Skip to main content

Striking McDonald's worker Bartolome Perez, 42, (L) protests outside McDonald's on Hollywood Boulevard as part of a nationwide strike by fast-food workers to call for wages of $15 an hour, in Los Angeles, California August 29, 2013. Fast-food workers staged strikes at McDonald's and Burger Kings and demonstrated at other stores in sixty U.S. cities on Thursday in their latest action in a nearly year-long campaign to raise wages in the service sector. REUTERS/Lucy Nicholson (UNITED STATES - Tags: POLITICS FOOD BUSINESS EMPLOYMENT) - RTX130VM
Workers at seven New York City McDonald's franchises will split a nearly $500,000 wage theft settlement, state Attorney General Eric Schneiderman announced:
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.

Originally posted to Daily Kos Labor on Wed Mar 19, 2014 at 09:07 AM PDT.

Also republished by In Support of Labor and Unions and Daily Kos.

EMAIL TO A FRIEND X
Your Email has been sent.
You must add at least one tag to this diary before publishing it.

Add keywords that describe this diary. Separate multiple keywords with commas.
Tagging tips - Search For Tags - Browse For Tags

?

More Tagging tips:

A tag is a way to search for this diary. If someone is searching for "Barack Obama," is this a diary they'd be trying to find?

Use a person's full name, without any title. Senator Obama may become President Obama, and Michelle Obama might run for office.

If your diary covers an election or elected official, use election tags, which are generally the state abbreviation followed by the office. CA-01 is the first district House seat. CA-Sen covers both senate races. NY-GOV covers the New York governor's race.

Tags do not compound: that is, "education reform" is a completely different tag from "education". A tag like "reform" alone is probably not meaningful.

Consider if one or more of these tags fits your diary: Civil Rights, Community, Congress, Culture, Economy, Education, Elections, Energy, Environment, Health Care, International, Labor, Law, Media, Meta, National Security, Science, Transportation, or White House. If your diary is specific to a state, consider adding the state (California, Texas, etc). Keep in mind, though, that there are many wonderful and important diaries that don't fit in any of these tags. Don't worry if yours doesn't.

You can add a private note to this diary when hotlisting it:
Are you sure you want to remove this diary from your hotlist?
Are you sure you want to remove your recommendation? You can only recommend a diary once, so you will not be able to re-recommend it afterwards.
Rescue this diary, and add a note:
Are you sure you want to remove this diary from Rescue?
Choose where to republish this diary. The diary will be added to the queue for that group. Publish it from the queue to make it appear.

You must be a member of a group to use this feature.

Add a quick update to your diary without changing the diary itself:
Are you sure you want to remove this diary?
(The diary will be removed from the site and returned to your drafts for further editing.)
(The diary will be removed.)
Are you sure you want to save these changes to the published diary?

Comment Preferences

    •  Just wait until this starts getting repeated (14+ / 0-)

      across the nation. McDonald's has roughly half a million workers. That'd be 150 million in wage theft if we could get a similar verdict everywhere. And once McD's pays out other chains like BK, Taco Bell, etc. might have to cough up. This is a first step but it could be an amazing journey. And you can bet your bippy the Powers That Be will be fighting against it tooth and nail.

      Food processed to be nothing more than simple starches with two dozen flavorings and stabilizers added to make it appear to be food isn't "food". It's "feed" -- what you give to livestock to fatten them up for slaughter.

      by ontheleftcoast on Wed Mar 19, 2014 at 09:25:01 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  This settlement does not help those who lost wages (15+ / 0-)

      And hardly hurts the McDonald's franchise owners.

      We need BIGGER settlements to really drive the point home that you cannot steal earned pay from employees.

      •  Doesn't help the workers so much, but... (6+ / 0-)

        I can't help but wonder: what's the lawyers' cut of the $500K?

        •  Without the lawyers, these claims go nowhere (4+ / 0-)

          and they were almost certainly on contingent fee, investing a lot with a big risk of getting zero. So don't begrudge them pay for their work.

          This sets an important precedent, and hopefully the legal team will keep pressing all the fast food chains (and Wal-Mart) on these violations.

          •  The system is built to feed the lawyers, so yeah (0+ / 0-)

            Of course they are "necessary." Chicken or the egg.

