This conversation is closed.

24 hour/3-day work week with $30.00 minimum wage starting in 2013. Solve multiple social and individual problems with this.


Current worker productivity justifies the 3-day/24-hour work week.

Fairness, increased productivity, happiness, health, family values and many more positive human and societal values will be achieved if this is implemented in 2013.

  • thumb
    Feb 10 2013: Yes and we can all move to Big Rock Candy Mountain.


    And then you can watch all of the jobs be exported to places where people will work 70 hours a week.

    The fallacy is that a worker is paid for being there a certain amount of time, he is paid for what he produces.
    • Feb 10 2013: The current work/money situation needs to change to reflect the actual contributions of the workers to the actual value of their production. I wonder if you, pat, have any positive suggestions to make in regard to creating justice in the money/work world.
      • thumb
        Feb 10 2013: You mean other than moving to BRCM?

        What you are talking about is a fallacy. In large part the current dearth of jobs is due to this sort of situation. People from south of the border are willing to work for less so many in the trades have become irrelevant, manufacturing has gone where people are willing to work for less. Your idea would just bring more of the same. Minimum wage laws are largely responsible for places like Detroit.

        Although somewhat counter intuitive the solution is less regulation which allows the true value of the production to be determined. This is defined as what someone is willing to pay.

        This is why GM would be gone if not for government subsidy.

        You don't get this and never will which is fine but there may be reader who can hear me.
        • Feb 11 2013: Are you referring to the "less regulation" Reagan caused and the ultimate impact on safety in the skies, the financial debacle, the housing crisis and all the other negative consequences that have flowed from "less regulation?" Why are WE THE TAXPAYERS still subsidizing EXXON and other profit-making companies? GM failed due to POOR MANAGEMENT decision-making, yet LABOR was blamed. Labor was required to take a substantial pay cut to keep the company rolling after their blatant failure to compete. How did the salaries and bonuses of management get affected? It's time....way past time....for JUSTICE to be increased within the work/money world. Kindly come up with an idea that will cause participants in the free market to receive compensation in accordance with the true value of their production.
      • thumb
        Feb 11 2013: There is no safety problem in the skies. Since deregulation it is unbelievably cheap to fly.

        The reason BP had a problem in the first place is regulation caused them drill in water that was 5000 ft deep, a technological achievement.

        GM is saddled with benefits to employees that are not achievable because the workers are living longer and because of the healthcare bubble caused by government spending through medicare.

        The idea is the same the free market determines the value of production.

        Again you don't get this and never will but anyone reading this who has bought into the progressive meme should consider what I point to.
  • Feb 22 2013: Rhona, I agree with the sentiment on which your idea is based. The evidence is very clear that the massive productivity gains over the last forty years have not gone to increased wages or to a commensurate reduction in the amount of work per week to maintain a particular income. If we accept the premise that workers should see benefits from increased productivity (and it appears several commentators do not accept what seems like a simple moral and ethical proposition of fairness), why do you propose these particular numbers? I followed your link, and then subsequent links, but I was not able to find anything more than hand-waving. Again, I support the principle you espouse, and a $30 per hour minimum wage with a standard 24-hour work week may be possible, but I would like to see the models and data that show this is possible.

    In 1972, when I was in grade school, I read a short news item in a newsletter that grade-schoolers used to receive in school, in which it was suggested that the government was considering reducing the standard work week by one day. I remember this item, because, at the time, I could not understand how the length of a week-end could be arbitrary. Wasn't a week-end of Saturday and Sunday some kind of universal constant of time? But back to the point, the average family in 1972 had a single wage/salary earner. Forty-one years later, and the individual worker is not making much more, if any, in inflation-adjusted dollars, but the average productivity of that worker has increased tremendously. Further, most families now require two wage/salary earners to maintain the standard of living of that single (middle-class) worker in 1972. The question is, was this outcome inevitable or could we have instead built a system in which the least paid worker today earned at least $30 and hour and the standard work week for everyone was only 24 hours a week? If the latter, how do we redress this obvious economic injustice?
    • Feb 22 2013: Maybe we could get some of the billionaires with consciences to underwrite the movement. It is obvious that labor leaders do not have the courage to call for this, even though it is obviously equitable and, I think, will increase the wealth of the nation in many ways. Some of the 1% are looking for good ways and places to put their excess cash. Let's politely request that they get behind this movement. I appreciate your input to this conversation.
      • thumb
        Feb 23 2013: Rhona,
        My comments only apply to the US. Another country may have other problems.

