Why I'm going on strike today: A Greensboro fast-food worker speaks out

Today fast-food workers in 50 cities, including Greensboro, will strike for higher pay and to stand for the right to organize without retaliation. One of those people, a Taco Bell employee in Greensboro, told us about why he is going on strike today.
“We’re grown people with grown bills,” he said. “I can’t have a comfortable life working at $7.75 an hour and barely making 40 hours a week.”
That’s the most he’s made in seven years off and on in fast food, working at McDonald’s, Steak & Shake and now Taco Bell. The Greensboro native, who is in his 30s, worked higher paying jobs and made up to $13 an hour, but after being laid off, fast food was the only industry where he could find work here.
“There’s somebody at my job now who’s been at my job for six years and they only make $7.85,” he said. “Managers probably get less than $10. We’re really all tired and fed up.”
People often look down on fast-food workers, he said, and assume that they don’t work hard. That isn’t true: They spend long days on their feet, sometimes without air conditioning, and they make next to nothing, he said.
The employee, who asked to remain anonymous for fear of being fired for talking to the press and for going on strike, said he doesn’t have sick days and when workers are sick, they have to bring a doctor’s note as evidence. That’s no easy feat without insurance or the money for a doctor’s visit, he said.
Two days ago his paycheck for the last two weeks came through. The total amount: $250.
“Who can survive off that?” he asked. “Everything else I can deal with it’s just the pay is not enough to survive on. I had to postpone my cell phone bill because I can’t even pay that.”
He’s single and lives with roommates, but they’re struggling financially, too. Despite his concerns about losing his job, he said he and his coworkers are too tired and fed up not to act. Inspired by the fast-food strikes he saw in New York City recently, he’s hopeful that today’s strike in Greensboro will be a step towards $15 an hour pay for him and other workers in his industry. And if not, that he can find a job somewhere else.
“If the pay was better, I would have no problem staying,” he said. “I like my job, the people that I’m serving. I know my customers by name. It’s just very, very stressful and we’re tired of not getting paid for the work that we do.”
Some of his coworkers plan to strike with him.  

Taco Bell spokesperson Ashley Sioson directed questions regarding the strike, wages, conditions and sick policy to the National Restaurant Association because "because [the strike] is a matter that impacts the entire restaurant industry." Someone could not be reached before this post. We'll add more coverage, including from today's strike in Greensboro, soon.

Read more about the strike here


Anonymous said...
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Basso Matic said...

Here's why mimimum wage fast food jobs pay what they do: