Publications

2018
Supreme Court Deals a Blow to Workers
Terri Gerstein and Sharon Block. 5/21/2018. “Supreme Court Deals a Blow to Workers.” New York Times Opinion. Publisher's Version
U.S. Engineering in a Global Economy: National Bureau of Economic Research Conference Report
5/4/2018. U.S. Engineering in a Global Economy: National Bureau of Economic Research Conference Report, Pp. 320. University of Chicago Press. Publisher's VersionAbstract
Since the late 1950s, the engineering job market in the United States has been fraught with fears of a shortage of engineering skill and talent. U.S. Engineering in a Global Economy brings clarity to issues of supply and demand in this important market. Following a general overview of engineering-labor market trends, the volume examines the educational pathways of undergraduate engineers and their entry into the labor market, the impact of engineers working in firms on productivity and innovation, and different dimensions of the changing engineering labor market, from licensing to changes in demand and guest worker programs.

The volume provides insights on engineering education, practice, and careers that can inform educational institutions, funding agencies, and policy makers about the challenges facing the United States in developing its engineering workforce in the global economy.
1099 Nation spreads its tentacles: Employees in every sense of the word — but without the benefits
Mark Erlich. 4/10/2018. “1099 Nation spreads its tentacles: Employees in every sense of the word — but without the benefits.” Commonwealth Magazine.
These Americans are trapped in their jobs: they need to pay $10,000 to quit
Terri Gerstein. 4/8/2018. “These Americans are trapped in their jobs: they need to pay $10,000 to quit.” The Guardian. Publisher's VersionAbstract

Why would dozens of news anchors recite a Sinclair Broadcast group script? Because their contracts entrap them

 

Above all, workers and their allies can take the lead in joining together to unearth and combat these abusive practices. Teachers from West Virginia, Kentucky, and Oklahoma are rising up, seeking better conditions for themselves and their students. Workers at media companies have been electrified, too, organizing new unions in recent years. 

The Sinclair anchors spoke in unison delivering the company’s message. Maybe one day soon, they can take back the power and again speak in unison, this time delivering their own. 

 

Minor League Baseball players are latest victims of anti-worker Trump and GOP
Sharon Block. 3/29/2018. “Minor League Baseball players are latest victims of anti-worker Trump and GOP.” USA Today. Publisher's VersionAbstract
Congress just killed workplace protections for underpaid minor league baseball players. Notch another win for the 1% under Republicans and Donald Trump.
Alternative Facts at the NLRB
Sharon Block. 3/28/2018. “Alternative Facts at the NLRB.” OnLabor.org. Publisher's Version
Labor Department's program on wage theft enforcement is the wrong approach
Terri Gerstein. 3/22/2018. “Labor Department's program on wage theft enforcement is the wrong approach.” The Hill. Publisher's VersionAbstract

Imagine a robber enters a bank, demands the contents of the safe, flees with bags of cash, and once caught, has to do one thing: return the stolen money and promise not to do it again.  No penalty, no prosecution, no additional deterrent. More people would likely think, "Why not try? If I get caught, the worst that could happen is I would give the money back.”

The federal labor department this month announced a nationwide pilot program which is pretty close to this scenario.  Under the Payroll Audit Independent Determination (PAID) program, the U.S. Department of Labor would enable employers who have underpaid their hard-working employees to simply pay back those wages owed, while avoiding any penalties and damages. It’s a cute acronym for a very bad idea.

“Protecting labor rights in preferential trade agreements: The role of trade unions, left governments, and skilled labor”
Damian Raess, Andreas Dür, and Dora Sari. 3/6/2018. ““Protecting labor rights in preferential trade agreements: The role of trade unions, left governments, and skilled labor”.” The Review of International Organizations. Publisher's Version
Board Vacates Hy-Brand, Raising More Questions
Sharon Block. 2/27/2018. “Board Vacates Hy-Brand, Raising More Questions.” OnLabor.org. Publisher's VersionAbstract

Yesterday, the National Labor Relations Board vacated its December decision in Hy-Brand Industrial Contractors.  (Ben and Sharon had called for this action in OnLabor last week here and here.)  The Board’s unusual action follows a finding by the Board’s Inspector General that Member Bill Emanuel should have recused himself from participation in the case.  The Board noted in its press release that because Hy-Brand had been vacated, “the overruling of the Board’s decision in Browning-Ferris Industries, 362 NLRB No. 186 (2015), set forth therein is of no force or effect.”

