Republicans blame unemployment aid for restaurant hiring woes. Restaurant workers say something else

“The staffing issue has actually a lot more to do with the conditions that the industry was in before covid and people not wanting to go back to that, knowing what they would be facing with a pandemic on top of it,” Austin restaurant worker Crystal Maher told The Washington Post. “People are forgetting that restaurant workers have actually experienced decades of abuse and trauma. The pandemic is just the final straw.”

Restaurant workers were already underpaid and undervalued, lacking benefits and stability, working hours that make it difficult to have a family or social life—and then a pandemic in which they suffered disproportionately was piled onto that, with long layoffs during shutdowns and customers and employers willing to endanger their health when restaurants reopened. One study found that line cooks had the highest risk of dying of COVID-19 of any profession, and a recent One Fair Wage survey of 2,800 restaurant industry workers showed the degree to which these workers lived with the specter of the virus: 21% said they had personally contracted COVID-19, 74% said one or more employees at their restaurant had been infected with the coronavirus, and 95% said they knew someone who had. Of that 95%, 50% knew someone who had died.

A restaurant staffing firm told The Washington Post that it had surveyed 2,000 restaurant workers and found that 26% had left the industry. It’s kind of a wonder the number isn’t higher, under the circumstances.

Daily Kos Republicans blame unemployment aid for restaurant hiring woes. Restaurant workers say something else