🌯 Chipotle Digests Labor Law Violations
Chipotle has reached a settlement with the city of New York worth a potential $20 million over claims that the fast food chain has violated scheduling and sick leave laws for over 4 years. The settlement will be the largest in the city's history and affects some 13,000 employees who worked between November 2017 and April 2022. Chipotle will potentially pay these claimants $50 per week for each week they worked during that period.
According to The New York Times, the Fair Workweek Law, which went into effect in 2017, requires workplaces to “provide workers with their schedules at least two weeks in advance or pay a bonus for the shifts … give workers at least 11 hours off between shifts on consecutive days or get written consent and pay them an extra $100.”
In conjunction with a separate city law requiring 56 hours of sick leave per year, “The employers must also offer workers more shifts before hiring additional employees, to make it easier for them to earn a sustainable income.”
“We’re pleased to be able to resolve these issues,” Chipotle's chief restaurant officer said in a statement, adding that the company has implemented new time-keeping technology and other measures to ensure compliance with the labor laws.
Stemming The Union Push
Over the summer, Chipotle began closing stores in Maine that had filed union petitions. Employees and labor union representatives claimed the actions were “a slap in the face” and a threat to other employees thinking of unionizing, reports Maine Public Radio. Chipotle, however, counters that at one of the locations, it had “been unable to adequately staff this remote restaurant with crew and continue to be plagued with excessive call-outs and lack of availability from existing staff.”
Unionization efforts at Chipotle and other chain restaurants like Starbucks have only intensified in recent months. The Service Employees International Union (or SEIU) helped initial New York City's investigation of labor law violations at the chain's New York locations, suggesting that Chipotle feared a large unionization push if it continued to ignore the wage theft accusations.
Is $20 million enough for Chipotle to buy its way out of a union drive in the country's largest (and most visible) city? That's the bet the fast food chain is making. Then again, the tides seem to be rising for unions everywhere.