Several workers at Isla Vista’s Wingstop location walked off the job on Super Bowl Sunday — historically one of the establishment’s busiest days — following management rejecting a demand for wage increases made by employees in a letter sent to managers two days prior.
The group of workers included three UC Santa Barbara students who served as shift leads for the Wingstop location.
The walkout left several workers — all of whom are not unionized — unsure if they still have a job, after management allegedly threatened to treat their walk off as a resignation, four employees who asked to be identified by their first names for privacy reasons told the Nexus.
“Last thing I was told is, ‘If you walk out of the store, then you’re essentially resigning,’ and I walked out of the store,” Wingstop cashier Sam said.
The I.V. Wingstop location’s two managers and Wingstop Inc. did not immediately respond to a request for comment.
“We don’t know whether we were fired or not. We were told that we resigned by walking out,” shift lead Michael said. “I don’t think that’s how it works.”
Members of Wingstop #2012 formally demanded the wages of cashiers, cooks and shift leads be raised after prior attempts were dismissed by management, the letter alleged.
“We have tried to ask for fair wages before and have not been taken seriously, so we formally request the raises by signing this petition,” the letter of demand obtained by the Nexus read. “We want $17.00 an hour for cashiers and cashiers in training, $18.00 an hour for cooks and cooks in training, $18.50 for shift leads in training and $20 an hour for shift leads, all by next pay period as well as a $0.50 raise at the start of every year.”
Those hourly wages would represent a several-dollar increase from the minimum wage earned by cashiers and less than the $17-per-hour wage earned in other non-management roles, according to the employees.
Employees told the Nexus that the topic of wage increases was often raised by workers, but that Wingstop managers continually dismissed the issue.
“Everyone has always asked for raises and always just gotten brushed aside or [management] will just change the topic,” Michael said. “They said, ‘We can’t do that, we can’t give a general raise because you have to get promoted based on merit.’”
“I’ve been promised a raise since at least four months ago, before last year. And now it’s February. Never got one,” said Kenji, another shift lead.
Management’s efforts to dissuade employees from walking out on one of Wingstop’s busiest days did little, according to employees.
“Around 15 people all walked out in solidarity with us, but the district manager was kind of guilt tripping us, saying, ‘Oh, you know, it’s such a busy day; I can’t do this all by myself.’ Not that she normally does anything anyways — she just tells us to do it,” said Michael.
Only a few employees are left at the establishment to see it through the wave of orders that accompany Super Bowl Sunday — what employees described as “hell.” Wingstop disabled online orders following the walkout.
Workers from other stores are expected to help the location following today’s mass walkout, employees said, prompting them to call for UCSB and I.V. residents to boycott the establishment.
“They’re bringing in scabs from other stores. Please boycott fucking Wingstop; they’re paying people way too little,” Michael said.