TIME Business

The World’s Second-Richest Man Thinks You Should Work Only 3 Days a Week

Mexican businessman Slim attends the media after talking in the 20th annual meeting of the Circulo de Montevideo Fundation in Luque
Mexican businessman Carlos Slim attends the 20th annual meeting of the Circulo de Montevideo Fundation in Luque, Paraguay July 17, 2014. Jorge Adorno—Reuters

But retirement would be delayed until age 70 or 75

Carlos Slim, the world’s second-richest man finally said the one thing we’ve all been waiting for a self-made billionaire to say: work less. Way less.

At a business conference in Paraguay, the telecommunications magnate said it was time for a “radical overhaul” in the way people work, the Financial Times reports: people should only work three days a week.

“With three work days a week, we would have more time to relax; for quality of life,” Slim said. “Having four days [off] would be very important to generate new entertainment activities and other ways of being occupied.”

Well-said, Mr. Slim. Well-said.

But there’s a catch: in exchange for working fewer days a week, we should work for more of our lives. Instead of retiring at 50 or 60, workers should work until the age of 70 or 75, the 74-year-old Slim said.

Slim is the CEO of Telmex, which recently instituted a labor contract for workers to begin in their late teens and retire before they turn 50, with the option of continuing to work past retirement at four days a week for full pay.

Slim is worth upwards of $80 billion, according to Forbes, and is a major philanthropist and passionate Rodin collector.


TIME Business

The Top 7 Management Tips From Harvard Business Review

Harvard Business Review recently released a book of their top Management Tips. Here are the ones I felt were the most insightful and actionable.

Get Through Your To-Do List

Via Management Tips From Harvard Business Review:

Self-discipline is hard. Try these three tips to make your work more efficient every day:

  1. Get three things done before noon. Statistics show that the team ahead at halftime is more likely to win the game. Enjoy your lunch knowing that you accomplished at least three tasks in the morning.

  2. Sequence for speed. Break projects into parts. Take on the longer pieces at the beginning and make sure each subsequent part is shorter. If you leave the longest parts for last, you are more likely to run out of steam before the end of the day.

  3. Tackle similar tasks at the same time. The mind thrives on repetition. You can build momentum by taking on similar projects at the same time.

More on productivity here.


Pretend You Have What You Want

Via Management Tips From Harvard Business Review:

Your mind is often your greatest tool, but as anyone who has been taken over by fear, frustration, or worry knows, it can also be your greatest enemy. Whether you’re concerned that you don’t have the respect of your peers or that a customer isn’t calling you back because she’s gone to a competitor, overthinking the issue only serves to compound the worry. Instead, pretend you have what you want. Act as if your peers respect you or as if the customer is loyal. These may be fantasies, but what you’re worrying about may be as well. It’s better to stop the worry and act confidently; chances are better that you’ll get what you want.

More on looking and acting like a leader here.


Prioritize Value Over Volume

Via Management Tips From Harvard Business Review:

Research has shown that multitasking results in mediocre outcomes. By putting too little attention on too many things, you fail to do anything well. However, the answer isn’t single-tasking either. Single-tasking is far too slow to help you succeed in today’s fast-paced world. Instead, identify the tasks that will create the most value and focus on those. By prioritizing value over volume and sharpening your focus on tasks that truly matter, you’ll increase the quality of your work and, ultimately, the value you provide. What to do with all those tasks that didn’t make the high-value list? Put them on a “do later” list. If they continually fail to make it to the high-value list, ask yourself: why do them at all?

More on time management here.


Schedule Regular Meetings With Yourself

Via Management Tips From Harvard Business Review:

As we continue venturing into uncharted economic waters, how can you keep your job on track and deliver your best? Schedule a weekly meeting with yourself. That’s right: no matter how busy you are, this is not a luxury. It’s essential.

Every week, take a quiet hour to reflect on recent critical events—conflicts, failures, opportunities you exploited, observations of others’ behavior, feedback from others. Consider how you responded, what went well, what didn’t, and what might be more effective in the future.Never cancel this meeting—it’s crucial.

