Saturday, February 13, 2010

[olympiaworkers] Pizza Time Strike Remembered

On Friday Feb. 12, 2010, a small group of people braved the rain to
remember the Olympia Pizza Time Strike of 2005. Pizza strike supporters
held a banner at 4th and Jefferson streets demanding a "Living Wage,
Health Care, Retirement, Paid Vacation, Sick Days… For All." People who
drove and walked by the banner generally agreed with it, while one guy
said "go to Canada!" Participants noted that working conditions haven't
improved since the strike and lock-out happened five years ago. One pizza
worker who went on strike lamented that the current Pizza Time workers and
most of the workers in Olympia and elsewhere don't have any of the
benefits listed on the banner, and can still be fired without cause.

Check out Pizza Time Strike history at:

On Feb. 12, 2005 all the Pizza Time workers in Olympia walked off the job
after presenting a list of demands to the new owner to improve working
conditions and reinstate two wrongly fired co-workers. When the owner
failed to meet these demands the workers created a daily protest at 4th
and Jefferson streets in downtown Olympia. With community support, Olympia
Pizza Time closed down after eight days of picketing.

In Aug of 2005, former repo-man Heath Flores bought the Olympia Pizza Time
franchise and locked out the striking workers. Heath used various
intimidation tactics including suing the workers in federal court, while
playing the victim in the situation to bust the strike. Heath bought off
the replacement workers with a futon and air conditioner to keep them
loyal and working. Heath even fake cried during one meeting with the
striking workers. By this time most of the striking pizza workers had
other jobs but wanted to establish a grassroots union that could improve
working conditions at Pizza Time and elsewhere in Olympia. The Pizza Time
strikers remain locked out five years later.

The effort to create a local grassroots union was attacked from all angles
and nipped in the bud here in Olympia. Business owners and other labor
unions in particular didn't like the idea. The Olympia Workers Association
(OWA) lasted about two years before becoming the Olympia Workers Resource

Such a union, if active, could drastically alter power relations in town.
Business owners would have to deal with their workers as an organized body
that could shut down their business at any time instead of people that can
be replaced individually and fired without cause. The threat of workers
getting together and taking action together is that they will start
demanding health care and retirement benefits, sick days and safe working
conditions, paid vacation and a living wage. Workers will start to demand
that they have a say in how the business is run. The dictatorship at work
would be broken if such a union existed.

Right now is as good of time as ever to get organized with the people you
work with. Form a union where decisions are made directly by workers and
any worker can join. Then stand up for each other. Working conditions
won't get better until you do.

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