PRAIRIE DU CHIEN, WI – On Monday, Derrick Van Orden and Representative Tom Tiffany hosted a roundtable with Chippewa Valley restaurant owners and area legislators. Following the discussion, the attendees spoke with the press about how ongoing unemployment benefits are impacting the ability of small businesses to get back to work and serve their communities.
Check out some of the coverage below:
The restaurateurs revealed they are being forced to limit operating hours and menu items in response to the labor crunch that has affected them directly in their own staffing as well as indirectly through supply chain problems.
“I think one of the biggest things that we heard is that government is their biggest competitor right now for labor,” said Tiffany, R-Minocqua. “With the enhanced unemployment, it is causing people to stay home.”
Tiffany maintained that 4 million people nationwide have not returned to the workforce since March 2020, including some he alleged make more money by staying home and collecting unemployment.
Van Orden, of Hager City, blamed stimulus bills intended to boost an economy rebounding from the COVID-19 pandemic for exacerbating the labor shortage and driving up inflation.
“The big takeaways were the federal government is spending way too much money for this enhanced unemployment insurance compensation, so they’re all having labor problems and then next in line was the supply chain issues that are affected by labor costs,” Van Orden said.
During their discussion, restaurant owners said they believe additional unemployment from the government is leading to a workforce shortage in all levels of the supply chain; something Van Orden said is irresponsible.
“Every single step of this supply chain has been affected and it starts at the federal government level,” Van Orden said. “The federal government has artificially created one: a labor shortage, the 9.3 million folks that are just not returning to work, and they’ve been paying people not to work.”