Behind the Kitchen Door

:

Low Road Jobs, High Road Opportunities in Maine’s Growing Restaurant Industry

By the Restaurant Opportunities Center of Maine, Restaurant Opportunities Centers United, and the Maine Restaurant Industry Coalition

The Restaurant Opportunities Center of Maine is a joint project of the Restaurant Opportunities Centers United and the Southern Maine Workers’ Center.

Primary Research Support Provided By: LaNysha Adams, Restaurant Opportunities Centers United Editorial Support Provided By Nirupama Jayaraman Design by Christopher Chaput Funding Provided By: The Ford Foundation Additional Funding to Include Health Issues on the Survey Provided By: Maine Health Access Foundation February 9, 2010

Behind the Kitchen Door:

Low Road Jobs, High Road Opportunities in Maine’s Growing Restaurant Industry

By the Restaurant Opportunities Center of Maine, Restaurant Opportunities Centers United, and the Maine Restaurant Industry Coalition

The Restaurant Opportunities Center of Maine is a joint project of the Restaurant Opportunities Centers United and the Southern Maine Workers’ Center.

Primary Research Support Provided By: LaNysha Adams, Restaurant Opportunities Centers United Editorial Support Provided By Nirupama Jayaraman Design by Christopher Chaput Funding Provided By: The Ford Foundation Additional Funding to Include Health Issues on the Survey Provided By: Maine Health Access Foundation February 9, 2010

Executive Summary

Executive Summary
Behind the Kitchen Door: Low Road Jobs, High Road Opportunities in Maine’s Growing Restaurant Industry was conceived of and designed by the Maine Restaurant Industry Coalition - a broad gathering of academics, policy analysts, worker advocates, worker organizers, unions, restaurant workers, and restaurant industry employers (see complete list on back cover). This report represents one of the most comprehensive research analyses of the restaurant industry in Maine. The report uses data from 525 worker surveys, focus groups with 30 restaurant workers, and 30 one-hour interviews with restaurant employers in Maine. The results of this research are supplemented by analysis of industry and government data, such as the Census, as well as a review of existing academic literature. Our study was inspired by the need for examination and analysis of the overall health of the restaurant industry, which is fundamental to Maine’s economy and critical to the lives of thousands of restaurant workers and employers. The restaurant industry is an important and growing source of locally based jobs, and provides considerable opportunity for the development of successful businesses. It is therefore essential to make information about the industry from the perspectives of both workers and employers available to all stakeholders to ensure the industry’s sustainable growth.

A Resilient and Growing Industry
Maine is home to a vibrant, resilient, and growing restaurant industry. The industry includes close to 3,000 food service and drinking places that make significant contributions to the state’s tourism, hospitality and entertainment sectors, and to its economy as a whole. Perhaps the industry’s most important contribution to the state’s economy is the thousands of job opportunities and career options it provides. In 2009, the industry accounted for over $1.5 billion in sales. Since 1995, employment growth in the food services sector has outpaced that of the state overall. Restaurants employ more than 46,000 workers in the state – 7.6% of the state’s total employment. Since formal credentials are not a requirement for the majority of restaurant jobs, the industry provides employment opportunities to new immigrants, whose skills and prior experience outside the United States may not be recognized by other employers, workers who have no formal qualifications, young people just starting out in the workforce.

Many Bad Jobs, A Few Good Ones
There are two roads to profitability in the Maine restaurant industry – the “high road” and the “low road.” Restaurant employers who take the high road are the source of the best jobs in the industry – those that provide restaurant workers with living wages, health benefits, and advancement in the industry. Taking the low road to profitability, on the other hand, creates low-wage jobs with long hours, few benefits and exposure to dangerous and often-unlawful workplace conditions. Many restaurant employers in Maine appear to be taking the low road, creating a predominantly low-wage industry in which violations of employment and health and safety laws are commonplace. While there are a few “good” restaurant jobs in the restaurant industry, and opportunities to earn a living wage, the majority are “bad jobs,” characterized by very low wages, few benefits, and limited opportunities for upward mobility or increased income. According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, the median hourly wage for restaurant workers in Maine is only $8.92 including tips, which means that half of all Maine restaurant workers actually earn less. In our own survey of restaurant workers, the vast majority (89.6%) reported that they do not have health insurance through their employers (see further Chapter III: Workers’ Perspectives). Earnings in the restaurant industry have also lagged behind that of the entire private sector. In terms of annual earnings, Maine restaurant workers on average made only $14,207 including tips in 2008 compared to $35,624 for the total private sector.

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Executive Summary

A majority of workers in our study reported overtime and minimum wage violations, lack of health and safety training and failure to implement other health and safety measures in restaurant workplaces. Almost one quarter of the workers surveyed in our study (24.9%) experienced overtime violations and 27.4% reported working “off the clock” without being paid.

The Social Costs of Low-Wage Jobs
Our research also reveals the “hidden costs” to customers and taxpayers of low-wage jobs and low road workplace practices. Violations of employment and health and safety laws place customers at risk and endanger the public. For example, restaurant employers who violate labor laws are also more likely to violate health and safety standards in the workplace – such as failing to provide health and safety training, or forcing workers to cut corners that harm the health and safety of customers (see further Chapter VI: The Social Cost of Low-Wage Jobs). The pervasiveness of accidents coupled with the fact that so few restaurant workers have health insurance can lead to escalating uncompensated care costs incurred by Maine hospitals. For example, more than one-third of all workers (36.4%) of surveyed workers reported that they or a family member had visited the emergency room without being able to pay for their treatment. Finally, low wages and lack of job security among restaurant workers lead to increased reliance on social assistance programs resulting in an indirect subsidy to employers engaging in low road practices and fewer such public resources available to all those in need. A key finding of our research is that whenever restaurant workers and high road employers are hurt by low road practices, so is the rest of society.

The High Road Is Possible
It is possible to create good jobs while maintaining a successful business in the restaurant industry. Our interviews with employers revealed that as long as there is an enduring commitment to do so, it is possible to run a successful restaurant business while paying living wages, providing standard workplace benefits, ensuring adequate levels of staffing, providing necessary training, and creating career advancement opportunities. In fact, 16.3% of the workers we surveyed reported earning a living wage, and similar numbers reported receiving benefits, thereby demonstrating both the existence of “good jobs” and the potential of the industry to serve as a positive force for job creation.

Our Recommendations
The Maine Restaurant Industry Coalition recommends the following steps to address the workplace problems documented in our study: 1. Level the playing field by providing paid sick days and increasing the tipped minimum wage. Policymakers should require all employers to provide paid sick days to their employers, and raise the minimum wage for tipped workers to be closer to the minimum wage for all other workers. The lack of paid sick days can result in real public health challenges for the entire state. 2. Promote model employer practices. Model employer practices should be publicized to provide muchneeded guidance to other employers in the industry. The vast majority of employers we interviewed agreed in theory that high road workplace practices were better. However, many did not appear to implement them in practice. 3. Provide incentives for high road practices. Initiatives and incentives should be considered to assist and encourage employers to provide living wages, basic health care benefits, and advancement opportunities to restaurant workers. Such initiatives could include rent and property tax incentives for employers who implement exceptional workplace practices, and subsidies and other measures that will make quality health insurance affordable for those working in this industry 4. Labor, employment and health and safety standards should be strictly enforced. Employers should also be educated about their legal responsibilities towards their employees and provided necessary support to observe their obligations to their workers and to the public. It is in the interest of both workers and the public at large that existing standards be observed and enforced.
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Executive Summary

5. Promote opportunity, penalize discrimination. Policy makers should explore initiatives that encourage internal promotion and discourage discrimination on the basis of race, gender, age, sexual orientation, and immigration status in the restaurant industry. 6. Allow workers the right to organize. Barriers to organizing restaurant workers should be addressed. The public benefits of unionization in this and other industries should be publicized as significant benefits to workers and employers. 7. Support further industry research. Further study and dialogue should be undertaken that includes the perspectives of restaurant workers, employers, and decision-makers. Such dialogue can help ensure effective and sustainable solutions to the issues identified in our study – especially race-based discrimination, and the impacts of the industry’s practices on health care and public program costs.. The information collected here from workers, employers, and industry experts is critical to ensuring that the Maine restaurant industry truly shines both as an important contributor to the state’s job market and economy, and also as a source of well-being for Maine workers and communities.

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Table of Contents

Behind the Kitchen Door:

Low Road Jobs, High Road Opportunities in Maine’s Growing Restaurant Industry

ExECUTIvE SUMMARy CHAPTER I: INTRODUCTION & METHODOLOgy CHAPTER II: OvERvIEw OF THE MAINE RESTAURANT INDUSTRy CHAPTER III: wORkERS’ PERSPECTIvES CHAPTER Iv: EMPLOyERS’ PERSPECTIvES CHAPTER v: HEALTH & SAFETy CHAPTER vI: THE SOCIAL COST OF LOw-wAgE JOBS CHAPTER vII: CONCLUSIONS & POLICy RECOMMENDATIONS APPEndIx & EndnOTES

i 1 4 12 29 40 48 53 55

All contents © Copyright 2010 Restaurant Opportunities Centers United (ROC-United)

Chapter I

CHAPTER I

Introduction
The Maine restaurant industry has enormous potential, both as an employer and as an engine of economic growth. Over the past twenty years, there has been tremendous expansion in the food and beverage service sector, and despite the recent economic downturn, it continues to outpace other industries.1 Unlike many jobs in the manufacturing sector, restaurant jobs cannot be outsourced or replaced by technology. For this reason, they are anticipated to occupy an ever larger share of the state’s economy in the near future.

aBOUT THIS STUDY
This study was conceived and designed by the Maine Restaurant Industry Coalition - a broad gathering of academics, policy analysts, worker advocates, and others (see complete list on back cover). It represents one of the most comprehensive research analyses of the restaurant industry in Maine history. Data were collected from 525 worker surveys, 30 onehour interviews with restaurant industry employers, and interviews/focus groups with 30 workers in Maine, collected over a one-year period. The results of this primary research are supplemented by analysis of secondary industry data and a review of existing academic literature. This project was inspired by the need for examination and analysis of the overall health of an industry increasingly important to Maine’s economy and critical to the lives of thousands of restaurant workers and employers. The restaurant industry is an important and growing source of locally based jobs and provides considerable opportunity for development of successful businesses. It is therefore essential to make information about the industry from the perspectives of both workers and employers available to all stakeholders to ensure the industry’s sustainable growth.

The state’s restaurants are an important source of jobs – particularly for women, new immigrants, and young people just starting in the workforce.2 Thousands of Maine restaurant workers earn living wages and receive health care benefits. The industry also offers opportunities for aspiring entrepreneurs to join the ranks of those who have fulfilled their dream of opening a restaurant. Most jobs in the industry, however, are characterized by low wages - sometimes below poverty level – with few benefits such as health insurance and vacation days, few advancement opportunities, and exposure to unsafe and illegal workplace conditions. While some may dismiss these conditions by arguing that that the industry hires young, transitional workers; according to the Census, almost 52% of all workers in the industry are above the age of 25. Our survey and interview data, described in Chapter III: Workers’ Perspectives, indicates that many of these workers remain in the industry for many years.

Our primary research, review of existing literature, and analysis of government and industry data reveal that there are two roads to profitability in Maine’s restaurant industry – the high road and the low road. Restaurant employers who take the high road are the source of the best jobs in the industry – those that enable restaurant workers to support themselves and their families, remain healthy, and advance in the industry. Taking the low road to profitability, on the other hand, creates low-wage jobs with long hours and few benefits. It ultimately harms workers, other restaurant employers, consumers, public health, and taxpayers. Our research and existing government and industry statistics, indicate that the majority of employers in Maine’s restaurant industry, like employers in other parts of the country, are employing low road workplace practices, contributing to the creation and perpetuation of a predominantly low-wage industry where few workers enjoy basic workplace benefits and safe and healthy working conditions. These practices often lead to violations of workers’ basic rights, as well as federal and state wage and hour laws and health and safety regulations. As a result, as the restaurant industry creates jobs, it has the potential to create jobs that allow workers to support their families, but often instead ends up contributing to the proliferation of “bad” jobs in the current economy – jobs that cannot sustain workers, their families, and our communities. Our worker surveys and interviews illustrate the impacts such bad jobs have on people’s lives. Our interviews with employers highlight many of the factors that drive them to take the low road to profitability, often against the principles of good business practice they espouse, as well as strategies employed by some restaurant employers to overcome these factors. It is possible to achieve success in the restaurant business by pursuing the
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Chapter I

“high road,” but employers’ ability to do so is undermined by pervasive use of low road workplace practices, creating an unlevel playing field. Our research also demonstrates the importance to public health – and public coffers – of encouraging and supporting the majority of restaurant employers to improve practices. In this report, we have brought together the perspectives of both high road and low road employers, the experiences of workers, academic research, and government and industry data. We have created a unique and rich source of information on the area’s restaurant industry, to help guide efforts to end discriminatory workplace practices, and promote the high road business model to serve as a positive engine of economic growth in Maine.

TERMS USED IN THIS REPORT
“Front of the House” and “Back of the House” refer to restaurant industry terms for the placement and function of workers in a restaurant setting. Front of the house workers generally represent those interacting with customers in the front of the restaurant including wait staff, bussers and runners. Back of the house workers generally refer to kitchen staff including chefs, cooks, food preparation staff, dishwashers and cleaners. workers in these two different parts of the restaurant experience dramatically different wages and working conditions in Maine restaurants. In this report, “high road” is used to denote employer practices that involve investing in workers by paying living wages, providing comprehensive benefits, opportunities for career advancement, and safe workplace conditions as a means to maximize productivity. The results of such high road practices are often reduced turnover as well as quality food and better service. “Low road” refers to strategies that involve chronic understaffing, failing to provide benefits, pushing workers to cut corners, and violating labor laws, and health standards. “Fine Dining,” “Family Style or Franchise,” and “Quick Serve” are three general sub-segments of the restaurant industry which are presently untracked by government data, but have been important in guiding our study and are most useful for understanding the varying practices and strategies used by individual businesses. 1. Fine dining, or what is commonly referred to as “table-cloth” restaurants; 2. Family-style restaurants, also described as “casual dining,” including both franchise or chain restaurants such as Olive Garden or Applebee’s, and smaller establishments, frequently neighborhood-based and/or ethnic restaurants; 3. Fast-food or “quick-serve” restaurants.

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C H A P T E R II

Overview of Maine’s Restaurant Industry

Chapter II

C H A P T E R II

Overview of Maine’s Restaurant Industry
A. A Significant and Growing Industry
The restaurant industry is increasingly significant for Maine, especially as manufacturing jobs decline. According to a report released by the Maine State Planning Office, the food service industry has been one of Maine’s largest employers since 2003, greatly contributing to the state’s overall economy.3 The tourism industry, which includes the restaurant industry, is now considered one of the state’s largest and fastest-growing industries. In 2008, there were an estimated 15.4 million overnight visitors and 16.5 million day visitors to the state.4 Overnight visitors to Maine spent an estimated $5.8 billion on goods and services during their trip, while day visitors spent $1.65 billion in the state.5 In order to keep up with these demands, over 46,000 people in Maine are employed in nearly 3,000 food service and drinking places.6 The restaurant industry contributes greatly to Maine’s tourism and hospitality sectors, and to the economy as a whole. The National Restaurant Association predicts that the industry is expected to keep growing, with a projected 11.4% job increase by 2019 to 6,800 new jobs.7 Although considerable skills are needed to work in this industry, no formal credentials are generally required, making restaurants a viable source of employment for workers who have not had the opportunity to pursue formal training. Restaurant employment also serves as an important entry point into the job market for young people, women, and new immigrants to the United States, whose credentials and experience abroad, are often not recognized by other employers.

B. How Many Jobs?
TABLE 1: Employment in the Food Services Sector and Other Select Industries, Maine, 2009
Industry Total Maine Employment Health Care and Social Assistance Leisure and Hospitality Manufacturing Food Services and drinking Places Hospitals Construction Employment (in 1000s) 607.2 99.8 73.5 53.2 46.2 31.9 27.9 Share of Total Employment 100% 16.4% 12.1% 8.8% 7.6% 5.3% 4.6

Source: Maine Department of Labor Current Employment Statistics, July 2009 Note: Industry Categories are not mutually exclusive.

As indicated in Table 1, the “Food Services and Drinking Places” sector provides over 46,000 jobs per year in Maine (hereafter “food services sector”). While the sector’s contribution of 7.6% of the total payroll employment in the state is less than that of other sectors; it has experienced less job loss in comparison to manufacturing and construction. In fact, the food services sector contributed to 63% of employment in the “Leisure and Hospitality” supersector.8 Since the beginning of the recession in December 2007, manufacturing and construction job losses have accounted for half of the job loss in the entire state.9 The food services industry has been one of the largest and fastest-growing sectors of the Maine economy, even during the current economic crisis. The food services sector currently employs more people than a wide variety of both old and new economy industries such as construction, manufacturing, secu4

Chapter II

rities, and real estate. In fact, an annual publication by the State of Maine Revenue Forecasting Committee reports that changes in employment by industry at the beginning of the recession reflect long-term trends in Maine, with a continual decline in manufacturing, construction and financial services.10 The restaurant industry has potential for providing low-wage workers with access to advancement to jobs that will allow them to support their families. This is evidenced by the fact that the industry is growing and that there are some living wage jobs. From our survey data, 16.3% of all workers surveyed reported an hourly wage of $17.00 or higher. Since 1992, employment growth in the food services sector has outpaced that of all others in the entire state.11 Figure 1 depicts employment growth in the food services sector from 1990 to 2008, compared to job growth overall in Maine. Even during the current economic crisis, the restaurant industry has not nearly suffered the kind of job loss locally or nationally experienced by the economy as a whole. From January 2008 until December 2008, the economy as a whole experienced a 3.5% job loss, while the restaurant industry experienced only one-third of that loss, or 1.16%.12 As of July 2009, the restaurant industry nationally is experiencing growth.

FIGURE 1: Job Growth in the Food Services Sector and in Total Employment, Maine, 1990-2008
1.5 Food Services & Drinking Places 1990 = 1.00 Total Statewide Employment

1.2

.9
0 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 0 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 199 199 199 199 199 199 199 199 199 199 200 200 200 200 200 200 200 200 200

Source: Bureau of Labor Statistics, Current Employment Statistics

C. What Kind of Restaurant?
Per the Census, the food services sector generally includes four industries: full-service restaurants, limited-service eating places, special food services and drinking places.13 The restaurant industry is generally understood to include the first two of these categories; namely, full-service restaurants and limited-service eating places. Although the Census does not distinguish between different types of full-service restaurants, we see both ‘fine dining’ restaurants and ‘family-style’ or ‘franchise’ restaurants falling within this category. Limited service restaurants are also known as ‘quick serve’ – restaurants that do not offer waiter service. Thus, in our study, we analyze three categories of restaurants introduced above: fine dining, family-style or franchise, and quick service. These categories are important because we have found that workplace practices are driven by factors such as whether a restaurant is part of a national corporation or chain or is locally-owned. While fast-food enterprises are typically owned by national corporations, family style and franchise restaurants are split between national corporations and local owners, and fine dining restaurants are in most cases part of a restaurant group with multiple establishments. These characteristics profoundly impact employers’ power, or lack thereof, to define standards and policies that affect their business and buying power, which is a key component of their competitiveness and profitability in the industry.
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d. Where are the Jobs?
As indicated by the data contained in Figure 2, Cumberland, York, and Penobscot counties account for more than half of the state’s employment in restaurants, or 57% of all restaurant jobs. Cumberland alone accounts for almost one-third (30%) of all Maine’s restaurant jobs.

