News & Commentary

July 5, 2024

Esther Ritchin

Esther Ritchin is a student at Harvard Law School.

In today’s news and commentary, a Los Angeles city councilor introduces a proposal to expand fair scheduling practices to fast food workers, contract negotiations between SAG-AFTRA and video game companies struggle on AI, and Greece allows for a six-day work week.

Los Angeles City Councilmember Hugo Soto-Martinez has introduced a proposal expanding the reach of the Fair Work Week ordinance, requiring employers give their employees schedules 14 days in advance, among other protections. The expansion would bring approximately 50,000 fast food workers within the coverage of the Fair Work Week ordinance. Soto-Martinez’s proposal is backed by the California Fast Food Workers Union, looking for stability and quality of life for workers, but opposed by business and trade groups, worried about the costs and complications of giving workers advance notice of their schedule.

SAG-AFTRA (Screen Actors Guild-American Federation of Television and Radio Artists) has been negotiating a contract with video game companies for a year and a half. While the negotiators report progress on many key issues, including wages and job safety, they remain unable to agree on the use of artificial intelligence. Union members worry that AI could ultimately lead to the obsolescence of actors in the video game industry, or, less drastically, lead to actors losing knowledge of and control over their work. In the meantime, SAG-AFTRA has reached contracts for indie and low-budget video games which do include AI protections.

Greece has introduced new legislation to allow for a six day work week, which would constitute 48 hours instead of the usual 40. The legislation, which is set to go into effect at the beginning of July, only applies to businesses that operate on a 24-hour basis, is optional for workers, and compensates workers with an extra 40% overtime should they work the additional hours.

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