Work Less Party
March 29, 2004 7:45 PM   Subscribe

The Work Less Party of Vancouver seeks to regain a little sanity for the North American employee. A 32-hour work week is not a very realistic fantasy for the information age. But at least someone is standing up for the right to go home earlier.
posted by PrinceValium (47 comments total)

 
I'd like to say that the thing I like about the workless party is how when I read the name I'm like "I bet those guys are about working less" and then they are.
posted by The God Complex at 7:56 PM on March 29, 2004


TGC: See? Less work for you right off the bat.
posted by Space Coyote at 8:22 PM on March 29, 2004


I know. Isn't it rad?
posted by The God Complex at 8:25 PM on March 29, 2004


The Work Less Party of Vancouver

I can't wait for the Toronto, New York and Silicon Valley branches to open.
posted by timeistight at 8:28 PM on March 29, 2004


Well, see now, I didn't get that. I thought they were out of work, that is to say, "work-less", and that immediately brought me right back to thinking about the massive amount of job losses that we've seen King George preside over for the last three years while our previously proud stature has slid ever farther in the eyes of everyone else in the world, and by that time, you know I just ...

What was the link about, anyway?
posted by yhbc at 8:32 PM on March 29, 2004


But what will happen to productivity? They'll end up like France and Germany!
posted by h00dini at 8:33 PM on March 29, 2004


"Well, I generally come in at least fifteen minutes late, after that I sorta space out for an hour."

"Space out?"

"Yeah, I just stare at my desk, but it looks like I'm working. I do that for probably another hour after lunch too, I'd say in a given week I probably only do about fifteen minutes of real, actual, work."
posted by Civil_Disobedient at 8:39 PM on March 29, 2004


The Plan: How do we do this?

1. Restrict and control rental costs and property prices.
2. Increase taxes on luxury goods and goods that are detrimental to the environment.
3. Reduce the work week: from 40 to 32 hours at present; in the future, to whatever is necessary.
4. Promote the arts, education, sports and research.
5. Do whatever is possible to foster cooperation instead of competition.


Bwahahahaha! Riiiiiiight. This will work exactly HOW?

If these people WANT to work 32 hours per week, that's fine...then they need to make it happen for themselves.

But their goal is much larger than just working fewer hours. Their "Plan" is much more insidious, wrong, and subjective than their "Work Less! Have More Fun!" sloganeering indicates.
posted by davidmsc at 8:44 PM on March 29, 2004


Pah! Drones! I haven't done a stroke of work since the end of November.
posted by i_cola at 8:49 PM on March 29, 2004


Clearly, these guys have a basically socialist platform. But this objective can be accomplished in other ways. Suppose we eliminate the overtime exemption for white-collar workers, and provide additional tax breaks for hourly workers who work more than 40 hours a week at more than one part-time job? I would imagine that productivity per hour would skyrocket, while everyone's quality of life improves.
posted by PrinceValium at 8:50 PM on March 29, 2004


But their goal is much larger than just working fewer hours. Their "Plan" is much more insidious, wrong, and subjective than their "Work Less! Have More Fun!" sloganeering indicates.

Are the words "pinko" and "commie" about to exit your mouth in some combination?
posted by The God Complex at 8:55 PM on March 29, 2004


This is ridiculous. We'd be much better off if half the workforce worked twice as much, and the other half was unemployed.

We're making good progress!
posted by Eamon at 8:56 PM on March 29, 2004


So their plan comes down to...

* Ruin the investment value of rental property, that way no one will offer any and they wont have any place to live.

* Put a high tax on stuff they can't afford, so that the companies that employee people MAKING luxury goods go out of business and leave them unemployed.

* Mandate universal harmony

And THEN they get to work less.

How about they just work less and leave those of us with more ambitious plans alone?
posted by soulhuntre at 9:03 PM on March 29, 2004


davidmsc is officially a cliché.
posted by Space Coyote at 9:04 PM on March 29, 2004


Nooo! These subversives want me to value something other than my STUFF! Evil!
posted by Space Coyote at 9:06 PM on March 29, 2004


Well, I don't know about 'insidious' and I wouldn't go so far as to accuse anyone of being a cliché, Space Coyote, but that 5 Step Plan positively reeks of blue-sky wishful thinking and youthful (read: hopelessly naive) idealism.

