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The Real News Podcast

Working People: Chipotle United

Click here to read the transcript of this story and see full show notes: https://therealnews.com/chipotle-shut-down-its-only-unionized-store-organizers-say-its-retaliation

On June 22 of this year, workers at a Chipotle location in Augusta, Maine, made history by becoming the first store in the US to file for a union election with the National Labor Relations Board. Then, on Tuesday, July 19, Chipotle announced that it would be permanently closing the Augusta location. While spokespeople for the fast-casual dining giant deny that the closure is related to union organizing activity, workers and their supporters say the drastic move is a clear act of retaliation and “union busting 101.” The Chipotle store closure coincides with a broader, aggressive escalation of anti-union actions taken by other employers who have also recently closed stores and production plants where workers were organizing, including multiple Starbucks locations across the US, Heine Brothers’ Coffee in Kentucky, Amy’s Kitchen in California, and G&D Integrated, LLC, in Illinois. “By closing the Augusta store,” Jeffrey Neil Young, a lawyer representing the Chipotle workers, told The New York Times, “it’s signaling to Chipotle workers elsewhere who are involved in or contemplating nascent organizational drives that if you organize, you might be out of job.” But workers are refusing to be bullied and silenced by the company, and they are fighting back. In this extended mini-cast, we talk with Brandi McNease, a worker-organizer at the Augusta Chipotle location and a founding member of Chipotle United.

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