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.