Author Topic: If it's good for us, it's good for everyone! (please help)  (Read 7675 times)

Bakari

  • Handlebar Stache
  • *****
  • Posts: 1797
  • Age: 39
  • Location: Oakland, CA
  • Veggie Powered Handyman
    • The Flamboyant Introvert
If it's good for us, it's good for everyone! (please help)
« on: September 10, 2013, 06:12:26 PM »
Yes, of course, I know, and I agree, the middle class is not really struggling, they have more than enough, they just waste it on frivolous crap.

I just wrote what I thought would appeal to the widest audience.  I think the rest of it is still valid.

Ultimately, I'd really like to see overtime start at 20 hours a week (or better yet, 83 hours a month, to allow both employees and employers more flexibility), but I know that - even though it is entirely feasible from an economic standpoint, there's no chance of making a jump that big in our socio-political present.

This would be a start.  Click it, sign it, then pass it on to all your friends and loved ones:

http://petitions.moveon.org/sign/a-35-hour-work-week-will

On behalf of everyone with a job, and everyone looking for one, thank you.


Here's what I would have written, had there been space:
Whatever the response is, it will at least bring this issue to the attention of American politics which is the first step toward action.
It may never happen, but it will get people thinking about things they take for granted; like the purpose of the economy, production, employment, unemployment, distribution of wealth, etc.

It has become common practice when talking about the economy or the market to treat them as though they were an end in and of themselves, and inherent good regardless of their effects. We seem to have completely forgotten that the whole point of having an economy in the first place is to serve and better the lives of actual people. Over the past half century improvements to the economy have not translated to improvements in the lives of the majority of Americans. We all need to stop, step back a moment, and ask the question: in that case, what is the point?
When individual citizens are asked to make sacrifices for the sake of "the economy", that means citizens are here to serve the markets, instead of the markets being here to serve the citizens.


The petition website has a character limit; here the original text I wrote for it:



A 35 hour work week will create 22 MILLION jobs without costing the federal government or tax payers anything.

There are currently 14 million unemployed American's, so this will eliminate all unemployment, and then it will push wages up as employers are forced to compete for a limited labor force.

Literally ALL arguments against a 35 hour work week (that it would hurt business or make America less competitive, etc) can be countered by the simple fact that those same arguments were made against the 40 hour work week, and none of those things happened.

The 40 hour work week dates back to the early 1900s, with it becoming federal law in 1932.
Since that time productivity per worker has increased well over 1000%. This means each US Worker produces more than ten times as much in an hour of labor than when the current work week was created.
This has not manifested a corresponding 10 fold increase in average wages.

Productivity has increased over 400% since 1970 alone. In that same time, total GDP has increased even more dramatically, by 1400%.
And yet, since that time, wage income (adjusted for inflation) has been completely stagnant.

The reason for this disparity is that literally 100% of the additional profits made possible by new technology and globalization have gone to corporations and investors, while 0% have benefited the working and middle classes. The average worker produces approximately $100 thousand a year in output, yet receives less than $40 thousand in wages.

While many employers will object that they can not afford it, the enormous increases in productivity per worker and total GDP prove indisputably that they can. Income inequality is at an all-time high, and thanks to patent, tax, and labor laws there is no longer any correlation between income and how much an individual contributes to society or how hard they work. The unprecedented profits which have gone to corporations and investors between the time the 40 hour week was created and today are more than enough to cover the minor costs associated with taking the next step to a 35 hour work week.

The 35 hour work week must apply equally to hourly wage AND salaried workers, and even to commission based employees. In our current system millions of people are forced to work unpaid overtime hours because they are paid salary. These people should be entitled to overtime at a rate of 1.5 times their weekly pay (annual pay divided by 52) divided by 35 hours. This needs to be stated explicitly in the law to prevent abuse by employers. No industry should be exempt, the only exception being if an individual or union VOLUNTARILY chooses to waive their rights.

In order to protect the lowest paid workers, a 35 hour work week must be coupled with an increase in minimum wage so that full-time employment at minimum wage constitutes a living wage. A minimum wage of $11.50 would equal $20,000 a year (before taxes, assuming 10 days of holidays, vacation and/or sick days per year).

Finally, in order to protect American jobs from outsourcing (and reclaim jobs which have already been outsourced), the 35 hour work week could also be coupled with a tariff on any goods sold by a US based company, which was manufactured or assembled in another country.

A 35 hour work week would give hard-working families a much needed and deserved break, while creating enough jobs to end unemployment completely.


I address questions and concerns about the idea (right after the text above) on my blog:
http://biodieselhauling.blogspot.com/2011/10/dramatically-reduce-unemployment-by.html



thrifted

  • 5 O'Clock Shadow
  • *
  • Posts: 77
  • Location: New York City
Re: If it's good for us, it's good for everyone! (please help)
« Reply #1 on: September 10, 2013, 08:24:04 PM »
i'm at nyu and we have a 35 hour work week.  and i can attest to how much more productive it has made me. 

Bakari

  • Handlebar Stache
  • *****
  • Posts: 1797
  • Age: 39
  • Location: Oakland, CA
  • Veggie Powered Handyman
    • The Flamboyant Introvert
Re: If it's good for us, it's good for everyone! (please help)
« Reply #2 on: September 11, 2013, 10:36:18 AM »
244 views, but very few signatures from here!

