Protest planned for 18 September will be the first multi-state strike in the US specifically targeting sexual harassment
McDonalds fast-food restaurant workers have voted to stage a one-day strike at outlets in 10 US cities next week, in hopes of pressuring the company to take stronger steps against sexual harassment on the job.
Organizers of the action say it will be the first multi-state strike in the US specifically targeting sexual harassment and that they have been emboldened by the #MeToo movement against harassment and sexual assault.
Plans for the walkout to start at lunchtime on 18 September have been approved in recent days by committees of female employees at dozens of McDonalds restaurants. Lead organizers include several women who filed complaints with the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission in May, alleging pervasive harassment at some of the corporations franchise restaurants.
The strike comes as union-backed organizations have been putting pressure on McDonalds on several fronts for better working conditions, including $15 an hour wages at a burger chain that employs tens of thousands of people around the country, many of them at low pay.
The strike will target multiple restaurants but not every local McDonalds in each of the 10 cities: Chicago; Durham, North Carolina; Kansas City and St Louis, Missouri; Los Angeles; Miami; Milwaukee; New Orleans; Orlando, Florida; San Francisco.
The strike follows public protests by workers previously.
McDonalds, in an email to the Associated Press, defended its anti-harassment efforts.
We have policies, procedures and training in place that are specifically designed to prevent sexual harassment at our company and company-owned restaurants, and we firmly believe that our franchisees share this commitment, the company said.
The company also disclosed a new initiative that will engage outside experts to work with McDonalds to help evolve those policies and procedures. Some of the experts would come from an employment law training firm and an anti-sexual violence organization.
Labor lawyer Mary Joyce Carlson, who has been collaborating with women who filed the EEOC complaints, says the company needs to back up such gestures with tougher enforcement.
We see no evidence theres been any change at all, she said. Whatever policy they have is not effective.