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Upper Manhattan Chipotle restaurant battles rat infestation, workers bitten

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Workers at an Upper Manhattan Chipotle restaurant have complained of a rat infestation that has seen them develop additional skills from their core skills-how to kill the vermin.

The problem became so bad that the Mexican restaurant on Broadway near west 169th Street in Washington Heights was forced to indefinitely close down to customers late last month.

"I worked for Chipotle at that store for six months. During that six months, there has been a rat infestation problem at the store. Several employees were bitten including myself and two of my co-workers including one bitten today. They simply sent us to clean the store when somebody else could do it, like an exterminator that Chipotle could pay. You come to work but you're afraid that when you open certain kinds of foods in the store, or if you have to move boxes, you have to wait and see if something will jump out at you or not from one of the boxes," said one of the Chipotle workers Luis Gustavo Paulino Ruiz. 

Service Employees International Union local 32 BJ expressed concern at the development, tweeting out a message saying, "@Chipotle your workers have many skills, but killing rats by stomping on them and hitting them with sticks shouldn't be one of them. These #ChipotleRats have got to go!"

Chipotle in a statement acknowledged the rat infestation problem at their outlet saying the health and safety of their employees was their top priority.

“The health and safety of our employees and guests is our top priority,” said Laurie Schalow, Chipotle’s Corporate Affairs and Food Safety Officer.

“The Columbia Presbyterian restaurant located at 4009 Broadway in New York has been mainly closed since November 23rd due to a pest problem affecting the immediate area,” Schalow said. “During this time, we have arranged an emergency pest service and deep cleaning and are working with the landlord directly to ensure location improvements are met before reopening.”  

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