If you head to your local McDonald's on Tuesday, October 26, you may find there's no one there to take your order. Employees of the fast-food giant have announced a one-day strike in order to demand changes in the way the chain handles the "rampant sexual harassment [of employees] in their stores," according to Fight for $15, the advocacy group organizing the protest.
McDonald's workers across at least ten major cities, including Chicago, Miami, Houston, and Detroit, are planning a walkout in response to the company's refusal to take responsibility for cases of workplace sexual harassment that happen at their restaurants. The protest comes in the wake of a highly publicized case of a Pittsburgh McDonald's manager who was accused of raping a 14-year-old coworker. The manager was a registered sex offender at the time of hiring.
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But the issue is spread even wider. A franchisee of 22 McDonald's locations across Arizona, California, and Nevada is currently facing a lawsuit that alleges he tolerated "egregious sexual harassment," which included "constant groping," of teenage employees.
"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, an employee in Sanford, Fla., told The Hill, adding that "nothing will change for me, or millions of other workers like me, until we use our collective voice to make change happen."
McDonald's said it will investigate and take action on any allegations made at their corporate-owned locations, according to a statement given to Business Insider. The company also said it will ensure all franchisees meet the new corporate global standards issued in April, which require operators to undergo anti-harassment training.
"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," the company said in a statement. "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."
Previously, Fight for $15 has organized walkouts of McDonald's workers in major cities to demand a minimum hourly wage of $15.
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