Progressive ballot initiatives succeed

Despite the overall grim results of the Nov. 4 midterm election, many workers have reason to celebrate. Ballot initiatives to raise the minimum wage passed in Alaska, Arkansas, Illinois, Nebraska and South Dakota, and in the cities of San Francisco and Oakland, Calif.

Oregon voters approved an Equal Rights Amendment to the state constitution, prohibiting discrimination based on sex. Voters in Massachusetts and the cities of Oakland, Calif., and New Jersey’s Trenton and Montclair approved laws requiring employers to grant full-time workers 40 hours (five days) of paid sick leave per year.

Several anti-union referenda were rejected by voters, including “right-to-work” (for less) laws in Alaska and Missouri’s Amendment 3, which would have substantially weakened teachers’ unions and made public schools more vulnerable to privatization. (, Nov. 5)