Michigan’s Chipotle restaurant votes to unionize, a first for the chain

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A Chipotle Mexican Grill sign is seen in the Park Slope neighborhood of the Brooklyn borough of New York.

Michael M. Santiago | Getty Images

A Chipotle Mexican Grill restaurant in Lansing, Michigan, became the chain’s first location to vote to unionize.

Workers at the store voted 11 to three in favor of unionizing under the International Brotherhood of Teamsters, according to the tally on Thursday.

“We are disappointed that employees at our restaurant in Lansing, Michigan have chosen to have a third party speak on their behalf, as we continue to believe that working directly together is better for our employees,” the spokeswoman said. of Chipotle, Laurie Schalow, in a statement to CNBC. .

Teamsters Joint Council 43 did not immediately respond to a CNBC request for comment.

Chipotle has five business days to file objections to the election. If Chipotle chooses not to file any objections, the regional director of the National Labor Relations Board will certify the results and the company is required to enter into good faith negotiations with the union.

The location was the second Chipotle restaurant to file a petition with the NLRB to unionize.

In late June, a Chipotle restaurant in Augusta, Maine, became the chain’s first outlet to file a candidacy in a union election, seeking to organize under Chipotle United, which is not affiliated with any larger union. important. The company permanently closed the site after the petition was filed, citing staffing issues. Chipotle United filed a complaint with the NLRB, claiming the move was a retaliatory measure.

The victory for Chipotle organizers in Michigan follows more than 200 Starbucks coffee shops in the United States that have voted to unionize in the past 10 months. Despite recent far-reaching efforts, unions are rare in the restaurant industry. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, only 1.2% of food service workers were union members last year, well below the private sector unionization rate of 6.1%.

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