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Mayor de Blasio, Speaker Mark-Viverito Announce That New York City Is The Largest City To End Abusive Scheduling Practices In The Fast Food And Retail Industries

May 30, 2017

Predictable schedules and predictable paychecks are now a right, not a privilege, in these low-wage industries

NEW YORK—Today, Mayor de Blasio, City Council members, advocates, and workers held a rally at City Hall to mark the “Fair Workweek” package of bills becoming law. This package will ensure that predictable schedules and predictable paychecks for fast food and retail workers in New York City will be soon be rights, not privileges.

The Mayor’s package, which includes bills that deliver on his promise to end unfair and inconsistent scheduling practices in the fast food industry, will hold fast food and retail corporations operating in New York City accountable for their scheduling practices, which have left workers with little sense of when they will work and how much they will earn. Such practices have made it too difficult for hundreds of thousands of low-wage earners in New York City to obtain additional employment, plan for child or elder care, or further their education. The Mayor will sign the bills as part of a bill signing ceremony later this afternoon and they will go into effect in 180 days.

“Last fall, we promised to make the lives of some of our city’s hardest working just a little bit easier by bringing fair, predictable scheduling to their jobs. These bills deliver on that promise,” said Mayor Bill de Blasio. “Predictable schedules and predictable paychecks should be a right, not a privilege. With this legislation, we are continuing to build a fairer and more equitable city for all New Yorkers.” 

“The City Council is proud to have passed the Fair Work Week legislative package – the most comprehensive and progressive package of its kind nationwide – by a nearly unanimous vote,” said Speaker Melissa Mark-Viverito. “These measures represent significant steps forward in protecting local fast food and retail employees from unfair, unsustainable and unpredictable workplace practices and environments. I applaud my colleagues for their work on this essential issue, and I thank Mayor de Blasio for signing it into law today.”

“With the Trump Administration working to undermine the progress we’ve made on workers’ rights and setting an anti-worker agenda, it’s instrumental that we continue to protect all working New Yorkers. I’m proud to stand today with the City Council and the de Blasio Administration as we help New York City’s fast-food and retail workers achieve a fair work week,” said Council Member Brad Lander, the Council’s Deputy Leader of Policy. “This package will help ensure fairer schedules, will give fast-food workers a pathway to full-time hours, and will create an innovative new model for fast-food workers to advocate for their rights. I want to thank 32BJ, RWDSU, A Better Balance and the Center for Popular Democracy among many others for their strong advocacy and organizing on this critical issue, Speaker Melissa Mark-Viverito for her leadership and my colleagues at the City Council for their overwhelming support of the bills. Finally, I want to thank Mayor de Blasio, DCA Commissioner Salas and OLPS Director Liz Vladeck for their commitment to protecting and advancing workers’ rights in NYC.”

"This package of legislation will help ensure that the employees are treated with dignity and respect," said Council Member Corey Johnson. "It will have an immediate beneficial impact on the lives of thousands of our city’s workers. I’m incredibly proud that New York is leading the way on humane scheduling practices and other issues. I want to commend Mayor Bill de Blasio, NYC Council Speaker Melissa Mark-Viverito and my colleagues on the Council. I also want to thank Stuart Appelbaum and the RWDSU, and Hector Figueroa and 32BJ SEIU, and the many advocates who have successfully fought for better labor protections for hardworking New Yorkers."

“New York City is taking a stand for workers so that individuals in the fast-food industry can improve their schedules, support their families, and strengthen their communities. As the Federal government and Republicans in Washington try to chip away at the rights of working people, we must resist these attacks at the local level and support our workforce. I am proud to stand with Mayor de Blasio as he signs the Fair Work Week legislative package into law,” said Council Member Julissa-Ferreras Copeland.

“Once again the City is leading the way by ensuring working families are protected and are able to live the quality of life they deserve” said Council Member I. Daneek Miller. “This Fair Work Week package will expand the protections needed for those in the fast food industry, giving these men and woman predictable hours and protecting them from being taken advantage of. I would like to thank Mayor Bill de Blasio, my colleagues in the City Council Julissa Ferreras-Copeland, Brad Lander, and Corey Johnson, and the labor coalitions who successfully advocated for these workers.”

“Fast food and retail workers suffer from unpredictable schedules and incomes that make it hard for them to create budgets, schedule child care, or pursue education,” said DCA Commissioner Lorelei Salas. “With our Office of Labor Policy and Standards, DCA is committed to creating a new generation of minimum labor standards to protect vulnerable and low-wage workers, particularly those who are immigrants, women, or people of color, many of whom work in the fast food and retail industries. We are proud to support legislation that will require employers to institute fair scheduling practices in these industries so that workers can better support themselves and their families.”

