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San Francisco Passes Retail Workers Bill of Rights

The City of San Francisco Board of Supervisors on November 25, 2014, passed the first Retail Workers Bill of Rights in the nation. The legislation will apply to retail chains with 11 or more locations nationally or worldwide and that have at least 20 employees in San Francisco under one management system. The new law will apply to companies such as Target, McDonald’s and Wal-Mart but not to small businesses. The Ordinance requires:

• Businesses to post workers’ schedules at least two weeks in advance.

• Workers will receive compensation for last-minute schedule changes, “on-call” hours, and instances in which they’re sent home before completing their assigned shifts.

• Businesses must also offer existing part-time workers additional hours before hiring new employees, and they are required to give part-timers and full-timers equal access to scheduling and time-off requests.

Federal Legislation Introduced As Well

Legislation similar to San Francisco’s new Ordinance has also been introduced in Congress. The Schedules That Work Act is sponsored by Representatives George Miller (D-Calif.) and Rosa DeLauro (D-Conn.) in the House of Representatives with 27 cosponsors. Sens. Tom Harkin (D-Iowa) and Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.) are the sponsors of the Senate’s companion legislation.

The Schedules That Work Act would provide relief to workers facing irregular and unpredictable schedules by:

• Protecting all employees from retaliation for requesting a more flexible, predictable or stable schedule.

• Creating a process for employers to consider requests that is responsive to the needs of both employees and employers. Employees who make requests because they have caregiving duties, are dealing with a health condition, are pursuing education or training courses, or need to meet the demands of a second job must be granted the schedule change, unless the employer has a bona fide business reason for denying it.

• Compensating retail, food service, and cleaning workers for at least four hours of work if an employee reports to work when scheduled for at least four hours but is sent home early.

• Providing that retail, food service, and cleaning employees receive work schedules at least two weeks in advance. Though schedules may later be changed, one hour’s worth of extra pay is required for schedules changed with less than 24 hours’ notice.

• Providing workers an extra hour of pay if scheduled to work split shifts, or non-consecutive shifts within a single day.

The San Francisco and federal legislation do not seem like unreasonable items to me. What do you think?

  • I think, for the most part, that this law is totally ridiculous. Next, we’ll have government appointed managers running businesses.

    • No, we won’t.

    • Peter_A_Reese

      Mike: I’m not sure whether I want to be the bureaucrat appointing the managers or a member of one of those Obama death panels. Sad that life is so short.

      • Peter, when is the last time you saw government give up any meaningful control over businesses? It just keeps increasing.

      • Peter_A_Reese

        Ain’t it great, Comrade Mike?

  • HapKlein

    WTF! next thing the Corporations will be expected to treat their employees as though they were human beings! We can’t afford that sort of sociological development! It will be the Southern Chaos of 1864 all over again!

    I understand the cost of fast food could rise nearly 25% with such shenanigans. Imagine paying more at Wendies than making the same food at home?

    I have often pondered when I see the Republican reactions to living wages and the creep of “European Socialism into our midst with efforts like this. Don’t the Legislators ever realize that the tremendous gap from minimum wages to surviving in America takes money from all our pockets?

    I still recall my experiences during the 1990’s when I was delivering food packages to needy families at Thanksgiving and Christmas.

    I had one young woman who kept missing appointments and when I finally caught up to her with the food I saw her cold, apartment with electric heaters in the living room for two young children trying to cook some beans on a very rickety stove.

    I learned the difficulty of her schedule was a result of working two different McDonalds at 25 hours each. So for fifty hour workweeks she was getting under $400 take-home and paying neighbors to care for the children. She walked to both jobs to save transportation costs.

    Later I thought of the two children, her medical costs and food stamps that since that time have twice been cut by millionaire legislators with very good health plans who have never missed a meal in their lives.

    We pay the difference between this young woman’s requirements for survival and her need to live a somewhat decent life.

    The difference marks our measure of civilization to these the least of us.

    • Your civilization relies on the redistribution of wealth that throws economies out of whack, diminishing the amount of real opportunities that pay a decent wage. I purposely didn’t say living wage, because that is a Utopian premise that also wreaks havoc on the economy by displacing normal market valuations on goods and services.

      • HapKlein

        I suppose you are right and my civilization is closer to that of Denmark that thrives on a larger share of the total pie by all.

