Shift workers prepare for viaduct closure


    Shift workers prepare for viaduct closure (PHOTO: KOMO News)<p>{/p}

    SEATTLE, Wash. -- Three days and counting until heavy traffic is expected to grip our region when the viaduct closes for good. Thousands of shift workers have no choice but to report to work during the three-week closure.

    Working Washington is calling on employers to help ease the burden on workers during the Seattle Squeeze.

    And that’s just what’s happening at the 17 restaurants owned by Tom Douglas all over downtown.

    At Serious Pie at Virginia and 4th Avenue a plan is in place for the closure.

    “We are really trying to be as thoughtful to our employees as possible while also maintaining a business level we need to maintain,” said Lauren Musladin who is the manager at Serious Pie.

    While telecommuting has been encouraged through the three-week viaduct closure, businesses like retail and restaurants can’t operate without employees reporting to work.

    “We are trying to be as flexible and accommodating as possible, a business model that requires you to be there at a specific time,” said Musladin.

    The company has created a database for staffing help within its 17 downtown locations.

    “Everyone has reached out to their team and said if you would like to be on a sort call list, we’ll give you a call if someone needs last minute help,” said Musladin.

    They’ve also created a lounge in their corporate office where staff can relax, watch TV and jump on Wi-Fi if they work a double and shift and can’t get back home because of heavy traffic.

    It’s perfect for Brian Hanson who is a line cook at Dahlia Lounge. He commutes from Arlington.

    “The first day I’ll probably give myself two hours to get to work,” said Hanson.

    Working Washington is suggesting employers not rely on workers for on-call shifts during the closure.

    They’re also asking employers to accommodate workers who need to modify their availability and to waive discipline for employees who arrive late due to traffic.

    “We really think they are common sense and not too burdensome and can be really important and impactful for your workers,” said Rachel Lauter who is the executive director of Working Washington.

    Serious Pie staff hopes their detailed plan will help business run smoothly during the uncertain three week period.

    “It’s going to be a hurdle, we are going to get through it and it’s not going to be forever,” said Musladin.

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