Fast-Food Workers In San Diego Protest Alleged Unfair Wage Practices
Tuesday, March 18, 2014
Several class action lawsuits were filed last week against McDonald's over worker pay, claiming the world’s largest chain of fast food restaurants is deliberately stealing employee's income.
“Retaliation and the fear of being fired keeps a great deal, if not the majority of people from not reporting,” Alor Calderon with the Employee Rights Center in San Diego said.
Calderon was joined by about 20 other people some holding signs claiming McDonald's is crossing the line when it comes to paying its workers fairly, from forcing them to work off the clock to shaving hours off their time cards and not paying overtime.
“Sometimes also when we're done with work they say you're not done doing your job you have to finish doing it and that's also off the clock, so its another type of wage theft,” fast-food worker Raquel Neri said via an interpreter.
In a statement sent to KPBS, McDonald’s said:
“McDonald’s and our independent owner-operators share a concern and commitment to the well-being and fair treatment of all people who work in McDonald’s restaurants. We are currently reviewing the allegations in the lawsuits. McDonald’s and our independent owner-operators are each committed to undertaking a comprehensive investigation of the allegations and will take any necessary actions as they apply to our respective organizations.”
The suits were filed in California, Michigan and New York. A study from the San Diego Center on Policy initiatives says the average fast food worker in San Diego earns about $300 a week.
“Our most recent study found over half of employees in the restaurant industry don't have enough income to support their families full needs,” Peter Brownell with CPI said, adding many workers have to rely on public assistance to help make ends meet.
Brownell said the fast food industry is one of the fastest growing since the recession ended with McDonald's earning nearly $5.6 billion in profit last year.