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Eagles take on Cowboys in need of a win; what a ‘Fair Workweek’ means for workers | Morning Newsletter

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Salewa Ogunmefun, right, of One PA, speaks as advocates hold a press conference for the "Fair Workweek" scheduling bill before Council votes at City Hall in Philadelphia, PA on October 30, 2018. DAVID MAIALETTI / Staff Photographer
Salewa Ogunmefun, right, of One PA, speaks as advocates hold a press conference for the "Fair Workweek" scheduling bill before Council votes at City Hall in Philadelphia, PA on October 30, 2018. DAVID MAIALETTI / Staff PhotographerRead moreDAVID MAIALETTI / File Photograph

It's game day, and you know what that means. The Eagles head into a major matchup with the Cowboys in Dallas this afternoon as both teams vie for division dominance ahead of the playoffs. But before kickoff, we've got a conversation with reporter Juliana Feliciano Reyes following Philadelphia City Council's passing of a "Fair Workweek" law. Her reporting on the movement to protect workers shows how the law could impact laborers and businesses throughout the city.

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The week ahead

  1. The Eagles are just one game behind the Cowboys in the race for first place in the NFC East. With tough matchups ahead on the schedule, the Birds are viewing today's game in Dallas as an absolute must-win. Our beat writers are split in their predictions for this divisional showdown.

  2. Philadelphia's school board is expected to vote on calendars for the next two school years this week. A proposed change would move next year's start date back to after Labor Day. This year, students faced sweltering temperatures that forced school closures during an earlier-than-usual start.

  3. Tonight marks the final night of Hanukkah. Those gathering loved ones to celebrate might want to try deli-inspired recipes from Middle Child in Washington Square West.

  4. Our Arts & Lifestyle team has combed through the year in albums, theater, TV, movies, books, and more to find 2018's crowning achievements. Keep an eye out for their Best of 2018 lists this Tuesday.

This week’s most popular stories

Behind the story with Juliana Feliciano Reyes

Each week we go behind the scenes with one of our reporters or editors to discuss their work and the challenges they face along the way. This week, Philadelphia became the latest city to pass a "Fair Workweek" law. Workers launched a campaign to fight for more predictable scheduling nearly a year ago and reporter Juliana Feliciano Reyes has followed the movement closely. We caught up with her to discuss the passage of the law, what it means for Philly workers, and what she learned along the way.

What are some of the highlights of Philly's new Fair Workweek law that will benefit workers?

The law, which will go into effect in 2020, aims to give more predictability to retail, fast-food, and hotel workers' lives by requiring large businesses to give two weeks notice of their schedules. If employers change schedules after that, they'll have to pay workers "predictability pay." It's a big deal for workers because some have said that they're getting called the night before and getting asked to come to work and if they say no, they won't get offered hours again.

Employers must also offer available shifts to current employees instead of hiring more part-time workers, which could make a big difference to hourly workers who are often stuck trying to make full-time hours with two part-time jobs.

Why do some critics of the law say it will hurt business growth in the city?

Critics of the law say that regulations like these push businesses out of Philadelphia and make businesses less competitive with those that don't have to follow these laws — for example, a business out in the Philly suburbs. On the other hand, cities like Seattle and New York and the state of Oregon have a Fair Workweek law, so national chains with locations in Philly have already dealt with these regulations.

Critics also say it will lead companies to lay people off because of the costs associated with the law. The big picture concern, according to critics of the law, is that a law like this could drive companies — and jobs — out of Philly at a time when the city has seen slower economic growth than other major cities.

What initially sparked your interest in the Fair Workweek movement?

In Philly, an organization called OnePA is leading the Fair Workweek charge, though other unions and labor organizations have joined the fight. OnePA has organizers that have been going to retail and fast-food stores and talking to people about their experiences on the job and they've heard a lot of difficult stories: workers begging for hours, about wanting to go to school but not being able to schedule classes because of unpredictable hours, about getting your hours cut if you don't collect enough customer emails.

These kinds of stories are shocking to people who know how many hours they're gonna work and how much money they're gonna make every week, so they've been a powerful way to raise awareness for the issue.

What have you learned from covering the Fair Workweek concept from idea to law in Philadelphia?

Covering this issue made me think about the importance of centering the worker's perspective in business stories. We often write about companies like Saxby's, Five Below, Chickie and Pete's through the lens of the CEO, the investor, the Philly business community at large. But what kinds of stories are we missing when we don't talk to workers? It's something that's informed my reporting since the Fair Workweek campaign launched.

Contact Juliana Feliciano Reyes at or on Twitter @juliana_f_reyes.

Through Your Eyes | #OurPhilly

'Tis the season. Thanks @catherinedkerr for this festive shot!

Tag your Instagram posts or tweets with #OurPhilly and we'll pick our favorite each day to feature in this newsletter and give you a shout out!

#CuriousPhilly: Have a question about your community? Ask us!

Have you submitted a question to Curious Philly yet? Try us. We're listening to our readers and doing our best to find answers to the things you're curious about.

Our readers' latest question: What's the story behind all of the military ships docked at Philadelphia's Navy Yard?
The answer: Of the 49 inactive ships in what used to be called the Navy's "Mothball Fleet," 31 are in Philly's Navy Yard. What sets Philadelphia apart from other Naval Inactive Ship Maintenance Facilities is its fresh water, which is better for preventing rust, reports Joseph Gambardello.

What we’re…

  1. Eating: Pierogi and other Polish delights at Mom-Mom's after reading restaurant critic Craig LaBan's thoughts on the Bridesburg eatery.

  2. Drinking: Cocktails named after Freddie Mercury, Catherine the Great, and Charlie Sheen at Libertine in the Gayborhood.

  3. Listening to: Tierra Whack's album Whack World. The Philly rapper was just nominated for a Grammy for her music video, "MUMBO JUMBO"

Comment of the week

Times have changed so giving tips or gifts to some of the professions listed here could be questionable. I would say it comes down to familiarity. When I was younger (yes, I am going there), we had the same mail carrier for years. I don't recall never seeing this man deliver the mail and he arrived around the same time every day. Today, I don't consistently see or know who delivers the mail. If I see a carrier one day, then the next time I see one, it's a different person. How can I give a tip in that situation? So I agree, it has to be someone that we have a personal relationship with. But it is the season to be kind and charitable so then the question, does it matter — Findnmyvoice, on Tip or no holiday tip? Etiquette for letter carriers, dog walkers, and other VIPs.


For Stephen Mullins, what started as a small gift turned into a lifelong pursuit to collect as many character jugs as possible. He recently displayed more than 8,000 jugs at the American Toby Jug Museum.