Showing posts with label Labor Union. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Labor Union. Show all posts

Thursday, May 23, 2019

Job Mobility for Slavic and Hungarian Steelworkers from 1900-1950

Below is another excerpt from my upcoming book on Johnstown by the numbers.  It is a discussion of the job mobility of East central European immigrants in the steel mills in Johnstown, PA from 1900-1950.  
 Ewa Morawska (1985) in For Bread with Butter: Life-Worlds of East Central Europeans in Johnstown, Pennsylvania, 1890-1940 thoroughly chronicles the struggles of East Central European Immigrants namely Slavic, Hungarian, and Austrian immigrants in the city in the early part of the 20th century.
Morawska (1985, p. 100) found that in the steel industry approximately 7% of East Central European immigrants who remained in the city moved up from unskilled or unspecified semiskilled laborers in the mills to semiskilled or skilled workers from 1900 to 1920.  She also looked at first generation immigrants who remained from 1915 to 1930 and for 2nd generation immigrants from 1920 to 1949/50.  These numbers are summarized in the tables below.  There were not enough first generation immigrants to follow from 1900 to 1930.  First generation immigrants tended to move from city to city, especially in the early days that they are in the US.
Table 1a shows how job mobility was for first generation immigrants from 1900 to 1920 and from 1915 to 1930 and for second generation from 1920 to 1949/50.  These were immigrants who remained in the city during the periods in which they were tracked in the Census and the city directories.  The numbers on the observed side of the table are the actual shifts of immigrants from unskilled or unspecified semiskilled to semiskilled or skilled, vice versa, and immobile (no change in employment status in the mill over the period).  The Expected with no Discrimination side of the table shows what the numbers that would be if the overall mobility rates were the same as they were for western European immigrants or native workers (no discrimination).
Table 1a
Job mobility from unskilled or unspecified semiskilled to skilled or semiskilled steelworkers for 1st & 2nd generation East Central European Immigrants (Morawska, 1985, pp. 100, 164, 166)
Observed %
Expected % with no Discrimination
upward mobility
downward mobility
upward mobility
downward mobility
1900-1920 1st gen
1915-1930 1st  gen
1920-1949/50 2nd gen

            The upward mobility rates for both first generation periods were considerably lower than they were for the second generation and for the numbers we would expect if there were no discrimination.  The downward mobility numbers were higher for second generation mill workers than for first generation workers and for what would be expected if there were no discrimination.  The downward mobility numbers were identical for the 1900-1920 and the 1915-1930 periods for the first generation were both nearly identical to what would be expected if there were no discrimination.
Morawska, E. (1985).  For Bread with Butter:  Worlds of East Central Europeans in

Johnstown, Pennsylvania, 1890-1940.  Cambridge: New York.

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Sunday, March 6, 2011

States as Laboratories and Lavatories of Democracy

As the standoff at the State Capitol in Wisconsin continues over public employees and teachers to continue to have the right to collective bargaining with no end in sight a similar bill in the Midwestern state of Ohio passed it's State Senate this week by a vote of 17-16 with protesting crowd sizes maxing out at 8,500.  According to the Dayton Daily News "The bill undoes much of the 1983 law allowing public employee collective bargaining. It bans strikes, ends binding arbitration for police and firefighters, creates a merit pay system and layoff system using criteria other than seniority."   The State House is expected to vote on the bill this week and be signed by Gov John Kasich-R (who is a former Fox News contributor).  

If one state is successful in passing this law while the other is not it will be bad for unions and workers in that state but it does present an opportunity for public policy and social science researchers to study the effects of these types of laws.  Both Wisconsin and Ohio are Midwestern industrial states of similar climate, industry, and demographic makeup.  This type of study would be called a quasi experiment (not a true experiment because the law is not randomly assigned).  A wide variety of variables could be studied as the workplace has an effect on a wide variety of quality of life issues.  The strain that public employees are under can have ripple effects throughout the state especially in times of crisis when services are needed from the State.  Even in normal times stress on the employees can have effects in their homes, on their marriages, and their kids.  If their incomes are affected so can the surrounding communities' economies. 

