Chipotle union files complaint against labor board after restaurant closes

A Chipotle Mexican Grill sign is seen in the Park Slope neighborhood of the Brooklyn borough of New York.

Michael M. Santiago | Getty Images

A union pushing to organize workers at Chipotle Mexican Grill has filed a complaint with the National Labor Relations Board after the burrito chain announced it would permanently close a location that sought to unionize.

In late June, a restaurant in Augusta, Maine, Chipotle became the chain’s first outlet to file a candidacy in a union election, seeking to organize under Chipotle United, which is not affiliated with any union. most important. The petition came after employees walked out of the restaurant earlier in the month to protest working conditions and understaffing.

Chipotle said the facility has been closed to the public since June 17. Spokeswoman Laurie Schalow denied the restaurant’s permanent closure was due to the union’s petition. Instead, she said the company was unable to provide enough staff for the location.

“Our operational management has reviewed this situation as it would any other restaurant facing these unique personnel issues. Chipotle respects the right of our employees to organize under national labor relations law,” said Schalow in a statement to CNBC.

But Chipotle United workers seeking to organize believe the move is retaliatory and staged a rally on Tuesday night to protest the store’s closure. Organizer Brandi McNease told CNBC the closure would only energize efforts.

“All they do is feed us,” McNease said.

McNease said Chipotle United, which filed its lawsuit on Tuesday, is primarily concerned about crew safety, food safety and understaffing.

Jeffrey Neil Young, the attorney representing Chipotle United, told CNBC it was “101 union busters.”

“The closure not only targeted workers in Maine, but also Chipotle workers across the country who are planning to form a union. Organizing drives are currently underway in Michigan, New York and elsewhere. sends a signal to other Chipotle workers that if they organize, they could be out of a job,” Young said in a written statement. He added that the union has asked the NLRB to seek an injunction to compel Chipotle to reopen the store and reimburse workers until the store reopens.

Employees at a second Chipotle outlet filed for a union election in early July. Workers at this restaurant, located in Lansing, Michigan, are seeking to unionize under the International Brotherhood of Teamsters.

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