FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
January 13, 2016
CONTACT: Bailey Dick, 419-260-6044, bailey(at)jwj.org
Washington, D.C. – Today, dozens of D.C. employees, labor scholars, local business owners, and community leaders testified at a District Council hearing in favor of legislation that would bring more stable schedules and fuller employment to thousands of people who live and work in the District.
“At DC Jobs With Justice, we’ve surveyed hundreds of residents and talked to dozens of community organizations about this issue. It’s become very clear that an individual’s work schedule is more than a workplace issue,” said Nikki Lewis, executive director of DC Jobs With Justice. “We’ve heard that this is just too much for big chain companies to handle after the minimum wage increase and paid sick leave were passed. I find it hard to stomach how they can tell someone making below the poverty line, scrambling for more hours, and only asking for some more stability that they’re asking for too much.”
“It was not easy to request time off and lose hours for being here today,” said RasImani Diggs, an employee at Marshalls. “Right now, life is hard. I was told I would get 20 hours a week when I started, but I almost never do. When they make the schedule, they don’t care about our availability. Even when I open my availability up or volunteer for overnight shifts, I still don’t get scheduled for the hours I expected.”
“We’re the nation’s capital, its leading city. The District has been leading the nation on so many worker issues like the minimum wage, paid sick days, paid family leave and more. We’re in the middle of a transition and I think this Council should keep leading the nation by supporting this bill, said Kim Mitchell, who works at Macy’s.
“As an advocate for local, independent businesses here in D.C., I know how hard my fellow small business owners work to make sure their stores thrive. This law should build upon the successes they have had in valuing their employees, and still allow enough flexibility for employers to adjust to the many unique challenges and demands of running a small business,” said Gina Schaefer, who owns several Ace Hardware stores in the District.
Council bill 21-512, the Hours and Scheduling Stability Act, spearheaded by D.C. Jobs With Justice and introduced by at-large Councilmember Vincent Orange, would require large retail and restaurant chains to provide their employees with advance notice of schedules, promote full-time work opportunities, end “on-call” schedules and ensure equal treatment for hourly employees.
The bill has the backing of eight councilmembers, and a wide majority of D.C. residents say they support the measures included in the legislation. According to a recent poll, 86 percent of D.C. residents say they would support legislation that would mandate stable hours and predictable work schedules from employers. Additionally, 87 percent of those surveyed say they would support rules that would require two weeks’ advance notice of work schedules, and 88 percent say they would support rules that would require large corporate chain stores and restaurants to first offer additional work hours to their part-time employees before hiring new employees.
Similar legislation was enacted in San Francisco in 2014 and is under consideration in Massachusetts, New York and California, as well as in Congress. Dozens of national retail companies have also ended the use of on-call schedules in their stores after public, employee, and legal pressure to do so.
To learn more about the Hours and Scheduling Stability Act, visit dcjusthours.org.