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Sat Oct 31, 2020, 11:07 PM

'Covid-19 Casualties: The Jobs That May Never Return'

'COVID-19 Casualties: The jobs that may never return.' The Trump administration’s failure to respond to the health crisis has led to job losses that could take decades to rebuild. By Mark Kreidler for Capital and Main, Daily Kos, Oct. 31, 2020.

As anyone who drove past a darkened restaurant, empty hotel, or shuttered stadium over the summer knows, the pandemic has been calamitous for the food service industry. But only recently—as COVID-19 cases soar and restrictions once again become severe across the country—has it become clear just how devastating those numbers really are.
Both governmental and private sector reports paint the same picture: The Trump administration’s failure to respond to the health crisis, in policy and in politics, has led to the kind of across-the-board job loss that could take years or decades to rebuild. And in the case of food service workers, it’s a fair question how many of those jobs will even return.

- Retail business CLOSED sign, for good.

A union spokeswoman said that of the roughly 4,000 LAX workers her union represents, only about 500 are currently back on the job. In Pennsylvania, the food service conglomerate Aramark announced it would lay off thousands of workers in that state—and that was only a small fraction of its planned job cuts around the U.S. The company, which reported a $328 million loss for the fiscal third quarter ending June 26, separately announced layoffs in a number of states, including Colorado, Missouri, Ohio, Texas, and Oregon.
The states’ commonality? They have airports, they have hotels, they have convention centers, and they have stadiums and ballparks—all once serviced by Aramark, many of them now either nonoperational or functioning at a tremendously reduced capacity. And the low-wage earners—the food-makers, servers, and support staff—are often the first to go.

* * *
Inside the Tom Bradley terminal at Los Angeles International Airport (LAX), Elvia Martinez, who works for food service giant HMSHost, returned to her job at a Panda Express location after a two-month layoff. But Martinez, as a 17-year employee of the company, said she makes $16.50 an hour, and she didn’t get her full hours back. Instead, she gets six or six and a half hours per day, because others higher on the seniority chart get first choice of the available shifts—and there are still only so many of those to go around. After qualifying for food stamps, Elvia Martinez opened a small store inside her home, where she sells drinks and snacks to neighbors. “ It wasn’t enough,” she said. “It’s horrible. It’s horrible.” “The whole airport became very, very quiet,” Martinez said of the summer’s lack of activity within Bradley, LAX’s terminal for international flights. “It was so slow. We were like, ‘What’s going on?’”

Martinez considers herself lucky. Even at less than full hours, which she said requires her to pick and choose which bills to pay, her return to the job meant she had access to her health plan again, as did her daughters, ages 13 and 11.

Others haven’t been as fortunate. Maria Hernandez, a spokeswoman for Unite Here Local 11, said that of the roughly 4,000 LAX workers that the organization represents, only about 500 are currently back on the job. (Disclosure: The union is a financial contributor to Capital & Main.) In addition to the brutal toll the layoffs have taken on workers and their families, there’s a trickle-down effect at work. As detailed recently by the Los Angeles Times, California’s immigrant population fell by more than 6% in the first five months of the pandemic, as businesses of all kinds closed operations and laid off many of those in the low-wage service jobs that normally keep the businesses going.

The immigrant workers, who often have little or no savings and may not qualify for U.S. government relief, apparently are leaving for other states or returning to their native countries, the Times reported.

** Some economists suspect that as many as 42% of food and beverage service jobs are not coming back.**...

More, https://www.dailykos.com/stories/2020/10/31/1990917/-COVID-19-Casualties-The-jobs-that-may-never-return

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