Corporate fat cats lose: San Francisco passes Retail Workers' Bill of Rights

Over business objections, Board of Supervisors unanimously passes measure requiring more predictable hours

By Luke Brinker
November 26, 2014 7:28PM (UTC)
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(Reuters/Jim Young)

Labor advocates cheered Tuesday when the San Francisco Board of Supervisors unanimously passed the nation's first Retail Workers' Bill of Rights, which will require larger employers to give workers at least two weeks' notice of their schedules.

As Dave Jamieson explains, the new law will also force big retailers to award supplemental pay to workers if their schedules undergo unforeseen changes or if their shifts are canceled while they're on call. Moreover, the law stipulates that retailers offer extra hours to current employees, instead of relying on temporary or part-time labor.


The law passed over the objections of the usual suspects, including the San Francisco Chamber of Commerce. But while the law imposes the new requirements on chains with at least 11 locations around the country, small businesses are exempt from its requirements.

Underscoring the reality that progressive change will occur at the state and local level amid unified GOP control of Congress and obstruction of President Obama's initiatives on issues like the minimum wage, supervisors passed the law as similar, Democratic-backed legislation languishes in Congress.

The board's vote comes three weeks after San Franciscans passed another measure championed by labor activists, voting to raise the city's minimum wage to $15 an hour over a three-year period. That vote came amid mounting anxiety over the tech-dominated city's high levels of income inequality, which some measures indicate is comparable with that in developing nations.

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