The Great Resignation, as it is now being called, has been sweeping the nation in recent months. People are leaving their jobs in record numbers in search of things like better pay, more of a work-life balance, or just simply because the pandemic has completely burned them out. Pandemic burnout combined with employee shortages due to the mass exodus has prompted employees at large corporations like Kelloggs to go on strike. Now, according to ABC News, McDonald’s employees in 12 major cities across the nation have followed suit and also taken to the streets to strike.
The McDonald’s strike, which occurred Tuesday and was organized by the labor organization Fight for $15 and a Union, was prompted after a 14-year-old girl who worked at a Bethel Park McDonald’s in Pittsburgh, PA was repeatedly sexually harassed by her manager and ultimately raped. In addition to Pittsburgh, the walkouts also occurred in cities like Chicago, Detroit, Houston, and Miami, as well as others.
According to CBS News, this is the fifth time since 2018 that a McDonald’s strike has transpired over incidents of sexual harassment in the workplace. Employees are asserting that the strikes have occurred repeatedly because they feel that McDonald’s corporate is not doing enough to address the problem because even though it has been brought to light it still remains a prevalent issue in locations nationwide.
In response to the myriad of strikes that have materialized over the past three years, McDonald’s announced in April that it would begin requiring all employees to participate in sexual harassment training in an effort to curb the problem. However, some workers like Adriana Alvarez feel that McDonald’s should be doing more to address the issue and make sure that their workers are safe.
“I’m on strike today because we need McDonald’s to realize that we’re not going to stop. What needs to stop is sexual harassment. It’s unfair to these workers, making close to poverty wages, and then on top of that to have to worry about being sexually harassed on the job,” said Alvarez.
Other employees, like Alvarez, feel the same way. One worker stated “No matter what McDonald’s says, not much has changed for workers like me. I’m joining the historic #Striketober strike wave because I know nothing will change for me, or millions of other workers like me until we use our collective voice to make change happen.”
The organization that organized the most recent McDonald’s strike posted a tweet on Twitter promoting it along with a link where people can listen to the stories of women who have been subjected to sexual harassment while working at McDonald’s.
The New York Post reported that the latest McDonald’s strike comes just after a federal lawsuit was filed against them by the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission. The commission purported that in at least 22 different McDonald’s locations there are recurrent incidents of sexual harassment. In response to this, as well as the lawsuit filed by the 14-year-old girl and her parents, McDonald’s has committed to inspecting over 40,000 of their domestic locations.
Alan Perer, who is the legal counsel currently representing the 14-year-old victim, expressed in a statement that he feels McDonald’s denies responsibility for its franchise locations because they do not directly operate them, the owners of those locations do. At this point, it still remains to be seen if any more McDonald’s strikes will occur as a result of the ongoing issue, as well as if McDonald’s themselves will take further initiative to address the problem.