FIGURE 2. Employment by County in the Restaurant Industry, Maine, 2007

Source: U.S. Bureau of the Census, County Business Patterns, 2007

E. What Skills are Required?
With the exception of chefs and sommeliers (wine stewards), restaurant employers generally do not require workers to have educational degrees or vocational certification. This is not to say that restaurant workers do not have skills or that restaurant work is not demanding. Back of the house workers, often working in hot, cramped workspaces must be able to complete the tasks required to accurately fill orders in a timely and quality fashion in a high pressure environment. Front of house staff and other employees who interact with customers need strong interpersonal skills, time and task management skills, and a working knowledge of food preparation and presentation. Since the industry does not require formal training, it is consequently an important source of jobs and income for large numbers of new workers who do not have formal training or are new to the workforce. The industry is also a

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source of employment for women, youth, people of color and immigrants, particularly new immigrants whose prior education and experience abroad is often not recognized by employers in the U.S.

F. Who are the Workers?
Maine’s restaurant industry is largely young and female. Almost half (48%) of all restaurant workers are under the age of 24, and a majority (61.6%) are women. Though largely white, growing numbers of Asian and Latino workers reflect the increasing presence of immigrants in Maine’s restaurant industry. Restaurant workers in Maine are also diverse in educational background; almost one-third have attended some college (31.4%), and two-thirds have a high school degree (62.9%).

TABLE 2: A demographic Profile of Maine Restaurant Workers, 2000-2008 (column percentages)
Restaurant Workers 2000 Gender Male Female Age 16-24 25-44 45-64 65 and older Race/Ethnicity No n-Hispanic white Non-Hispanic Black Asian Hispanic/Latino any race 2 or more races and Other nativity Citizen by Birth Foreign Born World area of Birth United States Latin America Asia Europe Africa Other years in US Born in the U.S. 0-5 6-10 11-15 16-20 21 or more 38.4 61.6 48.1 34.7 15.2 2.1 92.8 0.8 2.1 2.1 2.3 95.6 4.4 94.6 .4 2.3 1.3 .3 1.0 94.3 1.4 0.7 1.1 .8 1.8 2008 42.8 57.2 44.1 35.2 19.2 1.5 90.6 1.0 3.2 3.4 1.9 94.5 5.5 94.2 .8 3.4 .5 1.0 1.0 94.2 1 .7 1.2 .1 2.8 difference (2008-2000) 4.4 -4.4 -4 0.5 4 -0.6 -2.2 0.2 1.1 1.3 -0.4 -1.1 1.1 -0.4 0.4 1.1 -0.8 0.7 0 -0.1 -0.4 0 0.1 -0.7 1 2008 Only All Maine 50.2 49.8 14.6 37.2 41.3 6.9 96.3 .7 .6 .9 1.5 97.1 2.9 96.0 .3 .9 1.3 .2 1.4 95.8 .4 .4 .4 .2 2.8 difference (Restaurant Workers – All Workers) -7.4 7.4 29.5 -2 -22.1 -5.4 -5.7 0.3 2.6 2.5 0.4 -2.6 2.6 -1.8 0.5 2.5 -0.8 0.8 -0.4 -1.6 0.6 0.3 0.8 -0.1 0

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Restaurant Workers 2000 Ability to Speak English Speaks very well Speaks well Speaks, but not well Does not speak English Education Less than High School High School Degree Some College Bachelors Degree and Higher 62.0 23.1 12.6 2.3 37.2 31.5 24.8 6.6 2008 58.3 32.1 5.0 4.7 22.3 33.8 35.6 8.3 difference (2008-2000) -3.7 9 -7.6 2.4 -14.9 2.3 10.8 1.7

2008 Only All Maine 77.6 16.7 4.1 1.7 8.7 33.8 33.8 23.8 difference (Restaurant Workers – All Workers) -19.3 15.4 0.9 3 13.6 0 1.8 -15.5

Source: U.S. Bureau of the Census, Public Use Micro Sample from US Census (2000) and american Community Survey (2008). Note: Difference is percentage point difference.

G. What do the Jobs Look Like?
Jobs in the restaurant industry generally fall into one of three categories, each corresponding to different levels of compensation, potential for mobility, access to training, workplace conditions, and other important indicators of job quality: 1. Managers and supervisors, including chefs 2. Front of the house positions 3. Back of the house positions

H. What do the Jobs Pay?
The data in Table 3 show that the restaurant industry offers predominantly low-wage jobs. According to the Bureau of Labor statistics, the median hourly wage for all restaurant occupations in Maine is only $8.92 including tips. While Maine’s restaurant industry is an important and growing source of income and employment, the jobs provide largely low earnings, raising concerns about the proliferation of low-wage jobs. The restaurant industry contributes over 46,000 jobs to the statewide economy, but 78.82% of those jobs pay less than $10 per hour including tips.14

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TABLE 3: Employment and Median Wages for Food Preparation and Serving Related Occupations in Maine Statewide, 2008
Occupation All workers Chefs and head cooks First-line supervisors/managers of food preparation and serving workers Cooks, fast food Cooks, institution and cafeteria Cooks, restaurant Cooks, short order Cooks, all other Food preparation workers Bartenders Combined food preparation and serving workers, including fast food Counter attendants, cafeteria, food concession, and coffee shop Waiters and waitresses Food servers, nonrestaurant dining room and cafeteria attendants and bartender helpers dishwashers Hosts and hostesses, restaurant, lounge, and coffee shop Food preparation and serving related workers, all other Under $10.00 per hour 0.95% 7.76% 1.93% 3.95% 8.48% 1.89% 0.06% 10.80% 5.13% 27.01% 2.99% 19.09% 1.34% 1.51% 4.48% 2.55% 0.08% 78.82% Employment share Median hourly wage $8.92 $19.26 $13.78 $8.43 $11.80 $11.18 $9.19 $13.71 $9.89 $7.88 $8.27 $8.47 $7.65 $9.42 $8.42 $8.51 $9.08 $8.98

Footnotes: (1) Estimates for detailed occupations do not sum to the totals because the totals include occupations not shown separately. Estimates do not include self-employed workers. (2) Annual wages have been calculated by multiplying the hourly mean wage by 2080 hours; where an hourly mean wage is not published the annual wage has been directly calculated from OES reported survey data. (3) wages for the OES survey include base rate, cost-of-living allowances, guaranteed pay, hazardous-duty pay, incentive pay including commissions and production bonuses, tips, and on-call pay.
Source: U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, Occupational Employment Statistics Survey for Maine Statewide, 2008

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While the number of jobs in Maine’s restaurant industry has grown, restaurant wages over the past decade have not. As Figure 3 illustrates, average annual earnings in the industry are only 40% of that of the entire private sector in Maine. In 2008 dollars, 2001 private sector annual earnings averaged $35,312, but only $14,251 in the restaurant industry. In 2008, private sector earnings were $35,624 a year, while earnings in the restaurant industry were $14,207 over the same period.15 Thus, restaurant wages are less than half of all private sector earnings and have declined over the past decade, despite growth in the industry during the same period.

FIGURE 3: Average Annual Earnings By Industry, Maine, 2002-2008
40,000 Average Annual Earnings 35,000 30,000 25,000 20,000 15,000 10,000 5,000 0 2001 2002 2003 2004 2005 2006 2007 2008 Total Private Sector Restaurant Industry

Note: Earnings are deflated using the CPI-U for Urban Northeast16 Source: Bureau of Labor Statistics, Quarterly Census of Employment and Wages

In sum, while the Maine restaurant industry is an important and growing source of income and employment, earnings lag far behind those of other private sector workers in the state. The restaurant industry contributes over 46,000 jobs to the state’s economy,17 but 78.82% of those jobs pay less than $10 per hour. Overall, median restaurant worker wages are only 40 percent of Maine median wages, and currently there are no forces in the industry likely to begin to close that gap after many years of stagnation. And, given the industry’s reliance on youth, women, and immigrants, it is already marginalized communities that occupy these low-wage jobs.

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C H A P T E R III

Workers’ Perspectives

Chapter III

C H A P T E R III

Workers’ Perspectives
The information summarized in this chapter represents a compilation of the results of 525 surveys and interviews and focus groups with 30 restaurant workers conducted between July 2008 to April 2009. By speaking directly with Maine restaurant workers, we gained more insight on the daily experiences of working in the state’s eateries. We were also able to collect new data regarding the overall quality of their workplace experiences which is not reflected in existing statistics. ➜ ➜ ➜ ➜ Where earnings are concerned, our research results are consistent with existing data – the majority of restaurant workers we spoke with reported very low wages. Most restaurant workers do not receive benefits such as employer-provided health coverage, paid sick days, or vacation days. Most restaurant workers we spoke with do not receive regular raises, promotions, or ongoing job training. More than half the restaurant workers in our study are not paid overtime in contravention of governing laws. We also received reports from some workers that they were not being paid at all for any hours they worked beyond 40 despite routinely being required to do so. A majority of workers reported health and safety hazards at their workplace, compounded by a pervasive lack of health and safety training. In addition, on the job injuries were reported by many of the workers we spoke with. Workers earning low wages are less likely to receive benefits, more likely to be exposed to poor health and safety conditions, less likely to be provided with job or health and safety training, and less likely to benefit from advancement opportunities. Conversely, workers earning living wages are more likely to receive health insurance and benefits, and work in safer environments.

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Chapter III

A. Introduction and Methodology
While a majority of jobs are low-wage, low-road jobs in the restaurant industry, our survey research shows that the low road is not the necessary path in this industry. At least one tenth of the workers we surveyed reported earning living wages, and similar numbers reported enjoying comprehensive benefits, opportunities for career advancement, and better workplace conditions. While these workers are in the minority, their experiences reflect the reality that some restaurant employers in the industry are pursuing the high road to profitability. The employer perspectives summarized in the next chapter offer important insight as to how the conditions described in this chapter can be addressed. This study was motivated in part by the current dearth of qualitative data documenting the experiences of restaurant workers in Maine. In an effort to pick up where official and industry statistics leave off, the Maine Restaurant Industry Coalition designed a survey to capture detailed information regarding individual workers’ experiences beyond hour and wage data. The survey instrument explored the availability of benefits, working conditions, hiring and promotion practices, the existence of job-specific training opportunities, employer discrimination, and the nature of working conditions in the industry. Stratified random sampling methods were chosen to provide an accurate proportional representation of restaurant workers in Maine. Stratification was used as a sampling technique to ensure that our sample was truly representative.18 To add to the rigor of the survey design and administration, we weighted the data according to front and back of the house in full-service and limited-service restaurants to improve the precision of our estimates. Weighting was used to compensate for over- or under-sampling and for disproportionate stratification, and to ensure unbiased estimates of restaurant worker population totals.19 The survey was administered from June 2008 to April 2009 by staff, members, and volunteers from the Restaurant Opportunities Center of Maine, a community-based organization with significant contacts among restaurant workers and access to workplaces in the industry. A total of 525 surveys were conducted face-to-face with workers in the counties of Cumberland, York, Lincoln, Hancock, Knox, Waldo, and Sagadahoc after workers’ shifts were completed or during breaks. We sought to capture experiences in all types of restaurants, and surveyed workers in each of the three main segments of the industry.20 Furthermore, our sampling frame, or set of participants from which the sample was drawn, consisted only of workers employed in the industry.21 Additionally, in order to obtain a holistic picture of the daily lives of individual restaurant workers, qualitative interviews were conducted with a total of 30 workers to gain in-depth information about the nature of working conditions. A general interview guide approach was used to conduct the one-on-one in person interviews. The guide, developed by Dr. Manny Ness of Brooklyn College, contained standardized open-ended questions to ensure that the same general areas of information were collected from each interviewee. Interviewers were trained how to use the guide to conduct semi-structured, conversational interviews.22

B. Earnings
“Oh, that’s an issue. I haven’t had to deal with that but that’s something that a lot of people for example, people who are hosting make an hourly wage and it’s not a very, it doesn’t really, it’s not really living a wage, anymore it’s not, and so for them they feel like they need to work all these extra hours” – Female, 6 years in the industry, Server
Our survey data are consistent with government and industry statistics demonstrating that restaurant work is primarily low-wage work.23 Three percent (3%) of this group did not earn minimum wage – even when tips were accounted for. Eighty-four (84%) percent of workers surveyed in our study reported earnings of less than $17.00 an hour, defined here as the living wage for Maine. A living wage “affords the earner and her or his family the most basic costs of living without need for government support or poverty programs”24 and was calculated using the Economic Policy Institute’s Basic Family Budget Calculator (see “Methodology” box for wage group definitions).

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METHODOLOgY fOR DEfINITION Of WagE gROUPS fOR SURvEY DaTa aNaLYSIS:
Real wages were determined by either calculating workers’ average weekly earnings including tips and dividing by the average number of hours worked per week or, for un-tipped workers, using their hourly wage. wage groups were then created using the Maine State minimum wage at the time the survey was conducted ($7.25), the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) 2008 federal poverty line earnings for a family of three of $17,600 per year, and the Economic Policy Institute’s (EPI) Basic Family Budget Calculator. The following six factors were chosen to calculate a living wage: a) Housing, b) Food, c) Transportation, d) Healthcare, e) Taxes and f) Other basic necessities. Definition of wage groups and distribution of the sample population across groups can be seen in Table 4.

TABLE 4: Wages Earned by Maine Restaurant Workers
Less Than Minimum Wage (< $7.25) Below Poverty Line ($7.25 - $8.45) Low Wage ($8.46 - $16.99) Living Wage ($17 and higher)
Source: Maine Restaurant Industry Coalition survey data

3% 20.9% 59.7% 16.3%

The earnings picture is slightly different for restaurant workers when compared to other workers due to the fact that an exception to minimum wage laws is made for workers who regularly receive tips. As a result, restaurant employers in the State of Maine are permitted to pay tipped workers minimum wages of $3.63 per hour, or 50% of the state minimum wage, as long as tips make up the difference between $3.63 and the state minimum hourly wage of $7.25 (at the time the surveys were conducted). If they do not, the employer must pay workers the difference.25 In Maine, however, tipped workers are not guaranteed the full minimum wage for each individual hour or shift that they work. Federal regulations allow employers to average out their workers’ tips over a full workweek, complicating the tip tracking system and making it vulnerable to employment law violations under the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA).26

40 of the workers surveyed in our study reported that they were born in another country, and 3% of these workers reported that did not have legal status to work in the United States. Their actual proportion in the restaurant workforce is likely even higher given the possible reluctance of workers to report their immigration status or “off the books” employment. Our survey data from around the country show that immigrant workers are particularly vulnerable to exploitation because employers are able to threaten firing and/or deportation if workers complain about working conditions. Despite the legal implications of the 1986 Immigration Reform and Control Act (IRCA), 27 which made it illegal to knowingly hire or recruit immigrants who do not possess lawful work authorization and required employers to attest to their employees’ immigration status, many employers with whom we spoke stated that undocumented immigrants are widely employed in the industry. various reports and news stories confirm that the restaurant industry provides an entry-point for undocumented workers, particularly because of the opportunities to earn cash by the hour – even when earnings are below federal and state mandated minimum wages.28 Census data are unlikely to capture the earnings of these workers.

“you’re making you know the tipped minimum wage which is extremely low and I mean you’re at the mercy of everyone else who’s making tips I mean you don’t make your own tips, you’re relying on other people to tip you out.” – Male, 5 years in the industry, Busser

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WHaT DOES IT MEaN TO LIvE ON a RESTaURaNT WORKER’S EaRNINgS?
According to the National Low Income Housing Coalition (NLIHC), while the Fair Market Rent for a two-bedroom unit in Maine is $784, an extremely low-income household (earning $17,849 or 30% of the Area Median Income of $59,499) can afford monthly rent of no more than $446.29 On average, a restaurant worker earning $10.50 per hour can afford monthly rent of no more than $546 for a two-bedroom unit. For workers to afford a Fair Market level of rent and utilities, without paying more than 30% of their income on housing, their household must earn $2,613 monthly or $31,352 annually. The typical restaurant worker would have to work approximately 62 hours per week in order to afford a two-bedroom unit at the area’s Fair Market rent. NLIHC determined that the “Housing wage” – the amount a full time worker must earn per hour in order to afford a two-bedroom unit at the area’s Fair Market rent – in Maine is $15.07.

C. Benefits
“Um no sick days, no vacation days, I mean you could take time if you needed it but you had to find someone to cover for ya.” – Male, 20 years in the industry, Dishwasher “For me, what kind of benefits have I received? Honestly, like none. We don’t have any insurance benefits, we don’t have any sick days benefits at all, if you’re sick you just don’t get paid. We don’t have insurance we don’t have vacations, you gotta work there for a, I dunno, a year or whatever, it’s only like a weeklong of paid vacation. Not having any benefits has affected my family because they, when I get sick my family has to pay for it, which is really, really expensive. So I just usually try to just suck it up, and like you said, and drink Tylenols and drink tea or whatever.” – Male, 25 years in the industry, Cook
The majority of restaurant workers surveyed reported that they do not receive basic workplace benefits. The data in Table 5 reveals that the vast majority of workers surveyed do not have health insurance through their employers (89.6%), over 38.8% reported not having any type of health insurance coverage at all, and 36.4% went to the emergency room without being able to pay. An overwhelming majority reported that they do not get paid sick days (89.2%) or paid vacation days (79%).

THE DIffERENCE a UNION MaKES
Less than 1% of all restaurant workers are unionized, which might account for their pervasively low wages. The Center for American Progress reports that union members in Maine and across the country earn significantly more than non-union workers, and are also significantly more likely to be covered by employer-provided health insurance. For example, Maine workers that join a union will earn 8.6% more – or $1.54 more per hour – than their non-union counterparts.30 Furthermore, the Maine Department of Labor’s Center for workforce Research and Information reported in the March 2009 issue of Labor Market Digest, that, based on January 2009 data, “Among full-time wage and salary workers, union members had median usual weekly earnings of $886, while those who were not represented by unions had weekly earnings of $691.31” 42.2% of workers in our survey sample stated that they would want a union if they knew they could not be fired or deported for joining.

