McDonald’s cuts ties with midstate operator over guest worker scandal
The Patriot News
March 14, 2013
McDonald’s is cutting ties with midstate franchisee Andy Cheung over complaints foreign student workers recently made about him exploiting them at several of his Harrisburg-area restaurants, according to the organization that helped the students stage a protest last week at his Hampden Township location.
The National Guestworker Alliance, which organized a work-stoppage protest with help from students, issued the following statement on behalf of the guest workers who participated in the U.S. Department of State’s J-1 Visa Visitor Exchange Program while employed by Cheung:
“McDonald’s action is an important admission of labor abuse at its stores. But a change of management at three stores will not protect the guest workers and U.S. workers at McDonald’s 14,000 other stores in the U.S. We asked McDonald’s to meet with us and our allies to come to an agreement on how to protect all McDonald’s workers. If they will not, we will come to McDonald’s headquarters on March 26 to seek a meeting. If they will not meet with us there, we will come to CEO Don Thompson’s house and ask to meet him there.”
Cheung has not returned repeated interview requests over more than a week.
A McDonald’s corporate spokesperson could not immediately be reached for comment.
However, The Wall Street Journal, CNN and The Nation reported that McDonald’s issued the news organizations the following statement:
“We take the well-being of the employees working in McDonald’s restaurants seriously. We began investigating the situation in Pennsylvania immediately upon learning of the issues involved,” a McDonald’s spokeswoman said. “The franchisee has agreed to leave the McDonald’s system. We are also working on connecting with the guest workers on an individual basis to most effectively address this situation.”
Cheung owns six McDonald’s throughout the midstate, and students complained of mistreatment at three of his Harrisburg-area restaurants.
It’s unclear whether the Central Pennsylvania restaurants will close or if new ownership will take over operations.
The U.S. Departments of State and Labor are investigating formal complaints guest workers filed against Cheung, who also this week resigned as the secretary of the board of trustees with the Ronald McDonald House Charities of Central PA.
Cheung’s McDonald’s restaurants are at the following locations:
• 4230 E. Trindle Road, Hampden Township.
• 1 Lemoyne Drive, East Pennsboro Township.
• 850 Eisenhower Blvd., Swatara Township.
• 2270 W. Harrisburg Pike, Middletown.
• 6004 Derry St., Swatara Township.
• 1284 S. Market St., Elizabethtown