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Worker in Lincoln Burger King mass walkout is glad she walked – Omaha, Nebraska

Omaha, Nebraska 2021-12-06 11:30:40 –

Lincoln, Nebraska (Flatwater Free Press) — In mid-July, an Indian television station told a day when an air conditioner broke down at a fast-food restaurant 8,000 miles away.

Within Burger King, Lincoln, Nebraska, temperatures had risen to 32 degrees Celsius (90 degrees Fahrenheit). According to New Delhi News 18, the manager was dehydrated in the hospital.

The day before hospital staff connected her to IV, the top boss called manager Rachel Flores a baby when she couldn’t attend the meeting, the story said.

Baby? Her employees thought she was a hero.

And when the disgusted Flores notified two weeks ago, all the morning crew, including roommate Kylie Johnson, were lined up to do the same.

The Havelock BK crew then broadcast their departure at the fast-food restaurant Marquee to their bosses, customers, and ultimately the world.

We all quit. sorry for the inconvenience.

It was a sign of the times. The first message of what will become known as mass layoffs.

“It was absolutely insane. We weren’t ready for it to explode. Johnson said nearly five months later.

After Flores posted a photo of the sign on Facebook, a public escape at Wapper’s house in the middle of a pandemic in the middle of the country ignited.

CNN and Newsweek. Breitbart and the Daily Mail. Toronto Sun and Teller Report. Huffington Post and Hindustani Times.

Johnson has stopped counting the number of interview requests displayed in social media feeds and LinkedIn profiles. She stopped the interview when she reached double digits.

By that time, readers across the country had gathered around the embarrassed manager and her employees because of their decision to leave. They gave Johnson and Flores their own autographs. I shared my complaints with moody customers and insensitive bosses.

One publication states it: “Fast food proletariat workers have abandoned their Burger King.”

Johnson agreed and told reporters:

Johnson is 24 years old. She speaks slightly and calmly. She has big hair and a disarmament smile. She has been working in the service industry since she was 16 years old. A seven-month mission at Hy-Vee, Jimmy Johns, Scooters, Wal-Mart, Ruby Tuesday, and Burger King helped his friend Flores in the midst of Covid’s deadly winter.

It was a pit stop in her customer service career. A way to bring the Burger King crew leaving with Johnson to a better place, a better boss, and a better salary.

They are not alone.

Escape prior to a pandemic

Dissatisfied Lincoln Burger King employees proved to be at the forefront of the tsunami rushing into the American labor market. A record 4.3 million American workers quit their jobs in August. In September, another record: 4.4 million. From April? With about 20 million people, it’s about the same as Florida’s population.

Some people retired early, got caught up in a pandemic, and hesitated to return to work after a few months at home. Some have reinvented themselves and started their own business.

Yet others have begun a round of musical chairs games in the job market.

Eric Thompson, Director of Business Studies at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln, said: “Or they see other people who have done it, so they are thinking about it.”

ERIC GREGORY / FLATWATER FREE PRESS

Lincoln, Nebraska. -November 29, 2021-The Burger King sign on North 60th Avenue and Haveleoc Avenue has a message calling for help on Monday, November 29, 2021.

Jim Begley, director of the William Brennan Institute for Labor at the University of Nebraska Omaha, said that for many of these 20 million people, making changes is in their favor.

please think about it. According to the Federal Bureau of Labor Statistics, workers who have changed jobs have seen a 5.4% increase in wages over the past 18 months. That wage increase is significantly better than the 3.5% increase in left-behind workers.

He said the phenomenon that happened at Lincoln Burger King and at the recent strikes at John Deere and Kellogg had a background that preceded the pandemic.

Workers’ wages and profits, especially in low-income jobs, have stagnated in recent decades, Begley said.

“Workers finally get up and say,’We’re not going to tolerate these conditions.'”

And they have leverage. In September, there were 10.4 million jobs nationwide, with only 6.5 million jobs.

The question arises, “Is it a labor shortage or a wage shortage?” Begley said. “All these anecdotes tell me that it’s a wage shortage.”

Or perhaps both bits, UNL Economist Thompson believes.

