Some McDonald's Workers Claim They Were Assaulted By Anti-Mask Customers, Says Survey

Lizzy Buczak
July 17, 2020 - 2:30 pm

    As the nationwide debate over face masks continues, more and more retail stores and restaurants are making facial coverings mandatory.

    Now a survey of McDonald's workers is revealing what a small portion of the burger chain's workforce has allegedly had to face while trying to enforce mask policies.

    About 4,200 McDonald’s workers were surveyed through Service Employees International Union (SEIU), which found that 44% of respondents admitted to being verbally or physically assaulted after asking customers to put on a mask, per Business Insider.

    McDonald’s responded with a statement to Business Insider criticizing the SEIU survey, stating it’s “disappointing to see the SEIU stirring up media attention yet again with these inaccurate characterizations, which do not represent what is happening in our 14,000 restaurants across the country.”

    "This survey represents just 0.5% of the more than 800,000 crew and managers within our McDonald's family working across our U.S. restaurants," the statement added.

    "While the SEIU is spending time sharing misinformation, McDonald's and our 2,000 franchisees are focused on keeping crew and managers employed in safe environments to serve healthcare workers, first responders, and communities during this pandemic."

    While the publication acknowledged that SEIU only surveyed a small percentage of the chain's more than 800,000 employee workforce, they claim that at least 1,800 of those said they dealt with aggressive customers who refused to comply with policies.

    Many of the workers reported being hit by anti-mask customers, and claim that McDonald’s hasn’t done much about it.

    "Throughout the pandemic, McDonald's has failed to protect us from COVID-19," María Villaseño of Illinois explained.

    "Now it's asking us to police a culture war that's not in our job description and that we're not paid to do,” she said, adding that she recently filed a complaint with the Chicago Department of Public Health after a co-worker was attacked.

    As coronavirus cases surge across the national, an increasing number of stores have begun requiring customers to wear masks, and it’s hard to deny the viral videos of employees dealing with aggressive customers.

    Many of these incidents gained traction before mask rules were mandatory.

    Starbucks barista Lenin Gutierrez was cursed out by customer Amber Lynn Gilles after she refused to put on a mask. Gilles threatened to call corporate and posted his photo on Facebook, which backfired and drummed up sympathy from strangers who donated $100,000 in virtual tips for the employee. Gilles now demands half of the tips and said she was discriminated against.

    Another customer at Costco threw a massive tantrum for being told to put a face mask on and staged a sit-in-protest partially blocking the exit. In the viral video, an employee is heard telling the woman to “temporarily” put on a mask “while you’re in here, and then you can take it right back off.”

    “I will not,” the woman retorts before going on to say the rule is “your problem.”

    Prior to restaurants reopening, customer Gloricia Woody was so upset that she couldn’t dine inside of a McDonald’s in Oklahoma City that she fired three rounds inside injuring at least three workers.

    The pushback from anti-mask customers is even affecting customers who are complying with the rules.

    In Michigan, a maskless man was fatally shot by a Sheriff’s Deputy after an argument broke out when he was refused service by store employees and stabbed a 77-year-old customer who asked him to put on a mask.

    McDonald’s explained that they are encouraging employees to implement de-escalation techniques.

    "Since February, McDonald's USA has updated nearly 50 processes to keep restaurant employees and customers safe and has issued a 59-page guide outlining national standards restaurants must implement,” the franchise said in a statement."

    These include wellness checks, protective barriers, adhering to social distancing guidelines for customers and crew and requiring gloves and masks, which are in ample supply in restaurants," the statement continues. "With safety in mind, we have also made further de-escalation trainings available to restaurants.”

    CVS previously explained that they do not want “store employees to play the role of enforcer.”

    “What we are asking is that customers help protect themselves and those around them by listening to the experts and heeding the call to wear a face covering,” CVS Health chief operating officer Jon Roberts said in an online statement.

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