The 3-Day Work Week
The labor movement, such as it is these days, and the American working population in general, are, as usual, demanding less than they should. Given the meagerness of their demands, or requests, it really wouldn’t be difficult for the capitalist class to meet them. Workers are begging for sick leave, adequate health insurance, paid time off, and a living wage. These are the bare minimum of what a job should provide (except insurance, which should not be dependent on employment; employer sponsored health insurance is a relic born of World War 2, in the extended wake of the Great Depression; universal healthcare is necessary and should be a right) and employers are still stingy as fuck about giving them.
Business owners who claim that they can’t afford to give their workers the pay and benefits which should be a basic right, and claim that they’d go out of business if they did, are not deserving of sympathy. If you are a business owner who is not able to meet the needs of employees, then you should not have employees. If you cannot then handle the business yourself, then you shouldn’t be a business owner. That being said, the burden of responsibility should be far greater for corporations than for small business owners, and certain benefits, like health insurance, should be provided by the government, with funds expropriated from corporations and the obscenely wealthy.
Once that’s taken care of and workers have the bare necessities needed to live, that’s when they need to demand more. Workers deserve far more than they’ve ever asked for. It’s in the nature of capitalism, and has been drilled into us as a culture, a defeatist and supplicatory way of thinking and being, one which tells us that we are meant to suffer and toil on the lower rungs of the societal hierarchy, further enriching the rich, who sell us the ever less believable lie that one day our hard work and talent will get us to their level, as if most of them actually work hard and have true talent. It’s a system which traps us in the web of false thinking which says that things are the way they are because they must be, or are the best way, and that they are impossible to change. But they can and must change.
There needs to be a national movement to a three day work week.
Through most of the pandemic, my work schedule was three days in-person and two days working from home. As what started out as a treat and the manifestation of an ideal became customary to me, I came to understand that it was not an aberration but the way that things should be. Having a four day weekend allows me to actually do things, have a life outside of work, and not just hurry through errands for two days before getting back on the clock. Then, when I am at work, I’m in a better mood, actually kind of like being there, and perform better. Going in for just three days also proved that I can in fact get everything necessary done in that time, and that the extra time I’d normally be forced to be there is time wasted.
Now, because we have vaccines that less than half the population has taken, and we have a president who’s almost as much of a callous and money-driven asshole as the last one, but who has a softer presence and receives softer media coverage, it’s time to pretend the pandemic is over and get back to “normal.” They’re going to be fully reopening my job and forcing me and my cohorts to return to the five day work week. It is a travesty. Absolutely despicable. Health risks aside, that we are being subjected once more to a full forty hours in person is abusive and insulting. We did our jobs damn well, proved that we could do it with reduced in-person presence, and grew accustomed to the betterment of our health that the three day schedule provided.
In those cases where there actually needs to be someone present five or more days a week, simply get someone else to do it. Hire more people. Pay them all a full, generous salary. We have enough people willing to work in this country and more than enough money to pay them. Those at the top will have less to hoard and waste, but that’s part of the point.
Across the board, there is no need or justification for anyone to put in more than three solid days of work a week. I know that anything more is an excess for me, and I believe this to be true for all other workers. Humans are not meant only to work. We are meant to live.