Chipotle Mexican Grill 'Sweatshop Conditions' Forces Walkout

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Everyone’s favorite sustainably focused fast food restaurant, Chipotle Mexican Grill, is in the news over labor conditions employees in a Pennsylvania location are calling “borderline sweatshop conditions.”

The Chipotle Mexican Grill location near Pennsylvania State University was closed after a group of workers including most of the management team walked out and quit on Wednesday, posting a sign at the front of the restaurant location urging customers to ask Chipotle’s corporate offices why the company forces its employees to work in such conditions.

A spokesperson for Chipotle Mexican Grill said “Our Penn State restaurant was closed when a few employees quit, locking out a majority of others who are enthusiastic to return to work,” in an email to Bloomberg Businessweek.

According to the Huffington Post, a former manager at the Chipotle location told student-run news site Onward State that the restaurant was consistently understaffed and as a result forced employees to work 10-12 hours straight without breaks. "Working conditions are heinous," he said. "I'm not trying to take down the Chipotle corporation, I just want to see people treated better."

A Chipotle executive recently targeted its competing fast food chains Burger King and McDonald’s calling them irrelevant and citing the chain’s forward-thinking approach to sourcing ingredients as the future of fast food. The chain also recently targeted big ag in a mini-series that aired on Hulu. But it also recently came under fire for sourcing grass-fed beef from Australia. The company said it was because its demand was exceeding the supply available in the U.S.

“The walkout comes just a week after fast-food workers across the country protested for higher wages,” reports the Huffington Post. “Hundreds were arrested. Chipotle pays workers higher wages than many of its corporate competitors, and it remains unclear whether the mass resignation at the Penn State location was related to the strikes.”

Find Jill on Twitter @jillettinger

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Image: The Daily Collegian

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