On October 24, 2018, the UCLA Labor Center held a lunchtime panel on scheduling and retail worker organizing. The panel featured special guest Lane Windham, Associate Director of Georgetown University’s Kalmanovitz Initiative for Labor and the Working Poor and author of Knocking on Labor’s Door. Other panelists included Janna Shadduck-Hernández and Preeti Sharma from the UCLA Labor Center and Natasha Castro from Los Angeles Alliance for a New Economy (LAANE).
Despite Los Angeles having some of the strongest protections for low-wage workers nationwide, retail workers struggle with unreliable hours and unpredictable schedules that undercut their incomes and chances of living full and healthy lives. The retail sector is the second largest employer in Los Angeles, and recently workers have come together to demand a fair workweek and pass local and state ordinances for advanced schedule notice and guaranteed hours.
The history of retail organizing reveals that this sector led dynamic campaigns from the 1920s to the 1970s. Whether advocating for better pay, 8-hour stable work days, or the right to a union, past campaigns from New York to California illuminate how creative organizing strategies and weak labor laws respectively help and hurt retail workers.
Panelists shared their perspectives on historic campaigns, current policy initiatives, and a recent UCLA Labor Center and LAANE report, Hour Crisis: Unstable Schedules in the Los Angeles Retail Sector.
This event was organized by the UCLA Labor Center and co-sponsored by the UCLA Institute for Research on Labor and Employment, UCLA Luskin Center for History and Policy, UCLA Department of Gender Studies, UCLA History Department, and Georgetown University’s Kalmanovitz Initiative for Labor and the Working Poor. It was free and open to the public.