New Hampshire Republicans Seek To Repeal Lunch Break Laws

New Hampshire seems to be the Republican testing ground for introducing ridiculous and destructive agendas. The war against women, the war against LGBT equality, the war against voting, and the war against the Constitution have all been attempted in the state. Well, now you can add the war against workers to the list. Republican lawmakers in the state are calling for the repeal of lunch break laws because they trust businesses to do the right thing.

According to the Concord Monitor, Rep. JR Hoell and Rep. Kyle Jones introduced legislation aimed at repealing lunch hours for workers across the state. Hoell claims he was asked by a single company to submit the bill because apparently it takes a mountain of paperwork for a worker to waive their lunch hour. When told by colleagues during a committee hearing that repeal of the law would lead to companies ending breaks for their workers, Hoell replied, “There is always potential to abuse freedom. Whether that falls under the term abuse, that is rather broad.” According to ThinkProgress, Hoell says social media will protect the lunch hour.

“If they [businesses] are not letting people have lunch, they could put it out through the news media, through social media. I don’t think that abusive behavior would continue, the way communications are today.”

Hoell’s colleague, Kyle Jones tried to also make the case for repeal, claiming that businesses should be trusted to do the right thing and that it would be in their best interest to give their workers a lunch break. “This is an unneeded law. 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.”

The bill is likely to go nowhere in the legislature, but the problem is that when it comes to profit, companies are willing to break the rules. Without lunch hour protections, employers are given the opportunity to abuse the lack of regulations and force employees to work straight through the day or night without a decent break. It also paves the wave for the repeal of other regulations. If we’re simply going to trust that companies will do the right thing, Republicans can argue that businesses should also be trusted to pay their employees decent wages, provide insurance, pensions, and health care. They can also argue that companies can be trusted to keep working conditions safe, hire based on merit and qualifications, keep the 40 hour work week, make safe products, and allow workers to take vacations. There’s a reason why we have all of these laws in the first place. It’s because not all companies can be trusted to do the right thing. Some companies would love to pay American workers a dollar an hour to work 24 hours a day. Don’t forget that many corporations such as Apple, pay foreign workers pennies on the dollar to work long days and a lot of nights in bad working conditions so that they can keep generating huge profits. If they treat workers that way overseas, they could certainly do it here if given the chance.

And Hoell is wrong about social media being a watchdog for businesses who treat workers unfairly. It’s only too easy for employers to intimidate their workers into staying silent about company policy. The threat of losing ones job is a powerful thing and it’s unlikely an abused worker will openly complain about unfair treatment if they desperately need the job.