Striking McDonald's workers: Public doesn't know what we go through'
McDonald's workers in 10 cities Tuesday walked out in protest of what they allege is rampant sexual harassment at the chain and poor response to the problem by McDonald's leadership. Numerous McDonald's frontline workers near its Chicago headquarters shared stores with the Guardian article about on-the-job groping and harassment.
Although the company did not respond to QSRWeb's specific questions around the strike, a spokesperson sent the following statement:
"There is no place for harassment or discrimination of any kind at McDonald's. Since our founding, we've been committed to a culture that fosters the respectful treatment of everyone. 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 that in addition to unspecified "existing initiatives" to address sexual harassment at the chain, it has hired experts from RAINN and Seyfarth Shaw at Work to update "policies, procedures and training."
At the rally outside its headquarters Tuesday, workers described their fear of speaking out while holding minimum wage jobs that their families could not afford to lose despite alleged widespread harassment and exploitation.
"The public doesn't know what we go through, behind the counters, in the bathrooms, in the janitor's closets," Adriana Alvarez, 26, told The Guardian.
In 2016, 15 McDonald's workers filled Equal Employment Opportunity Commission complaints around on-the-job issues and 10 more workers filed similar actions this year. The one-day strike was a public statement around workers' demands that the brand do more around the issue by forming a committee of workers, corporate and franchise representatives, and national women's groups to deal with the matter within the chain.
The problem may be industry-wide, too, for QSR female workers. A 2016 Hart Research Associates study found 40 percent of female fast-food workers reported on-the-job sexual harassment.