What is life like with an unstable schedule?

Life with an unstable and unpredictable schedule is a constant challenge. We've been collecting stories of how unfair scheduling practices hurt workers, their families, and our communities.

Tanya, warehouse worker
Tanya never knows advance which days she’ll work, which hours, or how long her shift will be. Sometimes she’s scheduled for an eight-hour shift, but works just four because her assembly line’s order is completed early. Other times, she stands for twelve hours on her aching feet and heads home late at night. 
Read Tanya’s story  »

Nan, college advisor
"At the start of the semester, [my student's] job schedule fit with her class schedule. But then her boss changed her hours...she ended up leaving her job to stay in school. It was devastating for her. She had no income. She has no family supporting her. So she actually had to live with friends."

Nataki, restaurant server and bathroom attendant
“If I could have my dream job it would be to work a stable, consistent schedule. Right now, I can’t even afford the basics, like rent, utilities, and food. It’s not that I don’t work hard. I hustle. I work full-time, and take side jobs when I can.”
Hear more from Nataki »

Abigail, former college student
“One of the biggest reasons why I had to drop out of school was because the schedule was very chaotic, and it was all over the place, so I wasn't really able to manage a set schedule for school and then a set schedule for work.”

Ashley, personal grocery shopper
"Last week I had maybe three days that I worked. I chose the days [I'm free to work], but they only gave me three. I can request all five days, maybe 50 hours, and they just give me 20 hours. It really varies. It’s always up and down...[and then] they say, ‘oh Ashley, you can go home today because it's slow."

Rachel, worker                                              
“I don’t think I’ve worked a full shift in two months. I can’t continue working these hours, but I can’t leave, either. I have two cavities, but I can’t afford to go [to the dentist], and I would never have the time. With my hours, it's just too difficult to schedule an appointment."
Learn more about Rachel »

Griselda, working student
"It is hard to schedule my work schedule with my school schedule. I want to get as many hours as possible, but I don't want to jeopardize my grades, either. And I have to work while I'm going to school, because my mom lives paycheck by paycheck...I don't have a choice but to work if I want to have light in my house or if I want to use internet on my computer."

Erin, nurse
"Unstable work schedules affect people’s health...I see a challenge when I have to schedule follow-up appointments two or three weeks in advance. And a number of patients don’t know what their schedule will be. Sometimes they ask me to call them back to schedule something when they know their schedule, but many times we end up not having anything available when I call."

Carlisha, retail worker
Carlisha gets her schedule just one day ahead of time and is never sure if her managers will be putting her on morning, afternoon, or night shifts. The short notice makes it hard for her to plan for childcare for her two daughters. Her commute can be up to two hours long, and since her shifts may only be four or five hours.

Bryn, shift manager
"One of the things that they ask is that we [shift leads] let people go, you know, if you don't need them. I'm sorry, but I'm not doing that, because they don't make enough and they've already spent X amount of dollars to get here to work.The least we can do is let them work their shift! And the schedules aren’t made until literally until a day or two until the next [scheduled shift]."