News Jun 5, 2013 at 4:00 am

Seattle Fast-Food Workers Join Nationwide Strike, Demanding Higher Wages and the Right to Organize


If you've been working in fast food for five years, you're doing something wrong. Try studying something that will lead to an actual career and improve your own self.
Holy shit! You want $15/hour to serve fries and other shitty food to careless slobs? You're delusional.
@1 - If you are a college student supplementing their student loans, or in HS working a summer/student type job, or just graduated, and waiting for "your big break", then you are probably correct: You need to transition eventually into something bigger and better, and 5 years is probably too long.

However if you don't have the skills to land the kind of job in engineering, finance, the trades, etc, then you take work where you can find it. And if you are (trying) to support a family in such circumstances, and fast food is the only thing you are truly "qualified" for, and you have no time to obtain other skills, then you make do. It doesn't mean you have to accept 2nd class status.

I support all workers rights to organize, and if they can force a livable wage, then more power to them. If it means that I can't afford as many dollar menu empty calorie bombs, then so be it.... I have eaten well in my life, and I have lived off a primarily top-ramen based diet, and I can find a happy medium.
"However if you don't have the skills to land the kind of job in engineering, finance, the trades, etc, then you take work where you can find it. And if you are (trying) to support a family in such circumstances, and fast food is the only thing you are truly "qualified" for."

If fast food is the only thing someone is qualified for then perhaps they shouldn’t be out populating the world with their little food eating shit goblins.

Yes all employees have the right to organize for better wages, but unfortunately the skill set of a fast food worker makes them easily replaced
@5 No, just didn't have the room to explain the situation fully in the print piece (1200 words isn't as many as you might think).

Technically, workers have the legal right to strike without retaliation. But in the real world, fast food workers get their hours cut or eliminated all the time, for multiple reasons, and without explanation. If a worker believes he or she has been retaliated against, the only legal recourse is a timely and costly National Labor Relations Board complaint, so in reality, they have little legal recourse. Rather, these workers are relying on the community to back them up and pressure their employers to obey the law.

As for a $15 an hour minimum wage, it may be unrealistic, but not ridiculous. But in a negotiation, do you really suggest they start at a compromise position? Let's say they asked for $12/hour. What would that get them? $10? They are striking for the right to collectively bargain, and this is how bargaining works.
@3 "However if you don't have the skills to land the kind of job in engineering, finance, the trades, etc, then you take work where you can find it. And if you are (trying) to support a family in such circumstances, and fast food is the only thing you are truly "qualified" for, and you have no time to obtain other skills, then you make do. It doesn't mean you have to accept 2nd class status"

One of the main complaints about fast food work, as quoted from the strikers, is that they can't get 40 hours/week. To avoid giving health insurance, fast food places keep them part-time, at 27.5 hours/week. So they have plenty of time to go to school to better themselves or get a second job. Many of us have done this, it's not unthinkable. Some of us have even gone to night school while working 40 hour weeks, in order to get a certificate or degree in order to get a better paying job. I did this. And now I have a better paying job. Huh. Go figure!

At the very least, they could take their acquired skills (customer service, speed under pressure, cashier skills, selling prowess) and look for a job in a regular restaurant, where tips push that income a lot higher.

There's no freaking reason to play the victim here. People have lifted themselves out of badly paying jobs for eons, and these folks can do it too.
You have to begin bargaining from a place of strength. If you want say, 12 dollars an hour, you don't say "I want twelve dollars an hour".
Ha ha ha ha! Oh, Seattle! You never fail to amuse me! $15 an hour for a fast food job? Are you people serious? How in the fuck do you justify that? Fast food work is for high school kids and maybe college kids who don't have rich parents to live with. When I worked at Subway, Wendy's and Dick's Drive-In, I didn't expect $15/hr. I certainly wouldn't have minded $8 or $9/hr. but the shitty wages reminded me of why I was busting my ass to attend college. If you don't get an education (and, sorry, but a degree in "Women's Studies" doesn't count!) and get a "real" job, it's your own sorry fault. Some people and their overrated sense of entitlement!
At least this article proves that its readers aren´t all leftist/hippies that critics claim. Just look at all the republicans posting comments here.
This is fantastic, and so brave of the workers! Everyone deserves a living wage.
So how much did unpaid intern Ansel Herz make for reporting this story?
I think most of you have not experienced any sort of financial difficulty, due to your horribly privileged comments. There are those who are not blessed in life to receive a college education because a lack of parental funds, and who go to underfunded high schools that do not help them prepare for life. And if you're going to feed me the line that "they should have to work for it" you obviously haven't read the article - what these people get paid for a part-time job (which would be the only manageable job while studying) can barely afford rent, let alone an education for what it costs today. Saving money is also a luxury, because that presupposes you make enough money at any given point to put some away.