            I distrust those people who know so well what God wants them to do, because I notice it always coincides with their own desires. - Susan B. Anthony

            by pajoly on Wed Mar 19, 2014 at 10:40:10 AM PDT

            [ Parent ]

            •  Don"t run down the lawyers (5+ / 0-)

              You can bet McDonald's has scads of highly overpaid lawyers defending them at every turn so please do not begrudge the workers lawyers to try to even the playing field a bit.  And likely those Mickey D lawyers spent a lot of useless time burying the other side in paperwork before settling.
              Yes the system may be built to "feed" lawyers but what other system would you suggest?  Pistols at 40 paces?

              •  Wow I must be tired. (1+ / 0-)
                Recommended by:
                tommymet

                Just noticed the number of grammatical mistakes I made in my post, but the sentiment remains.

                •  I should add that the intentional breaking of the (6+ / 0-)

                  law by business is simply a cost/benefit calculation, as few EVER face criminal prosecution. So they risk a minor civil penalty, but meanwhile have made scads of profits. So armies of lawyers exist on retention for the sole business of bullying the company's victims, essentially. The are but a minor entry in the company ledger.

                  For the public, the courts are a last resort, because we know to engage them is to risk bankruptcy and damage one's health due to the stress.

                  Remind me who the system serves as it is currently designed? It is a polite, if insistent question, by the way. I mean you no disrespect.

                  I distrust those people who know so well what God wants them to do, because I notice it always coincides with their own desires. - Susan B. Anthony

                  by pajoly on Wed Mar 19, 2014 at 11:01:08 AM PDT

                  [ Parent ]

                  •  The Law (2+ / 0-)
                    Recommended by:
                    wilywascal, raspberryberet

                    has always been a weapon for the powerful to wield against the powerless.  Once it begins to serve the interests of the poor and powerless, it must be changed.

                  •  Exactly! (1+ / 0-)
                    Recommended by:
                    Damaged262

                    "For the public, the courts are a last resort, because we know to engage them is to risk bankruptcy and damage one's health due to the stress."  I don't know how to shade this, so I'll just state that this is a quote from pajoly's comment.

                    Our son should file a lawsuit against the company that fired him for no legitimate reason but can't face the stress of lawyers, courtrooms, etc.  He basically has PTSD from working for this corp (corpse? because it had no soul) for 10 yrs and says two nightmares a week is all he can take. Adding a lawsuit would mean more nightmares.  Sad, but that's partly why corporations get away with abusing employees---that and "right to work" laws.

              •  There are good lawyers, many of them (1+ / 0-)
                Recommended by:
                No one gets out alive

                But the entire game is still a racket designed by them to enrich themselves first. That said, I know a great many jaded and public-serving attorneys...and they'd mostly agree with me. Our overlords employ the rest in droves to bleed us dry or otherwise intimidate us into silence. It is the rare few with either nothing to lose or a nuclear stomach who dare file suit against the giants.

                Yes, I am jaded.

                I distrust those people who know so well what God wants them to do, because I notice it always coincides with their own desires. - Susan B. Anthony

                by pajoly on Wed Mar 19, 2014 at 10:54:02 AM PDT

                [ Parent ]

              •  Actually... (3+ / 0-)
                Recommended by:
                Sparhawk, tommymet, MGross

                ...McDonald's, the company, probably spent virtually nothing on this case.

                Like about 80% of McDonald's stores, these were franchise stores. This case pertains to seven franchise stores owned by one owner -- Mr. Cisneros.

                Mr. Cisneros probably paid one or more lawyers to deal with this case of course.

                •  I know that. The scam of the franchise (2+ / 0-)
                  Recommended by:
                  JerryNA, mcstowy

                  All the risk downstream to the local small (compared to McD) franchise owners, but all the reward upstream. It's embedded basically into their contracts.

                  I distrust those people who know so well what God wants them to do, because I notice it always coincides with their own desires. - Susan B. Anthony

                  by pajoly on Wed Mar 19, 2014 at 12:13:37 PM PDT

                  [ Parent ]

              •  Pistols at 40 paces sounds good to me (1+ / 0-)
                Recommended by:
                Damaged262

                Each employee armed with a pistol on one side, each employer armed with a pistol on the other.  Now there's a real "level playing field".

          •  the workers will get very little (0+ / 0-)

            say the lawyers take a 1/3. that means each worker will get on average $200. I am sure they will take it but I bet it don't come near the amount they were actually screwed out of.

