Subway Workers Protest New Management

TALLAHASSEE—Former employees of the Subway restaurant on South Monroe Street staged a protest on Thursday, Oct. 27. They stood with signs that read “don’t support this Subway” and “this Subway sucks.”
The protest included two former employees, one county commissioner and multiple more community members—all black.
The reason for the protest: some former employees believe they were wrongfully fired.
Janay Faison, a three-year veteran of Subway, said she was told she must do tasks not in her job description.
“They asked me get down on the ground and scrub the grout on the floor,” said Faison. “[I was also told to] clean the ceilings, which is not in my job description as a ‘sub artist’ at all.”
Faison said she was fired after she refused.
“When I asked them why I was being fired, the owner simply told me it was his store, and he could do what he wants,” said Faison.
Faison said she called County Commissioner Bill Proctor immediately.
“I went straight to Commissioner Proctor,” said Faison. “Once I told him the story, he set up this whole thing. Basically, he said it’s discrimination.”
In an exclusive interview with FAMU’s student television station, TV20, new store owner Dave Patel said these accusations are simply wrong.
“I have been told the protest is because—as a new owner—I am firing all African-Americans–that I don’t like them,” said Patel. “That is wrong. I have five employees, and all of them are African-American girls.”
Faison said that didn’t stop him from firing her.
“All of a sudden he comes—and he owns the store, and I’m not good enough?” said Faison. “I’ve been working for Subway since I was 16.”
Patel said 60 percent of his customers are black, and he said he never would have purchased this Subway if he didn’t link African-Americans.
“Why would I pay more for a store that has customers—over 60 percent—African-American? If I don’t like them, why would I pay more?”
Proctor said this situation made him feel like African-Americans are being reduced to something they were in the past: “the help.”
“It hurt me,” said Proctor. “I’m not letting a generation of young people be exploited. They’ve done nothing wrong; they’ve never been written up.”
Faison emphasized Proctor’s point.
“He never wrote me up for anything,” she said. “He never gave me any warnings. He never came to talk to me; he just simply let me go about that one situation.”
There were others who lost their jobs as well. Proctor said most who lost their jobs were black.
“There’s a degradation,” said Proctor. “There’s a loss of dignity, a dehumanizing factor. We’re not going to back up that far; we done (sic) come too far in America for somebody to come from Asia to turn us into something we used to be: the help.”
When Proctor found out Faison had been told to clean the floor and ceiling, he said he didn’t feel comfortable with that kind of job overlap.
“Personally, I don’t want the person who does the janitorial to be the person who serves the food,” said Proctor. “People who scrub the floor and people who are on the serving line ought not be the same person; that’s not sanitary.”
Patel said he couldn’t believe Proctor would come support a movement when he didn’t know the full story.
“I tried to get a hold of him to ask him whether he knows the full story,” said Patel. “He should have called me and he should have tried to find the true story. Without knowing the true story, he is here and supporting her (Faison). That’s what surprised me.”
Patel said he needs his family members to work in the store, which is another point of grievance for the protestors. However, he said they are not employees.
“I need my family members to work here, but I cannot run the whole store by family members only,” Patel said. “They are here to help me; half of them are not getting any pay. I’m not going to have them as an employee, and keep my regular employee out of the store. That’s not going to happen.”
Patel said Faison was caught stealing, and giving free sandwiches to her friends. The store has closed circuit cameras, but they’re not set to record onto anything. Patel said he is working to change that.
In a case of he said, she said, the struggle between Faison and Patel sees no clear end. Without functioning cameras, Patel cannot prove Faison stole.
“What happened to these workers is wrong,” Proctor said. “Two of these girls were students. We just can’t have students pushed off and blown away. Students make up over 65,000 of the 350,000 people in this community.”

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