A group of protesters marched today into a McDonald’s in South Los Angeles over allegations of wage theft in the fast food industry, with one employee walking up to his manager to demand justice for himself and all fast food workers.
“The importance is to let make management know and corporations like McDonald’s know that we will not stand for their injustices,” Jose Paz, who works at the McDonald’s where the protest took place this morning at 1071 W. Martin Luther King Blvd.
Paz and some of his co-workers told reporters he was forced to work off the clock. The protest comes on the heels of the release of a national poll of fast- food workers that found that 89 percent of employees surveyed at companies like McDonald’s reported having wages stolen from them. McDonald’s, which employs about 750,000 people, said in a statement to the Los Angeles Times that the survey was small and based on random informal sampling.
“When McDonald’s learns of pay concerns in restaurants which we own and operate, we review the concerns and take appropriate action to resolve them,” the McDonald’s statement said. “We trust that our independent owner- operators do the same.”
The survey’s participants reported they had been denied breaks and overtime pay or put in extra work without pay, according to Hart Research, which conducted the research for the Low Pay Is Not OK campaign. Those who took the survey live around the country, including in Los Angeles, New York City, Chicago, Dallas, Atlanta and Boston. Xiomara Corpeno, director of the Coalition for Humane Immigrant Rights of Los Angeles, said marching into the McDonald’s with a worker at her side was powerful to witness.
“Just feeling his nervousness, but also his bravery of saying directly to his manager ‘Hey, I’m being disrespected,’ was a really powerful moment to witness,” Corpeno said. She said CHIRLA supports the movement to raise the minimum wage to $15 an hour for fast food workers.