Tuesday, September 21, 2010
Jimmy Johns Workers Organize, File for Union Election
From:Fight Back! News
Minneapolis, MN - On Sept. 14, workers at nine Minneapolis Jimmy John’s sandwich shop locations filed for a union election with the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB). They have organized as the IWW Jimmy John’s Workers Union and state they have the support of more than half the workers at the nine Jimmy John’s Minneapolis stores. If the majority of workers vote for the union in the NLRB election, then franchise owner Mike Mulligan will be legally bound to negotiate with them. Since publicly announcing the formation of their union on Sept. 2, Mulligan has refused to meet with the workers.
The Minneapolis Jimmy John’s franchise, owned and operated by Miklin Enterprises, Inc., pays the federal minimum wage of $7.25 per hour, offers no benefits and has no full-time positions outside of management. Jimmy John’s corporate website lists $264,270 as the average yearly net profit for operating a franchise. Union members estimate that Rob and Mike Mulligan, owners of Miklin, Inc. made an annual profit of at minimum $2.3 million in the last year alone. The Miklin franchise plans to open four new locations this year at an`estimated cost of over $1.2 million.
According to the union, the workers are seeking a pay increase to above minimum wage, consistent scheduling and minimum shift lengths, regularly scheduled breaks, sick days, no-nonsense workers compensation for job-related injuries, an end to sexual harassment at work and basic fairness on the job.
The fast food industry has the lowest rates of unionization and lowest wages in the United States. Only 1.8% of food service workers were represented by a union in 2009, far below the nation-wide figure of 12.3%, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics. These facts make the unionization attempt at Jimmy Johns in Minneapolis notable.