Burger King workers stage strike after trans co-worker dies while working with COVID-19

Protesters packed the drive-thru Burger King in Santa Monica, California, following the death of a trans staffer. (Twitter)

Burger King employees staged a strike and filed a complaint with the California state and county regulators Friday (July 10) after a trans co-worker died of complications caused by coronavirus.

Staffers at the Santa Monica fast food restaurant retaliated after Angela Martinez Gómez died after being made to work a week even while displaying symptoms. Picketers, as well as the complaint, claimed that the company did not provide staff with protective gear.

One manager at the branch at 1919 Pico Boulevard allegedly blamed the death of Gómez, 42, of Oaxaca, Mexico, on hormone injections, KTLA5 reported.

Managers made Gómez carry on working for a week even while she spluttered, took frequent bathroom breaks and was visibly ill, the complaint said, before leaving her June 26 shift early.

She had been self-medicating on cold medicine up until her death. Gómez died July 6.

After trans Burger King employee died of COVID-19, management allegedly tried to sweep it under as her hormones treatments.

Moreover, the complained stated that a second employee began to flare with symptoms but was, nevertheless, asked to come into work.

A third employee, Yolanda Garcia, who filed the complaint, alleged that she is the third employee to show symptoms. She stated that seniors did not supply fresh masks for each shift, does not implement physical distancing requirements in the kitchen and that the site is not cleaned properly.

Many companies across the US have grappled with a severe shortage of protective gear, all the while coronavirus cases flare. The dearth of supplies – ranging from face masks to disposable gloves – is thrusting many front-line workers into jeopardy, all the while facing with boot-strap wages.

Burger King staffers are calling on the restaurant to be immediately shuttered, all workers be quarantined with pay and the company be held accountable for the “dangerous and deadly conditions” worked have suffered.

The complaint filed to the Los Angeles County Department of Public Health and also sent to the California Division of Occupational Safety and Health serves as a treatise for the ways in which some dine-in restaurants have rushed re-openings, often at the expense of employee lives.

The strike saw roads jammed with cars, clogging access to the restaurant. Vehicles honked horns and were emblazoned with trans Pride flag signs that read: “Say her name, Angela Martinez Gómez, a trans woman died after exhibiting symptoms of COVID-19 at work.

“Burger King blamed her death on hormone injections without evidence.”

Wearing her striped polo shirt and a face mask clinging to her face, Yolanda Santiago spoke to the Los Angeles wing of Fight for $15, which works with fast-food employees to advocate a higher minimum wage.

She told members how she, being a diabetic, being made to work on the frontline in what, workers have claimed, are inadequate conditions has plunged her into unease every time she clocks-in.

“A couple days ago,” she said, “[Angela Martinez Gómez] died and had symptoms of coronavirus.

“[Burger King] has done nothing to protect us. I am diabetic and fear for my health and my family.”

PinkNews contacted Burger King for comment.

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