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How the Boston shutdown quietly affected the working poor

As Boston became a ghost town Friday, most of the city's residents stayed home from work and got a unexpected day off. Most, but not all. While Starbucks and Subways shuttered, select Dunkin’ Donuts stayed open at the requests of law enforcement, earning deserved praise for the Boston-based chain. But while the chain was "encouraging our guests to stay home today," somebody had to come in to make the Dunkaccinos for the police officers, namely the low-wage workers who staff the stores.

And while they may have been happy to do come in despite the potential danger, eager to play whatever small part they could in the manhunt for someone who terrorized Boston, labor leaders say the case highlights how the bombing and its aftermath has affected workers in the Boston area this week.

"Most low wage workers can't afford to lose a day's pay, and there's no doubt this lockdown will adversely impact the city's working poor," said Jessica Kutch, a labor activist who co-founded the organizing site coworker.org, in an email to Salon. "I'd really like to see employers state on the record that their hourly workers will be paid for the time they were scheduled to work today -- but I suspect that most employers will place the burden of this shutdown squarely on the backs of people who can least afford it."

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