DURHAM, N.C. (WNCN) — Dozens of fast food, hotel and other service employees took to the streets of Durham on Tuesday, fighting for a safer workplace.
Eshawney Gaston was one of them. She works at a chain chicken restaurant.
“There’s no way when I got burned, you didn’t have a proper first aid kit,” Gaston said. “You didn’t have any cream. You didn’t even have any Band-Aids.”
Brian Farrar works at a large fast-food restaurant.
The 61-year-old pulled a muscle in his back on the job and said he was never paid for his time off.
“If you get hurt on the job, you should be paid for being hurt on the job,” Farrar said.
In downtown Durham on Tuesday afternoon, more than 50 service industry workers and supporters went on strike. It was organized by the Union of Southern Service Workers.
North Carolina is a right-to-work state, limiting union power.
“These corporations don’t care,” Gaston said. “All they want to do is make money.”
A survey completed this year by the Strategic Organizing Center shows 53 percent of southern service workers experienced injuries from lifting things or falling merchandise.
“I don’t want the seat anymore,” Gaston said. “I want the whole table, because I’ve been asking for the seat for years.”
Cities in South Carolina and Georgia also saw service worker strikes on Tuesday.
“Even when I’m 80 years old, I’ll still be here fighting,” Farrar said. “No doubt about it.”