Starbucks baristas are among those fighting for secure scheduling legislation in Seattle.
Starbucks baristas are among those fighting for secure scheduling legislation in Seattle. SORBIS/SHUTTERSTOCK

A majority of Seattle voters support a proposal to give workers at large companies more certainty of their schedules, according to new union-funded polling. The poll comes as the Seattle City Council considers new scheduling regulations for large businesses.

The EMC Research poll—part of a larger poll on labor issues funded by the Service Employees International Union—asked 500 likely Seattle voters whether they support regulations requiring businesses with 250 or more employees to:

• give their employees their schedules 2 weeks in advance;
• provide 11 hours of rest between a closing shift and an opening shift for each employee;
• offer additional hours to current part-time employees before hiring additional part-time or temporary workers;
•pay workers if they are called in and their shift is cancelled or reduced; and
• give workers up to 4 hours of pay for last-minute short-notice shift cancellations or reductions.

(These laws would resemble San Francisco's "Retail Workers' Bill of Rights.")

Participants were also presented summaries of the arguments for and against this type of legislation, including that supporters "say that too many retail and food service employees don’t get their schedules until the last minute, which doesn’t allow them to plan for things like child care and education” and that opponents “say the reforms would create new burdens on employers already struggling to meet Seattle’s high minimum wage.”

Of the respondents, 41 percent said they "strongly support" these types of regulations and another 33 percent said they "somewhat support" them, totaling 74 percent in favor. Ten percent said they strongly oppose them and 14 percent said they "somewhat oppose." Two percent didn't answer the question.

Working Washington, the labor-funded advocacy group pushing for the legislation, says that support "match[es] the high level of public approval for the $15 minimum wage law reached during the height of that debate."

The Washington Restaurant Association has not responded to my request for comment about this, but last month told me they're "concerned" about "restrictive scheduling policies."