Filipino community stages sit-in for fast food workers’ rights

Photo: SIKLAB Media


Monday, May 27, 2024

Contact: Patrick M., J4JW Community Support Network, (240) 242-9729,

WHEATON, MARYLAND — During the holiday lunch rush on Monday, the Wheaton Jollibee floor grew to standing-room only as crew members called out orders named “Holiday Pay” and “Fair Wages” to cheers. In a Memorial Day “dine-in” coordinated by the Justice 4 Jollibee Workers Community Support Network, Filipinos and allies across the Washington, D.C. metropolitan region sought to amplify workers’ demands for equitable pay. Around 60 community members attended, including the family members of Jollibee crew and local Starbucks workers, despite management’s attempts to quell the event.

In January, Wheaton Jollibee workers came forward with a public statement, sharing that their request for double pay on holidays has not been met by management. Since its opening in 2021, the restaurant serves customers year-round, including Thanksgiving and Christmas, but are not further compensated on these days. On May 1, the Community Support Network hosted a flyering event to amplify workers’ demands.

Instead of using their actual names for lunch orders, supporters opted to name their orders “holiday pay” and other labor-related slogans. Workers announcing these orders resulted in celebrations from customers and smiles on crew members’ faces. Alongside these calls, community members also flyered throughout the store about the Wheaton Jollibee workers’ campaign and placed a tip jar on the cashier counter. The event was inspired by the solidarity “sip-ins” supporting Starbucks baristas in their fight to unionize, according to Community Support Network organizers.

Restaurant management attempted to deter the dine-in by taking the tip jar away within the first 30 minutes and calling mall security. They further tried to mandate the cashiers to not take “Holiday Pay” as a name, but afternoon customers were creative, pivoting their orders to names like “Holly” or “Justice.”

The sit-in occurred while wait times peaked up to an hour as workers cooked and packed both in-person and online orders. These conditions exemplify the workers’ need to be compensated fairly on the busiest days of the year.

This holiday pay campaign is inspired by a similar campaign in New Jersey, where Jollibee workers won reinstatement, back pay and a public apology after being illegally fired last year. The Wheaton location is one of thousands of restaurants that are part of the multinational Jollibee Foods Corporation, which earned over $4.2 billion USD in revenue in 2023.

Link to press kit here. Please credit material to the Justice 4 Jollibee Workers Community Support Network. More photos and videos available upon request.

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