July 01, 2013


When single mother Natalie Gunshannon went to get her first paycheck from her new job at McDonald’s, she was in for a shock -- McDonald’s gave Natalie her salary on a debit card that came with ridiculous hidden charges, like forcing her to pay $5 every time she withdraws her money at her bank. What’s more, when Natalie asked for a check, McDonald’s refused, saying she had to take the card -- and the charges -- or not take any money at all. This scheme allows her local franchise operator to save a few dollars from the cost of cutting checks by making deals with big banks that force employees to use fee-ridden cards. This practice saves businesses money and allows banks to charge ridiculous sums -- Natalie was forced to pay $15 to replace her card if she ever lost it -- because employers know that they won't have to pay the high fees, their employees will be the ones charged. In many cases, the high costs push workers below minimum wage. Sadly this story is far from unique -- retail and fast food workers face this kind of abuse all the time. If the public realizes how common experiences like Natalie's are, low-wage employers like McDonlds will feel the pressure to treat workers differently, so we're trying to collect stories about the kinds of abuse that workers in the fast food and similar industries endure. If you've worked in fast food and retail and you have anything to share, we'd be extremely grateful. And we won't use anything you tell us publicly until we talk to you first. If you work in food service or retail, and you've experiened this kind of abuse, tell us about it here. This is abuse of employer privileges, pure and simple, telling workers that they have no choice but to accept unfair charges or go hungry. Employers are forcing this upon their workers because in a bad economy, they don't think workers have a choice to speak up -- even though the practice is illegal. And these debit cards might not ever be the worst trick bosses have trie to pull on workers: a report last month found that nearly 90 percent of fast food workers in New York City had had their wages stolen by their bosses. Meanwhile business has been booming for fast food restaurants, retail chains, and other low-wage employers -- profits and executive pay have never been higher. But now workers are banding together to fix our broken economy and make sure that all workers are getting a fair deal. This year, thousands of retail and fast food workers have gone on strike demanding a living wage and fair treatment at work. If we band together to call out businesses that engage in this horrendous practice, we can send a powerful message to anyone who tries to push outlandish charges onto their employees that this will not be tolerated. Together, we can stop this before it becomes widespread. Please join today to stand together with workers, before the effects of high unemployment and employee abuse trickle up to hurt us all. If you work in fast food or retail, and you want to share your story, click here now! MORE: SUMOFUS.ORG