Chipotle workers strike claiming employer violated Fair Workweek law

Stephon Johnson | 10/10/2019, 9:47 a.m.
Chipotle workers claim that their employer continues to violate Fair Workweek laws even after the city announced it was seeking ...
Chipotle Wikipedia

Chipotle workers claim that their employer continues to violate Fair Workweek laws even after the city announced it was seeking financial remedies for previous violations.

Workers said Chipotle has started posting hours available in other locations but not in the ones where they work. Instead of offering open shifts to current employees, which would make their employment more stable, they’re hiring new workers.

One worker said that he couldn’t survive on the current hours he works each week.

“Every week, they are not giving access,” said Jeremy Pereyra, a griller at the Chipotle on 56th Street and 6th Avenue. “My girlfriend is pregnant and she’s going to be going on maternity leave and I just can’t survive on these hours.”

The provisions in the Fair Workweek Law are designed to stabilize the schedules of fast food employees and create a path to working full-time hours. Recently, Chipotle workers signed a petition stating that Chipotle has continued to violate the law.

“This new ruse by Chipotle is a clear violation of the Fair Workweek Law,” stated 32BJ President Kyle Bragg. “The law requires that fast food employers systematically offer existing employees open shifts before hiring new staff. But that’s not what workers are telling us is happening. Workers at the 56th and 6th store say their supervisors still hire new staff but tell current workers to apply to other Chipotle stores to fill open hours there. That is not how the law is supposed to work.”

Last month, the New York City Department of Consumer and Worker Protection announced that it would file a lawsuit seeking more than $1 million in remedies from Chipotle for Fair Workweek Law violations at four Brooklyn locations where workers accuse the company of violating the access-to-hours portion of the law.

“It is disappointing that numerous Chipotle locations are ignoring the City’s Fair Workweek Law and continuing to take advantage of their workers,” said DCWP Commissioner Lorelei Salas in a statement. “This case exemplifies the abusive practices that this law is intended to end, and Chipotle must come into compliance. I encourage all fast food workers to come forward if their right to a predictable schedule or new shift is being violated.”

DWCP is investigating Fair Workweek Law violations at more than 20 Chipotle stores, including the original four Brooklyn locations in the initial complaint. Chipotle workers hope the city holds the corporation accountable.

“It is not only a violation of the Fair Workweek law to ask workers to pick up shifts at stores other than the ones where they work, but it is clearly meant to frustrate them,” stated New York City Council Member Keith Powers. “Chipotle should know better. The law is straightforward and this employer should obey the law.

“They shouldn’t be asked to go across town to go work at a different store,” Powers continued. “This is where they work. They should get the hours here.”

The AmNews sent requests to Chipotle officials for comment, but they weren’t met by press time. But Laurie Schalow, Chipotle’s chief reputation officer, told AM New York that the company wants workers to come to them with any issues they want to address.

“Chipotle has been working cooperatively with the city to ensure we have systems and processes in place to comply with the law, so we believe the filing of charges was unnecessary,” Schalow said in a statement last month. “Regardless, we will continue to cooperate with the city and we are addressing any prior noncompliance concerns.”