February 19, 2019
Restaurant employee speaks out against 'secure scheduling' bills
Losing flexibility and freedom is not something long-time restaurant worker Simone Barron can support.
Barron, who is a full-service worker, co-founder of the Full Service Workers Alliance of Seattle and a board member of Restaurant Workers of America, told lawmakers as much in her public testimony in Olympia and in a candid guest column in The Seattle Times Feb. 15.
But, House Bill 1491 and Senate Bill 5717, currently before the Legislature, would limit small-business owners, entrepreneurs and employees in the restaurant and hospitality industries by establishing restrictive scheduling laws (also known as predictive or secured scheduling). The bills are even more restrictive than the Seattle "secure scheduling" ordinance.
The bills would require employers to provide schedules to employees two weeks in advance. If the schedules are changed, penalties could be assessed on employers. The bills restricts employers and employees from negotiating changes to schedules with short notice, and restrict the flexibility of employees to change their schedule to accommodate unforeseen circumstances that may arise.
In her column, Barron says about the proposals and their impacts on her industry: "Restrictive scheduling removes the flexibility on which the hospitality industry is built. I’ve worked in restaurants in cities across the U.S. This career has allowed me to raise a son, pay rent, put myself through school and have the flexibility to pursue my hobbies."
Restaurant and service-sector workers often have schedule systems that allow workers to swap shifts due to unforeseen circumstances and pick up back-to-back shifts if the business is especially busy.
Barron wants lawmakers to hear how the proposals would hurt the very workers -- and the flexibility they enjoy in their jobs -- it purports to protect.
"I need lawmakers to hear my voice and the voices of my fellow restaurant, hotel and food-service workers opposed to House Bill 1491/Senate Bill 5717. Adopting this harmful legislation would negatively impact the very workers it is attempting to protect," she says.
Barron was also featured as part of an AWB News report on the bills, explaining why she opposes the restrictive scheduling laws.
To learn more on this issue, contact AWB Government Affairs Director Bob Battles at 360.943.1600.