Slate: Malls and Restaurants Schedule Workers at the Last Minute. Oregon Just Made That Illegal

Originally published on Slate on 08/10/2017 5:54 PM

As the Democratic Party continues to flail over what besides resistance to Donald Trump it stands for (what’s the health care plan, anyway?), they can look for inspiration to Oregon, where Democratic Gov. Kate Brown signed the country’s first statewide employee scheduling law on Tuesday.

Starting in July 2018, Oregon will require big companies in retail, hospitality, and food service to give employees schedules at least a week ahead of time, and offer stress pay to workers who don’t get a 10-hour break between shifts. By 2020, employers covered by the law will have to hand out schedules two weeks in advance.

Oregon is the first state to pass such a law, which grows out of a vibrant municipal movement to humanize low-wage fast food and mall jobs that can no longer be thought of as stopgap positions, if they ever were. The median age of a retail employee, for example, is 39. According to a New York state study, most retail workers are breadwinners. It's hard to spend time with your family if you never know when you get off work.

San Francisco, Seattle, and New York City all have similar policies in place. The Oregon bill may be a sign that the movement is about to jump from cities to states. In December, the Illinois attorney general announced that a group of large retailers including Aeropostale and Disney would stop using on-call scheduling after an investigation. A handful of other blue-state AGs are also looking into it. In 2015, Elizabeth Warren introduced a fair scheduling bill in the Senate.

Conservative states have rallied against the movement, drafting pre-emption bills to prevent cities from passing their own ordinances. Georgia, Arkansas, Iowa, Michigan, and Tennessee have such laws on the books. But voters seem to generally approve of protections for low-wage workers: In November, deep-red Arizona voted by referendum to mandate paid sick days, in a rebuke to the Legislature's broad anti-worker pre-emption bill.

The bigger pictures is that scheduling laws are the latest addition to a slate of state-level progressive policies, inspired by city-level reforms, to help the largely ignored 25 million Americans who work in retail and food service. Those include:

  • Paid sick leave laws
  • Bans on noncompete agreements (yes, even Jimmy John’s and Amazon warehouses have forced workers to relinquish their value on the labor market)
  • Minimum-wage hikes

It’s adding up to something like a platform. Want to be the party of workers? Go to where the jobs are.

In that sense, it could be a particularly salient counterpoint to Donald Trump’s inane quest to resuscitate the tiny, tiny coal-mining industry, with its immoral effects on both workers and the environment. Retail work is flagging in some sectors but remains an enormous section of the labor force (16 million workers), and warehouse employment is skyrocketing to keep pace with e-commerce demand. Restaurants have created more jobs since January than health care, construction, or manufacturing.

That reflects a structural change in American life. In 2016, for the first time ever, Americans spent more money at restaurants and bars than on groceries. We’ve been eating out more since the ’70s, when female labor force participation was rising dramatically. But even as that rate has plateaued and slowed, the trend toward restaurant spending has increased as young people delay marriage and household formation. It also helps that the supermarket is cheaper than ever, meaning we can spend more money away from home. (It’s not just that Americans are trading TV dinners for Chipotle; it’s also that we are spending less on groceries—down from 8.3 percent of disposable income in 1982 to 5.7 percent in 2011.) By 2020, Derek Thompson writes at the Atlantic, restaurant work will surpass manufacturing.

In short, there is nothing niche about improving the quality of retail and restaurant work.

Why don’t we pay as much attention to retail and restaurant jobs? Demographics are partly to blame. The retail jobs that have been hardest hit by job loss tend to be held by females and an above-average share of minorities. The female employment share in restaurant work is two points above the BLS average; the black-American share is two points above, and the Hispanic share is nine points above. This translate to a perceived lack of value, Slate’s Jamelle Bouie wrote in April:

Work is gendered and it is racialized. What work matters is often tied to who performs it. It is no accident that those professions dominated by white men tend to bring the most prestige, respect, and pay, while those dominated by women—and especially women of color—are often ignored, disdained, and undercompensated.

