Every once in a while, we win big. Last night was a special night in Emeryville where City Council voted unanimously 5-0 to pass a Fair Workweek policy with no loopholes!
You were there last year when Emeryville passed the highest minimum wage in the country at $14.44 with a path to $16. And with this complimentary policy, the City is taking the next step to address income inequality, the crisis of underemployment, and the epidemic of unpredictable hours in the retail and fast food industries.
We’ve been inspired to see low-wage workers; Emeryville residents; community, labor, and faith leaders; and research academics stand up for something very simple: jobs with reliable, predictable hours so workers can budget and plan for childcare, 2nd jobs, education, and rest.
Moriah Larkins, a retail worker and member of our partner organizationAlliance of Californians for Community Empowerment (ACCE), said it best, “When I didn’t have a regular schedule, my supervisor would put me down for only 16 hours and then schedule me last minute. I had to scramble to find childcare for my baby, and I sometimes worked six days a week and didn’t see him. But now I work for a different company, have regular hours, can spend time with my son, and finish my nursing degree.”
The policy will go into effect in July 2017 and is the first in the East Bay and third in the country following San Francisco and Seattle. It mandates large corporate retail chains and fast food companies provide schedules two weeks in advance so workers can budget and plan their lives. Workers will be compensated for last minute changes in schedules. And when more hours are available, current workers would get priority so they can get closer to full-time work.
Finally, we hope you’ll take a moment to celebrate that Emeryville’s low-wage workers will have the highest minimum wage in the country AND fair hours! It is another chapter in the inspiring story of Emeryville and what it takes to shift a once corporate-dominated town towards a community where working people can live, work and thrive.
The Fair Workweek campaign in Emeryville is led by Alliance for Californians for Community Empowerment, East Bay Alliance for a Sustainable Economy, and the Center for Popular Democracy, and endorsed by the Alameda Labor Council- AFL-CIO, Center for Law and Social Policy, East Bay Organizing Committee/Fight for $15, Faith Alliance for a Moral Economy, Parent Voices, Residents United for a Livable Emeryville, SEIU United Service Workers West, UNITE-HERE Local 2850, United Food and Commercial Workers Local 5, and more.