Workers at a Taco Bell in Missouri went on strike Thursday. They posted a note saying they need a living wage, respect, safer working conditions and a union.
According to a NPR affiliate, the group chose to strike just before Labor Day to call attention to abusive customers, short staffing, lack of paid sick days, disrespectful management and low wages.
Fran Marion, a shift leader who has worked in the fast food industry for over 20 years, told KCUR, “A job shouldn’t be this difficult to come to and clock in and try to make a wage, not even a living wage.”
Marion told the news outlet, the tipping point for the staff was an incident two weeks ago where equipment malfunctioned and flooded the floor of the restaurant. After the employees tried to close the doors to customers for safety reasons, Marion alleges she was written up for insubordination by her general manager for closing the store without asking first.
Now, a video from the 30-minute strike is circulating online. Workers and supporters chanted “Come on out, we got your back,” while workers exited the store in the middle of the lunch rush. Each face smiled as they emerged out the doors from the encouragement. One employee, Fran Marion was especially hype.
In a statement to ESSENCE, Taco Bell spokesperson says, “The safety and well-being of team members is our top priority at Taco Bell. The franchise owner and operator of this location is currently looking into and working to address any team member concerns.”
Within recent years, many businesses across industries throughout the country have seen an uptick of employees fighting for better wages and work conditions. Amazon, Starbucks, and Trader Joe’s are among the top corporations with labor issues.
Experts cite the strain of the Covid-19 pandemic as the biggest factor behind the union boom. Between October 2021 and March of this year, union representation petitions filed at the National Labor Relations Board increased 57 percent.
A Gallup poll conducted last September showed 68 percent of Americans approve of labor unions—the highest rate since 71 percent in 1965.
The Missouri Taco Bell strike also urged Missouri Gov. Mike Parson to support legislation similar to a bill that passed earlier this week in California. The Golden state is raising the minimum wage to $22 an hour by 2024. Currently, minimum wage in Missouri stands at $11.15.