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Broadway Subway worker who participated in fast food strike wants job back

Hernandez speaks at the August rally at Pillars Park (Image: CHS)

Hernandez speaks at the August rally at Pillars Park (Image: CHS)

A worker who says he was fired from the Broadway Subway shop tells CHS he was singled out and targeted for participating in the recent fast food strike and a push for a $15 minimum wage in Seattle.

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. Good Jobs Seattle and other activist groups rallied this past weekend outside the Broadway Subway in support of Hernandez.

Hernandez says 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 Good Jobs representative tells CHS they are not aware of any other workers targeted for participating in the most recent labor protests to target Seattle’s fast food industry.

CHS attempted to contact Subway and the Broadway shop owner Hasan Zeer about the situation but have not yet heard back. A representative for the national Subway franchise business said our inquiry would be referred to regional offices but did not provide contact information.

Wage protest, originally uploaded by Lookin4TallGuys.

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.

“I told him this is not the reason you are firing me,” Hernandez says of his dismissal.

“I went to strike two times. I don’t like injustice,” he said.

Hernandez says his situation is “a good opportunity to change something” and that he hopes politicians like Mayor Mike McGinn and his challenger Ed Murray will do more than just say they support workers.

For now, Hernandez continues his hope of getting his job back on Broadway or at one of the other Subway shops Zeer operates around Capitol Hill, First Hill and downtown. He also plans to continue supporting Socialist candidate for City Council Kshama Sawant and her fight for a $15 minimum wage in Seattle.

“I will show people that they can definitely speak up,” Hernandez said.

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58 thoughts on “Broadway Subway worker who participated in fast food strike wants job back

  1. Its called actions and consequences buddy. You walk out on your job and protest how bad the pay it, and guess what YOUR FIRED! Freedom works both ways, and yes you have the right to speak up and complain, but the company has the right to say your a hostile worker and be let you go! Good luck finding a new job too, you screwed yourself, atleast around the hill.

      • My sentiments exactly. First grammar, then quit doling out ridiculous assumptions like this guy being black balled from every establishment on the hill.

  2. I sound like an old man by saying this (I’m 30): I worked my ass off 2 jobs for years, put myself through college and now work at a high-tech company. If I can do it, so can you. Stop looking for handouts! If you take a risk of getting fired and get fired, its your fault! If you can’t afford to have babies, don’t make any! Learn how to budget, work hard, and strive to reach your goals.

    • Carlos had 2 jobs and is going to school and helping support his family back home, and fighting to improve conditions for all low-wage workers. If that’s not working hard, don’t know what is.

    • They’re seeking fair wages, not “handouts.” Maybe you should return any handouts brought to you by minimum wage through the years of your hard work.

    • “Put myself through college”? In 2000? I’d really like to know what kind of entry-level part-time jobs you can have to put yourself through college. Did you run a drug cartel?

      Also, I assume you were getting paid below minimum wage because you didn’t want any handouts.

    • God, you sound ignorant. Seriously and sincerely, good for you that you were able to put yourself through college and get a great job. Actually NOT EVERYONE CAN DO THAT. You’ve already stated you are a man, so there’s one leg up right there. Are you a person of color? Are you an immigrant? Were you raised in an abusive home? Do you have a learning disability? Do you have a mental illness? Did you have supportive adults in your life, who were able to guide you through the process of applying for college, and help you purchase a computer, books, etc? Did your parents graduate high school? How about college? What I am trying to say is that while we all have equal value in the world, we don’t all start off on equal footing. And for some people, catching up is actually impossible. Maybe you are totally from the most disadvantaged background in the world and you somehow pulled it off (people DO, but they are the exception, not the rule). If so, seriously, CONGRATS! You worked hard and also you got lucky. Not everyone is lucky as you. Unlucky people still deserve to eat, breathe air, have a roof over their head, and have brief moments of happiness.

      Uhh, and are you seriously saying poor people shouldn’t reproduce? Yikes!

      P.S. It’s not a handout if you WORK FOR IT. This is not a debate about disability benefits, this is about minimum wage. EARNED WAGE.

      P.P.S. Just as you pulled yourself out of (relative) poverty, you could easily end up back there, so maybe try to learn a little compassion. I imagine you wouldn’t be so against “handouts” if you found yourself permanently disabled (hah, that’s not a threat!). And let me tell you, I work in a hospital and see formerly cocky jerks like you in dire straights every damn day.