But the problem is also that restaurant and retail jobs just aren’t that good. They pay, on average, just over half as much as manufacturing jobs. They don’t provide the routine shifts of punch-in, punch-out factory work.

Make the jobs better, and people will care more about them—both politicians and the workers who hold them. Fair scheduling is a more bulletproof policy than the progressive stalwart Fight for $15. (There are early signs that the rising-to-$15-wage has caused low-income workers to take home less as a group, even in booming Seattle.) Ensuring that workers have predictable, human schedules could be easily implemented across rich and poor cities, and it doesn’t need to cost a dime.

Vox: Oregon Workers Won't Get Crazy Schedules Next Year

Originally published on Vox on 08/10/2017 4:16 PM

Starting next year, workers in Oregon will no longer get crazy work schedules —for the most part. On Tuesday, Gov. Kate Brown signed the Fair WorkWeek bill into law, making Oregon the first state to require large employers to give workers advanced notice of their schedules.

The law mandates that businesses with more than 500 employees give workers at least one week’s notice of their work hours starting next year, and two weeks’ notice starting in 2020. They must also compensate employees for last-minute schedule changes and give them at least a 10-hour break between shifts.

This marks the latest victory for labor activists who have been pushing progressive cities and states across the country to do more for low-wage workers, whether by raising the minimum wage or requiring employers to offer workers paid parental leave.

Advocates hope that more states — blue states, at least — will follow Oregon’s lead and pressure Republicans in Congress to take action. “We do hope that that pressure across the country will bring momentum and urgency to find a national solution,” said Elianne Farhat, who directs the Fair Work Week campaign at the Center for Popular Democracy.

Irregular scheduling disrupts people’s lives

People working low-wage jobs in retail, health care, and restaurants are the workers who get stuck with the most erratic work schedules, according to research from the University of Oregon. They tend to be young women of color who have children at home.

Labor economists at the Economic Policy Institute, a left-leaning think tank, estimate that about 17 percent of US workers have unstable schedules. That, in turn, is linked to higher rates of work-family conflict and stress.

While the federal government has limited data on how many workers are subject to irregular scheduling, a few surveys suggest that the problem has been growing as the economy shifts away from manufacturing and toward services. Nearly 80 percent of all US jobs are now in the service sector.

Last year, researchers from the university’s Labor and Education Center interviewed 750 workers from a variety of professions in Oregon. One in six said their supervisors had given them less than 24 hours’ notice of their job shift, and nearly three-quarters got less than two weeks advance notice. About 44 percent said they had worked back-to-back shifts, and 41 percent had been sent home early from their shift.

Hectic scheduling wreaks havoc on workers’ lives. Tia Raynor, a US Army veteran who did two tours in Iraq, worked for two years as a barista at a coffee shop in the Portland International Airport. She could be scheduled to work a shift as early as 3:30 am or one that ended as late as midnight.

Raynor, who traveled to Salem, Oregon, to tell lawmakers about the impact of her work schedule on her life as they were debating the scheduling law, said she didn’t have any choice in which shifts she got. She often had to scramble to find someone to cover her evening shifts at a second job as a banquet server — which she needed to supplement her minimum wage earnings.

But the worst days were when her manager at the coffee shop scheduled her for a late-night shift followed by an early morning shift the next day, she said, a retail practice known as“clopening.”

“It’s difficult to do that to your body,” said Raynor, who is now 33. “There were days I would work 48 hours in a row. Then I would go to my other job sleep and for an hour or two in parking lot. When that was done I would sleep for another hour or two and then go back to the coffee shop.”

It was her only option, she said, because otherwise she would have been homeless. Her erratic schedule made it impossible for her to get proper treatment for her PTSD. Raynor wanted to get off her medication, but was unable to make plans to attend the weekly group therapy sessions.

She’s happy that lawmakers have decided to stop the kind of “scheduling abuse” she has lived with for years. She no longer works at the coffee shop, but she still juggles three banquet-serving jobs. She’s expecting her first child, and she said it gives her peace of mind to know that employers will need to give workers some level of stability in their lives.

