Late May 2020 Community Outreach Offering for CT’s Service Plaza Workers

The Covid-19 pandemic has turned bad working conditions at McDonalds and other corporations at the Connecticut Interstate Service Plazas into a health emergency for the entire East Coast, as travelers use the plazas and then return to their communities.

Connecticut service plaza workers have been raising the alarm about poor working conditions at the service plazas since last August. Since the coronavirus outbreak in Fairfield County, they’ve been demanding that McDonalds and all the corporations operating at the rest stops protect their employees’ health and economic survival during the crisis. Because these workers have been designated as essential employees, and because they work on property owned by the State of Connecticut, they are asking state officials to support their demand that McDonalds, other fast food corporations, and the service plaza operator, Project Services, meet workers’ needs or face the termination of their contract with the state.

The COVID-19 pandemic has turned longstanding worker abuses–including paid sick-leave violations, by McDonald’s, Dunkin’ Donuts, and Subway at the CT Service Plazas–into a health emergency for communities throughout Connecticut and the East Coast. As the Coronavirus outbreak escalated, unresolved workplace issues at the service plazas risked widespread transmission between workers, consumers, and travelers along CT’s busy I-95 corridor.  Worker abuses include:

  • Paid sick day violations, including failing to inform workers of their rights, denying workers paid sick leave, and retaliating against workers who use their leave create an environment in which workers feel forced to choose between taking a day off and making ends meet.
  • Wage theft: The Standard Wage requires that employers provide health insurance or pay an extra 30% of wages to enable employees to buy health insurance. In August 2019, service plaza workers along with SEIU Local 32BJ filed a complaint with the State Department of Labor over widespread violations of the State’s Standard Wage Law.
  • Abrupt schedule changes and managerial mistreatment.
  • A lack of personal protective equipment, resources, and training to deal with the Coronavirus crisis.
  • Hours reductions without official lay-offs, making it difficult or impossible for workers to collect unemployment benefits.

Now, two months into the pandemic, many of the workers who had tried to call attention to workplace abuses have been laid off. Some have become sick with Covid 19. Some have died, or have had family members die of  Covid-19. UUS:E is raising money through our regular community outreach offering to support the families of rest stop workers impacted directly by the pandemic. Thank you for your generosity. Donate here.