Workforce, Industry, and Economic Development

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Workforce, Industry, and Economic Development (WIED) was a unit of Cornell University's ILR School focused on providing applied economic expertise.

WIED was committed to promoting the creation of good jobs and stimulating workforce development to strengthen the New York State and global economy. While the WIED unit was discontinued by the ILR School in 2008, its documents will remain here for research and archival purposes.


Recent Submissions

Now showing 1 - 20 of 25
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    Reflections on Progress at Work
    Fleron, Lou Jean; Gray, Lois Spier (1996-01-01)
    [Excerpt] Today, we enter our second half century, facing a new millennium of opportunity. We pause to celebrate with pride our ILR Extension heritage, from its roots in Buffalo. We pay tribute to colleagues before us and partners with us who have made this fifty years of progress at work.
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    Organizing for Equitable Economic Development: The Significance of Community Empowerment Organizations for Unions
    Applegate, Ronald (2007-01-01)
    [Excerpt] In response to the pervasive pursuit of low-road economic development strategies, several local unions have take the lead in devising high road strategies for their local economies. Unions are known for their involvement in economic development at firm, industry, and national levels, but initiatives to recast the economic development process at the community level constitutes a departure. Through its endorsement by the Working for America Institute, the departure has gained the support, if not the financial backing, of the AFL-CIO. Given the newness of these initiatives, their potential impact remains to be determined. However, examining the organizations already operating on this urban terrain, community-based development organizations (CBDOs), affords a useful perspective for assessing the implications of the newest union tactic for advancing economic development goals.
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    Of Republicans and Recessions: Why Does Big Business Vote for Them?
    Corwin, R.D.; Gray, Lois Spier (1971-11-01)
    [Excerpt] The wild enthusiasm business gave Nixon's new economic policy stems not only from a longstanding business preference for Republicans but a short-run expectation of profit windfalls. In a moment of economic crisis the President turned to business to clear up America's problems. In fact, if the record of the last quarter-century is to be believed, not only will the nation's trouble remain unsolved but business will not get the anticipated bonanza either. The politics of business is clearly Republican, but it is not so clear that the Republican Party is good for business.
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    Looking Ahead
    Gray, Lois Spier; Seeber, Ronald L. (1996-01-01)
    [Excerpt] The American entertainment industry and its system of labor-management relations is now at a crossroads. Its future will be determined to a great extent by emerging developments that could either hinder or facilitate expansion, depending on the course of affairs approaching the year 2000. The key trends will converge to influence the course of collective bargaining in the industry and the choices made by unions and employers.
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    Local Nodes in Global Networks: The Geography of Knowledge Flows in Biotechnology Innovation
    Gertler, Meric S.; Levitte, Yael M. (2005-12-01)
    The literature on innovation and interactive learning has tended to emphasize the importance of local networks, inter-firm collaboration and knowledge flows as the principal source of technological dynamism. More recently, however, this view has come to be challenged by other perspectives that argue for the importance of non-local knowledge flows. According to this alternative approach, truly dynamic economic regions are characterized both by dense local social interaction and knowledge circulation, as well as strong inter-regional and international connections to outside knowledge sources and partners. This paper offers an empirical examination of these issues by examining the geography of knowledge flows associated with innovation in biotechnology. We begin by reviewing the growing literature on the nature and geography of innovation in biotechnology research and the commercialization process. Then, focusing on the Canadian biotech industry, we examine the determinants of innovation (measured through patenting activity), paying particular attention to internal resources and capabilities of the firm, as well as local and global flows of knowledge and capital. Our study is based on the analysis of Statistics Canada’s 1999 Survey of Biotechnology Use and Development, which covers 358 core biotechnology firms. Our findings highlight the importance of in-house technological capability and absorptive capacity as determinants of successful innovation in biotechnology firms. Furthermore, our results document the precise ways in which knowledge circulates, in both embodied and disembodied forms, both locally and globally. We also highlight the role of formal intellectual property transactions (domestic and international) in promoting knowledge flows. Although we document the importance of global networks in our findings, our results also reveal the value of local networks and specific forms of embedding. Local relational linkages are especially important when raising capital—and the expertise that comes with it—to support innovation. Nevertheless, our empirical results raise some troubling questions about the alleged pre-eminence of the local in fostering innovation.
