The campaign for secure schedules and access to hours
Contact Sage Wilson, Working Washington: email@example.com
Just two years after Seattle passed the landmark $15 minimum wage, baristas and fast food workers with Working Washington are making history again by passing the nation’s strongest secure scheduling law, including advance notice of shifts, predictability pay, a right to rest, and access to hours.
The $15 minimum wage was about money, but secure scheduling is about power: the power for workers to live their lives with the flexibility and balance it takes to care for your family, contribute to your community, and build a better future.
In the Fall of 2015, Starbucks baristas rallied for better work schedules and called for a meeting with corporate executives outside the company’s international headquarters in Seattle. In February 2016, workers shared stories about unpredictable, insecure schedules in a livestreamed discussion and called on elected officials to take action. Mobilizations have continued and Seattle's Mayor and City Councilmembers have responded, convening several months of stakeholder meetings and public hearings.
In August 2016, the Mayor and key Councilmembers released a comprehensive policy proposal. On September 13, 2016, the secure scheduling ordinance passed out of committee with a 5-0 vote. The full Seattle City Council votes on final passage of secure scheduling on September 19, 2016.
Secure scheduling policies
Workers are calling on Seattle to pass a secure scheduling ordinance which provides balance and flexibility by including:
- Advance notice of our schedules so we can plan our lives.
- Predictability pay for adjusting our lives when things change at work.
- Shift swapping for additional flexibility when life happens.
- Access to hours for those who want them.
- A right to rest which eliminates mandatory clopens.
We have posted additional details on the key secure scheduling policies the city has proposed to provide balanced & flexible schedules for workers in coffee, food, and retail, along with a FAQ. Mayor Murray has also provided an overview of the proposed policies.
Big corporations are driving our working lives out of balance. Instead of offering predictable shifts and reliable hours, companies like Starbucks, McDonald’s, and Target are increasingly demanding we offer them 24/7 availability, even for part-time jobs. But unpredictable and unstable schedules mean constant insecurity, wasted time, and unnecessary stress.
You can’t live your life on a few day’s notice. If you don’t get your schedule until right before the workweek starts, your life becomes a constant scramble and it’s almost impossible to make time to help your kids with their homework, participate in your community, or even just make an appointment.
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.
Key data and research
University of Chicago professor Susan Lambert released the pioneering national study “Schedule Unpredictability among Early Career Workers in the US Labor Market” which examined the prevalence of short-notice schedules and fluctuating hours on early-career adults 26-32 years old.
Working Washington surveyed several hundred service-industry workers in Seattle to produce the report Inflexible & Out of Balance, which found similar issues around schedule notice, access to hours, and community impacts.
The City of Seattle commissioned a Scheduling in Seattle study which returned similar findings and uncovered new information about the extent and impacts of inequities in scheduling practices.
Human Impact Partners, national health-focused research & policy group, produced the report “Scheduling Away Our Health”, which found clear links between unpredictable schedules and serious health impacts.
Working Washington hosted an expert briefing where academic experts Anna Haley-Lock, Danny Schneider, and Kristen Harknett shared their research & policy expertise.
Key news coverage
Working Washington’s campaign for secure schedules has received board and consistent coverage in local and national media. Highlights include:
- Medium.com — Darrion Sjoquist: I’m a Second Generation Starbucks Barista. And I Want a Fair Workweek
- Puget Sound Business Journal — Seattle Councilmembers Lorena Gonzalez, Lisa Herbold, Debora Juarez: Predictable schedules are good for women, good for business
- KIRO 7 — Workers ask city leaders to help with unstable schedules
- Seattle Times — Starbucks CEO put on the spot about workers' unpredictable work hours
- The Atlantic — What Follows the Fight for $15? After raising its minimum wage, Seattle is turning its attention to on-call scheduling.
- Seattle Met — Seattle's Next Big Labor Battle will be over Flexible Scheduling
- KUOW — After Fair Wage Fight, Local Workers Seek Fair Workweek
- Seattle Times — Seattle council may tackle ‘livable’ schedules for area workers
- The Stranger — Starbucks Barista Confronts CEO Howard Schultz about Fair Scheduling, Schultz Says "It's at the Top of Our List"
- Seattle Times — The Next $15: Seattle’s latest labor movement is about scheduling — and power
- KING 5 — Mayor, City Council to roll out 'Secure Scheduling' legislation
- AP — Seattle weighs new rules for businesses with hourly workers
Working Washington offers the following images & video for use free of charge in coverage of the secure scheduling campaign. Credit images and video to Working Washington. (Video from public testimony before City Council should be credited to Seattle Channel.)
August 22, 2016: Expert briefing on secure scheduling, featuring academics Anna-Haley Lock, Danny Schneider, and Kristen Harknett.
About Working Washington
Our mission is to build a powerful workers movement that can not only dramatically improve wages and working conditions, but can also change the local and national conversation about wealth, inequality, and the value of work.
Working Washington fast food strikers sparked the fight that won Seattle’s first-in- the-nation $15 minimum wage. We successfully drove Amazon to sever ties with the right-wing lobby group ALEC and improve conditions in their sweatshop warehouses. And we helped lead the winning campaign in SeaTac for a $15 living wage.
And we continue to break new ground as baristas push for a landmark secure scheduling ordinance in Seattle and our organization grows across the state.