Letters to the Editor

Letter: Greed leads to long-term worker problem with no quick fix

In regard to the worker shortage in the hospitality industry, 30 years ago when I moved here, I was working in the food and beverage industry.

Our restaurant was called by the Chamber of Commerce and asked what we thought some of the problems were in the industry. I told them that between low pay, hiring seasonal workers, part-time hours, and high-priced housing, unless workers lived with more than four roommates they were not going to commit long-term.

Businesses would not be able to retain good workers because they hired too many seasonal workers/college kids who only were here for three months. They would be hired on spring break, leaving restaurants understaffed for 2 1/2 months.

Then came illegal workers. They drove away long-term workers because they would work for no overtime, lower wages, longer hours, minimal coverage. Owners made money but lost long-term workers.

The industry turned to out-of-town workers who are bused in — still with minimal wages, low benefits and owners who lacked commitment to workers.

Well, owners lined their pockets but now the consequence of those actions is due. They caused this mess due to greed. I worked many jobs in this area for over 30 years and saw it in too many places.

There is no short-term fix. This will take awhile to fix but only with people who are committed to better wages, benefits, vacation time, 401(k)s, and leadership from local politicians to prevent repeating history. The main problem is not offending anyone. Good luck with that, sadly.

Dan Thingelstad