"So, the problem with clopenings is that you get a very small amount of time from one shift to the next to sleep, eat, do any chores, any classwork you have. Frequently, enough someone will close on Sunday night at the end of our workweek and then open Monday morning. The computer system that is not supposed to let that happen, doesn't understand that the week rolls over. I definitely have co-workers and shift supervisors even that end up getting out of work at 9:30 and getting back to work at 4 AM. It's impossible to function that way.”
Popeye’s worker, Milwaukee, WI
Wisconsin Jobs Now member
“When I get to work only to be sent home again, I lose money because I have to pay for my bus fare and hours of time traveling without any pay for the day. As a grandmother, it’s really tough to juggle all of the demands on my time.”
Target worker, Pico Rivera, CA
“I enjoyed my job as a customer service operator at Target in Pico Rivera, California, but every week was a gamble. Some weeks I worked 13 hours, others I worked 25 hours. I wanted to work at least 40 hours, but a full-time job with stable hours at Target just doesn’t happen – at least not to the co-workers I knew at my former store.
I took the hours I could get – working sometimes as few as three-hour shifts or working a ‘clopen’ shift, which meant I worked a late shift followed by a morning shift the next day. On those days, I got home around midnight, prepared lunches and clothes for my kids, and went to sleep at 1:30 a.m. – only to wake up at 6:45 a.m. to get the kids ready for school. I dropped them off at school before it even opened so I could be at work by 8 a.m. I worked my shift dead tired, barely able to keep my eyes open.”
Starbucks, Seattle, WA
Working Washington member
"I was 16 years old and waking up at 4:30am to take my 4 year old niece to preschool. I would get myself ready for school and then get Kalia ready for the day, we’d hop on the bus to get her preschool by 7am. I would then rush back to the bus stop to get to my high school by 8am. My mom who takes care of Kalia was a Shift Supervisor at Starbucks and had clopening shifts nearly every week. I wanted to participate in school clubs, but I couldn’t because I needed to be there in case my mom’s schedule changed. We got just 4 or 5 days notice. As soon as she left Starbucks I starred in school musical and got involved in the newspaper.
Now I’m 19, graduated from high school and working at Starbucks. I got a recent phone call at 4am and make me think about my mom’s clopening days at the company. I got a phone call at 4 am, just as I was falling asleep. Working closing shifts at Starbucks had shifted my life into the night and 3 am had become my usual bedtime. The call was from my coworker, who had never called me before. As soon as she said my name, I knew why she was calling. She asked if I could cover her 4:30 am -10:30 am shift that morning, She told me that she’d tried every number she could and that she was having difficulty speaking let alone walking and working for six hours. She said she didn't know who else to call or what else she could do. She asked if I could cover even part of her shift.
I said yes. I worked her six hour shift that morning, and then came back an hour later to work my eight hour shift that afternoon. I worked her shift because if I hadn't, no one would have, or worse, she would have tried."
Starbucks worker, Atlanta, GA
Rise Up Georgia member
“Earlier this year, I worked four days in a row with only my shift supervisor in the back to support me. A co-worker called in sick each day, so I was alone serving the entire store. My store has a drive-through, two registers in the front and a coffee bar–and I was the only one tending all of them.
The work was so grueling that I eventually developed a muscle spasm in my back and was forced to stop working for three months in order to recover from my injury.
When I took my struggles to Starbucks, the company listened and showed me that it cared about my problems. I was offered the opportunity to transfer to a store closer to my home so that I could have a shorter commute, and I now know how to indicate my preferred availability for shifts, so that I have a better chance of planning my life outside of work.
I’m grateful for the improvements in my schedule, but I strongly believe that all of us deserve hours we can count on.”
Marshall’s, Emeryville, CA
"I have been working at the Marshalls in Emeryville’s Powell Street Plaza for the past 3 and half years. I work hard at my job and do my best as an employee. I need to work around 20 hours a week to help pay my college tuition as well as help pay rent and support my family. But recently my hours have become fewer and less predictable. In the last scheduling period I wasn’t scheduled for a single shift. With uneven income and rents increasing so drastically in the East Bay, my family was forced to leave the Fruitvale neighborhood where we have lived our entire lives - despite the fact that all 5 of my parents and siblings work. I budget my finances tightly, but without the hours over the past several months I’ve accrued thousands in credit card debt in order to make ends meet. And it’s not just me, I know many retail workers with similar experiences. Having a Fair Work Week in Emeryville would allow me to get the hours that I need in order to pay for college, support my family and have the freedom to live a healthy life where I can plan and control my own time."
Starbucks, Emeryville, CA
Alliance for Californians for Community Empowerment member
"I was born and raised in the East Bay and have worked at the Starbucks Cafe in Barnes and Noble on and off for nearly 10 years now. As a mother of two, I am barely able to make ends meet because of my unpredictable schedule with low hours—sometimes just 15 hours instead of the 25 I usually have. While I dream of someday living in my own home, I have to live with my sister. Having a Fair Work Week in Emeryville would allow me to get more hours to provide for my family, budget my time and plan my life."
