A Chipotle Mexican Grill restaurant in Pennsylvania was not open today as the store’s staff and management all up and quit over the low wages and working conditions, which were described as “sweatshop conditions.” Patrons to the restaurant were greeted at the door by this hastily typed letter explaining why the shop was closed.
The shop, which serves Penn State University, was reopened later in the day, according to State College, a website that serves Penn State Students and staff, and Chipotle corporate in Denver, Colorado issued a statement in response to the action of its employees. In a statement, Chipotle spokesperson Chris Arnold downplayed the mass walkout in an email, as reported by Bloomberg.
Our Penn State restaurant was closed when a few employees quit, locking out a majority of others who are enthusiastic to return to work. We expect the restaurant to reopen shortly.
The walkout at Chipotle is another example of protest that the fast food service industry has been dealing with for the better part of a year as employees strive to earn a living wage. As reported previously here in the Inquisitr, labor unions are starting to take notice and are working with fast food workers to organize and to make their voices heard.
Fast food workers are protestin’ for $15/hr. Y’all build cheeseburgers for a livin’. Nut up & shut up. And I’ll take fries with that. Merica
— Cloyd Rivers (@CloydRivers) September 4, 2014
The debate has raged on what a fast food employee is worth. Many people on social media downplay this subject, throwing the fault on the employees for being uneducated and unskilled and not on the corporations who work hard at making billions off the sweat and blood of the service workers. The minimum wage debate has picked up steam with more and more protests erupting across the nation. Recently, as reported by USA Today, hundreds of arrests were made when protesting employees refused to leave a restaurants private property. Food service strikes are occurring more and more frequently, but not once have they led to a full store closure like this morning at the Chipotle in Happy Valley, Pennsylvania. According to the article in Bloomberg, Chipotle’s co-CEOs made $49.5 million last year. The average Chipotle worker makes $8.50 an hour.
Unfortunately, fast food is a booming business in America, and someone has to make those Big Macs and Whoppers and Nachos Bell Grandes that are consumed by the billions each year. If the workers who make the food decide that the barest wage is no longer worth making the food and then people will take notice. Today, Chipotle was closed when its employees protested. And we all noticed. What happens when its a McDonalds, which serves billions annually?