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School of Labor and Employment Relations University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign

The Financial Impact of Legalizing Marijuana in Illinois

There is significant public support for legalizing, regulating, and taxing recreational marijuana in Illinois. Fully 66 percent of registered voters in Illinois support legalizing marijuana, including a bi-partisan majority of Democrats and Republicans. Furthermore, 10 states and the District of Columbia have already legalized recreational marijuana.

This report finds that high taxpayer costs for law enforcement and cannabis-related incarceration would be reduced by legalizing recreational marijuana. In total, Illinois taxpayers would save $18.4 million annually in reduced incarceration costs, law enforcement spending, and legal fees from marijuana legalization. This revenue could be redirected to solve other crimes– such as homicides, robberies, and assaults.

The economy would also grow if Illinois were to legalize recreational marijuana. If marijuana were legalized, regulated, and taxed in Illinois, an estimated $1.6 billion would be sold in the state, in part due to regional tourism.

Regressive Illinois: School Funding, District-Level Performance, and It’s Implications for Revenue and Spending Policies

While equitable funding of K-12 public school has become an acute issue in many states, Illinois ranks among the most inequitable in its mechanisms for dispersing revenues to school districts. Illinois property taxes are the primary means for financing schools. However, due to very low state general aid, many property owners pay very high property taxes to support their schools. Consequently, the need for increased state support comes at a time when legislators have repeatedly proposed to freeze property taxes permanently, or for two to four years. Additionally, statewide bills have been introduced since 2012 that would shift pension costs, currently picked up by the state (excluding Chicago), to school districts.

This research report from the Project for Middle Class Renewal in the School of Labor and Employment Relations at the University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign examines the relationship between school revenue and achievement levels in Illinois.

We first examine data on local school districts from 2011-2012 to 2016-2017 to explore and illustrate how revenue and expenditures vary by rates of low-income students and other key indicators. We find at the district level, higher instructional spending is associated with statistically significant improvement in aggregate student proficiency levels, after controlling for disadvantage and other characteristics at the district level.  This positive relationship generally parallels the findings of recent studies that have concluded that money does in fact matter for education.

Raising the Minimum Wage: What $10, $13, or $15 per hour would mean for Illinois

The last time that Illinois increased its minimum wage was in July 2010. If Illinois’ minimum wage had been indexed to inflation since then, it would be nearly $10 per hour today. 13 states now have minimum wages of $10 per hour or higher, and 9 of these states have unemployment rates that are lower than or the same as Illinois. Additionally, the majority of Illinois voters support increasing the minimum wage.

The Project for Middle Class Renewal at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign and the Illinois Economic Policy Institute (ILEPI) has evaluated three state minimum wage hike scenarios ($10, $13 and $15). The analysis finds that raising the minimum wage boosts worker incomes while having little to no effect on employment.

The minimum wage is intended to ensure that working-class individuals can maintain a decent standard of living. Nevertheless, Illinois’ current minimum wage of $8.25 per hour fails to prevent workers from earning poverty-level wages. By raising the minimum wage, Illinois can boost worker incomes, reduce income inequality, increase consumer demand, grow the economy, generate tax revenues, and decrease taxpayer costs for government assistance programs.

THE STATE OF THE UNIONS 2018: A PROFILE OF UNIONIZATION IN MINNESOTA AND IN THE UNITED STATES

Unions play a vital role in Minnesota’s economy and communities. The Minnesota labor movement, however, will continue to face both short- and long-term challenges due to the political environment, the makeup of the United States Supreme Court, and broader economic trends. Labor’s response to these challenges will define its influence and effectiveness in the decades to come and will be critical to the survival of Minnesota’s middle class. Almost one-half of all public sector workers (46.0 percent) are unionized in Minnesota. Meanwhile, slightly more than one-third of all public sector workers are unionized across the nation (34.4 percent). In comparison, 8.3 percent of workers in Minnesota’s private sector are now union members which exceed the 6.5 percent unionization rate for private sector workers across the United States. In the future, the recent Janus v. American Federation of State, County, and Municipal Employees, Council 31, et al. Supreme Court decision that prohibited fair-share “agency fee” clauses from collective bargaining agreements could result in a decline in public sector union membership in Minnesota.

