Fast food workers to announce criminal wage theft complaints

Fast food workers to file complaints with the Seattle Police Department alleging that their employers commit criminal wage theft

Will detail $100,000/week wage theft crime wave in fast food industry, ask what it will take to make the employers pay what they owe.

Outraged by a wage theft crime wave that takes as much as $100,000 a week from their paychecks, poverty-wage fast food workers will announce they are filing formal  complaints with the Seattle Police Department alleging wage theft, and call for criminal charges against fast food employers to “make them pay”.

Who: Poverty-wage fast food workers who are the victims of  the crime of wage theft. 

What: Announce they have filed complaints with the Seattle Police Department, alleging that  their employers commit criminal wage theft. The workers will describe the nature and frequency of the wage theft violations. Rebecca Smith of the National Employment Law Project will host the press conference.

When: Thursday, July 25, 2013 at 11:00 am. 

Where: The steps of Seattle City Hall: 600 4th Avenue, Seattle, WA 98104.

Poverty wage workers in Seattle are experiencing a wage theft crime wave. In just a few weeks of worker-to-worker outreach, surveys, and even a popular webcomic that racked up more than 20,000 views, Good Jobs Seattle has received hundreds of reports detailing multiple frequent violations of wage theft law in the fast food industry. This is all too common: a formal multi-city study by the National Employment Law Project found that about 68% of low-wage workers experience some form of wage theft, and that those who do experience wage theft lose approximately 15% of their income to the crime. Extrapolating from that data suggests that the 4,300 fast food workers in the City of Seattle lose as much as $100,000 a week to the crime of wage theft — more than $5 million a year that goes missing from the paychecks of poverty wage fast food workers in the City of Seattle alone.


Wage theft occurs when an employer fails to pay time-and-half for hours over 40 in a week; requires employees to work without pay before or after their shifts, or during breaks; takes illegal deductions from paychecks, for example for uniforms or register shortages; or otherwise fails to lawfully pay workers for all their hours worked.

Sparked by the May 30th fast food strike, Good Jobs Seattle is a growing movement which seeks to build a sustainable future for Seattle’s economy from the bottom up — by turning poverty-wage jobs in fast food and other industries into good jobs that offer opportunities for a better future and pay enough for workers to afford basic necessities like food, clothing and rent. Good Jobs Seattle is supported by organizations including Washington Community Action Network, Working Washington, OneAmerica, and hundreds of workers and grassroots supporters.


Contact: Sage Wilson,