Yesterday The Washington Post featured a report from the Restaurant Opportunities Centers United (ROC) that reiterated just how difficult life in the industry can be. Here are some quick statistics from the report:
90% of industry workers aren't offered health insurance or sick days
67% of us go to work sick
38% are forced into work off the clock
26.5% of workers said they or a family member visited an emergency room without being able to pay for treatment
The survey included 2,500 workers and 150 employers in Chicago, Detroit, New Orleans, New York, and Portland ME.
The report also points out that even though the Food and Beverage industry took a hit during the recession, it's generally considered to be back on its feet now that the F&B sector is experiencing growth again.
The National Restaurant Association argues that the ROC's report "paints a distorted image of the restaurant industry and its employees while pushing the ROC's agenda" (Mike Donohue, spokesman for the NRA). The NRA says that 32% of adults get their first work experience in the restaurant industry, & "industry is proud of its diversity and unparalleled record of opportunity."
But here's one last statistic to consider: "When it comes to waiters and busers, the federal minimum wage is $2.13; there has not been an increase since 1991" (Washington Post). Many states, such as California, have laws in place to raise that small minimum, but those laws obviously don't apply to the nation as a whole. I remember my first bussing job in Florida 12 years ago; on my first day I worked both the lunch & dinner shift, and made about $30 for 13 hours of work. Ouch.
Source: The Washington Post