Growing weary of low pay and bad conditions, McDonald’s workers have filed 28 health and safety complaints against their employer in 19 different cities. Workers allege that the pressure to work at a rapid pace, coupled with understaffing at certain locations, have created dangerous conditions that resulted in severe burns. They also allege that McDonald’s stores lack required first aid kits and protective gear to keep workers safe.
Workers were allegedly told to treat burns with mustard, ketchup and other condiments instead of burn cream. One worker cited a personal example.
“My managers kept pushing me to work faster, and while trying to meet their demands, I slipped on a wet floor, catching my arm on a hot grill,” said Brittney Berry, an employee at a Chicago-based McDonald’s. “The managers told me to put mustard on it, but I ended up having to get rushed to the hospital in an ambulance. This is exactly why workers at McDonald’s need union rights, so we have a voice to make the company take responsibility for the dangers it creates in its stores.” Berry suffered a severe burn on her forearm and nerve damage.
To drive the point home, McDonald’s workers in New York City protested outside of a McDonald’s in Midtown with photos of burns workers suffered on the job. The protesters called on the fast food giant to take responsibility for the health and safety issues in their establishments.
“My managers always tell me to work faster. I was working too quickly and I hit my head on the oven door, burning right above my eye,” said Jorel Ware in a statement. “There was nothing in the medical kit. My supervisor suggested that I put some butter on the blister, but that stung even worse. I was told to get back to work, that there was nothing they could do.”
Ware continued, “When I have union rights, I’ll have a voice. I’ll make sure that McDonald’s is held accountable. I’ll make sure that we have proper equipment and a safe workplace.”
Workers still weren’t done. A nationwide petition was launched demanding that the U.S. Department of Labor investigate the health and safety hazards fast-food workers across the United States face.
According to a report released last week by the National Coalition for Occupational Health and Safety, 79 percent of fast-food workers across the country reported being burned on the job last year, with most citing multiple incidents.