Tonight, the hood vent went out. In clear violation of health and safety standards, we had to keep working. The kitchen was filled with noxious fumes and smoke for three and a half hours before they got it working again. I have asthma. I could barely breath. I have a headache now. My eyes are still burning. But I didn’t have any choice. It was that or quit, and I need a paycheck. Calling OSHA won’t do any good. They don’t really care. I’ve reported other unrelated incidents to them before, and nothing changed. If they do take me seriously, and it gets back to the bosses who complained, I’ll have my hours cut. Yeah, it’s illegal, but I wouldn’t be able to prove that was the cause. And worst case scenario, they shut down my workplace, and I have no income. The manager told us to stop complaining, because we already have enough problems, while he stands out in the dining area out of the smoke.
This is what they don’t tell you about being working class. That you don’t have a choice. It’s either put up with horrifying, unhealthy, illegal bullshit or starve without a paycheck, because the law offers no real protection, especially when you live in a fire at will state.
The law can’t protect you against capitalism. Remember this the next time you go out to eat, what the real cost can be.
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