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Workers Sue, Claim McDonald's Stealing Wages

Workers are suing McDonald's and some franchisees, claiming that the company made them work off the clock and didn't pay overtime.MIKE BLAKE / Reuters

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McDonald's and some of its franchisees have been hit with multiple class-action lawsuits filed by workers alleging that the fast-food giant is systematically stealing their wages.

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 Workers are suing McDonald's and some franchisees, claiming that the company made them work off the clock and didn't pay overtime. MIKE BLAKE / Reuters

The suits, which were filed Wednesday and Thursday in California, Michigan and New York, claim McDonald's has engaged in widespread wage theft by making employees work off the clock, shaving hours off time cards and not paying workers overtime.

McDonald's Vice President of Global External Communications Heidi Barker Sa Shekhem wrote in an email: "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. We are currently reviewing the allegations in the lawsuits. McDonald's and our independent franchisees are committed to undertaking a comprehensive investigation of the allegations and will take any necessary actions as they apply to our respective organizations."

This is the latest in a string of actions by fast-food workers, many of whom earn minimum wage, to protest how much they are paid.

In early December, workers staged mass protests throughout the U.S. to demand the federal minimum hourly wage be raised to $15 from the current level of $7.25.

In response to these protests, McDonald's has stressed the opportunities its jobs gives workers.

Lisa McComb, a McDonald's spokesperson, told Nation's Restaurant News, "We offer employees advancement opportunities, competitive pay and benefits. And we invest in training and professional development that helps them learn practical and transferable business skills."

A separate movement has grown on Capitol Hill, with President Barack Obama and many Democrats in Congress advocating for an increase in the federal minimum wage to $10.10.

But a recent Congressional Budget Office report provided ammunition for those opposing such a move.

The nonpartisian CBO estimated that an increase to $10.10 could result in about 500,000 jobs being lost by late 2016.

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