This amazing story showed up on the Times blogs today.
It speaks of the different countries in Europe and how they are managing their respective workforces during times of an economic downturn. Contrary to their American confreres, they are not laying off, they are putting workers on shorter work weeks or furloughs, as in the case of my brother in law who works for Ford Motor Company. Of course, he would rather work his regular hours and have a full paycheck, but in this case, 1/2 a paycheck is better than no paycheck at all.
Last week, I was visiting with a coworker - we chatted briefly about our respective families and then he said something that was quite remarkable - he was glad that his family was all employed. It was said so simply and with a sense of reverence, even deep gratitude.
I mused over his reaction and comment for the rest of the week and shared the story with another coworker today. Ironically, we have had a few layoffs where I work in recent weeks and the mood has been quite sombre, morose, even and certainly not without great duress, given the nature of having to lay people off.
In the case of the small non profit where I work, having those individuals remain even on a part time basis was simply not feasible. The monies are running out and in a few short years, the organization will likely cease to exist, short of some extraordinary fundraising efforts. Granted, every effort is being made to see that the closure does not come, hence the laying off of two staffers.
That stated, what if we in America would look to our European counterparts for guidance - shorter work weeks, job sharing, longer vacation times, etc.
If you read the article whereof I speak, you will be perhaps surprised as I to find that of those who have been laid off in this countryin the last 12 months, 6 in 10 workers have not received any unemployment benefits.
It is time to rethink how we work in this country - Utah is leading the charge - the governor implemented a 4 day work week some months ago, to save on gas prices. Other states should follow suit.