The State College Chipotle/Sweatshop

I am sure most of you saw this the other day. I saw it on Twitter when the Collegian posted the picture and then I saw other people posting the article on Facebook after it went on HuffPo.

And I know what many of you are thinking:  “oh those poor, oppressed workers.” And you probably think that is what this post will be about…obviously you are wrong. Sorry to disappoint.

Borderline sweatshop conditions? Are these people out of their freakin’ minds? Compare working at Chipotle with those poor folks stuck putting together your iPhone.

I love that the article says they had to work 10-12 hour days without getting a break. OH MY GOD! THOSE MONSTERS! Working ten hours without a break? Oh the humanity, the pain, the suffering. Oh wait, that is what I do daily, huh, I’ll be damned.

Basically the same as working at Chipotle

If you work in the restaurant industry, you have to understand that you may not get a break. It all depends on the flow of business. There are many times where I give people the option to go on break while it is slow and they say “I don’t want to go on break yet.” Then, when we are getting crushed, full dining room, lobby full of people, the kitchen struggling with 100 checks hanging out of the printer, that person says “uhh, think I could take my break now?” My answer is always the same “hahahahahahahahahahahahhahahahahahahaha, no, run this food to table seven!” Not sure why table seven’s food is up at that moment.

Before you say “but Josh, it is the law to give your employees a break, what kind of horrible boss are you?” It is not a law. From the Department of Labor:

The Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) does not require breaks or meal periods be given to workers. Some states may have requirements for breaks or meal periods. If you work in a state which does not require breaks or meal periods, these benefits are a matter of agreement between the employer and the employee (or the employee’s representative).

Minors are required to take a break, but not adults. Sorry, that is just the way it is. If you want there to be a law about this, then you should probably contact your politician and have them push to change the law.

Another thing the article mentions is how they are understaffed and that is why the employees are working “long” shifts. I think this should be a lesson to any restaurants thinking about opening a location in State College. If you drive around town there are signs at just about every restaurant saying they are hiring. The town just does not have the work force to sustain that many restaurants. I think these places come there thinking that college kids will work there. Unfortunately, the days of kids paying for college by working as a waiter are starting to come to an end. Yes, there are many who still have to, but the numbers are dwindling. At least that is my observation.

This whole thing sounds like a disgruntled manager who did not like his/her job and decided to rile up his employees. They wanted this to go viral. This could have been avoided by doing research into a company before you take a job. Especially if you are going into restaurant management. Do not just accept what they tell you at the interview, look up reviews of the job online. They are usually negatively biased, but there is some truth in them. Hell, stop by one of the places and speak to a manager there, try to get their honest opinion.

Remember when I was trying to make a tough decision? Well the place I was looking at allowed me to go in and talk to the managers, they did not tell me straight out that they work tons of hours, but they implied it.  Do not be upset once you start the job and realize that some of the things they told you were a bit bullshit (every company does this). For example, most places will tell you that you get one weekend off a month and then one month you get two weekends.

That sounds great, right? Well it is technically true, but since many companies do not have a calendar schedule, they use a 28 day period. So you get one weekend each period. What will happen is that your weekend off in period five will be in the beginning of May and then your weekend off in period six will be two weeks later at the end of May. See, two weekends off in a month. It is not really the same thing.

Sorry, starting to drift off topic there. Back to the tragedy at Chipotle. This whole thing reeks of young people wanting some attention. People my age (or older) love to bitch about the younger generations being lazy and not knowing what it means to do hard work. Then something like this happens and those young people wonder where this opinion comes from. Suck it up, it’s called a job. It is not meant to be easy. Red Forman explains it best: