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Council to vote on “Fair Workweek” Bill

December 6, 2018

PHILADELPHIA, PA – City Council is preparing to vote this Thursday on the “Fair Workweek” bill. The bill affects mostly service and hospitality hourly workers. Almost a year ago, workers and supporters began a fight for the bill.

Scheduling changes for workers

What does this bill entail? More predictable scheduling. The bill will regulate how companies in industries like retail, hospitality, and fast food assign shifts for their employees. Workers complain that without consistency in scheduling, they are stuck in a cycle of poverty. It is difficult to plan and budget for bills and daily life without knowledge of how much work they will receive.

Councilwoman Helen Gym introduced the bill in June. She championed the bill with seven co-sponsors, leading to the vote, which is expected to pass. New York was the largest city to pass a similar law on scheduling. Philadelphia would be the second biggest city to do so, if the bill goes through. And, the bill will impact at least 130,000 workers – including some unionized workers and even hotel workers.

Along with the Fair Workweek bill, council will vote on raising minimum wage for city workers to $15 per hour. Councilperson Mark Squilla introduced this bill. It is unclear just how many people this bill would impact if passed. But, many workers in social service and other professions will likely feel the effects.

Opposition

There are some opponents to Fair Workweek bill, such as the Greater Philadelphia Chamber of Commerce. They claim that it will hurt business growth. Gym proposed the bill as one to fight poverty, but some believe not all the workers impacted are living in poverty.

Despite this opposition, council expects the bill to go through. Similar bills regarding workers and scheduling have been cropping up throughout the country.

Gym stated in an interview: “This is a time period when people feel like there’s such little movement for issues for working Americans. We in our city are choosing to do something about it, and I think it matters that we’re doing it in the poorest big city in America.” Changes might soon be in store for Philadelphia workers after the vote.

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