A union pushing to organize workers at Chipotle Mexican Grill has filed a complaint with the National Labor Relations Board after the burrito chain said it would permanently close a location that was seeking to unionize.
In late June, an Augusta, Maine, Chipotle restaurant became the chain’s first to file for a union election, seeking to organize under Chipotle United, which is not affiliated with any larger unions. The petition came after workers walked out of the restaurant earlier in the month in protest of working conditions and understaffing.
Chipotle said the location has been closed to the public since June 17. Spokesperson Laurie Schalow denied that the permanent closure of the restaurant was due to the union petition. Instead, she said the company was unable to provide enough staffing for the location.
“Our operational management reviewed this situation as it would any other restaurant with these unique staffing challenges. Chipotle respects our employees’ rights to organize under the National Labor Relations Act,” Schalow said in a statement to CNBC.
Chipotle United workers seeking to organize feel the move is retaliatory and held a rally on Tuesday evening in protest of the store’s closure. Organizer Brandi McNease told CNBC the closure will only energize efforts.
“All they are doing is fueling us,” McNease said.
McNease said Chipotle United, which filed its complaint Tuesday, is mainly concerned with crew safety, food safety and short staffing.
A second Chipotle filed for a union election in early July. The restaurant, which is located in Lansing, Michigan, is seeking to unionize under the International Brotherhood of Teamsters.
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