Advertisement
YOU ARE HERE: LAT HomeCollectionsLabor

The Goals of Labor Aren't Thwarted by Changing Laws to Allow Flexible Hours

August 07, 1988

Regarding the July 19 labor column, "12-Hour Workday Turns Clock Back on Labor Movement":

Due to the long start-up requirements for their heavy machinery (often many hours or even days), many companies must schedule seven-day, 24-hour operations. Shift schedules for these operations can be complicated, but two of the most widely used are the "rotating shift" schedule and the "3 1/2-day week."

On rotating shifts, workers change schedules frequently from day shifts to swing shifts to graveyard shifts. It's a very disruptive schedule for anyone's personal life, but it does not require people to work in excess of eight hours a day. The 3 1/2-day week uses four shifts, each working three days of 12 hours each and one-half day of six hours. This allows the work force to work the same shift week in and week out and provides for a 3 1/2-day "weekend."

It also provides continuous plant operation at a cost of two hours of overtime per employee per week. But even if a plant's work force voted unanimously to go on a 3 1/2-day schedule, under California regulations they could not do so unless the employer agreed to pay four hours of overtime for each of the three 12-hour days.

This has effectively removed the 3 1/2-day week option from continuously scheduled plants in California, even though it may often be the best for the work force. The modification of California rules to bring it in line with 45 other states and the federal government is not a setback for labor. It would remove an artificial obstacle preventing management and labor from working out acceptable solutions to their problems. Bernstein's rhetoric may have an emotional appeal to the "boutique liberal" looking for causes, but he does disservice to the working man he purports to champion when he deals with half-truths and distortions.

JOHN V. R. KING

Rancho Mirage

Advertisement
Los Angeles Times Articles
|
|
|