Restaurant employees are some of the most poorly-treated and absurdly underpaid workers in the country, and they’ve got it easy compared to fast-food workers, so thousands of them took to the streets of Southern California and across the state Tuesday to say it’s enough already.
Hundreds of striking workers organized by Fight for $15 Los Angeles gathered at a McDonald’s on Floral Drive in Monterey Park—where workers claim the kitchen was recently flooded with sewage—at 9:00 this morning to demand better pay and to rein in unsafe working conditions, especially in the wake of the pandemic.
“Just days after lockdowns began, @McDonalds was already setting the standard for the industry by ignoring mandates and ignoring the needs of its workers. At this store when we asked for PPE, we were given crazy sock day,” the group stated on Twitter.
Carlos, who works at a McDonald’s on Crenshaw Boulevard, told KTLA that conditions at his location are “terrible” and “impossible,” adding that the store has no air-conditioning and that understaffing means he and his fellow workers are often pressed into 16-hour shifts.
Complaints to management, he said, fell on deaf ears.
Imelda Rosales told the station, “We want better conditions at work. My shoulder is really damaged… and they don’t care. They think that we are a robot, not a person.”
The protestors are pushing for the Legislature to pass AB 257, which would “establish industry-wide minimum standards on wages, working hours, and other working conditions related to the health, safety, and welfare of, and supplying the necessary cost of proper living to, fast food restaurant workers.”
Although California politicians campaign on fighting for equitable pay and treatment for downtrodden workers (politicians who win elections, that is—not this guy), the bill was introduced in January, amended in the spring, and lawmakers say they’ll manage to vote on it sometime in December.
The strikers marched on McDonald’s, but they’re targeting the whole industry, and have planned additional protests throughout the day.
“It’s in the news and it’s in the business section,” State Senator Bob Archuleta said at the Monterey Park rally. “We’re talking about business ladies and gentlemen. It is good business to treat your employees with pride, with dignity.”
McDonald’s said in a statement that its “franchise model allows thousands of small business owners to drive their own economic growth while playing an active role as responsible employers in their communities… which empowers them to provide locally relevant benefits and programs that most resonate with their employees’ needs, such as the appreciation bonuses, local gift cards and flexible schedules many franchisees offered throughout the pandemic.”
The global mega-corp also warned that protections in AB 257 could bring to an end its generous gift card gravy train, stating, “Measures in AB257 would disrupt this successful model, creating unnecessary obstacles for the small business owners who are best equipped to manage their restaurants and teams.”
Stay on top of the latest in L.A. news, food, and culture. Sign up for our newsletters today.