Sandwich Workers Bounce Back from Union Election Setback with Protest of Sub-Standard Pay
MINNEAPOLIS- Jimmy John’s workers will call on Minneapolis franchise owners Mike and Rob Mulligan today to honor the spirit of the season by offering holiday pay to their employees on federal and major religious holidays. Workers plan to ask customers to sign ‘Holiday Cards’ asking the Mulligans to open their hearts and their wallets for workers who will spend Christmas Eve, New Year’s Day, and other holidays selling sandwiches rather than enjoying the company of their families.
Although time and half pay on holidays is a standard benefit in almost all workplaces, Jimmy John’s falls short of industry standards by paying most workers minimum wage to work through the holidays.
“The Mulligans expect us to come in to work for minimum wage on Christmas Eve and New Year’s Day instead of spending time with our families. It’s not like time and a half is even that much money when you are making $7.25 an hour. This is really about respect. It feels like we’re working for Scrooge,” said Brittany Koppy, a worker at the
Dinkytown Jimmy John’s.
For bicycle delivery drivers, the pressure to work through the holiday season carries additional risk.
“Everyone is stressed during the this time of year and the roads are brutal. I fell three times and injured myself while working on Christmas Eve last year,” said Micah Buckley-Farlee, a bicycle delivery driver at the Dinkytown store, adding, “Holiday pay is an issue of both safety and respect.”
Company owners have ignored previous requests for holiday pay. David Boehnke, a worker at the Skyway store, asked franchise co-owner Rob Mulligan last week if the company would give workers time and half on the holidays. “Rob Mulligan responded, ‘What holidays?’ When I started listing holidays, He just walked away from me,” explained Boehnke.
The campaign for holiday pay is the latest step in an historic union campaign at Jimmy John’s, a first in franchised fast food in the United States. In October, the Jimmy John’s Workers Union came within two votes of winning an National Labor Relations Board union election, losing 85-87 after management paid professional anti-union consultants over $84,000 to undermine their employees’ organizing efforts. The Union has filed a legal challenge to the election process, alleging over 30 separate labor rights violations. The National Labor Relations Board is expected to rule on the charges in the coming weeks.
As the charges are investigated, the sandwich workers are forging ahead with demands for better pay and working conditions. In the new year, the Union plans to unveil a ‘Ten Point Program for Justice at Jimmy John’s,’ outlining a comprehensive package of reforms to bring respect, dignity, and democracy to the fast food workplace.
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.