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How can we promote our labor in sustainable ways

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How can we promote our labor in sustainable ways? Ethical consumption not only promotes organic locally sourced food, it’s also about our labor. Are we being looking at the long range effects of sustainability? When it come to labor we don’t seem to look at at from this perspective. Here’s a great article of why after 23 years, restaurant workers are seeking a raise.

The Gears of Money

At the UU Church in Fremont, CA they have taken on the challenge to support the wage increase for restaurant workers. Unless you have worked in a restaurant or in the hospitality, you have no idea how hard people work and the people who really enjoy being of service. UU (stands for Unitarian Universalist).

If you are genuinely interested in this aspect of a business consider asking these questions of restaurant workers. (These questions can also apply to other businesses.)

  • How do you like working here?
  • Do you feel you are a valued employee and are being treated fairly?
  • Have you been given opportunities for training and advancement in this business?
  • Have you had to come to work when you are very sick and you should of stayed home and/or sought medical treatment?
  • How often are you asked to do jobs that you have not been trained for?
  • Have you ever experienced gender/race/religious discrimination by other employees and management?

These questions ought to inspire some conversation about whether or not you are experiencing being valued enough to get paid properly.

For restaurant managers/owners here is some things to consider whether or not you are providing equal opportunities or really caring about your employees.

  • Do you offer training opportunities for advancement?
  • Is there a disproportionate ratio between people of color working in the front to the back of the restaurant.
  • Do women have equal opportunities for training and or promotions? How does this happen?
  • Do you offer sick leave or health benefits or your employees? Can they phone in sick?
  • How are complaints handled?
  • Are you in favor of a minimum wage increase for tipped and non-tipped worker so they can make a living wage?

In 1986, when I was a manager of a restaurant, we gave the guys equal opportunity to become servers. As the restaurant I worked for, the tradition was only women could be servers. Everyone at this restaurant was paid minimum wages, the kitchen staff were paid more. I am shocked to hear about how restaurant employees are paid so little in the USA. This saddens me.

What’s your take?
My take is why do we have to wait until the minimum wage has to increase for business owners to give a raise. Why not just give one? Why do they have to be told to do so?

Mari-Lyn Harris

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