‘The final straw’: How the pandemic pushed restaurant workers over the edge

May 25, 2021 ☼ laborpandemiceconomy

Source: The Washington Post - Link

Jim Conway started working in restaurants in 1982, making $2.13 an hour, plus tips.

And though the world has changed significantly in the nearly 40 years since then, his hourly wage has not. At the Olive Garden outside of Pittsburgh where he worked when the pandemic hit last year, he was making $2.83 an hour, the minimum wage for tipped workers in Pennsylvania, plus tips.

So after being furloughed for months last spring, Conway, 64, decided to retire.

Being paid the rough equivalent of a chocolate bar an hour from the chain was little incentive for him to stick it out longer in the industry after so many years, especially with tips no longer a reliable source of income and lingering health concerns about covid-19.

It’s surprising how many people actually tolerated these conditions for so long. Bad customer behavior is going to push a lot more out.