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McDonald’s Violence Raises Ire of Dem Presidential Hopefuls (1)

July 2, 2019, 8:18 PMUpdated: July 2, 2019, 9:41 PM

Several Democratic senators, including five competing to be the party’s nominee for president, are asking McDonald’s Corp. and the federal government to take action to prevent workplace violence at the fast-food chain’s restaurants.

“Without decisive, comprehensive action by the Department of Labor, these workers will continue to face threats and violent attacks from consumers without the proper resources or protocols in place to protect them,” the June 28 letter to Labor Secretary Alexander Acosta says.

The presidential candidates signing the letters were Sens. Cory Booker (D-N.J.), Kamala Harris (D-Calif.), Amy Klobuchar (D-Minn.), Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.), and Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.).

Menu of Concerns

Prompting the concerns is a May report from the National Employment Law Project faulting McDonald’s and its franchise operators for not taking adequate steps to protect workers on late-night shifts from robberies and violent customers.

OSHA hasn’t opened inspections of any of the Chicago-area restaurants mentioned in the report, agency enforcement records show.

The senators also wrote to McDonald’s Chief Executive Officer Steve Easterbrook, asking him to expand plans to conduct safety training at about 700 corporate-owned restaurants to include all of the approximately 13,300 franchise-owned eateries.

In an emailed statement, a McDonald’s spokesman said the company and its franchises have “invested in programs that promote safe environments for customers and crew members.” The statement didn’t commit McDonald’s to expanding the corporate training program to its franchises.

The DOL didn’t respond to a request to discuss its letter.

OSHA doesn’t have a specific rule covering workplace violence. The agency has rarely used other laws and standards to cite owners of stores or restaurants for not protecting employees from attacks.

(Adds comment from McDonald's.)

To contact the reporter on this story: Bruce Rolfsen in Washington at BRolfsen@bloomberglaw.com

To contact the editors responsible for this story: Simon Nadel at snadel@bloomberglaw.com; Terence Hyland at thyland@bloomberglaw.com

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