State government in Utah is switching to a four-day work week in order to save energy costs and Iowa’s governor says he’s given the idea some thought.
The move to four, 10-hour days for most Utah state government employees means most state government offices in that western state will be closed on Fridays. The change in Utah takes effect August 1st, an attempt to cut state government electric bills. It also means workers may save gas money, as they’ll cut one day off their commuting time.
Governor Chet Culver says it is something all states at some point are going to have to consider. But Culver says Iowa’s economy is in "good shape" and the option isn’t on the front burner right now.
Danny Homan is president of the AFSCME union local which represents government workers in Iowa. "We’re willing to sit down and discuss this issue with the governor at a point in time when he wants to sit and talk to us about it," Homan says. "Nothing’s off the table if it can save taxpayers money and it could save my folks money by not having to commute (one day out of five), but it’s got to be practical. It’s got to be feasible."
There are several state services which cannot operate on a four-days-a-week basis. Some, like the state’s prisons, are a 24/7 enterprise. Homan says he’ll poll his AFSCME membership in Iowa to see what they think of the idea of a four-day work week for some state government positions. "They may not want to do it," Homan says. "I don’t know."
Some workers in Utah who are parents have complained about their looming 10-hour-long work days as they say they can’t find child care for their longer shifts, coupled with their commuting time.