Fast-food workers describe melting food and air so hot it ‘felt like the grease from the kitchen was sliding down our throats’ as record heat pummels parts of the US

McDonald's workers protest heat conditions at a Los Angeles store.
McDonald’s workers protest heat conditions at a Los Angeles store.

  • Workers at McDonald’s and Jack In The Box protested working in over 100-degree temperatures.
  • Jack In The Box workers filed an OSHA complaint after their manager told them they were exaggerating.
  • A Hooters location and Voodoo Doughnut shop also held walkouts due to the high temperatures.
  • See more stories on Insider’s business page.

Fast food workers are struggling to beat the heat as many areas in the US continue to face record temperatures.

“It was uncomfortable and hard to breathe,” Laura Pozos, a Los Angeles McDonald’s worker, told Insider after her location went several months without an air conditioner or working kitchen ventilator, even hitting in-store temperature around 100 degrees. “It felt like the grease from the kitchen was sliding down our throats.”

The heat wave has prompted several walkouts across the West Coast. On Tuesday, workers at a Sacramento Jack In The Box went on strike when conditions inside the restaurant hit as high as 109 degrees, according to a complaint the workers filed with the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) and Sacramento County Public Health.

In the complaint, the group said that the air conditioning at the store was frequently broken and management had not implemented any strategies to keep workers safe from excessive heat exposure.

Jack In The Box workers protest heat conditions at Sacramento location.
Jack In The Box workers protest heat conditions at Sacramento location.

“She [the manager] said we were exaggerating and hot because of menopause,” one worker noted in the OSHA complaint after she approached her manager regarding the issue.

The location was one of many fast food sites in California that has faced backlash from employees who say they have been forced to work in extreme heat.

On Sunday, a Voodoo Doughnuts store in Portland staged a walkout due to heat conditions. The union Doughnut Workers United said in a Facebook post that temperatures were so high doughnuts were melting and the frosting wouldn’t dry. A Voodoo Doughnut spokesperson did not respond to a request for comment from Insider, but told the Huffington Post that they had kept the store air conditioner running and altered the store schedule to keep workers from laboring under peak temperatures.

Earlier in June, a Hooters in Houston held a walkout after the location went a month without air conditioning. A waitress told local news the store was so hot that the workers would gather in the ice cooler.

Similarly, a McDonald’s off Sunset Boulevard in Los Angeles staged a protest on June 17 to demand the company properly repair its air conditioning unit.

Pozos told Insider the heat poses an imminent risk to fast food workers. While the air conditioning and kitchen ventilation system was eventually fixed when her store hired a new manager, she says worker’s health should not be dependent on the generosity of their managers.

Pozos pointed to workers’ support of a bill introduced to the state legislature at the beginning of the year that would create a California Fast-Food Sector Council and give workers a voice in setting industry standards for fast food in California.

“We need a better place to go,” Pozos said. “We need to go directly to the people who would help enforce these issues or we will definitely continue to keep having these issues.”

McDonald’s, Jack In The Box, and Hooters did not respond to a request for comment. Insider reached out to the individual stores, but the managers were not able to provide an official statement without corporate approval.

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A restaurant worker was stabbed by a man who refused to wear a mask, the latest customer-employee confrontation since Texas lifted its mask mandate

Jack in the Box
Jack in the Box restaurant.

  • A customer stabbed a restaurant worker multiple times after being asked to wear a mask.
  • The League City Police Department issued an arrest warrant for the man.
  • Many people have refused to wear masks at stores and restaurants since the mandate was lifted in Texas.
  • See more stories on Insider’s business page.

A restaurant manager was stabbed multiple times by a customer who refused to wear a mask on Wednesday at a Jack in the Box restaurant just outside of Houston.

The League City Police Department has issued an arrest warrant for the man.

Texas Gov. Greg Abbott announced that the mask mandate would no longer be in place as of March 10. His decision came just days after the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention warned against reopening states too soon. Businesses can set their own mask and social-distancing requirements and many companies have said they will continue to require customers and employees to wear masks, even though it is no longer required by the state.

Since the mask mandate was lifted, there have been multiple reports of customers refusing to adhere to store policies. As a result, many frontline workers are forced to impose corporate rules without the support of the state government.

