Sunday, September 26, 2010

Even though new and not yet duly registered the Jimmy Johns Workers Union in Minneapolis has already demonstrated the value of a good union to the general public. Here's from the Jimmy Johns Workers website the story of one worker who thinks public health is more important than corporate profits.

Jimmy Johns Employee on the Chopping Block for Refusing to Serve Rotten Meat
Sandwich Workers and Customers Unite in Support of Working Class Hero

Press Conference and Delegation: 1pm Sunday September 26, Calhoun Square Jimmy Johns, 3001 Hennepin Ave. S.

MINNEAPOLIS– When Shift Supervisor Margaret Brickely began her morning prep work at Jimmy John's last Monday, she noticed that all of the meat and produce she pulled out of the cooler was warm and beginning to rot. The coolers had broken, leaving the meat at room temperature overnight. Margaret refused to serve the meat. Now, Jimmy John's is threatening her job in retaliation.

“The vegetables were shriveled, the meat hot, and the bread dough semi-cooked. This is not something I was willing to serve” says Margaret. “I called my District Manager Jason Effertz to inform him that the meat was rotten, and he ordered me to slice it and serve it. When I refused, Effertz came in and sliced the meat himself, preparing to sell it to customers.”

With the support of the newly-organized Jimmy Johns Workers Union, Margaret and her coworkers called the City of Minneapolis Health Department. A City Health Inspector came to the store, condemned the meat as unfit for human consumption, and forced management to throw it all away.

Had Margaret not taken a stand for proper sanitation, hundreds of customers would have been served rotten meat.

Jimmy Johns workers and customers from across the city are organizing a public delegation to the store on Sunday at 1pm to thank Margaret for her courage and demand an end to Jimmy John's rotten business practices of retaliating against employees who put sanitation and safety first.

“Margaret is a working class hero. She did the right thing by refusing to sell spoiled meat and we’re backing her up. No one should have to worry about getting fired for preventing customers from being served rotten food. We formed a union to protect ourselves in exactly these kinds of situations,” says Jaimee Bolte an employee at the Ninth Street Jimmy John's Location.

Jimmy John’s Workers at the Minneapolis franchise recently filed for a National Labor Relations board union election, the first at the growing sandwich chain and a rare move in an industry with a union density of 1.8%. The demands of the union include paid sick days, minimum shift lengths and fair scheduling, job security, tip jars, fair raises and wages, an end to sexual harassment and a voice on the job.

The Jimmy Johns Workers Union, open to employees at the company nationwide, is affiliated with the Industrial Workers of the World labor union. Gaining prominence in recent years for organizing Starbucks workers, the IWW is a global union founded over a century ago for all working people.

This all reminds of one incident when I was young and had a part time job delivering pizza. One evening I was waiting in the restaurant for the next order to go out, and I espied a plate of spagetti sitting up on the shelf. The thing was that the pile looked grey, and you naturally assume that it's a plate put aside and forgotten. Curiousity is this cat's second name so naturally I poked at it. "Oh, it's warm", I say as I pull back. From a little bit behind me I hear the word "good", and the waitress comes and takes the plate out to a customer. Myself I just sit there being stunned at this. Needless to say the plate came back uneaten and with a complaint. Believe me it happens more often than you might think, and having a union means that it happens far less.

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