THE STATE OF THE UNIONS 2018: A PROFILE OF UNIONIZATION IN WISCONSIN AND IN THE UNITED STATES

Union membership is influenced by a number of factors. For example, employment in the public sector still raises the chances that a given worker is a union member. Native-born and naturalized citizens are also statistically more likely to be union members than their non-citizen counterparts. On the other hand, workers employed in the leisure and hospitality industry are all less likely to be union members than their counterparts in the production industry. Labor unions continue to increase individual incomes by lifting hourly wages. In Wisconsin, union worker wages are higher by an average of 12.0 percent. The state’s union wage effect is the 7th-highest in the nation. The union wage differential is greatest for the lowest-earning workers, where hourly incomes are increased by 12.2 percent over similar non-union workers. Unions, therefore, continue to foster a middle-class lifestyle in Wisconsin and play a vital role in Wisconsin’s economy and communities.

THE STATE OF THE UNIONS 2018: A PROFILE OF UNIONIZATION IN CHICAGO, IN ILLINOIS, AND IN THE UNITED STATES

Union membership is influenced by a number of factors. Employment in the public sector, construction, transportation and utilities, mining, educational and health services, and public administration industries all raise the chances that a given worker is a union member. African American workers are also statistically more likely to be union members than their racial or ethnic counterparts. On the other hand, workers employed in professional and related occupations, management, business, and financial occupations, workers employed in sales occupations, and financial occupations are less likely to be unionized. Labor unions increase individual incomes by lifting hourly wages, particularly for middle-income workers. In Illinois, unions raise worker wages by an average of 11.1 percent. The state’s union wage effect is the 11th-highest in the nation. The union wage differential is higher for middle-class workers (10.2 percent to 11.5 percent) than the richest 10 percent of workers (8.7 percent), helping to reduce income inequality. Unions play a vital role in Illinois’ economy and communities. The Illinois labor movement, however, will continue to face both short- and long-term challenges due to the political environment, the makeup of the United States Supreme Court, and broader economic trends. Labor’s response to these challenges will define its influence and effectiveness in the decades to come and will be critical to the long-run survival of Illinois’ middle class.

Hospital Service Work in the Chicago Region and Illinois: Stagnant Wages in a Growing Sector

As in nearly every state and region in the United States, the healthcare sector has become an important driver of the local economy both within the Chicago region and throughout the state of Illinois. Across the long cycle of declining employment levels in traditional industries like manufacturing and the shorter cycles of recession and recovery since 2000, the healthcare sector has continued to add jobs. Hospital organizations continue to occupy the focal point of the health care system, but a mix of regulatory and cost-based pressures and incentives have driven a profound and uneven process of restructuring in the industry. Ownership has consolidated into multi-hospital systems even as care has decentralized outside of hospital walls. Some hospitals have closed or reduced services as others have expanded with sizable investments in construction, reorganization, and technology. In theory, hospitals have the potential to fill a crucial hole left by an increasingly bifurcated labor market. In practice, however, wages have been stagnant for many hospital workers despite increasing demand. This report focuses on workers in Illinois and the Chicago region who are employed in hospital services positions, defined here as healthcare support occupations, food preparation and service occupations, and cleaning and maintenance occupations.

The Effects of the Chicago Minimum Wage Ordinance: High Incomes with Little to No Impact on Employment, Hours, and Businesses in the First Two Years

On December 2, 2014, the Chicago City Council voted 44 to 5 in favor of gradually raising the minimum wage to $13.00 per hour in the city to increase earnings for 410,000 Chicago workers. This report finds that in its first two years– when the minimum wage increased to $10.00 an hour and subsequently to $10.50 an hour– the Chicago Minimum Wage Ordinance has already boosted incomes for at least 330,000 workers in the city. Overall, the higher minimum wage has been associated with an increase in worker incomes but little to no impact on employment or the number of private business establishments. An assessment of outcomes from 2010 through 2016 against both the Illinois suburbs, where the minimum wage remains $8.25 per hour, and the Indiana and Wisconsin suburbs of Chicago, where the minimum wage is $7.25 an hour, reveals that the Chicago Minimum Wage Ordinance has largely achieved its intended purposes.

