Culture

Dunkin’ Donuts Is Suing Franchise Owners In An Attack Against Undocumented Immigrants

If you think the Starbucks vs Dunkin’ Donuts game wasn’t already polarizing, America’s coffee choices just got politicized. Dunkin’ Donuts Franchising LLC filed a complaint in a Delaware federal court on June 24, alleging two of its franchise owners have violated federal immigration law and their stores should be shut down. This complaint was against Thomas Sheehan and Kenneth Larson, who run nine stores in Delaware, Pennsylvania, and Massachusetts. It isn’t the first time Dunkin’ sued its own franchise owners for this reason.

Dunkin’ sent termination letters to 14 stores in New Jersey and Virginia and then filed a suit against them in April.

According to Dunkin’, it was a customer complaint that sparked this wave of suits.

Credit: dunkin / Instagram

It then began a ten month review period which found hundreds of employee records with incomplete, unverified or falsified I-9 forms. Those I-9 forms are what authorize a person to legally work in the United States. The company also uses an electronic system called “E-Verify.”

Dunkin’ started using E-Verify in 2006, when only government agencies were using the system.

Credit: dunkin / Instagram

Two years later, the company began investing in lobbying efforts for immigration reform. It even hired an outside firm to lobby on immigration in 2017. It filed 100 similar lawsuits in 2006 and 2007 alone. The suits filed in the last couple of months are primarily citing its franchise owners for not using E-Verify.

One Delaware franchise owner has countersued Dunkin’.

Credit: @TheRucasJohnson / Twitter

They’re claiming they were given no opportunity to “correct the violations” and suspect Dunkin’ is just trying to resell their stores for greater profit. Kind of like when your landlord stops caring about keeping you around so that they can hike up the rent.

Labor lawyers are saying that patrolling immigration status has never been a targeted issue in franchises.

Credit: @MercurialMiss / Twitter

Dunkin’ is leading the way in pushing immigrant supporters from wanted to run on Dunkin’. Of course, folks are starting to #BoycottDunkin.

Those who support making life harder for undocumented folks are pledging allegiance to Dunkin’ Donuts.

Credit: @JamesonCal / Twitter

Some business analysts suspect Dunkin’ is simply making a play at reselling its franchises for profit by pushing owners out. Others imagine Dunkin’ is just trying to protect its own business by avoiding the potential for labor violation fines. Pesky customer complaints.

Last year, new CEO Dave Hoffman said hiring workers on work-study visas was “critical” for the company.

Credit: @dunkindonuts / Twitter

So the move could mean that it’s trying to show the federal government that it’s a lawful employer, in hopes that it would make receiving more legal work visas probable. That was said around the time that 7/11 avoided its own labor violation fines by assisting ICE with raiding nearly 100 stores. 7/11 stated that the franchises, not the company, were responsible for following labor laws.

Regardless, the move has acted as a dog whistle on Twitter.

Credit: @NookAppolloni / Twitter

Sorry, @NookAppolloni, the move would be destroying hundreds of lives in the Northeast ????.  The lawsuit targets stores in that area so the wish for California is kind of uneducated. With the inhumane conditions in detention centers and the increased privatization of said centers, it’s likely the most dangerous time to be an undocumented worker in the United States. 

Hypocrisy looks like knowing that Trump’s businesses employ undocumented workers without fear of consequence.

Credit: @JeffFromNH / Twitter

Being undocumented is not a gift or cheating the system. It is a burden to be someone who is more financially and socially vulnerable. Living undocumented means that, while on a quest for a better life, you have to forfeit basic human rights and live in fear that your employer might do something like this.

So, to the Latinx couple that found a screw in their Dunkin’ bagel this week, take it as a metaphor for what they are doing to undocumented people.

Credit: @Chris27Garcia / Twitter

Whatever the business motive is, the move is complicit in the inhumane detention of immigrants. A Jewish Holocaust historian coined the term, “the banality of evil,” which insinuates that evil doesn’t exist in a single mind alone. In order for it to be carried out, it must become pedestrian, seeped into a fabric of society until it is accepted.

READ: New Report Shows ICE Using DMV Data To Track People As Undocumented People Get Drivers Licenses

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Uber Says It May Shutdown In California As It Fights Against Gig Worker Law

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Uber Says It May Shutdown In California As It Fights Against Gig Worker Law

Mark Ralston / Getty Images

Is it possible that you won’t be able to get an Uber or Lyft in California? Well, it’s actually very likely that your apps won’t work much longer. The two companies are threatening to go dark in the Golden State as the two fight back against AB5 – a state law that offers protections to gig economy workers.

Uber says that they’ll need to rethink their entire business model if forced to follow AB5, hence the likely shutdown. But many find it suspicious that the company will be shutting down through the November election, when voters will be asked to vote on Prop 22, a ballot measure that would exempt Lyft and Uber from the new regulations.

An Uber shutdown is looking more likely in California as the company plans its response to new state laws.

All the drama started when California (among some other states) started enacting ‘gig worker’ protection laws that were meant to force companies like Uber to reclassify drivers as employees. Currently, drivers are classified as ‘independent contractors’ and are not eligible to receive any benefits, such as healthcare, retirement plans, and overtime.

Uber moved to limit the impact of that law while also admitting that change was needed to better protect their drivers. Not too long after Uber CEO Dara Khosrowshahi published an op-ed in The New York Times with the headline “Gig Workers Deserve Better,” a San Francisco judge ruled that Uber and Lyft had to reclassify their drivers as employees within 10 days.