The Board’s action was a welcome first step in correcting the damage done by the Hy-Brand decision.  Most importantly, for the time being, the Board will determine joint employer status using the standard set forth in Browning-Ferris – a standard that takes into account the reality of today’s fissured workplaces.  Beyond that important restoration, however, the Board’s one sentence order vacating Hy-Brand leaves many questions about the future unanswered.

The NLRB Should Withdraw Hy-Brand . . . AND!
Sharon Block. 2/22/2018. “The NLRB Should Withdraw Hy-Brand . . . AND!.” OnLabor.org. Publisher's Version
The NLRB Should Withdraw Hy-Brand
BENJAMIN SACHS. 2/21/2018. “The NLRB Should Withdraw Hy-Brand.” OnLabor.org. Publisher's Version
Washington Post Logo
Sharon Block and BENJAMIN SACHS. 2/9/2018. “The Trump administration is abandoning McDonald’s workers — and everyone else.” Washington Post. Publisher's Version
Uber’s Political Program in the States
BENJAMIN SACHS and Sharon Block. 1/19/2018. “Uber’s Political Program in the States.” onLabor.org. Publisher's Version
Continuing the Labor Law Reform Debate in 2018
BENJAMIN SACHS and Sharon Block. 1/3/2018. “Continuing the Labor Law Reform Debate in 2018.” OnLabor.
Building Trust in a Changing World of Work: The Global Deal for Decent Workand Inclusive Growth Flagship Report 2018
International Labour Organization (ILO). 2018. Building Trust in a Changing World of Work: The Global Deal for Decent Workand Inclusive Growth Flagship Report 2018. Edited by Organisation Economic Co-operation Development for and (OECD). Global Deal Support Unit located in the Swedish Ministry of Foreign Affairs. Publisher's VersionAbstract

Dora Sari, LWP Fellow, was ont he ILO team that helped produce this report

 

2017
Miscimarra’s Parting Shot: Was It a December Massacre?
Sharon Block. 12/19/2017. “Miscimarra’s Parting Shot: Was It a December Massacre?.” onLabor.org. Publisher's Version
TRUMP WANTS YOU TO TIP RESTAURANT OWNERS, NOT SERVERS
Sharon Block and Christine Owens. 12/7/2017. “TRUMP WANTS YOU TO TIP RESTAURANT OWNERS, NOT SERVERS.” Newsweek.org. Publisher's Version
The Guardian Logo
Sharon Block and Terri Gerstein. 12/2/2017. “We need an agenda for new laws to prevent sexual harassment.” The Guardian. Publisher's Version
Willingness to Pay for Clean Air in China
Richard Freeman, Wenquan Liang, Ran Song, and Christopher Timmins. 12/2017. “Willingness to Pay for Clean Air in China”. NBER Working PaperAbstract
We develop a residential sorting model incorporating migration disutility to recover the implicit value of clean air in China. The model is estimated using China Population Census Data along with PM2.5 satellite data. Our study provides new evidence on the willingness to pay for air quality improvement in developing countries and is the first application of an equilibrium sorting model to the valuation of non-market amenities in China. We employ two novel instrumental variables based on coal-fired electricity generation and wind direction to address the endogeneity of local air pollution. Results suggest important differences between the residential sorting model and a conventional hedonic model, highlighting the role of moving costs and the discreteness of the choice set. Our sorting results indicate that the economic value of air quality improvement associated with a one-unit decline in PM2.5 concentration is up to $8.83 billion for all Chinese households in 2005.
What Harvey Weinstein Has To Teach Us About the Weakness of Our Laws
Sharon Block. 11/28/2017. “What Harvey Weinstein Has To Teach Us About the Weakness of Our Laws.” OnLabor.org. Publisher's Version

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