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Dear Friend:

Your most precious possession is your life. Your life consists of time. Would not it become more valuable to you if more of this time were under your own control?

We are potentially on the brink of historic change. It has now been more than 75 years since the 40-hour standard workweek went into effect under the Fair Labor Standards Act. Since then, labor productivity has increased by five times. The productivity rate determines how much economic output can produced for a given hour of work. Do you think that Americans today receive five times the amount of benefit in useful goods and services per hour of work as in 1940, or has something else happened?

Since our major employers will not act to reduce working hours, this task falls to interested individuals who, hopefully, can organize politically to persuade elected officials that the workweek needs to be cut. A reasonable proposal at this time would be to amend the Fair Labor Standards Act by changing the standard workweek to 32 hours. That would facilitate a universal four-day week in the U.S. economy and perhaps inspire similar hours reductions in other countries.

The purpose of this letter is to ask for your support if you agree that shortening work time would be a good thing. You can support the effort in two ways: First, fill out the enclosed slip giving your name, address, and other information as an indication of your support. This information will be kept confidential and will not be shared with others outside the campaign without your express permission. Second, make a small financial donation to keep this direct-mail campaign going. A suggested amount would be $5.00 as a regular donation or $10.00 if you are feeling generous. The proceeds from each mailing will be used to fund another as the list of supporters grows.

I am putting my money where my mouth is, making a $1,000.00 initial donation and committing myself to a minimum of four months of unpaid labor to conduct the mailing itself. This is not a prospective career for me - I’m 75 years of age - but a way to get a much-needed movement started. At the end of four months we’ll assess the preliminary results and, in consultation with supporters, decide where to go next.

This effort grows out of a proposal I made at a conference on work time at Seattle University in late August, 2016. Check out my web site at for writings on this subject. See also

Please help keep this campaign going. A small contribution now will go a long way.


William McGaughey


back to: A Call to Action