- Chicago City Council’s recent legislation designed to create more predictable schedules for workers has spurred a lawsuit from a group representing the city’s building owners and managers, saying the law would give too much power to unions.
- The group, the Chicago chapter of the Building Owners and Managers Association (BOMA), represents 239 buildings in Chicago and 169 building service companies. Member buildings employ almost 5,000 union workers.
- Set to be implemented in July 2020, the Fair Work Week Ordinance will require employers to give workers notification of their schedules 10 days ahead of time. Eventually, they’ll have to notify them two weeks ahead of time and compensate workers for any unexpected changes. BOMA officials have objected to the legislation on multiple occasions through letters and testimony to the city council.
Part of BOMA’s argument hinges on collective bargaining agreements reached with unions representing service workers in their buildings, the organization said in a statement to Construction Dive. BOMA said this includes health care, insurance and retirement savings plans for the union workers they employ, indicating the careful efforts of their collective bargaining agreement could be impacted by the new legislation.
“We are seeking to strike the provisions of the ordinance which would make it applicable to collectively bargained agreements unless affirmatively waived by the parties,” Michael Cornicelli, executive vice president for BOMA/Chicago, said in the statement. “The removal of those provisions is necessary in order to maintain our rights to collectively bargain with our workers’ unions – rights granted by the National Labor Relations Act.”
The ordinance was unanimously approved by the Chicago City Council in August. Chicago Mayor Lori Lightfoot stood by the ordinance — first introduced under former Mayor Rahm Emmanuel — as a means of better supporting working families. The ordinance is limited to workers who make less than $26 an hour or salaried employees who make more than $50,000 annually.
Similar laws have been implemented in San Francisco; Emeryville, California; New York City; Philadelphia and Seattle. They’ve also gone into effect statewide in Arkansas, Georgia, Iowa, Oregon and Tennessee.
Most of the fair work week laws apply to retail and fast food companies, and include both part-time and seasonal employees. The laws are intended to help employees maintain their schedules and budgets through arrangements like anti-“clopening” requirements — which prevents a worker from closing a location one night and opening the following morning.