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Board of Supervisors to Investigate Fast Food Worker Safety Throughout LA County

The supervisors approved a motion after Boyle Heights McDonald’s employees raised concerns surrounding coronavirus, protective gear, and retaliation

Customer getting temperature taken before entering Shake Shack, as indoor dining begins, Queens, NY Photo by: Lindsey Nicholson/Education Images/Universal Images Group via Getty Images
Mona Holmes is a reporter for Eater Los Angeles and a regular contributor to KCRW radio. She has covered restaurants, dining, and food culture since 2016. In 2022, the James Beard Foundation nominated her for a Jonathan Gold Local Voice Award.

On Tuesday, the Board of Supervisors voted to investigate health and safety conditions for fast food workers in Los Angeles County. The motion passed after employees at a Boyle Heights McDonald’s alleged management did not comply with basic COVID-19 safety precautions, and retaliated against employees who raised concerns.

Six workers at the 1716 Marengo Street McDonald’s location have tested positive for COVID-19 since the beginning of the pandemic. According to KTLA, the motion will look further into complaints by the Boyle Heights whistleblowers, while directing the Department of Public Health and the Economic Resiliency Task Force to investigate working conditions across the fast-food industry in Los Angeles.

Workers at the Boyle Heights location have filed seven complaints against their employer since June. Employee Lizzet Aguilar alleges she was retaliated against after approaching management with concerns for employee safety. Aguilar says management did not enforce a face-covering policy with customers at the drive-thru, social distancing, or provide employees with masks. The workers also allege that management did not inform workers of exposure to the virus.

The Boyle Heights franchise company R&B Sanchez DBA McDonald’s issued a statement that denied any wrongdoing. According to labor group Fight for $15, Los Angeles County fast-food restaurants serve approximately 2.5 million customers per day and employ approximately 166,000 workers.

McDonald’s employees throughout Los Angeles started bringing safety concerns about protective gear starting in April, where employees in West Adams and Monterey Park walked off the job in protest.