Note: we are republishing this story amid record high levels of political division in America. According to Pew surveys, the US ranks among the highest in the world according to how many people feel more divided than before the pandemic. More on this here: https://www.latimes.com/politics/newsletter/2021-10-15/us-most-divided-nation-in-worldwide-survey-essential-politics
The owner of a Jacksonville pizza chain claimed that the franchise’s corporate offices did not approve of (nor do they believe in) the message posted on the door of one of their Georgia stores which criticized people on unemployment for not working.
The sign reads: “Sadly, due to government handouts no one wants to work anymore. Therefore, we are short staffed. Please be patient with the staff that did choose to come to work today and remember to tip your server. They chose to show up to serve you.”
The sign was posted on Twitter with the Twitter user captioning it: “Bummer to see this coming from @VPizzaJax.”
The sign was slammed on social media, with various users pointing out that various V Pizza restaurants received over $2 million in PPP loans from the federal government. The owner of V Pizza stated that they were able re-hire employees who were laid off earlier in the pandemic after they received the assistance.
Paul Scott, the owner of the franchise, said that the message was not a reflection of his feelings about the current struggles to find workers as businesses re-open.
He told News4Jax that he asked the owner of the Georgia franchise to remove the sign after he learnt about it on social media.
“That sign and the wording with it, there’s so much wrong with it,” he said. “But, the one truth of the sign is everyone is having a hard time hiring because the reality is what we can pay our staff, you know, typically one of our staff members makes $14-$15 an hour, if a person is sitting home and they have children that they’ve got to put in daycare and they’re able to get almost as much money staying at home and keeping their kids versus daycare. Nobody blames a person for making a smart decision for their family.”
“Yes, we are understaffed, there is no doubt, but we’re not so severely understaffed. Our people, the workforce comes in with a great attitude every day. As an owner, we try to support them in every possible way that we can support them,” he added.
Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis and the Florida Department of Economic Opportunity have expressed the same sentiment expressed on the sign. This week, Florida DEO announced that as part of an initiative to get its citizens to “return to work,” from June 26, the state will stop participating in the Federal Pandemic Unemployment Compensation program.
During the pandemic, the state gave an extra $300 a week to people on unemployment assistance.
“Now, we’re transitioning from kind of relief in the midst of a crisis to now having the more traditional re-employment outlook,” DeSantis said in a press conference in May.
Florida Rep. Anna Eskamani urged the governor to let Floridians receive the additional $300 a week.
“Many of the folks that we have right now that are still on unemployment and are very scared of losing these federal $300 benefits, it includes mothers, it includes our seniors, our veterans, folks that can’t work a typical 9-5 job and just the lack of compassion and understanding,” she said.
Jim Ricer, a former Boca Raton business owner, stated that he was forced to close his business because of the economic fallout of the pandemic, and that federal assistance has been the only way he’s been able to make money.
“I worked for myself 19 years because of my physical ailments. It gave me the opportunity to stop and take a break if I needed to. On March 27, I lost my business completely,” he said. “After 19 years of working for myself in the state of Florida, here in Boca Raton, we don’t qualify for unemployment. Because I was an S-corporation I did not get any money from the state. I have only been living off the money from the government. Last year, I made $16,000.”
Sources: News 4 JAX