A recent strike in Seattle by a group of fast food is going to make it very hard to get your food quickly. The Nation reports that fast food workers throughout Seattle went on a twenty-four hour strike earlier this week, marking the seventh fast food work stoppage in the last two months over issues with compensation and unionization. The twenty four hour walkout included employees from the following popular Seattle fast food chains: Subway, McDonald’s. Burger King, Taco Bell, Chipotle, Qdoba and Jack in the Box.
The Nation quotes Taco Bell employee Caroline Durocher on the concerns of her fellow coworkers, “I’m sick of seeing my co-workers and me essentially get pushed and pushed and barely be able to eat. And I think it’s time that we pushed them back. A lot of times we’ll work ’til 4 or 5 in the morning trying to get things done for the corporate people to make money, and we don’t see any of that money. It’s so empowering and it reminds me that it’s not just Seattle—it’s the whole country that needs to change.”
This 24- hour walkout is catching on, in addition to Seattle, workers have walked out for a day in New York, Chicago, Milwaukee, St. Louis and Detroit. The goal of the walkouts is multi-purposed: raise hourly rates to $15 and grant workers the right to form a union without intimidation. The legal reality here is that these fast food companies do not necessarily have to agree to either of the demands but they could face longer and larger strikes if workers do not see the changes they want to see.
In 2013, Seattle’s minimum wage went up to $9.19. Although this figure is much higher than other cities and states, it still falls short of the $15 per hour Seattle fast food workers are seeking to be compensated. More money is always nice but one thing that these workers should also be ensuring is that they are receiving the proper amount of overtime as well. A common issue for Seattle wage and hour employees have to do with violations of overtime laws.
The recent Seattle fast food walkouts also reveal an important lesson for employers across the state of Washington: communication is key. In most scenarios, employees do not just walk out of work before at least attempting to communicate their concerns to management. Walkouts and strikes can be effective ways to get the demands an employee is seeking but it is also incredibly disruptive to business.
If you are a Washington employer concerned about how to manage the demands of your employees with the demands of your business, you should get in touch with a Washington employment lawyer to learn how to best handle these scenarios and limit unhappy employees and workplace disruptions.
For those of you hoping to get your food fast in Seattle, good luck!