Cocktail Waitresses Fight to Not Wear Heels

Staff Writer
‘The higher the heel, the larger the tip’ theory is out

Cocktail waitresses fight for lower heel requirements.

What is it like to walk a mile in the Foxwoods Resort Casino's cocktail waitresses' shoes? Not so comfortable.

Meet Cheryl Haase, 52, a cocktail waitress at the Mashantucket, Conn. location of Foxwoods, for more than two decades. “Most of us girls have been here for 20 years, 15 years” said Haase to the Associated Press, and she along with her fellow waitresses, have the feet to prove it.

She and a union representing the cocktail waitresses at America’s largest casino are fighting for their right to wear shoes of choice. In the past, the waitresses were required to wear 2-inch heels, but recently the casino yielded on that requirement. Now, they must wear polishable black shoes that are approved by casino management. Haase in a statement said, “This job has really done a number on our feet and they know it.”

The union, Local 371 of the United Food and Commercial Workers Union, represents Haase as well as 365 Foxwoods workers (including 200 beverage servers). The same union was called upon in 2009 as well, partially older cocktail waitresses had concerns about job vulnerability.

A local podiatrist, Dr. Eric Levine of Norwich, Conn., said he frequently treats the cocktail waitresses from the local casino. Many of them come to them with painful injuries because of the strict shoe requirements, forcing him to advise them to take a break from the heels.

Unfortunately, the waitresses tend to have a common rationalization for the uncomfortable shoes. As Dr. Levine told the AP, "Several have told me they're not going to stop wearing them. 'The higher the heel, the larger the tip.'"

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