TABLE 5: Job and Health Benefits Reported by Maine Restaurant Workers
does not receive health insurance through employer do not have any health insurance coverage Gone to ER without being able to pay do not get paid sick days do not get paid vacation days Have worked when sick
Source: Maine Restaurant Industry Coalition survey data

89.6% 38.8% 36.4% 89.2% 79% 70.8%

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37% of workers surveyed with health insurance reported being covered through a family member. Thirty three (33%) of workers with coverage reported receiving health insurance from a state or federal source. Five percent (5%) of workers had to pay for health insurance out of pocket.
“Um job security is interesting because they needed people so badly but they weren’t paying them, so like if I just called in sick or something they could have just fired me, I’m not really sure I think a lot of people felt really secure just because it was such a sketchy environment.” – Male, 7 years in the industry, Barista & Server

The majority of the workers we interviewed reported that they were unable to get unpaid time off when they needed it, particularly when they were sick. A front of the house worker with over 20 years of experience in the industry explained that “if you’re sick, that’s a problem. They don’t really allow you any sick days when you’re sick and that’s just how it is.” One server who has worked in the industry for 8 years reported “you can’t call out if you’re sick. This happened a lot ‘cause people lost their job ‘cause they wouldn’t come in when they were sick. But the thing is they would never believe you were really sick. So they basically would fire you if you were sick saying, ‘You have to come in because I can’t have people calling out sick,’ which isn’t really good for customers.” Despite the public health risks associated with working while sick, over half of the 525 workers surveyed reported working while sick (70.8%). Additional information on the impact of workers and taxpayers of the industry’s lack of benefits can be found in Chapter VI: The Social Cost of Low-Wage Jobs.

“You’re s**t out of luck, like basically you hope that somebody might come in to cover you but if no one can like you know they require a certain amount of people on the floor to do stuff and if you can’t get someone to cover it then you have to be there which I think is terrible because you not only like you know in the food industry you’re dealing with food you’re making things for people, like if you’re sick you’re making other people sick, you’re going to get your co-workers sick and that’s going to make everybody else miserable. It’s really hard to like, if you’re not feeling well to get your shifts covered.” – Male, 2 years in the industry, Barista

d. dead End jobs
“There is no job security. There are no raises, I get the tipped minimum wage and tips. There is definitely favoritism in terms of scheduling and hours.” – Female, 5 years in the industry, Host “Basically if you are hired for the back of the house, you stay at the back of the house. They’ll hire for people in the front of the house, like they don’t really, they don’t promote back of the house to the front of the house, they just keep the back of the house in the back of the house.” – Male, 20 years in the industry, Cook
Restaurant workers have few opportunities to advance in the industry (see Table 6). Regardless of occupation, restaurant type, or length of service at a restaurant, workers reported that opportunities to increase their earnings through seniority or by working their way up the industry ladder are few and far between. Fifty-seven (56.9%) percent of survey respondents reported that they do not receive raises regularly, and 60.2% of workers responded that they had not been promoted since starting at their current place of employment. These trends held whether a worker remained in the same place of employment or sought other opportunities in the restaurant industry– 62.9% of workers surveyed said they had not moved up from their last job when they took their current one. Moreover, 47.6% of workers reported that they do not receive the on-the-job training needed to be promoted.

TABLE 6: Raises and Promotions Reported by Restaurant Workers
do not receive regular raises Have never been promoted in current job did not move up in position from last job to the current job did not receive ongoing job training needed to be promoted from employer
Source: Maine Restaurant Industry Coalition survey data

56.9% 60.2% 62.9% 47.6%

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“I think with [my current employer], the barriers came with them being so cheap, that they don’t want to promote people cause when you promote someone you have to take all this extra training and that costs money cause you’re not being paid to be on the floor to work, you’re just being paid to train, it’s like a thousand dollars to like train someone to do it um they’re not doing that with anyone because they’re so cheap so if there is, if there is a slot that becomes available, a position that becomes available they don’t promote from within anymore, they just bring people who are already supervisors in from somewhere else, it kinda sucks, really I think it’s preventing people from asking because they don’t want to pay people for the training.” – Female, 6 years in the industry, Server
The majority of restaurant workers are essentially trapped in low-wage jobs with long hours, few benefits, and few advancement opportunities. A recurring theme from the interviews was a lack of movement between the front and back of the house. As explained by a host who recently became a bartender after 6 years in the industry, “there’s no policies to promotions. In general, there isn’t much promotion, besides the glass ceiling of jobs to be a bartender.” Workers we spoke with reported having no choice but to leave their current employment in search of better jobs at other restaurants. Not only does the constant search for a better job deny workers job stability and economic security for themselves and their families, but it also ends up costing employers in turnover-related costs. These two factors lead to a no-win scenario, and greatly threaten what could be a shared economic prosperity, as discussed in greater detail in the following chapter.

E. Employment and Labor violations
“I wasn’t paid that’s why I left, um it was extremely confusing we went through a buncha different ways to like account for our tips, um and how many like, the clock, we didn’t have any ways to punch in like wrote down our hours long hand and then turned them in at the end of the week so obviously there was a whole bunch of controversy about who was padding their hours and people who came in late and said they didn’t, um so it was just a mess and so by the time we straightened it out our first paycheck was weeks late and by the time the second one just didn’t come in on time I just quit because I want to be paid for the work I was doing obviously. Um but I know a lot of people had a lot of incidences where they stayed longer because they hoped things would get better but I just know it was a nightmare.” – Female, 6 years in the industry, Host
As discussed in Section B above, restaurant employers in the State of Maine are permitted to pay wages of $3.63 per hour to tipped workers. If tips do not bring the worker up to minimum wage, employers are responsible for making up the difference. The employer, for each pay period in which tips are reported, must keep a written tip statement signed by the employee and dated before each paycheck is received on file.32 In paying $3.63, employers rely on tips from customers to pay the difference between workers’ tipped hourly rate of $3.63 and the legal minimum in the state. However, if tips do not bring the worker up to minimum wage, employers are responsible for making up the difference. while “tip-pooling” and “tipping-out” are common practices in most restaurants, it is unlawful for employers to take tips from restaurant workers. 94.3% of restaurant workers surveyed were not aware of the correct minimum hourly wage for tipped workers and 67.5% did not know that $7.25 was the state minimum hourly wage at the time the survey was conducted. On July 24, 2009 the federal hourly minimum wage increased from $6.55 to $7.25. Also, on October 1, 2009, the minimum wage for the state of Maine increased from $7.25 to $7.50. Clearly, more public education, for workers and employers alike, is needed with respect to governing laws in the restaurant industry.

“With us, as servers, they pay – I don’t know if it’s properly, I never know if they pay you honestly, because I have like in the past experience, the managers are the worst, they take advantage of the banquets every day. They pay themselves extra, extra money, and they pay us less money, but how do you know? You don’t know the bills, you don’t know how much. So you just have to trust. And sometimes, in a place, they pay us hourly more than the regular server salary, but they don’t give us gratuity. So they keep the gratuity.” – Female, 5 years in the industry, Server & Host

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TABLE 7: Employment Law violations Reported by Maine Restaurant Workers
Experienced overtime wage violations Worked off the clock without pay Management took share of tips Experienced minimum wage violations
Source: Maine Restaurant Industry Coalition survey data

24.9% 27.4% 12% 3%

As illustrated by Table 7, several workers reported being paid less than minimum wage and receiving no overtime pay when they worked more than 40 hours per week, in violation of both federal and state wage and hour laws. Twenty-five (24.9%) of all workers surveyed told us they were not paid overtime for hours worked beyond the standard 40-hour workweek. Some workers we interviewed reported being paid a flat rate no matter how many hours they worked, a practice commonly referred to as “shift pay.” However, the Fair Labor and Standards Act mandates that if workers are scheduled for a shorter shift and they end up working more than eight hours or more than 40 hours per week, employers must pay overtime.33 A worker with 10 years of experience in both front and back of the house positions articulated a practice that half of all workers reported: “The working system up there for the scheduling part, they do, sometimes I am scheduled for a part-time position and sometimes I do work overtime. Basically you stay over an hour or two until productions over and then you’re ready to go home or you could wait until everyone’s done and you can go home the next morning and you did a double shift actually.” Another worker told us that working a second shift meant an increase in tips, but not hourly pay. Experiences such as these illustrate that the industry are not closely regulated and relies heavily on informal employment arrangements.

“… and then all the sudden a month later they sent me letter that the check had bounced, ‘cause they closed the account and they ended up switching over like a different name on their account, but they closed their account, where the check bounced, so that’s when I had to go back to work and I was like ‘well they paid me all these different wages.’ Then when I complain they give me cash.’” – Female, 4 years in the industry, Host “I think you just have to speak up if you’re not being paid properly, because they won’t do anything unless you bring it up to them, say hey, I’m doing extra work and I need you to compensate it. Like a missed check or something, I talked to the manager and he came in and printed me the check.” – Male, 18 months in the industry, Dishwasher
Three percent (3%) of workers reported being paid less than minimum wage, in violation of the law. In the State of Maine, employers may pay as little as $3.63 an hour to tipped employees, as long as they receive enough in tips to make up the difference between the tipped wage and the state minimum wage. If tips are insufficient to bring workers up to the state minimum wage, however, employers are obliged to make up the difference. Nevertheless, of the workers we interviewed, several reported being paid no hourly wage at all and subsisting on tips alone, often averaging out to little more than a few dollars per hour – far below the legal minimum. One server in the fine dining segment of the industry reported, “They pay at like $3 hourly and sometimes I don’t have tips. You know, sometimes I have to say ‘I’m sorry I cannot [work]’ because they pay $3 an hour.” Twenty-seven percent (27.4%) of the workers we surveyed reported working “off the clock” without pay. As explained by one worker with 20 years of experience in fine dining establishments, “At first I thought it was pretty good. I worked as a barback and on the door I got tipped out by the bartender at the end of the night. It usually added up to about 30 bucks at the end of the night depending on how busy it was that night and how much running around you did. But sometimes I would get there at around 4 and work as a doorman [making only tips].” Other workers reported having to end their shift early and still work, oftentimes receiving no pay. When asked why they had to end their shift early and still work, these workers explained they were too close to earning overtime, yet continued to work because they needed the opportunity to earn tips. Even when earning tips, 12% of tipped workers reported that management was unlawfully taking a share of their daily tips – a severe burden to workers who are
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already being paid very low wages.

“One of my co-workers worked two jobs and she started barbacking [at family style restaurant]. The bartenders are really snobby and she works five hours and gets 10 bucks, so I don’t know what’s going on but the manager’s not there and they’re like, ‘Oh, we just give you whatever we want.’ Like, I don’t know if it’s a law that you have to share your tips or what.” – Male, 12 years in the industry, Server
Our survey data also revealed that employment law violations occurred in every segment of the industry. For example, despite popular perceptions of tip stealing occurring exclusively in smaller family-style restaurants, 15.1% of workers in fine dining reported that salaried managers took a portion of tips, along with 16.3% of workers in quick serve and 6.1% in family-style establishments. When examining segment specific violations, however, it becomes evident that some violations are more prevalent in certain segments of the industry. For example, 24.9% of the general survey population reported that they experienced working more than 40-hours a week without overtime pay, but 34.4% of workers in fine dining, 27.6% of workers in family style and 17.5% of workers in quick service experienced this. Restaurant workers in fine dining (35.1%) and family style (30.6%) establishments also experienced higher proportions of working “off the clock” without pay than all of the workers combined (27.4%).

F. Occupational Segregation and discrimination
The nature and quality of restaurant work in the state of Maine differs depending on a number of factors, including the type of restaurant, its location, and the employer. It also depends on the type of job and the value the employer places on the work performed. Our worker and employer data indicate that wages and working conditions also depend on a worker’s race, gender, age, and immigration status. Despite the fact that the majority of Maine’s population is white, the 2000 U.S. Census reported that there are more than 3000 workers of color in the state working in the restaurant industry. Our research suggests that even in Maine, like many other American states with larger percentages of people of color, occupational segregation and discrimination is evident in the restaurant industry. Though a small percentage of the industry, people of color and immigrants are disproportionately represented in low-wage jobs. While the public at large is generally most familiar with direct forms of discrimination, indirect discrimination – which occurs when seemingly neutral policies have a disproportionate impact on a particular group – is most prevalent, insidious, and difficult to remedy. Because workers’ experiences of discrimination were not the primary focus of this study, the information presented in this section provides only a glimpse into these issues. Further exploration of the manifestations, nuances, and impacts of both direct and indirect forms of discrimination in the restaurant industry is needed. The Maine Restaurant Industry Coalition strongly encourages the industry, worker analysts, and advocates to pay greater attention to these issues.

SEGREGATION BY POSITION
“I remember the fine dining restaurant they had all white people, and there was one black girl, waitress but she was for the family dining but they usually weren’t any non whites in the fine dining, I don’t know if that was on purpose, I just noticed that, uh gender yeah, male, female, um the managers were all men, host to hostess I think they were always girls, back of the house you know we had the Mexicans, we had the dishwashers, one lady baked bread, um line cooks were all, they were all guys actually, all white guys and yup guess that’s it. I was the only girl in the kitchen.” – Female, 5 years in the kitchen, Line Cook “I think they are like Somalese people, well no, because they from Somalia, but Muslims -- they are in the back of the house, for some reasons, I imagine because they... but people from many different nations in there, and also with some kind of disabilities, and they work there [as well].” – Female, 5 years in the industry, Server & Host

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Jobs in the restaurant industry essentially fall into one of three categories: front of house workers, back of the house workers, and managerial and supervisory positions. Our research indicates that workers’ positions within this hierarchy determine their earnings, benefits, opportunities for training and advancement, and working conditions. Front of the house workers generally earn higher wages and have greater opportunities to increase their earnings through tips. As indicated by the data in Table 8, 37.6% of all front of the house workers reported a living wage (more than $17 per hour) compared to only 2.7% of back of the house workers. Additionally, back of the house workers are more highly concentrated in the poverty-level and low-wage wage categories. Additionally, back of the house workers reported more frequently than front of the house employees that they had been injured on the job. There are, of course, some differences in wages and work quality among positions within each side of the house (see Table 8). For example, although both occupations would be classified as front of the house positions, compensation and working conditions differ considerably between bussers and waiters. In the front of the house, bartenders we surveyed reported the highest median hourly wage of $18.03 per hour, with waiters and waitresses in our survey sample averaging $15.80 including tips, bussers $12.68, hostesses $10.35, and cashiers $10.50. In the back of the house, chefs or cooks averaged $12 per hour, dishwashers $9.25 per hour and prep cooks $7.50 per hour. However, our analysis found the starkest disparities between front and back of the house positions. The median hourly wage reported by front of the house workers was $15.13, while back of the house workers averaged $10 per hour.

TABLE 8: differences in Job Quality by Restaurant Job Type
Front of the house jobs Wages Less than minimum wage Under poverty line Low wage Living wage Total Workplace Injuries Have been burned while on the job Have been cut while on the job Have come into contact with toxic chemicals
Source: Maine Restaurant Industry Coalition survey data

Back of the house jobs 1.4% 20.9% 75.0% 2.7% 100% 76.1% 70.8% 47.2%

5.6% 4.1% 52.8% 37.6% 100% 40.6% 52% 29.3%

In our survey sample, a slightly higher proportion of workers of color worked in the back of the house – 44.7% of workers of color we surveyed worked in the back, compared to 42.9% of white workers. In addition, only one of the 71 people of color we surveyed worked as a bartender, the industry’s highest paid hourly position, compared to 15 of the 433 white workers surveyed. Interestingly, of the 71 people of color we surveyed, only 7 of them reported earning a living wage of $17 or more per hour, compared to 74 out of the 418 white workers we surveyed who reported earning a living wage; clearly indicating that a higher concentration of people of color in the back of the house negatively impacts their earning potential.

“Portuguese staff will be in the back, dishwashers, would be either like me, or like Mexicans, or Puerto Ricans, black, dishwashing. Preps they would have all the, basically like, anywhere from 20, 25, 30, prep cooks, older people, they won’t let younger people do any prep. Line cooks were basically like it’s mixed; basically, gender its predominately male in the back of the house, like everywhere I’ve worked. Like, I’ve only worked in one kitchen where I saw one female as a cook. But she basically didn’t last long, it was just like give her the position oh, and then, give her a reason to let her go, you don’t really fit the need. But back of the house is basically the boy’s house in the back, and the front of the house is the female’s house, in the front. It is separated like all the restaurants I’ve worked where, it’s like race, gen20

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der, ethnicity does play a role, even thought when you see those posters in the employee lounge that says all this and that. Well, basically it says it on the billboard but they get the applications and the resumes where they call for interviews where they only hire for that office there, thing, they don’t say ‘well, okay we want 2 females, 2 white Americans, and two aliens or whatever immigrants’ and then they have it – where they just say ‘na, back of the house guys there, front of the house women, and management white Americans, back of the house, management, I seen a couple of like immigrants, that were like supervisors, they wouldn’t put them as manager cause the manager would be a white but they would give you all that responsibility as his job while he sits in the office and collects and reaps the benefits of ya’ll. It how is has been for me.” – Male, 20 years in the industry, Cook

SEGREGATION BY SEGMENT
While all restaurants are in the business of serving their guests a meal, factors such as ambience, type of service, and type of targeted patrons segment the industry into three categories which vary markedly with respect to wages, working conditions, and workforce composition. In this report, we categorize those segments as fine dining or “tablecloth”, family-style and franchise, and “quick-service” or fast-food. The industry has potential to provide living-wage jobs, particularly in the fine-dining segment of the industry. From our survey data, the most significant difference between the segments was wage. Fine-dining workers averaged $14.00 per hour, while workers in family-style establishments averaged $13 per hour and workers in quick-service averaged $9 per hour. Nine workers surveyed in Maine’s fine-dining restaurants reported earning more than $66,560 annually, and three workers reported earning $100,000 annually. It is the $40 price point per meal at these establishments, along with higher tips, that offers employment with substantially higher earnings than the other two segments of the industry. Our data indicate that race is also a mediating factor in gaining employment in particular segments. This is evidenced by the fact that nearly half (58.3%) of all African American survey respondents worked in the quick service segment, earning a median wage of $8.50 per hour, compared to 44% of whites working in the quick service segment.

G. Racial disparities in Wages & Working Conditions
“The skills needed for them position you would have to start off in the bottom, if you are the front manager then you need to have some background experience in managing and, pretty much that’s it for the front, and for the back kitchens you need to start off from scratch first, too, which you have to be a kitchen staffer know how to do everything, you just go and relax. Those who usually get those positions are usually the whites, ‘cause that’s how, it’s very dominated by whites, - Female, 9 months in the industry, Counterperson
As described above, the restaurant industry in the state of Maine is segregated by position and segment, and this segregation occurs along racial lines. Workers of color reported lower median wages and higher rates of employment law violations and lack of access to benefits than white workers. Whites in our survey reported a median hourly wage of $10.54, while workers of color reported a median wage of $9.91 per hour.
Neither Census and other government data nor our survey data can completely represent the reality of occupational segregation for restaurant workers by race, for a variety of reasons. One reason that Census data has limitations with regard to immigrant populations is that immigrants are less likely to speak to government surveyors for reasons of language barriers and fear. However, Census data are also limited with regard to non-immigrant low-income populations, which are generally undercounted for a plethora of reasons, including lack of access to telephone and other means of communication, lack of stability of address, and more. Further research into how discrimination based on race, ethnicity, and immigration status affects Latino and African American workers is clearly needed – particularly given that segregation is not obvious to the single worker, and discrimination can be subtle; these experiences do not appear to be adequately addressed by current data.

