Federal labor officers filed a criticism Thursday alleging that Chipotle illegally closed a retailer in Augusta, Maine, in response to an organizing effort by employees.
The basic counsel of the National Labor Relations Board advisable within the submitting that Chipotle be ordered to reopen the shop and cut price with the union, in keeping with a board spokesperson.
Laurie Schalow, Chipotle’s chief company affairs officer, mentioned in a press release that the closure “had nothing to do with union activity” and that the corporate plans to “vigorously defend ourselves.”
“Our operational management reviewed this situation as it would any other restaurant with these unique staffing challenges,” Schalow mentioned. “We respect our employees’ rights to organize under the National Labor Relations Act and are committed to ensuring a fair, just, and humane work environment that provides opportunities 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. Workers should spherical up union playing cards from at the least 30% of a office to ensure that the labor board to schedule a vote.
The firm mentioned on the time that the closure was on account of insufficient staffing. But a lawyer for the employees advised The New York Times in July that the transfer amounted to “Union Busting 101.”
The basic counsel’s resolution to concern the criticism means investigators seemed into the employees’ allegations and located advantage in them. If Chipotle and the final counsel can’t attain a settlement, the matter will probably be litigated earlier than an administrative regulation decide and, ultimately, 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 purpose). The criticism towards Chipotle is one among 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 criticism earlier this week accusing Starbucks of retaliating towards employees by closing a retailer in Ithaca, New York. That criticism additionally advisable 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 criticism usually takes years to litigate, with a number of alternatives for enchantment, and the employees affected typically transfer on with their lives.
In addition to reopening the shop, the final counsel says Chipotle ought to need to reinstate the employees who misplaced their jobs and provide them again pay protecting any wages they misplaced.