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Climate Labor


When workers at the sandwich chain Homegrown unionized, they knew heat was one of their main issues.

Last month, Oscar Hernández couldn’t sleep. The cook, who worked at a restaurant located inside of a Las Vegas casino, had found that after coming home from his shifts, his body would not properly cool down. 

The air conditioning at work had been broken for about four months. Hernández worked eight-hour shifts during the restaurant’s brunch service, whipping up eggs, waffles, and fried chicken. He spent hours in front of a scaldingly hot grill — an older model that only ran at extremely high temperatures. Most often, his station on the line was in a corner, and it seemed as if all of the other heat sources in the kitchen — the gas burners, the four deep-fryers, the waffle iron — converged right there. Summer had not officially started, but Las Vegas was already seeing above-normal temperatures in May, sometimes reaching triple digits. The fans that the owners put in the kitchen were not strong enough to cool down the space.  

Extreme heat is nothing new to Hernández, who lives in Nevada and has worked in the restaurant industry for 22 years. But the... Read more

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