March, 2014

New Report Reveals Impact of “Just-in-Time” Scheduling on Workers, Families and Businesses

sector should have good jobs

A new report by the Center for Law and Social Policy, Retail Action Project, and Women Employed shows the negative impact of unpredictable work schedules on workers, families and businesses. Titled Tackling Unstable and Unpredictable Work Schedules, the report examines the recent trend toward “just-in-time” scheduling practices, where employers match workers’ hours to consumer demand.

“Just-in-Time” practices are used in the retail sector where many workers hold part-time positions with few benefits.  As the country’s largest retailer, Walmart has led the way in creating erratic and unpredictable shifts for its 1.4 million employees and its low-wage, part-time business strategy has influenced other retailers to do the same—making it almost impossible for workers to meet family obligations or have a second job.

The new report also highlights legislative and model workplace solutions, such as collective bargaining, guaranteed minimum weekly hours, advance notice practices and increased enforcement of current state laws that would enable workers to make ends meet and strengthen the economy.


UFCW Local 1546 represents workers in Illinois and Indiana in a diverse range of industries including grocery and drug retailers; meat cutting, processing, and packing; chemical works; nursing home and healthcare facilities, and many others.

Meet the REAL Bruce Rauner

Republican gubernatorial primary candidate Bruce Rauner calls himself a “breath of fresh air” in the race for Governor, but when you check the facts, you learn his words and actions are polluted. Here’s the fact about the REAL Bruce Rauner.

  1. Just like Governor Scott Walker, Rauner wants to dismantle unions and eliminate pension benefits, but happily reaped huge profits by investing union retirement savings. He wrote about his hatred for unions in the Chicago Tribune, while numerous media reported that Rauner made millions in investment fees by managing pension funds for the Illinois Teachers’ Retirement System (TRS), as co-founder and former chairman of Chicago’s second largest private equity fund (GTCR).
  2. Rauner supports “right-to-work” laws that would rob you of your right to bargain a fair contract. These laws also drive down wages, benefits, and the overall standard of living for anyone outside of Rauner’s 1%, who stand to get richer as the income inequality gap widens.
  3. Rauner invested in nursing homes that dramatically cut costs for profit, resulting in wrongful death and patient-neglect lawsuits that at one point totaled more than $2.3 billion in damages. After Rauner’s firm GTCR bought Trans Healthcare Inc, the now-bankrupt nursing home chain was sued at least a half dozen times by patients and their families. Attorneys have alleged that Rauner’s firm and other investors failed to provide proper funding for care, then shielded their assets to avoid paying damages.
  4. Rauner earns $25,000 an HOUR but called for lowering the minimum wage to $7.25. As soon as the media exposed this comment, the billionaire scrambled to explain his indefensible position, but more video had already surfaced of him saying he was “adamantly, adamantly” opposed to an increase for the lowest income workers among us.
  5. Rauner says he’d “shake up” Springfield, but he’s tied to those who shook it down, like a corrupt Blagojevich crony now in prison. Rauner’s firm owned part of CompBenefits, a company that paid $1 million to convicted felon Stuart Levine to get city and state contracts by “whatever means necessary, including payoffs.” Levine admitted to paying a bribe to get a contract for the company, and while on the payroll, voted to award Rauner’s firm a $50 million contract from the Illinois teachers pension fund in his role as a board member.
  6. Rauner brags about his “average Joe” Carhartt jacket and $18 watch, but he’s no regular guy underneath the costume. The billionaire owns NINE multi-million dollar homes, including a mansion in Chicago suburban Winnetka, two upscale properties in Chicago, and a penthouse in New York City among others.
  7. Rauner sharply criticizes “pay-to-play” politics, but received millions in state business after donating $300,000 to former Pennsylvania Governor Ed Rendell during his campaign. The donation was a clear conflict of interest; Rauner’s firm was managing state pension funds at the time. After Rendell was elected, the state doubled its stake in GTCR funds, resulting in an additional $4 million profit for Rauner. And he has the nerve to accuse union members of bribery?
  8. Rauner loves to bash Democrats, but fails to mention that he’s a big supporter of Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel, his close friend and a sharp critic of pensions. While working with Rauner in the late ’90s, Emanuel made $18 million, which helped spur his run for elective office.
  9. Rauner insists he’s a political “outsider,” but he played a major role in attempts to dismantle public education. Rauner encouraged Jonah Edelman and his “educational reform group” – Stand for Children – to come to Illinois. The group and its wealthy funders like Rauner bragged about “outfoxing the teachers’ unions” and pushed for reforms that would have eliminated collective bargaining and Chicago teachers’ right to strike in 2012.
  10. Rauner pulled strings and clouted his daughter into an elite (union) public school in Chicago after her application was rejected. He personally called then-Chicago schools CEO Arne Duncan to make sure that she was offered one of only 300 spots at Walter Payton College Prep, leapfrogging over 7,000 city applicants. Then, Rauner donated $250,000 to Payton Prep a year later. Rauner lives in wealthy suburban Winnetka, not Chicago.

Billionaire Bruce Rauner has already contributed more than $3 million of his own money to his campaign, with several wealthy friends casually chipping in six-figures and more to come. He is trying to determine the outcome of this election the only way he knows how: by buying it. Rauner is saturating the airwaves with deceptive commercials, hoping you won’t read or share these facts. His money won’t talk if we speak truth to power. Spread the word today.

UFCW Local 1546 represents workers in Illinois and Indiana in a diverse range of industries including grocery and drug retailers; meat cutting, processing, and packing; chemical works; nursing home and healthcare facilities, and many others.


