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The end of the 40 Hour Workweek

Discussion in 'Tilted Philosophy, Politics, and Economics' started by Shadowex3, May 16, 2013.

  1. Baraka_Guru

    Baraka_Guru Möderätor Staff Member Donor

    But that's not the main reason why unionization has declined precipitously. Unions aren't perfect, no, and, yes, there are problems with the way unions sometimes carry out their mandates. However, I don't think the answer to that is hostility towards unions as an option, nor the legislative suffocation of unionization as an option for workers.

    You know, there are other entities that are failing workers quite badly. Unions generally came about as a result of that kind of thing. Now there are fewer options to help counter the increasingly challenging issues that workers face.
  2. Aceventura

    Aceventura Slightly Tilted

    North Carolina
    I typically use quotations in context #2 - uncommon usage of words. There is the working class commonly meaning low, or below average wage earners most at risk for exploitation - hence the use of the term worker. However, I take a broader view in that "worker" is anyone who enters the market and trades labor for wages. Most would not share my definition. I also believe all workers have to take greater responsibility for the terms and conditions of employment. Some do have this mindset (typically those who see themselves as free agents or independent contractors), and most workers do not. So, to me this term begs to be clearly defined. My fear in many of these instances is that it is diversionary and readers will get lost in the trivia of the use of the term rather than the key point. I know you are in this profession, and I am open to feedback.
  3. Shadowex3

    Shadowex3 Very Tilted Donor

    Considering that wages are 5k+ lower right off the bat and workplace fatality rates 50+% higher in anti-union states I'd say they're actually serving their workers quite well and the idea that they're not is just a myth perpetuated to justify union-busting. Also your conversation between Joe and Bob is exactly the kind of naive or delusional "perfect world" example i've been arguing is absurd and unrealistic for a few posts now.

    In the real world instead of happy perfect dream land bob WOULD have been fired or worse along with anyone suspected of being involved before getting blackballed and ostracized. Afterwards wages and hours would have been cut, that money would've been paid out in bonuses further up the chain, and the whole thing blamed on "socialism".

    Similarly the real reason why membership in unions is so poor is partly because of exactly ^^^ that kind of response and partly because of employer actions. People are fed half-truths and whole lies about unions their entire lives from a massive media empire bankrolled by the very corporations that oppose the unions in the first place. Then there's issues like what I had to deal with, even attempting to discuss working conditions or wages with other workers while off the clock was met with threats from our employer. Other people are simply flat out fired, or worse.

    MLKjr wasn't killed over race, he was assassinated to silence his support of unions and opposition of "Right To Work" and similar laws, which he referred to as "a dishonest twisting of words with the aim of making a vicious law sound like a good law. It is a travesty on the true meaning of the word “right.”"
    Last edited: May 23, 2013
  4. Aceventura

    Aceventura Slightly Tilted

    North Carolina
    I agree unions are imperfect and I would not expect them to be.
    I agree that other entities have failed workers.

    But I also believe there is a need for workers to collective bargain and/or to unionize. This is the means available to workers for them to be fairly represented in the market place. And I also believe individual workers have to assume greater accountability for their condition. I believe these are the efficient means for change. I believe government regulation and law are least efficient. It appears most here think government is the best solution - our core disagreement. But, we seem to agree there is an underlying problem.
  5. Shadowex3

    Shadowex3 Very Tilted Donor

    Ace the problem is we've tried it your way already, it was called the Gilded Age. Without the government to stop them corporations were simply too powerful even for unions to stand up to, especially since they tended to just murder anyone who tried to stand up to them.
    • Like Like x 1
  6. Baraka_Guru

    Baraka_Guru Möderätor Staff Member Donor

    Yeah, but your context is still closer to the actual definition of the word. It's not unusual enough. You're talking about agents who provide labour. Many would call those people workers.

    An uncommon or out-of-context use of the word would be something like: My cat is a full-time cute "worker." Or: That tree is a hard "worker" when it comes to photosynthesis.

    Anyway, the idea is to go by common usage between quotation marks or italics so you aren't misunderstood. Quotation marks are quite often used for irony, which is a problem if you misuse them in other ways. For example, when you put "workers" in quotation marks, it appears you don't really consider them real workers. I mean, sometimes a guy could be considered a "worker" if you take a look at the kind of "work" he does. Right?
    --- merged: May 23, 2013 at 2:47 PM ---
    It's not that I think government is the best solution. It's that government is an essential party to fixing the business/labour environment. Everyone is essential: labour, industry, and government. Government is a part of the solution, but that's partly because they're also currently part of the problem.
    Last edited by a moderator: May 30, 2013
  7. Aceventura

    Aceventura Slightly Tilted

    North Carolina
    Every work place fatality requires an OSHA investigation with the employer subject to penalty, fines and criminal prosecution. Why would standards be so different given government regulations if regulations are effective? is your argument that Unions are more effective than government at protecting workers from workplace fatalities?

    Every worker in every state is covered by workers compensation insurance. How ever this insurance is written there are entities who have a finacial interest in work place safety. Why would work place safety differ to such a large degree from one state to the next - could it be other factors outside of unionization?

    Wages may be lower in states where the cost to live is lower. I would gladly live in NC on $5k less than if I lived in CA. Wouldn't you? We got beaches and mountains in NC too!

