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Essential Workers Want More Pay

Allow me to offer an alternative to Steve Ervin's explanation of why it isn't easy to attract employees. Ervin's letter implies that many people who are on unemployment insurance are gaming the system. He advertises, offers work, and no one shows. In his mind, the unemployment system has no teeth. It rewards fraudulent behavior, laziness, and complacency to many undeserving people. It doesn't force people to take jobs. But, to be clear, there is fraud in the unemployment system. The Inspector-General of the Department of Labor estimates up to 10% of the money in the system goes out for fraudulent reasons, most of that to professional fraudsters and not to the guy on the street.

But there are alternative reasons why BubaQue's can't attract employees.

First, unemployment in Florida pays $275 a week or $6.87 an hour for up to 12 weeks. That is not nearly enough to support a family. Unemployed people need good, living-wage jobs to raise their families.

My guess is Ervin's restaurant can't provide what these applicants want. It is generally thought that restaurants do not pay a living wage. Most restaurants don't offer benefits. The hours include evening and nights, times our kids are home from school. The wait-staff is exposed to Covid-19 regularly, and who wants the stress of dealing with the public? As an overlay to these problems, American workers have decided, in the aftermath of Covid, that if they are essential workers, they want the pay that accompanies that responsibility. Hence, this month is called "striketober" as more and more workers recognize that companies are making billions, CEOs are getting significant increases in already gigantic paychecks, and the hourly workers are getting tiny increases. It isn't fair, and it is all coming to a head.

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