McDonald’s Workers Strike Alleging Terrible Work Conditions


Two Mcdonald’s locations have gone on strike within a day of each other, alleging that the franchise locations would rather let the employees work in temperatures over 100 degrees than provide them with air conditioning. Mcdonald’s employees in East Los Angeles went on strike and filed an OSHA complaint following a co-worker’s death according to ABC 7. In Houston, McDonald’s workers walked out after the air conditioning unit at their restaurant broke. Texas is suffering from extreme temperatures above 100 degrees and according to the Houston Chronicle, employees at the Almeda-Genoa location were working in that heat before they walked out. As Gloria Machuca told the Chronicle “I didn’t want to suffer the consequences from the heat, which would be worse,” Machuca said in Spanish. “I told my co-worker not to be afraid because our health comes first.” A point underscored by what happened to Bertha Montes, a worker at the East LA McDonald’s location who died days after her employer would not let her go home after she got sick. 


According to the OSHA complaint filed: “On April 13, 2023 Bertha was visibly sick at work, with bulging red, glossy eyes. Bertha told Vicky the manager that she was sick and needed to go home, but Vicky told Bertha she could not leave work and forced her to continue working for 3 hours before she was allowed to leave.” The workers remained on strike until the end of the day Friday and the Service Employees International Union says that it is now up to the state agencies if they are going to pursue an investigation of the employees’ allegations regarding their working conditions. 


In Houston, unlike East Los Angeles, all of the employees did not go on strike. In addition to Machuca, five other employees left while four stayed in the establishment, allowing the location to remain open. According to Porfirio Villareal, a spokesperson for the city of Houston’s Health Department, the law is on Machucha’s side: “Houston law requires food establishments to have air conditioning during the summer and heat during the winter, Villareal said. “Without it, workers could suffer from heat exhaustion or heat stroke, which can be deadly,” Machuca said that she would return by Friday, July 21 provided the air conditioning unit had been repaired. 

These labor disputes come amid a wave of strikes and labor-related conversations that are embroiling the national consciousness in debates around the value of labor. California in particular is the epicenter of these debates as we are updated on the dispute between writers and actors and the Hollywood studios via social media.  Amazon delivery drivers joined the Teamsters strike of UPS over similar work conditions. Teachers are on strike across the country, seeking benefits for themselves and their students; experts are cautioning that it will be a summer of strikes and so far, that caution appears to be a true warning.

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