Recently, after many low waged workers were expected and depended on during a pandemic and deemed essential workers, businesses have seen a trend of employees asking for more in terms of pay or benefits. This trend is often explained by “nobody wants to work anymore.” However, this is far from true. Many people want to work, and seek work, but are no longer accepting low pay. Some businesses have seen this manifest with their staff quitting altogether, yet still do not understand the movement and reasons behind it. A Chipotle in Bardstown Road, Kentucky saw this when they had to close the facility temporarily due to half their staff walking out.
A viral TikTok posted by @roc_united shows a Chipotle closed with a sign reading “Closed. Half our staff walked out including the manager and we are no longer able to remain open.” There was also a Facebook post regarding the situation by a local Kentucky reporter, with an update from the Chipotle Chief Corporate Affairs Office that says: “Our restaurant on Bardstown Road is now open, but did experience a temporary closure yesterday afternoon due to staffing needs. Chipotle’s engaged and hard-working employees are what makes us great, and we encourage our employees to contact us immediately, including through an anonymous 800 number, with any concerns so we can investigate and respond quickly to make things right.”
According to the original poster on TikTok, @roc_united, this is not the first time this has happened, and seems it will not be slowing down anytime soon unless workers are compensated for their hard work. The TikTok account covers other restaurants that have this same experience of workers walking out, and the mission in their bio states “We work to improve the lives of millions of workers in the restaurant industry.” The account, which has garnered over 60,000 thousand likes and continues, shows the recent rise in employees understanding their worth and fighting for wages that matches their work ethic and can support them, which is quite the opposite of the rumor “nobody wants to work anymore.”
In regards to Chipotle in Kentucky, the general manager spoke to a Louisville news site and gives context to the issues that forced Chipotle to close. The general manager, Raven Whallen, notes that the restaurant was up and running the next day, but also explains that “one employee who had put in her two weeks notice quit early, a manager quit and another employee left permanently because she was too scared to return after her car’s catalytic converter was stolen and her tires were slit.” Whallen also explains to the reporter that since February when she started, it has been “difficult” keeping staff and explains “A lot of people don’t want to work nights, and if they do they, they’re underage. So, it’s kind of hard because they all have to be off at a certain time. We have to follow the labor laws.”
I'm so tired of people saying "nobody wants to work". No, they just don't want to work for YOU.
— Morgan Kilday (@kilday_morgan) October 30, 2021
A woman who claimed to work at Chipotle throughout the pandemic reshared the post regarding the Bardstown Road Chipotle and explained how difficult it was to work throughout a pandemic. The worker, Sydney Plogsted, explains how “my team and I were cussed at, threatened, had food thrown at us, and called degrading and dehumanizing things over something as simple as a messed up an order.” She also goes on to say “not to mention corporate expecting the ones of us who remained to work anywhere between 50-70 hours a week to keep our restaurants open while sitting in their offices not helping us just so we can work ourselves to death as we made them more money.” This point of view by Plogsted shows the reality of why workers in the food industry will quit or demand more pay, though people deem it a “skilless” job, it can still be plenty difficult. As recently dubbed “the Great Resignation,” it is to be expected to see more cases of employees walking out until given better pay or less demanding hours.