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Workers Strike at Ohio McDonalds

April 15, 1998

MACEDONIA, Ohio (AP) _ Did somebody say strike?

In what may be the first walkout at a McDonald’s restaurant in the United States, six young employees unhappy with work conditions have walked a picket line for three consecutive days.

The rain-drenched workers, ages 15 to 20, held cardboard signs that said ``Strike″ and ``Honk Your Horn″ outside the restaurant in a shopping center about 20 miles southeast of Cleveland.

Workers walked out briefly April 8, saying a supervisor yelled at an elderly crew member and made her cry. They began the strike Sunday, in part because they said the company ignored the requests of some to be off on Easter.

``I was afraid for my job at first,″ said Jamal Nickens, 20, one of those on strike. ``Now I figure that with all the publicity we’re getting and with the corporation becoming involved they will work something out with us.″

The walkout, though not involving a union, may be a first for McDonald’s workers in the United States, a labor expert said Tuesday.

There have been unsuccessful attempts to organize McDonald’s workers in Canada but little interest in the United States, either among unions or workers, said Greg Tarpinian, director of the Washington-based Labor Research Association and editor of the Trade Union Advisor newsletter.

``McDonald’s is kind of really the symbol of service-sector growth in the overall economy,″ he said.

The restaurant has remained open and business did not seem down. Strikers and managers were expected to meet soon to try to resolve differences.

``This really involves a handful of employees with some valid issues we’d like to get resolved, and I have made a personal commitment to work with them,″ said Dwight Bungo, a consultant for the McDonald’s corporation who assists franchise owner-operators.

The Macedonia restaurant has about 45 employees.

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