Friday, March 28, 2014

152.5 - Update: fighting wage theft

Update: fighting wage theft

Just before we go to break, a quick update.

Last week, I spoke about low-wage workers opening a new front in their fight for a living wage, that of filing suits against McDonald's and a number of its franchisees, charging them with wage theft - that is, of not paying people money or giving them benefits which they've rightfully earned.

Well, this week I can report there has already been some progress on the issue. Although not directly related to those suits, the progress is related to the fight against wage theft.

Seven McDonald’s franchises in New York City, all owned by a single person, will pay nearly $500,000 to employees who were victims of wage theft. More than 1,600 current and former employees will receive payments. The settlement was reached by state Attorney General Eric Schneiderman.

This comes six weeks after the Legal Aid Society won a three-year legal battle against a Domino’s franchisee, also in New York City, over charges of wage theft resulting in a nearly $1.3 million settlement for the workers involved.

Meanwhile, New York City Public Advocate Letitia James has announced proposals to crack down on wage theft in the fast food industry in the city.

Admittedly, this is all happening in New York City. But even so, these events are helping to bring to light the fact that wage theft has become almost a normal feature of too many low-wage workers' lives and too many low-wage industries, not just fast food. It's a small start - but it's a start.


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