"I think he wants to go to Disneyland."

Crystal Thompson has worked at Domino’s for five years. She is a mother and shares an apartment with a roommate. Crystal has been on strike multiple times and has spoken to elected leaders and the press. She became a leader in the fight for $15 in Seattle.

We’re all real people and we are hard workers and we do deserve to make an honest living. Especially because these big corporations are making bank off of us. We deserve a little bit of that too, instead of them making money off us working. We deserve a profit too, man. If it wasn’t for all of us, they wouldn’t have nothing, if it wasn’t for all the people that work for them, they wouldn’t have nothing.

Everyone deserves to make an honest livable wage where they can at least pay their bills and support a family. And just because we work in fast food doesn’t mean that we don’t work hard. I hear people say that fast food work is just for teenagers and people that are still in high school. Well fast food is one of the biggest-growing careers right now, working in fast food.

They are just making money off us, because we don’t see any of the billions of dollars they are raking in every year. And people deserve a raise. I mean, if you’re working the same job for five years, you deserve a raise. You’re helping them, you’re bringing them business. A lot of the customers come there because I’m there. I see the same customers every week. A lot of them said, if you weren’t there, they don’t know if they’d come there any more.

I started working at Domino’s so I could make a living. I applied at some other places, but I knew somebody who worked there, so they referred me. I enjoy my job. I enjoy the people. And it helps pay the bills. But your week starts Monday and you don’t see your schedule until Sunday night. You don’t have the same schedule every week, so you can’t plan your life around your schedule.

And I don’t think people realize how tight they run the staff. People think it’s an easy job but it’s not. I work my butt off. I do the work of three people sometimes. People don’t understand. It’s a hard job. It’s not an easy job. People think it’s an easy job, it’s not.

Managers have to run their labor very strict. They have a strict thing, certain numbers they have to go by. They have to schedule certain ways, schedule a certain amount of people, and sometimes if there’s not enough business, people will get sent home early. And then if it’s busy, a lot of people end up having to stay late. Sometimes you can stay 3 - 4 hours after your scheduled time off, and that pisses a lot of people off too. Because they’ll have stuff they have to do, and they can’t just go home because it’s so busy. We’re answering phones, making pizzas, taking orders, cashiering, running the ovens, dispatching drivers, make sure everything is together in the order to go out the door, prep, stocking, cleaning, dishes, all kinds of stuff, folding boxes, cleaning restrooms, all kinds of stuff.

It’s hard to even eat anything. I made some pasta for lunch — I never even got to eat it. At 5:30 I still haven’t eaten it, I’m working constantly because I’m working by myself. A lot of drivers don’t even get breaks, I guess they think that driving around in their car is a break. Sometimes managers can’t take breaks.

It’s giving workers a voice

I remember being too scared to be on the first strike. I think people were trying to pick me up, and my phone was blowing up, and I just didn’t answer it. I was scared of losing my job, or something to that effect.

Just talking to my family and my co-workers and stuff, talking to people, it changed my mind. My mom was for it. My aunt is for it. But my uncle, I don’t know if he’s for the $15 minimum wage, but my mom and my aunt are.

The first thing I remember doing was the wage theft protest. I think that’s the first thing we did, some wage theft protest at Jimmy John’s. I thought it would just be sitting in a room, old people, watching videos and taking notes, I don’t know. But it was kind of empowering. I just felt good to be heard, to be a voice for the rest of the workers in the city that don’t have a chance to speak out, giving them a chance for their troubles and their problems to be heard too.

Since then I’ve done strikes, boycotts, protests, organizing. I spoke at the Town Hall, and we talked to city councilmembers, and I talked to Seattle Weekly, Seattle Times, I think it was Channel 5 and then I think Channel 7 also. We went to Olympia too.

My co-workers think it’s cool. That it’s awesome that someone actually has the guts to get out there and do it. Because nobody else had the guts before.

It’s kind of empowering to talk to city councilmembers, the mayor, hear that a lot of them are actually on our side — so they say. I feel empowered. It makes you feel like you actually have a voice, that people actually listen. There are people actually listening to us now, it’s giving workers a voice, which we didn’t have one before.

I’m not just out there for me, I’m out there for everybody else too.

There’s just not a way out yet

I guess my first purpose is just to help change the world a little, to make things better for other people. I don’t know, maybe things will be better for my kids than they were for me. I’m just trying to make an honest living for my family, and if I can help change the world a little, that would be awesome, I guess.

My son and I share a 2-bedroom with a roommate. He pays his rent on time and doesn’t ever bring anyone to the house, he’s real respectful. But we don’t hang out, we don’t have the same friends or anything like that. I can’t afford to have my own place, so I have to have a roommate, and my son doesn’t even have a bedroom, so he sleeps in the living room on the couch. And my older son lives with family members.

There’s just not a way out yet. I just keep doing what I’m doing. All my money goes to bills. It’s tough. I’d rather just have my own 2-bedroom. That way my son could have his own room. And we wouldn’t have so much clutter in the house. I mean, our whole living room is full of toys. Our living room is pretty much his living area, his bedroom. Someday, I’d like to be living in a house with a yard and a car to drive, possibly. Get a better job, maybe a nice 9-5 job, Monday-Friday — hopefully not working in fast food anymore! Maybe finish school. I’d like to be a Spanish interpreter. I learned it growing up and I took a course in school. I lived with people who spoke Spanish, friends and family both. But it’s kind of hard to go to school when you don’t have any decent transportation.

With $15 an hour, I’d be able to pay off all my overdue bills, like the light bill, my traffic ticket. It’s just one ticket, it’s a few years old, but I don’t drive now because I can’t afford to. I get around now by bus and my uncle. Bus, family, my boyfriend. I have to depend on other people, but I like to be independent and not have to depend on anyone else.

And I definitely need a change of scenery, bad. My kid can’t even play outside for concerns about his safety. People have gotten killed on our corner outside our building. There’s always drug addicts and prostitution up and down the street. So, not a safe place for kids.

I try to take him to the park when I can.

He likes to play. He likes trains. He likes cars. I’d like to maybe take him on a vacation or something, I don’t know. I haven’t been out of Seattle in over ten years. That’s before Javier was born, so we’ve never had a family vacation.

It’s tough not being able to do the things Javier wants to do. He’ll want to go here or there but it’s kind of hard to get around sometimes when you have limited time and limited money. It’s hard. He complains too, like, Mom I don’t get to do anything, I don’t get to do anything.

I think he wants to go to Disneyland. Most kids want to go to Disneyland.