America’s Massive Retail Workforce Can’t Be Ignored

This is an amazing deep dive into the work of the Fair Workweek Initiative, Carrie Gleason, Elianne Farhat, Rachel Deutsch!

A new national poll shows that THREE IN FOUR people support #FairWorkweek policies that promote predictable, full-time work hours for working people. It’s time to guarantee we all have #SchedulesThatWork so we can balance taking care of our families, going to school, and earning a paycheck that covers the bills. =

“There’s this sense that a factory job is a good job and retail jobs are not. An industrial factory job used to be literally the worst, most dangerous job you could have.”
The labor movement paid more attention to factory workers than to retail workers in its heyday, with the result that retail jobs are becoming scarcer without having ever achieved the standards that unions won for manufacturing workers. Carrie Gleason notes that even during moments like the famous Woolworth’s strike, where women retail workers emulated the Flint autoworkers and held a sit-down strike for raises, union recognition, and the eight-hour day, “they had to prove that women could organize. That was the debate that was happening then. I think it still resonates today.”

“Working people today have far more political power than they do industry power.”
The attempts to change the policy show that, Gleason says, “Working people today have far more political power than they do industry power.” The Fight for $15 began as a demand for raises and a union from big fast-food employers, not as a minimum wage campaign, but it has largely calculated its victories in ordinances, not union contracts.

“When you think about how long it took to get to $15 on the minimum wage or how long it took to get traction on the paid sick days, the rapid progression of fair workweek policies has been pretty unprecedented,” Gleason says.
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