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Readers weigh in on possible reasons for the so-called labor shortage in the service industry 

Letters to the editor

Last week, our Nelly Ontiveros Cervantes reported on local restaurants' reactions to the shortage of workers willing to take low-paid positions ("Orlando-area restaurateurs raise wages, increase benefits as they struggle to find workers post-pandemic," May 24). State leaders — and a certain very popular local barbecue purveyor — are of the opinion that the unemployment assistance that workers received when restaurants closed due to the pandemic is discouraging them from returning to their previous positions.

Labor advocates and people with hearts, on the other hand, feel that workers are taking advantage of possibly the best chance they'll ever have to use their collective power to demand better working conditions.

@Joey Burdette If you can't pay your employees a livable wage, you shouldn't have a business.

@Ariel Jankowski Maybe if restaurants paid their workers a wage more than $5/hour (or whatever it is these days) and not have them rely on tips as their main source of income. Some countries don't even allow tipping — they pay their staff a livable wage.

@April Amira Good! Now offer your employees full time plus healthcare and you might start seeing people apply. This is the country fighting back because nobody can survive with inflation and zero healthcare coverage, especially during a pandemic.

@Gemma Grace Hernandez It's not that people are just at home collecting unemployment. They had the opportunity to take this time and go into a different career/job choice. I'm glad this is happening. It's time. Restaurants up their food prices all the time and the employees get paid the same.

@Chris Simmons Looks like Gov. Ron the Con just gave business owners a boost. He ended the federal unemployment stimulus to Florida workers. Meaning, that any leverage labor had in forcing a higher wage for workers has been eliminated. Many folks will be forced to go back to work making some of the lowest pay in the USA. Housing prices are skyrocketing and local wages are falling further into the abyss. Great job, Floriduhhh.

@Robyn Hrobuchak So they shouldn't get a "living wage" because these are supposed to be entry-level jobs for high-school kids, but now you want to bitch because none of the adults want to work them? School lets out this week ... y'all should be fine by Monday.

@David Casson Workers shouldn't be forced into assistance programs just because their employers would rather buy a second golf club membership instead of paying a living wage.

@Joseph Gibson Please remember to keep these restaurants in your thoughts, they are being bled dry by the people who prepare and serve the food to customers.

@Michele Dispirito Most people got out of the food industry altogether. Some went to work at Amazon or Walmart, where the pay is the same every week & they can budget & live off their pay, not wondering if this week I made $300 & next week I may make $100.

@Alexander Gonzalez I'm disappointed in John Rivers' tone-deaf comments. Jobs paying $20+/hour are finding no shortage of employees. Why would anyone return to an industry that abandoned them at the first sign of trouble?

@Loritza Castillo What a joke. Don't forget the way everyone was treated during the pandemic. In other countries they gave financial aid to their citizens because keeping them alive was priority. Here we were given scraps and told to shut up and be grateful. That bonus $300 was a fucking joke. People who think the working class is just lazy don't have a sense of reality. If we adjust for inflation correctly the minimum wage is closer to $20/hour or higher. Nobody wants to work for less than $400 a week. Keep holding out, working class. It's not them being lazy. It's a protest.

@Jeannie JS When employers decide to cut hours and benefits & save themselves $$$, it's just business. When people decide not to apply for extremely low-paying jobs, it's laziness and disloyalty. Huh.

@Luis Rojas What a concept: raise wages and increase benefits to find workers instead of whining about how no one wants to work for slave wages.

@Craig Reynolds Many left the restaurant industry for good and are not coming back, even if you raise pay. Why? Because of a-hole entitled customers that expected royal treatment but gave disrespect and obnoxious behavior in return. They are the ones demanding people return to those jobs so they can once again dine out. They are the ones bitching that the prices will go up because of higher wages. Well, boo-hoo to all you entitled #karen and #ken types. Stay home and cook. You don't deserve to dine out.

They are not coming back. They can get the same sh*t pay at regular retail in a Walmart or shopping mall and not have to put up with your crap. All restaurants should just raise wages to $15, and I mean ALL, and raise your prices to compensate. As long as all restaurants do it, people will have no choice. They will either pay it, learn to cook, or live off supermarket ready-made and frozen. Still, I don't think $15 is enough to convince people to tolerate the same obnoxious a-holes.

Nope, I don't work in the industry, never have, but I have seen the crap many of the rest of you dish out thinking you're entitled and better than the staff. You're not; you're diner trash.

@Harris Drucker I don't think restaurants should get any publicity for raising wages now. They are desperate, why reward bad behavior? "Do the right thing when nobody is looking!" Orlando Weekly, thank you for giving both sides of the story, especially with the big lie!

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