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Yes, Chick-fil-A Really Tried to Pay Workers in Chicken

Five chicken sandwiches per hour, to be exact.

David Watsky Senior Editor / Home and Kitchen
David lives in Brooklyn where he's spent more than a decade covering all things edible, including meal kit services, food subscriptions, kitchen tools and cooking tips. Before, during and after earning his BA from Northeastern, he toiled in nearly every aspect of the food business, including as a line cook in Rhode Island where he once made a steak sandwich for Lamar Odom. Right now he's likely somewhere stress-testing a blender or the best way to cook bacon. Anything with sesame is his all-time favorite food this week.
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David Watsky
2 min read
chik fil a sign

This is not the first time Chick-fil-A, which has a history of donating to anti-LGBTQ groups, has sparked outrage. 

Brandon Bell / Staff

What feels like one more in a long line of stories that should be Onion articles, the North Carolina Chick-fil-A where Madison Cawthorne once worked is receiving backlash after attempting to compensate workers -- or technically "volunteers" -- with, you guessed it, chicken. 

In a post that appeared Wednesday on the Facebook page for Chick-fil-A's Henderson, North Carolina, location, management tempted would-be workers with the following offer: "We are looking for volunteers for our new Drive Thru Express! Earn 5 free entrees per shift (1 hr) worked. Message us for details."

screenshot of facebook post

The Facebook post offering chicken for labor has since been deleted.

Via Facebook

The post has since been deleted but not before it garnered hundreds of comments and dozens of shares with many noting how the scheme likely violates the Fair Labor Standards Act, a 1938 federal labor law that mandates employers pay their employees (with money) for all of the hours they work. It's also been noted by some online that Chick-fil-A's owners are worth an estimated $14 billion. 

In response to the backlash, the store released a statement. Part of it reads, "Thanks for everyone's concern on this matter," the store said in response to a post that said it shouldn't be offering "volunteer" positions. "This is a volunteer based opportunity, which means people can opt in to volunteer if they think it's a good fit for them. We've had multiple people sign up and enjoy doing and have done it multiple times. People who sign up for this chose it voluntarily." 

Setting aside the health risks of eating that amount of fried food on an ongoing basis, it's worth noting that many restaurant groups and chains already offer employees free or deeply discounted meals during shifts on top of, ya know, money. 

As if the story wasn't strange enough, it's reported that this specific Chick-fil-A location once employed the controversial, one-term GOP Rep. Cawthorne (NC). Cawthorne lost his reelection bid in this year's primary.

This is also not the first time Chick-fil-A has made national headlines for issues unrelated to chicken and fries. The fast food chain's long history of supporting and donating to staunchly anti-LGBTQ entities has led many to dub its food "hate chicken."

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