As we start the new year, the retail sector continues to be an important employer of minorities and women. However, too many workers in this industry are struggling to survive in low-wage, part-time jobs with inconsistent hours that hamper their ability to juggle life’s demands and prevent them from climbing the economic ladder.
As income inequality continues to grow, worker-led campaigns such as OUR Walmart and the Fight for $15, have made these issues part of the national conversation and elected officials have taken notice. Last year, Representatives George Miller (D-Calif.) and Rosa DeLauro (D-Conn.) introduced the Schedules That Work Act (H.R. 5159) that included a presumption that retail workers who need a schedule change due to child care, school, a second job, or medical needs will receive that change unless there is a bona fide business reason not to. The legislation would also provide retail workers advance notice of their schedules and guaranteed minimum pay when they are sent home from work before completing their entire shift.
Fair, flexible, and reliable scheduling is a simple way to ensure that retail workers are treated with dignity and respect. The Retail Justice Alliance urges Congress to swiftly pass the Schedules That Work Act to improve scheduling in the retail sector and provide retail workers with a pathway to the middle class.