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Beginning at lunchtime, several McDonald's restaurants in 10 U.S. cities will be subject to a strike over on-the-job sexual harassment. The Associated Press reported on Sept. 12 that the the #MeToo-inspired walkout was organized by committees formed by employees of the international fast food chain. Its organizers include women who have filed complaints with the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission for their experience with sexual harassment at work, as well as their lawyers and groups like Fight for 15, which aims to increase minimum wage to $15 per hour nationally.
Fight for 15 used McDonald's cosmetic attempt to show support for its female employees on International Women's Day (by turning their golden arches upside down to resemble a "W") as an opportunity to attack the corporation on Twitter for paying unfair wages and not protecting its employees from sexual harassment. It has been tweeting statements from various female employees who will participate in the strike.
One woman, a 22-year-old employee at a McDonald's franchise in Louisiana, alleged her manager did not take her complaint seriously when she reported a coworker groping her "private area."
McDonald's did not address whether it plans to close completely on Tuesday in anticipation of the strike, but a spokesperson issued TODAY Food the following statement:
“There is no place for harassment or discrimination of any kind at McDonald’s. Since our founding, we’ve been committed to a culture that fosters the respectful treatment of everyone. We have policies, procedures and training in place that are specifically designed to prevent sexual harassment at our company and company-owned restaurants, and we firmly believe that our franchisees share this commitment."
"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,” the statement read.
The strike, which will also use the walkout to demand better pay, has been coined "#MeToo McDonald's." It is the first of its kind to go nationwide since 1912, when workers at a corset factory in Michigan protested against sexual harassment and bad working conditions.
Organizers told AP the strike will take place at "multiple" McDonald's locations throughout Chicago, Durham, North Carolina; Kansas City and St. Louis, Missouri; Los Angeles and San Francisco, California; Miami and Orlando, Florida; Milwaukee, Wisconsin; and New Orleans, Louisiana.