The National Labor Relations Board Monday approved a settlement that nullifies the results of the Oct. 22 union election at Jimmy John’s sandwich shops in the Twin Cities, which the Industrial Workers of the World narrowly lost. The union has asked Jimmy John’s management to negotiate over pay and working conditions. In the settlement, management admits no wrongdoing, but agrees to post a notice that it will not violate workers’ rights and hold a meeting to read it to employees. In addition, Jimmy John’s issued a check to an employee who had been denied merit pay because of his union activity.
While the union did not win recognition, the settlement validated worker claims that management intimidated and retaliated against workers, resulting in an 87-85 vote against union representation, the Jimmy John’s Workers Union, an affiliate of the Industrial Workers of the World, said in a statement.
The settlement “(puts) victory back on the table for the nation’s first-ever union in franchised fast food,” the workers said.
“There can now be no doubt that our rights were severely violated, but we’re willing to put the past behind us. We are calling on Mike and Rob Mulligan to make a fresh start and work with us, rather than against us, to improve the lives of Jimmy John’s workers and their families by negotiating over our 10 Point Program for modest but urgently needed changes,” said Micah Buckley-Farlee, a delivery driver at Jimmy John’s and active member of the union campaign.
Core demands in the 10 Point Program include paid sick days, improved job security, guaranteed work hours, a reasonable pay increase and regular raises, improved harassment policies and the establishment of a system of shop committees giving workers a democratic voice within the company.
Union member Ayo Collins said, “Mike and Rob Mulligan can either continue their losing battle against their employees, or they can work with us and distinguish themselves as leaders in bringing much-needed change to the nation’s fast food industry. For our part, we’re hoping for the best and preparing for the worst. We are more confident than ever that in the end, we will win, setting an example for 3.5 million fast food workers to follow.”
If management declines to negotiate, the union is free to launch another organizing drive and file for another election in 60 days.