Foodservice workers protest over workplace safety, compensation amid COVID-19 crisis

The daughter of a fast-food restaurant employee says her mother is in critical condition from COVID-19. A grocery delivery worker who quit said the stakes are higher than ever in her line of work.
6:57 | 04/17/20

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Transcript for Foodservice workers protest over workplace safety, compensation amid COVID-19 crisis
Forging forward on the front lines of covid-19, workers deep in the trenches, keeping the country fed and running. Now some are saying no more, unless their voices and demands are met. 8-year-old mate is the light and joy of his mother Adrianna Alvarez. I hope he realizes I will do anything to care for him. The single mom has worked at an McDonald's outside Chicago for almost at any years. I love when the customers get their food, knowing they get their coffee, coffee excites people in the mornings. She says she makes $13.45 an hour, barely enough to support her family. But she says the job that's been her lifeline is now potentially life threatening. Now they're cutting our hours and essential work Ares. Now we were just burger flippers who should go to college and get a job. Now we're keeping the economy floating. We've been important. People fail to realize it. With millions of Americans staying home, workers like Adrianna are feeding America, staffing drive through windows and fulfilling grocery store orders. Some say they're doing their jobs without the protections they need to keep themselves and their customers safe. We deserve hazard pay, paid sick leave. We're risking going to work and getting paid the same poverty wages and I don't think that as fair. She's part of the fight for 15 movement, starting out advocating raising the minimum wage to $15. Since the pandemic, the group has started strikes around the country. I've been working here for 14 I just walked off my job and went on strike today. I am the guy who is in the drive through. Yesterday the group helped organize an online strike of McDonald's workers, including Adrianna. This is life or death. Someone in California, at least three people in California have had covid cases, and one of them is fighting for her life on a ventilator. That person is Sonya Hernandez, Jennifer Hernandez's mother. She's a loving mom. She gave everything for us. She was a single mom for us. And she worked at McDonald's for 18 years. It was her job at McDonald's that allowed Sonya to provide for her family. Jennifer says Sonya at the time wasn't given gloves or face mask at work. She began feeling ill in March but continued to work. She tested positive for covid-19 in early April, after her health took a turn for the worse. My cousin, she texted me that there were going to take my mom to the hospital. My mom called us, like my brothers and my sister and me. She called us saying that she was going to have to go in the ventilator, and they were going to put her under sedation. That was the last call Jennifer had with her mother. She told me, I want you guys to take care, and I want you to take care of the kids. That was before she was put in the machine. Take care of everyone. Sonya is now in critical condition. We have to make the decision if she, if her heart stops, what, if we want them to resuscitate her or to just let her leave in peace. An employee from the Monterey park store asks in part that the companies instruct all the workers who were exposed directly or indirectly to self-quarantine. McDonalds said when they were notified of the covid-19 diagnosis, they immediately reached out to four other crew members that had come in close contact with the employee, instructing them to self-quarantine for 14 days, and that the restaurant was closed overnight for routine deep cleaning. The workers, I would say, you know, just fight for your right. Because today's my mom. Tomorrow, I don't know. It could be theirs or it could be them. McDonald's telling ABC news they've changed nearly 50 processes since February, including adding employee wellness and temperature checks and are confident employees impacted by the virus are receiving paid sick leave. They are also exploring hero pay bonuses, adding our number one priority is the health and well-being of our people. If you feel like you're doing the appropriate measures to keep us safe, then come on down and work with us. Come on down. So that they can see exactly what we have to go through and how anxious we feel, just to be at work. But if we're not at work we can't feed our kids. We can't feed our families. We can't feed ourselves. It's not just fast food workers raising their voices. Gig workers have claimed to be unsafe on the job as well. Vanessa Bain walked off her job as an instacart shopper despite her job being more in demand. The underlying crisis is that, you know, more work than ever is precarious. People don't have savings accounts. People are not in a position where they're earning income that is in surplus to their expenses. We turned off the app. We asked for the, you know, the ppes, which, you know, that was the last thing they gave in to, but then again, like I said, they didn't make them readily available. By some estimates, more than a third of U.S. Workers are a part of the gig economy. And what a lot of companies have done to get around paying greater amounts of benefits to their employees is hiring gig workers. But ultimately, what we're seeing through this crisis is how perilous a gig-working job is. Instacart said over the past few weeks they have consistently, proactively communicated with the shopper community to make sure they have the support they need, and they have secured health and safety kits to distribute to shoppers across the community. Earlier this week, senator Elizabeth Warren and ro Khanna introduced a bill for workers that could be in the next federal relief package. They don't listen to us if it's just one person. The more people, the more power

This transcript has been automatically generated and may not be 100% accurate.

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