For many workers this past weekend was a rare moment to actually spend time with our friends and families. Labor Day means that we have an extra day to go camping, go fishing, have a BBQ, go to the park or just sit around with family and friends trying to recover from the endless days of working. And this doesn’t even apply to all working people. For many this is a week like any other week, working as many hours as it takes to pay the bills. Or for the millions of people out of work, Labor Day was just another day of being unemployed.
For those of us who are fortunate enough to have an extra day off, we really do appreciate the much-needed break, but why are we forced to wait once a year to have this extra day off? It’s simple – corporations’ only concern is to make profits. By keeping people out of work, by working others until we are completely exhausted and paying us the bare minimum, profits go up and so does our misery.
This is why we only get one day off – because right now we are working just to survive, living just to go to work. But it doesn’t have to be this way. What would the world for working people be like if we only worked four days a week all year long with no cut in our wages?
The first thing we would notice is that there is actually an abundance of work that needs to be done. Bridges need fixing before they collapse; levees need repair before cities flood; classroom sizes need to be reduced; more hospitals need to be built; roads need repairing; every place can hire more people; and the list goes on and on.
All of this work that needs to be done means the millions of people without jobs could immediately find work. Hospitals, schools, restaurants, transportation, every business would have to hire more workers to cover the shifts of our extra days off. This would mean that for countless families the thought of unemployment being cut off by the government would no longer be a concern. Job security would actually be a reality rather than just a phrase used in election campaigns.
We would feel less stressed out at work. A four-day workweek would mean that our workload was reduced by twenty percent. We all know what the workplace is like when we come back from vacation or when we have had an extra day off. It is actually nice to be there – people seem less rude and more friendly because we actually got to rest.
And there wouldn’t just be changes in the workplace but in our personal lives as well. Imagine what it would mean for our families and friends if we actually had time to spend together. We could take our children to museums, watch them play in sports, or act in plays and not have to worry about being exhausted when Monday comes.
How many of us wait for this day every year to plan some special camping trip or vacation because we got an extra day off to relax? These trips would become something we could do whenever we wanted and the camping spaces wouldn’t always be packed with every family trying to enjoy their day off the same weekend. Spending time with our families would become the norm, unlike now where thoughts of work invade every second of our lives.
A four-day workweek would mean workers could continue their education, without having to work forty hours a week while trying to take class. We have all been or know someone who lives this hell every semester. Rather than staying up until midnight every night or trying to cram our studies into our two days off, there would actually be time to study and work.
Labor Day only comes once a year and by Tuesday we’re already back at work, counting down till our next free moment. This is not the only way it has to be. We deserve better for our lives. We should not live just to work. We should be able to work and actually enjoy life too.