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Service sector workers have been heralded as essential workers, critical to the national effort to fight COVID19. However, service sector workers contended with precarious jobs before the COVID19 crisis and also bore the brunt of the first economic shocks of the COVID19 pandemic. Schneider introduces and draws on data from the Shift Project to describe the reality of working conditions for America's retail, food service, grocery, pharmacy, and fulfillment workers, before and during the COVID19 pandemic, with a particular focus on work scheduling. He shows that unstable and unpredictable work schedules are widespread and pose challenges for workers and their families. He then exploits the employer-employee linked structure of Shift and targeted geographic over-samples to assess the potential for firms to take a “high road” approach to work scheduling and the efficacy of local labor standards that “raise the floor” on scheduling.  

 

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