McDonald’s employees in at least 10 cities plan to walk out Tuesday to protest the company’s handling of sexual harassment in the workplace and urge workers at the fast food chain to unionize.
The one-day strike comes after a Pittsburgh McDonald’s manager, who was a registered sex offender at the time of his hiring, allegedly raped a 14-year-old coworker. Fight for $15 and a Union, the group behind the walkout, says that the company has allowed rampant harassment of teenage McDonald’s workers at its franchises.
“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,” said Jamelia Fairley, a McDonald's employee in Sanford, Fla., who is suing the company over its alleged failure to prevent sexual harassment in the workplace.
Last month, the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission alleged that the owners of 22 McDonald’s restaurants in Arizona, California and Nevada subjected teenage employees to sexual harassment, including “constant groping.”
Fairley added that “nothing will change for me, or millions of other workers like me, until we use our collective voice to make change happen.”
Workers will strike in some of the nation’s largest cities, including Miami, Houston, Detroit and Chicago. McDonald’s workers have previously gone on strike to demand a $15 minimum wage.
In response to widespread reports of sexual harassment, McDonald’s announced new guidelines in April requiring franchisees to undergo anti-harassment training, survey their employees and allow for workers to report their concerns.
“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."