Supporters of a shorter work week are part of a growing movement in the US and Canada. Local groups are forming to promote policy and educate employers about alternative work schedules. Last year, these affiliates formed the North American Network for Shorter Hours of Work (NANSHOW).
"The local coalitions are starting their efforts by doing public education about shorter work time in local workplaces, unions, and as larger public policy," said Barbara Brandt, NANSHOW vice-chair and coordinator of the Shorter Work-Time Group based near Boston.
Brandt’s group is developing educational resources about shorter work-time, including a fact sheet to address the common concern that reduced work time automatically equals lower pay without benefits.
In Canada, the Toronto-based Reduced Work Time Committee recently sponsored a series of public forums on work-time strategies that can alleviate rising unemployment and help employers deal more equitably with the need to reduce workplace costs. They also noted the positive benefits of increased adult presence and involvement in families and communities. (See IC #37 for a summary of flexible work options.) The group is also encouraging the city government to consider work-sharing arrangements in lieu of proposed layoffs.
For more information on existing NANSHOW affiliates, or help with setting up your own work-time group, contact Bruce O’Hara, Work Well Network, Box 3483, Courtenay, BC, V9N 6Z8, Canada, tel. 604/334-0998; or Barbara Brandt, Shorter Work-Time Group, 69 Dover St., #1, Somerville, MA 02144, tel. 617/628-5558.