Broadway Subway worker plans lawsuit over firing

(Image: CHS)

Hernandez (Image: CHS)

Good Jobs Seattle, a workers rights group targeting the fast food industry in the city, says a lawsuit is being filed on behalf of fired Broadway Subway worker Carlos Hernandez.

CHS reported on the sandwich shop employee’s dismissal following his participation in a strike and rally to demand higher wages and better treatment.

Hernandez told CHS he would like his job back. “I want to go back there,” Hernandez said. “I want to show [other workers] that they will not be retaliated against.”

A search of federal suits in Western Washington’s U.S. District Court did not reveal that a suit has yet been filed. A media conference to announce the lawsuit was slated to be held Tuesday morning at Seattle’s federal court house downtown. God Jobs said City Council members Nick Licata and Richard Conlin would be attendance. The Kshama Sawant campaign, which has made a $15 minimum wage part of its platform, also announced its candidate would attend and said that Hernandez has endorsed the Sawant candidacy for the Council.

Hernandez told CHS that he was fired following the rally and strike for giving a child a free cookie at the Subway shop on Broadway near John. The franchise owner of the shop has not responded to our messages and Subway’s corporate offices referred us to regional offices that did not return our calls.

At the time of the Hernandez firing, Good Jobs said they were not aware of any other workers targeted for participating in the most recent labor protests to target Seattle’s fast food industry.

UPDATE: A protest outside the Broadway Subway shop drew around 30 supporters this afternoon and brought a small SPD response to make sure customers could continue to access the business. Protestors, carrying signs in support of Hernandez and a $15 BU86gUzCcAAst9pminimum wage, vowed to return to the Subway tomorrow as well as other subways in the city.

Broadway Subway employee Caroline Durocher, 22, was among the protestors. Following the demonstration Durocher was cited for trespassing — during the picket she had entered the restaurant to tell a customer about the protest. CHS tried to talk to the Subway manager inside, but was told to stay out.

“I still work there, what if I have to pick-up a paycheck?” Durocher said.

Hernandez addressed the some 30 protestors, thanking them for supporting his fight to return to work at Subway.

“There are a lot of people working in fast food that are getting fired and don’t have this support,” he said. “You guys are showing people are not alone.'”

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16 thoughts on “Broadway Subway worker plans lawsuit over firing

  1. I’m not sure what kind of case he would have for a lawsuit. While workers do have the right to strike, employers also have the right to fire employees who don’t show up for work, even if it is for a strike. Ask the air traffic controllers from the Reagan era. Striking workers are not protected in any way from being terminated. So is there really going to be a lawsuit or is this just rhetoric?

    • The only thing I could figure was that maybe he had the day off, or used sick time and still got fired just for participating.

      Humm, looks like in an earlier story they said “Carlos Hernandez, featured in our coverage of the August 29th rally and march starting at Pillars Park, tells CHS he was fired for giving a customer “free product” — in this case, a free cookie given to a kid — at the Broadway shop.” and “Hernandez said he has given kids free cookies in the past, always paying for it out of tips but neglected to do so in the incident following the August 29th rally because the shop was busy at the time.”

      Stealing from the company is a very valid reason to be fired. I would like to see how they intend to prove otherwise.

      • Me too. Though I should note I am totally sympathetic with efforts to organize service industry workers. However, organizing does come with sacrifice and hard work. Sometimes when you walk off your job, you get fired.

  2. Wrong, it is expressly illegal to fire a worker in retaliation for going on strike with fellow workers. But an employer can always find something minor to supposedly fire you for, like giving away a cookie. If Carlos hadn’t participated in the strikes would the manager have simply asked him to pay for it? It seems pretty obvious that this isn’t about the cookie. Rock on Carlos, fight for your rights and the rights of your fellow workers!

    • it’s illegal to fire a worker for attempting to organize in the fashion of a union. These folks weren’t doing that.

      This fellow screwed up and he’s out of a job. His employer did NOTHING wrong. The man gave away product. That’s grounds for termination, period.

