- Business owners around the country are whining: “no one wants to work” and most of these kinds of complaints are coming from franchised restaurants.
- The morbidity rates of line cooks has increased by 60 percent, making it the deadliest profession in America during the pandemic era.
- Ventilation issues are deadliest for line cooks, but there are other reasons why food workers’ morbidity rates have risen so sharply. Food service workers are far more likely to be poor and/or a racial or national minority.
Sandy Barnard from Jacobin writes:
“Restaurant and bar owners whining about the difficulty of finding workers to toil for low wages and no benefits never seem to consider the possibility of raising those wages and benefits to try to attract such workers. But they’re also ignoring something more basic: the coronavirus pandemic wiped out an enormous swath of the restaurant workforce.
Business owners around the country are offering up a lament: “no one wants to work.” A McDonalds franchise said they had to close because no one wants to work; North Carolina congressman David Rouzer claimed that a too-generous welfare state has turned us all lazy as he circulated photos of a shuttered fast-food restaurant supposedly closed “due to NO STAFF.”
Most of these complaints seem to be coming from franchised restaurants. Why? Well, it’s not complicated. Service workers didn’t decide one day to stop working — rather huge numbers of them cannot work anymore. Because they’ve died of coronavirus.
A recent study from the University of California–San Francisco looks at increased morbidity rates due to COVID, stratified by profession, from the height of the pandemic last year. They find that food and agricultural workers morbidity rates increased by the widest margins by far, much more so than medical professionals or other occupations generally considered to be on the “front lines” of the pandemic. Within the food industry, the morbidity rates of line cooks increased by 60 percent, making it the deadliest profession in America under coronavirus pandemic.
Line cooks are especially at risk because of notoriously bad ventilation systems in restaurant kitchens and preparation areas. Anyone who has ever worked a back-of-the-house job knows that it’s hot, smelly, and crowded back there, all of which indicate poor indoor air quality. The Center for Disease Control and Prevention and Environmental Protection Agency recommended increasing indoor ventilation to fight the virus, but such upgrades are costly and time consuming.There is no data available on how many restaurants chose not to upgrade their ventilation systems, but given how miserly franchise owners are with everything else, one could guess that many, if not most, made no upgrades at all…”
See full story here.