      • I put myself through community college. I saved up enough money to pay for 2 years tuition. I am a person of color. I do come from an immigrant family. NO, my parents were not well off and were not colllege grads. As a matter of fact, we struggled financially and were almost homeless when I was in Middle – High school. With that put into perspective, maybe I learned from my parents that looking for handouts was essentially giving up. SO – if you think I’ve had an upper hand with anything, I didn’t. I payed for my tuition, books, rent, food, clothes, transportation with the hard earned money I saved up, working 2 min wage jobs, without “dealing drugs”.

        I’m saying if you can’t afford to have kids, why put your family though that and dig a deeper hole? You and I know very well what I’m talking about. Have you seen those people who have 5, 6 kids and wonder why they can’t seem to get ahead? Kids cost money…a lot of money. They are a gift, yes, but a very expensive investment of 18+ years.

        I never mentioned anything about people with disabilities.

  3. Kinda seems like his boss caught him giving away a cookie. I know he says he’s done it before, but maybe this is the first time he was seen. This seems small, but it wouldn’t surprise me if that was the real reason. Might explain why he was supposedly the only one fired for participating in the strike.

  4. I just cannot comprehend why fast food and workers should feel so entitled that they should be making $15 an hour in this economy.

    The job market as it is in the city is competitive enough, now throw in the extra incentive of higher regional pay? That is absurd.

    Jobs are not made equal. I commute my ass off outside of Seattle so I can afford living to live in this great city!

    Being able to pay living wage and living in Seattle is a privileged not a right!

    • So the people who work in Seattle at minimum wage jobs – where should they live? Their choice is to live in the city or the suburbs – and if they live in the suburbs (which aren’t necessarily cheap either), they have to bear the cost of getting into the city so that they can serve you your $5.00 footlong.

      I’m not saying absolutely that the minimum wage should be $15.00 but I believe the the minimum wage should be adjusted to a certain extent to account for cost of living. Otherwise, who is going to work these jobs and make ends meet?

      • So, everyone supporting the $15/hr min wage– are you ok with your $5 footlong going up to $7? Or is the business owner just supposed to absorb all the increased labor costs? Wages are already driven by competition in the labor mkt. Yes, it’s brutal if you’re unskilled, but that’s the way it is. That’s what drives people to acquire *marketable* skills. Most other workers (office workers, techies, etc) don’t get any wage protections either.

      • And what if you can’t acquire these skills, Jim? What if you actually lack the capability? Should you just go live in a ditch? Why can’t we make room in society for people who are perfectly willing to work and provide NECESSARY services but maybe are not ever going to be able to to be high earners?

        And yes, I am fine with my $5.00 footlong going up to $7.00 if it means that workers will have a better, fairer life. Uuuhh, and if the minimum wage was raised, a lot of people that might struggle to afford that footlong will probably find it a lot more accessible.

      • Once again, Jim has spoken the truth. You might be willing to spend $7 on a footlong, Rachel, but many people would not, and the employer would lose a lot of business. I know it’s “hip” to be anti-business these days, but please look at this from the employer’s point of view.

        A $15/hr wage for unskilled work is just not reasonable. Our state already has the highest minimum wage in the nation.

      • A. I didn’t say it should necessarily be $15.00, but I think that some adjustments should be given depending on location. In other words, the same minimum wage in Seattle and say, Yakima, doesn’t make sense to me.
        B. Where do you think these people should live?
        C. Not everybody has the wherewithal to just climb the ladder, and some people will be stuck in low-wage jobs indefinitely. Should they not be able to make ends meet?

      • Does my right to cheap restaurant food supercede restaurant workers right to a living wage? I don’t think so. If a restaurant can’t find a business plan that supports a living wage then they shouldn’t be allowed to do business. And if I can’t afford to eat restaurant food made by people making a living wage then I should go to the grocery store and cook for myself. Period. Otherwise I am participating in essentially slave labor. It’s pretty much common sense.

      • Subway employers are now slave traders? Oh ok. How about you just don’t participate in such an abhorrent system then and leave the rest of us out of it?

      • I could not agree more Jim98122x. This is basic economics. If Minimum Wage is $15.00 per hour than who pays for that increase in labor cost….customers. So when a sub is $7 and Milk is $5 per gallon and everything else increases to pay for the minimum wage, guess what the problem will be….minimum wage needs to be $17, $18, $20 per hour. It never ends. Minimum wage jobs are a “stepping stone” to higher paying jobs for those that have the ability and drive to do better. The American Dream is EARNED not GIVEN!

    • Whether you agree with their bid or not, they have every right to strike for it without fear of losing their jobs. They are entitled to this. They’re entitled to unionize, and they’re entitled to bargain collectively. Assuming it goes the distance, the final wage won’t likely be 15. But Subway is going to have to start giving decent pay to the people who carry the company, and firing people like Carlos won’t let them avoid this.