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    Labor and Regional Development in the U.S.A.: Building a High Road Infrastructure in Buffalo, New York
    Greer, Ian; Fleron, Lou Jean (2006-01-01)
    [Excerpt] In a country where worker representatives lack broadly institutionalized roles as "social partners," how can they play a constructive role in solving the problems of regional development? In Buffalo, New York, regularized, labor-inclusive procedures of problem solving involving multiple coalition partners – what we call a high-road social infrastructure – has emerged. Socially engaged researchers and educators have played a role in spreading lessons and organizing dialogue. Despite the emergence of regional cooperation, however, successful development politics are hampered by many of the same problems seen in European regions, including uncertainty about the best union strategy, hostility from business and political elites and the enormity of the region’s long-term structural problems.
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    Gray, Lois Spier; Seeber, Ronald L. (1996-01-01)
    [Excerpt] There is perhaps no more visible segment of the American economy than the arts and entertainment sector. When the Writers guild engaged its members in a strike against the Alliance of Motion Picture and Television Producers in 1988, the popular culture of the vast majority of the American public was deeply affected. New television shows were delayed and the networks scrambled to find replacement programming. Virtually everyone was aware of the labor-management conflict, though probably not of its cause, and conscious of its impact on their lives. It could be argued that strikes in any of a half-dozen industries over the course of that year had less impact on the average American life, even though many times the number of workers were effected.
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    Changing Administrative Practices in American Unions: A Research Note
    Clark, Paul F.; Gray, Lois Spier (2005-10-01)
    This note presents findings from the first longitudinal study of the administrative practices of American unions. Our surveys, conducted in 1990 and 2000, gathered information on the hiring, human resource, and financial/strategic planning practices of U.S.-based national and international unions. The results indicate that American unions are changing their criteria for hiring staff and moving toward more formal human resource policies and systematic financial and strategic planning practices.
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    Bonding Social Capital in Entrepreneurial Developing Communities – Survival Networks or Barriers?
    Levitte, Yael M. (2004-01-01)
    This paper focuses on the interaction between social capital and entrepreneurship in Aboriginal communities in Canada. Using statistical and interview data from three First Nations communities in northern Ontario, I examine if and how bonding networks turn into tangible resources for business development. The paper also highlights ways in which community relationships hinder entrepreneurship and turn into barriers to economic development. The paper concludes with examples of how insight into the interaction between public policy and social networks can help understand the barriers and opportunities facing community developers in marginalized communities around the world.
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    Assessing the Proposed IAM, UAW, and USW Merger: Critical Issues and Potential Outcomes
    Clark, Paul F.; Gray, Lois Spier (2000-12-01)
    [Excerpt] We examine the many difficult issues facing the IAM, UAW, and USW as they move toward the creation of a single organization. In order to place this merger in con- text, the larger issue of mergers in the American labor movement will be addressed, as will the origins and history of each of the three unions. The specific issues confronting the unions will be examined in three categories — structure, administration, and functions and services. We conclude with an assessment of the current status of the unification effort and the prospects for its realization.
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    Apprenticeship Training: Where Does It Stand Today?
    Gray, Lois Spier; Beamesderfer, Alice O. (1979-12-31)
    [Excerpt] In its simplest form, apprenticeship has existed since the beginning of civilization. More than 4,000 years ago, Hammurabi’s code provided that artisans teach their crafts to young people, and our earliest records from Egypt, Greece, Rome, and the Orient show that skills were being passed on from one generation to the next in this way.
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    Women in Union Leadership Roles
    Gray, Lois Spier (1988-07-01)
    [Excerpt] Progress has been slower at the policy making level, as illustrated by the report that in these same unions with 45% or more female membership, women hold less than 10% of .the executive board positions. While the percentages are higher in professional unions - for example, 32% in the American Federation of Teachers which has a 60% female membership - in almost all cases, representation on executive boards falls far below that of local membership. Few of the more than 90 AFL-CIO unions are headed by women: only the Association of Flight Attendants, which has a predominantly female membership, and the Retail, Wholesale and Department Store Union and Actors' Equity have women presidents. Women are rarely represented at the top. Is there a glass ceiling? Can women look up but not rise up? If so, why?
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    Unions Implementing Managerial Techniques
    Gray, Lois Spier (1981-06-01)
    [Excerpt] National unions are gradually adopting the sophisticated management selection and training practices of business and government but employment and promotion decisions remain essentially political.
