Non-union cooks and cashiers at more than 30 restaurants in Los Angeles County and across California are planning to walk off their jobs today to demand that management do more to keep workers safe during the coronavirus pandemic.
The protest was inspired by a series of strikes that began Sunday at a McDonald’s in Los Angeles, where a worker tested positive for COVID-19, according to the Los Angeles Times. That spurred similar action at a McDonald’s in San Jose, where employees have been on strike since Monday, demanding masks, gloves, soap, hazard pay and sick days, The Times reported.
Workers from some of the restaurants today will stage a “socially distant drive-through strike line” at the McDonald’s at 7123 Crenshaw Blvd. in Los Angeles.
Bartolome Perez, who has been on strike since Sunday at a McDonald’s in the L.A. area, said the company bottom line “isn’t the only thing that’s essential.”
McDonald’s responded late Monday to the L.A. and San Jose protests with a vow to make “important changes” in how its restaurants address health and safety during the coronavirus crisis.
That includes “starting wellness checks, increased cleanings and additional social distancing and hand-washing guidelines,” according to spokeswoman Lindsay Rainey.
McDonald’s also plans to send non-medical grade masks to the areas of greatest need and will be making gloves available to crew members.
On Tuesday, nine employees at a Los Angeles Domino’s, where a coworker tested positive for COVD-19, joined McDonald’s protesters in walking off the job. Hundreds of California employees from Burger King, Taco Bell, Domino’s, Pizza Hut, Subway, Popeye’s, El Pollo Loco and WaBa Grill are expected to join in Thursday’s walkout.
Workers at grocery stores, including Whole Foods, have staged similar demonstrations, demanding more protections.