Whats that about?  If you think it's a terrible idea, care to share why?
If you think its a good idea, why not click through?  It couldn't be easier!

mpbaker22

  • Handlebar Stache
  • *****
  • Posts: 1095
Re: If it's good for us, it's good for everyone! (please help)
« Reply #3 on: September 11, 2013, 11:25:08 AM »
I agree it wouldn't drop productivity as some people claim.  But it also won't solve unemployment as you claim.

And I'm guessing people don't sign because of this part -
Quote
Note: By signing, you agree to receive email messages from MoveOn.org Civic Action and MoveOn.org Political Action. (You may unsubscribe at any time.)

Villanelle

  • Magnum Stache
  • ******
  • Posts: 2649
Re: If it's good for us, it's good for everyone! (please help)
« Reply #4 on: September 11, 2013, 11:29:47 AM »
If people are going to be more productive, then how would this create jobs.  If they will get more done per hour in their 35 hours than they would in their current 40 hours, then where would the demand for new jobs come from?

arebelspy

  • Administrator
  • Senior Mustachian
  • *****
  • Posts: 27774
  • Age: -999
  • Location: Traveling the World
Re: If it's good for us, it's good for everyone! (please help)
« Reply #5 on: September 11, 2013, 11:31:00 AM »
I signed, without much hope.

I love your optimism though.  :)
We are two former teachers who accumulated a bunch of real estate, retired at 29, and now travel the world full time with two kids.
If you want to know more about me, or how we did that, or see lots of pictures, this Business Insider profile tells our story pretty well.
We (rarely) blog at AdventuringAlong.com. Check out our Now page to see what we're up to currently.

asty

  • 5 O'Clock Shadow
  • *
  • Posts: 9
  • Location: France
Re: If it's good for us, it's good for everyone! (please help)
« Reply #6 on: September 11, 2013, 12:27:34 PM »
French here, in a country where 35h is now (more or less) the norm. We switched from 39h in 2000. (wiki link)
A lot of critics to raise this back to 39 or 37. In some companies (no statistics on the ratio), you can actually work for 37.5 and get 12 days of bonus holidays. (or 39h and 24days). But for management working on a daily plan (forfait jour ?), you still don't count hours worked.

Concerning productivity, France actually performs quite well (link1 link2). Still, our usual pessimism makes us fell that we don't work enough and are not competitive enough compared to other countries.

Concerning employment, one of the goals of the law passed, no that much of history to see if it really worked. On short term, it had an impact but on the long term ? People are actually asking for overpaid hours in order to have a bigger salary, reducing the need for new employees.

EMP

  • Bristles
  • ***
  • Posts: 344
Re: If it's good for us, it's good for everyone! (please help)
« Reply #7 on: September 11, 2013, 12:41:54 PM »
I've been trying this radical new thing of working while at work.  (mostly).  Will have to check it out in more detail later.

tooqk4u22

  • Handlebar Stache
  • *****
  • Posts: 2196
Re: If it's good for us, it's good for everyone! (please help)
« Reply #8 on: September 11, 2013, 12:45:46 PM »
244 views, but very few signatures from here!

Whats that about?  If you think it's a terrible idea, care to share why?
If you think its a good idea, why not click through?  It couldn't be easier!

In theory I like the idea as an employee - especially the 20 hour week.  The positive outcome is as Villanelle indicated is that if people are in fact more productive then the the five hours that aren't worked won't be needed anyway - we are seeing this now in the current unemployment issue (jobs aren't coming back as fast because we are more productive). The reality is that we could already have a 35 hour week and there would be no impact to anything except that people will lose pay for the five hours of the week where they are f'ing off on the net.

The negative side is that if the hours are needed then people will be expected to or feel they need to work more to maintain the jobs. Also, there are signifciant costs that come with additional employees - 1+1 does not equal 2.  Whether it be benefits, training, etc - this is why you see companies pay outsized overtime when needed because it is cheaper than hiring another person and you can cut it easily.  It is very difficult/expensive to cut an employee.

If hours worked were such an issue then unions ranks would not be declining (except for government that is).

jpo

  • Pencil Stache
  • ****
  • Posts: 518
  • Age: 32
  • Location: North Carolina
Re: If it's good for us, it's good for everyone! (please help)
« Reply #9 on: September 11, 2013, 01:00:45 PM »
Might be worth cross-posting to change.org.

yolfer

  • Pencil Stache
  • ****
  • Posts: 558
  • Age: 39
  • Location: Seattle, WA, USA
    • Camp Mustache
Re: If it's good for us, it's good for everyone! (please help)
« Reply #10 on: September 11, 2013, 02:31:23 PM »
Signed! We do a 32 hour week (4 regular work days a week) and it's the most amazing, productive arrangement I've ever worked under.

Bakari

  • Handlebar Stache
  • *****
  • Posts: 1797
  • Age: 39
  • Location: Oakland, CA
  • Veggie Powered Handyman
    • The Flamboyant Introvert
Re: If it's good for us, it's good for everyone! (please help)
« Reply #11 on: September 11, 2013, 05:28:32 PM »
I agree it wouldn't drop productivity as some people claim.  But it also won't solve unemployment as you claim.

I don't claim it won't drop total productivity, although it is possible that as a side effect of more free time people will become more productive.

