McDonalds Employees in 10 Cities Staged a #MeToo Strike

Female employees at McDonald's restaurants in 10 U.S. cities — including Chicago, where the company is headquartered — walked out on Tuesday to protest how the company has handled sexual harassment. 

It was the first-ever nationwide walkout in protest of sexual harassment, and workers at various McDonald's locations in Chicago, Kansas City, St. Louis, LA, Miami, Milwaukee, New Orleans, Orlando, San Francisco, and Durham, North Carolina all participated. 

According to the BBC, the strike was the result of 27 women filing complaints against McDonald's, alleging it failed to enforce company rules against abuse. According to the women, they were ignored after they reported various incidents, including "groping, indecent exposure and lewd comments." 

Labor advocacy group Fight for $15 helped organize the protest. "It’s sad that we have to walk off the job in order to be treated with respect at McDonald’s, but we’re not going to stay quiet while the company ignores the harassment we’re facing," said Tanya Harrell, a McDonald’s employee from New Orleans who participated in the strike

Harrell said she had been verbally harassed and groped by a co-worker, and after reporting it, her manager made fun of her.

"We are hoping that at the end of this strike, McDonald’s upholds and actually enforces its zero-tolerance policy with regard to sexual harassment,” said Fight for $15 lawyer Mary Joyce Carlson. "McDonald’s should conduct mandatory trainings on sexual harassment for managers and employees. They should create a safe and effective method for receiving — and responding to — complaints from employees who report sexual harassment. We want McDonald’s corporate and franchisee reps to participate on a committee with its women workers and leaders of major national women’s groups to chart a path forward to end sexual harassment at the company."

The chain responded to the initial lawsuits by saying there's "no place for harassment" at McDonald's' restaurants, despite a report that showed a staggering 90 percent of women in the food industry have claimed they've been sexually harassed at work.