency Newport Beach Hotel, in Newport Beach, California.

The theme for this meeting focuses on the burgeoning issue of railroad employee selection, training, and work socialization. Traditionally, job knowledge was passed down through families and through well-identified, structured career paths. However, many of these career paths no longer exist. Furthermore, the railroad workforce is becoming more diverse and includes many first-generation railroaders. With the passing of these traditional entry points, and changes in the makeup of the workforce, there exists a need to explore how new employees are being selected and prepared for their work, and its potential impact upon system safety.

September 9, 2005 | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Monday, September 5, 2005

Labor Day Interview on "Right to Work"

In Working on Rights, A Look at the "Right to Work" Movement, George Leef, executive director of the John William Pope Center for Higher Education in Raleigh, North Carolina, and author of Free Choice for Workers: A History of the Right to Work Movement is interviewed by National Review Online Editor Kathryn Lopez.

- Joe Hodnicki

September 5, 2005 | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Friday, September 2, 2005

Emergency Hurricane Communications

The Law Librarian Blog is compiling communications resources for legal and academic communities affected by Hurricane Katrina as the blog's editorial staff locates them. See generally  Law Librarian Blog

- Joe Hodnicki, editor, Law Librarian Blog

September 2, 2005 | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)