The March to Secure Scheduling in Seattle Starts Tomorrow

The gears on the clock go 'round and 'round...

The gears on the clock go ’round and ’round…

Here at Civic Skunk Works, we’re very concerned with scheduling. One of the first posts I wrote here was titled “Seattle Needs to Join the Fight Against Clopening Shifts.” We praised REI for giving its employees the day after Thanksgiving off. We talk about paid family leave and other scheduling issues. This is important to us.

Why does scheduling matter? A lot of businesses monopolize the time of their employees simply because they can; they schedule on-call shifts so the employees might get called in or they might not, depending on how busy things get. They send their employees home if business gets slow. They ask for clopening shifts that require employees to work late, go home, get very little sleep, and then come back around again for an early morning shift.

Employees who do not enjoy secure scheduling can’t plan their lives. They can’t take on additional jobs because of the uncertainty of their schedules. They can’t live as citizens — helping with their kids’ education, contributing to neighborhood organizations, taking part in all manner of activities that have great civic value. These workers do not enjoy the protections that people in higher-paying jobs do; the worst jobs in terms of scheduling tend to be in fast food and other service industries, which are rarely unionized.

Thankfully, Working Washington is on the case: tomorrow, the organization is hosting a forum on secure scheduling starting at 10 am. Workers will discuss the toll that bad scheduling practices take on their lives. You can sign up to attend the forum virtually on this page. This is the opening salvo in a campaign to bring secure scheduling laws to Seattle. As Working Washington so aptly puts it:

Just like Seattle workers led the way forward in the fight for $15, we’re going to lead the way to win one of the nation’s first secure scheduling laws.

Tomorrow is a day that a lot of bleary-eyed workers have waited a long time to see. You should register for the forum now.

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Paul Constant
Paul Constant has written about politics, books, and film for Newsweek, The Progressive, the Utne Reader, and alternative weeklies around the country.