        I think that some of what you ask for is happening. The Bill Gates foundation and a thousand more foundations, charities sponsored by the wealthy to provide services for a number of noble causes.
        But, you speak of minimum wage, you speak of a complex financial and business model that has ramifications I can only imagine and for those who have made it are aware of what I am to say.

        Discounting the cost of shorter work weeks, and there will be some, let's just look at minimum wages. Cost of labor is in the cost of services and product and is paid by the consumer. This is as true as the law of gravity.
        First we look at wages. the amount that a worker receives is not the total cost of wages to the business, there are additional costs for insurances, taxes, personnel support, etc. all of which is added to the sales price of the product. When you buy a car, the cost of labor is averaging around $25 p/h so the jump is about 20% and the labor cost of a car is ca. 60% you can see the rise in cost. But cars are a big purchase and not done that often so the cost is difficult but doable.
        But, what about that big Mac burger? Labor goes up 4.3 times. We are now looking at $20 for a fast lunch; forget about that pizza and movie night. Now earning $30 p/h can cover those costs, it may be more difficult like the higher priced car. OK!
        Wait a minute, 30 p/h is $60K a year., Here come income taxes, federal, state and local could add up to 20%... now that 60K is down to 48K, but the cost of that burger, car or pizza didn't go down by 20%...welcome to the new middle class!
  • thumb
    Feb 13 2013: Nice setup from a corporate apologist. The fact of the matter is that while employee productivity is up some 40% and corporate profits are up over 150% (and corporate taxes are down some 25%) in the last 40 years...real wages FELL 15%. In other words the people who are making all that $$$$ for the corporations are getting screwed out of the increases in pay the corporations implied (40 years ago) would be coming with the productivity increases that the corporations wanted.
    We are Not "broke" we are being ROBBED, with the collusion of Congress!
  • Feb 10 2013: How about instead we go back to the era when every Tom, Dick and Jane didn't think that society should interfere in private contracts between individuals? If indeed current worker productivity justified a 24 hour work week at $30 an hour then that is what we'd have. Speaking for myself, I'd rather have the ability to negotiate my employment contract without your help.
    • thumb
      Feb 10 2013: How about we go back to the era where a majority of the corporations in the country had SOME sense of noblesse oblige'? Also lets go back to when a $1 would buy a dozen eggs or a 1.25 gal of gas. Or we could go back to the 1940s when there was SOME sort of political outrage when corporations wrecked the economy. Good luck with that too. As to Unions, we need them. without unions, and with the illegal immigration that has been permitted by our government, we would be at (or below) slave wages for every job...With the Food service Union busted in the 1970s (with the collusion of congress) we ARE at slave wages for food service workers.. I've APPLIED for high end tech jobs. The employer would rather hire someone at 1/2 pay, and full time, Buy their visa (by claiming "there are no suitable candidates" which translates to "the locals won't or can't work for slave wages and still pay their bills") and then dump them here when the contract is over, than hire someone with direct experience and pay for that knowledge. If these mega-corporations had their way they would be paying below $20k a year for service engineers.
      • Feb 10 2013: I have a high end tech job and if I'm ever out of work it only takes me one month at the most to find the same work. Of course, that only happened once in 30 years so I don't really have a large sample to draw data from.

        Don't blame the corporations for doing what is in their own best interest. You can't expect them to do otherwise. They don't have to do business in this country at all if they don't want to. Making them pay more than they want to pay will not change that for the better. Don't tell me any of that stuff about us being the biggest economy in the world and they can't make money anywhere else. The truth is that 80% of the world's economy is outside the US and we are making our share smaller every day by making it harder and harder to do business here. The natural tendency of anyone when forced to do something that they think is not in their best interests is to go somewhere where they are not.