After Janus: The Impending Effects on Public Sector Workers from a Decision against Fair Share

The U.S. labor movement is bracing for a decision by the Supreme Court that could dramatically weaken public sector unions. The case,

Janus v. American Federation of State, County, and Municipal Employees, Council 31, et al., is expected to be decided in a vote against “fair share” fees in the public sector. The ruling would strike down a 41-year precedent (Abood v. Detroit Board of Education, 1977) that requires public sector workers represented by a labor union to pay for the collective bargaining work that the union performs on their behalf. If the Court strikes down Abood, workers would be able to “free ride” and receive services, benefits, and representation from unions without paying for them in the form of fair share fees or membership dues. This would impact at least 5 million state and local government employees represented by collective bargaining agreements in 23 states and the District of Columbia. This report projects the negative impact of overturning fair share including an annual drop in economic activity in the U.S. by $11.7 billion to $33.4 billion, a loss of $1,810 in wages per worker, and a decrease in teacher salaries of 5.4%.

Scheduling Stability: The Landscape of Work Schedules and Potential Gains from Fairer Workweeks in Illinois and Chicago

Fair Workweek legislation has sprung up organically around the country in response to the prevalence and consequences of work schedules that may be unstable, unpredictable or unreliable. Labor standards need to be updated to deal with the widespread use of last minute, on-call or inadequate work hours, and their adverse consequences for workers. A new survey of 1,717 workers throughout the state of Illinois workers was conducted between October, 2017 – March, 2018, including full-time, part-time and non-standard workers. Over 40 percent of hourly paid workers have at least occasional on-call work, often with very short advance notice, and almost half have little to no input into their
daily work schedules. Over a third of all workers have less than one week’s advance notice of their schedule and almost half have a preference to work more hours for more income — higher among part timers. From the findings, a list of recommendations are offered to address the erratic work schedules and their documented work-life consequences for working people.

Nursing Under Pressure: Workplace Violence in the Illinois Healthcare Industry

Among those in the healthcare industry, it is common knowledge that threats of violence ranging from verbal to physical to sexual abuse come with the territory. In fact, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) healthcare and social assistance industries are “the most common sources of nonfatal injuries and illnesses requiring days away from work.” (Wolf et al, 2014, 305) Yet, there is surprising lack of data that reveals the rates of violence and how frontline workers, such as nurses, believe the industry should be responding. In this study of 276 Illinois nurses, we uncover that 90% of surveyed nurses experience at least one episode of workplace violence in a twelve month period with 50% of nurses experiencing six or more episodes of workplace violence in a year. This survey explores the depth of the violence and makes policy recommendations to work towards a more comprehensive set of workplace policies that could both lower workplace violence as well as improve employer responses to violence.

State Prevailing Wage Laws Reduce Racial Income Gaps in Construction: Impacts by Trade, 2013-2015

Despite acknowledging that state prevailing wage laws increase the incomes of blue-collar construction workers, critics of the laws dubiously claim that they have discriminatory effects– particularly against African American workers. This report, authored jointly by the Illinois Economic Policy Institute (ILEPI) and Project for Middle Class Renewal (PMCR) at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, critically evaluates the impact of state prevailing wage laws on workers across different racial or ethnic identities in the United States. State prevailing wage laws are an important solution to racial inequality and overall inequality, boosting take-home incomes while having no negative impact on employment opportunities for underprivileged groups.

The Potential Economic Consequences of a Highly Automated Construction Industry: What if Construction Becomes the Next Manufacturing?

