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Tuesday, March 15, 2016

'Fair Work Week' Considered by City Council

UPDATE:  The Emeryville City Council with the exception of Nora Davis, Tuesday night voted to place work on the Fair Work Week in the highest priority category for the City Attorney's office.

The Emeryville City Council is tonight considering adding a level of protection for low wage workers in town collectively called the 'fair work week' that would provide workers with predictable work schedules, employee input into the schedules and access to full time work according to local social and economic justice organizations introducing the idea including the Alliance for Californians for Community Empowerment (ACCE), the Center for Popular Democracy (CPD) and the East Bay Alliance for a Sustainable Economy (EBASE).  The City Council passed a progressive minimum wage ordinance last July that has raised the fortunes of the working poor in Emeryville and this new law would help further drive down inequality by mandating Emeryville's largest retail and fast food employers provide stable and predictable hours to their employees.  The proposed legislation would only apply to retail employers with 55 or more employees (globally).  The legislation proposed in Emeryville is part of a larger nation-wide worker justice effort called the Fair Workweek Initiative.

Deputy Director Jennifer Lin
East Bay Alliance for a Sustainable Economy
Jennifer Lin, Deputy Director at EBASE, who worked on last year's landmark Minimum Wage Ordinance told the Tattler of the fair work week legislation, "We're calling on the Emeryville City Council to pass a policy that will create regular, predictable hours, so workers don't have to juggle 2-3 jobs, and they can plan for their lives-- whether that's planning for childcare and community college, or just to rest and spend time with their family."  She is quoted in an accompanying press release distributed by the three labor justice organizations,  “We are finishing the job on minimum wage, and ensure that people are both paid a fair wage with a fair schedule.”

The press release noted, "Though thousands of Emeryville’s low-wage workers are making $14.44 with a path to $16, there is an epidemic of large corporate retail and fast food chains not providing people with full-time work. With lack of hours and unpredictable schedules, many are forced to work two or three jobs and lead chaotic lives to make ends meet."

Dozens of Emeryville workers and supporters are holding a press conference today urging the Emeryville City Council to expedite legislation to give workers full-time predictable hours, building off the findings in a new report produced by ACCE, CPD and EBASE that chronicles what they call "severe scheduling problems retail workers face."  The 13 page report, compiled with more than 100 Emeryville retail and fast food workers polled, notes the retail sector (the largest in Emeryville at 15% of the workforce) is rife with unpredictable work scheduling.

The City Council is expected to provide direction for the City Staff as to how much to prioritize the fair work week proposal moving forward. It is unclear what form any resultant policy would take but the public will get plenty of chances to weigh in on the idea.


  1. Such a terrible proposal. This will cause many to be fired. Please stop protecting the consumers desires at the expense of the survival needs of the workers.

  2. Terrible idea. It will make good people get fired. Why protect consumer desires over the survival needs of the workers?