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    Union-Management Training Programs in the Public Sector: The New York Experience
    Gray, Lois Spier; Quimby, Thomas B.; Schrier, Kathy (1991-01-01)
    [Excerpt] New York State has a long history of union-management education and training programs, making it unique in public sector employment. This chapter examines the programs undertaken at both state and city levels, as well as the applicability of the New York experience to other public sector jurisdictions. Although the profile of the New York State and city work force differs from that of the rest of the nation, there is much of value here for educators, union leaders, and others involved in public sector employment.
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    Union Administrative Practices: A Comparative Analysis
    Clark, Paul F.; Gilbert, Kay; Gray, Lois Spier; Solomon, Norman (1998-12-01)
    In response to growing challenges, many labor organizations are reevaluating themselves in an effort to become more efficient and effective. Their efforts, however, are limited by their frames of reference. Seldom do unions compare practices across labor movements. To expand these frames of reference we compare union administrative practices in three countries: Canada, the United Kingdom, and the United States. Two specific areas of union administration are examined — human resource/personnel practices and strategic planning. Results from these countries are presented and analyzed to identify and explain similarities and differences.
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    Two Paths to the High Road: The Dynamics of Coalition Building in Seattle and Buffalo
    Greer, Ian; Byrd, Barbara; Fleron, Lou Jean (2007-01-01)
    [Excerpt] Labor-community coalitions are not a new concept. Unions approach such coalitions now, as in the past, as one way to enhance their bargaining power with an employer. Such coalitions are temporary and often issue-based. In recent years, however, some local labor movements have begun to look at coalitions in a broader way – as a means of improving their public image and building power in the political arena. This broad-based approach requires the development of coalitions for the longer run, not just for temporary expediency. This paper develops the notion of a high road social infrastructure as a way to understand how union leaders develop and sustain coalitions over time and find the resources they need to succeed in shaping economic development priorities for the region.
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    The Route to the Top: Female Union Leaders and Union Policy
    Gray, Lois Spier (1993-01-01)
    [Excerpt] Although women now constitute about one third of the members of labor unions in the United States, they are still barely visible in top leadership. To what extent are women currently making inroads in union leadership and what types of union responsibilities do they hold? Is there a glass ceiling? How do the career patterns of women unionists compare with those of men? What can unions do to facilitate their recognition? These are the key questions I examine in this article, drawing on past research supplemented by insights from union leaders I interviewed.
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    The Industry and the Unions: An Overview
    Gray, Lois Spier; Seeber, Ronald L. (1996-01-01)
    [Excerpt] This overview chapter provides a framework for the chapters that follow by broadly describing the arts, entertainment, and electronic media (AEEM) industry and the problems confronting it. The overview is presented in four sections focused on: first, the economic structure of the industry; second, unions and bargaining structure; third, the impact of technological changes; and fourth, historical responses on the part of unions and the labor relations system to technological change.
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    Buffalo Child Care Means Business: Executive Summary
    Fleron, Lou Jean; Breen, Lauren; Dimitrov, Danielle (2006-11-16)
    [Excerpt] This study of child care needs and opportunities in downtown Buffalo includes original empirical evidence from a representative survey of employers in core zip codes 14201-2-3-4. The Survey Research Institute of Cornell University conducted the telephone survey of chief operating officers or human resource directors of 117 employers in the spring of 2006. The data pool was scientifically balanced to include small, medium, and large employers from both the public and private sectors as well as all child care employers within the geographic area of the study. Highlights of the findings are included here.
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    Buffalo Child Care Means Business: Full Study Report
    Fleron, Lou Jean; Breen, Lauren; Grogan, Regina L.; Dimitrov, Danielle (2006-01-01)
    [Excerpt] Buffalo Child Care Means Business presents the economic and business case for making Buffalo's children the focus of economic development. The 2006 survey of 117 businesses located in downtown Buffalo, New York, documents the business sector's present and projected reliance upon high quality child care services as a necessary component to optimum workplace recruitment, productivity and stability. This promising study highlights research specific to the Buffalo region measuring the cost the community bears as a result of low quality child care and early education. It draws upon nationally recognized economic development strategies to offer recommendations for a strategic child care plan integral to the City of Buffalo's overall strategic initiatives to strengthen downtown's attractiveness to successful enterprises. The early development needs of Buffalo's children must be front and center if the potential economic power of broadly successful education is to be realized. With business, government, education and child care leaders at the table, Buffalo's economic renaissance can be built on individual and social foundations that last a lifetime.