A retail worker organizer shares strategies for countering the Wall Street firms that are lobbying for bailout money while laying off workers and closing stores.
Large retailers and restaurants are increasingly assigning their employees, predominantly women and people of color, unpredictable schedules. Workers like Kimberly Mitchell are fighting back.
Kimberly Mitchell is a single mother who works as a senior make-up artist at Macy’s in Washington, D.C. For years, she and her colleagues worked with a human resources manager to set regular and reliable schedules, which meant Kimberly could effectively make ends meet and be counted on to drop off and pick up her daughter from school and activities.
That all changed when the department store instituted a computerized scheduling system and her hours dropped down to 28 a week, even while Macy’s hired new part-time staff. Without knowing when she’ll have the opportunity to acquire more hours to pay the bills, Kimberly will pick up schedules that interfere with important commitments.
“It’s not just helping with my daughter’s school work I’m missing,” Kimberly said. “I have had to miss teacher’s conferences, planned doctor’s appointments. There’s a lot of strain and stress on many families.”
Kimberly is one of many people across the country engaged with Jobs With Justice in leading campaigns that allow men and women to have greater certainty about their work schedules, so they can spend time with their families while earning enough to support them.
As Kimberly explained, “When we should be able to spend time with our families celebrating and preparing for the holidays, they overload us with hours, sometimes at the last minute, while they are cutting our hours everywhere else.”
Large retailers and restaurants are increasingly assigning the people who work for them, predominantly women and people of color, erratic, last minute or otherwise unpredictable schedules. By issuing reports, organizing communities, amplifying brave spokespeople like Kimberly, and initiating solutions, Jobs with Justice strives to ensure working people can earn stable schedules and secure enough hours to lead a good life.
[pullquote]San Francisco Jobs With Justice led the way in the first set of meaningful standards on scheduling.[/pullquote]
In 2014 San Francisco Jobs With Justice led the way to usher in the first set of comprehensive and meaningful standards that would address this issue. The measure requires companies to give workers their schedules at least two weeks in advance. Then if employers make changes with less than 24 hours notice, they would have to provide an extra two-to-four hours of pay. The law also says that extra hours, when available, have to be offered first to current part-timers.
In addition, if a company is sold, employees with at least six months experience would be guaranteed work for at least 90 days. The new law applies to retailers with at least 20 employees and 20 or more locations worldwide. An estimated 40,000 workers will benefit from it.
Originally published by Jobs With Justice.