In the past few months, union members have been working hard to compile evidence and prepare arguments in order to secure a hearing with the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) for the reinstatement of workers subject to illegal retaliation by Freshii union busters.
The IWW Freshii Workers Union was formed last summer when workers at the 200 w Randolph location marched on their boss and demanded full reimbursement for all unpaid wages, an end to illegal alteration of paychecks, and formal recognition of their decision to secure union representation under the banner of the Chicago Branch of the Industrial Workers of the World (IWW).
The power of collective action almost immediately resulted in the repayment of stolen wages, but the fight for union recognition waged on as Freshii desperately fought worker organization at all costs.
Freshii punished supporters of the union with firings, retroactive pay cuts, and desolate hours — abusive actions which led to the filing of multiple Unfair Labor Practice Charges, or ULPs, against the company.
The NLRB has already determined that these ULPs have merit or, in other words, they have confirmed that there is sufficient evidence corroborating the charges.
Our argument for the joint-employer status of the Freshii corporation and the shop where the union was born has the potential to set new legal precedent and open the door for union organization at franchises without previously debilitating red tape.
We hope that this case reminds workers that no workplace is “un-organizable” and inspires all workers to fight against abuses in their workplace – whether it be small, large, corporate, or franchised.
Legal proceedings, however, are only one front in the battle for recognition, so be sure to follow the IWW Freshii Workers Union Facebook Page for developments in this innovating Unfair Labor Practice case, as well as for ongoing organizing updates directly from the shop floor.