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New formed union wants to represent fast food workers

05.26.14

APRIL 2014, Scranton/Wilkes-Barre/Hazleton Edition of The Union News

New formed union wants to represent fast food workers

BY PAUL TUCKER
THEUNIONNEWSSWB@AOL.COM

REGION, April 2nd- The Service Employees International Union (SEIU) is supporting a national campaign, “Fast Food Forward,” which includes protesting at McDonalds Restaurants across the nation, including in Pennsylvania, and requesting the company pay their workers a living-wage. Also in Pennsylvania the event is being used to push for a minimum wage increase.

Currently, the Pennsylvania minimum wage is the same as the federal wage at $7.25 an hour, despite New York and New Jersey having a higher wage than the federal bench-mark.

The newspaper is not aware of any event that has taken place in Northeastern Pennsylvania regarding the McDonalds rally. However, the labor community in and around Philadelphia have particiapted in several McDonald Restraurants rally’s.

A new union has emerged that wants to represent fast food workers employed at McDonalds, that historically pays their workers the minimum wage or slightly more. The New York based union is called the “Fast Food Workers Committee.” The labor organization filed with the United States Department of Labor (DOL) in February.

The Fast Food Workers Committee comes to existence after several media reports indicated that McDonalds franchise owners have violated provisions of the Federal Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSAct) or have paid their workers through debit cards, which required the employees pay bank penalties for transactions.

In February, the DOL announced that former McDonald’s franchisee Cheung Enterprises LLC, based in Middletown, Pennsylvania, agreed to pay more than $205,900 in back wages and liquidated damages to 291 employees. An investigation by the DOL’s Wage and Hour Division found that the company violated the minimum wage and overtime provisions of FLSAct at the company’s six locations in central Pennsylvania.

Investigators from the Wilkes-Barre Office found Cheung Enterprises made improper deductions from employee paychecks, bringing the rate of pay for some employees below the federal minimum wage. Also the company was found to have failed to pay student workers properly.

In addition to paying back wages and liquidated damages, the company will pay a $5,000 civil money penalty for the willful nature of the FLSAct violations.