What happens when you have the highest minimum wage in the country but many retail workers are still living in poverty because they can’t get enough hours at work. Retail workers in San Francisco are organizing to change this scenario with a Retail Workers Bill of Rights.
The bill, introduced on July 29, would require San Francisco retail employers to offer part-time workers full-time hours before hiring additional part-time workers. It would require employers to provide equal treatment for part-time workers in relation to pay, time off and access to opportunities for promotion. The bill would also ensure a premium for on-call work or for shifts that are cancelled with less then 24 hours notice, and it would give retail workers the right to retain their jobs for at least 90 days if a business is sold.
If passed, this bill would set a major precedent across the United States by limiting the extent to which companies can rely on unfair hours and scheduling for part-time workers.
Many WAC members also talk about how difficult it is to manage unpredictable schedules and how they are forced to find multiple part-time jobs when employers don’t offer full-time hours. Winning new protections for fair scheduling and equal pay and treatment for all workers regardless of their job status is an important priority here in Ontario too. We’ll be taking inspiration from San Francisco workers and watching closely as the Retail Workers Bill of Rights comes up for a vote this fall.