Taco Bell workers at a Kansas City restaurant walked off work Thursday to protest conditions at the store
Shift manager Fran Marion, who has worked at 8215 Wornall for a year, says the group chose to strike just before Labor Day to draw attention to abusive customers, understaffing, lack of time off sick pay, disrespectful management and low wages.
“A job shouldn’t be so hard to find and clock in and try to earn a paycheck, not even a living wage,” she said.
Four workers walked out of the restaurant at 12:30 p.m., amid the lunch rush, to a cheering crowd from the workers’ rights organization Standing KC. They taped a sign on the door: “Closed for STRIKE”!
During the 30-minute protest, supporters in the restaurant parking lot had to turn back vehicles trying to enter.
Marion said the tipping point for her and other employees was an incident two weeks ago when equipment malfunctioned and flooded the restaurant floor.
“There was literally standing water all over the store,” she said.
Marion and other employees attempted to close the doors to customers for security reasons. She said she was later accused of insubordination by her general manager for closing the store without asking first.
KCUR attempted to reach DRG, the company that owns this Taco Bell franchise, for comment, but they did not respond before press time.
Terrence Wise, another store foreman and Stand Up KC member, was off Thursday but attended the rally.
“We wanted something that had nothing to do with money or union rights,” Wise said. “We want respect and that’s what we dealt with at this Taco Bell: a lot of disrespect.”
Wise said workers were put down by management and customers and received racist comments.
Wise, who has worked in fast food for nearly 20 years, said these conditions are not unique to this store, but rather are endemic to the industry.
“These are things we don’t need legislation on,” he said. “We want 15 (dollars an hour). We want a union. But above all, we wanted to be treated as human beings and we want to be respected at work.
Wise also said the rally also urged Missouri Governor Mike Parson to support legislation similar to that passed in the California Assembly on Monday, raising the minimum wage to $22 an hour by 2024.
The minimum wage in Missouri currently stands at $11.15.
Parson has asked lawmakers pass a $15 minimum wage for state workers, but not private employees. His request was blocked at the General Assembly earlier this year.
Thursday’s protest follows the wake of Starbucks workers vote to unionize at several locations in the region. Taco Bell employees said they were considering a similar idea.
Last year, McDonald’s employees in Kansas City and across the country organized a one-day strike demand higher salaries in franchised restaurants.
Wise also said the rally also urged Missouri Governor Mike Parson to support legislation similar to that passed in the California State Assembly on Monday, raising the minimum wage to $22 an hour. ‘by 2024. Wise hopes California Governor Gavin Newsom will sign the bill. .