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McDonald’s faces class-action lawsuit

Allegations that fast-food giant is unfairly withholding pay from workers spurs Florida lawmakers to streamline wage-theft legislation

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JUST THE STATS

 

$28 BILLION

ESTIMATED REVENUE FOR FAST-FOOD GIANT MCDONALD’S IN 2013; GROSS PROFITS WERE NEARLY $5.6 BILLION

 

$13.8 MILLION

REPORTED ANNUAL COMPENSATION FOR MCDONALD’S CHIEF EXECUTIVE OFFICER DON THOMPSON AS OF 2013

 

15 PERCENT

ANNUAL AMOUNT AVERAGE LOW-WAGE WORKER LOSES TO WAGE THEFT – APPROXIMATELY $2,600

“WE ARE TIRED OF MCDONALD’S ABUSIVE BEHAVIOR. THE COMPANY CONTINUES TO TAKE ADVANTAGE OF ME AND MY CO-WORKERS. WE CAN’T ALLOW THEM TO PLAY BY A DIFFERENT SET OF RULES JUST BECAUSE THEY’RE BIG. THEY NEED TO RESPECT US AND THIS SUIT WILL HELP THEM DO THAT.”
– GUADALUPE SALAZAR, CALIFORNIA MCDONALD’S EMPLOYEE
SOURCES: USA TODAY, NEW YORK TIMES, NATIONAL EMPLOYMENT LAW PROJECT

NOT LOVIN’ IT

So, would you like some fires with that shake? For the last year or so, nugget and beef-curd behemoth McDonald’s has been facing all sorts of bad press – the walkouts, the employee strikes, the pink-slime incident – while still retaining its firm grasp on the lowest common denominator, because, well, it’s basically the new soup kitchen where a dollar-menu stomachache counts as a meal. But, just like that one time when that lady sued over hot coffee and got $3 million, McDonald’s is once again facing litigation, only now it’s of the class-action variety and it’s the employees and low-wage activists waving the papers.

On a March 13 press call, lawyers and some plaintiffs laid out their cases, which have been filed in Michigan, California and New York. The short version is that McDonald’s as a corporation and its numerous franchisees have been complicit in “systematically withholding pay” from some of the nation’s most vulnerable workers. You don’t say!

Here’s how it works: McDonald’s managers are equipped with labor-to-profit ratio numbers on their computers as a means of maximizing everything that makes McDonald’s CEOs wealthier than the Monopoly guy. When the numbers get too close, certain employees are instructed to clock out – not leave, but just clock out. Also, even if they could leave, many McDonald’s employees (especially in the states in which the cases are filed) rely on public transportation, and it’s not terribly efficient to leave just to come back when it gets busy enough for the store to want you back on the clock. It even happens here.

“I have eight kids to support and it’s a slap in the face when I have to take three buses to get to work just to get sent home early,” says 32-year-old Orlando McDonald’s employee Iola Tullis through a spokesperson for the local arm of the national Fight for 15 movement to raise the minimum wage.

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