Emeryville Lawmakers to Vote on Fair Workweek Policy
If passed, the policy would take the next step to help low-wage workers, address income inequality, and reshape part-time work
Emeryville, CA – Emeryville’s city council will vote on whether to take the next step in addressing income inequality and the crisis of underemployment by passing a Fair Work Week policy. Though the city has the highest minimum wage in the country, and Emeryville’s low-wage workers are now making $14.44 with a path to $16, there is an epidemic of part-time work with unpredictable hours in the retail and fast food industries.
A coalition of low-wage workers, Emeryville residents, community and labor organizations, faith leaders, and research academics will gather for a press conference before the city council vote. They will press for a strong policy without loopholes. The policy would force large companies like IKEA, Home Depot, and the Gap to provide consistent, stable work hours to allow their employees to budget. Workers would also get schedules two weeks in advance so they can plan childcare, second jobs, family time, and even rest. Finally, when more hours are available, current workers would get priority so they can get closer to full-time work.
Earlier this year, the coalition unveiled a study co-authored by the Alliance of Californians for Community Empowerment (ACCE), Center for Popular Democracy (CPD) and the East Bay Alliance for a Sustainable Economy (EBASE). It revealed that 68% of workers are only receiving part-time hours; 2/3 want more hours; and a staggering 80% have hours that fluctuate from week to week.
The policy would be first in the East Bay and third in the country following San Francisco and Seattle.
What: Press Conference followed by city council vote on fair workweek
Date: Tuesday, October 18th
Time: 6:30pm press conference, 7:15 start of city council meeting
Where: Emeryville City Hall, 1333 Park Ave, Emeryville, CA
Who: Emeryville workers, residents, community and labor groups, faith leaders, and research academics
While the city council has been supportive, the final policy may be eroded with loopholes as developers and corporate retail chain lobbyists pressure council. However, in a published oped in the San Francisco Chronicle, Emeryville Mayor Dianne Martinez and Councilmember Ruth Atkin said, “Now that we’ve won a $15 minimum wage across California, we know we need to finish the job and ensure working people have hours they can count on. A regional fair workweek provides hardworking people with the opportunity to work with stable schedules so they can pay the bills, live healthier lives, and contribute more to our communities.”
Emeryville’s workers are expected to turn out to testify at the council meeting on their experience. “When I didn’t have a regular schedule, my supervisor would put me down for only 16 hours and then schedule me last minute. I had to scramble to find childcare for my baby, and I sometimes worked six days a week and didn’t see him,” said Moriah Larkins, an Emeryville worker who has been in retail for five years. “But now I work for a different company, have regular hours, can spend time with my son, and finish my nursing degree.”
The Alliance of Californians for Community Empowerment (ACCE) Action is a grassroots, member-led, statewide community organization working with more than 10,000 members across California. ACCE is dedicated to raising the voices of everyday Californians, neighborhood by neighborhood, to fight for the policies and programs we need to improve our communities and create a brighter future.
The East Bay Alliance for a Sustainable Economy (EBASE) advances economic, racial, and social justice by building a just economy in the East Bay based on good jobs and healthy communities. We address the root causes of economic injustice by developing strategic alliances among community, labor, and people of faith to build power and create change with low-income workers and communities of color.
The Center for Popular Democracy promotes equity, opportunity, and a dynamic democracy in partnership with innovative base-building organizations, organizing networks and alliances, and progressive unions across the country. CPD builds the strength and capacity of democratic organizations to envision and advance a pro-worker, pro-immigrant, racial justice agenda.
The Fair Workweek Initiative, anchored by the Center for Popular Democracy and CPD Action, is driving the growing momentum to restore a workweek that enables working families to thrive.