Debate Magazine

Having Solved All Other Problems, the Seattle City Council Wants to Take on “livable Schedules” for Workers

By Eowyn @DrEowyn

Just what Seattle employers need: More government intrusion into their operations. You’d think the council would have more pressing issues to address.

government solve all problems

Seattle recently passed paid sick-time standards and a higher minimum wage (eventually it will go up to $15/hour). The Seattle Times reports that now the Seattle City Council might next consider legislation requiring more consistent and livable schedules for employees.

Two council members took part Thursday in a “Secure Scheduling Online Town Hall” held by Working Washington. From Working Washington’s web site:

Working Washington unites working people to fight for a fair economy where everyone can support themselves, afford the basics, and contribute to the economy. We work in coalition with unions, faith groups, and grassroots organizations to hold corporations & politicians accountable to community needs. We are building a powerful workers’ movement that can not only dramatically improve wages and working conditions, but can also change the local and national conversation about wealth, inequality, and the value of work.

The participating councilmembers were Lisa Herbold and Lorena González. They listened to workers speak about scheduling problems and said they would pursue legislation.

lisa herbold

Herbold chairs the council committee primed to take on the issue and said she believes the city has the legal authority to regulate worker scheduling. Herbold said she was a mother working in the restaurant industry during college. “I routinely had to make a choice between school and work,” she said, promising the panelists she would help write scheduling legislation “that meets your needs.”

Lorena González

Lorena González

González, who once worked in a fast-food restaurant, said, “This is about giving workers predictability. I worked three jobs to pay for college … I grew up as a migrant farmworker. I understand what it means to have a lack of predictability.

Employees from Starbucks and Domino’s Pizza participated in the online town hall meeting. They called scheduling by the companies “inconsistent,” “inconsiderate,” “unpredictable” and “disrespectful.” The people stated they have enjoyed working in the service industry but find the lifestyle unsustainable.


A woman who works at a Starbucks said her weekly schedule can fluctuate wildly. “I’m supposed to be working 27 to 30 hours a week. That’s what I asked for. Two weeks ago, I worked 38. This week I’m working 22. Next week I’m working 15, and my only option is to go around to my co-workers to other stores in my district and beg to take a shift to cover that gap in my paycheck.”

Seems to me she has another option: Look for a job elsewhere. Shouldn’t be too hard to do since the economy is so great!

Read the whole story here.

I have a job and cook, clean, shop, blog, and live with a working military schedule (talk about unpredictable!) in my home. Somehow we manage to deal with that and make it sustainable. We are raising a nation of wussies!

Pajama Boy


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