There is plenty of other "experimenting" going on in other states both on the left and the right.  For example Vermont is trying to pass a Single Payer law to cover everyone (see Related Post below) while Pennsylvania 42,000 adults lost health insurance due to the Adult Basic Program being ended on March 1 of this year.  In the chart on the right many states including Vermont (single payer controls costs better than private insurers) are cutting spending to below prerecession levels providing many consequences for those dependent on spending and opportunities to study the effects of these consequences.  Pennsylvania can now be added to the map in red.


Last night the Wisconsin state Senate may or may not have bended the rules and passed the law 18-1 banning collective bargaining without the quorum present.  Whether it stands or not will depend on whether court challenges to the law and/or efforts to recall Senators who voted for the law are successful.  Governor Walker can be recalled in January 2012.  This could be a different kind of experiment in democracy than what we're seeing in Ohio and other states.

The Worden Report: Protests in Wisconsin and Bahrain: Similar or Different?


Measuring Democracy in the World?


Vermont single payor | The Incidental Economist 


Variability in Health Care Survey Reports but not in Vermont's Health Care Plan


Friday, February 25, 2011

Measuring Democracy in the World?

Hans Rosling (Host of the BBC documentary The Joy of Stats) tweeted "In 2009 Saudi Arabia had a lower Democracy score than Tunisia, Egypt & Libya , In fact the lowest in the world!"  In the original link he shows for the year 2009 these three countries where recent uprisings have occurred or are occurring in the Middle East with a democracy score on the Y axis and per capita income on the X with all the other countries in the world in unlabeled dots.  (I cannot embed the graph here because it is copyrighted.)  It does show that Saudi Arabia is at the bottom of the graph on the democracy scale  (tied with one unnamed country) with Tunisia, Egypt, and Libya being higher on the democracy scale though lower on the income scale.

The cool thing about this graph is that on the right, where it says select, one can select other countries to see where they stand on this chart.  For example, I selected my home country the United States, the three countries in George Bush's axis of evil (Iran, Iraq, & North Korea), the country tied with Saudi Arabia (Qatar which according to the graph is #1 in per capita income), Venezuela and Haiti for the Western Hemisphere (no data available for Cuba in 2009 but it was tied with Libya and Iran for income & democracy for 2008),  and finally Afghanistan, Pakistan, & Uzbekistan for central Asia.

The updated graph can be seen here.  

The graph may not run on some early browsers.  With Windows Vista or higher it should work on Firefox or Internet Explorer.  Feel free to add or take away your own countries or look at different years or measures.

Inspecting the graph I have a few questions/observations.

1)  Why does North Korea have a slightly higher democracy score than Saudi Arabia?  No doubt both regimes are repressive.  Is it because the communist state treats it's men and women equally badly or is it simply because more information is available about Saudi Arabia?  At least it is possible to watch CSI on a satellite dish in Saudi Arabia.

2)  Opinions vary widely on how democratic Venezuela and Haiti really are as does this graph.  Venezuela has a score of -3 and is tied with Eqypt.  Some on the right may believe it should be lower given Hugo Chavez's demagoguery while some on the left believe otherwise given that elections have been held in spite of a failed coup attempt.  Haiti has a score of +5 (tied with Pakistan) where it has had 2 successful coups in the last 20 years and is the poorest country in the hemisphere.

3)  The two countries where the US is involved in nation building (Iraq & Afghanistan) are at zero on the scale along with the Ivory Coast, Burkina Faso, and Madagascar.  These three are sub-Saharan African countries with similar income levels as Afghanistan.  Would a military intervention in those countries by the US work as well?

4) Yemen has also been experiencing an uprising against it's government and has a score of -2 which is higher than any of the countries that Rosling cited.  It is still a country that gets over looked.

5)  Even in my home country the United States which is at the top of the list tied with Canada, European countries, and India isn't there room for improvement?  Back in 1900 the US was still listed as a 10 on the scale as women and many african americans were denied basic rights such as the right to vote.  Before slavery was abolished in 1865 the US had a score of 8.  In the earliest year of 1800, when Thomas Jefferson was elected President, the US had a score of 4 when only property owners were guaranteed the right to vote.  Only the two Koreas came the closest with a score of 1 and Great Britain with -2. (

Famously in the 2000 Presidential Election George W. Bush was elected over Al Gore.  There's a lot of finger pointing as to the reasons why: The Supreme Court stopping the recount, the butterfly ballot in Florida, Ralph Nader's candidacy, etc.  This fact is not in dispute Al Gore had 500,000 more popular votes than Bush but Bush won the Electoral College 271-266 (one Gore elector abstained and could have voted for Bush).  Only 51% of the voting age population participated.

