TOPEKA, KS — Fast food standstill. Nearly a dozen Topeka Fast Food employees left a local restaurant today. It is part of a National Day of Action.
Kansas First News Reporter, Nicolette Schleisman was there, she tells us why the employees walked off for more money.
“Organizing is our right. Strike Strike Strike,” chanted several Pizza Hut employees.
About 10 employees walked out of the Pizza Hut Thursday morning, of the 15 that work at the restaurant.
“I’m here standing up for the rest of my co-workers. And I wouldn’t miss it for the world,” said Dan Seese.
The Topeka employees joined fast food workers across the nation, for the 8-29 strike. Calling for $15 an hour, and the right to a union.
It is the largest ever strike to hit the $200 billion fast food industry.
“what we’re witnessing across the country is the tip of the spear. and in meeting with these workers, the conversation drove to ‘we know folks at this restaurant, we know folks at that restaurant.’ so I think this is the first day of organizing in the city of Topeka,” said City of Topeka Council Member, Chad Manspeaker.
Joseph Cordero delivers pizza, he makes $7.25 an hour. With tips, he makes maximum $9 an hour.
He is also supporting himself through college.
“We need job securities and benefits. And some of us have families and we need all of those benefits to sustain life,” said Cordero.
The National Restaurant Association has released this statement as a response to these strikes.
“The restaurant industry provides opportunity to over 13 million Americans with jobs. [...] The fact is only 5 percent of restaurant employees earn minimum wage and those that do are predominantly working part time, and half of those are teenagers.”
The Topeka strikers say they know they will not get what they want right away. But they are not ready to give up just yet.
“It might not be this time, it might not be next time but we’re going to be out here every couple of months to get what we want,” said Cordero.
The Topeka employees who participated Thursday expect to be back at work Friday. Thursday’s nation-wide strike spanned 50 cities in every region of the continental United States. Workers at McDonalds, Wendy’s, and Burger King were also a part of the strikes across the nation.