Advance Notice: Briefs

Detroit McDonald’s workers strike over sexual harassment and violence

By: - November 2, 2021 2:52 pm

Joe Raedle/Getty Images

McDonald’s workers in Detroit walked out in protest last week over what they characterize as the company’s failure to address a widespread problem of sexual harassment in the workplace. An employee told the Advance Tuesday that they plan to strike again soon.

In addition to Detroit, McDonald’s employees also went on strike on Oct. 26 in 12 U.S. cities including Chicago, Miami and Houston as part of a larger effort led by the “Fight for $15 and a Union” labor group.

The group, which works toward securing a living wage and a right to a union for workers, is a branch of the 2 million-member Service Employees International Union (SEIU).

The strike was the fifth one in the last three years for McDonald’s workers. Verbal and physical harassment are at the heart of the strikers’ complaints, which they say run rampant in stores and add hardship to a job that many feel does not pay a living wage.

“Every single person working at a McDonald’s restaurant deserves to feel safe and respected when they come to work, and sexual harassment and assault have no place in any McDonald’s restaurant,” the company said in a statement.

McDonald’s announced in April that it would establish new reporting procedures and a sexual harassment training requirement starting in January.

But workers say that is not enough. The strike comes on the heels of a September lawsuit filed by a teenage McDonald’s employee and her parents, who say the then-14-year-old was abused, harassed and eventually raped by her new store manager — a convicted sex offender.

The employee said she did not receive sexual harassment training or guidelines on reporting an incident at the Pittsburgh-area store.

Aaliyah Moore, 19, works at a McDonald’s in Detroit and walked out alongside her colleagues on Oct. 26.

Moore told the Advance on Tuesday that the lawsuit was her main motivation for protesting, and she wishes McDonald’s would “pay more attention and take [these issues] more seriously.”

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Laina G. Stebbins
Laina G. Stebbins

Laina G. Stebbins covers the environment, Native issues and criminal justice for the Advance. A lifelong Michigander, she is a graduate of Michigan State University’s School of Journalism, where she served as Founding Editor of The Tab Michigan State and as a reporter for the Capital News Service. When Laina is not writing or spending time with her cats, she loves art and design, listening to music, playing piano, enjoying good food and being out in nature (especially Up North).

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