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H. verbal Abuse and discipline Based on Race, Gender, Sexual Orientation, and Age
“It’s divided like race qualities where you don’t speak English you don’t belong in the front of the house der’ wit the customers. Basically most predominately white neighborhoods, all white servers, I’ve been through that type, where discrimination and all that, I have been at jobs where I’ve been workers’ where they use racial slurs towards me and shit like that, try saying that some of that ethnic culture and they’d be like ‘Ooo you’re just one of those sandniggaz ‘cause I descend from Cape Verde, which is just west of Africa.” – Male, more than 20 years in the industry, Line Cook “There’s a lot insults and yelling and raising voices. I didn’t take orders, never been a servant like did the worn thing, or you wasted this, or you dropped that on the floor, stuff like that, the yelling. Usually, it’s the cooks that are yelling ‘cause that’s what I’ve seen.” – Male, 8 years in the industry, Dishwasher
Workers we surveyed reported frequent verbal abuse (see Table 9). A significant proportion of the workers we spoke with believed that the abuse to which they or a co-worker had been subjected was motivated by race, gender, sexual orientation, or age.

TABLE 9: verbal Abuse Reported by Maine Restaurant Workers
Responded that in the past 12 months they or a co-worker had experienced verbal abuse Of those who reported experiencing verbal abuse… Reported that gender was a factor Reported that age was a factor Reported that sexual orientation was a factor Reported that race was a factor
Source: Maine Restaurant Industry Coalition survey data

22.8% 30% 17% 16% 13.2%

Similarly, among restaurant employees who believed they or a co-worker had been disciplined more often or more severely than other workers within the past year, 12.7% cited gender or age as the reason.

TABLE 10: discipline Reported by Maine Restaurant Workers
Responded that in the past 12 months they or a co-worker had been disciplined more often or severely than others Of those who reported more frequent or severe discipline… Reported that gender was a factor Reported that age was a factor
Source: Maine Restaurant Industry Coalition survey data

12.7%

19.7% 15.1%

“I would say that the [quick service establishments] are referred to as a bad place, it’s racist, like you know you’ll get harassed right in front of your face. Recently, I saw a trash can lit that was written on racist comments such as [the n-word], the Hitler sign, the Nazi sign, a lot of stuff I didn’t even know. We do get racist comments, yeah, ‘these Brazilians they never work right,’ they do say some racist comments.” – Female, 1 year in the industry, Line Cook

I. Gender discrimination
“Sexual harassing is a joke, because sometimes a manager hit on you... so there is policies that you sign that you could go against it, but then the bosses – everything in Maine got a long period, so by the time you just said, you give up.” – Female, 3 years in the industry, Server
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“They were pretty good with like mixing everyone together, when to came to race, but when it came to gender it was mostly women in the front and men in the back room cooking.” – Male, 10 years in the industry, Bartender
Thirteen percent (13%) of respondents surveyed reported experiences of sexual harassment. Many women we interviewed reported experiencing sexual harassment, and the high level of flirting required of them on the job. One female server explained that there is plenty of “flirting around, smacking a lil’ ass, stuff like that but that’s how they work their up the chain, basically.” Of respondents reporting experiences of sexual harassment, 15% of the workers surveyed felt it was based on sexual orientation. “Sexual humor helps pass the time, so I don’t see any way of stopping that,” explained a server who described how his co-workers made jokes with “the gay manager” who would try to date employees. Women workers we interviewed often described the back of the house as a place where explicit sexual comments could be made and even physical contact without fear of retribution. One chef and back of the house manager in a fine dining establishment in Portland explained the pervasiveness of sexual harassment: “Well you know I’ll be honest with you the restaurant industry in the back of the house is very this full teasing kind of hazing. It’s a boys’ club and uhh yeah it could happen you harass somebody you try to break I’m not talking about me yeah but it goes on all the time know what I mean.” Many of the women interviewed explained that restaurants frequently exclude women from certain positions, and instead concentrated them in particular positions at particular establishments. Our data indicated that women (70.2%) also experienced less mobility than men (54.8%), particularly as it related to moving up in position from the last place of employment to the current one. Additionally, 64.7% of women surveyed reported not receiving regular raises.

“Men take priority in the back of the house, from the dishwashers to the chef.” – Manager, 30 years in the industry, Fine Dining “I’ve seen sexual harassment in the workplace usually from the back of the house, the kitchen staff with the front staff because mostly you have young female girls working the front and males in the back and it’s that barrier of the restaurant where it’s kind of deemed okay, but when you really break it down it’s unnecessary. But I think everyone kind of partakes in it.” – Female, 13 years in the industry, Bartender “I mean sexual harassment is a part of the job. Oftentimes in a restaurant you are working in such stressful situations that like people you know, like, and your drinking, and it’s all out the window. I often said if there was like a tape recorder in half the place’s I’d worked, they’d just be closed, or there’d be just lawsuits left and right.” – Male, 17 years in the industry, Server & Bartender
Additional quantitative and qualitative analysis of women’s experiences in the industry, and particularly those of women of color and immigrant women, is clearly needed. The Maine Restaurant Industry Coalition plans to further examine the role of gender in future research.

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My name is Bethany, I’m 25 and I’m from a little tiny town in New Hampshire. I decided in middle school I wanted to cook and I’ve been working in the restaurant business since I was 17. My grandmother was really good at making cakes, and my grandfather’s business was making maple syrup, but there haven’t been any cooks in the family and I knew at an early age it’s what I wanted to do. I moved here for college, and I’ve been working in Southern Maine ever since. The first time I worked as a cook, I was nervous, I didn’t have a lot of experience. I was straight out of college, and as a young female I don’t think I was always taken seriously. I love cooking, I love seeing people eat. I like making people happy and seeing people’s reactions to something that I made. Things started to change when I got hired at this restaurant I didn’t think I’d ever have a chance of being hired at, it was a white linen restaurant in the Old Port. Somebody talked to the chef and said I know this girl that needs a job, would you like to talk to her? I went in there as nervous as could be, there was this amazing, but serious chef that I knew I could learn so much from, I knew it would be an amazing experience, but I got the job, and it all changed when he left and the sous chef at the time got brought up to chef, and I became sous chef. we had another young guy working on the line with us and the entire dynamic in the kitchen changed. There wasn’t that strong serious, no crap kinda attitude from an experienced older chef to keep everybody in line, which was needed. I never had a single problem when that chef was there, but when he left, and a 21 year old kid was my boss. I don’t know exactly how it started, I try not to think about this a lot, it started off, like little condescending comments like I didn’t know as much as they did, or I couldn’t handle as much as they could, or “don’t worry, I’ll teach you how to do this.” we’ll show you. It’s ok you don’t know. Then it turned into, like, whipping me with towels, so hard it left red marks on my body, I just tried to make it seem like I was ok with it, like it was just a joke, like I could handle it. I needed to prove I could be one of the guys, like I could handle it. They’d make comments like, “you’re not a real girl, you’re one of us. One of the guys.” It made me feel not good at all, because I am a female, I’m proud of being female. I’m proud of having a non-typical career as a female. There were other times like at the end of the night when we’re cleaning up, and the restaurant was basically empty, I’d be pushed up against a wall, just in between this guy and the wall and not being able to go anywhere. Then there were times when we were on line, cooking, during service that I had to get up on my tippie toes, to get hot plates that were above the grill, on a shelf, and while I was doing that, the other guy in the kitchen came up behind me and put his entire front of his body up against the back of my body, and I couldn’t go anywhere, I was leaning over a hot grill, I couldn’t move suddenly, I couldn’t get out the way because I was gonna burn myself. At that point, it had been going on long enough that I was getting pissed, so I turned around, and I told him, ‘don’t you ever do that to me again!’ and all he said was “what? I didn’t do anything wrong? what are you talking about? why are you getting mad at me?’ They didn’t think it was a big deal, they were like, ‘why are you upset?’ I was made to feel like I was doing something wrong for saying something. They thought they could just get away with it. I had it in my mind that I was lucky to be a sous chef at 22 years old, and that I was in this amazing position. It’s hard to be taken seriously. guys assume you can’t handle what they can, you can’t handle the stress that they can. But if you can, that also causes a problem because there are insecurities on their part, because if you’re as good as them, or better, then they’re treat you horribly. Sometimes it’s a lose-lose situation. I’d advise other young women to not be young and naive like I was. No job, no position, no salary is worth putting up with what I did. Speak up, let someone know. Don’t be afraid of what’s gonna happen to you. I work with a girl who is still in culinary school, and she’s young and optimistic, I don’t want to see it happen to other females. we don’t dream of going to culinary school and then getting our degree then just expect to go into the industry and experience this. I don’t want to see a decline in the number of females going to culinary arts school, or a decline in the number of female cooks because this is what they’re faced with. People should be able to live out their dream with out other people bringing them down, or deterring them. I know I can’t judge the entire industry based on a few bad people I have come across in my life, I’m not one to give up easily. Since I have graduated from college, there has only been a two-month period that I haven’t been cooking, and I missed it. Right now, I enjoy it enough, it’s what I want to do.

J. Age discrimination
Several workers in interviews and focus groups mentioned that age discrimination is a widely acceptable practice in the industry. Even employers admitted their preference for younger workers, as described by an employer below.
“you can’t have a person who is 30 years old serving the people, there’s a limit on years, the younger the better. The cuter the better. If you’re a nice looking girl or nice looking guy you should be in the front because you’ll grab a lot of customers by the look, if you dress nice or look nice people will come to eat because you look nice. And if you are a girl who is so beautiful I don’t see why you’re washing dishes when you can go out there and experience your beauty and dress up and look nice and make people love the place because they see a happy face, a beautiful person sitting up front. They’re like, ‘Oh hmm, that’s interesting, she looks nice, let’s go there.’ A lot of people grab the attention of someone coming in than when you have someone who looks old and weird and is not well properly dress. And ‘hi how are you,’ you’re going to go like ‘hmm’ you’re not going to feel you’re more welcome. you feel more welcomed when a person is younger if that makes sense. So I think younger age should be in the front and older age should be on the back.” – Owner, 15 years in industry, Family Style

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As indicated by Table 11, workers below the age of 17 and above 45 are more highly concentrated in the quick serve segment than workers between the ages of 18 and 44. As described above, the quick serve segment provides much lower wages than fine dining or family-style restaurants. There is a clear preference for younger workers (above the age of 18) to work in fine-dining restaurants, where the highest wages may be found.

TABLE 11: Relationship between Industry Segment and Age
Fine dining 15 – 17 yrs 18 – 24 yrs 25 – 44 yrs 45 – 64 yrs 65+ yrs 10% 18% 25.3% 19% 0% Family Style 30% 35.1% 37.6% 33.3% 50% Quick Serve 60% 46.9% 37.1% 47.6% 50% Total 100% 100% 100% 100% 100%

Source: Maine Restaurant Industry Coalition survey data

K. disparities in Wages & Working Conditions Based on Immigration Status
Several employers in our employer interviews discussed the growing immigrant population in the restaurant industry at length.

“People say ‘ah, good, immigrants, cheap labor’ they take advantage of, toying with people because of language barriers, moderately, lightly abusive to people, uh. Yeah I don’t think it’s generally that bad, but there’s glitches here and there.” – Owner, 12 years in the industry, Family Style “I would say that our applicant pool mirrors the marketplace. We’re not going to attract that many minorities to work here. I interviewed an African-American last week. We’ve had two Hispanic dishwashers who were both very good – I wish we’d had more.” – Owner, 8 years in the industry, Family Style
Maine’s population increased by four percent (4%) between 1990 and 2000, and by 3.5% between 2000 and 2006, bringing Maine’s total population to approximately 1.3 million. Between 2000 and 2006, 9.3% of the total population increase was directly attributable to immigrants.34 Despite the overwhelming majority of the population being white and U.S.-born, recent population increases resulted in a large influx of immigrant workers into Maine, prepared to work for lower wages.35 While they remain a very small percentage of the total population and the restaurant industry, immigrant workers in Maine are an important group to consider because they are a growing population, and because they are more vulnerable to exploitation due to language barriers, lack of information about their rights, and fear of detention or deportation. Of the forty immigrant workers surveyed, only four reported earning a living wage of $17 per hour. Immigrant restaurant workers in our sample reported higher rates of employment law violations than U.S. born workers. Nearly one-third (31.9%) of immigrant workers worked hours “off the clock” without receiving pay, 20.8% reported that management stole a portion of their tips, and 4.9% experienced minimum wage violations – a percentage rate that was double the rate of U.S. born workers. However, federal law states that all workers have the right to minimum wage and overtime protections, regardless of immigration status. Employers also reported a preference for U.S.-born workers, particularly in front-of-the-house positions.

“We have Pedro from El Salvador. There’s a language barrier there. He can speak proper Spanish but he can’t figure anything out. He just washes dishes on Friday and Saturday.” – Chef/Manager, 10 years in the industry, Fine Dining
Immigrant workers also reported a higher rate of health and safety violations than U.S.-born workers. Seventeen percent (17%) of all immigrant workers reported working in restaurants with guards missing on the cutting machines, and 23.5% of immigrant workers reported fire hazards in the restaurant – a percentage rate that was double the rate of U.S. born workers.

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“You find that people who can’t speak English aren’t, what I like to call, automatic. You know, they’re single loaders, every time you have to show them again and again and again. And for us to have good customer service with the high volume that we’re doing. We don’t have time to do that.” – Manager, 5 years in the industry, Fine Dining “I mean I know that it helps our industry to have immigrant workers that come in and make less money than an American worker would. But I think on the backside, it costs us in what we spend in all sorts of stuff. I mean, social services, free health care, you know, so, I can definitely take a side on both sides of it, I mean. I think there should be some sort of procedure to go through to get a job here. If you go to New York or Chicago, there are so many places there that people are working without proper status.” – Owner, 3.5 years in the industry, Family Style

L. Seasonal Workers
Despite common perceptions of Maine’s restaurant workers as primarily seasonal employees, only 73 of the 525 workers we surveyed reported being seasonal, despite having surveyed in all four seasons of the year. Only 5 of these workers were not born in the U.S., meaning that 92.7% of all seasonal workers surveyed were U.S. born citizens with more than one job. The complexity of seasonality and restaurant workers is compounded by the fact that there are no state or federal labor laws for defining temporary or seasonal employment status. The number of temporary and seasonal employees working in Maine can be estimated from the Maine Department of Labor Bureau of Unemployment Benefits database, which does not aggregate based on industry. Our findings indicate that the majority of restaurant workers are year-round, non-seasonal workers. Employment law violations among seasonal workers are generally comparable to those reported by year-round workers; however, seasonal workers did report overtime violations at a higher rate (31.2% of seasonal workers compared to 25% of all workers surveyed), and also reported tip misappropriation at higher rates (18.7% as opposed to 12% of all workers).

TABLE 12. Seasonal Workers’ Experiences of Employment Law violations
Seasonal Workers (n = 73) Worked off clock without pay Experienced overtime violations does not make minimum wage Management took share of tips
Source: Maine Restaurant Industry Coalition survey data

All Workers in Survey Sample (n = 525) 27.4% 24.9% 3% 12%

18.6% 31.2% 1.5% 18.7%

The average age of seasonal workers was 24, three years less than the average of the general survey population. Perhaps the most significant difference between seasonal workers and year-round workers was the length of time workers reported working in one restaurant. Nearly half (45%) of all seasonal workers worked in the same restaurant for one year or less, compared to 32% of year-round workers.

M. A Career Industry for Many
As described above, low road practices are pervasive throughout the restaurant industry. Poor working conditions are not a temporary situation for these workers, since for many workers, the restaurant industry is a long-term career. The overwhelming majority of workers surveyed stayed in the restaurant in which they were working for more than one year, with two years as the average time spent working in the same restaurant, and almost one-third (31%) of all workers surveyed working in one restaurant for three years or more. Of course, the industry does experience high turnover, but our surveys and interviews indicate that the turnover is largely caused by workers seeking better wages, working conditions, and advancement opportunities within the restaurant industry. We found a relationship between workers that reported receiving promotions and the length of time they stayed working in one restaurant. Sixty percent (59.9%) of workers who stayed in their restaurant for three or
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more years received a promotion, while only 36.8% of workers who worked between one and three years in the same restaurant received a promotion. This indicates that many workers who do not receive promotions leave their jobs to try to find others within the industry that provide better opportunities for mobility and higher wages. Of the 525 workers we surveyed, the vast majority reported working 40-hours per week (64.9%), year-round (85.8%), for more than one year in one restaurant (65.9%). Most workers make a career out of the restaurant industry, and several workers explained that turnover rates are so high because they seek better jobs. One worker reported that while she has worked all three segments of the industry (quick serve, family style, and fine-dining) throughout the state of Maine over 10 years in the industry, she continues seeking jobs in restaurants because “what motivates [me] to stay at a restaurant is pretty much everything about it. To stay at a particular restaurant it’s your co-workers, it’s management, it’s the way that they treat you with respect or without respect. The money, the clientele, you know what I mean, is what motivates me; it’s the reputation of the place. A crumbling of all of this has made me leave restaurants in the past.” Another worker reported that what motivates her to stay in the industry is that “ The money can be quick money, fast money, the different sorts of people, the education you can get working in really nicer restaurants, the different quality of food and learning and learning about wines; getting the benefits of that either a VIP tour of some winery or things like that.”
I am Sharon, I came from Jamaica, where I was a security guard at the airport. I came here in December of 2007. My first stop in the US was in Alabama, working for a DvD company. when I first went there, I had many problems, the first night I sleep on the floor, in a shop, 11 of us. what they told us, in Jamaica, was that we were gonna come straight into an apartment, but that was not so. when we came to Alabama, we were left stranded, so we have to sleep in a shop for two days. we were suppose to work like 6 days a week, but we only worked two. Anyway, I have four kids in Jamaica to support. The first is 21, second one is 17, third one is 13, the last one is 8. I don’t see them for two years now. we talk every day on the phone and on the computer, on the web cam. I miss them a lot. They understand and know that some day, hopefully next year that they will get to see me. Anyway, I couldn’t make any money to send them, and to pay rent, so I had to leave Alabama. I got in touch with this woman in Maine in March 2008. My first impression of Maine, all I could hear was it was cold and I couldn’t manage it here. But when I came to Maine, I thought I met some people, but I thought they were racists, but after getting to know them I have the wrong thinking. So I came to [a Maine hotel], that is where I started working. I had a wonderful time there, the staff was wonderful, the salary was good so I could send money home to my family. Some guests that came in, the way the look at me for being a black person, I figured everyone would be the same which I had the wrong impression. After a while I realized that not everyone in Maine is a racist, but I love Maine. That’s why I am here until now. All of my friends went away to other states. I went away to Pennsylvania, but I came back to Maine because I did not like it there. what I like about Maine? The people are very loving. People that I have come across so far, and I’ve been here for almost two years, they’re very loving. They make me feel very welcome. My worst experience was at a hotel in New Hampshire. I did not feel happy there, but I stayed working there. My supervisor and me did not get along. I always keep on complaining that I did not get enough hours. Then they transfered me to the ski area where I have to work in the snow and ice. I had to do it. I wasn’t getting any hours, I wasn’t making any money. So she made me work at the ski area, collecting and checking tickets. I’m always trying to adjust myself to situation because I am here to work and take care of my family. But when I see something not going right, I have to step on it. They were racists. They would give the white people more hours, then us. Suppose they work like 7 days, we work like 3 days. That was seasonal, and then the winter was over, I came back to Maine. what I like about it, what keeps me inspired. It’s the people Eileen and Rick, they’re really nice people. They motivate me to stay. I didn’t really have impressions of the United States before I came here. I had friend that said it was good to come here because of the dollar. I see people come here, where I live in Jamaica. They really make it, they come back from the United States, they buy a house, they buy a car. when I came to Alabama, I didn’t even make $1000, not enough to send home, so I know I needed to go somewhere I could support my family.

