Many college students are all too familiar with how convenient cheap fast food is. It doesn’t need to taste good. It only needs to be easy on the wallet and filling enough to get me through my day. What’s my go-to? The Golden Arches. Not only do broke college students know the taste of a Big Mac, fries and a Coke all too well. McDonald's is also a spot to make a few extra dollars while going to school. However, McDonald's has recently been under fire by its employees due to low wages and now, sexual harassment.
McDonald's employees in ten different American cities walked out in protest of both improving anti-harassment training of employees as well as a higher minimum wage on Tuesday. An article in TIME Magazine about the strike attributed the #MeToo movement as reasoning for workers coming out now about treatment of cases of harassment.
“It’s time to stand up for what we believe in,” said an employee from a Kansas City McDonalds.
McDonald's attempted to play dirty in response to the movement by putting out coupons on social media for “National Cheeseburger Day” where patrons could receive a free cheeseburger on the day of the strike. As tempting as it sounded, I did not patronize McDonald's on that day to stand with the workers on strike in solidarity.
I am a firm believer in the right to peacefully organize, especially in response to being treated in less than ideal ways. I have been involved with protests in person both for local and national injustices. I marched with my peers through Eastern’s campus during the 2016 election. I joined the classroom walk out with students protesting the handling of the racist graffiti on campus.
Indirectly supporting causes can be just as effective as picketing or marching. When Amazon workers protested unfair treatment and low wages during the week leading up to Amazon’s “Prime Day” event I cancelled my own subscription. I now avoid buying from Amazon despite the convenience.
My actions alone of course are not enough to force CEOs to change company policies, but when bystanders band together to support movements like the one that occurred on Tuesday a big difference can happen.
On Amazon’s “Prime Day” sale, the website crashed for “about 45 minutes” according to the Washington Post, due to a glitch. That, coupled with workers being on strike, have Amazon a PR nightmare to deal with, while also making considerably less in sales on what has been for the last four years a major source of profit for the company.
While the computer glitch was not directly affiliated with organizers, those who stood by those on strike fueled the fire of their case. It’s unclear what the outcome of the McDonald's strike is given it happened so recently, but we can only hope that it will lead to better things for McDonald's employees everywhere.