My point is productivity per person has ALREADY increased 1000% since the 40 hour week was enacted.  And that 1000% increase has not resulted in a 1000% increase in wages, nor a 1000% decrease in working hours, nor a 1000% decrease in CPI, nor any combination of the three. 
We don't need as much productivity as we have.
That's why unemployment is so high.

If, in order to just maintain, you have to be growing at all times, then the system is obviously inherently unsustainable, and yet growth is the only solution normally proposed to absorb all of our excess labor capacity.  Yet we all consume too much as it is.
 
If everyone were to, say, discover MMM and join in, there would be a lot less consumption, and a lot less needs to get done.  But there will always be people in the accumulation phase who need work.
Even without that scenario, if consumption doesn't grow fast enough, there are more people who need work than there is work that needs to be done.

Our current "solution" is to have some people work full time, and pay others to look for a job.
We could just as easily have everyone work just a little less, and spread the effects out across the entire labor force - and not have to pay any unemployment.

The reason it creates job is because right now you have 130 million employed people doing 5.2 billion hours of work per week.
That means the current economy needs 5.2 billion hours worth of work done per week.  If there was more or less than 5.2 billion hours worth of work to do, companies would be hiring or firing people accordingly.

But now say each person can only work 35 hours, or else the employer has to pay them time and a half.  That's a pretty steep premium.
Now, in order to get 5.2 billion hours of work done, you need 148 million people to do it.  Boom, instant 18 million jobs.

18 million is more than the total number of unemployed people.  In other words, it becomes a employees market - which raises wages due to supply and demand.


If, as a couple people mentioned, it had the effect of creating more overtime hours instead of more jobs, I'd consider that a success too, it is still allowing employees to reclaim some portion of their own productivity that has been lost over time.

Bakari

  • Handlebar Stache
  • *****
  • Posts: 1797
  • Age: 39
  • Location: Oakland, CA
  • Veggie Powered Handyman
    • The Flamboyant Introvert
Re: If it's good for us, it's good for everyone! (please help)
« Reply #12 on: September 15, 2013, 12:19:33 PM »
Thanks for those who clicked through!

Just 5 away now...

Will

  • Pencil Stache
  • ****
  • Posts: 770
  • Location: Vancouver, WA
  • What the deuce?!?!?
Re: If it's good for us, it's good for everyone! (please help)
« Reply #13 on: September 15, 2013, 01:39:28 PM »
Signed.

ace1224

  • Bristles
  • ***
  • Posts: 469
Re: If it's good for us, it's good for everyone! (please help)
« Reply #14 on: September 16, 2013, 08:07:44 AM »
id end up having to do overtime even more, which is okay with me! i like money and i like trying to hit fi! the only thing i don't like is that if for some reason i didn't have overtime that would be less money in my paycheck since i'm hourly.  i wouldn't die because i'm mustachian (well i try at least) but i wouldn't like it

mariarose

  • 5 O'Clock Shadow
  • *
  • Posts: 50
Re: If it's good for us, it's good for everyone! (please help)
« Reply #15 on: September 16, 2013, 12:26:07 PM »
Everything around here is part-time, or seasonal (tobacco farming).  There is a brake factory about 75 miles from me that demands 12 hour days in 120 degree (Fahrenheit) temps.  3 days a week. Every other day.

Everything else is minimum wage, part time,(24 hrs/week, typically) seriously. Difficult to even find a second part time job, let alone have the assurance our employers will accomodate someone else's schedule.  They only have to put out part time, but demand full time availability.

 Don't see that your petition addresses us at all. I sometimes have 5 hour shifts where I am expected to get the same amount of work done I would in an 8 hour shift.  This is not the government.  This is the Corporatocracy that REALLY governs our country (USA).

So, no.  I won't be inviting moveon.org to be pestering me by signing an irrelevant petition.

PS.  I am one of the lucky ones.  I have a part time job, where my managers and coworkers really like me, and a second, VERY part time gig (once a month?) that pays me cash.  Whenever extra hours become available, I am one of the first people they call in.  I am not being a complainypants.  But this is the reality in a lot of places, a reality your petition is completely unattached to.  What we need a petition for is a severe curtailing of the amazing protections our corporations enjoy, and for the populace of the US to more fully value critical thinking skills.  Even if that does mean "challenging long standing beliefs" as a texas person said.  I would sign THOSE petitions!!!!!!!

hoyahoyasaxa

  • 5 O'Clock Shadow
  • *
  • Posts: 81
Re: If it's good for us, it's good for everyone! (please help)
« Reply #16 on: September 16, 2013, 01:40:47 PM »
i'm at nyu and we have a 35 hour work week.  and i can attest to how much more productive it has made me.

Also at NYU here.  Are you union?  While we have a 35 hour workweek (which essentially means 40 plus an hour for lunch) that's non-binding for most employees and you don't get paid overtime.  So while I'm technically at 35 hours, I'm probably working closer to 50 hours a week in my job (which I don't think is too bad compared to other places of employment).

Bakari

  • Handlebar Stache
  • *****
  • Posts: 1797
  • Age: 39
  • Location: Oakland, CA
  • Veggie Powered Handyman
    • The Flamboyant Introvert
Re: If it's good for us, it's good for everyone! (please help)
« Reply #17 on: September 17, 2013, 09:46:26 AM »
Everything around here is part-time, or seasonal (tobacco farming).  There is a brake factory about 75 miles from me that demands 12 hour days in 120 degree (Fahrenheit) temps.  3 days a week. Every other day.

