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Connecticut Service Plaza Workers Call For Coronavirus Protections

Wong Maye-E
People stand in line for their order at a McDonald's restaurant Wednesday.

Food service workers at Connecticut’s travel plazas say their employers aren’t protecting them from COVID-19 and in turn, they’re putting residents in danger.

Josh Rivas works at a Subway sandwich shop in a travel plaza on Interstate 95 in Madison. He says he doesn’t receive health insurance or paid sick leave. That puts him in a difficult and dangerous spot.

“People like us, we can’t afford to miss a day of pay. We have families we have to take care of, we got bills that we have to pay. Especially now, with this coronavirus.”

Josh lives with his parents, who work as janitors at the same travel plaza.

“We only got a minimum amount of training. Wash your hands, clean and sanitize the shop. We didn’t get any special equipment, like disinfect the whole store, that we were supposed to.”

The union that represents service industry workers says more than a thousand workers at the state’s travel plazas have been designated as essential.

Union president Kyle Bragg is says companies like Subway and McDonald's should support workers.

“That means they need adequate training and gear. They need full compensation if hours need to be cut. They need guaranteed sick time for putting themselves on the line every day during this crisis.”

U.S. Senator Richard Blumenthal says companies have a moral duty to make working conditions safe and healthy.

“They have more than enough resources to provide the protective equipment. They have more than ample money to pay for sick leave. They are failing to observe that basic obligation.”

Subway and McDonald's did not respond to a request for comment.

Read the latest on WSHU’s coronavirus coverage here.


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Davis Dunavin loves telling stories, whether on the radio or around the campfire. He started in Missouri and ended up in Connecticut, which, he'd like to point out, is the same geographic trajectory taken by Mark Twain.
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