Insomnia Cookies employees strike for higher wages

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Insomnia Cookies employees strike for higher wages

David Simoneaux, Insomnia Cookies driver, leads a march Sep. 2 through the San Marcos Square. Fight For Fifteen followed closely behind, ready for the labor strike to take place on Monday. Photo by Lara Dietrich

David Simoneaux, Insomnia Cookies driver, leads a march Sep. 2 through the San Marcos Square. Fight For Fifteen followed closely behind, ready for the labor strike to take place on Monday.
Photo by Lara Dietrich

David Simoneaux, Insomnia Cookies driver, leads a march Sep. 2 through the San Marcos Square. Fight For Fifteen followed closely behind, ready for the labor strike to take place on Monday.
Photo by Lara Dietrich

David Simoneaux, Insomnia Cookies driver, leads a march Sep. 2 through the San Marcos Square. Fight For Fifteen followed closely behind, ready for the labor strike to take place on Monday.
Photo by Lara Dietrich

Ryan Kirby

Workers gathered for discussion and planned organization demanding immediate higher work wages and gain community support, Sept. 2 Insomnia Cookies employees plan to strike and unionize Sept. 4, Labor Day, with protesters from Austin and San Marcos.

Fight for Fifteen organizers gathered on the corner of Guadalupe and Hopkins Saturday morning in hopes for fair pay.

David Simoneaux, delivery driver for Insomnia Cookies, stood across from his workplace in protest what Simoneaux also calls wage theft.

“Today we are discussing what’s going on since Insomnia Cookies workers cannot make posts about this on social media,” Simoneaux said. “Fight For Fifteen is here to fight for low-wage workers to have a union.”

According to Simoneaux, the idea of striking began with a worker fired because of ice cream theft and the events that followed.

“Our worker was accused of ice cream theft,” Simoneaux said. “Our shift leader was generally okay with employees eating ice cream, cookies and using our discounts. This particular worker was fired.”

Simoneaux explained what other employees endured after the worked was fired.

“Workers had to sign a social media policy that said in bold, black letters that you can be fired at any time for any reason.” Simoneaux said. “You cannot be fired for just anything, right to work or not. Rights are protected in the workplace.”

Since the employee contract limits social media usage, Simoneaux said that the right to organize these sorts of gatherings on social media becomes infringed upon.

“We had to inform groups like the San Marcos Socialist Collective and rely on word-of-mouth about our gathering because of that Social Media agreement,” Simoneaux said. “The next step is to build a union out of Insomnia Cookies.”

Thomas Diaz de Leon, an ally of Insomnia Cookies striking, said that Fight For Fifteen gatherings encompasses unionizing rights.

“This is an important event because Labor Day is just two days away,” de Leon said. “In Austin, Monday, there will be a grand unveiling of a new union. This is important because the success or failure of this union will determine what happens next with the movement.”

The unveiling of the new union  will be held at 6 a.m., Sept. 4  at a McDonalds in Austin, located at 5516 N. Lamar St., Austin, TX, 78703.

According to Simoneaux the strike and protest are because management has yet to respond.

“Management doesn’t respond,” Simoneaux said. “They didn’t respond to cut hours, the ice cream theft or any of our issues, and that’s why we’re doing this. Management doesn’t respond.”

Adrian Visco at Market Days sold cookies today made by We Knead Dough, across from the Insomnia Cookies-Fight For Fifteen gathering. Visco overheard the gathering as protestors took to Hopkins street in marching around sections of The Square.

“You’re not at home. You’re somewhere working. You need to be able to support your family,” Visco said

In May, Wendy’s on East Hopkins went on strike demanding higher wages. Workers did not see the fifteen-dollar-an-hour wage increase they advocated for.