Not Lovin McDonalds - © nowiseeclearer.com

Labour Woes Loom For McDonald’s

Remember, a while back, when McDonald’s workers and their supporters protested demanding higher wages and better working conditions? The protesters’ slogan was ‘We’re Not Lovin’ It’. Now, McDonald’s workers are preparing a massive protest this coming Tuesday, over the lunch hour…

Fast Food Wage Protest - © 2013 Sonia FaruqiRemember when McDonald’s workers and supporters joined to demand
higher wages a while back? Now, they’re preparing to protest
sexual harassment in the workplace…

This time, the protest is over allegations that management has ignored complaints about sexual abuse in the workplace. The Associated Press reports that it will involve dozens of restaurants across 10 American cities and, though only a one-day protest, it could lead to further business disruptions at the Burger Giant’s stores.

There’s solidarity with other McDonald’s employee groups. One of the organizations behind the previous pay-related protests, Fight for $15, Tweeted: “Fed up with McDonald’s failure to address groping, propositions for sex and other illegal behavior in its stores, workers announced today we will wage the first-ever nationwide strike to combat sexual harassment September 18.”

What’s going on?

“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 in an e-mail to AP.

On the other hand…

“We see no evidence there’s been any change at all,” said labour lawyer Mary Joyce Carlson, who filed complaints on behalf of several female McD’s workers with the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission in May. “Whatever policy they have is not effective.”

Protesters will be demanding that McDonald’s upgrade procedures for receiving and handling complaints about employee harassment, bring in mandatory anti-harassment training for managers and employees, and form a new national committee to address the issue of harassment composed of store managers, workers and leaders of national women’s groups.

What it means to customers…

While we know what cities the strike will affect, we don’t know exactly which stores in those cities will be affected. But the protest leaders say more than one location in each city will be involved. And, now that the word is out, workers at other McDonald’s outlets may decide spontaneously to join in.

McDonald’s employees in the following cities are officially in on the strike: Chicago; Durham, North Carolina; Kansas City, Missouri; Los Angeles; Miami; Milwaukee; New Orleans; Orlando, Florida; San Francisco and St. Louis.

So, if you usually drop by the Arches for lunch on Tuesday’s, you might want to make other plans. Or, you can face the music and cross the protest lines. And, probably, suffer through a longer wait than usual to get served due to expected staff shortages.

My take…

I think that, in this day and age, the situation at McDonald’s is retrograde, to say the least. And I agree with Lawyer Carlson that current policies governing harassment are not effective. I mean, you can have all the policies you want, but if you don’t enforce them, they’re worthless.

I wonder if McD’s policy-makers have simply failed to instill in their staff the importance of following anti-harassment policies, or if they’ve just assumed all along that the policies would be followed and have never checked to see if that was so? I hope the current state of affairs is not a result of McD’s higher-ups just not caring enough to follow-up…

~ Maggie J.

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