Workers who are underpaid are all too often exploited and abused in other waysâ€”after all, their employers know theyâ€™re vulnerable and need the paycheck. So we shouldÂ be shocked, but notÂ too surprised, by the contents of sexual harassmentÂ complaints against McDonaldâ€™s that the Fight for $15 hasÂ filed with theÂ Equal Employment Opportunity Commission:
Cycei Monae, a McDonald’s worker in Flint, Michigan, said a manager showed her a picture of his genitals and said he wanted to “do things” to her, according to a complaint provided by Fight for $15. Corporate officials ignored her complaints, Monae said on a phone call with reporters on Wednesday.
In another complaint, a worker in Folsom, California, said a supervisor offered her $1,000 for oral sex.
Thirteen of the complaints were by women, and two were by men, said Fight for $15, which the Service Employees International Union formed in 2012.
Expect McDonaldâ€™s to once again fall back on its excuse that it canâ€™t possibly control anything about what franchisees do to their workers, even as it controls every other aspect of how franchise restaurants operate. That control isÂ why the National Labor Relations Board has said McDonaldâ€™s should be treated as aÂ joint employerÂ of workers in franchise restaurants.
Issues like sexual harassment are why the Fight for $15 isnâ€™t just about $15 an hour payâ€”workers say theyâ€™re fighting forÂ â€ś$15 and a union.â€ť A union could represent workers facing harassment and give them power in numbers andÂ tools to fight back. This is a fight more broadly for power and respect. Money is part of that, but itâ€™s not the whole deal.
This article originally appeared at DailyKOS.com on October 5, 2016. Reprinted with permission.
Laura Clawson is aÂ Daily Kos contributing editor since December 2006. Labor editor since 2011.