For immediate release
May 13, 2021
“Americans are smart, they want the steady income that comes from a job, but they need childcare, they want to go back safe, and they want a job that’s worth it.
“Workers with kids – especially women, who are a big share of hospitality workers – may not have access to in-person schooling or childcare where they trust that it’s safe. Many workers aren’t fully vaccinated yet, because if you got your first shot a little later in April, you’re still waiting to be two weeks past the second dose. And finally, a lot of folks felt burned when the hospitality industry completely abandoned workers at the beginning of the pandemic, so some have left for industries that they perceive to be more stable and where they’re less likely to get kicked to the curb again.
“If you’re an employer worried that people make too much on unemployment, that probably means that you’ve been getting away with poverty jobs and now the chicken has come home to roost. The question is, are you paying enough and offering the kind of benefits that make a job worth taking? Our union has won hospitality jobs that are worth it, and where that’s the case, people are ready and waiting to get called back to good jobs. The hospitality industry has to realize that there’s competition right now, and that means you have to make the jobs better.”
UNITE HERE is the hospitality workers’ union in the U.S. and Canada, representing over 300,000 workers in hotels, gaming, restaurants and food service, airports, and more. Ninety-eight percent of its members were laid off at the start of the COVID-19 pandemic, and as of May 2021, over 70 percent remained out of work.