Poor­est big US city en­dorses pre­dictable work sched­ules

The Times Herald (Norristown, PA) - - LOCAL NEWS -

PHILADEL­PHIA >> The poor­est big city in the United States passed leg­is­la­tion that will en­sure fast-food, re­tail and hos­pi­tal­ity work­ers will know when they’ll work and how much they’ll work.

Philadel­phia Coun­cil­woman He­len Gym in­tro­duced and cham­pi­oned the mea­sure ap­proved Thurs­day, which will af­fect about 130,000 hourly work­ers.

“We can talk about poverty, or we can do some­thing about it. We choose to do some­thing,” Gym said. “This is a win for our city, for Philadel­phia’s work­ing peo­ple, and for smart busi­ness prac­tices.”

Work­ers say that with­out pre­dictable sched­ules, they can’t bud­get or make plans like doc­tor’s ap­point­ments, and it keeps them in a cy­cle of poverty.

“A fair work­week will change my life,” said Leke­sha Wheel­ings, a Mar­riott ho­tel worker. She said she gets her sched­ule with only 48 hours’ no­tice, and says oc­cu­pancy at her ho­tel has gone up, but she made $5,000 less in 2017 than the year be­fore be­cause of re­duced hours.

“I love my job and I know that I have to do this to take care of my fam­ily, but I’ve made a lot of sac­ri­fices,” she said.

The bill in­cludes pro­vi­sions for ad­vance no­tice of sched­ules, a path to more hours of work, com­pen­sa­tion for last-minute sched­ule changes and pro­tec­tions from re­tal­i­a­tion.

The bill wasn’t with­out its op­po­nents, among them the Greater Philadel­phia Cham­ber of Com­merce and the Philadel­phia Con­ven­tion & Vis­i­tors Bu­reau.

The cham­ber of com­merce said the bill would hurt busi­ness growth in a city that badly needs it. The vis­i­tors’ bu­reau has said it would dam­age tourism, chains like Wendy’s and Tar­get, which ex­panded their pres­ence in Philadel­phia re­cently, and the Greater Philadel­phia Ho­tel As­so­ci­a­tion.

Philadel­phia is now the sec­ond-big­gest U.S. city, after New York, to ap­prove a sched­ul­ing law.

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