Chipotle workers in Maine interested in unionizing

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Chipotle workers in Maine interested in unionizing

The employees at a Chipotle Mexican Grill restaurant in Augusta, Maine are interested in unionizing.

The group has petitioned a federal labor board for a union election, becoming the first U.S. Chipotle location to do so.

The decline in U.S. union membership has spurred union organizing in a variety of fields.

The employees of Chipotle filed a petition with the National Labor Relations Board on Wednesday, Maine AFL-CIO spokesman Andy O'Brien said.

Organizers have been working to establish unions at companies like Amazon, Starbucks, outdoors retailer REI and Google parent company Alphabet.

Since August 2021, Starbucks has seen 280 stores work to organize.

Chipotle also has its own stores, which could make unionization easier.

Because Chipotle owns its locations, workers there can join together across stores and state borders to build power and force the company to negotiate with them, O'Brien said.

Last week, the Maine Chipotle workers walked out of what they said were unsafe conditions.

The workers said that the company immediately sent more staff, retrained existing employees and provided new leadership at the restaurant.

"We respect our employees' rights under the National Labor Relations Act and we are committed to ensuring a fair, just, and humane work environment that provides opportunities for all," said Laurie Schalow, Chipotle Chief Corporate Affairs Officer.

The company did not say anything about whether it would challenge the election petition.