McDonald's Employees Walk Out After Employee Collapses From Stifling Heat
Jul 20, 2013 10:17 AM EDT | By Dina Exil
If you can't handle the heat, stay out of the kitchen and that's exactly what workers at a New York City McDonald's did.
A crew of McDonald's workers walked off their job in Washington Heights, after allegedly reporting that they were forced to work in unreasonable conditions.
According to the New York Daily News, workers said they were forced to work without air conditioning "amid record-high temperatures." One worker collapsed and was hospitalized due to the stifling heat. Other employees complained of heat-related sicknesses.
"No AC, no peace," read a sign held by sweaty and over worked workers outside the restaurant.
An employee who participated in the walkout on Friday told the Huffington Post that the air conditioner in the fast-food restaurant kitchen was broken. The employee said the air conditioner has been broken since she began working there nine years ago.
"[The owners of the store] make fun of us because they think we're animals," employee Luisa Villa told the Huffington Post in Spanish. "We're not animals. We're people. We don't want to die and you can certainly die from the heat, you know."
Employee Esheliz Mendez, collapsed onto the floor during her shift. According to employees, it's not the first time employees complained about the broken conditioner. Greg Basta, Deputy Director at the New York Communities for Change, tweeted a photo of the scene.
"Workers walked out at #4259Broadway McDonalds after being forced 2 work w/o AC on hottest day of yr," Basta tweeted.
The New York City Fire Department told NBC News that authorities transported an unconscious person to the hospital from the McDonald's location.
"It happens every summer and we're tired of working like that," said employee Luisa Billa, 26. "They need to fix it. It's not fair. They have the money, but they won't do anything."
Villa said the walkout was because employees wanted the air conditioner fixed. After the walk out occurred, the restaurant remained open because the owners brought in temporary workers. Villa said she hopes the owner will not retaliate against the workers and fire them because of the protest.
City Council member Ydanis Rodriguez and state Sen. Adriano Espillat turned out in support of the workers.
"This morning, one of the worker s had to be taken to the hospital because of a lack of air-conditioning," Rodriquez said. "This is inhumane. We are here to say enough is enough."
According to the Daily News the store's manager refused to answer questions and ran off when Rodriquez attempted to hand him a letter complaining about conditions at the restaurant.