Skip to main content
Resolutions & Amendments

26th International Convention - San Francisco, CA (1984)

Alternative Work Schedules

Resolution No. 29
26th International Convention
June 18-22, 1984
San Francisco, CA


Many employees are interested in alternative work schedules that deviate from the traditional eight-hour day, five-day week. These alternatives include flexible working hours, compressed work week, and work-sharing. These non-traditional schedules can offer some benefits for employees, including:

However, employees may be greatly harmed by the employer's unilateral imposition of alternative work schedules to reduce absenteeism, and overtime, and cut costs through furloughs and use of part-time employees. Even in those situations in which employees see many advantages in alternative work schedules and propose these alternatives, the advantages must be carefully balanced against potential pitfalls, including: changes in overtime rules, shift and premium pay, reduction in benefits, and union representation and career development for part-timers; and


Alternative work schedules at the local level have implications for broader social and legal policy issues. With ten million Americans unemployed and an additional five million employed part-time involuntarily, policies that promote work-sharing while protecting the income and benefits of the employed must be considered; and


Hours of work are a legitimate subject for collective bargaining.


AFSCME supports alternative work schedules where they are established bilaterally through union-management negotiations. Agreements should be pursued cautiously; where possible, all current benefits such as overtime and shift pay should be maintained, and participation should be voluntary. AFSCME opposes forced reductions in hours and furloughs that are unilaterally imposed by management, which violate the seniority rights of long-term employees; and


AFSCME supports state and federal legislation to protect the rights and benefits of employees with alternative work schedules, including legislation which provides for pro-rated unemployment compensation for reduced hours of work. All such legislation must be carefully reviewed to insure that the impact on employees is fair, and employee protections comprehensive.


Betty J. Lincoln, President, Local 500
Maudiene Jackson, Business Agent, Local 500
Kansas City, Missouri