[lbo-talk] US average weekly hours worked (Why is America so violent)

B. docile_body at yahoo.com
Mon May 14 07:38:50 PDT 2007

And unemployed folks have an average workweek of 0 hours. Now that's some leisure time!

If many American companies had their way, the average employee would be a part-timer. Remember in 1996-7, the UPS strike? If a lot of companies had their way, the average work week for their employee would be 20 hrs. Would that be progress for US workers? Not under this system. Most of course would prob. have to get a 2nd job.

I mean, obviously, bosses would love it if folks worked for 80 hrs a week for nothing.

Personally, I don't see anything wrong with rising expectations for leisure, and taking for granted the fruits of past labor movements' victories. We ought to expect AT LEAST that. "8 hours for toil, 8 hours for play, 8 hours for rest, the 8 hr. day" is the old labor movement refrain. I'm sympathetic to the labor movements from the 20s and 30s that were uppity and "spoiled" and weren't satisfied with even the 8 hr day and began pushing onward and ahead for the 6hr, the 4hr., etc. But not the current part-time work system of low pay/no benefits, which is hardly a worker's paradise as they imagined.

I mean, let's wrest control from the bastards who set our working lives' timetables. Down with class property.


Doug Henwood wrote:

"In the 1950s and 1960s, 56-57% of the adult U.S. population worked for pay. That rose to 60% in the 1980s, and peaked at almost 65% in 2000. It fell in the recession and has risen slowly since, and is now around 63%. So a larger portion of the U.S. pop is working for pay than in the "Golden Age" - mainly women. Male participation rates have fallen, esp for older people. A major reason the average individual workweek (now 33.8 hours, just above its all-time low) has fallen is the declining weight of manufacturing, where the average workweek is 41 hours. Manufacturing was 30% of the workforce in 1950; 21% in 1980; now, it's 10%."

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