Northwest Asian Weekly: Op-ed on secure scheduling

Northwest Asian Weekly, 5/26/2016

By Sejal Parikh, Executive Director of Working Washington.

Unstable, unpredictable schedules are wreaking havoc on the lives of workers, disrupting their families, and unsettling our communities. 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 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 your boss won’t give you the flexibility to go back to school, get a second job, or start your own business.

Capitol Hill Seattle Blog: ‘Clopening’ time: Seattle on the clock for secure scheduling

Capitol Hill Seattle Blog, 5/26/2016

The subject has been bubbling up in Seattle public discourse for around six months now. Last fall, local progressive labor advocacy organization Working Washington and Starbucks baristas protested their inconsistent and unpredictable work schedules, which labor advocates say act as barriers for low-income workers to scheduling life necessities like college classes or childcare or budgeting living expenses.

A few months later, in his 2016 state of the city speech, Mayor Ed Murray highlighted secure scheduling as a key low-wage worker equity issue and said his office would work with the City Council to address it.

The Olympian: Minimum wage backers slam Olympia council with poetry

The Olympian, 5/18/2016

A handful of people from Working Washington have been weekly fixtures at the council’s public comment period to advocate for a $15 minimum wage in Olympia and beyond.

The supporters took it to the next level Tuesday in what could have been the first organized poetry slam at an Olympia council meeting.

Councilman Jim Cooper said he looks forward to more conversations about raising the living wage and establishing more rights for workers such as paid sick leave.

“This is the most beautiful public comment in my four and a half years on the city council,” Cooper said.

Publicola: Starbucks policy is to post schedules for its store employees two weeks in advance

Publicola, 5/10/2016

Starbucks policy is to post schedules for its store employees two weeks in advance. But Working Washington, the labor group that’s campaigning for stricter labor regulations around service economy scheduling practices (such as mandating advance scheduling and compensation for schedules that come with surprise changes that cut hours), posted a picture on its website from an employee room scheduling board at a local Starbucks that shows management there doesn’t appear to be scheduling beyond the current week.

Seattlish: Why is it so difficult to enforce the minimum wage?

Seattlish, 4/27/2016

“It’s been five years since Seattle passed sick days and more than a year since the beginning of the phase in to $15, and we still hear every day from people who work in coffee, fast food, and other jobs who don’t know what they’re supposed to get paid and don’t know they can take a sick day when they get sick,” says Sejal Parikh, Executive Director of Working Washington, who rolled out a wage information tool long before the OLS dashboard made it out the door.


Seattle Met: Seattle’s Next Big Labor Battle Will Be Over Flexible Scheduling

Seattle Met, 4/22/2016

A lot of service workers...are feeling the pinch right now, and scheduling rights are Seattle’s next big labor battle. More than 70 percent of workers between ages 26 and 32 report fluctuating hours—with 50 percent of that same group reporting a weekly change of more than eight hours compared to their supposed schedule. And over 40 percent of hourly workers know their schedules just a week in advance.

The Atlantic: What Follows the Fight for $15?

The Atlantic, 4/15/16

Sejal Parikh, the director of Working Washington, a labor group that organized workers in favor of a $15 minimum wage, describes scheduling legislation as the logical next step in the movement for helping low-wage workers.

“Workers will tell us that raising the minimum wage is definitely something that they needed, but it’s really hard when they don’t know what their schedules are,” says Parikh. “[How can] they go talk to their city council members about raising the minimum wage [if] they wouldn't know when their schedules were?”

Northwest Asian Weekly: Unstable work schedules hit API women hardest

Northwest Asian Weekly, 4/7/2016

Survey finds unpredictable work schedules are pervasive in Seattle’s service industry, particularly for women and people of color.

Working Washington says businesses need to do a better job of giving out work schedules with more advance notice.

In a report released March 31, the union-funded advocacy group wrote, “Unpredictable, insecure schedules have become an emergency for thousands of Seattle workers who are denied the flexibility they need to plan time with their families, live balanced lives, and participate in their communities.”

Civic Skunk Works: New Report Reveals a Scheduling Emergency for Service Workers

Civic Skunk Works, 4/1/2016

Recently, Working Washington interviewed over 300 service industry Seattle workers about their schedules. If you don’t work in the service industry, or if you haven’t worked in the service industry for over a decade, you might find the results to be shocking.


Of the 300 people Working Washington talked to, the average part-time work week was 25 hours, with a weekly variability of 14.9 hours—so you might work ten hours one week and 40 hours the next. In fact, three-quarters of all those employees polled saw their weekly schedules regularly grow or shrink by 8 hours or more. How do you plan around a schedule like that, with a full days work (and pay) disappearing and reappearing at random? How do you budget rent, food, transportation and all the other necessities, knowing that you very well might get three ten-hour weeks in a row?