More on what it takes to move up the ladder here.


Shed Your Excessive “Need To Be You”

Via Management Tips From Harvard Business Review:

One of the worst habits a leader can have is excusing his behavior with claims like, “That’s just the way I am!” Stop clinging to bad behaviors because you believe they are essential to who you are. Instead of insisting that you can’t change, think about how these behaviors may be impeding the success of those around you. Don’t think of these behaviors as character traits, but as possibilities for improvement. You’ll be surprised how easily you can change when it helps you succeed.

More on the best business attitude here.


Fire Yourself

Via Management Tips From Harvard Business Review:

Management shake-ups, though disruptive, can be good for a company. They bring in fresh perspectives and require that leaders take a hard look at their own performance. Do not wait for your company to get in trouble. Instead, fire yourself. Think about what you would do in your position if you were to start anew. What would you do differently if this were your first day on the job? Taking this step back can help you evaluate the strategies and approaches you are currently using, see things that are too difficult to see when you are entrenched, and reenergize yourself for the challenges ahead.

More on leadership perspective here.


Be A Both/And Leader

Via Management Tips From Harvard Business Review:

In today’s tough economy, should leaders be dogged, analytic, and organized or should they be empathic, charismatic, and communicative? The answer is simple: they need all those traits. Rather than categorizing yourself as a certain type of leader, explore the nuances that a complex, fast-moving business environment requires. Leaders need to confidently deliver tough messages with analytics as evidence, but they also need to be sensitive to how people receive those messages. Most leadership traits are not an either/or choice, but rather complementary sides of effective management.

More on what the most successful business leaders have in common here.

Recently I also posted the best life lessons from Harvard Business School’s class of 1963.

Join 45K+ readers. Get a free weekly update via email here.

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What’s The Most Important Life Lesson Older People Feel You Must Know?

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What 10 things should you do every day to improve your life?

This piece originally appeared on Barking Up the Wrong Tree.

TIME Management

JP Morgan CEO Has Throat Cancer

Jamie Dimon told employees the disease is “curable”


Investment banking firm JP Morgan’s CEO Jamie Dimon told staff Tuesday that he has throat cancer.

“The good news is that the prognosis from my doctors is excellent, the cancer was caught quickly, and my condition is curable,” Dimon, CEO of the bank since 2005, said in a note to staff.

Dimon said the disease will require about eight weeks of radiation and chemotherapy treatment, CNBC reports.

“I feel very good now and will let all of you know if my health situation changes,” he said.

Dimon steered JP Morgan through the financial crisis but met with controversy after the bank was involved in a scandal in 2012, leading to billions of dollars in losses and calls for Dimon’s ouster. The notoriously blunt bank chairman was criticized for calling the fiasco a “tempest in a teapot.”


TIME career

What Are Some Tips and Hacks for Managing People?

Klaus Vedfelt—Getty Images

Answer by Mira Zaslove, manager, on Quora

One often overlooked tip for managing people:
Treat people who leave your company or team well, and speak highly of them after they are gone. Encourage your team to only speak positively about ex employees.

Last impressions are important. People who leave can have an important impact on your organization and your effectiveness as a manager.

People talk. Especially after they leave a job. Get former team members to speak positively about working for you and your organization. You never know who your best recruiter will be. Make it an ex-employee.

Smart employees know if you speak badly about someone who just left, eventually you are going to do the same to them. Trust quickly erodes.

As, Sallie Krawcheck writes in A Simple Way to Get a Handle on a Company’s Culture:, “In some companies, as soon as an employee leaves, he or she quickly goes from being a “valued partner” to the one who “never really cut it.” Whom the company is “better off without” and “the guy we were about to fire anyway.”

When you treat ex-employees well, not only do they look good, but YOU, the manager, look better. Zappos famously gave employees a $2,000 incentive to quit the company. You bet those ex-employees had some nice things to say about their time at Zappos, even if the job wasn’t a fit.

