A Day's Work | Chicago Reader

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In A Day's Work—A Day's Pay, the centerpiece of this international program of shorts, Kathy Leichter and Jonathan Skurnik address the fight waged by former welfare recipients in the late 90s to improve conditions in New York City's exploitative Work Experience Program. Part of the national initiative to “end welfare as we know it,” the program installed people in city jobs that provided only a fraction of the standard wage and none of the benefits. Unfortunately this 2001 video falls somewhere between cinema verite and documentary TV—though well-meaning, it lacks the visceral power of the former and the thoroughness of the latter. Skurnik's videography provides only the most predictable images—the press conference, the city council session, the grassroots meeting—and rarely captures anything more personal or intimate than one might see on the ten o'clock news.

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