CHIPOLTE TO PAY $20 MILLION FOR VIOLATING WORKER RIGHTS
In a legal settlement that exposed some of the nefarious labor practices in the restaurant industry, Chipotle agreed to fork over $20 million in back compensation to 13,000 New York City workers for violating their legal rights. The company will also pay $1 million in civil penalties for violating the law.
The settlement was the culmination of a complaint brought four years ago by the Service Employees International Union against the fast food chain. It prompted an investigation that revealed that Chipotle violated city labor laws by requiring employees to work extra time without their consent, not allowing workers to use accrued time off work for sick leave or safety reasons like domestic violence, and not giving workers their work schedules 14 days in advance.
Low pay and poor working conditions have been a standard practice of the restaurant industry for decades that has led to a gathering push in the past few years to organize unions at places like Chipotle and Starbucks.
STARBUCKS ABORTION PROMISES BRANDED AS PUBLIC RELATIONS TRICKS
Starbucks union activists have denounced recent promises by the company on abortion as a PR stunt aimed at combatting the drive for unionization at its stores. The promises involved Starbucks recent announcements of new employee health care benefits including travel reimbursements for abortion services. The hypocrisy in the policy is exposed by the fact that the company’s announcement specifically excluded employees at unionized stores.
Starbucks Workers United, the union representing unionized workers at the chain has filed a complaint with the National Labor Relations Board alleging that the tactic threatens “employees with loss of benefits” for union organizing. After the tactic drew public attention, the company reportedly changed its policy and said its policy would cover all its workers but the union pointed out that absent a union contract, the policy could be changed at any time at the company’s whim.
MAXIMUS WORKERS STRIKE
“You deserve a fair share. And you deserve to have your jobs be good union jobs. A multibillion dollar corporation like Maximus has the resources to treat you better. And we’re going åto make sure that they do. Hold firm. I know you’re spread out across communities all across the country but you are not alone. You have each other and you have all of us at the AFL-CIO standing with you.”
AFL-CIO President Liz Shuler
Shuler spoke at a virtual town hall meeting in support of Maximus workers on strike at facilities in Kentucky Mississippi, Louisiana, and Virginia. Maximus is a federal contractor answering Medicare and Affordable Care Act marketplace lines. Their workers are protesting bad working conditions and are organizing to form a union affiliated with the Communication Workers of America.
COSTCO TEAMSTERS PLANNING NATION-WIDE JOB ACTIONS
Moe than 17,000 employees at Costco stores around the country are members of the International Brotherhood of Teamsters. After rejecting a “last, best and final” contract offer from the compan by a 93-to-7 percent membership vote, the union says it is close to a nation-wide work stoppage if recently resumed contract negotiations lead nowhere.
COLUMBUS TEACHERS ISSUE STRIKE NOTICE
“Final offers” from employers are flying fast and furious these days. One of the latest comes from the school district in Columbus, Ohio this week. The teachers, represented by the Columbus Education Association, said “nothing doing” to the “final offer” as its delegate assembly voted unanimously to issue the 10 day notice required by law of its intention to strike. A union spokesperson said that 2,500 of its 4,500 members had attended the meeting where the vote was held.
STARBUCKS UNION DRIVE ROLLS ON
It has been less than a year that a Starbucks store in Buffalo, NY voted for a union. Since then, despite company hostility and union busting tactics, the drive for collective bargaining has spread nearly as fast as the Covid. As of late July, the number of Starbucks stores voting to be represented by Starbucks Workers United is approaching 200 and it appears to be only the beginning. Although still only a small fraction of the 9,000 facilities operated by the coffee giant, the union drive is gaining the momentum of a snowball rolling downhill. We think you’ll be hearing a lot more about it in the coming years.
HADLEY, MASS. STORE BECOMES FIRST TRADER JOE’S TO UNIONIZE
Taking their cue from workers at Starbucks, Amazon, and Apple, workers at the Trader Joe’s store in Hadley, Mass. voted 45 to 31 to unionize, becoming the first in the chain to do so. Their union is called Trader Joe’s United. Another Trader Joe’s store in Minneapolis is scheduled for a union vote in September and workers at a store in Colorado have filed a petition for an election with the
UNION CHARGES CHIPOTLE CLOSED STORE IN RESPONSE TO ITS FILING FOR ELECTION
Shortly after workers at the Chipotle store in Augusta, Maine, filed for a union election, the store company closed the store down, an action, the union says, is retaliation for them seeking to organize. The move came just hours before the NLRB had scheduled a hearing on the union petition. It is against the labor laws for a company to retaliate in this way and the union has filed a charge against Chipotle. The company claims that its action was not in retaliation for employee union activity but simply a result of its inability to adequately staff the store, but the timing of the move casts strong doubt on its claim.
UAW LOCAL LISTS WINS AT CULTURAL INSTITUTIONS