Economics/Class Relations

Chipotle Is a Criminal Enterprise Built on Exploitation

By Alex N. Press, Jacobin

Chipotle’s contempt for the lives of its workers is appalling, even by fast-food standards. But there’s finally some good news: New York City is suing the fast-casual chain for nearly half a billion dollars, for 600,000 separate violations of workers’ rights.

New York City says Chipotle owes workers $150 million in back pay for hundreds of thousands of violations of the city’s Fair Workweek Law, which was enacted in 2017 to make fast-food workers’ schedules more predictable and less subject to last-minute changes. Each violation of the law is subject to a $500 penalty, meaning that Chipotle is additionally on the hook for $300 million in civil penalties.

The complaint, filed by the Department of Consumer and Worker Protection at the Office of Administrative Trials and Hearings on April 28, covers the period from when the Fair Workweek Law went into effect in November 2017, to December 2019, when the city filed an initial suit over violations. The recent complaint says that while the fast-casual chain “made some efforts to come into compliance beginning in September 2019, it remains out of compliance in significant ways.”

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