TODAY: Seattle to make labor history with final vote to pass secure scheduling legislation

Historic secure scheduling law will ensure predictable, balanced, and flexible schedules for tens of thousands of coffee, retail, and food workers

Secure scheduling will be first new labor standard to address weekly work schedules since overtime laws passed in the 1930s

Today — almost exactly a year after local baristas first went public in September 2015 with the call that “our time counts” — Seattle City Council is set to change the lives of tens of thousands of people with a final vote on a secure scheduling ordinance which ensures coffee, food, and retail workers have advance notice of their shifts, a right to rest, access to additional hours, and more.

Final Seattle City Council Vote on Secure Scheduling
TODAY, September 19, 2016
2:00 pm PST
Streaming live on
Live-tweeting @workingwa and #ourtimecounts

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 will change 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.”

How we got here

Seattle’s campaign for secure scheduling kicked off in September 2015, when baristas with Working Washington rallied outside Starbucks corporate headquarters, calling on the coffee giant to address unstable & unpredictable scheduling practices. While the company failed to respond to these baristas, they were soon joined by fast food workers from McDonald’s, Domino’s and other chains; retail workers from the likes of REI and Target; and other supporters with Working Washington.

Just one year later — and little more than two years after Seattle workers won the nation’s first $15 minimum wage law — Seattle City Council is expected to pass one of the nation’s first and strongest secure scheduling laws today.

What the secure scheduling ordinance will do

Big corporations are driving workers’ lives out of balance. Instead of offering predictable shifts and reliable hours, companies like Starbucks, McDonald’s, and Target are increasingly demanding 24/7 availability, even for part-time jobs, with hours that vary wildly from week to week. This has dramatic impacts on workers lives, incomes, families, communities, and opportunities: you can’t live your life on a few day’s notice, you can’t make a budget if you can’t predict your paycheck because your hours change dramatically from one week to the next, and you can’t build a better future when you don’t have the flexibility to go back to school, get a second job, or pursue your dreams.

Seattle’s secure scheduling ordinance address this crisis by setting new standards for people who work at large coffee, retail and food chains:

  • Two weeks advance notice of schedules, and a periodic good-faith estimate of hours.
  • Predictability pay when changes are made: one additional hour when an employer adds a shifts and half-time pay for hours that are cut. (Shift swaps and other voluntary changes by employees of course do not trigger predictability pay.)
  • A right to rest that eliminates mandatory clopens by requiring 10 hours rest between shifts which start on consecutive days. (This does not affect split shifts or doubles; voluntary clopens would be paid at time-and-a-half)
  • Meaningful input into work schedules, particularly as it affects caregiving, eduction, second jobs, and other important needs.
  • Strong protections against retaliation.

Seattle’s secure scheduling ordinance will cover tens of thousands of people who work at coffee, retail, and fast food chains with more than 500 global employees, as well as full-service restaurant chains with more than 500 global employees and 40 locations.

More details on the ordinance are available here, and the full ordinance is available on the city’s website.

Timeline & background

  • 9/29/2015: Baristas rally outside Starbucks, declaring that “our time counts”
  • 2/4/2016: Working Washington hosts online townhall where workers call for city policy to address unpredictable and unstable work schedules; City Councilmembers Herbold and Gonzalez attend.
  • 3/23/2016: Starbucks shareholder meeting “rescheduled” on short notice and Working Washington leader Darrion Sjoquist asks CEO Howard Schultz how he plans to address scheduling issues.
  • 8/9/2016: After long stakeholder process, Councilmember Gonzalez, Councilmember Herbold, and Mayor Murray release draft secure scheduling ordinance
  • 9/13/2016: City Council committee votes 5-0 to advance secure scheduling to full council. (Note: these five votes make a majority of the full nine-member city council.)
  • 9/19/2016, 2pm: Final vote by full council to pass secure scheduling

Additional background is available in our secure scheduling press kit.