“It’s so good to know that when I make an appointment for the doctor, I will already know my schedule,” said Raynor, who lives in Portland. “If I need to take my kid to the doctor, I will be able to make an appointment.”

The problem is worst for service workers

Last year, Seattle and San Francisco became the first cities to pass laws protecting workers from irregular scheduling. New York City followed in May.

The Oregon law passed with bipartisan support after Democratic lawmakers worked with Republicans to tweak the law and make it more flexible for employers. Now lawmakers in Chicago, Connecticut, California, North Carolina, and Massachusetts are considering similar bills.

The real goal for advocates, though, is a nationwide law. Raynor argues that Republicans should support the laws as a way to get people back to work. Her mother, who was single, had trouble juggling several jobs precisely because of the “scheduling chaos.” So they ended up on food stamps because she couldn’t count on a fixed schedule and steady source of income.

“People can get out of poverty if they could just plan their lives a bit better,” says Raynor. “I really think this is the first step to getting people off public assistance.”

Still, it’s unlikely that Congress would take up the issue at the national level anytime soon, particularly after stalled efforts to raise the minimum wage and create a paid family leave program. Democrats in Congress are trying anyway. In June, Rep. Rosa DeLauro (D-CT) introduced the Schedules That Work Act with Sen. Elizabeth Warren. The law requires employers to post schedules two weeks in advance for workers in retail, food service, and cleaning jobs. It also guarantees some compensation for employees whose schedules are changed at the last minute, or who are assigned particularly difficult shifts.

So far, no Republicans have co-sponsored the bill. The lack of support among Republicans suggests that workers in blue states will be more likely to get these protections, while those who live in red states are left behind.

Refinery 29: What 5 Oregon Women Think Of The First State-Level Fair Scheduling Law

Originally published on 08/10/2017 3:50 PM

Oregon became the first state to require that employers give workers advance notice of their schedules when Gov. Kate Brown signed a fair scheduling bill into law on Tuesday.

The "Fair Work Week" Act guarantees people working for food, hospitality, and retail companies with more than 500 employees notice of their upcoming schedule. It also allows a break of at least 10 hours between shifts (meaning no quick turnarounds to work consecutive closing and opening shifts), and prohibits employers from retaliating when employees express their schedule needs.

Major cities such as New York City and San Francisco have passed similar laws, but no other states have protections in place for food and retail workers' schedules. And because most low-wage workers are women (many of whom work for food, hospitality, and retail companies), the Oregon law will inevitably benefit female workers.

"While D.C. has lost sight of working Americans, Oregon lawmakers came together this session to help workers balance life and their job with the first statewide Fair Work Week bill," Gov. Brown said on Facebook. "Here in Oregon, we keep moving forward."

Refinery29 talked to five Oregon women who currently or previously work in the affected industries, and they all — along with the Oregon Working Families Party that led the coalition in support of the bill — hope to see more states follow in Oregon's footsteps.

"This is a huge moment for labor rights in America," said Hannah Taube, spokesperson for the Oregon Working Families Party, in a statement sent to Refinery29. "We hope Oregon is the first of many states to expand scheduling protections for workers — knowing when you work more than a day in advance is essential to parents, students, and many other workers trying to make ends meet with two or three different jobs."

Mic: Oregon Just Became the Country’s First State to Make Fair Work Scheduling the Law

Originally published on Mic on 08/10/2017

One of the biggest wins for fair work scheduling since the advent of the weekend just became law in Oregon.

Gov. Kate Brown signed into law on Tuesday the nation’s first-ever statewide fair-scheduling law, increasing protections for Oregon workers with increasingly volatile work schedules.

The bill, known in Oregon as the “Fair Work Week Act” mandates that large companies with more than 500 employees nationwide notify workers at least a week in advance of their upcoming schedules. It also mandates a minimum of 10 rest hours between daily shifts.

While cities like New York City and San Francisco have passed similar measures, Oregon is the first to pass the policy statewide.

Fair scheduling has increasingly become a major issue for low-wage workers, as large companies often rely on such employees to be available for last-minute schedules with little to no notice.

