Media that empowers working people – that's how we build a More Perfect Union.

Don't Miss a Video!

Access our exclusive reporting and rapid response actions directly in your inbox, so you don’t miss a beat in the fight for working people nationwide.

Be a part of a community backing up independent journalism with action.

Ideas

Have a story to tell or idea to share?
Email stories@perfectunion.us
© 2021 More Perfect Union Action

Together we can build power for working people.

We’re asking questions that really matter, and telling the stories of people who really need to be seen and heard.

You can support our work by donating today.

Amount

Make It Monthly

Don't Miss a Video!

Access our exclusive reporting and rapid response actions directly in your inbox, so you don’t miss a beat in the fight for working people nationwide.

Be a part of a community backing up independent journalism with action.

Chipotle Workers Are Trying To Form The Company’s First Union

Chipotle workers in Maine are forced to do the jobs of two full employees and work while injured. Now they are organizing for better work conditions and improved staffing.

YouTube Thumbnail

Produced and edited by Jordan Zakarin, Paula Pecorella, and Nes Sanchez

Chipotle workers in Maine are forming the company’s first union. They say the store is chronically understaffed leading to injuries & exhaustion. Chipotle made $653 million in profit in 2021. Instead of investing in staff, it spent $100 million on stock buybacks to enrich shareholders. We spoke with the Augusta Chipotle workers. Below is a full transcript of the video.

Brandi: When I walked back into that restaurant in January, after being gone for two years, I wanted to cry. It was an immediate— my heart just dropped. Nothing in that restaurant looked like it had been taken care of, including the crew.

Ethan: I started noticing the issues in Chipotle pretty much right from the bat.

Galen: I started noticing issues pretty much day one. They kept insisting that we run with not quite the number of people that we should run with.

Arrow: If there aren’t enough people to run the store, we have to cut corners. 

Brandi: But we have customers coming in and they’re upset. “Why are you so slow? Why is the food not right?” The dangers of not being able to have enough people to run the store are a lot of shortcuts that are unsafe. We had people working injured.

[News clip]: I am interested in companies with magnificent sales and earnings. Like Chipotle.

[News clip]: Chipotle beats on the top and bottom lines for Q1, and same-store sales also up 9%.

[News clip]: Chipotle shares sizzled in early trading Wednesday, jumping more than 10% to a record high.

[Chipotle CEO]: You know look, I think our secret weapon is our people and our culture. 

Brandi: The short staffing has led to injuries and exhaustion in the crew.

Ethan: When we’re operating a half crew or even a third of the crew, a lot of the people have to work double time and extra jobs. We end up getting ourselves spread thin, and like a candle burning at both ends it burns out pretty fast 

Arrow: Everyone was overworked. Everyone was burnt out. And everyone was doing the job of at least two full people.

Brandi: We had complained in all of the appropriate ways. And it was time for us to say, we can’t keep doing this. 

Ethan: If we weren’t going to meet the minimum mandatory amount of people in order to work the job properly and effectively, we weren’t going to open up the shop at all.

Brandi: We weren’t troublemakers. We were just asking to be cared for better

Ethan: Most of it was just them walking in and asking us questions.

Brandi: So far, it’s been a lot of us signing paperwork and acknowledging our responsibilities.

Ethan: But no concrete promises were made.

Brandi: We still don’t have the right training. We just want to be able to function.

Ethan: We’re asking for the bare minimum that chipotle itself should be providing to begin with. Training and staffing your own restaurant is pretty par for the course for any business.

Brandi: It benefits us, but also it benefits Chipotle and the customers, too. When we realized that we could all stand up together and say, “Hey, we’re not gonna do this anymore. You can’t, you know, run us around like this anymore.” They listened. They deployed. We all went, “oh, this is, this is the power of being a collective.”
Arrow: This little tiny Chipotle way in Maine managed to make national news. And hopefully what we did can inspire people from all walks of life and from all sorts of companies to know that if you don’t feel like you’re being treated right by your company, you can do stuff about it. You absolutely have a voice. You absolutely have power and you should use it.

Videography by Daniel Quintanilla

The Latest

YouTube Thumbnail
Why Are Baristas Leading The Labor Movement?
Read More
YouTube Thumbnail
These Pizza Workers Want to Unionize The Whole Restaurant Industry
Read More
Sinema
Sinema More Than Doubled Private Equity Fundraising Before Killing Carried Interest Provision
Read More
Amazon heat
Photos Reveal Amazon Workers In Scorching 145° Trailers
Read More
YouTube Thumbnail
Strokes, Head Injuries & Heat Exhaustion: Why Amazon Workers In Albany Are Unionizing
Read More
Here Are The Next States That Want To Follow Kansas’ Lead In Winning Abortion Ballot Measures
Read More
United Airlines
Despite Record Revenue, Airlines Set to Slash Flights to Smaller Cities
Read More
Google
Major Corporations Have Donated Over $6 Million to Anti-Abortion Groups, Despite Promises to Defend Access
Read More
YouTube Thumbnail
U.S. Rail Workers Could Strike And Shut Down The Economy
Read More
YouTube Thumbnail
Inflation Is Making CEOs Richer
Read More
Amazon insider
Here’s How Amazon Is Strangling Small Businesses 
Read More
YouTube Thumbnail
Abortion Is On The Ballot In Kansas
Read More
YouTube Thumbnail
Commercial Production Workers Are Unionizing
Read More
Medical Debt
A Measure to Crack Down on Predatory Medical Debt Collection is on the Verge of Making the Ballot in Arizona
Read More
Jennifer Rourke
Democratic Leaders Helped a Blackface-Wearing Conservative Run Against a Progressive Black Woman In Rhode Island
Read More
AT&T and Verizon Raised Prices in Lockstep, Looking To Make Billions
Read More
YouTube Thumbnail
Why GameStop Workers Hate Their Jobs
Read More
YouTube Thumbnail
How Elon Musk Got Rich: The $230 Billion Myth
Read More
YouTube Thumbnail
The Former Uber Driver Taking On the ‘Joe Manchin of New York’
Read More
Cholula
The Largest U.S. Spice Company Is Raising Prices in America – But Not China
Read More