AUGUSTA, Maine — EDITOR'S NOTE: The video above aired July 19, 2022.
Maine AFL-CIO announced Monday in a news release that Chipotle Mexican Grill is reportedly blacklisting its former Augusta location employees by refusing to allow them to be hired at other Chipotle locations in Maine.
According to the release, workers from the Augusta Chipotle store discovered the blacklisting through applying to other job openings at different Maine Chipotle locations. When attempting to apply, workers discovered they were locked out from using the email addresses the company already had on file.
The release explains the following scenario that Brandi McNease, a former Chipotle employee at the Augusta location, encountered when attempting to apply to a different position at a different Maine Chipotle location:
"Brandi McNease, the lead organizer of the Augusta workers, then filled out the application using a different email address. This time, she was able to apply, and the Auburn store promptly scheduled her for an interview the following day, August 4. But, before McNease could go for the interview, that morning she received a call from the manager of the Auburn, Maine store.
"The manager told McNease that the regional manager, Jarolin Maldonado, had directed her not to interview McNease because the union leader supposedly had prior 'attendance problems.' The manager further told McNease that she didn’t mean to get her hopes up about coming back, but didn’t know that 'you were part of that group.'"
McNease denied the accusations about her attendance problems, according to the release.
“I never was counseled, let alone disciplined, for any attendance issues,” McNease said in the release. “In fact, on the day that Chipotle announced it was closing the Augusta, Maine restaurant, Jarolin Maldonado called me and specifically reassured me that I was eligible for rehire.”
The announcement comes after the Augusta Chipotle workers filed a petition with the National Labor Relations Board to unionize back in late June, making them the first Chipotle workers in the restaurant chain's history to attempt to form a union.
Following the employees' attempt to unionize, Chipotle rejected the petition and responded by closing its Augusta location permanently, laying off all its employees on July 19. The layoffs and store closure came just before the National Labor Relations Board Hearing was scheduled, the release says.
"Chipotle United promptly filed an unfair labor practice charge, which remains under investigation," the release states. "According to Jeffrey Neil Young of Solidarity Law, the attorney representing the union, the Board is considering whether to pursue injunctive relief."
Now, former Augusta Chipotle employees are filing another unfair labor practice to the National Labor Relations Board against Chipotle for discrimination against them for exercising their legal right to unionize, according to the release.
"The union’s latest unfair labor practice complaint alleges that Chipotle refused to consider McNease for rehire because of her activity on behalf of the Union," the release reports.