Fast-food workers held a statewide strike today, staging rallies outside McDonald’s locations in Monterey Park, South Los Angeles and Hollywood as part of a protest against allegedly unsafe working conditions and to demand passage of Assembly Bill 257. Workers at the Monterey Park McDonald’s recently raised the alarm about sewage flooding the kitchen.
Striking workers spoke out in favor of the Fast Food Accountability and Standards Recovery Act, which would establish a Fast Food Sector Council to give workers a voice in setting minimum standards across the industry.
The council would be made up of workers, corporate representatives, franchise operators and state officials charged with developing standards on wages, hours and other working conditions related to worker health and safety.
The bill, if passed in its current form, would cover fast-food restaurants with 30 or more establishments nationally that share a common brand or consumer image.
Another rally was held Tuesday at a Hollywood McDonald’s where employees complained over the summer about stifling temperatures due to a broken air conditioning unit. Dozens of workers lost their jobs with little notice when the restaurant closed last week, according to organizers.
While most fast-food workers are not union members, they have banded together to demand workplace changes at a time when restaurants and other food- service businesses have struggled to fill open positions.
Research has raised concerns about the transmission of COVID-19 in fast-food workplaces during the last year of the pandemic. A UCSF study found that line cooks had a nearly 60% increase in mortality related to COVID-19.