Testimony posted July 15, 2014
What Do Workers Want? Union Spending Does Not Reflect Member Priorities
Testimony before State Government Committee Pennsylvania House of Representatives
Chairman Metcalfe and Members of the State Government Committee, thank you for inviting me to testify this afternoon. My name is James Sherk. I am a Senior Policy Analyst in Labor Economics at The Heritage Foundation. The views I express in this testimony are my own, and should not be…
Issue Brief posted June 13, 2014
Job-Training Reform: Finding Out What Works
Last month, congressional negotiators reached a bipartisan deal to reauthorize Department of Labor (DOL) job-training programs. Overall, the compromised legislation, the Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act (WIOA), continues the funding of federal job-training programs that have a long history of failure based upon the results of large-scale experimental…
Backgrounder posted June 12, 2014
Shrinking Workweeks: A Sign of Unequal Recovery from the Great Recession
Five years after the end of the Great Recession, the labor market remains weak. In May 2014, the unemployment rate stood at 6.3 percent, matching the highest rate following the 2001 recession. Labor force participation has fallen to levels not seen since the Carter Administration, when far fewer women worked outside the home than do today.
Policymakers and the media have…
Issue Brief posted May 22, 2014
Equal Pay for Equal Work: Examining the Gender Gap
The White House and many in Congress argue that employers pay women less than men for the same work. They point to figures showing that women earn 77 cents for each dollar men earn. Such statistics ignore other factors that influence pay.
Education, choice of industry and occupation, hours worked, experience, and career interruptions all affect the productivity—and…
Issue Brief posted May 12, 2014
Citizen Approval of Government Pay: Require Public Ratification of Union Contracts
Many state and local governments face severe financial problems, driven in part by rising compensation costs of state and local government workers. Union political influence enables them to co-opt the collective bargaining process. When they negotiate with politicians elected with their help, unions can control both sides of the bargaining table to the detriment of the…
Issue Brief posted April 17, 2014
Paycheck Fairness Act Would Reduce Pay and Flexibility in the Workplace
In the name of protecting women from discrimination, the Paycheck Fairness Act (PFA) would allow employees to sue businesses that pay different workers different wages—even if those differences have nothing to do with the employees’ sex. These lawsuits can be brought for unlimited damages, giving a windfall to trial lawyers.
Any financial benefits they reap, however,…
Issue Brief posted March 13, 2014
Expand Employee Participation in the Workplace
The National Labor Relations Act (NLRA) prohibits most employee-participation programs, such as the proposed works council program in Chattanooga, Tennessee. Workers must choose between a traditional union and no formal representation at all.
Congress should modify the NLRA to allow workers to participate in works councils and employee involvement programs. This would…
Issue Brief posted January 28, 2014
Labor Unions: Stagnant Membership Shows Need for Labor Law Modernization
Union density changed little in 2013. Overall density remained at last year’s post–World War II low of 11.3 percent. Just one in 15 private-sector workers holds a union card, and half of all union members now work in government.
Unions have had little success selling traditional collective bargaining to today’s private-sector workers, but the law prohibits alternative…
Issue Brief posted January 21, 2014
Most Minimum-Wage Jobs Lead to Better-Paying Opportunities
The minimum wage does not need to rise for minimum-wage employees to get a raise. Two-thirds of minimum-wage workers make above the minimum wage a year later. This happens because most minimum-wage jobs are entry-level positions. They teach unskilled and inexperienced workers basic employment skills. Without these skills, they cannot qualify for higher-paying jobs. As…