On Tuesday, over a hundred low-wage workers in the retail and service industries marched on City Hall to demand “Fair Workweek” legislation. In a press conference that followed, a few shared stories of how unpredictable work schedules had derailed their lives.
Among those workers was Shaheim Wright. “I have to plan my life around my work schedule,” the 19-year-old Philly resident told Billy Penn in an interview.
Shaheim had wanted to become a veterinarian, he said, but he needed to continue supporting himself and his family while in school. He took a pet care associate job at PetSmart, thinking the job would not only enable him to help his family pay their bills, but also give him an opportunity to work with animals.
But PetSmart varies his schedule wildly — he works anywhere between 10 and 40 hours per week — and only gives him two days notice of his schedule before it starts. As a consequence, Shaheim struggled to attend classes and to make ends meet.
“Because of my inconsistent schedule and the way that everything fluctuates,” he said, “I can’t really pursue my goals.” This year, he had to drop out of college.