【Unlocking Word Meanings】
Read the following words/expressions found in today’s article.
1. lawsuit /ˈlɔˌsut/ (n.) – a legal case about a complaint or claim that one party files against the other
Example: She filed a lawsuit against the company for firing her without a reasonable basis.
2. wage /weɪdʒ/ (n.) – the money that a worker receives based on hours, days, or weeks rendered
Example: The service crew member has an hourly wage of $15.
3. franchisee /ˌfræntʃaɪˈzi/ (n.) – a person or company that has the right to sell another company’s products or services
Example: McDonald’s has many franchisees throughout the country.
4. tactic /ˈtæktɪk/ (n.) – a plan or procedure done to achieve a desired result
Example: Giving discounts is an effective tactic to attract customers.
5. off-the-clock /ɔf ðə klɒk/ (adv.) – working overtime but without additional compensation
Example: The workers are protesting about being forced to work off-the-clock.
Read the text below.
Employees of McDonald’s in California, Michigan, and New York have filed lawsuits against the giant fast food chain for “stealing” their wages.
These low-wage workers and their supporters have done all they can to bring attention to their struggle for better pay. In fact, they have already staged worker walkouts and street demonstrations. This time, however, they have brought their case straight to the courts.
According to the employees, the company and its franchisees are using tactics to steal worker wages. Employees accuse the franchisees of forcing them to work off-the-clock, taking hours off their timecards, and for not paying for overtime work.
In Michigan, workers complain of having to buy their own uniform, which further cuts their minimum wage. Some employees also have to wait for an hour before they can clock in. In New York, franchisees are accused of not paying for uniform cleaning, which violates a state law.
Michael Rubin, the lawyer who filed the California lawsuits, said all these unlawful schemes serve one purpose—to decrease labor costs by stealing wages from the workers.
The lawsuits are asking for back pay and damage fees that could benefit around 30,000 workers. These lawsuits may also lead to wider awareness about the issue of low wage among workers.
On another note, McDonald’s said in a press statement that it is looking into the lawsuits and that it is committed to taking necessary actions regarding the problem.
Workers from other fast food chains have also taken actions to request for better compensation and benefits. Some of these employees work from famous companies like Wendy’s and Wal-Mart.
Enjoy a discussion with your tutor.
· How do you think McDonald’s is affected by the accusations from its employees?
· In your opinion, how should the company be punished if the accusations are proven to be true?
· What are the rights and benefits often enjoyed by workers in your country? Explain.
· How do you think workers’ rights and benefits can be improved? Explain.