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McDonald's worker Keyana McDowell, 20, (L) strikes outside McDonald's in Los Angeles, California, December 5, 2013. Organizers say fast food workers will strike in 100 U.S. cities, and there will be protests in 100 more, to fight for $15 an hour wages and
McDonald's workers are suing the fast food chain and some of its franchise owners for wage theft in three states. Workers in California, Michigan and New York say that they were forced to work off the clock, denied overtime and in other ways illegally underpaid. Specifically, Steven Greenhouse reports:
In two lawsuits filed in Michigan against McDonald’s and two Detroit-area franchise owners, workers claimed that their restaurants told them to show up to work, but then ordered them to wait an hour or two without pay until enough customers showed up.

Their lawsuit also argued that the requirement by McDonald’s that employees pay for their uniforms resulted in expenses that often illegally reduced their pay below the federal minimum wage of $7.25 an hour. [...]

In three lawsuits brought in California, the workers are suing McDonald’s and its franchise owners, claiming that they did not pay them for all hours worked, cheated them out of overtime, shaved hours from pay records and denied them legally required meal periods and rest breaks.

A New York lawsuit also claims that costs associated with McDonald's required uniforms brought workers' pay below minimum wage in some cases.

McDonald's got some very bad publicity last fall for advising an employee to apply for food stamps and suggesting, on the same website, that workers sell their stuff on eBay and also take two vacations a year. It's also been a prime target of the one-day strikes by fast food workers across the country. But, Josh Eidelson suggests:

The most significant threat posed by the potential class actions – one apparent arm in a campaign of media, consumer, political, economic, and workplace pressure on fast food giants – may be its potential to draw scrutiny and force disclosures about the relationship between the giant McDonald’s corporation, which netted over $5 billion in profit last year, and its smaller individual franchisees, which are the legal employers of most McDonald’s workers. “In the past, McDonald’s has tried to shield itself from liability,” said Joseph Sellers, one of the attorneys bringing suit. But “we found evidence that McDonald’s has indeed exerted control over the daily operations” of the franchised stores that “makes it legally jointly responsible” for the alleged crimes.
McDonald's has so far not responded publicly to the lawsuits; it's a fairly safe bet that its initial response, at least, will be along the lines of its responses to strikes, that the company and its franchise owners are "committed to providing our employees with opportunities to succeed." Where exactly making them work off the clock falls on the list of opportunities to succeed is not clear.

Originally posted to Daily Kos Labor on Thu Mar 13, 2014 at 10:36 AM PDT.

Also republished by Daily Kos.

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Comment Preferences

  •  The workers who make the cups (8+ / 0-)

    for McDonald's are also working without a contract:


    This message is brought to you on behalf of hard-working men and women who make paper cups, sandwich containers, and other paper products for McDonald’s restaurants. You may be enjoying your food right now in one of the products that we proudly make!

    We are employees of Pactiv Corporation in Stockton California—a subsidiary of a multinational corporation from New Zealand. Pactiv recently bought our factory, and now it is demanding that we accept UNFAIR cuts to our pay and benefits! We are fighting to preserve jobs that give our children the promise of a middle class future!

    Please support us! As you enjoy your food or beverage at McDonald’s, take a moment to call Pactiv CEO John McGrath at (847) 482-2000. Tell him to resolve the labor dispute at Pactiv in Stockton, California by signing a fair contract that preserves middle class jobs!

    All workers on the “fast food” chain—from those who cook the hamburgers to those who make the containers they come in—deserve fair living wages and benefits!

    Association of Western Pulp and Paper Workers
    Local 83
    Stockton California
    Greg Jones at 951-317-7085 or

    “The answer must be, I think, that beauty and grace are performed whether or not we will or sense them. The least we can do is try to be there.” ― Annie Dillard, Pilgrim at Tinker Creek

    by 6412093 on Thu Mar 13, 2014 at 10:55:10 AM PDT

    •  What about the jerk manager (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      MarkW53, dogandme

      who told his employee that she should

      put a bullet in her head
      because she had a diabetic episode at work that left her feeling sick and asked to go home?

      Bad PR all around.  This lawsuit isn't helping Mickey D's. I'll bet the McDonald's brothers are rolling in their graves at the thought that Ray Kroc put one over on them and initiated the shit we see today.

      "Washington, DC: Where Corruption is Rewarded, and Ethical Merit is DESPISED.

      by The Truth on Thu Mar 13, 2014 at 01:04:01 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  Years ago (4+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    GrindtheHills, 6412093, MarkW53, dogandme

    In desperate circumstances, I worked at a McDonalds for three days.
    It was horrible and denigrating.  Couldn't get the stink off my fingers.
    I got out of it quickly but the people I briefly worked with didn't have the same opportunity.
    I have never been to a McDonalds since.  
    That was 19 years ago.

    I can see Canada from my house. No, really, I can.

    by DuzT on Thu Mar 13, 2014 at 11:23:11 AM PDT

  •  My news feed says this just... (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    ...came in 14 minutes ago, and you already have it up!  Wow.  Congratulations!  Breakingf the Breaking News record.

    "The only thing needed for evil to succeed is for good people to do nothing." Hannah Arendt

    by dharmasyd on Thu Mar 13, 2014 at 11:23:52 AM PDT

  •  When I was in high school (late '60s) (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Amber6541, 6412093, MarkW53

    I worked at McDonald's, and we were well treated by the manager. However, the assistant manager was something else.

    One night, to show how efficient he could be, our AM clocked us all out and then told us to close on our own time.

    The entire crew left immediately.

    The AM had to call the manager, explain what happened, and then the two of them closed. The AM had threatened to fire us all but nothing more was ever heard about that.

    It's always the people that make the difference.

  •  In the meantime, millions across the world are (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    don mikulecky, 6412093, MarkW53

    lining up, as we speak, to get a Big Mac and fries combo deal and super sizing it for their lunch.  Hence the reason they will quietly pay whatever settlement and continue issuing the same statements because "Damn, those fries are good!"  And no one cares about anything else.  

    It makes me ill that so many are so blind.  

  •  We need to get ALL the thieves who rob us of (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    6412093, MarkW53

    our labor.

    An idea is not responsible for who happens to be carrying it at the moment. It stands or falls on its own merits.

    by don mikulecky on Thu Mar 13, 2014 at 11:46:26 AM PDT

  •  I worked at McD's too (0+ / 0-)

    Got a buck an hour. Could never eat their burgers again.

    “The answer must be, I think, that beauty and grace are performed whether or not we will or sense them. The least we can do is try to be there.” ― Annie Dillard, Pilgrim at Tinker Creek

    by 6412093 on Thu Mar 13, 2014 at 12:15:37 PM PDT

    •  Worked at Wendy's when Dave Thomas was alive. (0+ / 0-)

      You got your meal free and the pay was better than Mickey D's.

      Also, they had days when they would shut down the store and you traveled to headquarters (Walnut Creek, CA) to meet with your peers, other managers and learned who was doing what and how everyone could get on the same page in terms of franchise operations.

      Waay better than Mickey D's.  Never even considered working there when I was in high school.

      "Washington, DC: Where Corruption is Rewarded, and Ethical Merit is DESPISED.

      by The Truth on Thu Mar 13, 2014 at 01:17:07 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

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