Everything You Need to Know About San Francisco’s Retail Workers Bill of Rights

Everything You Need to Know About San Francisco’s Retail Workers Bill of Rights

UPDATE: On December 5, 2014, the Retail Workers Bill of Rights officially became law in San Francisco, 10 days after the Board of Supervisors unanimously approved the ordinances for the second time. This legislation will go into effect on January 5, 2015. San Francisco will likely soon adopt a landmark bill of rights for an estimated 40,000 hourly employees of massively profitable chain stores and restaurants. Once enacted, the ordinances will serve as the first meaningful policies in the nation to ensure more people have job schedules with enough hours to plan their lives and take care of their loved ones. The San Francisco Board of Supervisors voted unanimously in favor of the Retail Workers Bill of Rights for its second and final vote yesterday. The package of legislation is now headed to Mayor Ed Lee’s desk, where it is expected to be signed into law. Explaining the need for a bill of rights, Jobs With Justice San Francisco executive director Gordon Mar said the following: “All families need strong wages, stable hours and sane schedules to build a good life. But too many of our neighbors who serve our food, stock our shelves and sweep our floors have jobs that grant too few hours on too short notice and require them to be at the beck and call of their employers.” The Crisis of Scheduling The retail and food service industries are a growing employment sector in the United States, but the jobs are predominantly poor quality, with low wages, part-time schedules and limited employer-provided benefits. But meager wages alone aren’t to blame. Unpredictable, erratic schedules and inadequate hours keep many people who work in banks, grocery...
Board of Supervisors Unanimously Passes Retail Workers Bill of Rights on First Vote

Board of Supervisors Unanimously Passes Retail Workers Bill of Rights on First Vote

Today, San Francisco’s Board of Supervisors unanimously approved the Retail Workers Bill of Rights, a potentially precedent-setting package of legislation to address abusive scheduling practices at corporate retailers. The legislation is expected to pass a second vote by the board and be signed into law by the mayor in the next few weeks. The package of bills, advanced by community-labor coalition Jobs With Justice San Francisco, is a commonsense approach to help employees of massively profitable chain stores and restaurants achieve fair and consistent schedules with enough hours to plan their lives and take care of their loved ones. In a city boasting the second highest income inequality in the nation, these policies could usher in reliable and sufficient schedules for more than 40,000 people working in San Francisco’s chain stores and restaurants. Building upon the $15 minimum wage increase approved by voters earlier this month, these bills will mark significant progress toward making San Francisco a great place to live, work and raise a family. Gordon Mar, executive director of Jobs With Justice San Francisco, issued the following statement after the vote: “All families need strong wages, stable hours and sane schedules to build a good life. But too many of our neighbors who serve our food, stock our shelves and sweep our floors have jobs that grant too few hours on too short notice and require them to be at the beck and call of their employer.” Unpredictable schedules and inadequate hours are not unique to retailers in San Francisco. Companies like Walmart and McDonald’s have rigged the rules by intentionally denying employees more hours and implementing scheduling systems that wreak havoc on their ability to take...

Demonstration By San Francisco Workers Calls for Higher Wages, Stable Schedules

Last week, one hundred San Francisco workers and labor activists marched through the Union Square shopping district calling for a $15 minimum wage and fair schedules. Recently, dramatic strikes by fast food and Walmart workers demanding $15 an hour and access to full-time schedules have touched off a national conversation about the growing industry of low-wage service work. Last week’s demonstration by low-wage employees of high-profit companies echoed the ongoing call for better wages and stable schedules. The rally centered around supporting several recent city ordinances gaining momentum in San Francisco. In November, voters will decide on Proposition J, a ballot measure to increase the minimum wage from $10.74 to $12.25 the next year and to $13, $14 and then $15 in subsequent years. Proposition J also includes an automatic cost of living adjustment in following years. The increase would put San Francisco’s minimum wage as the highest in the nation and could benefit as many as 142,000 San Francisco workers. But many argue that such a significant increase may not even be enough if workers don’t have access to consistent schedules. In response, demonstrators were calling for the city’s Board of Supervisors to pass the Retail Worker Bill of Rights, a package of policies that would promote full-time work as well as require some employers to provide stable and predictable schedules to employees. The legislation, proposed by a coalition of labor and community groups and spearheaded by Jobs With Justice San Francisco, represents a groundbreaking way to address the crisis of involuntary part-time work and unpredictable schedules that make it difficult for people working part-time to get a...
New Bill in San Francisco Takes Aim at Abusive Work Schedules