"The brave men and women who stood up and demanded change in November 2012 have achieved another milestone in their fight against a system rigged in favor of greedy corporations that take advantage of working people," said SEIU International President Mary Kay Henry. "Their hard work made today possible and they're not stopping until every working person across the nation has the same ability to join together and make their voice heard on the job and in their communities."

“New York City is at the vanguard of promoting workers’ rights and protecting vulnerable communities by passing a fair work week for tens of thousands of minimum wage workers in New York City and ensuring fast-food workers can speak with a united voice on workplace and community issues will strengthen our city and help workers win dignity on the job,” said 32BJ President Hector Figueroa. “This will enable workers to plan their lives and take care of their families. We thank the mayor for standing with workers in the fight for good jobs.”

"At a time when what's happening in this country should dismay us, New York City is shining a light on a different vision of who we are and what we can be. New Yorkers should be proud. 1 in 9 New Yorkers is a retail worker they are among the lowest wage earners in our city, they struggle to survive on often part-time work, barely making ends meet. We have showed that together we can end abusive scheduling practices. On-call scheduling is a pervasive and exploitive employment practice where workers do not find out until just before a scheduled shift if they will be required to work or not. Intro 1387, signed into law today by Mayor de Blasio, and passed by the New York City Council and the Speaker last week, puts an end to on-call scheduling in our city - Mayor de Blasio, the law you are signing today will create some of the strongest protections for retail workers throughout the country. Workers will now be able to gain more control over their own lives and their ability to earn a living; they can plan childcare, plan their classes, get a needed second job, and help their elderly parents. The signing of this ban into law will help retail workers in New York City, not just survive, but thrive - and it sets an example for the rest of the country," said Stuart Appelbaum, President of the Retail, Wholesale and Department Store Union (RWDSU).

The fast food scheduling-related bills, which were announced in part by Mayor de Blasio last fall, would require fast food employers to give written notice of schedules to their employees no less than two weeks in advance, written “good faith” estimates of weekly hours to new employees, regulate the practice of “clopenings,” or consecutive closing, then opening, shifts, and would also require fast food employers to offer any new shifts to current employees before they hire anyone else. If a fast food employer makes changes to an employee’s schedule with less than 14 days’ notice, the employer must pay the employee a premium.

An additional fast food industry-related bill requires fast food employers to deduct and remit voluntary contributions to nonprofits when their employees make such a request in writing, if the recipient nonprofits meet certain requirements.

Lastly, a bill applicable to those retailers with 20 or more employees in New York City prohibits such retailers from scheduling their employees for “on call” shifts, which force employees to check in with their employers on little to no notice about whether or not they will be working on any given day.

This package’s new scheduling-related requirements will ensure that hundreds of thousands of hardworking New Yorkers who are trying to make ends meet no longer face entrenched obstacles imposed by profit-driven corporations when they are simply trying to plan for how and when their families will be cared for and how much will be in their paychecks at the end of the week.

Across the country, nearly one in five Americans has an unstable work schedule and about 40 percent of early career workers, defined as workers aged 26 - 32, have less than one week advance notice of their schedules. This is particularly an issue with workers in industries such as fast food and retail, in which nationally the average worker age is 29 and in which an average of 25 percent of workers are raising children.

Enforcement of these Fair Workweek laws will fall under the jurisdiction of the City’s Office of Labor Policy and Standards (OLPS), which is housed within the Department of Consumer Affairs (DCA). OLPS is NYC’s central resource for workers and serves as a dedicated voice in City government for workers in NYC. The Office enforces key municipal workplace laws, conducts original research, and develops policies that are responsive to an evolving economy and issues affecting workers in New York City, particularly people of color, women, and immigrants.

The de Blasio administration continues to raise the bar nationally when it comes to ensuring low-wage, immigrant, or other vulnerable workers, including women and people of color, are protected from exploitation. To date, DCA-OLPS has secured more than $5 million in fines and restitution on behalf of 16,000 workers in New York City who have been denied their right to paid sick leave, and the Office is also now implementing the first-of-its-kind “Freelance Isn’t Free Law,” which guarantees nearly all freelancers the right to a written contract and timely payment. In addition to enforcing many such municipal workplace laws, OLPS also houses the first-of-its-kind Paid Care Division, which is focused on researching and advocating on behalf of paid care workers – those who provide child care, elder care, or performing other domestic work – thereby constituting a critical part of the nation’s social and economic infrastructure.

