Employees of a Los Angeles McDonald’s walked out in protest on Sunday after learning that one of their coworkers tested positive for the coronavirus. They are now demanding more support from their superiors and the addition of safety equipment, including masks.
The workers, employed at a Crenshaw District McDonald’s, walked out of the establishment Sunday morning after learning of one of the women employees testing positive for the virus.
“We don’t yet know exactly who tested positive,” McDonald’s cook Bartoleme Perez told City News Service, noting that they found out about the infected employee through another coworker.
“One of our other co-workers let people know that a female worker had tested positive for the virus Monday or Tuesday,” Perez said.
According to Perez, workers want basic safety equipment, including masks, and a two-week paid quarantine due to their sick coworker.
“We’ve been pleading for protective equipment for more than a month now, but McDonald’s is putting its profits ahead of our health,” Perez told the outlet, adding, “We don’t want to die for McDonald’s burgers and fries.”
They are also demanding to know why the franchise failed to inform them that one of their coworkers tested positive for the virus and urging management to cover the healthcare costs for any employee who contracts the virus.
At this point, Perez claimed, McDonald’s has not provided testing for employees who came into contact with the sick woman.
“We need security before we come back to work,” Perez said. “I haven’t really thought about the money at this point. I just want me and my family to be safe.”
Employees are reportedly in the process of filing a complaint with California’s Occupational Safety and Health Administration.
The franchise’s owner, Nicole Enearu, however, told the Sun in a statement that they shut down and sanitized the restaurant after learning of the employee’s positive results. She also said the establishment is providing support to the sick worker and will pay her and employees who also need to quarantine.
“We have been in contact with the employee and are providing support during this time,” Enearu told the Sun.
“Additionally, we identified and reached out to all restaurant staff who had been in close contact with the employee who contracted the virus,” she continued.
“Our people are the heart and soul of the McDonald’s family,” she added. “We are keeping this employee in our thoughts for a fast and full recovery.”
Meanwhile, McDonald’s Corp. has released broad statements regarding the pandemic, stating definitively that employees of company-owned restaurants “who are impacted by the virus are receiving two weeks paid leave to tend to their critical health needs.”
McDonald’s USA President Joe Erlinger also said that employees “at a large percentage of franchised restaurants will receive emergency paid leave through the Families First Coronavirus Response Act,” Fox 11 reported.