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We Want a 4 Day Work Week!

by everybody Thursday, May. 05, 2011 at 5:00 AM

The time has come for the 4 day work week.

May Day was started as an effort to reduce the workday from 10 hours a day, 6 days a week, to 8 hours a day, 5 days a week. In Chicago, 35,000 workers went on strike to demand the shorter hours.

The demand was so clear and loud that the local government bent: 45,000 workers were put onto what we call the 40-hour work week. Apparently, there were already some workers enjoying the shorter work week, but this strike extended it to many government workers. Eventually, the 40 hour week would become law.

Today, in Los Angeles, the City faces a budget crisis. Some workers are furloughed one day a week for a couple weeks a month. They suffer a 10% cut in pay, because they work two fewer days a month.

As part of the Mayor's prosed budget, he's asking for a wage cut of 4%, and a return to the 40 hour work week. More work for less pay!

It's time to say NO.

Instead of paying people less, how about the government switches to a 4-day, 32 hour work week? This would quickly balance the budget, because 20% of the workweek would be eliminated. We could see savings of up to 20% (but probably a bit less, because there are weekend workers).

While the standard demand is a shorter work week with no reduction in pay - we can't do that realistically. So we should have no reduction in the hourly pay - but see a cut in the annual pay, due to less work.

So, we should demand Friday off. Why Friday? Because that's the start of the Jewish sabbath. It would be convenient for one fraction of the population. It's also a sabbath day for Muslims. Again, convenience. Christians are covered by Sunday, and Buddhists now have more flexibility as well.

This short-work-week policy would invariably extend to companies with city government contracts - after all, with no billable hours on the 3-day weekend, why keep people working?

What we need is political pressure to change the laws to replace all mentions of the 40 hour week with 32 hours. It's not like a huge "deal" to shorten the work week. Some countries have a 35 hour work week. The world has not stopped.

Let's work together to build this meme, and spread it.

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