Monday, December 18, 2017
Public safety

Protesters descend on Tampa restaurant firm controlled by Bain Capital

About 175 people organized by employee-rights advocates protested Monday afternoon outside the Bloomin' Brands corporate headquarters on N West Shore Boulevard.

Among their demands: a significant pay boost for workers whose companies are overseen by Bain Capital.

They waved signs proclaiming "Don't let Bain Capital destroy the middle class" and chanted slogans that included, "How many millions do you need? We've got hungry mouths to feed!"

Bloomin' Brands runs Outback Steakhouse, Bonefish Grill and other restaurant chains. It is controlled by Bain Capital, the private equity firm once run by Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney.

The protesters included a handful of people who identified themselves as employees of Bain-controlled companies. They included Mike Stuart, 29, of Philadelphia, who said he is an assistant manager at Guitar Center, a musical equipment retailer.

Stuart said he has been working for the chain for five years and is still making the $7.25 an hour minimum wage.

"I'm not looking to be a millionaire, but a couple of extra dollars would help out," he said.

Simeon Uddin also said he was an employee of a Bain-controlled retail outlet, which he would not identify.

"I'm here for a better future for my kids so they don't have to go through the struggles that I do," said Uddin, 30, of Cincinnati.

The minimum wage, he said, needs to be $10 to $12 an hour for anyone who hopes to make a living from it.

Darrin Little, 44, who said he has worked for 10 years as a chef at a Carrabba's in Novi, Mich, near Detroit, said he flew to Tampa to hand-deliver a letter to Bloomin' Brands' chief executive officer. Little said his pay has climbed just $3 to $14 an hour in those 10 years.

The letter asks for equal treatment of rank-and-file employees of the restaurant chain, whose wage increases, Little said, have not kept up with those given to management.

"I was greeted by a bunch of security and police officers and told I couldn't come in the building," he said.

So he called the office. He ended up speaking to a woman who said she couldn't come down to accept the letter.

After protesting for about 30 minutes, the protesters – which included members of the group The 99 Uniting -- boarded four charter buses and departed.

Comments

Woman shot and killed in apparent drive-by shooting in Clearwater

CLEARWATER — A woman was shot to death Sunday night in an apparent drive-by shooting, according to Clearwater police.Authorities said they received an initial call at 8:19 p.m. originating from 800 Belleair Road. The shooting is believed to have occu...
Updated: 5 hours ago

Wesley Chapel woman, 28, dies after crashing motorcycle

LUTZ — A 28-year-old motorcyclist died Sunday after she crashed near Lutz Lake Fern Road and Apian Way, Hillsborough deputies reported.Erica Kristen Rodriguez of Wesley Chapel was riding a Kawasaki motorcycle with a small group of motorcyclists eastb...
Updated: 7 hours ago

Woman, 24, hit by Land Rover, in critical condition

LARGO — A 24-year-old woman is in critical condition after she was struck by a vehicle Saturday night, police said.Khadijah Wood was walking through the parking lot of the Sandy Lane Apartment Homes on Belcher Road about 7:30 p.m.At the same time, Ju...
Published: 12/17/17
Murder suspect is on the run after fatally shooting a father, cops say

Murder suspect is on the run after fatally shooting a father, cops say

A first-degree murder suspect remains at large almost a week after the fatal shooting of a Winter Haven father.The Polk County Sheriff’s Office says Johnny Ray Owsley’s murder of 35-year-old Adam Thrower, called "Cook" by friends, involved Owsley’s e...
Published: 12/17/17

Two die in head-on crash on Gunn Highway in Odessa

ODESSA — Hillsborough County deputies are investigating a head-on crash on Gunn Highway that killed two and sent a child to the hospital Saturday afternoon.About 12: 45 p.m., Terry Lee Bronschidle, 70, of Tampa was driving his Chevy Traverse south on...
Published: 12/16/17
Firefighters injured after early-morning blaze at Tampa strip mall

Firefighters injured after early-morning blaze at Tampa strip mall

TAMPA — Three firefighters were injured early Saturday morning while battling a fire at a strip mall on W Waters Avenue, according to Tampa Fire Rescue.Firefighters said the blaze started around 2:45 p.m. in the attic of L.A. Nail Supply, located at ...
Published: 12/16/17
Pinellas sheriff’s investigator fired, could face criminal charges for involvement in child custody battle

Pinellas sheriff’s investigator fired, could face criminal charges for involvement in child custody battle

LARGO — A Pinellas sheriff’s child protective investigator has been fired and could face criminal charges after an investigation found she made a child custody recommendation to a judge as a favor to a friend.Jayne Johnson, who has worked for the She...
Published: 12/15/17
Deputies: Plant City men fled in stolen car, shot dog, hid in swamp

Deputies: Plant City men fled in stolen car, shot dog, hid in swamp

DOVER — Two Plant City men who ran from deputies and shot a dog were captured after a brief pursuit Thursday, according to the Hillsborough County Sheriff’s Office.They ditched a stolen car, ran away on foot, crossed through several yards and then tr...
Published: 12/15/17

Tampa bicyclist, 52, dies after being rear-ended by vehicle; no charges

TAMPA — A 52-year-old man riding a bicycle was killed early Friday when he was struck from behind by a car in Seminole Heights, according to Tampa police.The incident took place at about 12:15 a.m. Wayne Kersh, 52, was riding his bicycle in the eastb...
Published: 12/15/17
After third fire at former Ybor City bathhouse, arrest is made

After third fire at former Ybor City bathhouse, arrest is made

TAMPA — A 46-year-old man was arrested Friday and accused of setting fire to a vacant Ybor City bathhouse hit by arson at least two other times earlier this year.Two Tampa police officers spotted smoke from the vacant building at 1512 E Eighth Ave. a...
Published: 12/15/17