In a highly unusual union election, the Wobblies lost the war for Jimmy John’s by the narrowest of margins.
Workers at 10 Twin Cities Jimmy John’s sandwich shops Friday voted 87-85 against being represented by the Industrial Workers of the World (IWW), a union long known as the “Wobblies.” Two workers’ votes were contested and not counted, but even if they were deemed to be for the union, by law, ties go to the company, two union members said.
Usually the bourgeios run Unions don’t think very much of fast food employees. The seem to think that fast food workers are are lower strata, the lower class of workers in the West. People deemed unworthy of their attention, their need to organize is petty and of no importance.
The IWW feels differently, they don’t see fast food workers as being lowly peasants who are not worth the same digninity and respect other workers get.
Supporters of the union’s effort vowed to try to unionize fast-food workers in other cities if the union won in Minneapolis. The campaign focused on 10 Jimmy John’s shops in the Minneapolis area. The stores compete with Subway and Quiznos and are owned by Mike Mulligan, a retired senior vice president at Supervalu, a national grocery company.
What kind of people are the people who run Jimmy John’s? How do they behave? How do they treat their employees and their customers? How important is the profit motive over human well-being?
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.
Mr. Mulligan fought the organizing drive, hiring an antiunion consultant, the Labor Relations Institute, to meet with his employees and urge them to vote against joining the union. Mr. Mulligan said that the I.W.W., commonly known as the Wobblies, was a “socialist-anarchist organization” that “preaches the overthrow of capitalism.”
“We are extremely disappointed with the company’s conduct in this matter; rather then letting simply letting us vote, management chose to break the law repeatedly during the last six weeks. They spent over $84,500 on a vicious anti-union smear campaign, that’s over $1000 per vote. We do not recognize these election results as legitimate and will continue to fight for our demands,” said Erik Forman, a worker at Jimmy John’s and a union member.
If you would like to let the Labor Relations Institute know what kind of sons of bitches they are, please use the following contact information:
Phone: 918-455-9995 Fax: 918-455-9998