OPINIONWorkforce

What can Congress do to ease restaurants' labor struggles?

Working Lunch: A group called the Critical Labor Coalition has some ideas its pushing on the Hill. Here are a few of the would-be aids.

New data from the U.S. Department of Labor indicates the foodservice business will need to fill 2.6 million job vacancies every year between now and 2032 because of turnover and the creation of new positions. How is the industry going to hit that number when it’s struggling just to get back to 2019 employment levels?

This week’s Working Lunch podcast looks at how the restaurant industry is working through a group called the Critical Labor Coalition (CLC) to enact federal legislation that would help. Executive Director Misty Chally walks listeners through the coalition’s efforts to expand the labor pool by incentivizing those who were sidelined during the pandemic to seek work again, and by removing regulatory roadblocks that prevent would-be new hires from taking a job.

In particular, she looks at the efforts underway to shorten the time immigrant asylum seekers have to wait before they can work, as well as what more can be done to help the formerly incarcerated land a job.

For instance, “We’re trying to connect probation officers to employers,”  Chally said. “Right now there’s no way to do that.”

To learn more about what’s being attempted at the macro level to ease the restaurant industry’s labor struggles, hit play.

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