Fast-Food Companies Slow to Change

Hundreds of low-wage workers at fast-food chains, such as McDonald’s and Domino’s, protested in the streets of New York and several major cities, beginning a week of demonstrations demanding the right to unionize and pressing for a pay raise to $15 per hour – double the federal minimum wage. These protests are a continuation of demonstrations that began this Spring.

Fast-food workers in New York City earn an average salary of $11,000 annually. The result is that employees’ salaries cover only 25 percent of their living expenses, according to the group’s website. In comparison, McDonald’s CEO James A. Skinner earns $20.71 million annual salary, which is nearly double the average McDonald’s employees yearly salary.

Employment Policies Institute (EPI) ran an ad responding to the workers’ demands, which said that raising their wages to $15 an hour would hurt restaurant operators. Michael Saltsman, EPI’s research director, said that fast food companies would “replace employees with less-costly, automated alternatives like touch-screen ordering and payment devices.” The ad featured an tablet dressed in a fast feed uniform in an “employee of the month” photo. Restaurant owners already are testing automated ordering and payments systems to save money.

In addition to minim wage, fast food employees deal with disrespect and mistreatment from their supervisors. Former McDonald’s employee Daniella Robles said, “I was really exploited. I never had any scheduling rights. They would schedule me for a certain time, but then I’d work overtime. I’d work overtime and then not get paid for it. I was constantly disrespected. I was sexually harassed a couple times, and when I reported it nothing was done. I had wages stolen from me and there was no way to prove it.”

At the Harman Firm, we believe in higher wages and holding employers accountable that are not paying their employees in compliance with the law. If you have face any employment related discrimination or have questions about the Fair Labor Standards Act, overtime laws, or other employment-related legal matters, contact us today.