A friend of mine was recently working for a start-up that got bought out by Apple. He lost his job. However, Apple vested his shares, gave him a generous severance package, and an awesome referral. Apple turned an ex-employee who could have been negative into a positive supporter.

Many consulting firms, law firms, and Universities, employ an “up or out” culture, but help employees who don’t stick around. Former employees are treated as “alumni,” not “guys who failed.” As Krawcheck highlights, effective managers recognize the power of a strong network. Respect translates into referrals.

As a manager you should be able to answer “Where have my people gone after leaving?” It looks great if your people have advanced in their careers while and after they were under your management. Champion your team for moving on and for their success.

This question originally appeared on Quora: What are some tips and hacks for managing people? More questions:

TIME Business

40% of Your Team’s Effort Is Wasted. These 4 Methods Get Results

40% of what a team does ends up as “process loss.” It’s overhead that wouldn’t exist if everything could be done by one person. Wasted effort.

Obviously, many projects require teams. But how can you create, manage or be part of a team that is more efficient?

I discussed the research behind great teams with Po Bronson, New York Times bestselling author of Top Dog: The Science of Winning and Losing.

Here are 4 things that can make a big difference in how effective your team is.


1) The Formula For A Great Team: The 60/30/10 Rule

Po Bronson:

60 percent of a team’s success is “Who’s on the team?”And 30 percent of it is how you set up your team. And 10 percent, at most, is leadership.

That 60 percent means you want stars on your team. The notion of having a team of equals doesn’t really bear out in the science. In physics, basketball, immunology… stars rub off.Having to train and compete or work with stars, raises the whole team up.

If you clarify what everybody does, you get the most out of that 30 percent. The science of teams in a business context says that pretty much the number one thing you can do to improve a team performance, is to clarify roles. Ask each member “What’s your job? How do these jobs work together? Who covers for who? How do we handle it?”


2) Sometimes Teams Are A Very Bad Idea

Po Bronson:

There’s this mystical idea that teams are always a solution. But unfortunately, so many teams are dysfunctional: 49 percent of software projects are delivered late, 60 percent are over-budget.

We have this idea that a team should have a lot of voices on it. And that doesn’t really work. Teams should be as small as possible to get the job done. Every person has to be able to develop a relationship with every other person on the team.

Teams do give you a positive component, but they inherently have, on average, a 40 percent process loss.That comes from all the wasted energy in emails, organizing, logistics, etc. So, you get a boost from being a team, but you also get a negative effect.


3) The Best Teams Are Managed… Occasionally

Po Bronson:

Today’s intrinsically motivated, self-driven knowledge worker doesn’t need to be looked after all the time. Our mutual friend Dan Pink has helped popularize an idea, a really inspired idea, which has origins in this IBM telecommuting study which showed that,telecommuters were actually more productive, not less.

On average, the most effective balance is intermittent monitoring. If you watch over someone’s shoulder all the time, they’re just going to feel like they’re being bossed around. It’s going to lower the morale and work rate.

If you totally never check in on the kids, they will, on average, at some point, start goofing off in the warehouse. But what works is intermittent monitoring. Occasionally be checking in.


4) Great Teams Need People Who Aren’t Team Players

Po Bronson:

For orchestras, the better they sounded during performance, the more chaos there was behind the scenes. A great opera on stage is a soap opera backstage.

So, there is curiously, an argument that in many cases, a really successful team needs at lest one person who is not a team player. Someone who’s willing to stand up to authority, to rock the boat. To not make everybody happy. To not pat everybody on the back.

Being great is full of unexpected hurdles. So, what you have to have on a team is people who are willing to say “We’re screwing up.” “You’re doing that wrong.” “We need to change.” “We have to do something different — and here’s my idea.”

More from Po on how you can improve your team here.

Join 45K+ readers. Get a free weekly update via email here.

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10 Research-Backed Steps To Building A Great Team

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This piece originally appeared on Barking Up the Wrong Tree.

