SAN JOSE, CA - Workers at a San Jose Burger King held a protest today, calling out poor working conditions and violence in the workplace. Dozens of people representing Fight for 15, an advocacy group for fast food workers, were also there showing support.
Workers at this Burger King on Monterey Highway in San Jose say it’s not just wages that they’re concerned about, but it's their personal safety and the condition of the building.
"Mice, rats outside, the plumber, the smell is stinking in the bathroom," said Consuelao Perez, a Burger King employee.
We attempted to enter the dining area, but the doors were locked and from what we could see, no one was inside the restaurant. Perez says she has a supervisor role at this Burger King and knows firsthand of the poor working conditions.
"Every day it’s something broken, something not fixed, they know. They have pictures, they have photos. They say later, it’s not important. They basically focus on sales, sales, labor, labor, sales. We are numbers and not people," Perez said.
Perez also says they're constantly confronted by people who may not be customers who threaten and curse at them. A new report from Worksafe says 38 percent of fast-food workers in California report being exposed to toxins like excessive smoke, sewage, and gas leaks and 29 percent say they’ve been injured on the job.
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"They care about the appearance outside looking good. The dining, kitchen and the back, horrible. Ceilings, floor leaking, fridge, toasters, fryers, broiler," Perez.
Perez says with the help of Fight for 15, they want to bring attention to their working conditions and be treated fairly.
"It doesn’t matter if they raise the minimum wage or not because we have to pay more. That’s what we deserve because without us, they don’t get money," Perez said.
Governor Newsom recently signed a bill that will raise the minimum wage for fast food workers to $20 starting in April of next year. I reached out to the owner of that Burger King, and she declined to comment and told me to contact the corporate office.