Erica Barnett was first with the scoop that the Seattle Chamber of Commerce appears to be trying to mobilize their members against secure scheduling. That's going to be quite a slog, because a recently leaked poll showed that business executives actually support secure scheduling policies by an overwhelming 78% margin.
So they're left with no choice but to be flexible with the truth, claiming that basically there's no problem here because businesses are just scheduling workers how they want to be scheduled. Which is a little hard to believe: do you know anyone who prefers short notice of their schedule and unpredictable hours?
And it actually gets worse for the business lobby, because even their metaphors are broken here. Despite their love of the phrase “one size fits all cookie cutter” to argue against rules that benefit anyone but the … cookie cutters actually come in more than one size.
Annotated version of the Seattle Chamber's letter below:
The Seattle City Council has started exploring legislation that would restrict how employers schedule their shift workers.
Fixed: “The Seattle City Council has started exploring legislation that would ensure workers have the flexibility they need to care for their family, get a second job, go back to school, or even just make an appointment.”
We are closely monitoring the process, and have consistently shared the message that Seattle must proceed thoughtfully: scheduling is highly complex and a one-size-fits-all, cookie-cutter approach will create more problems for employees.
The biz lobby seems to really think the phrase “one-size-fits-all, cookie-cutter” is a compelling line… which maybe it would be if it were accurate, or even if each of those many hyphens were little daggers or something? But too bad this talking point has nothing to do with the flexibility, balance, and advance notice that workers are asking for. And even worse for them: cookie cutters themselves actually come in different sizes. Whole bunch of different sizes out there. And as Paul Constant wrote on Civic Skunkworks: "the cookie-cutter allegations of cookie-cutterism are the real cookie-cutter approach here."
Furthermore, many businesses already have processes in place to directly meet the expectations of their employees.
The opposite of this sentence is also true: many businesses don’t schedule workers in a way which respects that our time counts, too. That’s what’s inspired this whole movement. Sure, some managers and companies do right by workers schedules (and thrive because of it), but that’s no more an argument against secure scheduling than the fact that some people get paid six figures is an argument against raising the minimum wage. You shouldn’t have to win the boss lottery in order to have the stability & flexibility you need to care for your family, contribute to your community, and live a balanced life.
If you would like to share how you’ve adopted scheduling practices that work well for your employees, please contact Meadow Johnson, our senior vice president of external relations.
If you would like to share what scheduling practices are like at your job, take this quick survey and let us know!
Our business community is incredibly committed to doing our part to build an economically vibrant and globally competitive Seattle region where everyone has the opportunity to succeed and to access a thriving quality of life. Let’s urge Mayor Murray and the Seattle City Council to work with us on a thoughtful path forward.
Nice sentiment, but here’s the thoughtful path forward: When more people have secure schedules, it means more parents with time for their children, more workers with time to go back to school, and more neighbors with time for their communities. Or in other words: schedule workers as you would have them schedule you.