TIME Careers & Workplace

Working Harder Not Really Worth It, Researchers Find

You might think turning in a project early, putting more effort into it or otherwise going above and beyond what you promise to do at work is a good way to get ahead. Save yourself the trouble: It isn’t.

“Breaking one’s promise is costly, but exceeding it does not appear worth the effort,” writes Ayelet Gneezy, an associate professor of behavioral sciences and marketing in the Rady School of Management at the University of California, San Diego. “Promise receivers consistently failed to recognize the additional effort required to exceed a promise.”

In a series of experiments, Gneezy evaluates how people respond to a promise that is broken, met or exceeded. If you don’t follow through on a promise, the person you let down is likely to see you as more selfish, less generous and less fair — not the kind of reputation you want to cultivate with bosses, coworkers or clients.

Unfortunately, though, exceeding a promise doesn’t earn you any more kudos than if you simply do what you pledged to do. Gneezy finds that this holds true even when the person to whom the promise is made benefits from the extra effort.

Where you do benefit by going above and beyond is exceeding expectations. In one experiment, Gneezy finds that people are happier when expectations are surpassed versus when they are simply met.

What’s the difference? It sounds like splitting hairs, but there’s an important distinction, Gneezy says.

“Promises are not merely expectations,” she says. As it turns out, we view promises as social contracts between people, which makes us unconsciously elevate their importance. “The contractual nature of a promise provides value above and beyond a promise’s tangible outcome,” Gneezy writes. And while contracts can be kept or broken, there’s no mechanism for earning extra credit.

“When companies, friends, or coworkers put forth the effort to keep a promise, their effort is likely to be rewarded,” Gneezy writes. Since just keeping your word is good enough, focus on that, she advises. You can damage your reputation if you break that promise, but you won’t get any advantage from exceeding it, even if the person you made the promise to benefits from your extra effort.

TIME Workers

What McDonald’s Really Owes Its Workers

Simon Weller

This post is in partnership with Fortune, which offers the latest business and finance news. Read the article below originally published at Fortune.com.

At the McDonald’s annual shareholder meeting on May 22, CEO Don Thompson claimed that his company “has a heritage of providing job opportunities that lead to ‘real careers.’”

It’s true, former CEO Jim Skinner, who never graduated from college, joined the fast-food giant as a management trainee in 1971 and rose to the top spot in 2004.

But the McDonald’s of today does not seem like the same land of opportunity it must have been when Skinner got his start at the company.

You’d think time had stood still if you looked at the wages of Cherrie Velestine, 27, a 10-year veteran of the golden arches, who works in a North Charleston, S.C., restaurant. She started at McDonalds in 2004 at $7.35 an hour and despite putting in repeated requests for a raise, she has never received one in all the years she has worked there, she told me. Velestine is not the only fast-food worker with stagnant pay. A Demos report entitled “Fast Food Failure” found that fast-food “wages have increased just 0.3 percent in real dollars since 2000.”

Relying on workers like Velestine, from 2004 to 2013, McDonald’s has more than doubled its reported net income from $2.3 billion to $5.6 billion in its latest filing. If Velestine had received a pay boost at a percentage equal to McDonald’s rising net income, she’d be making $18.02 an hour right now and wouldn’t have had to travel to Chicago to ask for $15.

Velestine relies on food stamps and other family members’ help to survive and support her family. Although she has asked to work 40 hours a week, she only gets 28 – 29 hours, she told me.

MORE: What the future of work looks like

McDonald’s CEO Don Thompson, an electrical engineer by training who was born in 1963 and fortunate to have a grandmother who helped him through college, earned $9.5 million last year, the restaurant chain reported, more than double his earnings just two years ago. “The average hourly wage of fast food employees is $9.09, or less than $19,000 per year for a full-time worker, though most fast food workers do not get full-time hours,” Demos found.

Thompson’s pay for just one day (based on 365 days a year) in 2013 was 1.4 times the average annual rate of a full-time fast-food worker. McDonald’s did not respond to a request for a comment on worker pay issues. “‘We believe we pay fair and competitive wages,” Thompson said at the company’s shareholders meeting.

