A South Los Angeles McDonald’s location was the site of protests on Sunday and again today as employees staged a vocal walkout to protest what they say is the lack of proper health and safety equipment during the coronavirus pandemic. One unnamed employee at the Crenshaw district location has tested positive for COVID-19, reports Fox 11, which led to a vocal protest that eventually involved police this morning.
Per Fox 11, the initial walkout happened on Sunday morning at the McDonald’s on 2838 Crenshaw Boulevard, with employees and their families wearing masks, holding signs, and even writing on their cars to protest the company; a second protest, with news media in tow, occurred earlier this morning. Employees there say that one of their coworkers tested positive for COVID-19 after falling ill, but that McDonald’s has not done enough to keep them safe or informed about the situation. Employees claim that this McDonald’s location does have gloves (as already required by the company) but it does not offer masks or other safety precautions.
“McDonald’s is putting its profits ahead of our health,” said one employee named Bartolome Perez who had been reportedly working for the company for three decades. Employees say they would like immediate testing for all staff, paid leave for two weeks for workers to quarantine, and assurances of further safety protocols if they return.
BREAKING: After our co-worker was diagnosed positive for #COVID19, @McDonalds workers are ON STRIKE and demanding the store pays ALL workers 2 weeks paid sick leave and our medical bills.— Fight for $15 LA (@Fightfor15LA) April 5, 2020
Our health is your health.#FightFor15 #UnionsForAll pic.twitter.com/L7jXtZq8yt
Today’s protest quickly gathered a crowd, leading police to order members to disperse because they were crowding together and blocking the entrance to the drive-thru lane with their cars. The drive thru for the restaurant remains open, with different workers inside. The event was pushed by Fight for $15, the eight-year-old national fast food union organizing effort that began in New York City.
This South LA location is not the first to have employees walk off the job during the current coronavirus pandemic; similar protests have been held around the country, and with other restaurant chains, including McDonald’s. Take a look at some images from the protest, below.
This story has been updated with new information.