Workers with Just Hours campaign protest underemployment at NRF during Bill Simon speech

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Media Advisory: RETAIL WORKERS TO PROTEST JUST-IN-TIME WORKFORCE PRACTICES AT NATIONAL RETAIL FEDERATION EXPO on JANUARY 15 at 9:30am

Just Hours campaign holds Walmart’s CEO accountable for underemployment in industry

Yana Walton, Retail Action Project
O: 646-490-5925 C: 646-453-9816                                                
E-mail: yana@retailactionproject.org

New York, NY:  As Walmart CEO Bill Simon delivers the keynote address at the National Retail Federation’s BIG Show Tuesday, January 15th, retail workers with the Just Hours campaign are holding the retail industry leadership accountable for part-time jobs without predictable schedules, steady paychecks, paid sick days or health insurance. Workers say these scheduling trends make survival on poverty wages nearly impossible and are protesting in front of the Javits center at 9:30am.

When: Tuesday, January 15th at 9:30am
Where: Jacob Javits Center entrance (36th Street & 11th Avenue)
What: Workers from Just Hours campaign protest at National Retail Federation

Who: Interviews with retail workers, Walmart workers, President of the Retail, Wholesale, and Department Store Union, Director of the Retail Action Project, Leaders from Walmart-Free NYC, ALIGN, and ROC-NY

Carrie Gleason, the Executive Director of the Retail Action Project, a membership organization of retail workers dedicated to improving careers in the industry, explains that the “ ‘Walmartization’ of retail has turned this expo into a convention on how to just-in-time the retail workforce. The NRF says ‘Retail Means Jobs,’ but these aren’t the kind of jobs Americans need to boost our economy. Rather, the industry is fueling a crisis of underemployment as workers continue to be part-timed.”

Walter Arevalo, a former Walmart worker from New Jersey said, “I worked at Walmart for two years as a stock associate. My schedule was never predictable, and it only came out a few days ahead of time, making it hard for me to arrange childcare for my daughter. Once it was posted, it changed all the time -without anyone asking me if the changes were okay, or telling me about them. I’d show up to work get asked what I was doing there, or get called on my day off asking me where I was. It was crazy. I never knew how much my paycheck would be. This is why I’m fighting for Just Hours.”

Part-time jobs punctuated by unpredictable and erratic schedules are becoming the industry norm as retailers rely on scheduling software that leaves workers with last-minute schedules and few hours. This disturbing trend make childcare for caregivers or classes for students exceedingly difficult to plan.  Additionally, this leaves much of the workforce without basic benefits and fuels turnover. According to a CUNY Study, almost 60% of the retail workforce is hired as part-time, temporary or holiday, and only 17% of workers surveyed have a set schedule. Further, 70% of workers don’t even get one week’s notice of their schedules.

That’s why retail workers with the Just Hours campaign are fighting to restore the fair workweek.  “America’s largest retailers play an important role in our nation’s economy and in the well-being of millions of lives,” said Stuart Appelbaum, President of the Retail, Wholesale and Department Store Union (RWDSU, UFCW). “Retailers like Walmart could provide the nation with a much needed economic boost by paying higher wages and providing stable scheduling –  while still remaining profitable and continuing to offer low prices.  By part-timing their workforce, they’re hurting both workers and our economy by fueling underemployment.”

Retail workers from the Just Hours campaign, joined by workers and community groups like Walmart-Free NYC, the Retail, Wholesale and Department Store Union (RWDSU, UFCW) ALIGN, ROC-NY will protest Walmart CEO Bill Simon’s speech on retail leadership and economic growth while his companies’ actions have led to low-wage jobs, unpredictable work schedules, underemployment, and cuts to benefits that force many workers to rely on public assistance to provide for their families. Press are invited to attend:

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