        You are implying that the corporation is greedy for not giving you what you want. Isn't it just as greedy to ask for something from them that they aren't willing to give? If you aren't willing to work for what they are willing to pay then they will find someone who is. And don't tell me that they are rich and you are poor. Greed is greed no matter your bank balance.
  • thumb
    Feb 10 2013: To think through the implicatons a little, maybe it would be instructive to visualize a restaurant, a place that cannot just move its business overseas.

    The restaurant now has ten employees on a shift working at $10 per hour, or whatever the going rate now is.

    Now the rule goes into effect that the rate of pay must climb to $30 per hour and hours decline to 24 for those who work more than that.

    What do you see happening? Does the price of food at the restaurant go up dramatically to cover the jump in labor cost, but the employees now paid more can afford to buy the food at the higher prices? Or does the restaurant switch to buffet lines to reduce the number of wait staff to zero?

    How about brick and mortar retail stores in competition with online stores? What choices would they make?

    I have not worked through the scenarios, but I am interested, Rhona, in how you see these cases playing out.
    • Feb 10 2013: Fritzie, I appreciate your working on the details. I see this as an entire societal change. I'm looking at it from a macro point of view. For starters, I think it is important to acknowledge the limitations and injustices of the current system, e.g., multi-million dollar bonuses for people at the top of industry who have done actual damage to the economy such as the heads of General Motors who declined to respond to consumer demand for efficient, reliable autos, thereby destroying GM, while individually prospering as well as those in financial markets that knowingly offered mortgages to those who could not afford to pay those mortgages, etc.

      Happier, healthier workers are more productive workers. One micro effect is similar to the Henry Ford model on his original assembly line: The higher pay coupled with humane hours will attract the best workers and they will be more productive due to their better health, morale and skills.
      • thumb
        Feb 10 2013: I know how you are looking at it. The disparities in take home pay are, indeed glaring, and I hear no one ever deny it.

        But I don't think the auto companies are the ones that have been paying much less than $30 per hour in compensation to most of their employees. I think we would see that very much in the service sector and in retail. This is why I think understanding your proposal requires that you consider the likely response of businesses in those sectors.
        • Feb 11 2013: Fritzie, I believe auto workers were required to accept a wage cut from $17 an hour to $14 an hour at the time of the TAXPAYER bailout of GM. Shall we maintain the status quo that we all know to be inefficient, non-competitive (internationally), and unfair to the majority of workers? Shall we try something new and revise it as we learn, but head in the direction of improving the functioning of the workmoney system and FAIRNESS in the system? I wonder why some people are so terrified of the unknown. I would think one might guess the "unknown" might be neutral or positive. I guess our entire society could use an injection of positivity.
      • thumb
        Feb 11 2013: Thanks for clarifying. Here is an article about the two-tier pay scale that shows that while the average production worker for the auto company costs $58 per hour in salary and benefits, new hires are now offered only $15 or $17. http://www.workforce.com/article/20121206/NEWS02/121209973/two-tiered-pay-scale-for-autoworkers-raises-debate# Prior to the two tier pay system, the average cost per hour was $79. [I was thinking the average was more like $25 per hour on average, so I had been quite wrong]

        I don't think that wanting to consider who might get hurt from an option being put forward means there is reluctance to change. Only that there is merit in thinking about how things would likely land. It matters to a lot of people what happens to small business, to hiring, to prices people will need to pay for things and so forth. Considering scenarios, if we are willing to do that, helps us decide WHICH change from the status quo to implement.
        • Feb 11 2013: I agree with you. As you know, change frequently is delayed inappropriately. Sometimes we know what to do and, instead of doing, call for another committee or study or something, as an excuse to delay because the 1% are unfairly benefitting from the status quo and they pay lobbyists and others to make sure the conditions favorable to their continued taxpayer-subsidized advantages continue to keep the system unfair for 99% of the population. Given current technology, it is possible for all to be living well. I want to see that happen within the next 7 years. I think it could be done a lot quicker. "Where there is a will, there is a way."
  • Feb 10 2013: I agree with this idea however I don't think our society (companies, government) is ready for such a drastic change.

    Instead I think we should start adding extra statutory holidays e.g. one each year. Over the years we will eventually reach 4 days a week arrangement. From there we can slowly move to 3 days work week?

