The mayor and two councilmembers joined forces last Tuesday to unveil the details of the proposal, which would apply to all full-service restaurants, fast-food restaurants and retail establishments with at least 500 employees and 40 locations worldwide. Qualified businesses would be required to post employee schedules two weeks in advance, with penalty pay for schedule changes occurring after the schedule has been shared.
While similar bills have been introduced in California’s state legislature, the potential new ordinance in Seattle is most alarming in that it doesn’t stop at requiring advance schedules and imposing penalty pay. As currently written, the proposed city law contains a mash-up of equally onerous provisions.
Additional requirements within Mayor Ed Murray’s proposal would penalize business owners when a pattern of “under-scheduling” is found and would force employers to accept schedule requests related to caregiving, a second job or educational purposes. In cases where the business owner has a “bona fide operational reason” to deny a request, such denials would need to be in writing.
The plan also adds language that seems to be inspired by San Jose’s current “Opportunity to Work” initiative. Outside of seasonal hiring and participation in diversity or young adult hiring programs, employers would be forced to offer additional hours to existing staff members before adding new hires – effectively eliminating the flexibility of employers to hire new employees.
Taken in its totality and as a potential harbinger of what activists might just have up their sleeve for other major cities – and smaller ones like Emeryville (link) – the proposal makes clear that unions have no intention of stopping at higher wages.