Durham McDonald’s workers to join national strike over sexual harassment

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A group of Durham McDonald’s employees say they plan to join a strike across restaurant locations in at least 10 cities nationwide Tuesday, an effort to highlight the sexual harassment of workers at the fast-food chain.

Organizers with N.C. Raise Up, a chapter of the national Fight for $15 group, say cooks and cashiers will walk off the job and gather at 12 noon at the restaurant at 1010 N. Miami Blvd., in a push for union rights. Other walkouts are planning for McDonald’s franchises in Charlotte and Marion, NC.

“Right now, workers are getting harassed, and some people are scared to speak out because they feel like they might lose their jobs,” Rita Blalock, a Raleigh McDonald’s worker, said in a press release Monday. “Coming together in a union would help because we would have a real voice in our store — not just about abuse, but about wages and safety and everything else.”

Organizers say it will be the fifth time workers have walked off the job to protest a “culture of harassment” at McDonald’s that has sparked civil rights lawsuits and complaints with the federal Equal Employment Opportunity Commission. That action, The New York Times reported, has been backed by high-profile legal help from groups like the Time’s Up Legal Defense Fund and American Civil Liberties Union as the #MeToo movement gained prominence.

Durham McDonald’s workers went on strike in December after an employee tested positive for COVID-19, The News & Observer reported. In addition to demanding a $15 minimum wage, employees said they wanted restaurant management to implement more virus protections, including the enforcement of mask-wearing and social distancing.

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