The Demos study found that the accommodations and food services sector, on average, has experienced higher levels of pay disparity than any other sector in the U.S. economy from 2000 to 2012 — and the CEO-to-average-worker pay ratio is highest in fast-food, having grown 470% over that time period.

The SEC has not yet finalized the Dodd-Frank requirement for disclosure of CEO-to-median-worker pay, so it’s impossible to compare McDonald’s CEO pay to the median or average McDonald’s worker pay, said Catherine Ruetschlin, the Demos study author.

Velestine says a raise to $15 an hour would mean a lot to her. “It would mean they appreciate me, and it would help me provide for my family without other people’s help,” she told me. She is determined to get her due: “We will never quit fighting until we get $15. We’ll be back until we get what we want.”

When Adriana Alvarez, 22, who has completed one year of college, joined a Cicero, Ill., McDonald’s in 2010, she says she was earning $8.50 an hour. Now, her pay is up to $9.15, a 7.6% increase. Meanwhile, the company’s earnings rose 13% from 2010 to 2013, and Thompson’s pay has risen 130% during that time.

A cashier and runner who also handles the drive-thru, Alvarez relies on government assistance and says $15 an hour would help her “provide a better future for her two-year-old son, a better place to live, with better schools.” Thompson no doubt knows the importance of such opportunities. “His grandmother, fearing growing gang activity … moved him to Indianapolis,” when he was 10 years old, the Chicago Tribune reported in 2012.

Alvarez and Velestine were both arrested at the protests on May 21, along with Dre Sinley, 24, who works part-time at a McDonald’s in the Tampa, Fla. area to supplement his full-time job at Arby’s and support his wife and five-year-old daughter. Sinley has an associate’s degree in criminal justice, but police jobs in Tampa are scarce. Despite working two jobs, his family must rely on food stamps. He had scholarships and grants to attend college, he says, but he also has student loans to pay off.

“Fifteen dollars an hour would allow me to provide for my family,” he says, “to not worry about paying the rent, buying clothes, or paying the electric bill. Today if the car breaks down, I can’t pay to fix it because I won’t be able to pay the other bills. There’s constant worry.”

Studies have shown that chronic, prolonged stress like the kind endured by the unemployed and low-wage earners leads to serious health problems and shortens lives. All three of the McDonald’s workers I talked to told me they do not receive company benefits like health insurance.

MORE: Millennial job applicants rejecting your offers? Here’s why.

Despite Thompson’s assertion that the home of the Big Mac offers fair pay, some restaurant analysts consider the issue a major risk for the industry. In an April 15 note, Barclays predicted wages “will be top of mind as we look to 2015.” An April 9 note by Citi analysts suggests that win-win wage solutions may be possible: “several franchisees … have raised prices to offset [an] increase [in labor costs] with no noticeable consumer pushback.”

Looking at the broader economy, minutes from the Federal Reserve’s meeting at the end of April show “the share of workers employed part time for economic reasons moved up” and “slack in labor and product markets [are] anticipated to diminish slowly.”

On April 23, a Citi analyst report using data from marketing firm MWW, showed that McDonald’s holds a very prominent position in social media, as measured by both “total audience strength” and “engagement.” As we roll into summer, this could be a boon or a blessing depending on how McDonald’s chooses to respond to millennial workers like Velestine, Alvarez, and Sinley. If employees are willing to engage in civil disobedience at corporate headquarters, can disruptive social media campaigns be far behind?

Eleanor Bloxham is CEO of The Value Alliance and Corporate Governance Alliance (http://thevaluealliance.com), a board education and advisory firm.

TIME Unions

5 States With the Absolute Toughest Unions

Tetra Images—Getty Images/Tetra images RF

This post is in partnership with 24/7Wall Street. The article below was originally published on 247wallst.com.

The percentage of American workers in unions remained effectively unchanged last year. This marks a departure from the nation’s long-term trend. In the past 30 years, union membership has dropped from 20.1% of the workforce in 1983 to 11.2% last year.