        •  The article implies... (3+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          JerryNA, mcstowy, raspberryberet

          ...that it all goes to affected workers in this case:

          The settlement money will go to more than 1,600 current and former McDonald's employees.
          and
          "[...]We have also agreed with the Attorney General to use the services of a third party administrator, who will help us ensure that current and former employees who are due money receive that money."
          This appears to have been the result of an action by the attorney general's office, not a civil suit with private plaintiff lawyers.

          The article does however mention that lawyers representing McDonald's workers in New York, California and Michigan have announced they are preparing lawsuits -- private lawyers will make money off of those.

      •  we need jail time. (9+ / 0-)

        isn't that the traditional punishment for theft?

        •  Right. (8+ / 0-)

          If the employees had taken money from the cash register  more than once or twice they'd serve some time. Why isn't this owner going to jail?

          •  Because it's not "theft" legally... (2+ / 0-)

            ...and perhaps because there's no law they broke that carries a criminal sentence.

            Use of the term "theft" in this case is little different than the "right to lifers" calling abortion "murder" - that doesn't make it "murder" in the eyes of the law.

            Also, this was a settlement not requiring a criminal trial -- sentencing someone to jail time requires a trial and a much higher standard of proof than required for civil liability.

            Get laws on the books that impose criminal sentences such as incarceration for violation of labor laws regarding overtime pay and then such sentences can be imposed.

            (Of course, if such laws were in place, shift supervisors, who are pretty low level employees, would probably also end up going to jail - as they normally participate in these conspiracies.)

            •  It's not a "theft" legally (3+ / 0-)

              because the Rule of Law does not exist in America.  The law is merely a weapon for the powerful to wield against the poor and powerless.  If it ever begins to appear that the powerful and the powerless will be treated equally under the law, the powerful will change it.  

            •  More like Embezzelment (1+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              enufenuf

              If you can embezzle a few dollars a day from a thousand poor working people it adds up. Just like embezzling a few thousand from a million homeowners adds up. Or like embezzling a few hundred apiece from millions of taxpayers to support Wall St Bankers in the style they have become accustomed to adds up. Modern Republican Economics in action. That & the two great engines of our new Millennial  Economy; Wage Slavery & Debt Slavery.

      •  Yup. it's 0.002% of their annual revenue (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        shoeless, hbk

        I'm thinking that ketchup packet theft probably is a bigger concern to them than this.

        •  It's doubtful... (3+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          mcstowy, Flying Goat, skybluewater

          ...that these seven franchises have an annual revenue, combined, of $25,000,000,000 (i.e. $500,000/0.00002).

          On the average, McDonalds brings in $2.6 million in sales per store so it's doubtful that this operator has figured out how to bring in over $3.5 billion per store in all of his seven stores as that would be almost 1400 times the average store revenue.

          McDonald's stores bring in more annual revenue than most other fast food franchises, although Chick-fil-A stores seem to best them at an average of over $3.1 million a year in revenues.

          •  That's probably a valid point (0+ / 0-)

            but raises the point of why internet sources (Wikipedia, for example) provide revenue figures for McDonalds in the $27 billion range, when that must be the aggregate of individual franchises.

            Nevertheless, there has to be closer integration than you suggest - for example, all the advertising, etc.  But no doubt the parent corporation has cleverly figured out how to cordon itself off from any legal difficulties its underlings might get themselves into.

    •  My thought exactly- (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      JerryNA

      Not exactly a golden parachute!  As a nation we really must do better for our workers.  Training and apprenticeships like they do in Germany, something that does a better job of leveling the playing field.

      UGH, TEXAS. Please secede!

      by u028021 on Wed Mar 19, 2014 at 10:31:16 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  Is that before or after the attorneys fees? (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      lunachickie

      ...but agreed, it is a start. Personally, I'd like the franchise owner to wake up to find a Ronald McDonald life-sized clown head in his bed.

      I distrust those people who know so well what God wants them to do, because I notice it always coincides with their own desires. - Susan B. Anthony

      by pajoly on Wed Mar 19, 2014 at 10:36:09 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  what??????? (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      mcstowy

      What some American workers are standing up to corp America?

      American individualism of survival of the fittest that even the religious folks have in their forget the Jesus thing paradigm paralysis will never let this happen nor will the supreme court or corrupt wash with lobbyists.

