Last week, Chipotle workers and their allies took to Midtown Manhattan to let the public in on what their employer has done.

They rallied in favor of better working conditions, calling for a raise to $20 per hour and stabilizing schedules for those who have other needs to tend to.

Those in attendance included former (and current) Chipotle workers, 32BJ SEIU members and leaders, New York State Sen. Jessica Ramos, New York State Assembly Member Latoya Joyner and New York City Council Member Julie Menin.

32BJ President Kyle Bragg said that the fighting and the rallying will continue until the company improves its workers’ conditions and salaries.

“Today, we sent a clear message to Chipotle; it’s time to deliver the wages and fair schedules your employees need and deserve,” stated Bragg. “We have no intention of wavering on these basic demands for the working New Yorkers who keep this fast-food giant afloat in the nation’s largest city. Now, it’s incumbent upon Chipotle to embrace the New York tradition of workers’ rights or face a fight that even a multi-billion dollar corporation should not take lightly.”

Earlier this Spring, 11 workers filed complaints with the New York City Department of Consumer and Worker Protection agency. They claimed that managers had pressured them to work sick and would look to retaliate or fire them outright if they asked for sick days.

Current Chipotle worker Maria Romero, a single mother and CUNY student, said that the lack of fixture in her schedule leaves her life in limbo because she has to contend with her child, classes and Chipotle.

“I tell Chipotle the shifts I can work but still get scheduled for shifts that don’t work for my schedule,” stated Romero. “Where are my fair schedules? I need higher wages to support my family and 5-year-old son. Chipotle CEO Brian Niccol made $17.9 million last year. I think he can afford to pay us $20 an hour.”

Chipotle Worker Ed Dealecio said that all workers deserve respect regardless of where they’re employed.

“Pay for people like me is not keeping up with rising costs,” stated Dealecio. “We can turn these into secure jobs with dignity and good wages.”

In 2021, Albany legislators passed The New York State Health and Essential Rights Act (or NY HERO ACT). The bill calls for “extensive” new health and safety conditions in response to the coronavirus. The new law is the result of a collaboration between the State Department of Labor and the State Department of Health.

Two elected officials on the scene put their two cents in on the Chipotle situation,

“Chipotle is using every dirty trick in the book to avoid paying their workers a dignified wage,” stated Sen. Jessica Ramos, chair of the Senate Labor Committee. “I’ll be clear—the NY HERO Act, Just Cause, and Fair Workweek Laws are not gentle suggestions. Both inflation and corporate profits are spiking without worker pay rising to match, and we in New York cannot allow that to continue.”

“Working New Yorkers need and deserve healthy and respectful working conditions on the job, but Chipotle has plainly fallen short of maintaining that standard and ensuring that the rights of their workers are respected on the job,” said Assemblywoman Latoya Joyner (D-Bronx, 77th AD), chair of the Assembly Labor Committee. “With 600,000 alleged violations of the City’s Fair Workweek and
Just Cause laws and additional alleged violations still occurring, it is time for Chipotle to clean up their act.”

Chipotle has yet to respond to the AmNews’ request for comment.

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