    It is unfortunate that productivity of workforce in developed nations continues to grow while salaries and work hours stay the same while wealth from this new productivity going to the wealthy. More fair distribution of wealth (through e.g. fair tax system) is something to be desired which will then also allow people to need to work fewer hours.

    • Feb 10 2013: Zdenek, I think we can change our society to accomodate this sane, sensitble change that will lead to a more productive, wealthier, more just and humane society that includes a much higher level of well-being for all of our members, including those who are terrified of change.
  • thumb
    Feb 10 2013: I've worked 3x24 in the Service...it takes two days just to recover after those shifts.
    • thumb
      Feb 10 2013: Kris, I am pretty sure Rhona meant three eight hour days for a total of 24 hours rather than three 24 hour workdays.
      • Feb 10 2013: Thanks, Fritzie. Perhaps I should have said 3-day/24-hour work week. Maybe that would have made the point more clearly. Maybe Kris had some subconsious resistance to my point. Who knows? Happy Today. May justice in the work/money world prevail!
        • thumb
          Feb 10 2013: I don't think it was subconscious resistance. I think, rather, that since he has actually worked 3 day/24 hour each day shifts, that was a familiar form of organization to him.
        • thumb
          Feb 12 2013: My apologies to both you and Fritzie, I did misunderstand. 3 day 24 hour week or, 4 day 32 hour week? It's great in theory. Stipulate that the Corporations are willing to provide a wage which can be lived upon, comfortably; and some sort of usable retirement and healthcare. Problem is that while per-worker productivity has increased dramatically, wages have dropped dramatically. For example in my case...I was earning $13 per hour in a hardware store in the early '90s. I am now as an equipment service technician able to get between $25 and $35 per hour...Yet my spending power is LESS than when I was making $12 per hour, and I haven't seen a raise in this rate for over 15 years. Due to inflation (intentionally created by the Government to lower the real cost of paying back it's debt) my per dollar purchasing power has decreased by well over 50%. It seems to me that these questions need to be answered before we take on trying to shorten the work week...I guess what I'm saying is that I would be OK with a shorter work-week but am not in a position to have the luxury of taking a reduction in salary for that shorter week.
      • Feb 10 2013: Fritzie, Also that inhumane schedule could have had negative impacts on him.
    • Feb 10 2013: Kris, See Fritzie's reply. Sorry. I thought my point was obvious. I did say 24-hour work week.
    • Feb 12 2013: Kris, your situation is precisely what inspired my idea. The lack of equity in the work-for-money world is apparent. Those who are benefitting from it, e.g., the 1%, Exxon owners, hedge fund managers, decline to acknowledge the crimes against the workers who are producing the bulk of the value in society they currently commit. We must do something about this. Also, labor union leaders do not seem to have the courage to ask for the amounts of money income for their members that would yield simple fairness in dividing the productivity gains their members are creating. Let's get active and demand that our elected officials take action, stop caving to the pressures of the 1%, the lobbyists and the corporate interests who are sucking the American taxpayer dry of sufficient funds to live in dignity, provide higher education for their children, retire and have other basic goods and services.
      • thumb
        Feb 13 2013: People ARE getting active (finally). I've watched over 40 years of "Sigh....you just can't fight city Hall." I've also railed against it for 40 years. These "legislators" work for US, at OUR pleasure...If they don't they get fired... at least in theory....problem is they don't care because they have cushy jobs lined up and the best lifetime healthcare in the country. I fear that they are not going to stop pandering for corporate profits short of armed insurrection. If it goes there, and it may well (remember the adage about being careful not to take from the man who has nothing left to loose?) they will bring out the military to put it down, and welcome to 1984....
  • thumb

    W. Ying

    • +1
    Feb 10 2013: .
    Wonderful !

    This way will:
    (1) Meet the requirements of our instincts much better.
    (2) Make us healthy and happy.
    (3) Buy less harmful INVALID (ineffective, untrue, unreal) happiness.
    (4) ....

