Tomorrow Morning, Speak Out for Secure Scheduling at City Hall


Over the summer, a Seattle City Council committee has gradually moved toward approving secure scheduling laws that will make it easier for workers to plan their lives around their jobs. City Councilmembers Lorena González and Lisa Herbold have met with workers, business owners, and other interested parties over the last half-year, and they’re finally ready to bring secure scheduling to the whole council for a vote.

As the proposed law is written now, workers at large retail and food service establishments would earn predictability pay when employers ask them to go home early, they would be guaranteed ten hours of rest between shifts, and they would get an opportunity to pick up open hours before the employer hired new workers. This would enable part-time workers to make doctors’ appointments, plan time with their families, and even allow them to go back to school—all things that the current scheduling status quo makes difficult or even impossible for many workers. (Listen to our Other Washington podcast for more information about secure scheduling.) Seattle made an important choice when we raised the minimum wage to $15 an hour; now we have to make sure these workers have the time to spend that money, and the security to invest in their futures.

Tomorrow morning, the committee finally votes to send the legislation to the full council. But as always, the opportunity exists for tricky amendments to be added to the bill that would water down—or even completely defang—the secure scheduling legislation.

What can you do to help? You can make your voice heard, literally: come to Council chambers and show your support. Any Seattleite can testify before the City Council: all you have to do is show up before the hearing—9 a.m. or earlier would be best—and sign in on the checklist. Then, you’ll have a minute or two to voice your support. This is useful for two reasons: for one thing, it reminds the council that their constituents are invested in this legislation and want to see secure scheduling happen. For another thing,the longer that people speak, the less time there is for amendments to be discussed. It’s a Mr. Smith Goes to Washington kind of moment.

So if your schedule is free tomorrow, I hope to see you at City Hall (600 4th Ave) for the penultimate secure scheduling discussion. We are so close to passing secure scheduling into law and leading the way for the rest of the country. Like the $15 minimum wage, Seattle will stand as an example for other cities to emulate in years to come. When you speak for a minute or two tomorrow, you’re not just standing up for Seattle-area retail and food service employees who don’t have any control over their schedules—you’ll be speaking for the millions of employees around the country who will benefit from the success of secure scheduling in Seattle.

If you’ve felt exhausted over the last year at how little impact an individual can have in the political process, this is a chance to make a difference. On a local level, your voice has an outsize impact. Speak up for local workers and help Seattle lead the nation yet again in the battle for a stronger middle class.

Paul Constant

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