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  • Issue Brief posted April 17, 2014 by James Sherk, Rachel Greszler 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,…

  • Commentary posted April 2, 2014 by James Sherk Liberal Economists Are Caught in a Bind Trying to Sell Obama’s Overtime Laws

    President Harry Truman once famously quipped: “Give me a one-handed economist! All my economists say, ‘On the one hand, on the other . . .’” This probably isn’t exactly quite what he meant, but some economists are earnestly taking both sides of a debate over President Obama’s new overtime regulations, which expand time-and-a-half requirements to certain jobs. In a…

  • Commentary posted March 20, 2014 by James Sherk Goodbye, flexible work arrangements

    Millions of salaried workers may soon lose flexibility in how they work. President Obama plans to cover them under federal overtime regulations. This won't raise their pay. It will, however, effectively convert them into hourly workers - putting the kibosh on the flexible work arrangements many employees value. Hourly employees get paid time-and-a-half for working more…

  • Issue Brief posted March 13, 2014 by James Sherk 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…

  • Commentary posted February 19, 2014 by James Sherk What the Times Doesn’t Say about the Minimum Wage

    Bias often appears in facts someone omits, not in actual inaccuracies. Take the New York Times’ new minimum wage calculator, which shows how difficult it can be to support oneself on just a minimum-wage income. Left unsaid: Few minimum-wage workers do so. The Times’ calculator asks users to try to balance living expenses on a minimum-wage budget. No doubt about it –…

  • Commentary posted February 11, 2014 by James Sherk How the Affordable Care Act is Killing Jobs

    Fewer Americans either have or are looking for jobs today than at any point since 1978 – and  President Obama’s health care law is about to make this problem much worse.   The Congressional Budget Office (CBO) just estimated the Affordable Care Act will eliminate the equivalent of 2.5 million jobs a year. Obamacare is reducing both the supply of and demand for…

  • Issue Brief posted January 28, 2014 by James Sherk, Filip Jolevski 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 by James Sherk 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…

  • Commentary posted January 14, 2014 by James Sherk Why NLRB v. Canning Happened

    In Monday’s Noel Canning case, the Supreme Court considered whether the president can make recess appointments during Senate sessions. Few observers expect the Supreme Court to answer yes. Pundits have paid much less attention, however, to why he would want to stretch the constitutional limits on his authority: to unionize workers through regulation. Private-sector union…

  • Issue Brief posted January 10, 2014 by James Sherk, Salim Furth, Ph.D. Heritage Jobs Report: Unemployment Drop Is Coal in America’s Stocking

    The Bureau of Labor Statistics reported that the unemployment rate fell to 6.7 percent in December from 7.0 percent in November, but the change was caused by people who gave up looking for work. Employers created only 74,000 jobs, a depressing drop from the previous three months. Labor force participation dropped to 62.8 percent, matching the lowest rate since 1978. The…

  • Commentary posted December 12, 2013 by James Sherk A $10.10 Minimum Wage is Historically Unprecedented

    You would hardly know it from the news coverage, but America has a historically high minimum wage. At the Heritage Foundation we just put out a report looking at how the minimum wage has changed over time. It currently stands at $7.25 an hour, with many states having higher rates. Since 1950, the minimum wage has averaged $6.62 an hour (in 2013 dollars). It peaked in 1968…

  • Commentary posted December 12, 2013 by James Sherk How Autoworkers Became More Equal Than Others

    The Treasury Department has sold the last of its stock in General Motors Co. Even though taxpayers lost $15 billion on the auto bailout (including losses at Chrysler Group LLC and Ally Financial Inc., which offers financing for GM vehicles), the Barack Obama administration put out a statement taking credit for its handling of tax dollars and the Detroit automakers’…

  • Commentary posted December 6, 2013 by James Sherk Obama’s Pay and Productivity Misconception

    In his economic address Wednesday, President Obama lamented, “since 1979, when I graduated from high school, our productivity is up by more than 90 percent, but the income of the typical family has increased by less than 8 percent.” In other words, the link between pay and productivity has been shattered. This would be appalling if it were true — but it is not. This…

  • Issue Brief posted December 6, 2013 by James Sherk, Salim Furth, Ph.D. Heritage Employment Report: Slow Recovery Continues in November

    The Bureau of Labor Statistics reported that the recovery continued at a steady pace in November. The unemployment rate fell 0.3 percentage point while employers created 203,000 jobs. Although the numbers are initially impressive, they partly reflect the return of federal employees furloughed during the October government shutdown. Labor force participation fell over the…

  • Issue Brief posted December 5, 2013 by James Sherk, John L. Ligon Unprecedented Minimum-Wage Hike Would Hurt Jobs and the Economy

    President Obama and some Senators have proposed increasing the federal minimum wage to $10.10 per hour over the next two years—its highest level ever, after accounting for inflation. The proposed increase far outstrips the productivity growth of minimum-wage workers and would force employers to curtail hiring. Some proponents of the increase theorize that increased…