May 7, 2013
The National Retail Justice Alliance, in partnership with other stakeholders including UFCW Locals 5, 770, and 1428, hosted hearings last week in Oakland and Los Angeles with two Members of Congress—Barbara Lee and Judy Chu—to highlight the social and economic plight of part-time workers in retail and other service industries.
The hearings underscored the need for the Part-Time Worker Bill of Rights Act of 2013 (H.R. 675), which would ensure that part-time workers (defined as working less than 30 hours a week) and their families have access to critical workplace benefits. The Affordable Care Act (ACA) penalizes employers who fail to provide health insurance to full-time workers, but includes no such penalties for employers who deny health coverage to part-time workers. The Part-Time Worker Bill of Rights would penalize employers for failing to provide health care to part-timers and thereby end the incentive for dropping workers from their coverage.
“Part-time workers across our nation need to come together and make their voices heard,” said Congresswoman Lee. “We cannot afford to go down a path where millions of Americans don’t have access to critical health care, retirement, and other benefits.” “Millions of Americans are only able to find part-time jobs, and too many of these jobs do not provide health insurance, family and medical leave, or pension plans,” said Congresswoman Chu. “That’s why the Part-Time Worker Bill of Rights, which would extend benefits to part-time workers, is so critical. In today’s economy, we need to make sure that all hard-working Americans can afford to put food on the table and have a safety net to protect them and their families.”
Both Lee and Chu have signed on as cosponsors of H.R. 675.
In addition to the Members of Congress, state and local leaders, economic experts, and part-time workers also spoke at the hearings.