    What if Bob has been with Joe for 10 years, since the company started. You think Joe would fire Bob? And you think what I describe is a perfect dream? In my business the loss of a good trained employee would equate to about 6 months of salary - costs to hire, costs to train, cost of lost productivity - every business would be different but the cost of turnover is a big deal.
    --- merged: May 23, 2013 at 2:59 PM ---
    In my view it is not that some commonly known as workers would not be considered real workers but that some would view some people who work not in the category of real workers because they are not low or below average wage earners or they are business owners in combination with being a worker. In my view an NBA player making $10 million a year is a worker subject to potential exploitation. A business owner may be the hardest worker in his business, making less than minimum wage, with no health care coverage, no unemployment insurance, no disability, needing to work 80 hours per weeek, no overtime, etc, etc. However the perception would be that this worker is not important and not deserving of any protection - they are the business owner, responsible for the exploitation in the first place. Again going to mindset.

    I get your point and will change my method.
    Last edited by a moderator: May 30, 2013
  8. Derwood

    Derwood Slightly Tilted

    Columbus, OH
    Employer: Okay, we've decided to hire you out instead of the other 9 people who applied. Congratulations
    Employee: Before I start, I'd like to negotiate better insurance and wages than you offered.
    Employer: We've changed our mind and will be going with one of the other 9 applicants. NEXT!
  9. Joniemack

    Joniemack Beta brainwaves in session Donor

    Reading, UK
    This ^^ is the way it should work. If a company needs current workers to put in overtime to meet fluctuating demand, it should be up the individual worker,who is trading his excess labor (as a commodity) for compensation, to determine which form of compensation works best for him/her. When the actual comp time can be taken should be at the employer's discretion, but it should not be denied indefinitely.

    Of course, the Congress and their corporate partners have done such a fine job of weakening the overall value and importance of labor (as a commodity) that selling any plan that gives workers options is unlikely to gain much momentum. My hat is off to your dad, Lindy.
    Last edited: May 27, 2013
  10. rogue49

    rogue49 Tech Kung Fu Artist Staff Member Donor

    Let's put it this way...for those that are opposed to unions (which I don't completely appreciate)
    and try to put them out of existence...

    Are the same that are creating an environ that workers will try to get a union.

    Hint: if you treat them as humans and not slaves...they won't ask for a union.
    Hint: if you treat them fairly, they won't look to a union.

    Actually, most workers I know...don't like unions, they don't like the dues, they don't like the rules, they don't like the politics.
    So I wonder why they still exist??? Hmm??? :rolleyes:

    The same basic principle goes all around, treat your people decently...they will do well for the most part.
    Statistically, companies that are on the best places to work list...make 3 times the profit.

    Figured it out yet???
    • Like Like x 2
  11. Baraka_Guru

    Baraka_Guru Möderätor Staff Member Donor

    It's simple really.

    Unions are the result of poor management.

    Otherwise, why unionize?
    • Like Like x 3
  12. redux

    redux Very Tilted Donor

    Foggy Bottom
    Aside from anecdotal examples like Lindy's, I am having a hard time coming up with any evidence of employees benefiting from legislating more authority to employers over salary/wages and/or working conditions.
  13. Shadowex3

    Shadowex3 Very Tilted Donor

    That's why the plural of "anecdote" is not "data". There will always be outliers, but they're exactly that.
  14. Speed_Gibson

    Speed_Gibson Hacking the Gibson Donor

    Wolf 359
    Until very recently I was pulling 80-90+ hours weeks for the past year. Gets a wee bit old after a bit. Back to 40 hour weeks now after an exit that was not my choice but has made me much happier, and not surprisingly the "standard work week" is failing me miserably with the expenses that I have currently.
  15. ASU2003

    ASU2003 Very Tilted Donor

    Where ever I roam
    Sounds like it is an expenditure problem, not a work problem... Way too many people are getting trapped by having too many expenses and are focused on making more money instead of reducing the amount of bills and expenses you have.
  16. Baraka_Guru

    Baraka_Guru Möderätor Staff Member Donor

    It's hardly just expenditures. I wouldn't be surprised to know that many middle-class Americans have wasteful spending habits, but things are probably different for lower-class and lower-middle-class Americans mainly because real wages have been flat for decades while the CPI climbs steadily upwards.

    For example: Poverty nation: How America created a low-wage work swamp - Salon.com

    Of note: "The U.S. now has the highest proportion of low-wage workers in the developed world, according to the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development. One in four make less than two-thirds of the median wage, which is the same proportion that relies on public aid."

    I'd like to see if Americans today are typically spending any more or less than they have over the past few decades. The economic situation for American households has been like a vice that's been tightening over time, where things are getting more expensive, but millions of Americans aren't really making more than they did fifty years ago.
    Last edited: Jul 3, 2014
  17. snowy

    snowy so kawaii Staff Member Donor


    Given what I know of Speed and his situation, it's not an expenditure problem. Wages are flat while prices have gone up. I'm feeling the squeeze too. It sucks.
  18. Shadowex3

    Shadowex3 Very Tilted Donor

    You can add another 1%er to the list of people who recognize the ugly truth:

    • Like Like x 1
  19. Speed_Gibson

    Speed_Gibson Hacking the Gibson Donor

    Wolf 359
    As @Snowy said my main expenses are not something I can cut like a cable package, etc. Mine will be present for several years no matter what I do. "Tis life and I am dealing with them as best I can.