A customer carries a Chipotle bag outside a restaurant in Santa Clara, California, U.S., Tuesday, October 19, 2021.
David Paul Morris | Bloomberg | Getty Images
A Chipotle Mexican Grill location in Augusta, Maine, filed a petition for a union election on Wednesday, becoming the first of the burrito chain’s restaurants to join the recent organizing push that has swept the country.
The Maine AFL-CIO said that restaurant workers “demand safe and adequate staffing in their store”. Employees are seeking to unionize as Chipotle United, an independent union, according to the organization.
“We have today received notice that a petition has been filed. We respect the rights of our employees under the National Labor Relations Act and are committed to ensuring a fair, just and secure working environment. human being that provides opportunity for everyone,” said Laurie, Chief Corporate Officer of Chipotle. Schalow said Thursday in a statement to TUSEN.
Schalow said Augusta staff raised concerns last week and the company immediately began hiring and training additional staff, retraining existing workers and bringing new leadership to the site.
The company, based in Newport Beach, Calif., said it had no unionized locations and the Maine store was the first to file a petition.
Workers at airlines, retailers and tech companies have organized, fueled by a desire for better working conditions during the pandemic and newfound power gained in a tight labor market. Even the restaurant industry, where unions are rare, has not been immune to union pressure. Baristas at more than 150 Starbucks coffee shops have voted to unionize in the past nine months.
Chipotle employees have tried to unionize in the past, but the chain has successfully quashed those efforts. In 2019, the National Labor Relations Board accused the company of violating federal labor laws by allegedly firing a worker in New York who was trying to organize a union.
Workers at a few New York sites have joined forces with the Service Employees International Union. They staged a rally in late May for higher wages and better hours, but have yet to file a candidacy for a union election.
Chipotle’s working conditions have previously been criticized by regulators and employee lawsuits. Earlier this year, the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission sued the company, alleging it cultivated a toxic work environment by allowing a male manager to sexually harass young female employees at a workplace. Washington. New York City has sued Chipotle multiple times for violating its laws by giving workers adequate notice of their schedules.