|Picket line outside Jimmy Johns sandwich restaurant in Minneapolis. Union narrowly lost election to organize sandwich workers, meat cutters, and delivery workers at 10 shops in Minneapolis area by a two-vote margin.|
The unionization drive at Jimmy Johns is one of the few national attempts to organize fast-food workers. It received broad solidarity among working people in the Twin Cities.
The objection filed with the NLRB outlines a pattern of labor rights violations, from firing of pro-union workers and bribe offers to threats of closing shops if workers voted for the union.
The Jimmy Johns Workers Union is affiliated with the Industrial Workers of the World. Leading up to the vote, some 60 percent of Jimmy Johns workers signed cards asking for a union vote.
The union campaign centered on organizing sandwich workers, meat cutters, and delivery workers at 10 Jimmy Johns sandwich shops in Minneapolis and St. Louis Park. The shops advertise mottos like The Customer Is Usually Right and Subs So Fast Youll Freak, while their Web site says, Jimmy Johns offers awesome opportunities for growth and adventure.
Union workers counter with their own motto: Wages So Low Youll Freak. This popular slogan is worn on T-shirts by many supporters of the unions fight.
David Boehnke, a sandwich maker at Jimmy Johns for almost two years, told the Militant the main issues that motivated workers to seek out the union included low wages, working erratic hours, sent home after short shifts, no paid sick days, and no medical benefits. The workers are paid the minimum wage of $7.25 or slightly above.
In response to the unions organizing effort, franchise owner Mike Mulligan, hired an antilabor outfitLabor Relations Services, Inc.spending, more than $84,500 on an antiunion campaign, according to the Department of Labor.
Mulligan has led a red-baiting attack on the union, which he says is a socialist-anarchist organization that proudly preaches the overthrow of capitalism.
Boehnke said the union organizing drive appeared on peoples radar screens and captured the imagination of lots of people. They identified with our unions demands. In reaching out for support, members of the Jimmy Johns Workers Union spoke at union meetings and received endorsement and financial help from several unions in the Twin Cities area. They included the Minneapolis Regional Labor Federation, AFL-CIO; Local 1189 (formerly 789) of the United Food and Commercial Workers; Service Employees International Union Local 26; American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees Local 3800; and United Auto Workers Local 879.
Organizers of the union say they will continue to press their fight to build the union.
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