Chipotle workers flooded the Midtown area of New York yesterday. picket signs in hand. Per Gothamist, workers rallied for higher wages and better planning, culminating in a four-day strike against their employer’s alleged questionable treatment of workers. Workers next step? Unionization, says International Union of Service Workers (SIOUX).
Although Chipotle workers have not yet petitioned to formally organize the election, spokesman 32BJ SEIU has high hopes that a formal unionization effort is close at hand. This is as a number of Starbucks locations are formally merging with SEIU and other fast food merger efforts are underway. reaching the boiling point. The energy is taking over, but fast food unions still have a long way to go as they fight for better working conditions. Here’s how you can help.
Learn about the benefits of unions
Unions are a hot political issue and there is a lot of misinformation about it (most from disgruntled employers). If you are excited about unionization efforts but don’t know how to support them, start with exploring the benefits of alliances. Trust me, the energetic co-chair of the union in my workplace: unions are the primary source of protection and dignity for working Americans. They are provide workers with a collective voice that allows them to advocate for greater job security, higher pay and safer working conditions. Once you recognize these benefits, you will be able to move forward with confidence by expressing your solidarity with organization of workers.
Eat or drink
When you hear about the bad behavior of a fast food employer, your first impulse may be to boycott their chains, but getting involved in organizing workers in those chains can go a long way in boosting morale. Earlier this week, employees at two Starbucks locations in Chicago’s Edgewater neighborhood officially voted to join SEIU. Before the vote, supporters of the local union met in one of the places for “a sip” to express their enthusiasm for the effort. Group actions like this one are a great way to support employee unionization by letting workers know they have a community behind them. It also doesn’t hurt to toss some cabbage into the tip jar.
Show up for demos
If you feel comfortable gathering in groups, consider setting aside time for a pro-union demonstration, such as yesterday’s Chipotle rally. “Right now we have a lot of activity in New York, especially due to scheduling issues and lack of work hours, although this work is open to Chipotle workers worldwide,” said SEIU spokesman Rush Perez. Perez explains that in 2021 New York City sued Chipotle, seeking $150 million in damages for 600,000 alleged violations of the city’s fair work week law. “Despite a major administrative complaint from the city, many workers continue to report violations, including illegal reductions in their schedules and failure to provide open shifts to current employees until new ones are hired,” says Perez.
With all that in mind, public displays need all the bodies they can get. Even if you are not affiliated with unionization efforts, join the picket line this is a great way to show your support. You can also support field workers by bringing snacks or refreshments.
Show some love online
Meetings and pickets are great, but you can also remotely support unionization efforts. First, many unions use digital petitions to garner public support. You don’t have to be a fast food worker or a union member to sign them; it’s just a way for the union to show their employer that the community supports union activity. (Chipotle employees are currently have a petition on the SEI website.)
Organizational groups also tend to be active on social media. Give accounts Follow and amplify their messages on your platforms. Not only will this help get more petition signatures; it can also evoke a sense of digital solidarity when things go wrong. Maybe you have a friend on Facebook who is interested in organizing his workplace. Perhaps some of your Instagram followers want more union information but are too shy to ask. The more you support union activity, the more you can help normalize the idea of worker solidarity in your community.