Fight Back! News

News and Views from the People's Struggle

Seattle: Homegrown workers strike passes 100 days

By staff

Homegrown workers on the picketline. | Fight Back! News/staff

Seattle, WA – For the 106th day in a row, Redmond and Southcenter workers were out on the picket lines this past Sunday. The picket line covered the east entrance of the Westfield Southcenter mall, which holds the Southcenter Homegrown Cafe. The cafe has been closed since late November, when workers there walked out to join Redmond Homegrown workers on strike for their coworker’s reinstatement.

As workers picketed, they chanted, “One, two, three, four, Homegrown fires no more!” and “Five, six, seven, eight, backpay and reinstate!”

Workers at Homegrown have been on strike since union leader Sydney Lankford was fired after speaking up in a union delegation on October 30. All her coworkers walked out that day and were joined on November 24 by workers at the Southcenter Homegrown. They are demanding Lankford get her job back and full reinstatement. As of February 6, Redmond workers have been striking for over 100 days.

“I'm still out here fighting because we need to show the company that they can't fire us for standing up and they have to respect our union,” said Zane Smith, a worker at the Redmond location.

“I’ve been working with Sydney for over a year and a half, until she got fired unfairly for speaking up in a union delegation,” said Kaden McAllister “I can’t believe they fired her, because she is like half of what gets done at the store. We are ready to keep striking until she gets hired back.”

This is not the first time workers at the Redmond store – and across all of Homegrown – have been out on strike. Homegrown workers have also been fighting for a union contract with higher wages and affordable healthcare. Workers have won time-and-a-half pay when temperatures in the workplace rise above 82 degrees and double-time when temperatures are above 86 degrees. “Working in an old, poorly ventilated building with a hot smoking oven is extremely uncomfortable and exhausting. Heat pay will make the situation more tolerable and worthwhile,” said Katrina Gunvaldson.

“The contract that we have on the table is one of the best, if not the best, first contract ever negotiated by our union,” said Clio Jensen, a worker at the Kirkland Homegrown, who joined her coworkers on the picket line. “And we did it by waging the most militant contract campaign the food service industry has seen in recent years. Our coworkers are showing that when we fight, we win – and we will not stop until Sydney is back working with us.”

Negotiations with the company are underway, and workers are confident that their solidarity and continued campaign will put them back to work soon – with Sydney Lankford alongside them.

#SeattleWA #Labor #Strike #Homegrown #Feature