Chipotle Closes Maine Location After Employees Attempt to Unionize

The Run-Down: An Augusta, Maine Chipotle closed without announcement following employees’ push to unionize

  1. Management claims the store was closed due to staffing shortages, however, Union advocates believe this closure was a scare tactic used to intimidate workers 
  2. The store filed a petition last month with the National Labor Relations Board to vote on whether to unionize
  3. To everyone’s surprise, two hours before the vote was to be made, the company sent out an email that the store would be shut down

Why You Should Care:

Chipotle claims this closure has nothing to do with the vote on whether to unionize. However, Chipotle employees see it much differently. Chipotle United organizer, Brandi McNease, said she was “so angry” when she learned the store was closing. Adding, “Chipotle slapped us in the face” but that the employees “were not done fighting.” According to Jeff Young, a lawyer for Chipotle United, 10 new employees were hired at the Augusta location after employees filed their unionization-vote petition last month, casting doubt on Chipotle’s original claim for closure.

There you have it, folks. Over the past few weeks, we’ve been talking more and more about unionizing. What it is, what does it mean for organizations, and the future of the workforce as a whole. Chipotle is just another example of how and why employees have more recently been pushing for unions in their workplaces. According to a survey, the number of U.S. workplaces where employees have filed petitions with the NLRB rose 69% in the first half of this year – proving this push isn’t going anywhere, any time soon. 

Now, it’s all about how you react to this. As a business owner, listening to your team is critical. There’s a reason why employees are calling for a union. Workers are feeling undervalued and no longer accepting what they consider to be mistreatment. So, work with your team. Let them know you care on a human level, and conflicts like this can be more easily avoided.  

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