  5. These workers should be asking for $30/hour. You cant survive in this town on anything less. Especially witha family. And then we could get rid of this ridiculous tipping system/culture.

  6. Going on strike is federally protected. The only way we can make things better is to struggle. Rock on Carlos! Keep fighting the good fight!

  7. A Subway cookie contains approximately $0.00 worth of ingredients (give or take a penny or so). If the owner had any business sense, he’d encourage giving them out as a goodwill gesture at every reasonable opportunity. I for one won’t be going there any time soon (and I eat a lot of takeout).

  8. Oh give me a break. It’s unskilled labor. He can easily get another unskilled job at one of the hundreds of restaurants and fast food joints in town. The only people buying the propaganda are the propagandists themselves.

    • I have 20+ years experience in the telecom industry. Two years ago an employment agency called me with a (non-entry level) job at T-Mobile where they wanted to pay $15/hr. Yes, the same $15/hr. Of course, I told her she should tell T-Mobile to go f**k themselves. Should there be some gvt-required minimum wage for that job, too? Or does the market sort it out? (like I did, by telling them to go f**k themselves).

    • Or not.. I am not trying to loose my job. Not all store managers/ owners act that way. Its all about the customer relations, and if that means giving out a .13 cent cookie (the cost to the company) to a kid. I personally like my job, Yes its not always the best, but aye, its what helps me live. Its been my first job and only one. (2 years) Dont boycott the company. there are many other stores/ locations to go to. With great workers and a friendly environment.

    • Yes, I agree. There’s a lot of “I got mine” attitude in some of these comments. It makes me think that I stumbled onto the Seattle Times comment board by mistake.

      • Keep in mind it’s the assholes that are most vocal on these comment sections. The vast majority of people I’ve met on the hill are decent human beings.

      • I disagree with this. It seems to me that income inequality overall raises the cost of living and makes people working at minimum wage unable to afford to live here. Do you really think that any increase in the minimum wage over the past 10 years has been responsible for the extreme inflation of rents in this city? No, of course not. Its the big money slushing around in the current tech bubble; the expansion of Amazon and its army of software developers that make $150k+ per year; and then its ultimately everybody that is trying to chase after that money.

        I lived in Germany for three years and they have a very healthy middle class. The minimum wage workers have sufficient salaries and benefits to live on and there is not such a huge discrepancy in individual wealth. Those that are capable of earning more money are taxed at a higher rate in order to pay for things in society that increase standard of living for **everybody** via education, health insurance, public transit (so people can get to work reliably), social services and subsequently increased security due to lack of extreme poverty. Not only that, but living in Germany is now cheaper than living in many parts of the US (especially Seattle). Its completely absurd how we treat disadvantaged people in this country.

  9. I just had a thought. Some of the same people who support the minimum wage fight want all fast food chains to get off the hill…hmmm…double edged sword?

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  15. I would love to see all the people who complain about people needing handouts etc actually go without all the people who do service positions for them in minimum wage jobs. Maybe after you go without all those services for a week, nay even a day, you’d come to appreciate those folks a bit more and want what’s good for them as well. They’re not asking for 6 figures, they’re asking for $15 an hour. I shudder to think how I’d make it on even that amount of money, much less what they have to get by on now.

    And yes, I’d gladly pay $7 an hour for a footlong sub if it meant these folks got a living wage in return.

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  17. Anyone on this site who is advocating a victim mentality and fairness obviously has low self esteem, ignorant or just plain lazy. I started working in fast food making $3.16 an hour. I learned work ethics and character. I knew I did not want to do that type of work for the rest of my life so I also worked several jobs to get through college. If a human being has tunnel vision or lack of ambition and chooses to live a basic life, chooses not to work to advance themselves, than they have that right. They also will reap what they sew; that being minimum wage. I have made a six figure salary for several years but it took me 20 years of hard work, perseverance, and a lot of set backs and obstacles. I was in between jobs a couple of years ago and 2 days after was laid off, I was standing outside in the cold valet parking cars in my late 30s making $7 an hour and got a second job during the day in retail so I could help take care of my family. Everything in life is 10% circumstances and 90% attitude towards your circumstances. Those with a victim mentality will always fail and those with a “can do” attitude will succeed even after they fail many times. So, to sum it up, stop crying like little babies. I would fire every damn one of those losers that walked off the job. Oh, and if your going to comment on spelling, grammar or punctuation, this is for you in advance: “It’s a blog post not a theses moron.”