What if construction is the next manufacturing, with automation replacing hundreds of thousands of middle-class workers over the next generation? In the future, technological changes that displace human labor in the construction industry could have consequences for workers, families, and the U.S. economy. This report is a theoretical assessment of the potential economic impacts of a highly automated construction industry on the Illinois and Midwest economy. An increasingly capital-intensive construction industry could cause both economic prosperity and economic hardship. It is imperative that lawmakers, public officials, and industry stakeholders start preparing for this potential economic change. Proactive steps can be taken to ensure that the benefits of a highly automated construction industry are shared broadly across the economy

Still Only Part Way Home: Part-time Work and Underemployment in Illinois and its Region

Despite gradually declining in the US over the last 8 straight years of economic recovery from the Great Recession, the rate of involuntary part-time working remains stubbornly high in the State of Illinois. Over a quarter million workers were employed but working part-time for economic reasons in Illinois. Illinois ranks 10th among the 50 states in the number of involuntary part-time workers. Illinois’ rate of labor underutilization has one in ten workers either fully or partially unemployed, still well above the pre-recession rate and the US national average. Policies are needed to accelerate its return to prior levels.

Elementary Teachers’ Work-Related Stressors and Strain

International surveys conducted by the European Trade Union Committee for Education (ETUCE) found that teachers in their union suffer significantly from stress (ETUCE, 2011). Furthermore, survey data in the United States reveals that teaching is a “high stress” profession (Kyriacou, 2000). The harm caused by this stress is evident by the high rates of teacher attrition and teacher shortages. Despite these findings, teacher stress has yet to be examined over time. Also, researchers have yet to examine how the increasing use of communication technology (i.e., email, text messages) has impacted teachers’ well-being and job outcomes. It seems many teachers have to deal with constant pressure to respond to emails throughout the day. Many teachers even get email sent directly to their personal phone. This can disturb teachers even while they are away from work. These messages may make it more difficult for teachers to control their emotions, which may lead to increased stress and turnover intentions. In addition, they suffer stress from difficult students and inadequate school resources such as workplace social supports and school policies.

The Gig Economy in Illinois: An Exploratory Analysis of Independent Contracting

Despite its pervasiveness in debates over the future of work, defining the “gig economy” in a consistent and meaningful fashion remains a challenge. This challenge hinders research to understand the prevalence and effects of nonstandard work, as well as efforts to design policy to improve opportunities for nonstandard workers. While contending with fundamental limitations in the availability and applicability of data, this report attempts to empirically ground the discussion of “gig work” in a broad exploration of trends in independent contracting in Illinois. In order to do so, it is necessary to answer three basic questions: What do we mean when we say “gig work”? Why is it so difficult to describe “gig work” with confidence? What can we say about “gig work” as a whole in Illinois?

High-Impact Higher Education: Understanding the Costs of the Recent Budget Impasse in Illinois

Investing in higher education is a smart economic development policy that boosts incomes, supports employment, and grows the economy. Illinois has world-class public universities and community colleges that serve as economic engines in local communities. The recent budget crisis in Illinois, however, had negative impacts on public universities and community colleges in the state. This report assesses the positive economic impacts of public universities and colleges in Illinois and measures the costs of the two-year budget impasse.

Public Policies That Help Grow the Illinois Economy: An Evidence-Based Review of the Current Debate

What policies improve a state’s economic performance and how do specific state laws impact economic outcomes? In an effort to provide some insight into the current debate in Illinois over measures under consideration by state lawmakers, the Project for Middle Class Renewal in the School of Labor and Employment Relations at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign and the Illinois Economic Policy Institute have prepared this White Paper.

A Happiness and Objective Well-being Index (HOW-IS-IL) for Living and Working in the State of Illinois, 2016-17

How happy are people in Illinois and how well are they doing? Specifically, how well is Illinois producing a high and growing standard of living for its working households? How well are its working citizens faring generally? How would we measure the answer to this question? How can we help Illinois’ households to become happier? This is the first assessment to focus exclusively on the State of Illinois and the state of its citizens’ well-being, with a single set of measures that indicates the quality of working and living in Illinois. The main purpose of this report is to create a handy, yet meaningful and useful index of 8 composite indicators. This index creates a base year composite score, reflecting not only where the state is apparently deficient, but how the quality of life and work in Illinois could be improved, both short term and long term, by revisiting the index perennially. The index creates a comprehensive grid of frequently available indicators of various aspects of others’ developed attempts to measure happiness and well-being. These estimates and the present attempt use the research-documented factors associated with it – both coincident and antecedent.

