Kalena Thomhave of The American Prospect writes:
McDonald’s workers in ten cities went on strike during the lunch hour to protest sexual harassment, as well as inadequate responses or retaliation they’d received from management. For its part, McDonald’s says that no workers walked off the job.
McDonald’s restaurants in Chicago; Durham, North Carolina; Kansas City, Missouri; Los Angeles; Miami; Milwaukee; New Orleans; Orlando; San Francisco; and St. Louis all saw strikes as workers demanded that the McDonald’s Corporation respond to their complaints. A similar strike over the sexual harassment of women workers has not happened in over 100 years, when, in 1912, corset workers in Kalamazoo, Michigan, walked off the job in protest of sexual abuse.
A 2016 surveyby Hart Research Associates found that 40 percent of women fast food workers, disproportionately women of color, reported experiencing sexual harassment on the job. Nearly half of those women reported health problems, like stress and depression, stemming from the abuse. One in five experienced retaliation from management.
Fighting sexual harassment in a low-wage job without the protections of a union can not only be difficult, but risky. Women earning the minimum wage or just above it may not be able to afford to speak up and risk their jobs. Such workers are also more vulnerable to retaliation—for instance, having their hours reduced.