Thirty vs. Forty

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Katie Hanley Dylan Barth English 101 4 October 2012 Thirty Hours vs. Forty Hours There are people in the United States that favor a 30-hour work week over the modern 40-hour work week. Jeffrey Kaplan is one of those people. Kaplan put together a short article describing the benefits of having to work a shorter work week. By writing this essay, I think he was targeting middle-class citizens and anyone who was a current full-time employee in America. He uses the history of work in America and describes the changes it has encountered by using an example of the Kellogg’s company’s transition. He also emphasizes the words, “family” and “together” quite often throughout the essay, and uses examples of peoples’ lives that have experienced changes in the work week. Kaplan went back through time to analyze the differences of the 30-hour work week to the 40-hour work week, with which most Americans are familiar. He uses an example of the Kellogg’s Company’s transition to the 30-hour work week in the 1930s. He states, “Company president Lewis Brown and owner W.K. Kellogg noted that if the company ran “four six-hour shifts…instead of three eight-hour shifts, this will give work and paychecks to the heads of three hundred more families in Battle Creek”” (par. 10) This news made a lot of workers happy because it was during the time when the economy was falling into the Great Depression. Because of the shorter work week, the workers would face smaller paychecks. However, Kellogg raised the hourly salary and gave bonuses to make up for the time lost. Kaplan states, “It was an attractive vision, and it worked” (par. 14), and many journalists from famous magazines reported that their employees loved his vision as well. Kaplan uses examples of people that had worked 30-hour work weeks in the past. For example, Kaplan says that, “Another remembered: ‘I could go home and have
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