The State of the Unions 2017 : A Profile of Unionization in Chicago, in Illinois, and in America

Since 2007, unionization has declined in Illinois, in the Chicago region, and in America. There are approximately 30,000 fewer union members in Illinois today than there were in 2007, contributing to the 1.1 million-member drop in union workers across the nation over that time. Declining union membership in Illinois has primarily been the result of decreases in male unionization.  Consequently, the total number of labor unions and similar labor organizations has declined over the past 10 years. There are 881 labor unions and similar organizations in Illinois, a decline of nearly 70 worker establishments over the past 10 years. While the unionization rate declined from 15.2 percent to 14.5 percent, the union membership rate for public sector workers is 5.5 percentage points higher in 2016 than it was in 2007. From 2015 to 2016, unionization rates marginally increased for Latino and Latina workers.

Taking the Pulse of Illinois’ Middle Class: The Changing Size and Composition of Middle Income Households, April 20, 2017

Over recent years, the hollowing out of the American middle class has been a topic of much speculation and concern. During the middle of the twentieth century, the middle class rose to a position of economic and demographic dominance. The question of whether this is no longer the case is closely related to the issue of rising income and wealth inequality but focused more directly on those who fall between the extremes of rich and poor. This report aims to broadly document trends affecting the middle class in Illinois with a focus on employment.

The Impact of “Right to Work” Laws on Labor Market Outcomes in Three Midwest States: Evidence from Indiana, Michigan, and Wisconsin (2010-2016)

The movement to implement “right-to-work” (RTW) legislation has accelerated over recent years. Since 2012, RTW laws have been passed in Indiana, Michigan, Wisconsin, West Virginia, Kentucky, and Missouri. This report investigates the impact of RTW laws passed in three Midwest states for which there is available data – Indiana, Michigan, and Wisconsin – compared to a control group of three Midwest counterparts that remained collective-bargaining (CB) states – Illinois, Minnesota, and Ohio – from January 2010 through December 2016.

Closed by Choice: The Spatial Relationship between Charter School Expansion, School Closures, and Fiscal Stress in Chicago Public Schools

Over the past five years, Chicago Public Schools (CPS) has confronted annual budget crises prompting CPS to cut resources from classrooms, reduce the number of teaching professionals inside schools, and close public schools. Our research examines how the proliferation of charter schools in neighborhoods of declining population has contributed to CPS’ fiscal stress resulting in the widespread denigration of public education in Chicago.

Union Decline and Economic Redistribution: A Report on Twelve Midwest States

Inequality has risen to historically high levels in the United States. While there are many causes, this PMCR report finds that the most important labor market change has been the long-term decline in labor union membership. Unions raise wages, particularly for lower-income and middle-class workers. Union decline explains between one-fifth and one-third of the overall increase in inequality in the United States.

Alternative State and Local Options to Fund Public K-12 Education in Illinois 

Illinois needs to revamp its system of funding public education. Currently, school districts receive the bulk of their revenue from property taxes. With relatively high property tax rates and funding inequities across the state, raising property taxes in Illinois is often not an option for school districts. There are alternative policies that can be enacted at both the state- and local-level to enhance revenue for public education in Illinois. This report identifies six potential ways to increase revenue for public school districts.

Policies to Reduce African-American Unemployment

The City of Chicago is experiencing extremely high rates of African-American unemployment compared to the rest of the nation. This report, conducted by researchers at the Illinois Economic Policy Institute and the Project for Middle Class Renewal at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, seeks to understand the causes of high African-American unemployment in Chicago and other urban areas across the United States. It offers seven public policies and economic phenomena that make a difference in lowering the African-American unemployment rate.

A Highly Educated Classroom: Illinois Teachers Are Not Overpaid

This report finds that public school teachers in Illinois are highly skilled and are compensated accordingly through competitive salaries. Properly understanding teacher pay is critical to developing an efficient teacher compensation structure. Teachers in Illinois are among the best-educated in the nation and earn appropriate incomes that reward their skill. Illinois’ teachers are highly educated, with over 62 percent of full-time public elementary, middle, and secondary school teachers in the state having earned a master’s degree. An additional 36 percent of full-time public school teachers have a bachelor’s degree. These highly skilled educators help foster the next generation of workers and innovators who will grow Illinois’ economy.

