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Posts published in “Day: September 10, 2015”

Schedule abuse

From an open letter by Portland City Commissioner Steve Novick:

Across the country, retail firms are using new scheduling technology to squeeze every last dollar out of their workers—at enormous cost.

With constant, last-minute schedule changes and shift combinations that allow less than 7 hours of sleep, it’s throwing low-income parents into lives of perpetual crisis, as they struggle to arrange for childcare, plan their lives, and stay healthy. In the Oregonian, Steve Duin says it’s turning “low-income parents into the Walking Dead."

I call it abusive scheduling, and it has to stop.

One of the proudest moments of my service on the City Council was our unanimous vote to guarantee some paid sick leave to every employee in Portland. We provided the leadership the state of Oregon needed on that day, and I want to do it again for this pressing issue.

We can solve this problem. One example we could use was set by the City of San Francisco, where they passed a law that requires workers to be given at least two weeks’ notice of their shifts, or get extra pay for short-notice shifts.

But there’s a catch—as part of some deals that were struck in the last legislative session, the Oregon State Legislature voted to prohibit local governments like the City of Portland from acting on scheduling protection until July 2017.

This is where I part ways with some people in my own party. Because low-income families can’t wait until July 2017. They need help now. Our state government should either protect low-income parents right away - by enacting statewide legislation in the 2016 short session - or at least repeal the preemption and let the City of Portland lead.

Over the coming months, I’ll be raising my voice and working with my colleagues at the City of Portland and in the state legislature to get this resolved.

So please, call your legislators (get contact information here) and ask for action on abusive scheduling in February. And if you or a person you know is being hurt by scheduling practices like this, please respond to this email with your story. I’d love to hear from you.

First take/Wheeler

Usually, the presumption for re-election goes an incumbent when the incumbent hasn't done a horrible job or isn't mired in scandal. Portland's Charlie Hales, who is up for re-election next year and expected to seek a second term, has neither of those problems, and has been more or less what he was sold as the first time: A stable, workaday mayor. And he could be re-elected against any number of other contenders. His odds for next year don't look so good against Ted Wheeler, though. If Governor John Kitzhaber hadn't flamed out earlier this year, giving the 2016 gubernatorial advantage to now-incumbent Kate Brown, State Treasurer Wheeler would likely have been the front-runner for governor in 2018 (even though he would have been termed out of office by then). His work has been praised as both competent and innovative at each of the offices he has held so far, as treasurer and as chair of the Multnomah County Commission (his easy election to which showed the already-existing depth of his local support). He has expertise in financial management and a policy palette that makes him appealing to a range of Democrats, a strong combination for Portland. When he announced, he said this: "I’m running for Mayor because I don’t believe we can be a progressive city unless we’re making real progress for the people who need our help the most. Unfortunately, that’s not what’s happening today. I know we can do better and when I’m Mayor, we will do better." That may sound like boilerplate for a campaign announcement, but his background and track record actually put some meat on those bones. A good many Portlanders recognize that already, which is a big reason Charlie Hales has abruptly become the guy in second place scrambling to keep his job. - rs