Friday, November 28, 2014

The Black Friday open line — Santa arrested in Walmart protest

Posted By on Fri, Nov 28, 2014 at 4:19 PM

BOOK HIIM DAN-O: There goes Santa to jail after being arrested with other protesters blocking a California street to protest pay of Walmart employees.
  • BOOK HIIM DAN-O: There goes Santa to jail after being arrested with other protesters blocking a California street to protest pay of Walmart employees.

Our Walmart, the union-backed effort to push Walmart to increase pay and hours for its workers, staged protests at Walmart stores across the country today on the traditional start of the Christmas shopping season. A number were arrested in Sacramento, Calif., where a street block led to the desired arrest of Santa Claus.

The protests, rounded up here, aim at moving pay at Walmart to $15 an hour and to give more people the full-time hours that bring better benefits.

And speaking of retail workers: Vox reports that San Francisco has become the first city to pass a retail workers "bill of rights," on top of a local measure to gradually increase the minimum wage in the city to $15 an hour over three years.

On Tuesday afternoon, San Francisco's Board of Supervisors took another step in that direction, unanimously passing a "retail workers' bill of rights," the first such bill to be passed in a large US city. That "bill" is in fact two pieces of legislation containing five provisions aimed at making life easier for hourly workers at the city's chain restaurants and stores.

Among other things, the bill will require employers to post schedules two or more weeks in advance, give additional hours to part-time employees instead of hiring new workers, and pay employees for any hours they are put "on call," only to have their shifts canceled.

The latest measures are meant to provide protection against unpredictable scheduling, which has become huge problem for low-income workers. Many employers have started using sophisticated "just-in-time" scheduling software, which decides how many workers have to work at a given time based on data points like traffic, sales levels, and even weather, as MSNBC has reported. This type of software has often led to erratic, short shifts for many workers.

This is the open line. 

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