Abercrombie & Fitch portrays a happy and carefree lifestyle, but people like me who work in their stores are struggling because we don’t get enough hours. My name is Bintou Kamara and I am a cashier at A&F’s flagship store (That's me in the photo). I like working at A&F, but the company's scheduling policies require us to be on-call instead of having predictable hours. This leaves most of us struggling with hardly any hours to pay our bills - making getting a second job nearly impossible. I’ve connected with other A&F employees through the Retail Action Project because we need your help.
It took me months to find this job, and when I started almost a year ago, I was excited to work on Fifth Avenue. I’m a college student living on my own in the Bronx, and I also send money home to my parents in West Africa - so I really needed the job. Like other new A&F workers, I was initially scheduled 33 hours per week. Then, it dwindled to two shifts, then to only 5 hours a week. I started talking to my co-workers, and realized this eventually happens to the majority of A&F workers. Now, most of us only get one “regular” shift per week, and one “on-call” shift. “On-Call” shifts mean we have to call the store two hours before the shift to ask if they need us. Nine times out of ten, they tell us not to come in, but Abercrombie still demands our open availability. Some weeks, I have been given no hours at all, because we don’t have predictable hours.
Worst of all, Abercrombie has capped part-time workers’ schedules at 10 hours a week, but they continue to hire new workers. My co-workers and I have asked our managers for more hours, but we’re told that’s just how it is. Additionally, we get our schedule two days ahead of time, and it even changes after that - without any consent or notification.
I’ve learned that the retail industry is one of the biggest sectors for new jobs, but more and more retailers are following A&F and using abusive scheduling. So, I’m far from alone in struggling to find the hours and benefits I need. With your help, I know A&F will hear us! Will you ask A&F to improve the lives of its workers like me by giving us predictable hours and ending “on-call” shifts?
Are you a retail worker too -- or even an A&F worker? Share your story where it says: "Why is this important to you?"!
I’ve heard that A&F retail workers struggle every week to get the hours they need to cover their basic needs, while more part time workers are hired. I also learned that even when workers do get scheduled hours, they are often not enough to receive benefits and are frequently in the form of unpredictable on-call shifts that prevent A&F employees from being able to find other jobs to supplement their incomes. I stand behind Bintou Kamara and her co-workers who struggle to get an education, pay their rent, and provide for their families.
I join other A&F employees and consumers in asking your company to take the lead in supporting sustainable scheduling by giving workers more hours, issuing workers’ schedules further in advance and ending the practice of on-call shifts.