Fast Food Worker Advocates Seek LAPD, McDonald's Emails

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LOS ANGELES (CNS) - A group that advocates for better pay, benefits and working conditions for fast-food workers is taking legal action against the city to obtain uncensored communications documenting alleged cooperation between the Los Angeles Police Department and the McDonald's restaurant chain in quelling worker protests.

The National Fast Food Workers Union, which touts the Fight for $15 campaign for a higher hourly wage, brought the petition Monday in Los Angeles Superior Court, urging a judge to release the information fully and unredacted through the California Public Records Act unless there are qualified exceptions.

``The public has a significant interest in understanding the extent of coordination between the police and McDonald's to monitor and respond to lawful protest activity,'' the petition states.

A representative for the City Attorney's Office could not be immediately reached for comment.

``... The city has sought to shield from public disclosure the efforts of McDonald's to enlist the LAPD in opposing these lawful protests,'' the petition states.

The city and the LAPD have produced a small amount of the emails first requested last June 1, but have redacted them so extensively that the petitioners and the public cannot fully understand ``how McDonald's and the LAPD coordinated their efforts to oppose fast food worker protests,'' according to the NFFWU court papers.

The city and LAPD have asserted that fully revealing the department's communications with McDonald's ``would not serve the public interest,'' according to the petition.

Further, more than eight months after receiving the NFFWU's request, the city and the LAPD have not yet turned over any emails, redacted or unredacted, from the majority of the time period for which the department admittedly still maintains records, the petition states.

The NFFWU maintains a judge should immediately set a briefing schedule and ultimately issue a court order directing the city and the LAPD to ``promptly produce all responsive emails without any unjustified redactions.''

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