Katana Jefferson, a native Washingtonian, has worked as a dishwasher, cashier, cook and stocker for various restaurants and retail venues in Washington, D.C. By and large, her employers weren’t able to provide her with secure hours. While working at Shake Shack, Katana was forced to work extra hours after her shift ended to complete last-minute tasks assigned by the manager. Then, during her initial interview for a job at another local restaurant, Katana’s future employer led her to believe that she would work 30 hours a week. The restaurant ended up assigning her only 16 to 20 hours a week, which made it difficult for Katana to budget and forced her to closely watch her expenses. She later ended up leaving this job when her boss suggested she should quit instead of taking a day off to take care of her sick brother. That was the last straw for Katana—taking care of her family was her priority, and she knew her boss did not respect that.
“If the Just Hours laws were implemented it would give me the opportunity to have consistency in my work life and home life. When I first started working at Dunkin Donuts, I was getting about 50 hours a week. After six months of working there, my hours were cut down to 12-16 hours a week. This makes is extremely hard to provide my family and forced me to have three jobs.”Chad Phillips
“It’s frustrating and it’s stressful to not get hours. The money from 20 hours a week only gets me back and forth to work, but nothing more for my family.”Stephanie Dunn
“I make around $900 a month, and my rent is around $917 a month. And that’s a struggle”Syid Abdulla
“The citizens and workers of the nation’s capital deserve to have Just Hours become law with the Scheduling and Stability Act because companies all over this country have been giving unjust hours and unjust schedules. 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. This doesn’t just happen during the holidays. Macy’s can change their schedule to fit a sale or the business of that day at any time without notice. That means that when Macy’s plans a sale at the 12th hour they change the schedule to have everyone working that day. If the sale isn’t going well, they cancel shifts later in the day. If you are lucky, they will call you and tell you not to come in, but in most cases they don’t call at all. They wait for you to spend the money to come in just to tell you that you aren’t needed.”Kimberly Mitchell
“My biggest issue with my job is scheduling and the lack of raises…Our schedule is supposed to be posted every Wednesday. In the last three months, it has never been posted on Wednesday. Just this last week, it was posted one and a half hours before my shift on Sunday. I didn’t know I had to work, but I was prepared to come in just in case. I check my schedule daily because I don’t know when and if there’s going to be a change. It is difficult for everyone because even when they post the schedule, sometimes they still make changes to it and have to repost a day or two later…We all have tried to complain and even attempted to mention [these issues] to the manager, but she said ‘If you don’t like it here, you can move on,’ and handed out resignation letters for anyone who may had [sic] a problem. Most people just end up leaving.”Anonymous Forever 21 employee who has worked at one of the clothing chain's stores in Ward 2 for three and a half years
“Two years ago, I started working at the Aramark cafeteria at Georgetown University. But it still wasn’t enough. Our rent kept going up. My mother was only getting 32 hours at her low-income job. I was trying my best to help her make ends meet. But the truth is that no matter what I did, we were trapped in a cycle of stagnation and barely surviving week to week…None of my coworkers had 40 hours of work either. We were all struggling to live in this city. Yet we soon found out that it didn’t have to be this way. When I learned that Aramark cafeteria workers at American University had 40 hour schedules and were making over $15 an hour, I was angry. I joined the union committee and started volunteering my time to organize my coworkers…When we told the company that we would bring over 300 students, workers and faculty to march on campus and demand justice, it didn’t take long for them to give us a call. Our fight paid off! We won our contract at the end of the year. In addition to raises and better health insurance that has allowed me to get glasses for the first time, our contract has language that gives us the right to have 40-hour schedules. We need to organize our communities, so that the same empowerment than me and my co-workers felt spreads across the entire city. If a couple dozen determined cafeteria workers could force the hand of a multi-billion corporation like Aramark, just imagine what thousands across this city can do together.”Josh Armstead
I have worked at the Sbarro at Union Station for 5 years, and I make the minimum wage at $10.50 per hour with very little benefits. Because the income I make at Sbarro is not enough to cover all my needs, I have to work a second job as a home visitor vendor.
At Sbarro, we don’t have a steady schedule, the General Manager usually posts the schedule every Monday and sometimes every Tuesday. Though I work usually four days of the week, Wednesday, Thursday, Friday and Sunday, I might work sometimes on Saturday and I never know how many hours I will work because sometimes I work 7 hours sometime I work 9 hours; my manager says it depends on the business. Other people don’t have steady days of work, they have to call on Monday or Tuesday in order to know when they are supposed to work.Maura Flores
“On average employees get 18 hours a week and three of those days are listed as on-call. It makes it hard for employees… to survive.”
“If we had fair workplace policies, paying for school wouldn’t be so difficult, helping my family pay for rent wouldn’t be so stressful and last, going to school would be possible.”Anonymous
When Laura Bautista (pseudonym) first applied to work at McDonald’s in 2013, the manager promised her a full-time position as a cashier and a stable schedule that would allow her to attend school. But according to Laura, this manager failed to provide her with a consistent schedule, forcing her to miss classes. “My manager told me, ‘You can work or attend school. You can’t do both.’”
When Laura continued to insist on a more secure schedule, her manager cut her work days from six days a week to four days a week. On a busy day, Laura may work up to 12 hours a day without a lunch break. And on a slow day, she may work as few as four hours a day. Her erratic schedule combined with her low hourly pay makes it impossible for her to budget, so she relies on food stamps and subsidized housing to make ends meet.
