Katie Keating and Heather Foran have written a Maine Voices article for the Press Herald.
In the recent series about Portland restaurants, the Press Herald quoted 41 business owners and one non-supervisory worker. As restaurant workers, we have seen this trend repeat through the pandemic: profiles of struggling business owners, told with little attention paid to the experiences of their employees. The failure to represent worker perspectives creates a one-sided story about so-called “labor shortages” that implies that workers are unwilling to work and would rather depend on unemployment. This misses the bigger picture: people risking their lives in an industry that does not provide health insurance during a pandemic; that often does not pay a living wage in a city with skyrocketing housing costs, and in which people have no legal recourse for unsafe conditions.