Which is good and all, you know, but is rarely effective in actually changing anything.
posted by stavrosthewonderchicken at 9:09 PM on March 29, 2004


Neil: Vegetable rights and peace. [Neil gives a peace sign]
posted by stavrosthewonderchicken at 9:11 PM on March 29, 2004


Which is good and all, you know, but is rarely effective in actually changing anything.

Obviously, but "insidious" and "wrong" is just comical and should be played up as such. As I've mentioned, the value is clearly in the name!
posted by The God Complex at 9:11 PM on March 29, 2004



If these people WANT to work 32 hours per week, that's fine...then they need to make it happen for themselves.


How exactly should people "make it happen for themselves?" The last time (the united states) decreased the length of the work week, it was through politics, not individual initiative. And a lot of people said it was an insidious plot when they made the weekend 2 days long, too, I'm sure.
posted by Hildago at 9:37 PM on March 29, 2004


I'm not surprised Vancouverites came up with this, we've been known as a "work to live" city for awhile. That is, until the great Exodus of Torontonians came out here and ruined it. Now, people work unpaid overtime....when there's fresh snow on the ski hills!?!?! Can you believe it???

So, this isn't about working less. Oh no, this is taking back OUR CITY. Damnit. We have so few sunny days. When they come, we should be able to duck out of the office. Is that so wrong? Is it? No. It isn't.

And I also want a holiday between New Year's and Easter, double damnit.
posted by Salmonberry at 9:40 PM on March 29, 2004


Also, I would only support the Work Less Party if they joined with the Party More Party.
posted by Hildago at 9:41 PM on March 29, 2004


32 hours a week? I'd be happy if I could keep things to 40 hours a week.
posted by lbergstr at 9:43 PM on March 29, 2004


What we need is a really radical party, one that still calls for being employed forty hours a week, getting paid for forty hours a week, and yet only doing ten or twenty hours' worth of work. That's a party I could get behind. In fact, that's a party I'm qualified to lead.
posted by mr_crash_davis at 9:54 PM on March 29, 2004


I would only support the Work Less Party if they joined with the Party More Party.
posted by homunculus at 9:55 PM on March 29, 2004


1. Restrict and control rental costs and property prices.
2. Increase taxes on luxury goods and goods that are detrimental to the environment.
3. Reduce the work week: from 40 to 32 hours at present; in the future, to whatever is necessary.
4. Promote the arts, education, sports and research.
5. Do whatever is possible to foster cooperation instead of competition.

Bwahahahaha! Riiiiiiight. This will work exactly HOW?


By the lengthy string of miracles that will accompany the accomplishment of #5, of course. Geez, didn't you even read their comprehensive plan for global grooviness?
posted by Ignatius J. Reilly at 10:43 PM on March 29, 2004


How exactly should people "make it happen for themselves?"

By working less, obviously. You don't have to work full-time. Especially in Canada, where your health insurance isn't tied to being employed full-time.

The last time (the united states) decreased the length of the work week, it was through politics, not individual initiative.

Well, sure, but the issue you're addressing is "how to make it happen for themselves," not how to make it happen for everyone.
posted by kindall at 12:16 AM on March 30, 2004


See also 6hourday.org
Workers of the world unite for the 24 hour week, 6 weeks paid vacation yearly All with No Reduction in Pay or Benefits
posted by Pericles at 2:40 AM on March 30, 2004


I don't know how it is in your part of the country/world, but the Midwest is truly nuts when it comes to work schedule. The "40-hour" work-week is actually 50 hours, but you only get paid for 40. How is this done?

Simple. Change "nine-to-five" to "eight-to-five", then don't pay employees for their lunch break. I'm assuming the only reason people aren't completely up-in-arms about it is because the farmer mentality and Puritan Work Ethic makes these dolts comfortable with the concept of waking up at the crack of friggin' dawn (you know, to milk the cows, feed the chickens, etc.)
posted by Civil_Disobedient at 5:04 AM on March 30, 2004


"then don't pay employees for their lunch break"

Which makes perfect sense. Presumably you are paid to work, if you have stopped working (lunch) then you don't get paid for that hour. I can't imagine why the company should pay you for an hour your not working in principle. Obviously if you can convince them to do it more power to ya, but it's not evil in prinicple to only pay peopel for actual work.
posted by soulhuntre at 5:36 AM on March 30, 2004


"You'll want all day tomorrow, I suppose?'' said Scrooge.

