32-hour workweek becomes a reality in San Juan County

Aug 23, 2023, 11:04 AM | Updated: Oct 2, 2023, 2:15 pm

san juan 32 hour...

Many people dream of a 32 hour workweek. In San Juan county, they got it. (Getty Images)

(Getty Images)

Many of us have dreamed of a four-day, 10-hour-a-day workweek. But a four-day, 32-hour work week was almost too good to imagine.

In San Juan County, the impossible dream has become a reality as, by unanimous vote, the San Juan County Council approved the move Tuesday.

Officials negotiated with a labor union that represents 142 nurses, environmental stewards, road crew workers, park workers, clerks and other county employees.

Workers will get the same pay as they did in a 40-hour week.

“The Gee & Ursula Show” addressed the issue on Wednesday.

“I love the idea,” co-host Ursula Reutin said. “Maybe you’re just going to work smarter and work harder in those 32 hours than the 40 hours. And this is a way to actually keep people working, maybe get more people to work. And so I would be okay, but I just want to see how it plays out.”

San Juan County is the first in the state and one of the first in the country to go to a 32-hour workweek. The county said it could not come up with the money the union wanted, so it came up with this solution.

“I’ll tell you why I’ll be okay,” co-host Gee Scott explained. “When people are rested, and they come to work, and they’re like, ‘Yo, I had a good three days off.’ I would argue that some people get more work done in four days, than some in five.”

The county said it won’t be taking away any services to the island residents, but office hours might be shorter.

More Gee & Ursula: Gee, Ursula disagree on recent arrests of johns on Seattle’s Aurora Avenue

“I can’t believe that services aren’t going to be cut,” Ursula responded. “Whether it’s King County or the City of Seattle or any other county, there are services, and there are things that are not happening because of some of the changes that were made during the pandemic.”

The county will stagger schedules in certain cases and cluster shifts in other cases to keep departments working and to complete projects on time, according to County Manager Mike Thomas in an interview with The Seattle Times.

“We knew we needed to find a way to compensate our employees” but didn’t want to “turn to the taxpayer” for more funds, Thomas explained.

“They have a difficult time hiring for people who have to go to doctor’s appointments and that kind of thing,” Ursula said. “Many times they actually have to come into Seattle, so there’s a lot of travel time.”

The county encompasses the San Juan Islands and has a population of about 18,000. The new hours start in October.

Listen to Gee Scott and Ursula Reutin weekday mornings from 9 a.m. – 12 p.m. on KIRO Newsradio, 97.3 FM. Subscribe to the podcast here.


Gee and Ursula Show

KIRO Newsradio Opinion


MyNorthwest Video

Video: Netflix Decides to Change Their Subscription Options

What is Netflix up to this time? They’re just changing the plans they offer for the hundredth time. Gee Scott joins the SMN crew to talk about all things Netflix. Listen to Seattle’s Morning News w/ Dave Ross & Colleen O’Brien Show every weekday at 5am on KIRO Newsradio 97.3 FM or go to […]

15 hours ago

vote counts...

Travis Mayfield

Mayfield: One simple trick to ensure your vote actually counts

We should all care deeply whether our vote counts or not. And there is one surefire way to actually do that … check yourself!

1 day ago


MyNorthwest Video

Video: Tipping Culture’s NEW Incognito Way of Getting $$$

Toulouse Petit in Lower Queen Anne started charging a 5% “Living-wage” surcharge on all checks. The SMN crew and Gee Scott have some thoughts on this. What do you think? Let us know in the comments. Listen to Seattle’s Morning News w/ Dave Ross & Colleen O’Brien Show every weekday at 5am on KIRO Newsradio […]

2 days ago

Image: Kimberly Cheatle is the 27th director of the U.S. Secret Service. She has held the position ...

Angela Poe Russell

Angela Poe Russell: The unlikely scapegoat in the Donald Trump assassination attempt

A Republican from Tennessee, said DEI was to blame for the tragedy that saw a gunman try to kill Donald Trump.

3 days ago

trump shooter motive...

Dave Ross

Ross: Motive of Trump shooter not important, how he got an AR-15 is

As much as we would all like to understand the motive of the Trump shooter, I don’t see us doing much with that information.

5 days ago


MyNorthwest Video

Video: Membership Fees at Costco Are Going Up!

Ursula Reutin joins the SMN crew to discuss some changes that Costco is making to its membership fees and the rewards it is giving back to members. Listen to Seattle’s Morning News w/ Dave Ross & Colleen O’Brien Show every weekday at 5am on KIRO Newsradio 97.3 FM or go to to learn more! […]

8 days ago

32-hour workweek becomes a reality in San Juan County