Protesters picket against Subway labor practices

From 11-1:20pm today, about 25 protesters picketed in front of a Capital Hill Subway in support of a former Subway worker and labor organizer who was fired earlier this month. At the end of the protest, one of the protesters, who is also a current Subway employee, was told by police that if she entered the store she would be arrested for trespassing.

Carlos Hernandez was a speaker and organizer involved in this summer’s strikes by fast food workers, who have demanded a $15 minimum wage and the right to unionize. He was ostensibly fired from the Broadway & Olive Subway on Capital Hill for giving a $0.66 cookie to a child without paying for it. Protesters under the aegis of Good Jobs Seattle, a labor organization, say that he was fired in retaliation for his organizing efforts.

Hernandez was among the protesters, as were his former coworkers Jessica Hendricks and Caroline Durocher. Durocher currently works at Subway, and was told by Officer Aaron Stoltz at the end of the protest that she would be arrested for trespassing if she entered the store. Durocher says that management of the local Subway franchise, owned by Hasan Zeer, made employees sign a contract saying that they would be fired for striking.

Jessica Hendricks, a former Subway worker, says that during her six months at the franchise, she was only allowed one break per shift for long enough to eat a sandwich. She often went for hours without toilet breaks, she says, and regularly worked overtime without overtime-pay.

The on-duty manager refused to talk with this reporter.

Throughout the protest, as many as seven Seattle police officers were present, three of whom guarded the door to the business against non-customers. When Durocher and other employees tried to file a police report for wage theft, officers refused to take them, directing the workers instead to the police station.

Labor law requires regular breaks of specified length, as well as overtime pay. It is illegal to forbid workers from organizing or striking.

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