New York City Restrictive Scheduling Bill Would Reduce Job Flexibility and Opportunities

Separate "Worker Empowerment" Bill Creates Deceptive Plan for Collecting Union Dues from Fast Food Employees
  • Publication Date: December 2016

Washington D.C. – Today, the Employment Policies Institute (EPI) criticized the New York City Council’s  inflexible work scheduling bill and “Worker Empowerment” labor union organizing bill, both of which are being introduced today.

Among other provisions, the curiously-named Fair Work Week bill would require fast food employers to post shift schedules at least two weeks in advance and pay a penalty for any subsequent changes. The bill would also require employers to offer available hours to existing employees before hiring new ones.

San Francisco was the first city to pass such scheduling legislation in 2014. Evidence shows it has caused employers to reduce employee flexibility:


  •  A survey of affected San Francisco businesses, conducted by Dr. Lloyd Corder of CorCom Inc, indicates that the workplace flexibility desired by employees was reduced after the law was passed. Specifically, Corder found that more than a third of respondents now offered employees less flexibility to make their own scheduling changes. Corder’s team also found that one-fifth of affected employers were offering fewer part-time positions.

A loss of flexibility matters. Census Bureau data indicates New York City restaurant employees choose their jobs specifically because of shift flexibility needed for personal school or parenting demands:

  • A forthcoming analysis of Census Bureau American Community Survey data by Dr. Aaron Yelowitz of the University of Kentucky finds only 10 percent of part-time fast food employees in New York are working that schedule involuntarily.

The companion “Worker Empowerment” bill ostensibly requires fast food employers to honor employees’ request to make a paycheck deduction of contributions to a “covered nonprofit organization.” But according to the bill’s sponsor, Council Member Julissa Ferreras-Copeland, these “nonprofit organizations” would perform many of the same tasks as traditional unions. This appears to be a backdoor for the SEIU, which has so far failed to gain new dues-paying members at fast food workplaces. The law would require employers to collect and remit the “contributions” that form a union’s revenue stream.


“These bills are designed to reduce part-time employment and boost union organizing,” said Michael Saltsman, research director at EPI. “The city’s elected officials should remember that their job title is ‘Council Member,’ not ‘Shop Steward.'”

For more information, visit To schedule an interview, contact Jordan Bruneau at (202) 463-7650 or [email protected].

The Employment Policies Institute is a nonprofit research organization dedicated to studying public policy issues surrounding employment growth. In particular, EPI focuses on issues that affect entry-level employment. EPI receives support from restaurants, foundations, and individuals.