Fast food workers across the city are striking for higher wages today, and the strike was kicked off at the Ballard Taco Bell on 15th Ave NW at 10:30 p.m. last night. The strike started when Caroline Durocher, 21, walked out in the middle of her shift at the Taco Bell. She joined a crowd of a couple dozen late last night, blocking off the drive-thru at the Taco Bell.
Durocher said she makes $9.19 an hour, Washington State’s minimum wage, which she says just barely allows her to get by each month. “I make $400 a month and my rent is $400. It’s not enough to live on.” She and the others on strike held several signs and a large banner that read, “Raise Seattle” and “Strike Poverty.” They’re part of the group Good Jobs Seattle, a community group aimed at raising wages in the city.
Durocher said they’re rallying for a pay raise to $15 an hour. “On strike, can’t keep us down, Seattle is a workers town,” the crowd chanted until close to 1 a.m. this morning.
Similar strikes have happened across the nation recently, with Seattle being the seventh city in the country to stage a rally for higher pay for fast food workers in the last couple months. The walkout, which will likely last about 24 hours, is spanning several fast food chains such as McDonald’s, Qdoba, Jack in the Box, Arby’s, Burger King and, of course, Taco Bell. Other cities that have staged fast food wages strikes are New York, Chicago, Washington D.C., St. Louis, Detroit and Milwaukee.
Taco Bell shut down for the night shortly after Durocher walked out, due to short-staffing. Not all the workers joined in the strike; Durocher said the fear of being fired kept them inside. “It’s worth it,” Durocher says of the risk she’s taking by striking. “I don’t know when else I’ll have the opportunity to fight for fair wages.”