NYC Retail Workers Fight for Predictable Work Schedules
October 18, 2012 8:20 am
Employees of Abercrombie & Fitch, Best Buy and other retailers flooded NYC’s Fifth Avenue shopping district Wednesday to protest unpredictable scheduling. The action was part of an ongoing campaign for sustainable scheduling led by 22-year old Abercrombie employee Bintou Kamara and the Retail Action Project.
Ms. Kamara is a college student providing financial support to her family in Togo. Abercrombie has capped hours for part-time employees at 10 hours a week, and requires them to be “on call” — making it difficult or impossible for employees to find other jobs.
Ms. Kamara tells her story as part of her Change.org campaign:
…I like working at A&F, but the company’s scheduling policies require us to be on-call instead of having predictable hours. This leaves most of us struggling with hardly any hours to pay our bills – making getting a second job nearly impossible. I’ve connected with other A&F employees through the Retail Action Project because we need your help.
…I’m a college student living on my own in the Bronx, and I also send money home to my parents in West Africa – so I really needed the job. Like other new A&F workers, I was initially scheduled 33 hours per week. Then, it dwindled to two shifts, then to only 5 hours a week. I started talking to my co-workers, and realized this eventually happens to the majority of A&F workers. Now, most of us only get one “regular” shift per week, and one “on-call” shift. “
This is an all too familiar story for retail workers. At a Crenshaw, CA protest leading up to the recent Walmart strikes, OUR Walmart associate Dan Hindman spoke of the inconsistent scheduling that resulted in his week’s pay totaling a meager $75. Kamara speaks of Abercrombie capping hours but continuing to hire new employees, implying that some retailers look at their employees as part of an endless and interchangeable worker population.
The Retail Action Project speaks on the necessity of the campaign:
The fight for the 40 hour work week is back! But this time, retail workers aren’t getting enough hours to survive. One in 10 Americans work in retail – yet corporate retailers’ abusive part-time scheduling practices are causing a crisis of underemployment for retail workers.
Scheduling practices affect how much retail workers take home in pay, whether or not they receive health benefits, and workers’ ability to balance life and work. We can’t afford to be short-changed by this important job creating industry – it’s time for family-sustaining jobs in retail.
Join the Sustainable Scheduling campaign to give workers stable, predictable and livable work hours, because America wants to work! The Sustainable Scheduling campaign is building worker and community power to hold corporate retailers accountable and advance policy solutions.”
Employers like Abercrombie & Fitch, Best Buy, Walmart and Darden are making it a practice to roll back employee hours, and causing real hardship when they do. Sign Bintou Kamara’s Abercrombi petition to help jumpstart the momentum for change in the retail sector.
Image from here