Monday, July 1, 2013

Workers Have To Pay To Get Paid

I'm not sure how this is even legal:
A growing number of American workers are confronting a frustrating predicament on payday: to get their wages, they must first pay a fee.

For these largely hourly workers, paper paychecks and even direct deposit have been replaced by prepaid cards issued by their employers. Employees can use these cards, which work like debit cards, at an A.T.M. to withdraw their pay.

But in the overwhelming majority of cases, using the card involves a fee. And those fees can quickly add up: one provider, for example, charges $1.75 to make a withdrawal from most A.T.M.’s, $2.95 for a paper statement and $6 to replace a card. Some users even have to pay $7 inactivity fees for not using their cards.

These fees can take such a big bite out of paychecks that some employees end up making less than the minimum wage once the charges are taken into account, according to interviews with consumer lawyers, employees, and state and federal regulators.

Devonte Yates, 21, who earns $7.25 an hour working a drive-through station at a McDonald’s in Milwaukee, says he spends $40 to $50 a month on fees associated with his JPMorgan Chase payroll card.

“It’s pretty bad,” he said. “There’s a fee for literally everything you do.”

Certain transactions with the Chase pay card are free, according to a fee schedule.

Many employees say they have no choice but to use the cards: some companies no longer offer common payroll options like ordinary checks or direct deposit.

At companies where there is a choice, it is often more in theory than in practice, according to interviews with employees, state regulators and consumer advocates. Employees say they are often automatically enrolled in the payroll card programs and confronted with a pile of paperwork if they want to opt out.

“We hear virtually every week from employees who never knew there were other options, and employers certainly don’t disabuse workers of that idea,” said Deyanira Del Rio, an associate director of the Neighborhood Economic Development Advocacy Project, which works with community groups in New York.

So now corporations - our employers - are teaming up with the banks to gouge their own employees, making them pay to get the money they've already earned.

Tell me again how we don't need unions.


  1. How is the local dominatrix going to be paid? Oh, wait, regular laborers cannot afford a luxury of paid sexual fantasies. Those perks of sucess are reserved for Congressmen, senators and Supreme Court judges who can pay with cash. No money trail for political folk.

  2. "Greed is good" is the true Republican religion.

  3. More good news for workers:

    Wages Fall At Record Pace

    "Breaking news alert! Wages fell at the fastest rate ever recorded during the first quarter of this year, the government’s Bureau of Labor Statistics reported.

    Hourly wages fell 3.8 percent in the first quarter, the biggest drop since the BLS began tracking compensation in 1947. Productivity rose half a percentage point. The result was that what economists call “labor unit costs” fell 4.3 percent."

  4. Grapes of Wrath by James Steinbeck on the form of novel discussed this...Sort of...It's referred to as the Company Store whereby the house overcharges the employee for everything and can't leave until it is paid off. No doubt McDonalds is making money off of this and Chase Bank...Not much different than Bank of America...Both too big to prosecute!