Delaware fast-food workers protest against wage theft [video]

Fast-food workers in Wilmington are adding a new issue in their fight for increased wages.

On Thursday, fast-food workers protested against illegal wage theft outside of a corporate-owned McDonald’s restaurant on 4th Street in Wilmington. The protest came after a national poll conducted by Hart Research indicated that the fast-food industry is stealing money from 89 percent of their employees.

While more than a thousand fast-food workers in the nation’s largest metropolitan areas were polled by Hart Research, the issue also impacts workers in Delaware.

“I am often asked to work before I am clocked in,” said Dre Bonificiao Vaughn, a local KFC employee.

‘I work hard and deserve to be paid’

Since Nov. 2012, fast-food workers have campaigned for $15 an hour pay and for the right to form a union. Last month, several class-action lawsuits were filed alleging that McDonald’s is stealing from employees by forcing them to work off the clock.

“This rampant wage theft is a direct result of the way McDonald’s and other fast-food companies operate their businesses,” said Darlene Battle, Executive Director of the Delaware Alliance of Community Advancement.

To symbolize their frustrations, protesters staged the mock arrest of a Ronald McDonald look-alike on Thursday.

They also said that executives should be held accountable for their actions.

“I work hard and deserve to be paid for the hours that I work,” Vaughn said,

In response to the protest and concerns from local workers, McDonald’s released this statement:

“McDonald’s and our independent owner-operators share a concern and commitment to the well-being and fair treatment of all people who work in McDonald’s restaurants. Whether employed by McDonald’s or by our independent owner-operators, employees should be paid correctly. 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. We trust that our independent owner-operators do the same.” – McDonald’s USA.

Fast-food workers are beginning to receive support from local government: New Castle County recently passed a resolution in support of local fast-food workers who are working toward better wages and a union.

Wilmington City Council members Sherry Dorsey Walker and Darius Brown said that they also plan to introduce a resolution to combat wage theft.

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