      Money is power and corp America owns Washington's corrupt politicians and the supreme court.

    •  How can you possibly (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      jnww

      criticize the amount in total ignorance of the facts? This could easily represent triple damages or something.

    •  Permanently on call (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Flying Goat

      I bet those workers go "permanently on call" - a practice being used more and more where an employee is not scheduled but on call 24-7 - especially in NY.

      My little nephew went through this type of minimum wage chicanery. They wouldn't give him scheduled hours but he had to jump when they said jump - even if it was only to come in for an hour to cover breaks.

      Strange but not a stranger.

      by jnww on Wed Mar 19, 2014 at 01:51:29 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  cab fare (0+ / 0-)

      that would about cover cab fare for a month?  I have no idea if, like WalMart workers, they would qualify for food stamps or other public assistance, but I am sure they feel just as f----d as WalMart workers.

  •  yeah, hardly making a difference, imo. (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Roadbed Guy, Words In Action

    Anyone endorsing war in the Ukraine should be flogged over the head with the fact that Iraq now approves child marriage. Full stop. Heckva job, Neocons.

    by blueoregon on Wed Mar 19, 2014 at 09:23:46 AM PDT

  •  I come across as conservative a lot on these... (12+ / 0-)

    ...issues.

    Employers have an absolute right to pay their employees minimum wage if they can find qualified employees willing to work for it.

    However, wage theft is illegal and beyond the pale and employers who engage in the practice should be charged criminally.

    I think employers of low-wage workers should be required to show a 15-minute state-produced training video once per year that describes permissible and impermissible employer actions and clearly spells out the employer's responsibilities. The video would be kind of a FAQ and would (I think) reduce instances of this kind of nonsense by 80%.

    There really is no excuse for employers being allowed to skate on their legal responsibilities to their employees.

    (-5.50,-6.67): Left Libertarian
    Leadership doesn't mean taking a straw poll and then just throwing up your hands. -Jyrinx

    by Sparhawk on Wed Mar 19, 2014 at 09:36:54 AM PDT

    •  Your video suggestion is a good one (7+ / 0-)

      Especially since it's the store managers who often take these actions, and they often don't know the legal limits themselves. All they know is that someone higher up the line is bitching at them about overtime expense, and also bitching at them about cleanliness at closing or opening; and they figure out a creative solution.

      “Texas is a so-called red state, but you’ve got 10 million Democrats here in Texas. And …, there are a whole lot of people here in Texas who need us, and who need us to fight for them.” President Obama

      by Catte Nappe on Wed Mar 19, 2014 at 09:44:48 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  Yes (5+ / 0-)

        I think people here think of wage theft as a kind of corporate conspiracy thing, but it isn't like that. It's a crime of fuzzy lines and individual opportunities here and there. No one bothers to read the posted wage laws, and even if they do, the employer is powerful enough that no one complains.

        However, almost any employer or supervisor is not going to do something that a state produced video just said is illegal. They just won't. And the hammer can come down on those who do.

        (-5.50,-6.67): Left Libertarian
        Leadership doesn't mean taking a straw poll and then just throwing up your hands. -Jyrinx

        by Sparhawk on Wed Mar 19, 2014 at 09:52:03 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

      •  More likely comes from higher up (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        mcstowy

        I doubt every store manager thought this stuff up on his/her own. My guess is that if you had the PowerPoints from the franchise training sessions, there would be at least wink-wink-nod-nod suggestions on how to keep labor costs down.

        The fact that the parent corporation is willing to kick in this kind of money indicates to me that they knew they were at risk of getting hammered -- that the "Chinese wall" separating the franchises from the parent was not going to hold, and that there would likely be evidence of misconduct at the corporate level.

        If it's a rogue franchise-holder, then you'd expect to see the parent refuse to budge, and possibly terminate the franchise agreement for illegal activity.

        •  This settlement is NOT being paid by corporate. (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          Sparhawk

          It's being paid by the owner of the seven franchises as his businesses are responsible for the violations of the labor laws.

          Please read the article.

          •  I would put my money on his insurance company (0+ / 0-)

            picking up the tab.