“For two years, I stayed at New York Avenue shelter and worked in food services. I worked seasonally, from September- to May. During that season, I would leave the shelter around 6 or7 a.m. every morning, go to SOME for breakfast, run my errands and get to work. Not all the shifts were bad. I might have to skip breakfast, but at least I was able to get a bed. I often had to work the 2 p.m. shift however. On those days, I didn’t get off until 9:30 p.m. People start lining up at NY Ave. around 3:30 p.m. for a bed. I always knew on those days that I’d have a long night ahead of me. I would get to work, leave and walk the streets until morning, finding an occasional bench to rest on, but I never slept. It wasn’t safe sleeping outside. I prayed that God would see me through the night, and he did. The next morning, I would go to SOME, shower, eat and start over again. For two years I did that, until a unit became available at one of SOME’s SRO programs. My schedule wasn’t flexible, my hours were cut one week and jumped up the next, but I was paid a good wage, $16.50 per hour. Even still, when my hours were cut, I had to sacrifice food. I’m young, most people cannot do what I did and they should not have to, especially for a minimum wage job, like most others have.”Lawrence
I have been working at Union Station with Taco Bell for more than 3 years and make $10.50 with no benefits. I’m a mother of a two year old child and I work to help my husband meet our needs.
At work, I have a schedule that makes my work even harder. The owner posts the weekly schedule every Sunday and most of the time I don’t have the same hours or the same day off. It is hard for me to plan childcare in advance and to know if I will work the same hours every week.
The owner has control of every aspect of the administration and remains at his office, away from the workplace; the site manager can’t make any changes, so it is difficult for me and my co-workers to use our sick days and to move the schedule as per the workers’ need.Raymunda Alfaro
“To help provide for our families, people are forced to pick up another job. It is very rare for Home Depot to hire full-time employees or even give out more hours.”Anonymous
“Hospitality workers often have their shift hours change on short notice or are asked to be on call, which makes scheduling childcare and other family responsibilities challenging. As our hospitality sector becomes a larger part of our economy, I am interested in making sure businesses meet their needs and workers have fair scheduling.”DC Councilmember Elissa Silverman
“…We post our schedules two weeks in advance and do not make changes to them. Employees are able to make requests via our on-line portal if they need time off, and they are free to change shifts with one of their teammates should conflicts arise. It is never perfect, but we promise to make scheduling and payroll as easy as possible. Everyone can check their schedule from home or a smart phone. When shifts become available, we first make them available to part-time employees before hiring someone new. The less time they have to spend changing schedules and the longer out they are known, the more time we have to wow everyone who walks through the door.
I want our managers to focus on developing their teams and taking care of our customers – with the highest degree of attention possible. As an employer I hope to be respected by my employees and that they in turn, should be respected by the leader.”Gina Schaefer
“At Beadazzled, we strive to make employee schedules as consistent as possible; it’s a part of our efforts to accommodate the needs of our workers and their families. This helps us to retain committed staff and serve our customers effectively. We post schedules for the following month by the 15th of the month prior. And, other than changes to accommodate our employees’ requests, there is little variation in schedules from month to month.”Deborah McClintock
“Having happy employees is critical for the success of our business. Fair and flexible scheduling is one way we accomplish this. Nearly all of our staff members are parents. We work hard to accommodate staff requests for flexibility so that they can care for their own kids. We also give our employees two weeks’ notice of their job schedules so they can plan the rest of their lives. This arrangement provides stable care throughout the day for the children at the center while also allowing our workers more time with their families.”Marcia St. Hilaire-Finn
“[Just-in-time scheduling] practices take a particular toll on women, who make up more than two-thirds (68 percent) of D.C.’s low-wage workforce. In D.C., a working woman is twice as likely to have a low-wage job as a working man. In addition to holding the majority of low-wage jobs, women still shoulder the majority of caregiving responsibilities; consequently, these abusive scheduling practices hit women especially hard as they seek to manage their obligations at work and at home.”Elizabeth Johnston
“A good number of our students are either heads of family or are responsible for sending money to their relatives in their countries of origin…An unpredictable schedule, or one that changes every week, creates a problem that might mean having to choose between education…and work…Another challenge our students face is that their unpredictable work schedule makes it difficult for them to look after their children…A more predictable schedule would certainly help these students allot time for work, parenting, and learning…In our experience, many of our students leave school because of work schedule conflicts. Again, it becomes a question of choosing between pursuing further education in order to aspire to a better job and higher income or leave their job and rely on relatives’ or public support in order to attend school…Make work hours predictable, so our students can continue improving their education and become the productive and valuable members of society that we need today.”
“It’s hard for parents to fill their role as first teachers when they need to take a second job and can’t be around to help with homework. It’s hard to be a champion for education when their hours are suddenly cut and they have to decide between paying for school supplies, new uniforms, and rent. And it’s almost impossible to find last-minute or affordable child care, period – I know a single mom who leaves her fifth-grader at home alone almost every night to work because she doesn’t have a choice… Just Hours is an education equity issue. The stability of parents’ jobs and income affects the steady progress of children’s learning. If we want to make sure that children from working-class families have the same educational opportunities as children from professional class families, we need to directly address the sources of income and wealth inequality. Employers that cut hours are cutting that employee’s children from resources that could help them succeed and thrive.”Lena Amick
Unstable income is a huge problem for our clients who are hoping to make their dreams of homeownership, affordable housing preservation, small business ownership, and small business preservation a reality.Marla Bilonick