Even now there's tons of opinions on the right and the left on how to do so.  In the state of Wisconsin for the last week thousands of protesters have been camping outside the state capitol building against Governor Scott Walker's budget which takes public employee's and teacher's unions right to collective bargaining away.  He has refused to meet with opposition groups or even take their phone calls but he did take a call from a man pretending to be right wing billionaire financier David Koch to discuss ways to sneak the bill through the legislature.  This is discussed in the clip below:

6) The French who followed the US in their democratic revolution would not be happy to hear that they are at +9 on this scale behind the US.

7)  It's ironic that Qatar is tied with Saudi Arabia for the least democratic country as it is the home of the Al Jazeera network.  The network was banned From Egypt by the Mubarak government during it's uprising for encouraging it's uprising.

8) How exactly did they measure this?  They use data from the Polity IV data project with this definition - it examines concomitant qualities of democratic and autocratic authority in governing institutions, rather than discreet and mutually exclusive forms of governance. This perspective envisions a spectrum of governing authority that spans from fully institutionalized autocracies through mixed, or incoherent, authority regimes (termed "anocracies") to fully institutionalized democracies. The "Polity Score" captures this regime authority spectrum on a 21-point scale ranging from -10 (hereditary monarchy) to +10 (consolidated democracy). The Polity scores can also be converted to regime categories: we recommend a three-part categorization of "autocracies" (-10 to -6), "anocracies" (-5 to +5 and the three special values: -66, -77, and -88), and "democracies" (+6 to +10); see "Global Regimes by Type, 1946-2006" above. The Polity scheme consists of six component measures that record key qualities of executive recruitment, constraints on executive authority, and political competition. It also records changes in the institutionalized qualities of governing authority. The Polity data include information only on the institutions of the central government and on political groups acting, or reacting, within the scope of that authority. It does not include consideration of groups and territories that are actively removed from that authority (i.e., separatists or "fragments"; these are considered separate, though not independent, polities) or segments of the population that are not yet effectively politicized in relation to central state politics.  It's complicated I know.

We human beings love to quantify intangible things like democracy or intelligence or a variety of other things and then we treat these measures like they are gold standards such as height or weight.  It is comical sometimes.  Gapminder is a good source of information for global statistics but it is easy to accept a lot of it as bible truth.

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Saturday, February 19, 2011

The Worden Report: Protests in Wisconsin and Bahrain: Similar or Different?

I was sent this good first hand account of the events in Madison, WI on Twitter which are on their 6th day and their similarities to those on the Middle East. I couldn't have written it better.  He tells me he believes there will not be violence in Madison.

The Worden Report: Protests in Wisconsin and Bahrain: Similar or Different?

In the 2010 election, where Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker-R was elected, voter turnout was 51.7% compared to 40.9% nationally.  Walker was elected with 52% of the 51.7% of the voters who turned out or 26.9% of the states eligible voters.  You can see an analysis of the exit poll for Wisconsin's Governor's race here.

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Super Bowl XLV: A Battle of Champions Who Couldn't Compete Now Without a Salary Cap


Monday, January 31, 2011

Super Bowl XLV: A Battle of Champions Who Couldn't Compete Now Without a Salary Cap

This year's Super Bowl presents a battle of the Pittsburgh Steelers, the team with the most Super Bowl championships, 6,  and the Green Bay Packers who have the most overall NFL championships since the league began in 1920, 12 including 3 Super Bowls.  Ironically they are playing the game in Dallas where both teams have had classic championship games with the Cowboys in the 60s and 70s such as the ice bowl for the Packers in 1967 and Super Bowls X, XIII, and XXX for the Steelers.

