Restaurant Workers Are Sharing The Stories That Made Them Quit Their Jobs, And My Blood Pressure Is Through The Damn Roof

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45. “Our operations manager subtly asked how people felt about reopening for dine-in as we started getting vaccinated, but there wasn’t a moment where we actually had a meeting to discuss doing so. When they announced that reopening was happening in a week, and that we had a whole new set of tasks to do to get ready, I asked some key questions about cleaning and safety protocols. I got a lot of ‘uh, I don’t know’ answers back. I told my manager that unless they wanted to give us raises, I wasn’t willing to do certain tasks that I felt threatened my safety, the safety of my coworkers, or the safety of vulnerable customers. I ended up getting pulled into the hallway mid-shift by management to tell me I could either talk it out with them right then and there, or have a zoom call with the CEO.”

“They argued with me, told me that the city-mandated raise of minimum wage was a great raise and we were ‘lucky to even have it,’ and tried to convince me that all of my safety concerns were my own fault because I hadn’t brought them up before they announced reopening for dine-in. I was burned out from horrible customers, hadn’t taken a full vacation day in my 18 months with the company, and put up with dubious safety conditions for the entire pandemic at that point. The manager started raising her voice at me after about fifteen minutes of telling me all my concerns were wrong, and shouted ‘if you don’t think we pay you enough, why are you even still here?’ So, I left my key and walked out. Since I left, many other employees have quit. Now, the business is advertising for BOH and FOH at all of its locations — with higher pay, PTO benefits, and sign on bonuses — but they still can’t find enough staff.

—Anonymous

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