Chicagoans Call for Paid Sick Days

EarnedSickTimePCIn a strong show of support, small business owners, workers, health care practitioners, parents and Chicago Aldermen rallied today at City Council for paid sick days legislation. The group, organized by the Earned Sick Time Chicago Coalition, is calling on City Council to pass an earned sick time ordinance that would guarantee that the nearly half million Chicago workers who do not have access to paid sick days are able to take time off when they or their families are ill.  A recent survey found that 82% of Chicago voters support paid sick days legislation.

“In this economy, it’s more important than ever that people can afford to stay home when they or loved ones are sick, without fear of falling behind on bills or losing their job,” said Alderman Moreno, co-sponsor of the Chicago Earned Sick Time Ordinance. “No working person in Chicago should be forced to choose between their family’s economic security and their family’s health.”

The legislation would enable workers to earn one hour of sick time for every 30 hours worked, up to between 5 and 9 days a year depending on employer size.  It would allow workers to earn time off to care for their own illness, an ill family member, or to attend medical appointments.  It would also allow leave to handle domestic or sexual violence, and if an employee’s place of business is closed or the school of an employee’s child has been closed due to a public health emergency.

Currently, 42% of private sector workers in Chicago do not have access to a single paid sick day, meaning that more than 460,000 Chicago workers can be fired for missing work if they are sick or to care for their sick child or elderly parent. Nationally, nearly one quarter of adults have been fired or threatened with job loss for taking time off to recover from illness or care for a sick loved one.  For low-income workers, for whom the absence of the policy is most costly, almost 80% lack paid sick days.

Deli worker Carlos Romero was sick with the flu and did not have paid sick time.  “Though I would not get paid I called my manager and said I would not be able to come into work,” he said. “I was told I would be fired if I did not show for work, so I went to work sick and put the customers and co workers at risk.  Days later, a co-worker did catch the flu.  Paid sick time is an important policy that allows low-wage workers like myself to be healthy and not contaminate the public.”

The number of intensive care unit flu cases in Chicago hit an all-time high the week of January 11 compared to any week last year, according to the Chicago Department of Health.

Numerous studies and practical experiences with earned sick days show a positive impact on businesses and the economy, and economists say job retention policies like earned sick days help reduce unemployment and strengthen the economy.

In a cost-benefit analysis for the proposed ordinance, the cost to employers for providing earned sick time will be outweighed by the benefits for a savings of over $6 million due to reduced turnover, reduced flu contagion, and increased productivity.

San Francisco, which has had a law in place for six years, was rated by PricewaterhouseCoopers in 2012 as one of the top cities in the world to do business, and more than two in three San Francisco businesses now support the local law; six in seven report no negative impact on profitability.

“When one of my employees is sick, I want them to stay home to get better,” said Teresa Ging owner of Sugar Bliss Cake Boutique.  “Since they are offered paid sick time, my employees stick with me for years and that helps my business run smoothly and boosts the bottom line, as training new employees takes time and is expensive.”

Moreover, paid sick days can reduce emergency room visits and save $12 million a year in Chicago. When food service workers go to work sick, they put the public health at risk; the Center for Disease Control has found that more than 2.5 million cases of foodborne illness each year are caused by sick restaurant workers contaminating food while they are at work.

With support across party lines – polls consistently show that over 80% of voters, including Democrats, Independents and Republicans alike, support paid sick days – and local and national leaders, including President Obama, committing to “redouble our efforts on behalf of fairer workplaces and healthier, more secure families,” momentum for paid sick days legislation is growing across the country.

Across the country, cities have been adopting paid sick days policies to help improve public health and bolster the economic recovery.  Recently, a report from Seattle by Main Street Alliance of Washington found that one year after Seattle’s implementation of earned sick days, the legislation has had no negative impact on business. Today’s rally comes a month after Newark, New Jersey unanimously passed similar legislation. Months earlier, Jersey City passed the first earned sick days law in New Jersey. Washington, D.C. recently expanded their existing paid sick days law to cover all workers, and recently elected New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio led the effort to strengthen his city’s law. In total, seven cities have taken action to help boost the economy by making sure workers can hang on to critical income when ill.

“Chicago families can’t afford to wait any longer,” said Melissa Josephs, director of Equal Opportunity Policy at Women Employed. “We hope this year that Chicago can build off the unprecedented national momentum, giving workers and families much-needed relief and making our city a healthier, more business-friendly place for it.”

The Earned Sick Time Chicago Coalition includes: Action Now, Arise Chicago, Between Friends, Chicago Foundation for Women, EverThrive Illinois, Illinois Chapter, American Academy of Pediatrics, Jobs with Justice, Mujeres Latinas en Accion, National Employment Lawyers Association – IL, Planned Parenthood of Illinois, Rape Victimi Advocates, Restaurant Opportunities Center – Chicago , Sargent Shriver National Center on Poverty Law,  OUR Walmart, Women Employed, YWCA of Metropolitan Chicago, AFSCME Council 31, Amalgamated Transit Union Local 308, Illinois Brotherhood of Electrical Workers Local 21, Illinois Education Association Region 67, Illinois Federation of Teachers, National Nurses United, SEIU Healthcare IL and Indiana, SEIU Local 73, Teamsters 743, Teamsters 777, United Auto Workers Region 4, United Auto Workers Local 2320, United Steel Workers District 7, UFCW Local 881, UFCW Local 1546, Unite-Here Local 1, Workers Organizing Committee of Chicago/Fight for Fifteen, and Workers United