The League City Police Chief Gary Ratliff said in a press release that the manager was admitted to the hospital and has since been released.

“All I would ask is that people respect the opinions and the policies of these businesses,” Ratliff said. “You can refuse to do business at those locations, or whatever it is you choose to do, but there’s no reason to resort to aggressive behavior like this.”

Leading up to the altercation at the Jack in the Box restaurant, the man was told he had to wear a mask in order to enter the restaurant or could use the drive-thru without a mask. The maskless man filmed the incident and accused the restaurant manager of not wanting to serve him because he was homeless.

Moments later, the man stabbed the manager multiple times in the torso after the worker turned away, according to Ratliff. The police department has since identified the man.

Last week, a woman was arrested in Galveston for refusing to wear a mask.

In March, workers at the Houston-based Mexican restaurant, Picos, said diners threatened to report them to the Immigration and Customs Enforcement agency for requiring people at the diner to wear masks.

After Abbott’s announcement, a maskless Trader Joe’s customer accused the grocer of violating state laws by asking him to wear a mask in the store.

Multiple Texas officials have called Abbott to account for what they said was an “irresponsible action” and what President Joe Biden deemed a “big mistake.”

The state still has over 2.75 million cases and over 47,000 reported deaths, according to The New York Times.

Texas workers are now faced with the same difficulties presented at the beginning of the pandemic when people protested and boycotted stores for requiring masks and social distancing.

Many encounters early on during the pandemic led to instances of violence, where workers were shot or assaulted for asking customers to adhere to store policies by wearing a mask.

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Jack in the Box just announced 2 new chicken sandwiches as last year’s biggest fast-food battle heats up again

Jack in the Box's cluck sandwiches
Jack in the Box’s cluck sandwiches.

  • Fast-food chain Jack in the Box is expanding its chicken menu with two new chicken sandwiches, the Cluck Sandwich and the Cluck Deluxe Sandwich.
  • The new rollout falls on the heels of last year’s heated chicken sandwich battle between Popeyes and Chick-fil-A but comes before McDonald’s new chicken sandwich that will be unveiled early 2021.
  • Jack in the Box’s new sandwiches have ingredients like a mystery sauce, guacamole, and pickles.
  • Visit Business Insider’s homepage for more stories.

Fast-food chain Jack in the Box is expanding its chicken menu with two new chicken sandwiches, the Cluck Sandwich and the Cluck Deluxe Sandwich.

The fast-food chain already has several chicken sandwiches in its lineup, but the new Cluck Sandwich rollout comes on the heels of the infamous chicken sandwich war last year between newcomer Popeyes and longtime standard Chick-fil-A.

Read more: One chart shows the explosive impact of Popeyes’ chicken sandwich on the fast-food chain’s sales

Other fast-food brands have since joined in on the chicken sandwich dispute, including Wendy’s and Church’s Chicken. McDonald’s is also set to join the contentious battle early next year when the fast-food giant unveils its new fried chicken sandwich.

Jack in the Box’s new chicken sandwich lineup consists of the Cluck Sandwich and the Cluck Deluxe Sandwich.

Jack in the Box's cluck sandwiches
Jack in the Box’s cluck sandwiches.

The Cluck Sandwich comes with a crispy chicken fillet, pickles, and a mystery sauce, all held together with a brioche bun.

Jack in the Box's Cluck Combo
Jack in the Box’s cluck combo.

The deluxe version has the same bun and chicken combination, with the added bonus of mayonnaise, lettuce, tomato, guacamole, hickory smoked bacon, and cheddar cheese. According to Jack in the Box, these extra ingredients are a “classic hit with consumers.”

Jack in the Box's cluck deluxe sandwich combo
Jack in the Box’s cluck deluxe sandwich combo.

Jack in the Box has also partnered with singer and actress Becky G for a social media #JacksNewChickenDance campaign to help launch the new chicken sandwich lineup.

Becky G jack in the box
Becky G and Jack in the Box.

The Cluck Sandwich is $4.99, while the Cluck Deluxe is $6.99. Both can be upgraded to the combo version for an additional $1.

Jack in the Box's cluck sandwich
Jack in the Box’s cluck sandwich.

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