Twenty-four employees at a New York City Domino’s chain say they were fired when they complained to company management that they were receiving far below minimum wage as tipped servers.
They said that Domino’s pays its delivery staff the low wages allowed for tipped labor, but then also has them work extra hours at the same amount doing tasks in which they couldn’t earn tips. When the employees raised the issue with management, they were reportedly let go. They plan to protest outside of the pizza restaurant until staff get their jobs back.
A company spokesperson noted that because the incident took place at a store owned by an independent franchisee, “we can’t confirm any of the allegations.”
New York lawmakers, city council member Ydanis Rodriguez and New York State Assemblywoman Gabriela Rosa, joined the workers’ protests on Sunday:
Standing w/ workers on 181 this morning to get their jobs back after they were fired 4 standing up for their families pic.twitter.com/Toxoy9NlhR
— Ydanis Rodriguez (@ydanis) December 8, 2013
The Department of Labor has found Domino’s franchises guilty of violating labor law before by forcing tipped employees to do non-tipped tasks like cooking, cleaning, and stocking at the tipped minimum wage. This and other abuses, like forcing workers to pay for their uniforms and forgoing overtime pay, meant a Florida Domino’s owed nearly $400,000 in back wages to 401 workers.
Domino’s staff have raised the issue before, with multiple demonstrations this year alongside other fast food workers. One worker said he is paid $5.45 an hour, just above the New York tipped minimum wage of $5 for food service workers, plus tips.
Fast food workers around the country have been protesting low wages and staged the largest strikes yet last week, where they called for a living wage of $15 an hour and the right to organize. Tipped employees can fare even worse in the fast food industry because their minimum wage has not moved for two decades. The federal floor remains at $2.13 an hour after 22 years, compared to the (also low) $7.25 federal minimum wage.