40 Hour Week for Police

by Laurel | February 11th, 2007

[Adapted from the Berkshire Eagle, 11 Feb 1940, from an article by Roger B. Linscott. This story is rather amusing, well worth a read.]

While Pittsfield’s firemen were whipping up their petition for a 56 hour week the other day, a somewhat similar move was causing raised eye-brows and reddened faces across the hills in Holyoke. For some time now, the constabulary of that city has been on the war-path for an eight-hour day, despite anguished protests from the Holyoke Taxpayers Association. Confident that the public prefers lower taxes to contented cops, the association recently went to the trouble of sending out 2800 stamped postcards asking for an opinion from local citizens. The voting, as it turned out, was a bit heavier than expected. Some 5000 cards were returned.

Naturally enough, the surplus ballots were scrutinized with considerable care—and with embarrassing results. Where the taxpayers’ cards had inadvertently misspelled “necessary,” the ballot-stuffers had crossed that orthographic hurdle correctly. What’s more, the fraudulent cards spelled out “Massachusetts,” while the Taxpayer’s Association had saved a few pennies by abbreviating. And it didn’t take much checking to discover that approximately 100 per cent of the 3000-odd bogus ballots were enthusiastic in praise of the 40-hour week.

At last report, the Holyoke Taxpayers’ Association had lodged a formal protest with postal authorities, the Board of Aldermen had gone right ahead and given the 40-hour ordinance its first reading by unanimous vote, and Mayor Toepfert, who filed the biggest budget in Holyoke history last week, was telling one and all that he intends to slap a very firm veto on the measure the moment it reaches his desk.

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