McDonald's workers in 10 cities stage #MeToo strike

McDonald’s workers stage strike over sexual harassment

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

Workers said they want McDonald's to create an anti-sexual harassment committee and enforce a zero-tolerance policy. "We will continue - as we always have - to look at ways to do even more to ensure that McDonald's values are reflected in every restaurant, every day".

Plans for the walkout - to start at lunchtime on September 18 - have been approved in recent days by "women's committees" formed by employees at dozens of McDonald's restaurants across the U.S. Lead organizers include several women who filed complaints with the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission in May alleging pervasive harassment at some of McDonald's franchise restaurants.

Bolstered by the success of the #MeToo movement, where high-profile women have decried sexual harassment in the workplace, they are hoping the strike will highlight the plight of women and LGBT workers in low-paid jobs who face similar issues on a daily basis but whose struggles rarely make the headlines.

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

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"Today, thousands of workers across the country have stepped out of the shadows and onto the picket lines", said Chicago community organiser Karla Altmayer. "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. "I can't tell her to stand up for herself if I'm not willing to stand up for myself". In New Orleans, current and former employees chanted, "Hey, McDonald's, you can't hide - we can see your nasty side". "They could do a way better job". Another charge was filed Tuesday after the walkout by an employee in St. Louis, and 17 more were filed in 2016.

In Chicago, another worker said she was sacked after she reported her manager for sexual harassment, according to NWLC. The teen reported it to her manager, who allegedly told her, "You will never win that battle". No action was taken against the co-worker.

One of those employees making demands is Tanya Harrell, a McDonald's worker from Louisiana.

Organizers said the strike is targeting McDonald's restaurants in Chicago, Los Angeles, Miami, Milwaukee, New Orleans, San Francisco and St. Louis, as well as Durham, North Carolina; Kansas City, Missouri; and Orlando, Florida. The Time's Up Legal Defense Fund helped pay the fees to take the complaint to the U.S. Equal Employement Opportunity Commission.

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