#MeToo and McDonald’s

Folsom, California McDonald’s worker Kristi Maisenbach told the EEOC that her supervisor had touched her breasts several times and rubbed his genitals against her butt. He later sent her a text message offering $1,000 for oral sex. When she complained to the general manager, her hours were cut so severely that she had to quit. Flint, Michigan McDonald’s worker Cortez Clerk says that her supervisor verbally and physically harassed her every day at work. Explaining her decision to file a complaint with the EEOC, she said: “McDonald’s monitors everything we do — from how fast the drive-thru is moving, to how we fold our customers’ bags. Yet when I filed a complaint against my shift manager for regularly sexually harassing me — which included him showing me a photo of his genitals — McDonald’s had no response.” Clerk also quit, unable to bear the harassment any longer. “I really needed that job and the money, and I considered remaining silent. But I believed McDonald’s had my back and would be horrified by the way I was treated. I was wrong.” (…) Spurred on by the rise of #MeToo and the organizing of their fellow workers in hotels, farm work, and garment shops, McDonald’s workers took direct action against their bosses and demanded an end to sexual coercion — with women of color playing a leading role (…) Strikers may already have won one of their demands. In a stunningly oblivious (or intentionally belligerent) move, McDonald’s announced ahead of the strike that it was employing the Chicago law firm of Seyfarth Shaw to help the company “evolve” its sexual harassment policy. Strikers demanded that McDonald’s cut ties with Seyfarth Shaw, which is not only notorious for its union-busting, but also represents Harvey Weinstein and Kay Jewelers in sexual harassment suits (…) #MeToo didn’t start in Hollywood. Women leaders in the Fight for 15 have been talking about sexual harassment since the movement began.

Annelise Orleck in #MeToo and McDonald’s (Jacobin)