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.
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
from Schneiderman's office, 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.
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.
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.
"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.”
Whilst empathising with these NYC fast food workers being robbed by their employers, SOYMB recognises this as just another manifestation of the problems with wage slavery. Capitalism's raison d'etre is accumulation by any means and this includes exploitation of all workers. The only solution for all workers, whatever their work, wherever they are, is the abolition of the wages system.