In his ruling, Schulman wrote of Uber and Lyft, “It is high time that they face up to their responsibilities to their workers and to the public.” He rejected the argument that Uber and Lyft are simply technology companies, asserting “drivers are central, not tangential, to Uber and Lyft’s entire ride-hailing business.”

Two days later, Khosrowshahi responded with an ultimatum: If Uber had to abide by California labor law, it would require a business model change so extreme the entire company would have to pull out of the state until November. Which is convenient, since California has an initiative in the November election that would overturn much of the state’s gig economy law.

The shutdown would be used to fight back against a recent gig economy law that Uber says would eat away at profits.

Over the last five years, several states have enacted legislation against Uber and Lyft’s operating methods. The companies have come to rely on a tried and tested playbook: threaten to suspend service in the area. The threat, which the companies would sometimes follow through on, appeared designed to rile up customers and drivers, and put more pressure on lawmakers. And it often worked: look at Austin, TX.

Now, both Uber and Lyft say they are once again considering suspending service to get what they want. They say they may suspend their operations in California as soon as this week while simultaneously pushing for a referendum in November to exempt them from the law, known as AB-5.

Although the pandemic has reduced demand, a shutdown would largely impact Black and Brown communities.

Credit: Mark Ralston / Getty Images

Although the companies are planning on going dark in the next week or so, many industry experts don’t think the shutdown will have the impact they hope for. The pandemic has greatly reduced demand for ride sharing as people are staying at home and many more are working from home.

However, much like the pandemic itself, the shutdown would likely have an outsized impact on Black and Latino communities – two groups who have largely come to reply on the companies for commuting to and from work or school. Several studies have shown that Black and Brown workers make up the majority of ‘essential workers’ – so many don’t enjoy the privilege of working from home.

An Uber or Lyft shutdown would force many of these workers back on to buses and trains, further putting already impacted communities under increased risk for contagion of the virus.

The companies are betting on a November ballot initiative to help bail them out from new regulations.

Credit: Mario Tama / Getty Images

Although a judge has tried to force the companies to follow the law – the legal system may not have the last word. Uber and Lyft are counting on California’s voters to help them circumvent AB5, which went into effect in January and makes it more difficult for companies to use independent contractors. Uber and Lyft built their respective businesses on the concept of using freelance drivers who aren’t eligible for traditional benefits like health insurance and paid leave. 

Earlier this year, the companies, along with DoorDash, raised nearly $100 million to place a question on the November ballot. They succeeded, and this fall, voters will be asked to permanently classify ride-hailing drivers as independent contractors. The measure, called Proposition 22, also directs the companies to adopt certain labor and wage policies that fall short of traditional employment.

To help build support, the companies are turning to their customers. Lyft has taken a very active approach with urging its customers to vote yes on Prop 22 – they’ve emailed them and added pro-Prop 22 messages to the app. Meanwhile, Uber is considering similar tactics to ones the company used in 2015 in New York, when the company added a pop-up feature in its app to troll the mayor of New York City and encourage the company’s customers to pressure him to back off on proposed legislation that could seriously hamper Uber’s growth efforts in the city. It worked, and Mayor Bill de Blasio relented.

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New York Attorney General Files Lawsuit To Dissolve The National Rifle Association

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New York Attorney General Files Lawsuit To Dissolve The National Rifle Association

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The New York attorney general has filed a lawsuit to completely dissolve the National Rifle Association (NRA). The lawsuit is the latest in a series of events weakening the controversial organization since the Parkland shooting.

The NRA is facing a lawsuit because of its financial misdealings.

New York Attorney General Letitia James started a domino effect of lawsuits involving the NRA AG James is suing the organization because of its financial misdeeds focusing on corruption and misspending. The allegations, AG James claims, undermine the organization’s ability to claim to be a nonprofit.

AG James’ lawsuit is bringing attention to NRA’s Wayne LaPierre’s use of funds.

AG James’ lawsuit is pointing out various tax violations and is currently a civil case. However, the New York AG is not stopping there. If criminal issues are discovered, AG James will follow through.

“It’s an ongoing investigation,” she said during a press conference. “If we uncover any criminal activity, we will refer it to the Manhattan district attorney. At this point in time we’re moving forward, again, with civil enforcement.”

The NRA is denouncing the charges claiming they aren’t relevant.

AG James made investigating the NRA part of her campaign in 2018 and referred to the organization as a terrorist organization.

“The foreclosure crisis is not behind us, students debt is a major issue, health care is a challenge since they repealed the individual mandate, people are having a difficult time with premiums that have increased and are often times deciding to go without medicine because of the costs, resulting in premature death and gun violence,” AG James told Ebony Magazine during her campaign. “The NRA holds [itself] out as a charitable organization, but in fact, [it] really [is] a terrorist organization.”

Shortly after AG James filed her lawsuit, Washington’s attorney general followed suit.

AG Karl Racine is going after the NRA for misusing charitable funds. Essentially, the NRA is being accused in Washington of taking money meant for educational programs and spent them on themselves. The Washington lawsuit and New York lawsuit are honing in on the NRA’s years of fraudulent use of funds. It comes at a time when the NRA is already fighting for its life after the teenagers of Parkland launched a successful campaign in slowing and reversing the organization’s growth in the political sphere.

READ: Florida Passed Their First Gun Safety Measure In More Than 20 Years And The NRA Has Already Filed A Lawsuit

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