Chipotle restaurant in Maine files petition for union election

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A customer carries a Chipotle bag in front of a restaurant in Santa Clara, California, U.S., on Tuesday, Oct. 19, 2021.

David Paul Morris | Bloomberg | Getty Images

A Chipotle Mexican Grill location in Augusta, Maine, filed a petition for a union election on Wednesday, becoming the first of the burrito chain’s restaurants to join the recent organizing push sweeping across the nation.

The Maine AFL-CIO said that workers at the restaurant are “demanding safe, adequate staffing at their store.” The employees are seeking to unionize as Chipotle United, an independent union, according to the organization.

Workers at airlines, retailers and tech companies have been organizing, fueled by a desire for better working conditions during the pandemic and the newfound power gained in a tight labor market. Even the restaurant industry, where unions are rare, hasn’t been immune to the union push. Baristas at more than 150 Starbucks cafes have voted to unionize in the last nine months.

Chipotle employees have tried to unionize previously, but the chain successfully quashed those efforts. In 2019, the National Labor Relations Board accused the company of violating federal labor law by allegedly firing a worker in New York who was trying to organize a union.

A representative for Chipotle did not immediately respond to a request for comment from CNBC.

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