Contact: Yana Walton
New York, NY – Workers at Juicy Couture’s flagship store on 5th Avenue in Manhattan are drawing attention to the high-end retailer’s recent replacement of good full-time jobs with part-time positions as part of the Just Hours Campaign to address the underemployment crisis caused by corporate retailers’ unpredictable, part-time scheduling practices. According to a recent store schedule, just 19 of the store’s 128 employees are full-time, and workers report that all part time workers’ hours were capped at just 21 per week.
Juicy Couture joins the Just Hours Campaign’s list of worst players, and members from the Retail Action Project who worked at Juicy Couture are uniting to stop these practices. Workers created a petition on Coworker.org to ask Juicy to stop cutting workers’ hours and firing full-time workers, and they’re delivering nearly 5,000 signatures to the flagship store this Thursday, April 18th demanding answers.
What: Just Hours Juicy Couture petition delivery action
Where: Juicy Couture Flagship Store – 650 5th Avenue (52nd Street)
When: 11:30am on Thursday, April 18th
Darrell McCall is a member of the Retail Action Project (RAP), a membership organization of retail workers dedicated to improving standards and opportunities in the industry. Darrell was a successful full time Juicy sales associate for over two years, and says “When I started at Juicy, I thought I’d gotten a good job since Juicy is a luxury retailer. But when they started cutting hours and eliminating full time positions for everyone who wasn’t a manager, I knew we weren’t being treated fairly. I was inspired by my fellow retail workers who took action at Abercrombie and Fitch last year, standing up for Just Hours and predictable schedules we can live with, so I started this petition to make sure Juicy provides opportunities for their workers.
Darrell teamed up with another Juicy Couture worker, a father who worked in the stock department named Duane Davis who explains: “When I started, I also got 40 hours a week, but I struggled along with my coworkers as our hours were cut. Eventually, I was down to 14 hours each week. When I asked for more hours, they said they couldn’t give them to me because I didn’t have open availability – because of my daughter. We’re only eligible for paid time if we work 1400 hours in one year. We quickly did the math, and realized part-time workers would never hit 1400 hours at 21 hours per week.”
Carrie Gleason, RAP’s Executive Director says that “Employer scheduling practices determine much retail workers take home in pay, whether or not they receive health benefits and paid sick days, as well as their ability to balance work and life responsibilities. Worse, by keeping hours under 30 per week, Juicy will no longer be required to offer their workers health care – part of the Affordable Health Care Act’s plan to make sure more working Americans have basic coverage.”
This part-time trend is widespread. According to RAP and CUNY Murphy Institute’s 2012 study of retail workers in NYC titled “Discounted Jobs,” 49% of employees are scheduled for fewer hours in a week than they would like. 42% of the employees also reported that managers reduce or change their hours without their consent. Nationally, the retail industry is a top growth sector for new jobs, industry has been a leader in New York City job creation, with one in ten New Yorkers working in retail. Yet the industry is also responsible for leaving workers involuntarily underemployed: According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the number of involuntary part‐time workers in the retail sector has more than doubled since 2006.
Gleason explains that “A federal Part-Time Worker Bill of Rights has just been introduced by Rep. Jan Shakowsky that would penalize employers for failing to provide health care to part-timers and thereby end the incentive for dropping workers from their coverage. As we work to pass this essential piece of legislation, retail workers with the Just Hours campaign are continuing to hold their employers accountable enough hours to survive on and basic benefits.”
The Just Hours Campaign aims to restore the fair workweek through stable, predictable and livable work hours.