Contributed by RedNickD
Workers at nine Jimmy John’s sandwich restaurant locations across Minneapolis walked out of work recently. The work stoppage was to demand better wages, sick days, regular breaks, compensation for injuries, and better working conditions among other things. This action was the birth of the Jimmy John’s Workers Union.
“I have been working at Jimmy John’s for over two years and they still pay me minimum wage and schedule me one-hour shifts,” said Rikki Olsen, a union member. “I’m working my way through school and can barely make ends meet. I’d get another job, but things are just as bad across the service industry. Companies like Jimmy John’s are profitable and growing, they need to provide quality jobs for the community.”
The Minneapolis franchise, owned by Miklin Enterprises, Inc., pays minimum wage and offers no full time employment outside of management positions.
The owners of Miklin Enterprises, Inc. are said to have made $2.3 million in profit last year, and plan to open up new stores soon.
“If Mike and Rob Mulligan [the owners] have the money to open four new stores, then they have the money to pay us more than minimum wage,” said Jake Foucault, a driver for Jimmy John’s. “We hope Rob and Mike do the right thing and come to the negotiating table.”
The franchise owners have recently refused to meet with the union, provoking the workers to take action nationwide on Labor Day. Picketing and leafleting are planned for 32 of the 39 states where Jimmy John’s operates.
The Minneapolis union local has planned a weekend full of actions, including a free concert. They picketed on September 2nd, bringing business to a standstill with the support of 100 workers and allies.
“If Mike and Rob won’t just sit down and meet with us, we feel we have no other choice but to put pressure on them to listen. We are going to show Jimmy John’s corporate that if they don’t ensure that their franchise owners are respecting their employees, there will be consequences at the national level,” said Emily Przybylsky, a union member in Minneapolis.
The only response from the company has been a posting on Craigslist which says it is hiring at all locations. The pay is only 50 cents more than what the rest of the workers are getting.
The Jimmy John’s Workers Union was formed by, and is affiliated with, the Industrial Workers of the World (IWW). The IWW is a radical, anti-capitalist union centered around the concept of forming “one big union” of all workers. Formed in 1905, it has a rich history. IWW gained respect and attention in recent years after unionizing Starbucks employees.
The Maoist Rebel News stands in solidarity with the workers of Jimmy John’s. And we salute their victory.