            New Republic: So are the left-wing blogs as bad as the Tea Party ones in this case? -------------------------Chuck Schumer: Left-wing blogs are the mirror image. They just have less credibility and less clout.

            by AlexDrew on Wed Mar 19, 2014 at 02:28:27 PM PDT

            [ Parent ]

            •  I'd be surprised... (0+ / 0-)

              ...at that as I've never heard of an insurance policy that covers back wages that an employer failed to pay to an employee. I don't see what "insured loss" there would be here. But, I'm sure there are many types of insurance I've never heard of!

      •  Catte Nappe: when it happened to me, (4+ / 0-)

        in the 1980s in Denver City Texas, the store manager damned well did know she was violating the FLSA. She just didn't care. Her attitude was she could replace everybody in her store off the street. My first civilian job in my field was working for a newspaper "managing editor" who frequently elucidated exactly that policy about workers' rights. We lived and worked in a "right to work" state during Reagan's first term when all this happened. It's not better now.

        LBJ, Van Cliburn, Ike, Wendy Davis, Lady Bird, Ann Richards, Barbara Jordan, Molly Ivins, Sully Sullenburger, Drew Brees: Texas is NO Bush League!

        by BlackSheep1 on Wed Mar 19, 2014 at 10:35:29 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

    •  Yes. Criminal charges. (NT) (4+ / 0-)

      ". . .as singularly embarrassing a public address as any allegedly sentient primate ever has delivered." - Charles P. Pierce

      by Rikon Snow on Wed Mar 19, 2014 at 09:59:02 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  They may have a right to pay minimum wage, (6+ / 0-)

      but non-living wages, especially minimum wages, are essentially modern slavery. Instead of providing miserable room and board and no payment, it provides payment for miserable room and board. Both are immoral and no way to organize an economy.

      Trust, but verify. - Reagan
      Vote, but Occupy. - commonmass

      When the rich have tripled their share of the income and wealth yet again, Republicans will still blame the poor and 3rd Way Democrats will still negotiate.

      by Words In Action on Wed Mar 19, 2014 at 10:12:19 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  There's really no excuse for a great many things (8+ / 0-)

      "job creators" do, like
      1. Stealing your time because you're working off the clock.
      2. Stealing your wages by forcing you to pay for your own uniforms and/or their upkeep.
      3. Stealing your opportunity by making you be "always available" even if your on-the-clock hours are deliberately kept below 37.5 hours a week. (Who needs to be on call for Wal-Mart, or a fast-food emporium? Why, everybody working there!)
      4. Hiring "illegal" aliens (undocumented workers) and promising to pay cash "under the table".
      5. Calling in ICE raids on those workers' quarters right before payday.
      6. Stealing from taxpayers by refusing to cover workers' health insurance.
      7. Stealing from taxpayers by demanding tax breaks to come into or stay located near a community.
      8. Stealing from our society by driving small local businesses out of business with artificially lowered (temporarily) prices.
      9. Stealing from our national resources by demanding exemptions from clean water / drainage / sewage control ordinances.
      10. Stealing from us all by sending manufacturing jobs overseas (away from those darn unions!) where, to cover the cost of shipping materials out and consumer items back despite the below-starvation wages paid the workiers, the "job creators" demand cheaper supplies -- and put out crappier stuff.

      LBJ, Van Cliburn, Ike, Wendy Davis, Lady Bird, Ann Richards, Barbara Jordan, Molly Ivins, Sully Sullenburger, Drew Brees: Texas is NO Bush League!

      by BlackSheep1 on Wed Mar 19, 2014 at 10:32:43 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  I agree with Sparhawk's specific comment, above. (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        BlackSheep1

        That said, Sparhawk and other gLibertarians have made statements saying they are just fine with many items on your list (2,3,4,6,7,8,9,10), if they are a part of a contract that you "willingly" "negotiate" and sign with your megacorp employer. It is a part of gLibertarian religious belief that individual humans and multibillion dollar corporations have equal power, and government should exist mainly to enforce contract law.

        •  unless the corporation tosses the contract (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          JerryNA

          in its favor, then you're SOL, according to ... well, damn near everybody, seems like.

          LBJ, Van Cliburn, Ike, Wendy Davis, Lady Bird, Ann Richards, Barbara Jordan, Molly Ivins, Sully Sullenburger, Drew Brees: Texas is NO Bush League!

          by BlackSheep1 on Wed Mar 19, 2014 at 01:57:26 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

  •  Oh wow, big money. (not) (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Roadbed Guy
  •  Fine print (6+ / 0-)

    The bad news is the settlement is payable entirely in McNuggets.