    (For details, see 1st article, points 12, 1-3, 14, at https://skydrive.live.com/?cid=D24D89AE8B1E2E0D&id=D24D89AE8B1E2E0D%21283&sc=documents)
  • thumb
    Feb 25 2013: Giving this more thought, I am not sure that many solutions to social or individual problems could be achieved. As I previously mentioned, there is an equilibrium in the basic theories of economics, or as we define them.

    Individuals have more time not working, If those people have good family lives or other expressions of positive lifestyles, I would be sure that increased time could add value to that person, and the opposite is also true. And then there is the matter of a sudden shift. If this happened in 2013, What about the upset? Men who retire on Friday and by Tuesday morning, their wives are wondering why they don't leave for 8 hours.
    So, I am not convinced that the economic values are plausible if for no other reasons then the tax bite and the differing effects on living costs.
    As to effects on individual and social values, it may be positive for some and not so much for others.
    So, what am I missing?
  • thumb
    Feb 20 2013: If I understand this premise, we are proposing a new standard work week of 3 X 8 vis the current 5 X 8. and a $30 minimum wage. There are countries that have lower the the standard 40 hour work week and seem to be functional. But, the point of wages is the driving force. Wages are determined by the profit the employee generates. The scheme of business says that you bring time, materials, location and people together and you can create a value that returns the investment of time, etc. So, unless the $30 wage sustains an ROI it is not plausible. The other concept of a 3 day work week sort of looses effectiveness if your business is open for 4 or more days. You will need a 2nd employee to meet you business plan. Any business man will tell you that two employees cost more then twice what one employee cost.
    I am sure there may be a business that this model would do well. I don't see it working for...WalMart,.
    • Feb 20 2013: Thanks, Mike. Please explain the equity of the rise in the money income of the 1% and the diminution of the income of the 99%. Equity is not the only issue. The USA is falling behind in other areas, e.g., education, trade, production. Poor little companies like GM and EXXON seem to be struggling so much they need the impoverished taxpayers to subsidize their golf club memberships and huge bonuses. Let's get sane about production, distribution, education, financing, et cetera. Keeping the current financial and economic models does not seem to be a good idea for this century. Life is dynamic. Our systems need to change to reflect and facilitate those changes that improve life for ALL people.,
      • thumb
        Feb 20 2013: OK!
        First, don't be too hard on those that are either very good in business or won a big lottery. Most of them spend their money unlike Jack Benny. In a town not to far from me is a factory that builds those little jets that the 1% like to buy, and the airport staff where they park those jets. Hundreds of people have good jobs. I have cousin that made a good living customizing the interior of those jets. Thank You.
        But, you have some very good questions that I have watched evolve over many years. In the 1930s, and early forties, we had a bad economic depression and that was followed by an extensive world war. In this process, American capitalists were stripped of the hubris of the 20s and curbed with financial regulations of the 30s, for the most part they were chastised, except a few, Like GM and Goodyear Tire, who convinced L A city council to tear out a really good public transportation system and buy a $zillion worth of buses. that's another conversation. But, big companies saw that they could influence government to better their bottom line. Now I don't blame business, their jobs is to improve their bottom line. But the big push started about 1960. The Lobby groups got started, Campaign contributions ( legal bribes?) took off, Influence peddling, getting bigger and bigger until we have the current situation where we have big Company CEOs becoming Secretaries of US Departments and vis versa. Case in point, our recent Treasury Secretary was a high ranking office of a large bank that got "Saved" by bailout. The new guy to replace him has the same story. It has gotten so bad, that even companies that want to be up and up have joined in and not surprising there are foreign counties signing up. A huge defense contract was signed with a eastern European company. Don't get me started on the criminality of the "Public Education Businesses" who have lost a couple generation of Americans with bad education programs, while taking huge amounts of tax dollars.
  • thumb
    Feb 11 2013: and i suppose that would be mandatory, no opt out, am i right?
    • Feb 11 2013: How would you like to opt out? Would you prefer working a 5 or 6 day work week and 40 or more hours and earning $8.00 an hour rather than $30.00 an hour? What do you think would achieve justice in the workmoney world?
      • thumb
        Feb 11 2013: for example because i'm getting turned down for that salary requirement. i can't find a job. i would accept 50 hours per week and $5 an hour, because i can do nothing else but take shopping carts back to their place. that is what my education grants me. since your idea prevents me from doing that, now i have no income, and i can't eat.
        • Feb 11 2013: You are describing the failure of the current system. That is why I am calling for IMMEDIATE CHANGE. Perhaps, when women and men share power equally in all systems, we will have a safe, sane, just, healthy, happy society. One thing you can do is VOTE FOR WOMEN ONLY until women and men have equal power in public offices. Perhaps you can think of other things you can do to change our system to accomplish our positive goals. Let's not talk about this for years. WE NEED ACTION NOW!
      • thumb
        Feb 11 2013: no, i am talking about your hypothetical system. in the real world, i have more than enough education to earn $30 per hour. but lets assume i don't. i was a drug addict at age 15, and then i worked on an animal farm, i took out the manure. i get $5, work 50 hours, then watch oprah. my employer said to me that he can do that job with a machine, which he can rent for $15 per day. so i'm fired. what do you have for me?
        • Feb 11 2013: Training, re-training, entrepreneuring, voting for women in every election until women have 50% of the power in all systems, et cetera. You seem smart enough to figure it out without help from me.
      • thumb
        Feb 11 2013: so you send me on a training, after which my work will worth more than $35. so far so good. but then, why do we need your minimum wage law? if my work worth $35, i can get it even if the minimum is 10 or there is no minimum at all.