Additionally, as someone who is currently working at a fast-food restaurant to help pay for school, the people "who dish out fries" work incredibly hard. Those jobs require making food at impossible speeds while also dealing with often rude and entitled customers. Corporate demands are ridiculous - if you somehow cannot serve a certain amount of cars per hour, people face losing their jobs. And a majority of the people who work at these restaurants are single mothers, elderly men and women, young people without an education, and minorities - all of whom are just trying to make a living for themselves and their families. So while I wasn't expecting a minimum wage of $15, those who have worked there for many years have not received any pay raise. They are strung along with the hope of career advancement in becoming an hourly manager by the corporate bigwigs so they don't leave their job. Any fast-food restaurant wouldn't be able to be run without those people, and you do them a great disservice when you label them as lazy because they deign to serve you french-fries.

And to #9 - Wouldn't you be sad if all of those miserable Women's Studies majors stopped their effortless work for your mother's, sister's, and most likely your own, rights? I am so tired of entitled persons thinking that their job is somehow more useful than someone else's lowly liberal arts degree. The return on investment in any degree should not just be labeled in dollars, but in good citizenship and community participation as well. You seem incredibly unwilling to think critically, so you should be glad someone else is willing to.
I Stand with you! The Corporations need to be Reminded (as well as our Gov) that: We are the legs you stand on! ... with out us... you have Nothing ;) SERVE YOURSELF!
I Do Not support any 'Brand' that does not support it's work force! Using what little $$ left to me as voice.
I Do Not want their GMO laced crap that then forces the people into the Medical Industrial Complex and more $$ sucking.....
We The People need to change these corrupt Systems, one at a time!
Trickle Up Economics ;)An INFORMED PUBLIC is a scary one!
Solidarity of ALL people is necessary ;)
I am an employee, who will remain unamed cause I need my job, who works as a cook at KFC. I have often pulled closing shifts followed immediately by opening shifts, meaning at most I'll get about four hours of sleep those nights. Which is tame compared to a friend of mine at McDonalds who at least once a week pulls an eight hour shift, gets two hours off, then follows it up with another eight hour shift. Most days, despite working an seven to eight hour shift, I am unable to take a break because no one can cover my station while I'm on break and people want their damn chicken.
It's like shooting myself in the foot, for every five minutes I'd be on break I fall ten minutes behind because I'll have to make enough chicken to cover the orders that came through in my absence and the orders coming through normally. I only have so many fryers to cook this stuff in. If I file a complaint my hours get cut, for "Other reasons." Heaven forbid I ever get sick and have miss a day of work, I tried to fake healthy but puking all over my shirt got me sent home. Bam! About $70 down the drain, or as I like to call it, half my food budget for the month.
Also, even if we were balls to the wall busy and I'm the only cook on hand which lately is every time I work, I don't get paid for any work past 10:30p.m. Something I recently discovered after my paycheck didn't add up. Meaning those nights I was stuck there till midnight because I couldn't start breaking down tables and cleaning fryers till close, 9:00p.m., where as I'm supposed to be able to do so two hours prior, where the manager decided to use extra fryers, that are a bitch to clean, I wasn't getting paid.
So I decided to just stop working at 10:30 one night, if they aren't paying me they don't get my time, politely explaining to the manager why, I get wrote up for not having my work done and my hours suddenly become a lot more back to back shifts with less hours over all. Closing is a two hour process when everything goes right, fryers are pieces of shit and act up a lot, I can't make it go faster. None of the three closing cooks can.
My arms are covered in scars from getting burned by the grease everyday and I'm not allowed to wear long sleeves when working, cook rule only, despite the fact it's freezing in the cook station, it's winter and there is a hole somewhere in the back letting in the cold in( also rain sometimes ). I'm anemic so I already freeze easy. The opening cook who's been there for two decades, he's thirty-nine now, back is all fucked up from hunching over the breading tables and lifting heavy stuff all the time.
My point is, having a union or at least some way to prevent worker abuse like this would be a godsend. It's not the pay that bothers me, entry level pay for an entry level job, it's the bullshit that most of us end up putting up with.

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