    If I wanted to read how much Obama sucks, I'd be on RedState, not DailyKos.
    --@jameskass

    by ThatsNotFunny on Wed Mar 19, 2014 at 09:50:29 AM PDT

  •  An anti-wage theft bill (6+ / 0-)

    passed the Iowa Senate on a straight party-line vote. It is being blocked from consideration in the Republican-controlled House. Republicans think wage theft is OK.

    •  Hell, (5+ / 0-)

      many of them still think slavery was a good deal for the slaves.

      Trust, but verify. - Reagan
      Vote, but Occupy. - commonmass

      When the rich have tripled their share of the income and wealth yet again, Republicans will still blame the poor and 3rd Way Democrats will still negotiate.

      by Words In Action on Wed Mar 19, 2014 at 10:12:59 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  Yeah, the Myth of the Happy Slave. (5+ / 0-)

        Hey, they're singing. They must be happy.

        My family is of European ancestry, mostly arriving between the world wars. Yet, when I hear or read someone spouting the myth of the happy slave, I want to take a train and a taxi and slap them up the side of their heads. Send 'em six feet sideways, as my dad puts it.

        The only thing sillier than the idea is their belief in it.

        "Non-violence is a powerful and just weapon which cuts without wounding and ennobles the man who wields it. It is a sword that heals." - Martin Luther King, Jr.

        by Gentle Giant on Wed Mar 19, 2014 at 10:19:08 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

      •  Wage theft is arguably related to slavery. (3+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        mcstowy, cocinero, raspberryberet

        It is, after all, making someone work for no pay. Not as bad as slavery, of course, but related.

        •  Not just wage theft (0+ / 0-)

          but wage work is related to slavery. It was widely referred to as "wage slavery" by working people here in the US (as elsewhere) in the mid- to late-19th century. Why? Because as a wage-worker, you do not own or control any productive property. Unlike an independent artisan or farmer, a wage worker relies on someone else to provide (through wages) the basic necessities of life: food, shelter, clothing.  In the liberal (Lockean) political discourse of the 18th and early 19th century, such a person was routinely denied the right to vote, because such a person was considered not truly free in mind or body: liberty is predicated on economic independence.

  •  There's Certainly More (5+ / 0-)

    Two of my kids have worked in restaurants and it's not pretty. In general, tips are the property of management - legally in Ontario. When customers tip via credit card, tips are paid out the next week and are split - often with managers and owners. Waiters/waitresses usually 'tip-pool' by donating 4 or 5% of the total bill, ostensibly to include the cooks and dishwashers. If there's no tip, they still have to pony up the tip-pool amount. If a bill is $200 and there is no tip, the waiter still has to contribute $10 to the tip-pool - more than they made that hour. If a credit card is declined or a stop is successfully put on a payment, the waiter has to make good for it.

    Canada - where a pack of smokes is ten bucks and a heart transplant is free.

    by dpc on Wed Mar 19, 2014 at 10:03:55 AM PDT

    •  Because (3+ / 0-)

      it's the wait staff's fault the customer's payment fell through?!? They should have run a credit check?!?
      Christ on a pogostick, that is lunacy!
      So management owns the monetary expression the customer pays the server, but shares no pain if the customer stiffs?!?
      All three of my siblings worked in restaurants at one time in their youth. I only worked in one pizza joint for a few weeks under the table between my full time work and my entry into the Navy. The owner was an alcoholic whose estranged wife used to come in regularly and all but empty the cash register to go out partying with her friends. I was supposed to take my wages out of the drawer at the end of each shift. Often, there wasn't enough there.

      He didn't know it, but most of the time, he paid me in beer. And I only took what was coming to me.

      Food service sucks, but I didn't imagine it was the same or worse in Canada. Now I wonder if it's the same on other continents.

      "Non-violence is a powerful and just weapon which cuts without wounding and ennobles the man who wields it. It is a sword that heals." - Martin Luther King, Jr.

      by Gentle Giant on Wed Mar 19, 2014 at 10:27:55 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  Does the employee have to... (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      JerryNA

      ..."make good" on the entire bill in the credit card charge back case or just give back the tip amount that they received but that got "charged back"?

      The former seems ridiculous (assuming the employee followed the rules for verifying the card), the latter seems reasonable in a simple "tip" scenario (though the convoluted tip scheme described muddies the water a lot).