Everything else is minimum wage, part time,(24 hrs/week, typically) seriously. Difficult to even find a second part time job, let alone have the assurance our employers will accomodate someone else's schedule.  They only have to put out part time, but demand full time availability.

 Don't see that your petition addresses us at all. I sometimes have 5 hour shifts where I am expected to get the same amount of work done I would in an 8 hour shift.  This is not the government.  This is the Corporatocracy that REALLY governs our country (USA).

So, no.  I won't be inviting moveon.org to be pestering me by signing an irrelevant petition.

PS.  I am one of the lucky ones.  I have a part time job, where my managers and coworkers really like me, and a second, VERY part time gig (once a month?) that pays me cash.  Whenever extra hours become available, I am one of the first people they call in.  I am not being a complainypants.  But this is the reality in a lot of places, a reality your petition is completely unattached to.  What we need a petition for is a severe curtailing of the amazing protections our corporations enjoy, and for the populace of the US to more fully value critical thinking skills.  Even if that does mean "challenging long standing beliefs" as a texas person said.  I would sign THOSE petitions!!!!!!!

Sounds like there just isn't as much work to be done as there are people who need work.
That isn't the fault of government or of corporations, its a reality of increased productivity.

And it sounds like employers in the area are actually dealing with that in the right way. 
Each employee has fixed costs associated with them that the employer pays, so from most company's point of view it is preferable to have a small number of people working longer hours than to have a large work force of half-timers (like the brake factory).

The result of that is some people work long hours, and other people don't work at all - and then we (society) pay those that don't work at all an unemployment check every month to look for a job.

In your area, instead of having 1/2 the people working full time, and the other 1/2 unemployed, everyone works part-time.  Not only is that a lot more fair, it also means no unemployment checks.

How far do you have to go to find people working more than 35 hours a week?  Any employer within commute distance that has full-time employees would have to go to slightly lower working hours per person, which would mean more jobs would be created.  For every person who commutes to those jobs, there are more hours available on the farms.

If 24 hours was the standard nationwide, there would be more jobs than employees, and companies would have to compete for employees.  Which means wages would have to go up - basic supply and demand.

Corporations fought the 40 hour week for the same reason.  The "corporatocracy" is why working hours haven't declined as productivity has decreased.  That's one of the protections they enjoy. 
How is this petition unattached to the issue of available working hours?  That is exactly what it is all about!  That is exactly why it is necessary.

Bakari

  • Handlebar Stache
  • *****
  • Posts: 1797
  • Age: 39
  • Location: Oakland, CA
  • Veggie Powered Handyman
    • The Flamboyant Introvert
Re: If it's good for us, it's good for everyone! (please help)
« Reply #18 on: September 17, 2013, 09:50:30 AM »
i'm at nyu and we have a 35 hour work week.  and i can attest to how much more productive it has made me.

Also at NYU here.  Are you union?  While we have a 35 hour workweek (which essentially means 40 plus an hour for lunch) that's non-binding for most employees and you don't get paid overtime. So while I'm technically at 35 hours, I'm probably working closer to 50 hours a week in my job (which I don't think is too bad compared to other places of employment).

Are you saying your union agreed in writing to unpaid overtime?

Otherwise: http://www.labor.ny.gov/workerprotection/laborstandards/faq.shtm#5

Quite a few people have talked about working more than 40 hours and not getting overtime when I mention this idea - its amazing to me how many people are complacent in their bosses blatantly breaking the law at their expense.
If you're union, it may be worth getting involved with the union leadership, and figure out how to get that changed.  If not, you should be looking for a lawyer.

giggles

  • Stubble
  • **
  • Posts: 139
    • Kiva - Change the world with a $25 loan
Re: If it's good for us, it's good for everyone! (please help)
« Reply #19 on: September 18, 2013, 01:39:04 PM »
I am so, totally in favor of this!!  However, I did NOT sign since my full name can be viewed, and I have a very unique last name.  I try to keep my name off the internet as much as possible.

Have you thought about moving it to WE THE PEOPLE?
https://petitions.whitehouse.gov/

I would TOTALLY sign there, since only my first name and last initial are visible. 

arebelspy

  • Administrator
  • Senior Mustachian
  • *****
  • Posts: 27774
  • Age: -999
  • Location: Traveling the World
Re: If it's good for us, it's good for everyone! (please help)
« Reply #20 on: September 18, 2013, 02:00:43 PM »
I am so, totally in favor of this!!  However, I did NOT sign since my full name can be viewed, and I have a very unique last name.  I try to keep my name off the internet as much as possible. 

Uhhh, then don't type in your full name?  ;)

I signed (#14) as "Joe" - no last name inputted.  #68, 62, etc. did the same.  Some only put a first initial.

We are two former teachers who accumulated a bunch of real estate, retired at 29, and now travel the world full time with two kids.
If you want to know more about me, or how we did that, or see lots of pictures, this Business Insider profile tells our story pretty well.
We (rarely) blog at AdventuringAlong.com. Check out our Now page to see what we're up to currently.

beltim

  • Magnum Stache
  • ******
  • Posts: 2825
Re: If it's good for us, it's good for everyone! (please help)
« Reply #21 on: September 18, 2013, 02:05:51 PM »
i'm at nyu and we have a 35 hour work week.  and i can attest to how much more productive it has made me.

