History Made: Seattle passes groundbreaking secure scheduling law by unanimous vote

Coffee, food, and retail workers win new right to know when they’re going to work and how may hours they’re going to get

Today is the just beginning for secure scheduling. Seattle workers made this happen, but the crisis of unpredictable and unstable work schedules doesn’t end at the city limits. In just the last few days we’ve seen the mayor of New York City announce plans to take on secure scheduling, and they’re surely only the first to follow. We look forward to seeing who’s next as a new wave sweeps across the nation in the footsteps of the fight for $15.
— Working Washington Executive Director Sejal Parikh

SEPTEMBER 19, 2016 — By a unanimous vote, Seattle workers made labor history once again by passing secure scheduling — the first new labor standard to address weekly work schedules since overtime pay became law in the 1930s. This landmark victory in Seattle is only the beginning in the fight for balanced and flexible schedules in Washington State and across the country.

When Seattle workers with Working Washington won the nation’s first citywide $15/hour law in 2014, it set a new standard that everyone should receive a living wage for every hour they work. San Francisco, Los Angeles, New York, and California soon followed with $15 laws of their own. And in November, people across Washington state will vote on Initiative 1433, a ballot measure which will substantially raise the statewide minimum wage to $13.50/hour and provide paid sick time. 

With the unanimous vote to pass secure scheduling, Seattle workers are once again breaking new ground by establishing a new principle: that everyone should know when they’re going to work and how many hours they’re going to get.

The minimum wage hits $15/hour for the first group of Seattle workers on January 1, 2017. The secure scheduling ordinance takes effect six months later, on July 1, 2017.

Sejal Parikh, the Executive Director of Working Washington, served on the stakeholder group that shaped the law:

Secure scheduling is the first new labor standard to address weekly work schedules since overtime pay became law in the 1930s. Seattle is breaking new ground that willchange the balance of power in coffee, food, and retail workplaces across the city. It will transform the lives of tens of thousands of Seattle workers by recognizing that people who have jobs also have lives and needs outside of work — and requiring that big companies make schedules which respect that our time counts, too.”

Crystal Thompson works at Domino’s Pizza supporting two young children:

Working in fast food can be difficult when you only get your schedule a day in advance, especially when your shifts fluctuate and you get different hours week to week. It’s hard to pay your bills. It’s hard to plan your daily life. It’s hard to find childcare, hard to make appointments, and hard to plan a budget.”

Oliver Savage works at Starbucks:

For 3 weeks, I was only scheduled for 8 hours a week. I racked up credit card debt and went those weeks only eating one meal a day to get by. I recently transferred to another Starbucks location, but I’m still not getting the hours I was told I would get, and they keep hiring new part-time workers.”

Ana Esteves works at Wendy’s:

“Last Sunday, I was sick and took a sick day. After that they took 2 days off my schedule, a schedule I only get one week in advance. I have four children I need to provide for, when my hours are cut it takes a toll on my ability to pay bills.”