Thursday, December 16, 2010

Too close to home

The following link hits too close to home. 

Chipotle fires at least 80 Latino workers in Minnesota

People might think that because we are in Minnesota that illegal immigration does not seem to be so prevelant.  Myself, I do not know a resturant nor professional kitchen here that does not have at least one hard-working illegal Latino working in it.  They may be a cook, a prep, a busser even an executive chef, you name it. 

The article talks about the wages these workers receive and that they know they do not have much of a choice in finding a form of work that would make the economic situation better for their families.  The article also states that these workers hold onto these jobs and are loyal hard-working employees for years while they see a revolving door of legal workers come through not willing to stay the time at the hourly wage that these Latino workers have been living off of for years. 

My husband came home the other night and started talking to me about this Chipotle news story.  I told him I already heard about it.  One of my co-workers was thinking about me when she saw it on the news.  My husband knows at least 3 of these fired workers.  They are spouses or siblings of his co-workers.  What is to stopping every chain resturant from doing this, really?  Every McDonalds, Wendy's, Taco Bell, Arby's, Burger King and all the others would be left with having to close or highering workers that did not appreciate their employers because of the low wages.  I know I can see a difference between a resturant that has Latino workers in it and those who have a bigger percentage of irrisposible non-latino workers.  Bathrooms are cleaner and in better shape as well as the main eating space.  Food orders also arrive quicker to tables if a Latino is in the kitchen. 

If Latino workers who are here working illegally are all fired or forced to leave their employment our economy could really take a bigger hit than it already has.  I know I will be eating out less or not at all.  One reason is because I will not want to visit a dirt unkept resturant.  The other is because that would mean my own families income would significantly be lower since my own husband would be affected by this forced unemployment. 

It is also my understanding that these workers are not able to apply for unemployement.  Even though the employer is required to put money aside for this, the workers are not eligilbe to apply to receive any help in their time of great need.  All of these workers have money taken out of their checks and many do file their taxes much to people's disbelief.  The required amount is taken for Social Security, which in retirement they will see none of. 

All of this raises many questions and unknowns about the immigration policies and proceedures our country follows.  We are all people and we all have basic needs no matter who we are. 

To the fired workers, my thoughts are with you and your families.  A los trabajadores de Chipotle que perdieron sus trabajos en estas semanas, les espero lo mejor para ustedes y sus familias.

To my husband, I love you and we will get through this.  Te amo!