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With Secure Scheduling statute, Seattle can lead the nation


our-time-counts(Aug. 26, 2016) — When I was 16 years old, I routinely missed volleyball practice after school because I got called in for a shift at the local teriyaki restaurant I worked for. My best friend would fall asleep in class our senior year because she clopened (closed late and opened early on consecutive days) for the local Starbucks. While in college it was a struggle to get the hours I needed to pay for my tuition, books and living expenses. There weren’t enough hours in the world at $7.03/hour to pay for a four-year degree, though.

As a working class millennial, bad scheduling practices have always been a part of my life. It always felt like I had to pay my dues, and if I worked hard enough, someday I would have a job with a regular, reliable schedule.

What I know now is that it is not just teenagers and students that work in low-wage industries plagued by unfair scheduling. It’s people like my former partner’s mom, well into her 70s, who has a part-time job at Walmart and missed Thanksgiving and Christmas activities with the family last year because they needed her at work. Even if it were only young people, it is not “character building” for a 17-year-old young person to clopen on a school night; it’s a moral failing of our society.

str-secure-scheduling-presser-hightowerIn Seattle, the Martin Luther King Jr. County Labor Council, our affiliates, SEIU 775, UFCW 21 and Working Washington are working to change all that. We’ve spent the last eight months campaigning for a Secure Scheduling ordinance at the City of Seattle, and in mid-August, the proposed legislation was introduced.

It requires employers to provide:

●  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.

Many union members know the value of policies like these because there are contractual provisions in our collective bargaining agreements. But part of the job of the labor movement and our allies is to fight for all working people, be they union or not.

Furthermore, as a social justice organization, the MLKCLC understands our role as a champion for equity for people of color and women, the folks who are disproportionately affected by the things that this legislation aims to correct.

The next hearing on Secure Scheduling will be Wednesday, Sept. 7 at noon, and the legislation will be voted upon Tuesday, Sept. 13 at 9:30 a.m.  Opposition from the business community is heating up and we will need all hands on deck. We are urging everyone to join us at Seattle City Hall, 600 4th Ave., those days to express support for the proposed legislation, with no substantive amendments.

If we are successful, Seattle’s ordinance language will lead the nation — something we can all take pride in.

garrow-katie-newKatie Garrow is the Deputy Executive Secretary Treasurer of the M.L. King County Labor Council, AFL-CIO.

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