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The [Tuesday] Papers

Inbox:

After Four Taco Bell Workers Test Positive for COVID-19, Chicago Fast-Food Cooks, Cashiers to Protest Employers' Failure to Keep Workers Safe

Taco Bell workers first raised the alarm over a lack of proper PPE in their store weeks ago

Employees file public health complaints alleging managers failed to inform them of positive COVID-19 cases or properly sanitize stores

CHICAGO - Chicago fast-food workers on strike over their employers' failed COVID-19 responses will hold a caravan protest Tuesday, as Taco Bell workers file two public health complaints spotlighting conditions that pose an "imminent danger" at a Lincoln Park location where four workers have tested positive for COVID-19.

Workers at the same store filed a complaint with OSHA in April alleging a lack of proper PPE in their store. OSHA has not completed an investigation of that original complaint.

Now, less than two months later, four workers are sick, including a pregnant worker.

In one particularly egregious case, Taco Bell management kept a worker on the clock after she received her positive test result while on the morning shift. The store stayed open for the rest of the day, even after the worker was eventually allowed to go home.

"We demanded proper masks and gloves months ago, and Taco Bell refused to listen. Now four workers have tested positive for COVID-19, and the company is still failing to keep us safe," said Taco Bell worker, Angela Jones. "Fast-food companies are saying they believe that Black lives matter, but their actions during this pandemic only expose how they have put the lives of Black and brown workers in jeopardy, especially for us here in Chicago. We don't want to risk our lives for Taco Bell's bottom line."

WHO: Taco Bell, McDonald's, and other fast-food workers

WHAT: Caravan protest over employers' failed response to COVID-19

WHEN: Tuesday, June 9th - 12 p.m. CDT

WHERE:

START: Taco Bell, 2575 North Clybourn Avenue

END: McDonalds, 180 West Adams Street

Lincoln Park Taco Bell workers filed additional complaints with OSHA and the Chicago Department of Public Health, alleging "willful violations" of public health guidance. Workers allege that their managers never informed them of co-workers who had tested positive for COVID-19, leaving them working in close proximity to sick and contagious employees. The workers also allege that managers never implemented proper social distancing procedures or ordered any kind of special sanitization beyond daily cleanup - even after learning of positive cases in the store.

The caravan protest will bring workers to a downtown McDonald's where workers have also tested positive for COVID-19. Chicago McDonald's workers have filed multiple OSHA complaints at stores where managers have failed to disclose positive cases to workers. Workers and their family members also filed a class action lawsuit in Cook County Circuit Court alleging McDonald's "plainly inadequate" response to the pandemic has endangered its workers, their family members, and the public.

The COVID-19 pandemic has had a disproportionate toll on Chicago's Black communities. According to a recent report from the Chicago Urban League, while Black residents make up 30% of the city's population, they account for 60% of its COVID-19 fatalities. They also have the highest rate of infection statewide, making up a quarter of Illinois' total confirmed coronavirus cases.

WAVE OF STRIKES NATIONWIDE

The Chicago protest comes as McDonald's workers in Oakland and Los Angeles are on strike over the burger giant's failed response to the COVID-19 pandemic. Workers at one location were told to wear doggie diapers as masks; now 11 workers at that location have tested positive for COVID-19, as have six of their family members, including a 10-month-old.

McDonald's workers in 20 cities went on strike in May, on the eve of the company's shareholder meeting, highlighting the company's continued failed response to the pandemic, even as it moves to reopen dining rooms across the country.

Since workers at over 50 Chicago McDonald's and other fast-food restaurants went on strike in April, some stores have responded by providing workers with additional PPE and temporary hazard pay. Workers at one McDonald's location won a permanent wage hike to $15/hour, ahead of the schedule set by Chicago's minimum wage laws.

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Why Crowd Noise Matters
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And there's no "seems" about it.

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The Beachwood McRibTipLine: Limited time only.



Permalink

Posted on June 9, 2020


MUSIC - This Summer's Soundtrack Started Here.
TV - M*A*S*H Theme Song's Weird History.
POLITICS - SCOTUS Blesses Church + State.
SPORTS - Tip Your Cap To The Negro Leagues.

BOOKS - The Legacy Of Racism For Children.

PEOPLE PLACES & THINGS - The Chagall Windows.


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