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Wednesday, October 19, 2016

City Council Votes For Fair Workweek, No Exceptions

Landmark Labor Law Adds to Emeryville's Progressive Minimum Wage Ordinance

Last night the Emeryville City Council voted unanimously to pass a 'Fair Workweek' policy that will help low-wage workers in the city by providing for predictable work schedules and new requirements for employers to give preference to existing part time workers taking on extra work before hiring new employees and other benefits.  The new law is to take effect in July 2017 and will add relief for Emeryville workers primarily in the fast food restaurant and chain retail industry.   Social equity groups and labor organization backers of the new law called the Fair Workweek provisions passed last night at the regularly scheduled City Council meeting, the "critical second step" added to last year's highest in the nation Minimum Wage Ordinance to build equity in a town with lots of fast food and national retail chains.
Emeryville workers joined social justice activists and clergy
for a pre-meeting pep rally on the steps of City Hall. 

Emeryville already has the highest minimum wage in the country at $14.44 with a path to $16, and with this complimentary new policy, our town stands to become one of the most progressive cities in the Bay Area to address income inequality and the crisis of underemployment.  The new policy will confront and seek to rectify the epidemic of low-wage part-time work while also addressing the problem of unpredictable hours workers face.

“This policy costs employers virtually nothing and does something very simple: provide working people with reliable, predictable hours,” said Jennifer Lin, Deputy Director of the East Bay Alliance for a Sustainable Economy. “Workers will now be able to budget and be able to plan for childcare, second jobs, education, and even rest.”

With Tuesday night's vote, the Council sends a strong pro-labor message to those corporate entities doing business in Emeryville in the form of a strong policy without the usual loopholes, making large corporate retail chains and fast food companies provide schedules two weeks in advance so workers can budget and plan their lives.  Workers will be compensated for last minute changes in schedules. When more hours are available, current workers would get priority so they can get closer to full-time work.

The policy is the first in the East Bay and third in the country following San Francisco and Seattle. 
Earlier this year, a coalition supporting workers issues and social equity issues 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.  
EBASE helped craft language in the new law that some Council members have intoned will help offset decades of accommodation of business interests at the expense of workers by City Hall.


  1. The last sentence tells it all EBASE wrote the law. That's where we are now in Emeryville folks. The city council just turns the city over to the unions. Ugh .

    1. Yes, the City Council has made the finding that workers here are people...imagine that Mr Republican. They think it's the government's job to ease suffering and promote equality...Imagine that! And a group that seeks to improve the fortunes of working people locally, the same ones with a multi-year successful track record in that work are the ones the City Council has sought for expertise in delivering cogent public policy....Imagine that! It's outrageous Mr Republican!