Companies are always looking for ways to cut costs and Darden, the corporate giant that owns popular restaurant chains like Olive Garden and Longhorn Steakhouse, has found a way to save itself approximately $5 million per year, according to a recent report conducted by Restaurant Opportunities Center (ROC) United, a worker organization. Unfortunately, the report alleges these savings for the company come from stiffing their workers, approximately half of whom are paid via debit card.
Debit cards have become a popular way to pay employees, especially those who earn minimum wage. It saves the employer millions and makes more millions for the company distributing the debit cards, all while milking more from the workers who earn so little to begin with that they often qualify for public assistance, even though they work full time.
Employers like Darden, who hire hundreds of thousands of low-earning employees, claim the debit card payment style is beneficial to both workers and employers because it saves workers from bank fees when they cash their paychecks. But the debit cards come with their own fees. According to the ROC United report, the debit cards used by Darden charged users $1.75 every time they withdrew money from an ATM that was out of their network, 99 cents when they used the card to pay utility bills, and 75 cents just to check the card’s balance. A worker who loses their debit card has to pay $10 to get a new one. Continue reading