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De Blasio: Stop erratic shifts for fast-food workers in NYC

Bill de Blasio, a Democrat, wants to restrict how fast-food eateries schedule their low-wage workers. He explains why. Sept. 15, 2016. (Credit: Newsday / Matthew Chayes)

Erratic shifts for fast-food workers would be curtailed under legislation the mayor says is being drafted in New York City.

Standing outside a McDonald’s restaurant in Downtown Brooklyn Thursday, Mayor Bill de Blasio said the plan would cover about 65,000 workers employed at fast-food eateries that are defined in state labor law both as restaurants and having 30 or more locations statewide.

De Blasio, a Democrat, said the legislation would bring predictability to a low-wage industry where it’s commonplace to switch workers’ schedules with little notice.

“Think about what it means for an employee who is struggling to take care of loved ones, and all the time and energy that goes into that, and a lot of the things they have to do for their family that can’t be rescheduled on late notice,” de Blasio said.

  • Under the proposal, which de Blasio spokeswoman Freddi Goldstein said would cover about 7,000 eateries in the city: n Most shifts would need to be scheduled and publicly posted for workers two weeks in advance.n Last-minute shift changes within employers’ control would trigger “additional compensation” to the worker. De Blasio did not give a dollar amount.
  • A buffer of 10 hours would need to separate closing and opening shifts when the same employee is forced to work both shifts consecutively — a practice known in the industry as “clopenings.”

No legislation has been finalized yet, but the council could hold hearings on the proposal “hopefully this fall,” said Councilman Corey Johnson (D-Manhattan), a backer of the measure who appeared at the McDonald’s restaurant Thursday with de Blasio.

Similar rules have been debated in other American municipalities. San Francisco began enforcing a similar ordinance last year that applies to any retailer with at least 20 locations worldwide and that employs 20 or more workers.

A spokeswoman for the National Retail Federation, which has lobbied other cities against their versions of the legislation, did not return a message seeking comment Thursday.

But the federation’s website warns that restrictions on on-call scheduling “interfere with employees’ personal lives and ability to plan around their work hours.”


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