*reads about how 40 hour workweeks are hell- finishes 92hr week and starts 72hr week after 1 day rest... Repeat ad infinitum* Also I'd love for my average of 72 hours a week to be in an air conditioned building or a cold storage for the vegetables. I work in the sweltering sun, pounding rain, and blistering cold. And I'm not going to stay there for long. Of course it's mostly illegal immigrants working here so they're grateful to have a job in the first place.
Yea, that's what I've been thinking while working there. When I pick up boxes of apples or strawberries, almost all from the US, there's the fact that someone picked these before me and the astounding lot of them are migrants in the US without the protections that a union can give. They're escaping poverty and crime that is actively brought around by the excesses and political desires of US and Canada, and then being exploited by the owners of farming businesses to turn a huge profit at the expense of the worker's life and wellbeing.
I also realized more and more that these aren't just any kind of labour. They aren't extra fluff brought on by the need for greater competition like data analysts, computer scientists and so forth. These are workers who if they don't work then modern society can not function. Whether it's the production of food or its transportation, construction or essential manufacturing. Papermaking, textiles, chemical manufacturing machine operators and cleaners.
For example your case. I'm lucky enough to be able to as you say, have only 40 hours a week, and even after that I still feel like shit because I'm tired from the repeated lifting to study. What about your case, where it's almost impossible to study or pursue anything you're passionate about without quitting, which would lead to starving or going into insane debt that you'd have to gamble pays off after 4 years or risk returning back to manual labour to pay off. But even then you're still lucky. We're both still lucky.
We're lucky enough to still believe that there are still better things to move towards, that we can find some easy part-time job in a restaurant while we study computer programming, or a writing career. Most of the working class is not that lucky. They live life thinking that this their life, it's too late and that the only chance they have to live comfortably is working strenuously and placing hope for a better life through their children's careers.
I did research on the type of job I do too, specifically for a Kroger warehouse. It's a bit dated, from 1996 but the work is the exact same except orders are picked using automated headsets they give us to increase speed and performance.
34.6% report significant injuries every year. 63% of the long-term workers in that warehouse report a back injury in the previous year. "In summary the order assemblers have an elevated risk for musculoskeletal disorders including low back pain because of the combination of adverse job factors all contributing to fatigue a high metabolic load and the workers inability to regulate their work rate because of the work requirements. According to recognized criteria defining worker capability and accompanying risk of low back injury the job of order assembler at this work site will place even a highly selected work force at substantial risk of developing low back injuries. Moreover in general we believe that the existing performance standards encourage and contribute to these excessive levels of exertion"
In the end, this job has pushed me further left than anything before learning that shit can be much much worse and the fact that this type of work is itself a necessity and a requirement that HAS to be fulfilled or else the consumers don't get what they demand, whether it's a car, that car's gasoline, its rubber or a mango. All I can say is thank god I'm young and don't have to deal with medical issues and shit like children. That I can still live with my family and bear responsibility with them. Thank god I'm in university so I can get a degree and find some better fucking job at a desk, but fuck me if it hasn't opened my eyes to the reality of capitalist exploitation.