Strikers: ‘They Should Be Treating Us Like Equals’

Fast food workers took to the streets of Capitol Hill Thursday afternoon, in the continuing nationwide protests for higher wages and better treatment at the hands of their big fast food overlords.

With welcoming chants like “walk out/we got your back!,” demonstrators organized themselves outside the Broadway Qdoba, later Subway then Chipotle, hoping to inspire more workers to join their strike.

Although not many workers could be enticed during today’s demonstrations (not for lack of chanting, much to the discomfort of anyone who made lunchtime plans at one of the big, Broadway fast food joints), these protests are already responsible for closing down six stores around Seattle, according to organizers.

Digna Espinal, a Subway employee of three years, said she showed up for work at 7 a.m. and walked out ten minutes later when she learned about the rally. Why’d she do it?

“For justice,” says Espinal. “They should be treating us like equals. I wanted to be here; I want them to hear all the voices together and start recognizing good employees.”

Numbers fluctuated, but there were roughly 60 people carrying signs and flags to support the cause, although organizers estimated they were at one point closer to 100. The march drew many supportive honks from passers by, the pledged support from UFCW 21, a local union, and Occupy organizers.

“Occupy gave us a good narrative, and we continue to grow from that,” says Jeff Johnson, president of the Washington State Labor Council, who hoped for more accountability from the multi-billion dollar food industry. “No one should have to work below a liveable wage, and everyone should have a voice in the workplace. When they stand up today they’re standing up for all labor workers.”

It didn’t appear that the any of the three protest spots closed their doors this afternoon, but there’s another rally at Denny Park at 4:30 that promises bigger numbers, and Mayor McGinn himself tweeted support to the protesters. This isn’t the end of the our beloved food laborers’ quest for higher pay.

 
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