Following a national day of protest by McDonald's employees, the state of New York has reached an agreement with the owner of seven McDonald's franchises. According to Eric T. Schneiderman, state Attorney General, owner Richard Cisneros, will pay out almost $500,000 to the more than 1,600 former and current who accused his restaurants of wage theft. The Huffington Post reports: "Like every other business in New York State, fast food employers must follow our labor laws,” Schneiderman said in a statement. “Our lowest wage workers deserve the same protections of the law as everyone else. It’s critical, for them and for their families as well as for our economy, that we remain vigilant so that no New Yorkers are cheated out of their hard won earnings." In an email through a spokesman, Cisneros said his restaurants were now in compliance with all regulations. "I value my employees –-and it is important to me that they be paid correctly," Cisneros said. "So I am pleased to have reached a settlement with the New York State Attorney General to correct mistakes my organization made in this area. We have also agreed with the Attorney General to use the services of a third party administrator, who will help us ensure that current and former employees who are due money receive that money." None of the restaurants were operated directly by McDonald's, which franchises the majority of its locations. This settlement comes amid New York’s increasing efforts to tackle wage theft claims. Recently, Schneiderman’s office announced a $3.9 million settlement with a number of car wash chains in New York accused of labor abuses. He has also asked McDonald’s workers in the state to complete a “fast-food worker complaint form” describing their pay and scheduling practices.
Ana Martinez is a Spring 2014 intern.