Guest post: Chipotle isn’t the exception

Originally a comment by Bruce Gorton on Benefits and their absence.

Just a point here, this is not just a problem with Covid-19.

Look at how many of those people work with food.

Now go look at the CDC:

Sick food workers have been implicated in foodborne illness outbreaks caused by at least 14 different germs. Many of these outbreaks could be prevented simply by making sure that food workers don’t work while they are sick.

Now Covid-19 isn’t transmitted through food so far as anybody knows, but its quite startling when you read:

20% of food workers say they worked at least one shift with vomiting or diarrhea in the past year.

Oh yeah and they’re more likely to show up while sick if – it is a busy restaurant that doesn’t give paid leave. 19 states don’t follow the CDC’s food safety protocols, and of those that do they aren’t exactly well enforced.

This was in 2016, and Trump isn’t big on regulation, so I’m guessing not much has changed.

Food poisoning hits one in six Americans every year. In the UK it is closer to one in 66.

While comparing different countries in terms of food born illness isn’t exactly reliable (different countries have different methodologies) I think that big a gap says something in and of itself.

Think about Chipotle. It is famous for giving people diarrhea, as recently as 2018 it was found to be behind an outbreak in Ohio that sickened hundreds of people.

Well we’re in 2020, and here’s what The Guardian is saying about them:

Earlier this year, Chipotle settled with the city’s (New York) department of consumer and worker protection for firing an employee who took sick leave. The department is also conducting a deeper investigation of the chain’s workplace practices.

Chipotle isn’t the exception, in fact so far as sick leave is concerned it is better than those listed in the tweet – but it speaks to a deeper problem within the US workplace.

You can see that in Donald Trump’s election to president. He’s infamous for being an incredibly shitty boss, he was known for it before he became president, hell he had a TV show that centered on him being a shitty boss, but somehow this was never a big deal.

It was him being “tough” rather than him “having the temperament of a spoiled three-year-old”. And the results are bad, but there is such a culture of expecting the boss to be an asshole that I honestly think he’s going to get a second term anyway because that’s what someone who is in charge looks like for all too many Americans.

There is a recklessness that is actively harming America, that is actively sickening the nation, where being authoritative matters more than being effective. There has got to be a shift towards pragmatic “not being a bastard” at some point.

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