"We All Quit": Nebraska Burger King Workers Resign In Protest of Company Mistreatment
"It’s just incredible what standing up for your rights can do"
Burger King workers in Lincoln, Nebraska quit en masse when their general manager Rachael Flores gave her notice after months of mistreatment from higher ups.
On the way out last week, Flores put up a message that went viral on social media, using the Burger King sign to announce: "We all quit. Sorry for the inconvenience."
Kylee Johnson, an employee and Flores's best friend, told me the remaining staff saw the way higher-ups treated Flores and decided to give their notices when she gave hers.
"She was the glue that held us all together and after seeing the way she was being treated we couldn’t fathom being under that type of management," Johnson said.
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A pattern of abuse and mistreatment
In an interview with local affiliate KLKN, Flores described a workplace culture where regional management didn't seem to care about staff and pushed her to work 50 to 60 hours a week.
Flores said the Burger King had employees working in the kitchen with no air conditioning for weeks. At one point, the kitchen reached over 90 degrees. Flores ended up in the hospital for dehydration. She said her boss reacted, saying she was being a “baby.”
In a statement, Burger King said the conditions were not in line with company policy.
"The work experience described at this location is not in line with our brand values," Burger King said. "Our franchisee is looking into this situation to ensure this doesn’t happen in the future."
But the problems go deeper than just "brand values" not being respected by one team of managers.
"They have gone through so many district managers since I’ve been GM,” Flores told KLKN. “No one has come to the store to help me out. They’re so in and out.”
Johnson agreed. She told me that the managers didn't have the first idea about how to run the store—but still made the decisions.
"These managers are also new and have no idea how to run anything in a Burger King," Johnson said. "They can’t even ring something up on the register."
"It sickens me”
Management begged the staff to stay on, offering them a dollar raise and then pleading with them to stay and train new people. But the workers refused, finishing out their two weeks and leaving.
To Johnson, management’s comments sounded like the company was trying to shame her into staying.
"I felt as if they were trying to insinuate that I was being lazy because I had told them that I didn’t want to work two jobs and go to school full time anymore," Johnson, who works at Ruby Tuesdays as a waitress and is attending school for business management, told me.
"It sickens me seeing how these people wanna run a business vs what I’m learning in school," she added. "It seems they’re more about the dollar than about the people and that’s sad."
The news attention to the sign and the walkout made Johnson feel solidarity with her fellow workers.
"I do believe that power can exist in numbers, especially now with social media the way it is," Johnson said, adding, "It’s just incredible what standing up for your rights can do."
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