Workplace– From Mother Jones

Mother Jones has a fine article where workers tell their stories of speedups, add-ons and working off the clock.

In my part of the warehouse, we load products like cigarettes, shampoos, or lotions into totes that get sent down the rollers to where the trucks are. We’re given orders by scanning our badges and totes into a computer system, which tells us what to pull and how quickly it has to be done. Back when I started in 1999, the rate wasn’t so bad, but for about a year, they’ve been gradually ratcheting it up. Say the old rate was 100 orders a day. Now they’re up to 160, sometimes even higher.

‘Harrowing, Heartbreaking Tales of Overworked Americans’ first-person stories from the job, whether the job is maid, teacher or doctor, the squeeze is on to do more with less.

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3 responses

  1. Overwork is the story of much of modern America. In the corporate world, 50 hour weeks are routine, and a lot of people feel constrained not to take their vacation. I have heard tales (which I can’t substantiate) that employees are told that actually using vacation time will count against them at rating time.

    This is borderline criminal. People died–and I mean literally died–to bring about the 40-hour work week, and like so many other elements of middle-class life, it’s disintegrating before our eyes.

    All work and no play makes Jack a sick boy. Constant stress is toxic. And the truly evil part is that all this extra work becomes counterproductive. Studies have shown that, after 3 weeks of 50 hour weeks, you are so much less productive than you accomplish no more than you would in a 40 hour week.

    Or, you get the other extreme. The people who may well put in the time–visibiy, of course–and be in the office 10 hours a day. However, they’re only working 6 of those hours. The rest of the time they’re chatting, surfing the web, talking on their phone, or whatever. Yet, everyone knows these people put in their time, putting pressure on someone who does an honest 8-hour day to stay longer instead of going home to their family.

    Our society values are warped. They are perverted. We respect nothing but money, and corporate propaganda tells us that working too much and ignoring your kids Is virtuous. And the real kicker is that people are not being rewarded for this. Given the GOP policy of maintaining a 10% unemployment rate, workers have no clout.

    We seriously need to get a clue about what’s important.

    1. you can’t have family values if you never have time to be with your family. ‘eight hours for work, eight hours for sleep, eight hours for what we will’ is still a radical idea.

      1. I once went through a period of about ten weeks where my squad supervisor never gave me and some other agents an actual day off because we were on a very demanding investigation-even routinely,10 and 12 hour days were routine because of undermanning and constant demands on our time.
        I only took one actual vacation in my last nine years on the job-I did take the leave because otherwise it would’ve been lost,but never got to go anywhere-a lot of that time was spent catching up on family responsibilities.
        I guess klaus,from the home office work environment,has decided that “republicans”want 10% unemployment-what a crock.
        The forces contributing to the situation are way above partisan politics-let’s start with shipping jobs offshore.
        Is klaus pretending that Democrats and Republicans aren’t both responsible for NAFTA and kowtowing to the WTO?
        The environmentalists have some part in this too-they hacked away at major US fabrication industries until guess what-they moved to places like Mexico,China,Brazil,Indnesia,etc where there are virtually no environmental regulations worthy of the name.
        Klaus has advocated becoming like the effete,slothful Europeans-they aren’t having such a great tme these days.
        The hordes of guest workers who never become part of their societies are like the Morlocks eyeing the Eloi as a food source(figuratively speaking of course).
        You can’t do what the Europeans did and expect a good result.
        “Family values”have beeen eroded by more than a long workweek.
        Marriage and/or stable long term relationships have been an endangered species for awhile.
        Many “families”are cobbled together out of the wreckage of two or more marriages.
        There are a LOT of absentee fathers around,sometimes mothers
        too.Grandparents are assuming a larger role in bringing up children.
        My generation had more to look forward to than my son and daughters’ do.
        Last I checked the White House and Senate were in Democratic hands,klaus.
        The moveon.org playbook you follow is getting pretty dated,as if it EVER made sense.

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