Chipotle: As Profit Soars, So Does Its Demand for Guest Workers

Published on December 24th, 2011

We all remember this spring’s Chipotle Mexican Grill scandal. An Immigration Customs and Enforcement audit found that the fast food chain employed thousands of illegal aliens at its Minnesota, Virginia and Washington D.C. locations. As a result, the company now uses E-Verify and has hired legal workers to replace the aliens.

In the meantime, Chipotle’s CEO Monty Moran has become an advocate for amnesty and liberalized guest worker programs. Wall Street Journal reporter Miriam Jordan, forever supportive of “comprehensive immigration reform,” wrote a story about Moran that is jaw-dropping in its flagrant disregard for American workers. [A CEO’s Demand: Fix Immigration, by Miriam Jordan, Wall Street Journal, December 19, 2011]

Jordan completely missed the most interesting question: “Why doesn’t Chipotle hire from among the 39.6 percent of U.S-born Hispanics (age 18-29) with less than a high school education who want a full-time job but can't find one?” That would seem to be the logical age-range/educational level of workers looking for jobs in the fast food industry.

Throughout her story, Jordan unconvincingly quoted Moran’s whining about not be able to find workers even though the jobs’ market is deeply depressed. Moran’s moaning doesn’t pass the always reliable smell test. I doubt if Jordan pressed him on his indefensible positions.

If, as Moran told Jordan, an entry level Chipotle job can eventually lead to a $100,000 career, then applicants would be tripping over themselves to get in line.

Moran, in support of a more liberal guest worker program wherein no one would ever go home, also told Jordan that: "We want people to develop long-term careers with us."

Could Moran possibly have said this with a straight face? In an economy with sustained 9 percent unemployment and with 22 million Americans unemployed or underemployed and with the most devastated of those black or Hispanic, Moran wants to import foreign-born workers to “develop long-term careers” that might one day pay $100,000. That’s outrageous on its face and an open invitation for Jordan to grill him. Instead, Jordan includes Moran’s statement as a matter of fact and allowed it go unchallenged.

Jordan graduated from the Columbia School of Journalism. Apparently, she missed the classes wherein she was instructed that a responsible reporter should ask her subjects tough questions. Although I never attended Columbia, I did read Melvin Mencher’s News Reporting and Writing, the basic freshman journalism text the university uses. Mencher clearly stated that a reporter should never act as “a stenographer,”—Jordan’s exact function vis-à-vis Moran.

Whatever else Chipotle’s corporate woes may be, real or perceived, earnings are not one of them. The company, using E-Verified legal workers, is thriving.

From Jordan’s story: “Sales at stores open at least a year rose 11% in the third quarter, fueling a 25% jump in profit. Chipolte shares have gained 50% this year.”

Moran’s amnesty advocacy is a shining example of how when it comes to profits for United States’ corporations, profit-wise, nothing is ever enough. With its legal work force now in place, Chipotle is thriving—opening new stores, increasing sales, recording higher profits and enjoying higher stock values.

Cheaper labor, Moran’s desire, might be worth a couple of more pennies on the bottom line even though it would hurt American workers. Moran’s greedy position and the Wall Street Journal’s tacit endorsement of it are revealing—and sad—comments on the craven business community.

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