San Jose, California – Twenty-two percent of McDonald’s workers reported they went to work feeling sick during the COVID-19 pandemic because of a lack of paid sick leave, fear of management retaliation for missing shifts or because they simply cannot afford to miss a paycheck, according to a survey last month of 843 McDonald’s workers conducted by the Service Employees International Union.
“We’re risking our lives and putting our families at risk to keep McDonald’s business running during this pandemic,” said Maria Chavez, a McDonald’s worker from San Jose, California who led a walkout at her restaurant over a lack of personal protective equipment and cleaning supplies. “Our safety and economic security should come before any extra dollars are put in shareholders’ pockets.”
According to SEIU surveys, McDonald’s workers from around the country have reported that many managers have been ignoring the basic rules for preventing COVID infections among workers and customers in essential industries – no quarantining of workers exposed to fellow workers with COVID, no PPE, no social distancing, little handwashing.
“The most essential workers of this pandemic are the millions of hardworking people who are underpaid and underappreciated,” said Dr. Linda Rae Murray of the University of Illinois at Chicago School of Public Health. “Fast-food workers employed by large corporations like McDonald’s do not receive a living wage, health benefits, or the PPE they desperately need during this public health crisis.