Target: Foxwoods Casino
Goal: Condemn Foxwoods Casino for making cocktail waitresses wear high heel shoes even though these shoes cause pain and medical problems
Foxwoods Casino, a massive property in southeastern Connecticut that is owned and operated by the Mashantucket Pequot Tribal Nation, is currently negotiating the first ever union contract for its waitresses. The waitresses are represented by Local 371 of the United Food and Commercial Workers Union. One of the major issues that has bogged down talks during the negotiation process is a dispute over what shoes the waitresses may wear to work.
Foxwoods originally wanted to mandate these waitresses to wear at least 2-inch heels. However, they have taken away this recently imposed requirement. But servers are still advised to wear “polishable black shoes,” subject to approval by management. In other words, these waitresses cannot wear shoes of their own choosing.
Cheryl Haase, a 52-year-old waitress, has been serving cocktails for more than two decades. Haase claims that the miles she has walked carrying trays of drinks through the Foxwoods Casino in high heels have sent her to chiropractors and podiatrists for injections to treat inflammation.
A Connecticut podiatrist, Dr. Eric Levine, agrees that wearing these high heels is harmful to these waitresses. He frequently treats casino waitresses who wear high heels. Often times, these casino waitresses present with painful conditions that require some time off from wearing high heels. Even though he sends them back to work with a recommendation to not wear high heels for medical reasons, some waitresses continue to wear them. In fact, several waitresses have told Dr. Levine that “they’re not going to stop wearing them,” because “the higher the heel, the larger the tip.”
These waitresses choose not to follow the doctor’s order in fear of Foxwoods Casino’s rule that servers could be exempted with a doctor’s note for only up to a year. If they still cannot wear high heels after a year, they would then have to resign or take another position. Therefore, a lot of these waitresses might ditch comfortable shoes for the narrow-toed high heel shoes preferred by the casino to save their jobs.
Sign the petition below to ensure that women can wear shoes of their own choosing. No one should lose her job because she cannot wear high heels, especially if wearing high heels causes her pain, discomfort, and inflammation.
Dear Foxwoods Casino,
You are currently negotiating with Local 371 of the United Food and Commercial Workers Union for the first ever contract for your waitresses. I have heard that the shoe dispute is slowing down the negotiation process. You wanted to make all your waitresses wear 2-inch heels, but that was shot down. Instead, you replaced this requirement with a suggestion to the females workers to wear “polishable black shoes” that need approval by your management. In other words, you are still deciding what these workers can wear, disregarding these women’s health.
Wearing high heel shoes has sent many of your cocktail waitresses to seek medical treatment. Many need injections to calm down the inflammation caused by wearing such uncomfortable heels for long periods of time. You allow waitresses with doctor notes to be excused from wearing high heels, but for only a year. If after a year, they are still unable to wear high heels, they are given the “option” to resign or get transferred to another position. In other words, these women can lose their jobs just because their feet can no longer bear wearing high heels. This will especially harm your older waitresses who may not be able to endure wearing the shoes you want. You are sending a message to your employees that they can be easily fired for not being able to wear high heels.
Employees should be evaluated on so many other important things aside from the type of shoes they wear. Do not continue to send a message to your female employees that their worth to your Casino is based on their ability to wear high heels.
[Your Name Here]
Photo credit: Markusram via Flickr