Grocery Worker

Yoseli loves nothing more than spending time with her two children and her wife. Her face lights up when talking about five-year-old Gabriel and six-month-old Sofia. A dedicated mother and loyal employee, she has worked as a utility clerk at a chain grocery store for over three years. But what once seemed like the perfect job for juggling her family’s personal and financial needs has become a stress on Yoseli’s relationship with her children.

Inconsistent hours are Yoseli’s biggest challenge at work. She and her coworkers receive their schedules before the work week starts, but exact days and number of hours are always subject to change. Yoseli is usually uncertain about when she will have time off, making it difficult to arrange childcare, let alone make plans to spend quality time with her family. A few months ago, Yoseli’s employer unexpectedly cut her hours down to only three days a week, and she wasn’t going to be able to make rent. So when she was asked at the last-minute to pick up a shift on her day off, she couldn’t afford to say no.

Not surprisingly, the lack of stability at Yoseli’s workplace takes a toll on her family’s child care plans. “Let’s say I am supposed to keep the kids Tuesday and Wednesday, and they call me into work on one of those days,” she says. “I feel pressure from my boss … he makes it seem like he is going to fire me if I don’t come in.” Even when she is not working, Yoseli’s time is not her own. She has high hopes for Gabriel and Sofia, and she wants to be there to ensure they are on the right path. She believes that fair scheduling practices are a basic right for all workers.