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McDonald's workers plan first multistate strike amid claims company ignores sexual harassment

McDonald's workers across the U.S. are planning to walk out Tuesday during lunchtime in an effort to push the company to take a firmer stance against sexual harassment in the workplace. (Justin Sullivan/Getty Images)

McDonald's workers across the U.S. are planning to walk out during lunchtime Tuesday in an effort to push the company to take a firmer stance against sexual harassment in the workplace.

The strike, which has been dubbed #MeTooMcDonalds, is reportedly the first multistate strike targeting sexual misconduct, according to The Associated Press.

McDonald's told TheBlaze in a written statement that it has strong policies in place but that it's also working with industry experts to ensure its employees have a safe work environment.

“We have strong policies, procedures and training in place specifically designed to prevent sexual harassment," the company said Tuesday in the 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.”

RAINN is an anti-sexual violence organization that provides training and assists those affected by sexual violence.

Who organized the walkout?

The walkout was organized by employees who formed "women's committees" at dozens of restaurants across the nation. Several of the organizers filed sexual harassment complaints with the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission against McDonald's franchises earlier this year.

A Dartmouth College history professor told the AP she's aware of only one precedent to the fast-food chain's strike. In 1912, hundreds of corset factory workers in Michigan protested against bad working conditions and sexual harassment.

What are some of the claims?

Tanya Harrell of New Orleans filed a complaint with the EEOC in May. She alleged that a co-worker verbally and physically harassed her, the AP reported. The 22-year-old who earns $8.15 an hour claimed that the co-worker grabbed her breasts and her behind, and even asked her to touch his penis.

Harrell told The Guardian that she complained to her two store managers, but they didn't take her accusations seriously. They told her she was acting "like a little girl" about it. No action was taken against the employee.

'They want people to think they care, but they don't care," Harrell told the AP. "They could do a way better job."

In St. Louis, one teenage accuser said an older male employee told her she had a "nice body" and asked, "Have you ever had white chocolate inside you?" the National Women's Law Center said in a news release earlier this year.

The 15-year-old reported the incident to her manager, who told her "you will never win that battle." No action was taken against the co-worker.

In Chicago, another worker said she was fired after she reported her manager for sexual harassment, according to NWLC.

Her manager allegedly asked her if she wanted to see his penis and “how many penises she could take." 

Which cities are affected by the strike?

Employees at McDonald's in numerous cities will be participating in the strike.

The affected cities include Chicago; Durham, North Carolina; Kansas City and St. Louis, Missouri; Los Angeles and San Francisco; Miami and Orlando, Florida; Milwaukee; and New Orleans.

It's unclear how many restaurants will be affected.

What else?

Strikers will also use the walkout to demand higher wages.

Union-backed organizations, including Fight for $15, are mounting pressure against the restaurant chain to provide better working conditions and minimum $15 an hour wages.

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