Waffle House workers lose thousands in pay

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April 14, 2010 3:42:26 PM PDT
Hundreds of Waffle House restaurant workers in the Triangle say they are out thousands of dollars after their paychecks bounced.

"Anger. Mad because here I was sitting with two weeks of pay that I worked for and could not get my money," worker Wendy Smith told ABC11.

Smith said the problems started last week when Freeway Foods of Greensboro told everyone they were shutting down within hours and everyone would be out of a job.

"Told me that corporate had taken over, that we were all fired and rehired," she explained.

The Waffle House corporate office in Georgia said Freeway Foods owned 36 franchises in the area, but defaulted on a loan.

"With no notice, we found that 36 of the restaurants in that area would be shut down," explained Pat Warner with Waffle House.

Waffle House was able to keep 34 of the restaurants open. The problem for workers is their paychecks from Freeway Foods for work done before the takeover have bounced.

"Apparently, one of the bank workers realized that she had all these Waffle House employees in there trying to cash checks, made a phone call, when she hung up she said they were not cashing anymore checks," said Smith.

Smith says she'll run behind on her bills.

Waffle House says it's doing what it can.

"We're doing everything we can to get those associates paid those hours by that former franchise," said Warner.

Going forward, Waffle House says employees will be paid.

"All the associates, from April seventh going forward, I can assure they will be compensated for those hours because they were, in effect, Waffle House incorporated employees," said Warner.

Smith says she needs the money she's owed.

"I want my money. I worked for it. Nobody out here wants to work for free," she explained.

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