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De Blasio signs bill regulating fast food worker shift changes

Mayor Bill de Blasio during a press conference

Mayor Bill de Blasio during a press conference at City Hall in New York on April 26, 2017. Photo Credit: AFP / Getty Images / Timothy A. Clary

New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio on Tuesday signed legislation banning erratic shifts for fast-food workers, among 28 bills he signed at City Hall that also mandate a fresh look at the public schools’ sex-ed curriculum, higher minimum temperatures for apartment heat and letter grades for peddlers of street food.

Seated beneath a portrait of Alexander Hamilton, Democrat de Blasio presided over signing ceremonies and the legally required public hearings to further his progressive political agenda.

Under the bills de Blasio signed — which he called “fair work-week legislation” — certain fast-food workers would need to get advance notice of shifts and be paid a bonus when hours are changed without the required notice; on-call scheduling for retail workers is banned.

Backers of the bill said the legislation, announced in September, would bring a measure of predictability to low-wage workers for whom it’s common for schedules to be switched around without much notice to maximize profitability.

“Fair work-week legislation will provide thousands of fast-food and retail workers with more stable work conditions and protect them from exploitative scheduling practices that are all too common in these industries,” de Blasio said.

Retailers who employed the practice say it’s necessary to adjust staffing according to customer traffic.

Brandon Muir, executive director of the fiscally conservative group Reclaim New York, said that initiatives such as the legislation de Blasio signed would hurt workers, creating an incentive for employers to reduce hours and automate their job duties.

“This is just more people who’ve never run a business, trying to tell business owners how to run their business,” he said in a written statement.

The sex-ed bill creates a task force to examine how the public schools teach sex ed, with a mandate for the panelists to consider issues relevant to students who are lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and gender nonconforming.

And starting Oct. 1, under the apartment bill, heat must be at least 62 degrees Fahrenheit from 10 p.m. to 6 a.m. until May 31. The minimum temperature is now 55.

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