Twenty First Century Serfdom

Unreasonable demands, bosscat has them


By two_kittehs

Many part-time workers in the service industry (retail, fast food etc.) not only get paid a pittance but also have little control over their schedule.  It is unpredictable and changes from day to day because you have to be on call even at times when you are not working.  This makes it difficult to have a life outside your job, or even to take up a second job, or go to school. Kay of Balloon Juice covered this topic the other day.

Besides keeping employees on a short leash what purpose does Just-In-Time (JIT) scheduling  serve? Some reasons from the comments on Balloon Juice

 Tissue Thin Pseudonym (JMN):

It prevents them from having to figure out ahead of time how many employees they’ll need. It also means that they don’t have to put together a full week’s schedule, thus avoiding that no-fun task. And it saves on labor costs since you never have to worry about being overstaffed.

Satanic Panic:

I guess it’s easier to get people to fill in for employees that are out or have quit

Trollhattan said:

Best as I can figure, it’s the product of of our chronic, long-term underemployment paired with a corporate willingness to endure a pretty high employee turnover metric (thou shalt not exceed n-percent, lest thou miss thy bonus).

Last but not the least, Kay:

I think it might actually feed on itself, create the kind of chaos that then requires more JIT scheduling.


So there are some valid reasons for JIT scheduling of hourly employees but there seems to be no earthly reason why up to 50% of all hourly employees have to endure so much uncertainty.  Another Balloon Juice commenter further elaborates this point,

Roger Moore:

I assume the stated justification is the need for flexibility to deal with unpredictable need for employees and unpredictable employees. IOW, the employers want some flexibility, but they put the cost on the back of their employees.

So is this yet another example of socializing the risk and the cost and privatizing the profit or upside?

One quick way to curb the gratuitous use  of JIT scheduling practices would be to require employers to pay workers while they are on call at least  half their hourly rate.  I wonder what the cons  who call themselves reformers have to say about this, in their economic policy manifesto? 

Posted on July 18, 2014, in Cats, Economy and tagged , . Bookmark the permalink. 1 Comment.

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