The walkout will begin at lunchtime on September 18, and will affect franchises in 10 U.S. cities: Chicago; Durham, North Carolina; Kansas City and St. Louis, Missouri; Los Angeles; Miami; Milwaukee; New Orleans; Orlando; and San Francisco.
Organizers say this will be the first multi-state strike in the U.S. targeting sexual harassment in the workplace.
The strike was organized by “women’s committees” made up of female employees, including those who filed sexual harassment complaints with the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission last May. These 10 claims are not the first made against the fast-food franchise, however. In 2016, 15 workers filed similar complaints against McDonald’s.
Unlike in 2016, the women today are financially backed by the TIME’S UP Legal Defense Fund as well as Fight for $15, an organization that aims to raise wages for low-paid workers.
The organizers were empowered by the #MeToo movement sweeping across the entertainment and service industries, AP reports. While the exact number of employees striking is unknown, organizers said hundreds participated in planning meetings.
Workers will be demanding improved procedures for receiving and responding to sexual harassment complaints, plus required anti-harassment training for managers and employees. They also want a national committee made up of workers, representatives from both corporate and franchise stores, and leaders of women’s groups to address sexual harassment.
McDonald’s told AP that it has been working with outside experts to update policies, but it’s committed to its current procedures at the moment.
“We have policies, procedures and training in place that are specifically designed to prevent sexual harassment at our company and company-owned restaurants, and we firmly believe that our franchisees share this commitment,” McDonald’s told AP.