A 2014 New York Times report cited several Starbucks employees who described erratic scheduling that made it all but impossible to maintain a family life outside of work. And according to Reuters, one in six Oregonians reported having less than 24 hours notice of their work schedules.

CNN Money: Oregon is Now The First State to Mandate When Workers Get Their Schedules

Originally published on CNN Money on 08/09/2017 4:48 PM

Oregon is now the first state in the country to require that employers give workers their schedules at least a week in advance.

Governor Kate Brown, a Democrat, signed the measure on Tuesday. It was passed by the state legislature in June.

"While DC has lost sight of working Americans, Oregon lawmakers came together this session to help workers balance life and their job with the first statewide Fair Work Week bill," Brown said on Facebook last week.

The new law takes aim at on-call scheduling, whereby employees are tapped to work on short notice. This often causes workers' schedules to fluctuate a great deal, and makes planning for child care and transportation more difficult.

It's a particularly common practice for workers in lower-wage industries, such as fast food and retail.

One in six Oregonians receive less than 24 hours of notice before their shifts, according to a survey the University of Oregon Labor Education and Research Center published in February.

Related: Does your employer offer these 5 key benefits?

Now, Oregon is mandating that the state's largest employers in the retail, hospitality and food service industries -- those with more than 500 workers -- give employees their schedules in writing at least a week ahead of time.

They'll also have to give workers a 10-hour break between shifts, or pay them extra.

The law goes into effect in July 2018.

Starting in 2020, affected employers will have to give workers their schedules two weeks in advance.

"It will lead to a happier and healthier workforce which is a victory all Oregonians," said state Sen. Tim Knopp, a Republican who backed the effort. "It is important that businesses can operate under one set of scheduling guidelines [statewide]."

Similar bills have become law in cities like Seattle, San Francisco and New York.

But Oregon is the first state to enact such a statute.

"This is a huge moment for labor rights in America," said Hannah Taube, a spokeswoman for the Oregon Working Families Party, which supported the bill. " ... We hope Oregon is the first of many states to expand scheduling protections for workers."

Bloomberg: Labor Activists Applaud First Statewide ‘Fair Scheduling’ Law

Originally published on Bloomberg on 08/09/2017 1:24 PM ET

Starting next summer, companies in Oregon will have to give workers at least seven days’ notice about when they’ll have to work, according to legislation signed Tuesday by Governor Kate Brown. A handful of major cities have passed “fair scheduling” laws, but Oregon is the first state to do so and the biggest victory on the issue so far for labor activists.

For organizers, giving employees advance notice of their schedules is part of a broader effort to improve the quality of shift work and low-wage jobs, along with campaigns to raise the minimum wage or to grant workers to paid sick days. Oregon’s law also guarantees workers extra pay if their schedules get changed on short notice or if they’re scheduled to work two shifts with less than 10 hours in between.

The new laws are partly a response to the growth in service sector shift-work and to an increasing effort by managers (and corporate parents or franchisers) to pay workers only for the minutes they’re most needed. New software makes it easier for employers to fiddle with scheduling and payroll, giving them the ability to decide at the last minute whether a waitress is needed the next day or to send her home early as soon as there’s a lull in business.

Workers’ rights advocates say that kind of unpredictability creates financial instability for workers and wreaks havoc on their ability to arrange childcare, school or a second job. They cite studies suggesting erratic scheduling creates more psychological distress and has an adverse effect on the amount of time parents spend with their kids.

“You’re always kind of in this state of limbo, and that can be really frustrating when you’re trying to plan your social life or your finances,” said Hali Anderson, a 24-year-old restaurant server who lobbied in support of Oregon’s new bill. “There were months where I was eating food out of the garbage because my hours were getting cut.”

Business groups, on the other hand, say regulating schedules creates more problems than it solves. “We’re getting further and further down a path where people who aren’t familiar with what it takes to run a restaurant are trying to insert themselves in a conversation and dictating business terms,” said Kevin Dugan, who directs government affairs for the New York State Restaurant Association. “That gets very dangerous.”

