Hodges retreats on 'fair scheduling' rules for Mpls. businesses

Minneapolis mayor Betsy Hodges
Minneapolis Mayor Betsy Hodges
Curtis Gilbert | MPR News file

Updated: 5:06 p.m. | Posted: 1:11 p.m.

Minneapolis Mayor Betsy Hodges on Wednesday pulled back on her controversial proposal to require city businesses compensate workers for any unexpected scheduling changes.

The so-called "fair scheduling" proposal would have forced businesses to create employee work schedules four weeks in advance and pay workers if those schedule times were altered.

The proposal was later reduced to a two-week scheduling requirement. Still, many employers quickly mobilized against the plan, saying it would be expensive and unworkable not to have the flexibility to change employee hours without paying them more.

Todd Klingel, president of the Minneapolis Chamber of Commerce, says most businesses opposed the plan and some even found it insulting.

"Why should you get yourself between me and my employees? We've done great together for years. We're like family, and you want to insert the city in between us," Klingel said. "For others it was just the practicality of it. It's just very, very difficult to do any kind of scheduling that doesn't have some later ramifications to it regardless of size or industry."

After listening to concerns of businesspeople, "I have come to the conclusion that we are not in a position to resolve the concerns satisfactorily on the timeline currently contemplated," Hodges said in a statement Wednesday.

"There were a lot of concerns. There were serious concerns," said Council Member Elizabeth Glidden, who co-sponsored the proposal. "And I think when that happens, you've got to say, 'Hey, let's listen and figure out how to use advice from all these places we're getting to take a different tack."

While "fair scheduling" is off the table for now, Hodges said she would continue to push the other parts of her "working families agenda," including passing rules that would require all businesses to offer workers paid sick leave.

Local businesses have concerns about that proposal, too, but the opposition is far less fierce.

"My intention in proposing these measures was, and continues to be, to provide low-income, hourly, and part-time workers and their families with tools to lift themselves into prosperity and into the middle class," she added. "When they succeed in that, our communities and our economy will thrive, and our economic future will know no limit."

Minneapolis Works, which supported the proposal, expressed disappointment Wednesday.

"What this debate has shown so far is there is a bright line between those who are willing to engage in conversations toward crafting a solution and those who only seek to say no to everything," the group said in a statement. "The hourly workers, mostly women and people of color, need basic protections in the workplace."

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