Applebee's Workers Set To Hold Protest After Demanding Higher Wages

According to The New York Times, at least 40 million people quit their jobs in 2021 in what is now referred to as the Great Resignation. Workers seeking out better pay and more workable hours switched to different lines of work. The Bureau of Labor Statistics reported that the quit rate in food service rose from 4.8% to 6.9%, per Nation's Restuarant News. Many service industry employers responded. Pay rates in hospitality and leisure grew by 10% and wages for retail went up 7%.

However, per a press release from One Fair Wage, Applebee's employees in New York and Chicago will hold a protest on Wednesday over growing discontent with wages and instances of racial bias, wage theft, and job-site harassment. Armed with a letter that outlines their grievances and demands, workers will gather at New York's 38-01 35th Ave., Queens location and Chicago's 4937 Cal Sag Road, Crestwood location at 12 p.m. and 1 p.m. respectively. In addition, more protests will be at Applebee's locations in Illinois and Brooklyn. Workers from Alabama and other states have also joined the campaign.

Workers call out Applebee's for giving pay raises to white employees

Workers at Applebee's locations in New York and Chicago are protesting low wages, racial discrimination, wage theft, and harassment on Wednesday, according to a press release from One Fair Wage. The company's shareholders as well as multiple advocacy groups are in favor of workers taking legal action against their employer because it simply hasn't kept up with the needs of its staff.

Issues like understaffing and insufficient pay have caused Applebee's team members to gather en masse. Non-profit organization One Fair Wage, which tracked where the restaurant chain increased pay, found that wages had gone up in predominantly white areas, while locations in black communities maintain a sub-minimum wage rate that goes as low as $2.13 for workers who earn tips. President of One Fair Wage Saru Jayaraman said that Applebees risks losing its staff and landing on the wrong side of history if it continues on its current track. "Bucking the nationwide trend in which responsible small business owners are increasing wages to attract workers and begin to address the historically monumental wage inequality in our nation, companies like Applebee's have continued to resist actually raising wages despite their own massive staffing crisis."

Color of Change, a civil rights nonprofit, also submitted a letter to Applebees, along with shareholders who hold $10 billion in investments.