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C H A P T E R Iv

Employers’ Perspectives

Chapter Iv

C H A P T E R Iv

Employers’ Perspectives
Our interviews with employers in Maine’s restaurant industry proved to be a rich source of information regarding the constraints under which they operate, thus leading them to engage in the practices described by workers in Chapter III: Workers’ Perspectives - often despite their best intentions and their expressed belief that restaurant workers are critical to their success. Our interviews with employers highlighted the principles and approaches adopted by employers pursuing the high road – those who manage to maintain successful businesses while ensuring that their workers earn a living wage and are guaranteed workplace benefits and safe work environments. As such, the perspectives summarized in this chapter can serve to guide further study of the industry, and, perhaps most importantly, lay the groundwork for initiatives developed in partnership by restaurant workers and employers. Our interviews with employers revealed that: ➜ ➜ Market volatility brought about by factors beyond employers’ control such as economic downturns and changing tastes require significant flexibility on the part of restaurant employers. Worker productivity and low employee turnover are both important to profitability. However, workplace practices intended to increase productivity, such as understaffing and longer, more unpredictable hours, can have the effect of increasing employee turnover, creating a dilemma many employers face in their day to day practices. The majority (77%) of Maine restaurant employers interviewed stated preference for the high road, even while electing to take the low road to profitability. While employers recognized workers’ dependence on wages and overtime to earn enough to meet basic needs, they also reported a policy of keeping wages low and overtime pay to a minimum. Many employers stated that they would like to offer their workers health insurance, but maintain that it is almost impossible to do so due to prohibitive costs. It is possible to achieve profitability by taking the high road and paying living wages, providing benefits, and maintaining a safe working environment when there is a non-negotiable commitment to doing so. However, restaurants following this approach are undermined by those who are not.

➜ ➜

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A. Introduction and Methodology
In order to obtain a better understanding of factors that drive workplace practices, the Maine Restaurant Industry Coalition interviewed restaurant employers in Maine. With the assistance of students and faculty from Coalition partners, we conducted in-depth interviews with 30 restaurant employers, including owners and managers, from July 2008 to April 2009. Employers were selected for interviews in a manner designed to gather data reflective of the distribution of the different segments - fine dining, casual/family style, fast food/quick serve – and sizes of Maine’s restaurants. Interviews included questions regarding trends in the industry over time, factors affecting business practices, strategies for running a profitable business, workplace practices, and the role of the informal economy in the state’s restaurant industry. Overwhelmingly, restaurant employers we interviewed recognized the important role that workers play in the vitality of the industry and the success of their businesses. The vast majority of employers described their workplace policies as supportive of workers and their development. However, when employer and worker responses to our surveys are juxtaposed, a more complex picture emerges. Both worker surveys and employer interviews confirm that some employers are paying living wages, providing comprehensive benefits, and ensuring healthy work conditions while successfully running a profitable business. Indeed, 16.3% of workers we spoke with reported being paid a living wage by their employers, and a similar share reported receiving workplace benefits. These employers, however, are the exception, rather than the rule. Employers also recognized that the low road to profitability - paying low wages, engaging in wage and hour violations, and cutting corners on health and safety- is the path more often followed in Maine’s restaurant industry. While there are surely some “bad” employers who operate only for their own profit, at the expense of their workers, what appears to be more common is that employers espouse supportive workplace policies in theory, but do not implement them in practice. This disconnect can be largely attributed to lack of good management, absence of industry incentives rewarding good employment practices in the industry, and ineffective employment law enforcement mechanisms. Additionally, employers would clearly benefit from better guidance from the industry as a whole, including more education regarding their legal obligations, and enforcement of these laws. Although the workers are the ones who lose out in the short term as a result of low road workplace practices, interviews with employers suggest that the industry as a whole loses out in the long run.

TABLE 13: Employer Interview Survey Sample by Attributes
Industry Segment Fine-dining Family Style/Casual dining Quick Service Total Position Owner Manager/general Manager Total Length of time in industry Less than 1 year 1 – 3 years 3 – 6 years 6 – 10 years More than 10 years Total
Source: Maine Restaurant Industry Coalition interview data

number of Employers(%) 7 (23%) 14 (47%) 9 (30%) 30 (100%) 19 (63%) 11(37%) 30 (100%) 2 (7%) 4 (13%) 3 (10%) 7 (23%) 14 (47%) 30 (100%)

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B. External Factors Affecting Workplace Practices
In order to better understand the tensions and contradictions in the restaurant industry affecting employers and workers alike, it is important to consider some of the most salient external pressures on restaurant businesses in the local context. Employers we interviewed referred to a number of factors that impact and shape their businesses, workplaces, and employment practices.

“I think they’re seeking more value. They want value. They want their money’s worth. I think the restaurant business is a strong, viable industry in the U.S., but it could use support from political and governmental agencies in staying viable. It is a very fertile ground for providing employment for a huge number of people, transitory, as they move from one career to the next. So in that sense, it plays a huge role in getting some money to people who couldn’t make any money. The lowest skill to the dishwasher to the highest skill manager, there’s a job for everyone in this industry, transitory or long-term. So it benefits the economy to keep the industry healthy. It benefits the economy to make it easier for these restaurants to stay in business.” – Owner, 5 years in the industry, Fine Dining
The Maine restaurant industry continues to be one characterized by robust growth. As shown in Figure 4, the number of restaurants in Maine increased by 9.8%, from 2,663 establishments to 2,955 establishments between 2001 and 2008.36

Figure 4: Growth in Food Services & drinking Places in Maine Statewide, 2001-2008
3,000

2,500 Number of Establishments

2,000

1,500

1,000

500

0

2001

2002

2003

2004

2005 Year

2006

2007

2008

Source: Bureau of Labor Statistics, Quarterly Census of Employment and Wages.

“We haven’t had to downsize our staff. Throughout the last years we’ve been consistently growing, and we’ve kind of plateaued without decreasing at all.” – Owner, 2 years in the industry, Family Style
While almost all employers interviewed discussed the economic crisis as affecting the industry, they also said their own business was not substantially affected much at all. In fact, despite the general perception that other restaurants were suffering, and statements that other restaurants have had to reduce prices and downgrade to meet consumer demand, most employers noted that they were not having to do so themselves, and that their business was booming.

“[The recession’s] not really [affecting us] too bad, to tell you the truth. We’re priced where we’re actually going to get busier when higher priced restaurants get slower, so in a sense we’re a little insulated from it. I guess it could be busier, but we’re still pretty busy.” – Owner, 3.5 years in the industry, Family Style
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These seemingly contradictory observations reflect national trends. While the industry is generally perceived to be declining, the restaurant industry lost only one-quarter of the jobs that the rest of the economy lost from January to December 2008. 37 And, while most other sectors continue to decline or lag, the restaurant industry has already begun to post growth as of July 2009. 38 Certain segments of the industry, such as fast food and liquor sales, have been growing throughout the crisis. Many employers reported that their success was due to an increase in their customer base. Several employers reported that by accommodating local requests, by “keeping customers happy,” and by having a positive staff, they were able to cater to the needs of every customer coming through the door and thereby stay in business. One employer of a fine dining establishment explained that he has been able to strike a balance between tourists and native Mainers: “Well, we attract tourists and locals equally, so with the business that we’ve been doing here this spring, it’s proven so far to be going pretty well. Definitely a sign that the local business is there since the tourists haven’t even come yet since it’s so quiet and there’s not much going on. It’s been great. A lot of local people coming by.” By focusing on training their staff and maintaining a positive work environment, these employers gain repeat customers who frequent their establishments more often.

“Um, I think the economy has obviously [had] a huge thing in the past year and although it hasn’t particularly affected us um too negatively we didn’t see the growth that we saw but we didn’t see any major downturn either. Um, but I think in Portland as a whole emerging quite a bit as a food city, they get a ton of press for it and I believe that leads to diners to believe that they should be experiencing something a little higher level than maybe 5 years ago. But I think the average person probably, is definitely looking for a value driven experience. They are willing to pay the money but only if the entire experience is going to feel worth it throughout and I think most people are looking to pave a nice middle road price for it and that’s why I think tiny really, really upscale restaurants are the first to get hit. But we’ve been lucky so far.” – Owner, 12 years in the industry, Family Style

Employers repeatedly emphasized the increase in liquor sales, which has helped them stay profitable during slow economic times. Historically, even during a recession, bars and restaurants that serve alcohol remain popular and experience increases in profit.39 One fine dining employer who has been in the industry for seven years reported revamping the menu by reducing portion sizes, lowering prices of food items, and including more drinks because that is where he derives most of his revenues: “We stopped serving food from two to four, now it’s just drinks.” Economists report that alcohol is a counter-cyclical asset, a good that defies economic trends.40 Employers also described a general trend of “downgrading” in the industry, evidenced by the increased predominance of casual dining establishments.41 All 30 employers from each segment of Maine’s restaurant industry reported studying and incorporating business practices of franchises and chains, which rely on systematization and standardization in order to push costs increasingly lower, rationalize and increase productivity of labor, and increase profit margins. Adoption of such business practices has both positive and negative repercussions for workers, as discussed below.

“Yeah, um, well obviously people’s declining ability to go out and spend money as a result of the economic downfall. Um, we’ve definitely experienced changes in our customer’s habits. They’re eating out less frequently, downsizing orders where they used to order a large pizza and take the leftovers home, they now order small pizzas. So in addition to the general decline in customer counts there’s also been a shift in actual spending per head.” –Owner, 28 years in the industry, Family Style

C. Strategies for Profit
To deal with many of the external pressures outlined above, employers generally agree that one of the most important elements of maintaining a profit is human capital. In fact, most employers in our sample agreed that reducing employee turnover and increasing employee productivity were both critical to maintaining profitability.

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MINIMIZING TURNOVER
“We provide benefits to try to encourage people to stay. I have low turnover and it’s good for business. We have regular customers who come in and like to be greeted by the same faces. I think it creates more of that community feel. You know, it’s always, that thing of, like I said we all work together 40 hours a week, and sometimes you see your work people more than your family. We have fun, we spend time outside of work together, I think that’s a good thing.” – Owner, 8 years in the industry, Family Style
Establishment of a loyal customer base and personable service was cited by employers as critical to promoting businesses and ensuring consistency in profit. Consistency and quality of staffing is of great importance to the employers we spoke with, who told us that keeping staff turnover low was critical to the success of their business. Most employers agreed that turnover is expensive and destabilizing to a restaurant workplace:

“Our philosophy here is pay them well. You know people that you want to keep, pay them well and they stay, it’s obvious. Like I said we never had anybody leave due to rate of pay or anything.” – Manager, 6 years in the industry, Fine Dining “Personally I feel like you could cut costs instead of taking it out on your employees, you know? If anything that they should be one of your number one priorities. If you don’t have the staff and people do come in or if your staff isn’t happy then it definitely shows when you get customers. But in my experience in the restaurant business, you get what you pay for. And you lose money in the long run by having to retrain people, and you know, maybe wasting product or not getting the customer service or the productivity that you would hope for and the turnover just kind of throws a wrench in your operation every now and then. So in my experience it’s not worth it in the long run. With the low wages, the training and the turnover just ruins the efficiency of a place. It’s best to take care of people and get the same people back who know what they’re doing and can run the operation the way that it’s supposed to be run, and the customers are happy, and the feedback is good and more people keep coming and recommendations are there and you just run smooth. In the long run it’s the best thing to do.” – Owner, 20 years in the industry, Family Style
Employee turnover rates in the restaurant industry often exceed 90% per year. Such high levels of turnover impose both direct and indirect costs on businesses. Direct costs include the time and money required to find, hire, and train replacement workers. Indirect costs include declines in productivity and quality of service caused by understaffing during the time it takes to find replacement workers, and by the inexperience of new workers. Previous research suggests that dissatisfaction with compensation is a major cause of restaurant employee turnover.42

Employers recognized the importance of keeping employees happy in order to decrease employee turnover, thereby fostering a satisfied and loyal customer base. Some of the strategies mentioned by employers as important to promoting good conditions for workers included training, promoting from within, paying sustainable wages and providing other “perks” ranging from workplace benefits to staff outings. In addition, many employers cited the overall importance of creating a good work environment and a sense of family.

“I feel like um, in any business you have um, you have to deal with your employees first and make them remarkably happy so that they can make the people they work for which is the customer remarkably happy. So if you have a poisonous atmosphere or unhappy staff, you’re going to have unhappy guests.” – Manager, 30 years in the industry, Family Style “Oh, minimum wage is way too low. You can’t live off of that. If you’re doing this as side gig for some extra bucks then fine, but if this is your job and you’ve got bills to pay then no way is it going to cover it.” – Manager, 12 years in the industry, Family Style
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WORKER PRODUCTIVITY
“Well I was in the workforce myself, so I understand what it is like to get paid more. You do better work.” – Owner, 2 years in the industry, Quick Service
All 30 employers interviewed reported that worker productivity is critical to running an effective and profitable business. There are differing theories regarding how to best maximize productivity. Seventy-seven percent (77%), or 23 out of 30 Maine employers interviewed, believed that investing in workers – in terms of wages, working conditions, training, advancement opportunities, and more – is the most effective way to keep workers happy and productive. These views were expressed by an owner of a quick service establishment who has been in the industry for six years when he said, “I would think that people that are undercutting are just hurting themselves in the end because they are not getting a quality employee so I don’t know how that is good for their business.”

d. Contradictions in Theory and Practice
“Litigation is a big issue for the restaurant industry. It’s one that the National Restaurant Association has worked on for years and always will.” – John Gay, senior vice president of government affairs and public policy for the National Restaurant Association43
For many employers, there is a perceived tension between implementing strategies for long-term profit by keeping turnover low, and making unsustainable profits through reduced labor costs that result from offering poor and sometimes illegal working conditions. While there are some employers who are committed to pursuing the high road to long-term profitability – providing workers with decent wages, benefits, and training – these employers are unfairly undercut by those who choose to take the low road to short-term and unsustainable gain. In some cases, this approach is related to management and business skills; in others, it comes down to a lack of enforcement, support, and rewards promoting good workplace practices. What becomes clear, however, is that low road practices are counter-productive, ultimately having negative impacts on worker productivity, employee turnover, and restaurant profitability.

WAGES AND OVERTIME
“Yeah, I can’t pay people a fair wage and have all the benefit on top of it. People run around it and say I work this office job and make $20,000/year; well your benefit job is worth 8 so suck it up.” – Owner, 35 years in the industry, Family Style
Despite some employers’ expressed understanding of the importance of paying good wages to keep staff happy and productive, most Maine restaurant workers receive low wages, and about one quarter are not paid for overtime. Several Maine restaurant owners we interviewed recognized this contradiction.

“It gets around overtime, minimum wage, and you can make deals. Cash makes deals with people. They hold back pay, I’ve seen so many people promise somebody a bonus and say ‘I’ll pay you $6.50 on the books and I’ll give you 50 cents for every hour you work is you work until this day’ and then you’ll get a check and it’ll be cash or a bonus check. And people usually do bonus checks because it’s 45% off the top so you figure something out somehow. But then we’ll close early.” – Owner, 35 years in the industry, Family Style
“On the ‘high road,’ companies compete not by paying the lowest wages but by offering the highest quality and value and innovation.” – John J. Sweeney, former President AFL-CIO and President of the AFL-CIO working for America Institute’s Board of Directors 44

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Moreover, ten employers reported that labor costs are the first to be cut when business and profits are low, particularly given that other costs, such as rent, may be non-negotiable. Such a practice robs employers, and of course workers, of the security and longevity that is gained through consistent investment in labor. Fourteen employers, on the other hand, discussed various management strategies to avoid labor cuts, including establishing payment plans for distributors and tax payments, lowering costs that are less visible to customers, or cutting back on hours rather than laying workers off completely. Although several employers reported lower-wage workers’ dependence on overtime wages to earn enough to get by, many employers reported a policy of keeping overtime to a minimum, and some discussed creative strategies to avoid paying overtime altogether, such as paying slightly higher hourly wages overall, but not time and a half on the overtime hours, or paying by the shift or week. Many employers reported that they aspire to replicate the systematization and standardization characterizing chains and fast food restaurants - who report structured employee review policies and regular raises. However, the majority of non-chain employers said that they gave workers occasional raises based on perceived merit rather than conducting regular salary reviews. One notable exception was a family style owner who has been in the industry for 28 years and tries to provide a living wage for all positions, where “servers earn $15 to $20 per hour with tips, dishwashers up to $15 per hour, bartenders up to $30 per hour, and management between $35,000 and $75,000 depending on their position in the restaurant. We provide employees with healthcare, 401K, and education investment. If they’re doing something for their personal growth, whether it’s going to the gym, taking classes, or receiving advanced training in the industry, we reimburse them.” Without the validation provided by regular reviews, raises and overall investment, workers will invariably leave in search of jobs with better opportunities.
“well, I was in the workforce myself, so I understand what it is like to get paid more. you do better work. I don’t think it’s possible to live on minimum wage, and usually a motivated person can find something above minimum wage, and then, we try to reward people for loyalty and give them periodic raises. we like to start a little above minimum wage and move people up as they stay with us.” – Owner, 5 years in the industry, Quick Serve

When asked it if was possible to pay a living wage and still make a profit, many employers felt it was difficult, but not impossible. Commitment to doing so and an acknowledgement that it was a non-negotiable overhead determined whether or not better wages would be paid. The examples of successful employers who have stood by such a commitment demonstrate that building labor costs into operating costs from the outset and providing living wages and benefits to workers can be consistent with success in the restaurant industry.

“I heard just the other day that there’s some guy who’s not paying his staff overtime and I’m just like how, it just boggles my mind to even consider going down that road because it’s just going to come back at you so badly even if you’re a selfish asshole. But I mean people do it all the time absolutely.” – Owner, 10 years in the industry, Family Style

BENEFITS
“We have a ‘paid-into’ dental plan that workers can choose to go into. Our management receives medical insurance, and we also have an option for people to pay into medical if need be. But a lot of our employees see this as their second job and are receiving benefits from their first job. I don’t have a major issue if workers choose not to pay into the plan. I have an issue with the healthcare system in general. But that’s the employee’s option. And they prioritize. If healthcare isn’t there, and they have money going elsewhere, I don’t really see an issue with how people technically decide to spend their money. My option is to have healthcare, and I’m willing to pay for that, if someone else isn’t willing to, then that’s where it lies. If healthcare were more affordable, I’d definitely look into it a lot more. My first two years, we spent a lot of time looking into it. The cost is crazy. Going back to the service staff, if healthcare was an option in that, I think they would see an increase in servers. Great hours, instant pay, if
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you could throw benefits in on top of that, I don’t think many people would walk away from that.” – Owner, 20 years in the industry, Fine Dining
Restaurant employers overwhelmingly reported that it was impossible for them to provide health insurance benefits to their employees, with the exception of chain/franchise establishments. Many employers cited prohibitive costs and administrative burdens as the most significant obstacle to offering benefit packages. When asked if they would be interested in a plan specifically geared to the restaurant business covering multiple employers, a large majority of the employers we interviewed indicated that they would because a lack of health care was not acceptable for their committed employees. On the whole, we found that all employers, including high road employers, find it difficult or impossible to provide health insurance given its high cost. Multiple-restaurant owners and restaurant chains are able to provide worker health benefits because they are able to negotiate good rates based on volume, while small, single-location businesses simply do not have the institutional size and strength necessary to absorb the costs associated with providing benefits to a small number of employees. Chains and franchises had the most standardized policies and practices with regards to benefits, including sick and vacation days. Few other employers reported offering these benefits. Clearly, lack of health care benefits in particular in this industry is a larger policy issue often beyond the control of individual employers.

