A period of worker solidarity
The fast food industry has to decide shortly on their policies and how they will attempt to accommodate their workers as most have decided to go on strike over the last few years advocating for safer work conditions, more hours, and better pay.
In August 2021, a McDonald’s restaurant on Florence Avenue in South Los Angeles organized a walkout, citing unsafe work conditions. “We are outraged by this senseless act of violence that has no place in our restaurants. Fostering a safe workplace for the crew is incredibly important to us, and we have multiple layers of established security measures in the restaurant, including security personnel and an updated security system,” said McDonald’s USA Operations Officer Jackie Bunting said as she spoke about the situation. “In this instance, the protocol was followed, and law enforcement was contacted immediately to intervene. We were proud to welcome the impacted employee back to work and will continue to focus on safely serving our communities.”
This statement followed several incidents of violence at the location. Things have escalated across McDonald chains as one McDonald in East L.A. held a strike to support co-worker Bertha Montes, who was forced to work while extremely sick and was rushed to the hospital during her shift.
“They had her in the emergency room for a couple of hours,” said Monica Montes, Bertha’s sister. “That’s when they rushed her to have an emergency dialysis because her blood was intoxicated.” Unfortunately, Montes succumbed to her illness several weeks later as she suffered from Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease (COPD) while battling thyroids and pre-diabetes.
Now, McDonald’s employees plus workers at Checkers, Burger King and other fast food companies held protest rallies in solidarity with one another.
“We want to stop the sexual harassment, the disrespect from the managers, better working conditions, and better pay,” said July Monroy, an employee at McDonald’s said as she talked about the current situation that led to the strike. “We want to feel uncomfortable going to work, and we can’t do that if the managers treat us like we aren’t humans. I have experienced verbal abuse at my store, and the best H.R. did for me was switch me to another store. They didn’t even try to solve the situation.”
Monroy, like many fast food workers, is at the mercy of their managers because once the pay wage went up, hours were cut to compensate for the raises, which has now caused many of them to get second jobs.
“I had to look for a second job to support my family because they cut my hours, I’ll be lucky if I get scheduled for 15 hours a week,” Monroy said. She explained that the current working conditions are another reason for her lack of hours and, consequently, has made some workers hesitant about calling out managers. “So many of my coworkers don’t wanna speak up because they fear they will be penalized for it, which makes it hard for them to support their families.”