Waffle House workers on day 3 of ‘meal credit’ strike, demands better wages, safer work environment

CONYERS, Ga. — Striking Georgia Waffle House workers are rallying as the ‘meal credit’ strike reaches its third day.

The strike began on Monday as workers are demanding the company to end mandatory ‘meal credit’ paycheck deduction, improve working conditions, wages, safety measures

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Waffle House workers in Conyers with the Union of Southern Service Workers (USSW) continued their rally on Wednesday to mark the third day of their strike and demand an end to the company’s policy of deducting a ‘meal credit’ of at least $3 from workers’ pay every shift, regardless of whether they eat a meal.

The workers also demanded the following:

  • Clean, secure workplaces
  • Fair, consistent scheduling
  • A $25/hr minimum wage for all workers
  • A seat at the table for workers to fight for better conditions

In a petition to the U.S. Dept of Labor, the Union of Southern Service Workers demands an investigation of the company’s meal credit policy

Based on an internal survey of workers, the Union of Southern Service Workers has estimated the value of Waffle House’s nationwide meal credit deduction policy could total nearly $30 million per year.

Cindy Smith, who works at Waffle House in Atlanta, said in a press release on Monday that the company continues to believe they can get away with this.

Now, the workers are fed up.

“If Waffle House thinks they can keep getting away with docking our pay for meals we don’t eat, they clearly don’t understand the power we’ve built in our union,” said Smith. “We show up every day and work hard for as little as $2.90 an hour before tips, so losing $3 every shift does real damage. We’re fed up and we’re going on strike to demand that Waffle House end this policy across the country, listen to us, and make changes that will keep us safe on the job and help us provide for our families.”

According to a press release from the union, a petition was filed with the Department of Labor’s Wage and Hour Division on Monday.

The USSW details several Waffle House policies that prevent workers from eating meals that are automatically deducted from their paychecks. The USSW added that the company often doesn’t provide workers with meal breaks and does not allow workers to take home uneaten meals.


“Waffle House enforces the policy in such a way that almost ensures many workers will not have time to eat a meal during their shifts for which they are rarely provided a meal break,” the petition states. “Almost every worker who spoke to USSW about the Meal Credit Policy reported that they are not provided with a guaranteed meal break to eat the food for which they are charged.”

The petition has over 13,000 signatures.

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