Also at NYU here.  Are you union?  While we have a 35 hour workweek (which essentially means 40 plus an hour for lunch) that's non-binding for most employees and you don't get paid overtime. So while I'm technically at 35 hours, I'm probably working closer to 50 hours a week in my job (which I don't think is too bad compared to other places of employment).

Are you saying your union agreed in writing to unpaid overtime?

Otherwise: http://www.labor.ny.gov/workerprotection/laborstandards/faq.shtm#5

Quite a few people have talked about working more than 40 hours and not getting overtime when I mention this idea - its amazing to me how many people are complacent in their bosses blatantly breaking the law at their expense.
If you're union, it may be worth getting involved with the union leadership, and figure out how to get that changed.  If not, you should be looking for a lawyer.

I would guess lot of employees at NYU fall under an exemption to overtime rules.  From the DOL linked from the site you linked to:
Quote
For the FLSA section 13(a)(1) exemptions to apply, an employee generally must be paid on a salary basis of no less than $455 per week and perform certain types of work that:
is directly related to the management of his or her employer's business, or
is directly related to the general business operations of his or her employer or the employer's clients, or
requires specialized academic training for entry into a professional field, or
is in the computer field, or
is making sales away from his or her employer's place of business, or
is in a recognized field of artistic or creative endeavor.


Bakari

  • Handlebar Stache
  • *****
  • Posts: 1797
  • Age: 39
  • Location: Oakland, CA
  • Veggie Powered Handyman
    • The Flamboyant Introvert
Re: If it's good for us, it's good for everyone! (please help)
« Reply #22 on: September 18, 2013, 08:51:36 PM »
I am so, totally in favor of this!!  However, I did NOT sign since my full name can be viewed, and I have a very unique last name.  I try to keep my name off the internet as much as possible.

Have you thought about moving it to WE THE PEOPLE?
https://petitions.whitehouse.gov/

I would TOTALLY sign there, since only my first name and last initial are visible.

I tried that one first, some months ago, but the threshold is fairly high of how many you have to get on your own before they will put it on the main site, and then you need a ridiculous amount before you get a response. 
If I ever find a like minded organization, or find another way to get a whole lot more interest, I'll try it again

Freckles

  • Walrus Stache
  • *******
  • Posts: 5296
  • Age: 2014
  • Location: West Coast, USA
Re: If it's good for us, it's good for everyone! (please help)
« Reply #23 on: September 19, 2013, 03:38:57 PM »
I signed.  Good luck!  It's a very interesting idea.

mariarose

  • 5 O'Clock Shadow
  • *
  • Posts: 50
Re: If it's good for us, it's good for everyone! (please help)
« Reply #24 on: September 21, 2013, 12:56:02 AM »
Everything around here is part-time, or seasonal (tobacco farming).  There is a brake factory about 75 miles from me that demands 12 hour days in 120 degree (Fahrenheit) temps.  3 days a week. Every other day.

Everything else is minimum wage, part time,(24 hrs/week, typically) seriously. Difficult to even find a second part time job, let alone have the assurance our employers will accomodate someone else's schedule.  They only have to put out part time, but demand full time availability.

 Don't see that your petition addresses us at all. I sometimes have 5 hour shifts where I am expected to get the same amount of work done I would in an 8 hour shift.  This is not the government.  This is the Corporatocracy that REALLY governs our country (USA).


PS.  I am one of the lucky ones.  I have a part time job, where my managers and coworkers really like me, and a second, VERY part time gig (once a month?) that pays me cash.  Whenever extra hours become available, I am one of the first people they call in.  I am not being a complainypants.  But this is the reality in a lot of places, a reality your petition is completely unattached to.  What we need a petition for is a severe curtailing of the amazing protections our corporations enjoy, and for the populace of the US to more fully value critical thinking skills.  Even if that does mean "challenging long standing beliefs" as a texas person said.  I would sign THOSE petitions!!!!!!!

Sounds like there just isn't as much work to be done as there are people who need work.
That isn't the fault of government or of corporations, its a reality of increased productivity.

And it sounds like employers in the area are actually dealing with that in the right way. 
Each employee has fixed costs associated with them that the employer pays, so from most company's point of view it is preferable to have a small number of people working longer hours than to have a large work force of half-timers (like the brake factory).

The result of that is some people work long hours, and other people don't work at all - and then we (society) pay those that don't work at all an unemployment check every month to look for a job.

In your area, instead of having 1/2 the people working full time, and the other 1/2 unemployed, everyone works part-time.  Not only is that a lot more fair, it also means no unemployment checks.

How far do you have to go to find people working more than 35 hours a week?  Any employer within commute distance that has full-time employees would have to go to slightly lower working hours per person, which would mean more jobs would be created.  For every person who commutes to those jobs, there are more hours available on the farms.

If 24 hours was the standard nationwide, there would be more jobs than employees, and companies would have to compete for employees.  Which means wages would have to go up - basic supply and demand.

Corporations fought the 40 hour week for the same reason.  The "corporatocracy" is why working hours haven't declined as productivity has decreased.  That's one of the protections they enjoy. 
How is this petition unattached to the issue of available working hours?  That is exactly what it is all about!  That is exactly why it is necessary.

