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WISHFUL THINKING

Edited by Mary McNamara

What would you give for three times the paid vacation you get now? How about your vote?

San Francisco attorney Richard Such and his “Vacation Initiative” may wind up on the June, 1992, state ballot. If passed, the measure would guarantee the average working stiff six glorious weeks off with pay each year. The idea isn’t radical; in Europe, a month-and-a-half’s vacation is the norm, and often it’s the law.

“The United States has the world’s highest standard of living,” Such, 49, says, “but no one has the chance to enjoy it. People work all day and all night just to go to bed and get up and go to work the next day.”

Such spent two years writing his initiative. To make it more attractive to employers, he included a half-dozen conditions. For example, employees must have a high school diploma to be eligible and must work for a company for six months, and anyone convicted of a drug- or alcohol-related offense forfeits the six-week vacation for 10 years. “I’ve put a lot of thought into the practical aspects,” says Such, who recently started collecting the 700,000 signatures required to get the measure on the ballot.

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Not everyone thinks it’s a great idea. Members of the state Chamber of Commerce argue that conditions of employment should be up to employers and that it would cost too much. Such, who is seeking support from labor groups and the tourist industry, says the measure will save money. And he has a personal stake: “I might get to clean out my garage.”


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