December 20, 2016

Advocates Applaud Investigation of Retailers’ On-Call Schedules

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
December 20, 2016
CONTACT: Liz Cattaneo, liz(at)jwj.org, 202.352.3263

Washington, D.C. – Today, New York Attorney General Eric Schneiderman is expected to formally announce that six retail companies will end on-call shifts in their stores. Aeropostale, Carter’s, David’s Tea, Walt Disney Co., Pacific Sunwear and Zumiez will reportedly stop requiring the people who work for them to keep their lives on hold for shifts they may never be assigned. The news comes after a legal probe of these retailers by Schneiderman and several other attorneys general. The attorneys general began the investigation in response to complaints that the companies’ on-call scheduling practices violated state labor law.

“Americans are coming together in record numbers to demand jobs that sustain families, with enough hours to plan our lives and take care of our loved ones,” said Jobs With Justice executive director Sarita Gupta. She continued, “We hope that more companies see the writing on the wall, and update their policies without a legal investigation as leverage. Until then, working people will press elected officials to intervene.”

The announcement comes as working people and community and labor advocates have successfully enacted laws to curb employers’ use of unpredictable and inflexible schedules. San Francisco, Seattle, San Jose, CA, and Emeryville, CA, ushered in new protections for individuals who work in retail and restaurants in the last two years in response to growing outrage over the turbulence families experience as a result of erratic schedules. Companies can often grant the people who work for them too few hours, assign schedules that can change at a moment’s notice, or keep them on call without being able to guarantee them paid hours.

“As dozens of retailers update their schedule policies, lawmakers have a clear mandate to act in support of better workplaces for strivers in our communities,” said Elizabeth Falcon, executive director of DC Jobs With Justice, a community-labor coalition leading the effort to push the Washington, D.C. City Council to pass legislation to improve schedules. Falcon continued, “Today’s news offers more evidence that companies have the means to provide decent schedules. Our elected officials can safely reject cries from profitable corporations that doing so isn’t feasible.”

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