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"Domino's Pizza Owners Admit to Widespread Wage Theft: Owners of 23 outlets settle with workers for half a million dollars following waves of fast food workers' strikes, protests, and court battles"
2014-03-28 by Sarah Lazare from "Common Dreams" [http://www.commondreams.org/headline/2014/03/28-2]:
The owners of 23 Domino's Pizza outlets in New York admitted to rampant theft of workers' wages and agreed Thursday to a nearly half a million dollar settlement with hundreds of employees for numerous labor violations.
"Fast food corporations like Domino’s and McDonald’s cannot hide from their responsibility for these unlawful practices," said Naquasia LeGrand, a Brooklyn KFC employee and member Fast Forward. "They’re the ones in control of the daily operations of their franchisees."
The settlement was the result of an investigation by State Attorney General Eric Schneiderman into allegations of wage theft. According to a press release from Schneiderman's office [http://www.ag.ny.gov/press-release/ag-schneiderman-announces-labor-settlements-23-dominos-restaurants-eight-new-york], between and 2013, the owners admitted to numerous violations, including: paying below minimum wage, refusing or underpaying overtime pay, and refusing to adequately compensate delivery drivers for their car expenses.
Multiple, nation-wide waves of fast food worker strikes and protests have forced into the national discourse problems of pay theft, "starvation wages," and poor working conditions that are rampant in the fast food industry [http://www.salon.com/2013/09/11/fast_food_restaurants_dont_need_to_pay_starvation_wages/].
According to a poll conducted last year by Anzalone Liszt Grove, 84 percent of current or recent New York City fast food workers say they have suffered some form of wage theft. According to the survey, African-American "report wage and hour violations at a higher rate."
In addition to the financial component, Thursday's agreement settlement also requires that franchisees put in place "complaint procedures, provide bilingual written handbooks to employees, train supervisors on the labor law, post a statement of employees’ rights, and designate an officer to submit quarterly reports to the Attorney General's Office regarding ongoing compliance for two to three years," according to Schneiderman's office. The "most egregious" workers' rights offenders will be required to hire independent auditors.
The agreement follows a similar settlement last month with a Domino's Franchisee in New York agreed to a $1.28 million dollar settlement for withholding pay, stealing tips, and denying lunch breaks. Last week, seven McDonald’s franchises in New York City reached a $500,000 settlement on similar charges of wage theft [http://thinkprogress.org/economy/2014/02/03/3238331/dominos-wages-settlement/]. Meanwhile, several lawsuits across three states that could involve up to 30,000 workers are taking on McDonald's franchises and owners for wage theft [http://www.commondreams.org/headline/2014/03/14-2].
"They’re the ones in control of the daily operations of their franchisees, and that’s why over 80% of NYC fast food workers report they’ve been victims of wage theft," said LeGrand. "That’s why we’re not stopping: we will continue holding these corporations accountable.”