City Council passes 'Fair workweek' bill among several approved in long, raucous session

Pat Loeb
December 06, 2018 - 7:07 pm
Philadelphia has joined the growing number of cities requiring employers to provide predictable scheduling on Thursday when Philadelphia City Council gave final approval to a bill establishing fair work week rules for employers.

Pat Loeb/KYW Newsradio

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PHILADELPHIA (KYW Newsradio) — Philadelphia has joined the growing number of cities requiring employers to provide predictable scheduling on Thursday when Philadelphia City Council gave final approval to a bill establishing fair work week rules for employers. It was one of several pieces of progressive legislation council passed in a long, loud and sometimes contentious session. 

RELATED: 'Fair Workweek' for part-timers in Philly? Thursday's council session will tell

Supporters of the bills packed the chambers, holding up signs and interrupting occasionally with chants, cheers and in some cases boos, as when Councilman Brian O'Neil explained why he was voting against the fair work week bill.

O'Neil and his two fellow Republicans voted no, but the bill passed with all 14 democrats. 

Sponsor Helen Gym said the bill, which requires advance scheduling with penalty pay for last minute changes, would address the city's persistent poverty. 

"It's time to take a stand, not just on poverty, but on the circumstances which allow poverty to exist. We can talk about poverty in this city till we're blue in the face or we can do something about it, and today we choose to do something," she said. 

In addition to approving the "Fair Workweek" bill, council approved a $15 minimum wage for city contractors and a bill requiring good cause for eviction. Though the good cause bill was somewhat watered down, it pleased activists, including Ricci Rawls, who faced homelessness after getting evicted with her five children.

"This bill is very much important to women, children, families, people of color, people without color. I'm not speaking just for me, I'm speaking for thousands," Rawls said. 

Council also narrowly passed a bill exempting certain categories of people from anti-squatting regulations it adopted earlier this year. That bill was vehemently opposed by the sponsor of the anti-squatter law, David Oh.

"The homeowner has to stand outside their home, while someone occupies their home with their possessions, denying them access," Oh said.

But the sponsor of the exemptions, Cherelle Parker, was even more heated about Oh's opposition, which ignited a social media campaign against her bill, "that has intentionally misrepresented the facts about what this bill does," Parker said. 
 
The bill makes exceptions for people who signed a fraudulent lease or otherwise believe they have a right to be in the home.

Council has one more session before a winter break.