TRAINING
“Training is one of the biggest things. A lot of [our success] is based on customer service. That’s one thing that I’ve found throughout the years. No matter how good the food is, if you come in and your server is miserable or you know they’re just not knowledgeable at all that – it makes a huge difference.” – Manager, 7 years in the industry, Fine Dining
Training restaurant workers is important not only for health and safety reasons, but also to enhance worker productivity. Training is also an investment in workers as a means to promote mobility and longevity in the workforce. The benefits of making such an investment include a well-trained staff, low turnover rates, and ultimately lower costs over the long run. There is, however, a great deal of variation across the industry in terms of what training is available to restaurant workers. Some employers expressed an appreciation for the need for training – both to help workers perform their jobs and to encourage mobility. Others fell short on providing training to all workers, focusing on workers in the front of the house while excluding back of the house workers.

“We don’t promote because we haven’t had much um, space. As we’ve backed off some and filled in the staff, we’ve created shift leader positions, but more for noticing who is more comfortable maintaining like the larger picture of what needs to get done for the night.” – Owner, 2 years in the industry, Family Style
Of the fine-dining and casual non-chain restaurant employers who discussed training during our interviews, only two mentioned training back of the house staff. Data from worker surveys and interviews with workers show that, contrary to popular perception, there may be greater longevity among back of the house employees. Interviews with employers also revealed that in some restaurants, turnover is higher in the front of the house because of the low wages and a decline in availability of hours to work. Nonetheless, our data also indicates that workers in the back of the house are much less likely to be promoted. There is recognition on the part of some employers of the value of training all staff – not just those who regularly interface with the public or who represent the “public image” of the restaurant. One exceptional employer reported providing training to all employees, from the dishwasher on up. This employer also spoke of training employees in the business of restaurant operations in order to promote their growth from line workers to managers.

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E. Conclusion: The High Road is Possible
“We cannot build a strong 21st century economy on a 1950’s wage floor. We cannot build a strong 21st century economy when more and more hardworking Americans struggle to make ends meet. A fair minimum wage is a sound investment in the future of our communities and our nation.” – Business Owners and Executives for a Higher Minimum Wage45 “There are all sorts of things that are done in the restaurant industry that don’t seem particularly fair. For instance, I have a tax return that matches my sales. I have one set of books. It’s typical in the business for people to skim cash off the business, among independents. I think that’s short-sighted. You decrease the value of your business by doing that and make it difficult to sell it because it’s the tax return that you negotiate off of. I think we’re proof that you can do things the right way and do it well and make money, but I think there are a lot of people that don’t operate that way. I’ve heard from some people who have left that they made more money when they were here. So, I think that we try to hold onto good people by paying them slightly higher wages than our competitors.”– Owner, 8 years in the industry, Family Style
Low road practices ultimately have cost implications for businesses as a result of constant turnover as workers leave to find better paying jobs with better workplace conditions. Turnover has been shown to negatively impact productivity and profitability, thereby resulting in realities contrary to employers’ stated goals.46 Some employers reported that low road practices implemented by their competitors, such as minimum wage and overtime violations, had the effect of undercutting them. High road employers lose business to those pursuing the low road while the latter benefit from unfair competition by violating the rights of workers. This ultimately damages the industry as a whole and the public at large by pushing industry wages down even further, harming the very workers on whom their profitability depends, and spawning the proliferation of low road practices across the industry. The end result, as further explored in Chapter VI: The Social Cost of Low-Wage Jobs, is an increase in “hidden costs” to the public. Employers would benefit from greater awareness of their obligations towards their workers and of the value of implementing “pro-worker” practices, as well as more guidance in employing better business strategies. Further study in this area is also needed, particularly regarding the impact of low road practices on the proliferation of low-wage jobs and on employers pursuing the “high road.” Insights from empirical investigations for solutions to these problems are needed to help the Maine restaurant industry realize its full potential as a source of both revenue and much needed living-wage employment for the state of Maine.

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My name is Anthony Allen. I’ve been in the restaurant field for 25 years. Before Otto Pizza, I’ve opened 25 restaurants, bars and night clubs. I opened Otto June 18, 2009 in Portland, Maine. we have a great location on Congress Street in the Arts District. I never, ever feel it’s a burden to come to work. I drive an hour and fifteen minutes to get here. The positive reinforcement every time that door shuts is incredible. I’ve never witnessed anything like that in anything I’ve done. That trickles to all of us, we all get it. we all take credit for it because we’re a team. when we opened Otto, and when we hire we wanted to find somebody who shares our passion for what we’re doing. we’re doing something very different than a typical pizza place. we want them to have a skill set that’s applicable to us, being around dough, having handled dough for a couple years. They have to know how to cook, and know the different between a caramelized onion and a non-caramelized onion. They have to have a real understanding and passion for what we’re doing. They have to appreciate we’re not a typical slice joint like you’d find on a street corner. we’re different from the typical slice joint, everything from the dough up, we handle everything more than any other pizza place. Our roast onions are roasted for four hours, we use orange juice to sweeten them, when they come out they’re like candy. whenever we can, we use an organic product. That type of adherent to the produce we start with, to how we handle it all the way through we put it in the oven, it makes our pizza unique. we really think about what we assemble there. I think that for any small business owner or operator learns there are times when you want to be Machiavelli, when your rule is the only rule, don’t even try to interpret it, it’s black and white, that’s one way to approach staff. But my philosophy is always to treat people more as an equal, bring them on, treat them with the respect that I’d want and try to view a team effort in what we’re doing. I’ve always had much better luck including employees in decision making process, explaining why were doing something, make sure everyone is on board. Make one unified team. we have regular meetings, we try to treat everyone with respect on a daily basis. we give them a place that’s enjoyable to work, something that’s interesting to do. we’re not routine, we’re not just opening a can of tomato paste and dumping it on a piece of dough. we make an interesting, lively environment. In addition, a lot of people walk through that door are excited to see what we’re doing, are excited to know that we’re here. That translates back, I can’t take credit for it, it’s a team effort. we have some people who are extremely skilled with cooking. we can all take ownership and enjoyment out of making that person’s day by producing a slice of pizza they can enjoy. Most other employers probably don’t share that philosophy because we get a lot of employees who have worked somewhere else where they leave because more often than not they feel like they’ve been disrespected. I try to be conscious of that. I don’t call somebody with 10 minutes notice and demand that they work. I don’t want somebody doing that to me and I don’t do that to someone else. I think a lot of other places take advantage of their employees and feel like since the employees are being paid, they own them some level of commitment that exceeds their relationship. I’ve worked as a commercial restaurant broker, I’ve been involved in about 75 restaurant transactions, they all involved a lot of time to put together. I got to know the owners and the staff pretty well. I’d say by and large by the time people call me to sell their business, they’re burnt out, for one reason or another, and by the time they’re burnt out, they’re just kinda using their employees as a commodity, they’re more of a nuisance then an asset. I’ve always tried to maintain the converse of that. If I were writing a paper on how to treat employees, I’d say treat them as if they’re someone you’d want to have a long term relationship with. give respect, and you’ll get that respect back. That mutual respect is imperative to have if you want your mission conveyed through your employees to your customers, you have to have that allegiance or the whole thing falls apart. when I was brokering restaurants, one of the things I would often tell people who were thinking of getting into the business, they were looking to spend $200,000 to $300,000, from a white linen restaurant, for a pizza shop, for a coffee shop, their entire investment is hinged on an employee who is being paid $2 to $3 an hour as a waiter or waitress and that’s their ambassador, that is who is going to project what they’re doing. They’re leveraging an enormous investment of time, energy and money into one person and if that person is relying on tips, that person better be making the wage they were hoping to make. They really should be treated with decency because otherwise the owner’s entire investment is in jeopardy. you can’t run a business on your own, you’ve got to have faith in employees and you’ve got to pick the best people who are going to represent what you’re doing. The best way to do that is by treating them with respect and hope you get it back. we don’t give benefits just yet, we’re five and a half months old, we hope to be doing so in six months, we don’t know what the winter will hold, it’s slowed down a bit, but we would like to. you have to plan for it, but I do believe by planning for that, we’ll get it. If we can get to the level where we can offer benefits, we’ll get it back in spades from employees, because very few restaurants can afford that, but we’d like to be able to afford to do something. It’s one more demonstration for an employer to give to their employees to let them know they are important and valued.

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CHAPTER v

Health & Safety

Chapter v

CHAPTER v

Health & Safety
Restaurant workers in Maine reported very high rates of injury and illness and very low rates of benefits to cope with these symptoms. This chapter will highlight the increased risk factors faced by Maine restaurant workers and their low access to benefits. Our findings have important implications not only for workers, but also for employers, taxpayers, policy-makers, and dining consumers. Health and safety problems among restaurant workers and their implications by consumers can be summarized by the following diagram.

less access to BenefIts poor consumer HealtH practIces

low road JoBs

symptoms

Increased rIsk factors
Our research indicates that: ➜ Restaurant workers in our survey sample reported facing high rates of exposures to dangerous working conditions; 28.2% reported not having floor mats to prevent slipping, 86.6% reported that there were no guards on cutting machines to prevent injuries, and 26.6% reported that they had done something while working that put their own safety at risk. Almost 90% of all workers surveyed reported not receiving health insurance through their employer, and 89% reported not receiving paid sick days. More than 70% of all restaurant workers reported cooking and serving food while sick, thus impacting consumers’ health. With high rates of injury and illness and low access to benefits, restaurant workers surveyed in Maine reported high levels of symptoms. Close to 60% of all workers surveyed reported having been burned on the job, and more than 60% reported having been cut. Finally, workers who experienced high levels of employment law violations in their workplace were more likely to have worked under conditions that have negative consumer health impacts. Workers who reported that they had done something as a result of time pressure that might have harmed the health and safety of the customer were much more likely to experience overtime violations (33.8%, as opposed to 24.9% of the entire survey population), tip stealing from management (23.2%, as opposed to 12% of the total survey population), and working “off the clock” without pay (56.3%, compared to 24.7% of the total survey population).

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Chapter v

A. Introduction
Through our more than 500 surveys of restaurant workers, 30 employer interviews, and 30 worker interviews, we found that health and safety challenges were a primary concern for restaurant workers in Maine. We suspect that the magnitude of health problems and unsafe practices may be higher than found in this study. Workers without access to health care may under-report symptoms or illnesses that have not been confirmed by a health care provider. Also, many workers may be reluctant to admit, even in a confidential survey or focus groups, that they are compelled to engage in behaviors that harm the public. What is certain is that the employment conditions that compel workers to do things that might harm consumer health and safety, such as having to work while sick or not receiving proper health and safety training, are pervasive in the Maine restaurant industry. Because workers’ experiences of health and safety were not the primary focus of this study, our surveys and interviews, and therefore the information presented in this chapter, provide only a glimpse into these issues. However, we did obtain sufficient data to characterize health and safety challenges in the Maine restaurant industry as a major finding of the report. Further exploration of the manifestations, nuances, and impacts of health exposures and symptoms and their related impacts on employers and consumers in the restaurant industry is clearly needed. The Maine Restaurant Industry Coalition plans to conduct additional research in this area in the coming year, and strongly encourages both industry and worker analysts and advocates to pay greater attention to these issues.

B. Increased Risk Factors
Our survey data also revealed that restaurant workplaces commonly do not employ or enforce regulations designed to ensure the health and safety of workers, in violation of the federal Occupational Safety and Health Act (OSHA).47

Table 15: Health and Safety violations Reported by Restaurant Workers
Unsafely hot in the kitchen Fire hazards in the restaurant Missing mats on the floor to prevent slipping Missing guards on cutting machines done something that put own safety at risk
Source: Maine Restaurant Industry Coalition survey data

18.2% 13.5% 28.2% 86.6% 26.6%

As shown in Table 15, 18.2% percent of workers surveyed reported that it gets unsafely hot in the kitchen in their restaurant workplace. Significant numbers of workers reported absences of guards on the cutting machines (86.6%), as well as mats on the floor to prevent slippage (28.2%), and fire hazards such as blocked doors or non-functioning fire extinguishers in the restaurant where they worked (13.5%). Twenty seven percent (26.6%) reported having done something at work that put their own safety at risk. Despite the prevalence of health and safety hazards in restaurant workplaces, 52.9% of all workers surveyed reported a lack of knowledge of workers compensation laws, and nearly a quarter of the workers (24.2%) told us they did not receive health and safety training from their employers.

Table 16: Workplace Injuries Reported by Restaurant Workers
Burned while on the job Cut while on the job Slipped and injured while on the job Came into contact with toxic chemicals while on the job Have chronic pain caused or worsened by the job
Source: Maine Restaurant Industry Coalition survey data

58.3% 62% 18.6% 37.1% 24.1%

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58.3% of all workers surveyed – or 291 workers out of 499 workers eligible to answer the question - had been burned on the job. Sixty-two (62%) percent of workers surveyed had suffered work-related cuts on at least one occasion, and 37.1% had come into contact with toxic chemicals. Nineteen percent (18.6%) reported that they had slipped and injured themselves while at work. Additionally, 24.1% reported chronic pain that was caused or worsened by their job.

“Once I got chemicals in my eye and didn’t have an eye-wash station to clean it out with. The restaurant was really crowded and there wasn’t space for an eye wash station. I just used the sink.” –Female, 2.5 years in the industry, Host & Server Table 17: Workplace Practices Reported by Restaurant Workers
Worked when the restaurant was understaffed Performed several jobs at once Experienced verbal abuse from supervisors Performed a job not trained for done something due to time pressure that has put own health and safety at risk done something due to time pressure that might have harmed the health and safety of customers
Source: Maine Restaurant Industry Coalition survey data

85% 90.2% 22.8% 35% 26.6% 18%

Table 17 reveals that understaffing, which places inordinate pressure on workers, is a common industry practice. An overwhelming majority of respondents reported working when their restaurant was understaffed (85%), and an even higher number said they have performed several jobs at once (90.2%). Thirty-five (35%) responded that they have been required to perform jobs for which they had not been trained, and 26.6% of workers reported doing something that put their own safety at risk. And, as previously discussed, nearly three fourths of the workers we surveyed reported working while sick (70.8%). Such low road workplace practices not only affect workers, but can also have serious consequences for consumers. Eighteen percent (18%) of workers reported having done something as a result of time pressure that might have put the health and safety of the customer at risk. In fact, as further discussed in the next section of this chapter, survey data indicated a correlation between health and safety violations and negative impact on consumers.

“I cut myself a couple of times on the job. Probably once it required hospital attention, that I just footed the bill, told them at the hospital that it was work-related and they just brought the bill right to the job. Health problems, I see people coming into work sick as a dog. Like, you gotta make the money, to pay and live and all that, and that’s about it. Like, the health, does it affect the consumer, yeah, I’d say so. Because I’ve seen people where, they’ve cut themselves also, didn’t require stitches, at times like I did, but like they’d just wrap it up and the food that they’d handle where it’s contaminated with human blood… I’ve seen it done, and it just, whatever, I’m just there getting paid by the hour. Yeah, it does affect/impact the consumer. What they say in the restaurant [is], ‘what they don’t know won’t hurt ‘em’ [laughter].” – Male, Over 20 years in the industry, Cook

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The federal Occupational Safety and Health Act (OSHA) imposes standards for health and safety in the workplace, requiring employers to provide protection for workers in hazardous environments and to keep records of all workplace injuries and accidents. OSHA covers toxic chemical use – the statute requires gloves, for example, for dishwashers and kitchen cleaners who use very heavy toxic chemicals – and temperature of work environments, including excessively hot kitchens. while there is no mandatory requirement that employees be provided with specific health and safety training, such training is effectively necessary to ensure compliance with OSHA and workers’ compensation law. Employers in the State of Maine must secure workers’ compensation insurance for every employee. Maine workers’ Compensation law also stipulates that, provided the employer is informed of any workplace accident within 90 days, workers’ related medical expenses will be fully covered. workers may also be eligible for weekly compensation if they lose work due to a work-related injury, and for fixed compensation for any permanent disability.48 The Maine Department of Labor reports that the restaurant industry is sixth on their list of the ‘Top Ten Industries of Injured workers,” ranked by the number of reports of non-fatal occupational injuries per industry. On this list, the restaurant industry ranked higher in terms of the number of injuries than highway, street, and bridge construction and residential construction. In 2005, for example, the Department received 298 reports of serious but non-fatal occupational injuries in restaurants.49

72 of the workers surveyed in our study reported that they were seasonal workers, and 7% of these workers reported that they were born in another country. Findings from our data on seasonal workers reveal that seasonal workers’ experiences of employment law violations, a lack of benefits (paid sick days, health care, paid vacation, et cetera), a high rate of working while sick and reasons for doing so, along with the health and safety violations and unsafe workplace practices were comparable to year-round workers. we did not find that seasonal workers experienced higher rates of exploitation or employment law violations than non-seasonal workers.

C. Less Access to Benefits
The vast majority of workers do not have health insurance through their employer (89.6%) or paid sick days (89.2%). In surveys and interviews, workers regularly repeated their need for benefits. More than one-third (36.2%) reported that they or a family member had gone to the emergency room without being able to pay in the last year.

