Federal labor officers filed a grievance Thursday alleging that Chipotle illegally closed a retailer in Augusta, Maine, in response to an organizing effort by employees.
The final counsel of the Nationwide Labor Relations Board beneficial within the submitting that Chipotle be ordered to reopen the shop and cut price with the union, based on a board spokesperson.
Laurie Schalow, Chipotle’s chief company affairs officer, mentioned in an announcement that the closure “had nothing to do with union exercise” and that the corporate plans to “vigorously defend ourselves.”
“Our operational administration reviewed this example as it will another restaurant with these distinctive staffing challenges,” Schalow mentioned. “We respect our staff’ rights to arrange beneath the Nationwide Labor Relations Act and are dedicated to making sure a good, simply, and humane work setting that gives alternatives to all.”
The burrito chain, which has 3,000 locations in North America, shuttered the Augusta retailer in July, not lengthy after employees there filed for an election. Staff should spherical up union playing cards from at the very least 30% of a office to ensure that the labor board to schedule a vote.
The corporate mentioned on the time that the closure was resulting from insufficient staffing. However a lawyer for the employees instructed The New York Instances in July that the transfer amounted to “Union Busting 101.”
The final counsel’s choice to concern the grievance means investigators regarded into the employees’ allegations and located advantage in them. If Chipotle and the overall counsel can’t attain a settlement, the matter shall be litigated earlier than an administrative legislation choose and, finally, maybe the five-member board in Washington.
It’s unlawful for an employer to shut a person location expressly to snuff out union organizing (though it’s authorized to close down a whole enterprise for that motive). The grievance in opposition to Chipotle is one in every of many aggressive strikes made beneath the purview of the NLRB’s basic counsel, Jennifer Abruzzo, whom President Joe Biden appointed.
Abruzzo’s workplace filed a separate grievance earlier this week accusing Starbucks of retaliating in opposition to employees by closing a retailer in Ithaca, New York. That grievance additionally beneficial that Starbucks be compelled to reopen the situation.
As a sensible matter, it’s troublesome for labor board officers to pressure an organization to reopen a worksite. The grievance sometimes takes years to litigate, with a number of alternatives for enchantment, and the employees affected usually transfer on with their lives.
Along with reopening the shop, the overall counsel says Chipotle ought to should reinstate the employees who misplaced their jobs and supply them again pay overlaying any wages they misplaced.