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Report Says Philly Restaurant Working Conditions Suck

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Restaurant workers in Philly have it tough.
Restaurant workers in Philly have it tough.
Photo: The Chronicle

The Restaurant Opportunities Centers United in Philly just released a report called: "Behind the Kitchen Door: The Hidden Reality of Philadelphia's Thriving Restaurant Industry." In it, the group has collected data from various restaurants around Philly noting info like how many employees are below the poverty line, how many don't get any sick days, and how many came to work when they were ill. It's eye opening stuff, and worth a read.

Of course with any such study, the motivation must be considered, and the agenda as well. While some of the numbers might be skewed a bit, the overall info is worth considering. You can read the full summary here, or check out the highlights below.

·62.1% of Philadelphia restaurant workers fall below the poverty line for a family of three

·Average annual real wages in Philadelphia restaurants decreased by 11% between 2001 and 2011, while earnings for the total private sector increased by 8%

·Of all the workers surveyed in our study, 57.9% reported experiencing overtime wage violations and 40% reported working "off the clock" without being paid

·Whereas white workers' median wage is $11.29, the median wage for workers of color is $9.00. The wage gap is even greater when comparing women's median wages: $11.47 for white women and $8.00 for women of color

·Additionally, Philadelphia surpasses the national average of restaurant workers who lack access to earned sick days, with a startling 92.8% of restaurant workers without earned sick days. Given the low wages described earlier and the fact that 12 in 13 workers do not have access to paid sick days, it is not surprising that nearly two-thirds of Philadelphia restaurant workers (64.6%) have worked while sick. Nearly three out of four (71.7%) of those that worked while sick said that they could not afford to take the day off without pay, and almost half (46.4%) said that they were afraid of being ?red or penalized for staying home.

·Low wages and a lack of benefits available to restaurant workers has resulted in nearly 12% of restaurant workers relying on emergency room care when they are unable to afford medical care.

·19% of Philadelphians in the restaurant industry rely on public health insurance.

· ROCUnited: Behind The Kitchen Door [Official]