End McDonald’s Labor Rights Abuses


Target: Richard Floersch, Executive Vice President and Chief Human Resources Officer at McDonald’s

Goal: Demand that McDonald’s crack down on alleged wage theft at both its corporate and franchise stores

Labor rights pioneers struggled, and in some cases gave their lives, to ensure that American workers would receive breaks during shifts and fair compensation for all work performed. Yet more than 30,000 McDonald’s workers across three states are accusing their employer of disregarding these fundamental rights.

The employees have banded together to file numerous lawsuits against the company. Among the accusations are that corporate and franchise store owners refused to pay overtime, denied required meal and rest breaks, demanded that employees work off the clock, and even went so far as to erase worked hours from employees’ time cards in order to minimize pay and maximize profits.

McDonald’s has argued in the past that because it is not a joint employer it should not be held responsible for any lawbreaking at its franchise locations. Abuses by individual store owners not only tarnish the company’s reputation, but also push workers’ pay below the legal minimum wage. Demand that the company address labor rights violations at all its locations, regardless of ownership, and commit to following the letter of the law in compensating its employees.


Dear Mr. Floersch,

All workers are guaranteed the right to appropriate meal and rest breaks, overtime pay, and compensation for all work performed. But according to lawsuits filed by more than 30,000 McDonald’s employees, both McDonald’s company-owned and franchise locations have regularly violated these crucial labor laws.

Your company provides software to its franchise owners encouraging them to reduce staffing when sales are slow. When this translates into requiring that workers hang around unpaid for hours after reporting for their shifts, however, such penny-pinching cannot be tolerated. Other owners are accused of tampering with employees’ time cards and deleting hours already worked. Joseph Sellers, one of the attorneys representing former and current McDonald’s employees in the lawsuits, put it plainly: “Our clients are among the most economically vulnerable in our society, and they work for a company that generated more than $28 billion in revenue last year and earned more than $5 billion in profits.”

There is no excuse for flagrant labor abuses. In the past, McDonald’s has dismissed other issues at franchise locations and insisted that the company is not responsible for potential violations there. I must insist that your company commit to ending any and all labor abuses at McDonald’s stores, regardless of ownership. Not only are such violations illegal, but they continue to tarnish your brand and promote the idea that McDonald’s cares more about profits than it does about people.


[Your Name Here]

Photo credit: Brybry26 via Wikimedia

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