Penn State Chipotle Closes After Employees Quit Due To ‘Heinous’ Working Conditions

People over profits or the other way around?

Update — 6:09 p.m. ET:

The Chipotle has been reopened, according to the student-run blog

A popular Chipotle restaurant near Pennsylvania State University is closed after employees walk out due to heinous working conditions. Four managers and almost all of the crew have resigned leaving the following note behind which explains the reason of their protest:

"Want to know why we're closed? Ask our corporate offices why their employees are forced to work in borderline sweatshop conditions. Almost the entire management and crew have resigned. People > Profits."


According to the restaurant's former manager, Brian Healy, it was extremely understaffed and neglected by the corporate offices. "On days when they needed 13-14 workers in the store, they usually had about six to eight," Healy told independent student-run newspaper Onward State. This often resulted in working exhausting 10-12 hour shifts without any breaks, even to eat.

However, the management argues that only a minority of the staff has resigned and they are ready to re-open the restaurant:

"Our Penn State restaurant was closed when a few employees quit, locking out a majority of others who are enthusiastic to return to work. ", Chris Arnold, a spokesman for Chipotle Mexican Grill, Inc. told The Collegian.

The note, that has since been removed, sparked a lot of controversy on social media over the unfair working conditions in the U.S. fast-food chains. Using the #ChipotleSwag hashtag, people argue whether Chipotle can be accused of sweatshop-like conditions and the discuss the general issue of underpaying employers. The latter statement, however, has been disputed by Chipotle's Co-Chief Executive Officer Steve Ells, who claims that the starting wage at the restaurant is $8.50 to $9.50 per hour, compared to the national minimum wage of $7.25.

(Cover image: Mike Mozart distributed under Creative Commons Attribution 2.0 Generic)

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