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  • Testimony posted July 24, 2015 by James Sherk How the Common Construction Wage Affects the Cost and Quality of Construction Projects

    How the Common Construction Wage Affects the Cost and Quality of Construction Projects Testimony before Tax and Fiscal Policy Committee Indiana State Senate March 31, 2015 James Sherk Research Fellow in Labor Economics The Heritage Foundation Chairman Hershman and Members of the Tax and Fiscal Policy Committee, thank you for inviting me to testify. My name is…

  • Backgrounder posted July 20, 2015 by James Sherk, Lindsey Burke Automation and Technology Increase Living Standards

    Many Americans worry that automation will significantly reduce the need for human employees. Historical experience should help to alleviate many of these concerns. Technological advances have eliminated specific jobs and reduced prices, but the historical record shows this has left consumers with more money to spend elsewhere, increasing the demand for human labor in…

  • Commentary posted July 10, 2015 by James Sherk Overtime regulations will hurt workplace flexibility, not raise wages

    President Barack Obama has pitched his new overtime regulations as a way to raise wages. However, even economists who support the change admit that's unlikely to happen. Instead, they expect employers to cut workers' pay by an offsetting amount. So how will this new overtime rule affect the economy? Primarily by forcing salaried workers to log their hours. That's right -…

  • Backgrounder posted July 2, 2015 by James Sherk Salaried Overtime Requirements: Employers Will Offset Them with Lower Pay

    The Obama Administration has announced plans to require overtime pay for salaried employees who earn less than $50,440 a year. Economic research shows that employers will offset new overtime costs by lowering base salaries. As a result, these regulations will have little effect on total weekly earnings or hours worked. They will require employers to rigidly monitor…

  • Commentary posted June 18, 2015 by James Sherk How The Left Uses Deceptive Minimum-Wage Data

    Does the U.S.-Canadian speed gap bother you? Americans can drive no faster than 65 on Massachusetts highways. Meanwhile Canadian motorists zip along at speeds of up to 100. Congress should close this inequitable speed gap! This argument sounds ridiculous, because it is. Canadians measure speed in kilometers per hour, not miles per hour. Moreover, many states have higher…

  • Commentary posted June 16, 2015 by James Sherk Union work on taxpayers' dime

    In 1976, Jerry Jordan began his career teaching Spanish in Philadelphia public schools. A decade later, Jordan left the classroom to work full time for the Philadelphia Federation of Teachers. He is now the union's president, negotiating with public officials for union members' wages and benefits - but there's one big problem. Nearly 30 years after Jordan graded his last…

  • Issue Brief posted April 28, 2015 by David B. Muhlhausen, Ph.D., James Sherk, John Gray Trade Adjustment Assistance Enhancement Act: Budget Gimmicks and Expanding an Ineffective and Wasteful “Job-Training” Program

    On Wednesday, April 22, 2015, the Senate Committee on Finance reported out of committee the Trade Adjustment Assistance Enhancement Act of 2015. The bill was sponsored by Senators Susan Collins (R–ME) and Ron Wyden (D–OR). A day later, a companion bill (H.R. 1892), sponsored by Representatives Dave G. Reichert (R–WA), Tom Reed (R–NY), and Patrick Meehan (R–PA), was…

  • Commentary posted April 24, 2015 by James Sherk Labor Reforms Sweep the Midwest

    Labor unions have traditionally been the 800-pound gorilla of special-interest groups. They have secured handouts and subsidies that other organizations’ lobbyists could only dream about. But that may be changing. This year a raft of Midwestern states have scaled back some of organized labor’s special privileges. States are starting to treat unions no differently from…

  • Testimony posted April 22, 2015 by James Sherk How Collective Bargaining Affects Government Compensation and Total Spending

    Testimony before Committee on Government Affairs Nevada Assembly April 7, 2015 James Sherk Research Fellow in Labor Economics The Heritage Foundation Chairman Ellison and Members of the Government Committee, thank you for inviting me to testify. My name is James Sherk. I am a Research Fellow in Labor Economics at The Heritage Foundation. The views I express in…

  • Commentary posted April 14, 2015 by James Sherk The Labor Story the Media Is Missing: Local Right-to-Work Laws Are Spreading

    Last month Wisconsin made national headlines by becoming the 25th right-to-work state. But there’s another equally significant development in workers’ rights that has largely escaped media attention: the rapid flowering of local right-to-work laws in Kentucky. As of December 1, 2014, no local governments anywhere in the U.S. prohibited forced union dues. Now a dozen…

  • Commentary posted March 30, 2015 by James Sherk Choice provided by right-to-work will help Wisconsin's union members

    Many wonder how right-to-work laws will affect Wisconsin. To see how, consider another question: Do monopolies help or hurt customers? Until now, unions have had a monopoly in many Wisconsin workplaces. They didn't have to persuade workers to purchase their services; they could force them to. Anyone who didn't pay dues — averaging about $700 a year — lost his or her…

  • Commentary posted March 11, 2015 by James Sherk Walker Scores another Win for Wisconsin Workers

    Wisconsin governor Scott Walker made history today: His signature made Wisconsin a right-to-work state. This marks symbolic and substantive milestones. Symbolically, half the country now guarantees voluntary union dues. Substantively, Walker has helped demonstrate that right-to-work is a political asset, not a liability. Until today, unions could force workers to pay…

  • Testimony posted March 3, 2015 by James Sherk How Unions and Right-to-Work Laws Affect the Economy

    Testimony before Committee on Labor and Government Reform Wisconsin Senate February 24, 2015 James Sherk Senior Policy Analyst in Labor Economics The Heritage Foundation Chairman Nass, Vice-Chairman Wanggaard, and members of the Committee on Labor and Government Reform, thank you for inviting me to testify. My name is James Sherk. I am a Senior Policy Analyst in…

  • Commentary posted February 3, 2015 by James Sherk Bruce Rauner Is Trying Kentucky’s Approach to Right-to-Work: Do It Locally

    Newly elected Illinois governor Bruce Rauner is already trying to shake up his state: He just proposed local right-to-work laws, albeit at the local rather than state level. As the Associated Press reports: "The states that are already growing don’t force unionization into their economy," Rauner told an audience at Richland Community College in Decatur, a city he said…

  • Backgrounder posted January 26, 2015 by James Sherk Unions Charge Higher Dues and Pay Their Officers Larger Salaries in Non–Right-to-Work States

    Businesses with monopolies charge higher prices and operate less efficiently than they would facing competition. Labor unions operate no differently. Unions charge workers more and spend their money less carefully in states where they can compel workers to purchase their services. Union financial reports reveal that they charge workers roughly 10 percent higher dues and…