Bakari, I enjoy your posts, and your comments.  I like your blog, and your article on increasing gas mileage for your biggish truck inspired me to start collecting coroplast to see how we can help our truck.  I say this to show I have great respect for you, really.

However, in this particular case, for some reason that escapes me, you have evidently not read what I actually said.  You address things I did NOT say (What on earth gave you the idea there is no unemployment here?)  and ignore things I DID say (remember the working of short shifts with the demand of full shift accomplishment?)

I am one of the first to acknowledge that the populace here has many shortcomings.  We dislike education, are extremely proud of our collective and individual ignorance, do not have an impresive work ethic, and seem to value emotion and drama FAR more highly than critical thinking skills.  So yes, very much of what is wrong here is because of our collective refusal to seek a better way.  This fact in no wise cancels out the stuff that is not in our control.  For instance, If 24 hours was to be legal full time, my corporation would cut my hours to 10, hire someone else for 10, and demand 20 hours of results from each of us.  I know my corporation. and I can't live on 10, yet.  Working on it though, and getting lots of help and inspiration from MMM and people like you.

As I said, I am not in an awful position, and am not being a complainypants.  This blog has inspired me to look at the skills I can develop in myself, and I have chosen something and started.  My job is within driving distance, and even biking, once I get myself built up for it.  My bike is back from the shop and I have taken my first very shaky rides already!  I have a job, and my manager likes me well enough that he gives me all the extra hours he can squeeze out for me.  My co-workers like me.  AND..... (big drumroll please!).... I just found out yesterday, I am in the running for a full time position that is opening up!!!!  I am very hopeful. I am grateful.   

I am certain that this possible opportunity  is because of my work ethic and dependability.  So good on me.  That does not negate the fact, however, that the environment here, caused by us and caused by corporations, is making this opportunity harder to come by than it needs to be.  And making 24 hours be mandatory full time, without addressing the power of corporations to seek higher and higher profits by causing wage slavery is useless.

In a way, I'm glad you don't understand this.  This is not a way to live.  So good on you, too.

Bakari

  • Handlebar Stache
  • *****
  • Posts: 1797
  • Age: 39
  • Location: Oakland, CA
  • Veggie Powered Handyman
    • The Flamboyant Introvert
Re: If it's good for us, it's good for everyone! (please help)
« Reply #25 on: September 21, 2013, 08:23:36 AM »
Bakari, I enjoy your posts, and your comments.  I like your blog, and your article on increasing gas mileage for your biggish truck inspired me to start collecting coroplast to see how we can help our truck.  I say this to show I have great respect for you, really.

However, in this particular case, for some reason that escapes me, you have evidently not read what I actually said.  You address things I did NOT say (What on earth gave you the idea there is no unemployment here?)  and ignore things I DID say (remember the working of short shifts with the demand of full shift accomplishment?)

I am one of the first to acknowledge that the populace here has many shortcomings.  We dislike education, are extremely proud of our collective and individual ignorance, do not have an impresive work ethic, and seem to value emotion and drama FAR more highly than critical thinking skills.  So yes, very much of what is wrong here is because of our collective refusal to seek a better way.  This fact in no wise cancels out the stuff that is not in our control.  For instance, If 24 hours was to be legal full time, my corporation would cut my hours to 10, hire someone else for 10, and demand 20 hours of results from each of us.  I know my corporation. and I can't live on 10, yet.  Working on it though, and getting lots of help and inspiration from MMM and people like you.

As I said, I am not in an awful position, and am not being a complainypants.  This blog has inspired me to look at the skills I can develop in myself, and I have chosen something and started.  My job is within driving distance, and even biking, once I get myself built up for it.  My bike is back from the shop and I have taken my first very shaky rides already!  I have a job, and my manager likes me well enough that he gives me all the extra hours he can squeeze out for me.  My co-workers like me.  AND..... (big drumroll please!).... I just found out yesterday, I am in the running for a full time position that is opening up!!!!  I am very hopeful. I am grateful.   

I am certain that this possible opportunity  is because of my work ethic and dependability.  So good on me.  That does not negate the fact, however, that the environment here, caused by us and caused by corporations, is making this opportunity harder to come by than it needs to be.  And making 24 hours be mandatory full time, without addressing the power of corporations to seek higher and higher profits by causing wage slavery is useless.

In a way, I'm glad you don't understand this.  This is not a way to live.  So good on you, too.

I guess I wasn't as clear as I thought I was.

When I said "Sounds like there just isn't as much work to be done as there are people who need work.", that was an acknowledgement of rampant under- and un- employment.  What I was saying is that if the companies were hiring people for full-time, 40 hour shifts, unemployment would be much much higher.

The amount of labor needed is not an infinite variable.  Companies don't get to decide how much work needs to be done - it depends on the demand for the product.  You said the primary work in your area is tobacco farming, well, as I'm sure you know, anti-smoking campaigns have been very effective nationwide - its less than 1/2 what it was 50 years ago.  So there is less work to do.  At the same time, the population is always growing.  So there is less work to do, and more people to do it.  Either half the population can be unemployed, and the other 1/2 employed full-time, or everyone can be employed half-time.  What other option is there? 

