Workers at this SC Waffle House are on strike. Here’s which one and why

Workers at a Columbia Waffle House are set to begin striking today to demand better security and pay.

According to a press release from the Union of Southern Service Workers, the strike is set to begin at 10 a.m. on Saturday outside the Waffle House on Garners Ferry Road. The strike comes a week after workers there publicly delivered a petition of their demands to Waffle House management, which can be viewed in a TikTok video below.

@raiseupthesouth TODAY: @Waffle House workers in Columbia, SC delivered a demand letter to management. We’re demanding: • Security available to protect workers during ALL shifts • Fair and consistent scheduling • End mandatory meal deductions from our wages We won’t back down until all of our demands have been met. #OrganizetheSouth #UnionsforAll #WaffleHouse #workerpower #unionstrong #CorporateGreed #serviceworker #Columbia #SouthCarolina #schouse ♬ original sound - Union Southern Service Workers

The petition asked that Waffle House answer within a week. The company did not acknowledge or respond to the workers, the press release states.

“Waffle House is proud of its long record of effectively addressing any concerns our Associates report to us. We intend to do that directly with our Associates,” Njeri Boss, vice president of public relations for Waffle House, wrote in an emailed statement to the State on Friday.

Improved safety is at the top of the workers’ demands. The Columbia Waffle House employs security guards from 2 a.m. to 5 p.m. on weekends, which workers say is insufficient, the press release states.

“We are demanding Waffle House have security during all shifts,” Naomi Harris, a Waffle House server and active member of the Union of Southern Service Workers, said in the press release. “Last month I had an angry customer go get his gun out of his truck because he wanted hash browns instead of grits. Almost every day there’s a new incident that shows why Waffle House needs to pay for security on every shift.”

The workers have also demanded fairer pay. Besides a base pay raise for servers, the strikers want an end to the company’s mandatory meal deductions. Waffle House has a policy of taking money out of workers’ paychecks for meals, whether they eat food at their restaurant or not, the press release states.

Other demands by the workers include:

  • An end to understaffing to improve customers’ safety, effectively run the restaurant and so workers can take breaks.

  • Fix broken equipment in the restaurant.

  • Treat workers with respect and dignity.