        but wait. what if i plan to open a small restaurant. i want to save enough money, so i agree to still work 50 hours a week, for $35 per hour, to earn more. i value the money more than my free time, in which i just watch oprah, or do drugs. why can't i do that?
        • Feb 11 2013: Kris, It is a free country. If you want to work more than 24 hours per week, you can. Do you think the market today results in fundamental fairness to employees? Do you think a single worker has equal bargaining power with a corporation? Obviously, I am talking about the 24 hour work week being the standard to replace the current 40 hour standard.
      • thumb
        Feb 11 2013: then i don't understand your system. there would be a 24 hr week, but people could work more or less if they want? what is that limit is for then? i dont agree with the 40 hr either. there should be no preferred work length. there should be no benefits or penalties on any arrangement.
        • Feb 11 2013: I guess you have no standard work week in the country in which you live. In the USA, 40 hours per week is fairly standard. How many hours per week do you work?
      • thumb
        Feb 11 2013: why would that be important? aren't we talking about what should be?
  • thumb
    Feb 11 2013: So Alice's (aka Fritzie's) Restaurant used to have a weekly payroll of $4K/wk for 10 employees working 40 hrs each @ $10/hr, and I paid $5.95 for a burger, coke and fries.Alice has to hire 7 additional employees to fill the 400 hr/wk manhours because of the 24 hr/wk limit. She also must pay each of the 17 employees $30/hr for their 24 hr shift. Her payroll goes up to $12,240/wk, an increase of 306%. Either Alice goes out of business or she raises the price of my lunch to $18.21. In fact EVERYTHING goes up 306%! So personal buying power has remained the same but now I have 4 days a week of leisure which does me no good because I cannot afford to pay $11.32 per gallon for gas for my new $110,160 car. The government collects more taxes to pay interest on the never-ending debt, to fund entitlement programs and government payroll. And the winner is. . . ?
    • Feb 11 2013: edward, I get the impression you think things are just right the way they are. Are you aware of any injustices in the work-for-money world? The money income of those who buy lunch would increase along with those who serve you lunch. Please let us know what you propose to diminish the present inequities within the moneywork world.
      • thumb
        Feb 11 2013: First, read Ed Griffin's book "The Creature From Jekyll Island". Second, tell your congresspersons and senators you will vote them out if they do not show aggressive, persistent action to dissolve the Federal Reserve System and return the US to a currency standard, i.e. gold or silver. No more printing money from nothing! Then we can deal with fair distribution of wealth; cronyism; corruption; restraint of trade; suppression of competition; government interference; establishing and maintaining a Supply and Demand based economy; disciplining ourselves as consumers to stop spending money we don't have; and stop acting like Socialists expecting the government to take care of us. And so on. Thank you!
        • Feb 11 2013: Thank you, edward, for expressing your true thoughts and feelings. I shall contemplate all of your suggestions. Best wishes.