Sunday, October 6, 2013

Shorten Week May Help Economy

In 1905, the International Workers of the World fought for fewer work hours in a week, better wages and safer working conditions. Is it time to lower the work week hours from 40 to, say, 32 hours whenever there are more workers than jobs because of faster tools, new technology or over population? We’ve had to make adjustments before in the labor force, for example child labor laws removed a large segment of the work force beginning the mid-1800s.This opened up jobs for older workers. Another example was the mandated retirement age, but the easiest way is to adjust the work week. This is different from what employers are doing to workers now. Employers are short changing workers with hours, healthcare and income. What I’m advocating is using the system that’s been used before that created jobs, not stifle them. When I worked during the ‘80s, we took four hours off every Friday, it made a huge difference and got a lot of people through the down turn in the economy. This would open up a new job for every five workers now working, and if not the existing workers would get time and a half for the eight hours over the 32 hours. Either way, it would work for the wage slaves. Some would ask for the overtime and others would take the time off three days a week. Now with the new healthcare laws, which means everyone is covered, the need to work at a job just for healthcare will start to diminish and this will also open up new jobs. The big change will be the 32 hour a week work schedule, and also pushing up the wages to $15 to $16 an hour, which will create many more jobs. Now, most all of this will have to be driven by us wage slaves and unions. These are things unions should be looking at now because these adjustments have been used before, such as retirement age to make room for new union workers. Sheet Metal, for example, went from age 55 to 52. This opened up a large gap to be filled by younger, hard-working people, which was a benefit to companies they work for and the membership of the unions. There are a lot of ways to make the economy work the wage slaves, but we have to start it and finish it. We will need good leaders and a smart educated force to make it work and leaders with the tenacity to fight the fights that will have to be won in the streets, court of laws and legislation. Yes, unfortunately, there will probably be blood and jail time to contend with, but maybe all can learn from past history, which tells us the masses always win in the long run. Let’s hope we can all just shorten the run.