Oakland McDonald's Workers Walk Out In Coronavirus Protest

McDonald's workers in Oakland walk off the job Saturday in protest of what they say is the company's sick leave and lack of social distancing.
Photo credit Courtesy Fight for $15 and a Union

Striking workers at an Oakland McDonald’s say they don’t feel safe on the job and claim the fast food chain’s management isn’t doing enough to protect them from the COVID-19 outbreak.

They also claim the local franchisee is not providing required paid sick leave.

Cleotilde Cuaya works at the McDonald’s at 6300 E. 14th St. in Oakland.

She told KCBS Radio she came down with a cough and a cold two weeks ago, and decided to stay home to protect her fellow workers.

Then, she said her bosses told her to come back to work.

"They told me I got to go work like that because they don’t have any employees," Cuaya said.

When Cuaya did go back to work, she said there weren’t adequate protections in the McDonald’s kitchen.

"We tried to feel comfortable and safe," Cuaya said.

On Saturday, cooks and cashiers walked off the job, claiming McDonald’s was not providing the state-mandated 14 days of paid sick leave or enforcing social distancing guidelines.

They have since filed a complaint with the Alameda County Health Department, saying McDonald’s "failed to close and disinfect the store and did not inform workers that a colleague was directly exposed to someone positive with COVID-19." The complaint also cites a lack of available PPE for workers interacting with customers.

In a statement to KCBS Radio, McDonald’s contends the fast food chain continues to improve safety protocols by using wellness checks, installing protective barriers at drive-thru lanes and cashier stations and making gloves available to workers.

The E. 14th St. McDonald’s location is now closed because there apparently aren’t enough employees to staff positions.