One of the biggest problem facing low wage workers is their schedule. Many companies have turned to work models such as “on call” scheduling that gives employees little control over their time or their lives. Laura Clawson of Daily Kos reports that a group of Democratic senators and representatives have proposed “The Schedules That Work Act.” This bill would give workers at companies with 15 or more employees the right to request changes in their schedule, especially in cases related to health concerns or child/elder care. It would also give employers incentives not to use on call schedules or split shifts. Clawson is a realist. She notes that this bill means nothing as long as Republicans control the Senate and House.
This is a problem since many experts think the House will stay in Republican control into the next decade. What can workers do? First, they should consider schedule to be as important as salary. Next, if they have to take a low wage job or one with a bad schedule, they need to keep looking for a better job. Over the last 25 years, we’ve seen that employers have no loyalty to employees. Layoffs are part of doing business. Workers have to take the same attitude. If you’re in a bad job, keep looking for something better. When you find it, layoff your employer.
- Employers should offer full time jobs whenever possible.
- Employers should offer predictable schedules that let workers plan their lives.
- Employers should encourage worker retention and job security after companies are sold.
I agree with these points and would add the following for all workers:
- Workers should have the right to form unions without facing intimidation from their employers
- The minimum wage should be raised according to changes in inflation.
- The use of non-compete clauses should be limited and regulated. No minimum wage worker should be restricted by a non-compete clause.
- Equal pay for equal work.
- Repeal Taft-Hartley and other anti-worker, “Right to Work” [for less] laws.
Working people need to demand some protection. They deserve a workers' bill of rights.