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McDonald's workers plan strikes in 10 cities to protest sexual harassment
McDonald's workers are planning to go on strike at restaurants in 10 cities across the country next week in an effort to get the company to strengthen its policies against sexual harassment in the workplace.
Organizers of the strike, scheduled for Sept. 18 in cities including Chicago, Los Angeles and Kansas City, Mo., described it as the first multistate strike aimed specifically at combatting sexual harassment.
Strike organizers cited the "Me Too" movement and a lack of response from the company to 10 complaints filed with the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) in May alleging sexual harassment.
"McDonald's has a responsibility to provide a safe place to work, and we're going to keep speaking out until the company hears our calls for change," Tanya Harrell, an employee in New Orleans who plans to go on strike, said in a press release Wednesday announcing the walkout.
Other cities being targeted for the strikes include Durham, N.C.; Miami; Milwaukee; Orlando, Fla.; San Francisco and St. Louis. Not every restaurant in those cities is being targeted for the strike, organizers say.
McDonald's on Wednesday defended its anti-harassment efforts ahead of the demonstrations next week.
"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 told The Associated Press.
The company also told the AP that it has begun to work with outside experts to "evolve" those policies and procedures.
"Whatever policy they have is not effective," labor lawyer Mary Joyce Carlson told the news agency.
Carlson, an attorney for Fight for $15 - a group pushing to raise the minimum wage to $15 per hour - has been working with women who filed the EEOC complaints.
"We see no evidence there's been any change at all," Carlson said.