Capitol Hill

Protestors picket local Subway, ask for higher wages

Protestors picket local Subway, ask for higher wages
SEATTLE -- Minimum wage workers in Seattle targeted a local Subway restaurant on Tuesday to protest low pay and to help win back one man's job.

The protestors picketed in front of a Capitol Hill Subway, making a lot of noise and making it tough to squeeze through to buy a sandwich. Police showed up after an employee called to say a demonstrator had shoved a customer.

Nobody was arrested, and the protestors kept chanting. In addition to what they believe is unfair pay, the picketers were at Subway to help Carlos Hernandez get back his job.

Hernandez was fired from the Capitol Hill Subway earlier this month. He said the company claimed he was fired for giving a cookie to a little kid, but he and the other protestors believe the company got rid of him because he helped organize local fast food workers to protest over the summer.

In that protest, minimum wage workers walked off the job, and some were even arrested.

"So it is very important for people to know, workers to know, they have a right to fight back," Hernandez said.

Hernandez has emerged as a leader of the Good Jobs Seattle movement, which is fighting for a $15 an hour minimum wage and better working conditions.

On Tuesday, he filed a federal lawsuit against Subway, claiming retaliation for his political activities.

"You know this is wrong, what you're doing to me. You should treat me like a person," Hernandez said.

Many business owners oppose what amount to a 60 percent increase in the state's minimum wage, and some consumers worry about how it would impact their finances.

"It's not possible to offer something that high without driving the cost of everything else up," said Melissa Grove.