The March Issue of Public Personnel Management is Now Online!

4202408267_63ce65b910_zThe March 2016 issue of Public Personnel Management is now available and is free to access for the next 30 days. The March issue features an editorial from Jared Llorens, the incoming editor of Public Personnel Management, as well as an introduction from guest editor Linda Sun for the second part of an article collection on Humanisitic Management and Development of New Cities and Towns. Among the articles included in this issue is a piece from author Jun Yi Hsieh, entitled “Spurious or True? An Exploration of Antecedents and Simultaneity of Job Performance and Job Satisfaction Across the Sectors,” which compares public, private, and nonprofit employees to see if the relationship between job satisfaction and job performance differs in each sector. The abstract from the paper:

The purpose of this study is to test differences and similarities of the public, private, ppm coverand nonprofit sector employees by examining the antecedents and simultaneity of job satisfaction and job performance. The results, assessed by seemingly unrelated regression, showed that job satisfaction positively affects job performance, or vice versa. Explanatory variables such as goal ambiguity, leader–member exchange, and so forth also exerted significant effects on the outcome variables across three sectors. This study extends to explain the similarity and difference of three sectors based on the criteria of the values in common, outcome variation, task characteristics, and sector contexts.

Click here to access the table of contents for the March 2016 issue of Public Personnel ManagementWant to know all about the latest from Public Personnel ManagementClick here to sign up for e-alerts!

*Coworkers image credited to Alger Cugun (CC)

Book Review: What Unions No Longer Do

What Unions No Longer Do - Book Cover

What Unions No Longer Do. By Jake Rosenfeld . Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press, 2014. 288 pp. ISBN 978-0-674725119, $39.95 (Cloth).

Barry Eidlin, currently an Assistant Professor of Sociology at McGill University, recently took the time to review the book in the October Issue of ILR Review.

From the review:

What Unions No Longer Do starts where many books about U.S. labor end, providing a summary of how dramatic union decline has been, how it compares to unions’ fate in other countries, and the various factors that have contributed to union decline. While this is well-worn territory, it provides a useful refresher ILR_72ppiRGB_powerpointfor those familiar with U.S. labor, while helping those less familiar with the scholarship about U.S. union decline get up to speed. The bottom line, as Rosenfeld concludes, is that “the private sector in this country is now nearly union-free, to a degree not seen in a century” (p. 30).

The qualifier about the private sector is important because of the large difference in union density between the private and public sectors. While the private sector is nearly union-free, roughly one-third of public-sector workers are union members. A majority of union members now work in the public sector. While some point to recent union growth in the public sector as a positive sign, Rosenfeld is more cautious. Although he recognizes the significance of these gains, he contends that public-sector growth cannot be the focus of union revitalization efforts. Just by sheer numbers, at barely one-tenth of overall employment, the public sector is too small to make a serious dent in aggregate union density. But more important, public-sector workers on average are better educated, better paid, and have better benefits than do private-sector workers. Union membership concentration in the public sector means that “[unions’] historical role representing those with comparatively low education and income levels [has been] reduced” (p. 66).

You can read the rest of the review from ILR Review for free for the next two weeks by clicking here. Like what you read? Click here to sign up for e-alerts and have all the latest research and reviews like this sent directly to your inbox!

California’s Public Sector Pension Plans in Perspective

John G. Kilgour, Professor Emeritus at California State University, published “California’s Public Sector Pension Plans in Perspective” in the May/June 2011 issue of Compensation & Benefits Review. Dr. Kilgour kindly provided the following responses to his article.

What inspired you to be interested in this topic?

This is one of several pieces I have done on various aspects of pension plan funding and other aspects of retirement income topic over the years.  On one level, it is an extension and update of earlier efforts.  On another level, it is somewhat personal.  As a retired public servant (professor) with a pension (CalPERS), I am troubled by the amount of misinformation and the vehemence of the attacks on sector pension plans with the implied criticism of their participants (employees and retirees).

Were there findings that were surprising to you?

The findings themselves, no.  The extent of the misinformation, yes.  It is seldom, if ever, mentioned that state and local government employees usually pay for a significant portion of their pension plan (3 to 10% of earnings) regardless of the funded status of the plan. Employer contributions, on the other hand, fluctuate with the funded status and in much of the 1990s were very low or even zero.  During and following the recession of 2001, employer contributions skyrocketed.  They then had recovered nicely and were at or near full funding by 2007.  With the advent of the Great Recession that began in late 2008, underfunding increased even more dramatically while state and local revenues declined.  Had employer been required to contribution enough to cover “normal costs” (current benefit and administrative expenses) during the good years, we would not be in this mess.

How do you see this study influencing future research and/or practice?

Hopefully, it will help redress the balance and redirect the blame game.  I do not mean to imply that there are no problems with public sector pension plans or that they are all the fault of governmental employers; although, elected officials and their allied employee organizations usually negotiate the plans and have caused some of the problems.  There is also a certain amount of fraud and, especially, abuse.  However, that is mostly done in accord with the provisions of the plan and with the connivance of management.  Things like allowing unused vacation, sick leave and overtime pay to be included in the pension benefit calculation at the retiree’s final pay rate should be greatly curtailed.

I do not mean to imply that things are hopeless or that the problems are unsolvable.  A great deal of public pension reform has already been adopted in California and throughout the country and there is more on the way.  This should, by all means be encouraged.   Also, when the FY 2010 data become available, the extent of underfunding will be much reduced.

To learn more about Compensation & Benefits Review, please click here.

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