Demanding McDonald’s prioritize public health and worker safety over profits, hundreds of employees at the fast food chain went on strike Wednesday, a day before the company was set to hold its annual shareholders’ meeting.
Instead of distributing dividends to its shareholders, the striking employees are calling for the company to use its massive profits to pay for safety and financial protections for workers, scores of whom have contracted Covid-19 in at least 16 states so far.
Employees and strike organizers at the fair wage advocacy group Fight for $15 are demanding hazard pay during the pandemic of “$15X2,” paid sick leave, sufficient protective gear for workers, and company-wide policy of closing a restaurant for two weeks when an employee becomes infected, with workers being fully paid. The strike is taking place at stores in at least 20 cities….
The strike comes five weeks after the SEIU released a survey of about 800 McDonald’s workers, 46% of whom reported coming to work sick out of fear that they would be penalized if they stayed home. More than 90% of workers said their stores did not supply sufficient face masks. McDonald’s claimed this week that the SEIU’s survey is now outdated and that the company is “putting safety first” as it moves to fully reopen many of the indoor dining rooms at its 140,000 U.S. restaurants.
But on Tuesday, a day before the strike, McDonald’s workers in Chicago filed a class-action lawsuit claiming the company is still not providing enough hand sanitizer, gloves, and masks for workers..