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Workers Walk Out of State College Chipotle

by on September 10, 2014 11:53 AM

UPDATED AT 1:05 p.m.

The popular State College Chipotle restaurant is slated to re-open Wednesday afternoon after abruptly closing due to what former staff members described as poor working conditions.

The Chipotle restaurant located on Heister Street was closed for several hours Wednesday. A sign on the door said most of the staff and managers resigned due to "borderline sweatshop conditions." The sign was later removed.

Chipotle spokesperson Chris Arnold told StateCollege.com around 12:45 p.m. the restaurant will be re-opening shortly.

"Our Penn State restaurant was closed when a few employees quit, locking out a majority of others who are enthusiastic to return to work. We expect the restaurant to re-open shortly," Arnold said in an email.

According to an Onward State interview with former manager Brian Haley, the Chipotle was extremely understaffed and corporate offices did not provide needed assistance. Onward State reports that at times the restaurant had only six to eight employees when 13 to 14 were needed forcing employees to work 10 to 12 hour shifts without meal breaks.

Healy told Onward State several employees recently quit and when he went to open the business Wednesday morning another employee resigned. At that point, Healy reportedly decided to close the business, and he and another manager posted the sign on the window.

"We just felt neglected," Healy told Onward State. "...Working conditions are heinous. I'm not trying to take down the Chipotle corporation, I just want to see people treated better. We're not trying to start a strike or anything like that."

Arnold says the allegations do not align with Chipotle's philosophy.

"Those allegations are completely inconsistent with the cultures we look to build in our restaurants. Any time we hear of such issues in our restaurants, we review them thoroughly and take whatever corrective actions are warranted," says Arnold.

The move coincides with fast food worker strikes throughout the United States as employees argue they're paid unfair wages.

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Jennifer Miller is a reporter for StateCollege.com. She has worked in journalism since 2005. She's covered news at the local, state and national level with an emphasis on crime and local government.
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