"If quite convenient, Sir.''

"It's not convenient,'' said Scrooge, "and it's not fair. If I was to stop half-a-crown for it, you'd think yourself ill-used, I'll be bound?''

The clerk smiled faintly.

"And yet,'' said Scrooge, "you don't think me ill-used, when I pay a day's wages for no work.''
posted by jennyb at 5:45 AM on March 30, 2004


This is a great idea. But why stop at 32? Here's my platform: It's foolproof, I tell ya!

(and jennyb, the 40 hour workweek is hardly Dickensian)
posted by pardonyou? at 6:22 AM on March 30, 2004


I'd settle for European-style 4 week vacations. Heck, I'll even take a pay cut to do it. I've already used up all my leave for the next few months on dental emergencies.
posted by JoanArkham at 6:30 AM on March 30, 2004


Don't you 'mericans already have this party in the White House?
posted by Quartermass at 6:34 AM on March 30, 2004


If these people WANT to work 32 hours per week, that's fine...then they need to make it happen for themselves.

And they'll work hard to make it happen. Wait a minute.

Actually, these people need to heed the advice of Homer Simpson: Go to work your 40 hours a week but just do it really half-assed.

Also, the people behind this obviously don't have any money problems of their own, because just about everybody I know takes every minute of overtime they can get. If your willing to ditch that and 8 hours of regular pay then you obviously don't have any worries about where your next dollar is coming from.
posted by jonmc at 6:38 AM on March 30, 2004


pardonyou? - the Christmas Carol bit was more a friendly poke at soulhuntre, whose "why should people be paid for their lunch break?" comment made me immediately think of Scrooge. I'd hardly call a 40 hour work week Dickensian, either. Now, a "40 hour work week" that's really 50 plus hours, coupled with massive pressure from employers to give up vacation time and overtime exemptions, maybe. But an actual 40 hour work week? Nah, that's pretty reasonable.
posted by jennyb at 6:52 AM on March 30, 2004


NTM, just about any smart worker knows how to get their job done in less time, thus allotting more time to screw around and get paid for it. And a smart boss knows it. I've had bosses actually say as much, "I don't care what you do as long as your tasks are done." This is probably because he's pulling something similar on his superior, and on up the latter to the billionaire CEO. He might be getting ripped off a little, but he'll survive, since once your that rich, your life is all about sitting around and getting paid.
posted by jonmc at 6:57 AM on March 30, 2004


if you have stopped working (lunch) then you don't get paid for that hour.

Humbug. If I'm not getting paid for the hour, I'd rather come in at 9.

Realistically, I don't know many people who actually work 8 full hours a day that aren't in the third world. As jonmc illustrated, most bosses just want the work done. No matter how long it takes. Of course, if you are clever and industrious and come up with a way to do the same amount of work in half the time, should you only get paid half as much? Where's the reward for being an efficient worker?

Right now there is none. Which is why you see people hanging around the water cooler until around 10am, then take an extra half-hour for lunch, then leave at 4:30 (to beat rush-hour). Like I said before...
posted by Civil_Disobedient at 7:38 AM on March 30, 2004


Also, I would only support the Work Less Party if they joined with the Party More Party.

Actually it's called the Dance Party Party, and they ran a couple of candidates in the most recent civic election in Vancouver (one of whom was nearly elected!) - I'm pretty sure that a lot of the same people are involved in the WLP.

And without knowing for sure, I would say that these folks do not seriously think that they will effect change through getting themselves elected to public office, but by spreading ideas around, for which "political parties" and compaigns are excellent vehicles, given the media-magnetism of politics generally.

There is also a bit of a history of this sort of thing in Vancouver civic polity going back at least as far as the Mr. Peanut for Mayor campaign of 1974.
posted by dinsdale at 8:34 AM on March 30, 2004


By working less, obviously. You don't have to work full-time. Especially in Canada, where your health insurance isn't tied to being employed full-time.

