The Stand

Workers win $2 million after secure scheduling violations at Macy’s

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The following is from UFCW 21:

SEATTLE (July 2, 2020) — Workers are celebrating the 3rd anniversary of Seattle’s Secure Scheduling law, a law their union UFCW 21 was involved in passing, with a $1,999,839.35 settlement stemming from claims they filed with Seattle’s Office of Labor Standards (OLS) around Macy’s scheduling practices.

“When I first reported scheduling issues, I was just hoping that Macy’s would have to follow the law like everybody else,” said Susan Hedman (pictured above), who worked at the downtown Seattle Macy’s for more than 30 years. “The fact that our settlement turned out to be the biggest one in OLS history is beyond my wildest dreams.”

Hedman, a shop steward with UFCW 21, encouraged coworkers to track their schedules and hours after noticing a discrepancy between the city’s scheduling law and the treatment she was experiencing at work, especially when it came to the premium pay she was supposed to earn for last-minute schedule changes.

“I noticed something with my schedule that didn’t feel right, so I started documenting what was happening and I went to my union,” she said. “It took some effort, but it was pretty easy to keep track of the violations. It’s not enough to have strong labor laws on the books—we need to enforce them. Strong city enforcement coupled with the backing of my union helped me and my co-workers get what we deserved.”

Macy’s, which closed its two Seattle locations in 2019 and early 2020, owes back pay and damages to 803 employees who worked in those stores between July 1, 2017, and February 24, 2020. Workers will receive about $2,500 on average, with some receiving upward of $10,000.

“We hope this sends a strong message to employers, especially retail employers in Seattle, that you cannot break the law and expect no consequences,” said Joe Mizrahi, UFCW 21 Secretary-Treasurer. “UFCW 21 members and other workers in Seattle fight hard to both pass strong workers’ rights laws and adequately fund the office that enforces these laws. This historic outcome is what happens when we have elected officials who prioritize workers over corporations, and we appreciate the continued leadership of our city council and the hard work of OLS investigators.”

The Secure Scheduling ordinance, which went into effect on July 1, 2017, requires large retail and food-service businesses to post workers’ schedules two weeks in advance, compensate workers for employer-requested schedule changes, and offer additional work hours to current employees before hiring new people.

“In 2016, I co-sponsored the passage of our Secure Scheduling Ordinance because I believe that all work is dignified,” said Councilmember Lorena Gonzalez. This law has always been about forcing massive corporations, like Macy’s, to respect the time of workers that are key to their success. This settlement shifts respect back to Macy’s workers and makes them whole, while holding Macy’s accountable. Thank you to our OLS staff and the UFCW Local 21 members that played a role in upholding this important labor protection.”

“I want to thank the workers whom this has directly impacted for years. You deserve the money owed to you,” said Councilmember Lisa Herbold. “Secure Scheduling requires employers to schedule 14 days in advance, and if that schedule needs to change then employers must compensate their employees.  Time is money and last minute disruption of the schedules of parents, caregivers, students, and people with second jobs has real economic impacts. I also want to thank OLS and UFCW for bringing this injustice to light and setting the record straight.”

Any worker who believes their employer is violating Seattle’s labor laws should document what is happening and contact their union or file a complaint directly with OLS at seattle.gov/laborstandards or by calling (206) 256-5297.

UFCW 21 is building a powerful union that fights for economic, political and social justice in our workplaces and our communities. UFCW 21 is the state’s largest private-sector union with over 46,000 workers in retail, grocery stores, health care, cannabis, and other industries in Washington State. More than 10,000 UFCW 21 members live or work in Seattle. Whenever workers are ready to form a union, give UFCW 21 a call.

Short URL: https://www.thestand.org/?p=89572

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