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Part-Time Workers Say Schedules Getting More Erratic

In the 1980s, a popular fast-food commercial touted chicken-breast sandwiches — and mocked chicken nuggets sold by competitors.

In the ad, a competitor’s doofus clerk explains nuggets. “All the parts are crammed into one big part,” he said. “And parts is parts.”

Today, clerks may believe that catchphrase could apply to them as regular full-time schedules disappear. For many workers, hours are not only short, but increasingly erratic as managers scramble to cover shifts without the steadying influence of experienced full-time employees.

“It’s ridiculous,” says Amere Graham, an 18-year-old high school graduate who works at a McDonald’s in Milwaukee. “My schedule is all over the place. It’s completely unpredictable.”

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