Union Participation And The Work Fit-Job Satisfaction-Nexus: A Study Of The Chicago Teachers Union

The exit-voice tradeoff has helped scholars explain lower job satisfaction among union workers compared to nonunion workers since. Scholarship has further extended the exit-voice tradeoff to within-union samples by examining job satisfaction’s relationship to union participation instead of between union and nonunion workers. But how exactly does the exit-voice tradeoff apply to moderately or highly-satisfied union members? Are they participating in the union or is low job satisfaction a pre-requisite for union activism? This report, Union Participation and the Work Fit-Job Satisfaction-Nexus: A Study of the Chicago Teachers Union identifies the presence of a missing moderator that provides insight into the job satisfaction-union participation relationship. We suggest that the felt need to protect a job that is personally meaningful has inspired CTU members to become stronger, active union members. They are in effect using their union, not to preserve the best available job open to them, but to bridge the distance between the teaching profession’s aspiration and reality.

Advancing Construction Industry Diversity:  A Pilot Study of the East Central Area Building Trades Council

The importance of the construction trades and apprenticeship programs as a unique and unparalleled pathway into middle class job opportunities for non-college graduates, inspired the Project for Middle Class Renewal in the Labor Education Program (LEP) at the University of Illinois’ School of Labor and Employment Relations to invite building trades’ apprenticeship programs to participate in a pilot diversity study.  The study was designed to determine not only levels of access and involvement in the apprentice building trades by minority and female workers, but also to recommend practices that would enhance inclusivity in the industry.  The goal was to address the question of how to make the “apprentice-able” construction trades the preferred labor force for both white and non-white workers.

The Relationship Between Unions and Meaningful Work: A Study of Public Sector Workers in Illinois

Researchers have investigated the reasons why people pursue a career in the public sector. A compelling case has been made that individuals who pursue careers in the public sector are more highly motivated by intrinsic factors such as “work that is important” and work that “provides a feeling of accomplishment.” This report describes findings from a survey of a small group of Illinois public sector workers which investigates the work motivations of public employees. The study shows new evidence that government employees are strongly motivated to find “purpose in work that is greater than the extrinsic outcomes of the work.” Additionally, we find that government employees view their public sector union as a primary source of intrinsic motivation.

The Impact of a Minimum Wage Increase on Housing Affordability in Illinois

Higher earnings for Illinois workers resulting from a minimum wage increase stand to have impacts on their ability to sustain families and cover expenses. The greatest impact, however, might be in housing affordability. Housing costs, whether in the form of rent or mortgage payments and maintenance costs, make up the largest monthly expense for most households. This report examines what impact a minimum wage increase would have on housing affordability among working households. Minimum wage increases, however, effect more than just housing affordability. This report also explores reductions in reliance on public assistance programs as well as what impact changes to the minimum wage will have on employment levels and on state and local tax revenue. This study was funded by the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign Labor Education Program Project for Middle Class Renewal and was co-authored by the Nathalie P. Voorhees Center for Neighborhood & Community Improvement at the University of Illinois at Chicago and the Labor Education Program at the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign.

Minnesota Union Report

Almost one half of all public sector workers are unionized in Minnesota and over half of all public sector workers are unionized in the Twin Cities metropolitan area. Meanwhile, slightly more than one-third of all public sector workers are unionized across the nation. In comparison, fewer than one-in-ten (8.0 percent) Minnesotans who work in the private sector are union members while just 6.7 percent of private sector workers are now unionized across America. There is a lot of positive news for Minnesota’s labor movement. Labor unions increase individual incomes by lifting hourly wages – particularly for low-income and middle-class workers. In Minnesota, unions raise worker wages by an average of 11.1 percent. The state’s union wage effect is the 11th-highest in the nation. The union wage differential is higher for the median worker (13.6 percent) than the richest 10 percent of workers (11.0 percent), helping to foster a strong middle class and reduce income inequality.