Laws enforced by other agencies, such as the City Commission on Human Rights, ensure that workers are protected from discrimination in the hiring process and while at work based on a variety of factors, including, but not limited to, credit history, criminal history, actual or perceived race, gender, age, sexual orientation, disability, immigration status and country of origin, among other protected categories. New York City also recently became the largest city in the nation to ban employers from asking about salary history during the recruitment process, an important change that will help close the persistent wage gap between men and women. To ensure that all New Yorkers are protected, the city has ensured that all municipal workplace laws apply to workers regardless of their immigration status.

"Our City has put forth a law that will level the bargaining table for fast food workers and their employers.  By requiring that workers receive predictable schedules, the fair workweek legislation will provide them the stability necessary to feel financially secure. Being able to schedule class at a local college, or schedule an informational interview, are forward-looking plans that require some certainty. This legislation will empower fast food workers and give them that certainty needed to live a more stable life," said U.S. Representative Gregory Meeks.

State Senator Brad Hoylman said, "Unpredictable work schedules wreak havoc on low-income workers and their families, forcing an impossible balancing act between work and personal lives. We can't allow workers to be be treated like interchangeable cogs. I'm grateful to Mayor de Blasio and the City Council for their efforts to curb this practice and make New York a fairer city for workers."

"Working while raising a child is difficult, but raising a child while working at a job with unpredictable scheduling and paychecks is virtually impossible," State Senator Toby Ann Stavisky said. "Years ago, fast food and retail positions were held mostly by young people who were still in school and had yet to start a family. Today, that has changed. The national average worker age is now 29 and a significant percentage of those workers are raising children. This package will ensure workers are treated with respect by being given enough notice of their work schedule and earnings to plan accordingly. These men and women are hard workers, but they also have a right to be devoted parents who can plan for childcare or further their education without worrying they will be called into work unexpectedly."

"Hard-working New Yorkers should be able to plan ahead for themselves and their families, and not have their lives disrupted by the last-minute whims of their employers. Predictable schedules and hours mean more stability and a better quality of life for New York families. I commend Mayor de Blasio and the City Council for fighting for the needs of working people, and I hope these new laws will encourage equally ambitious action on a statewide basis," said State Senator Liz Krueger.

“New Yorkers in the fast food and retail industries often struggle to balance caring for their families and attending school with their job,” said Assembly Member Pamela Harris. “In order to meet these responsibilities, workers deserve to know their work schedule in advance so they can plan accordingly. This vital legislation will do just that. I’ll always fight for workers’ rights in the state Assembly to ensure that all New Yorkers are treated fairly.”

"Fair Work Week legislation is a true milestone towards achieving more equitable rights for our retail and fast food workers. I commend Mayor Bill de Blasio, Council Member Julissa Ferreras-Copeland, Council Member Corey Johnson, Council Member Brad Lander, and labor advocates for bringing this fight to the forefront. The quality of life for 65,000 workers and financial planning opportunities for thousands of families are about to take a turn for the better. I am proud to stand in support of this common-sense legislation that will prevent work exploitation and allow workers to take control of their present, and plan for the future,” said Assembly Member Rebecca Seawright.

“In this era when billionaires and Wall Street have taken almost full control of the financial and political levers of our nation, low-wage workers now more than ever need advocates and leaders in government who will stand up for them and help them secure the workers’ rights that so many others are routinely entitled to,” said Assembly Member Nick Perry. “Mayor de Blasio and the New York City Council have not only advocated, but went the full mile to pass legislation to insure that fast food workers can enjoy stable work schedules. I applaud Mayor de Blasio and the New York City Council for making this the law, and for this action, which will greatly improve the quality of life of thousands of workers and their families. Passage of the Fair Work Week legislation puts New York City in the top rung of cities where respect for the dignity of workers, not only ranks high, but is backed by laws which insure compliance.”

"The inconsistent work schedules typical of low-wage jobs place a demanding burden on families which no worker should have to endure. Working open to close, having to come in on a moment's notice, and no advanced scheduling are undue strains that make coordinating impossible for families. The Fair Work Week legislation passed by the City Council will bring much needed relief and stability to thousands of workers in New York City and hopefully set a standard industrywide. I commend the City Council and Mayor de Blasio for guaranteeing the right to a manageable work schedule," said Assembly Member Francisco Moya.

