Waffle House employees are taking a stand for their workers’ rights. Those employed at locations all across the Southeast are fighting for increased security, optional meal deductions, and a pay raise to $25 an hour.
In their quest to have their demands met, employees have held rallies, back by the Union of Southern Service Workers, to spread awareness of what they require in order to continue working for the beloved breakfast chain. WSB-TV reported how organizers are speaking out on why they deserve more pay for the work and expertise that goes into serving at the restaurant.
“I am what they call a grill operator,” shared seasoned employee Gerald Green.” I am a cook. I am a rockstar cook. I have been at Waffle House for about seven years. I am the highest-level cook outside management.”
Green revealed that he makes $17.75 an hour, a wage that forces him and many others in a similar predicament to seek additional jobs in order to pay the bills.
Getting Waffle House executives to comply with the workers’ demands has been an ongoing campaign, as South Carolina employees began to strike in June 2023 for increased security and the elimination of mandatory meal deductions for each shift.
The restaurants have also gained notoriety for the uptick in violent incidents that put workers’ lives on the front lines. According to the Atlanta Journal-Constitution, one of these ordeals resulted in the death of a 19-year-old employee back in August.
“A lot of workers are hurt by customers,” detailed Green. “A lot of workers are mistreated by customers. People say it is funny seeing people in fights all the time — like, we are not really MMA fighters like people online say we are.”
Waffle House jeopardizes the safety of its workers in severe weather as well, as it is known for remaining open through most conditions, including hurricanes, while other restaurants close down.
However, a spokesperson for the food business released a statement delegitimizing the recently held events.
“We are aware of the activities that took place yesterday at three of our locations in Georgia, South Carolina, and North Carolina, in which nearly all the people who protested were not Waffle House Associates. Very few, if any were employees, contrary to the embellished descriptions that union officials have presented in their press release and accompanying photos sent to the media. With that said, Waffle House remains proud of its long history of effectively and directly addressing Associate concerns. Our senior management teams continue to work alongside our Associates as they have done since our company’s inception.”
Despite the attempts to minimize their efforts, Green and fellow employees continue to fight for better wages and working conditions.
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