PITTSBURGH (KDKA) — The lack of workers for businesses is a growing issue across the region.
Lawmakers in Harrisburg believe there is not a true labor shortage, but rather people just want to be paid more.
“We’ve been working six days a week as much as we can. Trying to hire people but it’s been really, really hard, I don’t even have any applications to hire anybody,” said Nicole McCarty at Napoli’s Restaurant in Bridgeville.
Business owners told KDKA there’s not much to do without the staff, and it’s not just the restaurant industry begging for help.
“I’m looking for 25 to 30 people right now that I can put to work today, and I just can’t get anyone through the door,” said William Ciaffoni, who owns All Ways Safe in Canonsburg.
A labor shortage is what businesses are calling it, but state leaders disagree.
“It’s a sign of poor job quality and low wages. And it’s why we need to assure every job is paying decent wages and that every worker has the opportunity to grow and succeed,” said acting state Labor and Industry Secretary Jennifer Berrier.
Various lawmakers continue to push to increase the minimum wage and benefits to get more workers back on the job. Ciaffoni said he’s already done that for his construction flagging company.
“We give sign-on bonuses. We’ve upped our wage 30 percent. We’ve put in a pension plan in place and 401K and medical benefits. It just doesn’t seem to be enough to get people through the door,” Ciaffoni said.
Ciaffoni told KDKA he can’t offer anymore. Napoli’s’ restaurant said raising wages any higher could be the end to the family-owned business.
“We would have to raise our prices significantly just to stay open just to pay our employees, and I don’t want to do that to the community. We are not a high-end restaurant. We are a family-owned restaurant,” McCarty said.
This isn’t just a problem for these two businesses. Most restaurants are struggling to pull from the same small pool of workers.
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