  •  Good point, but the wages themselves are (4+ / 0-)

    theft, if not slavery, even when they are paid. It's exploitation, human trafficking any way you look at it.

    Good on those who are fighting back, and those helping.

    Trust, but verify. - Reagan
    Vote, but Occupy. - commonmass

    When the rich have tripled their share of the income and wealth yet again, Republicans will still blame the poor and 3rd Way Democrats will still negotiate.

    by Words In Action on Wed Mar 19, 2014 at 10:09:42 AM PDT

    •  I think you can spread the idea of (6+ / 0-)

      low wages being tantamount to theft to the full spectrum of wage suppression artificially created and foisted on the working class for the last few decades. We've been cheated. And "free trade agreements" have enabled that cheating.

      There's going to be a serious societal upheaval before this is over. A handful of economic elitists have been gleefully screwing tens of millions of workers for many years. As they continue to increase the practice, they call attention to it. Sooner or later, it will turn and bite them, perhaps fatally (economically speaking).

      "Non-violence is a powerful and just weapon which cuts without wounding and ennobles the man who wields it. It is a sword that heals." - Martin Luther King, Jr.

      by Gentle Giant on Wed Mar 19, 2014 at 10:32:31 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  Seems like a very modest settlement.Perhaps better (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    GrindtheHills, Gentle Giant

    than the NC swindle of suits of Duke Energy.

  •  McDonald Settlement (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    No one gets out alive

    Ya' think McDonalds ripped off these 1,600 workers for way more than $312. apiece? (Before the lawyers get their cut!) I'm bone tired of these giant corporations breaking the law,  settling for a pittance, and always escaping all labor sanctions, huge fines, and public censure....  

    •  McDonalds... (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      MGross, Sparhawk

      ...didn't break the law or rip anyone off here -- the franchise owner did (and is paying the settlement). It's little different than if he had his own chain of seven burger joints.

      Yes, he may be incorporated, but I doubt it's a giant corporation.

      I believe that about ninety percent of the McDonald's stores in the United States are not owned by the "giant corporation", but are instead owned and operated by independent businesspeople.

      I've seen no evidence that corporate McDonald's was aware of this franchise owner's behavior, encouraged it, participated in it, or condoned it.

      •  Yes, and you could say the same thing about the (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        JerryNA

        Sony rootkit.  After all it was Sony Music that developed it and put it on their music CDs, the other Sony companies such as the ones who make TVs and PS3s had nothing to do with it.

        You have watched Faux News, now lose 2d10 SAN.

        by Throw The Bums Out on Wed Mar 19, 2014 at 01:31:48 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

      •  This is hardly the only McD's location to do this, (0+ / 0-)

        nor is McD's the only multinational company to follow these practices. While it would be exceedingly difficult to prove collusion, these abusive illegal behaviors towards workers are common practice across many companies. That's more than likely not a coincidence.

        •  One useful data point... (0+ / 0-)

          ...would be if the approximately (as I understand it) 10% of the McDonald's stores in the United States that are company owned are more, or less, likely to engage in these illegal activities.

          I agree this is a widespread problem. I would like to see corporate provide stronger disincentives for such behavior - such as putting in the franchise contract (if allowed by state/federal laws) clauses that would allow corporate to take the franchise and the business and real estate/lease over with less than market compensation if such behavior is proven. Also, send in "secret workers" occasionally just as they send in "secret shoppers" as well as providing a completely confidential method for employees to report such behavior to corporate.

  •  JAIL. RICO. GUILTY. (0+ / 0-)

    So, have the wealthy bought their way out of jail again?

    These people conspired to steal from hundreds of people over an extended period of time.

    JAIL.

    Same as the rest of us peons.

    Has justice become a 'DIY' operation?

    They should pray it doesn't become so.

    Ready the tumbrils!


    The Fail will continue until actual torches and pitchforks are set in motion. - Pangolin@kunstler.com

    by No one gets out alive on Wed Mar 19, 2014 at 12:18:13 PM PDT

  •  Expect Repugnicants... (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    JerryNA, raspberryberet

    to propose legislation eliminating this "loophole" that workers are using to "cheat" their hard-working employers out of money for "non-productive" time.  and they'll probably tie it to some other package the Dems really want.

    just like when it was discovered a large number of enlisted military service members were on food stamps, they proposed changing the rules specifically so military service members would not qualify for SNAP regardless of their income level.