Despite this long running decline, some states remain union strongholds, while others have almost no union presence. In New York, Alaska and Hawaii, more than 22% of workers were union members last year. Conversely, in five states, less than 4% of all employees were union members.

A number of factors help determine whether unions have a significant or negligible presence in a state, including industry composition, labor laws and political atmosphere. Based on data collected by the Bureau of Labor Statistics and calculations by Unionstats.com, 24/7 Wall St. identified the states with the highest and lowest shares of workers who are union members.

With the addition of Michigan in 2012, nearly half of all states have so-called “right to work” laws. These laws prohibit employers from requiring union membership as a prerequisite for employment. As a result, employees often elect not to pay union fees. All 10 of the states with the lowest proportional union membership have right to work laws. Conversely, just two of the 10 states with the highest rates of union membership — Michigan and Nevada — have such laws.

MORE: 10 Companies Paying Americans the Least

However, according to an email from Unionstats founder Barry Hirsch, while these laws can weaken a union’s financial base, the impact may be smaller than some suggest. “Right to work is important symbolically as a sign of a pro-business [or] anti-union environment,” Hirsch added.

The number of union workers in a state depends in large part on the representation of government employees. Although the public sector is far smaller than the private sector in terms of total employment, public sector workers are far more likely to be members of a union. Nationwide, more than 35% of public sector employees — which include teachers, firefighters, police officers and postal workers — were union members last year.

As a result, states where public employees were more likely to be in unions had higher rates of overall union representation. In New York, the nation’s most unionized state, 70% of public sector employees were union members, the highest percentage in the nation. By contrast, in North Carolina, the nation’s least unionized state, slightly less than 10% were union members.

In contrast to the public sector, unions are far less prevalent in the private sector, where just 6.7% of the workforce was unionized. However, because the private sector is far larger, it still accounts for a large share of union membership. In fact, most of the top 10 states for overall membership were also among the top 10 for percentage of private sector workers who were union members.

In recent decades, the private sector has accounted for the majority of the decline in the union workforce, while the share of public sector workers in unions has remained relatively constant, Hirsch wrote. “Public sector members now account for half of all members despite being only [one-sixth] of the workforce,” he added.

Often, high levels of union membership in a state were due to the presence of industries where unions traditionally held considerable influence, most notably construction and manufacturing. As of 2013, 14% of all construction sector workers, and 10% of all manufacturing workers, were union members.

MORE: The Most Polluted Cities in America

In the past decade, the share of private sector workers in unions fell in all but a handful of states. From 2003 to 2013, the number of private sector union members dropped by more than 1 million, from just less than 8.5 million to 7.3 million. In the same time, manufacturing union membership slipped by 34%, from just under 2.2 million to 1.4 million.

In addition to sector composition, Hirsch also noted that history played a role in determining unionization rates. “States that historically had high unionization in manufacturing are now more likely to have high unionized hospitals and grocery stores, and vice-versa,” he explained. In turn, when young workers have not been exposed to unions through friends and family members, “these workers are far less likely to support union organizing.”

Based on figures published by Unionstats.com, an online union membership and coverage database, 24/7 Wall St. identified the states with the highest and lowest union membership as a percentage of total employment. The database, which analyzes Bureau of Labor Statistics’ (BLS) Current Population Survey, provides labor force numbers and union membership in both the public and private sector, including manufacturing and construction. Additionally, 24/7 Wall St. reviewed annual average unemployment rates for each state from the BLS, as well as income and poverty data from the 2012 American Community Survey, produced by the U.S. Census Bureau.

These are the states with the strongest unions:

1. New York
> Pct. of workers in unions: 24.3%
> Union workers: 1,982,771 (2nd highest)
> 10-yr. change in union membership: 2.4% (14th highest)
> Total employment, 2013: 8,144,204 (3rd highest)

Nearly one-quarter of New York’s workers — close to 2 million people — were union members in 2013, the highest percentage in the country. Union representation was relatively strong both in the private sector and in government jobs. In the private sector, 15.1% of workers were union members, the highest percentage in the country. Nearly 70% of public sector workers belonged to unions, the highest percentage in the country. However, even in New York, unions have been forced to make concessions so that their members could keep their jobs. In 2011, the state struck a deal with New York’s largest public employees union, the Civil Service Employees Association, to freeze wages in order to avoid mass layoffs.

