McDonald’s franchise in Louisiana and Texas hired minors to work illegally, Labor Department finds


A McDonald’s franchise that controls 12 restaurants in metro New Orleans violated child labor laws and has hired more than 80 minors in two states, the U.S. Department of Labor said Tuesday.

CLB Investments LLC in Metairie employed 72 workers who are 14 and 15 years old — allowing them to work longer and later than federal law permits at 12 restaurants in New Orleans, Kenner, Jefferson, and Metairie, the department said.

Investigators with the Labor Department’s Wage and Hour Division also determined the employer allowed three children to operate manual deep fryers, which is prohibited for employees under age 16.

The franchise received a $56,106 civil penalty for the violations, according to the news release.

New Orleans Owner/Operator Chris Bardell said he’s committed to the safety of his people. “Since learning of these violations, I’ve introduced mandatory child labor law trainings for my restaurant managers and conducted regular audits to ensure we’re in compliance with labor regulations,” Bardell said in a statement.

The division also found similar violations at four McDonald’s locations operated in Texas by Marwen & Son LLC in Cedar Park, Georgetown, and Leander.

Investigators found that in Texas, the company employed 10 minors, 14- to 15 years old, to work hours longer shifts than is permitted by law. They also learned the employer allowed seven children to operate a manual fryer and oven, and two of the seven to also operate a trash compactor. Marwen & Son was assessed $21,466 in civil penalties for its violations.

“Employers must never jeopardize the safety and well-being of young workers or interfere with their education,” explained Wage and Hour Division Regional Administrator Betty Campbell in Dallas. “While learning new skills in the workforce is an important part of growing up, an employer’s first obligation is to make sure minor-aged children are protected from potential workplace hazards.”

These findings follow a May announcement of federal investigations that found three McDonald’s franchise operators violating child labor laws, involving more than 300 children, some as young as 10, at 62 locations in four states.

“We take this issue seriously and are committed to ensuring our franchisees have the resources they need to maintain compliance with all U.S. labor laws,” Tiffanie Boyd, Chief People Officer, McDonald’s USA, said in a statement.

Drivers for Uber, Lyft, and other rideshare companies would get a minimum wage in Minneapolis if a city ordinance passes as early as next month, city council members said Tuesday at a news conference.

Under the ordinance, drivers would get at least $1.40 per mile and $0.51 per minute, or $5, whichever is greater. The rule would only apply to the portion of the ride within the city.

Uber and Lyft “cannot continue to collect billions of dollars off the backs of drivers, like the ones here today, while those very drivers struggle to cover their rent, childcare costs, health care bills, and so many other basic necessities,” said Democratic council member Robin Wonsley, lead author of the proposed ordinance.

Farxan Bedel said he has been driving for Uber and Lyft since 2018 to support his family.

“We just want fair compensation,” Bedel said. “If you pay $50 from downtown Minneapolis to the airport, why am I getting $15? That’s unfair.”

If passed, the ordinance would also guarantee riders and drivers get receipts detailing how much the rider was charged versus what the driver received.

“The pay for drivers has dropped to less than half of what it was in 2014. That’s what caused 1,300 drivers to organize,” said Stephen Cooper, an attorney for the Minnesota Uber/Lyft Drivers Association and a former human rights commissioner for Minnesota.

Seattle, New York City, and Washington State have passed similar policies to protect rideshare drivers, and rideshare companies haven’t left those places, Cooper said.

In May, Minnesota’s Democratic Gov. Tim Walz vetoed a bill that would have mandated higher pay and job security for Lyft and Uber drivers in the state. Walz said at the time that rideshare drivers deserve fair wages and safe working conditions, but it wasn’t the right bill to achieve those goals.

Ride-hailing drivers, like other gig economy workers, are typically treated as independent contractors not entitled to minimum wages and other benefits, and have to cover their own gas and car payments.

In its fiscal fourth-quarter report, Microsoft exceeded analyst expectations with a profit of $20.1 billion ($2.69 per share), surpassing the estimated $2.55 per share. The company reported a revenue of $56.2 billion for the April-June period, marking an 8% increase compared to last year's figures. CEO Satya Nadella emphasized Microsoft's commitment to leading the "new AI platform shift" and addressing organizations' inquiries regarding the application of AI in a safe and responsible manner. Microsoft has been an early adopter of "generative AI" tools, leveraging its investment in OpenAI's ChatGPT technology to launch a chatbot for its Bing search engine and customized tools for business customers.

Investors have shown particular interest in Microsoft's AI investments, the performance of the Azure cloud computing platform, and the pending acquisition of video game company Activision Blizzard. Despite facing regulatory hurdles, Microsoft anticipates a successful resolution that addresses concerns from the British antitrust regulator. In terms of revenue, Microsoft's cloud business segment, driven by Azure and other cloud services, saw a 15% YoY growth to reach $24 billion. The specific revenue for Azure is not disclosed, but internal documents suggest it reached $34 billion last year. While Azure remains a strong competitor to Amazon Web Services, Microsoft's productivity software segment, including the Office suite, experienced a growth rate of 10%, generating $18.3 billion in revenue.

However, Microsoft still heavily relies on its personal-computing business, predominantly dependent on licensing fees from manufacturers running Windows software. In the last quarter, this segment saw a 4% decline, generating $13.9 billion in revenue. The PC market, as a whole, experienced a 16.6% drop in shipments YoY during the April-June period, marking the seventh consecutive quarter of decline. Market research group Gartner suggests that the PC market could stabilize, with potential demand growth expected in 2024. To streamline operations, Microsoft recently laid off several hundred employees, including those based in its Redmond, Washington headquarters, following an earlier workforce reduction of 10,000 employees (approximately 5% of its workforce). 

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