The bill passed Oregon’s Democratic-controlled House and Senate with substantial Republican support, thanks to concessions like a provision banning Oregon’s municipalities from passing their own more stringent schedule rules. Jeff Anderson, secretary-treasurer of Oregon’s United Food & Commercial Workers local, said lawmakers were effectively spooked by the prospect of more aggressive ballot initiatives or by city-level legislation. “They knew we were serious,” he said.

Oregon’s new law takes effect next summer. Large retail, hospitality, and food service companies will be required to inform workers in the state of their shifts at least 7 days beforehand; starting in 2020, 14 days notice will be required.

Supporters hope the policy will spread quickly to other states and cities, an approach that’s not as efficient as one federal law but, in an era of Republican control, more likely to be successful. “You end up as close as you can get to a quasi-national standard without congress acting,” said Brian Kettenring, the co-executive director of the progressive non-profit Center for Popular Democracy.

There are similar mandates up for debate in Connecticut, California, Maryland, Ohio and North Carolina, as well as in Chicago. But the local measures are also limited by Republican control at the state level, where in many states, legislators have blocked statewide pro-labor measures and banned cities from passing their own.

 

Moderate and conservative parts of the country will stay skeptical about curbing companies’ discretion to adjust schedules based on business needs, said attorney Paul DeCamp, who represents employers. Besides, said DeCamp, who ran the Wage and Hour Division of the federal Department of Labor under George W. Bush, “It is something of a good thing for there to be an incentive for employees to move up from and out of those entry-level jobs where you are at the whim of your employer with regard to scheduling.” 

Labor leaders who’ve helped pass legislative mandates like “fair scheduling” say they’re no substitute for unionization, which remains in decades-long decline. The new laws are welcome, but collective action will be needed to get companies to actually comply with them, said Larry Engelstein, executive vice president of the Service Employees International Union’s East Coast property services local. “Workplace laws of all kinds,” he said, “are under-enforced.”

    My Central Oregon: Oregon Creates First-In-the-Nation Law to Protect Workers from Unfair Scheduling

    Originally published on My Central Oregon 08/09/2017

    TodayGovernor Kate Brown today signed Oregon’s “Fair WorkWeek” Legislation into law — making Oregon the first state in the nation to protect low wage workers from unpredictable scheduling. The law, SB-828 specifically protects workers in retail, hospitality, and foodservice at large employers from erratic scheduling that has left many parents and students unable to care for children or attend classes in any predictable way.

    “This is a huge moment for labor rights in America,” said Hannah Taube, spokesperson for the Oregon Working Families Party, who led the coalition to pass the bill,  “Oregon’s Fair Work Week Legislation is one of the most important labor victories in decades for low-wage workers. We hope Oregon is the first of many states to expand scheduling protections for workers — knowing when you work more than a day in advance is essential to parents, students, and many other workers trying to make ends meet with two or three different jobs.”

    Fair scheduling has become a major focus of low-wage labor activists across the country in recent years, and Oregon’s law will likely become a model for numerous other states mulling similar protections. Scheduling protections have been most important to working parents, most of whom need to plan child care far more than a day in advance, and to low-wage working families who work multiple jobs to make ends meet and can’t accommodate last minute shift changes.

    The legislation specifically covers large employers with more than 500 employees, but advocates hope it will have a positive effect on employees across Oregon whose employers will feel pressure to compete with the better scheduling now offered by larger chains.

    Oregon’s Fair Work Week Law has the following key components:

    1. Provide a good faith estimate of hours and on-call shifts at time of hire, and revisit that as needed,

    2. Provide written work schedules to employees two weeks in advance, after a phase in period with 7 day requirements,

    3. Provide Predictability Pay, which establishes that unplanned schedule changes should include pay for half of hours not worked, when employees were scheduled, and an hour extra of pay when hours are added to shifts by employers, and

    4. That any scheduled shifts, unless consented to or requested by employee, have 10 hours of rest between each.

     

    Eugene Register Guard: Passing Fair Work-Week Bill Was Right Thing To Do

    Originally published on The Register Guard on 07/12/2017

    Oregon has approved legislation with bipartisan support mandating predictable work schedules for low-wage employees, making it the first state in the country to adopt the labor protection.

