Labor: The Five-Hour Day

Six months ago, at a little-reported meeting, a group of New York labor leaders called for a union—any union—to demand a 20-hour work week. "It was only meant to dramatize the fight for shorter hours," recalls one labor chief. "No one ever thought we'd get a volunteer."

But the call fitted comfortably into the ambitions of Harry Van Arsdale Jr., 56, who is head of Manhattan's Local 3 of the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers and president of the New York City Central Labor Council. As a top unionist in the nation's...

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