Hourly workers deserve equitable and secure shift scheduling, especially if they're risking their health to work during a global pandemic. This template can help you demand better scheduling policies at your workplace.
Rosa brings 14 years of working class work to Get Frank as a former union organizer, who then became a nanny and restaurant worker. She worked her way up in the restaurant industry from the dreaded lunch shift to bartender and shift captains on Friday and Saturday nights. Originally from Mosqueam territory in Vancouver, BC, Canada, she lives on Massachusett land in Boston, MA, USA with her dog Penelope these days. She is a Native/Indigenous Muisca woman who was raised Colombian and Jewish. Now that the restaurant where she was employed was shut down due to COVID-19, she is working as an online writer, educator, and water follower/mikveh guide.
During COVID 19 coming to work at all involves a certain amount of risk for all of us. We now know that the virus is most frequently transmitted through droplets in the air, which are most easily spread in an enclosed space such as a restaurant where people cannot wear masks while consuming their food. We also know that the restaurant industry is facing a big shift in its earning potential and growth. We are all in unprecedented waters here. As workers at [Company] , we are doing our part of taking on a significant amount of risk by showing up to work our shifts. We cannot be asked to continue to take part in a business model where we are also taking a risk on how much we will earn each shift. Our restaurant owners and managers need to support us as we do the work by guaranteeing that we aren’t risking our health for no income.
We are not living in ‘normal’ times, and we cannot afford to continue our industry’s normal attitude of ‘you win some, you lose some’ if we as workers make little to no money on a shift. This was never an acceptable practice and now is the time to end it once and for all. If we are going to be open for business and risk our health, we demand assurances of living wages and schedule security. The silver lining of COVID 19 is that we get to re-imagine how the restaurant industry will function as a whole and make changes that improve the future of the restaurant by investing in its staff. Studies show that when a restaurant invests in its staff, workers will work harder for the restaurant and customers are more satisfied with their dining experience. Customers can tell when the staff are happy, and more likely to become regulars when they form relationships with knowledgeable and respected servers.
1. Shift assignments are made so that workers never make less than $15/hour on each shift.
Restaurant work is physically demanding, especially in times like these where we are all storing stress in our bodies due to the continuing unknowns that the virus presents in our society. Having time to recover from the emotional and physical stress of working at [Company] is now more important than ever. Many of us also have children and are struggling to find childcare. Every human being deserves to have their time respected and valued, regardless of their job. At [Company] , it is a ‘normal’ practice to only release your schedule 1 week at a time. We ask that this practice stop since it does not allow us the freedom to tend to our needs and manage our lives. We ask that [Company] have a process whereby they do our schedule one month at a time and send it out to us 2 weeks in advance.
2. Schedule to be sent out 1 month at a time, 2 weeks in advance of the start of the next month.
If our own schedules change, we want to have a clear, written, and transparent process for being able to swap shifts that we can all follow. We ask that [Company] post our schedule in a Google doc that everyone can access and edit in order to swap shifts. Another option is to create an app for scheduling within [Company] that everyone can see and edit so that we can swap shifts when we need to. It could be up to the discretion of managers whether or not to require approval for these swaps. Clear communication of this procedure and equal application to all employees is key.
3. Clear and written procedures on shift swapping that are applied equally to all employees.
In order to ensure that we all make at least $15 per hour on each shift, we ask that managers balance the schedules to ensure that each of us has a mix of shifts that tend to be higher earning and lower earning. We also ask that managers tally up how much money was made by each of us at the end of the shift, and if tips were insufficient to cover the $15 per hour for each worker per shift, that payroll is used to make up the difference. Each of us already cashes out and indicates how much money [Company] made and how much each server made at the end of each shift, this will simply involve management ensuring that those totals equal at least $15 per hour for each of us.
There are many ways to accomplish this goal but first we need to be organized amongst ourselves and make sure that we are all want these changes and are willing to ask for them. We are asking for your signature in support of the three demands outlined in this campaign. Our goal is to have 100% participation and unanimous agreement that these are changes we should all ask for as a group. If you don’t agree, we ask that you at least do not oppose our efforts.
Our intention is to deliver a letter to management based on this campaign and include how many employees have signed. We will ask management to agree to implement our demands within a specified amount of time. If management does not agree to our demands, we will propose a meeting with those who’ve signed onto this campaign to discuss next steps to escalate our demands.