McDonald's workers strike over sexual harassment policies

McDonald’s workers in 10 cities went on a temporary strike on Tuesday to protest alleged instances of sexual harassment and demand clear action from company executives.

Organizers said Pparticipating employees at the store locations planned to remain on strike for one day. Fight For $15, the activist group backing the protests, confirmed the chain’s “first-ever national strike” was underway in a series of tweets.

“McDonald’s aspires to be a ‘progressive burger company’ — but it’s failed to address the allegation of sexual harassment from employees in its stores,” Fight For $15 and several other labor and activist organizations said in an open letter to the fast-food chain.

The strikes unfolded after 10 McDonald’s employees across nine cities accused the chain of failing to act after they reported sexual harassment or misconduct in the workplace, including inappropriate behavior from store managers. The employees filed formal complaints with the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission and received legal aid from the Time’s Up Legal Defense Fund, which formed to provide support to women who had experienced workplace harassment.

“We have strong policies, procedures and training in place specifically designed to prevent sexual harassment,” McDonald’s said in a statement. “To ensure we are doing all that can be done, we have engaged experts in the areas of prevention and response including, RAINN, to evolve our policies so everyone who works at McDonald’s does so in a secure environment every day.”

A McDonald's representative said its store locations have "no reported walkoffs," though organizers said mass walkouts were planned as part of the demonstrations.

The one-day strikes took place in Chicago, Los Angeles, Miami, Orlando, San Francisco, St. Louis, Kansas City, Durham, Milwaukee and New Orleans. Protestors also gathered outside McDonald’s headquarters in Chicago.

The workers are demanding that McDonald’s mandate anti-harassment training for all employees and implement a better system for reporting and addressing allegations of misconduct, the Associated Press reported.

This story has been updated.