According to the US Department of Labor, labor force participation has declined by about 2% nationwide this year.

And the current escape — Thompson calls it a “recession aftershock” is reminiscent of the 2008 financial crisis, when the labor market shrank 1.7% and did not fully recover.

“The rate may not return to pre-pandemic levels,” Thompson said. “Probably some of them will be permanent.”

In this upside-down employment market, where Nebraska recently broke national records with a record low of 1.9% unemployment, companies continue to undermine jobs in the service industry with contracts and high salaries.

Thompson proved the point by comparing preliminary federal data. Hourly wages in the hospitality and leisure industry have risen by more than 7% in Nebraska and nearly 12% across the country over the past year.

You can see the pressure to seduce those workers play along the way of Lincoln. In front of fast food stores, convenience stores, nursing homes, and oil change stores. Marquee, placards and nylon flutter flags all have the same theme variations. Work here.

Begley sees hope in those signs. “This field is finally beginning to level workers.”

And Johnson, chasing the manager outside the Burger King door, sees room for breathing.

What if my job doesn’t fit? Probably better ones are waiting.

“There are so many openings,” she said. “It keeps the door open.”

“People are standing up for themselves.”

All Burger King employees who quit their jobs with great success in July opened a new door.

Following Ruby Tuesday from Johnson, some continued to work part-time as a server and bartender after starting a day shift at Burger King last February.

Others have been found to work as clerk or cook at a sitting restaurant, hotel, or convenience store. Includes Flores who did not respond to the interview request. According to Johnson, the majority went into something other than fast food.

“Most people I know have found a better job to do at least the same or better.”

In mid-July, Johnson wrote three words on his left forearm. This is WEALLQUIT.

Tattoos are a reminder of her value.

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ERIC GREGORY / FLATWATER FREE PRESS

Lincoln, Nebraska. -November 29, 2021-Kyleisonson, outside the Burger King on North 60th Avenue and Haveleoc Avenue, commemorates the mass resignation of restaurant crew in July 2021 on Monday, November 29, 2021. And put a tattoo. Left arm.

“I grew up with respect, but I was also taught that when you pay respect, you should be respected.”

After working in the service industry for eight years, Johnson was accustomed to getting sadness from the general public. “With one ear, with the other.”

But kneeling in a pandemic, sweating with a mask, driving through, running front counters, and processing orders often felt different without help.

“It was terrible. I’m tired. The customer didn’t take it into account.”

And the management didn’t listen either.

According to Johnson, they did not properly repair the air conditioners and the fly cooks and servers remained dangerously hot and humid for weeks. Staff were constantly in a hurry because they either couldn’t or couldn’t maintain proper staffing.

“Rachel was a great manager,” she said. “But there are four or five people left, and senior management hasn’t tried to bring in new people.”

After employees fled openly and the media barrage began, Burger King Corporation considered the state of the Lincoln restaurant “inconsistent with our brand value.” Burger King Corporation did not respond to requests for comment on this story.

Last week, Utah-based Meridian Restaurants, which owns 12 Burger Kings in Nebraska, declined to comment on changes made at Hublock’s location, including nine in Lincoln.

On a sunny late November morning, Johnson posed for a portrait opposite Burger King at the northern end of the town. From this restaurant she says she is currently banned.

She said she didn’t regret having quit. Get up for her boss and friends. For herself.

“This happens everywhere, and I learned that people are standing up for themselves and looking for something better.”

Johnson will graduate with a degree in Business Administration from the Colorado Technical Institute in April.

She is also an entrepreneur and is a small business called Ky-Fro Photography, where she takes family portraits and senior photos.

She said the photo was her passion. The skills she acquired in high school made her the editor-in-chief of her school dissertation, Lincoln High Advocate.

She wants to grow her photography business.

“That is wonderful.”

Meanwhile, she takes care of the bar and receives orders on Ruby Tuesday. There, some of her loyal Burger King customers follow her and exchange paper-wrapped burgers for seated dinner specials.

And in the weeks of this summer, at the moment of her internet-inspired pandemic history, a few diners looked up from the menu and asked her face every night.

You weren’t that Burger King chick?

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