Back when the US was an economic powerhouse due to the wealth of its citizens rather than the wealth of its elite bosses, it was common to work from 9 to 5.
Somehow, over the years, probably in the “greed is good” 1980s, the lunch hour became a reason for bosses to extend the work week by five hours a week. “We work a forty-hour work week here! Lunches don’t count as work hours.” the Bosses told us, “And if you really want to get ahead, I better see butts in seats well after 5!” And they began to change the work hours to 8 to 5, or 8:30 to 5:30, or something like that. The past, when everyone worked from 9 to 5, became a distant memory, and we all seemed to not even notice this huge transfer of time from us to the bosses.
We need to take that time back from the bosses and spread it around all the unemployed people out there who need jobs. Though it might not seem like much on a local scale, who wouldn’t like to have those five hours a week back? Why should we have to work five more hours a week now than we did back when the middle class actually had enough money to support a non-working spouse and buy a new car every year?
We need a law limiting the work week to 9 to five, or forty hours a week including an hour for lunch and two fifteen minute breaks. We all need it, not just union workers. Doing this would help unemployment in our country immediately, at no cost at all to our government.
Grover Norquist has done a fine job of getting the Republicans who are elected to sign a pledge against raising taxes. This is OK for the fortunate members of the Paycheck Party who actually pay taxes, but really does nothing to help our paychecks, except in a very subtle way. What we need is a Paycheck Party Pledge for politicians to take to show that they really have our interests at heart, and not the men who paid for their election campaigns.
Here’s a couple of ideas for a Paycheck Party Pledge for our politicians to make:
I, the undersigned politician, hereby agree to do everything in my power to help pass the Minimum Laws of the paycheck-earning majority who elected me.
I promise to support and fight for the passage of the Minimum Vacation Law, which will guarantee without exception or modification the right of every paycheck earning person to thirty days of paid vacation a year after the first year of employment and for every year thereafter until the termination of their employment. These days will be in addition to the standard holidays already paid for.
I promise to support and fight for the passage of the Minimum Severance Pay Law, which will provide every paycheck earning person the right to be paid one month’s salary, based on the highest monthly salary earned, for every year the employee has worked, upon termination of their employment, either voluntary or not.
Have any more ideas? Share them in the comments section.