This is entirely separate from employers demanding that people produce maximum possible output, minimize breaks, and work off the clock.
That is not limited to your area, or your particular corporations or fields.  That is true everywhere, regardless of full-employment.
See, for example:
http://www.motherjones.com/politics/2011/06/speed-up-american-workers-long-hours
and
http://www.motherjones.com/politics/2011/06/speedup-americans-working-harder-charts

Yes, of course they "demand" 40 hours worth of work get done, but that doesn't really mean anything.  They demand people over-work.  There is a limit to how much can get done in a given stretch of time.  If a person work's their ass off, maybe they can accomplish what most would consider 8 hours work in 6 hours, but no matter how hard you try, you can't get someone to do 8 hours work in 2 hours because it can't be done.  It doesn't matter what is demanded.  The boss may yell and threaten, but they don't actually expect more to be done than is physically possible.  They just figure the more they threaten, the harder you'll work.
But if the company actually needs 24 hours a week of output from each employee, they would not cut hours down to 10, because then they couldn't keep up with demand for product, and they would lose money.

While companies prefer to avoid paying overtime, they also rarely hire two people for a job one can do in under full-time, because there are fixed costs associated with hiring each employee.  In other words, 1 employee working 30 hours a week is cheaper for the company than 2 employees working 15 hours each.

The effect mandating lower hours would have would be that every employer that DOES hire full time would need to cut back hours, which would mean hiring more to make up the difference, which means more job openings and less unemployment. 


The entire point of this change is "addressing the power of corporations to seek higher and higher profits by causing wage slavery."
100 years ago in order to have a job you most likely would have been forced to work 100 hours a week, from before sun up to after sun down, with a 15 minute lunch break and no other break, 6 or possibly 7 days a week.  Despite the rising productivity of the industrial revolution, the corporations preferred to keep it this way, and they would have continued if the government hadn't stepped in with labor laws to avoid a communist revolution.  If it were up to them, it would be that way still - some people would be in literal wage slavery (sometimes employees lived at the factory on work days, and weren't allowed to leave!) - while the rest would be unemployed.  Now at least we have some standards, but the corporations still prefer to hire as few people as possible to get the job done.  My plan is a way to force "as few people as possible" to be more people.

Paul der Krake

  • Magnum Stache
  • ******
  • Posts: 4547
  • Age: 11
  • Location: USA
Re: If it's good for us, it's good for everyone! (please help)
« Reply #26 on: September 21, 2013, 03:20:55 PM »
French here, in a country where 35h is now (more or less) the norm. We switched from 39h in 2000. (wiki link)
A lot of critics to raise this back to 39 or 37. In some companies (no statistics on the ratio), you can actually work for 37.5 and get 12 days of bonus holidays. (or 39h and 24days). But for management working on a daily plan (forfait jour ?), you still don't count hours worked.

Concerning productivity, France actually performs quite well (link1 link2). Still, our usual pessimism makes us fell that we don't work enough and are not competitive enough compared to other countries.
France is a very cynical country. It has a real problem encouraging its brightest minds and a lot of business-unfriendly practices that everyone seem to accept (like having to make an appointment to open a bank account). American exuberance, as annoying as it can be at times, has its advantages.

For me, the reason why the shift to the 35 hour work week is touted as a failure is because it was pushed to an deeply apathetic population as a miracle unemployment fix without addressing any of the deeper issues.

mariarose

  • 5 O'Clock Shadow
  • *
  • Posts: 50
Re: If it's good for us, it's good for everyone! (please help)
« Reply #27 on: September 22, 2013, 10:16:13 AM »
I guess I wasn't as clear as I thought I was.

When I said "Sounds like there just isn't as much work to be done as there are people who need work.", that was an acknowledgement of rampant under- and un- employment.  What I was saying is that if the companies were hiring people for full-time, 40 hour shifts, unemployment would be much much higher.

The amount of labor needed is not an infinite variable.  Companies don't get to decide how much work needs to be done - it depends on the demand for the product.  You said the primary work in your area is tobacco farming, well, as I'm sure you know, anti-smoking campaigns have been very effective nationwide - its less than 1/2 what it was 50 years ago.  So there is less work to do.  At the same time, the population is always growing.  So there is less work to do, and more people to do it.  Either half the population can be unemployed, and the other 1/2 employed full-time, or everyone can be employed half-time.  What other option is there? 

This is entirely separate from employers demanding that people produce maximum possible output, minimize breaks, and work off the clock.
That is not limited to your area, or your particular corporations or fields.  That is true everywhere, regardless of full-employment.
See, for example:
http://www.motherjones.com/politics/2011/06/speed-up-american-workers-long-hours
and
http://www.motherjones.com/politics/2011/06/speedup-americans-working-harder-charts


The entire point of this change is "addressing the power of corporations to seek higher and higher profits by causing wage slavery."
  My plan is a way to force "as few people as possible" to be more people.

Bakari, Thank you for your reply.  I appreciate it.

I never indicated, however, that tobacco farming was the primary employment.  All I did was mention it as an example of seasonal employment.  The primary employment used to be garment factories, which did not pay hourly, but by piecework.  Almost all of them have moved to Mexico now, because of NAFTA. The primary place of employment now seems to be the local Wal-Mart and smaller box stores, and convenience stores.  And we did this to ourselves, by expecting that life would go on the same no matter what we chose to do with our dollars.

