A group of House liberals is pushing to officially shorten the U.S. workweek to four days, saying that the time is right following the "nearly two-year-long pandemic," in a statement this week.
Rep. Mark Takano, D-Calif., the vice-chair of the Congressional Progressive Caucus, released a statement on Tuesday declaring that the group was formally endorsing a bill to shorten the official workweek to 32 hours from 40.
"As a longtime member of the Congressional Progressive Caucus, I am proud that the caucus voted to formally endorse my 32-Hour Workweek Act in support of transitioning toward a modern-day business model that prioritizes productivity, fair pay, and an improved quality of life for workers across the country," Takano said.
"After a nearly two-year-long pandemic that forced millions of people to explore remote work options, it’s safe to say that we can’t – and shouldn’t – simply go back to normal, because normal wasn’t working," he continued. "People were spending more time at work, less time with loved ones, their health and well-being was worsening, and all the while, their pay has remained stagnant. This is a serious problem. It’s time for progress and I am confident that with the CPC behind this bill, we can take meaningful steps forward and create positive, lasting change in people’s lives."
The caucus chair, Washington Democrat Rep. Pramila Jayapal, added in a statement that "for far too long, workers across this country have been forced to put in longer hours as their wages barely budge."
The concept of a four-day workweek has begun to catch on in several countries. Iceland found in a pilot program that there was no loss in productivity, while Scotland, Sweden, Japan, and Ireland all have plans to begin trials, according to Business Insider.
"It is past time that we put people and communities over corporations and their profits — finally prioritizing the health, wellbeing, and basic human dignity of the working class rather than their employers’ bottom line," Jayapal said. "The 32-hour work week would go a long way toward finally righting that balance. I'm proud to join my Progressive Caucus colleagues in supporting Rep. Takano's bill and look forward to continuing the fight together to put power back into the hands of working people as we ensure every worker has good benefits, better conditions, and an equal voice on the job."
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