Readers’ Forum: Staff shortages in dining services

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BYU Dining Services’ offers of a referral bonus, meal credits, and especially the small Jamba Juice smoothie look like desperate measures at best and manipulative hiring tactics at worst — it’s easy to trick people into a mediocre wage with free food, and I’m disappointed to see dining services doing it. I understand that Dining Services has increased pay for all current employees, but students still aren’t flocking to work at the Cougareat. Why?

I can’t imagine there’s much that Dining Services can do to improve working conditions in the near future — food service is exhausting work in a hot, crowded, noisy environment that is especially taxing on neurodivergent people like me. Though I have enough time in my schedule to work, I would not even consider working for Dining Services unless it paid at least $15 an hour.

The changes that Covid has brought to the labor market have proven to be far more permanent than can be explained by social distancing precautions alone; people aren’t willing to return to poor working conditions until they get pay that not only provides a real living wage, but makes it worth the conditions.

Rather than join the ranks of companies pretending that a return to “normal” includes a majority of the American workforce returning to bad jobs that don’t pay enough, I hope that BYU will recognize its opportunity to lead out in providing fair pay — without the dog-and-pony show of hiring bonuses or free food.

Jesse Nebeker
Eden Prairie, Minnesota

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