  3. The specific underlying issues here stem from the general systemic clusterfuck of capitalism.

    We live in a nation-state where the end result of the democratic process is the triumph of big banks, transnational corporations, & the national security regime over not only businesses & markets but also the political process & the governmental institutions of the republic. We live in a so-called democratic republic.

    Our republic has increasingly & rapidly become less & less democratic. New forms of authoritarianism are emerging as the fascist impulse continues to morph & adapt. Other than the limited constrains of unions, we have never had democracy in our business arena, however, instead for all practical purposes one leaves behind liberty & freedom when they walk across a line from the public sector into the private sector. There is little or no U.S. Constitution in the private sector. It’s the elephant in the bathroom ignored in all the factory school textbooks.

    Business owners somehow have got the idea they can do whatever the fuck they want to do. They may work hard themselves with many customers, clients, & vendors to serve, & that is not the point. The capitalist system has turned the concept of business into a parasite-infected democracy as corporate controllers behave as entitled aristocrats ruling neo-medieval fiefdoms. While a fair number may express desires to serve, the majority are clearly in it to generate wealth & at whatever cost they can get away with.

    Ain’t it ironic the ones blathering the most about how the poor & the unemployed & the disabled & the traumatized are parasites living on the public doll when those complaining are the well off, indeed the rich subsidized by the very corrupt systems they put into power. Yes, we need to reclaim government for democracy as we the people must take it back for ourselves. And we must establish democracy in the workplace. Abolish corporations as they exist today. Not just strip them of their human rights per Citizens United, but strip them of the ability to deny & refuse responsibility. Corps were created for business owners to avoid liability for the consequences of their errors & to facilitate the aggregation of capital assets which are used in turn to influence political power in all 3 branches and eventually to control without owning. Period.

    Corporate entities leverage Other Peoples’ Money to enslave Other People. Time to unleash so many crows with talons they’ll shred every hand holding a shotgun and more.

    People need to remember 1968 was not only trippy love children sticking flowers into the muzzles of loaded guns, itself revolutionary poetry, but also when many rose in fierce rebellion. We’re just better organized now, & even more fed up.

    • I was really trying not to write anything about the original incident because I could spend quite a few hours writting how the people protesting were just getting used by the unions that organised it, and actually give some history where they did this before in other industries and the outcomes (hint – the original workers were replaced by the union workers and prices went up). However, you have just written a huge amount of half truths and misrepresentation. You are so lucky that I have to start watching a movie and drinking.

    • Your comment really isn’t anything to do with this incident and it’s directed at the wrong demographic.

      Subway franchise owners do not put government into place. They are mom and pop stores. Most businesses in the US have 10 or fewer employees, small revenue and even smaller profit margins.

      If this comment was about Lehman brothers or Fannie May or Enron, I think you’d be speaking to the right audience.

      But you’re talking to a mom and pop owner with a sliver of profit – no they probably cannot afford $15/hr. Many of these owners actually work at the same sandwich shop they own. Only after you own 3 or more franchises do they start making money.

      If I was busting my ass owning a subway with tiny profits and an employee gave away products I would fire him too.

  4. This guy is fouling his chances of being employed anywhere with these shenanigans. Hard to feel sorry for him as it’s not the first time he was fired for “sticking it to the man.”

  5. It is not as if the most of the franchisers (managers/owners) in this case are making it big either. While Subway is popular, each of the stores are individually owned. They are required to buy all their ingredients through corporate and thus the profit margins are fairly slim. It’s like we’re kicking it to the guy just one rung ahead of us and not to those who are really in power. Let’s just fight amongst ourselves of the 99% without really changing anything and then let’s just stand in line for the next tech bling that comes along.

    • This argument holds no water. If franchise owners couldn’t afford to pay $15/hr with the current rates paid to the corporate mother companies, those profit rates would simply have to be lowered for the corporations. Their alternate option would be for their franchises to go out of business and thus see their profit margin fall precipitously.

  6. Oh, just great. That’s the Subway I go to sometimes. That’s the closest one! Where am I going to go if I want a big bland sandwich on a doughy bun? Because no way can I go in there again.

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