McDonald’s workers let go as new owner takes over

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GLENDALE (WITI) -- Dozens of workers at a Glendale McDonald's restaurant say they were fired on the spot this week. This, after six individuals were federally charged with drug conspiracy and money laundering back in October -- one of them the owner of three North Shore McDonald's restaurants -- including the Glendale restaurant.

Ricardo Perez is one of those fired from McDonald's. He was told to close the doors to the Glendale McDonald's Monday evening and have employees clean for a new owner taking over on Tuesday.

Perez says he then got a call saying he was no longer needed.

"I love McDonald's. I love the brand. I've worked at McDonald's since I was 15. Me not being able to punch in at the store where I've worked on and off for the past six years doesn't make any sense to me," Perez said.

The three McDonald's restaurants workers say are seeing massive firings are in Glendale, Fox Point and Mequon. All three were in the news in October after the former owner of the three McDonald's restaurants, Edward Patterson of Whitefish Bay and five others were federally indicted, accused of using the McDonald's to fund drug trafficking and laundering money through the restaurants.

Through 15 search warrants, officials were able to confiscate several pounds of high-grade marijuana, 11 firearms and approximately $90,000 in U.S. currency.

The charges unsealed in October were the result of a long-term investigation by the DEA and several agencies in Wisconsin.

Officials say the defendants indicted were involved in a drug trafficking organization that obtained large quantities of marijuana from Northern California within the Milwaukee area. The defendants also used addresses in the Milwaukee area to receive marijuana shipments through U.S. mail — according to officials.

Officials say certain conspirators, including Patterson, are alleged to have used three Milwaukee-area McDonald’s restaurants owned by Patterson to fund their drug trafficking activities, to conceal their drug proceeds and to promote their drug trafficking activities.

FOX6 News found a man who identified himself as the new owner -- Robert Pyles inside the Glendale location on Tuesday.

Pyles released the following statement:

"My organization is an equal opportunity employer. As the new owner of these McDonald’s restaurants, I held meetings with existing employees to ensure they were adequately notified of the change in ownership. I also made them aware of my hiring process, which gave them an opportunity to apply for positions in my organization. As a result of the hiring process, several applicants were not hired. To respect the privacy of those individuals, it would not be appropriate to comment further."

Erika Pizarro says that doesn't sit well with her. She showed up at 3:45 a.m. at the Fox Point McDonald's to start her shift. She couldn't log in to the computer system, and was then told by phone she was released.

"I have four children at home -- rent, bills, everything and it's horrible," Pizarro said.

The McDonald's workers FOX6 News spoke with estimate more than half of the workers in those three McDonald's restaurants were let go without notice.


  • Lee

    I am sure they were not randomly selected to be fired, maybe the owner was told additional information about certain employees

  • Tony

    After all they been through with the past owner, and now the new owner does this to them. They just can’t catch a break. I think the corporation really needs to take control of those stores. And I visited a few of his locations by work and they are just horrible. I hope they don’t sabatoge this one like all the other north side stores he owns. I won’t be visiting that location at ALL

  • Richard Adams (@fegroup)

    Taking ownership of three McDonald’s franchises where there was an active drug ring would make a franchisee very nervous. Do you spend your first year or two trying to figure out who was involved? Nope, everyone has to go. As for the timing – each franchisee is a different employer. Once they hire someone there are many legal issues if they decide to terminate them, even if it’s a month later. There are no legal issues if the new franchise owner just decides not to hire them in the first place. Those employees who were not involved in the criminal activity and did not get hired by the new owner are also victims of the drug dealers.

    • Eve S.

      I have to agree with you, it’s a business, they can’t take the chance that some of the employees were involved in some way, whether the cops know about them or not. If they want to blame anyone, blame the previous owner for these people getting fired now. He’s the one who caused all this heartache.

  • tanya Atkins

    Eitherway its not right. They should’ve at least given them a notice .Christmas is right around the corner , they have families and responsibilities too just like the rest of us. I hope the corporation or someone helps them

  • Michelle R.

    This happens all the time and no one usually speaks up. Good luck to all the individuals effected by this. They are better off going to work for corporate. Owners can be real corrupt .js

  • Tim

    It appears you share the same calibur of class as the owners who did the firing Lucy. Don’t let other people’s misfortune ruin your cushy, suburban Christmas.

  • Jeff

    How would you feel if your holiday was so Ruined by loosing your job. What about the families and other employees from the other stores that have been effected by it. You have to think of the bigger picture Ricardo was right when he said what he said. We had a situation like that at my previous firm and wish we had someone to speak up for us like that. I’m glad he did what he did

  • kim

    I used to work for the new owner. That sounds like something they would do.they fire people just if they don’t like you. And Lucy maybe your one of the people that help contributing to struggle in our community now. We know you’ll be warm for the holidays. Hope we can say the same for them ;(

  • jerry

    Welcome to America the rich or our government could care less about the low class of people there is no more middle class so we r low class… sorry for ur loss but that’s what our government and rich people do they don’t care… welcome to the great USA..