        We have a nation that has now passed Greece and Egypt in wealth disparity and with nearly 90% of economic growth flowing to a core group of less than 1 % of the earners it will get worse.

        But I don’t understand how Fast Food Chains compete and thrive in places like Copenhagen with the entry base of nearly $20.00 an hour.

      • That can be explained by the low birth rate. There are not enough young workers to fill the positions. In order to attract sufficient older workers, higher wages are necessary. The generous welfare system is funded by an income tax of up to 60% and a VAT of 25%. No thanks, they can keep their system.

      • HapKlein

        Bending facts to opinion is hilarious to the informed.

        That top rate is for incomes above $400,000 and the rest of the silly remark is guesswork on steroids. With deductibles and such the US is still about the highest income tax.

      • Based on 2012 figures, the top U.S. rate kicks in at $400,00. The top rate in Denmark kicked in at $54,900. Those are the facts.

        “At 60.2%, Denmark last year had the highest top personal income tax rate among the 34 countries in the OECD, an organization of developed and emerging countries. And that 60.2% applied to income over roughly $55,000”

      • HapKlein

        Why use selected statistics that avoid my comment about civilization as demonstrated as do the Danes?

      • Let me be a bit clearer for you. Your concept of civilization relies on violations of natural law, the destruction of liberty and preempts humanity.

      • HapKlein

        We all have facts and figures we can fit to our opinions of how we think things should be. But how about a report of how things are perceived by the subjects?

        A Study and I admit it could be biased but is based on over 10,000 reports by participants is:

        The Secret Behind Those Happy Danes

        by Happiness Research Institute


        Denmark is often named the world’s happiest country, most recently in 2013 in the World Happiness Report, commissioned by the UN. But what are the reasons for the high levels of happiness in Denmark? For the first time, the reasons are explained in a comprehensive report, published by The Happiness Research Institute, a Copenhagen based think tank.

        The report “The Happy Danes – Exploring the reasons behind the high levels of happiness in Denmark” explains how a strong civil society, a good work-life balance, and a high level of social security are causes of happiness.

        Check it out why I think the report verifies my own experience.

        I bicycled with a Danish Couple during the 1980’s. I never knew them closely but I knew she did high level research at UB and he at Rosswell.

        They like myself thought a 60 mile trip was worthy way to spend a Sunday Afternoon and I introduced them to several tracks locally, especially my favorite down the Canadian Shoreline and back through Lewiston to Buffalo.

        In about 1990 they reported returning to Denmark and I was astounded. I thought you like it here I said.

        They agreed but assured me Denmark was a much better place to live. We wrote for a while and I promised a visit that never happened. But I guess they had good reasons for staying in civilization.

      • According to the University of Warwick, a public research university in England, Danish people are genetically predisposed to be happier than other people.

      • HapKlein

        The funniest yet. Some gene pool.

        Thankfully it includes the Celts and we all know how joyful the Irish are too.

        Maybe that explains why many American Blacks with Irish Names are so Happy, Singing songs of the happy old plantation days when life was so easy and Marse so kind.

      • People tend to laugh at things they don’t understand, even when based on science.

      • HapKlein

        Where is there any science in the exchange of anecdotal opinions?

      • rhmaccallum

        ” In order to attract sufficient older workers….”
        Guess you haven’t been in a McDonalds or Burger King Lately. Half that staff now-a-days is damn near old as I am.

      • rhmaccallum

        I have always wondered how redistribution of wealth is such a terrible thing when done by “we the people” in the interest of the many but when that business owner or investor does the same thing to the rank and file it’s not redistribution. It’s just distributing all that wealth back where it belongs. That’s why we call them rich.

    • Peter_A_Reese

      Today, even the Republicans think that people are people.

    • rhmaccallum

      Nicely worded Hap/ Bravo! But old greybeards like ourselves never use “WTF”. We’re too dignified.

      • HapKlein

        I occasionally copy youth.

        Its like those rare occasions I don’t need a cane or walker and I stride along ignoring the urge to limp!

      • rhmaccallum

        In that case you may be interested in buying my wife’s hula hoop. It’s a nifty pink one.

      • HapKlein

        Betimes they show some dancer on TV swirling a hula hoop and I say “Maybe.I ….” and she says forget it!

        I guess she is right but maybe…

  • Peter_A_Reese

    Wow! Mr. conservative performance based reinventing government lawyer transitions to a Getzville Socialist. Great story. Welcome aboard, Comrade Paul.