I think the issue is decreasing the number of hours that counts as full-time employment. Just not working full time isn't a way of going about that, Kindall, it's just a sarcastic comment.
posted by Hildago at 9:44 AM on March 30, 2004


"Where's the reward for being an efficient worker?"

At companies that have a clue? Advancement and better pay. At the ones that suck? Nothing.

Thats one fo the reasons that all the folks I know who are truley interested in getting rewarded in proportion to their effort are self employed.
posted by soulhuntre at 10:21 AM on March 30, 2004


I think the issue is decreasing the number of hours that counts as full-time employment.

Why is it important that society endorse your decision to work less?
posted by kindall at 10:25 AM on March 30, 2004


soulhuntre - Very good point.
posted by Civil_Disobedient at 10:41 AM on March 30, 2004


It is important for society -- government, IOW -- to endorse the decision to reduce the working week because doing so benefits society.

Our society suffers when the majority population must work long hours. There is less time for parenting, for being a spouse, for community contribution, for self-time. This results in poorly-raised children who become lousy adults, results in marital trouble and divorce, results in communities lacking volunteers, and results in increased physical and mental illnesses.

It also results in lower employment: where a company might have to hire an extra body were working time capped, it can instead slave-drive existing employees, often without paying them for the extra work.

Finally, low employment combined with long working hours for the employed results in decreased economic growth. The unemployed have no money to spend on recreation, while the employed have no time to spend on recreation. The entire services sector, a very significant part of our economy, suffers when this happens.

A six-hour workday or four-day workweek would do miraculous things for this nation.
posted by five fresh fish at 12:44 PM on March 30, 2004


FFF -- I don't buy your analysis of the economic impact of long work hours.

Many observers take the contrary view -- that long work hours and two income families drive tremenously more consumption. They buy more cars (a three car family is at least as common now as a one car family used to be), they eat out at restaurants more and buy more expensively prepared ingredients when they eat at home, they indulge in more expensive and elaborate vacations.

To everyone: what has happened with work hours hasn't been some plot by bad bosses, it has been, instead, the extension to ever larger classes of work of the sophistication and talent that has always been demanded of professionals. Lawyers, doctors, accountants, and research scientists worked very long hours thirty and forty years ago, just like they do now. There is no efficient way to chop up the work of people with those kind of requirements -- knowledge is concentrated in a few hands and it would be tremendously inefficient to hand it off to an extra shift a week. Now, pretty much any manager has that kind of knowledge-intensive set of duties.
posted by MattD at 1:11 PM on March 30, 2004


Why is it important that society endorse your decision to work less?

I know you've read the linked site, but I'll just quote the relevant bit for those who haven't:

"... in essence... if you are working, your labor effort is probably invested in the production of goods and/or services that for the most part we could easily do without, and have a short life expectancy. In other words, we spend an appalling percentage of our waking lives producing 'junk'."

"The solution we at the Work Less Party are proposing is brilliantly simple: Work Less. Work less, consume less, live more. By doing this we will have a better quality of life, and at the same time preserve something of our planet for future generations."

So, Kindall, it does not sound to me like they are proposing that society applaud their laziness. It sounds to me like they're proposing decreasing the amount of work people (have to) do on a regular basis, as a matter of policy, because they think that by doing so certain current and future problems could be solved. They are not, in fact, just telling people to skip work, they're saying that by focusing on other matters, America can work its way out of a consumerist rut.

Now, what they're saying may be balls. I think it's at least partially balls, personally. But, at least pay attention to what they're actually saying, as opposed to what somebody else says they're saying.
posted by Hildago at 5:26 PM on March 30, 2004


Well, yes, that's what they're saying, but the topic at hand was more along individual lines, i.e. "making it happen for yourself." You don't have to change society if you just want to work less. Just. Work. Less.
posted by kindall at 5:58 PM on March 30, 2004


Ok, yes, I was trying to get us to talk about the link. Miscommunication. It's all good in the hood.
posted by Hildago at 9:29 PM on March 31, 2004


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