New Orleans service workers push for free health clinic

NEW ORLEANS (AP) — Restaurant and hotel employees in New Orleans are pushing for a free health clinic for workers in their industry.

The workers are demanding that the city dedicate resources to create the full-service clinic for their industry, WDSU-TV reported .

There are more than 88,000 people who work in the city’s restaurants, hotels and attractions, the station reported. Many say they don’t have access to affordable health care.

“A lot of us make $2 an hour, $4 an hour, plus tips. You don’t know if those tips are coming. We have no guaranteed income. We can’t keep track of our income so we can’t commit to paying a few hundred dollars in medical insurance,” said Meg Maloney, who is a waitress, line cook, barista and caterer.

Maloney and other workers protested at Tuesday’s New Orleans Tourism Marketing Corp. board meeting. They say they want the city’s hotel occupancy tax to go toward creating the health clinic specifically for hospitality workers.

That tax currently helps to fund the Louisiana Superdome Commission and the Morial Convention Center.

“They gave us a lot to think about today and I’m sure the board of the tourism and marketing corporation will take that into consideration and want to be part of the conversation. So I’m looking forward to more dialogue,” said Mark Romig, president of the tourism group.

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