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McDonald’s cooks, cashiers strike for higher wages and protest alleged lack of safeguards

McDonald’s cooks and cashiers held a one-day strike in Los Angeles on Wednesday to call for a $15-an-hour minimum wage at all locations and to protest the company’s alleged failure to protect workers from sexual harassment, workplace violence and exposure to COVID-19.

The workers, who are part of the Fight For $15 movement, walked off the job in 15 U.S. cities, including Los Angeles, Oakland, Sacramento, Miami, Tampa and Orlando, among others.

The L.A. strike was held at a McDonald’s at 1311 Washington Blvd.

Rosa Calderon, a cook at a McDonald’s in Santa Clarita, said her pay was recently boosted to $15 an hour, but she’s working fewer hours.

“They cut a lot of hours for workers, but they still piled on double tasks for other employees,” she said. “That needs to change. We need to have fair schedules.”

Pay hikes at company-owned locations

Last week, McDonald’s announced pay hikes for the more-than-36,000 employees working at the 650 company-owned locations. But 95% of McDonald’s restaurants, or nearly 14,000 locations, are franchise restaurants that have yet to boost minimum pay.

In a statement issued May 13, MacDonald’s said it will be raising hourly wages at company-owned restaurants by an average of 10 percent.

“These increases, which have already begun, will be rolled out over the next several months and include shifting the entry level range for crew to at least $11 – $17 an hour, and the starting range for shift managers to at least $15 to $20 an hour based on restaurant location,” the company said.

McDonald’s expects the average hourly wage for its company-owned restaurants to increase to $15 an hour in a phased, market-by-market approach.

In some areas of Southern California, such as Los Angeles and unincorporated areas of L.A. County, the minimum wage is already $15 an hour.

The workers noted that Costco, Amazon, Starbucks and Target have already raised their base pay to $15 an hour, understanding that higher wages are good for workers and good for business.

Supporting twin bills

The employees are urging state lawmakers to pass two bills aimed at helping low-wage essential workers and communities of color who were hit hardest by the pandemic.

Assembly Bill 257 would create a fast-food sector council that would include workers’ voices in setting industry-wide safety and employment standards, and hold corporations like McDonald’s accountable for protecting workers.

AB 1177 would create a financial services platform to close the widening racial wealth gap fueled by the exclusion of low-wage communities of color from basic banking services.

McDonald’s said it will assess periodic adjustments to wages and benefits on an ongoing basis to remain competitive and support the needs of its workers.

Enhanced safety protocols

The fast-food chain said it has implemented more than 50 enhanced COVID-19 safeguards during the pandemic, including increased cleaning and sanitization, universal masking, protective barriers, contactless operations and daily temperature and wellness checks for employees.

Employees at McDonald’s corporate restaurants impacted by COVID-19 receive two weeks of paid time off, the company said, and it provides four hours of paid time to staff at McDonald’s US corporate-owned restaurants who receive the vaccine.

Global Brand Standards

Last month, McDonald’s also introduced Global Brand Standards, which are aimed at preventing harassment, discrimination, retaliation and workplace violence, while welcoming employee feedback and promoting health and safety.

All 39,000 McDonald’s restaurants, both company-owned and franchisee locations, in more than 100 countries will be required to adhere to the standards, the company said.

Source: Orange County Register

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