Responding to rampant alleged sexual misconduct and emboldened by the #MeToo movement taking root nationally, McDonald's workers across 10 US cities abandoned their restaurants at lunchtime Tuesday to take part in what is being hailed as the first multi-state strike to specifically target sexual harassment. She said managers had laughed off her complaint that a male co-worker had groped her, telling her she probably had given him "sex appeal".
Those organizing this strike, as they called it, say this is the first-time women have walked off the job to protest sexual harassment since 1912, when garment workers nationwide did the same thing.
Attorneys for the workers plan to ask the EEOC to consolidate or coordinate the new charges with the 2016 charges as well as others that remain pending.
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That committee would ideally comprise workers, representatives from corporate and franchise stores, leaders of national women's groups, and "would chart a path forward to make sure nobody who works for McDonald's faces sexual harassment on the job", according to Equal Rights Advocates. "When they have tainted lettuce in 17 states, they don't say, 'Oh, this is only a problem for the franchisee.' They go to work trying to solve the problem across the system". She alleged that a co-worker verbally and physically harassed her, the AP reported.
Employees in 10 cities are participating, including Chicago, Miami, Los Angeles, New Orleans and San Francisco. On Tuesday, the group helped orchestrate a protest from McDonalds employees and labor activists aimed at raising attention to working conditions and sexual harassment in the fast-food industry. She was told she was acting "like a little girl" and was childish to complain about it.
The Fight for 15 movement has embraced the viral #MeToo movement to bolster its quest for $15 minimum wages in fast-food restaurants.
McDonald's, in an e-mail to The Associated Press, said its anti-harassment efforts are strong.
"We are committed to cultivating a work environment that is reflective of our values, and we will not tolerate mistreatment of anyone", Lonardo said. Further, the company has "engaged experts in the areas of prevention and response including RAINN (Rape, Abuse & Incest National Network), to evolve our policies", noted the chain. The union's attempt to ally itself with the #MeToo movement as the same organization has been rocked by misconduct scandals at the very top struck Saltsman as hypocritical.