CHICAGO (June 27, 2017)–Aldermen, advocates and workers stood together on Tuesday to announce the introduction of the “Chicago Fair Workweek Ordinance,” landmark workers rights legislation that would make needed reforms to employer scheduling practices for working people.
Sponsored by Progressive Reform Caucus Chair Ald. Scott Waguespack (32), Ald. Toni Foulkes (16) and Ald. Ameya Pawar (47), the Chicago Fair Workweek Ordinance addresses the changing nature of the workforce, especially for hourly and part-time workers hired by major corporations. Increasingly, major corporate employers have made it common practice to ignore the input and real time needs of their employees in the scheduling process. Scheduling logistics do not just apply to corporate interests: working families deserve to have notice to have autonomy and structure in their lives beyond the workplace.
Also voicing support for the ordinance were Black Caucus Chair Ald. Roderick T. Sawyer (6), Ald. Ricardo Muñoz (22), Ald. John Arena (45), Ald. Raymond Lopez (15), Ald. Deb Mell (33) and other aldermen, representatives from Fight for 15, Jobs with Justice Chicago, United Food and Commercial Workers Local 881, AFSCME Council 31, SEIU Local 1, SEIU Healthcare Illinois Indiana, the Raise the Floor Alliance, Chicago Foundation for Women, Women Employed, Sargent Shriver National Center on Poverty Law, Chicago Workers Collaborative, Sierra Club Illinois and Chicago Votes Action Fund, among other groups.
“Chicagoans, and hourly workers across the country, are given little control over their work schedule, scheduled last minute for work, required to remain on-call without compensation, and have their hours cut short without notice, again without compensation or forewarning,” said Ald. Foulkes. “These scheduling practices make it difficult for many Chicagoans to support their families, stay healthy, go to college, and build thriving communities.”
“Too many Chicagoans are either working too few hours to make ends meet or are saddled with workweeks that never end,” said Ald. Waguespack. “Our working families need stability in order to care for family members, attend college classes, or work second jobs. The Chicago Fair Workweek Ordinance will ensure Chicago workers have a schedule they can count on.”
“Today’s workweek is more like 24/7 than 9-to-5,” said Ald. Pawar. “Chicago workers are expected to be available all the time – and either saddled with never-ending work or given too few hours to make ends meet. Together, we can win a fair workweek and $15 an hour.”
Zach Koutsky, Political Director at the United Food and Commercial Workers Local 881, also spoke in support of the ordinance.
“Our union strives everyday to ensure there is dignity in work. We do that through fighting for good wages, benefits, an equal voice with management, and importantly, predictable schedules,” said Koutsky. “A worker should be able to clock out and go on with their day knowing when they’ll work next so that they can build dignity in their non-working hours either by going to school, caring for a loved one, or volunteering in their community. Our members deserve that opportunity and we think this ordinance will provide it to all workers.”
Danny Rodriguez, a wheelchair and security officer attendant at O’Hare Airport, said the ordinance would change his life.
“At home, I help take care of my grandmother, who has a mental illness and needs around-the-clock attention,” said Rodriguez. “It can be difficult to help take care of her because of my long, unpredictable hours, plus the fact that I receive no personal days and lack control over my schedule. Sometimes I can’t stay home to help care for my grandmother because I can’t afford to miss a day of work, or risk losing my job. No one should have to be put in that position.”
Aisha Meadows, a worker at McDonalds who is part of the Fight for 15 movement, said the ordinance would also be impactful for her.
“Sometimes the schedules aren’t available in enough time for me to know whether or not I have to work. So I have to call one of my coworkers for them to check the schedule at work for me. If I have work hours scheduled during the time I have to be at school, I miss out on school and go to work instead,” she said. “I have to choose this because if I don’t work, I don’t make any money to pay for the things my family needs.”
The Chicago Fair Workweek Ordinance would require that workers receive two weeks advance notice of their work schedule, the opportunity to consent or decline to hours being added to their schedule with less than 14 days notice and additional predictability pay added for last minute shifts being removed, among other protections.