News & Commentary

March 12, 2018

Vivian Dong

Vivian Dong is a student at Harvard Law School.

Teachers’ unions in other states are grappling with whether to follow the lead of West Virginia after the successful teachers’ union strike that concluded last week.  Rumblings of strike activity have emerged in Kentucky, Arizona, and Oklahoma.  Arizona and Oklahoma rank among the lowest in teacher pay in the country.  Joe Thomas, the president of the Arizona Education Association, recently met with Dale Lee, the president of the West Virginia Education Association, to discuss tactics Arizona teachers can use to put pressure on legislators to increase pay.  Meanwhile, the Oklahoma teachers’ union has given legislators a deadline of April 1 to propose an offer to address the low pay and severe teacher shortage in the state.

Servers often feel pressured to accept harassing behavior in exchange for the tips that make up their living wage, the New York Times reports.  One commonly proposed way to alleviate the power imbalance between servers and customers that allows harassing behavior is getting rid of tips.  But many servers, restaurant managers, and customers oppose the idea, since it often leads to significantly lower net pay for servers overall.

Unions have thrown their full weight behind Democratic candidate Conor Lamb in the special congressional election in southwest Pennsylvania.  Though President Trump won the district by 20 percentage points in 2016, current polls show a dead heat between Lamb and Rick Saccone, the Republican candidate.  On Saturday, Trump visited the 18th Congressional District to raise support for Saccone, touting the steel and aluminum tariffs the White House put in place last week to the community, which is heavily dependent on steel production.  Though union leaders support Lamb, rank-and-file union members are more split between the candidates.

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