'Fed up' | Workers at iconic Waffle House chain demand higher pay for 24/7 shifts

Workers at iconic Waffle House chain demand higher pay for 24/7 shifts

Waffle House, a roadside diner chain, is facing a wave of worker protests as employees demand a substantial pay increase to $25 per hour.

In the midst of growing frustration with their wages and working conditions, Waffle House workers have joined the nationwide movement for better compensation and safety.

The Union of Southern Service Workers (USSW), an organization supported by the Service Employees International Union, is at the forefront of this labor movement, championing the cause of the restaurant's employees.

The USSW's petition outlines several demands, including the call for a $25 hourly minimum wage – a significant increase from the current federal minimum wage of $7.25 per hour.

Waffle House, known for its 24/7 operation, is a Southern institution, with over 1,900 locations in 25 states across the South and Midwest.

While the chain has become famous for staying open during extreme weather events, even becoming a metric for measuring storm severity with the "Waffle House Index," employees are now asserting that the price of their dedication and the challenging working conditions is too high to bear.

One of the key issues for Waffle House workers is the automatic meal deduction charges from their paychecks.

This practice, they argue, unfairly eats into their earnings, especially when there is no guarantee that they will even have the opportunity to eat on their shifts.

The workers' demands also extend to improved security, both in terms of customer behavior and safety during natural disasters.

Many Waffle House employees, such as servers, rely heavily on tips to supplement their sub-minimum wages, according to reports from The Guardian.

With the cost of living on the rise, their demand for a $25 per hour wage aims to provide them with a more livable income.
The workers also face numerous safety challenges, particularly during the third shift when customers are often intoxicated, leading to violent incidents that can end up being posted online.

These hazardous working conditions have pushed Waffle House employees to demand 24/7 security and greater input into safety plans during natural disasters.

You are currently previewing this article.

This is the last preview available to you for the next 30 days.

To access more news, features, columns and opinions every day, create a free myGrapevine account.