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Oakland McDonald's Workers Protest Unsafe Conditions During Pandemic

Joiarib Morales Uc


Today is the second day of protesting for the cooks and cashiers at a McDonald’s on 45th Street and Telegraph ave in North Oakland. 

Four workers have tested positive for COVID-19, and three others are sick with symptoms. Several of their family members have also tested positive for COVID-19, including a ten-month-old baby, currently suffering from diarrhea and dehydration.


When the pandemic began, workers allege that managers gave them dog diapers and coffee filters, with a stapler and rubber bands for them to construct masks. 

Eventually, they were provided disposable masks, but told to wear them for three days. When the supply ran out they allege that managers told them to resume using coffee filters and dog diapers to protect themselves. Some workers got rashes from the diapers and say they were told to bring their own masks.

Michael Smith, the owner and operator of the McDonald’s on Telegraph Ave told the Mercury News that claims of dog diaper or coffee filter masks are false.

All 22 non-managerial employees at the restaurant are participating in the strike. They are demanding PPE, paid quarantine, medical coverage, and a deep cleaning of the restaurant.


The strike has forced the restaurant to temporarily close.

Imran Ali Malik was a fellow in KALW's Audio Academy class of 2020. His reporting interests are design, economy, and telling stories of invisible structures and forgotten histories.