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  • Testimony posted July 15, 2014 by James Sherk 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 by David B. Muhlhausen, Ph.D., James Sherk 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…

  • Commentary posted June 12, 2014 by James Sherk Shorter Work Weeks: the New Normal?

    Marsadeise Barginere, a food service worker in Cleveland, has had her hours cut from full-time to part-time. She's not alone. Luke Perfect "barely scrape(s) by" at his job in a Subway in Maine. Nonetheless his employer will also put him on part-time status once Obamacare takes effect. Workers all across America have seen their hours cut. Just search for "work hours cut"…

  • Backgrounder posted June 12, 2014 by Filip Jolevski, James Sherk 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 by Rachel Greszler, James Sherk 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.[1] 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 by James Sherk 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…

  • Commentary posted May 2, 2014 by James Sherk Want to help workers? Reinvent the union

    United Food and Commercial Workers Local 23 members probably didn't expect their union to fight in court to cut their pay. But in 2011, the local did exactly that to some employees at the Giant Eagle grocery store in Edinboro, Pa. Giant Eagle’s management wanted to reward the hard work of two dozen employees. So it gave them raises above and beyond their union rates. The…

  • 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…