Aug 25 2014

Politics of Parenting: How Work Scheduling Technology Wreak Havoc on Family Routines

The global coffeehouse chain Starbucks recently announced it would reconsider its work scheduling policies for the 130,000 baristas. A company spokesperson said Starbucks wanted to address concerns over “stability and consistency,” for its workers. The announcement came ostensibly in response to a major profile of a Starbucks barista and mother Jeannette Navarro in the New York Times.

The Times’ Jodi Kantor drew an intimate portrait of how Navarro struggles to balance unpredictable work hours with her duties as a mother to her 4 year old son. Kantor writes that “Navarro is at the center of a new collision that pits sophisticated workplace technology against some fundamental requirements of parenting, with particularly harsh consequences for poor single mothers.”

In a nutshell, most corporations that rely on shift work these days use sophisticated software to determine the hours of its employees, maximizing staff at peak hours, and minimizing them during lulls. The software is so sensitive, it accounts for weather and holidays. What that does of course, in the words of Kantor, is to “inject[t] turbulence into parents’ routines and personal relationships, undermining efforts to expand preschool access, driving some mothers out of the work force and redistributing some of the uncertainty of doing business from corporations to families.”

GUEST: Jodi Kantor, Washington correspondent for the New York Times and author of the book, The Obamas. Her lengthy article in the New York Times is entitled “Working Anything But 9 to 5.”

One response so far

One Response to “Politics of Parenting: How Work Scheduling Technology Wreak Havoc on Family Routines”

  1. louiseon 25 Aug 2014 at 1:32 pm

    The othrr side of the coin is the pressure this places on other employees who have to fill in.
    They cannot enter special pleading and therefore end up being scheduled on the worst end of the roster.
    Oh and by the way business needs are primary above and behond social needs.
    Both the business and employees serve the shareholder.
    Resson is cash is king and shareholders can easily dump the business and employees.
    A busted flush.