    A bill approved by the state House Thursday and previously passed by the state Senate on bipartisan lines requires large employers in the food service, retail and hospitality industries to provide advance scheduling notice to their workers. It intends to guarantee workers greater freedom to plan their lives and spend time with family.

    Oregon Gov. Kate Brown (D) plans to sign the measure in the coming weeks after a legal review, a spokesman said. The law will take effect in July 2018.

    “Especially at this moment in the country, when Congress is trying to strip overtime protections and take us backward, it is inspiring to see policymakers in Oregon take this bold measure to finally update workplace standards for the realities of today’s work week,” said Carrie Gleason, director of the Center for Popular Democracy’s Fair Workweek initiative.

    The bill would require employers in affected industries with 500 employees or more to inform workers of their schedules one week beforehand. The notice period would increase to two weeks in 2020. The law also mandates that workers receive 10 hours of rest between shifts, or else get paid an overtime rate of time and half for their work.

    Although Oregon is the first state to pass “fair work week” legislation, New York, San Francisco, Seattle and Washington are among major cities that have enacted similar measures.

    The legislation culminated a growing movement among labor unions and other progressive groups to scale back flexible scheduling practices that have taken hold in industries typically dominated by low-wage workers.

    The most notorious of these practices is known as on-call scheduling, in which companies ask workers to keep their days open in case they are needed. It allows employers to call employees to work on a moment’s notice and send them home just as quickly based on business needs, effectively preventing workers from planning other aspects of their lives.

    Six major retailers announced that they were abandoning on-call scheduling in December amid growing pressure from state attorneys general concerned it might conflict with existing labor laws.

    In Oregon, the Center for Popular Democracy provided policy research and strategic advice to the Oregon Fair Workweek Coalition, which led the push for the new law. Key coalition members included the Oregon Working Families Party and the regional chapter of the United Food and Commercial Workers union.

    The coalition pressured lawmakers to take up the issue by gathering enough signatures to make it a referendum on the ballot in the 2018 midterm elections.

    They also won the support of Republican lawmakers and business groups by excluding manufacturing and other industries that depend on being able to change workers’ hours on short notice.

    Oregon is a national leader in other progressive labor legislation. In December 2015, it became the fourth state to guarantee workers paid sick leave.

     

    Vox: Retail and Restaurant Workers Have the Worst Schedules. Oregon Plans to Change That.

    Originally published on Vox on 07/10/2017 9:30 am ET

    In the next upcoming battle for workers’ rights, activists aren’t asking for more money or more time off. They just want workers to get a little advance notice about what their schedule will be.

    Activists for better working conditions have scored victories lately. This year, 19 states increased their minimum wage — the result of a coordinated state-by-state campaign to take action on an issue that the federal government has basically ignored for a decade. And a handful of cities and states have passed laws requiring employers to offer workers paid parental leave.

    Those fights aren’t over. But progressive cities and states are taking on another issue that affects low-wage workers in retail and restaurant jobs: work schedules that can change with less than 24 hours’ notice and that can require workers to pull back-to-back shifts. Oregon is poised to become the first state in the nation to pass a statewide fair scheduling law.

    Advocates hope that more states — blue states, at least — will follow Oregon’s lead and pressure Republicans in Congress to take action. “We do hope that that pressure across the country will bring momentum and urgency to find a national solution,” said Elianne Farhat, who directs the Fair Work Week campaign at the Center for Popular Democracy.

    Irregular scheduling disrupts people’s lives

    People working low-wage jobs in retail, health care, and restaurants are the workers who get stuck with the most erratic work schedules, according to research from the University of Oregon. They tend to be young women of color who have children at home.

    Labor economists at the Economic Policy Institute, a left-leaning think tank, estimate that about 17 percent of US workers have unstable schedules. That, in turn, is linked to higher rates of work-family conflict and stress.

