Waffle House Under Fire For Mandated Meal Cost Deductions; Union Calls For Federal Investigation

Waffle House recently came under fire as employees have raised concerns over the company’s meal credit policy. It charges workers close to $3 whether they eat or not. The policy has sparked outrage among employees and labor advocates, prompting calls for better working conditions and fair compensation.

The Union of Southern Service Workers (USSW) is the labor union representing the Waffle House employees. They filed a petition calling Waffle House’s change in policy “especially alarming” since the majority of employees are paid a sub-minimum wage “as low as $2.90 per hour.” 

USSW is asking federal officials to investigate the policy noting that workers receive most of their income through cash tips, opt not to eat from the menu every shift, and end up working through their breaks anyways. 

“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,” Cindy Smith, a Conyers Waffle House franchise employee. “We show up every day and work hard for as little as $2.90/hr before tips, so losing $3 every shift does real damage.”

In response to the meal credit policy and broader wage concerns, Waffle House employees in Georgia staged a one-day strike on March 25, during which they voiced specific demands, including better working conditions, pay raises, and an end to the controversial meal credit policy. 

The strike reflects growing frustration among workers who feel their concerns about wages and working conditions have been ignored by management.

“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,” Smith said. 

Nearly 13,000 out of Waffle House’s 40,000 nationwide employees are ready for change and have signed the petition. Other demands include $25 an hour minimum wage and security at all locations. 

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