Food service industry workers met in Washington D.C. today to discuss alarming findings in a new service related study. The study was conducted by the Restaurant Opportunities Center and it found that two thirds of restaurant workers go to work when sick, and 90% percent of those who participated in the study reported that they get no paid sick days while 60% said they get no health insurance. This means means that they have to go to work sick to get paid. All the while exposing other restaurant workers, and more importantly guests, to their illness. One 30 year veteran of the food service industry named June Lindsay shared this story,

“[One day] I had a really bad cold. My nose was running, I was sneezing, [and] I had a bad cough and a fever. I could not call in sick because no work meant no money and I couldn’t afford it at that time. My kids were very young, so I went to work to see if I [could] make it through the day. Halfway through the day, the sneezing, coughing and runny nose got worse. I asked the manager, ‘I am really sick and need to go because I could make others sick and I am dealing with food.’ She laughed and told me, ‘Try not to cough, then.’ So I had to work that day sick, and who knows how many customers I got sick because I couldn’t go to the back and leave the counter to wash my hands after every sneeze or nose wipe. Later on, all of us got sick one by one, and all this came from another worker that came to work sick like me, but was not allowed to leave work.”

Gross, food workers! Now I’m going to have to learn to cook, jeesh.

ma