So far, the prediction seems prescient. After Seattle’s mayor and two city councilmembers unveiled their plan to impose restrictive scheduling on the city’s employers, New York City’s Mayor Bill de Blasio announced similar intentions. Emeryville and Minneapolis have also joined the fray over employee schedules.
Because of the success of the “Fight for 15” campaign, progressive leaders seem to be feeling bullish about restrictive scheduling’s prospects. Speaking to the left-leaning website ThinkProgress.org, the director of the Fair Workweek Initiative at the Center for Popular Democracy said, “The fight for just hours is definitely the next movement for people trying to achieve security for their families.” And Sejal Parikh of the Working Washington group in Seattle added, “It’s the natural other half of the $15 campaign.”
On Monday, Seattle’s city council unanimously passed their proposed scheduling ordinance. The new law mandates things like: good-faith estimates of work hours, two weeks’ notice for schedules and fines for schedule changes. Extra hours must be offered to part-time employees before hiring new workers, and business owners must also maintain three years’ worth of records documenting their responses to employee requests for scheduling changes.
Only making matters worse for the businesses impacted (500 or more workers and 40 or more locations), the Seattle City Council built in a carve-out for labor groups to negotiate an alternative to restrictive scheduling through the collective bargaining process.
Nevertheless, there is reason to wonder whether local politicians will have an appetite for continuing to lump costs onto business owners. City leaders in Washington D.C. killed an “opportunity to work” and restrictive scheduling push this week, stating they feared putting too great of a burden upon business owners in light of other new cost increases. The most recent attempt to pass a restrictive scheduling bill in California’s legislature also failed this year. This was the second time such a bill had been introduced in the state, and the notion that a one-size-fits-all approach will not work for restaurants has made legislators hesitant to pass the issue into law.
So even as California’s business groups should be prepared for restrictive scheduling debates at both the city and state levels, the accomplishments of the “Fight for 15” campaign over the past two years may make municipalities hesitant to continue to add to the heavy loads already being carried by their local job creators.