2. Alaska
> Pct. of workers in unions: 23.1%
> Union workers: 70,692 (16th lowest)
> 10-yr. change in union membership: 19.6% (3rd highest)
> Total employment, 2013: 306,322 (3rd lowest)

More than 23% of Alaska’s relatively small workforce, or 70,692 workers, were union members in 2013, more than in any state except for New York. Additionally, more than one in 10 private sector workers were union members, among the higher rates in the nation. Unlike many highly unionized states, union membership increased in Alaska — by nearly 20% — between 2003 and 2013. This was the third largest increase in union members among all states. Membership across the nation, by contrast, fell by 8% over that time. Alaska residents had among the nation’s highest incomes as of 2012, when a typical household earning more than $67,000. Also, just slightly more than 10% of people lived below the poverty line that year, among the lowest in the country.

3. Hawaii
> Pct. of workers in unions: 22.1%
> Union workers: 121,357 (23rd lowest)
> 10-yr. change in union membership: -0.3% (18th highest)
> Total employment, 2013: 549,219 (9th lowest)

As is the case in many states with strong union membership, a large proportion of Hawaii’s manufacturing workers — 18.3% — were union members as of last year, more than in all but two other states. More than 32% of private construction workers were also union members, among the highest percentages nationwide in 2013. By many measures, Hawaii is a good place to work, with high median incomes and low unemployment helping to offset the state’s exceptionally high cost of living last year. A typical household made more than $66,000 in 2012, more than in all but a handful of states. And the unemployment rate was just 4.8% last year, also among the best rates.

4. Washington
> Pct. of workers in unions: 18.9%
> Union workers: 544,986 (8th highest)
> 10-yr. change in union membership: 8.7% (8th highest)
> Total employment, 2013: 2,880,935 (14th highest)

Washington’s total employment rose by nearly 104,000 workers, or 3.6%, between 2012 and 2013, one of the highest increases in the country. Washington is one of the most unionized states in the private sector, with 11.7% of all employees union members. Nearly one-quarter of the state’s private construction workers were union members in 2013, among the highest in the country. Similarly, 24.2% of all manufacturing workers held union membership, the most in the nation. There were 52,000 fewer public sector employees in 2013 than in 2012, as the state continued to follow through on the budget cuts it initiated during the recession. Despite this, union membership in the public sector held steady, at more than 261,000 workers, or 57% of all public employees.

5. Rhode Island
> Pct. of workers in unions: 16.9%
> Union workers: 77,367 (18th lowest)
> 10-yr. change in union membership: -7.9% (25th highest)
> Total employment, 2013: 458,494 (8th lowest)

Like several other states with strong union presence, nearly two-thirds of Rhode Island’s public sector belonged to a union last year, second only to New York. Labor initiatives appear to be a recent priority for policy makers. The state raised its minimum wage to $8 an hour at the beginning of last year, affecting more than 10,000 workers at the time. Wages may increase even further if the labor union-backed legislation introduced in January is passed. The bill aims to increase the minimum wage to $10 per hour by 2016. While union membership may benefit many Rhode Island workers, high wages could potentially also limit new employment opportunities. Rhode Island’s unemployment rate of 9.5% last year was higher than that of any other state except for Nevada.

Visit 24/7 Wall St. to see the remaining states on the list.

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China’s Culture of Compliance Is Crippling the Country

Demonstration at Tiananmen Square in Beijing, China on June 01st, 1989.
Standing tall A Chinese youth at a demonstration in Beijing’s Tiananmen Square on June 1, 1989 Eric Bouvet—Gamma-Rapho/Getty Images

Next week will be the 25th anniversary of Tiananmen Square. It was a turning point not only for China, but also for the world, in the sense that it heralded a new era in which growing wealth and growing political freedom in emerging markets didn’t necessary go hand in hand. This year, China will very likely overtake the U.S. as the world’s largest economy. It has certainly become wealthy. But it has also become less free–as have so many of the world’s largest developing nations–think Russia, Turkey, many parts of Africa and Latin America, etc.