New Bill in San Francisco Takes Aim at Abusive Work Schedules

Yesterday, a new bill intended to curb abusive scheduling practices at chain stores, fast food restaurants and banks was introduced to the San Francisco Board of Supervisors. The Predictable Scheduling and Fair Treatment Ordinance, introduced by Supervisor David Chiu, would require employers at certain chain businesses to post work schedules 14 days in advance and compensate employees for last-minute schedule changes. If enacted, the bill would also require managers to pay a set amount when employees are scheduled to be “on call” but are not called in to work and to provide part-time workers the same access that full-time staff have to requests for time off and schedule changes. The ordinance would apply to any businesses with 11 or more locations and 20 or more employees, covering an estimated 35,000 people, or about five percent of the city’s workforce. Chiu’s ordinance constitutes the second portion of a groundbreaking package of legislation targeting chain retailers dubbed the “Retail Workers Bill of Rights,” which has been spearheaded by Jobs With Justice San Francisco. The first piece of the legislative package was introduced in July by Supervisor Eric Mar and would require employers at chain stores to offer more hours to part-time workers before hiring new employees and allow workers to keep their jobs for at least 90 days if the company is bought or sold. Gordon Mar, executive director of Jobs With Justice San Francisco, issued the following statement regarding Chiu’s ordinance: “Supervisor Chiu’s proposed ordinance represents an important step forward in addressing the critical issue of unpredictable schedules and harmful on-call practices impacting working people in our city. In the past year, we’ve heard loud and clear from...
Retail Workers Bill of Rights Introduced at Board of Supervisors

Retail Workers Bill of Rights Introduced at Board of Supervisors

Written by Mackenzie Baris, Jobs With Justice | Reposted from JWJ.org Despite its high minimum wage, San Francisco has the second-highest rate of income inequality among major U.S. cities. One of the reasons why people aren’t earning enough money to make ends meet in the Bay Area, and across the country, is because they can’t get sufficient hours at their jobs. And then there are workers facing unpredictable schedules that make it impossible for them to properly care for their families, hold down second jobs, or pursue an education. That’s why it’s so exciting that a coalition of workers, labor, community and advocacy groups in the Bay Area has come together to tackle the escalating crisis of unjust hours and unstable schedules that workers in the low-wage retail sector face. On July 29th, this coalition, led by Jobs With Justice San Francisco, teamed up with Supervisors Eric Mar and David Chiu to introduce the Retail Workers Bill of Rights to hold the city’s largest retailers, restaurant chains, hotels and banks accountable for creating better quality jobs. The proposed ordinance aims to strengthen protections for retail workers held hostage by on-call scheduling, diminished hours and discriminatory treatment by employers on the basis of their part-time employment status. Why is the Retail Workers Bill of Rights a solution? Too many people aren’t just living paycheck to paycheck, they’re living hour to hour. Large companies like Walmart and McDonald’s schedule workers with too few hours on too short notice, putting them in a no-win situation. Not only do these jobs typically pay poorly, but workers are regularly required to be on call or...

Retail Reality: Shifty Business

The Center for Urban Pedagogy worked with the Retail Action Project (RAP), and designers Joshua Graver and Maxwell Sorensen to make a short animation about the changing scheduling practices in the retail industry. Shifty Business helps retail workers understand that their experiences are not isolated events but a systemic approach to cost-cutting by their employers. It also helps policy makers see the effect these practices have on workers’...