Before I forget, I noticed that Gatlinburg, the Wisconsin Dells, and Orlando all have something in common, beyond the same shitty neon-lit tourist traps. Foreign workers. I met people from Slovenia, Hungary, Serbia, Lithuania, Bulgaria, and various other (mostly) eastern European countries, working in restaurants, bars, and attractions. In the Dells, many of them were students, working their school breaks in America in exchange for a free trip here. They work so many days, then they get time off to visit as tourists. The largest theme park in the Dells contracts a company to fill these slots for them year round. Most of the workers spoke passable English, but many did not. Now, I think its great for these kids, because for most of them, a trip an expensive theme resort in America would be unaffordable, but it has me wondering why these businesses are unable to staff up using locals. Is it the pay? Are there not enough teenagers and young adults living nearby to fill those positions? I need to research this a little more….
Next, I asked this question in a thread I posted long ago, and no one was able to answer my question to my satisfaction. So, I will stubbornly ask again:
My eldest daughter is a server in a well known, somewhat expensive chain restaurant in Southern California. We have one of their stores here in Nashville. In California, the servers are paid a State-mandated minimum wage, which is presently 8 dollars an hour. Here in Tennessee, I believe it is still legal to pay a server well under three dollars an hour. I know California real estate is much more to buy or lease. I’m sure utilities are more expensive than here in Nashville. You can bet California taxes businesses at a much higher rate than Tennessee. Yet, somehow, those businesses manage to pay their servers five dollars an hour more than they pay them here, and continue to profit, and profit handsomely. The prices are the same, yet the costs of doing business is much higher. Does anyone believe that if Tennessee enacted law that required chain-restaurants to raise server pay to say…5.00 an hour, that the chain stores would simply elect not to do business here? I doubt it. Also, I don’t see that the “lower cost of living” argument is valid. It may very well be that a floor manager may take less salary than in Los Angeles because he can raise his family on less here, but the fact remains that many servers have families to feed as well, and 2.67 an hour must be supplemented somehow. Usually that means more theft, more turn-over, poor job performance, etc…as well as using ER’s as clinics, and forgoing car insurance, etc. Why can’t we use some sort of scale based on the size of the corporation, with safeguards to protect start-ups and sole proprietors? I think we could, and we should.