Fresh off of enacting a $15 minimum wage, Seattle’s City Council is expected to pass complex “secure scheduling” legislation this afternoon that will hit “full-service restaurants, fast-food restaurants, and retail establishments with at least 500 employees worldwide.”
The union-backed ordinance has been met with strong resistance from the people it will actual impact: the employees. The independent, unfunded Full Service Workers Alliance of Seattle (FSWA) is a group of restaurant workers that strongly opposes the scheduling measure, claiming that the legislation will take away their “freedom and flexibility” in the workplace:
“Thousands of full-service industry workers have had the freedom to craft their own schedules to meet their own personal and financial goals,” says FSWA organizer Sean David, a bartender at Tom Douglas’ restaurant TanakaSan. “We already have the flexibility that apparently other workers [in limited-service restaurants] do not. This legislation will cause way too much bureaucratic red tape that will take away what we currently enjoy as workers.”
FSWA member Simone Barron, a restaurant server, has taken issue with the ordinance, calling it an “intrusion into the way we construct our schedules” and said that the legislation seeks to solve a problem that doesn’t exist.
On top of this legislation, Seattle businesses are already grappling with higher costs associated with the city’s recent minimum wage hike. Naveen Kumar, a self-made Subway franchisee owner, recently declared that if the Council approves the scheduling legislation, it would spell “the end” of his business operations in the city.
He’s [Kumar] closing several of his Subway locations in Seattle by the end of this year, in part, because of the higher minimum-wage law, he says. A scheduling law would raise his costs further if it requires him to pay an additional amount to an employee he calls in to fill in for a sick worker, he said.
Rather than helping, Seattle’s increased minimum wage increase is having an adverse effect on workers. In a recent study, researchers found city’s minimum wage hike “caused total weekly earnings to drop – by as much as $5.22 a week.” The increase has also led to fewer jobs and hours for Seattle workers.
Like the city’s recent minimum wage increase, the scheduling legislation creates more problems than it hopes to fix. With broad coalitions opposing the legislation, the city council should recognize that adding another costly layer of bureaucracy on businesses and workers is the wrong approach and reject this measure before it is too late.