Following significant international pressure by workers and unions to deal with systemic sexual harassment and gender-based violence in its restaurants, McDonald’s CEO Chris Kempczinski has announced new “Global Brand Standards” related to working conditions for their two million workers worldwide.
- The announcement fails to mention cooperation with trade unions, an “essential element” in ILO Convention 155 on occupational safety and health; prior efforts to end the systemic sexual harassment have proven ineffective due to lack of enforcement and involvement by trade unions
- This response comes after years of international pressure by McDonald’s workers and their unions to get McDonald’s to adopt and implement genuine measures against sexual harassment and gender-based violence including the filing of an OECD complaint last year
- Beginning in January 2022, McDonald’s says that its new Global Brand Standards will prioritize: Harassment, Discrimination and Retaliation Prevention; Workplace Violence prevention; Restaurant Employee Feedback; and Health and Safety. The Standards will apply to all McDonald’s restaurants, corporate-owned or franchised; however, the IUF and unions battling for the right to represent McDonald’s workers in the face of widespread resistance from the company believe the Standards will be completely ineffective without trade union representation in the workplaces
Kimberly Lawson, a McDonald’s worker and leader in the Fight for $15 and a Union, said, “For five years we’ve spoken out, filed complaints and lawsuits and gone on strike, pushing McDonald’s to address its systemic sexual harassment problem. Finally, it appears the company is starting to listen. We’re pleased McDonald’s has stopped pretending it has no control over workers in its franchise stores. Every worker who wears the McDonald’s uniform deserves a workplace safe from harassment.”