“Policies that would help the restaurant industry for the workers? Definitely health insurance is the most important one because you want to retain your staff so that way you’re not turning over people, then benefits would be key. So implementing some kind of health insurance would be vital for workers and owners and beyond that, I know they work on sick days and sick days would be important but I think because the way the restaurant industry is set up there has to be some way to compensate.” – Male, 13 years in the industry, Bartender Table 19: Job Benefits and Health Reported by Restaurant Workers
does not receive health insurance through employer do not have any health insurance coverage Gone to ER without being able to pay do not get paid sick days do not get paid vacation days Have worked when sick
Source: Maine Restaurant Industry Coalition survey data

89.6% 38.8% 36.4% 89.2% 79% 70.8%

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I work as a waitress. I’m a single mom. If my daughter gets sick, I still have to pay for day care but if I’m unable to go to work, I don’t get the money to pay for it. It’s a huge hit. I’m going to lose that money in my groceries or my insurance or my rent. Day care’s the first that’s going to get paid because I need to go to work. For the most part, when people have a sick kid, they don’t go in and they take the loss. If they’re sick themselves, they may go to work sick and are essentially useless. Obviously that means other people will get sick, too. “I have gone to work not feeling well, but I remember last winter I was so sick, there was no way that I could go in to work, so I called work but it was my responsibility to figure out someone to cover my shifts. For day I had originally made arrangement for day care for my daughter because I would had to work, but still sent her to Day care and paid to to because I couldn’t care for her. If you’re sick, you’re sick, and they want you to go home. A lot of places will make you feel bad if you’re sick, when there’s clearly nothing you can do about it. I don’t get paid if I’m out, but at least I won’t lose my job. But there are definitely places where if you don’t make it in, they say don’t come back. They say we should have a back-up plan for the flu. But everybody I know works. It’s hard in our industry -- it’s not like you have a set schedule. I’m lucky that I do, but it includes nights and days. In the evening it’s easier to find someone. The other night my father watched my daughter. She started throwing up. At first he thought she would get better. By ten he called and said, “She’s really sick, she wants you, I don’t know what to do for her.” My shift was nearly over but if he’d called in the middle of my shift, I would have had to go. yes, it’s inconvenient if someone is out, but it’s worse to have someone come in sick. The managers should be trained enough to be able to take tables or cook or whatever needs to be done. Usually people are willing to switch shifts or pick up extra hours. The place where I work now, values your hard work and your personality and your ability to get customers to come back. But other places, they don’t care if you get sick or if you lose your job. “Other issues I face as a single mom and as a woman working in the industry is that I often get looked down upon. The other day, my boss commented that I would be be just a waitress for the rest of my life, just because I am a single mom working as a waitress. well, I am going to school so I can get my degree and advance. It’s frustrating and degrading to have people put you down.” The place where I work now values your hard work and your personality and your ability to get customers to come back. But other places, they don’t care if you get sick or if you lose your job. Someone should say, they can’t do that anymore. – kristalyn, Server

d. Consumer Impact - Endangering The Public Health
“I may have been, had a cold and been at work and then served food that could have spread a [contagious illness] I’m sure because I’ve caught colds from other people at work.” – Female, 6 years in the industry, Server “Sick time? I take my own sick time, if I’m very sick I don’t go. But many times you can’t afford to take the day off because you’re sick, and all the time, especially this season and in the spring, a lot of my coworkers they were sick, sneezing in the food. They were disgusting. But you know, what can they do? They cannot afford to take the day off.” – Female, 4 years in the industry, Server “When I’m sick, I usually go to work. Because I work only 3-4 shifts per week of 8-10 hours, missing a day of work would mean $80-100 less.” – Female, 2.5 years in the industry, Host
Our research findings strongly suggest that low road workplace practices prevalent in Maine’s restaurant industry can increase public health risks. For instance, 70.8% of workers we spoke with in the course of our study reported working while sick. Of the workers going to work sick, nearly half (49.2%) reported needing to work while sick because they could not afford to take the day off. One back of the house worker who has been in the industry for 8 years explained, “I remember going to work one week straight with a cold, coughs, sore throat, everything, fever, and
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working and my manager didn’t say anything and I was expecting he would have gone ‘go home, feel better’ because we work out back in the kitchen separating donuts and by the time these donuts get spread out its all over the state of Maine. I mean, it comes out of my hand, and you know if I’m sick, everybody’s sick. And I didn’t want to call off because I wasn’t going to get paid, or my manager wasn’t gonna let me cause he didn’t excuse me, so I just basically worked.” There are additional consequences for working while sick, with 31.8% of workers surveyed reporting that they endured a prolonged illness, 21.4% couldn’t complete tasks necessary for work, 19.9% caused other workers to become sick, and 12% reported that they coughed or sneezed into the food when they went to work sick. Eighty-nine percent (89.2%) of all workers surveyed reported that they did not receive paid sick days. During the outbreak of the H1N1 “Swine Flu” epidemic in early 2009, the president and surgeon general both urged people staying home to be the best way to minimize the spread of the flu.50 However, the fact that nearly all food service workers lack paid sick days means that such an option would not be feasible for most food service workers, thus contributing to the risk of the widespread illness among both restaurant workers and the public they serve. With restaurant workers in particular, given their regular interface with preparing, cooking and serving food for the dining public, the lack of paid sick days and high incidence of workers working while sick is a public health concern.
Employers who force restaurant workers to work while sick are contributing to a public health challenge. The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) in Atlanta estimates that noroviruses, a family of pathogens associated with outbreaks of food borne illnesses, are actually more common in restaurants. In 2004, the most recent year for which data are available, 251 reported outbreaks of food borne illnesses across the country – involving 10,000 victims – were thought to be viral. According to CDC statistics, almost all were classified as norovirus-related, and 93 were norovirus outbreaks tied to restaurants.51

“If an employee stays home sick, it’s not only the best thing for that employee’s health, but also his coworkers and the productivity of the company.”52 – Commerce Secretary Gary Locke

E. WORKPLACE PRACTICES And COnSUMER RISK
“That’s why they have that show Ramsey’s Kitchen. I can tell you I’ve been into a lot of kitchens. Some of the kitchens that are out here in Portland are just as bad. But, yeah it does affect like especially people like, you catch colds, and this and that, and then you’re wondering why, just take into mind/consideration where you’ve eaten in the last couple of days. ‘Cause you could have caught that cold from that restaurant. When I’m coughing on a plate and then just putting your food there, you’re saying ‘O that gravy tastes good,’ rubbing your finger and licking it.” – Male, 25 years in the industry, Line Cook
Eighteen percent (18%) of workers surveyed had done something as a result of time pressure that might have put the health and safety of a customer at risk. Employers pursuing a low road business strategy place enormous pressure on workers, and often cut corners on health and safety training, leading to workplace practices that endanger employee and food safety, and consequently public health. As demonstrated by Figure 5, workers who reported employment law violations at their place of work were also much more likely to report workplace practices such as failure to provide health and safety training, being required to work when the restaurant is understaffed or perform several jobs at once, and being asked to perform a job for which they are not trained. This combination of workplace conditions could have harmful effects on the health and safety of customers. Workers who reported that they had done something as a result of time pressure that might have harmed the health and safety of the customer were much more likely to experience overtime violations (33.8%, as opposed to 24.9% of the entire survey population), tip stealing from management (23.2%, as opposed to 12% of the total survey population), and working “off the clock” without pay (56.3% compared to 24.7% of the total survey population).

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FIGURE 5: Linkage Between Risks to Consumer Health and Workplace violations

Worker did not receive health and safety training from employer 18.8%

35.6%

Any labor violations

No labor violations

Worker had to work when restaurant was understaffed 78.8%

94.1%

Worker had to do a job for which worker wasn't trained 23.6%

49.3%

Worker had to cut corners because of time pressures that might have harmed the health or safety of customers 10.1%

25.7%

Percent of Workers Source: Maine Restaurant Industry Coalition survey data

Employers engaging in high road practices provide safer and healthier dining experiences for consumers. These employers understand the public health risks involved with forcing workers to work while sick and putting so much pressure on workers that they are forced to cut corners that harm the health and safety of the consumer. These challenges in the restaurant industry have public health implications, which should be concern to employers, legislators, and consumers alike.
A 2008 study by Barry-Eaton District Health Department (BEDHD) in Michigan published in the Journal of American Medical Association investigated the source and agent of infection to determine the scope of illness among patrons and employees at a national chain restaurant. The BEDHD environmental assessment of the restaurant identified deficiencies with employee handwashing practices, cleaning and sanitizing of food and nonfood contact surfaces, temperature monitoring and maintenance of potentially hazardous food, and maintenance of hand-sink stations for easy accessibility and proper use. As a result of a lack of health and safety training in cleaning up the incident (the restaurant had used an ammonium-based sanitizer that was ineffective against norovirus), a total of 95 people had gotten sick (an attack rate of 33.7%) and 64 people experienced a norovirus transmission (an attack rate of 13.5%). Unfortunately, transmission continued through the next day. BEDHD intervened and mandated that (1) all food prepared during the dates of attack be discarded; (2) all ill employees were excluded from working for at least 72 hours after their symptoms had subsided; and (3) the facility was cleaned extensively with disinfect according to MDCH and Michigan Department of Agriculture guidelines for environmental cleaning and disinfection of norovirus.53

46

C H A P T E R vI

The Social Cost of Low-Wage Jobs

Chapter vI

C H A P T E R vI

The Social Cost of Low-Wage Jobs
Absent from much of the data and discourse regarding the restaurant industry is an assessment of the cost to consumers and taxpayers alike of low-wage jobs with few benefits and poor working conditions. While hidden, these costs are significant, ranging from increased public health risks to public subsidies to employers pursuing low road practices through social safety programs employed by some restaurant workers to make ends meet. A key finding of our research is that whenever restaurant workers and employers are hurt, so are we all. ➜ ➜ ➜ ➜ Low road workplace practices ultimately harm not only workers but restaurant consumers, employers pursuing the high road, and the public. Restaurant employers who violate labor and employment laws are also more likely to violate health and safety standards in the workplace. Violations of employment and health and safety laws place consumers at risk and endanger the public health. Failure to provide health insurance and paid sick days to restaurant workers can lead many to delay seeking primary or preventative medical care, ultimately increasing health care risks to workers and consumers, and contributing to increased health care costs. Poor health and safety conditions in restaurant workplaces, combined with low wages and lack of employment-based health insurance, increase costs of providing emergency care to uninsured individuals. Low wages and lack of job security among restaurant workers lead to increased reliance on unemployment insurance and social assistance programs such as welfare and housing and child care subsidies.

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Chapter vI

A. Introduction
“The proliferation of low-wage jobs has an impact on public budgets and the availability of public services. Those earning minimum wage would qualify for and would need to rely on a number of government programs in order to make ends meet.” – Hidden Costs: The Public Costs of Low-Wage Jobs in San Diego54
The low road workplace practices described in this report have impacts beyond those affecting members of our communities who are employed in the state’s restaurant industry. Predictably, they affect the quality of the food we eat when we dine out at an eating establishment in Maine. In some cases, they can lead to increased risks to public health. They also have more far-ranging – and more hidden – effects on the local economy, social safety net, and ultimately, the local taxpayer. Restaurant employers who violate labor and employment laws are also more likely to violate health and safety standards in the workplace. These low road employers put the safety of the public at risk by overworking their employees, pushing them to cut corners, requiring them to do jobs they have not been trained for, failing to provide basic health and safety training, creating conditions leading employees to work when they are sick or injured and then failing to provide benefits to address the consequences of these policies. The health and safety of both workers and consumers is compromised as a result. The vast majority of restaurant workers do not receive workplace benefits such as paid sick leave and employer provided health insurance. Workers who do not have employment-based health coverage and cannot otherwise afford insurance often delay accessing treatment, frequently leading to the development of more serious medical conditions requiring more costly medical care. Because they receive low wages, they are generally unable to pay for the cost of that care, increasing uncompensated costs incurred by Maine hospitals. Furthermore, when workers are unable to earn enough to support themselves and their families through their jobs, they are forced to rely on public safety net programs to make ends meet. The result is a “hidden cost” of the restaurant industry, taking the form of indirect public subsidies to employers who do not pay adequate wages.

B. The Hidden Costs of Low Wage Jobs
Paying workers wages below the federal poverty line hurts not just workers and their families, but also taxpayers who pay more for social benefits. When workers have trouble making ends meet, they have no choice but to utilize federal food programs, housing and child care subsidies, tax rebates for low-income people, and other social benefits. As a result, more public resources must be devoted to these programs – or, more likely in the current economic climate, there are fewer public resources available to all those in need.

According to the authors of Wages, Health Benefits, and Workers’ Health, higher-wage workers are more likely than their lowerpaid counterparts to have health insurance and health-related benefits, such as paid sick leave, and to use preventative care.55 Low-wage workers, meanwhile, are much more likely to forego needed health care because of cost and to report problems paying medical bills.

HEALTH CARE COSTS
“Paid sick days and health care would the industry as a whole much better for [us].” – Female, 3 years in the industry, Server
Our survey data indicates that the lowest paid workers in the restaurant industry are much less likely to have health insurance. Half (50%) of workers earning less than the minimum wage did not have health insurance, compared to 39% of those earning living wages. As a result, low-wage workers are less likely to be able to access primary or preventative care for themselves or their families. Data from other studies suggests that low-wage workers are much more likely to forego needed health care because of the costs involved, and to report problems paying medical bills.56
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Additionally, workplace injuries among restaurant workers are endemic. Data from this and other studies suggests that restaurant workers often access emergency room services for a range of work related injuries such as burns, scalds, and cuts.57 When medical care is required, restaurant workers without health insurance are forced to seek treatment in emergency rooms at public hospitals, and are often unable to pay for the medical services they need. While workers’ compensation insurance should cover work-related injuries, workers reported serious delays in receiving insurance, and mentioned several employers who either do not have workers’ compensation insurance or do not offer it to workers when they are injured. Thirty-six percent (36.4%) of the workers in our survey reported that either they or a family member had gone to the emergency room without being able to pay. Sixty-five percent (64.9%) of workers going to the emergency room without being able to pay did not have health insurance, almost double the rate of the entire survey population (38.8%) without any health care coverage. When these realities are compounded by the fact that low-wage workers are also less likely to receive paid sick days, it is clear why restaurant workers often feel compelled to work while sick, increasing the risk of worsening health conditions and increased public health hazards. Previous studies have noted that where health care financing relies on employer sponsored health insurance, the public suffers as a result of “free riders” - employers who opt out of the system by not providing affordable health insurance to their workers, and pass the costs of their workers’ health care onto the public.58 While health care is undeniable unaffordable for everyone, including employers, the fact that some high road employers do manage to provide it means that other, similarly-situated restaurants could also work toward providing some form of coverage. Ultimately, it is other employers, workers, and the public at large who pay for the lack of health care offerings of most employers in the industry.
“we have a lot of health issues that aren’t apparent all the time, because we have a big, this is totally anonymous right? (yes.) we have a big cabin and that’s where everything gets cooked. But if the big heat vent that sucks out the smoke stops working the whole restaurant fills with smoke, so if you’re working that day or, this happened recently it was a whole weekend where it was broken, so you get home and you couldn’t breathe. So I think that’s definitely something long term that is gonna show up for an issue for a lot of [us]. you know I’ve worked for 6 years so that’s a lot of smoke inhalation. And even if the thing is working it’s still really smoky. Nothing is ergonomically correct; the floors are all made of cement. Everything is completely out of my reach, and you are always straining to get to certain things, so the wait station isn’t set up very well, the bar isn’t set up very well. Just a lot of issues with the building, it’s right on the water so it’s old and, so it’s just a lot of stuff that we kind of deal with daily. And I’ve never been injured, well, I’ve cut myself when I was bartending a few times, and that was just kind of like put a band aid on it and just deal with it later. But there are people who have been pretty seriously injured and have applied for worker’s comp, and are still, I’m thinking ‘bout one person this happened years and years ago, and he still hasn’t gotten any of the bills paid so. And I don’t think unless some ones going to come and sit in the restaurant for hours and hours and hours I don’t think any of it is a problem for them, it’s more just the people that work there. we spend so much time breathing the smoky air and dealing with all this stuff.” – Female, 6 years in the industry, Server.

SOCIAL PROGRAMS
Our survey data also revealed that low-wage restaurant workers are, at times, forced to access social programs such as welfare benefits and housing and childcare subsidies in order to supplement low wages. In an industry in which the median wage is only $8.92, more than one quarter (26%) of all workers surveyed reported accessing social programs at some point to supplement their wages. Twenty-nine percent (29.2%) of part-time workers relied on public assistance, compared to 24.4% of full-time workers. Nearly three-fourths (73.7%) of workers receiving public assistance reported utilizing Maine Care. Ironically, of the respondents who reported receiving public assistance of some kind, 38.2% of these workers accessed food stamps through the federally funded Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP). At the peak of the recession, the number of Americans receiving food stamps reached 35 million in June 2009, the highest number since the program began in 1962, with an average monthly benefit of $133.12 per person.59 This is particularly ironic for food service workers, who serve food for a living but cannot afford to eat.

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Chapter vI

Numerous studies have suggested that employers paying low wages rely on social programs to sustain their workers rather than paying better wages.60 By creating conditions that force workers to participate in social programs rather than providing essential benefits, employers are, in effect, receiving an indirect public subsidy for engaging in poor, and sometimes illegal, workplace practices. Such practices also have the effect of undermining other employers who do provide benefits, thereby creating disincentives to those who might otherwise take the high road to profitability.61 Existing literature concludes that this can lead to a downward cycle for wages and benefits across the industry, ultimately resulting in worsening conditions for workers, consumers, and the public.62 Clearly, further study is needed to determine the full impact of the prevalence of low-wage jobs in the restaurant industry on social programs in Maine. What is clear from existing data is that failure to address low wages and the lack of health coverage and other benefits such as paid sick days for thousands of workers in the restaurant industry leads to increased costs to workers, employers pursuing the “high road,” and, inevitably, the public.
The kaiser Family Foundation reports that in federal fiscal year 2008 a majority of Maine Care families (53.2%) included a full time worker.63 It is clear that health insurance in the private market is not an option for these workers and their families due to their low incomes and the high cost of health insurance that impacts both employers and the employees. As a result, Medicaid fills the gap providing essential access to health coverage for these employees and their families.

