Announcing New Support in the State Assembly, Fair Work Week NJ Highlights Disproportionate Impact of “Just-In-Time” Scheduling on Workers and Women of Color
Assemblywoman Britnee Timberlake and Assemblyman Giblin join Low Wage Workers, Advocates & Labor Unions in calling attention to unfair scheduling practices and supporting #FairWorkWeekNJ
(CLIFTON, NJ) Late this Halloween morning in the midst of rainshowers and before the start of afternoon trick-or-treating, over a dozen workers, advocates, and labor leaders joined Assemblywoman Britnee Timberlake and the office Assemblyman Tom Giblin in Clifton, NJ to draw attention to racial and gender disparities in scheduling practices and to workers’ inability to know when they will work and if they work enough hours to make ends meet. This is the second event in as many weeks, with more legislators joining the call for fair scheduling practices. The press conference comes on the heels of the launch of the #FairWorkWeekNJ Campaign on Wednesday, October 16 in Teaneck with a new report by the Shift Project at the University of California at Berkeley releasing new federal data on how just-in-time scheduling is creating less certainty in the lives of millions of workers.
Assemblywoman Britnee Timberlake said “Establishing a fair work week is essential for working class people throughout New Jersey who are in need of consistent schedules and hours to provide stability for their families’ financial and emotional needs. I remember my time spent as a waitress and a baker. I remember the inconsistent schedules, far random locations given to report to, and cancellation of shifts based upon if the restaurant was busy or not. Upon seeking a schedule change to accommodate going back to school, one employer even gave me a resignation letter. These are the types of abuses the working class often endure. It is my hope that in partnership with Assemblyman Thomas P. Giblin, our legislative colleagues, Make the Road NJ, the Anti-Poverty Network, NJ Citizen Action, NJ Working Families, and unions throughout our state that we can secure a Fair Work Week throughout New Jersey to prevent others from experiencing retaliation and inconsistencies.”
“Low-income workers need to know when they are working and deserve to have hours they can count on. We have seen firsthand how so many impoverished families who work in jobs with unstable scheduling practices have difficulties making ends meet and paying for essentials like groceries, housing, and childcare. We proudly stand with Fair Work Week NJ in educating the public about this important issue and to finding a solution that can address it,” said Renee Koubiadis, Executive Director of the Anti-Poverty Network of New Jersey.
“I have been working in the restaurant industry, for small restaurants and large chains, for over 15 years. I have needed 2 jobs, because I could never get enough hours to pay for our basic needs. I want to have a schedule that allows me to be there for my children, especially as they become teenagers and enter difficult periods in their lives. Unfortunately, I don’t see that happening with my jobs in the restaurant industry. We need meaningful change, which is why I am here to fight for a fair work week for working families across New Jersey,” said Maria P., a member of Make the Road New Jersey.
In particular, just-in-time scheduling is fundamentally unequal: workers of color, and particularly women of color, are exposed to the most unstable and unpredictable work scheduling practices. The Shift Project reports that non-white workers are 10% to 20% more likely to experience on-call shifts, clopenings (back-to-back closing-then opening shifts separated by less than 11 hours), 30% more likely than white workers to have had a shift canceled in the last month, and involuntary part-time work. Furthermore, the Shift Project’s research shows how Black and Latina women have the worst schedules, and white men had the best. They estimate that women workers of color are 18% more likely to be exposed to unstable and unpredictable schedules in the retail and food service industry than the white workers here in the United States. The researchers compared workers of color and white workers with similar education levels, similar positions, and at the same companies, and found there was still a gap, indicating that racial discrimination is a factor for why unfair scheduling situations disproportionately impact workers of color.
And this instability and unpredictability faced by working parents spills over into the home, undermining household economic security, upsetting family routines and childcare arrangements.
New Jersey can stop the most abusive scheduling practices and make a difference for workers by updating existing labor laws. Currently, New Jersey labor laws do not require employers to provide hourly workers any minimum advance notice of their schedules, build in a mandatory minimum number of rest hours in between each worker’s shifts, or compensate workers for being on-call if they are not required to remain on the employer’s premises and are free to engage in their own pursuits.
Last year, Philadelphia and Chicago became the latest cities to pass fair scheduling legislation. Similar measures are already law in Oregon, Seattle, WA; Emeryville, CA; San Francisco, CA; and New York, NY.
Make the Road New Jersey builds the power of immigrant and working-class communities in New Jersey to achieve dignity and justice through community organizing, legal and support services, transformative education and policy innovation.