BERKELEY, California – At 45th Streets and Telegraph Avenue in Oakland, the employees of a restaurant McDonald’s joined with activists and members of the movement ‘ Black Lives Matter’ to fight for their rights amid the pandemic of coronavirus.
“11 of us, including myself, tested positive for the virus and McDonald’s did nothing to protect us. They didn’t provide us with the proper protective equipment, ” said Angely Rodríguez, a fast-food restaurant employee. She is still struggling with a skin condition that was left in the aftermath of contracting the coronavirus.
At the end of May, she and the rest of her coworkers went on strike and forced the closure of the premises, as their relatives were also becoming infected with COVID-19.
“When we started working at the beginning of the pandemic we started with masks made of dog diapers that our managers gave us. First, they gave us gloves and then they changed them for the ones in the kitchen and they broke. We didn’t have a proper process for doing the handwashing every 30 minutes, ”Angely said.
The strike lasted more than 40 days, but the employees have finally returned to work. They already have the necessary equipment, but this only happened until the workers took legal action. But for them, that is not enough, as they now seek more protections and demand additional compensation for working in dangerous conditions.
“It is not only our life that is at risk, but it is also that of our clients, families, and for those lives, we deserve to have a fair and decent salary. When we are sick, McDonald’s does not support us, does not care for our good, ”added the activist.
In a statement, McDonald’s sent information on protection protocols for its employees, including distributing more than 100 million face masks, but they did not respond to requests from employees. However, they noted that in some of their stores they are giving increases and other resources due to the coronavirus.