A recent report from the National State Attorneys General Program at Columbia Law School, "Enforcement of State Wage and Hour Laws: A Survey of State Regulators", by Jacob Meyer, Esq. and Robert Greenleaf, Esq. (April 2011) confirms that American states' wage and hours laws and regulations lack the substance and breadth to adequately monitor and regulate employers' actions. The result: rogue employers trump law abiding employers and vulnerable workers in many states.
On May 31, 2010, Governor Chris Christie’s New Jersey Privatization Task Force reported that more than $210 million would be saved by privatizing work that had traditionally been performed by government workers. The report even set out specific figures for some of the cost savings it identified, while others said savings were “TBD” – “To Be Decided”.
Who crunched the numbers to show that private contractors would do a better job or at least the same job for less money than public employees? The Privatization Task Force Report says that no one did. On page 14 the report says it did no analysis “due not only to the fact that the actual cost of a privatized alternative will often not be known until the end of a full fledged competitive bidding process, but also because New Jersey state government agencies have difficulty calculating with precision the full cost of functions currently performed at the state level.” So, the sunny claims of big savings for the people of New Jersey are a guestimate, at best. and “To Be Decided” is the most accurate statement in the report.
A look at walls to prevent illegal immigration and the dangers of long-term labor market forecasting.
On January 7, 2011 at the Labor and Employment Relations Association's 63rd annual meeting in Denver, Department of Labor Deputy Secretary Seth Harris delivered a teleconferenced speech on the occasion of the launch of the Employment Policy Research Network (EPRN). Harris said the EPRN goal should be "fostering dialogue between the academic and policy making communities." He talked about the Department of Labor and EPRN's shared commitment to evidence-based decision making. EPRN's research, Harris said, "will have to be current, empirical and contain actionable solutions." Research, he said, "is most relevant when it goes beyond evaluatng a problem in depth, and spends just as much time proposing solutions we can implement." The current conflict in the policy world, Harris said, "is about whether public policy will be driven by ideology and belief or whether it will be guided by data, evidence, and research."
It is becoming clearer every day that states across the country are going to be very active in policy debate and potential action this year. I hope the EPRN will engage the key issues under discussion and provide inputs based on our work. The note following summarizes a request for input received from the AFL-CIO. While the labor movement has an obvious and important interest in these issues, so do all stakeholders and so do we. Please provide copies of any research you have done on these questions and consider writing short summaries/blogs on any of these topics that are in your research domain. This is one on the things we created this network to do. Let’s deliver results in a timely (immediate) fashion in the forms of direct responses, pdf documents and hyperliinks in the comments section following the request. If you you need assistance posting materials to the website, email Mike Lillich (Lillich@illinois.edu) and he will get it done. Thanks.
Select from the list of EPRN topics below or go to the Topics Page for a more detailed list.