Lawrence, Kansas - Employees at a second Chipotle location are unionizing, this time in Lawrence, Kansas. The young workers are forming an independent union, and facing harsh—and likely illegal—pushback from management. A majority of workers’ signatures were collected on a petition to submit to the National Labor Relations Board, only to have that petition thrown away by management. So now they’re filing an unfair labor practice charge as they push to form a union. Quinlan Muller has worked at Chipotle for four years, at three different stores. “The Mass Street location is one of the most difficult stores I’ve worked at. We are understaffed, employees aren’t properly trained, and it’s not, like, the cleanest compared to other Chipotles.”
Chipotle workers in Lansing, Michigan, formed the fast food chain’s first recognized union in the U.S., voting 11-3 on August 25 to join Teamsters Local 243. It’s the latest in a string of new organizing breakthroughs at prominent national brands, from Starbucks to Apple to Trader Joe’s to REI. Of all the employers that have seen union drives over the past year, Chipotle—with 100,000 employees across 3,000 stores, and long-term plans to double its footprint in North America—is the most similar to Starbucks. They’re both outliers in fast food: their stores are primarily corporate-owned, rather than franchised out to smaller operators.
Lansing, Michigan - A Chipotle restaurant in Lansing, Mich., voted Thursday to unionize, making it the first of the chain's nearly 3,000 locations to do so. The employees are seeking improved schedules and higher wages, and first filed for a union election July 5. "Today's victory is an amazing moment for our team that has worked so hard and spent many months organizing," said Samantha Smith, 18, a crew member who has worked at the location for over two years. "We set out to show that our generation can make substantial change in this world and improve our working conditions by taking action collectively. Employees at the location first filed for a union election July 5. They are being backed by the International Brotherhood of Teamsters, a union with 1.2 million members across professions such as warehouse workers, pilots, public defenders and more.
Chipotle Mexican Grill, the fast-casual Tex-Mex chain, has agreed to a $20 million settlement with the city in connection with city allegations it violated workplace protection laws around fair scheduling and paid sick leave. The payout, the result of a four-year investigation and complaint filed by the city Department of Consumer and Worker Protection in 2018 through the Office of Administrative Trials and Hearings, is the largest settlement of its kind, according to DCWP Commissioner Vilda Vera Mayuga. Around 13,000 workers will receive restitution as part of the agreement, to be doled out in the coming weeks, according to DCWP officials. Under the deal, Chipotle also agreed to pay an additional $1 million in civil penalties to the city.
Augusta, Maine - Workers who had hoped to form the first union at a Chipotle Mexican Grill believe the company closed their restaurant and terminated their jobs this week, because they were poised to form the first union among the chain’s 3,000 establishments. Chipotle closed its Augusta restaurant on Tuesday after two-thirds of its employees had pledged to form an independent union, Chipotle United, and just two-and-a-half hours before workers were scheduled to meet with the National Labor Relations Board about their union election. "They knew they would lose," Brandi McNease, who worked the Augusta restaurant for more than three years and led the union drive, said in an interview Friday. "I was just so angry. No. We had a fair fight going. We were doing things the right way, and you just took your bat and ball and went home?
The workers at the Augusta Chipotle are forming a union. The workers at the restaurant in the state’s capital filed for recognition as an independent union, Chipotle United, on Wednesday, according to the Maine AFL-CIO. That comes just a week after the Chipotle workers staged a two-day walkout in protest of what they called unsafe working conditions. Chipotle workers told the Kennebec Journal last week that low staffing is a big concern for them. Two workers are often doing the food preparation work of six people, and the restaurant will be staffed with three to four people when at least seven are needed. In a letter to the chain’s national management, they called those demands “unreasonable” and said they jeopardize the safety of customers and themselves.
Midtown, New York City, New York - SEIU Local 32BJ held a rally and march yesterday in support of Chipotle workers seeking unionization, reliable scheduling and a raise in pay to $20 dollars an hour. The purple-clad procession gathered at 6th Ave. and 48th St., near the NewsCorp headquarters and Fox Square. Leaders of the local, including Executive Vice President Denis Johnston, addressed the crowd, alongside members of the New York City Council, the State Senate and the State Assembly. Councilwoman Julie Menin (District 5) and Councilman Lincoln Restler (District 33) voiced their support for the $20 dollar wage. “You all led the fight for $15; now we’re going to lead the fight for $20,” said Councilwoman Julie Menin.