“My first job was at a McDonald’s restaurant when I was 16 years old,” said Council Member Rafael Espinal, Chair of the Committee on Consumer Affairs. “I know how difficult service jobs can be and how much more difficult it is to sustain a family without knowing your schedule. That is why I proudly stand with Mayor de Blasio, Commissioner Salas, fast food workers, and labor leaders in ensuring NYC workers have adequate job protections. This bold and progressive legislation is a first for our nation. I am thrilled to have progressive leaders, such as, Senator Sanders support this issue so that it may be raised throughout the country. All people in all jobs-- particularly those who work long hours in demanding circumstances-- should be entitled to much-needed stability for themselves and their families.”

Council Member Costa Constantinides said, "All New Yorkers deserve employment practices that allow them to support themselves while being fair to their families.  Many of New Yorkers have suffered from poor labor standards including unfair scheduling practices.  With these bills, our city is leading the way on regulating these types of practices and ensuring that all New Yorkers have a stable work and family life.  I thank Mayor de Blasio, DCA Commissioner Lorelei Salas, and my Council colleagues for their leadership on this important issue."

"All New Yorkers must have access to predictable work schedules," said Council Member Daniel Dromm. "Inconsistent work hours lead to poverty and homelessness.  For many people in these low-wage industries, schedules differ wildly from week to week, making it impossible to raise children or care for older relatives.  I support this Fair Workweek legislation which fixes a system that has been broken for too long and delivers fairness and justice for our hard working families. I applaud the Mayor for supporting this important effort."

"We are thrilled that New York City has joined cities and states across the country in ensuring working people have balanced and flexible workweeks they can count on. These reforms will give working people the chance to support their families, stay healthy, and build thriving communities. Tens of thousands of working parents and students in New York will now have the flexibility they need to balance their responsibilities on and off the job. We know this vote will inspire other cities to act and other workers to stand up for the same commonsense standards. It’s clear that the movement for a fair workweek is catching fire and we only expect it to grow,” said Elianne Farhat, Campaign Director for the Fair Workweek Initiative at Center for Popular Democracy.

“Our research has documented the widespread economic hardships that workers experience from unpredictable schedules, when they never know from week to week, or even day to day, when they will need to report to work and how much pay they will bring home,” said David R. Jones President, and CEO of Community Service Society, a leading anti-poverty organization. “We applaud the leadership of Mayor de Blasio, the City Council and the union movement in championing the Fair Workweek laws, being signed today, that will curtail abusive working conditions in the fast food and retail sectors, and give these workers opportunities for upward mobility and more stable lives.”

“FPWA has a long, rich history of serving communities in need and understands the challenges many face balancing family, work and school, with the uncertainty of work hours and inconsistent pay,” said FPWA CEO and Executive Director Jennifer Jones-Austin. “We applaud the Mayor, the Speaker, as well as the advocates, and most importantly, the workers, who have committed to ending inconsistent, and unclear scheduling practices, and ensuring that predictable schedules and paychecks are rights, not privileges.”

“A Better Balance was proud to be a part of the coalition that has worked for the past year to enact legislation to protect low wage workers from abusive scheduling practices that make it difficult to work and care for a family.  The package of laws enacted today is the strongest scheduling legislation in the country, insuring that fast food workers will have advance notice of their schedules, will have enough time between shifts to rest and will have access to hours they need to support themselves and their families and that retail workers will no longer need to deal with the uncertainty of on call scheduling, so disruptive to the lives of workers and their families.  We congratulate the Mayor, the Department of Consumer Affairs and the City Council for their leadership and SEIU 32bj and RWDSU for all of their work on behalf of the workers of New York City,” said Sherry Leiwant, Co-President, A Better Balance.

“The Fair Work Week bills are another example of New York leading the fight to protect and support workers and their families. We applaud Mayor de Blasio and the City Council for this groundbreaking legislation which will especially help women to succeed at work, balance caregiving responsibilities, and build financial stability,” said Beverly Neufeld, President, PowHer New York.

"The Micah Faith Table celebrates the moral courage of Mayor Bill de Blasio who worked tirelessly toward the passage of Fair Workweek legislation. New York City is run by retail and fast food workers. Today they will breathe a bit easier because of regular schedules and predictable paychecks," said Reverend Peter Goodwin Heltzel, Ph.D., Associate Professor of Theology and Director of Micah Institute, New York Theological Seminary.

Rabbi Michael Feinberg, Executive Director, Greater New York Labor-Religion Coalition said, “The Fair Work Week legislation passed by the City Council represents another important victory by fast food and retail workers to have dignity, justice and a living wage on the job. This legislation provides an inspiring example to low-waged and immigrant workers across the country, struggling to improve their lives and working conditions, especially at a time of increased anti-worker attacks. The faith community stands with the workers, and applauds their hard won success.”


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