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McDonald's workers join #Striketober walkouts Tuesday

Fed up with low wages and abuse at work, fast food employees and activists nationwide staged strikes.

CHARLOTTE, N.C. — Protestors lined up across the country Tuesday to protest McDonald's, including one in Charlotte on Beatties Ford Road

Activists demanded more accountability regarding sexual harassment reports and higher wages for all employees.

“If the pandemic didn’t show anything else, it showed that people who are already struggling, how much they are truly struggling," Lydia Hughes, who is with the organization Fight for $15, said. 

Fight for $15 organized the strikes, which took place in 10 cities across the country. 

“We will most definitely let our voices be heard and let these workers know that we stand behind them in all aspects," Travis Archie, another member of Fight for $15, said.

RELATED: Piedmont Airlines flight attendants vote to authorize a strike

Over the past five years, dozens of workers filed charges against McDonald's, alleging harassment. Earlier this year, the company said it would require all its workers worldwide to take part in harassment and discrimination prevention training.

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“That’s why we’re out here today ... to hold everybody accountable," Archie said. "Not just the workers, but the corporation and the managers running these places.” 

Another demand made by protesters – increase the minimum wage. Over the summer, Mcdonald's announced it would pay employees at restaurants it owns $15 an hour, but that doesn’t include franchise locations.

RELATED: Fed up by pandemic, US food workers launch rare strikes

“People try to say 'Oh, you just have to work harder, do more hours,'" Hughes said. "But how many hours can you possibly do when you’re only making $7.25 an hour?"

The protests come at a time when there seems to be a shift in the power dynamic between employers and employees.

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The U.S. Bureau of Labor said in August, more than 4 million Americans quit their jobs. Faced with worker shortages, experts say companies are having to meet workers’ demands.

“Employers are desperate to find people in all industries – whether it’s in hospitality, manufacturing, healthcare – it doesn’t matter," David Hollars, who is the executive director of Centralina Workforce Development said. "My employers are begging for people.” 

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Hollars said this is a great time for employees to seize opportunities like starting a new career or going back to school. He doesn’t believe this workforce shortage will last forever. 

"I've been in the business long enough to know things happen in cycles and we'll go through another cycle," Hollars said. "And we will not have employers begging for people, it will be hard to find jobs. So you've got to be prepared for that down the road."

Simultaneous strike actions are planned for Durham and Marion, North Carolina. 

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