The question is, that can juxtaposition last another 25 years—or even another five? It’s something I’ve been thinking about a lot lately, particularly as I delve into New Yorker writer Evan Osnos’ very interesting new book on China, “Age of Ambition: Chasing Fortune, Truth and Faith in the New China” (FSG). The core premise of the book is that individual ambition and authoritarianism in countries like China will inevitably come into conflict with one another. As people get richer, they want more freedom, and they put pressure on their governments to deliver it. The problem is that these governments are often much better at delivering wealth than they are at delivering anything close to liberal democracy.

I think we may be reaching a tipping point in the next few years around that juxtaposition between growth and choice in the emerging world. China is, as always, the most dramatic example of this. The recent cyber-hacking scandal, for example, was portrayed by many pundits as yet another example of how the Middle Kingdom is leaping ahead of U.S. government and business interests, stealing American intellectual property and using it to gain a competitive edge. But as I argued, China’s IP theft actually underscores what a “me too” economy the Middle Kingdom still is. China is good, very good, at copycatting other people’s ideas (Osnos’ stories of various Chinese entrepreneurs, like the village woman behind the Chinese version of match.com, are fascinating on this score), but it has yet to create many global brands–aside from Lenovo’s computers and the college mini-fridges made by the low-end white goods producer Haier.

I think the lack of a top-shelf innovation culture has a lot to do with the lack of choice in Chinese society. I once spoke to a Wal-Mart executive in China who told me that he had trouble getting employees in one department to address basic problems in another–picking up boxes that had fallen off a shelf, or order new supplies, for example–because they were afraid of stepping out of their silos. That’s not about work ethic–the Chinese have that in spades–but a culture of compliance. In China, it’s important, sometimes deadly important, to swim in your own lane.

Another issue with the growth of higher end Chinese business is that entrepreneurs don’t trust the stability of the government. I’ve heard time and time again from wealthy people in China (many of whom are looking to get their money out – witness the percentage of high end property purchases in luxury real estate markets worldwide that are made by the Chinese) is that it doesn’t pay to develop businesses for the long haul here, because uncertainly and political risk is so high. People tend to get in, get out, and become serial entrepreneurs, rather than spending decades working on innovation, a la developed countries like the U.S., Japan, or Germany.

How will all this affect China? If the Middle Kingdom can’t make the leap to the “middle income” stage of development, which history shows is the trickiest one (only a handful of developing countries globally have made it), then unemployment will rise and social stability will fall. How will that affect Americans? In a sense, it already is. Trade tensions mean many U.S. companies are rethinking how, or if, they’ll do business in China, with myriad ramifications for us all. For more on all of that, as well as the economic legacy of the Tiananmen event, listen to my radio show, Money Talking, on WNYC this week.

TIME Executive Pay

CEO Pay Tops $10-Million Mark

First time median passes $10-million threshold


CEO pay had long since crossed the six and the seven-figure thresholds, but now it’s all about eight figures.

Median CEO pay hit a record high of $10.5 million in 2013, an 8.8% rise over 2012, according to a new joint study by the Associated Press and Equilar, an executive pay research firm. Compensation packages, buoyed by soaring stock prices, reaped the gains from the market. CEO pay continued its fourth consecutive year of gains since the recession.

The typical CEO now makes 257 times the salary of an average worker, the AP reports. In 2009, CEOs made an average of 181 times as much. More than two-thirds of CEOs in the S&P 500 received a pay raise, with the heads of banks receiving the biggest hikes, averaging 22%.

The highest-paid CEO, with a total payout of $68.3 million, was Anthony Petrello of Nabors Industries, an oil and gas drilling company.



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