San Francisco is likely to become the first large city in America to pass a bill of rights for retail workers.
On Tuesday afternoon, the San Francisco Board of Supervisors unanimously approved the measure, which experts say will affect 40,000 retail workers in the city, on a second vote. It now heads to the Mayor’s office for consideration.
The bill says any national chains’ store in city limits would have to give priority to existing par-time employees when offering additional available hours before hiring new part-time employees to fill them. Current practices allow big box chains to avoid hiring full-time employees to avoid cost increases, and California in particular has one of the highest involuntarily part-time employment rates in the country.
The bill would also obligate employers to post schedules two weeks in advance and provide up to four hours of pay when an employee’s shift is cancelled with less than 24 hours’ notice. Many of retail workers face erratic scheduling practices that disrupt their personal lives.
Any “formula retail” business – or chain stores – with 20 or more locations worldwide that employ 20 or more employees within San Francisco would be affected by the bill.
“San Francisco is on its way to ensuring more men and women in our community have schedules and hours that allow them pay their bills, plan their lives and take care of their loved ones,” Gordon Mar, executive director of Jobs With Justice San Francisco, the main group behind the initiative, said in a statement.
San Francisco Mayor Ed Lee will now consider the measure. He has not said whether he supports it, but multiple reports say that the council has enough votes to override any veto.
The package is largely unprecedented for a major city in the U.S. Last year the Seattle, Wash. suburb of SeaTac approved a measure barring employers from hiring additional part-time workers if any of their existing part-timers want more hours.
In Delaware, the legislature is considering a bill that would require a certain minimum hours of week in the building service and fast food industries, to address the problem of involuntary part-time work.
Jobs With Justice is a Washington-based, union-affiliated group.