Fast Food Workers in California Strike

By N. Jamiyla Chisholm Apr 09, 2020

Hundreds of California’s fast-food workers—from restaurants like Burger King, Taco Bell, Domino’s, Pizza Hut, Subway, Popeyes, El Pollo Loco, and WaBa Grill—who cook and cashier in 50 restaurant chains across the state, plan to strike today (April 9) in demand of personal protections during the COVID-19 crisis, Vice reported April 8. On April 5, Fight for $15 tweeted that McDonald’s employees walked out after learning a colleague had tested positive. Today the organization confirmed a second employee was infected, via Twitter.

The striking fast-food workers want the same protections that hourly workers from places like Instacart and Amazon, called out sick for on March 31, as Colorlines previously reported. This includes masks, gloves, soap, $3-an-hour hazard pay and 14 days of paid sick leave for workers who have been exposed to the virus, according to Vice. In response to its workers contracting COVID-19, McDonald’s published a letter saying that while nearly all franchises are open for business, they have implemented “procedures based upon the expert guidance of health authorities,” such as daily wellness checks and making masks available. But many workers say that they need more. 

“I’m very afraid for my life and the life of my daughter who also works at McDonald’s,” Maria Ruiz, a cashier at a San Jose McDonald’s told Vice in Spanish. “Workers are scared of retaliation but we’re not going to wait for one of us to die or get sick with the virus.”

To protest, the workers will  take to their cars to form picket lines at McDonald’s drive-ins in Los Angeles and Oakland and then onto a virtual Zoom picket line, according to Vice.

“We are essential workers, but my life is essential too,” Ruiz told In These Times, in an article published April 7.

Watch a video of the strike below, courtesy of Fight for $15 on Twitter: