Workers pushing harder than ever, putting in more hours than before

Published 12:00 am Monday, September 3, 2001

Monday, September 03, 2001

The Natchez Democrat

Today’s workers are putting in more hours than ever before.

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The average American worked 1,978 hours last year, up from

1,942 hours in 1990, according to the Associated Press. And Lynn

Barnes believes it.

&uot;I&160;know I’m working more now than I&160;ever have,&uot;

Barnes said, a waitress at Ruby Tuesday, taking a few seconds

away from taking and delivering orders.

Behind her, other waiters and waitresses quickly made their

way in and out of the kitchen’s swinging doors, serving the Labor

Day crowd.

If she wasn’t scheduled to work, Barnes would be spending the

day with her 1-year-old child. But she seems not to mind – after

all, she said, &uot;It’s busy, (and) that means more tips.&uot;

Anthony Johnson, who tends the restaurant’s salad bar, had

no idea how many hours he would end up working Monday.

&uot;Why am I&160;scheduled to work today? I guess because

they love me,&uot;&160;Johnson said, laughing.

On the south end of town, Amanda Kennedy reflected on her own

schedule as an emergency medical technician with the American

Medical Response ambulance service.

She finished a 24-hour shift at 6:45 a.m. Monday, went home

to shower, change clothes and see her husband and two sons.

And she was back at work again at 9 a.m. Monday to work a 12-hour


&uot;It’s slow sometimes, and then sometimes it can get crazy,&uot;

Kennedy said of her job.

EMTs get sleep time and play time – mostly watching television

or playing on a computer – in between calls and other duties,

said fellow EMT Chrys Hernandez. But there are headaches.

On Monday, for example, Kennedy and Hernandez traveled all

the way to Fayette to transport a patient – only to find out the

patient was not due to be transported until the next day.

&uot;And it can get hard on the family,&uot; she said. &uot;But

I&160;love patient care. I’m a people person. I like being here

when they need us.&uot;

And ambulance services and restaurants are not the only professions

that don’t observe most holidays. Wayne Masters of Masters Roofing

said his company’s employees have to work whenever the weather


&uot;We always work on Labor Day,&uot; Masters said with

a laugh. &uot;Just look in wallet and you’ll see why.&uot;

But he acknowledged that roofing workers cannot work as many

hours a day as their counterparts in other professions.

&uot;It’s so hot in the summer and cold in the winter, so

you can’t work as many hours as a guy in a plant,&uot; Masters

said. &uot;In the spring or fall, you might could work 10 or

12 hours a day. But in this heat, you can only work about five

to six hours a day.&uot;