A Part-Time Life, as Hours Shrink and Shift

Posted by Kendall Harmon

Since the Fresh & Easy grocery chain was founded five years ago, it has opened 150 stores in California and positioned itself as a hip, socially responsible company.

A cross between Whole Foods and Trader Joe’s, the company brags that its house brands have no artificial colors or trans fats, that two-thirds of its produce is grown locally and that its main distribution center is powered by a $13 million solar installation.

But in one crucial respect, Fresh & Easy is just like the vast majority of large American retailers: most employees work part-time, with its stores changing many of their workers’ schedules week to week.

Read it all.

Filed under: * Economics, PoliticsEconomyCorporations/Corporate LifeLabor/Labor Unions/Labor MarketThe Credit Freeze Crisis of Fall 2008/The Recession of 2007--

Posted October 29, 2012 at 7:40 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

1. BlueOntario wrote:

Looking to the day when people are again paid with chit that can only be used at company approved stores.

October 29, 9:17 am | [comment link]
2. Kendall Harmon wrote:

I hope it cometh not to that #1.

This article is one of the many reasons why I encourage people to focus on the u-6 unemployment measure., “U-6, total unemployed, plus all marginally attached workers, plus total employed part time for economic reasons, as a percent of the civilian labor force plus all marginally attached workers.”

The key to me is that U-6 includes people working part time (like those in this article) who want to be working full time.  As you can see at this link, the U-6 unemployment rate has remained alarmingly high throughout this great recession until this very day.

October 29, 10:05 am | [comment link]
3. Terry Tee wrote:

Fresh ‘n Easy is owned by a British company, Tesco.  In the UK similarly many of its staff are part-time but in our case often glad to be so, as they are working either second jobs, or wanting evening/late night work after caring for their families.  Incidentally like many British firms (eg Barclays, Marks & Spencer, etc)  Tessco has found the US market very hard to crack and is struggling there.

October 29, 10:16 am | [comment link]
4. Teatime2 wrote:

Terry Tee, part-time is a bigger problem for workers here because health insurance is tied to full-time employment. And you certainly can’t afford to pay for your own med. Appointments on part-time retail wages.

October 29, 4:10 pm | [comment link]
5. Teatime2 wrote:

Canon Harmon, that is a frightening measure because of the reality it reveals.

October 29, 4:15 pm | [comment link]
6. Terry Tee wrote:

Thanks Teatime2.  I had not thought of that.  All of here are of course covered for better or for worse by the NHS.

October 29, 4:36 pm | [comment link]
7. Scatcatpdx wrote:

Oh what social Justice and wealth transfer brings.

Higher taxes and more regulation increasing the cost of employment equals less incentive for the entrepreneur to be productive and hire more workers.  Case in point Obama’s healthcare plan defining full time as 30 hours, as a result retailers are cutting hours. The higher payroll taxes and higher minimum wage laws offers a disincentive to employers to add workers.
If any politician who claims they are helping me in the middle by soaking to the wealthy and business, they are doing me no favor. When in any of our history has prosperitybeen brought to the middle class by an end of a political and regulatory bayonet.

October 29, 5:02 pm | [comment link]
8. Second Citizen wrote:

Are you better off than you were four years ago…?

October 31, 9:57 am | [comment link]
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