News & Commentary

August 20, 2014

The Wall Street Journal reports that Karen Lewis, the President of the Chicago Teachers Union, is taking initial steps to challenge Chicago mayor Rahm Emanuel. Ms. Lewis has emerged as one of the mayor’s strongest critics, particularly around education policy. According to the Journal, “the two clashed in 2012, when the city saw its first teachers strike in 25 years, and over the decision by Mr. Emanuel to close dozens of schools in mostly minority neighborhoods.” While Mr. Emanuel would likely have a significant financial advantage over any challenger, the AFT has hinted that it might spend up to $1 million in support of Ms. Lewis. The election will be in February 2015.

According to the Minneapolis Star Tribune, a federal judge in Minneapolis will not stop a union election of 27,000 home care workers in Minnesota. The judge denied a temporary injunction by the National Right to Work Foundation on ripeness grounds, but also left the door open to future challenges if the SEIU does in fact win the election, which will be held in several weeks. The election involves the largest group of workers in Minnesota to seek certification since the passage of the NLRA in 1935.

Ariana Huffington writes on the Huffington Post about a new report finding that 40% of American workers leave paid vacation days unused. The report, entitled “Overwhelmed America: Why Don’t We Use Our Paid Time Off?,” was released by Travel Effect, an initiative of the U.S. Travel Association. Huffington laments the reasons workers gave for not taking vacation days: “the dread of returning from a vacation to piles of work (40 percent), the belief that no one will be able to step in and do their job for them while they’re gone (35 percent), not being able to afford it (33 percent) and the fear of being seen as replaceable (22 percent).” She writes that these responses reflect a “work martyr” culture that ultimately damages both well-being and productivity.

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