- McDonald’s workers are planning another strike on Tuesday to protest alleged sexual harassment at multiple locations in the US.
- The strike will build upon a pattern of McDonald’s #MeToo movements that started in 2018.
- The McDonald’s effort is the latest in a line of worker strikes across multiple industries in the month of October alone.
The “Striketober” streak continues as McDonald’s employees become the latest group of workers to demand corporate change.
Employees at the fast-food giant in at least ten cities across the US, including Chicago and St. Louis, are planning a one-day strike on Tuesday to protest allegations of sexual harassment against employees. During the strike, employees will “demand that McDonald’s stop wasting time and listen to workers when it comes to fixing rampant sexual harassment in their stores,” the workers’ rights group Fight for $US15 ($AU20) wrote in a Facebook post on Friday.
The McDonald’s strike follows a rise of protests in recent months over what some workers say are poor working conditions, toxic cultures, and insufficient wages at a range of companies including John Deere, Netflix, Kellogg’s, and American Airlines. The fight for workers’ rights has been further magnified by ongoing pandemic pressures, labor shortages, and supply chain issues, which have made it harder to retain employees.
Fight for $US15 ($AU20) helped organize the strike, which serves as a direct response to the alleged rape of a 14-year-old McDonald’s worker in Pittsburgh by a manager at the restaurant, according to USA Today.
The effort also comes amid claims of harassment across other McDonald’s restaurants, including a lawsuit filed in September after a McDonald’s franchisee did not adequately respond to harassment complaints from multiple teenagers in 22 locations in California, Nevada, and Arizona.
According to a McDonald’s spokesperson, the company will conduct investigations into and act on any allegations made at McDonald’s corporate-owned establishments. The spokesperson told Insider the company is working to ensure that all franchisees also meet McDonald’s updated set of global brand standards, which were rolled out in April.
“Sexual harassment in the workplace is an affront to everything we stand for as a System,” McDonald’s CEO Chris Kempczinski said in a message to employees in February. “If ever we find that we’ve fallen short of our values, we must acknowledge our mistakes and make them right.”
“I’m going on strike because despite years of protests, McDonald’s still refuses to take responsibility for the countless women and teenagers who face harassment on the job at its stores across the globe,” Jamelia Fairley, a McDonald’s employee in Sanford, Florida, told The Hill.
“It’s not safe to work at McDonald’s,” former Milwaukee McDonald’s worker Jennifer Berry said in a Facebook post shared by Fight for $US15 ($AU20). “It’s our right to feel safe at our job. We deserve to work for a company that cares about their employees.”
McDonald’s also experienced a wave of employee unrest on the heels of the #MeToo movement. Workers at the fast-food company organized a similar one-day strike in September 2018, which became the first multistate strike in the US specifically aimed at sexual harassment.
Workers have staged multiple strikes against sexual harassment in the company, with at least 50 workers filing charges against the company since 2016 as of April 2021, according to The Associated Press. Workers cited physical and verbal harassment, as well as retaliation when they made complaints.
In April, McDonald’s announced new mandatory training starting next year for over 2 million workers in 39,000 stores around the world, focused on combatting harassment, discrimination, and violence in its restaurants.
“Every single person working at a McDonald’s restaurant deserves to feel safe and respected when they come to work, and sexual harassment and assault have no place in any McDonald’s restaurant,” McDonald’s US told Insider. “We know more work is needed to further our workplace ambitions, which is why all 40,000 McDonald’s restaurants will be assessed and accountable to global brand standards.”