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McDonald’s Workers Need a Voice

Catherine Ruetschlin

“Put some mustard on it.” That’s the advice that Chicago McDonald’s worker Brittney Berry allegedly received from her manager after suffering a scalding burn on her arm from the grill used to make eggs. And this was no minor burn – she was eventually taken to the hospital in an ambulance, and had to miss work for six months.

This McDonald’s worker’s story is shocking, but not unique – McDonald’s workers who have suffered severe burns on the job recently filed 28 health and safety complaints against the company in 19 cities. Many workers reported nearly identical stories of managers dismissively telling them to treat burns with condiments like mustard, mayo, or ketchup.

These horror stories of McDonald’s managers showing blatant disregard for workers’ health and safety are certainly eye-opening, but they also point to a bigger underlying problem: without a real voice on the job, workers have nowhere to turn to demand accountability for egregious conditions faced at the workplace.