The employees of one Chipotle restaurant in Lansing, Michigan, voted in favor of unionizing on Thursday. As a result, the location became the first Chipotle place to form a union, which joined the Teamsters Union, in the United States. Reportedly, 11 workers voted “Yes,” three voted “No,” while two ballots were considered contested.
“I am so excited we won. Being one of the first fast food restaurants to do this definitely proves a point to the entire country that we can do this,” employee Samantha Smith told the Washington Post. “This is a gigantic first step toward doing that and improving the lives of future generations.”
The workers of Lansing, Michigan, Chipotle decided to pursue unionization due to low wages and lack of working days. According to union representatives, some employees receive $13 per hour and are under-scheduled, making it hard for them to “afford basic necessities.” Also, the restaurant has been asking the workers to work multiple positions during the day, even those not included in their job descriptions.
While this Chipotle restaurant is the first to successfully unionize, it isn’t the first to attempt that. The location in Augusta, Maine, had been looking to unionize back in June but fell short as Chipotle closed the restaurant one month later. The workers called it a “union busting” tactic, while the chain claimed it made this move due to “staffing problems.”