    While the federal government has limited data on how many workers are subject to irregular scheduling, a few surveys suggest that the problem has been growing as the economy shifts away from manufacturing and toward services. Nearly 80 percent of all US jobs are now in the service sector.

    Last year, researchers from the university’s Labor and Education Center interviewed 750 workers from a variety of professions in Oregon. One in six said their supervisors had given them less than 24 hours’ notice of their job shift, and nearly three-quarters got less than two weeks advance notice. About 44 percent said they had worked back-to-back shifts, and 41 percent had been sent home early from their shift.

    Hectic scheduling wreaks havoc on workers’ lives. Tia Raynor, a US Army veteran who did two tours in Iraq, worked for two years as a barista at a coffee shop in the Portland International Airport. She could be scheduled to work a shift as early as 3:30 am or one that ended as late as midnight.

    Raynor, who traveled to Salem, Oregon, to tell lawmakers about the impact of her work schedule on her life as they were debating the scheduling law, said she didn’t have any choice in which shifts she got. She often had to scramble to find someone to cover her evening shifts at a second job as a banquet server — which she needed to supplement her minimum wage earnings.

    But the worst days were when her manager at the coffee shop scheduled her for a late-night shift followed by an early morning shift the next day, she said, a retail practice known as“clopening.”

    “It’s difficult to do that to your body,” said Raynor, who is now 33. “There were days I would work 48 hours in a row. Then I would go to my other job sleep and for an hour or two in parking lot. When that was done I would sleep for another hour or two and then go back to the coffee shop.”

    It was her only option, she said, because otherwise she would have been homeless. Her erratic schedule made it impossible for her to get proper treatment for her PTSD. Raynor wanted to get off her medication, but was unable to make plans to attend the weekly group therapy sessions.

    She’s happy that lawmakers have decided to stop the kind of “scheduling abuse” she has lived with for years. She no longer works at the coffee shop, but she still juggles three banquet-serving jobs. She’s expecting her first child, and she said it gives her peace of mind to know that employers will need to give workers some level of stability in their lives.

    “It’s so good to know that when I make an appointment for the doctor, I will already know my schedule,” said Raynor, who lives in Portland. “If I need to take my kid to the doctor, I will be able to make an appointment.”

    The problem is worst for service workers

    Last year, Seattle and San Francisco became the first cities to pass laws protecting workers from irregular scheduling. New York City followed in May.

    The Oregon law, known as the Fair Workweek Act, requires businesses with more than 500 employees to give workers at least one week’s advance notice of their schedule starting next year, and two weeks’ notice starting in 2020. They must also compensate employees for last-minute schedule changes and give them at least a 10-hour break between shifts. The law only applies to workers in Oregon, regardless of where the company is based.

    The law passed with bipartisan support after Democratic lawmakers worked with Republicans to tweak the law and make it more flexible for employers. Now lawmakers in Chicago, Connecticut, California, North Carolina, and Massachusetts are considering similar bills.

    The real goal for advocates, though, is a nationwide law. Raynor argues that Republicans should support the laws as a way to get people back to work. Her mother, who was single, had trouble juggling several jobs precisely because of the “scheduling chaos.” So they ended up on food stamps because she couldn’t count on a fixed schedule and steady source of income.

    “People can get out of poverty if they could just plan their lives a bit better,” says Raynor. “I really think this is the first step to getting people off public assistance.”

    Still, it’s unlikely that Congress would take up the issue at the national level anytime soon, particularly after stalled efforts to raise the minimum wage and create a paid family leave program. Democrats in Congress are trying anyway. In June, Rep. Rosa DeLauro (D-CT) introduced the Schedules That Work Act with Sen. Elizabeth Warren. The law requires employers to post schedules two weeks in advance for workers in retail, food service, and cleaning jobs. It also guarantees some compensation for employees whose schedules are changed at the last minute, or who are assigned particularly difficult shifts.

    So far, no Republicans have co-sponsored the bill. The lack of support among Republicans suggests that workers in blue states will be more likely to get these protections, while those who live in red states are left behind.