The Great Debate

The most expensive political contest in California is for an office nobody’s heard of

By Sherry Bebitch Jeffe and Douglas Jeffe
November 3, 2014

A woman inserts her ballot into an intake machine at a polling station during the U.S. presidential election in Los Angeles

On Tuesday, California may not have a suspenseful governor’s race, but the contest for an obscure state education post has attracted an astonishing amount of outside money and turned into a high-stakes test run for the 2016 presidential campaign.

In France, where unions rule, a challenge from Hollande

By Peter Gumbel
January 29, 2014

In France, taking a person hostage or sequestering them against their will is a crime punishable by up to 20 years in jail. It also happens to be a very effective weapon in French labor disputes. Since 2009, there have been 15 incidents of “boss-napping” and only one resulted in sanctions: 11 postal workers who were fined $2,000 apiece for locking up their managers during a dispute over a change in how the mail is delivered.

What public unions and gay marriage have in common

June 15, 2012

The political fireworks in Wisconsin, culminating in the recent unsuccessful recall election of the Republican governor, Scott Walker, have a lot of people saying good riddance to public-sector unions. Last year, Walker and the Wisconsin state legislature enacted Wisconsin Act 10, stripping most – though crucially not all – of the state’s public unions of their most fundamental powers, including collective bargaining and the ability to deduct dues from workers’ paychecks. Many observers – and not only Republicans – have signaled their approval, arguing that public unions – representing teachers, bus drivers, healthcare workers – shouldn’t exist in the first place.