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Family farmers call for tougher CAFO regulations in Farm Bill; The Midwest and Northeast brace for record high temperature in heatwave; Financial-justice advocates criticize crypto regulation bill; Ohio advocates: New rules strengthen protections for sexual-assault victims.

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The RNC kicks off its election integrity effort, Democrats sound a warning bell about conservatives' Project 2025, and Republicans suggest funding cuts to jurisdictions with legal cases against Trump.

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As summer nears, America's newest and largest international dark sky sanctuary beckons, rural job growth is up, but full recovery remains elusive, rural Americans living in prison towns support a transition, while birth control is more readily available in rural areas.

Chipotle Pays Augusta, Maine Union Organizers for Labor Violations

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Tuesday, March 28, 2023   

Mexican fast-food chain Chipotle will pay workers at its former location in Augusta, Maine as part of a settlement over labor law violations. The National Labor Relations Board found the chain of restaurants broke laws by closing the location in July just weeks after employees became the first Chipotle workers in the country to file for union recognition. The company also blacklisted union organizers from being hired at other Chipotle locations.

Brandi McNease, Chipotle United organizer, said the company got the message.

"The union busting will not be tolerated and there's no way around it," she said.

Chipotle will pay a total of $240,000 to employees who were on the payroll when it closed the store, and offer "preferential rehiring" to all Augusta employees at its other Maine locations for up to one year.

The Augusta workers formed their union to bargain for safer working conditions, better staffing and a voice in any negotiations regarding workplace policies, they said. Now stores throughout the Northeast will post notices stating that Chipotle broke the law, and that employees have the right to unionize without consequences.
It is "a win for food service workers everywhere," McNease said.

"We fought for this specifically because the movement isn't over and every employee in those stores should know that they have rights and that the Labor Board is on our side," she added.

Chipotle was not forced to reopen the Augusta location, so workers say the payouts will help those who have yet to secure employment elsewhere, as well as inspire other Chipotle workers to stand up for respectful working conditions.


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