Waffle House Workers On Strike In South Carolina Over Security Issues

Waffle House Workers On Strike In South Carolina Over Security Issues

In the morning of July 8, workers at a Waffle House in Columbia, South Carolina walked out of the popular breakfast stop and picked up signs to protest their working conditions. The strike is set to last for three days, as employees protest a variety of issues regarding their safety and wages they feel management undermines.

The walkout is supported by the locally-founded Union of Southern Service Workers, created to uplift low wage workers across the food and service industries. They are urging for more frequent on-sight security, regulated scheduling, and the suspension of mandatory check deductions for meals eaten, or not eaten, during shifts.

Longstanding employee Marshawna Parker, who has worked for Waffle House for over two decades, told The State there’s “no excuse” for the lack of proper security to ensure safety for workers. While a security guard is present on weekend nights, Parker believes the constant shootings on the premises require security 24/7, the same as the casual food chain’s operating hours.

In regards to the meal deductions, Waffle House takes out a fee, ranging from $3 to $6, for every shift meal, whether or not the employees utilize the food option. The mandatory deductions are not fair to the workers, stating that they would like the meal deductions to be opt-in only.

The issues of pay deductions and safety are not solely the Columbia locations’ problem, as other Waffle Houses across South Carolina have been exposed to violent incidents, such as shootings, as well.

Waffle Houses across the nation have been marred by fights and shootouts, as even detailed in The New York Times, but the Columbia-based employees are taking a stand against the gaps in security that encourage it.

However, before the strike commenced, the employees did voice their concerns in a petition sent to upper-management on July 1. However, when they were met with silence, further action through direct protest had to be set.

Fortunately for those on the strike, they are being supported by fellow workers impacted in their own industry and other restaurants, as all are part of the union to enact change for better wages and safer work environments.