They can do, and do do, more than threaten, when stated expectations are chronically unmet.  True, corporations MAY wise up eventually, but that does not help those of us who get fired with a bad reference before that miracle occurs.  And there is as yet no evidence of said miracle. I think you are crediting our governing corporations with more rationality than they actually possess.  After all, they are required by law to go after short term profits to the exclusion of all other considerations.  And the checks that are supposed
to look out for everyone else (employees, environment, etc) are continuing to become eroded.  If this continues, there will be in practice no checks worth speaking of.

MMM said that if your business plan does not allow for payment of employees above minimum wage, that business plan sucks. (Paraphrased). Well, you can not deny that there are many, many business plans sucking bigtime by that criterion.  And those sucky business plans belong to some of our richest corporations.

Nor did I say that these ills are only happening here. Thank you for the links, I had already read them but it is good to keep getting the word out.  What I tried to say, in an unclear manner, was that this is PREVALENT in my area.  In other areas of the country we have not done away with other options like we have here, and so it may not be the expectation in other parts of the country.  It may exist, but not to the extent it is reality here, and so many readers of this blog and forum might not think about it.

I see that you are sincere in the point of your plan.  And you could be right.  But I don't think that making 24 hours full time with benefits will do anything as long as our corporations can just continue to get around that by cutting more and more hours.  That is the addressing I was talking about.

Again, I acknowledge we have brought this on ourselves.  By pursuit of cheap and convenient to the exclusion of, well, value and foresight.  Thanks for the exchange, I look forward to reading more of your posts, both here and on your own blog.

Bakari

  • Handlebar Stache
  • *****
  • Posts: 1797
  • Age: 39
  • Location: Oakland, CA
  • Veggie Powered Handyman
    • The Flamboyant Introvert
Re: If it's good for us, it's good for everyone! (please help)
« Reply #28 on: September 22, 2013, 07:15:11 PM »
Bakari, Thank you for your reply.  I appreciate it.

I never indicated, however, that tobacco farming was the primary employment.  All I did was mention it as an example of seasonal employment.  The primary employment used to be garment factories, which did not pay hourly, but by piecework.  Almost all of them have moved to Mexico now, because of NAFTA. The primary place of employment now seems to be the local Wal-Mart and smaller box stores, and convenience stores.  And we did this to ourselves, by expecting that life would go on the same no matter what we chose to do with our dollars.

They can do, and do do, more than threaten, when stated expectations are chronically unmet.  True, corporations MAY wise up eventually, but that does not help those of us who get fired with a bad reference before that miracle occurs.  And there is as yet no evidence of said miracle. I think you are crediting our governing corporations with more rationality than they actually possess.  After all, they are required by law to go after short term profits to the exclusion of all other considerations.  And the checks that are supposed
to look out for everyone else (employees, environment, etc) are continuing to become eroded.  If this continues, there will be in practice no checks worth speaking of.

MMM said that if your business plan does not allow for payment of employees above minimum wage, that business plan sucks. (Paraphrased). Well, you can not deny that there are many, many business plans sucking bigtime by that criterion.  And those sucky business plans belong to some of our richest corporations.

Nor did I say that these ills are only happening here. Thank you for the links, I had already read them but it is good to keep getting the word out.  What I tried to say, in an unclear manner, was that this is PREVALENT in my area.  In other areas of the country we have not done away with other options like we have here, and so it may not be the expectation in other parts of the country.  It may exist, but not to the extent it is reality here, and so many readers of this blog and forum might not think about it.

I see that you are sincere in the point of your plan.  And you could be right.  But I don't think that making 24 hours full time with benefits will do anything as long as our corporations can just continue to get around that by cutting more and more hours.  That is the addressing I was talking about.

Again, I acknowledge we have brought this on ourselves.  By pursuit of cheap and convenient to the exclusion of, well, value and foresight.  Thanks for the exchange, I look forward to reading more of your posts, both here and on your own blog.

In terms of hours and productivity, what I'm saying is that if expectations are so excessively high that no one can meet them, then it can't be enforced.  How does one objectively determine "40 hours worth of work"?  If some employees are doing whatever is expected of them in 20 hours, that implies that whatever level that is is 20 hours worth of output.  The employers aren't firing the entire staff every week, so somebody must be meeting expectations, which calls into question if those expectations are really unrealistic.  Unless of course the only ones meeting expectations are working unpaid hours so they can keep their jobs - and of course that does happen, and its part of the reason we need unions now as much as ever.

Other than that, though, I pretty much agree with everything you said.
I still don't see any particular conflict between your outlook and mine.  If the loss of jobs is due to outsourcing, my point still holds - there is less work to get done.  Either everyone works half time, or half people work none at all, and given those two options, I think the second is worse.
You may notice that in my original version of this plan, it included tariffing any imports that were manufactured with lesser labor or environmental standards than the US holds - in other words, if we are importing goods from Mexico, we should demand that the Mexican factory pay US minimum wages.  It also had a provision raising minimum wage to a living wage (at 35 hours a week, would be about $11.50).
I didn't include those two details in the current version because of limited space for text, wanting to keep it simple, and because I don't expect it to really go anywhere (at this time), the point was to raise awareness, to make people realize there is nothing about our current system which is a magical default.

Thank you, too, for your continued conversation and challenges - its the best way to refine and improve my understanding of the world