Food and Service Industry

Kiley Koscinski / 90.5 WESA

Local unions representing bus drivers, hospital food service workers, care providers and janitors marched down Forbes Avenue in Oakland Monday morning. The demonstration was part of a national #BlackWorkersMatter movement which seeks to draw attention to income inequality and systemic racism within labor.

Katie Blackley / 90.5 WESA

To get some sense of how hard the coronavirus shutdown has hit service-industry workers in Pittsburgh, visit the Pittsburgh Virtual Tip Jar. The initiative to help patrons funnel funds to unemployed and underemployed workers was launched March 16. As of this past Friday, less than two weeks later, it had about 7,000 names.

Image by David Bernabo

These days, people are largely disconnected from the origins of most of what they buy or use, from the drill rigs where oil is pumped to the factories where electronic devices are assembled. Such places are often also sites of human or environmental abuse. The same goes for food – including restaurant meals.

Ron Larson / Ace Hotel

Amid Pittsburgh’s restaurant boom, a new conference this week aims to tackle tough issues within the food and service industry, including gentrification, sexism and cultural appropriation.