Chipotle workers at a Lansing, Michigan restaurant voted overwhelmingly to join the International Brotherhood of Teamsters.
They are the first in the restaurant chain to organize.
Workers are forming a union to improve their work schedules, increase wages, and gain the respect from management that they’ve rightfully earned, according to a press release.
“Today’s victory is an amazing moment for our team that has worked so hard and spent many months organizing,” said Samantha Smith, 18, a crew member at Chipotle who has worked at the Lansing-area restaurant for more than two years.
“We set out to show that our generation can make substantial change in this world and improve our working conditions by taking action collectively. What this vote shows is that workers are going to keep taking the fight to big corporations like Chipotle and demand the working conditions we deserve,” she added.
The workers filed for the election with the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) on July 5. The corporate-owned restaurant did not object to the filing.
“The Teamsters Union is home to 1.2 million workers, and all of us are fighting for our brothers and sisters at Chipotle to get the rights and workplace protections they deserve,” said Teamsters General President Sean M. O’Brien. “Now is the time for working people in this country to take back what’s theirs. No matter your industry, no matter your age or how intimidating your employer may seem, you too can protect your labor with a union. The revitalization of labor is really just beginning.”
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“At Chipotle, our employees are our greatest asset, and we are committed to listening to their needs and continuing to improve upon their workplace experience,” according to Laurie Schalow, Chipotle Chief Corporate Affairs Officer. “We’re disappointed that the employees at our Lansing, MI restaurant chose to have a third party speak on their behalf because we continue to believe that working directly together is best for our employees.”
Chipotle workers in Lansing join the growing wave of workers across the country who are organizing to secure better workplace conditions, including at other major corporations such as Starbucks, Apple, and Amazon.