DB Shoes, Emeryville, CA
Alliance for Californians for Community Empowerment member
"I have worked at DB Shoes in the Powell Street Plaza in Emeryville for the last 2 years. When I was initially hired on, I was told I would have a full-time job and therefore I planned my life around it. I bought a car so that I could help care for my younger brother and give him rides to and from school. But I never get full-time hours and lately my schedule has been incredibly unpredictable."
T-Mobile, Albuquerque, NM
"I work the morning shift Sunday through Thursday. I have a wife and two little kids. I also go to school. I’m lucky to have a stable schedule, but T-Mobile’s scheduling has made it hard for me to go to school so I can better support and be a model for my children. When I first got my schedule, I realized it wouldn’t allow me to go to school, because the two universities here in Albuquerque all have classes on Monday and Wednesday. But I thought maybe at the next opportunity to bid for a schedule, I will get a better shift. Six or seven bid opportunities have gone by since, and they have yet to give me a schedule that works with school. I realized that there is not a single shift in our call center that would enable workers to attend any classes."
Underemployed worker, San Jose, CA
"In order to survive in San Jose, I’ve had to piece together multiple part time jobs for most of my adult life. Juggling two, sometimes three part-time jobs, childcare for my disabled ten year-old and using public transit to get to medical appointments has really been all but impossible. Having one full time job would mean not having to ask favors from everyone to help pick up my child when I get called in last minute.
It would mean getting home in time to see my kids. It would mean not fearing losing one part-time job at any given time and then not making rent. It would mean not having to travel across town stressed that I might not make it in time to the other job. Quite simply, full time work would mean having the opportunity to work hard and have a job that allows me to be there for my family economically, physically and emotionally."
Cleaner, World Bank/IFC, Washington, DC
“I’ve been cleaning the World Bank/IFC for over 17 years. I always request full-time hours, but they never hire me. They only let me work four hours a day. I try to babysit whenever possible to make extra money, but it’s never enough. My husband works just 5 hours a day cleaning offices in DC, too, and has no health insurance…
My husband and I both need more hours so we can earn more money to stay up to date on our rent and get health insurance. I need treatment for my high blood pressure and high cholesterol. My medicine is very expensive, so I’ve had to alternate, taking one medicine one month and then the other medicine the following month….
I work hard every day and want my 4 children to do better than I do. But without full-time hours, I fear they won’t. Fulltime hours would help the tenants in the buildings and it would help our families, and it would help the City because we could have more money in our pockets to fuel the economy.”
Cleaner, Washington, DC
“Despite wanting more work, I work only five hours a day. I don’t have a choice—that is all that is offered. I wish that I had more hours at my job. It would benefit my family and would help keep the building cleaner. I have two children… All I want is for my children to succeed and to have enough money to live a decent life. I need more hours to be able to pay my bills. Recently, I’ve had a difficult time paying my electric bill for $800; it was almost turned off….
If the companies gave us the option to work full time, I would love to work more hours. It would change my life. I currently also care for my mother. Getting a second job would be difficult because I would be spending so much time commuting to each job that I would not have time to care for my mother. Transportation costs me so much money! The bus is filled with single working mothers like me, who can’t afford their bills or rent. We need one full-time job. Right now I rely on DC Alliance and Medicaid. I shouldn’t have to rely on the government for health care.”
Cleaner, New Britain Courthouse, Connecticut
“I´ve always done this work with pride but, I have to say, life is not easy for part-time cleaners. There is not enough money to pay for all the family needs. Paying for healthcare alone is a struggle. We used to have to pay $600 every month to cover my family. It´s only 5 hours more [to be full time], but it makes a big difference. The extra money always helps to pay groceries and this and that bill. The benefits have been a lifesaver for us too. By having employer-paid family healthcare we no longer have to pay $600 every month to keep our family covered. It has been a blessing. But it shouldn’t have to come to luck. Everyone should be able to make ends meet and have enough hours to pay the bills.”
Cleaner, Sikorsky Aircrafts, Connecticut
“We all do better work when we know that we are not a sickness away from being bankrupt. So many of my part-time coworkers struggle because they don’t have employer paid insurance. I know this woman who has 3 kids who prays for her family to stay healthy because every time they get sick she has to pay her medical bills out of pocket. And if you don’t have full-time hours, you don’t get employer paid healthcare.
This is not fair. So much time is wasted replacing workers who quit because they need more hours and they go elsewhere. Part-time may be necessary sometimes, but we should aim at making sure that good quality full-time jobs are created first.”
Sales Associate, Bath & Body Works
“I work 32-45 hours a week, but they classify me as ‘part-time’ to avoid giving me any benefits. The only people considered ‘full time’ employees are managers. Sales associates like me aren’t eligible for paid time off, heath benefits, or even paid sick days. So when I am forced to call in sick, I lose out on my paycheck. Since my employer doesn’t provide me with health benefits I have to rely on Medicaid.”