National Retail Justice Alliance Highlights Struggles of Part-Time Workers in Hearing with Congresswoman Judy Chu

Los Angeles, Calif. – The National Retail Justice Alliance, in partnership with the UFCW, hosted a hearing today in Los Angeles with Congresswoman Judy Chu (D-Calif.) to highlight the social and economic plight of part-time workers in retail and other service industries.  The hearing also underscored the need for the Part-Time Worker Bill of Rights Act of 2013 (H.R. 675), legislation that Congresswoman Chu has co-sponsored, which would extend protections to part-time workers in the areas of employer-provided health insurance, family and medical leave, and pension plans.

“I was honored to participate in today’s hearing which highlighted the economic struggles of part-time workers, especially those in retail,” said Congresswoman Chu.  “Millions of Americans are only able to find part-time jobs, and too many of these jobs do not provide health insurance, family and medical leave, or pension plans. That’s why the Part-Time Worker Bill of Rights Act, which would extend benefits to part-time workers, is so critical. In today’s economy, we need to make sure that all hard-working Americans can afford to put food on the table and have a safety net to protect them and their families.”

The Part-Time Worker Bill of Rights builds upon the progress of the Affordable Care Act (ACA) and ensures that part-time workers (defined as working less than 30 hours a week) and their families have access to critical workplace benefits.  The ACA penalizes employers who fail to provide health insurance to full-time workers, but includes no such penalties for employers who deny health coverage to part-time workers.

“There are too many people in search of work who can only find part-time jobs—and many of these jobs do not include critical work-related health and retirement benefits,” said Lola Smallwood Cuevas, a project director at the Los Angeles Black Worker Center at UCLA’s Center for Labor Research and Education and a member of the National Retail Justice Alliance. “Policies like the Part-Time Worker Bill of Rights are needed to address the increasing number of Americans who are working without a safety net for retirement, health care, and family leave.”

In addition to Chu and Cuevas, state and local leaders, economic experts and part-time workers also spoke at the hearing which took place at East Los Angeles College.

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The National Retail Justice Alliance is dedicated to raising the living and working standards of retail workers in the United States.  By working in collaboration with a broad base of opinion leaders, organizations and communities, the National Retail Justice Alliance builds support for workers in the retail industry through advocacy, education and research to promote sustainable jobs, living wages, affordable health care and fair public policies.  For more information, visit www.retailjusticealliance.org.