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McDonald’s Workers Plan Walk Out Over Sexual Harassment

McDonald’s workers in Chicago announced they will join #Striketober on Tuesday, October 26, as part of a 12-city walkout calling on McDonald’s to stamp out workplace sexual harassment and violence. Striking workers will speak out about the importance of coming together in a union to win solutions to issues like sexual harassment, violence and discrimination in the workplace. The strike will take place at 1045 W. Randolph at 12pm.

Since 2016, McDonald’s has largely ignored its frontline workers who have filed more than 50 complaints and lawsuits, alleging illegal harassment in both corporate and franchise McDonald’s restaurants. Many of the crew members and lower-level managers who have spoken up about harassment allege they have felt the brunt of retaliation, ranging from reduced hours and unwarranted discipline to being fired or forced to leave their jobs.

In response to CBS Sunday Morning’s February report on explosive allegations of sexual harassment at a Mason, Michigan McDonald’s, McDonald’s released a statement promising a review of “current policies and programs regarding workplace safety,” as though it were the first time executives were learning about the problem. In fact, workers have been raising the alarm since at least 2016. Eventually, in April, McDonald’s pledged it would require all workers, in both corporate- and franchise-owned stores, to undergo anti-harassment training, but the announcement was short on specifics, and there has been no update on timing, enforcement, or consequences for failing to uphold the new policy.

Despite McDonald’s proclamations that it would tackle the issue, sexual harassment remains rampant across McDonald’s system. And the issue is not limited to the United States. There are currently active complaints over sexual harassment and misconduct at McDonald’s in Brazil, France, the U.K., and Australia. A complaint over McDonald’s systemic sexual harassment problem has been filed with the OECD. And McDonald’s global corporation has refused to enter into conversations about its harassment policies.

Tuesday’s strike will mark the fifth time workers in the Fight for $15 and a Union have gone on strike demanding McDonald’s address its culture of harassment. A 10-city walkout in 2018 was the first strike over sexual harassment in more than 100 years. Little has changed since that first strike for McDonald’s frontline workers, who continue to report a widespread harassment problem.

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