Traverse City Record-Eagle

Michigan

March 19, 2014

Protest held at site of suit against McDonald's

DETROIT (AP) — A Ronald McDonald look-alike and a prison-garbed masked man, both holding money bags, joined a crowd of protesters Tuesday outside a McDonald’s restaurant in Detroit where workers say they were shorted on their pay.

The morning event was part of an effort in 33 U.S. cities to spotlight what organizers say are practices that deprive fast-food workers of their wages. The protest grows out of an ongoing campaign to raise wages to $15 an hour and promote the rights of low-wage workers.

The site in Detroit’s Midtown area is one of several McDonald’s outlets being sued on accusations that they failed to pay employees for all their hours worked, said protest spokeswoman Darci McConnell. She said the protest by several hundred people lasted about 45 minutes and concluded with a march that briefly closed the restaurant’s drive-up lanes.

McDonald’s Corp. said in a statement Tuesday that its restaurants remained open “today — and every day — thanks to the teams of dedicated employees serving our customers.”

Attorneys sued Oak Brook, Ill.-based McDonald’s Corp. and some of its franchise-holders last week in Michigan, California and New York. Two suits were filed in U.S. District Court in Detroit on behalf of eight Detroit-area workers.

“Taken together, these lawsuits argue that McDonald’s Corp. and the franchisees are both responsible for wage theft that occurs at franchise restaurants because of the control the corporation exerts over daily operations at the franchise locations,” McConnell said Tuesday in a statement.

Among the participants in the Detroit campaign was Darrien Walker, 21, who works at another McDonald’s outlet in the city.

“The lawsuit is because we work off the clock and don’t get paid, sometimes we don’t get breaks,” said Walker. “This is all part of an effort to focus on the horrible treatment of workers.”

McDonald’s, which has more than 14,000 U.S. locations, has said it will investigate the allegations and take any necessary action.

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