Workers Strike as Attacks Against Employees Continue

Liz Carey

Los Angeles, CA ( – Workers at a south Los Angeles McDonald’s have gone on strike after an attack by a customer left one worker bruised and beaten, as similar attacks on employees across the country continue.

A group of six McDonald’s workers in south Los Angeles held a protest rally rrecently, saying their restaurant has called 911 on average once every four days. The violence, they said, had increased since the beginning of the pandemic.

The protest was held following an incident where an angry customer attacked a cashier, forcing another employee to intervene. Victor Bonilla told Business Insider that he had to step in to stop the attack.

“I had to jump in to try to separate out the customer. I was hit twice in the ribs and stomach. I don’t think the manager called the police, and I didn’t see the police come,” he said in a report the protesters filed with Cal OSHA.

Workers at the restaurant said they were demanding that McDonald’s provide a safer working environment, and to provide additional training to deal with violent interactions.

McDonald’s said in a statement that they condemned the violence and said police were called to the restaurant following the attack on the cashier.

“We are outraged by this senseless act of violence that has no place in our restaurants. Fostering a safe workplace for crew is incredibly important to us, and we have multiple layers of established security measures in the restaurant, including security personnel and an updated security system,” McDonald’s USA Operations Officer Jackie Bunting said in a statement. “In this instance, protocol was followed, and law enforcement were contacted immediately to intervene. We were proud to welcome the impacted employee back to work and will continue to focus on safely serving our communities.”

Customers attacking employees has been a major concern across the country during the pandemic. According to a Service Employees International Union survey of 4,187 McDonalds workers in the summer of 2020, nearly half said that they had been physically or verbally assaulted, mostly for asking customers to wear masks.

And the attacks continued on workers last week.

In Hooksett, New Hampshire, a 40-year-old woman was arrested on Aug. 2 after attacking a grocery store employee with a bottle of wine she had just stolen.

According to the Hooksett Police Department, officers were called to the Market Basket around 3 p.m. that day in regard to a fight between a man and a woman.

When officers arrived, store employee told them that Stephanie MacDonald, a customer, had selected a bottle of wine and then attempted to walk out of the store without paying for it. When a Market Basket employee confronted MacDonald about it, she allegedly hit the employee with the bottle, leading to a larger confrontation between the two.

MacDonald admitted to taking the bottle and was charged with robbery, willful concealment, obstructing government administration, assault and criminal threatening.

And in King County, Oregon, a man was arrested after police say he hid in a restroom in the King County Courthouse and attacked a woman who works there.

Officials said a sheriff’s deputy was walking by the restroom when Thursday, July 30 when he heard a woman’s screams coming from the bathroom. Seattle Police spokesperson Sgt. Randy Huserik said authorities apprehended the man who was later interviewed by Seattle police sexual assault detectives.

King County Prosecuting Attorney spokesperson Casey McNerthney said in an email to county employees that incident was an attempted rape. He was released from prison on July 23 after serving nearly two years for indecent liberties with forcible compulsion and assault with sexual motivation, among other charges, McNerthney and court records indicated.

The suspect was described as homeless, but it wasn’t immediately clear if he was staying at an encampment in City Hall Park south of the courthouse. The park has been the site of a recent homicide and several assaults, as well as a heroin overdose, officials said. The recent incidents have given rise to discussions about safety concerns facing court house staff and visitors, including jurors, with some arguing that the encampment should be moved out of the park.

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