Jimmy John workers Join I.W.W. Minneapolis

Jimmy Johns Workers Union (Industrial Workers of the World)
Contact: Rikki Olsen, 612-750-9924; Jake Foucault 612-508-4310

September 2, 2010

First in Nation, Jimmy Johns Sandwich Workers Join Union to Increase
Minimum Wage Pay

Fast Food Chain Rocked by Work Stoppages in Sign of Mounting Economic
Frustration among US Workers

Press Conference and Rally: 4pm September 2, Block E Jimmy Johns, Minneapolis

MINNEAPOLIS- Service was anything but ‘freaky fast’ at Jimmy Johns
today as workers walked off the kitchen floor in an unprecedented move
to demand improved wages and working conditions at nine Minneapolis
franchise locations. Announcing the formation of the IWW Jimmy Johns
Workers 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.

“I have been working at Jimmy Johns for over two years and they still
pay me minimum wage and schedule me one-hour shifts,” said Rikki
Olsen, a union member at the Block E location. “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 and operated by Miklin Enterprises,
Inc., pays the federal minimum wage of $7.25/hr, offers no benefits,
and has no full-time positions outside of management. Jimmy Johns
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.

Jake Foucault, a delivery driver at the Riverside store, said, “ If
Mike and Rob Mulligan have the money to open four new stores, then
they have the money to pay us more than minimum wage. We hope Rob and
Mike do the right thing and come to the negotiating table.”

A negotiating committee of Jimmy Johns workers plans to meet with the
Mulligans at the Block E central office of the franchise to begin
discussions at 4:00pm today.

The fast food workers’ move to unionize is emblematic of mounting
frustration amongst US workers with the sluggish pace of recovery from
the Recession. With unemployment rates hovering around 9.5%, many
workers view low wage service jobs as their only option. Employment in
the food service industry is expected to grow 8.4% from 2008 to 2018,
higher than the 7.7% rate predicted by the Bureau of Labor Statistics
for all industries. Wages and working conditions in the fast food
industry are widely regarded as substandard; in 2009, 25% of workers
in the service industry made less than $7.55 an hour, the highest
percentage of any occupational group.

The union campaign at Jimmy Johns could hold deep implications for
other companies in the fast food industry, a sector known for 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. The question of unionization of the food and service
industries is assuming greater focus as employment in these non-union
sectors increases, while manufacturing, the traditional stronghold of
unionization, slides further into decline.

The Jimmy Johns Workers Union, open to employees at the company
nationwide, 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.

##

JimmyJohnsWorkers.org

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