  • Anita Johnson

    I feel so sorry for the people that lost their jobs, times are hard and whether its Christmas or not I would be devastated if I came to work one day only to find out I no longer had a job. Perhaps all these employees should have been given the opportunity to prove themselves as good workers before they go fired.

  • Nicole

    Unfortunately, it’s legal. This is no different than any other company/organization being bought out or taken over. Everyone on the staff previously does not know if they have a guaranteed job after a sale…it’s the new owners discretion as to who they keep, if anyone – that was previously employed. They do not have to supply notice, as they’re technically not hiring the person once they take over ownership. Their employment can be legally terminated upon the previous owner losing/selling the business. I, like many of us have been there with a company buy-out.

    Fault can/should be given to the previous owner for being selfish and using a business and essentially its’ employees for his own ‘illegal’ financial gain and greed. Thus jeopardizing their jobs, livelihood and pay. It’s very unfortunate, but at the end of the day – it’s not the new owners fault, our legal system and gov allow the out and for good reason. Can it be abused, yes – hopefully it wasn’t in this situation.

    I can understand why he as well as McDonald’s corporate would be reluctant to hire on any previous employees – this is business decision for them. All business decisions aside – one would hope they feel bad for those people who were not involved as well. I would hope that the reason they were let go was bigger then just being a previous employee of a corrupt owner – maybe they had performance or attendance issues? That information isn’t available and no one cannot speculate. I would think that they shouldn’t have too many issues finding new jobs if they are hard working and dedicated employees.

  • j

    The old owner was the poster boy for the Ronald Mc Donald house and raising money for that. I am sure this is not good for the CORPORATION, but they should help these workers. They didn’t get the sixty day notice that the state requires if your place of business shuts its doors. They should get their jobs back, or get compensation.

  • DMarie

    Unless I missed something I don’t see where anyone that was let go said they went through process and then was let go. Or where they stated they received good performance reviews before and were let go. I was let go from a job 3 weeks before Christmas previously and truthfully it reminded me of the true meaning of of the time of season which is not how much money you can spend but a time to truly give thanks for the gift God sent. I am not sure there is EVER a “good time” to lose a job but if you interview, are a good match with the leadership and their guidelines then obtaining a job should not have been a problem. To have a sense of entitlement just because you were there before the change of ownership is unrealistic in this situation or any other. Wisconsin is an “At will state” and ANY employer can let you go without reason. As for the Burger King comment… That owner has standards and morals too as with any SMART business owner and I am sure if ever you are blessed to own ANYTHING you will too.

  • Amanda heckler

    I was at Fox point location when I witnessed a young lady going behind the counter and came back out crying. I heard her state she was also homeless and she didn’t know what to do. When I got in the office this morning my coworkers were discussing a young girl that got hit by a car right by there .and turns out it was her! This situation is really ruining people’s lives and NOBODY is looking at that. I hope they all get help and compensation deserved.

  • JC

    If this guy is a pastor, he is a disgrace to that title no matter what his teachings are. I am a Christian and believe that these people were entitled to be shown a just decision. They weren’t charged apparently. It is a shame when those who claim to be Christians act the same way as owners/managers who don’t claim that.

  • Astounded

    His comment about meeting with employees and giving them a chance to apply shouldn’t even have been printed. Did he meet with all the employees that were going to be affected? No – he didn’t. My sister went to work and wasn’t able to punch in – that is when she found out she didn’t work there any more. Heartbreaking, that a single mother who was making it work with what she had now doesn’t have a job 3 weeks before Christmas. 5 years she worked there. I understand it is the law in WI that notice isn’t required but it is simply heartbreaking that the employees weren’t give a chance to look for other jobs before they were fired as he clearly intended to do – this could have been far less of a tragedy if they new it was coming. I can’t believe McDonalds is okay with such a thing happening under their name.

  • phil

    If u bought a house that was a former drug house….and the tenants there might or might not have been involved in dealing drugs…..wouldnt you evict them.

  • Lucy

    I see you babies had my previous comment reported……truly you people can’t face the cold hard truth. Ya’ll lost your jobs because you were not worthy of keeping them…..again….why do people feel so entitled??

  • Desert Madness

    If you are smart you have to be cognizant of what is happening around you even at work. If you aren’t smart, you get fired 2weeks before Christmas.
    At will employees can be terminated for any reason, or no reason. Bad luck but life goes on.

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