More than 30 organizations with tens of thousands of members signed onto this letter to Mayor Murray and the Seattle City Council expressing support for secure scheduling.
June 2, 2016
Mayor Murray and Seattle City Councilmembers:
From conversations with our members and others in the community, we know that unstable, unpredictable schedules are a growing problem for hourly workers in our city. More and more large companies have been expecting 24/7 availability, but they’re not offering their employees the flexibility they need to care for their families, contribute to their communities, and live balanced lives.
Thanks to the city's $15 minimum wage law workers will soon enjoy a living wage for every hour they are on the job, but they don’t necessarily know when they’re going to work, or how many hours they’re going to get. Large numbers of hourly workers struggle with schedules which are given out on short notice and repeatedly changed; shifts that vary wildly from week to week; staffing models that mean limited access to hours for current employees, and large numbers of extremely part-time workers; mandates for open availability, even for part-time jobs; and schedules that require back-to-back “clopening” shifts.
Your leadership to advance secure schedules for working families shows you understand that this is a crisis for hourly workers in the city of Seattle, and that you have been listening to the many working parents and students who are sharing their stories about the urgent need for updated work-hour protections.
As recent Seattle-based surveys show, insecure schedules disproportionately impact communities of color, women and immigrants. Further, these impacts extend beyond the workplace, with many workers citing physical and mental health impacts and inability to schedule time with their families or childcare when needed amongst the reasons they need secure schedules.
These surveys lead to the same conclusions as other national and local data on secure scheduling policies: workers need advance notice of their schedules, a right to rest and access to hours in order to support their families, contribute to the economy, and help our communities thrive.
This is a national trend, and the data are clear. The city has decided to conduct their own survey, but from our understanding of the methodology, it is a flawed instrument. Many stakeholders have shared numerous concerns with its design and implementation, including:
- Lack of safeguards: A single individual could easily submit multiple responses to the survey, allowing unscrupulous actors a way to intentionally sway the data collection — and therefore the conclusions.
- Lack of verification: We are aware of no process in place to verify the source or validity of responses.
- Vulnerability to “coaching”: The heightened public debate incentivizes game-playing and makes the survey more likely to be exploited.
We strongly encourage our elected officials to take an active role in this process, engage the issue deeply, and consider the input of all stakeholders in order to ensure the best outcome for our community. We also encourage you to weigh our concerns about the survey instrument, and take stock of the extensive national and local data available when making decisions about the best approaches to address the insecure schedules which workers in our city struggle with every day.
We are proud to live in a place where we can come together to the lead the way on a smart, thoughtful and pacesetting approach that will serve as a model for our state and our country. Thank you for your leadership on this issue, and for your commitment to advance economic security for all people in Seattle.
American Federation of Teachers Washington
Church Council of Greater Seattle
International Aerospace Machinists Local 751
IBEW Local 46 PAC
IBEW Local 77
Ironworkers Local 86
Martin Luther King County Labor Council
Professional & Technical Employees Local 17
Puget Sound Advocates for Retirement Action
Puget Sound Sage
Seattle Chapter, Asian Pacific American Labor Alliance
Seattle Building and Construction Trades Council
Seattle Chapter, National Organization for Women
Seattle Fire Fighters Union, IAFF Local 27
Seattle Police Officers Guild
SEIU 6 Property Services NW
SEIU Local 925
SEIU Healthcare 1199NW
Teamsters Local 117
Transit Riders Union
UFCW Local 21
Unite HERE Local 8
United Auto Workers Local 4121
Washington State Labor Council, AFL-CIO