Black McDonald’s Employee Says Managers Said Put Mustard On Burns
More than two dozen low-wage McDonald’s workers filed health and safety complaints against the fast-food chain on Monday, alleging that understaffing and time pressures in stores have led to burns, falls and other injuries, according to the worker group representing them.
Via HuffPo reports:
The 28 complaints, involving stores in 18 cities, were filed with the federal Occupational Safety and Health Administration and the relevant state agencies tasked with ensuring safe workplaces. The workers submitted them with the support of Fight for $15, the union-backed labor coalition that’s been agitating for a $15 minimum wage and union recognition in the industry. OSHA confirmed to The Huffington Post that it received the federal complaints Monday.
One Chicago worker, Brittney Berry, alleged that she was so harried one day she slipped and caught her arm on the grill, leading her to be hospitalized and suffer nerve damage. She said she was advised by managers to treat the burn with a condiment.
“My managers kept pushing me to work faster,” Berry, who was arrested last year in an act of civil disobedience against McDonald’s, said in a statement. “The managers told me to put mustard on it, but I ended up having to get rushed to the hospital in an ambulance. This is exactly why workers at McDonald’s need union rights.”
The vast majority of McDonald’s stores are operated by franchisees rather than the fast-food company, but in a Monday statement, Fight for $15 argued that the responsibility to keep workers safe ultimately falls on McDonald’s.
“McDonald’s sets minimal health and safety standards for all franchisees, but even these modest measures are not properly enforced,” the group said. “The company watches like a hawk nearly every aspect of its franchisees’ business operations via regular inspections, but it too often ignores health and safety problems.”
“McDonald’s and its independent franchisees are committed to providing safe working conditions for employees in the 14,000 McDonald’s Brand U.S. restaurants,” McDonald’s spokeswoman Heidi Barker Sa Shekhe said in a statement. “We will review these allegations. It is important to note that these complaints are part of a larger strategy orchestrated by activists targeting our brand and designed to generate media coverage.”
The safety complaints are indeed part of a broader shaming campaign that’s brought unprecedented scrutiny to the working conditions in fast food. For more than two years, Fight for $15, which is funded by the Service Employees International Union, has organized a highly successful series of strikes by workers at McDonald’s, KFC, Taco Bell and other restaurants in cities across the country. Much of that attention has been focused on McDonald’s.