The powerful union contends that risks are embedded in Chipotle’s supply chain, and is delivering that message via press statements and protests outside units. Teamsters representatives picketed two California stores, one in Sacramento, and the other in Manteca.
“We have a message for Chipotle and that is if it’s really serious about cleaning up its image, it needs to take a hard look at where it gets its tomatoes,” a protester in Manteca, Amy Glass, was quoted in a Teamsters statement as telling fellow demonstrators.
The Teamsters said Chipotle restaurants in the area were supplied by Taylor Farms, a processor the union is attempting to unionize. Protestors identified by the Teamsters as workers from a Taylor plant reportedly yelled out to Chipotle’s customers, “Are you eating dirty tomatoes?” The Teamsters contended in press materials that the workers had seen mold and bird feces near production areas.
Chipotle has yet to respond publicly to the demonstrations or the contentions of the Teamsters.
The protests follow the adoption of new protocols by Chipotle to prevent a reoccurrence of the food safety contaminations that sickened customers in California, Oregon, Washington, Minnesota, Massachusetts and several other states.
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