I was looking forward to my new job when I started working at a McDonald’s location in Pennsylvania in April, but I was disappointed to find out that in order to be paid, I would have to activate a JP Morgan Chase debit card with heavy fees attached.
I’m a young single mom. When I started my job at McDonald’s, I knew that I would only be making slightly more than minimum wage. I didn’t expect that the only way I would be paid would be on a debit card that would dock pay that I earned through lots of different fees. When I asked if McDonald’s could pay me through direct deposit to my local credit union, which doesn’t charge withdrawal fees, I was told that the debit card was the only option.
These cards come with a lot of fees: from fees for cash withdrawals to balance inquiries to lost or stolen cards to overdrafts and even inactivity fees. The federal government has helped reduce fees on credit and debit cards that most consumers use, but those protections don’t apply to the kinds of cards companies like McDonald's are using to pay employees. In the end, I feared that once all of the fees from getting my own hard-earned wages through this card were taken out, my pay would go below minimum wage.
I decided to leave my job at McDonald’s not because I didn't like the people, but because I think it's only fair that I get paid for all of my work there. Since I quit, I’ve found out that paying employees through these cards with fees attached is a growing trend among dozens of major employers. The New York Times reported that last year roughly 4.6 million active payroll cards were issued by companies like McDonald’s.
Like millions of other workers, I deserve to get fairly paid for my work. When I stood up and spoke out against the lack of choices for employees, the local franchise in Pennsylvania that I worked for announced that it would offer employees more options for payment. But I’ve seen that employees at other McDonald’s franchises as far away as Milwaukee are still dealing with the same problems and that's not fair. I think everyone should be given the choice of what they want to do with their hard-earned money.
I think McDonald’s should be a leader nationwide in ensuring that employees get to keep their own wages in full and I'm concerned for other McDonald's employees who don't have that option. Will you join me in calling on McDonald’s to ensure that all employees nationwide can keep their wages and chose to say no to fee-heavy cards?