The Impact of Apprenticeship Programs in Illinois: An Analysis of Economic and Social Effects

Despite the presence of registered apprenticeships in many Illinois industries, especially construction, little policy research has been conducted to analyze their economic and social impacts. This study, authored jointly by the Project for Middle Class Renewal at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign and the Illinois Economic Policy Institute, investigates the effect of registered apprenticeship programs on the workers, businesses, governments, and economy of Illinois. The study reveals that registered apprenticeship programs in Illinois’ construction industry provide $1.25 billion in long-term economic benefits to the state. If all registered apprenticeship programs for construction were combined, they would be the 7th-largestprivate post-secondary educational institution in Illinois.

The Costs and Benefits of International Trade in Illinois: Estimating Impacts on Manufacturing and the Economy

There has been a general consensus among economists that international free trade is an important source of economic growth for countries. However, recent evidence finds that trade hurts local jobs and worsens income inequality. Mass job displacement can have significant effects on the national economy and public budget. This report focuses on the impact of trade on Illinois’ manufacturing sector. As the 5th-largest exporter state and the 6th-largest importer state in the nation, Illinois is particularly exposed to international trade. Imports and exports help make Illinois the transportation hub of America. Illinois, however, has lost more than 100,000 total manufacturing jobs over the past decade.

Indiana Union Report

This report, conducted by researchers at the Midwest Economic Policy Institute and the Project for Middle Class Renewal at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign analyzes the course of unionization in Indiana and in the United States from 2006 to 2015. Data from 2015 are also analyzed for the Indianapolis metropolitan statistical area (MSA). The study of Indiana tracks unionization rates and investigates union membership across demographic, educational, sectoral, industry, and occupational classifications. The study subsequently evaluates the impact that labor union membership has on a worker’s hourly wage in Indiana and in America. Additionally, data on labor unions and similar labor organizations are included and analyzed. As of 2015, the overall union membership rate is 10.0 percent in Indiana. A major finding of the report shows that Indiana’s “right-to-work” law has contributed to lower union membership. After the policy was implemented in 2012, union membership fell from 11.2 percent in 2011 to 10 in 2015. Other highlights include: Men are much more likely to be unionized (13.2 percent) than women (6.6 percent) and public sector unionization (27.4 percent) is nearly four times as high in Indiana as private sector unionization (7.5 percent).

Wisconsin Union Report

This report, conducted by researchers at the Midwest Economic Policy Institute, the University of Wisconsin-Extension School for Workers, and the Project for Middle Class Renewal at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign analyzes the course of unionization in Wisconsin, in the Milwaukee metropolitan statistical area (MSA), and in the United States from 2006 to 2015. The study of Iowa tracks unionization rates and investigates union membership across demographic, educational, sectoral, industry, and occupational classifications. The study subsequently evaluates the impact that labor union membership has on a worker’s hourly wage in Iowa and in the United States. Additionally, data on labor unions and similar labor organizations are included and analyzed. A few major findings of the report include: Declining union membership in Wisconsin has resulted from a number of factors, including the ongoing effects of Act 10 on the public sector and the continued loss of manufacturing jobs. From 2014 to 2015, union membership dropped 3.3 percentage points, from 11.6 percent to 8.3 percent.

Iowa Union Report

This report, conducted by researchers at the Midwest Economic Policy Institute and the Project for Middle Class Renewal at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign analyzes the course of unionization in Iowa and in the United States from 2006 to 2015. Some data from 2015 are also analyzed for the Iowa City metropolitan statistical area (MSA). This version for Iowa tracks unionization rates and investigates union membership across demographic, educational, sectoral, industry, and occupational classifications. The study subsequently evaluates the impact that labor union membership has on a worker’s hourly wage in Iowa and in America. Additionally, data on labor unions and similar labor organizations are included and analyzed. A few notable findings from the report include: Unionization has declined in Iowa. Today, there are approximately 23,500 fewer union members in Iowa than there were in 2006, contributing to the reduction of 573,000 union workers across the nation over the past ten years. The decline in union membership has occurred in both the public sector and the private sector in Iowa. Consequently, the total number of labor unions and similar labor organizations has declined over the past decade. There are 211 labor unions and similar organizations in Iowa, a decline of 36 establishments over the past ten years (-15.5 percent).