The Stranger: Survey Finds Many Hourly Workers in Seattle Get Their Work Schedules with Little Advance Notice

The Stranger, 3/31/2016

Working Washington has a message for business advocates who say unpredictable scheduling isn't a problem for hourly workers: Get your heads out of the sand.


More than half of workers surveyed said they had been worked "clopenings" and most said they experienced significant changes in the total number of hours they're scheduled from week to week. Of the 300 workers surveyed, most filled out an online survey; 98 were questioned by Working Washington staff or their fellow employees with a "detailed one-on-one field survey instrument."

PSBJ: What the hoax email rescheduling the Starbucks annual meeting was really about

Puget Sound Business Journal, 3/24/2016

When an email hit inboxes early Wednesday morning saying the annual Starbucks (Nasdaq: SBUX) shareholder meeting was rescheduled, the hoax caught the attention of some local news outlets.


A half dozen baristas organized by Working Washington were outside of Wednesday’s meeting handing out coffee sleeves with the hashtag #OurTimeCounts printed on them. During the Q&A portion of the meeting, a Starbucks employee asked Schultz if improving employee scheduling was something Starbucks was considering.

Seattle Times: Starbucks CEO put on the spot about workers’ unpredictable work hours

Seattle Times, 3/23/2016

The email went out early Wednesday, an official-looking message to reporters saying that the Starbucks annual shareholders meeting, long slated for later that morning, was being rescheduled due to “exigent business needs.”

That turned out to be a hoax — but one with a serious message for Starbucks.


The email — complete with hoax website — was sent by Working Washington, a union-backed advocacy group that has been pushing for more consistent scheduling for workers, including those at Starbucks.

Real Change: Seattle workers ask City Council for predictability in their hours

Real Change, 3/16/2016

According to research out of the University of Chicago, companies rely on labor flexibility to control costs. That means that employees could be called in or sent home with little to no warning, hurting their ability to plan their finances and their lives.

That puts significant strain on workers, particularly those with families, said Sejal Parikh, executive director of Working Washington, an organization that advocates for workers’ rights.

“One of our fast food workers, she gets her schedule on Sunday for the following Monday, and she doesn’t know what kind of child care she can provide for her family,” Parikh told the committee.

Fox News: Seattle pushes sweeping new rules for worker schedules, employers cry foul

Fox News, 2/25/2016

The ordinance is still being written, but it is expected to include:

  • A guarantee that workers get at least 11 hours of down time between shifts
  • A requirement that workers get schedules a week in advance, or else be paid time-and-a-half if shifts are added inside that timeframe
  • A requirement that employers pay employees for a few hours of work not performed if shifts are taken away

Several of these components are being pushed by Working Washington, the same group that successfully fought for a $15 minimum wage in Seattle.

KIRO: Workers ask city leaders to help with unstable schedules

KIRO, 2/4/2016

Ilana Greenberg said the company has promised not to do that, but it still happens: “I definitely have co-workers and shift supervisors, even, who wind up getting out of work at 9:30, being back at 4 a.m. And it’s impossible to function that way.”

Greenberg said she sometimes works 38 hours, and sometimes she is scheduled for 15. She also said sometimes one may be called into work suddenly, or told to go home early if business is slow.

Seattle Times: Seattle council may tackle ‘livable’ schedules for area workers

Seattle Times, 2/4/2016

Councilmembers Lisa Herbold (District 1) and Lorena González (Position 9) heard workers speak about scheduling problems, then said they would pursue legislation.


Two Starbucks employees, a former Starbucks employee and a Domino’s Pizza employee took part Thursday. They called scheduling by the companies “inconsistent,” “inconsiderate,” “unpredictable” and “disrespectful.” The panelists have enjoyed working in the service industry but find the lifestyle unsustainable, they said.

Seattle Times: Lawmaker proposes striking down local minimum-wage laws

Seattle Times, 1/26/2016

Calling higher minimum wages “a disaster for small business owners,” a GOP state lawmaker Tuesday introduced a bill to strike down local laws like Seattle’s $15-per-hour measure.


In a statement, the advocacy organization Working Washington described lawmakers like Baumgartner as “pro-poverty wage extremists.”

Seattle is evidence that higher wages are good for the economy, “because more people with more money means more customers for more businesses,” said Sage Wilson, communications director for Working Washington.

In a show of how far the minimum-wage movement has advanced, the Washington Restaurant Association said in November that it now actively supports raising the state’s minimum wage.