NEW YORK, NY – Today, Brenda Garcia went back to work at Chipotle (136-61 Roosevelt Ave, Queens, NY 11354). This came four days after 32BJ SEIU filed Unfair Labor Practice charges under the National Labor Relations Act accusing Chipotle of retaliation against her for her union activity, and of creating an impression of surveillance of union activity. The charge concerning Ms. Garcia’s termination will be withdrawn by 32BJ SEIU.
A union advocate, Ms. Garcia had been fired in mid-April after calling out sick, weeks after she was featured in a New York Times story where she talked about Chipotle’s scheduling practices that were leaving her without enough hours to survive and support her son.
Chipotle offered her shifts following the filing of last week’s National Labor Relations Act complaints.
Today, she went back to work. Ahead of her Monday shift, Ms. Garcia was joined by New York City Councilmember Sandra Ung, current and former Chipotle workers and 32BJ members who called on Chipotle to honor employees’ rights and New York City’s Fair Workweek law, which the City in a 2021 lawsuit alleged that Chipotle violated almost 600,000 times in two years.
32BJ President Kyle Bragg said: “Brenda’s bravery shows that when workers unite with their union, they can win. Because Brenda won her job back we are withdrawing the charge related to her termination – we are glad in this case that Chipotle made this decision to bring Brenda back. The charge alleging anti-union intimidation, threats and creating an impression of surveillance remains. This is why workers need a union at Chipotle. Brenda stood up to highlight Chipotle’s mistreatment of workers. Turnover at Chipotle is at a record high and workers continue to report violations of New York City’s Fair Workweek law, which is meant to bring stability to their jobs. A voice on the job, where workers are able to sustain their families with a sense of stability is needed.”
Chipotle worker Brenda Garcia said: “This shows that when we speak up we can make a difference. I’m ready to keep speaking up about how this company operates. Chipotle must respect workers, give us the opportunity to grow and respect our right to organize a union. When I was last at Chipotle I did not get the shifts I needed to survive. And they didn’t offer me the training I deserved to grow. So I spoke up. I’m ready to get my job back and to keep fighting for the shifts and a schedule that I need to survive and to support my son. I want changes.”
New York City Council Member Sandra Ung said: Too many businesses in the service industry get away with harassing workers and flouting the Fair Workweek Law because employees are either afraid to speak up or simply get frustrated and quit. Brenda Garcia is one of the brave ones who decided to speak up and she was fired after making her voice heard in the New York Times. I want to thank 32BJ for filing a complaint with the National Labor Relations Board on behalf of Brenda Garcia and helping her get her job back.”
With more than 175,000 members in 12 states, 32BJ SEIU is the largest property service workers’ union in the country.