The stadium they will be playing in will be the new Cowboys Stadium which cost $1.15 billion to build and team owner Jerry Jones had to persuade local voters to approve a 0.5% sales tax increase and other amusement tax increase to have it built.  Many other NFL teams (Steelers included) have new stadiums that the league wants to extend the season to pay for to 18 games.  This and other moves will put it at odds with the player's union and put the player's health in greater jeopardy (see my post Concussions).  The NFL Players Association has produced a commercial urging the owners not to lock the players out if they do not meet the owners demands.
Dave Zirin at The Edge of Sports often states that most NFL owners are "to the right of Atilla the Hun."  I don't know know how right he is.  I know that former Bush Secretary of State Condolezza Rice would like to join that club.  The St.Louis Rams were wise to exclude Rush Limbaugh as a co-owner or face a revolt by their players.  Zirin praises the Packers who are owned by over 100,000 shareholders with no profit motive.  This is laudable that they are still successful while being in the only NFL city with under 100,000 people using the same "frozen tundra of Lambeau Field" that they have for decades.  They did have a championship dry spell from the time Vince Lombardi retired until Brett Favre became quarterback.

It's true that the Rooney family who own the Steelers tried and failed in 1997 to persuade the public in Western Pennsylvania to enact similar taxes to the ones in Dallas to pay for building Heinz Field.  They then, like many other owners, went to the state legislature to with the Pittsburgh Pirates to pay for new stadiums.  On the other hand, the Rooney family did get owners to enact the Rooney Rule which requires teams to interview one African American candidate for coaching positions.  There are now many successful Super Bowl winning African American coaches in the NFL as a result.  The Rooneys also supported Barack Obama for President who rewarded family patriarch Dan Rooney with an ambassadorship to Ireland.  All in all they may not be quite as bad as Atilla the Hun (I do hope they side with the players with the upcoming labor dispute). 
The salary cap was instituted in the NFL in the early 1990's to level the playing field among teams as Super Bowls were becoming more and more one sided.  Cities like Pittsburgh and Green Bay in the 70's and 80's experienced a decrease in population as their industrial bases were shifted to the south and north which are less unionized.  Both teams now draw some of the largest road crowds in the league as they now have fans dispersed throughout the US.  The playoff and championship fortunes of both teams improved when the cap was put in place after they had struggled in the 80's.  

Over the same period of time the Pittsburgh Pirates and the nearby Milwaukee Brewers in Major League Baseball only had one playoff appearance between them.  The salary cap was prevented in MLB by the baseball strike of 1994.  Afterward the Yankee second dynasty began with Alex Rodriguez earning more in salary than the whole Pirate team.  It may be tempting to blame all unions in this case but the circumstances of big time pro players are very different from the typical union member.

You can guess from reading my profile where my sympathies lie in this game.  Obviously just throwing money at players does not win championships but it does enable teams to hold on to players.  It's what you do with that money that matters.  The cap does level the playing field and is dare I say socialistic?

On the other hand there is no salary cap for the owners or the coaches.  Seldom do we hear of how much money they make.  The other owners are definitely not socialists with respect to their business practices.

After discussing his documentary about sports, Dave Zirin talked about other social issues and sports.  After 15 minutes he explained why he rooted for the Packers in Super Bowl XLV (in a tweet he says he prefered them because it's a matter of ethics and predicted a score of 29-24).  I have nothing against their organization either.  The Steelers are a business which make them neither evil nor morally superior.

Zirin's prediction was on the money with the score (31-25 Packers) and he called it "people's victory" in his column in The NationHe chides the Fox Network for not discussing Green Bay's unique ownership while honoring Ronald Reagan on his 100th birthday that day and how both cities suffered during his Presidency.  He also chided Fox for not showing the Rooney family and called them " the most celebrated ownership family in the NFL."  Kudos to him for recognizing this fact.

It's always a leap to attribute the outcome of one game to organizational things like a salary cap and ownership structure.  These things affect the long term success of an organization.  So many factors come into play on any given Sunday such as injuries, Ben Roethlisberger's 2 interceptions that led to touchdowns (I do not condone his past off the field behavior and I hope he's learned his lesson from his suspension), and motivation.  It was a fun game and it's time to return to more mundane issues.


Sally Jenkins of The Washington Post has a good column about the excesses of the Dallas Stadium at a time when most state and local governments are strapped for cash and 1,300 fans were denied seats to the game after paying about $900 each for tickets.  I'm glad I watched it at home.

After a bloated Super Bowl in Dallas, it's time to rein in big game

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