51

C H A P T E R vII

Conclusions & Public Policy Recommendations

Chapter vII

C H A P T E R vII

Conclusions & Public Policy Recommendations
B y weaving together industry and government data, existing academic literature on the restaurant industry, and the voices of restaurant workers and employers, we are able to obtain a clearer and more comprehensive picture of the Maine restaurant industry. The restaurant industry holds enormous promise as a source of income and jobs to the state. Its particular importance as a locally tied, sustainable industry providing employment to workers without formal training, those seeking entry level positions, and immigrant workers whose experience is not recognized by other employers, is clear. However, our research confirms that, in practice, the majority of restaurant employers are unable or unwilling to take the high road to profitable and sustainable businesses, creating an industry of predominantly “bad” – low-wage, long hour, dangerous and dead end jobs for most of the industry’s workers. Additionally, the persistence of low road practices has the effect of compromising the health and safety of both workers and customers alike, and forcing the state’s taxpayers to subsidize restaurant employers through social programs. Nevertheless, one of the major findings of our research is that it is possible to run a viable restaurant business while paying workers living wages, affording standard workplace benefits such as health care and paid sick and vacation days, ensuring adequate levels of staffing, providing necessary training, and creating career advancement opportunities. While commitment to doing so on the part of employers is a necessary ingredient to achieve this goal, additional public policy measures are also needed to help restaurant employers fulfill the potential of the industry to providing good, locally based jobs. Government and regulatory agencies should also find ways to support and reward employers who take the high road in order to facilitate a truly successful Maine restaurant industry. Based on the results of our research, the Maine Restaurant Industry Coalition makes the following specific recommendations: 1. Level the playing field by providing paid sick days and increasing the tipped minimum wage. For the benefit of not only workers but also consumers and employers, policymakers should require all employers to provide paid sick days to their employers, and raise the minimum wage for tipped workers to be closer to the minimum wage for all other workers. As described in our report, the lack of paid sick days among food service workers can result in real public health problems for the state. Similarly, the tipped minimum wage of $3.63 is simply not enough for families to live on, forcing many workers to rely on public assistance. The lack of a level playing field on both of these issues ultimately hurts workers, consumers, and responsible employers. 2. Model employers’ practices should be publicized. The vast majority of employers we interviewed agreed in theory that high road workplace practices were better for both their workers and their businesses, decreasing turnover and improving customer service. However, they appeared unable to implement them in practice, citing external pressures and factors impacting their bottom line. Dissemination of model business practices such as those cited in this report could go a long way toward helping the vast majority of well-intentioned restaurant employers to not only do the right thing, but also increase their profitability, and therefore tax revenues from the industry. 3. Provide incentives for high road practices. Policymakers should consider initiatives and incentives that will assist and encourage employers to pay living wages and go above and beyond the law. Such initiatives could include rent and property tax incentives for employers who implement exceptional workplace practices, thereby enabling them to reduce fixed costs and invest more in workers. They could also take the form of subsidies to employers who facilitate their employees’ participation in job training programs and offer advancement opportunities to their employees. Such initiatives could also include providing subsidies and other measures that will make quality health insurance affordable for those working in this industry. We urge decision-makers to explore and implement such initiatives, perhaps not just for the restaurant industry but for all employers, and for the benefit of all residents in Maine.
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4. Labor, employment and health and safety standards should be strictly enforced. Workers suffering from egregious violations of labor and health and safety codes must be protected. Not only do federal, state, and municipal agencies have a responsibility to ensure that these laws are respected; they also have a responsibility to individual workers whose lives are often threatened by illegal workplace practices. They also have a responsibility to protect the public from the unsanitary conditions and public health risks associated with illegal workplace practices, and to protect law-abiding employers from unfair competition from those that do not comply. Local legislative bodies should consider policies that protect all stakeholders by considering a restaurant’s compliance with basic employment laws when granting government licenses, such as liquor and other business licenses, that are intended by statute for responsible business owners. Additionally, public resources need to be spent in order to enable government agencies to effectively carry out this mission. Elected officials should provide resources to these agencies, and engage in rigorous oversight of their activities. 5. Promote opportunity, penalize discrimination. Policy options ensuring greater career mobility for workers of color and women should be explored, and discrimination based on race, gender, age, immigration status, and sexual orientation in the industry addressed. Our research illustrates the impacts of the occupational segregation within the restaurant industry. It is clear from our findings that discrimination based on race, gender, age, immigration status and sexual orientation acts in concert with occupational segregation to keep women and workers of color from higher-paying and more sustainable positions in the restaurant industry. Policy makers should explore initiatives that encourage internal promotion and discourage discrimination on the basis of race, age, gender, immigration status and sexual orientation in the restaurant industry. These could include subsidizing training programs that help women, workers of color, and immigrants advance to living-wage positions. 6. Collective organizing among restaurant workers should be supported. Governments, employers, and non-governmental social sector organizations should support initiatives that foster organizing among restaurant workers and publicize the public benefits of unionization in this and other industries. As mentioned in Chapter III, unionized workers earn significantly more than non-unionized workers, and almost half of the workers we surveyed reported that they would like to join a union if they knew they could not be fired or deported. Additionally, creative collective organizing efforts among restaurant workers which foster better wages and working conditions, enable restaurant workers to access health care insurance and other benefits, and facilitate advancement, investment and ownership in the industry should be supported through research, funding, and policy initiatives. Finally, development and dissemination of “know your rights” training for restaurant workers is clearly necessary. 7. Further study and dialogue is essential. While the results of our research shed much needed light on the realities underlying existing statistical data, they also identify significant gaps in information currently available. There is a particular call for more detailed information regarding the public health impacts of low road practices, and occupational segregation and discrimination. Additional potential areas for further study identified by our research include: the factors influencing employers’ workplace practices and the needs that must be addressed in order to improve them, and the impacts on health care and public assistance costs occasioned by industry practices. Data and policy initiatives in these areas should be explored with the full participation of restaurant workers, employers, and decision-makers in order to ensure effective and sustainable solutions.
“How do we get America on the ‘high road?’ The answer, I believe, lies in partnerships – between unions and employers, between industry groups and community groups, between workers and academic and political leaders, between foundations and government agencies and schools and colleges.” – John J. Sweeney64

54

Appendix and Endnotes

APPENDIX

Survey Demographics
The survey was administered by staff, members, and volunteers from the Restaurant Opportunities Center of Maine (ROC-Maine) - a community based organization with significant contacts among restaurant workers and access to workplaces in the industry. A total of 525 surveys were conducted with workers, face-to-face, in neighborhoods, in the vicinity of restaurants during breaks or at the end of shifts, and inside restaurants. Employers were also asked to identify workers to participate in the study.

TABLE 20. Characteristics of Maine Restaurant Industry Coalition Survey Sample
Percent of Sample Race white Hispanic/Latino Asian Mixed Black Other Native American Sex Male Female Age Under 24 26 to 44 45 to 64 Over 65 52.7% 37.9% 8.9% .5% Sample Size (number) 525 51.6% 48.4% 85.8% 3.2% 2.8% 2.7% 2.5% 1.7% 1.4% Front of the House Back of the House Mixed Front and Back of the House Place of Birth U.S. Born Foreign Born Restaurant Segment Fancy expensive table cloth restaurant Family style (chain/franchise and non-franchise) Fast food or quick service restaurant 20.5% 35.3% 44.1% 92.1% 7.9% Position 40.6% 30.3% 29.1% Percent of Sample

Source: Maine Restaurant Industry Coalition survey data

NOTES ON SAMPLE:
Stratified random sampling methods were chosen to ensure that our sample was as representative as possible. We used industry and Census data related to demographics with regard to race, gender, age, and county to select a sample that is reflective of the industry as a whole. Like all methods, our sampling methodology has strengths and limitations, which may have affected the results. Even though stratified sampling was used to identify subgroups within the target population, because workers were contacted on the streets and in communities in which restaurant workers reside, we were unable to control completely how the sample developed. On the other hand, one of the greatest strengths of our outreach methodology is the inclusion of populations typically underrepresented in the census. In addition, in-person surveys lead to high question-specific response rates. Using data from the United States Bureau of Labor Statistics, we were able to weight the sample to match the distribution of “back of the house” and “front of the house” staff in “full-service” establishments and “limited-services” eating places in the Maine restaurant industry.

55

Appendix and Endnotes

ENDNOTES
1

See the National Restaurant Association’s Restaurant Performance Index ( July 2009). Available at: http://restaurant. org/pressroom/pressrelease.cfm?ID=1838. See Table 4 for demographics of restaurant workers. Galen Rose. “Maine’s Biggest Industries: Structural Overview of the Maine Economy,” Maine State Planning Office, June 2004. Available at http:// www.maine.gov/spo/economics/docs/.../biggest_industries_2004.pdf. Maine Office of Tourism Strategic Five Year Plan, February 2008. Available at http: www.econdevmaine.com/files/ pdf/5_year_plan_FINAL.pdf

2 3

4.

5 6 7 8 9

Ibid.

Bureau of Labor Statistics, Quarterly Census of Employment and Wages. Available at http://www.bls.gov/cew. Maine Restaurant Industry at a Glance. Available at http://www.restaurant.org/pdfs/research/state/maine.pdf. See Table 1. Data available from: www.bls.gov/ces.

Maine’s Job Performance from the Beginning of the Recession Through May 2009, Maine Department of Labor. Available at http://www.maine.gov/labor/lmis/recession.html.

10

Report of the State of Maine Forecasting Committee March 2008. Available at http://www.maine.gov/legis/ofpr/rfcmain.htm See Bureau of Labor Statistics, Current Employment Statistics. Available at: www.bls.gov/ces. Time series analysis from 1990 to 2008 in Figure 2 reflects this information as well.

11

12

See Bureau of Labor Statistics, Current Employment Statistics. Accessed 10 March 2009. Available at: www.bls.gov/ ces. This report is focused on the first two of these sectors. Within these sectors, we have identified three general subsegments of the restaurant industry which are presently untracked by government data and which were important in guiding our study and understanding the varying practices and strategies used by individual businesses. They are further outlined in Chapter III: Workers’ Perspectives.

13

14

Bureau of Labor Statistics, Occupational Employment Statistics (2008) for Maine statewide. Available at http://www. bls.gov/oes. Earnings from the Bureau of Labor Statistics, Quarterly Census of Employment and Wages are computed from NAICS 722, “Food Services and Drinking Places.” Earnings from the U.S. Department of Labor, Bureau of Labor Statistics. Quarterly Census of Employment and Wages are computed from NAICS 722, “Food Services and Drinking Places.” See Table 1. Data available from: www.bls.gov/ces. Sharon L. Lohr. 1999. Sampling: Design and Analysis. Pacific Grove, CA: Duxbury Press.

15

16

17 18 19

Elazar J. Pedhazur and Liora P. Schmelkin. 1991. Measurement design and analysis: An integrated approach. New York: Psychology Press.

20

After the data were weighted, the percentage of the sample in each segment was as follows: fine dining 20.5%, family 35.3%, and quick service 44.1%. See Appendix for other characteristics of the survey sample.

21

The survey sample included workers already employed in the industry, not trainees or workers from other industries who wished to work in the industry. Furthermore, all workers surveyed were employed at the time the survey was conducted. Steinar Kvale. Interviews: An Introduction to Qualitative Research Interviewing. 1996. Detroit, MI: Sage Publications. Bureau of Labor Statistics, National Occupational Employment and Wage Estimates (2008). The BLS cites food preparation services as the nation’s single lowest paying industry. Available from: http://www.bls.gov/oes/current/ oes_nat.htm.

22 23

56

Appendix and Endnotes

24

Living Wage Action Coalition, “Campus Living Wage Resources: What’s a Living Wage?” Accessed June 1, 2009. Available at: http://www.livingwageaction.org/resources_lw.htm. See Maine Minimum Wage requirements. Available at http://www.maine.gov/labor/. See Fair Labor Standards Act and Amendments. Available at: http://www.dol.gov/elaws. Susan B. Coutin. 2007. Nation of Emigrants. Ithaca, NY: Cornell University Press, p. 179. Nola Sarkisian-Miller. “Many new immigrants find that the restaurant industry represents their best chance at employment.” Los Angeles Business Journal. Dec 20, 1999.

25 26 27 28

29

National Low Income Housing Coalition. Out of Reach 2009. Accessed October 20, 2009. Available at: http://www. nlihc.org/oor/oor2009/. David Madland and Karla Walter. “Unions Are Good for Maine’s Economy.” Center for American Progress. Available at http://images2.americanprogress.org/CAPAF/2009/02/ME_EFCA.pdf. Maine Department of Labor, Labor Market Digest, March 2009

30

31 32

Tips on Tips: A Guide on to Tip Income Reporting. Internal Revenue Service. Available at www.irs.gov/pub/irs-pdf/ p3148.pdf. See Fair Labor Standards Act and Amendments. Available at: http://www.dol.gov/elaws. Immigration Impact: Maine. Federation for American Immigration Reform. Available at http://www.fairus.org/site/ PageServer?pagename=research_research3c09.

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35

Cumulative analysis of publications from the Immigrant Legal Advocacy Project. Available at http://www.ilapmaine. org. This number does not include other categories that make up the full “food services and drinking places” super sector such as cafeterias, caterers, snack bars, and bars that serve primarily alcoholic beverages. Bureau of Labor Statistics, Current Employment Statistics. Available at http://www.bls.gov/ces/.

36

37 38

Annika Stensson and Maureen Ryan. “Restaurant Industry Outlook Improved Somewhat in July as Restaurant Performance Index Posted First Gain in Three Months,” August 31, 2009. Available at http://www.restaurant.org/pressroom/pressrelease.cfm?ID=1838. Parker, Jonathan A., 2001, “The Consumption Risk of the Stock Market,” Brookings Papers on Economic Activity, 279-348.

39

40

Join Together From The National Center on Addiction and Substance Abuse at Columbia University. “Alcohol Sales Climb During Recession.” http://www.jointogether.org/news/headlines/inthenews/2002/alcohol-sales-climb-during. html (accessed December 10, 2009).

41

Paul Olson. “Family & Casual Dining: Family Dining Rivals its siblings,” Franchise Times, August 2007. Available at http://www.franchisetimes.com/content/story.php?article=00450.

42

Michael Lynn, “Turnover’s Relationship with Sales, Tips and Service Across Restaurants in a Chain.” International Journal of Hospitality Management 21: 443-447; Julia Lane. “The Low-Wage Labor Market: Challenges and Opportunities for Economic Self-Sufficiency – The Role of Job Turnover in the Low-Wage Labor Market.” http://aspe.hhs. gov/HSP/lwlm99/lane.htm (accessed December 10, 2009) Fred Minnick, “Litigation woes defy reform: lawsuits that snare businesses in costly, distracting battles continue to emerge despite the industry’s efforts to clear up legal quagmires,” Nations Restaurant News, 8 January 2008.

43

44

“High Road Partnerships Report,” AFL-CIO Working for America Institute. Accessed January 10, 2005. Available at http://www.workingforamerica.org/documents/HighRoadReport/highroadreport.hym. See statement from Business Owners and Executives for a Higher Minimum Wage. Available at http://www.businessforafairminimumwage.org.

45

46

J. Bruce Tracey and Timothy R. Hinkin, “The costs of employee turnover: when the devil is in the details,” The Center for Hospitality Research 2006 Report 6, no. 15 (2006). See OHSA regulations regarding enforcement of health and safety standards. Available at: http://www.osha.gov/pls/

47

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Appendix and Endnotes

publications/publication.html.
48

See Workers’ Compensation rules and regulations. Available at http://www.mainelegislature.org/legis/statutes/39-A/ title39-Ach0sec0.html.

49

50

Robert Gibbs, Secretary Napolitano, John Brennan and Dr. Richard Besser. “Press Briefing on Swine Influenza.” The White House Office of the Press Secretary. April 26, 2009. “HHS Secretary Kathleen Sebelious, Sesame Workshop, and the Ad Council Launch National Campaign to Protect Families from the H1N1 Virus and Stay Healthy.” U.S. Department of Health & Human Services. May 22, 2009. Accessed 10 December 2009. Available at http://www.hhs. gov/news/press/2009pres/05/20090522a.html.

Theodore Bradstreet and Steven Laundrie. Characteristics of Work-Related Injuries and Illnesses in Maine, 2005, An Annual Report, November 2006, p. 8-9. Available at www.maine.gov/labor/labor_stats/publications/charwork/char05.pdf.

51

“Norovirus: Technical Fact Sheet.” Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, National Center for Immunization and Respiratory Diseases, Division of Viral Diseases. http://www.cdc.gov/ncidod/dvrd/revb/gastro/norovirusfactsheet.htm (accessed December 18, 2009). “Norovirus Threat Spurs New Focus on Sanitation, Sick-Leave Policies.” Germ Central, http://www.germcentral.com/industries-supermarkets-norovirus.html (accessed December 18, 2009). Locke, Gary, Kathleen Sebelius, and Janet Napolitano. “Federal Guidelines Encourage Employers to Plan Now for Upcoming Influenza Season.” Department of Commerce, Office of Public Affairs. August 19, 2009.

52

53

“Norovirus Outbreak Associated with Ill Food Service Workers – Michigan, January-February 2006.” The Journal of American Medical Association. January 2008; 299(2):164-166. Accessed 10 October 2009. Available at http://jama. ama-assn.org/cgi/content/full/299/2/164. Hidden Costs: The Public Cost of Low-Wage Jobs in San Diego. San Diego: Center on Policy Initiatives, March 2004. Sara R. Collins, Karen Davis, Michelle M. Doty, and Alice Ho. Wages, Health Benefits, and Workers’ Health. New York: The Commonwealth Fund, October 2004. Ibid. Burned: High Risks and Low Benefits for New York City Restaurant Workers. Restaurant Opportunities Centers United and Restaurant Opportunity Center of New York. September 11, 2009. Available at http://www.rocunited.org/ news/20090919-roc-u-and-roc-ny-release-burned-nih-funded-study-restaurant-worker-health-and-safety.

54 55

56 57

58

C. Jeffrey Waddoups, Employer Sponsored Health Insurance and Uncompensated Care: An Updated Study of the University Medical Center in Clark County, Center for Community and Labor Research, July 2001. Roberta Rampton and Chuck Abbott. “Food stamp list soars past 35 million: USDA” Reuters. Available at http:// www.reuters.com/article/domesticNews/idUSTRE5825OT20090903.

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Annette Bernhardt, Ruth Milkman, Nik Theodore, Douglas Heckathorn, Mirabai Auer, James DeFilippis, Ana Luz González, Victor Narro, Jason Perelshteyn, Diana Polson, Michael Spiller, National Employment Law Project, UCLA Institute for Research on Labor and Employment, and UIC Center for Urban Economic Development. 2009. Broken Laws, Unprotected Workers: Violations of Employment and Labor Laws in America’s Cities. Available at nelp.3cdn. net/1797b93dd1ccdf9e7d_sdm6bc50n.pdf. Ibid. The impact of such practices on other industries has been well-documented. See Arindajit Dube and Ken Jacobs, Hidden Cost of Wal-Mart Jobs, Use of Safety Net Programs by Wal-Mart Workers in California, Briefing Paper Series, (Berkeley, CA: Center for Labor Research and Education, University of California), August 2, 2004; Hidden Costs: The Public Cost of Low-Wage Jobs in San Diego, Center on Policy Initiatives; Carol Zabin, Arindrajit Dube, Ph.D., Ken Jacobs, The Hidden Public Cost of Low-Wage Jobs in California. See also Annette Bernhardt and Heather Boushey, “Confronting the Gloves Off Economy: America’s Broken Labor Standards and How to Fix them,” July 2009. Available at http://nelp.3cdn.net/0f16d12cb9c05e6aa4_bvm6i2w2o.pdf. Ibid. State Health Facts: Maine at a Glance. Available at http://www.statehealthfacts.kff.org/profileglance.jsp?rgn=21. High Road Partnerships Report, AFL-CIO Working for America Institute.

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By the Restaurant Opportunities Center of Maine, Restaurant Opportunities Centers United, and the Maine Restaurant Industry Coalition

The Restaurant Opportunities Center of Maine is a joint project of the Restaurant Opportunities Centers United and the Southern Maine Workers’ Center.

Maine Restaurant Industry Coalition partners include: Luisa S. Deprez, Ph.D., Professor, Department of Sociology and Women & Gender Studies Program, University of Southern Maine Immigrant Legal Advocacy Project The League of Young Voters Maine Equal Justice Partners Maine People’s Alliance Maine Women’s Policy Center Restaurant Opportunities Center of Maine (ROC-MAINE) Restaurant Opportunities Centers United (ROC-United) The Southern Maine Workers’ Center David Vail, Ph.D., Adams-Catlin Professor of Economics, Bowdoin College David Wagner, Ph.D., Professor of Sociology and Social Work, University of Southern Maine The Coalition would like to thank the many restaurant owners and workers who participated in this study. We would also like to thank Christine Hastedt, Public Policy Director of Maine Equal Justice Partners, and Sarah Standiford, Executive Director of the Maine Women’s Policy Center for significant editorial support. We would also like to thank the many students, interns, and workers who devoted many hours to conducting surveys, interviews, and generally assisting with this project. In particular, we would like to thank the following Brooklyn College students for their assistance in inputting and analyzing survey data: Greg Lendino, Lauren Stok, Matthew Rosenbloom, Selina Allen, and Antoinette Lowe. The Restaurant Opportunities Center of Maine 142 High Street, Suite 226 Portland, Maine 04101 Phone: (207) 899-0256.

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