‘We’re organizing to improve lives’: New York fast-food workers push to unionize

The Fight for $15 low wage movement has long had two goals: winning a $15 -an-hour wage for low-paid workers and a union for fast-food workers. On wages it has been a major success – seven states have enacted minimum wage laws scheduled to reach $15 – but so far it has made little progress unionizing fast-food workers. That could soon change.

A Manhattan-based union local that works closely with the Fight for $15 has launched an effort to unionize Chipotle and McDonald’s workers, getting workers at more than 50 restaurants to sign pro-union cards. “We’re running a campaign for workers in an industry that has been abusing its workers,” said Kyle Bragg, president of the local carrying out the unionization drive, Local 32BJ of the Service Employees International Union. “These workers want a union. We’re organizing in order to lift workers and improve their lives.”

With its latest effort, Local 32BJ, a powerful local union with 175,000 members, hopes to make clear to Chipotle and McDonald’s that it is intent on unionizing their restaurants in New York, and they shouldn’t oppose that effort. Union officials say a majority of the hundreds of fast-food workers organizers have approached have signed cards supporting a union.

READ MORE at The Guardian >>

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Chipotle Workers Walk Out Over Labor Complaints

Workers at Chipotle Mexican Grille in New York City went on strike Tuesday over complaints about labor violations. The Service Employees International Union 32BJ said that more than 20 Chipotle restaurants in the city are facing complaints about last-minute scheduling.

“Keep your tacos, keep your bowls, pay your workers what they’re owed!” workers reportedly chanted in Greenwich Village.

A part-time worker, Carlos Hernandez, said he didn’t trust management at the company. “Right now, we’re fighting for our rights as Chipotle workers,” he told the New York Daily News.

“I honestly don’t believe the management shows the employees respect. They just don’t want to give us the hours. They don’t want to give us more money.”

Earlier this month, the city’s Department of Consumer and Worker Protection sued Chipotle over a city law about giving workers a two-week advance notice about their work schedules and being entitled to extra pay for schedule changes at the last minute.

Read more at Splinter >>


Chipotle faces more labor complaints at New York City stores

Chipotle Mexican Grill is facing fresh claims that it violated New York City’s labor laws after the city sued the fast-casual restaurant chain two weeks ago.

Employees from five additional stores plan to file complaints with the city’s Department of Consumer and Worker Protection on Tuesday and to walk off their jobs at lunchtime, according to Service Employees International Union 32BJ, the union organizing the workers.

The violations make it hard for fast food workers to plan their lives, 32BJ President Kyle Bragg said in a statement.

“When fast food companies violate these provisions, workers lack the advance notice they need to plan other responsibilities such as second jobs, doctors’ appointments or childcare,” he said.

On Sept. 10, the city sued Chipotle, accusing it of violating its Fair Workweek Law by failing to provide schedules at least two weeks in advance and failing to pay premiums for last-minute schedule changes, among other claims.

The suit stemmed from complaints by more than 30 workers at five Chipotle restaurants in Brooklyn.

Read more at CNBC >>

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NYC Chipotle workers stage mini-strike

Workers at five more city Chipotle Mexican Grill outlets accused the fast food chain Tuesday of violating city law by messing with their schedules.

“Keep your tacos, keep your bowls, pay your workers what they’re owed!” chanted the crowd of about 30 workers before employees at the Sixth Ave. store in Greenwich Village walked off the job in a staged strike.

Workers at another four Chipotle outlets in the city planned to join the Manhattan group in charging their employer had violated city law in making their weekly work schedules.

“Right now, we’re fighting for our rights as Chipotle workers,” said part-time employee Carlos Hernandez, 20. “I honestly don’t believe the management shows the employees respect. They just don’t want to give us the hours. They don’t want to give us more money.”

Hernandez added that he was threatened by a store manager with a loss of benefits if he joined efforts to unionize the workers. More than 20 Chipotle restaurants citywide are now facing complaints, according to the Service Employees International Union 32BJ.

Read the full article at NY Daily News.


Burrito bullies: NYC sues Chipotle

Chips and guacamole.

There aren’t a lot of perks that go along with slinging salsa for Chipotle, but a discount on food is one of them. So, Cruz Pacheco was a little caught off-guard when she was fired over the summer and accused of stealing a bag of salty chips and a cup of creamy guacamole.

What didn’t surprise her was the timing. For weeks she had been complaining about short-notice changes to her hours that made it difficult to schedule doctors’ appointments for her mentally ill daughter.

When Pacheco accused managers in the Union Square Chipotle where she worked of violating the city’s fair workweek law, she said, she was tossed out with the leftover lettuce.

Read more at the New York Daily News >>


Workers Accuse Chipotle, the ‘Food with Integrity’ Company, of Abuses

Steve Vidal had worked at Chipotle Mexican Grill in Brooklyn for two years, moving from burrito folder to service manager, when he finally decided to quit last summer.

He said he grew frustrated of last-minute changes to his schedule, of managers retaliating against employees who complained by cutting their hours and of a murky sick-leave policy that left him wondering how to get his paid time off.

Mr. Vidal was one of more than 30 current or former Chipotle employees in the area who complained about working conditions at the restaurant to the city and to 32BJ SEIU, a local union trying to organize fast-food workers.

On Tuesday, after investigating the complaints, New York announced that it was suing the company for violating the city’s Fair Workweek Law.

The city is seeking at least $1 million in restitution for workers and penalties.

In its complaint, New York accused Chipotle of abusing workers at five of its locations in Brooklyn, including the one where Mr. Vidal most recently worked.

One current employee noted the irony of a company that constantly heralded its “Food with Integrity” mantra not taking the same approach with its work force.

“I wouldn’t be surprised if they treat the animals better than they treat us,” said Jeremy Espinal, 20, an employee at a Chipotle in Greenwich Village.

The city said the lawsuit, filed with the Office of Administrative Trials and Hearings, was the first one brought against a publicly held corporate fast-food chain under the law, which was meant to give hourly workers more stable schedules and paychecks.

The Workweek law, which took effect in November 2017, requires that fast-food companies notify workers of their weekly schedules at least two weeks in advance.

Workers have to agree in writing to last-minute schedule changes and employers must pay workers a premium for making these changes. Companies are also required to give workers the opportunity for additional hours instead of hiring more part-timers.

Read more at the New York Times >>