Chicago-area McDonald’s workers and activists joined in a national 12-city protest Tuesday afternoon rallying against how the fast-food giant has handled sexual harassment complaints while calling for employees to unionize. Three dozen people marched down Randolph Street to stand in front of the company’s West Loop international headquarters, the Tribune reported, carrying signs that read “My smile is not on the menu” and “Sexual harassment is unacceptable.”
In September, two lawsuits were filed against McDonald’s: a teenage worker in Pittsburgh alleged that a manager raped her. The Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) also sued McDonald’s on the behalf of workers in Nevada, Arizona, and California alleging a franchise owner with restaurants in all three states “was aware of, perpetuated, and tolerated sexual harassment.” The EEOC also received complaints from Chicago-area McDonald’s workers who claimed they experienced on-the-job harassment.
In April, McDonald’s introduced a new set of standards that require that restaurants provide retaliation, harassment and violence prevention policies and training and a clear complaint path, but those policies won’t be required until January.
El Milagro workers continue to protest unfair labor practices
After a pair of protests last month and a complaint filed with the National Labor Relations Board alleging unfair labor practices, workers at the El Milagro tortilla factories have filed two more complaints with the Chicago Office of Labor Standards and the Illinois Department of Labor that target the company’s sick leave and rest day policies.
Workers say that after a paid sick day, they have to petition Human Resources to return to work, with a note from a doctor or pharmacist as evidence, even if they were out for conditions that don’t require a doctor visit; if their petitions are rejected, they are sent home without pay. Meanwhile, other workers claim that El Milagro schedules them to work seven days at a stretch, a violation of the Illinois One Rest Day in Seven Act.
Bridgeport Bakery to close again after half a century
Fifty-year-old South Side institution Bridgeport Bakery, known for Polish treats like paczki, is slated to close on Sunday at 2907 S. Archer Avenue, according to Block Club Chicago. Current owner Can Lao told reporters that he doesn’t want to shutter the bakery but an ongoing legal battle with the Bakery and Confectionery Union and Industry International Pension Fund — one that dates back to the era of former owner Ron Pavelka — has depleted his resources to the point that he feels forced to shut down. The news comes three years after Lao bought the business from Pavelka.
A Unity Dinner in River North will celebrate Black and Latinx communities
Acclaimed local chefs Carlos Gaytán (Tzuco) and Lamar Moore (Eleven Eleven) will next week hold a special “Black and Brown Unity Dinner” that aims to celebrate the “vibrant” communities of People of Color in Chicago and across the U.S. The event is slated for Thursday, November 4, at Gaytán’s restaurant Tzuco in River North. Tickets ($95) and more details are available via Resy. Both communities came together, with an assist from the restaurant world, at a rally last year.
The kooky tale behind a new Logan Square Bakery
The Tribune digs into the surprising story behind Sugar Moon Bakery, a newish Logan Square spot from a winner of special effects makeup competition Face Off on the Syfy Channel. It’s also the home of critic Nick Kindelsperger’s favorite chocolate chip cookie in town — a “sweet, salty, nutty” delight packed with tahini and chocolate chunks.