Thursday, November 04, 2010

After recently narrowly (87 to 85) losing the Labour Board election to represent fast food workers at the Jimmy Johns outlets in the Twin Cities the Jimmy Johns Workers Union has filed a detailed unfair labour practices suit against management of the locations involved. One manager in particular engaged in a vicious anti-union campaign. The Union is also continuing to press for its demands in the workplaces despite having lost the election. Here's the story from the website of the Industrial Workers of the World (IWW).

Alleging Rampant Labor Rights Violations at Jimmy Johns, Workers Call on NLRB to Take Action on Manipulated Union Election
October 22, 2010 - Sandwich Workers to Continue to Press for Improved Working Conditions.

MINNEAPOLIS – The Jimmy John's Workers Union has filed a 12-page Objection to the October 22 NLRB election at 10 Minneapolis sandwich shops, outlining a pattern of pervasive and systemic labor rights violations that prevented the possibility of a free and fair vote. The union election, a first in fast food in the US, was as close as they come, with 85 votes in favor of the union, 87 against, and 2 challenged ballots.

"Franchise owner Mike Mulligan decided to go beyond the pale. His managers asked workers to wear anti-union pins, fired pro-union workers, threatened a mass firing, implemented an illegal wage freeze, tightened policies and retaliated against union members, offered bribes, and pressured workers to vote no. He broke the law repeatedly in order to win, and he just barely won. That's not right. We are calling on the NLRB to set aside the results of this election," said worker and union member Emily Przybylsky.

In response to his employee's union campaign, franchise owner Mike Mulligan hired a third-party anti-union consulting firm, Labor Relations Inc., to prevent employees from winning an NLRB Union election. According to documents obtained from the Department of Labor, Mulligan spent over $84,500 on an anti-union campaign intended to prevent workers from unionizing.

Tim Louris, of Minneapolis labor firm Miller O'Brien Cummins, is assisting the union pro-bono in navigating the tricky waters of labor law. Union spokespeople say the written objection to the election results will be available to the public within a few days.

While filing with the NLRB to have the election results nullified, the workers also plan to mount a campaign to win their demands without union recognition.

"85 yes votes, in spite of 6 weeks of vicious union-busting, is a mandate for change," said "There are a thousand ways we can put pressure on Jimmy John's to win our demands for fair wages, sick days, consistent hours, and respect. We're fired up, this fight is just beginning," said Ayo Collins, another worker and union member.

The Jimmy Johns Workers Union, open to employees at the company nationwide, is the first fast food union in the nation, and 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.

Related Links
Restaurant, Hotel, and Building Service Workers Industrial Union 640
Jimmy Johns Workers Union
Twin Cities IWW
IWW Starbucks Workers Union

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