Much of the United States is in the midst of a heat wave, especially in the Midwest and Northeast parts of the country. One would think that everyone would make a consistent effort to keep cool, hydrated, and healthy in the midst of these conditions. The risk for heatstroke and heat exhaustion is extremely high in a heat wave, and one could very easily die from the heat. Unfortunately, such caution is not the case in New York City, particularly at one McDonald's in Washington Heights in Manhattan. Currently, temperatures in Manhattan are in the mid-90s, and the urban design of New York City makes it hard for heat to escape. It is already a sweltering nightmare for New Yorkers.
Sadly, McDonald's workers have it worse. The franchise located at 4259 Broadway, an independently-owned operation owned by one Dominga De Jesus, has a barely functioning air conditioner. On a day that many are calling the hottest in New York City this year, the air conditioner stopped working. Without a functioning AC, temperatures were even higher in the kitchen than outside. At one point, it became too much for a worker, who collapsed from heat exhaustion, and required paramedics to revive and take her out of the scene.
In response to their worker's collapse, the workers at that McDonald's walked out in protest, refusing to work without the air conditioner running. In order to maintain order and business, the franchise owner called in temporary workers to complete the shift. Workers who walked out are merely concerned about the AC, and wish not to face retaliation or dismissal because of this protest. Temperatures remain hot, and there are reports through Twitter that other McDonald's in New York City have limited-use ACs, particularly to prevent customers from camping out from the heat. Whether this incident changes the situation remains to be seen.