The State of the Unions 2016: A Profile of Unionization in Chicago, in Illinois, and in America

This report, conducted by researchers at the Illinois Economic Policy Institute, the University of Illinois Project for Middle Class Renewal, and Occidental College, analyzes the course of unionization in Illinois, in the Chicago metropolitan statistical area (MSA), and in the United States from 2006 to 2015. It is the third annual report of its kind for union members in the Chicago area and in Illinois. The report tracks unionization rates and investigates union membership across demographic, educational, sectoral, industry, and occupational classifications. The study subsequently evaluates the impact that labor union membership has on a worker’s hourly wage in Illinois, in the Chicago MSA, and in America. Additionally, data on labor unions and similar labor organizations are included and analyzed, new for the 2016 version of this report.

The Impact of Prevailing Wage Laws on Military Veterans: An Economic and Labor Market Analysis

Over the past five years, more than 1 million veterans have exited the military and entered the civilian workforce. Ensuring that those who served the country are able to secure stable civilian employment is a priority for the country. Construction, a fast-growing industry where employers report widespread skills shortages, is a vital option for blue-collar veterans who are either unable or uninterested in attending college. Despite the fact that construction is a popular sector of employment for veterans when they return home and enter civilian life, no economic research has explicitly investigated the impacts that prevailing wage laws have on the economic and labor market outcomes of veterans. This report is a statistical exploration of the impact of state prevailing wage laws on America’s veterans.

The Application and Impact of Labor Union Dues in Illinois: An Organizational and Individual-Level Analysis

An estimated 15.2 percent of Illinois’ workers are represented by a union. These workers can voluntarily choose to leave their unionized workplace, opt out of paying certain dues, or vote to decertify their labor organization. Thus, labor unions in Illinois must continually demonstrate how workers benefit from contributing membership dues. This Policy Brief, conducted jointly by the he Project for Middle-Class Renewal (PMCR) at the School of Labor and Employment Relations, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, and the Illinois Economic Policy Institute (ILEPI) evaluates union membership in Illinois. The report breaks down how union dues are spent in Illinois by activity, including political activities and lobbying. Upon examining the individual cost of membership and where dollars go, the personal benefits of union membership for Illinois workers are also explored.

An Analysis of the Impact of Prevailing Wage Thresholds On Public Construction: Implications for Illinois

A state prevailing wage law supports construction workers employed on public infrastructure projects. The policy requires that workers employed on projects funded by taxpayer dollars are compensated according to hourly wage and benefits rates normally paid on similar private and public projects in an area. This report is an evaluation of contract thresholds for project coverage under the prevailing wage law. The report reviews the academic and policy research on the effects that increases in state contract thresholds have on business, the labor market and economic outcomes. The analysis is subsequently applied to Illinois to forecast effects if Illinois were to introduce a prevailing wage threshold.

A Flowing Economy: How Clean Water Infrastructure Investments Support Good Jobs in Chicago and in Illinois

Clean water infrastructure investments are critical to a healthy economy. A sustainable system of clean water distribution and treatment is not only necessary to prevent contamination, restoring natural waterways, eliminating flood damage, and mitigate the potential impacts of climate change, but clean water infrastructure contributes to long-term economic growth. This report provides an analysis of clean water infrastructure in Illinois, especially in the Chicago area.

The Shift-Work Shuffle: Flexibility and Instability for Chicago’s Fast Food Workforce

Fast food workers in Chicago suffer from the uncertainty of not knowing how many hours they will work in any given week and the lack of autonomy to voice their concerns without fear of reprisal. Unstable schedules lead to tangible income insecurity and the inability for workers to obtain supplemental employment or even attend schooling to improve their job prospects. This report, The Shift-Work Shuffle: Flexibility and Instability for Chicago’s Chicago Fast Food Workforce, addresses the elements and impacts of irregular scheduling in Chicago’s fast food industry.

To contact the authors please call Professor Bob Bruno at 312-996-2491.