Domino’s Workers Keep Fighting for Fair Wages

By Yi Yang, Epoch Times
February 13, 2014 Updated: February 13, 2014

A Domino’s Pizza franchise in New York agreed to pay its delivery workers $1.3 million in total for minimum wage, overtime, and tip credit violations. The settlement came after a three-year lawsuit. On Wednesday, Domino’s Pizza workers and community members celebrated their victory at a press conference and announced they will continue to fight for fair wages.

“Domino’s is not off the hook because of this settlement,” Sophie DeBenedetto, a representative for National Mobilization Against Sweatshops, a workers membership organization that helped organize the Domino’s workers and provided them with lawyers.

“We are continuing to organize, we are calling on all Domino’s workers and all other working people throughout the city to come forward to continue to fight the sweatshop practices of this corporation.”

Carlos Rodriguez was one of the leading plaintiffs in the lawsuit. When he worked for Domino’s as a deliveryman, he worked for $4.40 an hour, up to 66 hours a week. However, Dominos only paid him for 40–50 hours of work. As one of the 61 plaintiffs, he will receive compensation anywhere from $400 up to $61,300. Rodriguez said they achieved victory by persistently organizing as many people as possible.

“How [did] we win this victory? Just by organizing,” … with other workers, residents, pastors, students, organizations,” said Rodriguez, who has since left Domino’s.

“A lot of businesses, they declare bankruptcy and shutdown the restaurant to avoid responsibility. Domino’s Pizza, DPNY, did the same thing. But we don’t stop organizing.”

DPNY Inc., the Domino’s franchisee, has been held accountable, but workers and community remembers also hope to do the same with Domino’s Pizza Inc., which they said played a major role in creating an exploitative working environment.

DeBenedetto said that the ease with which bosses can declare bankruptcy and the ability of big corporations to hide behind the franchising system is something that blocks many working people from speaking out for their rights. But the recent outcome could encourage exploited workers to join the cause.

“People are afraid to do it. They feel like it’s not worth it, [and think] ‘Why would I organize if I’m never going to collect? The boss can just run away,’” DeBenedetto said. “I think this sends a strong message that we can win if we organize and stand together.”

Yi Yang is a special correspondent in New York.