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News

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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In fact, McDonald’s employees have been complaining about this treatment for some time: the whole sitting in the break room and waiting bit; the no overtime payment; the working off the clock component. It’s what caused masses of them to walk out last year and walk on to national news programs to complain. Nobody really expects a McJob to be a big moneymaker, but somehow everyone expects that an international conglomerate with bright golden arches would at least play fair with the folks it’s systemically victimizing, right? We’ll just leave that hanging there for now.

Also rarely mentioned is the fact that many minimum-wage McDonald’s employees aren’t actually making minimum wage if you factor in the expense of buying and maintaining their uniforms. The same McDonald’s that made a joke of itself for suggesting that its workers keep several jobs in order to maintain a reasonable budget won’t even provide its employees with uniforms which are clearly just walking advertisements for its brand? Nope.

On the call, plaintiff Jason Hughes, who works for McDonald’s in Fremont, Calif., and makes just a quarter over minimum wage, said that he “used to think McDonald’s grew so big because of quality,” but now, “McDonald’s can count on us to keep silent. It’s time that McDonald’s live up to its promise.”

The reason this matters here in Happytown – beyond the fact that we play host to the second-largest grossing McDonald’s in the country, over in Touristan – is that while these suits are being filed in other states to try to force a modicum of fairness, legislators in the state of Florida (backed, of course, by Republican lobbyists from the Florida Retail Federation, among others) are presently forcing through legislation to streamline wage-theft regulations in Florida’s 67 counties, just like pre-emption did with sick-time last year. Yep, the word “patchwork” is back in the legislative lexicon, and it’s only the beginning of session.

Here’s the latest scheme: Legislators want to model the state pre-emption law on wage theft after the toothless version drafted in Palm Beach County, wherein complaining employees can use the Legal Aid Society in order to settle their claims in court. Who pays for that? Taxpayers.

“If you look at Miami-Dade, where they have created a small, simple, cheap administrative practice, that is working amazingly well,” AFL-CIO political director Rich Templin said, according to news outlet WJCT. “And, if you compare it to Palm Beach, which is spending over $100,000, and so far to a less result, this is putting an increased burden on tax payers. This is telling local governments, ‘Hey, you can deal with this problem in your community, but we’re going to make you spend as much money as possible.’ Now, to hear that coming out of
the Florida House is kind of surprising.”

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