San Francisco retail workers and their supporters gathered on the steps of City Hall Wednesday morning to show their support for an ordinance that could provide part-time hourly employees at chain stores in the city with more predictable schedules and incomes.
Among the retail workers who came out to champion the Predictable Scheduling and Fair Treatment for Formula Retail Employees Ordinance was 26-year-old Mark Ortiz, who has been employed at the Macy's department store at Union Square for the past three years.
Ortiz said he believes he is in a better position than many others in the retail and service sectors because he has a full-time union position, which makes it possible for him to attend classes regularly at both Laney College and the College of Alameda as he works towards a degree in biology.
But for many workers in San Francisco without full-time unionized positions, and without the benefits given to Macy's employees, Ortiz said he
knows "It feels like a life of servitude."
The ordinance, introduced by Supervisor David Chiu on Sept. 30, is part of a larger legislative package known as the Retail Workers Bill of Rights. Supervisor Eric Mar introduced the first half of the bill of rights over the summer.
The ordinance, co-sponsored by Supervisors David Campos and John Avalos, if enacted would be the first in the country to require predictable schedules and provide compensation to part-time workers for last-minute schedule changes made by employers.
A Board of Supervisors committee considered the legislation at a hearing following Wednesday morning's rally.
Mar said the ordinance would require San Francisco's 1,250 chain stores, including companies such as Target, 7-Eleven, Trader Joe's, Olive Garden and Gap, to "provide real economic security" to its workers and cut down on the growing number of people who involuntarily work part-time.
The ordinance is an effort to help families who are living in limbo to have a better chance to know when they will work and how much money they will make, Chiu said.
Connie Ford, a member of the non-profit organization Jobs With Justice said she is very excited about the proposed ordinance in a city that she referred to as at "the apex of economic disparity."
Tim Paulson, the executive director of the San Francisco Labor Council, said he is confident that the ordinance will be a model for cities around the state and country.