Center for Popular Democracy Launches National Campaign to Demand Full Employment and Equitable Schedules for Millions of Workers

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“A Push to Give Steadier Shifts to Part-Timers” - The New York Times (7/16/14)

Today the Center for Popular Democracy announced the launch of the Fair Workweek Initiative, a new national campaign to achieve a 21st century workweek with predictable, stable schedules that provide worker-driven flexibility.

The campaign is a forceful response to the fact that the recovery from the recent recession has been built on the dramatic expansion of low-wage, no-benefit jobs in industries like retail, restaurants, and healthcare, which rely on large, part-time workforces. These fast growing low-wage industries are shifting to just-in-time scheduling practices, which in turn fuel massive under-employment, gender and racial inequities and attendant economic insecurity for workers. Aligned also with the national push for women’s economic security and escalating actions by low-wage workers, the Fair Workweek Initiative seeks to establish new baseline standards for work hours and access to a social safety for today’s flexible workforce.

Steven Greenhouse writes in The New York Times today:

“As more workers find their lives upended and their paychecks reduced by ever-changing, on-call schedules, government officials are trying to put limits on the harshest of those scheduling practices. The actions reflect a growing national movement — fueled by women’s and labor groups — to curb practices that affect millions of families, like assigning just one or two days of work a week or requiring employees to work unpredictable hours that wreak havoc with everyday routines like college and child care.”

Emerging Policy Agenda

Later this month groundbreaking federal legislation will be introduced by U.S. Representative George Miller of California, the senior Democrat on the House Committee on Education and the Workforce, that will ensure workers predictable schedules and workplace flexibility. Local legislation in San Francisco and New York is also imminent.

“As we raise the minimum wage in cities and states across the country, hourly workers also need to be scheduled for enough hours with predictable and stable schedules for their fundamental job security. And for women to advance in the workplace, we need to not be penalized for having a family. It's higher wages and decent hours that add up to a fair paycheck,” says Carrie Gleason, Director of the Fair Workweek Initiative at the Center for Popular Democracy.

Breakthrough Research

For the first time, a national survey of early-career adults has confirmed what millions of workers already knew from experience: workers across the labor market are at high risk of unpredictable, last-minute, fluctuating work hours over which they have no control. This new research by Susan J. Lambert, Peter Fugiel, and Julia R. Henly, professors of the University of Chicago has found fully 41 percent of young adult workers in hourly jobs – 47 percent who work part-time – report that they know “when they will need to work” one week or less in advance of the upcoming workweek. Half of young adult workers in hourly jobs say that their employer decides the timing of their work hours. Three-quarters of early-career adults in hourly jobs report at least some fluctuations in the number of hours they worked.

About the Fair Workweek Initiative:

The Fair Workweek Initiative (FWI), a collaborative effort anchored by the Center for Popular Democracy (CPD), is bringing together leading worker-organizing and community-based organizations across the country and allied research and policy groups to shift employer practices and win policy solutions that achieve new work hours standards for low wage workers, and low-wage women and women of color workers.

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Benjamin Linsley
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