President Biden is proposing a $2 trillion American Jobs Plan. Sounds good and it calls for things like roads and bridges, which we need. But will it work? Has any bill for jobs and infrastructure in our lifetimes fundamentally changed the perpetual crisis of unemployment, underemployment, low wages and poor benefits? No. And neither will this latest iteration.
For decades working people have been fighting to spread the available work around to all who need a job by reducing the legal workweek with no loss in pay. In days past workers and unions fought to win “30 for 40” — 30 hours work for 40 hours pay. Sound radical? In 1938 the Fair Labor Standards Act established the basic 5-day, 40-hour workweek that we all take granted today. This had once been a radical and revolutionary proposal. Now it’s common sense. But it took a fight because employers don’t give anything without being forced. Look at their resistance now to the call for a $15 minimum wage, using much the same arguments they made against the 40-hour week.
As explained by Joanne Kuniansky, Socialist Workers Party candidate for New Jersey governor, “Workers and our unions need to fight for a shorter workweek with no cut in pay, to share the available work around… All President Joseph Biden and the government discuss is more money for the employers and government bodies, and a little more welfare-like handouts to workers. We need jobs, to be shoulder to shoulder with our co-workers and able to fight together.”
Feature Article: Workers, unions need to fight for jobs for all who need them!
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