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The attorney general's labor bureau found that cashiers regularly performed off-the-clock work before and after their shifts at the Manhattan restaurants owned by Richard Cisneros. Workers weren't given an allowance for the time and costs associated with cleaning uniforms they had to wear, nor did they receive an extra hour of minimum-wage pay after shifts in which they worked 10 consecutive hours—requirements of New York law.
The settlement money will go to more than 1,600 current and former McDonald's employees.
Workers in three states, including New York, filed wage theft lawsuits against McDonald's and various franchise owners last week. New York City fast food workers are getting an additional boost in the fight to get the pay they're legally owed; Tuesday, New York City Public Advocate Letitia James announced:
... a four-part proposal to tackle alleged rampant wage theft in the fast food industry: Creation of an anonymous whistleblower hotline for workers to report wage theft; expansion of city agencies’ authority to investigate wage theft; convening of City Council hearings at which McDonald’s’ CEO and franchisees would be invited and then questioned by councilmembers; and urgings that the McDonald’s Corporation amend its franchisee agreements to create a mechanism to punish those that don’t follow the law.
The scale of wage theft routinely reported by fast food workers is staggering, especially when you consider that they're paid poverty wages legally, before the illegal means of reducing their pay begin. We have to be clear: This is business owners and managers breaking the law and taking what their workers are legally owed. It's theft, and should be treated as such.