New Hampshire GOP Reps Offer Bill to Eliminate Lunch Breaks for Workers
In New Hampshire, there exists two Republican legislators, one of whom once worked as a supervisor at a fast food restaurant, which means, of course that he knows everything there is to know about how to treat employees. And guess what: they sponsored a bill to eliminate lunch breaks for workers. All workers in the state.
Their names are State Rep. J.R. Hoell and Rep Kyle Jones. (Mr. Jones is 20 years old and he's the former fast food professional). Both are Paulites (i.e., they support Ron Paul, of the white supremacist newsletters fame, for President). How they got elected to the NH House is beyond me but obviously some people must think them deserving. Then again I wonder if they knew these two ideologues would push for laws that take away workers' rights (as well as their lunch hour). At a NH House Labor, Industrial and Rehabilitative Service Committee meeting this is how they justified their bill to do away with a worker protection that has been on the books in NH for 36 years.
First Mr. Hoell:
"The reason I was asked to submit it is this is a paperwork nightmare for the HR department of some companies," Hoell said. "The company that asked me to submit this typically has some seasonal work, and in the off-season they tend to work shorter days, and the question is what to do about those shorter days. You could allow employees to go home."
Ah yes, all that excessive paperwork. Breaks my heart. Of course when asked about the real possibility that his legislation would allow employers to deny lunch breaks to employees who work ten hour or longer shifts, Rep Hoell admitted that he didn't know much about labor law. Well, actually he said he wasn't a labor expert, which I suppose is true of most state representatives. Most of the ones I know are always getting a free lunch from someone (i.e., a lobbyist) so maybe they just believe free lunches for employees are a natural condition in the real world, too.
But nothing tops 20 year old Rep. Kyle Jones' rationale for eliminating the lunch break for employees. I mean, he claims to know the hearts and minds of businesses based on his vast working experience:
[Jones] said he flipped burgers at Burger King and also had supervisory duties.
"This is an unneeded law," Jones said. "If I was to deny one of my employees a break, I would be in a very bad position with the company's human resources representative. If you consider that this is a very easy law to follow in that everyone already does it, then why do we need it? Our constituents have already proven that they have enough common sense to do this on their own."
Beeep! Wrong answer Kyle. If there was no law requiring lunch breaks, what human resource manager would give a rat's behind if you, on your own initiative, refused to give them one? Have you ever met a Human resources manager? They have better things to do with their time then calling you on the carpet for not doing something for a company's employees that isn't required by law. Why do you think a lunch break law was passed in the first place, if every employer was so kind-hearted toward the health and welfare of their employees. In fact, seasonal employers have an interest in not giving employees a lunch break.
Perhaps being 20 years old you don't know much about the history of labor relations in this country, but things you take for granted--the minimum wage, worker health and safety laws, worker's compensation laws for injuries in the job, etc.--were not freely given by businesses to their employees purely out of the employers' enlightened self-interest. Labor advocates, muckraking journalists and unions had to spend years fighting against the business lobby (often at the risk of physical harm or the loss of their jobs) before these basic workers rights and protections were given to them by either a state government or by the federal governments as a matter of law. Most employers fought tooth and nail against any worker protections period, even child labor laws.
And Kyle, let me give you some advice: I wouldn't go around touting your experience flipping burgers at Burger King (not that there's anything wrong with that) as proof that you have special knowledge about the generosity of employers. Businesses care about one thing above all else: making as much money for the owner of the business as possible. Why do you think so many companies are shutting down plants in America, putting American workers out on the street, and moving their jobs to China. Trust me, if Burger King could have replaced you with a robot burger flipper they would have done so in a heart beat.
And, as I always say, people, especially Republicans like these two ill informed legislators, have to ask what the Occupy Movement wants? I'll tell you one thing its members and supporters want: idiots like you to be voted out of office so you have to go get a real job in today's economy (like flipping burgers again, Kyle). At least you wouldn't be able to waste time proposing legislation to harm workers rights anymore. Because the job you are doing now, Rep. Hoell and Rep. Jones, is not only non-productive and parasitical (I'm trying to use words you'll appreciate and understand) it's actually harmful. Workers shouldn't have to be looking over the shoulder every second to make certain your brand of idiocy and cruelty doesn't become the law of their state or our nation.