Morning Fizz

Mayor and Unanimous Council Sign Off on Secured Scheduling Law

Seattle leads the country, follows the union.

By Josh Feit September 20, 2016

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 1. The city council unanimously passed a secured scheduling ordinance yesterday; council members Lorena González and Lisa Herbold drove the effort through the council, backed by the partially union-funded Working Washington, in concert with mayor Ed Murray, who championed the law from the executive side.

Targeting national chains and big corporations, the law makes companies with 500 or more on-the-clock employees and full-service restaurants (tables with waiters) with more than 500 global employees and 40 locations: provide two weeks notice on schedules, compensate workers for shifts that are suddenly cut, prohibit assigning "clopenings" to employees that don't volunteer for those back-to-back PM/AM shifts (and provide extra compensation for those that do), and guarantee that extra hours are offered to employees before stores hire new part-time workers.

The law does not alter employees’ ability to swap shifts or make last minute changes of their own. As Working Washington executive director Sejal Parikh told me when the push for the ordinance (now the second secured scheduling law in country other than San Francisco) started in earnest in the spring: “The $15 minimum wage was about money, but secure scheduling is about power.”

I buy that. But it also raises questions about union power in this town. Unionized work forces are technically exempt from the law—and the bureaucratic enforcement guidelines. And though the ordinance, saying secured schedules must be bargained, mandates that negotiated secured scheduling deals cannot fall below the standards of the city ordinance, it certainly raises questions about the motives behind the exemption and why, if it's really such a boon for workers, the 500 cutoff.

Some local big names that won't be covered: Tom Douglas restaurants, Ethan Stowell restaurants, Ivar’s (full service) restaurants, and Molly Moons. Many big players certainly will be covered: Starbucks, Costco, Nordstrom, REI, PCC, Metropolitan Market, Kidd Valley, Ivar’s (fast food), Red Robin, Cheesecake Factory, and Denny’s.

I was on KUOW yesterday raising some of these questions.

Having said that: This is certainly a victory for workers at lots of chains like Dominos, for example, where workers reported regular last-minute scheduling. “It will transform the lives of tens of thousands of Seattle workers by recognizing that people who have jobs also have lives and needs outside of work — and requiring that big companies make schedules which respect that our time counts, too,” Working Washington’s Parikh said in a statement yesterday.

2. While the Seattle suburban town of Newcastle (population 10,000) won a cheering editorial from the Seattle Times when its city council decided to come out against ST3 last week, more news from the Eastside came in last night. The Bellevue (population 130,000) city council voted 4-1 to support ST3 and the Issaquah city council (population 33,000) voted unanimously to support ST3.

3. Speaking of your (possible) transportation future: Two items worth reading: A) Yesterday’s news that the federal government, giving the green light to a future of driverless cars, issued preliminary standards for the emerging technology … and if you’ve got the time, B) this 2015 report from the city of London about an emerging technology buzz concept: Mobility as a Service (MaaS.)

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MaaS came to my attention when I was talking to some city planning nerds about the future of transportation in Seattle. And the “usership not ownership” concept—sign up for a menu of transportation sharing options through one portal—strikes me as very apt for our young, techie town.

The report says:

Novel mobility services that heavily rely on technological advances could contribute to seamless mobility. Mobility as a Service (MaaS) is such a concept. The objective of the Feasibility Study‐MaaS project is to propose the design of a MaaS concept for London, the MaaS‐London, and examine its feasibility. To work towards the concept of MaaS‐London, first, the supply and the demand sides of the London transport market are analyzed. There are a variety of mobility services supplied in London such as car clubs (car sharing), ride sharing, bike sharing, public transport, rail and taxi which altogether make London an ideal ground to exploit MaaS‐London. The MaaS‐London is an integrated platform that includes registration and package selection, intermodal journey planning, booking, smart ticketing and payment functions so that the entire chain of transport can be managed in this centralised platform.

However, this requires severe attitudinal changes towards private vehicle ownership. This is especially important when looking at the changing mobility attitudes across generations. While the Baby Boomers vehicle buying habits were fuelled by the car’s role as a status symbol, the significance of car ownership for Millenials has significantly decreased. Instead younger generations place much higher value on the electronic devices, such as laptops and smart phones, they own. While young baby boomers obtained their ultimate sense of freedom from owning their own cars, today teenagers and young adults achieve the same through mobile communication devices.

This shift away from car ownership has brought a new consumer era with itself; the era of usership, instead of ownership. Today, young adults prefer using services rather than owning products. This trend is very visible in the transport sector, where young adults have fueled the emergence of car and bike sharing systems. According to the Carplus annual survey, in 2013 50 percent of car club members are under 34, while only 14 percent are over 50. These services are also able to better serve the increasingly heterogeneous mobility needs of urban residents.

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