One Demand by the UAW Would Benefit All Americans

The shift to a 32-hour workweek is overdue, writes Binyamin Appelbaum
By John Johnson,  Newser Staff
Posted Sep 28, 2023 12:45 PM CDT
One Demand by the UAW Would Benefit All Americans
UAW signs are held up during another day of the United Auto Workers strike at a Jeep plant on Sunday, Sept. 24, 2023 in Toledo, Ohio.   (Jonathan Aguilar/The Blade via AP)

Much of the focus in the ongoing United Auto Workers strike is on wages. But Binyamin Appelbaum points out in the New York Times that workers also are pushing for a fundamental change—a 32-hour workweek over four days. "We'll all benefit if they succeed," Appelbaum writes in an op-ed piece. He cites multiple experiments with a shorter workweek around the world and finds that they end up helping not only employees but the companies for whom they toil. "Americans spend too much time on the job," writes Appelbaum. "A shorter workweek would be better for our health, better for our families and better for our employers, who would reap the benefits of a more motivated and better-rested work force."

He notes, too, that the Ford Motor Co. helped popularize the idea of capping the standard workweek at 40 hours back in 1922. "It would be fitting for Ford and its workers to once again take the first step into the future," write Appelbaum. Not that everyone agrees. At Wednesday night's Republican debate, Sen. Tim Scott derided the UAW's quest for a "four-day French workweek," notes the Wall Street Journal. Workers want "more benefits" for "working fewer hours," and "that is simply not going to stand," Scott added. (Read Appelbaum's full essay to the contrary.)

Get the news faster.
Tap to install our app.
Install the Newser News app
in two easy steps:
1. Tap in your navigation bar.
2. Tap to Add to Home Screen.