  •  isn't it amazing (0+ / 0-)

    the length we have to go to in society to reign in unethical behavior. this is a win win for labor.

  •  This happened to me, and my mom at the first (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    raspberryberet

    restaurant that I ever worked at when I was in high school. The restaurant required that its staff come in an hour early without pay to do their side work, they got busted, but according to law they could were only responsible for the prior 3 years. The restaurant was also requiring the staff to buy their own uniform which is against the law, they can only require you to buy a uniform if it is something you can wear out in public, like white shirt and black pants. Mom got about a thousand dollars in back pay, and this was in the mid 1970's, and a local restaurant not a chain, so I am surprise McDonald got busted for this.

  •  McDonalds (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    raspberryberet

    If they're settling for $500,000 this quickly, they must have stolen a lot more and gotten a clause in the agreement barring any further claims. That's how the corpratocracy rolls

  •  something is really wrong (0+ / 0-)

    when years of wage theft of 1600 people only adds up to $500,000 dollars.

    New Plan: Obamacare Old Plan: Nobodycares

    by groupw on Wed Mar 19, 2014 at 07:12:02 PM PDT

  •  God bless Eric Schneiderman! (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    raspberryberet

    My former New York State senator, he's shaping up to be a mighty fine state Attorney General - and a worthy successor to Elliott Spitzer!

    Still, an average settlement of only $312.50 per person is a mere drop in the bucket.  Here's hoping it sets a big ass precedent that will grab the entire McDonald's Corporation by the you-know-what!

    All that is necessary for the triumph of the Right is that progressives do nothing.

    by Mystic Michael on Wed Mar 19, 2014 at 11:42:01 PM PDT

  •  Tip jar (0+ / 0-)

    What is the tip jar thing that begins every comment section?

  •  Can this be appealed ... (0+ / 0-)

    or is this the final verdict?  I suspect this fight isn't over.

  •  A good business to boycott (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    raspberryberet

    When you make a purchase at one of these places you need to be certain you are not engaging with the employer in the oppression of the worker.

    So if you are a goodhearted soul you will not frequent an establishment which engages in stealing wages from the employee.

    Not taking your kids to exploit the poor working class is a place to start.  It is a good way to teach your child social justice and explain to him or her how oppression takes place.  

    This is fertile ground to plant some good seed in a young mind.

    Next time your kid says: "I want to go to McDonalds" is a good time to sit down and tell him or her why you will not  take him or her there.  

    Stealing a persons wages is about as low as an employer can go.  The next step down is slavery, which for the time being is illegal.

    "I saw the best minds of my generation destroyed by madness," Allen Ginsberg

    by Hermenutic on Thu Mar 20, 2014 at 12:03:12 PM PDT

  •  Doesn't that amount to felony theft... (0+ / 0-)
  •  So what about prison time? (0+ / 0-)

    Since corporations are people, where is Ronald McDonald going to do time, and how many years will he serve?

  •  You haven't worked in New York until (0+ / 0-)

    you've been wage robbed.  Trust me, it's not an NYC exclusive.  God forbid you get hired in any kind of management position.  I was working 80-90 hours a week, even though I was specifically hired at $11 an hour and only grossed $440 per week AFTER the fact I'd left my previous job.  I was told $11 per hour to steal me away for a job paying $9.75 plus overtime of which I'd been working plenty (near Buffalo, it was a nearly livable wage at the time and a nice wage with massive overtime).  So, after a few paychecks and the owner explicitly saying I'd be making $11 per, he then tells me it was salary.  I took it to the labor board who straight up said, "Too bad, you're a manager" even though I'd left a management job that paid me overtime.  It's all fair, it'll trickle down to me eventually.  Thanks Ronny, you senile prick, I'm almost glad you died senile, it's almost like you died alone.  That seems kinda fair.

    I'm damaged and I like it, it made me what I am! BTW, my avatar is as stollen as my father's retirement fund, the old man died almost penniless. Bankers don't go to prison for breaking our laws, they buy bigger yachts.

    by Damaged262 on Thu Mar 20, 2014 at 10:51:35 PM PDT

  •  No one (0+ / 0-)

    will go to jail.

Subscribe or Donate to support Daily Kos.

Click here for the mobile view of the site